In a culture where romance novels, romantic comedies, and movies such as Fifty Shades of Grey appeal to a woman’s fantasy-driven mind, and considering the rising number of females viewing pornography, we need to have an honest conversation about sexual intimacy. For two decades, my husband and I have worked with countless couples, seeking to help build strong marriages. Among consistent themes to address is the battlefield of the mind.
WIRED FOR INTIMACY
A look at our God-given wiring and human vulnerabilities offers insight into why women can get sucked into fantasy, porn, or mental escapes.
Women are drawn to stories and details. Even though we know it’s fiction, we love how the handsome hero does and says all the right things, tying the romantic comedy plot with a nice little bow in two hours. Mentally escaping with a book or movie allows us to numb our feelings, to leave the details of our never picture perfect lives, even if only for a few hours.
Women are curious creatures, including the topic of sex (a look at the cover of Cosmo confirms this). However, women are often covert about sexual curiosity, making them more apt to read a scandalous book or article about sex than to seek solid counsel and medical advice in keeping with God’s greatest intentions.
Women are creatures of comparison, tempted to compare ourselves to other women in virtually all areas of our lives. Why should bedroom behavior be any different? However, since women are less likely to talk about their sex lives, they are more likely to compare themselves and their experiences with a fully edited and highly fictionalized book or movie that depicts intimacy in a glamorized and unrealistic way, void of consequences.
Women are lonely. Whether married and feeling disconnected from her husband or single, women desire relationship. Even if it’s watching or reading about someone else’s, we feel connected while engrossed in their story.
FIGHTING FOR REALITY
In light of our unique wiring, how should we respond to the temptation for fantasy?
Acknowledge the tendency. Escaping with books or movies, can lead to emotional or sexual fantasy through explicit content and romantic storylines. Reading or watching a movie for entertainment is different than excessive or explicit viewing for the purpose of escape or sexual release. Ask the Lord to reveal your motivations and heal the part(s) of your life you are seeking to numb.
Fight the fight. We have a very real enemy who desires to destroy the precious intimacy that God intends for us to experience. If you find yourself tangled up in pornography or explicit material, ask God for strength to walk away. If this temptation is a pattern, seek help from a female Christian counselor who can give you tools and accountability to fight this spiritual battle.
Replace the lies. God’s word is truth you can count on. Remember you are loved by God. You are beautiful, fearfully and wonderfully made. You are not alone. Sex within marriage is beautiful and honors God, pornography and explicit media does not.
Embrace your actual life. If you are married, ask the Lord to grow the spark in your relationship with your husband. There are many great resources including the books Intimacy Ignited, Real Marriage, The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, The Celebration of Sex and Intimate Issues, and don’t forget the Song of Solomon—an entire book in the Bible celebrating sexual love between husband and wife. If you are single, ask the Lord to give you strength as you pursue sexual purity. Remember, even if the Lord brings marriage, it will not “fix” everything. Life is still life and the temptation to escape will be underlying if not dealt with.
Reality check. Plain and simple, life is not like the movies. Like everything of value, relationships will take work and attention. We all have difficult seasons, sexual dry-spells or times when we feel disconnected. Hormones, stress, grief, illness, pregnancy, new babies, age, medication—these all have a profound impact on marriage and intimacy. However, escaping into fantasy can bring distance rather than closeness, as you look to something other than your spouse for comfort or sexual release. Talk about the season you are in and the feelings you have, then work together to rekindle the spark in your marriage.
Amid all the romantic comedies and romance novels remember, God is the greatest romantic ever! He created sex and wants us to enjoy it in the marriage relationship. He has given us everything we need for excitement, intimacy, connection, and chemistry. This is His beautiful gift to us for us to enjoy. And it’s a gift too good to be grey.
Meet the Author!
Heather McAnear is a wife, mom, author and speaker with a passion for sharing God's truth to help women understand their uniquely beautiful design and how to use it for God's glory! In fact, Heather hosts the Uniquely Beautiful Stories podcast on iTunes in hopes do just that! She loves teaching young married couples with her husband, homeschooling their three children, traveling the world, enjoying good chocolate and long conversations in coffee shops. CRBC has been her church home for two decades and she is thrilled to be part of the Women's Ministry team, helping women connect with each other and grow in their walk with Jesus!