Sex is regarded in a variety of ways by society today. It is an enormous source of pleasure and a colossal source of pain. It can create feelings of being a princess or the prostitute depending on the circumstances in which it is received and given. The Penners share how God created Sex to be treasured as a jewel. Designed to take place in the most sacred of covenants: between a groom and his bride in the presence of the Lord. Yet man has defiled it.
We have broken and abused it till it no longer resembles the precious gift God intended it to be. So how is the sexual experience supposed to feel? Surely something so profound was not meant to be so superficial. In their book The Gift of Sex Clifford and Joyce Penner teach us what God truly designed sex for. If I had to say one thing about this book it is that I wish I had read it years ago. I am reading it for a college course, but I needed it for instruction in my own life years ago. The Gift of Sex 1. Is This Book for Me? Is This Book For Me?
Is the question asked at the beginning of The Gift of Sex, A Guide to Sexual Fulfillment. It is a guidebook for a satisfying sex life that every couple should own. Written by Clifford and Joyce Penner in 2003 The Gift of Sex is a text that although not very big has a vast amount of information that can enhance the sex lives of married people. The Penners left no stone unturned, every area of sexuality was explored and edified. Those who are married and intending to be married would do well to acquire a copy of The Gift of Sex. 2. Why All The Confusion?
The Penners take the confusion about sex and simplify it so that even the virgin can understand the concepts. A Biblical Perspective 3. Sexuality Is a Gift from God The marvelous thing is the Penners tear down the walls between God and sex in marriage and united the two to show the representation of God and the church. They lay out a foundation to show that God sees the church as Christ bride through a number of scripture. Ephesians 5 it says “Wives submit yourselves to your own husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and he is the savior of the body.
Therefore just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her that he might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that he might present her to himself the glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. Husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself (AACC Bible, 2001). 4. What the Bible Says About Our Sexuality In the book The Gift of Sex the Penners simplify sexual relationships so that even the most inexperienced person can be educated through The Gift of Sex. The first chapter is on Sexuality as a Gift from God. The authors begin by explaining that people think of themselves as two parts a body and a soul, the soul being the good part and the body being the bad part. They go on to explain that they don’t agree. They believe God gave humans the gift of sex and it is not a bad part of us.
The bible does not go into detail about sexual relations, but it does give us the picture of what God’s purpose was for it. In a remarkable collection of words the Penners explain how in Genesis the bible tells how Adam and Eve were a type and shadow of the New Adam, “Christ” and his “Eve” the church. In a marvelous way they make a connection between the intimacy of Adam and Eve and Christ and his church. This should cause the Christian to desire to preserve purity in their sexual relationship. The Physical Dimension 5. Our Bodies The second chapter is dedicated to teaching the reader how the body works exually. The environment in which we grow up, the way we perceive sex, the way we view our bodies all these mindsets affect the way we see ourselves and the way we are able to open up and enjoy our partners. Discovering and sharing our bodies. God created our bodies the internal as well as the external. He made our innermost parts as we are in our mother’s wombs. 6. Discovering and Sharing Our Bodies 7. How Our Bodies Work 8. Our Bodies’ Sexual Response The Total Experience 9. Getting Interested This chapter basically covers the relationship, taking time to focus on your relationship with your spouse.
Getting to know your desires and what excites you sexually so that you can pass this information onto your spouse. Being responsible for your own wants and not expecting your spouse to know what you want without relaying this information ahead of time. Sexual desire or interest is an individual’s responsibility. No one can provide this for you, it is a personal choice. If you don’t have these desires, something is blocking them and you should find out what it is. 10. Having Fun Having fun is an exciting chapter that offers suggestions on bringing spontaneity into the intimate relationship.
It also shares how cuddling, holding and caressing should be part of a relationship without expecting sex. Having different places, different lighting, different timing adds variety to the sexual relationship. The Penners explain that being in the nude can add to the anxiety of the situation sometimes clothing helps to ease the tension of having to perform intercourse. 11. Initiating The topic of initiation relates to a couples system of choosing the time to come together to have sex. Remarkable as it may sound this is a complicated subject for couples and the Penners take us through patterns of approach and avoidance.
Problems like fatigue and making time can get in the way and disrupt a relationship. Eventually this can become a barrier and sex may be avoided by one or both partners. They also offer exercises on resolving initiation problems. 12. Meshing Your Worlds 13. Pleasuring 14. Special Treats That Add Pleasure 15. Stimulating 16. By Invitation Only The Chapter By Invitation Only was basic common sense that most of us don’t think about. Knowing the reasons for waiting till the time is right to enter the vagina with the penis helps a person to realize it’s a physical situation not just a psychological one. 17. Letting Go 18. Affirmation Time
When the Penners speak of Affirmation Time they are speaking about the moment right after sex when the couple is coming down from the high they have just experienced during sex. It is a time when the woman most often needs to know she is valued and that she has not been used for sexual pleasure only. Soon after experiencing an orgasm most men and some women experience what the Penners refer to as the Resolution Phase when the body reverses itself into the prestimulated state. This quick release causes the man or woman to feel sleepy. Having a spouse fall asleep immediately after sex may cause the person to feel abandoned or uncared for.
The suggestion in this situation is to communicate about this before the sexual encounter. 19. Cleaning Up Cleaning Up is another simplistic lesson that explains to the couple that after sex there may be a mess. The less fuss made over the mess the better the woman will feel and the more freely she will let go. When Sex Isn’t Working 20. Why Sexual Problems? Chapter 20 Why Sexual Problems addresses life events that interfere with our sexual function. Amazingly physically sexual function is so predictable that it can be measured down to the tenths of a second. Emotionally is a total contrast.
