Does the job title ‘Christian Sex Coach’ strike you as something of a contradiction? Of course, Christians have sex just like everyone else, but America’s Christian culture is generally less inclined to speak frankly about sexual needs and desires. My friend Morgan is trying to change that. I think you’ll love her interview!
Tell us a bit about yourself!
I’m 36, married mom of two. Our family of four live a minimalist-esque lifestyle in downtown Portland, Or, spending most our money on experiences (and food and coffee) rather than things.
My husband and I are the creators of Romance & Adventure, the Instagram, the podcast, the website, the retreats, the sex program. I’m a sex and love coach and I’m a devoted student of yoga, meditation and Tantra. (That makes me sound much more exciting than “married mom of two,” doesn’t it?)
Travel is my love language, and my guilty pleasure is expensive hotel rooms.
Growing up, how did you feel about sexuality? How were you taught to think and feel about it?
Torn. Confused. Mezmorized. Empowered. Divided.
There are so many contradictions around the power of a woman’s sexuality and I felt them all!
When I was alone, I felt at home in my sexuality, meaning I could delight in all my senses with joy. I’ve always loved dancing. My favorite movies growing up were Flashdance and then Dirty Dancing. The tape decks of those soundtracks played in my room till my boombox ate them. Dance was an outlet for me, and I was pretty sexy when I danced, even at four. I wasn’t trying to dance sexy, but that’s what came out of me.
It just felt good to surrender to movement, to give myself wholeheartedly to the drama and moodiness in the music. I could always do that by myself, and I knew it was a form of power, but no one ever taught me about this power. I didn’t know how to fully own it or hone it for myself, so I focused that energy where most women are encouraged to focus it– in their appearance for the validation of others.
When it came to my sexuality growing up I felt what so many women feel: not enough and too much.
In high school and in my twenties I felt like my worth was entirely dependent on how sexually attractive I was to the boys, but I never felt “hot” enough. I was raped in high school and I was more worried the boys reputation than mine (they went to Young Life, they were “good Christians”) I got used to saying yes instead of saying no because it felt easier.
I already thought of myself as “damaged goods” and that relationship to my sexuality affected my whole life (eating disorders, unhealthy relationships with men, single motherhood, struggles with alcohol and drugs, extreme lack of confidence and purpose). My life was marked by cycles of severe depression and anxiety until I finally started addressing it.
To sum it up, what I was taught by the world around me was that my sexuality wasn’t my own. At best, it was a tool to help me score a desirable mate. At worst, it made me dangerous.
But being connected to my body through dance and nature taught me my sexuality was a beautiful mirror to my spirituality: the core of who I am.
You’ve written about the shame that a lot of women feel about their sexuality and your own shame – that you’ve since worked through. Do you think Christian women are more likely to struggle with sex-related shame? Or do you think it’s pretty universal?
Shame is universal. And the shame women feel around their sexuality is rampant. No matter where you grow up, especially these days in our media-saturated culture, all of us women are dealing with deeply conflicted social-messaging around sexuality. And it hurts men as well as it hurts women.
Sexual trauma and abuse have also affected many of us. And what research is showing about trauma is that trauma isn’t just an event in the past; it’s the imprint left by that experience on our mind and our body that we still live with. That pain is universal.
How did you, personally, get past your sexual shame?
After I had my son, I got braver about facing the things I spent so much energy running from. And marriage…that was/continues to be a purifying fire that invites me to continue going deep into my own shadow self. I’ve learned how to become curious instead of afraid, accepting instead of exacting, and compassionate instead of cruel.
This makes me sound braver and stronger than I really am. I wasn’t alone on this journey. Naturally, my relationship with Jesus was of principal importance to me. With that new divine relationship in my life I didn’t feel like I was facing the darkness by myself anymore. I felt like I was being guided and always protected by a great warrior of light.
I also had the support of flesh and bone people in my life, namely my husband, who were willing to hold a safe space for me through prayer and through their steady presence as I did the inner work to address, confront and heal the shame.
There are certain branches of Christianity (and certain Christian individuals) who believe that sex should only happen between a man and a woman, or a man and a woman who are married, or explicitly for the sake of procreation. How do you address those beliefs in your work?
This is why we are so happy not to be a ministry or work for a church!
