On Saturday, Jon Acuff, over at Stuff Christians Like, asked for some advice on a talk on sex he is supposed to present at a Christian college. That prompted me to wonder what I would say if given the same opportunity. I landed on this: “7 Steps to Great Sex in Marriage.” Keep in mind this is for college students, so I’m gearing it towards folks who aren’t married. However, I hope it will be helpful to everyone.
7 Steps to Great Sex in Marriage
In any given week, you can walk through the checkout line at your local grocery store and find the world’s suggestions for great sex. You can see headlines for tips, tricks, and techniques that will drive your partner wild or get them to drive you crazy. I have to wonder why there are so many articles. I mean, if they were really working, wouldn’t they need only one article? I can’t help but see the emptiness of their approach. Oh, I’m sure if you actually bought one of those magazines and tried out some of their tricks you’d have some fun for a few minutes. But later you’d be disappointed that the high didn’t last. The buzz faded and now you need something more. So, instead of 10 tricks to make your mate melt, you need 50 tips to satisfy that special someone. Blah! How about some real advice that will help you have lasting satisfaction and great sex?
So, here are 7 steps to great sex.
Step #1: Understand that sex is optional
I know that blows your mind. But, the very first step is to keep sex in the proper perspective. Sex is fun. Sex is enjoyable. But sex is not necessary. Nobody ever died from not having sex. According to I Corinthians 7:7, Paul wasn’t having sex and it didn’t kill him. Guys, don’t believe the locker room talk. Your manhood won’t swell up or fall off just because you aren’t getting your “release.” As long as you think you need sex to survive, you will always be frustrated. You will place way too much expectation on the act itself and it will never fulfill your desires, not for long anyway.
Step #2: Focus on your relationship with God.
That’s what I said. Focus on your relationship with God. The greatest frustrations with sex come from thinking that sex will somehow make you whole. They come from thinking that physical contact with another person will provide what is missing in your life. It just isn’t true. Follow Paul’s advice in I Corinthians 7:32. Right now, be anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please Him. Let Him be your rock and your refuge (Psalm 18:1-3). Then you won’t have to place impossible expectations on sex or on a sex partner to complete what is missing in your life.
Step #3: Get a life before you get a mate.
Proverbs 24:27 says, “Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house.” The main point is you need to be able to provide for a family before you start having one. But I also see another fundamental lesson here. Figure out your life’s work before you invite someone else to be part of it. Don’t spend these college years trying to figure out who you are going to marry. Figure out what you are going to do with your life. Where do you fit in God’s kingdom? What is your life’s work? What is your passion? Do you want to be a world traveler? Do you want to stay in your hometown? Do you want to be a teacher? Do you want to be a janitor? Do you want to preach? Do you want to be a missionary? Nothing can mess up your sex life like constantly arguing with your spouse about what your life is supposed to be like and where it will be lived.
Step #4: Let God bring someone into your life.
Having devoted your life to God and pursued a path of service to Him, let Him bring someone into your life that is walking that same path. Trust the Lord with this aspect of your life and He will make your path straight (Proverbs 3:5-6). What a joy to find someone to not simply share a bed with, but to share a life with. Someone who will work together with you as a team in whatever endeavor you pursue. When you’ve done this, you’ll never have to have the arguments about whose turn it is to pursue dreams and goals because you will be pursuing the same goals already. Trust me, nothing will kill your sex life faster than going in two separate directions for your whole life.
This one is scary, I know. You are wondering, “What if God doesn’t bring someone into my life?” That is why step #1 is step #1. Sex is optional. Here is where I’m going to lose some of you. But, as shocking as it may be, if you work steps 1 through 3 well, then if you never have sex, you won’t be miserable. You’ll still be satisfied and fulfilled. Why? Because you weren’t relying on sex to provide you with fulfillment, satisfaction, and meaning.
Step #5: Develop a real relationship with that someone.
I know you’re excited about getting some lip, holding, cuddling. Resist. Work on a real relationship instead. I know this will surprise you; but making out does not build a relationship. At the wrong time, it actually stifles the relationship. Spend time with this person around other people. See how they interact with older people, younger people, peers, parents, professors. Work together with them. Go volunteer at a homeless shelter together. Visit the sick and shut-in together. Go out with groups of people. Yes, even go out with your entire families. Why? Because this is how you get to know someone. This is how you see who and what they are. Spend time talking. Ask questions. Talk about hopes and dreams. Talk about fears and doubts. Study the Bible together. Pray together. Have you ever noticed that when Solomon wrote Proverbs 31 to tell his son how to look for a wife, he talked to him about work, thrift, diligence, family, but not once about whether or not she was a good kisser or good in bed. The minute your time together becomes about making out or having sex, that is the minute you quit growing in your relationship. Resist making this romantic until you are sure you want to pursue that course. Getting romantic too quickly can lead to emotional connections you will carry with you for the rest of your life if the relationship doesn’t work. It’s tough to have great sex with your spouse by the light of the candles you’re still burning for past loves. Let’s face it. There is no fool-proof way to only develop one deep relationship that lasts forever. Even wise people acting in godly ways start to develop a relationship and realize it needs to end at some point. But you don’t have to be foolish and develop a romantic relationship with every person you connect with along the way.
Step #6: Make the commitment.
Once you’ve decided this is the person you want to spend your life with, make the commitment (Hebrews 13:4). Take the vows. Don’t try an experiment. Don’t move-in and see how it will work. Make the commitment and then work at it. Intimacy can never be deep, meaningful, fulfilling, or satisfying if you’re not sure your partner is going to stick around. You will always hold something back and so will your partner. So make the commitment. Walk the aisle. Say, “I do.” Do I have to spell it out for you? G-E-T M-A-R-R-I-E-D for life.
Step #7: Let sex be a celebration of all you have developed in the previous steps.
Now you are ready for great sex. Now that you have filled all the holes with your relationship with God and now that you have developed a great relationship with someone and now that you have committed to each other for life, you are ready to celebrate. One of the greatest ways to celebrate is sex. Having built the proper foundation for your relationship, physical intimacy no longer stifles relational intimacy, it builds on it (Song of Solomon).
Have fun with each other. Explore each other. Enjoy each other. You don’t need books, videos, or magazines to tell you what to do. Let’s face it, sex isn’t rocket science. Find what is fun for you and your spouse. Work to please each other. If you’ve followed these steps you won’t be laden with false expectations or bad memories. You will be free to enjoy each other without comparison to anyone else or anything else. Who cares if you’ve ever tried the tabloids’ 50 tips to make your partner tingle. You will both be tingling with excitement because sex will be more to you than just getting it on. It will be about a deep relationship, meaningfully anchored with one another in God. That meaningful and satisfying relationship continually provides fulfillment even when you aren’t having sex.
And that is what makes great sex.
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PS: If you’ve already blown these first 7 steps, don’t despair. There is hope for you and your marriage. Check out my post 7 More Steps for Those of Us Who Blew the 7 Steps to Great Sex in marriage