This doesn’t mean avoid married sex, obviously, but there is a strain in Americans and of late conservatives the last generation or so of sex culting the marriage bed. Christians are prone to this subverted gnosticism, prizing the intimacy of the marriage bed in too earthy and incontinent a fashion, denying that marriage is not really about having lifelong tingles.
The Puritans struggled mightily with seeking balance in this matter, but modern conservative Christians into the whole cult of “freaky sex but we’re married ooooo edgy” can’t even understand the problem. Some boast of their inability to conduct themselves appropriately in public settings as a sign that their marriage is well ordered. This could not be further from the truth.
Focusing on marital intimacy to the point that one is spending hours per day in figure maintenance hardly seems a good place for Christian wives to place their excess energies. Call Trim Healthy idolatry, if you will. At the very least, it leads to massive misinformation being passed from woman to woman about female health and bodily changes due to time and fertility. It goes by many different names, but 40 days, six weeks postpartum, a long month, and so forth are quite universal and cross-cultural. One to three months is the traditional range of “hands off” postpartum, and this is simply not being passed along any more to new wives by experienced married women. It’s for the good of both husband and wife, to help them stay grounded in the fact that sex isn’t primarily about their mutual gratification, but a vehicle for welcoming new life into the world.
Whenever a subculture kicks this idea to the curb, it doesn’t lead to stronger marriages or healthier wives and children. In several regional American subcultures prior to birth control and legal abortion, it was not at all unusual for women to resume relations at a couple of weeks postpartum. This hardly made those marriages stronger and it sure didn’t help the infant and maternal mortality numbers. And it didn’t matter that plenty of those women wanted to resume and weren’t necessarily being pressured. It’s not about the immediate wants of the individual.
When Christians sex cult the marriage bed and define it firstly in terms of gratification, they degrade marriage rather than cultivate or enrich it.
It can also lead to unhealthy and improperly ordered parent-child stuff. I want to put in more about this topic, it’s a big honking problem with far reaching consequences and severe damage to healthy, God-centered sexuality for girls and guys, but I’m pretty tuckered out, so I’ll just have to call this notes enough for now.