This article is for women who have had negative sexual experiences and traumas and need reassurance and hope that God sees them and protects them, even in the act of sex itself.
Personally, I think God knew how scary sex could be when he created it, especially for women, since we are (typically) physically weaker and historically more dependent on our husbands —and therefore more likely to be taken advantage of. Truthfully, sex is vulnerable for everyone. But the beautiful thing is that God put up safeguards in the design of sex to ensure that his daughters are protected and given proper love and attention.
Whether you are currently married, engaged, dating, or single, I pray that you find hope and healing in these acknowledgments of how beautifully God created sex and his protection of women therein so that you can find freedom.
I have been married for a whole nine months and have had to wrestle with so many fears around sex since my husband asked me to marry him last year.
While I was engaged (and celibate), one of my bridesmaids and best friends was in town to help set up my bridal shower. She casually slid down onto the couch where I was sitting and abruptly asked me, “So, Kelly-Jayne, how does it feel that you’re about to have sex!?”
She was single and genuinely curious about how I was feeling about my next stage in life. But with this simple question, I almost immediately began to cry. Sex, at this time, did not have a positive connotation for me. At all.
Sex meant a lack of safety. It meant a loss of control. Sex, in my mind, was all about the man getting what he wanted, and the woman being used up and disposed of. It did not feel safe enough to talk about casually and sure as heck did not feel safe enough to experience.
My negative sexual history with unloving men had led me to this extremely sensitive and fearful state. And even more than that, it was in the deep emotional processing of the fact that I was soon going to be sexually active that I remembered that I was molested as a child. I only share that detail with you to say that I get it.
If you are like me and feel like sex equals fear rather than love, I understand. Sex is one of the most vulnerable experiences a human can have. That is why it is so beautiful. But it can also be so damaging when not enacted as God intends.
God is the God who sees you (Genesis 16:13). You are not wrong, unfaithful, or weak for having fears around sex.
But you can also be completely healed.
For my healing journey in this area, I needed to know that God saw my pain and fears and that I wasn’t dumb for having them. I wasn’t broken just because I reacted to the idea of sex differently than other people would. Just because I had some extra healing work to do, didn’t mean that I didn’t trust God or didn’t love my husband.
I just needed to reframe sex to think about it the way that God does, as a safe place. Maybe even the safe place.
Sex as a Safe Place: A Replica of the Garden of Eden
Fortunately, my husband and I received a lot of counseling in this arena before we got married. The wise couple who mentored us gave us a mental picture to hold onto: the marriage bed can be seen as a mini-Garden of Eden.
In the Garden, “Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame,” (Gen 2:25). We get to re-experience this state of being free of shame, totally vulnerable, totally visible, with nothing to hide when we experience sexual intimacy with our spouse.
Another way that sexual intimacy is reflective of the Garden of Eden is that the best sexual experiences are the most selfless ones, where each partner is attuned to the desires and needs of the other. Surely, if we were still in the Garden, this is how we would always exist: completely selfless and giving to one another. Thankfully, we can practice this in the act of marriage.
Hebrews 13:4 exhorts us to keep the marriage bed pure. How beautiful is it that the marriage bed is pure in the first place? Undefiled and innocent. Safe from anything that would debase it. It truly is a gift.
Plus, I love that it’s called a marriage bed. Beds are a place of warmth, rest, and comfort. This is what God wants for our sexual experiences.
Understanding that God designed the marriage bed to be a place of safety changed everything for me. And I believe that God underscores and proves this desire for his beloved daughters to feel safe through how he designed the very act of sex itself.
Here are three ways that helped heal my view of sex through God’s inherent protection:
1. Foreplay Necessitates That Wives Are Pursued Selflessly
Foreplay provides time for the wife to be “wooed and won.” The act of intimacy can be painful or even impossible if her body has not been made ready for it through foreplay. Without the intimate kissing, thoughtful touching, cuddling, and closeness that foreplay provides – things that the wife needs to feel loved – actual intercourse might feel less connected, more domineering and less special overall. Either that or penetration might not be physically possible at all.
