5 Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom in Marriage: #5 Create Opportunities

It was Saturday morning, and Sarah took the opportunity to sleep in.  But when she woke up she realized that something was different.  The house was quiet.  Too quiet.  What exactly were her husband and their three little ones up to?

She quickly rolled out of bed only to see a small post-it note on the bedroom door.

Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 7.59.12 AMSarah almost couldn’t believe it.  First, Jason took the responsibility to take care of the kids and get them to bed so she could enjoy an evening out with friends.  Then he somehow quietly got them up, fed, dressed, and out the door on a Saturday morning so she could sleep in!  She giggled a little as she walked into the kitchen when she saw another note:

Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 8.03.29 AMThis was turning out to be too good to be true!  She poured a cup of coffee and began to sip it.  But soon her mind began to wander.  “Did Jason have the grocery list?  Was he going to get everything needed?  Did he get the extra car seat into his car?”  After a few minutes she decided to not think about those things anymore and just enjoy the quiet.   After pouring her second cup of coffee she picked up her phone and began scrolling through her Pinterest account.  And that’s when she saw a third note.  This one stuck onto the back of her phone.

Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 8.09.22 AM“That’s strange,” Sarah thought.  “Jason knows I rarely eat breakfast.  What exactly is he up to?”  Strange as it was, Sarah couldn’t hold back her curiosity.  She nearly spilled her coffee as she ran into the kitchen and opened up the oven.  There was a small wrapped package inside, with yet another note.

Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 8.20.18 AMSarah honestly didn’t know what to think.  So she didn’t think, she just ripped open the package as fast as she could.  The box wasn’t overly sturdy, but Jason had wrapped the entire thing with duct tape.  “That’s not cool, Jason…not cool at all!” Her shout echoed through the quiet house, so much so that she giggled for getting so wound up.  After 5 minutes of carefully removing all of the tape she finally got the box open.  At first she didn’t see anything in the box.  She checked it again.  And again.  She even took time to see if there was anything stuck to the tape.  After a minute she re-read Jason’s final note. His message was quite clear.  There was nothing in the box.  Nothing.  And she couldn’t wait for him to get home so she could try it on.

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Sexual freedom in marriage isn’t just something that happens.  It’s something that you take opportunities to create.  And re-create.  And re-create again.  If you don’t, it’s the kind of freedom that may be there in one season, and gone the next.  But if you do, it’s something that will last throughout your entire marriage.  It won’t go away in your 40’s.  Or 50’s.  Or 60’s.  It’s something you’ll regularly experience well into your retirement years.  And it will continually get better.  And better.  And better.

Throughout this series we’ve offered a number of ways to sustain sexual freedom in marriage.  In this final post, we’re going to offer a few final thoughts.  How can you sustain sexual freedom in your marriage?  You can regularly create opportunities to experience it.

1. Offer sexual surprises:

Surprises are like people.  They come in all shapes and sizes.  The more you get to know your spouse, the more you will learn the best ways to surprise him/her.  Sure, little post-it notes and packages with nothing in them are one way to offer an occasional surprise.  But there are other things you can do to regularly communicate you’re looking forward to freely expressing your love to your spouse as well.  Some of these ideas include:

  • Offer a sexual tell

You may decide to have a “secret” code to communicate to your spouse that you’re ready to connect.  It could be anything.  Anything at all.  Some couples use a small item that they creatively hide in places they know they’re spouse will find.  For example, a wife may hide a small stuffed animal her husband bought her early on in their marriage.  She’ll “conveniently” leave this in his lunch, car, or cereal box as a way of saying, “I want you…tonight!”  Or a husband may hide an old watch she bought him while they were still dating.  Whenever this secret item shows up, you know to begin thinking about the action that’s going to transpire between the sheets later on.

  • The sexual outfit

Like with the secret item above, maybe you have a secret outfit you can wear to communicate your sexual prowess.  Maybe it’s a tie you wear to work, the same one she wore (with nothing else on!) as you returned home from a late meeting.  Maybe it’s a specific blouse, the one he “accidentally” ripped one of the buttons off of when you sprang into your bedroom for a quickie.  It could be anything, but just like the secret item, it’s a very effective way to communicate.

2. The bedroom of sexual ecstasy:

What’s your bedroom look like?  Now, what does it really look like?  Does it scream, “We sleep here AND we sleep together here?”  Everything about your bedroom decor matters.  A TV mounted on the wall could communicate you’re more interested in Sports Center or LifeTime than connecting with your spouse.  Lighting matters.  Scents matter.  Colors matter.  Dirty clothes matter.  Take opportunities to create a bedroom environment that encourages you to spend more time with one another there.

