lingerieWe recently received this question from a reader and are posting it with her permission. We thought many of you might benefit from the discussion as well.

I would love your thoughts on lingerie. I brought some on my honeymoon, but it has been in my dresser since. I find it sort of degrading, truthfully and confusing. Our Christian culture emphasizes modesty, which has its place, but it almost feels like [after marriage I am] expected to transform into someone I was told I shouldn’t be. I like to dress nicely, but lingerie feels so weird to me. I would love to know your thoughts!

Dear Reader,

Great question on a topic that is confusing and embarrassing for so many women. You are definitely not the only one who has dealt with this.

For the first few years of marriage (and probably beyond that) the details of sex can be confusing and overwhelming at times. For starters, we’ve all had lies about sex hurled at us from TV, movies, magazines and even the church. We’ve all been told what’s sexy and what’s not. And we all have to deal with our expectations vs. our husband’s expectations when it comes to sex.

Then, for those of us who’ve grown up in a conservative Christian culture, things can get even trickier. All throughout middle and high school we’re taught

Wait for sex. Wait for sex. Wait for sex.

Girls especially are taught

Modesty. Modesty. Modesty.

So you’re right. We feel like all of a sudden, in one day, in the span of a couple of hours, we’re supposed to flip a switch and all of a sudden become sex animals. Totally cool with showing cleavage. We’re supposed to know how to do everything and know how be “sexy” and know what’s true and what’s not about sex. We’re supposed to be cool with edible underwear and push up bras and itchy lace.

You rightly pointed out … it doesn’t happen like that.

So what do you do when you’re uncomfortable in the sexy lingerie you’re supposed to be totally cool with?

There’s not one blanket answer for this because there’s a million reasons why different women don’t feel comfortable in lingerie, but I think they mainly fit in two categories. See if either of these sound familiar.

We think being sexy is wrong.

It’s not hard to understand why we would think this growing up in a Christian culture. But God made sex to be good and He made our bodies well.

So, within the boundaries God has set up, it’s good to enjoy sex and it’s good to enjoy feeling sexy. But a deeply engrained mindset that sex is dirty and being sexy is wrong is hard to overcome. Here’s the thing, if you think this may be you — not wanting to wear lingerie because it seems wrong, I would try to work through it. Not because lingerie itself is so important, but because you could be holding yourself back from enjoying your sexuality because of unneeded guilt, and believing a lie that’s hurting you and your spouse.

Lots of girls enjoy lingerie and find it makes them feel good, confident and sexy. Others try it and decide it’s just not their thing. If that’s you, cool. But you owe it to yourself to try it.

Honestly, yes, some lingerie is degrading and it’s good to stay away from anything that makes you feel degraded. But showing off your body in a way that makes you feel comfortable to yourself and your husband shouldn’t be a degrading thing, and I know that’s a hard lesson to learn in light of our modesty, churchy subculture.

So take baby steps. Find something you’re comfortable in and wear it once. Try something more modest at first if it makes you feel more comfortable. Pray about it, (because God cares about this stuff) and talk to your husband and maybe a friend about it. Sexy means different things to different people. It can be as simple as a cute night-shirt and shorts, or as elaborate as a white, lacy, satin wedding-night ensemble. Your husband can also offer his opinion on what he loves to see you in and what makes both of you feel comfortable together.

We think being sexy is a static thing.

You are a unique individual. Your husband is a unique individual. Your marriage will be unlike any one else’s marriage and your sex life will be unlike any one else’s sex life. The truth is your sexuality should reflect you, because it is a part of you. God created you including your sexuality. Unfortunately, we’ve grown up in a culture that doesn’t celebrate that in the context the Bible lays out for us, and where “sexy” is a static thing — wearing and doing and saying certain things.

Honestly, I think a lot of girls are uncomfortable with lingerie (and maybe sex in general) because they’re trying to express themselves sexually in a way that is completely unlike them. And rightly so. If you’ve waited to have sex until marriage, everything is completely foreign to you. Even if you have had previous partners, sex with your husband will be new and what you wear and experience with him will be new.

Not all girls are black silk and lace type girls. And not all men prefer that.

Find out what feels sexy to you, even if you wouldn’t see it at Victoria’s Secret. Find underwear and bras that feel sexy to you and wear them just for yourself. And find a way to feel comfortable letting your husband in on your struggle. Be vulnerable with him and let him help you feel comfortable in your own skin. Find out what your husband finds sexy, and chances are, there will be some overlap in what the two if you like. First of all, because you’re married, so you obviously connect on other levels. Also, because when you feel sexy, it will show. What makes you feel sexy is sexy.

And the truth is, that’s different for everyone. Just like we all like different styles of clothes, just like some girls like dressing up and others prefer to stay in their sweats. That’s all up to you and it’s between you and your husband and no one else. There are no Victoria’s Secret models in your bedroom. No old Sunday school teachers or pastors or members of the modesty police.

Find what works for you and your marriage and make your own definition for sexy.



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