The predominant message in our culture is that it's okay to have sex whenever, wherever, and however we want. Sex has become just sex. But while society has taken sex too far, the church hasn't taken it far enough.
God wants couples to make love in marriage-with passion, with purpose, and with pleasure. Marriages aren't experiencing all the benefits that come from a healthy sex life. Couples are facing a barrage of influences that keep them from connecting with each other regularly-the kids, the career, the house, the errands, etc.
SEXPERIMENT shows people that sex in marriage is more than just sex, and it's more than a chore. The Youngs believe it's time to get back to understanding the context of sex in marriage and that it's time for couples to break the barriers keeping them from a healthy sexual relationship. Couples ought to experience the benefits of having sex regularly, intentionally, and creatively. SEXPERIMENT will allow couples to discover that the intersection of God and sex can lead to a life punctuated by exclamation marks!
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About the Author
Lisa Young, the wife of pastor Ed Young, hosts Flavour, a ministry designed specifically for women at Fellowship Church. She has also co-authored The Marriage Mirror and The Creative Marriage and has contributed to Ed's books, Beauty Full and Kid CEO. In addition, she has written a cookbook, Body for God, and her most recent book, Flavour Your Day, combines inspirational thoughts from Lisa with beautiful illustrations from nationally recognized artist, Olivia Bennett.
Read an Excerpt
Sexperiment7 Days to Lasting Intimacy with Your Spouse
By Young, Ed
FaithWordsCopyright © 2012 Young, Ed
All right reserved.
Seven Days of Sex
Think back to the early days of your marriage. You and your spouse were loving, considerate, thoughtful, and sexy—all the things that made you and your spouse want to be together. You made love a lot more often than you do now, too. But then some things happened. A demanding job, taking up new interests and hobbies and, later, kids can all drive a wedge between you and your spouse and block your attempts at retaining intimacy in your marriage. Slowly, complacency creeps in and sensuality seeps out.
As you clock some years in your marriage, so often a dual resignation takes place. If you have kids, the wife often steps down from her number-one position as the wife and becomes primarily Mom, often juggling a career with the responsibilities of raising children. At the same time the husband steps down from his primary position as the husband. As the woman shifts her focus to the kids, the man concentrates on his vocation.
While this shifting is going on, you become less of a couple and more like two people who just share the same address. You’re gradually moving in opposite directions. She starts reading romance novels or Cosmo, wishing her marriage could be as wonderful as those articles promise. Meanwhile, he may start surfing for Internet porn or watching Girls Gone Wild commercials and fantasizing about a life that includes lots of sex without all the hassles. Then throw an attractive coworker or neighbor into the mix, add a few dashes of fatigue, and a sprinkle of humdrum, and you’ve got a recipe for an “unsuccesexful” marriage that lacks true intimacy or a deep bond. All you need is a lawyer to put it in the oven and turn up the heat. This process happens slowly and methodically in marriage after marriage.
This is the stage at which many modern couples divorce. Half of all first marriages in the United States end in divorce, even among Christians. Even if you manage to stay together, you may end up like so many couples who simply limp along in marriage.
That’s not what God intended for marriage. Couples, Christian or not, face lots of challenges today that require them to make a conscious decision to fight for their marriage.
Modern marriages seem to fall victim to a lie that the world communicates: “Hopefully you’ll have a few good years, if you’re lucky. But don’t be surprised when complacency sets in.” Sadly, many marriages succumb to this lie, or worse ones, and end up in relational wreckage. The sad part is, it’s the kids who really get hurt. Even adult children are hurt when their parents divorce.
It’s time to reverse that curse.
Reverse the Curse
The Sexperiment can be the catalyst to reverse this curse and set you on a course toward greatness—toward true intimacy and fulfillment in marriage, the way God intended. He’s the designer.
God wrote the manual for marriage. So if you want your marriage to change, go back to the manual. True change only comes from God, and we begin to change when we admit that we can’t do it alone, but God can!
Maybe you’re thinking, “Ed, I know something needs to be done to improve our marriage, but I just don’t feel like I have the power to make it happen.”
Maybe you’re feeling that way right now because of the state of your relationship. Your marriage needs some work—maybe a little or maybe a whole lot—and you don’t think there’s anything you can do about it.
Maybe you’re thinking, “But you don’t know what’s gone on in our marriage. It’s pretty bad.”
In most cases, no matter how bad the circumstances—hurt, betrayal, boredom, complacency—a dead marriage can be resurrected, and sex can play a big role.
Maybe you find that hard to believe, but it’s true.
Making love more often with your spouse can be the catalyst to resurrecting your marriage because God is at the center. During the Sexperiment, we’re going to reconnect those words to help you and your spouse find your way to a great marriage.
Still not convinced that this challenge will help?
Think about it. God and sex are inseparable. After all, it was his idea. When Adam and Eve made love for the first time in the Garden of Eden, they didn’t run behind some bushes and then emerge and say, “Hey, God! Guess what we just did? It was pretty incredible!”
