By Ed Young
By Lisa Young
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God wants couples to make love in marriage-with passion, with purpose, and with pleasure. Marriages aren’t experiencing all the benefits that come from a healthy sex life. Couples are facing a barrage of influences that keep them from connecting with each other regularly-the kids, the career, the house, the errands, etc.
SEXPERIMENT shows people that sex in marriage is more than just sex, and it’s more than a chore. The Youngs believe it’s time to get back to understanding the context of sex in marriage and that it’s time for couples to break the barriers keeping them from a healthy sexual relationship. Couples ought to experience the benefits of having sex regularly, intentionally, and creatively. SEXPERIMENT will allow couples to discover that the intersection of God and sex can lead to a life punctuated by exclamation marks!
Table of Contents
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When I was four years old, I asked my mother the question that every child wants to know at some point: Where do babies come from? Since I am the oldest of three boys, this was the first time my mom had faced this question, and her reaction was understandably shock and stall.
But I've never been content with asking a question once and not getting an answer. I'll keep pursuing the answer until I'm satisfied that I have received all the information I need. So I didn't just ask my mom once. Or twice. Over and over (and over and over), I bugged her to tell me where babies come from. I asked in grocery stores. I asked in church. I asked at the dinner table. I asked all the time. And my mom knew that unless she answered me honestly and completely, I would simply keep on asking.
Finally, after eluding the subject several times, my mom realized I wasn't going to stop asking, so she sat me down to give me the answer. In the most age-appropriate way she could, she explained to me the intricacies and terms of pregnancy. And because you can't talk about where babies come from without broaching the subject of sex, she explained "it" in very broad terms.
When she got done dispensing as much information as she felt was appropriate for a four-year-old boy to have, I sat there and let it marinate in my mind. After a few minutes, I looked up at her with a straight face and simply said, "I don't believe you. Who in the world would want to do any of that?"
Now, more than forty-six years later, twenty-nine of which I've been married, I can say, "Mom, I believe you. And I now know why anyone would want to do that!"
Sex. For such a small word, it has an enormous influence on our lives. From the time we're very young, sex is something we hear about, talk about, and think about—whether it's in a healthy way or not. It's in our music. It's in our movies, television programs, magazines, and books. Conventional wisdom in the advertising industry is "sex sells." If they want to sell a product, from shampoo to automobiles, they do all they can to get us to believe it will make us be more sexy, or get more sex. Yet, no matter what we may think we know about sex, so many people don't understand the full effect it was designed to have.
The Sexperiment is a challenge that was created to help you and your spouse reconnect with what sex is supposed to be. The premise of the challenge is simple and clear: Have sex with your spouse once a day for seven consecutive days. It may not seem like a lot on its surface, but the implications of having sex for a week, as you will discover in reading this book, are much more intricate and will produce long-lasting results. For one week of your life, if you decide to take it on and get it on, the Sexperiment is designed to help you realize just how much sexual intimacy can do for your marriage.
But why seven days? Why not fourteen or ten or even three? After all, you may be thinking, "We haven't even had three straight days of sex since we first got married. I'd settle for that!"
There is something special about the number seven. There are seven days in the week. There are the Seven Wonders of the World. God even made the world in seven days. In the Bible, the number seven often symbolizes wholeness or completion.
But let's be real. None of us is creating a new world. We aren't marking off a map of the greatest architectural achievements of humankind. We aren't looking to restructure the modern-day calendar. But we are striving for wholeness and full satisfaction in marriage. The Sexperiment can be the first step.
So the next question is, can having sex for a week really make that much of a difference in my marriage? Is it really that big of a deal in the overall picture of my marriage and my life? The answer, Lisa and I believe, and based on our personal experience, is yes!
How the Sexperiment Started
The catalyst that sparked the idea for the first Sexperiment came from my wife, Lisa. I was in the middle of a teaching series about the dangers of lust and she handed me an article from a parenting magazine about the sex lives of couples with children. As I scanned the article, the research was depressing. It basically said that couples want to make love, but the reality is that they don't do it nearly as much as they'd like.
