Sunday, September 8, 2013

Make Up Sex = Emotional Sex

Most adults know what I'm talking about when I say "make up sex."  If you have ever fought with your significant other and then later made peace, you understand the feelings of desire that rise up after a big fight.  Once the conflict has been resolved, it is not uncommon for a couple to experience intense longing for each other that ultimately leads to the ever-popular make up sex, which (for us) has always been the most enjoyable sex of our marriage.

I'm not going to be bashful about this: I enjoy sex.

I know that a large number of women struggle with the issue of sex.  While I have my own hangups, primarily the pressure I put on myself to be "in the mood" at any given moment, enjoying sex is not an issue for me.  I like sex and  I believe that God designed sex for many different reasons, ranging from binding a man and woman together (like a seal on a document) to stress relief and relaxation.

While in and of itself sex is a physical act, no matter who you are with, you create an emotional bond with anyone that you have sex with.

Sin's presence in this world has corrupted God's perfect plan for sex, and many of us are walking around carrying some degree of emotional connection with multiple people.  

My husband even, though he has not physically had sex with another person, has given himself emotionally to other women through pornography.

Your spring water is for you and you only,
    not to be passed around among strangers.
Bless your fresh-flowing fountain!
    Enjoy the wife you married as a young man!
Lovely as an angel, beautiful as a rose—
    don’t ever quit taking delight in her body.
    Never take her love for granted!
Why would you trade enduring intimacies for cheap thrills with a whore?
    for dalliance with a promiscuous stranger?
Proverbs 5:17-20

It is natural to connect emotionally to another through sex.   It is the way we were designed.  With that said, we sometimes find ourselves focusing on the physical act rather than the emotional connection.  Within marriage, we are encouraged to have sex with our spouse.  If you are a woman, it is not just because God desires you to gratify your husband's natural desire for physical pleasure.  If you're a man, sex isn't something for you to just receive pleasure.  Rather, it is a way for you to emotionally connect with your wife, which serves to build her up and develop intimacy between you.

While sex does involve giving and receiving pleasure, that is not the ultimate purpose.  I see the physical pleasure as an added bonus.  It is possible to have sex without ever thinking about the emotional bond that it creates; but emotional sex is so much more than the simple act of intercourse.  It takes the relationship with your spouse to an entirely new level; one that fills you with contentment and joy and love.  It allows you to feel complete and you experience a closeness that only comes from taking sex beyond a simple physical act and connecting to your spouse on an entirely new, more intimate level.

It is only now, through the restoration of our marriage, that Kris and I are experiencing true intimacy.  In the past, we had make up sex after conflict.  And even in the midst of our own sins and addictions, when we worked through whatever the problem was, we were closer to one another for a time.  Even living hidden lives, Kris and I were always friends.  We still fought, and we still made up.  But it didn't last.  It didn't endure.  The intimacy that we experience now, living in the light with nothing to hide from one another, sustains us longer.  I suspect that striving to maintain that level of intimacy is a good thing in a healthy marriage.  It seems that, like our feelings of love go through cycles, the level of intimacy will move up and down as life happens.  It is good to strive for that deep intimacy that make up sex brings, but I think we have to recognize that it is an ebb and flow; and more than trying to force the intimacy, we need to fully appreciate the moments when we feel as if our hearts are completely entwined.  In an email to me recently, Kris wrote:

I just wanted to let you know that last night was absolutely amazing.  And I'm not just talking about the sex.  I loved spending time and talking to you.  I felt like we connected in a deep way, and it filled me in a way that I didn't even know I needed.

In a perfect world, without sin, it would be feasible to always maintain that deep level of intimacy with one another.  But I realize that there are, more often, times in our life together where sex is less intimate and more physical.  Less driven by emotion than pleasure.  And I think that is okay.  We can still experience closeness and growth, but it will be dim in comparison to what we experience when we are truly connected on every level.

When your emotions are at their rawest and your heart is laid bare--leaving you completely vulnerable--you are in the best place to experience unbelievable connection and closeness.  I believe that God's true purpose for sex was all about emotional intimacy with someone else; and what we have coined "make up sex" has a unique design and purpose for strengthening our relationship with one another.  God knew that our marriages would face conflict.  Tensions would mount and fights were inevitable.  Yet God also gave us this incredible gift of sex, and designed our bodies to have a stronger desire to be physically intimate with each other after conflict, as if He knew we would need a tangible way to say, "I'm sorry.  Let's begin again.  I love you and desire to be closer to you."


  1. Thank you for sharing so honestly and beautifully about a subject that everyone is interested in!Sex is a great good thing from our Great Good God when not used in the wrong ways...PS LOVED your hubby's sweet email. Blessings to you both.

    1. Thank you for reading. It's not a topic I always write about! I loved his email too. And that is only a small piece of it. :-)

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