Something powerful happens when people minister to each other about sex.
When we get rid of the silence and start sharing our stories and experiences.
Sometimes that starts through the anonymity of commenting on a blog. I remember the first time I found Christian sex blogs, 6 years ago. The comments impacted me as much as the actual articles. Reading questions women posted and the replies, encouragement and prayers that followed blessed me and gave me hope. I am glad you are part of this community and I pray that you will find a safe, encouraging environment that always points back to God’s truth, grace and goodness.
Thank you for allowing me to take time to refresh this summer by pulling back from writing. I spent time connecting with God and discerning next steps to minister through Awaken-Love. The more I read about the state of sexuality in our culture the more I consider it an opportunity for change. The church, parents and marriages are becoming painfully aware that “now” is the time to do “something”.
“Something” starts by bringing sex into the light by talking about it in good and healthy ways. We must create safe environments that teach God’s amazing design for sex but that also extend grace and encouragement for growth. Community may happen initially on blogs where you can be anonymous. I hope and pray that someday you will encourage and minister in person to others in your church or friendship circles.
Part of the reason so much transformation happens in Awaken-Love classes is because we meet in community. In 6 short weeks, we go from complete strangers to intimate sisters determined to see the culture of sex changed for ourselves, our kids and for the next generation. We bond through our common stories and spur each other on as we witness God’s transformation. Getting comfortable talking about sex in class rolls over into great conversations with our husband, kids and friends. I love to see the changes in the women through processing together in community.
The first night of class I walk into a room filled with strangers from all over the city. They heard about Awaken-Love from a friend that dared to tell them about a sex class. Just married, young moms, carpool drivers, empty nesters – even grandmothers. They come with good marriages, struggling marriages and even marriages in crisis. But they come because they want answers and are ready for change.
I can feel the nervousness in the room, “Is this a safe place?” “How much will I have to share?” “Is anyone else struggling with sex?”
As we start, I do most of the talking. After laying down ground rules and sharing my story of transformation we dive into Song of Songs. Women timidly point out things they have noticed or ask questions.
Mixer questions finally break open discussion as we go around the room sharing, “What gets you in the mood?” Some women dive in with brutal honesty while others dip their toe in. It does not take long before the women relax through laughter and realize they are not alone.
The second night the opening mixer question asks, “How did you first learn about sex?” Our stories intersect so many places – awkward or non-existent conversations with parents, “don’t do it” or silence from the church, romance movies, the bus, sexual abuse. If it weren’t so sad, we’d laugh out loud as we realize, “no wonder we’re so messed up.”
We spend the rest of the night wrestling with, “What does God really say about sex. Why did he create it and what is it supposed to look like?” The real challenge is to put aside every expectation or past message about sex and start with a clean slate. No matter what sex has been in the past, what did God intend it to be? Hope surfaces as women realize what an amazing sex life God wants them to have.
On baggage week women become sisters. They take turns sharing what has impacted their marriage bed and how God has showed up. The women gently honor each other’s stories as they listen and pass the Kleenex box. Some share from a safe place, just not ready to go there. Others fully embrace the opportunity to unpack years of shame. We pray together, weep and call out the best in each other. Righteous anger boils up as women commit to changing sex for the next generation.
Women enter week 4 as close friends. There is an ease in being fully known and women playfully check in or ask about homework. During class, we begin diving into real application. So, if this is the sex life God wants me to have, how do I get there? Once taboo subjects like masturbation provide the perfect illustration for discerning gray areas that might create intimacy in a marriage. The women don’t hesitate to ask questions as we talk about fantasies or ways to increase communication. They have gotten comfortable with the word sex and going into uncharted waters.
Class feels more like a lecture as I spend all night talking about how our bodies work. The women listen attentively and every once in a while, someone dares to ask a question. By now the group has totally gelled and women feel comfortable interjecting when they can provide insight. Knowledge is power but the women realize sex involves a lot more than knowledge or mechanics. Sex is about creating intimacy by letting your spouse know you and it holds unlimited potential for discovery.
Our last night feels bittersweet as we spend time finishing up our topics and wrapping back to where we began. Sex is hard. Marriage is hard. And we have to depend on God for our worth not our husband. We have to be the woman God wants us to be regardless of what anyone else does. If we want to intimately connect, then we have to get naked over and over again.
A sadness fills the room with the realization that this is it. Class is done. Will we cross paths again? Who will I talk to if I have a bad night? Will my girl-friends point me back towards connection? How do I continue making progress? Women share what they’ve learned and next steps. Phone numbers are exchanged, women talk of a re union and hug good bye.
I leave hoping that if our paths cross on the street, they will shout out and say “hi Ruth”. For 6 weeks I poured my heart and soul into every woman in class. I pray that their eyes have been opened and that they have been given the resources and tools to continue the journey for a lifetime. Some will pick up the torch and host a video class or teach Awaken-Love. But I am always a little sad when I have to say goodbye. These are some of the most courageous women I know and I am honored to have known them.
Some of you may wonder why Awaken-Love video classes aren’t offered for women to take on their own. Transformation takes place in community where we spur each other on and honor each other’s stories. If we want to change the culture of sex in the church, then we need to get it out of the closet. We have to learn to talk about sex in good and healthy ways, for ourselves and for the next generation. Younger people need to have older people to talk to about sex and ask questions. We need to constantly challenge and encourage each other to make our sex life a priority. Taking Awaken-Love as a group will help you learn to talk about sex and show you the importance of community.
If you are ready to make a difference for the next generation, then offer an Awaken-Love video class, Simply grab a friend or two and sign up.