And God didn’t say to them, “Amazing! How did you figure that out! You mean the parts fit together perfectly? I had no idea!”
It didn’t happen that way. Sex began in heaven. God thought it up. Our God is pro-sex and pro-marriage. He gave us sex primarily for pleasure, and secondarily for procreation. God made love so we can make love in marriage. He’s the designer.
Every time we think about sex, we should think about God. Because if it’s done the way God intended, it’s truly an act of worship. And if we treat sex as an act of worship to God, we’re thinking right. Because the way we think determines the way we feel; the way we feel determines the way we act. As I said, sex is between the ears before it’s between the legs. So we’ve got to make the connection between sex and the designer, and discover the power to do something phenomenal!
People like wearing designer labels because they represent style and quality that is a cut above the common and ordinary. An ordinary marriage in our culture today is likely to end in divorce or continue in never-ending mediocrity. You don’t want common or ordinary in your marriage. The Sexperiment will help you find your way out of mediocrity to marriage God-style.
Bridging the Gap
Sex, healthy sex, can revolutionize marriages. That shouldn’t be a shocking statement. It’s not counterintuitive. Yet, how many marriages are really doing it—and enjoying it—the way God intended?
In a New York Times article, couples were asked what they would most likely do on a Saturday night once the children are asleep. Thirty-eight percent of women and thirty-three percent of men answered “sleep.” Yet, at the same time, a Los Angeles Times article reported that “boosting the frequency of sex in a marriage from once a month to once a week brings as much happiness as an extra $50,000 a year.” Maybe that’s the difference between NYC and L.A., but I think it’s much deeper than that!
To put these stats another way, couples want to have more sex and think it would strengthen their marriage, but there is a shortfall, a deficit, a delta between wanting and having. The Sexperiment will put couples on the way to bridging that gap.
The gap doesn’t appear overnight. It’s a methodical process that many, many couples endure over years of a monotonous relationship. (Notice I didn’t say monogamous relationship.)
This challenge will help reverse or avoid the predictable path of marital monotony. And it will guide you and your spouse onto a course of true intimacy. It’s a process of creativity and change. Just so you know, it’s not going to happen overnight (and the complete change won’t happen even over the course of seven nights).
Change is never easy, and true change comes from God. It’s only when we begin to do things God’s way that we can begin to take hold of the change He has in store for us. Your week of intentional intimacy will jump-start that change process for your marriage. It’s like a shot of marital espresso!
So if you’re ready to wake up, if you’re ready to get your marriage out of the gap, it’s time to step up and take the challenge.
Maybe you’re thinking, “Sex for seven days? Too easy, Ed! I thought you said this was a challenge.” Let me caution you. It’s one thing to have sex for a week while you’re on some tropical vacation island with no kids and no schedule to keep. It’s another thing entirely to commit to doing it when you’re also trying to do everything else your life requires—balancing your career, shuffling the kids to school and soccer practice, cooking meals, doing laundry, and overcoming the barriers that everyday life presents.
This challenge will require a definite commitment from the two of you to do it God’s way for seven days. Some of you may think it’s going to be easy, but by now I’m sure many of you recognize that fitting seven days of sex into your routine is going to take considerable effort. In the end, though, it will be well worth the effort and sacrifice!
Right now, you may not even see how seven days of sex can make a difference in your marriage, but it can. It’s not such a stretch if you really think about it. Intimacy that is intentional and purposeful is going to shine a light on your marriage. That light will illuminate the positive aspects of your marriage partnership, but it will also give light to the more difficult places that have been unexposed and unexplored in your relationship. And it will show you just what you need to do to grow closer together as a couple.
What’s Your Marital Work Ethic (MWE)?
“Wow, Ed, seven days of sex sounds like fun, but you’re talking about putting in some work.”
You’re right! Marriage takes work. Marriage is not the easiest thing you will ever do, and it very well may be the hardest thing. But it can become the greatest and most rewarding, fulfilling thing when you do the work!
How hard are you willing to work to save your marriage, or even to have a better marriage? What would you do to regain the spark of desire and intimacy you once had? Do you give more than is required, or do you sit back and wait to see how much your spouse is willing to do before you decide to act? Do you approach your marriage thinking about what you can give, or is your concern only about what you can get?
I’m not going to pull any punches. Having a better, more fulfilling marriage takes time and effort, but the work is worth it! Here’s what’s so paradoxical. Maybe you’ve told yourself that it’s going to take too much work to turn your marriage around. Well, if you were to decide to have an affair because it seems easier than working on your marriage, you have to work at that, too. Having an affair requires creativity, planning, sacrifice, time, money, energy, and intimacy! You can save yourself, your marriage, and your family a lot of heartache by committing to do the same kind of work with your spouse. In the process, you’ll build a great marriage and leave a great legacy while saving yourself and others a boatload of pain and problems!
