When I work with couples who have been raised in the Church, immersed in Christian culture, one common thread runs through our conversations as we talk about sex. That thread is “shame.”
The message that sex is inherently bad runs deep and is so ingrained that many couples cannot share in intimacy without feeling embarrassed and dirty.
Some of them learned this through implicit messages spoken from their church leaders. Others learned this message of shame through the silence of their parents and churches – a refusal to discuss sexuality in any way.
The worst part of this sex-shaming is that these couples cannot experience freedom to enjoy their God-created sexuality within the context of marriage without the negative emotions that inevitably follow.
Instead of healthy intimacy that unites and creates oneness and a deep spiritual connection, sex becomes a necessary evil and a wedge that creates distance and resentment.
These couples come in with sexual aversion, lack of sexual desire and arousal, and problems with sexual pain as a result of the negative programming in their memories.
God made sex to be enjoyed! He made each of us as sexual beings – that doesn’t start when we get married.
If faith is a part of your marriage, engage the Truth of your beliefs as you build your sexual ethic together. Talk about sex and begin to shine some light into those dark corners where shame hides. Be advocates for one another’s sexual healing journeys – as a spouse you hold the unique position to create a safe space for vulnerability.
If you are feeling stuck and need help to navigate the process, make an appointment and I’ll walk alongside you both through it.
Did you grow up hearing negative messages (or even silence) about sex and healthy sexuality? Has it affected your sex life as an adult? How? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
This article was originally published on Houston Relationship Therapy's blog here.