The last few blogs have been making the point that sex is about much more than just sex. It’s about intimacy, about emotional and spiritual connection. It’s about respect and honoring and cherishing. It’s not so much about my needs, my urges, but about lovingly delighting my spouse.
Intimacy needs to begin well before marriage – during the engagement period, and probably earlier. Though, as I discussed previously, intimacy at this stage is mostly non-physical. Deep bonding occurs simply through very intimate conversation – sharing hopes, dreams, secrets. As the wedding approaches, it includes detailed discussion on how you think coning together sexually may play out. Kissing and cuddling sessions at this stage only divert you from real intimacy, returning your focus to the physical.
Last blog commented that intimacy is relevant also to the question of whether sex will be painful, at least at first. I argued that a full, holistic understanding of sex and intimacy makes that early pain much less likely.
Given this theme, I was interested to notice a podcast on Authentic Intimacy, with the title “Are You Having Sex, or Building Intimacy?”. You can find it at https://www.authenticintimacy.com/resources/13386/267?source=blog I’ve mentioned Authentic Intimacy, and co-founder Dr. Juli Slattery a few times before. From an uncertain start, I’ve come to deeply respect both her, and the ministry. Early in this podcast Dr. Slattery mentions the “hook up” culture in which we live. The culture that makes sex a transaction without any relational obligation. And she suggests that many a marriage is not far removed, the main difference being that marriage gives a veneer of moral correctness. But if it’s just sex, without sexual integrity (another phrase developed by this ministry) then it’s little better than a “hook up”. Ouch! There’s food for thought!
I want to say at this point that I’m not anti-sex. Perhaps I’ve been giving that impression with all this talk about intimacy being primary. Oh my, sex is such a good gift from God. Dynamic, varied, uninhibited, frequent sex is an incredible part of covenant marriage. But just remember that if your love life is goal-oriented, focused on the buzz, the release of sexual tension, it will be so much less fulfilling.