This is a guest post by the fabulous Sheila Wray Gregoire of To Love, Honor, and Vacuum.
One of the curses of being a multitasking woman is that it’s hard to slow down and concentrate on one thing at one time. When I’m talking on the phone, I have to fold laundry. When I’m standing in line at the bank, I have to clean out my purse. And unfortunately, too often, when my husband and I are being *ahem* intimate, I prepare grocery lists.
It’s not that I mean to. I could be having a great old time when that thought will suddenly pop into my head—“is there milk in the fridge for breakfast?”—and then I’m gone. I am female. And that makes me utterly and completely distractible.
It’s because of this little quirk of female behavior that our approaches to sex are so different from our husbands’. While men tend to be excited right away, we have to warm up to it, because for women, desire is all in our heads. When our heads aren’t in the game, our bodies don’t follow.
So getting our heads in the game, and fighting against that multitasking tendency, is so important if we’re going to really enjoy our marriages. But it can be hard to bring our minds back to the matter at hand if we have the idea that sex is somehow—well—wrong. We suspect that God created it because He figured, “they have to reproduce somehow, and this is the best idea I’ve got.” And so we figure it was God’s concession to us, not something that’s beautiful.
It’s easy to see why we begin to believe this about sex, because our culture has so perverted it. When you take sex out of the marriage context, then sex becomes only about the physical. It’s not about a deep emotional or spiritual commitment; it’s only about pleasure. And that seems so shallow!
Even if we’re married, we can still have that idea about sex. And so instead of being able to be present in the moment, and feel that deep connection, we wander. We make do. We try to get it over with. Or maybe we even really enjoy it, but then we feel dirty afterwards.
God doesn’t want us to do any of those things. If you grew up with the King James Version of the Bible, do you remember sitting in church and snickering with your friends when the preacher read from Genesis, “And Adam knew his wife Eve, and they conceived unto them a son…” Yeah, right. Adam KNEW Eve. We thought it was a euphemism, like God was embarrassed and just trying to be polite.
But what if there was something far more fundamental going on there? In the Psalms, David uses the same Hebrew word when he cries out, “search me and KNOW me, O God…”
Sex is supposed to be a deep knowing, an intimate, beautiful experience. It’s not something we need to feel guilty about, or ashamed about. It’s not just physical, either. It’s about connection. When we make love, we become completely vulnerable. Completely transparent. And completely one. That’s the beauty that God created.
I know sometimes that’s hard to experience. We may “have sex”, but we find it difficult to “make love”, to experience that connection. That can be difficult if we’ve grown up with the idea that sex is somehow wrong, or if we’ve had bad experiences in the past, or if it just plain has never felt very good, and we’ve given up hope. But I believe that sex is God’s beautiful promise to us that we can experience a deep spiritual connection to someone here on this earth. It is supposed to be beautiful.
So next time you sense your mind wandering, bring it back. Find joy with your husband in that moment. Repeat to yourself (and even say out loud) why you love him. Feel him and embrace him and experience him. Don’t run away from the vulnerability; run towards it. And you may just start to sense what Eve did when she truly knew Adam.
Sheila’s new book, The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, looks at the three aspects of sex: the physical, the emotional, and the spiritual, and explores how we can experience each one to the fullest! She blogs everyday at To Love, Honor and Vacuum.