Category: Sex & Intimacy

Why I’m a Rainbow Fish

This post has been a long time in the making. For many months now, I’ve felt that God has been asking me to write about issues of sexuality—homosexuality, bisexuality, and transgender issues. This is such a controversial topic, especially in the Christian world right now, and because of that I have shied away from sharing my views. I hate seeing the division that these issues are causing among believers, and I really would rather everyone just be quiet about it. I don’t want to add fuel to the fire! But the more I sit around and stay quiet, the more I feel that one side of the divide is overly represented, while the other is treated as nonexistent. So it’s time that I say something, and here it is; I am a rainbow fish.

For those of you who don’t know, the “Jesus fish” is a symbol that Christians sometimes use to identify themselves as followers of Jesus. You can see the fish on bumper stickers, etc. And of course, the rainbow has become a symbol of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi, trans) community. So a rainbow fish would be a Christian who supports the LGBT community—and that’s me. The rainbow fish is a rare species, it seems, but we’re out there.

I want to be clear about something. I believe in the Bible, that it is the inspired word of God and our ultimate source of truth and hope. Because I believe in the Bible, I believe in Jesus Christ; I believe Jesus is the Son of God who was sent to earth to live as an example and bring us hope, who died to bring us freedom from our sins and our overall separation from God, and who rose again to defeat the enemy once and for all. I believe that, like he said, he is the only true way to Heaven and eternal life. I believe in one true God who has three facets of personality—the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit. Yes, I believe all of those things with confident assurance, because I have seen for myself that they are the only thing that makes sense. I also believe that sexual orientations other than heterosexual are not sinful, and if you stick around, I will tell you why.

As I said, I believe in the Bible as our ultimate source of truth. Although it was written by human beings, its writing was directed by God, and so we can trust that it is perfect and without error in its original form. Yet what we read today is not the original form of the Bible. It has been translated over thousands of years from languages that are no longer used into the languages that we use today. It’s inevitable that in the process of translation, the original messages can lose certain things and take on other things, especially as they pass through cultural lenses. We are fortunate to have a huge number of Bible translations available today—reading in multiple translations can help us get closer to what the original text intended to say. Not only that, but I’m sure God was well aware of the issues that language barriers would cause when it comes to passing the Bible down through generations of humanity. That’s probably why he had it written in such a way that the overall themes and most vital messages of the Bible are woven consistently and clearly throughout the entire text—although some details may be off here and there, for the most part the Bible corroborates itself very well.

In the area of sexuality, I am inclined to question whether the original messages in the Bible have been properly translated. There are reasonable alternative interpretations for all of the verses in the Bible which seem to condemn homosexual behavior as a sin. I won’t go into the details, because I’m not a Bible scholar and it would take up a lot of space here, but I will provide a link to a source I have found helpful at the end of this post. My point is that it is possible that the way most Christians view homosexuality (and other alternative sexual orientations) may be based on Biblical references that don’t mean what they think they do.

This seems likely to me for one main reason; consistency. As far as I understand it, every commandment that God gives in the Bible comes down to him wanting what is best for his people. He knows that the best thing for us is to be in a relationship with him, and that we would live our best possible lives if everyone treated each other with love. In Mark 12:28-34, Jesus taught that the two most important commandments are to love God and to love others. Romans 13:8-10 goes further, saying this: “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not covet,’ and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (NIV).

The Bible is full of many guidelines for what to do and what not to do in life. But the underlying theme, as pointed out in these passages, is that we should love God and love others. When it comes to sexual orientation, I can see no way in which a consensual, monogamous, committed relationship between two adults of the same sex is in violation of God’s law. Sexuality is a gift from God, and enjoying it is not unloving toward him, in the proper context. (By proper context, I mean sex that is used to love and not hurt others—either physically, or emotionally.) Homosexual relationships also don’t hurt other people, except those people who choose to be “hurt” by it.

