Sex is a lot like LEGO. OK, cut me some slack. As a mum of three boys, I think it’s a good analogy. Consider this: The first time a child sees a box of LEGO, he might be naïve enough to think that the box actually contains a toy like the cool picture on the front. Imagine his disappointment when he opens the box to find hundreds of seemingly random pieces of plastic instead of the Bat mobile that was shown on the box cover.

The genius and fun of LEGOs is creativity. First, a child follows the directions to build the design on the box. But then, who can resist the desire to tear the blocks apart and build something new?

Back to the issue of sex. Culture may have given you a picture on a box — one of bliss, exquisite pleasure and oneness. Perhaps you have been surprised, even disappointed, to find that sex isn’t the ready-made gift you were anticipating. It takes a lot of effort — and a bit of creativity — to make it work.

Most marriages experience some obstacle in physical intimacy: differences in desire, medical issues, recovery from sexual abuse, involvement with porn, a poor body image, to name a few. I’m sure you’ve had times, as I have, when you ask God, “Wasn’t this supposed to be a gift? With all due respect, God, I think the gift is broken.”

The Lord asks you and me to view sex as a gift of creating. Just like that LEGO set, the joy is found in building. Regardless of the frustration you and your husband may face in physical intimacy, the Lord invites you to build something far more precious than a few moments of physical pleasure. Unselfishness, grace, forgiveness, unconditional acceptance . . . each can be developed while seeking the Lord through the challenges you face in the bedroom.

Of all the toys we have purchased for our boys over the years, only the LEGO have avoided the garage sales. In fact, our boys seem to have grown fonder of their LEGO sets with each new creation they put together. The gift of intimacy may require some effort, but it is designed to last and grow more deeply satisfying as the years go by.

© 2011 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. Used with permission. Originally published at

Dr. Julianna Slattery

Dr. Juli Slattery is a clinical psychologist, author and the co-founder of Authentic Intimacy, a ministry dedicated to reclaiming God’s design for sexuality. In addition to speaking, she hosts the weekly podcast Java with Juli. In 2020, Juli launched Sexual Discipleship®, an online platform to equip Christian leaders for gospel-centred conversations about sexual issues. Juli served at Focus on the Family from 2008 to 2012 as a writer, teacher and co-host of the Focus on the Family Broadcast.

She’s the author of 12 books, including God, Sex, & Your Marriage; Rethinking Sexuality; and Sex & the Single Girl. She and her husband live in Akron, Ohio, and have three grown sons.

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