Just prior to our marriage, we had gone to a wise and wonderful mentor as a young, engaged couple seeking marital advice. How do we make our marriage strong and durable? How do we become good partners? How do we find synergy? We were expecting to get some consulting on communication, on trust, on unity, on prioritizing each other; and instead he chose to talk about physical intimacy - about sex.
He advised us to get inspired by it!
We weren't sure we knew exactly what he meant; but since then, as the years have passed, we have discovered the wisdom and the ramifications of his candid advice.
He chose to talk to us about committed, marital sex because he knew there were so many counterfeits out there. He was not talking about lust or about the media kind of sex that is often selfish and almost always amorally glamorized. It wasn't about pornography or sex-as-recreation. And, it certainly wasn't about sex as exploitation or domination.
What he was saying was that in a marriage there can never be too much love, only too little. Unhealthy sexual relationships do not come about because of too much love, but because of too little.
Real love increases communication, increases empathy, increases and deepens emotional and spiritual feelings, and can increase both the quantity and the quality of physical intimacy.
There is no such thing as too much intimacy when it lifts and binds and empathizes and cares more about what the other person is feeling than about one's self. This kind of sex is wonderfully liberating - even exhilarating. It takes you out of and above yourself and brings a brilliant sense of joy and well-being.
This intimacy incorporates total trust and complete commitment and, beyond its physical wonder, it is the perfect metaphor for mental and emotional and spiritual oneness.
It is a form of expressive love and totally honest communication and it requires a kind of other-focus that allows us to do the most difficult thing of all - to forget ourselves. In that sense, it is truly intoxicating.
Communicating with touch can cause us to also communicate better with words. It is the ultimate way of saying "I belong to you," "You are everything to me." "We are one." "There will never be anyone else."
This kind of marital sex is an exercise in empathy, a case-study in commitment, a tradition of tenderness, and the epitome of excitement. And it is, far and away, the best way to "get inspired." It is worthy of the term "making love" and is the polar opposite of "having sex." And, it is available to every able-bodied married couple who wants it bad enough to develop it, and to every single person who wants it bad enough to wait for it.
This joyous, committed view of sex is also the model on which we should base our "big talk" with our children. Studies show that the earlier parents discuss sex with their kids, the later those kids will become sexually active. And when we do talk to our kids, there should always be two goals: 1. To help them avoid dangerous, too-early sexual experimentation, and 2. To help them one day have a beautiful and fulfilling sexual relationship with the right person at the right time.
But, back to that advice from our mentor. The interesting thing is that he was actually talking to us about the very things we were expecting him to - communication, trust, unity, and priorities. He just did it by telling us how to have the right kind of intimacy!