HIS NEEDS/HER NEEDS
Sex is the defining element in marriage. Nearly every other act in marriage can ethically and legally be shared between 2 people not married. For example, roommates can live together, eat together, share their finances and belongings together, etc. Yet if they are to have a moral, ethical relationship, then they are going to have to marry if they are going to have sex. Of all the other elements in marriage, it is the only one which God says must take place within the bounds of marriage.
Cautionary note here: for some people sex is so scary, even frightening because of the past--abusive relationships, incest, rape, parents, etc. These people need psychological help. A mere reading of the Scriptures regarding sex is not going to solve their problems. They need some good, healthy therapy. They need it not because they are damaged goods but because they do have the possibility to break the chains which shackle them and which prevent them from experiencing a wonderful part of their lives.
GOD CREATED SEX
If you are going to have a healthy view of sex, then you need to realize that God created sex. In Gen. 1:27 Moses writes that God made man in His image. Then he goes on to say that man is not simply the male; rather man is male AND female. The 2 terms male and female are actually sexual terms. The 2 terms relate to gender, male and female, sexual terms. In other words sex is not simply a part of us; sex forms part of our very core, our very being.
As we approach the subject of sex, we need to acknowledge that men ARE from Mars and that women ARE from Venus. (Roger Ebert admits the same thing in his review on the movie Fever Pitch. Men and women are different in a variety of ways, and to reject or neglect those differences is to frustrate either the man or the woman. To neglect these differences is going to create a serious problem in your marriage relationship. Be careful about trying to change your mate. After you change him, you won't like him (Lucy Swindol's experience!)
First of all, we are built differently, not only physically but also emtionally. You need to honor that. Boys love war; girls love dolls and make-up. That's not bad; that's just the way we are constructed. Boys love to play video games and blow things up. We love to be the cowboys who kill the indians. Whereas we normally have no problems with the girls playing house, we get all upset about boys playing war games. To get upset about boys being aggressive is as absurd as getting upset with boys because their stomachs get hungry. That's who they are, and whereas this element does not need to go to an extreme, it must be honored. It is damaging when too many women run a school. They will come up with rules like "You can't fight with fists," yet they will let the kids use abusive language. Why is it OK to fight with words but not with fists in school? It's the same thing, isn't it? The reason it is not OK to fight with fists is that women run most of the educational facilities and they only fight with words. Well, if it is OK to fight with words, then it is OK to fight with fists.
I had 2 young men in my youth group in Lancaster, TX, one the son of the pastor and the other a big ol' boy. The first was in the 8th grade, while the second was in 7th grade. The pastor's son was brutal with his tongue, while the 7th grader was just a big ol' boy. The pastor's son Justin would verbally torment poor Paul. When we were on a mission trip to Maine, Justin kept on attacking Paul verbally, making fun of him. At one point he even started kicking Paul. Paul did everything he could to keep from hitting Justin. Finally, I told the pastor's wife that one day Paul was going to haul off and clobber Justin. Well, that day came on the trip. They were taking showers in the YMCA, and Paul, being a shy 7th grader, took a shower with his swimming trunks on. Justin started humiliating Paul. Finally, Paul couldn't take it any longer. He reared back with his fist and slammed Justin into the lockers. Although it scared Justin, Paul wasn't finished. He started chasing Justin all over the locker room area, Justin screaming for somebody to save him. Later that day the pastor's wife came and told me what had happened. I told her I didn't want to hear anything about it and that I was not going to discipline Paul. Justin wanted to fight but only with words; Paul knew how to fight only with his fists. Justin had it coming. Several neat things happened as a result of this. Justin not only quit humiliating Paul, the 2 actually became best friends. Moreover, they are both some of the finest young people. Justin actually heads a band that opens for Jon Randles Thursday night Bible studies in Lubbock, TX which draws over 1000 students. Sometimes you've just got to let boys be boys.
The difference between the 2 sexes in the family is seen in that both the mom and the dad are vitally necessary for the family. The idea that a single parent alone can produce a healthy family is a myth. Both male and female adults are vitally necessary for the healthy home. Only the father can make a boy a man and a girl a lady. I believe Nathan and Molly are both healthy, not perfect but healthy. (There's a distinction between healthy and perfect.) Homes where there is only a mom produce great occurrences of drug abuse and promiscuity. Nathan is 16 years old, weighs 180 pounds, and can lift close to 180 pounds. You gonna turn this guy with raging hormones loose on a woman who weighs in the low 100's? You're crazy.
