Chapter 5 - The Pleasure of Purity

Throughout my teenage years, I heard my fair share of talks about sex. The basic (and VERY important) idea that I came away with was - sex is for marriage, so wait. I'm so grateful that I heard and understood this, and that my pastors and youth leaders and parents urged me to value purity in my Christian life. I'm also glad my husband heard similar teaching.

It was only a few years ago, though, that I realised that I hadn't heard a lot about what our attitude to sex should be after we're married. I'd had learned that it was 'allowed' in marriage, but what should my attitudes be? Carolyn Mahaney provides a good framework in this chapter for thinking about sex in marriage. What I loved about this chapter is that it's not technique that she talks about, but attitudes. I suspect from talking to other women about this, that many of us have slipped into patterns of thinking about sex in marriage which are based on the assumptions of a godless society. She does a great job of explaining what the Bible says about sex in marriage, and provides some wonderful advice to guard against the temptation to unfaithfulness (flee temptation, set your minds on things above and pursue accountability with someone else).

I thought her section called "Three Principles for Grade A Passion" was very practical and would be a blessing and help to many married couples. I appreciated her willingness to 'flesh out' (no pun intended!!) the specifics of how to be godly in our attitudes to sex if we're married. While I agreed with what she said about trying to be attractive for your husband, I must admit that I had a few questions about how that relates to how others see us and her use of 1 Peter 3 (see this excellent discussion by Rachael about this part of the book). I thought her ideas on being available (based on 1 Cor 7 ) and being anticipatory (looking at the eroticism of Song of Songs) were extremely helpful. Let's face it, we won't be getting the kind of advice Carolyn offers from the average women's magazine which a) will invariably paint married sex as boring and b) tell you to think only of yourself and your own desires!

That said, while it is useful to get concrete advice, the how-to-ism of the "principles" means we must be careful not to read it as carrying an implied promise that if you do these three things "Grade A passion" will be yours - guaranteed. Some problems in marriage are far more complicated than this, and won't be 'solved' simply by one partner following Carolyn Mahaney's advice. If you felt that this chapter didn't address issues you might have in your sexual relationship with your husband, I suggest talking to an older Christian woman or talking as a couple with your minister or a professional (if in Sydney, Amelia Haines is a sex therapist who is also a Christian).

If you're interested in thinking about these sort of issues in more depth, I can recommend a book I read a few years ago called Intimate Issues. Like this chapter, it's not about technique, but about encouraging Christian women to have a Biblical view of sex in marriage.

NicoleFeminine Appeal1 Comment