4 Lies About Sex the Church Struggles to Talk About

Kate says . . .

Sex-a marvelous mystery. A physical act that is spiritual. Something God designed for good, but for many couples it eludes their grasp. We were one of those couples. Though we had crossed many boundaries we probably shouldn’t have, we saved sex for marriage. We were so excited to finally share this intimacy with each other. To grow in this spiritual and physical bond that God created just for marriage. Not long after our honeymoon, sex became a source of contention-an enigma. We looked at each other and silently said to ourselves, “How did we get here, to this place and how on earth do we find our way to the light?”

Whether in a class or in a mentor program, I believe these four lies being exposed as just that, lies-would have been immensely helpful. We were a young married couple struggling with sex and buying these lies . . .

b-morning sex 2

No one is struggling like us in their marriage

There is not a marriage out there that has not had struggles where sex is concerned. For many it might simply be hiccups with life stage changes. For others it is mental, emotional or physical issues that keep couples from experiencing God’s fullness for sex. Knowing you will have struggles, takes away the sting when they come along. Knowing the battle ahead can help prepare us.

Save sex for marriage as God desires and it will be easy and amazing

Since Brad and I waited, which was preached all over the church we thought that meant for sure sex would be easy and a wonderful connection. Within the first year of our marriage, we were faced with a very different reality. Not everything is automatically amazing because we follow all of the guidelines God has laid out for us. We are still broken people. What I believe God is trying to tell us is that to have the best possible marriage, saving sex for your future spouse alone, will give you the best opportunity. Brad and I had enough trouble with sex, without adding past partners and guilt on top of it. While it is God’s plan for us to wait, it does not mean it will be easy.  It takes grace, gentleness, loving patience, truth and communication.

Sex is a want not a need

The bond and act of becoming one flesh is not simply about having babies. It is a part of it, but it is not all of it and selling it as such is doing a grave disservice to marriages. God designed sex as a need for growing intimacy, extending grace to one another as well as the way we can completely shut out the world and enjoy this holy union. If you doubt that sex is a need, within marriage, look at the many testimonies of sexless marriages on some of our other posts. God designed sex for marriage. They cannot be separated. It is not God’s desire or plan to have sexless marriages.

I am alone and I am broken

These two thoughts plagued me for the first 5 years of our marriage. Feelings of brokenness can keep us paralyzed and depressed. We end up isolating ourselves from our spouse and the rest of the world as well. “I can’t let anyone know I am struggling with this!” Especially sex, because there is so much shame associated with one of God’s most beautiful gifts. To those of you who struggle like I did, please remember these two things: most of the couples you are sitting next to in church have had significant struggles in sex, therefore you are NOT alone and isolating has never helped any marriage. Don’t buy into the lie that you are alone. Reach out and ask a wife in your church for help. The struggle with brokenness is real, but we are loved and redeemed by a most amazing God. Therefore your sexual intimacy can also be redeemed. Hold tight to that.

What do these lies matter you might say? The enemy has a great deal to gain from breaking up marriages. More than any other relationship I believe. If we buy into these lies then we play right into the enemies hand.  Let’s bring the lies into the light where darkness cannot use them and continue to help marriages.

I know there are other lies out there about sex in marriage.  What lies did were you taught or struggled with?  Please share in the comments below, I’d love to hear them so other will know they are NOT alone!


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23 Responses to 4 Lies About Sex the Church Struggles to Talk About

  1. Going along with “I am alone and I am broken” is this lie: “After (x number) years of disappointment, it’s hopeless and things can never get better.”

    • YES!! Thank you for sharing this lie, NeverTooLate! We are a living testament, that it is never too late. It took us 10 years. With God nothing is impossible and it is never too late. Truth!!!

  2. 1. Philosophically, I strongly disagree with you that sex is a need. If sex is a need, you would be justified in searching outside your marriage if your spouse was starving you. Also, God provides for our needs – so if sex is a need, why does God answer prayers of so many single women with “NO”? Doesn’t God provide for them? And how on earth did we all survive our prenuptial years if sex is a need?

    On the other hand, I also disagree with people using this argument (that sex isn’t a need) in an effort to avoid serving and connecting with their spouse in a loving way. People use this argument to diminish the *importance* of sex in marriage, and that mindset is not Godly at all.

    I would suggest that sex is not a “want” but it is a “blessing.”

