Take Care of Yourself First

In June, after a busy year of publishing my book, recording the Men’s Edition, teaching classes and speaking to many groups, I knew that it was imperative for me to purposefully spend time restoring my soul. I needed to take a break from ministry and take care of myself.  So, I sat down and made a list of what it meant to take care of myself for the summer. As I dive back into ministry, I thought I would give you a little glimpse of what it means to take care of myself, and encourage you to do the same.

Fishing One Day Every Week

Almost every week I packed a lunch, slipped on my swimsuit, grabbed my fishing pole and headed out to fish on my friend’s dock. Sometimes I caught fish for dinner, other times I tried to keep the Sunnies off my hook. Once in a while a friend met me there, but other times I just sat in the quietness and enjoyed a beautiful day. Sometime I even took a nap and just felt the warmth of the sun on my back. Fishing kept me from my phone, my emails, Facebook – even my lists. It was a slower pace, where I could enjoy God’s creation and the beauty of another day.

Digging in the Dirt

I love to dig in the dirt. I always have. As a child, I remember using a magnet in the sand to collect metal filings. When my dad needed a giant trench dug for the septic system, I quickly accepted the summer job. For me, digging is therapeutic and grounding. This summer I installed several different paver sidewalks at our rental house.The soil at our rental house is black and loamy. I call the soil black gold because it grows the biggest marigolds you’ve ever seen. Moving dirt gives me pleasure as I feel the sweat run down my back and I realize the potential of hard work.

Fresh Meat and Vegetables

Summer brings different meals to our table. Grilled meat laid across a colorful salad creates a beautiful meal. Nothing beats a meal that goes straight from our garden to our mouths. Daily picking of the raspberries, cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes and peppers. But this year I kind of went for it and planted some new treasures. God thrilled me with juicy cantaloupe and sweet spaghetti squash that gently wound down my garden wall. I feel like a proud mama birthing the fruit of a summer of love.

Lots of Sex

It might sound odd for a Sex teacher to make “Lots of Sex” a goal for the summer. But we go through the same challenges as everyone else – insecurities, lapses in confidence, pushing too hard, too many expectations, and aging bodies. I just wanted to take off the pressure and enjoy things again. So, I vowed to not put expectations on my husband or me. I took responsibility for myself and planning what I desired. To combat my aging body, I started a routine of pelvic floor stretches and exercises.

We had fun this summer. I mean lots of fun. Lazy days, new positions, sexy music, hiding under the sheets, dressing up. I feel like I am back to loving sex and looking forward to it, and it feels good.

Take Care of Yourself

Sometimes the best way to do ministry well is to spend time restoring your soul. I know God is a big part of restoration, but so is enjoying His creation, and who He created you to be. You cannot love your spouse unless you love yourself.

So how have you cared for yourself?

Why Do Women Host an Awaken Love Video Class

Rarely do women sign up to host an Awaken Love video class by finding my website. Without a personal recommendation from a trusted friend, they can’t imagine taking the chance.  Much safer to just stay with the status quo, or work on things quietly by reading blogs or listening to podcasts. But every once in a while, someone from the website has the courage to host a video class.

Recently I received this powerful testimony…

Dear Ruth,

THANK-YOU from the bottom of my heart for your valuable video series! 

My husband and I have had what I would call a good sexual relationship (for the 25 years we’ve been married), but after I hit my late forties & started suffering from a lack of libido, I started looking for answers. 

 Your blog post about menopause entitled “sex whenever I want it” was life changing for me. After reading a lot of your other material I asked a very close friend if she would be willing to take your awaken love video series with me. That was last December and as we started it, I felt very much like I was jumping off a cliff! (I’m so glad I did though!)

I was never real comfortable talking about sex with anyone although I did make myself talk to my husband & daughters. The way the video series is set up to be taken with someone else and that it forces you to talk about sex was very beneficial.  You did a good job of making me feel comfortable talking about sex and I now feel much more at ease talking to anyone about sex.

Even though I was never abused in any way, your series showed me all the baggage I was carrying around with my preconceived ideas about sex & the (well- intentioned yet misguided) messages about sex from the church & the purity movement. 

Your practical information about how my body & my husband’s body works was quite valuable as well. Most of it was review, but it was presented in such a sex positive way & so respectful that I fell in love with God’s plan for sex & marriage all over again! 

Thank you again for your faithfulness to God’s guidance & direction in your life, I’m truly praising God for you! Your video series has proved to be one of the most life-changing decisions I have ever been involved in! 

As the Lord leads, please join me in prayer that I could find some more interested ladies to do your video series with. I was so excited, but have found responses to be tepid, at best! I’m thinking there’s a lot more pain out there regarding sex than I ever realized. But surely someone is interested…?!!

In Christ,

Who Hosts Awaken Love Videos

I suppose it feels scary to sign up for a class on such an important topic. With so much bad information available how do you know Awaken Love will actually help the situation. And who the heck is Ruth Buezis? She doesn’t even have a degree behind her name to give her credibility. Without a personal recommendation from a trusted friend, 95% of women would have never taken Awaken Love.