Put your best work into the most important earthly relationship known to humanity—marriage. Think about your job. You get up, have coffee, shower and get dressed to look as good as you can, and rush to the office so you can be on time. When you get there, you’re making calls, you’re taking initiative, you’re contributing ideas in staff meetings, you’re pitching innovations to this person and that person, you’re bagging clients and you’re doing the stuff that helps you be successful so you can keep your job. That’s work.
What if you took that same level of energy and effort and put it into your marriage? Have you ever thought about what would happen if you treated your office or your work site like you treat your home? You can’t show up for work in your underwear saying, “Where’s the remote, honey?” That wouldn’t work. We have to work to earn a living and we have to work to have a good marriage. It takes work to have a regular date night. It takes work to spend quality time talking and communicating with your spouse. It takes creativity to keep your marriage interesting. It takes effort to live out the marriage the way God designed it.
I remember officiating a wedding years ago for two bodybuilders. These exercise enthusiasts were standing there dwarfing me, and I went through the vows and the ring exchange. Then I said, “Now I want you to light the unity candle.” So the bride and groom turned and grabbed their respective candles. For some reason, though, they got stuck in the candelabra. So, the big groom said, “Honey, excuse me,” and she kind of backed away. I’ll never forget this. He grabbed both candle stems and bent them in toward the center to light the unity candle!
Talk about becoming one flesh! But those bodybuilders taught me a lesson that day. A great marriage takes a lot of strength. It takes a lot of work, a lot of bending. That’s the MWE—the marital work ethic—in operation.
Lisa and I have a high MWE, so we have a good marriage. I can tell you with complete confidence that we have a stronger love today than we did when we first fell in love more than thirty years ago. But we still have to work at our marriage. For more than a quarter century we have worked at our marriage. And believe me, there have been many times when we haven’t felt like it, but we keep at it. We’re very, very intentional about it. We’ve gone through dry seasons. We’ve gone through seasons when we were on a roll. We’ve gone through all of that. But even with all that we’ve been through, we’re still motivated to keep working to make our marriage better. It’s because we recognize the reality that God wants the best for our marriage, and nothing will stand in the way of that!
We’re a busy couple. Between the ministry and the kids and the other demands of any married couple, Lisa and I have to work hard to maintain our MWE. We work harder to have a date night today than we did ten years ago because our lives are much busier. We have to work harder to carve time out for us to take trips together alone. But I’m going to tell you something. Every sacrifice, every trip, everything we’ve done has been worth it.
When you see or feel that marital drift happening—and it will happen—you’ve got to step up and step out to take the initiative and ride the crest of creativity. That’s the time to reevaluate your MWE, because if you are not careful, your romantic pursuit of your spouse can lead to predictability. There’s a certain level of comfort that can come from predictability, but at the same time it can be a marriage killer—predictability, monotony, and then throw in a couple of kids. Revolve your lives around the career and the kids and you know what happens after that, and it’s not pretty.
Your marriage is worth the work that it takes to get your relationship to the level that God intended. Think of the Sexperiment as an enjoyable “workweek” to help you get to that place in marriage. Seven days of sexual intimacy reveals to you the labor of love you have to involve yourself in if you’re going to reap the true rewards of marriage.
God is a God who works. In Genesis 1, God saw the results of his creative work and declared it all good. God made sex. God made marriage. And it’s all good.
Church Says “Don’t.” God Says “Do.”
Every time I speak on this fascinating topic, people hang on every word. Very few people fall asleep in church when I talk about sex!
Traditionally, when the church has addressed the issue of sex, it has tended to emphasize only negative aspects, the don’ts—adultery, homosexuality, promiscuity. It’s always about the don’ts. All single people hear is “Don’t do it until you’re married.” All married people hear is “Don’t do it with anybody else.” There is so much more to sexual intimacy within marriage than the don’ts!
For far too long, the church has neglected to teach the great side of sex, which God designed to be exhilarating, adventuresome, and fun. Good sex, the best sex, is biblical sex—one man and one woman within the context of marriage. We shouldn’t be ashamed to talk about what God was not ashamed to create.
While the church has been largely silent, society has been very vocal about sex. It’s everywhere, but most of what we get is misinformation. Some people listen to psychologists and doctors on television and radio talking about sex. Wives and husbands may take their sexual cues from magazines like Cosmopolitan or Playboy. They may buy products they’ve seen on TV that promise to bring back vitality and excitement to the bedroom. Other couples, in an effort to regain the spark in their marriage, may run out and buy a sex manual that resembles a Popular Mechanics magazine.
What would you say if I told you that the greatest sex manual ever written is probably already in your home. Maybe even on the living-room coffee table. Wait, before you start telling me, “No way, Ed. We don’t allow that kind of smut in our home,” just keep reading.
The greatest sex manual ever written is the Bible—the infallible, relevant word of God. In the Bible, God has set aside one book that shows how husbands and wives should make love. The Song of Songs (or the Song of Solomon) is a book within the Bible that shows how a couple can and should have sexual fulfillment in marriage. Now, before you make a mad dash to get your dusty Bible off the coffee table, let me share a few things with you.
