Sexual Pleasure Isn't Shameful

You should enjoy the gift of sexual expression with your spouse.

God cares about your sex life. It may seem weird to see the words God and sex in the same sentence. Sometimes when I teach women on this topic, they have a visceral reaction to the concept of God knowing about their sex life. Psalm 139 tells us that God is always with us. There is nowhere we can go to hide from his presence—not even the bedroom!

Why is there such a disconnect for a woman to consider that God cares about her sex life? When I probe past the initial “That’s just weird!” reaction, I see that most women view sex as earthy, dirty, and shameful—everything that God is not. Inviting God into the bedroom seems as absurd as asking a Boston Red Sox fan to dress in a Yankee’s uniform. The two seem absolutely incompatible.

Most women learned about sexual pleasure through a shameful experience. Hardly a week goes by that I don’t get a question like this one:

Hi, Dr. Slattery. I need your advice related to my two-year-old daughter. It’s embarrassing to admit it, but I sometimes find her touching herself. She most often does it at night or when she’s sleepy. My husband and I have told her to stop, slapped her hand away, and used other punishments, but she keeps doing it. How can I get her to stop?

Why do loving mothers like this one automatically think of smacking their toddler’s hand away in this situation? Why is touching your genitals, even as a young child, considered shameful?

You may be surprised to find that there is nothing in the Bible that supports the assumption that sexual pleasure is innately dirty, shameful, and sinful. That may be Christian tradition, but it certainly isn’t biblical. God equipped both male and female bodies with the capacity to experience great pleasure through sexual touching and expression. He placed the greatest concentration of nerve endings in both the male and female genitalia. There is nothing inherently wrong with the pleasure that comes from sexual touch.

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Juli Slattery

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?

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May 25

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