When I started mapping out a plan for the blog posts I would be writing for this project, I did not include the chapter of my textbook that talks about marital sexuality. I didn't include it on purpose...because I'm a scaredy cat when it comes to writing about the topic of sex. I know I shouldn't be, but I am.
However, after pondering about what topic to tackle next and looking at my original game plan for these posts, I realized that before I dive into the post about being mothers and fathers, I should probably include a post that discusses healthy marital sexuality.
And because (you know what's coming next, don't you?)...I CAN DO HARD THINGS, I know that I can tackle this topic respectfully, tastefully, and honestly because it's what I'm supposed to do.
Purposes of Marital Sexuality
"Marital sexuality serves several purposes for both husband and wife as individuals as well as for the couple relationship.
I talked about this concept of becoming one in my last post, so I won't spend a lot of time with this purpose of marital sexuality. I do want to share a quote from Rabbi Shuley Boteach "identified physical intimacy of a husband and wife as something that symbolizes the tie between God and all of His creations" (Hawkins 49).
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also talked about the oneness that is created by physical intimacy. He said that "sexual union is a welding...in matrimony...[a] physical blending [symbolic of a] larger, more complete union of eternal purpose and promise...a symbol of total union...of their hearts, their hopes, their lives, their love, their family, their future, their everything" (Hawkins 49).
Okay, I know I said I wasn't going to spend a ton of time on this purpose, but I found another quote in my reading that sums this purpose up nicely.
"Godly sex is so much more...than merely a physical act; it has a spiritual component... [A] deeper connection [within sexual relations] goes far beyond simply understanding how to overcome sexual dysfunction... It goes way beyond technique and physique. This deeper dimension is experienced when we move past pleasure as a goal and instead seek intimate connection--not just with our bodies but also with our souls."
Connecting with God
"Sexual intimacy is...symbolic of a union between mortals and deity, between otherwise ordinary and fallible humans uniting for a rare and special moment with God himself and all the powers by which he give life in this wide universe of ours..." (Hawkins 50).
Strengthening Emotional and Spiritual Bonds in Marriage
"...one of the benefits of marriage is to obtain peace of mind. ...the pleasure derived from sexual intercourse between a husband and a wife is an example of happiness in the afterlife. The Qur'an states, 'And among His signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts)'" -M. Holland (Hawkins 50).
Multiplying and Replenishing the Earth as God has Commanded
From Spencer W. Kimball:
"The union of the sexes, husband and wife...was for the principal purpose of bringing children into the world" (Hawkins 51).
Attitudes that Promote Positive Marital Sexuality
Now that I have spent a little time going over the purposes of marital sexuality (as God has intended), I would like to spend a little time talking about how to have a healthy sexual relationship in your marriage.
This section of my textbook was very interesting and I learned a ton. I hope that I can share with you some things that might be helpful if this is an area in which you are struggling with in your marriage.
1. Sexual interaction is a healthy component of marriage that need not be a source of negative feelings or guilt.
Show your partner affection. Hug. Kiss. Make out a lot. Learn what your partner likes and how he/she recognizes and feels love. Keep the line of communication open and have realistic expectations.
The "Good Enough" Approach to Sex
Let me now share some information with you about what this "good enough" approach to sex looks like:
"The central aim of [this] approach is that husband and wife become emotionally close, erotic friends, who can accept marital sexuality as a variable and flexible experience and not be anxious when sexual interaction does not flow to intercourse."
"In [this] approach, the couple is an 'intimate team' who work together to create relaxation for both, which is a crucial foundation for pleasure and sexual function."
"A realistic expectation [with this approach] is that marital sexual experience for both husbands and wives will be good to very good about 60 to 85 percent of the time."
"[This approach] promotes sex in marriage as playful and even spiritual and also encourages the belief that marital sexuality grows and evolves throughout life. In contrast, the 'always great' approach often portrayed by media and culture results in disappointment, as experiences fail to match high expectations."
-McCarthy and Metz (Hawkins 53)
As with any topic I write about, I would encourage you to seek out the truth for yourself. The words I write are things that I have pondered and sought for inspiration for my own life, but you have the opportunity to go, to seek, to learn, and to grow for yourself.
Hawkins, A. J., Dollahite, D. C., & Draper, T. (2012). Successful marriages and families: Proclamation principles and research perspectives. Provo, UT: BYU Studies and School of Family Life, Brigham Young University.