Growing up I learned that discussing sex was taboo. Throughout my adolescence, whenever I heard the word sex, I became uncomfortable and hoped that someone would change the subject. It wasn't that my parents gave me a negative view of sex itself; it just seemed unacceptable to discuss it openly. Because of this, I grew up knowing very little about sex and the value that it should have in a healthy marriage. I saw it as something to be revered, and not discussed. This perception of sex made me hesitant to discuss the issue with anyone.

During my high school years, I heard the word more readily — only at this point it was truly in a negative connotation. Sex was talked about amongst my peers who enjoyed degrading it through vulgar jokes. This was the total opposite approach that I had seen in my home.

As a teenager, I saw that these two approaches stood in stark contrast. One taught me that sex was not something to discuss. The other encouraged me to make light of sex. Which view was healthiest? I wondered at the dichotomy that existed in the two perspectives.

It was not until after I was married that I developed a healthier perspective of sex. A married friend of mine showed me that sex is something beautiful in the context of marriage, and that it can be discussed in a healthy way — in a manner that encourages the full enjoyment of it within the married context.

From this dear friend I learned that sex was something I could discuss openly and treat respectfully at the same time. She told me how sex is truly something to be perfected in marriage — the more you pursue it, the more you can perfect it. The reverse is also true. Such tips have been invaluable to me in my married life. But, more importantly, the discussion allowed me to break away from my previously formed stereotypes, and to enjoy a healthy sex life in my marriage.

As a nurse practitioner, I have become passionate about promoting a healthy sex life amongst married couples. This is because I desire to make known the many unspoken benefits of a healthy sex life in the context of marriage. I want to promote the idea that married sex is more enticing than any of the myriad sexual pleasures that are promoted in the world today.

Studies indicate that sex has several benefits. Engaging in sex ...

Also, I want to encourage men and women to recognize the benefits of valuing sex the way it was created to be valued. Sex is a gift that God gave men and women, and it is to be enjoyed fully in the monogamous relationship of marriage. The Song of Solomon portrays a very detailed description of this passionate relationship between a man and woman in love.

The more I explore this subject, the more I realize that men and women need to promote a new, healthy perspective on sex. The issue too often goes unspoken. Sex is a gift from God, and it is something that all of us can enjoy. Sex is not a joke, and neither does it need to be taboo. I have realized that the more openly people speak about this issue, the more able they are to enjoy their own married sex life.

An integral part of a healthy marriage is a healthy sex life. A healthy sex life will strengthen one's marriage and health as well. As married people, we should encourage one another to work through our sexual difficulties and to question mindsets that hinder our enjoyment of this gift. Then we'll have better sex and better health!

Are you a victim of sexual abuse? Read Maureen's story of being sexually abused. You are not alone.

Photo Credit: Janusz Smolarek