Save Your Sexual Energies for Your Spouse
If you’ve visited our blog at www.shannonethridge.com, you know we’ve been tackling some pretty sticky subjects – like whether parents of teenage girls should recommend vibrators to keep their daughters from becoming sexually active (as recommended on an Oprah show), and whether masturbation both inside and outside of marriage is morally wrong, or perfectly normal?As you can imagine, these topics often create a firestorm of controversy, but one response in particular really stood out to me as being SO full of wisdom that I didn’t want to run the risk of you not seeing it. It’s from Stanley Leffew (http://www.advice-for-lifetime-relationships.com), who is a prolific writer and speaker on the topic of marriage & relationships…
The question Shannon posed pertaining to masturbation was “is it morally wrong, or perfectly normal?” Sex is not morally wrong, but perfectly normal. However, it has the propensity to be misused until it becomes morally wrong. Lust is not morally wrong, but perfectly normal. However, it has the propensity to be misused until it becomes morally wrong.
Even if masturbation can’t be proven to be morally wrong, I think we all agree that it has the propensity to be misused until it becomes morally wrong.
I feel the real issue was addressed by Shannon when she stated, “You train your body as to what it finds pleasurable. If you walk into a marriage so addicted to masturbation that you would rather withdraw privately for your sexual satisfaction than share that passion and pleasure with your spouse, there’s something wrong with that picture.”
The human sex drive is powerful on purpose. It is designed by God to pull couples together for the establishment of a family and as PART of the foundation of intimacy for that couple in marriage. The sex drive, by design, is really less about RELEASE and more about EMBRACE. Let me state this again so we don’t miss it!
The sex drive, by design, is really LESS about RELEASE, and MORE about EMBRACE.
Much of the defense for masturbation seems to link it to the body’s need for release. It is just seen as a biological method for relieving pent-up sexual desire. While scripture is silent about masturbation, it raises a lofty voice about sex and its function in and for marriage.
Something doesn’t have to be morally wrong for it to fall short of being the ideal and sexually healthy.
Is it sexually healthy when a married couple could be experiencing EMBRACE, but instead the sexual energy that could be bonding them together becomes used in individualistic ways through masturbation RELEASE?
Is it sexually healthy to be single and staying in on a Saturday night getting to know yourself through RELEASE when you could be out on a date increasing the opportunities in your life’s future for real marriage EMBRACE?
Culturally, we have elevated the URGE and pushed down the MERGE, and what we ELEVATE becomes what we CELEBRATE.
Shannon said it very well when she said, “the real purpose of our sexual desires – to bring us closer to each other, and ultimately closer to God as we submit to His perfect plan of husbands and wives freely sharing their minds, bodies, hearts, and souls with one another – all without guilt, shame, or inhibition. Instead of individual intensity, we strive for genuine intimacy, or IN-TO-ME-SEE, because that’s far more fulfilling than just physical pleasure alone.”
None of all this we are reading about is based on a new argument. It is the same one that has been used for years to toss vibrators at our daughters’ vagina instead of virtues and values, and condoms at our sons’ crotch instead of control and character. It makes being a sensual being, “SINCE-u-al do it anyway” instead of, “SENSE-u-al do it anyway.”
The “SINCE-u-al do it anyway” argument promotes sexual activity based on a viewpoint that SINCE the body’s desire for sex is too powerful to expect it to be controlled, guided and repressed, it must be experienced at best. The “SENSE-u-al do it anyway” argument promotes sexual activity based on a belief that the body’s desire for sex is indeed powerful, but it makes SENSE to control, guide and even repress these desires for the best experience and direct them toward EMBRACE and not just RELEASE.
Because the sex drive is ultimately LESS about RELEASE and MORE about EMBRACE, I see masturbation as running a hundred miles an hour in the wrong direction. I think it is better to be directing our own desires towards DESIGN and also teach our children to fan the flames of EMBRACE in their lives as well.
I loved, loved, loved this insight that Stanley so kindly shared, so I wanted to tie it in to our “Hot Tip” – Save Your Sexual Energies for your Spouse! Why take matters into your own hands when you could be wrapping your hands around the human being that you’ve pledged your life and love to?Granted, you may have an incredibly unique situation where your military husband is deployed for months at a time. If that’s the case, and you’ve discussed masturbation as an option to keep both of you committed and faithful toward one another during such a lengthy absence, then I have no stone to throw at your “battle plan.”But if you and your husband sleep in the same bed most nights, why give into the temptation to separate and masturbate? INVITE HIM to be a part of your sexual pleasure, and offer yourself as part of HIS sexual pleasure as well. Remember, sex is an act of worship toward the God who created male and female sexuality and called them both “very good!” Our sexual desires are a precious gift, designed to bring husbands and wives closer together, and closer to HIM in the process.
Wishing you many warm embraces,
Excerpted from The Sexually Confident Wife: Connecting with Your Husband Mind*Body*Heart*Spirit by Shannon Ethridge. Copyright 2008. All Rights Reserved. Published by Random House Inc, New York, NY. Used by Permission. Not to be copied without Publisher’s prior written approval.