Overcoming The “Dirty Girl” Paradigm: Embracing God’s Plan For Sex

The comment thread on “50 Shades of Magic Mike” is about a mile long. I’ll never do every excellent comment justice, though I wish I could. There were so many valid concerns raised, and so many worthy questions asked, that I could spend the next year writing about just that stuff alone. (But rest assured that I won’t.)

One particularly insightful commenter mentioned that telling Christian woman to “just say no” to temptation in the form of pornographic novels, and sexually objectifying films doesn’t actually address any underlying issues, and I think the commenter is right. I think the commenter’s point was that we have to ask ourselves why we feel drawn to that type of media in the first place.

Nobody Wants to Be “The Dirty Girl”

One (of the many) reasons Christian women consume media like “Magic Mike” and “50 Shades”, the commenter speculated, is that many Christian women feel sexually repressed, and when offered the opportunity for some socially-acceptable “release,” they’ll pounce. This does not sound unreasonable to me. Though I personally do not identify with this behavior, I am aware that many women have been raised to view sex as dirty, or shameful. In the church’s effort to promote chastity, many women have been made to feel that sex, in general, is wrong, and while you might not see the harm in a 13 year old girl walking around with that opinion, what happens when she grows up and gets married?

While sexual repression is certainly not the only reason Christian women have flocked to see “Magic Mike” in droves, or lost themselves in the “50 Shades of Grey” series, it is definitely a reason. And one worth exploring.

Celebrating God’s Gift of Marital Sex

I understand the social awkwardness of preaching on the beauty and pleasure of sex in a Christian context. (Our culture doesn’t seem to have a problem of doing so itself, so can we blame so many for following the culture’s lead on this?) But if we do not honestly communicate the awesomeness of God’s gift of (marital) sex, and instead limit our talking on the subject to “sex is wrong until you’re married,” we’re handicapping generation after generation of women. (I  say women, specifically, because generally men are not taught that sex is “wrong,” they are simply told to “wait,” whereas much of a young woman’s identity is wrapped-up in remaining pure. When women are taught about sex, it’s often shrouded in an element of dirtiness, as if “only bad girls think about sex.”)

If you’re not feeling “in touch” with your sexuality, or maybe you were raised to think of sex the way I described above, you need to know that it is good  for you and your marriage to improve your understanding of sexual intimacy, and devote some time to unlearning any unhealthy messages you received about sex growing up. It might be the single greatest gift you can give to your marriage, to have a healthy understanding of God’s design for sex.

Resources

One particularly great resource I’ve found is Sheila Wray Gregoire‘s (of “To Love, Honor and Vacuum“) book “The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex: (And You Thought Bad Girls Have All The Fun)” which you can pick up off of Amazon for just over $10. Here’s a snippet of the description:

Whether you’re about to walk down the aisle or you’ve been married for decades, The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex will lead you on a wonderful journey of discovery towards the amazing sex life God designed you for.

With humor, research, and lots of anecdotes, author Sheila Wray Gregoire helps women see how our culture’s version of sex, which concentrates on the physical above all else, makes sex shallow. God, on the other hand, intended sex to unite us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Gregoire walks through these three aspects of sex, showing how to make each amazing, and how to overcome the roadblocks in each area we often encounter.

At present it has 63 reviews on Amazon, and the average rating is 5 out of 5. (It’s rare that a book on such a “racy” subject averages 5/5, in case you are unfamiliar with Amazon’s book-rating-system.) If you think you might like to read it, I suggest reading through some of the reviews people have written, to ensure that it’s a good purchase for you.

And if you’re not feeling like buying a book on sex (can’t blame you. What if your kid opens the package before you get to it?), but you’re interested in improving intimacy with your husband, you might like Sheila’s series “29 Days to Great Sex,” which is available for free, online. (Even if you and your husband are already, um, “proficient,” you should check it out anyway. It never hurts to refresh your perspective, and you might get some fun ideas. I’ve read her post for “Day 9” several times since she posted it, and I always come away with, um, “renewed zeal.”)

We Are Not “The Church Lady”

Being a Christian woman, one of the most irritating stereotypes that’s perpetuated is that we’re all like Dana Carvey’s SNL character “the church lady.” Sure, some of us are. But most of us are not. God created sex, and it’s obvious how much our culture LOVES (even idolizes) sex. One way Christian women can do a better job of reflecting God to the world is by having amazing, healthy sex-lives with our husbands, and not being afraid to talk about sex, tastefully. (And I have to admit, of all the ways we can reflect God to the world, having a healthy sex-life is probably my favorite.)

What other resources are available that deal with God’s plan for sex, and maintaining an awesome sex-life with your spouse? Do you have any favorites? Share ’em in the comments!

xoxo,

mj

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Let’s be friends!

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I’ve Never Liked Valentine’s Day

If I’m going to be totally honest, Valentine’s Day was never my favorite holiday. Not even in my top five favorite holidays. I tend to dislike constructs that encourage awkward situations, and Valentine’s Day has to be the worst offender (April Fool’s Day is a close second). In the past, Valentine’s Day always made me uncomfortable, because it felt like I was forced to define relationships quickly and with certainty, or take a chance on someone I hadn’t thoughtfully considered, just to have a “Valentine.” What a racket. Looking back on it, I’d so much rather be “alone” (without a significant other) on Valentine’s Day, then go on some crappy date with a near-stranger. (I know, I know, I’m married, so that doesn’t mean much coming from me now.)

I often hear people joke and complain about how terrible married life is, and I’m thinking “you have got to be kidding me.” Firstly, that’s just sad, and it makes me wish I could solve all of their problems so they could enjoy marriage the way it’s meant to be enjoyed. Secondly I just want to grab them by the shoulders, shake them, and ask “do you REALLY miss dating?” When I remember back to all of the awkwardness, and all of the half-hearted, only-doing-this-because-we-have-to Valentine’s Days, I am so so SO happy to be married. (And, you know, my husband is pretty much the best, so that helps.)

These days I actually look forward to the “holiday” (though I still think it’s totally a racket), and I love knowing that I’ll get to share it with my two forever-loves.

Anyhoo, that’s all to say that, regardless of my status as an old-married-lady, I stand in solidarity with my single-sisters, and I hope hope HOPE you didn’t have some catastrophic FMLesque Valentine’s Day experience. I hope it was lovely, as a matter of fact!

As for us, we went out to ice cream as a family, using a gift-card that was given to Ellie by her grandparents (um, PERFECT gift, btw). I couldn’t get Ellie to sit still long enough to take a regular picture (oh, except the one where she’s glaring at me from behind the ice cream sign), so enjoy Ellie in all her blurriness!

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