Category: Sex

Q+A: Sexual Temptation During Engagement

Q: Gary, do you have any suggestions for dealing with sexual attraction and temptation during our engagement?

Gary: All of us are sexually motivated and in a dating relationship we’re dating because we have an attraction to each other. The sexual part of life is just that, a part of life, so it’s very natural that you would have a sexual attraction. I just think the key is setting boundaries. You decide on the things you feel like are going beyond the realm of where you should go in this juncture of your relationship. And you talk about these boundaries and set them with each other and you don’t press the other person to go beyond these boundaries. That is the safest way, I believe, to keep the relationship focused on other aspects of development so that you can make a wise decision about whether this relationship will lead to marriage.

Q+A: Pornography in Marriage

Q: Gary, my husband says he views pornography to ‘make up for time we’re not together’ and that he is not addicted. Is this wrong?

Gary: I believe that pornography never enhances a marriage because it takes the focus off of the spouse and puts it on someone else. I would never encourage a man to use pornography while he and his wife are apart for seasons of time. His focus always needs to be on you, not on another female who is simply trying to stimulate him sexually. I think if the two of you can’t solve this, I would encourage you to sit down with a pastor or counselor to talk about this together.

Sexual Healing

One of the realities in contemporary society is that many couples come to marriage with previous sexual experience, either with each other, or with other partners. The commonly held idea is that sexual experience before marriage better prepares you for marriage. All of the research indicates otherwise. In fact, the divorce rate is twice as high among those who have been sexually active before marriage. The Christian answer is the confession of wrongdoing and genuinely forgiving each other for past failures. The scars of the past may remain, but the scars serve as a reminder of the grace and love of God. When God forgives us, He no longer holds it against us. We in turn, forgive each other.

In Conflict with Child’s Sexual Behavior

In the fifties it was called “shacking up”. Today it’s “cohabitation,” or simply “living together.” So what are Christian parents to do when they find themselves in conflict with their child’s sexual behavior? Some parents have tried the ‘ostrich’ approach, denying that it’s happening. Others take the ‘missile’ approach, launching verbal condemnation. I believe the Christian approach is to speak the truth in love. “I think you know that I don’t approve of what you are doing. I think it is detrimental to your future. But I know that you are an adult and I cannot make decisions for you. I do request that you respect our beliefs and not sleep together at our house.” Then treat the couple with love and respect. Pray, and give God a chance to work.

How to Get over a Past Physical Relationship

Q: I’ve had past physical relationships and I want to get over them now that I’m getting married. What do I do?

Gary: You are identifying one of the major scars of premarital sex. Sexual intercourse is not simply the joining of two bodies. It is a deep, emotional and spiritual experience. It was designed to bond a man and a woman together for a lifetime. It is very difficult to erase the memories because the two of you bonded. My suggestions include: confessing your sin to God and to your wife, then picture the blood of Christ flowing over your sin and hiding it from your sight. It happened but it is now covered by his blood. That is the way God sees your past and that is the way he wants you to see it. The blood of Christ is the most effective medication for healing the memories.

Q&A: Time Away in a Dating Relationship

Q: My boyfriend has asked for some time away from me because of the amount of physical temptation. How do I relate to him during this time?

Gary: My first question is, is that the only reason he’s backing off? Maybe he feels that the relationship isn’t leading to marriage and wants some time to evaluate this. In terms of how you relate to him, it’s up to him to decide what would be appropriate. If he’s taken the initiative to back off, you need to know what kind of contact he wants. Does he want to have no contact during this time, or is he OK with limited contact? Work together to decide what the relationship should look like in terms of where to go next.

Q&A: Sexual Intimacy During the Reconciliation Process

Q: My husband and I are in counseling because of an affair he had in the past. Is it still right to be intimate with him during this process?

Gary: When a spouse has been unfaithful to you, it takes time to work through the pain of betrayal. Your husband must understand this. There has to a measure of healing before sex can be a part of the relationship again. However, when you come to the place where you can be intimate without feeling used, it is a positive part of the healing process. All healthy marriages have a sexual aspect.

Q&A: Memories of Past Sexual Experiences

Q: Will having a sexual past affect my upcoming marriage now that I am a believer? 

Gary: The short answer is yes. All of our past failures will have an effect on our future. I was recently talking with a man who had been married for twenty years and he said to me, “Gary, the fact that my wife had sexual relationships with two other men when she was in college still comes to mind when we are intimate.” Either spouse having a sexual past will affect the marriage, but there can be healing. I suggested to the man that he ask God to let the blood of Christ cover his knowledge of his wife’s sexual past so that it becomes a blur. For you, I would ask God to have the blood of Christ cover the memories of your past sexual experiences. Healing is always possible.

God’s Design for Sex

What is the purpose of sex in marriage? What is God’s design? I want to suggest three reasons clearly revealed in Scripture. First, the most obvious: procreation. It is God’s design to provide a safe haven in which to rear children. A second purpose is companionship. Sex is a bonding experience. The biblical phraseology is, “The two become one flesh.” It is deep, deep companionship. I believe this is why sex is reserved for marriage. It is our unique expression that we are one. The third reason for sex in marriage is for pleasure. If you doubt this, read Song of Solomon. God’s design was mutual sexual pleasure.

Sexual Oneness in Marriage

We live in a society that is saturated with sex. Why do so many couples struggle in this area of their marriage? One reasons is that we fail to communicate; your wife will never know your feelings, needs, and desires unless you express them. Your husband will never know what pleases you unless you communicate. I’ve never known a couple who’s gained sexual oneness without candid communication about sexual matters. Make a list containing suggestions for your spouse to make sex better. If you would like to read a list made by other husbands and wives, see my book The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted. Communication is the road to finding mutual sexual fulfillment in marriage.

Categories