Sex Addiction Quiz

Your previous sexual story doesn’t go away when you say “I do.” Biology is real, and there are sexual differences between men and women physically and emotionally. Viva la différence! But your sexual story powerfully impacts whether you avoid married sex or want more of it, and the kind of sex you pursue (or don’t).

Before getting married I knew my internal expectations around sex were not whole. I’d invested much in my healing journey before God brought my husband into my life, but I knew I needed more. During the few months prior to getting married I marinated in the Song of Songs, the only book in the Bible wholly devoted to the uncensored relationship of a lover and his beloved, a relationship characterized by mutually fulfilling passionate sex and deep emotional intimacy. As a practicing ob-gyn physician and an ordained doctor of ministry, I knew more facts about sex than many people, but once I got married I soon realized there was a lot I still needed to learn. Intimacy is a whole lot more than left-brain knowledge, and I had to take coverings off my body, mind, and soul I hadn’t even realized were there.

Intimacy is a whole lot more than left-brain knowledge…

What did You Expect?

That’s what it means to develop a one-flesh relationship. What did you expect from married sex? Perhaps you expected it to just “work” since both of you saved yourselves for marriage. Or perhaps you wondered if you’d be able to “do it” after significant sexual harm in your past. You might have looked for married sex to be the same as what you had in other sexual relationships or a previous marriage. Maybe you hoped marriage would cure your porn problem. If you were sexually discipled by porn, that likely colored your expectations of your spouse’s sexual responses and desires. If you’d been having sex with your partner before marriage, you might have felt confident sex would continue as good, or perhaps even better. You might have seen married sex as a necessary evil; God looks the other way, but you’ve got to “do it” if you’re married.

There’s a lot of truth in what I once heard someone say: “Before marriage the devil works overtime to get you sexually involved, and after marriage he works just as hard to keep you apart.” You need to work together with God in pursuing intimacy. That starts with looking at the you that you brought into the marriage and how you are bringing yourself to the marriage now.

Your sexual story continues after the wedding. You married a sinner; there are no non- sinners available. And your spouse married a sinner too. You’ve hurt each other. You or your spouse may have betrayed your vows through having an affair, using porn, or other ways. And life happens. You’ve been disappointed, or perhaps traumatized, by married sex. These parts of your story all need to be brought into the light and offered to Jesus for Him to transform.

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Married Sex Can be Good

You won’t always be twenty. Or that might have been so long ago you can’t remember what that felt like. Whatever stage of life you’re in now, married sex can be good. The challenges are different, but the rewards of pursuing whole-person intimacy with your spouse are worth it.

Whether your honeymoon is your first sexual experience or not, it takes time to develop true intimacy and learn about each other’s bodies and patterns of arousal. Some couples put so much effort into preparing for the wedding that they haven’t done appropriate work to prepare for a marriage. The beginning of your marriage is building a foundation of intimacy that is designed to last for a lifetime. If you’re young, it may seem difficult to think that far ahead. Talk about what you will do together to learn about sex and intimacy and intentionally nurture them. You might read a marriage book together each year and talk about it, go to a yearly marriage conference, connect with a couple in your church who can be marriage mentors, or invest in proactive marriage counseling.

As you explore your sexual story and do the work to finish old chapters, it becomes possible to write new chapters with your spouse as well as in your own heart.

From Sexpectations by Carol Tanksley, provided by Chosen Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Copyright 2024. Used by permission.

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