5 Questions About Sex Married Couples Should Be Asking (But Probably Haven't)
This is Part Two of a three-part open letter from Dave & Cindy Lanuti about sex. If you missed Part One, stop reading this and click HERE.
In Marriage Ministry, Cindy and I have noticed many couples have the same questions about sex, but are just too embarrassed to ask them. So below, we’ve listed the top five questions and we are going to answer each of them candidly and honestly in hopes that you and your spouse will experience greater physical intimacy the way God intended.
Five questions about sex you should be asking, but probably haven’t:
What is permissible when it comes to sex?
What about pornography?
What if our sex drives don’t line up?
How often should we have sex?
How can we safeguard our marriage when it comes to sex?
Question one: What is permissible when it comes to sex?
OK, so most people wouldn’t phrase this question this way. But what many couples want to know, but are too embarrassed to ask is something like this: Is it OK to ________ ? What about _______? Is ________ out of bounds? Fill in those blanks with whatever sexual act you are uncertain is permissible in your marriage. We will answer this very clearly.
There is incredible freedom in sex in the context of marriage. However, there are two conditions to keep in mind when answering what is permissible and what isn’t for your marriage.
Condition one: If it makes your spouse feel uncomfortable, if it hurts them, or violates their conscience… then it’s NOT OK.
1 Corinthians 13:5 says “love does not demand on its own way.” Sex should be viewed as a selfless act, looking to serve, please, and satisfy your spouse—putting their desires above your own.
Condition two: If anyone else other than your spouse is involved (visually, physically, fantasy/mentally)… then it’s NOT OK.
Other than that… have fun! Be creative and enjoy the freedom God has given you with your spouse.
Question two: What about pornography?
Here are the variations of this question:
“Is it OK if just one of us looks at pornography?” “What if we both watch pornography together? We just want to spice things up a bit. We’re not hurting anyone, right??”
The simple and straightforward answer: No, pornography is not healthy for your marriage.
If you were tracking with us on the first question, this is a clear violation of what’s permissible. Sex as God intended it is exclusively between a husband and his wife. As soon as you introduce someone else, even visually on a computer, TV, phone, book or magazine, that intimacy is broken. Perhaps you might respond, “OK fine… we probably shouldn’t look at pornography, but it’s not like we’re committing adultery.”
Jesus might disagree. In fact, He did.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:27-28
Keep in mind pornography isn’t real sex. They are paid actors. And therein lies the problem because of the inevitable comparisons that will be made. It’s unfair to think you or your spouse is supposed to “compete with” or “live up to” the actors in pornography. This leads to unhealthy insecurities that can have a devastating impact on your marriage. “Am I not good enough for him/her?” Don’t believe that lie. Don’t allow pornography to suggest that lie in your marriage.
If you struggle with pornography, please understand, we’re not here to judge. Far from it! Help and hope are available. Find an accountability partner, install accountability software on your phone or computer. Or sign up for our next Living Free class at Hope. Have the guts to address this for the sake of your marriage. Don’t dishonor you spouse with pornography. In many ways it’s like the woman at the well (with 5 husbands) trying to satisfy her thirst (but it never lasts) when Jesus is offering something altogether greater: “Living Water.” (read John 4)
You don’t need to look anywhere else for pleasure. Jesus is better.
And still, because He’s such a great provider, God has given us the venue to enjoy the gift of sex: marriage. So keep it pure. Pornography is out of bounds.
Interesting to Know: Secular research from the American Sociological Association in 2016 suggests pornography usage doubles your chance of divorce.
Question three: What if our sex drives don’t match up?
The Bible gives some helpful verses on this, but be careful how you “wield” them.
1 Corinthians 7:3-5 “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority of her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent…”
You may be ready to claim that as your life verse! Basically, what Paul is teaching married couples is that sex is meant to be spouse-focused. In other words, you should be looking to put your spouse’s needs and desires above your own. It’s helpful to remember this same guy also teaches that
“love does not demand on its own way”1 Corinthians 13.
So be careful before you try to keep a scoreboard of who’s initiating and who’s rejecting sex in your marriage.
