Are You Sexually Alive?


Do you have a sense of adventure, wonder, and joy in your marriage bed? Do you enjoy the dance of desire?

In one of my earliest posts here, I wrote this:

I began to read about the great joy that comes with a good sex life. I was seeing models of what could be, and I began to want some of that. Instead of trying to make changes because what I’d been doing wasn’t working, I began to make changes because I wanted some of the joy that people were describing.

This is the reason for my blog’s tag line: Learning to Dance with Desire.

It’s a dance that began in childhood.


Do you remember playing as a child?

I played with Fisher Price toys, Barbies, dolls, roller skates (the old-fashioned kind that strap onto your shoes), and my bike. My friends and I pretended to be rock stars and fans, using our back step as a stage. We caught lightening bugs after dark. We played board games inside on rainy days. We built snow forts in the winter and splashed in wading pools in the summer.

When it came to playing, my favorite thing to do was to be on my swing set. Other things were fun, but it was on my swing set that I experienced the most freedom.

I could swing high, pumping and kicking my legs so hard that on the backswing my eyes lifted higher than the bar across the top. Going forward, I could launch myself off the swing. Sometimes I ended up with sore legs or skinned knees, but in between the launching and the landing, I thought I could fly. It was worth the scrapes and bruises.

I was quite at home on top of the swing set, too. I would sit for a while at the end, wrapping my foot around a side support while I contemplated my imaginary adventures. I would throw my leg over the top, wrap arms around my ankle, and then twirl around and around. At times I even balanced myself just right while standing on top, catching myself before I fell to the ground.

On top of my swing set, it was easy to experience far more than I could actually see. I was on a pirate ship, or flying in Wonder Woman’s invisible airplane, or watching the Olympics, or riding a horse, or watching an ocean wave while pretending I was a dolphin.

The swing set was solid and safe. I’d watched my dad anchor it to the ground, and no matter how hard I swung, kicked, or launched, I knew it was stable.

Sometimes my mom had to make me go outside. My preference often would have been to read for hours, but when I needed exercise and fresh air I would be sent outside to play. I always ended up having such a great time that at the end of the day I didn’t want to go back inside.

My imagination carried me on my adventures from the comfort and security of my swing set. I could make believe many things: if I desired it, I could imagine it. Being grounded in the physical reality of my swing set gave me the freedom to push at the edges of my childhood body and imagination.

Within the limits of my own back yard and my swing set, I experienced adventure and unbridled joy at being alive and being me.

I wanted to experience that adventure and joy, time and time again.

It was a desire to experience all that my life (or at least my back yard) had to offer, as often as I could.

Being alive felt exhilarating.


As I grew up, I lost this part of who I was. I figured it was just part of growing up. After all, in 1 Corinthians 13:11, we are told, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.”

I grew up, taking on responsibilities that were more like playing house with my dolls than like trying to soar from the swing my own back yard. My sense of adventure had been replaced by housework, parenting, going to work, paying bills, and coordinating the church nursery.

The habits of talking, thinking, and reasoning like an adult overwhelmed my God-given sense of wonder, joy, and fun.

This showed up most strongly in my marriage bed.

In writing here about the value of sex, I’ve encouraged you to feel compassion for your husband, who may feel emotionally disconnected from you because of sexual disconnection. I’ve shared with you some of the ways I have benefitted from tending to the sex in our marriage. I’ve written about how sex connects us with our husbands in deep and mysterious ways.

God has given us sex to accomplish good things in our marriages—to bind us into one flesh, to strengthen our connection with each other, and to allow us to participate in His creation through procreation.

These things are important.

Sex is a responsibility and a vital area of marital ministry and stewardship.

But . . .

If that is all we see, we miss out on so much of the adventure and joy God has given to us.

I never sat out in my yard, looking at the swing set, thinking to myself, Well, I suppose I should get on there and swing for a while. I really don’t want to. I guess I better just get it over with. Ten minutes should be enough time to get the job done. When my friends came over, even if I was mad at them for something, I didn’t refuse to let any of us play on the swing set. (In fact, that was where we usually worked things out.)

Yet that is exactly how I treated sex for many years in my marriage. I dreaded it. I did it because I had to. It was something to get done as quickly as possible. If I was mad at my husband, sex was definitely not going to happen.

God convicted me that my stubborn resistance to sex was contrary to His desire for me. Just like my mom used to sometimes kick me out of the house for my own good, God helped me see that working on sex was the right thing to do if I wanted to follow Him.

My earliest efforts on sex were out of obedience and compassion, not for any sense of fun or adventure.

However, the intentional effort to strengthen my marriage through sex because I knew it mattered was the very thing that helped anchor our marriage and help me see that it was a safe and stable place.


Feeling comfortable and secure in Big Guy’s arms made me feel grounded and safe. It gave me the freedom to push at the edges of my womanly body and imagination and experience a whole new level of adventure.

I found, again, the fun of exploring all that my body could do.

Within the limits of my own marriage bed and the sexual boundaries set forth in the bible, I learned again how to experience adventure and joy. It is where I know the most freedom in my marriage.