Since Jan 2018 I have been tracking why women take classes and below are the results in order…

    1. Friends               27
    2. Taken a class      26
    3. Website              13
    4. Heard me speak   6
    5. Read my book      6

Most women have had some personal contact with me. I suppose that’s actually a good thing! A really good thing! Women that complete the class host a video class to share what they’ve learned with their friends. Others host a video class after a friend told them how much it impacted their marriage. Women that hear me speak host Awaken Love classes because they know they have a lot more to learn. Recently women have started hosting classes after reading my book. They want to experience the power of community that happens in video classes.

Community in Awaken Love Classes

Just like Dan Allender who leads the way in sexual healing, I believe that real transformation takes place in community. When we share our stories, God does something amazing. Shame disappears, healing happens, fear dissipates, and we find freedom. Satan uses isolation and fear to hold enormous power over us. We break those bonds when we start talking about sex in safe communities.

I know it sounds crazy to invite a group of friends to a sex class when you don’t know anything about it. So start small. Take the class by yourself or just invite one of your closest friends. But do something! How can we complain about the church not talking about sex, when we don’t talk about sex? We have the power to change things, because we are the church.

Final  Thoughts

Since my first Awaken Love class seven years ago with 8 close friends, it has spread by word of mouth. And it will continue to spread by word of mouth. Though the videos classes started off slow, the number of women each year has doubled and I believe that will continue. When a Christian sex class is life-changing, you want to share it with your friends. So take a chance and sign up  to host an Awaken Love class today.

Prostate Massage – Uncharted Territory

Prostate massage will stretch a husband as he learns to trust and enjoy his wife’s touch in an area that he closely guards. Though not an area that many couples are willing to go, it holds treasures for those open, mature enough and ready to discover something new.

Though I sometimes wonder whether I should address prostate massage, I choose to err on the side of empowering you to make your own decisions for your marriage.  Even though I teach about prostate massage in Awaken Love classes, it is time to take the next step and write about it. If you feel squeamish or uncomfortable learning about prostate massage, please feel free to skip this article.

I’d like to give you my simplified take on prostate massage, starting with the history, why couples enjoy it and how to do it if you are interested.

History

Most men that live long enough will eventually have issues with their prostate. A gland that constantly produces components of a man’s semen, as men age, circulation decreases. The gland commonly becomes irritated and inflamed – a condition called prostatitis. Because a man’s urethra passes through the prostate, irritation and inflammation of the prostate makes urination problematic and painful.

Before antibiotics were available to treat prostatitis, doctors treated men by milking the prostate. The doctor would insert a lubricated, gloved finger into a man’s anus and feel the prostate bulging into the front wall of the rectum. He would then manually massage the prostate by pulling the pad of his finger across the bulge until he ejaculated. The massage both increased blood circulation to promote healing, and cleaned out the prostate.  Though men hated the procedure, it brought relief to many.

Eventually a doctor asked a company to develop a device that men could use at home to massage their own prostate. The device looked like a smooth plastic tee.  Slid into the rectum, contracting the Kegel muscles caused one leg of the tee to gently massage the area until ejaculation. Men soon realized that prostate massage performed in a relaxed and private environment felt highly pleasurable. That first medical device eventually became Aneros, a device now marketed as a sex toy for men.

People still debate the health benefits of prostate massage. Here is an article that supports it and one that cautions. 

Why Prostate Massage

Clearly increased circulation and regular orgasms are important for men’s general health. So why can’t men get the same benefit by having intercourse with their wife as through prostate massage?

Sex doesn’t directly help increase blood flow to the prostate, but massage does. It also produces a gentler orgasm that does not irritate an already inflamed prostate. Men describe the prostate orgasm as more of a full-bodied response. An equivalent to a woman’s G-Spot orgasm. You don’t know exactly where it’s coming from, but the gentle release feels amazing.

Some men swear that massage of the prostate has done wonders to relieve issues with their prostate. And some wives are happy to help their husband stay healthy and feeling good. But always check with your doctor before exploring prostate massage. In certain conditions it might spread infection or cause more damage.

Some couples enjoy prostate massage simply as an intimate activity that they enjoy together. It takes great trust between husband and wife. In many ways, prostate massage might help a husband understand just how vulnerable a wife feels during intercourse. He must fully relax in order to enjoy prostate massage.

One of the great outcomes of  massaging the prostate is that it requires a husband to learn to really relax during sex. To release every bit of tension in his pelvic area and to leave it relaxed. Rather than tensing and driving to the finish line, he allows the pleasure to just wash over him. It is a different experience that not only impacts prostate massage but can translate into other love making activities.

Preparation

If you want to explore prostate massage, then you need to talk about it in advance. Neither one of you should feel forced, coerced or even guilted into participating in something that makes you feel uncomfortable. You must both agree that you want to explore this uncharted area.