There are a few other reasons that I don’t share the typical “conservative” views on homosexuality, bisexuality, and transgender issues. One is that I understand that sexual orientation is not a choice. I never chose to be attracted to my husband, let alone men in general—I simply was. Although physical attraction is just one part of what brings people together into romantic relationships, it is often the first step. I think God probably designed it that way for a reason. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be told that I must enter into a romantic relationship with a person I had absolutely no physical attraction to. Yes, love is a choice and love is what lasts in the end, and it is so much more important than attraction—but sexuality and attraction are still important. God gave us these gifts so that we could tie ourselves emotionally and physically to another person in a very special way. For a person who is attracted to another person of the same sex, and then told that it is wrong to pursue a relationship with that person, sexuality becomes a burden rather than a gift. I simply don’t see how God would want that.

Another reason that I see things a bit differently is that I can easily picture just how involved the enemy is in this war on sexuality. What better tool could the enemy use to divide people? All he has to do is convince the majority of Christians that the LGBT community is living in sin, and he’s got himself a convenient way to repel from God a huge population of individuals. I can only imagine how it would feel to be told that one of the most basic parts of who you are is not acceptable to God, and that you are therefore unwelcome in a church community unless you somehow change that part of yourself. It would be easy to stay far, far away from any part of that world, don’t you think? And as a result, there are billions of people who will never know God, because his representatives in this world have pushed them away.

Transgender individuals are even less understood, it seems. I often hear Christians say things along the lines of “You don’t get to choose your gender, God does!” Well, that’s actually kind of the point. Transgender people feel that they were born a certain gender, but that their sexual organs don’t match that gender. In their view, they aren’t choosing their gender at all. It would probably be easier and preferable if they could simply choose to be the gender that their bodies tell them they are. We don’t argue with the fact that some people are born with physical and mental defects—which I believe are attacks from the enemy, rather than anything that God wants for us—so why can’t we accept that some people may be born with defects in their sexual organs? Obviously, there are cases in which babies are born with both male and female genitalia. Christians don’t seem to have a problem when the parents of those babies choose which gender to assign their children. So why is it such a leap for transgender individuals to do what they can to correct what they deeply feel is a physical defect in their bodies? Personally, I have never felt that I was not female. Would that have been any different if I had been born with male parts? I simply cannot say, because I don’t know. And that’s the point—I don’t know how it would feel to be certain that I am a female without the reassurance of my female body. I cannot and will not tell other people that what they feel is not valid, or that it’s as easy as a choice. I didn’t choose my gender, so why would anybody else?

Probably the worst argument that I’ve heard Christians use against homosexuals, bisexuals, and transgender people is a comparison between these alternative sexual orientations and pedophilia. It practically makes my blood boil. “If homosexuality isn’t a choice and should be accepted, why not also accept pedophiles as having their own sexual orientation?” they ask. And really, how flipping insulting is that. Pedophiles may or may not feel attracted to children by nature, I cannot say—but there is a huge glaring difference between them and people whose sexual orientation is not heterosexual. Pedophiles have victims! Children are not able to consent to nor fully understand sexual relationships. Perhaps that is why pedophiles are inclined to victimize them; it’s a sickness, and anybody who feels that way should receive psychological and spiritual help to overcome it. Homosexual relationships have no victims, when they are between two consenting adults in a monogamous and committed relationship. It’s the same as with any other sexual relationship. (Casual sex has victims whether or not it’s between a man and a woman, or two people of the same sex.)

But putting all of my thoughts and feelings aside, I think it’s very important for me to make one final point, which is that I could be wrong about all of this. I’m a human and my human logic and thinking is far below God’s way of thinking. I could be missing something. And if I am wrong, and the truth is that God’s best for all people is to either be in a heterosexual relationship or no sexual relationship at all, then I will surely find that out when I get to Heaven. But even in that case, I do not believe for one second that the typical Christian approach to interacting with the LGBT community is what God wants. Right or wrong, we are pushing people away from God. We are condemning them and telling them that they cannot follow Jesus unless they change something that they don’t believe they can change.

