It’s a shame that Mark Driscoll has written Real Marriage. Because now instead of Christians being able to have a mature and frank conversation about sex and marriage, we’re going to bicker and fight over yet another Mark Driscoll-related lightning rod. The discussion is going to be hampered by people feeling insulted, offended and revolted by what Mark and Grace Driscoll write. And, ultimately, when the dust settles, we’ll end up looking like prudes who can’t handle talking about sex.
Okay, yes, we need to be tactful. Yes, we do need to respect the privacy of what happens between a husband and a wife. That does not mean that we can’t talk about pleasure and pain, fluids and discharges, positions and techniques, toys and enhancements. We should talk about them. We need to talk about them. Part of building strong Christian marriages is providing tools to help build strong healthy sexual relationships between husbands and wives.
The calls for discreteness are too often more about our discomfort with discussing sex than about respecting the intimacy that occurs between a husband and a wife who have become ‘one flesh.’ And if we don’t talk about it open and honestly, then when people have issues and questions, they’ll end up turning to non-Christian answers.
Just because you may feel uncomfortable with discussion about vibrators does not mean that the conversation should not happen. Just because in your marriage you don’t do anything other than missionary style does not mean that there aren’t couples who need suggestions of different positions that will help them come together physically and emotionally. Just because sex is sacred does not mean that it’s not also messy, fun, confusing, awkward, physically exhausting, even boring or sometimes just downright silly.
I’m not saying we should discuss our personal tips and lessons with everybody (she says as she writes this on a blog for the whole world to see). But, I really think that we as a church need to do a better job of providing the appropriate spaces and opportunities for these conversations. We set up systems of accountability for sexual sin. Why aren’t there systems of accountability for promoting sexual goodness?
Part of the discipling process that takes place between older Christian women and younger Christian women (and by extension older Christian men and younger Christian men) needs to include discussions about the practical aspects of sex. How many of us have a trusted Christian friend that we can discuss these issues with? My guess is not many. How many bridal showers include lingerie gifts, but exclude vibrators and lubricant because that is considered too racy? How many Christian couples just assumed that sex would be fantastic right from the get-go? How many were actually counseled that in reality it can take years for a couple to find their groove?
For those who want to bypass the Mark Driscoll hysteria, there are other Christian resources out there that don’t come with the flame-baity baggage. There were two resources that really helped us in the first years of marriage. One was Kevin Leman’s Sheet Music. The other was the discussion forums over at The Marriage Bed, where Christians could ask questions without embarrassment or judgment.