Lies have loud voices—especially lies about sex and our sexuality.
- I am not beautiful.
- I am not lovable.
- My husband wants me only for sex.
- Sex is only for men.
- Sex is dirty.
- I am dirty if I want sex.
- Sexual activity needs to be preceded by my desire—and if I’m not feeling it, I’m not doing it.
- Men want more sex than they need it.
- Sex should happen only when everything else in the marriage or in life good.
- My husband’s interest in a new sexual activity is perverted.
- My husband needs to deserve sex.
- I don’t deserve sex.
- If I let myself experience desire and arousal with my husband, it means that the arousal I experienced at the hands of my abuser means that I wanted it.
- Sex is my duty.
My sexual self was infused with these lies for years. Between the baggage I brought into my marriage and the cultural messages about married sex, I “knew” more lies than I knew truths. Sadly, women who bring no sexual baggage to their marriages and have limited exposure to cultural messages about sex can bring lies they learned from church. (See this piece from Relevant.)
Big Guy would make a sexual advance, and a handful of these lies would jump into my head. He would look at me with a twinkle in his eyes and say, “You’re so beautiful.” Instead of hearing his heart, I heard the lies. I would think about a tingle I’d been experiencing throughout the day, and instead of grabbing my husband, I would look at the pile of dirty dishes. My husband would say, “ya wanna?” and I would say “no” without thinking to add “but if you come over here you can change my mind.”
Even if I’d had a stronger foundation for my marriage, the lies were like termites that ate away at it.
Part of the journey toward true intimacy is nothing less than replacing the lies with truth. But how?
Learn God’s Truth
Lies about sex and sexuality are so loud that we don’t even recognize that they are lies—so the first step is to learn what God has designed for us in sexual intimacy with our husbands.
Our best source for God’s design for sexual intimacy and marriage is His Word.
When I am trying to remind myself of God’s design for marriage, I will go to Genesis 2, 1 Corinthians 7, or Ephesians 5. These passages about marriage remind me that it is being one flesh with my husband that I am most whole, that we should not deprive each other, and that God has a design for how marriage works. When I want to be reminded of the joy I can find in the marriage bed, I will usually go to Song of Solomon.
If your sexual refusing and gate-keeping have been a reflection of selfishness, anger, or hurt, you should also read the Bible for guidance in addressing those.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding ~ Proverbs 3:5
Invite God into the process. When you find something that doesn’t match what you have believed, ask for His help in distinguishing His truth from lies. Talk to God about sexual intimacy. Pray about your thoughts and feelings about sex—and then be sure you make some time to listen as well.
Several books and blog posts stand out to me as good introductions into the experience of learning God’s truth about sexual intimacy.
- Pursuit of Passion: Discovering True Intimacy in Your Marriage, Jeffrey Murphy, Julie Sibert, Glynis Murphy, and Randall Sibert
- Passion Pursuit: What Kind of Love Are You Making?, Linda Dillow
- Sex, Lies and the Pursuit of Truth, The Generous Wife
- Transform False Belief, Pearl’s OysterBed
Push Out the Lies
Once you know God’s truth, you can begin to silence the lies.
Some time when you’re away from your husband and the bedroom, write down the words of truth that you have learned:
- I am beautiful.
- I am lovable.
- My husband wants me for my whole self.
- Sex is for me, too.
- Sex is beautiful, joyous, and holy within marriage.
- I am a godly wife if I want sex.
- Arousal usually precedes desire—and if I’m not feeling like it, I can still enjoy doing it.
- Men need sex because it is how they feel most emotionally connected to their wives.
- Sex is part of what holds a marriage together. Sometimes it is the path to making other things better.
- My husband’s interest in a new sexual activity is because he craves adventure and wants it with me.
- My husband needs sex—and when he is most unlovable, he needs love most.
- I deserve sex.
- When I experience desire and arousal with my husband, it is because he is my husband and my desire is God’s design.
- Sex is a gift and privilege.
Write out these truths and the others you learn. Write them in a journal. Write them on post-it notes that you can leave in places you will see them.
Read these truths every day, praying for God to help you understand them.
Practice saying these truths—in your head and out loud. Get used to saying them so they become automatic. When a lie comes into your head during sex (or when you’re thinking about it sometime), as soon as you recognize that’s what’s happening, take a deep breath, and say one of the truths. Say it, over and over, until you believe it. Every time a lie shouts to you, invite the truth in instead.
You push the lies out by replacing them with the truth.
Speak God’s truth. Over and over. Say the words of truth aloud, even when you don’t yet believe them. Your ears need to hear them just as much as your mouth needs to say them.
God’s truth about sex and sexuality in marriage is so wondrous. Silence the lies so you can delight in the truth.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
~ 1 Corinthians 13:6
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