I would love to see a Christian community where sexuality is an issue that is left between each individual and God. Like any other sin (if it is a sin), it should be up to God to lead his children onto the right path, and up to us to simply encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ to live their best for him. If we could start accepting homosexuals, bisexuals, and transgender individuals into our churches without the stipulation that they change themselves, how many people could we reach for Christ?

I would also love to see a Christian community that doesn’t assume that all of its members are anti-gay. I understand the assumption, because most Christians believe that the Bible condemns homosexuality and thus that all Christians should be on the same page. But there is an alternative interpretation, and I hope that someday more people know about it. The rainbow fish are out there, and I think that’s important for both conservative Christians and the LGBT community to know.

Lastly, I would love to see more separation of politics and religion. Yes, our laws need to be based on moral principles, and as Christians our moral principles come from the Bible. But our laws also need to be logical. Laws should be put in place to protect people from harm, not as a futile attempt to force non-Christians into adopting our worldview. When we fight the legalization of abortion, we are protecting people from harm—babies are the victims in that case. (Yet we can and should also remember that pregnant rape victims are victims too, and all women with unwanted or unplanned pregnancies need our compassion and support as well). Any issue that we vote for should be considered in terms of how it hurts or protects others, because as Christians, we are called to love others.

But the reality is that when Christians fight against legalizing gay marriage, we aren’t protecting anybody. We aren’t winning people for Jesus, but we certainly are building walls between gay people and Jesus. And for what purpose? If we want to protect the sanctity of marriage, why don’t we worry about our own marriages? The divorce rate among Christians is not something we can be proud of, and we have plenty of other issues to work on as well. Infidelity, abuse, sexual dysfunction, and anything short of loving one another the way that God intended for a husband and wife to love—these are the things that we need to focus on changing if we want our marriages to be examples for our children. You see, Christian marriage and secular marriage don’t have to be the same thing—in fact, they’re not, whether we’re talking about gay marriage or any marriage between two non-Christians. Our marriages are our business, and if we want to strengthen the institute of Holy Matrimony then let’s do that. Gay marriage isn’t a threat to the family any more than divorce is (in fact, I feel quite strongly that divorce is a much bigger threat, but then again I don’t see gay marriage as a threat at all), and yet we don’t see people trying to make divorce illegal. Let’s be logical, people, and think about why we’re doing what we’re doing in the political arena. We must protect people, not damage and ostracize them.

So that’s it. That is my very long explanation of how I, as a Christian, feel about homosexuality and other sexual orientations. Whether I am right or wrong is not as important as my calling to love other people and point them to Jesus. I hope that Christians as a unified church can come together in love and reach the LGBT community, because they need Jesus just as much as anybody else—and vice versa.


Resource for information about alternative interpretations of the Bible’s message on homosexuality:

Now It’s Personal – Part 2

Last week, I wrote about the meaning of intimacy. I think that the basic idea of it is establishing a connection with somebody that is based on trust, honesty, openness, and vulnerability. Being intimate, or personal with somebody can bring deep levels of satisfaction and is a key ingredient to the most important relationships. I believe that intimacy is vital in one’s relationship with God, oneself, one’s spouse, and selected others. So why is intimacy so important?

The thing is, you can never feel fully accepted by somebody if you never fully show yourself. Putting on a mask is necessary at times, but if you leave that mask on all of the time then nobody really knows you completely. And that just leaves you feeling lonely.

When it comes to your relationship with God, intimacy is more about you realizing that He knows everything about you than actually allowing Him to see you for who you are. No matter how much you try to hide, God still knows you inside and out. In fact, He even knows you better than you know yourself. That’s because He knows the details of your past that you’ve forgotten, the things in the present that you’re avoiding, and everything that will happen to you in the future as well. He knows you totally, completely, and 100%. But learning to accept that and acknowledge that is the key to a more fulfilling relationship with Him.

