How to Have Great Sex
Cosmopolitan Magazine recently debunked the idea that millennial American women are in a sexual recession and proved we are thinking differently about sex: quality is now greater than quantity. Around the same time, the New York Times added to the conversation. They questioned, on one hand, the guilt-ridden strategy of purity culture and how it can leave a woman ill-equipped to make empowered sexual decisions. On the other hand, they also questioned a sexual ethic centered on consent, saying it “feels flimsy” and still leaves us somewhat frustrated and dissatisfied.
I want to join the conversation, and bring you in, too: Is there an approach to sex that women in NYC can take that allows us to embrace our sexuality and pursue quality and satisfaction in our sex lives? I think there is, but it starts by asking a different question:
“What kind of sex do we truly want to have?”
CHOOSING GREAT SEX OVER GOOD SEX
I agree with Cosmopolitan that we are gaining more “sexual intelligence.” In more areas of life than just sexual activity, quality is indeed greater than quantity. However, as a woman who pursued “quality” sex in the past, I reached a point when even good sex wasn’t as fulfilling and satisfying as I had hoped. Something was still missing. Those sexual experiences had been less holistic than I would have liked. If we, as human beings, are intentionally crafted, complex beings with bodies and souls, then sexual engagement that merely satisfies only the body and neglects the deep desires of soul and spirit is not really sex worth having, especially if it’s possible to have sex that satisfies us fully.
If there's more to sex than mere skin on skin, then I have to truly believe I have more value, as a woman made of body and soul, to have sex that offers more than bodily satisfaction.
With this belief, I began to evaluate the difference between the sex I had been having and the sex I wanted to experience. Even in my monogamous dating relationships, the sex was less than great because it avoided solid commitment and trust-filled intimacy, which left me feeling more lonely than ever. I came to the conclusion that despite physical pleasure achieved, my soul wasn’t assured or supported, and thus I was left unsatisfied.
OUR SENSE OF WORTH AFFECTS OUR VIEW OF SEX
For the longest time, I believed I operated out of a sense of liberation, making empowered choices to have either casual sex or sex within a dating context. After all, it was my body and I could decide what to do with it, right?
Then four years ago, a change took place. I sat across from my therapist unpacking feelings of dissatisfaction with my previous relationships. She straightforwardly asked, “You do know that you are sacred, worthy, and luminous, right?” She explained God intentionally created and crafted me to experience the best that life can offer. He designed life to be full and deeply satisfying on a soul-quenching and spiritual level, which included a fulfilling sex life. I realized I had been operating out of a low sense of worth. I was settling for less than the great sex I was crafted to experience. What we believe about our bodies will certainly affect what we decide to do with them.
GREAT SEX IS WORTH HAVING & WAITING FOR
I had been viewing a “Christian vision for married sex,” as Katelyn Beatty calls it in her New York Times article, as God’s way of limiting my fun and telling me what to do with my body. But his design is actually an invitation to experiencing the best type of sex, where satisfaction is guaranteed.
A simple skim through the Song of Solomon in the Bible proves that God is no prude. It is full of sensual poetry — a romance novel, no less. God values sex because he designed it. The same God who created gorgeous sunsets just to take our breath away also created our sex drives to be breathtaking. God wants us to experience secure and holistic sex that matches our worth.
In Song of Solomon we see God’s design for sex is in a relationship. The couple laid a foundation over time of emotional security with deep trust and vulnerability. She felt comfortable enough to share her insecurities. He made a point to pursue her and reassure her that her vulnerability was safe in his presence. She consulted her friends and checked on his reputation. He did the same. They even worked through conflict. They did this while letting the sexual tension build between them until it was truly safe for them to sexually come alive together in marriage.
This is the great sex God designed us for: guaranteed satisfaction through intimacy built on an intentional foundation of honor, mutuality, consent, vulnerability, relational health, appropriate and timely bonding, and commitment that will lead to wholeness and pleasure. Who wouldn’t want that?
This is the Christian vision of married sex that Beatty called “radical, daunting, and extremely compelling.”
Radical because it allows empowered women to be sacred, worthy and luminous: women who don’t settle for less than holistic, soul-quenching and satisfying sex.
Daunting because it’s countercultural to wait for sex only within marriage.
Extremely compelling because the only way I’m compelled to not settle for less than satisfying sex is to constantly remind myself that I am worthy of what I am waiting for — a safe place to come alive sexually.
So to answer the question from the beginning: “What kind of sex do we truly want to have?”
I hope we experience the incredible sex we were designed for. And because we have been offered wise and sensible guidelines to ensure that we experience that, we can feel empowered to choose our best yes when it comes to sex. We are worthy of nothing less. And I, personally, am willing to wait for that.