We know that sex in marriage is a very important part of a healthy relationship. We know that it has physical as well as emotional benefits. But we don't often know the reasons why it is something that can often be uncomfortable or undesirable for women and sometimes men. And it doesn't get discussed enough among Christian brothers and sisters. So in this post, we are going to discuss some of the reasons behind these and work to address those things in order to improve marital relationships in the Body of Christ.
What Does the Bible Say About Sex?
To begin, I want to go into what Scripture says about it. I often like to simply think of the way that God designed our bodies and the fact that He very designed them in ways that are specifically for sexual intercourse. Creating new life and bringing children into the world is done through this act that is mostly only discussed in the Church on the negative topics surrounded it such as adultery and premarital sex. But there is a beautiful, natural, and God-given side to sex in marriage that Ibelieve is not discussed enough or even close to as much as it should be. The reason that sex is fun, pleasurable, and wonderful is because it is a reflection of the loving goodness of God who created it as a gift for us to steward and enjoy.
In one passage of Scripture specifically, we can see the importance of sex in marriage as a way to uphold the marriage and protect each partner from temptation:
3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. 5 Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 1 Corinthians 7:3-5
And of course we can look at the entire book of Song of Solomon! This book of the Bible demonstrates that intimacy in marriage is a beautiful, poetic thing! I encourage you and your husband to take some time alone to read through this book of Scripture together!
There are many good books written by Christian authors that detail this topic and its importance in marriage. Here is an excerpt from one of my favorite books:
The male sex drive is not a fault, nor is it a mistake. God is the author of sex. The average man sees sex as the main way to be close to his wife. ~Dr H. Norman Wright, Bringing Out the Best In Your Husband
If wives understood the deep importance of sex in marriage and its impact on the entire family structure, they would be seeking out more wisdom and help in improving and maintaining this crucial area of life.
Aside from a misunderstanding of the importance of intimacy in marriage, there are many physical (as well as emotional and spiritual) obstacles to having a fulfilling sex life in marriage. This article will focus on the main physical obstacles and how to address them naturally.
(For addressing the emotional and/or spiritual obstacles to having a fulfilling sex life in marriage, I urge you to seek out Biblical counseling and guidance from God and other believers who have found healing from such things.)
What Are the Physical Health Benefits of Sex?
Before we get into the physical obstacles to having a fulfilling sex life in marriage, I would like to discuss some of the physical benefits! Sex:
- Burns 5 calories per minute
- Increases Immunogloblin A by 30% (from sex twice/week or more) thereby boosting the immune system (Immunogloblin A is your body's first line of defense to fight off invading pathogens)
- Reduces migraines
- Helps promote better sleep
- Increases lifespan!
- Improves ability to handle stress
- Promotes youthful appearance (Participants in this particular study who had sex with their partner four times a week on average were perceived to be seven to twelve years younger than their actual age.)
- Cuts a man's risk of heart disease IN HALF by having sex at least twice a week!
- Releases hormones that promote a stronger marital relationship
(For the full infographic and study citations for these facts, please go here:
Those are some pretty incredible health benefits!
Common Problems That Interfere With A Healthy Sexual Relationship
Low sex drive is almost always caused by a hormone imbalance. For men with low libido, this is usually caused by low testosterone and/or excess estrogen. For women, it is usually caused by excess estrogen and low progesterone.
Low testosterone in men has two main causes--low Vitamin A and too much estrogen.
Main causes for too much estrogen (in men and women) include:
- Foods like soy (soybean oil is the most common source), refined sugars and refined carbs, as well as other processed foods.
- Environmental causes like plastics, lawn/farm chemicals (pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, etc.),
- Synthetic chemicals in body care and home products as listed below,
- Excess body fat (which provides more storage space for estrogen).
For women, using a high-quality, natural source of progesterone can greatly help improve sex (both libido as well as comfort during intercourse). Please be sure to
for recommendations on my favorite natural progesterone products.
