Intimacy in Relationships

Interestingly, Redbook magazine did a study a number of years ago on sexual satisfaction among women and found that Christian women have the most fulfilling sex life. You wouldn’t believe it if you pay attention to all the women’s magazines that tout pre-marital sex and lasciviousness. But it’s true.

So why would Christian women be more fulfilled? I think it’s because of adhering to Biblical norms that are healthy and helpful in creating a fulfilling and sustainable sex life. Here are a few to note:

  1. Christianity discourages pre-marital and extra-marital sex. Our culture promotes sexual expression outside the bounds of marriage. Studies indicate that 95 % of singles have sex before marriage yet couples who live together before marriage have less fulfilling sex and intimacy after marriage. Of note is the fact that 33% of young people in Arizona have an STD by age 24. And 99.7% of all cervical and pre-cancerous cervical conditions are due to the HPV STD mainly through extra marital experiences. More sex and more experience, yet less fulfillment.
  2. Christianity promotes the richness of emotional intimacy within the bounds of marriage. For sexual pleasure to blossom in a relationship, safety and trust must be established. A woman has difficulty surrendering fully without trust in the partner she is inviting to possess her. Likewise, a man will avoid the vulnerability of sharing his inner life with a woman he does not feel safe with. And shame must be absent to embrace the beauty of each other’s nakedness. The Bible is clear that this deep trust and intimacy comes through the covenant of marriage when ‘for this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and not ashamed.”
  3. Christianity promotes mutuality. Ongoing sexual pleasure and intimacy in a relationship requires mutuality. As 1 Corinthians 7:4 proclaims “The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.” Sex works when both husband and wife work out mutual solutions to the following key areas of sexual connection:
    • Frequency – how often do we have sex?
    • Timing – should we schedule sex? Is morning better or evening?
    • Initiation – who should initiate? Do we take turns? How do we initiate?
    • Sexual practices – what are we comfortable doing? Is oral sex OK?
    • Environment – do the kids have to be asleep? Music? Etc.?
  4. Christianity celebrates the experience of sexual pleasure within marriage. Sex is supposed to be pleasurable. The book Song of Solomon offers a wonderful Biblical picture of love, desire and anticipation. God intended sex as a unique means of physical, and emotional pleasure. When sex works it feels good, oneness is experienced, barriers are lowered and contentment reigns.

What to do if sex doesn’t work for you or your partner. We all are a product of our past including our sexual past. For some the desire for sex is absent or the ability to enjoy sex is inhibited. Painful sex is also experienced by some, usually women. And of course we have many whose inability to control sexual thoughts or practices creates difficulty. Whether the inability to function sexually affects your life or your inability to control sexual behaviors is a problem, here are some next steps.


  1. Seek help from a medical professional or knowledgeable counselor. Sexual problems and issues always remain entrenched unless you actively work on change. Sometimes the causes can be physical and a medical evaluation will indicate the cause and treatment. A qualified Christian counselor who understands sexual issues can be a great help in finding needed healing.
  2. Don’t be afraid to face your past. First sexual experiences can cause sexual problems through wrong imprinting (see my video on sexual imprints). Family messages about sex and sexuality can also interfere with experiencing the fullness of God’s gift of sex. Again, a qualified counselor can help.
  3. Be totally honest with and accountable to a ‘safe’ person. The anonymous programs have a great saying ’you’re only as sick as your secrets and shame’. Transparency with another decreases shame. Sharing and asking someone else to help you do what is needed can greatly help. A safe person is one whose only agenda is to pray for and help you. Make sure the person you choose can keep a confidence and not shame you.
  4. Pray, pray, pray. As often quoted, ‘God does everything through prayer and nothing without it.” God wants you to have a fulfilling sex life. Face Him and share with Him your struggles and pain. He hears the cries of His people, heals broken hearts and sets captives free!
Rev. Al Ells M.C.

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