My husband and I believe the Gospel truly is good news for all people. This means you don’t have to belong to a certain club to receive freedom from shame and sexual well-being. Everyone is invited to this table of wholeness.
I believe that the most powerful and healing kind of sex is sex within a sacred relationship. How someone experiences that sacred relationship is incredibly personal. A sacred relationship isn’t defined by gender or religion or morals.
A sacred relationship is about the willingness to love and be loved intimately in the hard places. From my perspective, it’s the sacredness of a relationship that determines the intimacy you enjoy in your sex life, not your religious beliefs. (God knows how many miserably married (and sex-less) Christians there are!)
Here is the truth: Married or not, you can have unhealthy sex. Gay or straight you can have an unhealthy sex. Religious or not, you can have unhealthy sex.
My husband and I are a great example. Heterosexual married Christian couple who used to have very unhealthy patterns in our sex life. We don’t anymore and it isn’t because we started going to church more. It’s because we devoted ourselves to healing old wounds, regaining trust and intimacy, and learning new practices to help us deeply and meaningfully connect.
We love Jesus and, like Him, we are not at all interested in drawing lines between who deserves wholeness and “life to the full” and who doesn’t.
In your mind, how do spirituality and sexuality go hand in hand?
Here are a few things that spirituality and sexuality have in common:
The good stuff only comes after you fully and wildly surrender.
It’s about expansion, not contraction; opening yourself up, not shutting yourself down.
Hiding who you are defeats the purpose, because the purpose is letting yourself be known and loved for exactly who you are, imperfections and all.
Real power is always personal power, never manipulative.
Wonder, Awe, Gratitude, Appreciation, serve you much better than Judgement, Expectations, Comparison, Entitlement
Keeping an open mind makes you better company
It’s all about presence. That’s the door to the real magic.
What I think is most important to know about your spirituality and your sexuality is that they are both doors to Love. Both help you remember your True Self. Both connect you to your life-force, to your personal power and your creativity. Wise and happy people take good care of both.
How have the people in your life reacted to your work?
Haha! They tend not to bring it up. I think we scare a lot of people at church. We have a few close friends and they are proud of us. When we start feeling like outcast weirdos, they remind us that the work we are doing is important and needed.
What resources have really helped you?
There aren’t many (and that is why we do what we do)! Especially in the Christian world, there is mostly radio silence.
The Free Sex Podcast
This is a podcast by two anonymous Christian ladies and I love how they are interested in changing the conversation around sex. They are funny and aren’t at all afraid to go there.
Layla Martin’s Sexy Revolution Youtube Channel
I love her practical and brave advice on sexual healing and feeling confident as a sensual woman.
You can download this free audio and I’ll guide you through a new narrative to help you rewrite the story around sex so you can let go of old beliefs and say yes to real freedom (without losing what matters most to you in your faith).
What are three things any of us can do to improve our sex lives – regardless of our religious beliefs or relationship status?
Fall deeply, madly, passionately in love with your own breath
Not only is the breath our biggest ally for mental health and stress relief, it is also our best friend for better, longer-lasting, and more intense orgasms. A simple breathing exercise you can do anywhere (driving, cooking, checking e-mail) is to exhale and inhale slow and steady for a count to four.
Curve the outer edges of your mouth into an easy smile, and let your whole body soften with a memory of love. If you are interested in learning more about the breath and how to meditate you can watch these free videos from my yoga youtube channel.
Face your shadow
Go on your own Hero’s Journey (listen to this Ted Radio Hour podcast episode to get you going. In Tantra we learn that the dark-side of our consciousness–what we repress and ignore– holds most of our hidden power and potential. Be brave in the name of love and go get it back!
Practice supreme self-care and radical acceptance
One of the biggest barriers women face in the bedroom is body image issues. Your body is beautiful and your heart is good.Learn to love yourself exactly as you are right now. Again, yoga is good for this, but I’m a bit bias. 🙂
Thanks so much for sharing your story, Morgan! Do you guys have any questions for her? I realize that religion and sexuality are emotionally charged topics for a lot of people. Respectful disagreement is welcome, incendiary comments will be deleted.
P.S. Interviews with a woman who waited till she was married to have sex, a 35-year-old virgin, and a woman’s who’s 23 and never been kissed.
P.P.S. Did you know I have an entire Pinterest board devoted to relationship tips and advice? Super helpful!