* I know I have mentioned the topic of sex in my last couple posts, but I'm in the middle of a course on sex addiction, so I have been thinking about our culture, sex, and marriage a lot lately. You could say I got sex on the brain *
"Sex is not the fuel of a good relationship; it is the fruit of one." -Paul Tripp
I remember when a church challenged all their married members of the church to have sex every day for a week, as if to imply that a better sex life was an ingredient to a quality marriage. I get it-sex sells. However, I would argue that sex is not an ingredient to a thriving marriage, and actually could be ruining your marriage.
My thoughts on this began while I was reading Dr. Mark Laaser's book, Healing the Wounds of Sexual Addiction. Sex addiction is very much alive and well, and it's not going anywhere anytime soon. Like any other addiction, sex addiction can become uncontrollable and unmanageable. Sex addiction, like any other addiction, provides an escape from actual feelings. And addictions provide a false solution to trying to control loneliness, anger, anxiety, and fear. With sex addiction, I have always assumed someone was a sex addict when they have multiple affairs, are involved in prostitution, constantly masturbate to pornography, and so on. And that is true. However, Laaser says also,
"Consider the example of the sex addict who never engages in sexual activity with anyone except his wife, yet uses sex with his spouse as an escape from intimacy, not an expression of it. In this case, the addict treats his spouse simply as a body and not as a spirit. In these situations, the same characteristics of addiction apply. Over time, the addict wants more and more and becomes bored and unfulfilled in the marital sexual relationship. On the surface, he is faithful. But God, looking at his heart, discerns his motives.
These sex addicts don't know how to be emotionally or spiritually intimate with a spouse and believe they will find intimacy in sexual contact. Using sex to mask their loneliness, they are unwittingly driven deeper into loneliness, never revealing their true feelings. They might say to themselves, 'As long as I remain faithful to my spouse and as long as sex is good, I don't have a problem and our relationship is good.' In fact, the relationship is not good, and the sexual activity becomes an addictive way to avoid the pain of the poor relationship."
I don't know all the ins and outs of 'good' sex. However, I believe my sex life is fulfilling. Not because of how 'good' we are at it, but because Ash and I work at expressing what we really are feeling inside. Really feeling. We try our best to talk about what scares us, what excites us, when we feel lonely, angry, anxious, or defeated. And I believe this type of vulnerability breeds true intimacy, allowing for there to be the 'best' sex- "when you're naked but not ashamed, nothing between you and God, nothing between you and your spouse. This is the way sex was meant to be. Sex is when you are totally vulnerable to another person, but you're fully embraced. You're loved despite your flaws" (Patrick).
Is sex bad? Heck no! Personally, sex is one my favorite things to do with my wife. Sex is good and it is a gift from God to married couples. Married folks should be having sex often I believe. If your/our sex life is non-existent, we should be honest with our spouse about the situation and make changes. However, I do not believe that sex is a ingredient to a fulfilling marriage. In fact, sex could be ruining your marriage.