Healing and Dealing with Sexual Problems in Marriage
Dealing with Sexual Problems in Marriage, by Dr. Michelle Strydom MD
It’s a Beautiful Thing
In Proverbs chapter 5 God gives beautiful, positive instruction on how a couple’s sexual needs are to be fulfilled, satisfied and enjoyed with great delight through union in marriage.
Proverbs 5 v 15 and 18 – 19: “Drink from your own well my son – be faithful and true to your wife. Let your manhood be a blessing; rejoice in the wife of your youth. Let her charms and tender embrace satisfy you. Let her love alone fill you with delight.” (Living Bible)
Amplified Bible: “Drink waters out of your own cistern [of a pure marriage relationship], and fresh running waters out of your own well. Let your fountain [of human life] be blessed [with rewards of fidelity], and rejoice in the wife of your youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant
doe [tender, gentle, attractive] – let her bosom satisfy you at all times, and always be transported with delight in her love.”
The wife is referred to symbolically in this scripture as a well or a cistern and in other translations “fresh running water” or a “fountain”. The beautiful parallel is between a person’s thirst being satisfied by
drinking cool, fresh water and a husband and wife’s sexual thirst being satisfied by regular sexual union in marriage. The sexual relationship, within the boundaries of marriage, is a beautiful, pure, sacred, God given
gift designed to provide you with great pleasure and fulfillment and is to be enjoyed with uninhibited freedom. The book of the Song of Solomon as well as other scriptures describes in vivid language the Failure of a normal sexual response in a female is due to fear, anxiety and stress in her thought life because her self-esteem and sense of self worth has been devalued.
physical delight in the union of the bodies of married lovers (Song of Solomon 6 v 1-10 and 7 v 1-9). Your heavenly Father is interested in your sexual life being totally fulfilling for both you and your mate.
John 10 v 10: “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).”
Satan hates the purpose of sex because its ultimate expression is new life. The Lord consistently commands us to choose life, and within the intimacy of the marriage bed is the seed and the incubator for new life to continue developing in your relationship and union with your mate, even after bringing babies into the world. Satan hates marriage and he wants to destroy the intimacy and fruitful happy unions of life-giving couples. If the devil can succeed in destroying a marriage, he can destroy a family. In orchestrating the breakdown of families, he can destroy a nation. There are more married couples who have sexual problems than there are those who are able to enjoy the sexual union with uninhibited freedom.
Satan’s Abuse and Distortion of Sex
Hebrews 13 v 4: “Let marriage be held in honor (esteemed worthy, precious, of great price and especially dear) in all things. And thus let the marriage bed be undefiled (kept undishonored); for God will judge and punish the unchaste [all guilty of sexual vice] and adulterous.”
Satan has taken this pure and beautiful sexual union in the marriage relationship and attempted to cheapen, misuse and distort it through practices such as adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism,
bestiality, sexual abuse (molestation and rape) and pornography. There are other causes for impotence and frigidity which were mentioned previously in this chapter, but sometimes psychological and physical sexual problems within marriage are a direct result of these sexual sins. God designed a complete, satisfying sexual relationship within certain boundaries. This is because He loves you and knows what is best for you. He designed you and knows how you are wired physically, emotionally and spiritually. Sex has commonly been compared to fire: Fire in a fire place brings warmth and comfort. However fire outside the boundaries of the fireplace, such as in the middle of the lounge carpet, brings destruction and ruin.
Similarly, God warns us not to distort or misuse sex outside the boundaries of marriage that He has set.
The consequences of un-repented sexual sin are severe:
Proverbs 6 v 32: “But whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks heart and understanding (moral principle and prudence); he who does it is destroying his own life.”
Proverbs 6 v 20 – 29: “20My son, keep your father’s [God-given] commandment and forsake not the law of [God] your mother [taught you]…23For the commandment is a lamp, and the whole teaching [of the law] is light, and reproofs of discipline are the way of life, 24to keep you from the
evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a loose woman. 25Lust not after her beauty in your heart, neither let her capture you with her eyelids. 26For on account of a harlot a man is brought to a piece of bread, and the adulteress stalks and snares [as with a hook] the precious life [of a man].
