As my friend's wedding day approached, a group of us got together to celebrate with a pink and girly bachelorette party. I put on my high heels, slapped on some red lipstick, and ran out the door, looking forward to a night of laughs and pre-wedding nerves. We started with a beautiful dinner, ran all around the mall in a scavenger hunt for wedding night necessities, and ended up back at the maid of honor's house for some presents and games. All of the women were giving our friend wedding-night advice when one of the bridesmaids said, "I feel wrong doing this. I don't think we should be talking about sex." The atmosphere of the evening abruptly changed as this group was reminded that "good Christian girls don't talk about sex." It felt like something out of a movie, where the air was popped out of our balloons and the music came to a screeching halt.
I watched the hostess of the party sit down, feeling slapped across the face. The bride started to fidget in her seat, obviously uncomfortable with the guilt that had just been poured into the room. Quickly, my mind began to race with questions. Questions like, Why is it that we can gush for hours about the colors of the wedding, the songs to dance to, and the bride's dress, but are afraid to give sexual encouragement to our friend? Didn't she pursue purity so her marital intimacy would be that much greater? Isn't this the time we are supposed to talk about sex?
With a shaky voice, I took a deep breath and said, "God created sex for us to enjoy with our husbands! Why wouldn't we want to encourage our friend with advice and excitement?" Other girls in the room agreed, but the rest of the night still didn't feel right. The celebration was taken out of my friend's giving herself as a gift to her husband and was replaced with question marks.
Growing up, I always understood that there were two different camps when it came to sex. The first side talked about sex and flaunted it! In college I would often run down the dorm room hallway and pile on my best friend's couch to watch Sex in the City. This show featured beautiful, independent, and wealthy women who talked openly about sex, different positions, and pursuing men. I felt a small piece of guilt for watching the show, but I was pulled in!
On the other hand, the Christian women in my life definitely approached sex differently. The only words I heard about sex from them were "purity" and "don't look like the world." I saw these two sides and understood that as a Christian, I wasn't supposed to talk about sex, think about sex, or watch things with sex (sorry Carrie Bradshaw!). Sex was just plain wrong. And sadly, as I walked into my one-flesh union with my husband, I still held onto that belief.
This past year, God has completely shattered the lie I was holding onto and replaced it with truth from his Word. Through two brave women, God introduced me to a book in his Bible I had not studied: Song of Songs. As I read the words of these chapters, flipped through commentaries, and dissected the poetry, I started to blush! The bride in Song of Songs pursued sex with her husband, took him on field trips to enjoy intimacy outside, and danced naked in front of him. Can good Christian wives talk about sex? This bride God gave us to study used her words to tell her spouse about the desire she had for him and she also fantasized about her husband when he wasn't around. This sounds like a woman who thought about and talked about sexual intimacy, and who wasn't apprehensive to pursue passion in her marriage.
As I walk into my fourth year of marriage, the Lord is challenging me to be that passionate in my own marriage. He is also asking me to encourage other women in my life. How can I become bolder with my friends and not shy away from the topic of sexual intimacy in marriage? If I have a Christian friend or sister who is in my inner circle, why would I ignore such an important discussion? I'm not saying that a bachelorette party should be raunchy—but I do think sex should be celebrated. Truly celebrating God's design for sex doesn't mean being tasteless or inappropriate, but it does mean encouraging my friends to pursue passionate and God-honoring intimacy in marriage.
Hannah Nitz is the Communications Coordinator with Authentic Intimacy, a women's media ministry focused on intimacy in marriage and intimacy with Christ, where she works with authors Dr. Juli Slattery & Linda Dillow. Hannah and her husband, Caleb, have been married three years and love working with other young couples to celebrate the challenges and joys that marriage brings. Hannah loves cooking big meals from scratch, watching football, and challenging other women to grow in Christ. Follow her work on Authentic Intimacy's Blog, Twitter, and Facebook.