Wedding Heat

Sex is Play

Sex is Play

Sex used to stress me out a lot. I’d feel guilty for my BDSM streak. Or I’d get all weirded out when my husband would ask me to Sex is Playindulge him in one of his fantasies. I’d think, “Is God okay with this?” “Am I allowed to feel this way?” or “Do we need to see a counselor, because some of this stuff is messed up?!”

There were times when I just couldn’t get past my questions long enough to even enjoy sex.

And then, one day, I found an answer, from a rather unlikely source, when I wasn’t even really looking… and it totally and forever changed my attitude about sex.

I was sitting in a continuing education class one day and the professor was talking about Fred Rogers and his thoughts about play. Play is the most important work of childhood, said Rogers. Kids need to play to work out deep psychological issues that they don’t have the language to discuss, said my professor.

And I knew exactly what my professor and Mr. Rogers were talking about.

I remember when my son was two or three. He had this incredible fascination with guns and explosions. Now, mind you, we are not a family that owns guns. We don’t watch television shows with guns. We don’t play video games with guns. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how my two year old even knew what a gun was. But, he knew! And he turned everything into a gun! A pencil was a gun. The toy dump truck could be a gun. I was shocked and horrified. I thought I ought to punish him for it until an older, wiser mother from our church stepped in and intervened on his behalf.

And I remember another time my preschool age daughter was standing outside with the neighbor kids setting up the game of “house” they were going to play. “I’m the mom and you are the kid,” she said. “And I am going on a date to find a new daddy for you because I got divorced.” My jaw dropped. I told my husband. His jaw dropped too. But she had heard about this thing called divorce from a friend at preschool and she was trying to figure it out. And so she was playing it. And it was safe and it was fine, and it didn’t mean she is going to grow up to not take marriage seriously or to think it was okay to get divorced at the drop of a hat. It just meant she was looking around her and trying to make sense of the world.

And so it occurred to me, that maybe I’m really just like my children. They take the disturbing things they hear about and turn them into play. Maybe I take the disturbing things I hear about and turn them into sexual fantasy.

It made me wonder….if play is the important work of childhood, maybe sex is some of the important work of adulthood? Maybe, just maybe, we are actually supposed to be as free and uninhibited within our marriage beds as children are in their play. Maybe as teens and singles we are supposed to be as free exploring our bodies and our fantasies as we were when we were preschoolers.

I don’t know if it will strike you the same way, but for me, making that connection made me feel so much better about myself. I still don’t really know why I have my BDSM streak. But, somehow, it has become less important for me to make sense of it. Maybe I am working out some deep psychological issue. Maybe I’m not. But either way, it doesn’t seem to matter so much now. Now I am free to just enjoy the fun of it. I’m playing. It isn’t for real. My husband and I both know that and both enjoy it for the play that it is.

And when we are done playing, we put our cuffs and our clips and our dirty language away. We do some important work in that bedroom, and when we emerge, we are better for it. We walk out of the bedroom more connected than we were when we went in, more stress free than we were when we walked in, and more able to deal with the challenges of our adult lives.

It’s the best therapy I know of.

Which of these have you bought or would buy for your sex life? (You can select all answers if applicable)

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24 replies
  1. HornyHubby says:

    I LOVED this! I had never thought of it that way before but it makes total sense. And like Thoughtful writer said, this concept can extend beyond just bdsm play to other sexual playing. Positions, various toys and props, lingerie, dirty talk, writing stories on Marriage Heat (hehe) – maybe there is a part of all of us that is just trying to “figure it out” and we use sexuality to do it. And that is a good thing. Great post!

    • Eva says:

      So, funny you should ask that…I was just thinking along those lines yesterday. I was thinking that with kids, even though they have a natural exploratory freedom in their play, it doesn’t mean that all play is safe. I mean if one of my kids decides to play “locking the other in the attic on a really hot summer day” or if one of my kids decides to play “superman flying out the window” we have an obvious problem. So if we carry that logic into sex, it gives us freedom to explore As Long As We Are Being Safe about it. And I think there’s emotional safety at stake anytime someone is engaging in sexual acts outside of marriage. So that’s a big problem with 50 shades. Now according to Silver, the sexual acts portrayed in the book are safe. So if you reset the book within the context of an emotionally safe and otherwise healthy marriage, then yeah, I think if we like this analogy it would be play.

    • Eva says:

      Strawberry, it’s been a couple days since I wrote that response to your question…and my answer keeps bothering me. I don’t actually know if it’s at all true that you could call 50 shades play. I haven’t read the book or seen the movie and I probably won’t. But from reviews I’ve read, there are definitely themes that I would say go beyond healthy play. I think what I should have said was that the specific sex acts might be considered play, depending on how they were used in the relationship. From what I understand about 50 Shades, Christian actually wants to have that sort of absolute control over Anastasia. It goes beyond the bedroom or the red room, or whatever it is called. In my relationship, those acts of “bondage” are totally a game. My husband doesn’t actually feel the need to control me like that. In our real life I’m anything but submissive. In our marriage we are partners. It’s in only in the bedroom that we sometimes slide into these other roles. And while we do some of the same things that are done in 50 Shades and we might even say some of the things to each other, it’s an act, a play, a game. And from what I understand about 50 Shades, that’s a huge difference.