27 Can a man take fire in his bosom and his clothes not be burned? 28Can one go upon hot coals and his feet not burned? 29 So he who co-habits with his neighbor’s wife [will be tortured with evil consequences and just retribution]; he who touches her shall not be innocent or go unpunished.”
When you have sex outside of marriage, you open yourself up to terrible consequences that are both physical (in the form of disease) and spiritual (evil spirits are given access to you and your body). When you
have sexual intercourse with somebody outside of marriage, whatever garbage they are carrying spiritually is transmitted into you.
The sexual relationship, within the boundaries of marriage, is a beautiful gift designed to provide you with great fulfillment and is to be enjoyed with uninhibited freedom.
1 Corinthians 5 v 18 – 20: “18 Shun immorality and all sexual looseness [flee from impurity in thought, word or deed]. Any other sin which a man commits is one outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. 19 Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own, 20 You were brought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own]. So then, honor God and bring glory to Him in your body.”
If you have sex outside of marriage, you might not get HIV but there are more than 60 known diseases that are transmitted sexually; the chance that you will get at least one of them is excellent. These diseases
do not always manifest immediately (so you’ll think you got away with it) but they flare up years down the line. The ultimate consequence of sex outside of marriage is death. For example, viruses such as hepatitis
B and C are transmitted sexually. These viruses cause inflammation, cirrhosis, cancer and eventually destruction of the liver, which leads to death. Interestingly, a link has been observed between liver cancer
and men who have been heavily into pornography. Jesus said that if you lust after a woman in your heart, you are guilty of adultery. Matthew 5 v 28: “But I say to you that everyone who so much as looks at a woman with evil desire for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
Proverbs 7 v 10, 21-23: “10 And behold, there met him a woman with the attire of a harlot and a crafty heart…21 With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him. 22 He goes after her straight away, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks; 23 till a dart strike through his liver; As a bird hastens to the snare, And he does not know that it is for his life.” (KJV)
Marriage is no longer held in honor by the world but God instructed us in Hebrews 13 v 4 to esteem marriage as worthy, precious and of great price, and to keep the marriage bed pure. There is nothing worse than that low level pain and internal heaviness when we know we are not living in right relationship with God. Sexual sin outside of marriage causes both the man and woman to become laden with guilt. As I mentioned previously, guilt together with a low self-esteem and anxiety are toxic thinking patterns that can affect your body by causing you not to be able to function properly sexually. It also destroys your soul oneness with your mate and robs you of full enjoyment of the marriage relationship. In a woman, sex outside of marriage or promiscuity can lead to nymphomania (insatiable sexual desire) or frigidity (lack of or decreased sexual desire). The corresponding effects in a man would be satyriasis and impotence.
If you have been involved in immoral sexual sin outside the boundaries of marriage, this is going to have to be dealt with before you can
expect healing of impotence, frigidity or other sexual problems. There is no need to be filled with guilt, shame and condemnation, remember that
Jesus died on the Cross to pay the price for that sin also. You simply need to confess your sin and with deep conviction, repent from the heart.
Psalm 51 v 17: “My sacrifice [the sacrifice acceptable] to God is a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart [broken down with sorrow for sin and humbly and thoroughly penitent], such, O God, You will not despise.”
1 John 1 v 9: “If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in
purpose, thought and action].”
Accept God’s forgiveness and leave the filth, guilt and shame at the cross and move on to enjoy the abundant life and marriage that God intended for you in all its beauty and fullness. As Jesus said to the adulterous woman in John 8 v 11: “Go and sin no more.”
Marriage is no longer held in honor by the world but God instructed us to esteem marriage as precious and to keep the marriage bed pure.
Warped Ideas of Love, Sex and Marriage
Sexual problems can develop as a result of the husband or wife having a warped idea of sex coming from childhood experiences. For example if you asked your parents the very normal question, “Where do babies come from?” Their reply may have been, “Shush, good boys and girls don’t ask such questions. When you are older you will learn about such things.” Their attitude may have lead you to believe that there is something wrong with where babies come from and you never spoke to your parents about that subject again. You may have gotten the rest of your sexual education in an atmosphere of secrecy, causing you to feel sex is dirty rather than a beautiful God given expression of love. There are many other ways that
the devil will try to present sex to you as dirty, but as I explained previously, sex was God’s idea. God is the One who put a strong sexual drive in men and women. Every good and perfect gift is from God (James 1
v 17). Unless perverted and misused outside of the boundaries of marriage, sex is a beautiful, pure, sacred God-given gift. It is holy in God’s sight. Proverbs 30 v 18 – 19 lists several things that are too wonderful
to explain and one of them is “the way of a man with a maid.”
