4 minute read

Three Cheers for Real Sex!

Last Updated: February 13, 2023

Jen Ferguson
Jen Ferguson

Jen Ferguson is a wife, author, and speaker who is passionate about helping couples thrive in their marriages. She and her husband, Craig, have shared their own hard story in their book, Pure Eyes, Clean Heart: A Couple’s Journey to Freedom from Pornography. They continue to help couples along in their journeys to freedom and intimacy. She’s also a mama to two girls and two high-maintenance dogs, which is probably why she runs. A lot. Even in the Texas heat.

How many movies have you seen that portray a couple who’s been married for thirty years having sex?

I am sure a few exist, but when you think generally about who’s having sex on the big screen, it’s usually a younger couple that recently started dating or are just having a “one night stand.” The sex is hot and heavy and very sensual.

And so, consciously or not, we think sex should always be hot, heavy, sensual, and new.

Because the truth is, when a relationship just begins, it comes with a whole host of hormones that give us butterflies in our stomachs. We have a desire to explore and to please. We’re creative and think about new ways we can add spice to our sex life.

This is all part of God’s design. He knew our hormones would play a role into drawing us together. They help us to create those initial bonds of connection. If we wait to have sex until we get married, we develop a deep longing for the other person as we prepare ourselves for our wedding day.

It’s been our experience—and I don’t think we’re alone in this—that a couple’s sex life changes over time. What was once new can begin to feel old, or even routine. We may not experience the same rush when we lay our eyes upon our spouse as we once did when we first met. The longing may subside because of the very fact that s/he is there all the time.

The saying “distance makes the heart grow fonder” has an element of truth; we miss what we don’t have. The flip side is also true: we sometimes begin to take for granted what we perceive is always a given.

The longer we are married, the more we may begin to long for sex the way it was during our early years. We see what it’s like in the movies and start to think that our sex life is lacking.  

Comparing our real sex life to the fake sex life in the movies just sets us up for failure. In fact, if we stop comparing, and instead look at God’s design for our sex life, we might find our relationship growing deeper, more sensual, and more fulfilling.

Here are four reasons to celebrate having a sex life that looks different than the one on the big screen.

1. You’re part of a mystery.

You’ve probably heard it said before that marriage entails far more than solely pledging eternal vows. Our words actually invite God to do something with our individual lives. Ephesians 5:31-32 says, For this reason a man is to leave his father and his mother and lovingly hold to his wife, since the two have become joined as one flesh. Marriage is the beautiful design of the Almighty, a great and sacred mystery—meant to be a vivid example of Christ and his church.”

When you speak your marriage vows, God does a powerful and mysterious work and takes two people and joins them into one. Although you retain your individual identities, you begin to function as one unit.

When we engage in sex, we create a physical example of this unity—our bodies connected in complete intimacy. Sex on the big screen often takes place outside of marriage and misses this mystery.

This marital sex is a reminder of the power of God at work in our lives.

2. It’s a witness to the world.

Yes, the intimate act of sex occurs where no one can see (unless your kid accidentally interrupts you, but that’s an article for another day), and yet, our sex life has a powerful impact on the people around us.

The truth is that when we have happy, healthy sex lives, and when we approach sex to give and not just to receive, our marriage is also happier and healthier.

As such, we love each other well. We are selfless. We are much more likely to embody a 1 Corinthians 13 kind-of-love. And when we do that, the world notices. They want to know how we do it and we can point them to Jesus, the ultimate example of sacrificial, unconditional love.

Sex on the big screen rarely depicts long-lasting commitment that endures through the hardest of times and that perseveres through each other’s junk. But, if we are loving unconditionally, we give one another grace when the other isn’t at his/her best. Just as Jesus doesn’t forsake us when we mess up, neither does our spouse.

Our sex is a reminder of how much Jesus loves us and the world.

3. It creates deeper soul ties.

Have you ever noticed how people in the movies always have the perfect hair and make-up when they’re having sex? Even the rumpled look is staged, right?

Nine times out of ten, when my husband initiates sex (or I initiate with him), I’m completely ready for bed. No make-up. Hair definitely not fixed. I’m probably wearing ratty pajamas.

There’s something truly special about feeling desirable even when you know you’re not meeting the world’s standards of beauty. As our marriage matures, the relationship is built on what’s inside of us, rather than what’s on the outside of us.

Our sex is a reminder that our value is not in our exterior looks, but on the person we are holistically.

4. God’s design for sex can be treasured.

Much of the sex on the big screen shows how carelessly people engage in it. Sometimes sex happens on the first date. Sometimes a first date isn’t even required!

