Three Cheers for Real Sex!

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.