Sadly, you wouldn’t be alone, but this doesn’t have to be your story.
It is the story of many. Indeed, my heart is burdened for the billions of believers who feel they have followed God’s word in regard to sexual purity only to be rewarded (thus far) with profound disappointment.
Some, because they remain virgins long beyond the time frame they thought they would have to, with no prospects for marriage on the horizon.
Some, because, despite their best efforts, they’ve failed to hold onto their virginity, and now feel judged by others and (perhaps) ashamed of themselves.
Q: Who generally gets the blame for all this discontent?
A: The church. But sometimes God. Or both God and the church working together to spoil the sexual enjoyment of good little Christian boys and girls everywhere.
We may sing to God, “You’re never going to let… never going to let me down,” but the reality is, when it comes to their sex life, many do feel God has let them down – big time.
However, disappointment is merely the result of unmet expectations and so if you have unrealistic expectations for something (like, oh I don’t know, say: sex) you’re unwittingly setting yourself up for disappointment. That said,
If we are to maintain a chaste life characterized by joy instead of dissatisfaction, both before and after marriage, we must identify and examine our sexual expectations.
Whether you consider yourself among the sexually dissatisfied or among those who hope they shan’t be, there are two important questions we need to address:
- Do we have realistic expectations for the sexual experience?
- From where did we derive our expectations?
Of course, I can’t answer those questions for everyone, but I can for myself. And then I pray (and I’m doing that right now as I type these words) this will empower you to answer that question for yourself.
First, what were my expectations for the marriage bed? In two words: bed breaking. (That might actually be one compound word.)
Can you relate?
Do you expect marital sex to be pretty dad gum epic, pretty much every time?
Would the words “pretty dad gum epic, pretty much every time” be a realistic expectation for anything? (That was a rhetorical question.)
But now the second query: where did I come up with my ideas for what bed-breaking sex would even look like?
Again, many bitter believers blame the church, but that wasn’t my experience. Admittedly, I see the occasional post, on Christian sites about how to have “bed-breaking sex” with your spouse or how to keep the marriage bed “hot as fire” (referring to the fire of the Holy Spirit, no doubt, not the fires of hell).
But if you’ve ever checked out posts like that, you know they don’t read like a Cosmopolitan article describing exotic sex positions, like the Frontside Misty, the Backside Rodeo flip, or the Ninety Roll. (Or are those snowboarding maneuvers?)
Instead they talk about things like communicating better, encouraging your partner throughout the day and praying together. (And no “praying together” is not a sexual (or snowboarding) position. That I know of.)
So where do our expectations come from?
Well for me, they came from the television shows and movies I watched as young as nine. It’s as simple as that. I never got a clue as to what sex should “look” like (or sound like) from the sex education I got in school, or the teaching on purity I got at my church.
The church might have told me that if I kept a tight rein on my sex drive I’d be richly rewarded. Then again, that might have been something I told myself; something I simply wanted to believe to make my struggle more bearable. Regardless…
I let the world define what “bed-breaking” sex would be like.
And to clarify, it wasn’t primarily pornographic portrayals that painted that picture for me. (Thank the Maker, internet porn and cell phones did not exist when I was 13.) I barely watched many raunchy R-rated movies, much less pornos.
No, the most compelling input that framed my expectations for the sexual experience came from watching shows not too much different from Stranger Things. Shows, which weren’t really about sexuality at all, but never-the-less featured side stories and steamy scenes which captured my imagination.
And “captured” is a nice word for it. It would be more accurate to say they enslaved my thought life.
That’s why, after watching Steve Harrington and Nancy Wheeler hooking up sans shirts at the start of episode three of season one, I had to stop watching Stranger Things. And not even because I’m still that weak (by God’s grace), but because…
My heart grieves so deeply for my weaker brothers and sisters who have allowed the media to set their sexual tastes without even realizing it.
And in doing so, they have already sowed the seeds of discontent in their future marriage, before they’re even old enough to date.
And worse than the unrealistic expectations all this sexual input is instilling in us, is a reality much, much darker and more destructive than the Demogorgon. But I’ll get to that in the final episode of our Date Night Advice (DNA) series on Sexual Things.
In the meantime, be sure to go back and read any pieces in our current series you may have missed, or check out our Hot Topic page dedicated to sexual purity.
DNA: It’s What’s For Dating
It’s NOT for couples, but for any wise individual who thinks they might want to get married sometime before they die. And would like to learn how to better build healthy relationships in the meantime.
Check out all three study guides in our store. You can walk through them on your own, but it’s more fun with friends (that and it kinda makes sense to grow in relational success in actual relationships with others), so consider putting together an FMU LoveEd small group study.
Even better? And ask a rock star married couple you respect to lead it!