3. The sexual date night:

Every once in a while you need to create an unforgettable moment for your sex life.  It could be taking an opportunity to do something very different, like hiking deep into the woods and connecting far, far away from civilization.  (Yes, ladies, you can even take a tent.)  Or a planned middle-of-the night encounter in your swimming pool.  Or if you’re up for it, removing the seats from your minivan, or enjoying a bump and grind session in the bed of his pickup truck.  Whatever it is, take at least 2-3 opportunities a year to purposefully plan to sexually connect in such a way that is different from your normal routine.   These are the moments that you and your spouse will remember your whole lives, and if you plan them well, you’ll have lots of fun discussions on what you can do next that will be even better than before.

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This is Part 5 in our series on Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom in Marriage.  Additional posts in the series can be found at the links below.

Part 1: Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom In Marriage #1 – Believe

Part 2: Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom in Marriage #2 – Silence Outside Voices

Part 3: Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom in Marriage #3 – Bring the Awesomeness

Part 4: Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom in Marriage #4 – Understand the Seasons

Part 5: Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom in Marriage #5 – Create Opportunities

Feel free to answer one/all of the following questions in the comments below, or discuss them with your spouse.

  1. Do you have a sexual tell (word, phrase, item, outfit, etc.) that you and your spouse use to communicate, “I want you!”?  What is it?
  2. What is the most unforgettable date night you’ve had?
  3. Discuss with your spouse: If we could do just one creative sexual date night this year (outside of our normal routine, vacation), what could we do?

Repost: The Fun Theory

A couple of months ago we wrote about how sex and boring should never be used in the same sentence.  While some would agree that sex is never boring, it may sometimes feel like a ho-hum event or “task” to check off the list.  Due to this, we thought this would a good time to introduce “The Fun Theory” into your bedroom activities.  Here is a clip that inspired this post (well, kinda)

A small simple change got 66% more people taking the stairs.  They were different.  Unique.  Fun.

Within the marriage relationship, we’re of the opinion that there is great freedom in sexual intimacy between husband and wife.  This freedom gives us opportunities to be different, unique…and fun.  While the idea of “fun” may make some feel uncomfortable, we’re not talking about kinky or crude practices.  Just simple advice about how to laugh, have fun and enjoy your spouse.  After all, their body is yours, and yours is theirs.  You enjoy your time together at the movies, or over dinner…so why not take practical steps to make sex more fun for you and your spouse?

Here are a few suggestions to include more fun in the bedroom.

1. Get your flirt on.  Flirting is great for your marriage.

Think about it: when you dated you flirted with your to-be spouse on a near daily basis.  Each of you put a tremendous amount of time and energy in dating, flirting, and winning over your future mate.  Some of that continues the first few months, or even years of marriage.  But then the thoughts come, “Why put energy into winning them over?  Why not just jump in the sheets?”  Well, jumping in the sheets will come, but you have to constantly be battling for your spouse.  Our culture, for lack of better words, is flirting with him/her in a variety of ways.  Music, Television, Movies, and perhaps even pornography.  Culture is constantly looking for your time and your dollar.  Your spouse, on the other hand, only craves you…and only really wants to be won over by you.

When is the last time you looked at your spouse and raised an eyebrow?  Or snuck up behind her and whisper something in her ear?  Or lifted up your shirt when nobody else was  looking to show off your breasts?  How much time to you put into flirting with the one you’re going to spend the rest of your life with?  If you’re not yet experiencing freedom behind closed doors, one step to take is to actively flirt with your spouse. Do it often.  Do it daily.

2. Try a new position.

It’s true that different positions are sometimes more fun than functional (if you catch our drift).  But trying a new position can still be quite exciting and educational.  Our bodies are made to connect and you may discover that connection can happen in sexual positions you didn’t think your bodies could twist and turn into.  If you’re not sure where/how to discover new positions, then try playing a fun game of Twister…naked.  Or if you have a smart phone, there are some apps that give suggestions for positions that are clean sketches and directions for how to get into the position.  No real images.  No temptation to lust over someone other than your spouse.

When trying a new position, it’s important to remember that orgasm may not happen for either or you.  But you’ll often get a view of your spouse that isn’t typical.  Throw some candles in the room and you’ll even see their shadow flicker on the bedroom wall.  That shadow is merely a reflection of the beautiful time you and your spouse are having with one another.  Who knows, trying out a new position just may get those shadows to dance 66% longer than they normally would.

3. Pick a new place to have sex.

J over at Hot, Holy Humorous had a series recently about different places to have sex.  With lots of humor and some practical advice about the subject, we recommend you check out what she has to say.  If your brave, let us know in the comments what you look forward to trying out.  As for us, we’ll just use those ideas as a way to flirt with one another in future conversations.

4. Come up with a code word for sex and use it in random conversations throughout the day.

There is something so fun about having a secret language that only you and your spouse know.  Sometimes it’s a secret word.  Sometimes it’s a secret sound.  Maybe you’ll text the secret phrase to him while he’s at work.  Maybe he’ll write it on the bathroom mirror with a wipe-off marker.  Whatever it is, it’s something that only you and your spouse know about, and it’s something gets you both excited for what’s coming later on that evening.

