Secrets of Sex and Marriage

8 Surprises That Make All the Difference

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"I highly recommend this insightful book to all married couples."--GARY CHAPMAN, PhD, author of The 5 Love Languages

Let's Talk about Sex

Most people are curious about sex and would love a few answers. "Are we normal?" "Why isn't my spouse as interested in sex as I am?" "I don't want to feel pressured, but don't want to disappoint my spouse either--what do I do?" "How do we handle the impact of medication, menopause, porn, ED, pain . . . ?"

Most importantly: "How can we get on the same page and create a thriving intimate life?"

Sex is one of the most common marriage issues (for example, almost 80% of couples are mismatched in how often they want it), but it doesn't have to be that way.

Relationship researcher Shaunti Feldhahn and renowned sex therapist Dr. Michael Sytsma have identified eight simple, transformational factors to help you move from disconnection to delight. This is knowledge you can trust, based on vast clinical experience and their breakthrough research, including the largest nationally representative study ever conducted with married couples about sex. This book is not a "sex manual"; it is a fascinating, practical field guide that will help you intimately understand your spouse and create the marriage you've always wanted.  


"In Toni's divorce law practice, it was common for people to tell her they'd stopped having sex years ago. For the majority of couples, it doesn't have to be this way. Michael and Shaunti's impactful research will help you separate what really heats up your intimate life from what doesn't. If your sex life isn't all you dreamt it would be, discover your own path to transformation in this game-changing book."

Toni Nieuwhof, author of Before You Split and co-host of the Smart Family Podcast, and Carey Nieuwhof, author of At Your Best and host of the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast

"Intimacy is such an important part of a marital union. Fully researched and biblically sound, Secrets of Sex and Marriage is a great tool for any married couple to read together and grow closer in their intimate life. I highly recommend this insightful book to all married couples."

Gary Chapman, PhD, author of The 5 Love Languages

"Secrets of Sex and Marriage uniquely identifies with the readers in their journey to a healthy marriage and sex life. Michael and Shaunti wonderfully blend helpful information validated by research with practical application. After forty-seven years as sexual therapists and educators, we learned useful new facts and found this a very enjoyable read."

Dr. Clifford and Joyce Penner, clinical psychologist and clinical nurse specialist; both certified sex therapists; authors of The Gift of Sex

"A book like this only comes around every so many decades. This is a non-opinion book, a sound resource to guide both therapists and couples. The language is simple and rich with life examples. As therapists who work with minority populations, we cannot be more excited to share such a transformational tool."

Jorge and Danisa Suarez, marriage counselors and sex therapists; co-hosts of Sexo Divino TV

"The secrets are out! Feldhahn and Sytsma have mined the feedback of more than 5,300 individuals to provide the clearest picture of marital sexuality we've ever had. This book is an incredible gift to couples, families, the Church, and the world."

Christopher and Rachel McCluskey, bestselling authors of When Two Become One: Enhancing Sexual Intimacy in Marriage, co-founders of Professional Christian Coaching Institute

"As the pastor of a large multicultural church, I've counseled many people from all walks of life and have seen just how many marriages need to attend to intimacy--and the transformation that can happen when we do. A great marriage is a universal desire. And so is a great intimate life. My friends Shaunti Feldhahn and Dr. Michael Sytsma have researched and created a quick-read book that will get you to both!"

Miles McPherson, senior pastor of The Rock Church in San Diego and author of The Third Option

"Anything and everything that Shaunti and Jeff write we read and share with others. Their research and insights are always so practical and life-changing. This book will change the way you view your marriage and will transform more than your bedroom. It will bring life and hope to the very foundation of your marriage. Fasten your seatbelt and prepare for some real wow revelations!"

Dave and Ann Wilson, hosts of Family Life Today

"Married couples reach out to Focus on the Family regularly seeking help with the sexual aspect of their relationships--which is why I'm especially thankful for this new book by Shaunti Feldhahn and Dr. Michael Sytsma. Through extensive research and their own keen insights into this important topic, Shaunti and Michael show couples that it's more than possible to achieve a mutually satisfying sex life that contributes to a healthy, vibrant marriage."

Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family

"This book is a gem! Writing succinctly and in an engaging style, Shaunti and Michael offer couples valuable insights and actionable steps to improve their marriage and their sexual relationship. I will definitely use this book with my clients and recommend it to friends!"

Debra L. Taylor, marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist

"The secret is out! We read this book together and agree that Shaunti and Michael expertly share practical sex and marriage truths that every couple needs. Marvin Gaye once sang a song about desiring 'Sexual Healing,' and we believe it can be found between these covers, and then generously applied to our own."

Montell and Kristin Jordan, pastors of Master Peace Church and authors of This is How We Do It: Making Your Marriage a Masterpeace

"Secrets of Sex and Marriage is one of the most relevant marriage resources on the market. With eye-opening research on modern sex, biblical foundations, stirring real-life illustrations, and practical applications on every page, this book can bring renewal to any marriage both inside and outside the bedroom. Every couple (including us) can benefit from this book!"

Dave and Ashley Willis, authors of The Naked Marriage and hosts of The Naked Marriage podcast

"A lot of people guess at the What, Why, and How of sex. But guessing doesn't work. Secrets of Sex and Marriage wraps the authors' combined professional experience around solid new research that will put guessing aside and make way for a more intimate marriage and sexual relationship. Read it!"

