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John Piper once wrote:

“God created us in his image, male and female, with personhood and sexual passions, so that when he comes to us in this world there would be these powerful words and images to describe the promises and the pleasures of our covenant relationship with him through Christ.”

Wow. That makes sex sound pretty important.

And yet our society often treats it in exactly the opposite way. Oh, sure, we talk about sex a lot. Look at any magazine cover at the grocery store and it's clear that our culture is obsessed with sex. But by placing sex outside of a marriage relationship, we don't make it about passion or a covenant relationship. We make it only about physical desire. We treat it as a cheap thing.

Christians may know that sex is far more, but I'm not sure we always act on that knowledge. When I wrote The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex, for instance, I surveyed 2000 women and several hundred men about their marriages, and what I found was that sex was something that was a major source of tension. And 40% of couples made love less than once a week.

If sex is supposed to be so passionate, and reflect "the promises and pleasures of our covenant relationship" with Christ, then why is it so blah for so many couples? Or why is it almost non-existent in some marriages?

Though the promise and ideal of sex is that it is a mirror to God's passion, the reality is not always so easily reached, largely because we misunderstand what sex is supposed to be about. We live in this culture which talks about sex as if it is empty and shallow and all about the body. How can that be holy?

And so we as Christians run so far away from that, but then we end up equating holy with no sex. That's hardly right, either.

Or we start to see passion as our culture sees passion--as only rooted in the body. We get an almost pornographic view of sex, like God and sex can't coexist--as if when He created sex, He then averted His eyes, saying, "well, they've got to reproduce somehow, and this is the best I've got, but I'm going to ignore it from here on out."

With all of these warped ideas coming at us, can we recapture that "passion" we're supposed to have?

It starts with understanding how God created sex. If you grew up with the King James Version of the Bible, do you remember sitting in church and snickering with your friends when the preacher read from Genesis, “And Adam knew his wife Eve, and they conceived unto them a son…” Yeah, right. Adam KNEW Eve. We thought it was a euphemism, like God was embarrassed and just trying to be polite.

But what if there was something far more fundamental going on there? In the Psalms, David uses the same Hebrew word when he cries out, “search me and KNOW me, O God…”

Sex is supposed to be a deep knowing, an intimate, beautiful experience. It’s not something we need to feel guilty about, or ashamed about. It’s not just physical, either. It’s about connection. When we make love, we become completely vulnerable. Completely transparent. And completely one. That’s the beauty that God created.

It's supposed to be intimate not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually, too. And that's what makes it so passionate! Perhaps ironically, the women who actually enjoy sex the most, according to surveys, are those who have been married for a decade or two, not the single women in the hookup culture. When we're spiritually and emotionally intimate, the physical often is better. Hot and holy actually go together.

I know sometimes that’s hard to experience. We may “have sex”, but we find it difficult to “make love”, to experience that connection. That can be difficult if we’ve grown up with the idea that sex is somehow wrong, or if we’ve had bad experiences in the past, or if it just plain has never felt very good, and we’ve given up hope. But I believe that sex is God’s beautiful promise to us that we can experience a deep spiritual connection to someone here on this earth. It is supposed to be beautiful.

And if marriages truly experienced that connection, and that passion, we would not only better reflect Christ; we would also be empowered to serve Him better and to love our families more.

That's why I've become so passionate about sex. I used to write primarily on "marriage", which is nice and safe and sounds very Christian. But increasingly I received email after email from women with problems in the bedroom--deep seated problems. And so I've found myself pulled into this ministry, albeit reluctantly.

This month I've put together all the different pieces that I write about sex into one ebook: The 31 Days to Great Sex. It's a challenge spouses do together, and it will help you to experience that passion Piper wrote about, and God intended. Each day is a 1-3 page reading you do together, and then there's an exercise or activity. The first week challenges us to examine what we really believe about sex; the second week focuses on our friendship and having fun in the bedroom; the third week on how to make sex feel wonderful; and the fourth week on how to experience that true spiritual intimacy and "oneness" that God intended. Couples tell me that one of the biggest benefits is that they actually get to talk and communicate about some of these issues that are so personal.

It makes a great stocking stuffer for your spouse (and comes with some Christmas coupons you can download and put in your spouse's stocking)! And best of all, it's only $4.99. I know it will transform your marriage.

Buy it here!  I'm also offering two for giveaways. Just leave a comment explaining why you think intimacy is sorely lacking today. But don't be afraid to buy it now; if you win it, and you've already bought it, I'll give you a copy of my paperback The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex (a more expensive book).  Sheila blogs everyday at To Love, Honor and Vacuum, focusing on marriage and intimacy. Sheila.    Yet where do you start? If sex has always been ho hum, and you wonder what all the fuss is about, how can you fix that? Or if you find that it doesn't feel intimate, but it's something that's always rushed, how can you make it more meaningful?

31 Days to Great Sex

That's why I wrote the 31 Days to Great Sex. It's 31 days of challenges that take you step by step through building a great and intimate sex life. Each day has one to three pages of readings, and then a challenge. The first week we focus on the lies and misperceptions we sometimes believe about sex; the second week we focus on emotional intimacy; the third week on physical fireworks; and the fourth week on spiritual intimacy in the bedroom.   Couples have told me that the best benefit was that it gave them a vehicle for finally communicating together. And it's only $5 (and it comes with coupons you can put in your husband's stocking to make it a Christmas gift). Get your downloadable copy here!

Leave a comment about why intimacy is important to enter to win one of two giveaway copies of The 31 Days to Great Sex. But don't be afraid to buy it now; if you win, and you've already bought it, Sheila will send you a copy of her paperback The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex, a more expensive book!

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Sheila is an international speaker, columnist, and the author of The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex.  She also blogs everyday at http://tolovehonorandvacuum.com.

photo credit: birlewphotography via photopincc

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