I want to experience that adventure and joy, time and time again.
It is desire.

Learning to dance with desire has made me sexually alive—and it is exhilarating.


Do you feel sexually alive? Do you have a sense of adventure, wonder, and joy in your marriage bed? Do you enjoy the dance of desire?

Do you have a sense of adventure, wonder, and joy in your marriage bed? Do you enjoy the dance of desire?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

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12 Comments on “Are You Sexually Alive?”

  1. As a man I can tell you that the worse thing in the world is to not have sex with your wife.

    The next worse thing which is followed VERY closely to not having sex at all, it to sense that the sex you are getting is: duty, chore or obligation sex bucause your wife felt like she had no knee choice. She it is just somethings to “check off” the weekly “to do” list. As a man that is completely crushing to his spirit. It literally takes the life essence and drains his soul. I know because mostly for more that two decades this is how I have felt. And I’m sure far too many husbands have felt the same.

    Experiencing and sensing their wife’s acceptance and adventure and wonder and joy with the very special sexual intimacy is what every man dreams about. Sex is FAR less about the physical, as it is about the emotional acceptance and excitement to share intimacy with each other. Something that can be experienced with no one else on earth. THAT special connection with the very essence of their wife’s soul is what sex is all about.

    If a man simply wants physical release, he can do that by himself. But masturbation and pornography etc is an empty hole that is incapable of filling the hole in his heart. What he is longing for is his wife’s soul via sexual intimacy to fill it. And he has no other place on earth that the emptiness can be filled.

    We have to fill each other’s love tank. But the dilemma is that we each need to fuel from the other person. So many woman need the emotional connection with their husband. Yet he is nearly incapable to provide connection when he is starved from the very thing that provides that connection. It is a chicken an egg dilemma. Someone needs to act first. But ideally it would be done together.

    As Chris points out it was hard work for her to take that initial step and work on sex. And you can now read about the immense rewards for that effort.

    Understand also that most men Are like me. And similar to how many women do not understand the sexual need of men as if is a foreign language (because it is). We men do not understand what things like emotional safety is or how to make non Sexual emotional connection as if it is a foreign language (because it is!).

    My suggestion is to be blunt with your husband about your needs for emotional connection. Be stupidly blunt and clear. To the limit you even feel that it is rude. Do NOT give hints or clues. He will NOT pick it up. Do NOT use code words etc. we will NOT comprehend what you mean. Be extremely specific. Stop him when he did somethings wrong and bring it up at that very second. Because I can assure you otherwise he will have no clue what he did wrong. And will be wondering all night why you seem upset with him. And he will wonder why you are cold to him. He honestly will not have an idea what so ever. With you probably thinking “that will serve him right, he knows what he did.” NO HE DOESN’T!!!! He is just confused and trying to think how he screwed up and relives the entire day and comes up empty handed. He cannot read your mind! Then as he tries to reestablish connection knowing there is a rift and wanting desperately to mend the gap, he will try to initiate sex only to be rejected. And him feeling like she doesn’t want to be connected to him and removed the very means for him to re establish the connection he knows has been severed. leaving him feel completely helpless and useless to connect. He has no idea what the heck happened, what he did, or how to not do it again I the future because he doesn’t know what to avoid. He only knows he is rejected and out in the dog house and he has no idea when he will be let in again.

    Then when she finally allows duty sex, he is crushed,nodes t have any fuel to meet her needs and he unknowingly messes up.

    and so the cycle continues.

    Yes the husband needs to grow and work on nonsexual emotional connection. All I’m saying is that he needs to be taught this specifically by you, his wife. Because there is little other place he can really learn it. And he must specifically learn YOUR specific needs. And the ONLY person who can teach him that is YOU! Do not deny him the chance to learn and then blame him for not leading it. Yes he has to be willing. That is absolutely true. But he really cannot learn something that isn’t even being taught. To him everything is complete randomness. And he honestly believes there is some cosmic alignment of planets completely outside of his control in order for the emotional and sexual connection to occur. It is difficult to live your entire life believing that in order to feel loved it is a random lottery chance. Yet many, many men I know feel exactly this way.

    God created sex to be connective beyond procreation. He did it for a reason. For a bind unlike no other. Without the sexual connection, we are fundamentally denying Gods intent. Without it, why should we be surprised when strife and termoil between husband and wife exists?

  2. I have said this before and I’ll say it again: you are the queen of analogies. I’m struggling with feeling safe in my husband’s arms. Presidential elections highlight our differences on several topics and I know he would not stand with me when it comes to issues that affect the safety and wellbeing of women. I don’t know how to separate that from what goes on behind closed doors, or if I should even try. If I have to pretend he is someone else, what’s the point?