Ron and Nan Deal, Empowered to Love seminars, and author (Ron) of Building Love Together in Blended Families (with Dr. Gary Chapman)

"Using research you can trust, Shaunti and Michael invite couples to a greater level of understanding, appreciation, and even celebration of the most common differences between husbands and wives. While every marriage and person is different, this book unlocks the prevailing secrets and misunderstandings that keep couples at odds with each other, inviting them to experience a new understanding, empathy, and pleasure, not just in the bedroom, but in all aspects of their relationship."

Gary Thomas, author of Sacred Marriage and Married Sex

"This book contains a tremendous combination of insight, research, and real-life practical help! Without question, it will inform, encourage, and instruct couples as well as those who minster to them. Thank you, Michael and Shaunti, for the blessing of this resource!"

Dr. Juli Slattery, president and co-founder of Authentic Intimacy and author of Rethinking Sexuality

"Secrets of Sex and Marriage is real talk! We mean real talk--about the awkward and sometimes difficult conversations about sex, even in marriage. Whether you want to fan the flame of passion or spark a deeper desire for your spouse, this book is your go-to resource!"

Apryl and Ozzie Ortiz, podcasters and founders of Strength & Dignity Life

"Secrets of Sex and Marriage is an eye-opening, useful, and much-needed tool for every counselor, pastor, and leader who works with marriages. Because sex is such an important issue, we partnered with Dr. Michael Sytsma and Shaunti Feldhahn to survey our members and learned that some leaders (especially those without formal training in sex therapy) feel uncertain about how to help couples move through their issues and build a great intimate life. Through robust research and Dr. Sytsma's extensive clinical experience as a sex therapist, these two authors have identified some simple but highly important factors that will help most couples move from conflict to connection. A must read!"

Tim Clinton, EdD, LPC, LMFT; president of the American Association of Christian Counselors; co-host of Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk; executive director of Liberty University Global Center for Mental Health, Addiction and Recovery

"Shaunti and Michael write with great wisdom and care. Biblically sound and evidence-based, Secrets of Sex and Marriage is a trusted resource for pastors, counselors, and therapists who want to help couples in this sacred part of life. Their work honors God, marriage, and the marriage bed."

Ted Cunningham, pastor of Woodland Hills Family Church, Branson, MO

"Wouldn't we all agree that our culture needs help with sex and marriage? It's why this book is so relevant. Shaunti and Dr. Mike are two trusted voices with helpful and hopeful advice that can help any marriage."

Wendy and Jeff Henderson; author, speaker, Maxwell Leadership Thought Leader (Jeff)

"As marriage coaches, we spend a lot of time helping couples untangle their wrong assumptions. In particular, incorrect expectations and assumptions about sex keep couples from enjoying the beautiful gift that God has given them in sexual intimacy. This book corrects those misunderstandings. It helps us understand simple but crucial truths we haven't known or we've likely misunderstood in some way. We're thrilled at the research-based wisdom this book offers. It's made a difference in our marriage, and we believe it will make a difference in yours."

Mark and Jill Savage, founders of the Marriage 2.0 Intensive and authors of No More Perfect Marriages

"Shaunti Feldhahn and Dr. Michael Sytsma pull back the covers on questions like 'What's normal?' 'Are my desires and drivers weird?' 'What do other couples expect or experience?' With relevant data and real-life experience, this resource provides insights into greater intimacy and tips to navigate conversations on a touchy subject."

Greg and Julie Gorman, founders of Married for a Purpose

"This book helps any couple move from unspoken sexpectations to healthy conversations about sex and what it takes to cultivate vulnerable and mutually satisfying intimacy. With lighthearted stories, painstaking research, and a sober-minded tone, Michael and Shaunti strip away the myths and expose the truth that most of us are a lot closer to gospel-infused sexual flourishing than we realize."

Brian Goins, author, Weekend to Remember co-leader and speaker

"Secrets of Sex and Marriage is a balanced, biblical, and practical manual for the majority of couples who want to improve the sexual intimacy in their marriage. I found myself nodding throughout as they packed a lot of wisdom into an easy-to-read book representing much of what I've learned about healthy and holy sexual intimacy. Shaunti's solid research methods paired with Dr. Sytsma's field knowledge and sex expertise resulted in eight core principles every marriage should know and put into action!"

J. Parker, author/speaker at Hot, Holy & Humorous

"Secrets of Sex and Marriage takes a unique approach to helping couples who want to pursue a 'delightful, playful, rich, intimate life' with each other. Based on research with real couples, the authors clearly explain their data and invite us to take small practical steps in our own marriages. The truths addressed in Secrets of Sex and Marriage resonate with my own journey of sexual growth as well as what I hear from other marriages. Some of these truths were new to me and shed light on areas where my husband and I need to grow. This readable and smart book is a must-read for those who want to grow their marriages from good to great."

Chris Taylor, author/speaker at Honeycomb & Spice

The Authors

  1. Shaunti Feldhahn

    Shaunti Feldhahn

    Shaunti Feldhahn ( is a bestselling author, social researcher, speaker, and podcaster. With a graduate degree from Harvard, Shaunti uses her analytical background to help relationships thrive. She and her husband, Jeff, have coauthored...

    Continue reading about Shaunti Feldhahn

  2. Dr. Michael Sytsma
    © Mary Anne Morgan Photography

    Dr. Michael Sytsma

    Dr. Michael Sytsma (  is a licensed professional counselor, certified sex therapist, ordained minister, professor, and national speaker. With over 30 years of clinical experience in sex therapy, he founded Building Intimate...

    Continue reading about Dr. Michael Sytsma