5. Have sex more often.

It sounds simple, but the more often you have sex, the better sex you’ll continue to have.  We’ve read some articles stating that the average sexual experience (from time of entry) is anywhere from 8-13 minutes.  With this being an average, it means that for some couples it’s much longer than this time frame, and for others, it’s much shorter.  This isn’t speaking poorly of him in any way, but maybe she gets him all rowed up and he just isn’t able to last more than a few minutes.  The solution: have sex more often.  The more often you both have sex, the more sexual stamina you’ll build up.  The more stamina you have, the longer you have sex.  The longer you have sex, the more positions you can try.  The more positions you try, the more fun you have in the bedroom.  The more fun you have in the bedroom, the more you flirt with one another.  The more you flirt with another another, the more often you want to have sex.  We understand this is basic circular reasoning, but it’s circular reasoning at it’s finest…and it’s worth it.  So, don’t just have sex.  Enjoy sex more often.  Make it fun.  You’re spouse will thank you, and you’ll thank yourself as well.

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How do you keep things fresh and fun in your marriage?  Your sex life?  Are you willing to join The Fun Theory: Bedroom Edition?

Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom in Marriage: #4 Understand the Seasons

Phillip: “What are you doing?”

Janet: “What do you mean, ‘what am I doing?’  I’m sitting next to you on the couch as we watch TV.”

Phillip: “But you’re also putting your arm around me.”

Janet: *smiling* “Oh yeah. I thought I’d do that, too.”

Phillip: “I can’t even remember when the last time you’ve done that was.  What’s the occasion?”

Janet: “No special occasion.  I just wanted to be close to you.  That’s all.”

Phillip: “Well, I don’t want to offend you or anything.  But I think I’d rather have more room to stretch out.”

Janet: “Well, I don’t want to offend you or anything, but I thought maybe I’d turn off the TV and try to turn you on, instead.”

Phillip: “Sorry to say…but that’s just not going to happen.”

Janet: *playfully* “What?  You don’t think I can fulfill that goal?”

Phillip: “It’s not that.  I’m saying…I guess I don’t want you to try.”

Janet: “Why not?”

Phillip: “I’m not sure why.  Now, can we just get back to the movie?”

Janet: *turns TV off* “No, we can’t.  We obviously need to talk about this.”

Phillip: “About what?”

Janet: “About the fact that we haven’t had sex more than 1 time in the past 3 months.  In fact, we’ve rarely had sex at all the past year.  It’s gone way down, since…”

Phillip: “Since what?”

Janet: “Since you were ill.  That’s it.  We had a long break when you had all those health problems, and we never recovered.”

Phillip: “Recovered?”

Janet: “Yeah. Recovered.  You did…at least physically.  But we didn’t.”

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During the first five years of our marriage, Megan and I enjoyed life to the full.  We had no children and we spent vast amounts of time with one another.  We learned a lot about one another during that season in life, but as in every area of life, this season didn’t last.

Since that time we’ve become parents to two beautiful little girls.  Careers have changed.  Work hours have, too.  Times of sickness have invaded our lives.  Depression.  Hard struggles in our extended family.  Other struggles in our immediate one.  Yet through it all we’ve come to understand that various seasons in life will happen, and we’ve taken opportunity to not allow them to hinder our marriage in any way.

Our guess is we’re not alone.  You’ve also experienced difficult seasons of illness, depression, career changes and so on, too.  If you don’t take the time to think through and understand these seasons, some of them may hinder your marriage and sex life in profound ways.  But if you DO take the opportunity to think through and understand these seasons, you’ll learn a great deal about sexual freedom.  In fact, here are few things to consider when different seasons come your way:

You are free to please your spouse:

When your spouse is struggling with a pretty significant illness, it’s still quite likely you are able to sexually arouse and please him/her.  Whether it’s recent surgery, a broken limb or back problems, it’s still quite possible for you to experience full-blown intercourse.  Simply work together to find a position that is relaxing for them yet gives you full control of your time together.  Openly talk through what’s working and what isn’t, and do you best to connect as often as possible.  If full intercourse isn’t a possibility, then strongly consider taking opportunities to orally stimulate him/her to climax.

