Our culture tells us that being sexually active with multiple people outside of marriage is normal, expected, and consequence-free. But sex is meant to be enjoyed within marriage. Instead of a purely physical connection, many more things are going on when a husband and wife come together.
Dr. Juli Slattery explains how the male brain responds, and what this means for his wife.
“He gets this flood of hormones that actually bond him to his wife. One of the hormones is similar to oxytocin – what you get when you’re a mom and you have a baby. And you’re immediately bonded to that child.”
When a wife is feeling neglected emotionally and mentally, she tends to withdraw sexually. Juli cautions against that.
“A husband actually gets a huge dose of oxytocin when he is sexually intimate with his wife. So the more you’re distant physically, you actually are sabotaging the brain chemistry in your husband that would help him connect emotionally.”
When Juli realized the effects of intimacy, it changed things in her own marriage.
“I realized that if I wanted to get my husband’s attention, if I wanted him to be patient and listen to me, that one of the most effective ways of doing that was to work on sexual intimacy in our marriage. It was where I naturally had his attention.”
Don’t ignore those emotional issues, but don’t separate those issues from your sexual connection. It could be that God has given you the sexual relationship to help build a bridge so you can have the capacity to address some of those deeper issues as a couple.
When you’re feeling cut off from your husband, withdrawing may feel like a self-protective safe thing to do… but it’s exactly what the enemy wants you to do. Part of honoring your marriage and your husband is choosing to love him physically in a healthy, safe way.
So what does biblical, healthy sexuality look like in the context of marriage?
“Doing with your body what you’ve promised to do with your whole life.”
Juli shares her perspective.
“I promised twenty years ago to give myself to my husband. To be faithful to him, to love him, and to be committed to him through the worst of times, in the best of times… and I’ve lived that out. Through all the things we’ve dealt with so far in our marriage, our physical sexual relationship is actually a very tangible way of cementing what we promised on a regular basis.”
When we can view a marriage bed as a reflection of our lives, Juli calls that a sacred thing.
“When you get to that place where your bodies are actually reminding you of what you promised to do on your wedding day… that’s a special and holy place to be as a husband and wife.”
Juli tackles this and other questions in her book 25 Questions You're Afraid to Ask About Love, Sex, and Intimacy.