Sexcellence in Marriage
The primary purpose of the Sexperiment is to help you in your quest for “sexcellence” in marriage, which leads to greater intimacy. And we can see that kind of relationship in Song of Songs.
Here’s the context of the love story in Song of Songs: Solomon was the second son born to King David and Bathsheba. He was probably a good-looking guy, because his father was ruggedly handsome and his mother was drop-dead gorgeous. After David died and Solomon became king of Israel, he married a Shulamite woman. She and Solomon knew what it meant to really have love and intimacy in every slice of their marriage. Throughout Song of Songs, he and his wife talk about their courtship, their marriage, their problems, and how they handle those problems.
Solomon’s defining legacy is that he was the wisest man who ever lived, and the Song of Songs offers a great deal of his wisdom about sexual fulfillment in marriage.
Maybe you can’t imagine anything hot and steamy could ever be found in the Bible. Well, Solomon and his wife can probably teach you a few things and help enhance your marriage.
Now, let’s look at this biblical couple with a hot marriage to learn something about what it means to have sexcellence in marriage, God’s style.
A Succesexful Husband
Husbands, if your goal is to have a “succsexful” marriage, know that the first element is Do the unexpected. Let me explain what I’m talking about. One of the greatest needs a woman has is the R-word: romance. “Ro Mance… Didn’t he used to play for the Dallas Cowboys?” No, no, men. Romance. Women love to be romantic. They love affection. And you have to set the stage and create the atmosphere for sexuality. As the leader of the relationship, men have to set the tone. Men have to understand what the word romance means.
Here’s a biblical example of romance from Song of Solomon. In the first chapter, Solomon told his wife, “Our bed is verdant.” That word verdant means “covered with plants.” Solomon did something totally unexpected and covered their bed with flowers. He said, “Baby, look at the bedroom.” He set the mood. He was romantic. He built his wife a house and didn’t tell her what the bedroom was going to look like. He paneled the bedroom with cedar. That’s doing the unexpected.
When was the last time you did something romantic that was totally unexpected by your wife? When was the last time you purchased her a long-stemmed rose and just walked in—for no reason and with no ulterior motive—gave it to her, and said, “Honey, I love you”? Doing the unexpected will take you a long way during the Sexperiment.
My personal challenge, as far as the romance side of me goes, is that I get repetitive. I confess that I’m a guy who still messes up sometimes, even after thirty years. Guys are systematic: We do the same old, same old. Same restaurants, same waiter, same food, same movie, same babysitter, same lovemaking. Here’s a tip: Anything that is repetitive, men, is a romance killer. One more time: Anything that is repetitive is a romance killer. If you’re a woman reading this right now, you’re probably nodding your head.
Give the Solomon technique a try during your week of challenge. Then, after you do the unexpected, do a second thing: Take the initiative. Again, we are talking about romance. Guys, romance needs to be the atmosphere in the home, and sex is the event. So take the initiative.
Think back to when you were dating your bride. When you thought about a date, who set the plans? You probably did it. You thought about the movie, you thought about the restaurant, you would call in advance and make everything work, you would think about what you would wear. You were planning and you were romancing her and you were dating her. Then you got married and started doing what I sometimes still do. I’ll just get the paper and say, “Hey, Lisa, here’s the paper. If we go to the movies, is there anything you want to see?” Or, “Let’s just go to our favorite restaurant. In fact, they have a great special if we get there before five p.m.…”
No, no, no, guys. That does not work when you’re trying to build romance! Here’s something else we do: We romance a woman and we really get into it; then we get married and we start acting like that task is complete, because men are task oriented. After marriage, we take our romance uniform off and it’s like we retire it. We mount it on the wall with the wedding photos and say, “Hey, honey, remember that outfit right there? That was the uniform I wore when I romanced you. But we’re married now, so who needs it?” Sound familiar?
Solomon—a wise husband—had it going on in the romance department. He told his wife, “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me.” He took the initiative. He dated his mate.
Men, you have to date your mate like you did before she was your wife. What you used to get her is what you still need to use to keep her. And I am not talking about double-dating! Double-dating went out with the junior-senior prom. It’s wonderful to have couples to hang out with, but when you double-date, you and the other guy end up talking about sports while the women talk to each other about the clearance sale at Macy’s.
Your marriage relationship, the one-on-one interaction, must take priority over any other, except your relationship with Jesus Christ. That’s why I recommend that you go on a date with your spouse once a week, or at least once every two weeks.
It doesn’t matter what you do. It doesn’t need to be expensive or expansive. But you do need to do something. And you, husband, must take the initiative.
