Not every Christian couple feels guilty about sex, but a surprising number do. In fact, we’ve even been asked the question, “I’m married now, but I really, really look forward to and enjoy sex with my husband. Is that OK or is there something wrong with that?”
To give you some context here, our moral convictions are that sex is intended for married couples only but inside of that marriage bond, it is intended to be enjoyed and explored in a way that grows and deepens and becomes a richer and richer experience over the lifespan of one’s marriage.
So, we’re not here to try to help you get comfortable with extra-marital sex or polygamy or anything else that falls outside the bounds of healthy marriage sex.
Yet, in coming to this issue, we’re not only speaking to couples today to try to encourage you to embrace the full opportunity of being sexual with your spouse, but also to those who lead our churches and who teach about marriage and who speak to young people about chastity: we need to be very careful how we talk about sex to make sure that while we communicate the boundaries that God has placed on sexuality, we also communicate the blessing part as well.
Caleb talked to a guy who once said, “I can count on one hand the number of times we’ve had sex in our many years of marriage.” The issue there was the teaching that she had received that sex was dirty and wrong and bad, and when she finally found herself in a situation where it was legitimate, she just couldn’t flip that switch.
We’ve also heard from a wife in our survey telling us that she lives in a sexless marriage and it’s tearing her heart out. He’s a great guy but has the same hang up.
Something needs to change with regards to guilty feelings about sex. Let’s start by looking at the impact of religion on sexuality.
The Impact of Religion on Sexuality
Over the past few decades, many research studies have been completed on the correlations between religion and specific sexual attitudes and experiences.
In 1970, Masters and Johnson examined how religious upbringing affected sexual arousal, orgasm, sexual satisfaction, and pain during sex. Their results were published in the classic book Human Sexual Inadequacy and was cited by Woo (2012). They found that a “strict religious upbringing in Judaism, Catholicism, and Protestantism was associated with different types of sexual dysfunction.”[i] These sexual dysfunctions included:
Impotence: erectile dysfunction
Anorgasmia: inability to achieve orgasm despite adequate stimulation
Vaginismus: painful spasms in the vagina during sexual intercourse.
These are all very real issues. Other Christian sex therapists also point to strict, anti-sexual teaching from our pulpits as one of the root causes of these types of sexual dysfunction.
If you’re out there and you’re experiencing pain during intercourse, or you can’t get an erection or experience orgasm because of the feelings of guilt and shame that arise whenever you think about your private parts of feel attracted to your spouse, you’re not alone.
Not only are you not alone, there’s probably actually nothing physically wrong with you. You may have just been so burdened by unhealthy messaging that it’s affecting your body’s ability to respond appropriately to what is legitimate.
Maybe in your head, you can believe that sex with your spouse is good but you can’t get your heart and body to follow. Or, maybe it’s been so hammered into you, that you can’t even accept that sex is possibly a good thing, never mind one of God’s greatest gifts to married humanity.
Sex Without Shame If you’re having trouble experiencing sexual arousal because of feelings of guilt, this audio track explains what is going on and what you can do about it so that you can move towards embracing the blessing that sex can be to your marriage. Become a patron today to listen to this track!Listen Now!
The Problem of Sexual Guilt and Shame
What is the reason for these complications between religi...