When you stop trying to hide from God, your relationship with Him becomes more intimate. You allow yourself to dwell in the fact that He loves you and accepts you for everything that you are. You speak to Him honestly and openly about everything. He becomes your best friend, your lover, and your confidant above anybody else in the world. And that is a beautiful and satisfying thing! In fact, I believe that it is the most satisfying thing you can ever do; developing intimacy with God is what every single one of us was made for.

Getting personal with yourself may seem like an oxymoron. But the truth is, I have a feeling that I’m not the only one who isn’t always honest with myself. I try to convince myself of untruths all of the time; it’s part of my sinful nature to not want to admit my own faults and shortcomings. I also have a bad habit of judging myself (which is probably why I don’t want to admit my faults!). You see, true intimacy with oneself means that you allow yourself to be who you are, warts and all, and you don’t judge yourself for it. Get in touch with your own feelings, thoughts, and personality and then realize that if God loves you for all of those things, then you can love yourself as well. Try to see yourself the way that God sees you; His beautiful, treasured creation. Get comfortable in your own skin! It’s the first step to developing intimacy with others.

Intimacy within a marriage is a no-brainer, I would think. And yet, it seems to me that there are countless marriages in which both parties are not completely open, honest, and vulnerable with each other, often because they don’t fully trust each other! Look, it’s pretty simple; you are ready to marry somebody when you are already emotionally, mentally, and spiritually intimate with them. Then, once you do get married, physical intimacy will come naturally and you will understand what God had in mind for marriage, and you can spend the rest of your life working to maintain that intimacy. People don’t just grow apart; they allow themselves to grow apart by slowly withdrawing and choosing not to share every part of themselves with their spouse. Refuse to let your intimacy fade, because your marriage depends on it!

Now, I’ve used the term “selected others” a few times now between last week and this week. So what does it mean? It’s pretty much what it sounds like— other people who you’ve carefully selected to share relational intimacy with. The key to this one is knowing how to select them. The fact of the matter is that bearing your soul to every person you come into contact with simply isn’t a great idea. As sad as it is, not everybody in the world is trustworthy. Choosing the people who you will be vulnerable, open, and honest with takes careful consideration. Whether they are family members, friends, or mentors, I would advise that you choose wisely who you will get really personal with. On the other hand, don’t be jaded! Allowing yourself to trust people is always a risk, but doing it anyway, especially when it’s a calculated risk, is the key to fulfilling relationships.

With other people besides God, yourself, and your spouse, intimacy is not usually (or really ever) a black and white thing. It’s not like something you can just turn on and off; it’s more of a system of levels. You decide how much you can trust each person you meet, and act based on that, obviously. My whole point with even addressing these people is that I have found it very important to allow yourself to put your walls down with at least some people outside of your three most intimate relationships (God, yourself, and your significant other). The truth is, you probably will never have relationships with other people that are as intimate as your relationships with these three, and perhaps that is even a good thing. But you should still try to develop deep levels of trust, honesty, openness, and vulnerability with selected others. I have found that the more I can be myself around others, the better I feel, and the better I am able to understand myself.

So there you have it— my views on intimacy, and why this weird little word is so important to living healthy, happy lives. I hope you got something out of this and that you can learn to be more intimate with the people in your life, especially God. He’s waiting for you!

Now It’s Personal

Intimacy. What an uncomfortable word. I don’t know about you, but just hearing somebody say the word “intimacy” can make me feel somewhat violated. It’s like I’m back in junior high health class, with the teacher talking so openly about things that just aren’t meant to be talked about in public. “Intimacy” is one of those things, or at least it has been for me for a long time. I have to admit, I’m still not completely over it now.

