Author and Advocate for Healthy Sexuality and Spirituality

Category Archives: The Passion Principles

Being Naked With No Shame

Although there are many hurdles that often hold couples back in the bedroom, there’s one in particular that outweighs them all (no pun intended).  Yep-body image issues. 

 

And of course, I also want to clarify that when it comes to body image issues, I’m not talking about just women-men have them too.  They often feel as if their frames are too small, or their gut is too large, or they simply lack the definition of the super-cut guy with six-pack abs on the P90X commercials.   He can get really self-conscious when he develops “Dunlap’s Disease” because his belly has “dun lapped” over his belt.  I had to laugh when I recently heard a pastor in New Zealand declare, “My wife tells me I have the body of a god!  His name is Buddha!”  I was glad he could laugh about it too, but I do wonder if a man’s sexual self-esteem isn’t negatively impacted by such physical characteristics that aren’t considered “ideal” by our looks-obsessed culture. 

 

As of this writing, my almost fifty-year-old husband is fretting the fact that his chest hair is turning gray and his hairline is rapidly receding.  Regardless of my reminders that I like an older, distinguished looking man and that he’ll always be sexy to me no matter how much hair he loses or wrinkles he gains, it’s still difficult for him to accept the fact that age is taking its toll on his body, just as it does on everyone. I will say, however, that although men can certainly be plagued by a negative body image, many seem to be able to compartmentalize that issue long enough to let down their hair (receding hairlines, bald spots, and all) in the bedroom and have great fun! 

 

Ladies, I’m just wondering-why couldn’t we learn to do the same thing?  Think about it.  We rarely find our male counterparts cowering in the corner of the bedroom, clinging to a fuzzy robe and crying, “You can’t possibly think I’m sexy!”  Men can usually compartmentalize how they feel about their physical appearance long enough to wholeheartedly declare, “Hey, baby!  Bring it ON!” in the bedroom.

 

Unfortunately, I can’t say the same thing about most women.  It’s amazing how we let such tiny things have such a big impact on our marriage bed…

But here’s the question: Can a woman learn to freely share her body with her husband without fear or shame creeping in and killing the mood?  Can she set her own insecurities aside long enough to go “full throttle,” losing herself in her husband’s loving embrace and sharing herself completely?  I believe no matter where a woman feels she falls on the spectrum of “too this or too that,” she can learn to love the skin she’s in-and the effect that skin can have on her husband and marriage when she confidently shares it with him.

 

PRAYER:  Lord Jesus, help us stop comparing ourselves to others.  Show us how to respect and appreciate the bodies you gave to each of us.

 

Excerpted from The Passion Principles: Celebrating Sexual Freedom in Marriage by Shannon Ethridge. Copyright 2014. All Rights Reserved. Published by W Publishing Group, and imprint of Thomas Nelson, Nashville, TN. Used by Permission. Not to be copied without Publisher’s prior written approval. 

 

Getting On The Same Page Sexually- Part 2

…continued

Let’s consider the unique roles God gave men and women. God designed men as the “progenitors” of the human race.  They are wired to ensure the continuation of the generations.  How?  Through their healthy sex drive!  As long as men want sex, babies will be made.  And this is a good thing!  Hooray for the male sex drive!  Hooray for the beautiful babies that result!  Hooray for the families formed!

 

Women, on the other hand, are designed by God as the “nurturers” of the human race.  They are wired to ensure that babies grow up to be healthy creatures.  How?  By caring for their every need.  Think mama cat constantly cleaning her kittens.  Think mama bear protecting her cubs from any threat of harm.  Think mama bird getting up early for the worm so that she can feed the babies in the nest.  Moms serve as great “go-to” gals for just about anything their kids need, and this is a good thing as well!  Hooray for hands-on, emotionally available moms!

 

So because men are driven to fulfill their roles through their sex drive, they naturally crave physical connection.  And because women are driven to fulfill their roles through their emotional drive, they naturally long to feel relationally and emotionally close to others. 

 

Of course, to be fair, sometimes it’s the husband who craves more emotional connection, or a wife who clamors for more sexual intimacy.  Either way, when we compete with one another-holding out until our own needs or desires are met-no one wins.  Both the husband and wife lose, and their children often lose too.  But if we can learn to celebrate our own unique wiring and the unique wiring of our spouses, we can experience great joy in both the giving and receiving of the fulfillment we both crave.  

 

Passion Principle Questions

*  What is your idea of “connection” in marriage?

*  On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being far apart, and 10 being closely connected) how would you rate your connection during this current season of life?

*  Describe a season of marriage when you felt most connected.

*  Specifically, what do you need from your spouse in order to feel more closely connected to him or her?

 

PRAYER:  God, show us how to grow closer together, both sexually and emotionally.

Excerpted from The Passion Principles: Celebrating Sexual Freedom in Marriage by Shannon Ethridge. Copyright 2014. All Rights Reserved. Published by W Publishing Group, and imprint of Thomas Nelson, Nashville, TN. Used by Permission. Not to be copied without Publisher’s prior written approval.