This is my second post in a series on Healthy Sexuality. As I speak with people about the struggles they face, sexual issues comes up again and again. Even ‘happily married’ people can struggle in the bedroom.
In Healthy Sexuality part 1, I wrote on how as a culture we’ve lost the concept of what healthy sexuality is, that it’s an important part of marriage and that there is healing available for those who carry baggage. In this blog post, I want to share with you some of the ways we get back to healthy sexuality.
Believing Sex is Good
Belief systems affect sexuality. If you believe ‘I’m not enough’, ‘I’m unloveable’, ‘I’m damaged goods’, ‘I can’t trust anyone and need to hide’, ‘My value is in my looks’, or any of a hundred other lies, it will affect how you approach relationship as well as sex. If you believe sex is negative, then it will be negative.
If you have experienced sex as manipulative, selfish, sinful, bothersome, irritating, perfectionistic, or done without care or being cared for, then sex will be difficult at best. It’s then easy to see sex as scary, corrupt and immoral. If this is a part of your current relationship, you will need to deal with the relationship first before you can get to healthy sexuality. It’s good to acknowledge if your experience was or is bad. At the same time, you can acknowledge that it was created to be good. If you continue to believe it is bad you will never get to good.
God created sex in every living thing to reproduce. For mankind, he also created it to bring great pleasure. When he said that it wasn’t good for man to be alone, he added an element of companionship and emotional connection. He then declared it was good.
After many years of hurt and struggle, my husband and I worked on healing our relationship. During this time, it was very helpful for me to choose to view sex as created good. When it was difficult to experience it as good, it was because I was experiencing a wound that needed healing or I was believing a lie regarding my value or security. To get back to being able to experience it as good, I needed to change my perspective. I have written more on changing a belief system here.
Seeing Sex as Mutual
Getting back to good means sex is mutual. I’m very sad to write this next paragraph, but in our culture it needs to be said. I’ve heard the stories from people (both men and women) wondering if what they had or are currently experiencing is what sex should be about. So, I’m going to be very clear here. Sex should never hurt! It should not ever be manipulative, painful, punishing, embarrassing, or forceful. You should never be pressured, tricked, or suffer. You can and should have a choice about how you experience it. You can and should have boundaries. One boundary you could make is if your voice is not heard as to what you like or don’t like, or where or when, you can and will expand the circle of who knows what is happening in order to get help or you can say no.
Because sex is good and because sex is important, it needs to be mutual. 1 Cor. 7 Paul says that both the husband and wife have authority over the other. That does not mean we get to do anything we like regardless of the desires of our partner. It means we respect the desires of our partner. It’s mutual. Both people need to have a choice as to what happens. Both people consider the other.
Because both relationship and sex are mutual, it means both people need to be invested and working on the issues that come up. One person cannot fix it by themselves. If both people are not willing to look at their part, it may not be fixable. That is not to say that all marriage or intimacy issues are both people’s fault. It’s not about fault finding. But both people play a part and need to have an active role to get to healthy.
In my next blog post I will be talking about what we bring into intimacy and what it is that we try to get out of intimacy.