How to have shame-free sex

Couple hiding kiss behind hat

Imagine needing to give yourself a pep talk to initiate sex… I’m just keeping it real! At least for me as a Christian woman, I’ve just had this mental block towards certain aspects of sex that I’m now able to deal with more intentionally. Honestly? If I had more insight and guidance to begin with, then I wouldn’t need to dig up the years of twisted expectations and deal with the shame-inducing mentality that often comes with just mentioning the topic of sex let alone experiencing it.

When I got married, of all the expectations I had, one thing I knew was that I wanted to have a healthy sex life with my husband. There was just something so meaningful to me about the idea of sex, and I had come to learn how important it was to have a balanced relationship that nurtured the environment for this type of passionately intimate love to exist in the first place. I had read the books, listened to discussions, attended youth retreats – me and Liam had even started our own ministry on relationships before we got married in the hope that we could help start more of those necessary conversations.

My point is, my passion for the topic of relationships even before I got married had taken me to places where I learned so much and was even able to help others learn too. But just like with many experiences in life, theory and experience are two different things. As Christians, we believe that sex is something special that God created for us to experience within marriage. Right? I know I can say that this was drilled into me growing up, and it is probably one of the few things that I did know about sex. The problem is that we are so secretive and avoidant of talking about sex in church, that we act as though conversations on this topic have no place outside of marriages either.

We can talk about sex if we’re married, so we’re good right? It’s like trying to jump on a bike with no idea how to ride it in the first place! And no I’m not saying you need to practice riding the bike before you get married (before you get too excited!) but what I am saying is that before we get married we should be learning how to ride the bike, so that within marriage we can practice together and find different ways to make riding the bike an enjoyable experience. Okay I’ll put the bike away now…

As far as the extent of conversations about sex in church, the only guidance I remember receiving was… none. I’m talking about detailed guidance:

-What does sex feel like for the first time?

-What is foreplay, and how does it impact sexual intercourse?

-What are different methods of sex, and what if one spouse is more experimental than the other?

-What if I’m not ready to have sex on my wedding night?

-What if my spouse has had sex before marriage and I am a virgin?

-What contraceptive options are available? (I was shocked when I found out just how many different types exist!)

-What is the difference between having sex while married (pre-baby), having sex while pregnant, and having sex once you have given birth?

These are just a few of many unanswered questions that we may be walking around with, even while we are already married! Of course there are certain things that you will learn with experience, but there are many things that it would help to know and talk about in advance. A big reason why we struggle to do this as Christians, is because there seems to be this ingrained fear that in talking about sex more openly, more young people in particular will find it acceptable to have premarital sex. Instead, the reality is that many of them are already having premarital sex and having babies even without having these conversations. We perceive sex as the forbidden fruit that can’t be touched let alone looked at until marriage. I can’t speak for everyone, but this wasn’t enough to stop me from having sex before marriage.

Rather than being fearful of what talking about sex could lead to, we should instead be confident of what real conversations and honest guidance could do to help those around us. Even if you offer a space for others to benefit from this much-needed advice and some still choose to go on and have sex before marriage, that is entirely their decision. Life is made up of right and wrong decisions, but the more knowledgeable we are the more chances there will be for us to make more informed decisions that ultimately benefit the way we live our lives.

For those of us who are married especially, we shouldn’t feel ashamed by our mistakes or the fact that we are still learning about sex even if we are decades into married life. Instead we should be kind to ourselves in the fact that we are still learning so much while trying to unlearn a lot of the rubbish we have carried with us. Even if we don’t learn from the right places, we will still learn… I don’t know about you, but I would much rather be the one to teach my daughter the right things about sex in detail, rather than leaving her to potentially learn the wrong things.

It always amazes me how we seek to gain skills in so many other areas of our life, such as our studies, career, hobbies and interests, yet we leave our relationships and everything that comes with them to hopefully find a way to just work themselves out with our limited understanding.

Regardless of the baggage that may be attached to sex, you owe it to your marriage to explore your issues and see if there is a way that you can better connect with your spouse. This may require you to see a professional, especially if past trauma is involved.

One of the ways we can change a generational cycle of not talking about sex, is by doing the work on ourselves. If you have any issues towards sex, explore them. If you are married and want more from your sex life, then talk about it. If you feel like there is still more for you to learn about sex, then do your research! Of course it would be amazing if all churches were places that we could have open conversations about sex, but if not, there’s no reason why you can’t find out the answers to your questions yourself.

If you are going to take anything from this blog post, it should be that learning how to have sex as God intended it to be experienced is a life skill for your marriage.

 

YOUR THOUGHTS

Learning to take the shame out of something that was created to be celebrated is something that takes more than a single conversation. Explore the following questions with your spouse to get you started – the more you normalise these conversations, the easier it will be to improve this important area of your marriage:

  1. What does sex mean to you in our marriage?
  2. How well do you think we communicate about sex?
  3. When was the last time you felt comfortable talking about sex?
  4. What would help make it easier for us to have more open conversations about our sex life?
  5. What aspect of sexual intimacy would you like us to learn more about together?

2 thoughts on “How to have shame-free sex

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