When I talk to women about sex in marriage, one of the most common concerns is their bodies. “I’m just not sexy!” Practically every woman feels like she is either too old, too fat, too flat-chested, or too plain to be sexy.
We live in a world that has definite opinions on what is attractive and sexy. Marketers spend millions of dollars and countless hours transforming naturally beautiful people into virtual goddesses with makeup, lighting, stylists and photo editing. As a result, we each carry images in our mind of unattainable standards of beauty. We can never be young enough, thin enough, or pretty enough to be sexy.
Like most women, I’ve gone through seasons of insecurity, wondering how in the world my husband could ever view me as sexy when I’ve given birth to three children, have stretch marks and wrinkles and score all “A’s” in my cup size. Mike has seen beautiful women and been impacted by the seductive and pornographic images that are so prevalent in our culture. No way I can compete with that!
Fortunately, God has created a husband to be excited and sexually aroused by his wife even after decades of marriage and even if he has seen women far more beautiful than she is. The average husband has the capacity to be sexually captivated by his very average-looking wife.
While men are often sexually stimulated by what they see, they are sexually enticed by an invitation. Pornography, prostitution, and affairs offer more than naked women. They present an invitation… an invitation to have fun, to be wild, to let go, to be aroused, and to be accepted. I believe that most men choose these options not because the women are more beautiful, but because the women are more available… more enticing.
Solomon wrote about an immoral woman seducing a young man. Read what he wrote and notice how little he says about the women’s appearance in contrast to her availability:
He was crossing the street near the house of an immoral woman, strolling down the path by her house. It was at twilight, in the evening, as deep darkness fell.
The woman approached him, seductively dressed and sly of heart. She was the brash, rebellious type, never content to stay at home.
She is often in the streets and markets, soliciting at every corner.
She threw her arms around him and kissed him, and with a brazen look she said, ‘I’ve just made my peace offerings and fulfilled my vows. You’re the one I was looking for! I came out to find you, and here you are! My bed is spread with beautiful blankets, with colored sheets of Egyptian linen. I’ve perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let’s drink our fill of love until morning. Let’s enjoy each other’s caresses, for my husband is not home.’ She seduced him with her pretty speech and enticed him with her flattery.” Proverbs 7:8-21
Without knowing anything about this woman’s appearance, we can tell that she is sexy. She is confident, enticing, available and eager. This is what men respond to and what they often don't experience in marriage. Sexy isn't an act you put on to fulfill a husband's desire. It is embracing the fact that God created you as a sexual person, able to enjoy the beauty and passion of your sexuality with your husband.
What does it actually mean to be “sexy?” The dictionary defines “sexy” as “sexually attractive or arousing.” According to this definition, it is a very good thing to be sexy with your own husband. While I don’t want to be seen as “sexy” to the average guy, I do want my husband to view me not only as his friend, but also as sexy. I want him to experience me as his passionate, confident sexual partner. I also understand that this an important aspect of my own maturity and freedom to enjoy sex within our marriage.
I can remember many years ago being a brand new mom. One day I was walking down the stairs with my newborn son and saw my image holding him in the mirror. In that moment, motherhood dawned on me. I could now “see” myself in this new role. Becoming a mom happens the moment you get pregnant but it takes many months to grow into the role of motherhood.
This is also true as a wife. You became a wife on your wedding day, but it takes months and years to realize what that means - particularly related to your sexuality. Just like any other area of life, you have to grow and mature in your sexuality. It’s not something that just happens. In fact, you may need to relearn being sexy as you transition into different stages of marriage and confront new challenges.
I love how Linda Dillow says it. “It’s not what you got, but what you do with what you got that matters in the bedroom.” Linda is in her 70’s and has been married for over 50 years. As bodies age and break down, a mindset of pleasing and enjoying each means that you can still have a passionate relationship in the golden years of marriage.
As women, we can spend far too much energy worrying about what we look like. That time and energy will be far better spent if we learn what it means to be fully present and able to enjoy the pleasure of sex with our husbands.
The woman you read about in Proverbs 7 used her sexuality to entice a man she wasn’t married to. However, we can learn from her about how to use our sexuality to entice the man we are married to! Here a few practical things you can do to grow into a wife who is comfortable being sexy with her husband:
Entice with words. She seduced him with her pretty speech and enticed him with her flattery. Proverbs 7:21. As a married woman, you say a lot of things to your husband. You ask him to pick up milk at the grocery store, you scold him when he tosses the baby in the air and you might thank him now and then for being a good husband. But how often do you use your words to entice him sexually? Just read a few verses from the Song of Solomon and you will meet a wife who did just this!
Entice with your clothes. The woman approached him, seductively dressed. Proverbs 7: 10. Wearing something black and lacy may not be for your husband as much as it is for you. As ridiculous as you may feel at first, wearing sexy nighties or underwear helps you get in the mood and can encourage you in believing that you have something wonderful to share with your husband.
Entice with your bedroom. My bed is spread with beautiful blankets, with colored sheets of Egyptian linen. I’ve perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Proverbs 7:16-17. In the throws of normal life, your bedroom can become a pretty unromantic, uninviting place. How about a bedroom makeover, creating a space that says, “It’s time to be sensual and have fun together”?
Next time you wonder if you’re really sexy, skip the article in Cosmo and remember that sexy is a state of mind.