“Love keeps no record of wrongs”…
Dang, Paul! Can’t I win here? Nope. It’s not about winning or losing. If one of you wins, one of you loses, and you both lose. This is about humbly putting your spouse before yourself.
Tip: Change your “no’s” into appointments. Then keep those appointments. Flirt with each other leading up to it. It can be a great way to build anticipation to when both of you are ready!
Question four: How often should we have sex?
More often than not in marriage, your sex drives will not be in sync. Understand, it’s not a sin to have a high sex drive. And it’s not a sin to have a low sex drive. Allow that truth to sink in. Perhaps you’ve felt guilty about this (either a low or high sex drive). Please don’t make your spouse feel guilty for it either. That’s not loving. Your sex drive in of itself is not a sin. Period. How you behave in light of that sex drive is another story, and that’s where sin, temptation, and disunity can enter into your marriage and cause problems.
So exactly how often should you and your spouse be having sex? There’s not one right answer for every couple on this. As with so many other things in marriage, it has more to do with being on the same page and being united.
TIP: It may not sound super romantic, but we recommend calendaring weekly times for sex.
You may not want to keep this calendar on your refrigerator or on your desk at work, because that might get weird. It’s healthy to have regular times when both of you can count on having sex. Come to an agreement with your spouse on how often this should be. When it’s on the “calendar” you can look forward to it all day. This begins in the morning as you enjoy a long kiss or embrace before work, or leave notes, send texts (be careful at work now!) This not only builds anticipation but also decreases the possibility of rejection and resentment.
Tip: Not all sex should be calendared. Save room for spontaneous sex in your marriage.
Those moments neither of you were planning on, but just happen. I’ll confess, I’ve never told Cindy, “sorry, it’s Tuesday and this isn’t on my calendar, but maybe I can fit you into my schedule on Thursday.”
Timing here is key. Remember:
emotional intimacy precedes physical intimacy.
You should be making deposits before you make withdrawals.
Tip for the guys: When there’s dirty laundry, dirty dishes, bills to be paid, grass to be cut and kids running wild… that’s probably not the greatest conditions for asking your wife for sex. Do the dishes. Fold the laundry. That’s like foreplay right there!
But maybe you still need help. Maybe your sex drives are out of sync and your expectations don’t line up on how often you should have sex. Perhaps this will help.
Not all sex in marriage is created equally.
Disclaimer alert: The metaphor we’re about to share with you may completely warp your next vacation to Disney World. But Cindy and I have categorized different sexual encounters in our marriage to match the Disney Dining Plan. Yes… you read that right. Stay with us here, we’ll explain.
There are three different ways you can dine when you have the Disney Dining Plan.
Disney Dining Option one: “Table Service”
Although that already sounds kinkier than we intended, to get a “table service” meal at Disney you have to make a reservation in advance. You may need to organize the events of your day at the park around this reservation. And when you arrive, you take your time and enjoy a full meal with at least two or three courses. Are you tracking here? So in marriage, these encounters are the ones you calendar, maybe following a date night. Candles, music, (be creative!) and if she needs a glass of wine—we say go for it! (Get over your pride, guys). Take your time and fully enjoy each other. But not all sex is this way.
Disney Dining Option two: “Quick Service”
(Sometimes Disney calls it “counter service”…which is equally awesome for this metaphor). These options in the Disney Parks are all over the place, no reservation needed, and typically don’t last as long as the table service meals. You probably see where we’re going with this. These types of spontaneous encounters in marriage certainly have an excitement all their own. They may take the edge off a stressful day, relax you, and keep you satisfied and unified. But these encounters, like fast food, probably shouldn’t be the norm in your marriage.
Disney Dining Option three: “Snacks”
We’re not even going to tell you about what these are, you’ll have to use your own imagination with your spouse. But suffice to say, Cindy and I enjoy all three options both in Disney and in our marriage, and we think you should too.
Tip: These “snacks” may be particularly helpful in those times where sex drives don’t align.
Question five: How can we safeguard our marriage when it comes to sex?
This question is so important, it gets its own entry of this three-part message. Don’t miss it… it could save your marriage. Stay tuned for Part three.
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