    2. Not a good idea to ask for help from other women in the church when you’re married to a pastor. Struggling alone.

    • Dear pastors wife,
      I urge you to find a trusted person (a Christian) but it doesn’t have to be someone in your church. I wish we lived close. Maybe we do? I would love to be an ear and a shoulder for you!!

      • I feel so strongly for pastor’s and their families because the lie is that you have to always be awesome. The movie “Moms night out” was a very refreshing laugh that all mother’s and wives struggle.
        If anyone did need someone to support them in their marriage but be a sounding board with prayer. I would love to be that person for any wife. (Women should not counsel men in their marriages! ) Frequently leads to temptation.

    • Hi T, thanks for commenting and sharing your thoughts. I still believe that sex is a need within marriage and 1 Cor. 7 points to this. It was designed for marriage, so therefore is NOT a need outside of marriage. So that discounts the single or unmarried part in my mind. If your spouse is starving you, it is not a justification to look outside your marriage. There are many needs we have in life, that are not met and we are called to seek God in those times so he can provide for us. That does not always mean he will provide in the way we want or think he will. We see through scripture and Paul specifically, that we can pray for something and the answer is not always what we want. It is not always a yes or no. Sometimes it is “I am here with you as you walk through this.”

      Is your #2 a lie you think is in the church or something you have seen to be true? Didn’t want to comment on it unless I understood better. Especially since I am a pastors wife and we have spend all of our marriage in ministry (church and other christian ministries).

      Thanks again for sharing your thoughts! Blessings, Kate

      • Kate, I think I’m understanding your point a little better. If I take you correctly, sex is not a need for any individual, but sex is a need *for the marriage itself.* So the statement “I need sex” is never true, but the statement “Our marriage needs sex” is always true. I could agree with that.

        I still prefer to use the term “blessing” for the following reason. Just as I have a problem with spouses using “sex is not a need” to support an ungodly selfishness, I also think many people use “sex is a need” to justify an ungodly mindset of entitlement/victim mentality. Many of those people flock to message boards to complain how their spouse is doing them wrong. Sure, it is most certainly wrong to refuse your spouse, but sex is only one of many needs *for a marriage* and I can guarantee that sex is not the only problem in a marriage with an entitlement/victim mindset.

        • p.s. you say “God designed sex as a need for growing intimacy, extending grace to one another as well as the way we can completely shut out the world and enjoy this holy union.”

          I have sex, but I do not have intimacy, grace, or enjoyment. The act of sex in and of itself does not accomplish these goals.

  3. Point #2 – Right on the money!!! Amidst all the hype of “save yourself for marriage” and “sex is a gift,” I wish there was more room for this message. Although, who knows that the message would be heard over raging hormones?
    Point #3 – I’m just beginning to learn this…
    Thanks for your honesty.

  4. The lie that sexual needs diminish with age, or that beyond a certain age (or after a woman reaches menopause) there is no longer any need to be sexually intimate.

  5. I meet many women that are in sexless marriages. I do in-home parties and this is something I discuss. We have been married going on 30 yrs this year and approx. 5 years ago, my husband had double bypass surgery. His libido suffered due to this and medications. We don’t have sex. He is not concerned about it and I have tried to talk to him about how it affects me. He has tried testosterone shots and other things that have no affect on him to help bring it back. He has told me it is “my problem” when in fact, it is really ‘our problem’. In my business, I sell intimacy enhancer products i.e. toys. This has become a means to my ‘release’ and has also helped me stay faithful to him, but by no means, does it take the place of the real thing. He condones what I sell, saying he thinks it is pornography, even though we had used products to make things fun when we did have sex. That I consider is ‘his problem’. Trying to talk to him about it is talking to a deaf ear. The thing that is missing most when you have a sexless marriage is the intimacy that is shared. We get along very well, no fights, enjoy time together going out and at home. But it really has (at least for me) turned into a more ‘friend’ or ‘roommate’ feeling, even though he still wants to cuddle when sleeping together. However, the ultimate connection is lost to me.
    Since I have started my business, I have met so many ladies in the same predicament that I am in. Showing them another way to achieve that satisfaction without going outside the marriage has helped many of them (including widows). There is nothing wrong with this form of release when you are focusing on the ‘feeling’ and not fantasizing about another man taking his place.
    I do agree that this needs to be discussed at church by a pastor. Intimacy is so important and sex is the way a lot of it is acquired. When you are young, it is easy to be drawn to someone that will fulfill the need you are lacking in a relationship. It should be stressed too, that sex can be fun & exciting, it doesn’t always have to be romantic. Keeping it fresh is what keeps you coming back for more. When it becomes routine and automatic, it is time to change it up!

