Sex Starts in the Kitchen

Sorry to disappoint, but there isn’t a recipe in this post. “Sex starts in the kitchen,” was advice I heard. I didn’t receive it before I got married, though. The first time I heard the phrase was decades later and secondhand from my kids. They’re coming to visit from Austin this week, so I’m thinking about them.

I think the phrase could be a cheesy, practical suggestion like, “Do dishes and your wife will be more in the mood.” (If dishes are her responsibility, or acts of service are her love language.) But actually it’s less tangible—more a concept that we cannot build intimacy in the secret place. It starts somewhere else: the place(s) you spend most of your time.

You cannot be mean to each other in the light and expect open hearts and legs in the dark. The secret place is the culmination of the intimacy you already have. Obviously, you can have sex without intimacy—but humans always need the familiarity, trust and devotion that sometimes accompanies sexual intimacy. The intimate act merely represents what you have.

It’s equally significant for non-sexual relationships to foster trust before you can expect the display.

We build our relationships by the way we handle less private things.

For example: conversations. Now that I don’t see my children daily at the dinner table, I no longer have a rhythm of relationship with them. It makes every conversation more important. If you don’t have children, the following could apply to a lover or a friend. It’s just that your kids will want you to hold yourself to a higher standard than your friends will expect.Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

Over-sharing If I’m quick to tell my child details about every person I know—my child will assume that I share their business just as freely. Even if it’s for prayer, they don’t need/want everyone “praying” for them. Prov. 17:9; Prov. 11:13

Pronouncing Judgement If every word that comes out of my mouth is to describe someone else’s wrong action or belief, my children will feel examined whenever I speak to them. I may never express criticism against them, but they’ll see my continual judgement as proof that I have set myself above the law. Jam. 4:11 Vulnerability with me will not be worth the risk for them.

Striving If I am quick to suggest improvement every time I speak to my children, they will always feel inadequate. “Congratulations on your job, when will you be manager/go back to school?” and “Congratulations on your marriage—when will you have a kid?” convey a moving target of approval instead of “already justified.” Rom 5:1; Acts 13:39 

I think my best conversations with my kids are when I am conscious of these tendencies in me. Do you see any other examples in your own life?

4 thoughts on “Sex Starts in the Kitchen

  1. Tara DeAguiar says:

    Oh I love this, my wonderful friend! And it is something I must remember when speaking with my loved ones. You wrote this so thoughtfully and beautifully! Thank you for sharing this!

  2. Letty says:

    So insightful 🙂 thank you Hilarey
    It is a great reminder of keeping healthy interaction with others.

    “It’s equally significant for non-sexual relationships to foster trust before you can expect the display.”

    TRUST is extremely important and we can help build it with a healthy balance of interaction.

  3. Angela Cooper says:

    Wow. Spot on and convicting. Being mindful of my words is a definite goal. The moving target of approval is something I hadn’t thought of and makes so much sense from the other side. We can’t always see the heart of the one speaking. So good.

Thanks for joining the discussion!