Plenty of good lubrication (coconut oil works) is a must for exploration.  Use smooth, clean hands with no hang nails or wear a latex glove with lubrication. Treat his sensitive rectal tissue with care. Nothing should be sharp or forced. Think smooth and connected.

He should shower and groom to prepare. Unless he needs to go to the bathroom, the rectum should be empty.

During several sessions of extended lovemaking gradually work towards getting more and more comfortable with his testicles, his perineum and even his anus. Pay attention to how relaxed his body feels. He should feel like putty in your hands without any hesitation or fear. Notice if his anus opens up to your touch as he relaxes.

Prostate Massage

Eventually, when your husband feels ready one night, he should give you a signal,  verbal or whatever works. Make sure to use lots of lubrication and gently massage the anal area until he opens up. Leading with the pad of your index finger gently insert your finger into his anus as far as you can reach. Remain still for a moment and see if you can feel a walnut sized bulge in the front wall of his rectum. Without curling your finger, gently pull the pad of your finger past the prostate and then gently slide back. The motion is similar to the come hither motion of G-Spot stimulation.

You can just massage his prostate or you combine it with stimulation of the penis using your mouth or other hand. As he orgasms you will feel strong contractions of the anal sphincter around your finger. Wait until the contractions completely subside. To remove your finger, ask him to exhale  to help relax the sphincter. Gently slide your finger out and immediately wash up before you go and cuddle with him.

You can also massage the prostate from the outside by firmly massaging his perineum with the pad of your finger.

One additional caution – never put anything into the anus that does not have some kind of stop on it, or a way to keep it from going all the way in. During orgasm, the anal sphincter contracts and will pull things into the rectum. People end up in ER all the time to have things surgically removed from their rectum.

During prostate massage you will learn new things about your husband and his body. You must tune into his body to know when he is ready. He must trust that you will stop if he wants, and that you will treat him with the utmost care. Prostate massage requires sensitivity, trust and vulnerability. Your husband may never be the same.

How to Have Great Sex After 50 – For Wives

Why do some wives over the age of 50 say they are having the best sex of their lives? While others complain about a loss of libido, decreased responsiveness, and painful intercourse? What makes the difference? And how do I create a great sex life after 50?

My Story

Years ago, I had a hysterectomy due to medical reasons. Though the loss of my monthly cycle will not officially signal menopause, my body tells me I am done. I no longer have wide swings of sensitivity with my nipples, or sex dreams in the middle of my cycle. Hormonal swings don’t urge me towards connection with my husband. In fact, the best way to describe my libido would be as a straight line.

But if sex for a woman is 80% in our head, then I choose for my straight line to signify a constantly high drive instead of a constantly low drive. My attitude and mindset about sex make the biggest impact on whether I enjoy sex after 50. If I believe that God designed sex as a powerful way to unite my marriage, then I  know that I need to connect with Jim on a regular basis. Since sex provides comfort and refreshment for me, then I yearn for connection when I feel lonely, sad, or stressed out. I embrace sex as a way to discover and know my husband in a deeper intimate way. I choose to make sex a priority.

But even with the right mindset, sex after 50 still requires adjustments and hard work for both of you.  I don’t want to make it sound easy. At times you may feel discouraged and have to fight for your sex life. Women vary enormously in their experiences both approaching menopause and settling into menopause. But most of us deal with some kind of adjustment along the way. Though I don’t have all the answers, I want to share some principals that have helped me.

Take Care of Your Health

Once I reached 50, I soon realized that without regular exercise my body began to atrophy. No longer could I slack off, eat junk food and hibernate in the winters. I had to be intentional about exercising. Brisk walks, keeps me feeling good. Stretching keeps my joints loose. Standing at my computer instead of sitting is one of the everyday choices to stay fit.

I feel better when I eat meals packed with fresh fruits and vegetables. I watch my weight and keep moving. Sexual function depends on blood circulation. If you want to stay responsive then keep your blood flowing – even down there.

Regular Kegels, orgasms, and intercourse help to increase blood flow. Just like your body atrophies without regular exercise, your genitals atrophy without regular exercise.

If you want to enjoy life after 50, then you need to take care of your body. If you want to enjoy sex after 50 then the same rules apply.

Be Willing to Adjust

Sex at the age of 50 might look very different than it did at the age of 30, but that does not mean that it can’t be awesome. Your body is changing but if you are willing to adjust, you can still enjoy intimate physical connection on a regular basis.

My body simply does not respond the same way that it did when I was young. Some things have been great, like the fact that my clitoris does not get painfully sensitive after orgasm. But other things have been hard and confusing. Talking about the challenges with my husband kept Jim and I on the same team. But as I adjusted to my new body, self-exploration also helped.

Doing some private research projects helped me to re-establish confidence in my own body. Flexibility training helped me to expand on that. Once I regained confidence in my body, then I could relax more with my husband. When my head knew that my body was still capable of enjoyment, I could trust that with enough stimulation my body would respond. Take the time to adjust and get to know your new body.