Third, husbands, be impractical. I am not making this up; this is biblical stuff. I looked up the word impractical in Roget’s Thesaurus. You know what another word for impractical is? Romantic. Isn’t that something? I know we have to be practical in life—stay within the budget, have reasonable expectations for progress, consider the needs of the children, and so forth. But if you’re always practical, it’s a romance killer. I am not talking about going out and getting into debt or something. Solomon said this: “Come, my lover, and let us go to the countryside. Let us spend the night in the villages.” And this word villages in Hebrew means a bed and breakfast… just kidding! Read Song of Songs 1:1–11. “We will make you earrings of gold, studded with silver.” Impractical.
I hate to admit this, but I feel like I need to share what I did once so you’ll know that I can relate. The first Christmas that Lisa and I were married, I blew it major-league in the impracticality department. It was 4:45 p.m. on Christmas Eve and the stores in Houston were closing in fifteen minutes. I was hanging out with my best friend and decided to rush into the first department store we saw. I told the clerk, “Yeah, I’ll take that bathrobe. Size small (I forgot that Lisa is almost 5′9″). Yeah, that’s great, whatever. Here’s your twenty-five bucks.”
I honestly thought that it was a great gift for Lisa. It was something she could use. Practical. To make it worse, I didn’t even bother to wrap it. Well, needless to say that when I handed it to her, she was not a happy camper. It wasn’t so much that I gave her a bathrobe. The problem was that I didn’t think about it, I didn’t plan for it, and I definitely didn’t stretch myself and use my creativity in making the purchase.
The final thing for you to do as a husband is give compliments. Women need compliments, especially public acknowledgments. In fact, they thrive on them. If you even say an off-the-cuff, negative kind of thing to your wife, it can destroy her self-esteem. But if you say something genuinely complimentary, she’ll feel like a queen, your queen. Your wife, as do all wives, looks to you as her husband for value and affirmation. Compliment her privately, too. Stay away from being critical and trying to control your wife by trying to make her into a woman she is not.
A good friend of mine, Pastor Jentezen Franklin, confessed in a sermon that trying to change his wife was one of the biggest mistakes he made early in his marriage. He wanted her to “act like a preacher’s wife,” instead of allowing her time and space to evolve using her God-given gifts. It was a constant source of struggle in their marriage until he learned to appreciate her for who she is.
Compliments are important to women and, therefore, important to the quality and stability of the marriage. Solomon wrote poetry to his bride that was full of compliments.
“You’re so beautiful, my darling, so beautiful, and your dove eyes are veiled by your hair as it flows and shimmers, like a flock of goats in the distance streaming down a hillside in the sunshine. Your smile is generous and full—expressive and strong and clean. Your lips are jewel red, your mouth elegant and inviting, your veiled cheeks soft and radiant. The smooth, lithe lines of your neck command notice—all heads turn in awe and admiration! Your breasts are like fawns, twins of a gazelle, grazing among the first spring flowers.”
Notice he was specific. Be specific in your compliments to your wife. Don’t just say, “Well yeah, that was a pretty good meal, baby.” Say something specific like “I really like the way you put the cut-up fruit all around the edges. All the dishes really came together well. It was unbelievable. It really was.”
I can’t even begin to explain the meanings behind many of the words in the Song of Songs. It’s really very interesting stuff, so please take the time to read it and research it. Invest in a good commentary to help you understand it better, and buy a Bible that uses contemporary language and read it.
Solomon used the language and tools of his day to keep his marriage strong. Today we would say he had game! He laid some very, very vivid and direct stuff on his wife, and it worked, because they were very intimate with each other.
A Succesexful Wife (from Lisa)
Men think about sex more than women do. That’s been proven in study after study. Men think about sex more than twice as often as women. That’s probably no real surprise, as a wife, is it? What may be a surprise, though, is that husbands want their wives to be more aggressive sexually. Solomon’s wife was sexually aggressive.
It’s so important for women to know you can be more aggressive sexually. The Sexperiment is a good time to practice how to be more aggressive. Now, I realize that suggestion may ruffle some ladylike feathers. Maybe you were brought up to believe that nice girls aren’t supposed to want sex, so you suppress the urge to initiate sex with your husband. But he needs to know that you desire him. Yes, your husband is used to being the aggressor, but it makes him feel good when you let him know that you want him in bed.
Most young wives don’t understand their husbands’ mentality about sex. Early on, I had a difficult time understanding what a man’s sex drive is like. But because I asked Ed questions and listened to the answers, I began to see how my husband looks at sex, how he thinks about sex, and how I can approach him in ways that communicate my love and desire for him.
In Song of Songs 7:1, Solomon and his wife are alone in the palace. She put on a sheer negligee, stepped into a pair of sexy sandals, and she did a dance of the Mahanaim for her man. Now, we don’t know what the dance of the Mahanaim was, but the Shulamite knew it would arouse her husband. She was a wise wife because she knew that men are aroused more by sight, and she approached him visually.
Spouses tend to approach each other the way they want to be approached, but that’s not the most effective way to get close to your mate. Wives, step outside of yourself and what you want in order to see what your husband wants.
