“[About sex]: If we’re not intentional about pursuing God’s best for our marriages, and grasping the tremendous role intimacy plays in that relationship, what was intended to be deeply enjoyed – a passionate, life-giving love affair… alight with laughter, fiercely protected, and drenched in freedom – becomes a stuffy, awkward thing to be endured.” – Joy McMillan
In the 1998 movie Pleasantville, Tobey Maguire plays a modern-day teenager fascinated with late-1950s America, he sees through the miracle of Pleasantville television black and white re-runs. The high school kids of Pleasantville are as bright as their smiles; the basketball team never loses because they never miss a shot. Houses, cars, and groceries are cheap. Dates are fun and wholesome; chivalry is alive and well; marriages are cherished and healthy. But then color changes Pleasantville. It is as if color makes the people of Pleasantville see who they really are.
Yes, it will be uncomfortable and challenging to talk about sex because people are not used to hearing this subject talked about at church. I think in the Christian world, there are so many people who are uneasy about sex and sexuality. But, if we want to know who we really are, we need to talk about relevant issues facing people and marriages today. We need to talk about sex and by talking about it provide greater honesty about what drives men and women sexually.
Why? Because our culture is throwing all these cues, all words, all these pictures of what sex is to our children, to couples to spouses, to husbands and wives, and it is often contrary to God’s design. It’s not working out well for marriages. Somewhere, somehow, Christians are being viewed as living life in dull, blah black and white existence. We are born, lived, married, multiplied, and died. The end. As just one example, Christians are left out of the “fun sex” loop? Then we read the Song of Solomon and exit from blahville by the end of Chapter 1.
Church might be the last place people would expect to talk about sex, but I believe pastoral teaching and preaching about marriage is necessary for proclaiming the whole counsel of God. We should not be silent about something God has not been silent about at all. Sex and marriage are not taboo subjects. God is pro sex, pro marriage and pro joy.
Marriage is a subject close to my heart. The fact is that marriage is hard. If you’re married, you know what I mean. If you’re single, you’ll probably know sooner or later. We need to be encouraging married couples to keep working on their marriages, even when it’s difficult. We need to remind people about the purpose of marriage so they don’t lose sight.
Talking about sex can be awkward. It is easy to become tongue-tied at the mere mention of anything sexual. The only way we are going to become more comfortable talking about sex is to actually talk about it. The reality is that sex has become such a mainstream part of wider culture, you can hardly go through a day without being bombarded with sexual messages. Television commercials are sexualized, magazine covers are right at eye level as you go through the checkout line at the grocery story, and catalogs that come in the mail are sexier than they once were. We have to be talking about sex or we give culture permission to override what God teaches about sex, love and intimacy.
- Are we talking about this subject too much? Or too little?
- Do you regularly talk with your spouse about the physical aspect of your marriage?
- What would you say are the five most important elements of a marriage relationship? If you had to rank these elements, where on the list would you place sex? Why did you rank sex the way you did?
- What are your individual assumptions and expectations with regard to the sexual side of marriage? How do they compare with your spouse’s?
- Have there been shifting “seasons” in your sexual relationship? What can you do to change that?