God doesn't consider sex to be taboo. In fact, sex was God's idea. He created us male and female, and He instituted marriage with the intent that two would become "one flesh" (Genesis 2:24). Why then, do so many couples fail to find mutual satisfaction in this important area of marriage?

Unrealistic expectations offered by the media are often to blame. Films, magazines, and novels convey the idea that sexual thrill and mutual sexual satisfaction are automatic. Thus, when couples encounter intimacy difficulties, they're often frustrated and assume their struggles are unique. In reality, most couples struggle in this part of their marriage.

Mutual sexual fulfillment isn't automatic. Mutually satisfying intimacy must be learned. God told ancient Israel that a young husband should take one year free from work and war and learn to pleasure his wife (Deuteronomy 24:5). Couples in our society try to cram the honeymoon into a weekend or a week. God suggested a yearlong honeymoon. Just as you must grow together intellectually, emotionally, socially, and spiritually, you must grow together sexually.

For the wife, good sexual relations are enhanced with positive expressions of thoughtfulness on the part of the husband throughout the day. Kindness and thoughtfulness on her husband's part pave the way for meaningful sexual experiences.

I've often been asked, "Why did God make us so different sexually?" My answer is that God intended sex to be an act of love in which both husband and wife have the attitude, How can I pleasure you? If you make it an act of love, in which you're each seeking the well being of your spouse, you'll find mutual sexual fulfillment. However, if you focus only on your own pleasure, you may never find such fulfillment. Sex was designed by God to be a deep and intimate expression of love, not simply a physical act.

Some Christians have a negative attitude toward sex. It may have come from distorted sex education, or unfortunate sexual experiences as a child, or sexual involvement as a teenager that brought disappointment and guilt. It's important to understand that you choose your attitude.

The first step in overcoming a negative attitude is exposure to the truth. The truth about sex is that God ordained and designed it to bring mutual pleasure in marriage. As in all of life, you're called to live by the truth. Admit your negative attitudes and feelings but don't serve them. With God's help, you can choose to affirm His plans for sex.

What's the purpose of sex in marriage? What was God's design? Scripture clearly reveals three reasons. The first, and most obvious, is procreation. It was God's design to provide a safe haven in which to rear children. A second purpose is to provide companionship. Sex is designed to be a bonding experience. The biblical concept is "They become one flesh" (Genesis 2:24). The idea is deep companionship, which is why it's reserved for marriage. A third purpose for sex in marriage is pleasure. If you doubt this, read the Song of Songs.

In contemporary society, many couples come to marriage with previous sexual experience, either with each other, or with other partners. The commonly held idea that sexual experience before marriage better prepares us for marriage is erroneous. All of the research indicates otherwise. In fact, the divorce rate is higher among those who've been sexually active before marriage.

To find mutual sexual fulfillment, you must learn to communicate openly about this part of your marriage. Your spouse will never know your feelings, needs, and desires, if you don't express them. Couples can't gain sexual oneness without open communication about sexual matters.

In my book, Happily Ever After, I recommend that you make a list of suggestions you'd like to give to your spouse that would make marriage intimacy better for you. This list may include simple things that your spouse has never considered. Open communication is the road to finding mutual sexual fulfillment in marriage.

Paul encouraged married couples not to "deprive one another sexually" (1 Corinthians 7: 5). I believe that couples should read and discuss Christian books that approach sexuality from a biblical perspective. Understanding male and female differences, which God created, and learning to cooperate with those differences to find mutual sexual fulfillment, was His design.

Happy are the couples who take the time to learn how to relate to each other sexually, in keeping with God's design.


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