I’m not just talking about sex. Sex is one thing; I believe that you can have sex without being truly intimate. I also believe that you can be intimate without having sex. No, these words are definitely not synonymous. But they are intricately connected. Like sex, intimacy is private (no pun intended) and very personal. The whole point really, is that it is personal. In many cases, people use the word “intimate” to mean “personal.” For example, to say that a concert was intimate typically means that it was small, up-close, and personal. And that, I think, is the key to why intimacy is actually much more difficult to achieve than any purely physical connection.  With intimacy, it’s personal; very, very personal. True intimacy is as personal as you can get.

So what is intimacy, then? And why on Earth and I talking about it?

Well, first of all, I think that there are many components involved. It includes a deep level of trust, honesty, openness, and vulnerability. Second of all, I believe that it is vital, absolutely mandatory, to achieve a deep level of intimacy in several areas of your life if you want to be truly fulfilled. These areas are with God, with yourself, with your spouse, and with selected others.

Let’s start with trust. In order to be any of the other things— honest, open, and vulnerable— you have to begin at a place of trust. You have to know that you can trust the other person with what you are about to share. Of course, to be completely honest, nobody on this planet is 100% trustworthy. We are all human, and we all do and will make mistakes. Sometimes, those mistakes involve betraying the trust of other people. When we decide to trust somebody else, we have to calculate the risk that they will betray our trust and decide to accept it, however big or small that risk is. Either way, there is a risk. That’s why it’s called trusting.

When it comes to God, there is no risk. Actually, I should rephrase that; when it comes to trusting God, there is no risk. The thing is, God has made a lot of promises to those who choose to listen. One of those promises is that we will not come under his judgment if we accept the gift of Jesus’ sacrifice. We also know that He is perfect, and that He cannot lie or break His promises. In other words, we can know with 100% certainty that God accepts and loves us. That should make it easy to trust Him, right?

Wrong. You see, as humans, we are full of doubt. No matter how certain we feel that what we believe about God is true, there is always that sliver of doubt. If you’re shaking your head right now, then hold on just a second. Do you really want to claim that you have no doubt at all? Because as Lee Strobel points out so brilliantly in The Case for Faith, if you have no doubt then you have no faith. All you have is knowledge.

Doubt is the reason that faith exists. God may provide loads and loads of proof for His existence, but in the end there is still that leap of faith that must be made, that choice to trust Him. It is that choice to trust Him that allows you to achieve intimacy with God. Because even though He is completely trustworthy, we are still human and it still takes faith for us to trust Him.

Honesty and openness are two of the other major pieces of the intimacy puzzle. Honesty means that you don’t try to lie or withhold information. It means that you can admit the truth even when it’s embarrassing, uncomfortable, or ugly. Lying to God is futile, because He knows what is in your heart and mind. Lying to yourself is silly, but we often do it anyway. Lying to others is a quick and easy way to keep people at a distance. And overall, lying and/or omitting the truth is the biggest enemy of intimacy. You have to be honest if you want to be intimate.

Openness goes one step further than honesty; it involves volunteering personal information without having to be asked, and being willing and eager to share yourself with others. Openness with yourself particularly means not trying to ignore or avoid things that you are dealing with. You simply cannot be intimate if you are not open. It’s an oxymoron! You can’t get personal without getting personal.

Last of all, vulnerability. Eeek! Seriously, being vulnerable can be completely unnerving and downright scary. Nobody wants other people to see them in a weak position! But when it comes to intimacy, being vulnerable is an irreplaceable ingredient. Interestingly enough, allowing yourself to be vulnerable is one of the best ways to build trust. It’s the key to tons of teambuilding exercises— just picture the scene from Mean Girls; one person stands on a stage and says something they have been afraid to share before, then they turn around and allow themselves to fall off, trusting everybody else to catch them. Only by being vulnerable and taking a risk are they able to learn that they can trust the others.