      So, I just wanted to clarify that. I felt like my previous response was giving more of a positive nod to that book/movie than I would actually want to give.

  2. Upcomingauthor says:

    I love the study of play. Psychology has some interesting points and while others think Science and God don’t go together they forget a lot of their fathers of science were believers trying to prove Good exsisted to those who feel they need proof.

    Go head and play in the bedroom! I use to think the same way about some of the stuff I like to do our want to do with the wife but it’s the only place I can be open and do the things I want to do. Can’t imagine doing stuff like that with a stranger and yes you do get the stress out of you for it. So since on and clamp on! God bless Eva! 🙂

  3. Creative Couple says:

    (Sigh)…I wish the rest of Christendom could get this. Sex should be relaxing and fun and creative and playful and funny and hot and carefree and…fill in the blank…for married couples. Great post. Thank you!

    • Eva says:

      Haha! Thanks Blondie. Oh, and please thank whoever on your team picked the graphic for this post. When I submitted it I had visions of the Neighborhood of Make Believe trolley getting picked for the part and I just didn’t think my sense of decency could handle that. I mean, even if sex is play, it isn’t THAT kind of play.

  4. Eva says:

    Thank you all for your comments and affirmations. I’m really glad to hear that this seemed to resonate with you and that you don’t think I’m way out in left field somewhere.

    Seriously, though, this understanding of sex as play has totally transformed our bedroom life. Not only has it helped me stop stressing out about my bondage fetishes, but it has totally relaxed the bedroom overall. Earlier in our marriage it always seemed like sex was such a serious business. Like there was supposed to be a lot of panting and sweat but there was never any laughter.

    But when we started thinking about sex as play, all that changed. We laugh all the time during sex now. Just the other night, while I was going down on him, my husband randomly started this comedic monologue mocking how our daughter would interrogate us the next day if she happened to walk in on us during sex…I was laughing so hard I almost fell off the bed. That SOOOO never would have happened a few years ago.

    So, yeah, this simple little idea has been a really big deal to us.

    Thanks for your comments. They are always so fun to read.

  5. lynda and dave says:

    I en joyed reading these insights and I feel a marriage is very special. adult play with my wife is very special to both of us, as children we played and as adults we play, the games maybe different, but we must remember the importance of play never changes.

  6. lynda and dave says:

    Thankyou Eva,I was just thinking,a former prime minister of Australia once made a comment about children he said play is a part of education….social skills etc. As we grow we still need to learn about each our play time is extremely important for so many reasons.

  7. John Dimon says:

    Thanks for those thoughts, Eva. While I’ve had thoughts like that before about sexual play your connection to “working something out” or just playing through some things really made me stop and think.

    As a man I have at times felt guilty about expressing sexual but safe emotions and play-like behavior that was uninhibited with my wife.

    It’s weird – God gave us something so amazing that affects every part of us, physical, emotional, social, sexual, spiritual, etc….and we stuff it into a small box with rules that dampen the potential of all those things coming together, BY DESIGN! It’s almost like refusing a great gift.

    This post also made an impression because my wife also enjoys the light and laughter side of sex. She loves to have fun. It makes me wonder if losing the fun is also a way to “box in” the best way to connect in marriage. That is a great reminder for me.

    Thanks again.

  8. Emmy Sue says:

    AWESOME. Thank you so much for this insight! This is a game changer for me, because I never EVER thought about sex in this way! I want to play!!! Where’s my hubby when I need him… Seriously, thank you, Eva!

  9. Monica Wescombe says:

    I can’t believe how in tune I feel with you guys, even though I’ve not met you. My hubbie has been very patient with me for many years. He’s gently tried to bring fantasies into our love making many times through the years but they just didn’t sit well with me while I was still trying to work out how to have a holy marriage. I can say that we had a total turnaround after I read 50 shades! I realised I wanted a hot love life within the safe place of my marriage. But it has taken me a while to become more free. My history has left me with a few hang ups but God is so good and loving that he has given me an amazing husband who thinks I’m the hottest! He tells me regularly that God has given him the mission to love me and that I should let him fulfill that mission. This discussion has been liberating for me. Thanks everyone who has contributed!

    • Lovinghusband says:

      What a great testimony Monica. I agree that the discussion is liberating – especially when we can
      see it coming from so many who love the Lord. So, may you continue to grow in freedom and
      hotness with you husband – and experience the greatest sex you have ever had. God bless you. LH

  10. ricki gerlach says:

    The Bible says the marriage bed is pure. So what ever the two of you do, is pure. In your play, you glorify God, so, don’t stop. It is not sinful, or wrong. Churches need to preach and teach more, on the purity of the marriage bed. Have fun, because you are give God his praise and glory!!!

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