In seasons such as this, perhaps the most important thing to remember is that one of your primary roles in marriage is to serve your spouse.  Men have a responsibility to serve their wife by loving, caring and providing for them.  And men have a responsibility to serve their wife sexually as well.  Women share an equal responsibility.  As the Scriptures say:

2 Corinthians 7:3-4 (NLT)

3 The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs. 4 The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife.
5 Do not deprive each other of sexual relations, unless you both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you can give yourselves more completely to prayer. Afterward, you should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

You are free to do it morning, noon, or night:

It seems odd that we even need to say this, but we feel we must.  If something like a career change or work hours is hindering your sex life, remember that sex doesn’t need to only occur after dark in a locked bedroom.  You can wake up a little early and enjoy a quick romp in the shower.  Once a week you can take a long lunch break and connect at home.  Husband, you can rent a hotel for a day and meet her there after meeting a business client there for lunch.  Wives, you can walk into his study/den and lock the door behind you and give him a lap dance he’ll never forget.  Just remember that pure sexual freedom frees you from engaging sexually in the same place at the same time in the same way every single time you connect.

You are free to get help:

Far too many marriages today are struggling, and far too many of those are too proud to ask for help.  Men, for the most part, are embarrassed to admit to a pastor or counselor that their marriage isn’t going so well.  (Yes, we acknowledge some women experience embarrassment and pride, too.)  This embarrassment often leads to a very unsatisfying marriage.  So our advice to you, is to get help.  It never hurts to have a trustworthy pastor or counselor talk through your marriage and sex life with you.  In fact, couples who have a rough patch yet agree to work on it together often have a longer, more fulfilling marriage than couples who (in pride) agree to stay together but not seek help.

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In short, seasons will come and seasons will go.  And in order to maintain sexual fulfillment throughout the entirety of your marriage, you need to remember that you have a responsibility to sexually please your spouse and that responsibility can be fulfilled in a variety of ways.  And if you struggle to fulfill that responsibility – if you struggle to get on the same page in any area of your marriage – seeking help doesn’t make you a failure in any way.  In fact, seeking help makes you a hero, showing that you’re willing to do whatever it takes to fight for the sanctity of marriage.

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This is Part 4 in our series on Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom in Marriage.  Additional posts in the series can be found at the links below.

Part 1: Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom In Marriage #1 – Believe

Part 2: Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom in Marriage #2 – Silence Outside Voices

Part 3: Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom in Marriage #3 – Bring the Awesomeness

Part 4: Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom in Marriage #4 – Understand the Seasons

Part 5: Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom in Marriage #5 – Create Opportunities

 

Feel free to answer one/all of the following questions in the comments below, or discuss them with your spouse.

  1. What is the most difficult ‘season’ you have gone through in your marriage?  Did it have a negative sexual impact?
  2. What is another “you are free to __________” point you think couples should remember when experiencing different seasons?
  3. Discuss with your spouse: If there’s just one thing I could do this week to serve you in a sexual way, what would it be?

Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom in Marriage: #3 Bring the Awesomeness

James: “Well that was pretty amazing.”

Rachel: “Really, you didn’t find it just OK?”

James: “Babe, you’re definitely much more than ‘just OK’ in bed.  Trust me, that rocked.  I mean, at least it did for me.  Was it good for you?”

Rachel: “Fabulous.  Just fabulous.  I’m not sure when the last time my heart rate got up that high.  Except for maybe last night!  *Laughs*

James: “Yeah, that was a good time, too.  Hey, how about we do something different tomorrow night, but reengage …let’s say, two nights from now?”

Rachel: “Good for me.  Whew!  It’ll be good to take a breather.  Just don’t forget about me.”

James: “Forget?  How can I forget?!”

James and Rachel quietly fell into a deep sleep.  The next morning before driving to work, James discovered a small envelope taped to the steering wheel of his car.  He opened it up and there inside was a hand-drawn sketch of the next position Rachel wanted to experiment with the next time they connect.  At the bottom was a small note – “I’m not sure how fulfilling this will be for me, but I think you’ll really like it.  If you decide to not wait until tomorrow, I understand.”

James and Rachel did wait until the next day, and by then James had made some minor modifications to Rachel’s sketch.  He, too, left a small note, using verbiage they and only they share with one another when the moment is right.  On this occasion, the moment was right.  Rachel arranged for child care and when James arrived home they enjoyed one another freely, and then stayed awake into the middle of the night, discussing their hopes, fears, and dreams…all the while knowing they were already fulfilling them all.

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In this series we’ve been discussing the possibility of not just experiencing, but sustaining sexual freedom in your marriage.  In our first post we discussed the need to believe that sexual freedom is possible.  In our second we discussed the importance of silencing outside voices.  Today we want to discuss something that can be a little more controversial, the art of sexual experimentation.

In fact, a reader recently asked a pretty important question.  They noted that blogs such as this one have been a tremendous resource and that their sex life has increased exponentially.  However, they also asked a tough question that goes something like this, “How much of this kind of reading can I do before I become too overwhelming in my sexual desire for my spouse?  At the same time, how can we keep the current excitement we have going without reverting to a season of much less sexual gratification?”

With questions such as these tied in with the subject of sexual experimentation, there’s a lot to talk about.  However, while MUCH could be said, we’re going to keep this post as simplistic as we can.

