Communication, Dating Your Spouse, Sex & Intimacy

5 Principles for Creating a Purpose Driven Sex Life

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.

Sexy time!

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

Perfect love is that which endures in the presence of imperfection.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

True intimacy begins long before you enter the bedroom.

Click to share.

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.

To fully know and still fully love is the primary aim of marriage.

Click to share

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!

More resources

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

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  • So much truth in these words. Great post.

  • vanessa

    Great thought provoking article!

  • Love this! What a great reminder that sex is incredibly important, but still not the ALL of a marriage relationship. Less than 1% of your marriage time. That puts things into perspective!

    • Exactly. While it’s very important, it’s not the only important thing in a marriage. Perspective is key!

  • 0.625% Is VERY Generous… most married couples I have talked too (when they break down and become honest with me) admit that they share intimacy less than 2 times a month, some less than twice a YEAR!

    Most men in this situation who seek help don’t realize that the lack of intimacy is a symptom of a much larger issue. Yet they will try to learn new “techniques” that will make the sex better… thinking that if only they could be awesome in the bedroom their partner will want it more.

    It doesn’t work that way. The first step is creating an atmosphere where trust, respect, and affection can take place. The 2nd step, for a man at least, is to learn how to LEAD his wife down the path of creating shared intimacy that’s enjoyable for both of them. Ladies, should follow her husbands lead.

    If a man hasn’t yet learned how to lead, or has a partner who is unable or unwilling to follow… then there is no point for him to try and learn bedroom techniques because there won’t be anyone who WANTS to share intimacy with him.

    That being said… if a man DOES have a solid foundation in his marriage.. then these tips could go a long way to reach up to that 0.625% that happily married couples enjoy:

    Happily Leading,

  • Kaytee Kelly

    What about discovering that your partner has a low sex drive? I have high sex drive and I’ve dealt with plenty of sexual frustrations. I’ve tried many times talking about it, trying to encourage it more often but I am constantly shot down.

    • Elsa

      Self-gratification? If he’s already rejected you, why be content with the frustration?
      My husband is a childhood sex abuse survivor, and his sex drive is looooow. Sometimes I just take care of it myself. If I don’t, it happens when I’m dreaming anyway.

  • Victoria

    Great article. I too, believe that sex is a very important aspect of marriage. I have to admit, that I’m not fully satisfied with mine. I have a higher sex drive than my husband, and it frustrates me that I have to initiate more. He does make an effort here and there, but that’s usually after I complain. I have a hard time expressing my feelings concerning intimacy in our marriage, without getting frustrated and attacking him emotionally. It makes me feel undesired, and many times I feel I deserve better than that or just a lowered esteem. Like maybe he isn’t any as attracted to me anymore. Though I don’t feel like I look bad or anything after 2 kids. suggestions?

    • Wifey

      It seems like a lot of us women are in the same boat. My husband was raised in a very strict, oppressive, Catholic home. Sex was BAD, BAD, BAD. His parents never shared a bed and pretty much hated each other. Counseling is probably the only answer. We’re going to try it. Good luck to you.

    • c

      Just you share my experience many husband and I were in the same place for the first ten years our marriage, great sex never often enough though. Just found out seven months ago he has had a pornography addiction our entire relationship. As he has gotten help and been sober it has begun to be much more frequent. Often we know something is wrong even when we can’t put our finger on it.

      • c

        Sorry for the errors autocorrect.

    • Nicole

      My husband and I have been married for 7 years. We’ve had the same problem and in the beginning I felt so hurt by it. But over the last year I have really worked at being the best wife I can and praying relentlessly for God to bring to us to a more equal place. Funny thing, its working. The more I love my husband in his Love Language, the more I serve him and respect him and treat him in a way that makes him more of the man he was designed to be, the more God has been changing both of our hearts. My husband can be a shy man, but he has really stepped it up and has been open to hear me, more than that, he has had an insatiable desire to be near me, to talk to me, to be intimate with me and to really learn what turns me on and take control in our sex life. A podcast series from pastor Chip Ingram, Living On The Edge, called “House or Home: Marriage Edition” really changed both of our outlooks over the last year and I highly recommend it. Good luck! I pray God brings you and husband closer together!

  • Lookingforhope

    But… What if physical attraction never follows soul attraction? What if it existed once and has now faded? What if your partner has let their physical form degrade to a point that it is deeply unwell and no matter how good the soul, my body doesn’t, can’t, respond? I’m not talking about gaining a little weight, ok? I’m talking being 200+lbs overweight and the physical breakdown happening with the skin, the odors of not being able to clean themselves properly, the breasts that are larger than mine, the impossibility of walking any distance, the travel hell of flying, the refusal to seek help.

    These are never addressed. I never hear how I am supposed to handle this. What I am supposed to do if I cannot be physically aroused, or even mentally? How I can accept never being physically attracted to my huband and accept that I will never be sexually aroused by anyone else for the rest of my life? My husband is a good man but it’s not enough. It doesn’t make up for watching a body fall apart in front of you and then having sex when you don’t mean it or want it and are actually physically turned off. This has been the only issue in our 15 years of marriage and I feel some days I’d rather die than have to go through this any longer.