You requested it…….When I Still Don’t Desire Sex
It was the summer of 2004 and I was in the best shape of my life. I was running 6 miles a day, going to the gym, and eating tons of green leafy things – all in preparation for the Miss Kentucky pageant. Motivation comes easily when you have to be in a bathing suitin front of hundreds of people . . . so I ate a LOT of broccoli. My confidence grew as my waistline shrank. But then it would happen,every single time. Just when I thought I was looking my best, I would always bump into no shortage of girls that were skinnier, prettier, more talented, and ummm . . . smarter.
Then I would look in the mirror, and it would reveal even more horrors that somehow I must have overlooked the last time.
Insert: more running, more broccoli, more discipline.
I was like a hamster in a ball, working really hard and getting no where. Why? Because my identity was wrapped up in external beauty and the world’s standard for beauty is always changing (becoming skinner and skinner) – I couldn’t keep up! If you are chasing the culture’s standard for beauty you might as well hop on in the hamster wheel and prepare for utter failure and disappointment.
My sister, Kelly Beth, a former Miss Illinois USA (you can read her blog here) and I were always amazed at some of the most outwardly beautiful women we knew. They seem so confident on the outside, but so often on the inside there was unrest, turmoil, and insecurity. It is for this reason that some of the silent, pervasive issues that are ripping through so many women are eating disorders, addictions to diet pills, and the like. No one wants to talk about it, but it’s happening to a woman (or teenage girl) that you know (even though she’s not telling you).
Listen, it doesn’t matter if you made the “hot list” or the “not list.” It doesn’t matter if you were voted most likely to succeed or not even known. It doesn’t matter if you eat green smoothies every meal or McDonalds is your second home. It doesn’t matter if you are 18 or 68 (lipo or no lipo), most all women at some point in there life will struggle with not feeling beautiful.
Take a look at what the Shulamite woman says to her husband in Song of Solomon 1:6, “Do not gaze at me because I am dark, because the sun has looked upon me.” She was embarrassed and wanted to hide because her skin was nice and dark. What??!!! Apparently back in the day pasty-white was in. If I would have lived in those days, I would have been awesome with my pasty-white Twilightesque skin coloring.
Just like the Shulamite woman, we know every little hair that is out of place, every roll that shouldn’t be there, every blemish, and every crooked tooth. Because we don’t like what we see (and it certainly doesn’t match up to the Victoria’s Secret girls), we try to hide – where is my fig leaf!?
Before marriage, I was insecure about my hairy arms and tiny spider veins. Not much has changed, but everything has changed. An “I do,” 8 ½ years, and 3 children later, my tendency is still to hide, but this time I’ve got much bigger problems than my arms and tiny veins. Giving birth to three babies (not to mention by C-section each time) takes a toll on a woman’s body – one that is well worth it. Our last bundle of joy left a bundle of weight on my body – a whopping 60 pounds that is. Everyone would say, “Oh, you don’t look like you have gained that much.” Being 5’11, it is a little easier to hide junk in the trunk, but honey nothing hides naked! I decided to go extreme and we purchased a crazy workout called Insanity, and let me tell you; it gets its title honest. Most of the weight did come off, all except this last 10 pounds I have been working on for 2 1/2 years now!
During this time in my life, I felt so fat and ugly that I just didn’t want to be touched. I mean, “Who wants to hop into bed with this muffin top!” So much of our sexual desire is wrapped up in whether or not we feel desirable. I did not feel desirable. I did not feel worthy of my husband’s affections. I certainly did not feel sexy. However, one thing I have recently learned is that you don’t have to feel desired in order to be desired. So often our husbands don’t necessarily want what we think they want; they just want us.
I still struggle with insecurities.
I will be eating right, exercising, taking showers (more often) and start feeling good about myself. Then it happens. I look in the mirror and I’m like, “AHHHH, who stole my body!!”
Maybe you can relate: You are growing older and your body is starting to become more and more like something you would see on the Discovery Channel. Maybe you are thinking, “Umm, did I sign up for tribal? Can we please fast-forward?” I know my husband signed up for better or worse but I don’t think he realized he’d be getting this (at least there is proof gravity exists!)
Then you get off the Discovery Channel and start flipping through the channels and everyone seems to be in better shape, with perkier everything. None of them seem to have cellulite or wrinkles, and of course they are having very, very hot sex (or so it seems).