1. Experiment ONLY in ways you and your spouse agree

Whether you’ve been married one year, five years, or twenty, there’s a possibility that you both have thought of trying something different, but you’ve never discussed it for fear of how your spouse may respond. Maybe it’s a new position to try out.  Maybe it’s how you go about having “conversation” while you’re together.  Maybe it’s about trying a new element of foreplay, or oral sex.

Whatever it is, maybe you haven’t asked because you know your spouse very well and your fears are based on some pretty good evidence or conversations from the past.  If that’s the case and you continue to be sexually fulfilled, perhaps it’s best to not ask about exploring in some new way.  However, if you’re not asking because you’re just not sure how they’ll respond, then take the opportunity to ask.  If you’re not willing to freely discuss your sexual boundaries with one another, you’re not likely to discover full-fledged sexual freedom anytime soon.  Discuss oral sex.  (In fact, some other great Christian blog authors have written some pretty poignant posts on the subject.  Here’s one.  Here’s another.)  Discuss various positions to try out together.  Discuss everything and ONLY experiment with what you both agree to.

What should you agree to?  Well, we won’t get into too many details, but you should only agree to what you both believe are God-honoring acts.  We’ve been asked a number of questions about anal sex, pornography, sex toys, among others.  As for the first, God didn’t design the human body in this way for human sexuality.  As for the second, it’s a terrible industry.  And if the husband asks to do something really, really out there, then there’s a chance he’s been peeking at porn on the side and needs some good counseling.  As for the third, we don’t want to say that they’re *always* ungodly, as you may one day find a legitimate need.  But if you can just use flesh on flesh to please one another, go for it.

In short, openly discuss ways in which you can both agree to touch, kiss, suck, bend, twist, thrust any way you like.  You’ll likely find her favorite 1, 2 or 3 positions and he will too.  But you may find something new that you can go back to on some special occasions….and maybe even more regularly.

Now you may be thinking, “We don’t even know where to go to get ‘appropriate’ ideas!”  Well, this is where the subject can get more controversial.  That word ‘appropriate’ can be defined differently, for sure.  If you find these recommendations untasteful, forgive us.  One, check out the iKamasutra app for iphone, ipad, etc.  It’s likely available for Android/Windows Phone as well.  Additionally, here are a number of shopping sites recommended by our friends at The Marriage Bed.  Just remember to agree on everything you decide to purchase, and then begin playfully experimenting for the benefit of both parties.

2. Be certain to maintain self-control

How can you know if you’re becoming too overwhelming in your desire for one another?  Well, chances are your spouse will tell you if you’re coming on a bit too strong.  Not only that, but if you discover that more often than not you’re totally into sex solely for your own pleasure and you’re not paying any attention to your spouse, you’re probably not maintaining an appropriate boundary for your sex life.  However, if you’re both openly and freely enjoying one another and not pressuring him/her or becoming self-absorbed, no worries.  “Eat, friends!  Drink, be intoxicated with love!” (Song of Songs 5:1)

3. Bring the awesomeness

We recently watched a short satirical video that had this tagline.  Whoever designed it did their job well, because it stuck.

You may be in a position (pun intended) where don’t feel the need to experiment or do anything different.  You’re completely and totally sexually satisfied right where you are.  That’s great.  Keep at it.  Connect regularly.  Keep bringing the awesomeness and there’s no way you’ll revert to a time when sex doesn’t come freely.  Just bring the awesomeness, and like James and Rachel, you’ll be living free and looking forward to whatever comes next.

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This is Part 3 in our series on Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom in Marriage.  Additional posts in the series can be found at the links below.

Part 1: Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom In Marriage #1 – Believe

Part 2: Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom in Marriage #2 – Silence Outside Voices

Part 3: Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom in Marriage #3 – Bring the Awesomeness

Part 4: Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom in Marriage #4 – Understand the Seasons

Part 5: Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom in Marriage #5 – Create Opportunities

 

Feel free to answer one/all of the following questions in the comments below, or discuss them with your spouse.

  1. Why do you think couples shy away from openly discussing how they can better fulfill one another sexually?
  2. What are 3 ways this series has helped you think about not just experiencing, but sustaining sexual freedom in your marriage?
  3. Discuss with your spouse: If there’s just one thing I could do this week to “Bring the Awesomeness” in bed, what would it be?

13 Realities of Married Sex: #4 Sex is Necessary

The following song has very little to do with sex. Nevertheless, the relationship here is unfortunately very characteristic of many marriages in our culture. In fact, just the other day I (Justin) had the opportunity to return something to the store.  The conversation went something like this:

Me: I need to return these.

Clerk: Is there anything wrong with them?

Me: Nope, my wife just prefers something a little different.

Clerk: *being humorous* Oh…those wives!

