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“I just don’t know how to want to. It’s just not me. I want to want to for my husband, but I just can’t seem to really want to. It just seems so not something worthy of my time and attention.” Janet shared her frustration that she couldn’t seem to “get” being a sexual person.
I said, “Janet, you know how you spend a lot of time and effort to develop your spirituality? You go to church regularly. You pray every day. You read your scriptures…It seems that doing those things helps you to see yourself as a spiritual person. Likewise, developing and nourishing your sexuality, so that it becomes a well-developed part of your wholeness–part of your divine identity–might be likened to developing your spirituality.”
“Since we’re trying to change from having a mindset that rarely thinks about your sexuality to one that embraces your sexuality, it may help to see yourself as a sexual being. What if we can transform your identity, if you will, at a core level?”
“Where you do not currently see sex as a valid or welcome part of your being, we want to get to a place of thinking, ‘I am a sexual being, and it’s good and of God.’ We want to have a mindset of welcoming sexual thoughts and feelings. We want to develop a default of thinking of your spouse from a place of, ‘I do want to be intimate with you sexually!’
Janet couldn’t imagine herself in that state of mind or how she could possibly get there. We decided to work on nurturing her sexuality in a similar way to how she nurtures her spirituality.
Transforming Your Sexual Identity
Many women struggle with the sexual relationship in their marriages. They don’t see sexuality as part of their divine identity, and struggle to fully embrace and develop that aspect of their marriage relationship. Janet is a good example of the many women who have not embraced their sexuality as a good and godly part of their being. While men’s primary challenge is to control or bridle their sexual energy, women struggle to awaken and develop both their sexuality and sexual identity.
What is a sexual identity? It’s seeing yourself as a sexual being and embracing that as a good thing. Part of a healthy sexual identity is understanding and embracing that your sexuality is of God. We each need to have a deep regard and respect for ourselves as divinely created sexual beings. This is vital to creating what I call, “Sextraordinary Marriages” that are at least partially comprised of extraordinary sex–the way God intended. Transforming and embracing your sexual identity is an extension of overcoming the “Good Girl Syndrome” addressed in my first book, And They Were Not Ashamed.[i]
Women are endowed with great sexual potential and magnificent sexual power. We are divinely designed to develop a spiritually based, authentic, complete self, which can then help us create a strong and solid marriage. Female sexuality is often minimized or ignored rather than encouraged and empowered because many will not appropriately discuss the topic. Few are focused on helping women develop this vital aspect of their being.
For Janet, some of the things we did to help her accept and embrace her sexuality are as follows. Maybe some of these ideas will also be helpful to you in nurturing your sexuality.
- We identified things she could read or listen to on her cell phone to positively affirm and reprogram her mind about sex. This was similar to how she had been reading and listening to spiritual materials regularly to nurture her spirituality.
- She started listening to romantic songs on the radio, like she had often listened to church music. She compiled a playlist of songs that made her think about and desire more intimate connection with her husband. This created more balance in her life between music that nourished her spiritually and music that nourished her intimately.
- She started praying about and changing her self-talk about sex. This was akin to the prayerful thoughts she often had in her heart and mind regarding other things. She focused her attention on developing her sexual self with thoughts like: “I am a sexual being,” and “I enjoy being intimate with my spouse. It makes me feel more connected. It makes me feel whole. It makes me feel alive.”
God is very pro sex. He created it. One of Satan’s subtle tactics to subdue godly women has been to entice them to disregard and disavow their sexuality. He makes sex an unwholesome, awkward, uncomfortable, and unwelcome part of what could be a great gift in marriage.
In our society, there are few positive, affirming messages about the godly nature of sexuality, or sex in marriage. We rarely hear messages that it’s good and healthy to develop one’s sexuality as a vital dimension of marriage. Consequently, few make it into marriage with a good, healthy, and divinely ordained sexual identity. It’s not of God to be anti-sex.
I invite women everywhere to awaken and transform their identity into a godly understanding of the vital role sexuality plays in our individual wholeness and marital oneness. Sex is of God. He created it for procreation and for pleasure. God designed women for pleasure and enjoyment. This awareness can be a helpful element of embracing one’s sexuality as good and of God.
Excerpted from Chapter 1 of Laura M. Brotherson’s NEW book — Knowing HER Intimately: 12 Keys for Creating a Sextraordinary Marriage. Get your copy here for a fabulously discounted price…especially for Meridian readers!
Other articles in this series:
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and Certified Sex Therapist (CST), Laura M. Brotherson, is the author of the best-selling book, And They Were Not Ashamed: Strengthening Marriage through Sexual Fulfillment, and her latest book Knowing HER Intimately: 12 Keys for Creating a Sextraordinary Marriage. She counsels with individuals, couples and families in private practice (and online), and is the host of “The Marital Intimacy Show” podcast. As a Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE), Laura is actively engaged in providing marriage education through Couples Cruises, articles, radio and television broadcasts, and presenting at conferences and workshops. Laura is passionate about helping couples navigate the intricacies of intimacy to help build stronger marriages and families. She and her husband, Kevin, of 25 years are the founders of StrengtheningMarriage.com—your trusted resource for education, products and services to strengthen marriages… intimately!
You can connect with Laura at:
[i] Brotherson, Laura M., And They Were Not Ashamed: Strengthening Marriage through Sexual Fulfillment. Boise, ID: Inspire Book, 2004, Chapter 1.
AprilOctober 5, 2016
Another factor is this is a massive overhaul of how we teach youth about the law of chastity. Unfortunately, we're reaping what we've sown. Teaching girls that they are responsible for men's 'dirty' or sinful thoughts is a sure-fire way to program girls to think that sex is bad, that they are bad. After years of suppressing all desire (a natural part of development), and being made to feel guilty about even experiencing it you can't just flip a switch on your wedding day and expect that desire will instantly function as it should.
Philip L WarnerOctober 4, 2016
My first wife and I could not get past the "good girl" thing. I developed an addiction to pornography because I could not live without the sex and I thought that everything would be ok if I just did not bother her about it. We just could not communicate about it.I admit that I was young, stupid, impatient, and selfish. Now, much later in life and having overcome the porn addiction, thanks to the Church's recovery program, I accept responsibility for mydestructive actions but I also know there is fault on both sides. A man should not choose pornography any more than a woman should withold herself from her husband. And if he then goes to pornography, she should not put all the blame on him. It takes two to tango.