Embracing Sexuality



Living your sexual truth in marriage allows you to be more fully alive, more fully functioning as the multi-dimensional person you were divinely designed to be. God designed each of us as sexual beings. We must embrace that fact. It’s not only our marital relationship, but also our personal wholeness that is at stake.


Living Your True Self

I recently attended a workshop about discovering and embracing your true self. It was an eye opening, and amazingly confirming and transforming experience. It was incredible to feel the difference when you truly accept and come home to who you are and live your truth more fully.

Laura before Laura after

We all have things about ourselves that we might resist or try to downplay. We may even hide who we really are. Sometimes we are not even aware of it. Many good parts of our true selves get belittled or rejected at some point in our lives. Even well meaning family and friends, or the culture in which we live, has a way of making us feel ashamed of ourselves.

Asexual Self-View

Low sexual desire is one of the most common sexual issues couples face. I was intrigued to see some resonance between my Dressing Your Truth experience and some recent research about low sexual desire.

Women who struggle with sexual desire have been found to have an “asexual” self-view. They simply do not see or accept themselves as sexual beings. This is akin to not fully accepting important parts of who you are.

Without a sexual component to one’s identity, it’s little wonder that women struggle so with sexuality in marriage.

Sexuality in general and female sexuality more specifically tends to be ignored, discouraged, and even rejected. At the other end of the spectrum is a sexual free-for-all that is prominently promoted in popular culture.

It’s hard to find that rightful place somewhere in between where there is reverence for the sacredness of sexuality with some affirmation of its positive and wholesome purposes.

Embracing Your Sexuality

At what point does a woman receive the messages that her sexuality is a good and godly thing to be respected and embraced for it’s full expression within marriage? Young women are especially good at effectively internalizing the messages that are particularly intended for young men that they bridle or control those strong feelings.

In the process, many young women (and some men, too) shut their sexuality out completely, paving the way for frustration and heartache in marriage.

While it is wise counsel for both young men and women to learn to master their sexual feelings, somewhere along the line there is a lack of positive and affirming messages about the goodness of one’s sexuality and it’s enjoyment within marriage.

Short-term Vision Harms Marriage

The short-term perspective that is generally taken when giving sexual counsel to the youth, does much to harm the God-given gift of sexuality once it’s full expression is divinely granted within marriage. It’s one thing to help young people safely save their gift of sexuality for marriage, but it’s quite another to understand what it will take to fully enjoy this gift within marriage.

I’ve been saddened to see the pain of rejection that many husbands are feeling in their marriages. While many factors contribute to the lack of intimate expression and enjoyment in marriage, I have found that many women have simply not yet embraced their sexuality, putting husbands in a particularly helpless and hopeless predicament.

In an ongoing conversation on the Open Forum of my Strengthening Marriage Blog, one husband shared his situation as similar to many others who are without hope of a mutually fulfilling sexual relationship with their wives. He writes:

“I too have decided that I need to ‘give up on the dream’ of a relationship that I find fully fulfilling, turn it over to the Lord in prayer, and just try to be the best husband that I can. It has taken me years to get to this point. I do feel calmer most of the time than in the years before where I was often on the edge of being able to function. It is better now than when I would try REALLY hard to do everything possible and then emotionally crash when my hope was shattered. I do still try hard to be a good husband, but I don’t expect anything from it anymore. I do it because I am deeply in love with my dear wife, in spite of everything. One other thought that buoys me up is knowing that Satan is trying his best to use our sexual disconnect to drive a wedge into my marriage. I need to keep doing everything I can to keep that from happening, but it’s not easy.”

We must do better at instilling the wisdom of saving sex for marriage, while also helping young people understand it’s goodness, and prepare them to enjoy its godly purposes within marriage. It can truly be a grand source of strength for a husband and wife.

Sex is something God created as a wonderful gift for a husband and wife to enjoy in marriage. God designed each of us as sexual beings. We must embrace that fact. It’s not only our marital relationship, but also our personal wholeness that is at stake.

The Foundation of Sexual Fulfillment in Marriage

Especially for women, sexual expression is a product of healthy and positive thoughts and feelings about sex itself. A healthy sexual relationship in marriage requires healthy acceptance and full embracing of one’s sexuality as something good and wholesome. These provide the vital foundation for fulfilling sexual intimacy and passion in marriage.

When a woman has not yet fully embraced herself as a sexual being, designed that way by God, it will undermine all other efforts to create a strong and healthy relationship in marriage.

When there is a void of positive and affirming sex-related cognitions going into marriage, it’s a pretty steep climb to fill that void once married. It can be done. But, it would just be so much nicer for all of us to be better prepared to enjoy the exquisite gift of sexual expression in marriage.

Once a woman has fully embraced her sexuality as part of her identity, a flow of sex-related thoughts and feelings within marriage is still a necessary component of nourishing sexual desire. While it may seem like a foreign concept to some men, women generally must consciously cultivate such thoughts and feelings.

Living Your Sexual Truth in Marriage

Embracing your sexuality–one part of your true self–helps you to live your truth more fully in marriage. I believe God designed women to fully integrate their sexuality into their beingness, creating an incredible state of existence. It is a powerful position to live your whole truth!

This awakening and acceptance of one’s sexuality can have a lasting impact not only on the intimate relationship with one’s spouse, but also on one’s whole life. Living your sexual truth in marriage allows you to be more fully alive, more fully functioning as the multi-dimensional person you were divinely designed to be.