Me: Yeah, I know.  I love mine to pieces.  She’s fantastic.

Clerk: Wow…that’s great.  That’s not something you hear very much of these days, that’s for sure.

It was obvious she knew of many marriages that were struggling on some level.  And this song shows the current state of how many in our culture view marriage (perhaps even their own):

Our guess is, couples who relate to this well-sung song by “The Civil Wars” don’t just have a struggling marriage relationship, they have a poor sex life, too.  We mentioned before that Sex is Always Changing.  And while sex is always changing, there is one aspect of sex that doesn’t change, it’s necessity.  In fact, take just a few seconds to repeat after us:

Sex is necessary for a healthy marriage.

Sex is necessary for a healthy marriage.

Sex is necessary for a healthy marriage.

“What if somebody is sick or injured, are you saying they can’t have a healthy marriage?”  No, we’re not saying that. We’re saying that if a husband and wife are relatively healthy, their marriage, their personalities, their friendships, their parenting, and even their physical and emotional health will all benefit from a thriving sex life.

“Wait just a minute! My husband and I have a great marriage.  We’re best friends. We’re very social with others.  And neither of us have a high sex drive…but we have a healthy marriage.”

That may be so, but there is a difference between being sexually satisfied and being sexually fulfilled.  Our guess is, one person in a marriage such as this continually tells the other they’re satisfied, but out of respect for their spouse isn’t willing to say they’re unfulfilled.

Again, you may disagree.  But we remain very convinced:

Sex is necessary for a healthy marriage.

Sex is necessary for a healthy marriage.

Sex is necessary for a healthy marriage.

In fact, we would go as far to say that a sexless marriage (let’s define ‘sexless’ as anything less than consistent weekly sex) is in danger.  Perhaps the marriage itself isn’t in danger, but certain aspects of a healthy marriage are.  These dangers include:

1. Loss of connection. 

A couple needs to connect.  Yes a couple can (and should) have moments of intimacy that lead to greater connection in their friendship, their companionship, and their marriage.  But the connection these moments provide are not holistic in nature.  One moment may help the couple to connect emotionally, and other may help them connect spiritually.  But sex gives the opportunity for a couple to connect holistically on every level.  It glues the couple together, providing security, comfort, and a bond that both men and women need.  To go through married life without regularly experiencing this type of intimate bonding and gluing of man to wife is to cut off a very special form of connection.

2. Loss of exclusivity. 

Sex is only meant to be shared between one man and one women in the context of marriage.  This means that sex is exclusive to marriage.  Not participating in this sacred bond is to not participate in something set apart by God Himself.  Sex has been set apart, by God, specifically for you and your marriage.  It’s a gift.  A gift to be enjoyed, not hidden in a closet.  A gift to be remembered, not forgotten.  A gift to hold onto, not let go of.  Use that gift that was created exclusively for you and your marriage.

3. Loss of passion. 

Passion is largely an emotional state. It is found through affection, enthusiasm and fascination.  Read those words again:

Affection.

Enthusiasm.

Fascination.

This may be affection toward your spouse’s body, mind and soul. Enthusiasm to please them and to be pleased.  Fascination as to the wonders of your spouse’s curves, smell, or taste.  Sex provides all of these and more.  It provides passion.  Never let your passion be at a loss.

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Discuss with your spouse:

1. Do you agree that sex is ‘necessary’ for a healthy marriage?  Why or why not?

2. Do you believe our marriage is experiencing a loss of connection, exclusivity, or passion in any way?

3. Challenge: Think about the difference between being sexually satisfied and sexually fulfilled.  Are you completely fulfilled in your current sex life?  If not, what can I do to help you be completely fulfilled?

13 Realities of Sex in Marriage: #1 Sex is Poetry

Sex is a lot of things.  It’s fun.  It’s intimate.  It’s vulnerable.  It’s…well, too many things to write into one post!  Therefore, we thought it would be good to start off the New Year with a new series: 13 Realities of Sex in Marriage.

WP_000465Earlier in our marriage we purchased magnetic poetry for our refrigerator.  While the majority of ‘creative’ poetry we came up with was based on nature (or other common poetic themes), we occasionally wrote something a little more…well, erotic.  There was nothing like walking to the refrigerator for a glass of iced tea and then see something like this posted for the other to see. (If you’re curious about the ‘garden’ reference, feel free to check out Song of Songs 4:16-5:1.)

Twelve years later, we just busted out the magnetic poetry once more.  Only now, we have a couple of children who are getting more and more inquisitive as the days go by.  Therefore, something tells us that we won’t be publishing too much ‘code’ on the refrigerator in the near future.  Even still, we both know that sex is meant to be poetic.  Poetry, by definition, is used to express both feelings and ideas and is done so in rhythmic patterns.  Sound familiar?  And while sex in marriage could be described in many poetic aspects, we’ll keep this post limited to the following:

Sex is poetry in action

We’ll be honest, we don’t read a great deal of poetry.  But we know that like other genres of writing, poetry often includes a hidden meaning.  The author is usually longing for something greater, or dreaming of something grander. They work tirelessly to put their dreams into words and by doing so, allow their dreams to become reality.