    • My heart goes out to you. I understand you doing what you do and speaking a lot with others about sex in their marriages.
      With one of the products I just joined in selling I learned about HGH. It is the natural human growth hormone that we lose naturally after we turn 30 years old. We have a product that helps your body produce it naturally again called “New You” and when on it its supposed to help with sex majorly.
      My problem is in a sexless marriage when someone is not trying, they are not showing love. When a spouse says they are missing something its becomes something we should work on together. For your marriage that is not happening but I pray that he will see the light and show love. Love is giving to someone else and caring more for them than yourselves.
      I pray that for all of you!
      God bless.

  6. So good! I just sent this to a friend. Thank you. My addition (though more about marriage than sex specifically) would be: If you got a divorce you committed the unforgivable sin. God want your marriage to be forever. But…

    Starting from right now, if you had a divorce, God will forgive you, because He’s THAT serious about loving you and wanting you back. His blood can wash away every sin, every regret.

    God told Hosea to go marry a prostitute, so he would understand how much God loves His–unfaithful–people. You can be forgiven by your Father for divorce (just like everything else). Your divorce cannot separate you from His love.

  7. Jeanne,

    My heart goes out to you after reading your post. I too have been in a similar situation as you but with a husband with diabetes, but the heart issues are probably brewing down the road. It is interesting that you mention that you have encountered many woman in sexless marriages through your intimacy products business. I guess that brings me to “another lie” and that is that men are ALWAYS interested in sex. I guess growing up in our society we are groomed that men or husbands always expect or want sex. Not necessarily true. I went through 8 months of terrible pain due to zero intimacy and “excuses” about 6 years ago. What I didn’t know was that my husband was already involved in a long distance affair with an old high school friend and that he had already gone to visit her and that things had gotten physical. I had no clue! He blamed the diabetes and health problems when it was guilt and he said that he was “dirty” and I was “clean” so he could not bring himself to be interested in intimacy anymore. He finally played along 8 months later and went to the doctor by himself after I was extremely frustrated by the lack of intimacy. I did find out about the affair about 8 months later and thankfully God has healed our broken marriage in all areas, except I do not yet feel we are truly healed in the intimacy area yet and it’s been 5 years that have past already. It’s easier for me to talk to him about sex and intimacy than it is for him. I feel he just isn’t very comfortable with it, but he will make “jokes” or innuendos sometimes. He has ED from uncontrolled diabetes, not taking care of himself and it’s been a struggle because I have tried to share with him that there are “other ways” he can please me but he has a hang up about touching me below the waist, thinks it’s gross or dirty or he has an OCD germaphobic thing. Not sure. I would definitely like to go back to counseling just to discuss the intimacy issues and that is all, but we are done with counseling as far as he is concerned. We have been working on him becoming more comfortable with other ways to please me. I feel bad that he has ED and I certainly still want to please him. We are a lot closer now in many ways since the terrible pain our marriage went through all those years ago. I have forgiven, but it’s hard to forget. But like your husband, my husband has a hang up about toys because they are not “natural” and he said that he should be the one pleasing me. He verbalized that, but it has not been happening. I did buy 2 toys after I talked to him about it, to use together, but he just was not comfortable or confident or got all weird on me, when I never got them to use alone (but ended up doing so for awhile, but then quit out of feeling a lot of guilt in using them solo without him when he was not home). But yes, one of the lies is that husbands will ALWAYS be interested in sex. Not true at all. We are good friends, but I feel that sexual intimacy (and spiritual intimacy) is a higher priority for me than it is for him but there is zero spiritual intimacy and very little physical, but there is some physical intimacy that I am thankful for. We disagree on frequency and that is the battle. I have a higher drive than my husband. Sorry for the long winded message, but just wanted to express the lie that husbands are always interested or want sex all the time.

    • He also may be punishing himself for the affair, and now he “deserves” a sexless marriage. Or is struggling with the fact that he did these things with someone else. I suppose you two have looked carefully at the reasons behind the affair – perhaps they are not really resolved, or only partially so. Very sorry to hear of your situation.

  8. Another lie from the enemy my husband may be believing or others have struggled with as well: Sex is dirty or gross. Touching certain body parts is dirty or gross, even within marriage with the person who you are supposed to love as much as your own flesh and who you are supposed to be one flesh with.