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  • klover March 18, 2009 at 8:47 am


    Thank you again for another article that can give a healthy perspective on sexual intimacy; I desire my wife and I to be able to convey to our children (all daughters)your perspective and attitude.

    My wife and I have witnessed and been taught in the homes we grew-up in and in the church lessons we attended the unbalance perspective of “no, no, no, sex, — and get married.”

    A big question I have which you may be able to shed some light on is:

    How do I as a father “influence” what (and with what attitude) my daughters will be taught in church and school about sexual intimacy?

    Answers to this question are particularly sensitive in the church because our daughters need/should view their parents as supportive, not in conflict, with teachings of church leaders — Young Women Teachers, Bishops, General Authorities.

    The answers and attitudes expressed to my wife and I by our church leaders were to always suppress our sexualality. We are still somewhat affected by these attitudes. I find myself so frustrated by the church teachings we received (and that my wife particularly internalized) that I almost do not want my daughters attending young womens.

    I cringe when I hear the young women theme: “Return to Virtue” because of our experience in the church. The lessons we received and interpreted in our youth are now viewed as unbalanced and unhealthy to becoming one as husband and wife.

    • Laura M. Brotherson March 26, 2009 at 6:58 pm

      Hi Klover,

      I think the first thing I’d say is that just because we were not taught effectively about sex doesn’t mean we can’t do better as parents. There are precious few of us who had good, positive, thorough teachings about sex. But we must do better for the next generation.

      Regarding your question, keep in mind that the teachings children get in the home will always exceed or trump what our children receive outside the home when we are proactive in our positive teachings.

      How you and your wife interact in the home will do more to form your children’s sexual attitudes than anything else. If they see you kind, loving, gentle, playful, affectionate, teasing with each other then that is what they will learn. If they see cold, distant, reticent touch between you that will shape their view of affection and intimacy.

      Parents who are proactively teaching their children about love, intimacy, sex and marriage should not be unduly concerned about what the kids are otherwise being taught at church, school or even in the media. If parents will follow my suggestions in the last three chapters of my book and in my Teaching Intimacy 101 book on CD then they will be able to stay ahead of any incorrect teaching they are getting elsewhere. (The minimum discussions need to be before 8, before puberty, before dating, and before marriage.)

      Even if kids hear a negative comment or even negatively-focused teachings about sex at church, parents can set the record straight. Until more people get their own act together sexually I wouldn’t expect anyone else to do a terribly good job of teaching your children anything about sex.

      I don’t think you need to think you are not being “supportive” if you don’t think that someone teaching a “Standards Night” for instance will do a good job. I wouldn’t hesistate to keep a youth home from the event if I was at all concerned about the tone or content of the discussion. But again, if parents are doing their job in a proactive way then kids could attend any “Standards Night” and already know what is right and wrong based on what you have already taught them.

      Klover, I would guess that most of us are still affected by negative attitudes about sex that were expressed to us sometime in our past (whether it came from church leaders, parents, or whomever). I really don’t see the value in taking it out on church leaders. I firmly believe parents can overcome almost any teachings (for good or for ill) if they will consciously set out to show and teach a better way.

      The Church does so much good in so many ways that I’d hate to see you throw out the baby with the bathwater.

      I hate to see you cringe at a “return to virtue.” That is a wonderful goal. A correct understanding of virtue is what virtue is outside of marriage, AND what virtue is inside marriage. The challenge is to be sure that a focus on “virtue” includes an understanding of sex and intimacy within marriage. And if you are concerned that your daughters won’t get that at church then you can be sure they do get that understanding in the home.

      It really just depends on the particular leader whether there is a positive or negative tone regarding sexuality anyway. I think it has a lot more to do with a person’s individual issues regarding sex than it has to do with any kind of church doctrine.

      I do hope the day will come that all “teachers” have a positive and healthy understanding and attitude toward sex, but we must be patient as that may take some time.

      Any of us who have had to overcome our own issues know how long it can take. I continue to pray that someday we will all be more comfortable and confident in teaching healthy attitudes about God’s designs for our sexuality (church leaders included).

  • SimplySweetMarriage March 18, 2009 at 11:09 am


    Laura just did an excellent article at Meridian Magazine that might help you with these questions.


    I am a marriage advocate. I now believe that there is nothing shameful about the way God made us…it was his idea. Laura has touched on this topic in her book. She also did a TV interview about it.


    We can all do our part. We are all learning to change. Occasionally my girls will see one of my lingerie sets. They will say, “Oh! That is so cute! That’s for when I get married in the temple, it’s so exciting”. My husband and I also kiss and hold hands (and a few bum grabs 😉 here and there) in front of the kids. We tell them that although it may seem weird or different right now, that love is normal and that’s the way God made us for marriage.

    I also had similar experiences in YW’s. I had a well intentioned leader break glass goblets with a hammer, comparing the sex act as destroying something beautiful…so you can guess what went through my mind when I finally had sex. I have later reconciled that as a youth, several girls of my Laurel class were already having sex (which I did not know at the time). But I also had YW leaders who were obviously very in love with their husbands. I remember as I was leaving the room the day of the broken glass, the other young women leader said under her breath…”Wow, and I actually love sex, it’s really fun”. Young Women’s is still the best place for our girls.

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