Similarly, when a married couple takes the opportunity to ‘connect’, they’re participating in an act that helps them experience something greater and grander than the everyday life.  He often goes to work dreaming of accomplishing the impossible.  She may wonder if she’s truly fulfilling her dreams.  But when they disappear under the sheets, they’re like a poet putting their pen to paper.  Dreams become a reality for a short period of time and then before you know it, it’s time to put pen to paper again, and experience the impossible once more.

Sex is poetry in motion

Poets don’t only have the task of writing words, but their phrases have to have a specific rhythm to them.  This rhythm may be different depending on the time period and culture of their writing, but after reading enough of their poems, it’s easy to see how they’re able to tie one thought right into another through their words.  Study their writings long enough and you’ll begin to fully understand their entire worldview.

Similarly, sex gives the opportunity to know your spouse in countless ways. You know what makes them smile, giggle, blush, and even climax.  But these discoveries are dependent upon studying your spouse’s sexual cadence for a long period of time.  You have to know their love language, their body, their emotions, and their sexual rhythm.  Once you know their rhythm and they know yours, you can then work together to keep your rhythm in sync with one another.  Write enough ‘poetry’ together and you’ll create your own rhythm.  A rhythm that you, and only you will know and understand as your love for one another deepens even more.

Sex is poetry in words

Poets know their own thoughts and emotions extremely well.  So well, in fact, that they will spend countless hours wrestling through how to describe them in words.  But when the moment is just right, their words flow effortlessly and they are able to communicate deep truths that help both themselves and the reader long for more.

Similarly, many couples know exactly how they feel about their spouse, but don’t always know how to put their thoughts and emotions into words. But in those secret moments behind closed doors, they’re able to physically, emotionally, and spiritually communicate deep love for one another.  They are able to physically accept one another in full, emotionally accept that their love for one another is very real, and spiritually accept that they are one flesh.  In those secret moments when everything is communicated just right, you’ll both be left completely fulfilled, yet longing for more.

On a final note, poets don’t just take time to think about life and how to put their thoughts and feelings into words, they also think about how to be a better poet.  So, if you’re looking for a worthy goal for 2013, don’t just think about taking more opportunities to make sexual poetry together…that’s a given.  But take opportunities to think about how you can make your sex life even better.  And like a good poet, always believe that there’s another poem to be written.  Always believe the effort it takes is worth it.  Always believe that your next poem will be better than the last.

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Discuss with your spouse:

1. What first comes to your mind when you think of sex as poetry?

2. Poetry in action; poetry in motion; poetry in words – which one resonates most with you?  Why?

3. Challenge: Take the opportunity to read Song of Songs this week with your spouse. Write out one verse to him/her each day from your reading, and think about how you can implement that verse in your marriage…that night!

The Great Divide in Sex Initiation: How To Initiate

In our last post we mentioned several reasons why someone may not initiate sex.  These reasons range from simple nervousness and feeling they are doing it wrong to more serious issues that need addressed.  Today we will look at a few ideas that can spark the mind of a person who simply feels awkward or hesitant to initiate sex.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Consider your spouses desires. When you initiate sex the goal is that your spouse actually responds.  However, oftentimes the tendency is to approach your spouse the way you would want them to approach and initiate with you.  This is not always the best plan.  Take time to consider what it takes to help your spouse respond and then initiate with that in mind.  Perhaps they like some romance, kind words, or a gentle touch.  Maybe they prefer stronger sexual advances and a bit of a sneak peek.  Maybe showing up naked is the best way to get your spouse to respond.  The only way to know what will work for your spouse is to talk about it with them and then try it out.  A gentle reminder though, what works one day may not be the only approach you will ever need.  Vary the way you initiate from time to time and keep the good times coming.

2. Get the mind going early in the day.  We wrote awhile back about how sex really begins outside the bedroom. This can be true when it come to initiation as well.  Giving your spouse an idea that at the end of the day you would like to connect and enjoy their sexual pleasures can help them mentally prepare for the night ahead.  This is particularly important if your spouse tends to plan ahead or just has a very busy schedule.  A simple text message, phone call or note could pave the way for a spectacular night together.

3. Use code words or props.  Add an element of fun to your love life by having a few select words that signal your spouse that you would like to join your bodies together as one at some point during the day.  Or maybe you could let your spouse know you are in the mood by lighting a specific candle that lets them know your flames are burning for them.  It’s even possible for you to have the audacity to include a racy love note or certain undergarment in a place where they are sure not to miss it.  Whatever you can think of that not only let’s your spouse know you desire them but is also flirtatious and fun at the same time.  Nothing wrong with that.

