A couple of years ago, Relevant Magazine did an article telling their Christian audience that they were not “called to have great sex in marriage.”
I read it because a friend that was in a serious relationship had recommended it, but I was very bothered by what I found. The article presented some truths for sure, one being that sex is not what marriage is all about, and this is right of course, if you marry only for sex and don’t seek a partner that has good character then you are in for a difficult marriage (and the good sex will quickly disappear). But in Relevant Magazine’s attempt to help marriages, they missed the point of sex being one of the most important things in a marriage, and often the glue that holds a marriage together.
Why was the article written to help marriages in such a way that it actually discourages Christian couples from having “amazing” sex?
It was a response to a very strange article by a millennial woman, Jessica Ciencin Henriquez, about how her virginity (her desire to remain abstinent until marriage), actually ruined the sex in her marriage. Relevant Mag links to her article, and tries to say that:
While the movement is great at detailing— and exaggerating—the benefits of saving sex for marriage, it is dishonest about the challenges abstinence presents to couples who eventually tie the knot.
Read more at http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/relationships/christians-are-not-called-have-amazing-sex#go0He8SXx5qZE8bh.99
In more careful reading of the linked article written by Jessica about how her virginity ruined her future marriage, it was fairly shocking for my husband and I to read the level of disdain she held toward her young husband, even on their honeymoon. She had no interest in sex, no desire to learn about how to make it better, no desire for it with her husband (even though she did desire it while they were dating), and in my husband’s words, “she completely undermined the possibility of their marriage by checking out of their sex life.” She admit it herself that she caused the problem, it was like she became an a-sexual being overnight, and wanted nothing to do with being sensual – to her marriage’s detriment! But then she blames the abstinence movement for her lack of motivation to learn together with her husband, or to try new things. As soon as she divorced her husband, she writes that she became sexual again.
This was not a case of the abstinence movement being “dishonest” about the challenges couples who marry without sexual experience will face, this is a case of a person in a marriage who is not putting forth the right attitude, desire, and effort to create a good sex life.
Her entire focus, however, is that her abstinence pledge that was supposed to create a “strong marraige,” only led to a “quick divorce.”
Relevant Mag needed to point out the real issues couples who wait until marriage to have sex may have, but also the attitude, willingness, and desire to fix her marriage sex life (or even participate in it) that was completely missing from Jessica as a Christian woman.
Instead of the message being: abstinence creates issues, and you’re not called to have great sex anyway; it could have more effectively been:
Abstinence may create issues, that happens when both partners don’t know much about a subject (sex), but in a good marriage, you will constantly face trials like this in many different areas (money, in-laws, job changes, deaths, miscarriages) and have to figure out how to overcome them.
It comes down to a willingness to learn and love each other. Instead of checking out of your sex life just because it isn’t what you imagined, working to create a beautiful sex life, is the path to take.