The Sexperiment is a good time to start getting to know what pleases your husband. Don’t just assume that as long as he’s getting sex he’ll be happy. The Shulamite knew her husband well enough to know what would arouse him. And here is how Solomon responded to her: “How beautiful are your feet in sandals, O prince’s daughter! The curves of your thighs are like jewels, the work of the hands of a skillful workman.”
Wouldn’t you love to hear your husband say those kinds of words to you? What are you willing to give up in order to hear him talk to you that way?
Be more aggressive. Take the initiative. And if you’re feeling unsure, pray about it: “God, my husband has a stronger sex drive than I do. Help me to have a sex drive that is more complementary to his. Help me to understand his sexual drive so that I can meet him where he needs to be met.”
You see, sex is not some selfish thing you do (or don’t do) when you feel like it. As you engage in the Sexperiment with your husband, I encourage you to slow down to fully benefit from your week of intentional sexual intimacy. If you invest more of yourself into the Sexperiment, you’ll get more in return.
The world says, “Get what you can while you can.” God says, “Focus on giving, and the getting will take care of itself. The husband gives himself to the wife. The wife gives herself to the husband.”
The second thing wives can learn from the Shulamite woman is, make yourself available. She was available. She wasn’t telling her husband, “Not tonight, I have a headache.” She was living what the apostle Paul expressed in 1 Corinthians 7:4–5: “The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife.”
The Bible tells married couples, “Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time that you may devote yourselves to prayer.” Wives, this does not mean that you change your excuse from “No, I have a headache” to “No, I am in prayer.” Temporary abstinence in marriage has to be a mutual decision.
When you say no regularly to your spouse, you are in danger of having your fellowship broken. Not your relationship, not your salvation, but your fellowship. When you keep on saying “no, no, no” to your husband, it hurts his self-esteem. It can also tempt him, or you, into adultery.
The Sexperiment will be your week of saying “yes,” and in so doing you can begin to see the benefit. You will say yes to sex. Yes to fulfillment. Yes to greater and deeper intimacy. Yes to engaging as a couple on another level.
God gives us many more yeses than noes. The noes are reserved for those things that will hurt our fellowship with Him. The yeses are to bring intimacy into our relationship with Him. Saying yes to your spouse brings intimacy and growth.
Have you ever gone on a diet before? If you have, then you know that while you’re on the diet, all you think about is food. When one spouse is forced to be on a sexual diet because the other spouse says “no, no, no” all the time, it causes the denied spouse to concentrate on sex even more.
When no is unavoidable, like when one of you, or the kids, is really tired or sick or whatever, you can work things out and say, “OK, I’m going to say no tonight, but I’ll give you a specific time tomorrow when we can come together in marriage.” It’s so important to do this, because there are so many temptations out there. We live in a sex-crazed culture and we must make ourselves available to our spouse.
Third, wives, use your imagination. Don’t put your imagination away in the drawer before you and your husband make love. The Shulamite told her husband, “… at our door is every delicacy, both new and old, that I have stored up for you, my lover.” Then she goes on enticing him, telling him they will make love outdoors.
Wives, you have a choice: you can be a sexual Rembrandt or you can remain a paint-by-numbers sex partner. God wants you to progress, along with your husband, to the Rembrandt stage. He wants you to use all of your divinely inspired creativity in the bedroom with your spouse. You wouldn’t think of serving your husband the same frozen TV dinner every night. Use your creativity to ensure you’re not serving your husband the same frozen sexual response night after night after night. Think sexy thoughts and think like your husband. Planning a party, you think about the details to make the party festive. You go to extra lengths to establish a mood and environment. Give sex with your spouse that same kind of attention to detail and imagination.
Finally, wives, speak candidly. The Shulamite woman shared her positive feelings with her husband. “How handsome you are, my lover! Oh, how charming!” Ed already shared with the husbands that wives like compliments. Well, men like them, too. They like to hear us say good things about them. Our words give feelings of worth and accomplishment to our husbands.
One of the rules of healthy marriage is that wives (and husbands, too) need to be able to speak candidly to each other. I’m not talking about brutal honesty that is insensitive, unkind, or hurtful. But achieving fulfillment in marriage requires honesty.
Before you begin your Sexperiment, I encourage you to go with your husband to a quiet restaurant or some other neutral space, get away from everything, and talk specifically about what pleases you in this beautiful gift from God called sex. Through your open and honest communication, hopefully and prayerfully the walls that have divided you and your spouse will come down. This will be a great time for you to start the process toward understanding each other, knowing what it takes to meet the other’s needs and really understanding what God’s word means when it talks about having a great sex life.
To help you begin your dialogue, here are a few tips about sexuality that most people miss.
Set goals. To intentionally get somewhere, you must first know where you’re heading. Sit down with your spouse and set goals about what you want to learn about one another sexually. Talk about how often you hope to have sex and other tangible areas that relate to your sex life with each other.
Learn to explore. You don’t know as much about your spouse’s body as you think you do. Ask questions about what brings pleasure to your spouse.