Vulnerability means sharing your weaknesses, not running from the uncomfortable, and allowing somebody else to see you in a deeper and more personal way. To be vulnerable with yourself means that you allow yourself to admit your weaknesses, that you make an effort to get to know yourself, and most importantly that you reaffirm your own vulnerability by refusing to judge yourself. You are allowed to feel how you feel!

Trust, honesty, openness, and vulnerability; these are the four keys to intimacy, as I see it. Next week, I’ll be continuing this topic by focusing on why it is so important to develop a sense of intimacy with God, with yourself, with your spouse, and with selected others.



Au Naturel

Recently, I discovered something about my birth control pills that alarmed me.

Hold up, did I just reveal something very personal in my publically published blog? Why yes, I did. But that’s ok, because I’m not shy about my views on or use of birth control! Well, at least not on the internet I’m not. And I know that this is a much different kind of topic than what I usually write about on here, but I think that this is something I should share. So if you don’t mind, let’s dive in!

Before I jump back into what I was saying though, I think a few things need to be addressed. First of all, I do have some very strong views on birth control, and because of that I usually try to avoid discussing it. The last thing that I want to do is to offend or get pointlessly angry at somebody. And believe me, I will get angry if the topic of abortion comes up and they have strong beliefs that are the opposite of mine. I just can’t help it; I’m that passionate about it. Of course, while abortion and birth control are related, they are not by any means synonyms. Still, it seems that these topics often go hand in hand in discussions, and people are either on one side of the fence or the other; they support a woman’s right to use birth control and her right to terminate pregnancies, or they don’t. If those are the two choices, then that puts me squarely in the middle of the fence.

Without getting too political here, I’ll just simply state that I do not support abortion because it affects not only the woman, but an actual live human baby. On the other hand, I do support birth control because it only directly affects the woman. I realize that some people argue that birth control is evil because it prevents the creation of life that would otherwise be, well, created. But to me, this is just ridiculous. It’s the potential for a baby that we’re talking about here—one egg and bunch of sperm. If preventing the potential for a baby from becoming the reality of a baby is evil, then having sex is evil. Each time that a man has sex, there is 100% chance that at least one of his sperm will die, which means that the potential for at least one baby dies. Yet nobody complains about that! So why complain about contraception? God didn’t create sex just for making babies, and it seems to follow that He is okay with sex that doesn’t make babies.

Now that that’s out of the way, I return to my original point. I recently discovered something unfortunate about my birth control pills. Hormonal methods of birth control prevent pregnancy in three ways: first, they prevent ovulation; second, they thicken cervical mucus (I know, gross) so that the sperm can’t get through; third, they thin the lining of the uterus so that any egg that did get fertilized would not be able to implant. This last property in birth control pills is called an abortient. That’s because it technically causes an abortion.

Fortunately, this last property is just that. It is the pill’s last defense against pregnancy, and in most cases it likely never happens. The first two safeguards would have to fail and the last one would have to work in order for an abortion to occur, which seems improbable at best. That’s why I am not saying that the pill is the same as an abortion. It isn’t. An abortion is a planned, deliberate termination of a pregnancy; the pill uses methods to prevent pregnancy from occurring, and could result in an abortion in unlikely cases. Because of this, I am not saying that taking the pill is wrong or evil. But for me, this piece of information made a big difference because I’m just not comfortable with it.

As a result, I’ve felt morally obligated to search for a new method of birth control. After weeding through all of the effective, ineffective, plausible, and implausible options, I was left with very few choices. The most effective method of course is abstinence—its effectiveness hovers right around 100%. But that’s not an option for a healthy marriage, in my opinion. The second most effective method is sterilization. My husband and I would like to retain our ability to have children one day, so that’s not a solution for us either. The third most effective methods include all of the hormonal options (which would do the same thing as the pill) and IUDs (which are too invasive for my taste). Everything less effective than those methods is not effective enough for what my husband and I are looking for.