As I flipped through the magazine, I came across another article about a couple that had committed to having sex at least once a day for an entire week. They called it a "Sexperiment," and they shared some of the challenges that the week presented, along with many phenomenal results it brought into their marriage.
As I read those two articles, I thought, "This is something that could help so many couples today. And the best place to talk about this is in the church!" So the following weekend, at the nudging of my wife, I challenged the husbands and wives of Fellowship Church to have sex for the next seven days.
As was expected, the men cheered and most of the women looked at me with incredulity. But after several days, the e-mails and calls flooded in from wives and husbands alike, thanking me for encouraging them to take the challenge!
I thank God for you and your wife! Thank you for finally teaching us the truth! My husband and I are on day nine, so that should tell you something, LOL.
Thank you, thank you! This seven-day sex challenge, Ed, is golden! Showers of praise from my wife and I, whose sex life over the years has stagnated and become, I suppose, a little rusty.
We have a ritual now, my wife and I: after dinner, sit by our fire and share a cup of tea, bagging our usual TV indulgences in favor of talking and sharing our days, which leads not only to emotional intimacy but, now with your challenge, a desire to turn that back into physical intimacy as well.
Before we go any further, I want to make something very clear. The Sexperiment isn't for everyone. It's reserved for those who are married, because God designed sex to be enjoyed within the marriage bed. He created it as something sacred to be shared between a husband and wife in the context of marriage.
For too long, though, people of faith have danced around the subject of sex and allowed culture to hijack God's design for it. Now, sex is everywhere, even where it shouldn't be. Our world is surrounded and compounded by the implications and ramifications of "doing it" the wrong way. But the fallout of sex out of context is something that the entertainment industry, advertisers, marketers, and sales reps don't like to talk about.
It's not that we don't think about sex. That's a natural part of being human. The problem is that we don't think deeply enough about it.
Many sexually active people don't understand what sex is really all about. They are convinced that sex is just a physical routine, a biological act between two people. They believe they can separate the physical act of intercourse from its relational, emotional, and even spiritual repercussions. But that is impossible.
Maybe you are a Christ-follower. Maybe you consider yourself to be a spiritual person. Or maybe you don't believe in God, the Bible, or the church. No matter where you find yourself spiritually, I encourage you to continue reading. Because as you get into the pages of this book, you'll begin to see sex in a way you never have before. You'll see it as so much more than a physical act. It is a gift from God that is emotional, physical, psychological, and above all, spiritual.
In the minds of most people, the only time sex and God should intersect is in a single exclamation of ecstasy: "Oh my God!" Sex has become just sex. But while society has taken sex too far, the church hasn't taken it far enough. We've got to take this gift back and use it in a God-given way, which is within the context of marriage, the ultimate goal being a lifelong commitment.
Christians tend to think that sensuality is carnality, but in actuality it's spirituality. We've kicked the bed out of church and God out of the bed. We need to bring the bed back in the church and God back in the bed. In studying the Scriptures, I see the obvious connection with God and sex. God is all about unconditional love—connecting with us—and that relationship is illustrated in the act of marriage.
In this book, we're reconnecting sex with God and God with sex. I want married couples to read this book and have great sex. That's the goal because God is a great God who creates great things, like sex. For years as a pastor, speaker, and author, I have worked to communicate that sex is a beautiful thing, because it comes from God. Somewhere along the way, that message has been lost, but that is going to change.
What Seven Days of Sex Can Do
Do you have great sex with your spouse? As you embark on the Sexperiment, you'll begin to see some reasons why you may not be having the kind of sex life you want. If you're having pretty good sex in your marriage, the Sexperiment can help you and your spouse move from good to great in the bedroom.
Maybe you're wondering how having sex for seven days in a row can affect the present state of your marriage. You may be thinking, "We had sex every day when we first got married, but it didn't really do anything for our marriage."
But think about it. Usually newlyweds are more considerate of each other, more attentive to each other, and more concerned about how to please each other. I believe that frequent sex plays a part in that.
As you do the Sexperiment, you and your spouse are going to have sex for seven days with a purpose—greater intimacy with each other and, ultimately, greater intimacy with God. The challenge is about recapturing some of what may have been lost as you began to have sex less frequently.
