This is the third post in this week's marriage series.
Last year I blogged about a sermon series at Relevant Church here in Tampa where they did the 30 day Sex Challenge for married couples. There was a huge media blitz about this and people everywhere were just shocked at the thought of 30 days straight of married sex, let alone among Christians! Even CBS news interviewed the pastors of Relevant about this bizarre suggestion that married people should have sex 30 days in a row.
Before hearing about Relevant's series, I had seen a TV show about Charla Muller, a wife who gave her husband Brad the gift of sex every single day for a year to celebrate his 40th birthday. This was a completely radical thought to many people and in fact Mrs. Muller had friends who didn't want their husbands to hear about her gift, because they were scared to death their husband would suggest that they do the same thing!
I read stories like this and I wonder, "what's the fuss?" Has marital sex really gotten that bad of a reputation?
I don't believe there is anything abnormal or shocking about frequent or even every day sex for married couples. I realize that is rare for most people, however, I think that's a shame. It shows how overloaded our lives are with other things, and how little time or energy we prioritize for this purpose. What is it that happens a few months to years after the wedding that we lose our passion?
Intimacy gets relegated to the bottom of the list, or not even on it for some couples. People say, "life happens...you have kids...they are demanding...you work a lot of hours, and yada yada yada." The truth is that lovemaking is a very important part of married life and even when other things in life are happening, couples should work together to ensure that you have adequate time to keep connecting -- spiritually, emotionally physically.
I read a statistic this week that was taken from a recent survey that most married couples with healthy marriages have sex two or three times a week. However the same husbands surveyed in those marriages report that they masturbate another 2-3 times a week in addition to this. What this means is, your typical man needs sex more than two or three times a week. And men aren't alone...there are women out there (believe it or not - GASP! ) who have normal or even high sex drives. When I discussed this with my husband this week he said to me, "what's so surprising? We've known that all along, right?" Well, I did know this in my heart of hearts, but to have it confirmed by statistics and a survey was key for me.
Married women need to realize that they are their husband's only legitimate sex partner. Who else is supposed to meet this need? (And vice versa, they are our only legit partner and are commanded by God to meet our needs.) When women tell me they don't feel like doing this for their husbands, my response to that is, "well, who else do you suggest should do that for them?" (Usually silence befalls the conversation at that point...)
Many women say, "I'm too tired". When ladies in the church confide this to me and ask for advice, I always counsel them to let their husband know they would like to have sex more if they weren't so tired. Usually when they tell them that the husband will help them do whatever it takes to make it happen. Even when your kids are small, you have to keep your priorities straight and set aside time. After she heard the story of Charla Muller, one of my friends decided to take the challenge and give her husband sex everyday for a year last year and it went so well they are committed to keep going this year! It has really improved their already good marriage, and actually taken it from "good" to "great".
Years ago someone shared a statistic with me that Larry and I often share in our marriage conferences. Did you know a man is most likely to have an affair during the six weeks after his wife has a baby? Any clue why that might be? Well, it's the time doctors tell women not to have intercourse during the six weeks after a child is born. That is certainly reasonable as women need time to physically heal. But, there are many ways aside from intercourse, that a husband's needs can be met during this time but many women do not do that. They simply think, "Yippee! Six weeks off from sex!"
Many men get depressed during this time and feel they are on the back burner. Some say, "if he really loves her, he'll wait patiently during the six weeks." Of course I believe a man should do the right thing no matter what. But I would also say, if she really loves him, she'll take the time to think about her husband as well. Before they were parents, they were lovers. How did the baby get there in the first place? There is a high cost that is paid when we do not keep the nurture and care of our mate at the highest priority throughout all seasons of our life. Much frustration and heartache could be avoided if marriage partners took just a little bit of time daily to meet one another's needs.
Whenever a Christian leader boldly speaks up on the Bible's admonition for couples to frequently have sex (and yes, the Bible DOES say this in I Corinthians 7) somebody inevitably rises up and says, "Hey, marriage isn't all about sex! Why is the focus on sex? Some people are happy without so much sex...and I don't even think a pastor should bring this up in the first place...." And all I have to say to that is, hurting people react this way. In the majority of those cases the person who says that has experienced some type of trauma in their lives that has hindered them sexually and they need to be free. It's not the pastor's problem, it's their problem. Or, they are simply in denial of what God's Word says on the subject and very convicted about it, thus the reason they get so touchy when the subject is mentioned. Please understand, I am not writing this today to hurt anyone's feelings, in fact that is the last thing I would ever want to do! However, I believe that someone needs to step up to the plate and boldly talk about this, not to hurt people, but to help them.
It's my prayer that there will come a time when people will no longer believe frequent sex for a married couple to be abnormal. What a sad commentary on marriage that it is seen as odd. Married sex should have the very best reputation since it's God's way of doing things. The current reputation of it's abnormality might have something to do with a lot of single men fearing a commitment to marriage. They hear horror stories from married men about how the sex wanes after a few years of marriage, and they are fearful. Rightfully so, I might add.