The point is that sex isn’t treasured. The characters dole out their bodies to whomever they want or to whoever wants them. Chances are, that sexual encounter won’t lead to a lasting relationship, and as such, the intimacy in those moments sows discontent and distrust, rather than leading to trust and a deepening of the relationship.

Sex is not a guarantee that you’ll keep the guy or girl in the movies. In marriage, it’s a reaffirmation of the covenant. Sex with your spouse can be a beautiful union because you have both committed to a covenant relationship.

Sex is a reminder that we are committed to seeing our relationship to the end of our earthly life.

I realize that the four reasons I have listed above are not a perfect representation of every marriage. They are God’s ideals for sex, but they are not always the reality. Your relationship with your spouse may be broken; trust may be shattered. You may be struggling to believe that sex within marriage is better than sex in the movies.

Ultimately, God’s design for sex is better than the sex in any movie you will ever watch.

That is something to celebrate, don’t you think?

May we be empowered to look to His image of marriage and sex instead of looking to the big screen for what our relationships are supposed to resemble.

  • Comments on: Three Cheers for Real Sex!
    1. Mitch

      “Marriage entails far more than solely pledging eternal vows”

      Unless you are Mormon, your vows are NOT eternal but until death. Even Scientologists in the SeaOrg only pledge 1 billion years to the church, well short of eternal.

      And no matter how good your marriage is, I think keeping it out of eternity is a good idea.

      • Mike

        The article is how I used to view marriage. My wife had an affair and even though we are trying to work it out, all of those things are shattered and never coming back. The mystery has been shared with another man, the covenant has been broken, my wife cant say shes been there for me.

    2. RickyB

      1 Corinthians 7 cites another benefit of marital sex not mentioned in this article. It helps defend against sinful temptations like lust, porn, and adultery. Granted, those are less sentimental reasons and more practical reasons for not depriving. But the Bible does tend to be a very practical book.

      So I say four cheers for real sex!

    3. RickyB

      I don’t expect movie sex. But is it too much to ask that my wife and I have sex with some minimal level of regularity and that it would include basic kindness and respect? Are my expectations wildly out of proportion for even wanting that?

      Is there such a thing as having too low expectations? I mean for a husband, that is. Obviously, wives are advised to have very high expectations going into marriage (https://www.amazon.com/You-Are-Prize-Won-Settle-ebook/dp/B00LA9FPKA).

      • Mike j

        I can’t help but noticing that the people who have a healthy sex life find the article encouraging whilst those who don’t find it discouraging. Unfortunately I am in the latter category. No marital act for 19 years. Zero. Nada. I am not go into details but it has more to do with my wife’s mental, physical and emotional limitations. I also think we deceive ourselves when we promulgate the mantra that the best sex you will ever have is within marriage. That is simply not true. Many people cohabitating their whole lives will have much better sex than those who are married. What there eternal fate will be I will leave to God.
        Christians suffer in many areas of life. Unfortunately the sexual relationship is one of them. And sorry. Divorcing your wife after 19 years is not exactly a profile in courage and especially if she is incapable of living on her own.

    4. Cindy

      You have mentioned sex on the big screen, sex on TV, Hollywood sex…
      WHY would any God-fearing, born again Christian be watching sex on TV or in the movies?????? HELLO?????

      • Moriah Dufrin

        Hi Cindy,

        Great question. For unbelievers who do not feel conviction regarding sex on TV, we wanted to remind them that real sex IS better than sex on a screen. Each person, whether Christian or not, has their own personal conviction as to what is appropriate to watch on TV. At Covenant Eyes, we would never, of course, recommend that anyone watch sex in movies or TV. But for those who have seen any sort of sexual interaction (even just kissing) on the big screen, we want them to know that God’s design for sex is so much better!

        I hope this answers your question! I’d be happy to discuss this topic more, if you have other questions!

    5. Lee

      These four points are great-when both husband and wife are on the same page. If they are not it can be a reminder to the husband that he is stuck and can’t change anything about it. Just love her like Jesus and too bad for you. Sorry but these are pie in the sky words from someone who has been there, done that and has the t-shirt. Bitter…I suppose. But at least there is Heaven to look forward to.

    6. Michael

      RickyB, I think I understand what you mean. I think because men tend to be more visual, there is a “men objectifying women” theme in society. So, naturally, there is a response to point out the value of women. I think couples need to remember true Christian charity. This goes both ways. I think the secular culture’s valuation of women can sometimes come more from a selfish man vs. woman point-of-view rather than a charitable one.