Regular Connection After 50

After the age of 50, sex on a regular basis is more important than ever. Without hormones screaming for sex, I have to intentionally engage. Things work better when sex is fairly frequent. I feel connected to my husband, and like we could conquer the world. I smile at the memories we create. Sex makes our marriage completely different. When we are not having sex, I get cranky.

You might not have your hormones anymore to remind you, but you get to have sex whenever you want – even every day of the week.

More

Many women have a harder time getting to orgasm after the age of 50. Go ahead and grieve the loss of your young body. Then realize that change does not always have to be a bad thing. Maybe your changed body provides an opportunity for growth. What if you and your husband move beyond the familiar to learn something new?

Many women over the age of 50 require more _________ to orgasm. That might mean more physical stimulation. Oral or manual stimulation might need to ramp up.  You could also explore the use of a vibrator with your husband.

“More” might mean taking more time and enjoying the pleasures of extended gourmet sex.  Maybe you need more excitement than the same old, same old, and so you finally have the courage to go crazy. Or more connection during sex.

What if letting go of the expectation of orgasm finally helps you discover the sweetest connection during sex. Harder orgasms are a great excuse to change things up to create something new that is maybe even better than you ever imagined.

Look for Answers

Changes will come as you transition to enjoying sex after 50. Some doctors assume sex is not a big deal for older women. If sex matters to you and your doctor doesn’t seem concerned or helpful, then look for someone new.

Many of the challenges result from the decrease in estrogen. Lack of estrogen not only decreases natural lubrication, but causes your tissues to thin. Treatments like hormone replacement therapy, localized estrogen treatments, or vaginal suppositories of DHEA can help. Chris at the Forgiven wrote a great article on dealing with atrophy of the vulva. Even using natural oils like coconut oil or vitamin E can help make tissue more supple. Work with your doctor to find the right solution for you and don’t give up until you find relief.

Final Thoughts

Our sexual response depends on other factors besides physical stimulation and response. Our sexual response depends on our emotional connection with our spouse, and it depends on our beliefs about sex. Even though my aging body does not respond like it once did and I sometimes feel frustrated, I am having the best sex of my life.

Don’t give up, because of the physical challenges of aging. Embrace change as an opportunity for growth. Women in Menopause have taken Awaken Love and found a new lease on life. Discover the power of sex to create an amazing marriage and to help keep you young.

Invite me to Speak about Sex – a New Perspective

Men and women hunger for a new perspective about sex. After years of silence from our families or the church, we know things need to change. Couples need to understand God’s intent for sex, have a safe place to seek help or healing and receive compassion for their struggle. This year I had the privilege to speak to over a dozen different groups about sex and it was an amazing experience. I love to watch the defenses fall away as men and women realize I do not offer the same old messages. Invite me to speak about sex and you will hear a new perspective.

For instance, you will never hear me say to wives, “Your husband needs sex”. I won’t even encourage husbands to,  “help your wife more around the house”. We’ve already heard those messages plenty of times. In a world that has completely distorted sex, we don’t just need a band aid. We need a new mindset.

We are all sexually broken. Our attitudes about sex have been impacted by the world. Satan loves nothing more than to drive us into shame and hiding. Great sex does not happen naturally like the movies promise. When I speak on sex, I won’t pretend I have all the answers, but I will offer compassion. I have been where you are. I am a simple ordinary wife that understands the hurt, confusion and frustrations associated with God’s gift. But I also know the importance of great sex for marriages.

Compassion

Creating an amazing sex life in marriage that lasts a life time takes hard work. We all have sexual brokenness whether it is the baggage of seeing porn, promiscuity before marriage or purity messages that made us feel like sex is dirty. We all buy into lies like “men only want sex”, “a woman that likes sex is a slut”, or “intercourse will satisfy every woman”. Many of us don’t really understand how our bodies work, how our spouse works or how to intimately connect during sex. Sex takes work and we need God’s help.

Many of us divide God from sexuality. We might know He created it, but surely, He doesn’t want to know about my sexual struggles. We somehow think that sexual sin is the unforgivable sin. Even after we ask forgiveness from God, we continue to punish ourselves. God cares about your sexuality. He wants you to be whole, and to experience freedom. He wants us to learn to create an intimate connection during sex. It models the intimacy God wants to have with us.

Over and over when I speak about sex, I have watched the walls fall down and the light bulbs turn. The best thing we do for our sex life is to involve God and to see His will.  When we begin to believe that He cares and that He wants us to experience healing and freedom, people’s lives change. When we receive each other with love and grace then we act as the hands and feet of Jesus.

God’s Intent for Sex

The world has made sex into a God and twisted and distorted in until it is hardly recognizable. When you use God’s word as your guide you discover truth and freedom that will blow your mind. Song of Songs portrays sizzling connection brought to life by using all of the senses. At a time when women were anything but equals, Solomon’s bride expresses herself, asks for what she wants, day dreams about his body and plans an outdoor adventure for the two of them.

