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Sexually Healthy

Sexually Healthy
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How can we, as the body of Christ, become sexually healthy? I know that’s a big question (and perhaps one that hasn’t been given enough thought or attention), so let me personalize it: how can you become sexually healthy?

God declared that everything He created was good, and the goodness of His creation includes you as a sexual creature. You are the poiema of God. Poiema means “that which has been made; a work or a masterpiece created by God.” It’s the root for the word “poem.” In other words, you are God’s workmanship—a design produced by a master artisan, a beautiful poem crafted by a skillful writer.

Women represent the crowning act of creation, with exceptionally high and distinct value and destiny. And knowing that is who you are in Christ is the foundation to becoming a sexually healthy person. Embracing the truth that you have been perfectly designed, chosen and adopted and that you are wanted frees you from any insecurities and fantasies of longing for a man to save you. You are already saved! When you see yourself through God’s eyes of love and acceptance, a secure bond is created in your soul that keeps you from requiring a man to fulfill your deepest insecurities or from establishing unhealthy, dependent relationships.

As you fully embrace yourself as God’s creation, you begin to understand the sexual power He has entrusted to you as a woman. This power is so deeply innate in your creation—so essentially female—and the best thing you can do with it is to be aware of it and steward it wisely.

The glorious thing about your sexual power is it makes you different from a man. True sexual power is not about winners and losers, it is about the innate attractiveness God has given you as a woman, an allure that is incredibly desirable to a man. This attractiveness goes far beyond physical beauty; it’s so much more than a lovely face or body. The kind of beauty a secure woman possesses is a unique mix of mystery and warm allure that invites you a little deeper into the essence of really knowing her. What usually captivates a man about a woman goes two steps beyond her physical appearance. While he may not have the words to verbalize this, instinctively he knows he has stumbled upon someone who can glimpse his heart, who seems to know him in ways he has always longed to be known. A man has a longing that can only be touched by the innate type of beauty you possess.

… it is about the innate attractiveness God has given you as a woman, an allure that is incredibly desirable to a man.

This deep longing within each man is also a longing within each woman. The longing to be known is a telling clue as to why the sexual relationship between a husband and a wife is described in the Bible by the verb yada, which means “to know” or “to be known.” Genesis 4:1 says, “And the man knew [yada] Eve his wife,” communicating there are endless possibilities of discovering the essence and mystery of her beauty. The ability to know and be known sexually deepens emotional bonding. Conversely, to “lie with” a woman was simply to have sex outside the constraints of marriage—strictly a physical act based on lust, which loses the deeper and more significant meaning of being known and loved in the security of a covenant marriage.

God has instilled enormous power into the heart of a woman. The most vulnerable aspect of a man’s being requires your permission and your reception of him. To fully receive a husband requires a wife to look at the condition of her heart, knowing that marital sex will never fulfill its full intention if her heart is closed. To become a responsive mate, you must thaw out your feelings and understand there are male forms of connection and female forms of connection. Men often feel emotionally connected through sex, and females often feel emotionally connected through talking. One is not wrong and the other right; both are needed. Sexual intimacy is only as good as the emotional intimacy achieved between the couple.

When my husband, Ron, and I got married, I realized that our sexual relationship had the potential to either bring great fulfillment or heartache into our marriage. I began to ask myself how I could bring a sexually-healthy self into our marriage. To become healthy, I had to deal with my past sexual hurts and reeducate myself. I remember reading a Christian book on marital sex and realizing God intends for it to be a sealing of our covenant to one another. That body-oneness is a God invention and it actually delights Him when a husband and wife are one flesh.

I fervently asked God to teach me His plan for sexuality. I knew that my family history had hindered me from understanding God’s perspective on this topic. My childhood was filled with silence, shame and secrets; sexuality just wasn’t discussed. But I knew if I didn’t honestly talk with Ron about sexual issues, then we could potentially continue my family’s cycle of unhealthiness.

Faithfully, God began to unveil His truth and teach me that intimacy is by His design. The true meaning of intimacy is shared love for another. Ron and I are both created in God’s image to reflect Him, and we were made for intimacy. His sexual identity depends upon mine, even as mine depends on his. For both of us, sexuality originates in the one flesh of humanity. Sexuality is a good gift, which is meant to draw individuals to deeper levels of knowing themselves, others and God. Sexual desire and fulfillment between a husband and wife have divine meaning and purpose.

Sexuality is a good gift, which is meant to draw individuals to deeper levels of knowing themselves, others and God.

As I grew in understanding, I learned that a woman’s sex drive is very different from her husband’s. New research shows that, after a woman has been married for several years, sex becomes more of a choice instead of a drive. While a man may have a strong sex drive because of testosterone, a woman may not feel a strong sex drive until she has chosen to engage in pillow talk, nuzzling, cuddling and pleasurable touch. Then, as her busy mind begins to settle, her body begins to respond, and she is aroused.

The Song of Songs affirms a response and celebration of being naked and unashamed in mutual vulnerability and harmony. Responding to one another with respect and tenderness, neither escaping nor exploiting sex, the husband and wife embrace and enjoy shared intimacy. Understanding and accepting yourself as a sexual person designed for unity with another is the beginning of becoming sexually healthy.

These “I will” declarations have consistently given me strength as I continue on this journey to be sexually healthy.

  • I will embrace my sexuality as a gift from God.
  • I will be free in Christ from shame, hiding and secrets.
  • I will steward the power of my sexuality wisely.
  • I will know my husband and invite him to know me.
  • I will ask for help if I need help to be sexually healthy.
  • I will invite the Lord to continue to give me His heart on this very important topic.
  • I will make sex a priority in my marriage.

*Article originally appeared in Studio G Magazine. Used with permission.

About the author

Before joining the staff at Gateway Church as an associate Pastor in Unity, Gateway’s marriage and family ministry, Nancy Houston was in private practice as an LPC for 10 years. She is also a certified Christian Sex Therapist. She is married to her high school sweetheart Ron. They have four grown sons who have married amazing women who are cherished as daughters. Nancy’s passion is to see marriages healed and strengthened and for people to be set free.

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