Vitamin A Deficiency
While part of low testosterone is from estrogen being too high, the main factor is Vitamin A deficiency. A human study comparing the dietary intakes of 155 pairs of male twins found a correlation between testosterone levels and vitamin A intake.1
Rats that are deficient in vitamin A experience decreased testosterone until the accessory sex organs atrophy, indicating that vitamin A not only aids in, but is essential to, testosterone production.2
Vitamin A also decreases estrogen production in male testes, allowing testosterone to increase as needed.
Vitamin A (not beta carotene) is found only in high-quality animal foods raised the way God intended (cod liver oil, liver from grass-fed/pastured animals, eggs from chickens raised outside on bugs and grass, etc.). Vitamin A deficiency is especially common in those who consume low-fat, high-protein diet products (shakes, powders, etc.) as low-fat, high-protein things quickly deplete the body of testosterone.
These traditional vitamin A-rich foods are not very commonly consumed in our society, which has a lot to do with the hormonal problems so many people face. I encourage all men to check out this article about the importance of Vitamin A!
I have heard many testimonials of women whose painful intercourse problems completely vanished when they eliminated body care products containing parabens, phthalates, and synthetic fragrances. These endocrine-disrupting chemicals alter the natural hormone process in our body which can interfere with sexual function for both women and men.
Be sure to check all of your body care products (lotions, hair care, perfume/cologne, soaps, etc.) as well as home products (such as laundry detergents/dryer sheets, cleaning products, etc.) for these and other synthetic toxins and replace them with natural choices!
(Be sure to contact me for information on my favorite ones.)
Other Physical Considerations
Here are some other things that can often make sex uncomfortable for women:
- Breastfeeding--breastfeeding tends to keep sex drive low (part of God's design!) as well as keeps the vaginal area dry. Using an organic coconut oil as lubricant can help immensely, as can just a little bit of a natural progesterone. (Contact me for which one I recommend.)
- Scar tissue from past childbirths, miscarriages (especially those followed by a D&C), etc. can make intercourse painful. Some of my favorite things to use for helping relieve inflammation and pain from scar tissue include turmeric, lots of Vitamin C, and Vitamin E. The Vitamin C and turmeric can be taken in substantial/high doses after birth, miscarriage, etc.
I am not a psychological expert on this topic, so I will only briefly share a couple of considerations when there are emotional barriers to a fulfilling sexual relationship in marriage.
For those whose sex life in their marriage is difficult due to pregnancy concerns, you can check out my article on Natural Birth Control.
For men who struggle with achieving a full erection that is not related to physical issues, it is very common for emotional issues to be the cause. For some men, these emotional issues include severe stress, depression, and sometimes an emotional barrier in the marriage that can be caused by lies, deception, or hidden problems on his part.
Whatever the cause, I urge couples to pray for God to lead them to a very knowledgeable and helpful Christian who can help out in this area.
Here are some books that my husband and I have found very helpful in understanding and learning more about this important part of marriage:
- Bringing Out the Best In Your Husband by Dr. H. Norman Wright--this book has a chapter about sex and covers the different sex languages men have to help women find exactly which one(s) their husband has. It also has recommendations for additional books on sex written by Christian authors (some of which are listed below). (There is also a version of this book for husbands entitled Bringing Out the Best in Your Wife.)
- For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn--hands down a fabulous and very eye-opening book for women on not only this subject but other aspects of marriage! I have purchased this book so many times after I continually end up giving copies out to others! (Men, be sure to check out the other one for men--For Men Only.)
- A Celebration of Sex: A Guide to Enjoying God's Gift of Sexual Intimacy by Douglas E. Rosenau (recommended by Dr. Wright in the book above).
Praying that this area of your marriage experiences the fullness and beauty of God's design!
~Sara Jo Poff
1: Bishop, et. al., “The effect of nutritional factors on sex hormone levels in male twins,” Genet Epidemiol. 1988;5(1):43-59.
2: Livera, et al., “Regulation and Perturbation of Testicular Functions by Vitamin A” (Review), Reproduction (2002) 124, 173-180