I have always been a private person when it comes to…you know…s-e-x.
For nearly 18 years, this topic has been a sore spot and area of constant struggle in my marriage. I feel so alone sometimes, like we are the only Christian people with an ice-cold intimate life. If not for our faith in Christ, we would lose it. All of it. I have tried to analyze why I have such feelings of disgust and guilt about it. Oftentimes, the best way for me to figure out why is to look back at the past.
Maybe It Was Early Influence
My parents meant well when they raised me to think that boys only wanted one thing and that good girls waited until they were married to have “you know what.” They were very protective of me, but they often assumed I was out messing around with boys. I remember I went to the mall one time. When I returned home, they asked me about my day. But before the conversation was over, my dad had decided I’d found somewhere to go to make out with some boy. All I’d done was shop and hang out with my friends!
I wore confusing looks of nervousness and fear when my parents grilled me. Because of my guilty-conscience face, they frequently thought I’d been up to no good. Football games, movies, and sleepovers often ended with arguments about what boy I’d been with. I didn’t even have that many guys interested in me to start with!
Maybe It Was Desire
While I know these accusations had an effect, I am not altogether sure when the topic became dirty in my mind. Maybe one negative event after another turned that wrong thinking into a raging, sex-hating beast.
Over the years I have realized that I have never been comfortable with desire. I battle repulsion for the feelings because they seemed to show up unannounced, and they seemed beyond my control. I decided I would fix that problem by training my brain and my body to block those feelings whenever they came. Problem solved, right? Wrong.
I took a break from the blocking technique when I met my now husband. There was no lack of desire between us, and I wasn’t derailed by any of the negative thoughts I’d once had. I let my guard down, and those desires took their natural course for a while. I was convinced that when we married, we would have more-than-healthy relations.
We fell into physical sin at times. I was newly saved, and this caused problems with my faith at its core. Guilt reignited and weighed heavily on me. And just like that, the struggle reemerged.
Here we are, 18 years later. We are still in a rut that only worsened on our wedding night. There have been glimmers of healthy, godly interaction between us, but I have trouble remaining consistent.
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(This story is featured in the spring 2015 issue of Shattered Magazine. Subscribe today to read more powerful stories of people and communities breaking down barriers to belief.)