Unfortunate experiences such as molestation or sexual abuse may have made you feel dirty and full of shame. There are some women who will not allow their husbands to see their naked body because they feel so ashamed. The negative mindsets that stem from abuse can cause frigidity and impotence. If you have been through the tragic experience of sexual abuse, I strongly recommend Joyce Meyer’s book “Beauty for Ashes”. This book provides powerful insight into dealing with the wounds of sexual abuse. She was
sexually abused by her father as a child. In her book “Help Me I’m Married”, Joyce Meyer shared part of her testimony about her sexual abuse and how through obedience to God’s Word and renewing her mind in this area, she was eventually set free. I share her story here because there are many others who have severe bondages and obstacles in their sexual relationship in marriage because of past abuse. What God did for Joyce Meyer, He can do for you.
In her early married life, Joyce used to have a bad attitude towards sex. Although her physical body would respond fairly well, she would dissociate herself in her mind from the situation. She said that she would endure whatever she needed to, but she didn’t participate. She would just lie there like a dead fish with the attitude, “Here I am; do whatever you have to do, but don’t expect me to get involved.” In frustration Joyce Meyer asked God, “When am I ever going to get anything out of this?” God’s answer to her was, “When you decide to put something into it.” Many women have a similar passive attitude that is destroying their ability to enjoy intimacy with their husbands. They procrastinate doing the right thing because it seems too hard to overcome the problems and negative mindsets from their abusive pasts and are not willing to put in the effort to do what it takes to heal.
Some people who were abused in the past retaliate on their spouse when it is not their fault. God showed Joyce that her emotional reaction to her husband in the bedroom was a result of her abusive past and she needed to let go of those old patterns of thinking and renew her mind according to the God’s Word and His view of sex. As Joyce trusted in God to restore her sexually and as she grew in the knowledge of the Word, God began to convict her of areas that needed to be changed. For example, in her childhood, in order to survive her father’s abuse, she had learnt to pretend that it was happening to somebody else.
She had trained herself to not mentally participate in the sex act. She then carried this mental habit of fantasizing that it wasn’t happening to her into her marriage with her husband. Once God had helped her overcome imagining that she wasn’t even in the room with her husband, He began to deal with her about the fact that she always kept her eyes shut so she wouldn’t see anything. It was initially very hard for her to step out in obedience when the Holy Spirit said to her, “Now it’s time to open your eyes.” She also struggled to walk in obedience when the Lord first instructed her to take the initiative and approach her husband to let him know that she wanted to make love. She learnt to pray her way through her wrong ideas of sex, for example that it was dirty and that the angels and the Holy Spirit went and hid when she and her husband made love. One day the Lord said to Joyce, “Now, why don’t you leave the lights on tonight.”
God kept encouraging her to step out in obedience, rather than just doing what she felt like doing.
She had to die to self, allow her flesh to be crucified with Christ and accept God’s truth in her life. There were times when she went through agony while trying to obey God and get rid of the bondage in her soul from the abuse that she experienced in childhood. There were many times when she allowed her husband to make love to her simply out of obedience although she was hurting so bad emotionally that the tears would run down her face. Once in a while her husband would notice her crying and would want to know what was wrong. She would tell him that she was just trying to obey God but was having a hard time doing so. However as she continued to obey God, follow His direction and renew her mind, little by little God walked her out of bondage and brought her to the place where she could enjoy her sex life.
Eventually Joyce’s obedience brought victory, freedom and a great reward.
She is a living witness and proof that it pays off to do it God’s way.
