The pastor of a southwest Florida church opened many eyes and ears Sunday when he said he wants married couples in the congregation to -- have sex for 30 days in a row.
Oh -- and he wants singles to steer clear of such frolicking for the same length of time.
Head pastor Paul Wirth of Relevant Church in Ybor City, outside Tampa, says his "30-Day Sex Challenge" is one way of taking on the nation's 50-percent divorce rate.
"About ten years ago," With explained on The Early Show Wednesday, "my wife (of 18 years) and I were struggling in our marriage, and we realized that we needed something that was going to help us in our marriage, and we found this information from Dr. Willard Harley about learning each others' emotional needs. And we began to study it and apply it to our marriage, and it revolutionized our marriage, and we know that, you know, God is the one who talks about love and authors love, and he knows that he wants us to be intimate and connected with each other on a daily basis."
Wirth told CBS News he believes most people go into marriage "without really knowing each other emotionally, without knowing their partner's emotional needs, and this (the challenge) is a way for people to discover their greatest needs -- both married and non-married couples."
He cited a recent study out that found that 20 million Americans who are married have sex fewer than 10 times a year. "People's jobs, houses, kids and other things get in the way," he says. "I think men really need to reevaluate their wife's needs. We so often come home and kick off our shoes and pick up the remote and don't offer to help with dinner, don't offer to help with the kids -- and then we just expect fireworks in the bedroom. But we need to meet (our wives' needs) on intimate levels."
The reaction has been "overwhelmingly positive," Wirth says. "Both married and single members are excited about it. My wife has fielded a bunch of e-mails saying that it's opened a line of communication in some marriages that they haven't had since they were married."
Among the couples taking part: congregants Doug and Lorena Webber.
"We're sitting in church one day, and we heard about this challenge," Doug told Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith, "and we said, 'That's perfect. We can do anything for 30 days!' And the more you dig into it, we're, like, 'We can certainly do this for 30 days! ' "
Lorena says, "We're just trying to figure out a way to meet each others' emotional needs, and that's the biggest thing about this. It's more than physical. It's about getting to know each other again."
"It's much more than the physical aspect," Doug agreed, "so, it's really helping us refocus on our marriage."
To see the church's blog on the challenge, click here.
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