As newlyweds, you didn't have to think about intentional intimacy. You felt close all the time. Intimacy—physical, emotional, or otherwise—was second nature to your relationship. This time, as you and your spouse have sex for seven days, you'll be surprised what it will reveal about your marriage. There's a lot of stuff—deep stuff—going on in people's lives, and maybe in your marriage, too. There may be pain, mistrust, or betrayal involved. If this describes the state of your marriage, the Sexperiment can be the catalyst that begins to unpack feelings and emotions that have long been buried. In this week of intentional sex, you will move toward a place of true intimacy and openness.
What does intimacy mean? It means to be fully known. Intimacy is a good thing. So in marriage we're to be intimate in every way—physically and emotionally and economically and psychologically and spiritually. The Sexperiment will set you on a path toward greater intimacy by making sex a priority for one full week, and hopefully beyond.
Is intimacy between you and your spouse a priority in your marriage, or do you only make love whenever you get around to it? The Sexperiment will show you where you stand.
When people accept a challenge, they "step up." So I challenge you to take the Sexperiment and bring your best game to the bedroom. This exercise will make your marriage better. Hundreds of couples have taken up the gauntlet, and the results have been tremendous, and not just at Fellowship Church!
I heard about this challenge in the news… I was laughing so loud because I didn't think I could make it. My husband and I now have five non-stop days and we are very close, we are happier, and every day we thank the Lord for our blessings. As a married couple we are better and we can't live without each other.
Change Your Sex, Change Your Marriage
I'm not saying that a single week of whoopee will change your marriage forever. That's an ongoing process that takes time and intentionality. What I am saying, though, is that the Sexperiment will give you a foundation to build on. It will cause you to reconnect because it challenges you to bring your best game to the marital equation.
Here's the point: What happens outside the bedroom affects what happens inside the bedroom. And what happens inside the bedroom affects what happens outside the bedroom. By having more sex, you will change what goes on outside your bedroom, which is where the bulk of marriage takes place. Don't be shocked, but sex is a mental thing long before it's a genital thing. It's between your ears long before it's ever between your legs.
The truth is, sex is multifaceted and multidimensional. The complex components that make up sex can't be taken apart or rearranged any easier than you or I could take apart and rearrange the seasons of the year. And as you read this book and take this challenge with your spouse, you'll discover just how many of those aspects play a role in all other areas of your marriage.
By now, you may have one more question before reading any further: "What is a pastor doing writing a book about sex? What does he know?" Well, Lisa and I have learned a lot through our own marriage, but I've also learned a lot from counseling hundreds of married couples. I've seen firsthand the collateral damage that accrues when one or both spouses choose to sleep in the wrong bed. Sleeping in the wrong bed is costly—physically, emotionally, and relationally. It is so much wiser and better to protect this deepest level of intimacy by keeping it within the guidelines and guardrails of marriage.
The Sexperiment will take you on a journey that can save you from that kind of devastation and heartache. Even if your marriage has been damaged by infidelity, abuse, or neglect, doing the Sexperiment can help you rebuild intimacy in your marriage and experience ecstasy like never before.
The Sexperiment can help you whether you've been married for thirty years, like Lisa and me, or if you've been married three years, whether you're about to be married or you don't see a marriage prospect for miles. Everyone needs to know the truth behind God's design for sex.
If you're on the road to building an intimate relationship with your future mate, this book can help you understand the complex union called marriage and help you understand what it really takes to make your marriage successful. "Before You Do" is a special section at the end of each chapter designed to encourage engaged couples to work on identifying potential barriers to intimacy in marriage.
It's never too early in your relationship to get on the right track for intimacy in marriage, and it starts with having your mind, body, and spirit ready to receive the right mate. Being unequally yoked is the first building block for a disastrous marriage, and if you're single you want to prayerfully take every precaution to keep this from happening to you. "The Yoke Is Not a Joke" will guide single readers through the Sexperiment material as you prepare yourself to be marriage-ready. As you wait for God to provide the right mate, you don't want to settle for just a bed partner. Sex is an important and sacred part of marriage, and when a couple is equally yoked, it can be their most beautiful and meaningful expression of love.*
The Sexperiment puts sex back where it belongs, in a place that is sacred, beautiful, and God honoring. When we glorify God as we have sex, we're taking sex, and marriage, to an HNL—a 'hole 'nutha level—a divine level!
