Monday, February 3, 2014

What Sex Unlocks in Marriage

Photo Credit: Maria Rosaria Sannino, Creative Commons, cc

It's a little bit like showing up to school with no pants on.

You've had that dream too, I'm sure. On a rushed morning getting ready for school, you dash out the door with your backpack and bag lunch. Not until you step out past the long line of orange school buses do you feel the wind on your thighs and realize that you've forgotten to put on your pants. Heart-thumping wildly, we all dash ourselves awake at this moment, our pulses racing as we sit up in a dark room.

I am honored to speak at an upcoming event this week, and love that they chose the "Ovens vs. Microwaves: Issues of Sexuality in Marriage" session of mine. It is one of my favorite workshops. Talking candidly about sex is a bit like showing up to school with no pants on. Yet it's a topic that we Christians need to talk about more often.

Whenever we fall into the notion that "good girls don't talk about sex or sexuality" we have forgotten how bluntly and unblushingly our God talks about sex. Sex was God's idea. He invented it, and us, intentionally sculpting in bundles of nerves throughout our bodies. Nerves that are not needed for the purposes of procreation, but are essential for pleasure.

In Hebrews 13:4, God declares, "Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled." The Greek word for bed here is koite, which in Latin is coitio meaning sex. Thus God says in Hebrews here that "Marriage is honorable in all, and the sex undefiled."

In the Biblical book of Song of Solomon, a play with two main characters, a Beloved and her Lover describe in tantalizing detail their desire for each other. On their wedding night at the consummation, a third voice enters the fray, saying quietly, smilingly, "Eat, o friends and drink; drink your fill, o lovers." Bible scholars wonder if this is their Creator telling them to enjoy what he has invented for them.

Gary Thomas, in his article entitled "The Power of a Pure Passion," explores some wild discoveries about sex and marriage, after new research on the chemical interactions of our brain, including the chemical oxytocin: 
The past decade has led to an explosion of understanding about the chemical interactions of our brains, and many insights about love and marriage have become more readily apparent. For starters, that wonderfully transcendent, carry-me-away feeling of infatuation will not last more than about 24 to 33 months. This sudden affection is intense, but it’s a “sprinter,” not a marathoner; it has no endurance, and will begin to fade about the time that most couples come home from their honeymoon.
As the inventor of our brains, our Creator knows this, so He also designed a follow-up act that literally renews a couple’s affection: sexual intimacy. Here’s how it works. At any given time, the female brain contains up to ten times more oxytocin than the male brain. Oxytocin is the bonding chemical that creates feelings of affection and empathy. You want to know why women tend to be more invested in close relationships than men? Oxytocin is one of the reasons.
There’s only one time in human experience when the husband’s level of oxytocin begins to approach that of his wife’s: immediately following an act of sexual intimacy. A man’s brain literally re-bonds with his spouse, making him, at that moment, more committed to his family, more satisfied with his wife, more invested in his home. Wives, why do your husbands want sex with you so often (whether they know this is the reason or not)? It’s because they never feel closer to you than immediately following that encounter.
Need some oxytocin? Does your man?

Take a moment to look across the room at him. Study his broad shoulders and that strong back. Close your eyes and remember his cologne, or sneak up to him and sniff his neck. Feel your lips on his skin. Think about some of the things you love about him emotionally and physically. Then disappear, and know that God is saying, "Have fun. I made this for you."

Hi friends. I love you stopping in. What do you think? What's an aspect of marriage that Christians don't talk enough about? 

(And linking with Ann to count gifts-- thankful for God's invention here today.) 


Anonymous said...

Good read Jen. I never knew women had 10X more. I learned something. I sent this to my boyfriend and told him how I know you! Miss you from Dallas!

-Jamie Kuduk

Jennifer Dougan said...


How fun to find you on here! Thanks for stopping in. Yes, isn't that great information? I have more too. Let me know if you are ever in town, and I can pass on some more info to you. How are you?! I miss you.


Sylvia R said...

How insightful! I wonder if you could give me your source for that info about 10 x more oxytocin in women than men. I have done some past writing that touched on the differences God designed into us, and this really sheds big light on how some of those differences happen.

Brian Miller said...

nice...this should be fun...i def think it is a topic we get very shy about sex...and i think in the right context it is a beautiful thing that yes god created...when i used to teach the youth i would cover it at least once a year...and what made it more uncomfortable was the parents...more than the kids...because they were afraid of having the conversation and stuck their heads in the sand like ostriches

Floyd said...

This is enlightening. I had no idea. Good for you! Isn't it like the enemy to try to steal the glory of our Father's creation? I'm praying for your engagement. You got it down!

stuckinindiana said...

I get your posts in my inbox and found it to be interesting that we were posting on similar topics :) Stopping by again through Ann's site. Have a blessed day!

Linda M. said...

You hit the nail on the head, Lady! If anyone takes sex out of the context of marriage then that make it bad and hard to talk about. It is a wonderful thing when used as God intended it! Thanks.

Lisa notes... said...

You go, brave woman! I'm glad you're speaking on this topic because Christians, of all people, should be able to talk openly about the beauty of sex. Wish my husband were home right now. :)

Jayne said...

Great read! We women do need to talk about this more often. We need to encourage each other in all relationships, but especially the marriage relationship. Marriage does take work and part of the work is a healthy, active sex life!

Jennifer Dougan said...


Yes, aren't those great statistics? The oxytocin stats are from Gary Thomas' article "The Power of Pure Passion," found here.

How fun that you write on this topic as well. It's an important issue to discuss, huh?

Jennifer Dougan

Jennifer Dougan said...


Sex is one of my most-requested topics to speak on, and it's definitely something that we Christians should talk joyfully about more often, I agree. God designed a beautiful thing for marriage.Good job for tackling it with teens too, from a biblical perspective. Thanks.


Jennifer Dougan said...

So true, Floyd. Thanks for your prayers last week for my speaking engagement. It seemed to go well, thanks to God!


Jennifer Dougan said...

Hi StuckinIndiana,

Isn't it interesting when God stirs people's hearts about similar themes? He's onto something unseen apparently. :) Fun to partner with him, huh?

Nice to talk with you,

Jennifer Dougan said...

Linda M,

Thanks for stopping in here. I agree. Sex in God's design and parameters brings joy, outside of it can cause hurt.

Have a great week,

Jennifer Dougan said...

Hi Lisa Notes,

Thanks for dropping in. Yes, it takes courage but it's so necessary to talk about, huh?

Grinning with you as you miss your man, ;)

Jennifer Dougan said...

Oh I agree, Jayne. Thank you.


cabinart said...

Jennifer, I think one of the reasons we don't talk about it is that it exposes our spouses. If we were with strangers or if it was a singular activity, perhaps it would feel okay to discuss it more openly.

Jennifer Dougan said...

It's true, Cabinart/Jana. That's valid and an important aspect to remember in these discussions. Thanks.

Much of life discussions can get impacted by that too, huh?

Thanks for stopping by,

Breakfast in Moscow said...

This was so interesting and well-written. I had no idea about some of this. Great read :)

Jennifer Dougan said...

Thanks, Elizabeth/Breakfast in Moscow. It's interesting, isn't it? I am thankful for hod God made our bodies too!

Jennifer Dougan