References “A Celebration of Sex” by Dr. Douglas E. Rosenau
Getting married doesn’t mean you’ll never notice another attractive person. It’s normal to recognize that someone is good-looking and as long as you respond with integrity this isn’t something to feel guilty about.
God created us to be imaginative, but because of our sin natures we often use the gift of imagination for evil purposes, such as sexually depraved thoughts. By contrast, it’s vital for Christians to cultivate a healthy sexual thought life. If you’re married, this doesn’t mean repressing sexual thoughts; it means channeling them appropriately.
If sex within marriage is good, then thinking about it must be good too, as long as our thoughts love and honor our spouse (for example, avoiding fantasies of degrading or harmful behavior).
But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. – James 1:13-14
Sexual sin first gains a foothold in one’s thought life. Here are some tips for avoiding it.
How to Avoid Sexual Temptation and Relationship Problems
“Keep your gaze moving rather than lingering.” (79)
Again, it’s normal to simply recognize that someone is attractive, but it’s sin to allow that thought to turn into something more. This means you need to avoid “checking out” anyone other than your spouse.
Casually noticing someone’s appearance is different than looking them up and down with a lingering gaze. Rosenau suggests the “one-second” glance as a helpful rule.
Avoid Ungodly Media Sources
Sexual messages permeate our culture, but this doesn’t mean you’re doomed; after all, alcohol commercials are almost as pervasive, yet you certainly wouldn’t do a shot every time you saw one. Avoid any form of media that encourages adultery, hook-ups, casual sex, etc.
The entertainment industry glamorizes illicit sex, yet often ignores the resulting fallout of heartache, sexually transmitted diseases, unintended pregnancy, broken families, and more.
Avoid Adulterous Sexual Fantasies
Keep your thoughts far away from going down this road. Adhere strictly to this rule, especially where it concerns people who are accessible to you. Sin begins in the heart. The more often you cultivate sinful fantasies, the less resistance to temptation you will have when the opportunity presents itself. Cut this sin off at the root where it counts, in your thought life.
Focus on the Positive
We all have physical flaws; don’t focus on your partner’s while fantasizing about perfection. “Continued fantasies about women with big breasts, or men with muscular shoulders, are stupid if your partner is small. The same can be said about not taking the energy to allow your mate to be erotically attractive to you and fantasizing that you are making love to someone else.” (79)
It’s futile and selfish to focus on your partner’s imperfect characteristics; instead, pay attention to the qualities you most admire about them, both inside and out.
Refresh your Relationship
Anything can get worn out over time, even your thought life regarding your sexual relationship. Creative lovemaking starts in the mind; consider new experiences you and your spouse could explore together. You can start with these ideas from Rosenau:
- Describe a sexual fantasy out loud, or write it down, including how both you and your partner would participate, where and when it would take place, and why it appeals to you.
- Ask your spouse to do the same, and share them with each other.
- Elaborate on your spouse’s ideas by adding some of your own. Keep it lighthearted.
- If you’re uncomfortable with any aspect of your spouse’s fantasy, share why in an honest, loving way.
- Create a list of mutually appreciated ideas, and plan when you’ll implement one or more of them.
Christian Counseling: How it Can Help Your Sex Life
Processing sexual difficulties in your relationship can take a lot of time and patience. Conversations may be challenging, awkward, or lead to arguments or misunderstandings because this is such a sensitive subject.
Professional Christian counseling can help you verbalize your thoughts and feelings and address any conflict the two of you have. Our counselors combine both a clinical and Biblical approach that seeks to apply God’s principles to the sexual relationship in marriage.
“Together at Sunset,” Courtesy of Ryan Holloway, Unsplash.com; CC0 License; “Romance,” courtesy of Nguyen Hoangnam, Flickr Creative Commons, 2.0 License; “Empty bed,” courtesy of HS Lee, unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Indie Cuddles,” Courtesy of Toa Heftiba, Unsplash.com; CC0 License