Why can’t my spouse and I have a good conversation about sex? Part 1

For some couples, they can have great conversations about children, the Bible, their walk with Christ, work, home repairs, and the events of the day, but things change when discussing sex.  When sex is discussed inevitably someone is going to be upset and the conversation ends on a sour note.  Why is that?

I am going to post a series of short articles that will give some of the more common reasons and what to do about them.

Reason #1:  Guilt remains from the events of the past.

One or more of you might have some history that you don’t want brought up during the conversation so you simply avoid the conversation.  For example, Tom and Julie had been married for 10 years.  Tom had been involved a few different times in porn/masturbation.  Tom wants to talk about sex because he believes it could ultimately result in a closer relationship with Julie, but he is also nervous that the sins of his past will be thrown in his face.  Tom had been down that road before and was not particularly interested in traveling it again.  Julie went outside the marriage many years ago, but she has the same reservation.  In this little scenario both Tom and Julie have guilt over the past.  You see, as long as there is guilt from the past, conversations about sex will be difficult.

What do you do about it?

The pathway to freedom from guilt is not simply to “move on,” but to see the significance of the cross of Christ to your guilt.  Christ died, in part, so that you could be freed from the power and penalty of sin.  Rom 6 puts it this “dead to sin, alive to God.”  When you came to saving faith in Christ alone he set you free from the penalty that your sin deserved.  Thus, you are not bound in guilt – you are set free in Christ.  In fact, 1 John 1:9 says “if we confess our sin he is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  1 Cor 6:9-11 reminds us that “such were some of you.”  Don’t you just love the past tense there?  So, have you gone to the Lord and confessed your sin to him?  Are you now living in the reality he will not treat you as your sins deserve?

Once you have cleared the air with God, it is time to clear the air with your spouse.  In Psalm 32 David makes is clear that confession, repentance, and forgiveness is the pathway to blessing.  Ignoring, putting it off, and pretending like it is no big deal is the pathway to continued suffering.  So let me encourage you to confess to your spouse and then freely offer forgiveness (since God has forgiven you Matt 18:21-35). 

Dealing with your guilt through confession and forgiveness is the pathway to freedom.  It is the pathway to putting the past behind you and moving forward biblically.  It also clears the path for you to talk about sex with your spouse, even if one or both of you have a stained sexual past.  In the next article, we will explain reason #2 – personal attacks.

Rob Green
Pastor Rob Green oversees Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries. A seasoned counselor, Rob also teaches others how to counsel--through FBCM's training conferences and Faith Bible Seminary's MABC program.