One of my pastor’s favorite lines is, “The problem with our church is that our singles are having too much sex, and our married people are not having enough.”
Every time he says it there is initial laughter at how funny that is, followed by a sort of uncomfortable chuckling at just how true it is.
It’s an interesting dynamic. There is the idea in our culture about married sex vs. single sex. As in, married sex is boring or non-existent and single sex is all about the hot passion. This is wrong both statistically and morally.
What’s interesting to me is that it seems married people are constantly willing to tell their single friends all about their lack of sex. I can’t count the conversations I’ve had like this. It’s kind of mind boggling really. Married people are constantly telling me about the sex they don’t have. Very rarely are they telling me about the sex they do have.
Now I’m not talking about when a friend is sharing their life with me. In other words there are men that I walk with and we all have struggles. There are other men that I mentor and they are just letting me know what is going on so that I can walk with them. That’s all good and honesty is vital in all of that. We all go through different stages and issues. Sexual struggle in a marriage can certainly be one of those.
What I’m talking about is this general idea out there that sex in marriage is not so great. I feel like that is not really the best thing to tell single people. What is the message exactly? Is the Christian community’s message, “Whatever you do, don’t have sex outside of marriage, wait for marriage. And by the way, it’s not really that great then either.” Really?!
I get that telling a wide eyed 20 year old that marriage is not a sex on demand scenario is probably pretty wise. But constantly sending the message to the average Christian single that sex in marriage is always infrequent, hard work and often not good, seems kind of counter productive.
Let’s get real. Even in the “evil and dangerous” secular world, the statistics don’t back this up. In all the research I’ve seen married people have more and better sex than single people who are trying to have sex. 40% of married people have sex twice a week, compared to 20-25% of single and cohabitating couples. Not only that but a significantly higher percentage of married men and women say sex is emotionally and physically satisfying than single people. To top it off, married couples are more likely to hit orgasm – so that’s nice.
This isn’t to make light of the struggles that many married people have sexually. I’ve walked with some people through tough stuff so I know it’s real. But we need to do some things differently here if we are going to be honest and encourage single believers toward marriage.
To begin with, as my pastor says, married people need to have more sex. Seriously. For about a hundred reasons. If you aren’t, then you HAVE TO get help and figure it out.
Next, married folks need to realize that what they say about sex has impact. They also need to realize that the biggest problem out there right now isn’t single people rushing into marriage for sex, it’s that they are running away from marriage period. The context has changed. You are not doing the single person any favors by downplaying sex in marriage.
Finally, we need the married people who are having sex to be more real. I remember one time talking with a friend after his ten year anniversary trip. He said, “Bro, gotta tell ya. Great trip. Stayed at the cabin. Man, that cabin will never be the same. I mean . . . wow. I don’t know if you’ve had premarital sex at all but I have. And it is nothing compared to what happened this weekend. I mean when there is trust, commitment and intimacy, all things are possible. . . just trust me on this. . . wow!”
Now that’s a ringing endorsement of marriage. I’m in!
I think there is this tendency with married Christian couples to only talk about sex when it isn’t going well. We need you to talk about it when it is. We don’t need the details. My friend didn’t say what positions they tried. He didn’t video it and post it to facebook. But he did share how he felt about it.
It’s true that we need realistic expectations. What we don’t need is a message that says, “make sure you wait for it, but it’s not that great.”
What message have you received from married believers about sex? Has it made you more or less excited about marriage?