Shame and Intimacy
So, I have been thinking about this for some time and decided to just throw it out there. I know there are a million opinions on the matter, from secular to spiritual, but I want to attempt to pick it apart from my own perspective. It will probably be completely personal to my own experiences and beliefs in life, but hopefully someone else ponders the same subject and it will benefit them as well. If the topic of sex makes you uncomfortable…maybe skip reading this one.
As long as I can remember, I always felt like something was wrong with me. I frequently wondered if I was the only female out there that thought about sex or felt shame and guilt for having questions about it. As soon as you are in elementary school, you are thrown into sex education classes and offered information on birth control. I am curious, though, why no one pulls the girls aside to ask if they have any questions about sex and reassures them that if they do, there is nothing wrong with them. Unfortunately, we live in a society that shames boys and men for being perverts or categorizes them in a negative way for only thinking about sex and being led astray by pornography. Honestly, I think I am just fed up with the way that the media controls our thoughts and develops our opinions – does anyone else feel this way? Women think about it too. If they say otherwise, they are liars! Just look at the statistics from how many Fifty Shades of Grey books were sold or downloaded. I can bet money that there were far more women reading it than men.
I have not been in many settings where it is openly discussed and treated in a way that reminds everyone that we were created…by God…to enjoy intimacy and be open with our spouse in this area. For many of us, the idea is shamed so much that by the time we say “I do”, our desires fly out the window. Believe me, I understand that many times this is due to past hurts, or not treating sex with the respect that God intended it for before we met our mates. Due to situations like these, I know that I have shamed myself and shamed by body for being flawed. I know the pain I have experienced by being in forced situations has definitely created humiliation in a way that is hard to peel off, even many years later. You feel like you are blemished or as if you cannot be open with your sexuality because it was stolen from you. It makes me absolutely sick that we live in such a fallen world that so many people experience this kind of pain; I know that I am no special case. It has made me protective of my own children in a way that I am constantly talking to them about what is permissible and what is not and how to protect themselves. I cannot shield them from everything, I do know this. However, I can help develop their sense of discernment so that they can guard themselves and guard their hearts. I just pray that I am talking to them about it in a way that does not distort their idea of what God intends for the intimacy that they are supposed to share with their husbands and wives one day.
Sometimes, a disconnect can also happen after a stressful chapter in marriage or possibly after a new baby arrives. I know this feeling being pregnant with my 5th child. I had a baby in April and did not plan that I wouldn’t be back in tip top shape before becoming pregnant again. Here I am, though, and they will only be one year apart! If things like this happen and you feel inadequate, share your heart with your husband and explain what you are battling. I know that Ricky loves me, so he isn’t moved by the fact that I didn’t lose that last 12 pounds from Adelyne’s pregnancy before becoming pregnant again. For me, however, all I see is 6 extra pounds on each side of my body! The mind is powerful, friends, and can convince you that there is something wrong with you…even when that extra 12 pounds was probably needed by the new life forming on the inside of you!
So, why is it so hard for men and women to be open and vulnerable in this area with one another? Can we just sit down and have an honest conversation and spell out what we think about and how we want to connect with each other? If one needs more help in this area, then give it. If one needs more patience than the other, then provide it. None of us have grown up in a world where we were trained to be prepared for this area of our marriage and this area of our minds and hearts. Typically, we either had this area stunted due to past hurts or this area was accelerated because we watched how it was portrayed by Hollywood. I assure you, God has a much deeper intent for intimacy and desire in our marriages than that. Our creator gave us a way to connect with our spouse. We are reminded of this in Proverbs and I know I cannot be the only one that used to blush a little whenever I came across this verse:
“Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love.”
It says: “all times” and “always”. No one ever calls people like Solomon a pervert though! Sex is not bad or something that we should be ashamed of. Jesus paid the price so that we can have a true relationship with Him and with one another. Don’t miss out on something that God created – be thankful that He provided a way for us to connect at a deeper level with the one we were created to become one with.
Song of Solomon 6:3
I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine...