After about ten years of marriage, I noticed that intimacy had become . . . well . . . boring. In fact, I was so bored with the "same old sex" that I calculated in my mind approximately how many times my husband and I had probably done the same thing. I figured that, if we had sex on average twice a week, that was about 100 times a year or 1000 times over 10 years of marriage. (Yeah, I know. Who thinks like that?) The next thought I had was: Something's gotta change. My bedroom ceiling just isn't that fascinating!
That little mental exercise was a wake-up call for me. I wanted sexual intimacy in my marriage to be fun, new, and creative. If sex seemed dull after 10 years, how would I feel after 30 years of marriage?
I've wrestled with the question of how to make sex exciting while also maintaining a sense of reverence for God's standards. There are guidelines for things that are "out of bounds" for Christian couples, but you might be surprised at how much freedom we have to pursue adventurous sex in marriage. Consider the fact that the Song of Solomon includes things like the bride planning a sexual rendezvous in a vineyard!
God created sex to be fulfilling for both men and women on many different levels. We have learned from scientific research that exciting, adventurous sex serves a different purpose in marriage than the "normal" episodes of sexual intimacy between a husband and wife. The truth is that both are important aspects of building a strong marriage.
A chemistry lesson
To understand the importance of both "normal" sex and adventurous sex, it helps to know the impact each have on your body and brain. Although I loved school, I hated chemistry. So, I'm going to make this explanation as simple and painless as possible.
There are a lot of brain chemicals involved in sex. What you look at and what you think about have a powerful impact on what chemicals are flowing at any given time. When a couple in a committed relationship has sex, their bodies release endorphins and oxytocin. These two chemicals lead to feelings of closeness and bonding and also a general sense of well-being. Oxytocin and endorphins help reduce stress, promote sound sleep and pain relief, and may even help slow the aging process. So frequent "normal" intercourse in marriage actually helps a husband and wife feel closely connected as they weather the storms of life together.
Juli Slattery is a TCW regular contributor and blogger. A widely known clinical psychologist, author, speaker, and broadcast media professional, she co-founded Authentic Intimacy and is the co-author of Passion Pursuit: What Kind of Love Are You Making?