Will you have the courage to trust God and renew your mind (change your thinking) according to His original plan concerning the beauty and
purity of the sexual union in marriage? Your flesh will most probably feel the pain as you are getting free from those old negative mindsets that held you in bondage; but know that your heavenly Father can heal those wounds in the depths of your soul and give you beauty for ashes. Jesus said in Luke 4 v 18 and Isaiah 61 v 1-3 “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed and qualified me to preach the Gospel of good news to the meek, the poor and the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up and to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the [physical and spiritual] captives and the opening of the prison and of the eyes to those who are bound. To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord [the year of His favor]… To grant [consolation and joy] to those who mourn, to give them an ornament (a garland or diadem) of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of
mourning, the garment [expressive] of praise instead of a heavy, burdened and failing spirit – that they may be called oaks of righteousness [lofty, strong, and magnificent, distinguished for uprightness, justice, and right standing with God], the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”
It doesn’t matter how many times you go up for prayer or how many hours of counseling you sit through, you are only going to be set free when you renew your mind and change your way of thinking concerning your sexual relationship in marriage. There is no quick fix – it takes courage, hard work and determination along with God’s grace and the help of the Holy Spirit to develop new mindsets and get rid of the old ones. Everybody’s problems are different, but God knows what it is going to take to overcome them. He has a personalized plan for you as an individual on how to bring restoration and healing in your sex life. However, you have got to be willing to listen for God’s direction as He reveals negative mentalities that need to be dealt with. God is the One Who will bring the healing, but the responsibility of renewing your mind is yours. When you start trusting God to heal you and set you free, He will begin revealing to you little changes that you need to make a little bit at a time. If you will simply and systematically agree to obey God, He will walk you out of every bondage you have until you are enjoying your marriage n all the beauty and fullness that God originally intended. But you will never get free until you are willing to do what He tells you to do each step of the way.
Philippians 3 v 13 – 14: “…One thing I do [it is my one aspiration]; forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward.”
Will you have the courage to trust God and renew your mind according to His original plan concerning the beauty and purity of the sexual union in marriage?
Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus – So Communicate!
Sometimes a wife is not satisfied sexually because her husband doesn’t understand her…and vice versa.
Even though sexual success is mostly a result of your thought life and attitude, it also in part depends on your mate’s education. You have got to communicate your needs and what pleases you to your mate.
There are several differences between a man and a woman sexually, and an important part of our medical training was to teach patients with sexual problems about this. For example, a man is usually stimulated sexually by sight, but a woman is not. Should a man watch his wife undress for bed, he may be sufficiently aroused for intercourse while the wife is simply ready for bed. A man is like a light switch where he can be aroused in an instant and it can be over just as quickly as it began. However a woman is like two hundred candles – it takes a long time to light her up, but then she stays burning for alot longer. In other words a woman is not as quickly aroused as a man and needs tender words, soft touch and a longer love play in a romantic atmosphere.
Furthermore, a man and a woman may differ in sexual response after a marital conflict. The man’s way of saying “Please forgive me and allow me to show you how much I love you”
would be to have sexual intercourse. However the wife would prefer to be reassured of his love with tender words and caresses before being ready to make love. Also, sex can serve as a tranquilizer for a man, calming him down and enabling him to go to sleep. When a woman is exhausted, the last thing she wants is sex. However I would like to say to the women that God’s plan for marriage is greater than your “feelings”. Tiredness is not an acceptable excuse for withdrawing from your spouse. When you are too upset with your husband to have sexual union with him, it is most important to lovingly offer yourself to him at that time than ever before. Obedience is one of your most powerful weapons against the tempter.
When the two of you come together in intimate union in obedience to God’s plan for your marriage, you are submitting to God and resisting the devil’s temptation to withhold what God has encouraged you to give. You are telling the devil that you are keeping your promise to each other and ignoring his attempts to steal your power of agreement with each other.
The devil works so hard at perverting and destroying the sexual union in the marriage relationship because he knows the power of the bond of agreement that sex was designed to bring between a husband and wife. He heard Jesus say in Matthew 18 v 19: “Again I tell you, if two of you on earth agree (harmonize together, make a symphony together) about whatever…they may ask, it will come to pass and be done for them by My Father in heaven.”