You are not a mind reader. Hopefully, as you grow old together, you will come to know your spouse deeply and truly intimately. But no matter how close your bond, you will never master the thought processes of your husband. Therefore, communicate. Ask questions and be willing to receive answers.
Your spouse is not a mind reader. Don’t keep your feelings in a fragile bowl, thinking, “If he really cared, he would know how I feel.” Share your feelings, desires, and even concerns in an appealing and appropriate manner.
Get in There and Do It!
The Sexperiment is not a gimmick. It’s real and it involves a lot more than just having sex for seven days. This first chapter has presented a lot of information for husbands and wives to absorb, and requires serious effort to negotiate some difficult stuff.
For some, the challenge week will reignite the fires of passion. You’ll get back to a place in your relationship that you have longed to return to, but for whatever reasons haven’t been able to reach.
Even so, I know that some of you have wounds so deep that you’re not particularly excited about a week of sex. While some couples will eagerly anticipate a week of sex, challenging though it may be, seven days of sex will cause some repressed or negative feelings to rise to the surface for many other couples. Perhaps betrayal, unavailability, criticism, rejection, or infidelity has torn away at the fibers of your marital bond and your marriage is threadbare.
“She’s said no so many times, I’m tired of being turned down, so I just quit trying.”
Rejection is painful, especially when it happens continuously. You need to tell your wife how you feel about her rejection. Sometimes women think that rejection doesn’t affect men, as if we have a polyurethane coating over our feelings. She needs to hear from you that it’s not true.
“Lisa, I just can’t forget what he did. I don’t trust him anymore. He says he’s sorry and it won’t happen again, but how can I believe him?”
Betrayal is a major hurdle to overcome and it takes time. But at the same time, your marriage can’t move forward if you’re stuck in a pit of unforgiveness. Let him know how you feel and how badly you were hurt by his betrayal. Then take a giant step toward forgiveness. Give him a chance to earn your trust again.
During the Sexperiment, whether your marriage bond is strong or frayed, you’ll be forced to talk about issues and confront problems that may have been buried for a long time. It may even drive you to the doorstep of a counselor. Don’t shy away from that. Meet it head-on.
Guys, in particular, are often hesitant to pick up the phone to call a Christian counselor. But if you’re willing to hire a swing coach for your golf game, a trainer for your workout, or a mechanic for your car, you should be more than willing to hire a “coach” to help you in the most important earthly relationship you will ever be a part of.
This challenge is about strengthening your marriage, so if it takes counseling to get to that place of strength, then do it!
Whatever the Sexperiment produces in your marriage, I want to encourage you to not make this a legalistic venture. It’s purposeful, but fun. Don’t get caught up in details like, “Well, I’m traveling from Wednesday to Friday, so what should we do?” or “I have a sick child at home who needs more attention,” or “An unexpected deadline at work just popped up.”
If you get caught up in the minutiae of the whens, hows, and wheres, you’ll miss the bigger picture of why. Focus instead on doing what you can for your spouse, dealing with any issues that arise and connecting with the one whom God has given you.
Most of the time, when we talk about sex, we tend to blush and chuckle, but I really hope that you will dedicate yourselves to taking every aspect of the Sexperiment seriously. It does work! There are few things that bring so much benefit while at the same time giving so much pleasure.
Lisa and I hope that the Sexperiment will set you and your spouse on the path to a solid foundation of marital fulfillment. We have a God-given gift—sex—and we’re to use this God-given gift in a life-uniting covenant called marriage.
As you will find out, your challenge week will force you to bring your best game to the marital equation. And as you do, you’ll reignite some of those marital fires, open up the lines of communication, and find yourself on the right trajectory to help you and your spouse get the most out of your life together. Your experience can be just like this one:
Wow, what an impact [the Sexperiment] has made in our lives! My marriage has been festering with pain and anguish over past betrayal, deep wounds from scathing words spoken, and a general sense of brokenness. Out of obedience to God, I decided to participate in [the Sexperiment] and I’m so thankful I did. I’ve prayed for healing for our marriage for years, but it wasn’t until I made the decision to do this out of service and love for my husband and God that I have begun to feel some restoration in our relationship.
So if you’re ready to discover all of that and so much more, begin the challenge. Now get in there and start having sex!
Sit down with your spouse to plan a time to begin your Sexperiment, keeping in mind that there will never be a perfect time.
Make preparations before you begin so you can eliminate as many barriers to intimacy as possible (for example, hiring babysitters, making dinner reservations, rescheduling appointments, etc.).
Excerpted from Sexperiment by Young, Ed Copyright © 2012 by Young, Ed. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
1 Seven Days of Sex 11
2 Stop Making Sexcuses…and Start Making Love 35
3 The Math of Marriage 56
4 It's Time to Get Naked 80
5 Looking Out for Number One 100
6 Leaving Lust Vegas 115
7 Trust Funds Are Nothing 137
8 Pillow Talk 158
9 Boom Chicka Wah-Wah (and Other Lessons from the R & B Industry) 175
10 The Real Big "O" 192
What People are Saying About This
Our culture worships sex but is often confused about marriage. I've always believed that the church should be at the forefront in portraying the delight of sex in the context of marriage. Ed Young's book does just that with humor, wisdom, and candor.
