I had the honor of hearing Shannon Ethridge speak at a marriage ministry conference in Dallas a couple of weeks ago. Shannon has been a huge advocate for healthy sexuality for years and she is full of spice and life. Her book, The Sexually Confident Wife, changed my life as it clearly communicated how important sex should be to wives and how much fun and enjoyment we should have.
The breakout session that I attended with Shannon was based on her book The Fantasy Fallacy. She started with some very foundational questions.
“Did God create sex before or after the fall in the garden of Eden?” – Before, of course.
“Did Jesus experience sexual thoughts or temptations?” – If He was fully man and experienced every temptation – then I guess, Yes.
“Are sexual thoughts or temptation sin?” Now it starts getting sticky. It is easy to think that as long as your sexual thoughts are about your spouse than it is not sin, but Jesus was not married. He experienced sexual thoughts without sinning.
The Bible does speak strongly against lusting after anyone other than your spouse. It is clear we should not undress people with our eyes or rape them in our mind. But beyond lust, can we experience sexual thoughts without sinning and why?
Shannon shared that during arousal as the penis becomes erect, men’s brains light up with activity. Part of what creates an erection are sexual thoughts.
Even though women’s arousal is not as visible, it is still vital for the clitoris to engorge with blood in order for a woman to experience pleasure. And guess what is just as necessary to women? Sexual thoughts.
What I have been pondering all week is, do I allow myself to enjoy sexual thoughts? Do we as followers of Christ allow ourselves to think that way? And if sexual thoughts create arousal and engorgement of the clitoris, how do I increase sexual thoughts, so my body can engage easier?
I know they sound like dumb questions, but honestly I don’t think about sex much lately. I read about it, I teach about it, but that is not the same as enjoying sexual thoughts. So how do I start?
Start with your Cistern – God gave us amazing brains that store up a lifetime of memories. If you think about your past sexual experiences with your husband, my guess is the encounters you remember most are the ones where you did something creative – a different location, a new position, a new treat, almost getting caught, stretching in your vulnerability. Once in a while we need to create memories by intentionally planning an adventure. We need to spend time drawing on those memories, savoring them, and tasting them as we prepare our bodies to engage.
Study of Song of Songs – Go to the source, God’s word, for ideas on how to enjoy sexual thoughts. The Shulamite spent time daydreaming about her husbands body in very explicit ways. She planned adventures in the outdoors. She enticed him with a sensual dance, while his eyes feasted on her. She used her words to express her desire and did not hold back.
Use your imagination – Can you allow yourself to enjoy sexual thoughts of what might actually feel delicious to you during sex. Can you imagine yourself so confident that you could sometimes take control in an act of passion? Can you imagine a presence and a “knowing” that could mesmerize you as you connected with your husband? Can you imagine loving your body so much that you could use it to tantalize and torment your husband? Is it ok to be passionate, or do we need to stay under control even in the safety of our marriage bed?
What kinds of things helps you to have sexual thoughts and what difference does it make?