This book is about sex, but not about sex techniques. It's not a manual. This book is about understanding sex the way it is intended by God to be—between a man and a woman in the context of marriage. The Sexperiment is about what sex is and what it isn't. It's about making a priority and about making love. By making sex a priority for seven days, it will challenge you to communicate about technique with your spouse and bring creativity into the bedroom. And as you do, you'll discover (or rediscover) the joy of connecting with your spouse regularly, even in the midst of a NASCAR-paced life.
Sex should never be the sole foundation for any relationship (Christ should occupy that position). But once you are married, the sex you share can play a major role in upholding the rest of your relationship. As any architect, CEO, or head coach will tell you, a fantastic foundation is critical for a solid structure to withstand the external and internal pressures it is bound to face. It's true with buildings, businesses, and sports teams. It's true with marriages as well.
That's exactly what the Sexperiment can help you achieve—a solid foundation upon which you can build (or perhaps rebuild) a better, stronger, more lasting, and enjoyable marriage. And that's what this challenge is all about.
It's about what sex is. It's about what sex represents. It's about what sex can do for you—physically, relationally, and spiritually.
Now, husbands and wives—get ready to take the challenge of your (sex) life!
Seven Days of Sex
Think back to the early days of your marriage. You and your spouse were loving, considerate, thoughtful, and sexy—all the things that made you and your spouse want to be together. You made love a lot more often than you do now, too. But then some things happened. A demanding job, taking up new interests and hobbies and, later, kids can all drive a wedge between you and your spouse and block your attempts at retaining intimacy in your marriage. Slowly, complacency creeps in and sensuality seeps out.
As you clock some years in your marriage, so often a dual resignation takes place. If you have kids, the wife often steps down from her number-one position as the wife and becomes primarily Mom, often juggling a career with the responsibilities of raising children. At the same time the husband steps down from his primary position as the husband. As the woman shifts her focus to the kids, the man concentrates on his vocation.
While this shifting is going on, you become less of a couple and more like two people who just share the same address. You're gradually moving in opposite directions. She starts reading romance novels or Cosmo, wishing her marriage could be as wonderful as those articles promise. Meanwhile, he may start surfing for Internet porn or watching Girls Gone Wild commercials and fantasizing about a life that includes lots of sex without all the hassles. Then throw an attractive coworker or neighbor into the mix, add a few dashes of fatigue, and a sprinkle of humdrum, and you've got a recipe for an "unsuccesexful" marriage that lacks true intimacy or a deep bond. All you need is a lawyer to put it in the oven and turn up the heat. This process happens slowly and methodically in marriage after marriage.
This is the stage at which many modern couples divorce. Half of all first marriages in the United States end in divorce, even among Christians. Even if you manage to stay together, you may end up like so many couples who simply limp along in marriage.
That's not what God intended for marriage. Couples, Christian or not, face lots of challenges today that require them to make a conscious decision to fight for their marriage.
Modern marriages seem to fall victim to a lie that the world communicates: "Hopefully you'll have a few good years, if you're lucky. But don't be surprised when complacency sets in." Sadly, many marriages succumb to this lie, or worse ones, and end up in relational wreckage. The sad part is, it's the kids who really get hurt. Even adult children are hurt when their parents divorce.
It's time to reverse that curse.
Reverse the Curse
The Sexperiment can be the catalyst to reverse this curse and set you on a course toward greatness—toward true intimacy and fulfillment in marriage, the way God intended. He's the designer.
God wrote the manual for marriage. So if you want your marriage to change, go back to the manual. True change only comes from God, and we begin to change when we admit that we can't do it alone, but God can!
Maybe you're thinking, "Ed, I know something needs to be done to improve our marriage, but I just don't feel like I have the power to make it happen."