You don’t want sex because you feel too ugly, too fat, too skinny, too old, too frumpy, too uhhhhh!! If our sex life is a game of hide and seek, our husband is doing the seeking, and we are doing the hiding (under the covers, with the lights off).
As you’re contemplating how good you don’t look anymore, you pull out your cell phone and start text bombing your husband all of these attributes you hate about yourself, as if you are filling him in on something he has not heard a hundred times before. Really, what we want from him is affirmation – that yes, he knows our flaws, but yes, he loves and desires us. This is the greatest longing of every woman, to be fully known, and yet still fully loved.
I can assure you ladies that the whole complaining about your BIG ugly to your husband is not increasing his sex drive or yours.
So what is a girl to do when she has lost her groove, and sexy walked out the door last year taking your sex drive and confidence with her?
Lipo? Treadmill? Spanx? Eat more kale? Buy new clothes? Makeup? Hot Yoga? Running or other forms of torture???
Don’t get me wrong; exercising is crucial for your health mentally, physically, and sexually. There’s just something about those endorphins, which are equivalent to taking happy pills. I am much happier when I burn some calories and my family needs me to do this (another blog, another day.) We need to take care of our bodies. Also, this is for free, but think about investing in a new bra. It certainly might perk things up, but again it’s pointless to focus on the outward if inside we are still the same. We don’t just need bust-line change; we need heart change.
Looking into the mirror will always leave us with a lacking sex drive, because let’s face it: there will always be someone prettier and skinnier, and we could always lose a few more pounds.
True beauty is discovered through the lens of God’s Word to us (Check out this post). What does God say is beautiful?
The Bible teaches that we are all fat with sin (Romans 6:23) and no amount of running around doing “good deeds” could work this load off. We were spiritually ugly from conception (Psalm 51:5), and no amount of self-righteous makeup could hide this blemish. If it were not for Christ, we would have all stayed in this estate: hiding, ugly, disgraced, and slaves. However, God, out of his great love for us, sent His beautiful Son to rescue us and release us from the heavy load we have been carrying. Jesus never sinned; He was a sacrifice without blemish. He was sacrificed on the altar of a cross for all our Ugly. The Beautiful One became our ugly so we could become beautiful to God. If you are a Christian, when God looks at you, He sees Christ. You are hidden, but you are not hiding under a fig leaf. You are hidden in the righteousness of Christ. Christ is beautiful, and when God look at you, He sees beauty.
Get this . . . God did not choose us because we were beautiful; there was nothing noteworthy or admirable about us that would draw God to us. Instead, Christ was drawn to us because of our ugliness. Our sin drew Him to our rescue. It’s our ugly that attracted Him to us, because He gets glory in our makeover! Jesus didn’t save us because we were beautiful; He saved us to make us beautiful.
Remember, every woman’s greatest desire is to be fully known (including all her flaws), and yet fully loved. This is exactly what it’s like to be loved by God. He fully knows us, and yet He fully loves us.
It is living out of this acceptance that changes your attitude about your body. As a result, living out of God’s acceptance changes how we approach the bedroom. We do not come as insecure women but as confident women because we are well-loved by a GREAT God. A woman who understands how much God loves her will be like a magnet pulling others towards her, including her husband. Living out of acceptance makes a truly beautiful woman. Now THAT is sexy!
Please hear me say that your identity is not in that you are a sex kitten, supermodel, great housewife, mom, or wife. Your identity is found in Christ.
A word to the husbands.
Your standard of beauty should not be the women you see in the media (they have cellulite too, by the way. It’s just photo-shopped out). Your standard of beauty has to be your bride. Let her know the things you love about her. I would encourage you not to make comments like, “Should you really be eating that?” “Are you going to make it to the gym today?” “Honey, have you thought about having that nose taken down a few inches?” Not real helpful.
I would encourage you to pray for her and push her towards a Gospel-centered definition of beauty that looks like this: husbands, God loved you in all of your mess, so you can love her in all of her blemishes (both inside and out). In doing so, you can encourage her to seek out healthy living without making her feel like your love is dependent upon her waist-size or performance. What your woman needs to hear from you is that you love her no matter what. The hottest sex is when your wife is having sex because she knows she is accepted, not because she’s seeking to gain your acceptance.