Strife opens the door to the devil and every evil work (James 3 v 16) but peace, unity and agreement is a powerful weapon of spiritual warfare against the devil. Two people in agreement will have a prayer life that births miracles and makes tremendous power available, dynamic in its working.
A Mighty Weapon in Spiritual Warfare
This is a revelation that I got from the teaching of Joyce Meyer: There is something tremendously powerful in the sexual union between a husband and wife who love each other. It reseals the marriage covenant and closes the door to the devil. This beautiful and sacred union derails any progress the devil may have been making to bring separation and division. In essence, making love to your spouse is powerful spiritual warfare that will prevent spiritual attacks and the fiery darts of the enemy shot against your marriage. When you feel the desire for your spouse, be sensitive to that prompting as it is the Lord letting When you are too upset with your husband to have sexual union with him, it is most important to lovingly offer yourself to him at that time than ever before.
you know that there is a need for you to come together. Rather than making up excuses, step out in obedience to the Lord’s leading. There is always a great price to disobedience and in this case, you will miss the opportunity to divert an attack from the enemy upon you or your marriage. Joyce Meyer spoke of two occasions where she chose to ignore the clear prompting of the Holy Spirit and made up excuses to not obey His leading such as being too tired and not having enough time. The very next day on both occasions
where the Lord had spoken to her in advance, something happened that was an obvious attack from the enemy. God reminded her of what He had said to her the night before saying, “I told you so.”
Let Him Be Saturated by Your Love
It is important for a woman to realize that a man’s masculinity is strongly tied up in his ability to satisfy her sexual needs. A powerful force behind impotence can be a man’s fear and anxiety about his wife rejecting his sexual advances or not being able to adequately meet her needs. Therefore it is important for a wife to support him by showing her confidence in his sexual ability through word and action. One
translation of Proverbs 5 v 19 says that the man must be enraptured or saturated by his wife’s sexual love. The woman must give the man the unmistakable impression that she can hardly wait to enjoy sexual
union with him. Watch your words ladies – be careful that they are not critical, cutting, sarcastic or that they imply in any way that
your husband’s sexual abilities are inferior or inadequate for you. A man’s impotence is not always a physical problem, sometimes it is a nagging and bickering wife who has devalued his masculinity by not allowing him to be the leader, king and priest of his home.
Proverbs 21 v 9: “It is better to dwell in the corner of a housetop [on the flat oriental roof, exposed to all kinds of weather] than in a house shared with a nagging, quarrelsome and faultfinding woman.”
Furthermore, ladies, never be guilty of using sex as a weapon, for example to get something that you want from your husband or to punish him for arguments or wrongdoing. When you put a price tag on your sexual Relationship by withholding your body in this way, you are making a prostitute of yourself because you are selling your body to your husband in exchange for something you want.
1 Corinthians 7 v 4 – 5: “For the wife does not have [exclusive] authority and control over her own body, but the husband [has his rights]; likewise also the husband does not have [exclusive] authority and control over his body, but the wife [has her rights]. Do not refuse and deprive and
defraud each other [of your due marital rights], except perhaps by mutual consent for a time, so that you may devote yourselves unhindered to prayer. But afterwards resume marital relations, lest Satan tempt you [to sin] through your lack of restraint of sexual desire.”
If abstinence in marriage becomes habitual it is sometimes difficult to approach each other again. If you consistently reject your spouse sexually, it will quickly tear down his/her self-esteem, sense of self worth and feelings of attractiveness and desirability.
A man’s impotence is sometimes due to a nagging wife who has devalued his masculinity by not allowing him to be the leader, king and priest of his home.
Be Secure in Who You Are in Christ
Part of your healing from sexual problems is going to have to involve you changing your mindset concerning how you think about yourself. Building a healthy self-esteem starts with knowing who you are in Christ, establishing your identity and sense of self worth in Him and learning to see yourself as God sees you.
Only Prayer Can Produce Intimacy Lastly, if you are lacking intimacy, closeness and oneness in your marriage relationship, consistently pray
together on a daily basis. My grandparents have been married for 60 years and they are just as much in love today as they were when they first got married. According to them, this is the most valuable advice for any marriage – pray together. You see, sex is merely an expression of intimacy but it does not produce intimacy. Only prayer can produce intimacy.