According to the Penners emotionally and relationally, there is a process of desire, initiation, meshing, pleasuring, letting go and then entry, or entry then letting go, affirmation and cleanup. These are the things that keep all the many sex therapist in business. Unconscious avoidance, need to please, blocked erotic feelings, past traumatic experiences, relationship problems, and the need for risk and guilt, and are all hindrances to the expressive part of sex between husbands and wives. 21. Differing Sexual Needs Differing sexual needs deal with the differences between men and women.
They are never more extreme that they are in the sexual experience. If a couple is going to survive differing levels of sexual need, they must find ways to adjust to those. The starting point is communication. 22. Never Enough Time Here the Penners teach how to prioritize time to accommodate our sexual encounters. Over scheduling is the foremost reason for not having enough time for each other. In some cases it isn’t lack of time but when the time is right for instance she may be ready for sex when he gets home tired from working all day. To the contrary his prime time may be in the morning when she wants to sleep. 3. You Want To Do What? Each Chapter the Penners astound us with the possibilities of change in the lives of couples pertaining to their sex lives, but this chapter is the most astonishing yet. It offers advice on adult sex play that is biblical as well as acceptable by the church, also different positions that add variety to intercourse to make things more exciting. They also touch on the sensitive subjects of oral sex and masturbation. Interestingly oral sex is appropriate as long as both parties are in agreement and are comfortable with the situation.
Masturbation is proper as long as it is not abused or a substitute for intimacy. 24. I Don’t Love Him Anymore Love is the greatest gift of all according to Corinthians 13. Sometimes it’s the most confusing. The little chapter on love does not cover much information even though marriage should be built on it. The Penners attempt to cover a large assortment of concerns from drifting apart, outside interest, unfaithfulness, to never having been in love at all. Regrettably it’s not enough information; however at the very end of the chapter they do reference God can work in your life so that love can grow. 25.
Birth Control Gets in the Way The Penner’s open up this chapter with the comment “there is one common complaint that seems to hinder full sexual pleasure. ” Despite the fact there are not many choices for contraception a choice still must be made by the couple. I believe the this chapter would be helpful in helping someone new to this decision make an educated choice on which birth control method to use without bias from the Penners. 26. I’m Not Interested The sexual intimacy between a husband and wife is a complicated situation with many variables that can interfere with the natural reaction for closeness.
Although God created us as sexual beings this doesn’t change the fact that life situations get in the way. The Penners recommend their book Restoring the Pleasure to work through lack of desire. 27. Not Enough When You Need It: Erectile Dysfunction This chapter focuses on erectile dysfunction or impotence, which affects most men at some point in their lives despite the idea that men are ready at a moment’s notice. The common causes are physical factors, age, not being able to enter the woman’s vagina due to illness, premature ejaculation, emotional factors, medications, and much more.
Whatever the cause of the difficulty with erections, it is self-perpetuating. Which means it can continue due to a person’s own thoughts and anxiety which must be worked out. There are many treatments clients should be encouraged to try them, sometimes ED will not go away on it’s own. 28. Too Soon, Too Fast: Premature Ejaculation The most common premature ejaculation is after four or less thrust. It usually gets its start before marriage. Men that have premature ejaculation us thoughts of other things to keep from ejaculating which may work short term but does not last long.
The encouraging part the Penners say is that it’s easy to fix. The sad part they say is most people don’t seek help. 29. Less Arousal or No Release: Some Women’s Frustration All of us are born with a capacity of sexual response; within the first 24 hours of life we all have a sexual response. Throughout life however women may incur issues that may deter her excitement. This could cause her to lose interest in sex. Women are created to enjoy sex as much as men. They need learn how to release this enjoyment. The Penners recommend a few solutions, one being a healthy diet, exercising together.
Exercising has many benefits to help a woman enjoy a healthy sex life such as body image. 30. Pain Reduces Pleasure According to the Penners “Sex is for pleasure and pain during sex should not be allowed to continue”. The type of pain and the details about the pain need to be defined in order to find help for relief of the pain. The following questions need to be answered the type of pain, when the pain happens, what activity triggers the pain. Dyspareunia is the technical term for painful intercourse. 31. Pornography and the Internet In this chapter the Penners open a door to darkness that we would rather not go into.
The secret that is a problem nobody wants to talk about. The Penners call it a powerfully addictive force that is invading Christian families today. This chapter helps the reader to define if they are addicted to pornography on the internet. Each section in the chapter describes what to do if you are addicted and how to break the addiction. The Penners take you through a step by step guide to help the reader break free from this devastating habit. Enhancing the Sexual Experience 32. Inviting God into the Bedroom Although this chapter is very short, only three pages it is extremely significant to the book.
Without God there would be no sex and leaving God out of sex is a mistake. Inviting God in can enrich your sex life. One way the Penners suggest doing this is to study the scriptures on sex. They also offer a video series (The Magic and Mystery of Sex), seminars, tapes, and books to promote a healthy sexual message with a solid scriptural perspective. 33. Build Sexual Passion and Intimacy In this chapter the couple should try to focus on building passion and intimacy. Life is extremely busy for most people these days. Building a passionate and intimate relationship takes planning and scheduling it can’t just be spontaneous.
The Penners give us a formula they recommend to develop intimacy, Fifteen minutes a day, 1evening per week, one day per month, and one weekend per season. 34. A Plan for Change This chapter is for those who are unhappy with the way their sex lives are going. If you are ready for change here it is “A Plan for Change”. It takes communication, planning, sharing feelings, and defining the greatest area of concern; the cause for this concern and what keeps you in this cycle. They recommend you develop a goal and a clear plan.