Let me just say that out of the gate, this is definitely a PG-13 blog post, intended for adults. The Overboard Life is supposed to include every part of our daily walk, including work, school, family, marriage, and yes, Overboard living applies to our sex life. So without apology, but with caution, I offer you an Overboard perspective on sex and intimacy on this Valentine’s Day, 2014. -----
So how does Overboard living apply to sex? It seems easy to think of the Overboard Life as we talk about faith and maybe even work and school, but really, sex?
Overboard living means stepping out in faith, trusting God with every part of our lives, and making it our business to conform to His business. For many, the idea of inviting God into one of the most intimate acts two people can share seems appalling and offensive. But the Creator of the universe is also the creator of relationships and the creator of sex! Inviting Him into the bedroom is as natural as the longing two people have for connection!
So how do we live Overboard when it comes to sex? Here are five idea:
- Remember that sex is about your spouse. Today’s culture turns sex into a “satisfy me” type of activity. The main purpose for many in this world is self satisfaction, pleasure, and the pursuit of other forms of sexual gratification. But the best sex isn’t found in pleasing oneself, but in creating deep and beautiful satisfaction for your spouse. And not just physical pleasure, but creating connection at an incredibly emotional and personal level. When we focus our sex on satisfying the total person of our spouse, we will find the greatest personal satisfaction, too.
- Stop being committed. I’m sick of people committing themselves to their relationships, it just doesn’t work. What? Seriously, how many times have you seen someone post on FB, “I’m in a committed relationship” only to see their status change a week or month or year later? Being committed to a relationship only lasts as long as we feel like we’re getting what we want out of it. Maybe it’s happiness, maybe it’s security or maybe it’s status. As soon as the benefit goes away, our desire to stay committed follows close behind. Stop being in a committed relationship and start being in a covenant relationship. A covenant relationship doesn’t rest on our feelings or the response of the other person, but rather, resting in our faith in God, a covenant relationship is a decision to pursue the good of another, first. Your sex life will reach a greater level of intimacy when you stop being committed and you start being covenanted to your spouse.
- Learn to communicate: For Traci and I, our sexual satisfaction improved significantly when we began to engage in serious conversation about the topic. Yes, we learned to talk about the physical experiences we enjoy or wanted to enjoy, but even more, we’ve learned to talk about our expectations regarding sex. During one conversation we worked-out some bedroom frustration we were both experiencing. What Traci thought was playful sexual teasing, I thought was an invitation for bedroom fireworks. She was confused as to why I was being so excited to hop in the sack, and I was confused as to why she suddenly seemed so cold! I know a lot of couples who continue to live with frustrations that could be resolved with some pretty simple, though potentially awkward, conversations. (want 4 tips on how to communicate about sex with your spouse? Click HERE!)
- Create intimacy in other parts of your marriage. Intimacy doesn’t begin in the bedroom. You’ve maybe seen the book, Sex begins in the Kitchen? I haven’t read the book, but the title expresses the concept well: sex improves dramatically when we create intimacy in other parts of our marriage. My wife and I love being together and experiencing life as we covenant ourselves, first to God, and then to each other. Those experiences create a closeness that translates into a better sexual experience! When we open ourselves up to share in each other’s dreams, goals and hopes, as well as our hurts, heartaches and tough times, we deepen the bond that exists between us. The bond makes our sexual connection stronger and better. Traci has always loved Hawaii and yet it took me until our 10th anniversary to realize that helping her fulfill that dream, deepened our bond together. It wasn’t just a fun trip or experience for her, it was an act of intimacy building to help her fulfill a decades old dream. As a side benefit, we had some fantastic Island sex (I’m guessing Hawaii has had that benefit on a lot of marriages)!
- Just do it…God’s way. Ultimately, sex can never create a lasting, satisfying relationship, and especially not when we experience it apart from God’s plan. Sex was meant to be enjoyed (yes, God created pleasure as a key part of sex!) in the bonds of marriage, not in casual or even “committed” relationships. In marriage sex, we see a connection that exists between two people, and it’s the picture that God used to illustrate the intimate connection He wants with His people (Ephesians 5:31-32). That picture can’t exist when we slide from relationship to relationship, or choose to live without covenant. And If I choose to enjoy sex God’s way, that means I have to say no to sex that would take me outside of my marriage. I must fight the sexual temptations that exist with coworkers, pornography, old high school flames (unless you’re married to yours like I am!) or people that live their lives in contrast to God’s clear teaching. If I party with friends who don’t embrace God’s plan for sex, it won’t be long before I find myself in compromise. The creator of sex knows how it will best be experienced, and He chose marriage as the place where the greatest benefit, pleasure and intimacy of sexual union can be shared (Genesis 2:24).
The Overboard Life can be lived out in every facet of our relationship with God. Too often we think (or we live) our faith is just one small compartment of who we are, instead of extending it to each corner of our lives. Sex is a holy act when contained in the holiness of marriage. It is a beautiful expression of love and unity, and should be a richly satisfying and pleasurable experience. And God wants to be a part of your sex life, just as He wants to share in your parenting, your church attendance, your money and the way you conduct yourself at work.
Go ahead and take the plunge, life (and sex!) is always better on the water!