Sex is Better Than We Think

by Clayton Barbeau

In the communion of marital love, sexual intercourse is at once the most beautiful and the most underrated of communications. It is underrated because, while our society is full of throbbing eroticism, there is hardly any knowledge or appreciation of the meaning and purpose of sex. To see sex as mere thrill or pleasure, even as the highest pleasure, is to underestimate sex.

Of all the means of communicating love that are open to husband and wife, “making love” is the most perfect. For either party to seek from it only personal satisfaction is to destroy the richest symbol of mutual love that husband and wife can have.

The man who peeled the banana, ate the skin, and threw the banana away was always good for a laugh in old-time vaudeville shows, and yet he was doing only what the sexual thrill-seeker is doing.

The real substance of the marriage act is the mutual love it expresses. That is what is so tragic about all of the books on sex so easily available today. No amount of “technique” or “sexual performance” can enrich sexual intercourse that is not first an act of love. On the contrary, a mutual love and a mutual desire to give to the other’s whole person will bring about gestures, caresses, and other expressions of love so rich and so unselfconscious that one could only degrade them by calling them a “technique.”

While our society is full of throbbing eroticism, there is hardly any knowledge or appreciation of the meaning and purpose of sex.

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Husband and wife assume an equal responsibility for making sexual intercourse satisfying for both. While the husband’s inclination seems to orient him toward “rapid conquest,” he should remember that a woman’s inclination often craves assurances of his tender and constant love prior to the actual beginning of sexual intercourse.

Someone has said that men make love from the outside in, while women make love from the inside out, and there is some truth to this idea. It simply means that, in general, men begin with physical arousal and build inward toward emotional feelings, while women tend to become emotionally aroused first, then build toward physical arousal. The trick is for husband and wife to try lovingly to keep in mind “where the other is at” during the love-making process.

This article is excerpted from the book Head of the Family (Sophia Institute Press, 2002) by Clayton Barbeau, a popular Christian marriage counselor and author.

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