It had been an amazing season for his favorite team, so when some of Michael’s old college friends asked him to join them to watch the game Saturday afternoon, it was an easy decision. He knew some of them had experienced some marriage problems in the past, but this was just an innocent afternoon of watching football. Surely there was nothing to be concerned about.
Well, the game was everything he hoped it would be. At halftime the score was 14-13 and he and the guys were talking about the possibility that this would be THE season his team would win the conference, and maybe even make it to a BCS bowl. Right before the start of the second half a Victoria Secret commercial came on. At first he didn’t think anything of it, but then his friends began making comments.
Jonathan: “Man! She reminds me of this girl I banged back in college. Dang…what was her name again? Oh yeah yeah…it was Sarah. I forgot. I tell you what, I saw her a few weeks ago. And talk about weight gain — shoosh. I wouldn’t go anywhere near that if you know what I mean.”
Dominic: “Yeah, I know what you mean. I’ve seen a few girls we went to college with around. They’re just…not the same. You agree Michael?”
Michael: “I agree that I’m ready to watch some football.”
And right on cue, the 2nd half started. Just three drives later his team had taken a commanding lead. The sounds of cheering, laughter and greasy high-fives filled the room. But as the game waned on, Jonathan and Dominic started talking (bragging) about their recent sexual encounters. By the end of the game they were poking fun at Michael for being a one woman man.
Jonathan: “Seriously, you’re missing out if you think just one woman can fulfill all your desires.”
Dominic: “He’s right, man. There’s a reason why there’s more than one cheerleader on the sidelines.”
He tolerated it for a while, and then politely excused himself and headed out to his car. But he soon discovered something that took him by surprise. A small note was left under his windshield wiper. It read:
But Michael didn’t throw the note away. He kept it under his seat. Every time he and his wife had an argument, or he saw a racy advertisement, or he felt a little lonely, he remembered that note. Then one afternoon Dominic sent him an email with a picture of a cheerleading squad. He knew exactly what it meant…and even though he didn’t call Jenni that day, he did take the step to program her number into his phone.
Voices about what sex should be like come from everywhere. Advertisements, music, movies…heck, even the video game industry purposefully gives female characters a form, figure, and enlarged breasts to cater to their audience. What’s most ironic, however, is that these voices use images, lyrics, etc. to define “freedom” as well.
“You owe it to yourself to be yourself.”
“You work hard, spend some time playing hard, too.”
“You should have what you want in life.”
“You’re free to be who you want to be and do what you want to do.”
All this noise creates serious confusion in the area of sexual freedom. Throw in some comments from friends and colleagues who encourage multiple sexual encounters, or pornography or…whatever, and it’s like throwing gasoline on a small campfire.
The reality, of course, is that these voices cannot provide sexual fulfillment or a true understanding of freedom. They may provide small doses of gratification, but not undeniable, personal, intoxicating, sincere, fulfillment.
Furthermore, the only place this type of fulfillment may be found is in a strong, healthy marriage where true freedom is unveiled and acted upon on a regular basis. This brings us to the second point we wish to make in this series:
In order to sustain sexual freedom in your marriage, you must silence outside voices.
Consider the following:
1. What outside voices are currently playing a role in your sex life?
We realize that some of the above examples may be extreme. Maybe you’ve never been overly enticed by advertisements, movies, video games, pornography or other forms of sexual ‘entertainment’. But you most likely have friends who occasionally share intimate details of their sex life, causing you to question whether you’re “missing out” on something. Perhaps you wonder if you ought to introduce something different to enhance your sexual stimulation.
“Do this and make a good thing even better.”
“Use this and your orgasm is certain to last longer.”
“He can get you warmed up, but this will put you over the edge.”
These marketing gimmicks and other pieces of advice are almost always meant for one thing — immediate pleasure, but not fulfillment.
With this said, there is a great challenge here. You now have to figure out which outside voices are hindering your sex life, and begin to take steps to silence them. It could be fewer ball games, less time with certain friends, computers with appropriate filters…it could be anything. You and you alone know what voices need to be silenced, and you and you alone have the opportunity to silence them.
2. Increase inside voices.
Don’t get us wrong, the first step isn’t going to be an easy one. It’s going to take serious time to think through and figure out what has really defined your perception of sexual freedom for your marriage. But now comes the fun part, you and your spouse get to decide how you’re going to define it from this point forward. You discuss what he does that brings her the most pleasure. You discuss what she does that brings him the most pleasure. Discuss your greatest likes/dislikes about foreplay, the act itself, even little things such as comments, notes, and household chores that help you to look forward to your time together. Before long you’ll hear some outside voices…and you and your spouse will just laugh and laugh. You’ll know they’re offering something fun. Something pleasurable. But they’re not offering true freedom. You’ll know…because you’ll have already found it.
This is Part 2 in our series on Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom in Marriage. Additional posts in the series can be found at the links below.
Feel free to answer one/all of the following questions in the comments below, or discuss them with your spouse.
- What ‘voices’ do you think have the most impact in our culture today? Which ones have the least?
- What is the difference between sexual pleasure and sexual fulfillment?
- Discuss with your spouse: What questions do you have for me about how we can better experience sexual freedom together?