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Bad Sex in Marriage

Bad Sex in Marriage

How does having sex before marriage lead to bad sex in marriage? Doesn’t practice make perfect? If you want to be good at sex, we’d recommend waiting for it — here’s why:

The Epidemic of Bad Sex in Marriage

A 2013 iVillage survey reported that 80 percent of married men are either ‘happy’ or ‘very happy’ with their sex lives, whereas only 60 percent of married women are.

…that means 4 out of 10 married women aren’t happy.

It’s impossible to pinpoint one or two universally applicable reasons for this. But a widespread cultural acceptance of sex before marriage could be part of the problem.

What’s Your Motivation?

There’s a saying you might have heard before — men use love to get sex, and women use sex to get love. Before marriage, many women admit that sex was used as a tool (to get a man to commit, and/or for her own personal comfort). Rediscovering the beauty of sex in marriage after using it improperly takes a great deal of effort, forgiveness, time, and healing.

When someone habitually uses sex in a certain way (whether it be for personal pleasure, or to get a person to commit) then that becomes the reason to have sex. Once women have the permanent commitment they were looking for, many women desire sex less. Sex before marriage can destroy a woman’s ability to bond with her husband and enjoy sex as an intimate experience.

It can be a struggle for men, too. Sex is supposed to be a completely giving experience — to give the best (and all) of yourself to your spouse, to love them fully. If someone has sex outside of marriage, they often use it for themselves, even if they believe it is a loving thing to do for their relationship. If a man is using sex for his personal satisfaction or comfort, his wife won’t enjoy their sexual relationship. Sex will be far less satisfying and fulfilling for her without his self-gift. Such lack of intimacy happens on a regular basis in many marriages.

Past, Present, and Future

These kinds of habits or motivations can ruin a marriage, even before the marriage begins. You cannot be completely self-giving in sex outside of marriage.  Without a complete and permanent commitment, it’s impossible to give all of yourself (heart, body, spirit, mind, not to mention fertility, finances, future plans) to your partner.

With sexual experiences outside of marriage, we train ourselves to not give away all of our heart and soul in sex; why would we want to risk that kind of pain, should that person decide to leave us? We condition sex to be more of a physical than emotional act, or simply use it to fulfill our immediate needs.

Then, when we get married, we wonder why sex isn’t totally giving, beautiful, and bonding. We chose to turn sex into something it is not. We abused the gift of sex. Sex should be a place where a couple grows and connects and discovers each other better — not a place where old baggage, motives, and comparisons keep spouses divided and frustrated.

Not Practicing Makes Perfect

Habitually using sex out of the context of God’s plan — a lifelong, faithful commitment to one person — is a recipe for bad sex in marriage. You’re making that decision now. If you get married one day (or are married now) your marriage can be blessed with awesome sex, as a totally bonding and giving experience. Chastity can help you to achieve it. It’s never not too early (or too late) to set yourself up for sexual success in marriage. If you want to have great sex one day, start by choosing chastity today.

Rachel Leininger is the full-time chastity educator for the Archdiocese of Saint Louis' REAP Team retreat ministry. She's married to the excessively creative and unfairly gorgeous David. Her favorite things include decorating their home, everything Cardinals baseball, and coffee.

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