    7. Thank you for your thoughts on real sex in marriage. My lovely wife and I are going on 38 years of marriage this November. However we are celebrating about 10 years of reality of marriage this fall. I say the former in that we tolerated each other but now we really look forward to growing old together. With the movie industry mentality of sex and unresolved family of origin issues our marriage went sideways from the get go.
      It wasn’t until about ten years ago that we got the help we needed through ministries like Faithful & True and Pure Desire. To credit your article there is a deep appreciation for real sex in our marriage!!

      • Moriah Dufrin


        Praise God for his work in your marriage! And thank you for sharing your story here. May it be a beacon of hope for others who are fighting for their marriage!


    8. Paul Nkhata

      The four points are absolutely encouraging for the couples who really want to enjoy a health sex life. They actually expose the deception of the fake sex.

    9. Because people have struggles. That’s the reason for covenant eyes. Men and women have addictions that involve lust n porn, n they are trying to get help. But it doesn’t happen over night. Be careful with that type of attitude, please. All people in church are not to that place where they’re ready to go back with Jesus. You seem to be. You may not struggle with anything. Good for you. Many Christians have struggles that tagged along from when they weren’t saved. Pray for them.

    10. Jon

      Real sex in my marriage is deeply disappointing and also very rare:

      1. You’re part of a mystery. How can I hold my wife lovingly if I have never felt love for anyone? How is my failure a vivid example of Christ’s love for the church? After 22 years and over 10,000 overtures of various sorts for various kinds of closeness, I am still waiting for God to join me and my wife into one. Sex with my wife would be great if she were willing to do it and if
      we actually had some sort of emotional intimacy. Is the failure of our intimacy supposed to remind me of God’s powerlessness? I think not!
      It reminds me of my brokenness so extreme that I have never felt love.

      The mystery is why my wife and I even bother to stay together.

      2. It’s a witness to the world. How is my inability to have the feeling of love for anyone or anything or even myself an example of Jesus’ love. The sex I used to occasionally have with my wife is a reminder of how far I am from being anything like Jesus, and does not in any way show anyone how much Jesus loves us and the world.

      3. It creates deeper soul ties. My wife rejects me and I feel utterly undesired. General Rejection of sex is a reminder of how unlovable I am to my wife and how little value I have to her.

      4. God’s design for sex can be treasured:
      My wife’s general refusal of sex is a general rejection of the covenant. My wife’s rejection of Sex is a reminder that she is not committed to seeing our relationship to the end of our earthly life.

      • MC3712

        You are being betrayed by your wife every bit as much as she would be betrayed if you were using porn. But since this blog doesn’t believe wives who sexually refuse their husbands are betraying them, I will have to be the one to say it.

      • kps

        A woman not fulfilling her marital vows or obligations is worthy of a legitimate discussion of a divorce. God accepts divorce in certain circumstances, adultery for one, refusal to participate in the renewal of one’s vows (which the marital embrace (intercourse) represents.

    11. Mario Jimenez

      Three cheers for real sex is the goal for each one of us, but as time rolls on we tend to forget. Problems arise and we fall victims to the devils traps. Unfaithfulness, lust, looking elsewhere. These should be taught at the premarital counseling.

    12. Frost

      I read the commentaries, and I see a lot of really selfish. This is the result of the sin, all the people search report back. “Not give your self for the other! Because she don’t give her self to you”, they said. Group of selfish! “Love is not self-seeking”. If you demand the sex, that is representing of your big problem. You’re die inside. God gives the real love, love is give your self for the other WITHOUT EXPECTING FOR ANYTHING IN RETURN.

      How are you died to use the God’s words to demand sex of your wife? Your wife isn’t here to please you, she’s here to give your life for her. That’s the reaseon because you, group of selfish, are unhappy with your wife.

      Your wife have her sinnes, but you only need to tell her, but never, in this holy world, demand the sex. Demand sex is the result of the lust, is the victory of Satan in the sex.

    13. Caleb Vaidya Ricardi

      Wow, a lot of different takes on sex in and out of marriage. I, however am in a different boat when it comes to sex, I am 25 and not married or dating. My struggle lies in video games actually, more specifically league of legends. I was wondering if anyone can help me in this, or relate

      • Keith Rose

        Hi Caleb,

        Thanks for your comment! I think it depends a bit whether your struggle is simply spending too much time with video games or using video games/video game characters as porn. If you’re using them as porn, then you really need to get rid of the games completely. If it’s more a time-wasting situation, there are less extreme options. In either case, I think accountability will be a great help! You may just need to hand over these games to your ally for a time.



    14. Joshua

      Great article and very resourceful indeed

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