Extra space was hard to come by in my first apartment. My couch, coffee table, and television ate up almost every square inch of my combination living room/kitchenette, and my bedroom was filled wall-to-wall with a queen-size bed, dresser, and two night stands. With some determination, however, I managed to squeeze a treadmill into the corner of my bedroom near the closet door.
As I came home from work each day, eager to shuck my business suit and panty hose, my treadmill became less and less of a workout machine and more and more of a clothes line. Although my clothes remained relatively clean and wrinkle-free dangling from the handrails, my body remained relatively weak and flabby. I’d have been much better off taking the extra five seconds to hang the clothes in the closet, then using the treadmill for a good workout.
Anytime we use something for a purpose other than which it was created, we don’t get the maximum benefits. I could use my car to store numerous boxes to keep them safe from the weather, but then I’d have no transportation for my family. I could use my laptop as a snack tray, but then I’d never write another book or send another email. It’s only by using things according to the purpose for which they were created that we get the most benefit from them.
Our sexuality is very much the same way. We can use sex for a wide variety of reasons. We can manipulate and control our husbands, giving sexual favors as a reward for good behavior or withholding sex as a punishment for bad behavior. We’re able to appease our partners, giving in to an occasional quickie just to get his paws off of us for a while. Or we can frustrate our husbands, creating expectations in our minds that he can never live up to. But none of these fulfill the purpose of sexual intimacy (although many women are using sex for these very reasons).
Of course, the sexual revolution of the 1960s and 70s taught us that sex was simply about feeling good. “If it feels good, do it!” the bumper stickers read. So many of us did it… and it felt good for a while… but the good feelings didn’t last. Younger women are beginning to echo the same sentiment. Many generation X and Y’ers have found that “hooking up” and having “friends with benefits” hasn’t prepared them for a lifetime of marital bliss as much as a lifetime of marital stress. Could all of these sexual freedoms that women now enjoy actually be stunting our growth into mature, sexually confident women? I believe so. We’ve become so confused about the real purpose of sexuality that we’re wandering way off track rather than pursuing genuine intimacy and relational fulfillment.
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.