One of the most profound ways to discern God’s truth about sex comes from Eph 5:31-32. We learn oneness in marriage is a picture of intimacy with Christ. This concept will rock your world and dispel any lies you’ve believed about sex. Every assertion I hear about sex, I measure against intimacy with Christ.

One of the most shocking truths about sex comes from 2 Sam 12:24. After David and Bathsheba have lost their child, it says, “then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and he went to her and made love to her.” Rather than wives feeling used through sex, God intended that we receive comfort from our husband.

God’s word even gives us insight into how we should have sex. Gen 4:1 Kjv says, “And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain.”  God intended that we get to know each other through sex. This is the key to making sex exciting and meaningful for both husbands and wives. Sex is not just about getting to the finish line. God wants us to intimately connect during sex. That takes learning to be present, using our senses and focusing on the journey more than the destination. We have much to learn about God’s design for sex in marriage.

We must understand and embrace God’s radical truths  about sex.

Equip

When I speak about sex, I don’t want to just teach. I want to equip and empower.  Sexuality cannot be boiled down to a bunch of rules. We all come from our own backgrounds and baggage. We are constantly evolving and changing and so is our marriage. Together with God and our spouse we must learn to discern what is beneficial for us. I don’t have all the answers for you but God does.

Equipping means helping you move beyond just understanding sex with your mind, to putting things into practice. Much of sexuality feels hard to put into words. Song of Songs doesn’t instruct, it helps you visualize or feel. Rather than just communicate with words, I try to incorporate experiential exercises to bring concepts to life.

People can learn to enjoy the journey through mindfulness exercises that help them stay present. Rubbing versus feeling can help them understand how to get to know each other. Couples start to understand the dynamics of leading and following through hands on couples exercises. Group or couple mixer questions model how to open up the conversations that lead to great sex.

The most important long-term skill to create a great sex life is learning to talk about sex. Modeling open, healthy conversations about sex give us permission to talk not only to our spouse but to our kids, and even as a way to encourage friends. If we want change the culture of sex, then we must start have open conversations and equip others to do the same.

Final Thoughts

One of the reasons I love talking about sex is because it provides a wake-up call for change. When we feel stuck with no one to talk too, we give up and think, “this is just the way it is going to be.” God never intended for sex to be boring! It is supposed to get sweeter and sweeter with each year of marriage.

Things can change. They can be better. They can be amazing. But we need to believe it is possible and go after more. Quite often men or women that hear me speak follow up by taking an Awaken Love class. Over the course of 6 weeks, while supported by a community of people going after the same goal, real lasting transformation happens.

If you want to offer a new perspective on sex, invite me to come and speak to your group.

Open up the conversation of sex and see what God does.

Hear a new perspective about sex

Understanding Sexual Roles in a Modern World

In a world of compromise, self-sacrifice, and equality we must make a conscious effort to create sexual tension in the bedroom. When we constantly compromise then we lose ourselves. Gone are the unique differences that originally drew ourselves to each other. If we never have any desires or needs because we don’t want to appear selfish, then we loose passion. When we operate as compete equals then we negate, the difference between men and women. Those differences create a polarity that creates fascination, excitement and dependence.  As the roles or men and women change in society, don’t let them impact who we are and how we interact during sex.

Hang Onto Yourself

God created you unique. With a mind filled with creative ideas and a body yearning for specific sexual experiences. Though we need to love our spouse and respect their desires, we must also vulnerably share our own. Don’t compromise to the point of having no opinions or ideas of your own. Love yourself enough to hang onto yourself.

The best sex happens with a healthy balance of giving and receiving. Though your spouses needs should be fulfilled, don’t negate your own. One of the best gift that you can give to your spouse is to let them slay you. That takes communication, expressing yourself and great courage. Letting your spouse know you, will fuel passion in your marriage bed. Without it, sex feels lifeless.

The Challenges of Equality

Societal changes, though in many ways positive, have decreased the differences that naturally existed between the roles of men and women. Most men used to work hard with their body. Plowing the fields, mining, pushing the mower or working on their car kept them in touch with their strength and power. Days spent working behind computers, playing video games, or on riding a mower, cause men to forget the reward of sweat and the strength they possess.

Huge positive strides have opened up opportunities in education, the work place, and new roles for women. We communicate well, multi task, focus well in school, manage the home and may someday run the country. But how many of us have a hard time letting our husband lead?

We nit pick about where he parks at church, the outfits he dresses the kids in, and how he folds the laundry. Even in bed, we struggle to let them lead. Instead we just take control because he is being too timid, or not exciting enough.

Maybe it is just me that struggles. But I wonder if wives have always struggled to let their husband lead, or if it is becoming a more common problem. Is it possible that as opportunities have become more available to women and we have become more confident, that we have contributed to our husbands losing their confidence?

Remembering Our Roles

It is so tricky. Because I don’t think that women are supposed to shrink back simply so that men will step up. I think we both need to take ownership as we adjust to a culture and society that is moving towards equality for men and women.