I love that it’s almost like God put up this safeguard for women through the necessity of foreplay. The husband must slow down and be selfless towards his wife if intercourse is to be pleasurable and intimate.
The Christian book Intended for Pleasure puts it this way: “Most women like to be wooed and won. Let the man indicate by the way he approaches his wife that he is demonstrating his love for her, not claiming sex as his right. The husband must be careful not to appear hurried, crude, rude, mechanical, or impatient!”
It means so much to me to know that God creates a space for his precious daughters to be loved and pursued and that that pursuit is almost like it’s a prerequisite for sex to happen at all. God knows our need to be approached with affection and gentleness, so he wove that into the design of sex itself.
2. The Way for a Husband to Increase His Wife’s Sex Drive Depends on His Own Selflessness
It’s no secret that husbands typically have a stronger sex drive than their wives. Before I was engaged, I had unfortunately been exposed to many negative attitudes about this fact, and it made sex out to be a duty for women more than a delight.
It seemed like the only two options were for the wife to grin and bear it or for the husband to bottle up his own needs and suffer through it instead. But luckily, I was able to stumble upon this passage from The Act of Marriage that highlights a beautiful third option:
“The wise and loving husband will therefore learn as much as he can about this subject in order to bestow on his bride the greatest lovemaking experience possible for both her benefit and his own. The more he strives for her enjoyment, the more he will help to create in her a favorable and exciting attitude toward the relationship. And the more she enjoys it, the more she will welcome and take delight in it.”
The world makes it seem like the sex drive of the husband drives him right towards impurity and a caveman attitude. But God’s design is to usher this sex drive towards greater joy for his wife and greater union between the two of them. How beautiful is that?
I felt so protected and special to God when I read this for the first time. God’s design for sex is for both partners to be uplifted and given to! And he makes it so that the most satisfying relationship is one where the wife is also given attention and honor. Selflessness on the husband’s part is 100 percent necessary for this to happen, or he loses out, too.
3. God Celebrates Women Through Sexual Climax
I know, I know, you might be blushing by now while reading this. But pleasure is nothing to be ashamed of. As the book title suggests, we were intended for it! And the well-known, biological fact that women have the capacity to experience multiple orgasms within a single session, while males can only experience one, makes me feel really special to God.
There isn’t any scripture to back me up on this, but this is how I interpret this fact: it’s almost like a counterbalance to men’s stronger sex drive. Yes, they may be driven to initiate intercourse more often, partially out of pleasure for themselves, but God makes it so it isn’t all about them.
This isn’t as much physical protection as it is protecting your attitude. I feel God’s heart to give women special attention and care by creating women’s ability to achieve multiple orgasms. It ensures the spotlight is shared and reads to me like a little wink from God, ensuring his daughters feel pampered and beautiful.
Every orgasm is also a chance for the wife to feel special and connected to her husband, naturally helping her to trust him more and more. As I’ve said, God knew that sex could be scary – and every time a wife reaches climax, she feels relaxed and grateful for the love shown to her. It is so kind of God to increase this capacity for women because he knew we would need it to trust our husbands increasingly.
There is much more to be said about the spiritual implications of sexual intimacy and how to heal from sexual wounds, but I hope these thoughts give you a starting point for trusting God. I believe he went out of his way to design sex with protections for women in mind. He sees you, and he loves you! And wants nothing more than for you to feel pursued, special, and safe at all times – especially in an area so vulnerable as intimacy.
Photo Credit: ©Annette Sousa HW/Unsplash
Kelly-Jayne McGlynn is a former editor at Crosswalk.com. She sees the act of expression, whether through writing or art, as a way to co-create with God and experience him deeper. Check out her handmade earring Instagram and Etsy for more of her thoughts on connecting with God through creative endeavors.