Maybe you're feeling that way right now because of the state of your relationship. Your marriage needs some work—maybe a little or maybe a whole lot—and you don't think there's anything you can do about it.
Maybe you're thinking, "But you don't know what's gone on in our marriage. It's pretty bad."
In most cases, no matter how bad the circumstances—hurt, betrayal, boredom, complacency—a dead marriage can be resurrected, and sex can play a big role.
Maybe you find that hard to believe, but it's true.
Making love more often with your spouse can be the catalyst to resurrecting your marriage because God is at the center. During the Sexperiment, we're going to reconnect those words to help you and your spouse find your way to a great marriage.
Still not convinced that this challenge will help?
Think about it. God and sex are inseparable. After all, it was his idea. When Adam and Eve made love for the first time in the Garden of Eden, they didn't run behind some bushes and then emerge and say, "Hey, God! Guess what we just did? It was pretty incredible!"
And God didn't say to them, "Amazing! How did you figure that out! You mean the parts fit together perfectly? I had no idea!"
It didn't happen that way. Sex began in heaven. God thought it up. Our God is pro-sex and pro-marriage. He gave us sex primarily for pleasure, and secondarily for procreation. God made love so we can make love in marriage. He's the designer.
Every time we think about sex, we should think about God. Because if it's done the way God intended, it's truly an act of worship. And if we treat sex as an act of worship to God, we're thinking right. Because the way we think determines the way we feel; the way we feel determines the way we act. As I said, sex is between the ears before it's between the legs. So we've got to make the connection between sex and the designer, and discover the power to do something phenomenal!
People like wearing designer labels because they represent style and quality that is a cut above the common and ordinary. An ordinary marriage in our culture today is likely to end in divorce or continue in never-ending mediocrity. You don't want common or ordinary in your marriage. The Sexperiment will help you find your way out of mediocrity to marriage God-style.
Bridging the Gap
Sex, healthy sex, can revolutionize marriages. That shouldn't be a shocking statement. It's not counterintuitive. Yet, how many marriages are really doing it—and enjoying it—the way God intended?
In a New York Times article, couples were asked what they would most likely do on a Saturday night once the children are asleep. Thirty-eight percent of women and thirty-three percent of men answered "sleep."* Yet, at the same time, a Los Angeles Times article reported that "boosting the frequency of sex in a marriage from once a month to once a week brings as much happiness as an extra $50,000 a year."† Maybe that's the difference between NYC and L.A., but I think it's much deeper than that!
To put these stats another way, couples want to have more sex and think it would strengthen their marriage, but there is a shortfall, a deficit, a delta between wanting and having. The Sexperiment will put couples on the way to bridging that gap.
The gap doesn't appear overnight. It's a methodical process that many, many couples endure over years of a monotonous relationship. (Notice I didn't say monogamous relationship.)
This challenge will help reverse or avoid the predictable path of marital monotony. And it will guide you and your spouse onto a course of true intimacy. It's a process of creativity and change. Just so you know, it's not going to happen overnight (and the complete change won't happen even over the course of seven nights).
Change is never easy, and true change comes from God. It's only when we begin to do things God's way that we can begin to take hold of the change He has in store for us. Your week of intentional intimacy will jump-start that change process for your marriage. It's like a shot of marital espresso!
So if you're ready to wake up, if you're ready to get your marriage out of the gap, it's time to step up and take the challenge.
Maybe you're thinking, "Sex for seven days? Too easy, Ed! I thought you said this was a challenge." Let me caution you. It's one thing to have sex for a week while you're on some tropical vacation island with no kids and no schedule to keep. It's another thing entirely to commit to doing it when you're also trying to do everything else your life requires—balancing your career, shuffling the kids to school and soccer practice, cooking meals, doing laundry, and overcoming the barriers that everyday life presents.
This challenge will require a definite commitment from the two of you to do it God's way for seven days. Some of you may think it's going to be easy, but by now I'm sure many of you recognize that fitting seven days of sex into your routine is going to take considerable effort. In the end, though, it will be well worth the effort and sacrifice!
