My wife and I had a conversation with a young married couple about sex a few weeks ago.

It was incredibly refreshing. We could be open and honest with them, and help them take steps forward in their marriage.

Creative Commons user Marc Wathieu, edits mine

Church leaders should talk with people more about sex, in a positive light.*

Most of the “sex talks” that happen with church leaders are

  • a premarital conversation that goes something like this: Don’t have sex. Quit having sex. Wait for a few more months.
  • a sermon series in the student ministry that lasts for 8 months. Think I’m joking? I’m not…I ran into a student pastor who said he’d been preaching on sex for 8 months with his students. “I think we’re just about done” he said. “I bet they’ve been done listening to you talk about it for about 8 months, because that’s way too long for students to hear their 50-somethings youth pastor talk about sex” I replied…in my head, of course.
  • an awkwardly timed, not-so-funny joke in a sermon on Sunday morning. Either you think, “Can I laugh at that in church?” or “Can I laugh at that, just to make my pastor feel better? That wasn’t funny…”

Church leaders should have more frank conversations about sex. Not in a “sex is dirty” kind of way, and not in a way that’s constantly condemning the bad things about sex. But in a way that helps a couple honor God with this area of their life.

Culture teaches us a lot about sex, most of which is glamorized, made out to be some sort of physical-only act that’s super easy for a couple to enjoy together.

It Ain’t That Easy

If you’ve been married long at all, you know that sex isn’t easy to get “right” (meaning something that’s mutually enjoying and honoring to God). More often than not, especially in the first few years of married life, sex is frustrating for husbands and wives. It’s not the beautiful act that God intended, but a point of contention. Instead of an act of union and love, it drives a wedge dissatisfaction.

And sex is so, so important to a marriage. It’ll bring a marriage down in a heartbeat if it’s not addressed. We’d be foolish to assume that all couples just know how to flourish in this area of their lives. Understanding your spouse is something that takes time…it’s not an intuitions you’re born with. As quickly as it can bring a marriage down, it can also help a marriage turn a corner. God intended sex to be an emotional, physical, and spiritual act. It’s intended to be a deeply satisfying intimacy for which no other act can substitute. (don’t believe me? Try reading Song of Solomon and not blushing)

A Little More Conversation, A Little More Action

Don’t wait for your church to have a sermon series on sex. Even if they do, it’s impossible to cover every specific issue for every couple. While there may be general problems, ideals, pitfalls to avoid, and healthy steps to take, in no way can a sermon be comprehensive. Those comprehensive questions and concerns and frustrations need to be worked out in the context of healthy relationships.

So go ahead. Ask the awkward question to someone you have a close relationship with:

How’s your sex life?

You’ll get them snickering like middle school girls. But you’ll also open up the opportunity for a beautiful conversation.

And if you’re not having good sex, it may be time to ask for some advice.

Drink water from your own cistern, And fresh water from your own well. Should your springs be dispersed abroad, Streams of water in the streets? Let them be yours alone, And not for strangers with you. Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice in the wife of your youth. As a loving hind and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; Be exhilarated always with her love (Proverbs 5:15-19).

*Talking about sex isn’t just relegated to church leaders…all followers of Jesus should make it a point to talk openly and honestly about this issue. Church leaders especially. This blog just tends to be read by a majority of people who are, at one level or another, leaders in their local church.

* image credit; Creative Commons user Marc Wathieu, edits mine

* catch up with the “this is awkward” series HERE.