Men need to rediscover their power and strength. To understand the importance of a job well done. They need to make their needs known in gentle but strong confidence. To protect their families and women. Men must turn off porn and start pursuing their wife. Even in the bedroom they need to reclaim their strength and their power for loving their wife physically.

Women need to rediscover how to be soft and to let go of control. To let their husband take care of them. Wives must encourage husbands in the small ways that they care and provide. Wives need to feel the strength of their husband in bed and revel at their difference. Stop ordering him around, stop nagging him, stop reminding him and mothering him. Learn to slow down and be soft. To quiver at his touch, or melt at his gaze. It is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of courage.

Final Thoughts

Our core desires and the way that God created men and women have not changed. Women still desire strong husbands that will confidently lead – even in the marriage bed. Wives still struggle with insecurities of whether their husband really loves them. Husbands still want to know that their wives needs them. They wants to be there for her, to rescue her and be her hero. Though we have the privilege to experience more equality in the work place and even in the marriage bed, don’t deny the differences God created. Sometimes the strength of a man, should make a woman weak in the knees.

Understanding roles in a modern world

Creating New Messages for Teens About Sex

I’ve encountered many men and women in Awaken Love classes that felt less than grateful for the messages they received as teens about sex from the church. Not only were the messages ineffective in helping them wait for marriage, they did nothing to help them embrace sex once married. So what can the church learn from the past that will help them create new messages for teens about sex?

The Past

Many women remember horrifying illustrations of flowers losing their petals, or an Oreo cookie passed around for people to spit on. The analogies conveyed that sexual choices outside of marriage ruined your life, but did little to communicate about God’s redemption, or the beauty of sex within marriage. Once kids crossed lines, life often spun out of control. Already ruined and filled with shame, girls figured they might as well just keep going.

“I Kissed Dating Goodbye” and father daughter purity rings left strong impressions. While they helped some stay pure, others felt the standards only made things worth. Lines impossible to hold, or already crossed caused many to give up trying. Worse yet, teens resorted to living double lives. The goal of purity and rules outweighed honesty, authenticity and even their relationship with a loving God.

I have no doubt that leaders in church had good intentions as they encouraged men and women to wait until marriage for sex, but I also think we can and must do better. Rather than just talk about purity, we need to clearly communicate the powerful gift that sex is in marriage. Instead of just telling kids they will be damaged goods if they don’t wait, we can share some of the natural consequences of choices made before marriage. We also must do everything to help kids integrate God into their sexuality. Rather than a list of rules we involve God in our choices. A relationship with Christ is the main focus, not coming to the altar unblemished.

What is God’s Design for Sex?

Rather than use scare tactics messages to reinforce the message, “Don’t Do It”, let’s help our kids understand what they are waiting for and why.

Mutuality

Teens must understand that sex is a beautiful, powerful gift from God. It is something to look forward to in marriage. Song of Songs illustrates mutuality in marriage – even when culture did not. Cultures message that sex is a need and a right for men is completely wrong. Husband and wife should redefine sex in a way that will work for both husband and wife in order to make sex mutually enjoyable.

Oneness

Our kids must understand that God created to unify husbands and wives. That takes great trust for a wife. Many messages tell us that men use women for sex. Boys that don’t push boundaries before marriage will help a wife trust that her husband cares more about her than sex.

Teenagers also need to understand the natural consequences of short circuiting the intimate connection that God intended during sex. When teens partake in the hook up culture they treat sex as nothing more than physical pleasure. Once married they will struggle to experience the intimate connection that God intended until , until they grieve the past choices they made and the things done to them.

Knowing

Teens need to understand that sex does not come naturally like it is depicted in media or porn. Great sex that lasts a lifetime requires intentionality and vulnerability. Each time you both show up and say, “what can I discover today?”

Experiences outside of marriage create challenges. Comparing the adrenaline driven sex outside of marriage can mask the satisfaction of real intimacy.

Rather than just teach that porn is wrong, teens need to understand the impact it can have. Porn can cause performance pressure that makes us worry and short circuit the natural responses of our body like arousal, erection and orgasm. We can also waste our time recreating something we’ve seen, rather than discovering our spouse. Past porn can make sex feel dirty, so we don’t enjoy the freedom that God intends. Keeping ourselves pure, is God’s good plan to protect us and our future spouse.

God can heal past experiences but it will take honesty and work. We should help teens understand the importance of getting healthy before marriage. When they seek healing in community, they can enter marriage open about their past committed to work towards intimacy.

Involve God

Not every answer about sexuality is simple or spelled out in the bible. Rather than give our teens a bunch of rules, let’s create new messages about sex that will equip them to make good choices and discern with God. They will use the skill not only use in singleness but in marriage, or any stage of life.

Masturbation is a great discussion to help teens understand how to involve God in their choices. After exploring what the bible says, or doesn’t say about masturbation, challenge them to come up with biblical principles that apply to their choices. Things like.. don’t lust, or you shall have no God before me, or not everything is beneficial… Even God’s character helps us discern. God created us for relationship with Him and with others. If masturbation is making us hide, or lie, then it is probably not beneficial for us.

