PODCAST: The Honeymoon Years of Sex (Figuring Things Out!)

by | Oct 3, 2019 | Podcasts | 6 comments

Getting Used to Sex in Marriage: A Podcast

Getting used to sex in marriage is actually a big transition!

We’re starting our October series on the blog, and I’m really excited about it! We’re talking about the different stages of sex in marriage, and we launched it yesterday with the “Figuring Things Out” stage. I thought I’d do my podcasts this month using reader questions for each stage, so that’s what we jumped in with today.

But first, here’s the podcast.

Question 1: We’re Engaged, but We Don’t Agree with Our Parents’ Boundaries

A reader writes in that she’s engaged, but her parents believe that there should be no physical contact (including hand holding) until the wedding or the wedding night. She and her fiance don’t have the same views as her parents. She writes:


I have grown up in a church culture that really stresses “hands off” courtships, including up until the wedding day (or night). However, my fiancé and I hold a very different view of physical contact, and have set much more lenient boundaries for ourselves. I wouldn’t have many qualms about this, except that I know my parents wouldn’t agree with where we come out on it, to the point where we’ve kept it hidden from them. My parents have a great marriage, and lots of wisdom to give that I want to be open to hearing, and I’m young and still living at home, so I still feel quite a bit of responsibility to follow their wishes. Any advice on figuring out how to balance my own beliefs against my parents’ on this issue?

Dealing with the purity culture is certainly difficult. I do believe that you should wait for marriage for sex; I talked about that at length in The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, too. However, I believe this reader agrees, and she’s just talking about kissing. Listen in to find my (rather funny) guidelines that I used for my girls, but you can also see these posts on the purity culture:

Reader Question 2: I Feel Like My Marriage is Failing

Now let’s move in to sex in those first few months! This question is exactly typical of what I wanted to stress about sex in this stage. A woman writes:

I feel like my marriage is in trouble and it’s only been a few months. Our first time having sex was painful and uncomfortable and I’ve been wary of it ever since. It’s gotten to a point where sex doesn’t hurt anymore, but it’s also not pleasurable. We’ll have sex maybe once a week because I’m either not feeling well, or severely depressed. My husband has tried initiating with me and I’ll get started and maybe orgasm, but my orgasm will take so much out of me that I’ll fall asleep. My husband feels hurt by it and I feel like I’m failing him. I wish there was a justifiable reason for him to find someone better than me. He’s been kind and loving toward me, but I just don’t feel like I deserve it. I’ve tried dealing with my depression and finding ways to be a better wife, but I just feel like I keep failing.

My heart breaks for this woman–largely because I was her! I felt like a failure, too. I felt like I was disappointing Keith and everything was awful and it would never get better.

Please, if this is you, listen in to my encouragement! But I just want to stress that this type of thinking only makes everything worse. You’re not supposed to “get” sex right away. For most people it takes a while for things to work like clockwork. If you can consider these first few months and years part of a big research project that will help take you along on your journey, you’ll do so much better. Here are some posts that can help:

Plus don’t forget to work through 31 Days to Great Sex! It’s wonderful for discovering what feels good and talking about the hard things!

Do you find it hard to talk about SEX?

31 Days to Great Sex guides you through exercises so that you can talk about libido, frequency, intimacy, in a low-stress, easy way.

No blaming. Just solutions–and a whole lot of fun!

Question 3: Sex tanked once we married, and now he can’t maintain an erection

It’s not only virgins who have a “figuring things out” adjustment. Sometimes even if you’ve had sex before marriage, it doesn’t go as planned afterwards. In fact, one of the most common pieces of feedback I got from my initial surveys for The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex was from women who said that sex changed after they married, and often for the worse.

This is a rather long question, but it can be summed up like this:

  • Couple weren’t Christians and had sex before marriage, when she had no libido
  • They became Christians and sex stopped
  • They married, and now he can’t maintain an erection, but her libido has skyrocketed

Keith joined me for this one and we gave a bunch of different things that people in this situation can consider.

Stuff like this, though, does need to be dealt with now. And that’s really the big message I want to give about this stage of sex: Talk about this stuff now. Deal with it. Get help if you need it. Whatever you don’t deal with now becomes such a bigger issue in the next stage, when life gets busy and kids often come. So put in the work and deal with this now!

Comment: “You can’t just leave a church”

And now for something completely different. On Monday I wrote a post about what happens when one of you (or both of you) has a crisis of faith that leaves you feeling as if your current church isn’t a safe or healthy place. We had so much great feedback on that post, and so many, many people shared their stories, both here and on social media and through emails.

