Sex. A word that used to be taboo is now so commonplace you probably won’t go a day without hearing it at least a few times. Everything seems to have something to do with sex.
It’s funny really, that such a relatively small portion of anyone’s life is given such a heavy emphasis. Why does sex take up so much of society’s conversational bandwidth? Why are we so obsessed?
Even more importantly, what is the purpose of sex? How should we view it?
My friend Scott Kedersha recently introduced me to a concept that I found astounding. Scott works for a church in Dallas helping newlyweds and “nearly weds” prepare for and navigate marriage. Scott loves Jesus, knows marriage, and has helped countless couples in their marriages.
He shared with me that the average married couple spends around 0.625% of their married life having sex.
(mental pause, puzzled look)
What? No…. that can’t be right.
As it turns out, that’s a generous estimate. I did the math! The average (actually, the above average couple) spends less than 1 percent of their married life having sex. Yes, there will be exceptions to this figure, but again, this is average.
Where did that figure come from? Read on.
If the average married couple (repeat, average) has sex around 6 times per month and each “round” lasts about 45 minutes, the total time they’re together during sex accounts for 270 minutes per month. That’s 4.5 hours. That seems like a lot, but guess how many hours there are in a month… 720.
So, roughly 0.625% of your married life (4.5 hours/720 hours) you’re engaged in the proverbial “dance off with your pants off”. (Relax…it’s just humor). Shocked? I was. Let’s put this in perspective:
The average married couple spends 0.625% of their time having sex. Maybe 0.8% if you’re feeling frisky. Now, what else do we do with our time?
- If you watch 1 hour of TV each day, that’s more than 4% of your life staring at a screen (not including phone time).
- TV for 2 hours a day = 8% of your life. (Sigh. I need to go read a book now…)
- If you exercise for 40 minutes 3 times per week, you’re spending 1.1% of your life on fitness.
- If you talk for 10 minutes a day about your relationship (roughly an hour per week), you’ll spend less than 1% of your time communicating about your marriage.
- If you sleep 8 hours/day, that’s 33% of your time.
- If you work 40-50 hours per week, that’s another 22-28% of each month.
Crazy, isn’t it? The average couple spends less than 1% of their marriage having sex, yet it can be such a point of contention for many.
Sex feels like a huge part of marriage. Well, that’s because it is…and it isn’t. Let’s explore.
5 principles for creating a purpose driven sex life
A very sexually active couple might spend 1% of their married life being intimate physically, but sex certainly accounts for much more than just the time it requires. Here are some principles to remember about sex that will hopefully help you establish it’s purpose in your marriage:
1: Sex is a good part of God’s design
One of the first directives God gives to Adam and Eve is to “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it…” (Genesis 1:28). This command is given against the backdrop of all creation. In a parallel account, given in Genesis 2, we see the ordination and blessing of “the Man and his wife” becoming one flesh.
Sex is intrinsically good! God made it, and it is great. (Amen?) It is right and good for a husband and wife to be naked together, and to enjoy each other.
Sometimes we can have distorted views of sex that are caused by our sinful nature or the damage sin has had on our lives. We must oppose those views and replace them with God’s right purposes for sex in our lives. This not to say it will be easy, but just remember that sex is designed by God as good and beautiful.
2: Sex is reserved exclusively for the marital covenant
Sex wasn’t designed to be enjoyed outside of marriage. There are many studies that index the negative effects of promiscuity outside of the marriage relationship (start here). This should not come as a surprise to us, since we’re wired for sex within the context of commitment, emotional vulnerability, and lifetime accountability.
Additionally, any activity that breaks the exclusivity of sex in marriage should be avidly avoided. We’ve been asked if viewing pornography with your spouse as a means for sexual arousal is acceptable, and our answer is always “no“. Pornography is a perversion of sex, and bringing it into your marriage is never acceptable.
3: Intimate sex is a result of an intimate relationship
Sometimes sex is functional, other times it’s highly involved. I’ve discussed the types of sex more in another post titled “The Spectrum of Sex”.
For the times when sex is very involved and intimate, we must remember that it comes from a desire for each other because of emotional depth in our relationships. This is why healthy couples will find each other attractive long after their physical beauty fades.
When you love someone’s soul, you gladly love their body as well. It’s icing on the cake. In God’s design, soul-attraction precedes physical attraction every time. (Have a look into Song of Solomon for additional evidence.)
4: Physical intimacy builds emotional intimacy
Just as emotional intimacy leads to physical intimacy, physical intimacy will deepen your emotional bond even further. How? Though vulnerability.
You’re never more vulnerable than when you’re naked and close to someone. All of your imperfections are on display. When you’re naked physically together, you both have opportunities to love and be loved as you are. Vulnerability is good and worth pursuing in this context.
5: Sex is a skill you can learn, and one you should learn only with your spouse
If you’re newly married and you feel like your sex-life isn’t all you’d hoped for, relax. Sex will get better as you learn your spouse and their desires. This is one amazing aspect of God’s design for marriage: you have the same person to love for your entire life! You get to grow in your intimacy with them: emotionally, spiritually, and sexually.
The best way to improve your sexual prowess is to have open and honest conversations with your spouse: What do you like? What do they enjoy?
A word to the wise: As you learn how to have sex, remember to keep it holy. Always edify your spouse in the marriage bed; as soon as you stop seeking their enjoyment and pleasure first, you introduce selfishness and sin into the equation. Selfishness and sin will damage your intimacy.
Keep it right & good
Also let me just draw this line again: pornography is never alright – whether it’s video or in some sort of instructional booklet. You don’t need it to learn, you don’t need it to become aroused, and you don’t need to introduce other people (via imagery) into your marriage bed.
If you need to learn more about sex, read an unillustrated book written by a Christ-centered source. (here’s one example)
Hopefully you found this helpful. I know sex is a big topic, so please feel free to leave a question in the comments below or read some of our other articles about sex. I’ve also linked to some of Scott’s (great) blog posts below!
Scott has written in depth on his blog about sex within marriage. I encourage you to check out his latest series on Sex here:
- Part 1 – The Most Important 0.625% of Your Marriage
- Part 2 – The 411 on the Most Important 0.625%
- Part 3 – The Law of the Farm: Will you Work Hard to Make the 0.625% of Your Marriage Great?
- Part 4 – Unmet Expectations: The second barrier to intimacy as God intends
Image credits: Jeff Marsh
Have you heard of the The 31-Day Pursuit Challenge?
Every marriage begins with passion, purpose, and pursuit, but few stay that way. That’s why we wrote Husband in Pursuit and Wife in Pursuit Together, they make what we’re calling the 31-Day Pursuit Challenge. Couples are encouraged take the challenge together. We’re already starting to hear stories of transformed marriages! Are you up for the challenge?