I was searching for other options when I stumbled upon fertility awareness methods (FAMs), also known as natural family planning. I was happily surprised to discover that one of the methods of FAM, called the symptothermal method, is extremely effective and safe. It’s 99.6% effective when used properly, which is actually the same as or even more effective than the pill. The best part is I don’t have to take any medicine or put anything in my uterus! Thank God for that, right?


Some quick information about this method of contraception:

  1. Though it has the reputation for being a “Catholic thing,” it’s not just for Catholics. It can be for other Christians too! Only kidding—this method is for anybody who wants to do things more naturally or safely, or who has concerns about the morality of other birth control methods.
  2. It does take a lot of work. The woman has to tediously chart observations about her body throughout the month. This can be difficult if you don’t want to have to think about your method of contraception every day, or if you have trouble remembering to do things.
  3. It also takes a firm commitment on the parts of both the wife and the husband. This method requires periods of abstinence from intercourse, so if you cannot control your sexual desires for more than a few days at a time, then this one isn’t for you.
  4. It’s easy to stop! If you decide that you’re ready for babies, than you can try to conceive right away. No waiting for your body to resume its natural rhythm, removing anything, or surgery. How convenient!
  5. Hormonal methods of birth control can decrease your sex drive. Enough said.

Interesting in going au naturel? Do you homework first! You shouldn’t start any method of birth control until you understand how it works—take it from me! I may not have understood completely how the pill worked when I started it, but I sure wish I had. Then I wouldn’t have started it in the first place.

Anyhow, what’s done is done. From now on though, I’m doing things differently. No more pills for me!




Sexy Time

That’s right− I’m doing it. I’m taking the plunge and writing about sex. I’ve been tossing the idea back and forth for a few weeks now, but couldn’t decide if I really wanted to cross that line. Finally, I decided to go for it. After all, it’s one of the biggest differences between married life and single life (at least for Christians), and practically everybody’s interested in it. Did I mention that I have relatives who read this? Well, no worries. I won’t make this overly personal or go into too much detail. Instead, I’ll approach this fascinating topic from a generalized point of view. That way, there’s no danger of sharing too much. Thank goodness!

To start off, I want to talk about the importance of intimacy in marriage. As Christians, we believe that marriage is the process of two people becoming one; this means being united emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and in many other ways, including physically. The physical union between a husband and wife is something that God thought up when He first created us as humans. He molded our bodies in such a way that we can physically be united with each other, and he planned that union to occur only in fully committed, permanent relationships such as marriage.

Why did He do this? While we can’t know for sure until we meet Him face to face, we can definitely hypothesize using the Bible. For one, we can see that God made our bodies with sexual pleasure in mind; after all, we don’t enjoy sex for no reason! We also see the effect it has on us, making us feel closer to our partners emotionally. Last, we can see that God made our bodies in such a way that we can create new life when we engage in sexual intimacy. So what’s the point of this shared pleasure, emotional closeness, and life-creation in a marriage? They all lead to unity!  

A husband and wife are united both physically and spiritually when they share this gift. The after-effects of emotional closeness lead to unity in the relationship by resealing the bond that they share. And when a couple uses physical intimacy as a way to grow their family, they are then united in a common life purpose as parents. Clearly, sex is not just fun and games. It is a tool for marriage and an experience that God wants us to enjoy in that context. Well great! But what happens when sex doesn’t work the way you want it to?

Let’s face it. Sex is not exactly easy. It’s a skill that takes time to learn, and in a marriage, this is one of the most beautiful new skills you can learn together. But it does take time! Nobody is born as a sex-god (thank goodness), and starting this new adventure together doesn’t always go smoothly. In fact, there are many unexpected problems that can arise as far as the sexual relationship in a marriage goes.