    1. My husband and I disagree on politics, and sometimes it has been disheartening. My husband’s beliefs are part of who he is and how he sees the world, and I have decided that loving him means accepting that part of him–even though I disagree with him quite strongly on a few things. It has not been easy. We have learned to agree to disagree. I know that his views on issues that affect women have absolutely nothing to do with how he feels about me as a woman. They have to do with how he thinks resources should be allocated and how competing individual rights should be prioritized. I have to choose not to take his view personally. I don’t pretend he is someone else, nor do I try to separate that from what goes on in the bedroom. It is all part of who he is, and loving him means accepting that–just as loving me means that he accepts that I have the views I do.

      We had to work out some ground rules early in our marriage: no name calling, no disparaging comments about what how one party thinks, no yard signs or bumper stickers, and any political donations are matched by the other spouse to his or her political cause. These ground rules have helped us immensely. We do limit our political conversations with each other at times, and there are some issues about which one of us feels so strongly that a conversation is counter-productive. There is one candidate right now who we both find completely unacceptable. We have different reasons for this, but it’s been a rare treat to agree on something related to politics for the first time in all our years together.

      1. Thank you for talking with me about this. I used to process our differences as you describe in your first paragraph, but that is getting more difficult as the Holy Spirit stirs up passion and energy in me around social justice for women.

        While my husband’s views on issues that affect women may have nothing to do with how he feels about me from HIS perspective, they have everything to do with how he feels about me from MY perspective, because I am part of the entire female community. I am sleeping with someone who does not respect women, therefore I am sleeping with someone who does not respect me.

        During sex, my mind is consumed with thoughts of the many, many women who are raped, beaten and objectified, and I’m letting someone who is content with that horror touch me and penetrate me. I’m contributing to the continuance of the mistreatment of women. I am guilty of treason.

        1. When things were difficult in our marriage, there was so much division between us. Differences like what you describe were a stark reminder of all the ways we didn’t “match.” it was like, oh, great, here’s one more example of how wrong we are for each other. I remember the violating feeling of being penetrated by someone I perceived as the enemy.

          As our relationship has strengthened in unity, that feeling has subsided. In fact, I hadn’t thought about it for a long time until reading your comment today. Perhaps having a deeper sense of oneness in other ways has provided a different perspective on an area where we are still quite different.

          Does your husband hold the view he does because he disrespects women and he considers women unworthy of support and services? Or, are you perceiving disrespect because he has different views than you do? Understanding his views might give you some insight that would be helpful in thinking about this.

          First, since it is such a big barrier that it is invading your marriage bed, consider whether a counselor could help you and your husband (or just you) navigate this.I wish I could give you a surefire suggestion for getting your husband to change your mind–but that isn’t possible. Since you can’t make him change his views (as much as you would like to), all you can do is work through this barrier from your end.

          It would be too simplistic to just tell you to let it go (although that would be nice, wouldn’t it?). Consider approaching this in the same way as you might if your husband were in sin against you: try to love him despite his views rather than condemn him because of them. It might be that there are some ways to look for common ground between your views. For instance, my husband and I used to have vastly different ideas about how to deal with homelessness. I considered him to be without compassion because of the views he held. Then I watched him serve a homeless man who’d come to our church looking for a meal and a ride. It helped me see that his compassion simply looked different from mine.

          Does your husband prevent you from supporting women in your own way? If not, then he is not the enemy. Connecting with him does NOT contribute to the continued mistreatment of women. Your participation (or lack of participation) in sex does not change what happens to any other woman. If he does prevent you from supporting other women, then the issues between you go deeper than different political and social views.

          Sleeping with your husband does not change the outcome for any other women. It is not a betrayal of your oppressed and violated sisters to enjoy intimacy with your husband.

          You and your husband have different views, and that automatically places a barrier between you. If you strengthen the other areas in your relationship, the barrier can fade in power. I do understand your feelings (because I have shared them). Consider whether your feelings might be adding to that barrier in any way. If they are, then working on strengthening the unity in your marriage might help those feelings lose some of their power over you.

          The Holy Spirit stirring up passion in you to support social justice for women is a good thing. Consider whether there might be another spiritual force at work in shaping how that passion affects your marriage.

  3. Thank you for hearing me and for your wise counsel. You have articulated some of my thoughts as I have tried to make sense of this. Regarding oneness, I wish I had my husband’s support on this and I wish he “got” it and “got” me. I feel a powerful connection to my oppressed and violated sisters; thus far, when I have tried to share this with him, he either changes the subject or leaves the room. For now, I’ll have to leave him out of this part of my life.

    1. I wish he “got” it and “got” me.

      This is the core of the problem, isn’t it? It is hard to feel one when we don’t even feel known.

      I had another thought. Your husband’s response is to change the subject or leave the room. It is possible that he feels threatened or insecure in some way–and perhaps he, too, feels unknown and disrespected by you.

  4. Yes that is possible. I can certainly do a better job of listening and validating. And I can be thankful for my church family who share my values and who validate me.

    1. I’m really sad about the comment of thinking on ungodly things in the bedroom. It’s of Satan and your worth and validating is in Jesus alone. It hurts.

    1. I think it was J who wrote about the sexual amusement park, although Paul and Lori have written about the sexual playground. We all have the same great idea: sex should be fun and approached with exuberance!

      I just grabbed some links.

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