It's not a lack of love that makes a marriage monotonous; it's a lack of passion. Sexperiment will help you put the passion back where it belongs...and take your marriage where it needs to be!
Ed Young will teach you the difference between temporary moments of happiness and true inner joy for a lifetime.
Marriage without good sex is like a house without heat in the winter. You might be able to survive in it but it's not nearly as enjoyable. Ed and Lisa are among the best when it comes to encouraging us to keep the "heat on" in the house. Their practical, honest, and open style of communication on this topic is both real and refreshing. I want to encourage you to take this challenge as an opportunity to stir the fire in your marriage.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
My wife I have just started reading this book, and we’re already noticing huge differences in our marriage. I can’t speak for every married couple out there, but in my own marriage, I believe we’ve just been maintaining the status quo. But this book is helping us to understand what true intimacy can be like when we place God at the center of our marriage and our home! Thank you, Ed and Lisa!
When I first got married I thought it would be just like in the movies - perfect romance all the time. Once we tied the knot it didn't take long to figure out marriage takes work! A great marriage doesn't just happen. Thank you Ed & Lisa for sharing how to have lasting intimacy both in and outside the bedroom! It's a great read!
As a man I don't usually run out and buy books about intimacy. However when I hear about 7 days of sex I get a little more motivated to read! This material helped my wife and I take some HUGE steps in our marriage. I've never seen or heard anything like this. Tons of practical stuff that we can use right now. I highly recommend Sexperiment!
Reviewed by Anne B. for Readers Favorite Too often sex carries negative connotations even into marriage. Pastor Ed Young discusses God, sex and marriage. In Genesis we are told that God created everything and that includes sex. Pastor Ed Young stresses that God has blessed marriages with the physical act of sex. He backs up his points with the Book of Solomon. Too often the Church tends to blush and ignore the role of sex in marriage. Young challenges listeners to a sex experiment, to have sex every day for seven days. His congregation’s response to the experiment was closer relationships. Many of his congregation was so pleased with the closer intimacy of their relationship that they extended the experiment for a longer time. Young explains that women need romance and he continues on to define romance. He also shares men’s need for the woman to be more physically aggressive. God demonstrates his desire for couples to make love with strong desire and much pleasure. While I have used the word sex throughout this review, God’s plan for marriage is more than sex: it is passionate lovemaking. Along with the passion comes communication. Ed Young has taken a difficult topic and created an interesting and informative book. All couples need an occasional reminder of how to strengthen their marriage. I liked the way this book was read by both a male and a female. I have always enjoyed The Book of Solomon and have studied it before; however, this is one of the best studies on the market.
Sexperiment opened my eyes to the truth about sex and how God designed it for marriage. From a female perspective, I love the way Pastor Ed and Lisa give real handles on growing intimacy with your spouse. It encourages me to know that as my husband and I read through this book, we are strengthening our marriage. I want to be my husband's solution to his sexual needs. We are preparing to have our first child, and I am thrilled to give our daughter an example of a marriage built on a strong foundation. Media will give you a view of what sex should be, but Sexperiment gives us a different view of what God wants us to think about sex.
Another great book by Ed Young. This book will do great things for your marriage. It will give you the tools to increase your communication and understanding of each other while increasing the level of intimacy in your marriage like you never thought possible. And as you and your spouse grow closer, you'll grow to God at the same time.
Being married for 34 years as well as having counseled countless number of couples over 30 years of ministry, I can tell you that one of the greatest hangups in marriage is sex. Many a sleepless night and days of not speaking to one another are often the result of a complete misunderstanding of sex between a husband and wife. Ed and Lisa Young have written a simple but compelling look at sex from God's point of view. It is a game changer!
To most people, it is shocking to have your pastor talk openly about Sex, but it is really making a difference for all readers. As a single person, this book has also benefited me as it lays out guidelines and key insights to living a PURE life before marriage. I think it’s about time the CHURCH started talking about SEX instead of leaving in up to the rest of the world! I am beyond grateful for Pastors Ed and Lisa Young! They are the perfect example of what a BIBLICAL marriage should look like!!
Whether you have just married, been married for a long time, or are still looking for that special someone, this book has insights that will help your marriage take off.
Glad you are talking about Sex. More people need to hear the truth about how to experince sex and marriage God's way. So thrilled to have such a great resource.
Why don't more pastors talk about this? It's one of the biggest topics in society today. It's good to see one that is speaking up so the truth can be heard!
This proposal is VERY appealing- my wife brought it up to my attention, and we are definitely putting the cards on this book- I have heard of Ed on television, and the man really has the guts to stand up for the family rights. There is no doubt in my mind that we need values back up in our society- This is a tangible step into re-building families & healing marriages. Ed & Lisa- I'm with you!