Don’t make the choice for them. Help them involve God and keep involving God, because choices can change.

We must have the courage to admit we don’t have all the answers about sexuality for teenager, but God does. Challenge teens to pray, ask God, and have the courage to follow Him.

Teens also need to understand that God cares about all of them – even their sexuality. God can forgive and heal sexual sin just like he can other sins. More than our purity, he desires their heart. He wants them to fall in love with Him, and to fall down at His feet and receive His unfailing love when they feel broken. Create new messages for teens about sex by including messages about redemption.  Many will stumble, and God can help them get back up and give them a fresh start.

Responsibility

Too many times, we give teens someone to blame for their choices about sexuality. “If girls just didn’t wear those clothes”. “If he hadn’t slept with his past girl friends then I would not have had to sleep with him”.” If she hadn’t flirted with me, I wouldn’t have lost control.” Teens need to learn to take responsibility for their choices, regardless of anyone else’s actions.

Boys can learn to battle lust. They can turn their head and find something else to do. They can even control their mind and decide not to bring those images up in their mind to enjoy later. Affirm the courage for teenagers to reach out for help when they struggle with porn, questions about sexual feelings, or choices about masturbation. Boys can also be taught to protect and respect women regardless of what they wear or how they act. Waiting for marriage should be a goal for boys as well as girls.

Girls should be taught not to turn a boy’s head to feel important or noticed. They need to dress in a way that  they respect themselves and honor God. They must take responsibility for their own choices, but not for ones taken from them. Encourage them to reach out for help if they’ve been wounded sexually, or struggles with sexual addiction. Girls must learn not to put themselves in unsafe situations and must look out for their friends when they go out.

Final Thoughts

Have the courage to create new messages for teens about sex. Most have been exposed to far more than we realize. To gain their ear, we can no longer resort to simple answers of “Don’t do it” before marriage. Our kids need to understand what they are waiting for and how their current choices impact them. Messages about purity must be balanced with messages about God’s redemption. Rather than teaching our teens simple rules, we must equip them to discern God’s will for their life. We must value honesty and integrity more than purity. We all have sinned and fallen short, but God loves us and can give us a fresh start. Let’s help our teens start working towards sexual heath and wholeness today.

Specific Prayer that Moves You Toward Healing

Though I love to speak about sex now, that has not always been the case. In fact the first two years I taught classes, I felt so nervous that my lip quivered. Friends used to compare me to Moses because I looked so miserable. They figured I must have felt called by God. But God transforms lives even from ordinary circumstances.  I vividly remember the specific prayer that led to my healing.

The Realization

My church had asked if I would facilitate a women’s bible study on marriage. The first lesson focused on how our past impacted our present. I had always realized that my fear of speaking was deep rooted from a childhood incident.

I vividly remember my first-grade teacher calling role. Afterwards she asked, “Did I miss anybody?”

I timidly raised my hand.

“Yes, what is your name? “she said.

With as much confidence as I could master, I said, “Uth Inka.”

“What?”, she said.

“Uth Inka”, I repeated.

“What?”

“Uth Inka”, I slowly stated, fighting back tears.

My name was Ruth Lenker and I had entered elementary school completely clueless to the fact I couldn’t say my L’s or R’s.

Specific Prayer

Even though I recognized the impact of my past experience, I had never specifically prayed for healing from it.

That morning before I taught, I went and say by myself in the sanctuary to pray. And rather than just praying like I normally did for God to help me relax and calm my nerves, I asked God to heal me. I asked God to heal me from that specific past experience that held so much power over who I believed I was and what I could do.

Healing

In an instant, I knew that God had healed me. Even though I still felt the normal nervousness that comes with public speaking it was profoundly different. My lip didn’t quiver, my mouth was not parched, I felt calm, under control and even enjoyed myself.

Afraid to tell anyone lest I prove myself wrong, praying for healing of that specific experience has forever changed my life.

I sometimes wonder if God does not answer prayer because we do not pray specific enough. We might pray for healing but it feels too vulnerable to share what we need healing from. Or maybe it feels too painful to figure out what we need healing from.

I have had women in class that are on a journey of healing. Sometimes I sense they don’t really need any more clarity. They just need the courage to ask for what they specifically want…

God, give me freedom to share my body

Help me to trust my husband again

God, give me freedom

God, heal me from the memory of ….

I am not suggesting that if we just pray the right way, God will do what we ask. But there is something in naming it, claiming it, and believing that God is able. Even as God walks us through the process of praying specifically, some level of healing comes.

Final Thoughts

So take the time to wrestle with your past. Find a friend or a counselor to help you through the process. Host an Awaken Love class and tackle some of your sexual baggage with friends. Know that God is with you and though He loves you just as you are, He loves you enough to want more for you. Your past might shape you, but it does not have to control you.