One potential issue is that, well, sometimes you just don’t want to. A couple, no matter how united they may be, is composed of two individuals. Each individual has different moods, desires, and patterns when it comes to sex. This is one reason why it’s important to be selfless in your marriage. There will most likely be times when you want sex, but your spouse doesn’t (and vice versa). But if you refuse to have sex with your spouse simply because you don’t feel like it, you may end up doing it… never. Because what are the chances of you both wanting it at the exact same time? Not nearly as often as you might think. So take Nike’s advice, and Just Do It. If you are both others-centered in the bedroom, then your partner should have no problem making it worth your while.

Another potential issue is that sex is messy. Even in one-partner-for-life situations, there can be health issues that result from sexual activity. Plus, almost all couples have to deal with the reality that once a month, us girls are pretty much “out of service.” So sometimes, it simply may not be an option. In the case of sex-related health issues, it may take a while to get everything sorted out, and this time without intimacy can be difficult for couples. Either way though, I think the best solution during these times is to remember that sex isn’t the only way to be physically intimate with your spouse. Never underestimate the power of hugs, kisses, caresses, and midnight spooning sessions! (In case you didn’t know, “spooning” just means cuddling).

Another potential problem is less physical and much more mental and emotional. Sometimes, especially for Christian women who have been taught all of their lives that “sex is wrong,” trying to switch from that mindset to the mindset of a marriage, where “sex is good,” can be very difficult. Or perhaps the wife (or husband) has experienced sexually traumatic events in the past, making it difficult to enjoy this type of intimacy in the marriage. In both cases, sex can end up being much less fun, and much more frightening or even repulsive. What can you do in this situation? Honestly, I’d suggest seeking counseling. Many churches offer counseling for free or little cost, and a counselor with the same Christian background as you might be extremely helpful. Or, if you aren’t comfortable with that, then why not seek counseling elsewhere? The most important thing is that you are able to work through your old thought pattern or trauma. Sex is not supposed to be scary or gross, and seeking help is not shameful. It is a brave and loving decision to make that will help you improve intimacy and unity in your marriage.

The last thing I want to talk about is one of the well-known results of having sexual relationships; babies! Now, I was careful not to say “issues” or “problems” for this one, because I firmly believe that no baby is a mistake. God plans each life that he brings into this world! It’s just that sometimes, we aren’t on the same page. In many marriages, the couple doesn’t plan on having children right away, and in others, they don’t want to have children at all. There’s nothing wrong with that! God still created sex for unity in marriage, whether or not you plan to use it for bringing new life into the world. The “problem” results when you didn’t plan on having kids, and you get pregnant anyway. Of course, birth control is a perfectly acceptable option, but nothing is perfect and things can happen. So what do you do when you carefully mapped out your plans, but God had something else in mind? Here’s a hint; go with God’s version.

As a full-time college student also working 10 hours per week, I understand the desire to wait to have kids. It would be financially irresponsible for us right now, and we have about enough extra time in our schedules to take care of a plant. So no, taking on the responsibility of a baby anytime soon is definitely not in our plans. Plus, we’d like to enjoy at least a few years of our marriage without a third person involved. And while we are doing our part to be cautious and mindful, as I mentioned before, things can happen. Nothing has happened to us, but my husband and I are always prepared for this type of situation. We knew this fact of life before we got married, and we are committed to doing whatever it takes to honor God’s plan for our lives.

If you are married and you don’t want to start a family (yet or ever), that’s ok. You should still enjoy physical intimacy in your relationship. However, it is a fact of life that sex often makes babies, and as a married couple engaging in such an activity, you have to be okay with this possibility. Remember, God has a plan in mind for you and He will never put you into a situation that you can’t handle! Trust His wisdom and submit yourself to His plans for you; I promise, the rewards will be amazing.

So there you have it! Those are my Bible-based beliefs about the purpose of sex, why it is important in a marriage, and what you can do when it gets messy.

I sincerely hope that every marriage can experience the joys of physical intimacy, for they are great. And for those of you who are not yet married, I pray that you look to God for the strength to resist sexual temptation. It’s definitely worth the wait, and things will be so much easier when the time comes!