Right now, you may not even see how seven days of sex can make a difference in your marriage, but it can. It's not such a stretch if you really think about it. Intimacy that is intentional and purposeful is going to shine a light on your marriage. That light will illuminate the positive aspects of your marriage partnership, but it will also give light to the more difficult places that have been unexposed and unexplored in your relationship. And it will show you just what you need to do to grow closer together as a couple.
What's Your Marital Work Ethic (MWE)?
"Wow, Ed, seven days of sex sounds like fun, but you're talking about putting in some work."
You're right! Marriage takes work. Marriage is not the easiest thing you will ever do, and it very well may be the hardest thing. But it can become the greatest and most rewarding, fulfilling thing when you do the work!
How hard are you willing to work to save your marriage, or even to have a better marriage? What would you do to regain the spark of desire and intimacy you once had? Do you give more than is required, or do you sit back and wait to see how much your spouse is willing to do before you decide to act? Do you approach your marriage thinking about what you can give, or is your concern only about what you can get?
I'm not going to pull any punches. Having a better, more fulfilling marriage takes time and effort, but the work is worth it! Here's what's so paradoxical. Maybe you've told yourself that it's going to take too much work to turn your marriage around. Well, if you were to decide to have an affair because it seems easier than working on your marriage, you have to work at that, too. Having an affair requires creativity, planning, sacrifice, time, money, energy, and intimacy! You can save yourself, your marriage, and your family a lot of heartache by committing to do the same kind of work with your spouse. In the process, you'll build a great marriage and leave a great legacy while saving yourself and others a boatload of pain and problems!
- "Ed Young will teach you the difference between temporary moments of happiness and true inner joy for a lifetime."—Joyce Meyer
- "Young writes like he's sitting across the table, talking directly to you."—The Washington Post
- "Young not only brings energy to his topic, but also meaningful, biblically based content."—Christian Retailing Magazine
- "Ed and Lisa Young have modeled a Christ-centered marriage for over 25 years. Their straightforward, encouraging and practical teaching in SEXPERIMENT will take your marriage to a greater depth of intimacy than you've ever known before."—Craig Groeschel, Senior Pastor of LifeChurch.TV Author of WEIRD, Because Normal Isn't Working
- "Honestly, most of the preaching and teaching about sex, love, and marriage is not getting the job done. The marriages and sex lives represented in the church look no better than the world's. And the reason is because our approach to the subject is based on restraint rather than vision. In SEXPERIMENT, Ed Young, a man with a marriage and family worth aspiring to, changes that. If you want to experience all of the pleasure and happiness God intended for your marriage, this book is a must-read."—Steven & Holly Furtick, Lead Pastor at Elevation Church; Author, Sun Stand Still
- "Marriage without good sex is like a house without heat in the winter. You might be able to survive in it but it's not nearly as enjoyable. Ed and Lisa are among the best when it comes to encouraging us to keep the ""heat on"" in the house. Their practical, honest, and open style of communication on this topic is both real and refreshing. I want to encourage you to take this challenge as an opportunity to stir the fire in your marriage."—Pastors Kevin & Sheila Gerald of Champions Centre
- "Ed and Lisa are simply fun to be around and their joy as a family speaks even louder than their world renowned church does. My wife and I look at their marriage, the way they still laugh with each other and live life so passionately, and are instantly inspired. Additionally, all their children actually want to hang out with them! Higher praise for parents, you will not find. Obviously, their marriage is impacting, if it works in their own house first. This book should be a pre-marriage pre-requisite and an annual 'wanna stay happily married' re-read! Thank God for a couple that continues to help others build strong marriages."—Carl & Laura Lentz, Lead Pastor at Hillsong in New York City
- "Our culture worships sex but is often confused about marriage. I've always believed that the church should be at the forefront in portraying the delight of sex in the context of marriage. Ed Young's book does just that with humor, wisdom, and candor."—Judah & Chelsea Smith Senior Pastors at The City Church
- "It's not a lack of love that makes a marriage monotonous; it's a lack of passion. Sexperiment will help you put the passion back where it belongs...and take your marriage where it needs to be!"—Rev. Run
- On Sale
- Jan 10, 2012
- Page Count
- 224 pages