Question: What would you say?

question_mark_778895.gif.jpgI am preparing to do a five week class that I have entitled "Marriage, Sex, and a Cloud of Confusion."  I’ve been thinking about this one for a long time.  I am going to address this to married people in particular.  I see such confusion among married people regarding the place of sex within a marriage.  I am not sure that what I hear among Christians is all that different from what one might hear among non-Christians.  (Okay, that is probably an exaggeration but at the moment I don’t know how to say it any better.)

We live in a sex saturated culture on many, many fronts.  Yet, we only seem to be more confused.  It seems like we are confused about the meaning, purpose, and place of sex within marriage.  What should we expect as married people? 

Meanwhile, many continue to substitute a vicarious life (porn, certain movies, Internet affairs) for real relationship between a husband and wife.

Now my questions.  What would you say to married couples in a class such as this?  What do you think would be most helpful?

(I am at a retreat center with no Internet connection, so I may not be able to respond to your comments until the end of the week.  Nevertheless, your comments regarding this will be very helpful to me.)

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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12 thoughts on “Question: What would you say?

  1. Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas has a good chapter on sex books on my list to buy:book of romance by tommy nelsonsex and the supremacy of Christ by John Piper It needs to be preached.  God bless you in preaching on an important and neglected topic. 

  2. It’s not so much what I would say, as what I would ask. As a teacher, I used to ask hard questions by letting people write their answers. Then I collected and shuffled them, and either read them aloud myself or gave them to students to read aloud…

    anyway, in this case, I’d ask people to share their expectations (fed by societal stories and values), their disappointments, their dreams concerning sex. (For what I might say, there’s that talk over on my website called “Of Sex and Shepherds.” There’s also Phil Yancey’s great discussion of sex in Rumors of Another World and Winner’s book, Real Sex.)

    Not an easy topic! Blessings & prayers as you approach it.

  3. A couple’s sex life I believe reflects the tone and temperature of their interpersonal relationship.  It is the relationship in microcosm.  I don’t think it is healthy to focus on sex as if it is an entity in and of itself.  Sex is simply intimate sharing.  It must be always seen through a personal paradigm.  Yes, there are things to learn about technique, but the real lesson needed is about what it means to have a relationship of mutual fellowship.The other thing I have found helpful is to teach about this topic from a creation affirming perspective.  Christians tend to view sex as a naughty and guilty pleasure.  No matter how much teaching is given that it is not, Christians often still feel this way.  I think it is because of a fundamental view that reality is split between spiritual and physical (sacred and secular).  We need to teach that reality is an integrated whole and good, as God has said.  Franky Schaeffer calls this, “Truth versus Pietism”, which I’ve blogged about recently.

  4. I’d try to leave the group with the sense that sex is holy (like time, family, things, neighbor, words, and life).  God tells us where the limits are–no adultery (Ex. 20).  Like every other holy thing, it has been blasphemed by sin, and our culture has no reverence for it.  Whatever else I’d say would be built on that simple foundation.  I’d try to point to a few of the blasphemies, and explore the wonder, even the mystery of the holy. 

  5. I will be looking forward to your thoughts on this topic.  It’s difficult to separate perceptions of sensuality that are culturally defined, from ones that are ‘normal’.   Especially when Biblical norms were MUCH different (ie: the harems of the fathers…). 

  6. Brian,Thanks especially for reminding me about the Gary Thomas chapter.  I had completely forgotten about that.  I’ve heard good things about the series by Tommy Nelson but have never read him.Thanks Brian 

  7. L.L.–I really like your idea!  Asking them to write dreams, expectations, etc. regarding sex.  I like this.Thanks for pointing me to your article.  I look forward to reading it.  I read Lauren Winner’s book about three months ago.  (VERY Good).  I will look up Yancey’s chapter.

  8. Adam,Great comment.  The division between sacred and secular is responsible for a number of interesting conclusions which we come to.I look forward to reading the post that you wrote. 

  9. Julie,Thanks.  I agree–It is very difficult to separate culturally defined views of sexuality from more biblically defined perspectives.  And yet, I think distinguishing between the two is very important.