Authentic Intimacy – A Great Resource and Podcast

I have always respected Juli Slattery’s ministry Authentic Intimacy. She is a trailblazer in all areas of Christian sexuality – from marriage, to singleness to navigating issues like LGBTQ. In the past I’ve written about her book Rethinking Sexuality, but she offers many valuable resources –  books, webinars, podcasts and conferences. This year I had the honor of sharing  about my story and Awaken Love on her Java with Juli podcast. 

Juli and I have amazingly similar stories. Both of us experienced a spiritual awakening that woke us up to the importance of sex in marriage.  We both started ministries addressing sexuality by creating studies to help wives embrace their sexuality. Neither one of us ever expected to teach on sex and definitely did not go looking for it. But God called us into it. Though we face challenges we know that God is doing a work.

I highly recommend you check out Authentic Intimacy and the resources they offer. While you are at it, take a listen to my podcast with Juli, When God ‘Wakes Up’ Your Love Life.”And if you find it helpful, share it with a friend.

 

 

 

 

 

Cultivating a Soil that Receives God’s Truth About Sex

When I read The Bible, I constantly filter everything through the ministry that I do with Awaken Love. Though I know the bible exists to help us know God, it also holds many truths for living out our faith and our calling. In Matthew 13, Jesus tells the parable of the farmer that scattered the seed. Jesus is helping the disciples learn that not everything is in their control when they tell others about Jesus. Some will receive Him, and some won’t, depending on the kind of soil.  I find the parable helpful as I follow my calling of helping others embrace God’s truth about sex. Some soil is hard, some is rocky, some is filled with thorns and some soil is fertile. All I am responsible for is speaking God’s truth.

Hard Soil

Some seed falls on hard soil, like a footpath walked on over and over. The beaten down surface cannot even absorb water without much back breaking labor. So, the seed never sprouts.

Wounded people covered with walls of protection cannot hear the truth about sex. They have shut themselves off, lest they face their past. Receiving the truth about sex will require them to chip away at hardened hearts to expose painful memories. They might have to turn their lives upside down and experience pain, grief, or regrets. Allowing themselves to feel will cause much pain, but will also create much joy and  real intimacy.

Shallow Soil

Some seed falls on shallow soil. Though the top is fertile, underneath is covered with rocks. The seed quickly sprouts, but without deep roots, a little dry weather causes the young sprouts to wither and die.

Many women quickly embrace God’s truth about sex. Initially filled with excitement, they can’t wait for things to change. But creating intimacy requires vulnerability, honesty, courage and persistence. Embracing God’s truth about sex will require that we remove the rocks – the lies that we believe, the baggage that impacts us, and the patterns that have formed. We must not only understand God’s truth but takes steps of action to change our reality. If we want to create intimacy then we must let our spouse know all of us, and have the courage to know them – even their brokenness. If  they don’t let their belief run deep, a little adversity will quickly cause them to just give up and stop trying.

Thorns

Some seed fell among the thorns and weeds. Though the seed quickly sprouted and grew, with time the weeds choked it out.

Some women not only embrace God’s truth about sex, but start putting things into action. Excited by the new growth they try new things, start communicating with their husband, and experience a new level of intimacy. But when the newness has worn off, life creeps back in – phones, computers, kids, ministry, work. Without the reminders of class, they stop planning new things or even finding the time to connect on a regular basis. Worries begin to seep in and they wonder if they really did receive healing from their past. Maybe they just weren’t made to enjoy sex. Maybe sex is not that big a deal.

Fertile

Some seeds fell on fertile soil and grew tall and strong.  They even produced new seeds – 30, 60 or even 100 times what was originally planted.

Some women embrace God’s truth about sex and grow deep roots. Even when they face challenges, they fight for their sex life and don’t give up. They keep learning about their spouse and exposing more of themselves. Working on their sex life improves other areas of their marriage too – communication, emotional intimacy, and feeling like a team even through the struggles. They don’t hide or keep secrets from each other.

Embracing God’s design for sex not only impacts them but it impacts others. They constantly talk to their kids about sex to help them navigate culture and look forward to marriage. Friends know who to go to when they have questions about sex. Even at church they constantly look for opportunities to share the truth about sex. Working on their sex life, not only impacts them but others.

Cultivating Your Soil

I love to garden but sometime the soil is not ideal. If the surface is hard, I use a pick ax or shovel to loosen it up to let water and nutrients in. Rocks must be removed to let the roots grow deep. Pulling weeds becomes a constant battle that gets easier with persistence. I add nutrients on a regular basis to encourage growth and keep the soil loose. With hard work, courage and persistence I create a beautiful garden.

We can change our soil too.  Regardless of your past experiences, you can experience healing, but it will take hard work. You will need to remove the coping mechanisms and protective walls to open your heart to the truth. Steps of actions and faith will let the truth sink in deep. You will need to guard your time together and intentionally plan dates, or even just going to be early. Make hard decisions to care for your marriage. Create fertile soil by surrounding yourself with others that value marriage and intimacy. Spend time connecting with God and get your strength from Him. God will not force us to embrace His truth but He will be with us every step of the way.

How do you tend your soil?