  9. Kate, thank you so much for the work you and Brad do here. I’ve recently discovered your blog and it has been a source of great comfort and support for me.

    The lie I’d like to point out comes from society more than the church. But, I don’t think the church does enough to counteract it.

    Lie: If you find yourself in a sexless marriage, your relationship is automatically reduced to roommate status. (This definitely can happen, but isn’t a given as it is often portrayed.)

    Unfortunately, this is a belief spouted by many relationship experts and one that many people buy into without question. This lie is dangerous because it has the potential to make affairs, porn and divorce seem more alluring and/or inevitable by blinding you to other critical aspects of marriage and fostering a sense of hopelessness.

    I’m a very high drive wife who has lived 22 of 23 yrs. in a sexless marriage. My husband has been the refuser/gatekeeper. Happily, things are changing. We have finally been able to communicate about our/his sexual struggles, and things in our marriage bed are better than ever. This has just transpired over the last couple of months, so the pain is very raw. We still have a lot of work to do, but are both committed to changing things. My husband is torn up about the hurt he’s caused me now that he realizes it.

    My husband is an incredible, loving, thoughtful, giving man who has struggled to give himself to me sexually. He loves me so much, he would give his life for me. Not one day has gone by in 23 yrs that he hasn’t made me feel loved and adored outside of the marriage bed. Best friends doesn’t even come close to describing our emotional connection. We know each other better than anyone else ever could. We are partners in life and have always made key decisions (financial, career, family, etc.) from the perspective of how they will impact our future together. Without hesitation, we have both sacrificed personal dreams because it was best for the other person and for our future together. We have always been unconditionally supportive of each other even when it meant pointing out hard truths. We have never been just roommates! If I had ever believed that, I’m not sure I could have endoured the pain and rejection. And, I likely wouldn’t have been able to recognize all the ways my husband did demonstrate his love every day.

    I’m so grateful that I had Christian parents who taught me about marriage and sex. I can remember my mom standing in the kitchen and my dad walking up behind her. He’d stop and lovingly rub her backside. He did this often and always made a point to look at me and my brother while he did it (incredibly embarrassing for teenagers!). Then he’d kiss her before walking away. It was his way of letting us know that they did have sex and it was a good thing.

    My mother talked to me about sex a lot. She taught me that sex was a beautiful, essential part of marriage. But she also taught me that marriage was about much more than sex. She warned me that sex wouldn’t always be filled with as much passion and frequency as it would be at first. She said passion and desire would go through phases based on what was happening in life at the time. She taught me that you shouldn’t just cut and run when things got tough sexually.

    I had no idea that I’d I have such a long, difficult struggle with lack of sex in my marriage, but my mother’s teachings were the beliefs that I held onto for 22 yrs. They allowed me to always see what a wonderful man my husband is and how much he loves me despite his lack of desire issues. These beliefs allowed me to recognize and understand potential causes for his lack of desire even though he couldn’t bring himself to discuss them with me until now. They allowed me to know we had a strong marriage despite our sexual struggles. I’m so thankful I had these truths to hold onto instead of the lie that we were no more than roommates. Without a strong foundation about marriage and sex, that lie could have easily cost me the man of my dreams, my soulmate, and my partner in life. I’m so excited that we are beginning a new sex-filled chapter in our journey together. Things are only getting better and our already strong bond is growing even stronger now.

  10. Thanks so much for this! These lies are so destructive, and the way they have been hidden for so long has made them worse. Brining them into the light is a great service!

  11. To truly be intimate you must open up to your spouse(male/female) about likes and disliked. Exploring healthy information even research to enhance your sexual relationship. If either me or my spouse has an illness, we would be prayerful, seek medical advice and research. We would keep faith alive, by trusting God, and look to each day as the key that holds our healing.

    • Hi El Fury, thanks for commenting. I agree and do believe parents should play a crucial role, but that breaks down with parents who don’t talk to their kids at all or like me, I didn’t have a Christian upbringing. Also once couples are married, I believe it is the church that should be helping them in the areas of marriage and sex. Since God created marriage and sex, we as a church should not be afraid to talk about these topics. My parents were never a resource I could go to then or now. On the flip side, you can bet our kids are going to have us a a resource! 🙂 We already talk to them at their different stages. Just because God says something is good in your life, doesn’t mean it will be easy. We as the church need to be open about that and be willing to come along side of couples who are struggling. Just my thoughts! I appreciate you sharing yours! Blessings, Kate