4. Scheduling, planning or expecting sex at certain times is a form of initiation.  Some couples may not need to include any initiation. They’re ‘in the habit’ of knowing one another in such a way that they just seem to know it’s time to have sex.  Some may argue that this is a goal to work toward within marriage.  But while it may be good to always be on the same page, a surprise sexual initiation at an unexpected time or in an unexpected way can still create fireworks and improve upon your sex life even more.

5. Get help. It seems that ‘counseling’ has become a dirty-word in today’s day and age. Sadly, some individuals may initiate sex over and over and continually be turned down. Instead of constantly dealing with rejection and finding ways to suppress your sexual desires, we recommend getting council. Sex is supposed to be part of the marriage relationship. If you’re being rejected over and over again, do everything in your power to get the help your marriage needs. Fulfilling your sexual desires with vibrators, masturbation, or pornography will only fulfill your physical desires.  But a good marriage has strong emotional and spiritual desires fulfilled through sex as well. So if necessary, get help. In the end, your spouse and your sex life will be glad you did.

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Have another tip for initiating sex?  Let us know in the comments below.

 

Linking with: To Love Honor and Vacuum, Women Living Well

The Great Divide in Sex Initiation: Why won’t they initiate?

Have you ever seen an episode of The Cosby Show?  Though we have many different favorite moments, one that we have always found amusing came from an episode where Cliff takes Claire on a kid free romantic getaway.  After they have a leisurely dinner and return to their room they’re both anticipating what comes next.  Bow-chicka-bow-wow….they know they’re alone, no kids to interrupt, no dishes to wash no work phone calls, just the two of them.  Claire spends time getting ready and when she returns from freshening up, Cliff is “napping” on the bed.  Although a bit disappointed by her sleeping husband, Claire continues undeterred to enjoy their evening.  This is when Cliff says these wonderfully romantic and chivalrous words, “Let’s get it on.”  Claire is not impressed and is rather put off by these words.

We give Cliff a little bit of credit.  After all, he did initiate sex, albeit in the opposite way Claire was hoping.  That said, some rarely, if ever initiate sex.  This leaves the spouse wondering, “Why won’t he/she initiate sex?  Why am I always the one to do so?”

Here are some reasons a spouse may not initiate sex:

1. Track record of refusal.  When a spouse is refused time and time again it’s common for them to just stop asking.  Refusal of sexual advances is often a deeply hurtful, humiliating and distressing experience.  Regular sexual connection is important in marriage, therefore, when sex is regularly refused the marriage will likely suffer, and the one who was refused will be less likely to initiate in the future.

2. Sexual dysfunction or lack of pleasure during sex.  If a spouse does not feel that they are able to perform sexually then there is often little desire to initiate.  This could be a man who suffers from erectile dysfunction or it could be a woman who rarely or never experiences orgasms or sexual pleasure.

3. Specific sexual desires or needs are unmet.  Sadly, many people receive a great deal of education about how sex “should” take place from movies, music, romance novels and other forms of cultural entertainment.  However, these resources rarely provide helpful information that relates to real life.  Still, some may have very specific desires for their sexual relationship.  Perhaps they want more romance.  Perhaps they’re ready at the drop of a hat.  Whatever it is, they’ve come to learn that their spouses needs/desires are much different than theirs.  Knowing their desires will never fully be realized, they may not initiate sex very often, and may stop initiating altogether.

4. Sexual needs are being met elsewhere.  As much as we hate to say it, if your spouse never initiates sex or has drastically changed the frequency of initiation it could be that they are fulfilling their sexual needs somewhere else.  Whether through porn use or regular masturbation, if your spouse does not initiate you may need to find out if this could be a cause.

5. Distrust in the relationship.  Great sex takes both physical and emotional nakedness.  When trust has been broken or there’s unresolved conflict, the desire for sex will significantly decrease.  A spouse may not initiate if they do not feel safe (emotionally or physically) in the marriage.

6. Fear of doing it wrong.  This is much more simplistic than the other topics we have mentioned but many people feel shy about how to tell their spouse that they would like to have sex.  It is entirely possible that your spouse wants sex but want you to initiate every time because they feel uncomfortable or awkward when they do.

We’re quite certain these are only a handful of reasons as to why one spouse would not initiate sex.  Soon, we’ll post a follow-up giving some specific advice in how to initiate sex, as well as some suggestions for how you can discuss this subject with your spouse so that you may both initiate sex more equally.  Until then…

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What are some other reasons one spouse may choose not to initiate sex?  What harm can happen in a marriage relationship when one spouse rarely/never initiates sex?

And for those who are interested, here are Cliff and Claire in action!

 

Linking with: Women Living Well; To Love Honor and Vacuum