XXXChurch.com's Craig Gross on Dealing With Past Sexual Experiences in Marriage, Why Sex Outside of Marriage Seems Better (Pt. 2)

2 photos(www.bestsexlifenow.com)Craig and Jeanette Gross talk about sex in the "Best Sex Life Now" series.

XXXChurch.com founder Craig Gross is on a mission to help married Christian couples break the silence and work on improving their sex lives.

"When you come into marriage, there still seems to be this off-limits talk about sex where I haven't told my wife this is what I like or I like to do this," Gross described.

The porn addiction ministry leader believes the church has made the topic of sex "dirty" and "gross." However he explained that "Without [sex] I think you're just selling your marriage short. You're missing out on not just a physical element, but something that I think is going to connect you like nothing else."

Together with his wife, Jeanette, and Dave and Ashley Willis of Strongermarriages.org, Gross wants to encourage husbands and wives through the Best Sex Life Now video series to work through their sexual pasts and difficulties to truly experience sexual intimacy as God intended.

In a phone interview with The Christian Post, Gross discusses how he and his wife confronted and overcame their sexual history and why it seems like sex outside of marriage is so much more fun and exciting that sex inside marriage.

Here is a transcript, edited for length and clarity, of part two of the interview:

CP: How does a married couple deal with the insecurities that come from past sexual relationships?

Gross: If you never talked through your past with your spouse, there's not a better time than right now. You can't keep avoiding it and you can't keep running from it and I would say prior to marriage would be the best place to lay it all out.

For me and my wife it was a month into our relationship. Her story is amazing; mine I think is kind of boring. Her best friend died and a friend brings her to Christ. She saves all her money and comes to a Christian college to learn about the Bible. She tells me, "well, yea, I've been dating and I had sex." So Christian Craig over here, I'm like, "I don't know, I thought I would marry a virgin and I don't know … if I can deal with this." That's my problem, not hers, so we broke up and I mean we joke about it now but it was of those ideas of … I'm not going to continue to date her if I'm going to hold this against her, if I personally am never going to be able to deal with this. So I took time and I realized I can get over this. But it was kind of a shocker (to) my closed-minded Christian world of I'm virgin, I'm going to marry a virgin, we're going to live happily ever after, and I don't know how many people that I have met who have never said to their spouse, "well I've been looking at porn for 13 years, I have had sex, I was raped, I was molested."

I could talk for hours about the surprises that come to people in the marriage around these issues that have been shelved and they just thought that marriage would cure it and they find out that I never got counseling, I never told anyone. Yeah, I had great sex outside of marriage and now I'm not having good sex in marriage … and so those are all things that you have to work through personally and you have to work through together.

Maybe you're married and it's a surprise and it kind of stinks that you're having to deal with that now but I feel like a lot of things that we talk about in this video series are going to bring up [these issues]. We're going to try and bring up all that stuff to make it easier for you to disclose this stuff and there's going to be a need for counseling. I mean I don't promise that this series solves all those problems. You might need to go to counseling, you might really need to start talking and processing some of this stuff but without it, like if you shelf that, you'll never get through it.

CP: Why do some Christians who have had sex outside of marriage say that the sex outside of marriage was better than sex inside of marriage?

Gross: For those people that you're saying are having better sex outside of marriage than in the marriage, that's just a matter of, like I said with this conversation I had last week with this couple, she didn't have shame and guilt. She wasn't a Christian; she just had sex Iike the world does. Now I think for some reason [she] has this shame and guilt in marriage now that it's not going as well and there are problems and she doesn't know how to deal with it and I do think it's a lot.

The world just has casual sex and it's casual. There's no strings attached a lot of times so it doesn't come with baggage, it doesn't come with even a relationship sometimes and a marriage is complicated. Life's in the way, work and family and faith and kids and now you throw sex into it and this is just work that people didn't think they would have to do or spend time with when they got married. We just thought it's (sex) a benefit of marriage, it's not something that I'll have to work through and it is.

CP: While making the Best Sex Life Ever videos, did you or your wife feel nervous sharing so much of your personal relationship on camera?

Gross: My wife has done one other video for us (XXXChurch.org) and it was a sit-down interview at a restaurant for the series called "Open 24/7" where I interview interesting people at diners and I ask them a series of questions. So my wife said she'd do that with me only if I gave her the questions ahead of time and she literally wrote down the answers and had them behind the coffee mug.

I mean we can't be more opposite. I don't write down anything. I just kind of speak and even the tone of her voice is that nervous voice.

When I brought up [the series], I was super nervous to say "Jeanette I think we should do this series but it doesn't work with just me," and literally [she said] "yup, I would love to do it." I was like whoa and like what and she goes "I've always thought that God was going to use my story kind of maybe for, in the end, to help some other people."

Then she was like "what are we going to do" and I said "I'm going to map out the series, it's going to be pretty casual," and [the situation] was like the total opposite. She didn't write down total word-for-word answers; she was like I can do this.

The funniest part was when we went to shoot it, the guys that shot it, we did at our house and she goes "oh, he's going to be in the room?" And I said "yeah, he's running the camera" and she's like "well can he just leave?" And I'm like "no, he's got to run the camera." I'm like "Jeanette, everybody's going to watch these videos" and [she says] "I know, I just feel more comfortable when it's just us talking" and I say he's got to stay. So her only reservation was more like "I don't want him in here."

My wife is different; she doesn't want people's feedback. She's not on social media like I am; she doesn't blog; she doesn't handle criticism like I do. So when we roll something like this out there and people say why are pastors getting involved in my sex life, you know, the criticism about it, she says, "Craig don't even tell me anything. I don't want to watch the videos; I don't want to watch myself. I did it. If it can help somebody, that's why I did it." And that was really her heart behind it so then we really felt like nothing was really off limits, we're just going to be real and honest.

CP: What do you say to critics who are tired of pastors getting involved in their sex lives?

Gross: I don't run around with a pastor title. I never use it; I don't flaunt that; I don't get introduced as that; I don't even like the title. Even Dave, Dave runs Stronger Marriages. He's a pastor but his ministry is making marriages stronger. Our ministry is helping people get through sexual problems. So I see it all day long when we do a Porn Sunday at a church. These are great events but people in the media, when they do the news stories, the comments will be like the church shouldn't talk about this.

We're never going to make those guys and women happy but the church should talk about it. I'm more and more convinced the things that churches don't talk about, the rest of the world continues to talk about it so we need to be in those conversations. So I'm not really trying to [please those people] and I don't think Dave is either. Our experiences come from our personal lives and the work that we do with the devastation kind of around these things.