It was wild. In the mid 90's when I had to go on a trip with the SA's, I would leave Nathan and Molly home alone with Nancy. When I returned, you could see that Nathan was so relieved to have me back home, not because I'm a great dad, but because I am another male presence in the home. The almost exclusive female presence in the home was really bothering him.
Simply because there is a man in the house does not mean that everything is going to be great. Men need to ask their sons' and daughters' forgiveness whenever the dads wrong their children. They need to discipline consistently and fairly; HOWEVER, all this operates best with a dad, a male presence, in the home.
Finally, the difference between men and women can be seen in that they approach sex differently. For men, sex is primarily an act; for women it's an atmosphere. The way the husband treats the wife outside the bedroom is more important than the way he treats her inside the bedroom. Women love romance; sex is merely one part of romance, not the only part and for some women not even a major part. They loved to be wined and dined; they love to cuddle. When Nancy and I first got married, I did not understand this. When we first got married, Nancy liked to wrestle--in a playful manner. I would pin her or put her in a full Nelson. I would win the wrestling match. Finally she said, "I'm not wrestling with you any more. You're no fun. It's not about winning, Carey." Think of it this way (and it is true in more than one way): men function like microwaves, while women function like crockpots.
SEX IS GOOD
Another principle we need to realize is that sex is good. For our Catholic brothers and sisters, sex is for one purpose, the reproduction of children. Well, it's for more than just for procreation. After God created everything, INCLUDING SEX!, God said it was good, in fact, that it was very good. Sex was created to give the married couple pleasure.
The greatest example of this is the story of Solomon and his new bride found in the Song of Solomon. A lot of people have felt very uncomfortable with this book; so they have turned it into an allegory depicting the love of Christ for the church. While it can definitely illustrate the love of Christ for the church, it is primarily the sexual, romantic love between Solomon and his new bride. It is very sensual. The couple luxuriates in each other's bodies. They describe and glorify each other's bodies. (Enough said.) They see sex as intended for pleasure, not just for procreation.
SEX UNITES THE HUSBAND AND WIFE
Another purpose for sex is that it is to help create an intimate unity between the husband and wife, male and female. This oneness is critical for the enjoyment of life. As a male or female, you're only half a person; Moses says that the 2 coming together make 1 person (Gen. 1:17). This unity is not merely a spiritual, mental, emotional unity. It is a physical unity. Moses does not say that the 2 shall become one mind or one heart. He says the 2 shall become one FLESH!
This unity can be seen in that other women may enter the room and you don't notice them. Yet if the wife enters the room, the husband definitely senses she is there. Sex is not the only way to create unity. Other elements must be brought into the marriage to create unity; however, the deepest unity and intimacy cannot be experienced apart from sex.
A HEALTHY SEXUAL RELATIONSHIP WILL BE BUILT ON HUMILITY
Humility is an essential part of sex. Sex makes us so vulnerable to another person. If we are not gentle with that other person in this area, we can do some serious damage in their lives. Respect for each other in this area is one way we exercise humility.
Vitally essential for both men and women. 1 Cor. 7 when the man needs sex, it is time to have sex; also when the woman need sex, it is time to have sex. Story of one of the finest Christian men I've met; deacon, RA leader--left his wife. Why? His wife told me that she had decided not to have sex. She regretted her decision. Telling a person not to have sex is like telling them they can't eat or drink. That's bologna. You would never tell your spouse not to eat food or drink water again. That would be considered cruel and inhumane. The same applies to sex. (Addiction though another matter. Some people have sexual addictions and need to get some good psychological help. They are not evil; they just need help.)
When it is all said and done, in one sense sex is not all that special because nearly everybody at some time in their life engages in sex. Yet it is special for you and your spouse because your spouse is the only person you are having sex with. It needs to remain that way too. Sex in the right relationship leads to fulfillment for both parties. Sex outside this right relationship, sex with many partners, leads to a splintering of that person and the destruction of the right relationship God has planned for you.