However, as inevitably happens, a man on Facebook left a comment that really proved why this post was necessary in the first place. He said:



Sadly, there are such lies here. We cannot reject the clear teaching of scripture just because we do not like it or feel comfortable with it. We don’t need to shop around for a church that makes us feel good. We need to go back to the truth of the Scriptures.

When people say that if you leave a certain church, you’re leaving the truth of Scripture, that church is not a safe place. God wants you to question (just look at how much of the Psalms are people yelling at God!). God praises the Bereans in Acts 17 for looking through the Scriptures to verify what Paul was actually saying. We have no mediator between us and God except Jesus Himself.

If people are telling you that you are wrong to question, that if you disagree with them you’re disagreeing with God (as Emerson Eggerichs said in his horrible blogpost that we analyzed here), that you’re not allowed to think for yourself–well, that is an unhealthy church. Please listen in to my warning (I got rather passionate!), and then check out the post on the 10 signs of a legalistic church.

That’s it for today’s podcast! Do you have any thoughts on any of those questions? Let’s talk in the comments!

Written by

Sheila Wray Gregoire


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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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  1. Arwen

    “Find a place where they value fruit and not whether you tick all the right boxes.” Precisely! I want to also emphasis this for those who leave one church for another due to differing beliefs need make sure THEY don’t become like the very thing they left from. Because we humans have a bad habit doing that, we flee oppression only to turn around and oppress others.

    As for the couple who became Christians and now feel like the relationship has gotten worse. I truly think not having sex exposed how weak their relationship was from the start. Since sex clouds out judgment they thought they were far closer than they were but now that the cloud has passed they’re coming to terms that besides sex they have nothing in common. This is a wake up call for the girl. If they converted together, or if she pushed him to convert that’s a red flag to me. There are so many things i could ask the girl about their relationship because i see red flags everywhere. Regardless counseling is where they need to be right now, not trying to get married.

    Another great podcast, great to hear Keith again. Like typical man he’s a man of a few words. lool.

  2. Melanie

    In response to the first question, I recently read, God Loves Sex, by Dan Allender and Tremper Longman, and in it they talked about how love for God and love for each other should dictate decisions on physical contact prior to marriage. Obviously sex is reserved for marriage, so to love God, we obey that command. (Yes there is absolutely grace and forgiveness for mistakes).

    As for the purity culture, it is tempting to gravitate toward a set of rules because it takes away our responsibility. But God did not give us a chapter and verse command about holding hands. This means we let love of each other and love of God dictate our choices, and in this love, we do nothing to harm the other. The level of physical contact (not including sex) can coincide with the level of commitment.

    I may ruffle some feathers or shock some people but honestly I wish I had kissed my man before the altar. I saved my first kiss for him, but in pride of keeping “pure” and perhaps fear of not being “pure” I saved it for the wedding day in front of everybody. That’s me looking back at my life. Each person should look to God first, and make their decisions out of love for Him.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Totally agree, Melanie. Thanks for this!

    • Susanna Musser

      My dad had strict no-contact rules for the courtship between my husband and me, and I did NOT want our first kiss to take place in front of 275 people, so we cleverly left the kiss out of the ceremony and used plastic tableware and cups for the wedding reception. Our first kiss was amazing and our second one lasted the entire ride from the wedding to the reception, lol!

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Oh, I love that so much!

    • Emily

      OK, so I usually never comment on anything no matter the website BUT I really felt compelled to do so now. I’m also not writing to be discouraging or to criticize but to bring this to the attention to all that listened to this day’s podcast. The very last question had to do with the church and legalism. I’m fine with that.
      It is so true that we need to follow Christ and the truth of the scriptures, not a church. The problem I had was with the example that was used.

      Evolution and God

      [The rest of this comment has been removed by the editor because this blog is about marriage and sex. We don’t want to get into side issues that are controversial and that stir up a lot of emotions, but that don’t contribute to the discussion and can easily lead people away from God.

      You are free to believe what you want about evolution or young earth; none of this impacts how we see the gospel.

      What we do not want in the comments section, though, is saying that believing certain things mean that you don’t believe the gospel, especially when such things are not part of the Apostle’s Creed, and are not part of the essential elements of our faith, and when there are so many different interpretations by Bible believing people.

      Thank you, and I hope you understand. — Editors]


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