11 January 2008

Sex and Marriage

I've been noticing that the most popular articles on this blogzine - by far! - are those about sex. And it's fair enough, too. There's often an unspoken assumption in the christian church that marriage = sex. Young couples are encouraged to stay 'pure' until they marry, to get the best out of life and sex. And while I don't disagree that marriage and sex should go together, it's a very obvious fact that sometimes they don't. So... what to do if the sex is lacking in your marriage?

Step 1: Let go of negative thoughts about your sex life (or lack thereof). In particular, watch for thoughts against your spouse - "she's doing it deliberately" or "he's just lazy". Challenge them. Try thinking, "what can we do about it?" instead. Ask God for help on this step, it can be very hard to change your thought patterns.

Step 2:
Have a look at Lori's article on reasons for loss of desire. Have a good think about possible reasons for the lack of sex in your marriage.

Step 3: Talk to your spouse. Ask for his or her opinion on your sex life, and what they think might be the cause of any problems. Ask what they think the two of you - as a team - can do about it. Allow time for thought, don't expect immediate answers. And try not to get defensive about any answers that sound like attacks.

Step 4: Think about what your spouse said. Did they highlight anything that you hadn't thought of? Are there any changes you could make - and if you could, should you? Pray before deciding this for sure.

Step 5: Together choose a solution or two to implement together. Start small, and commit to doing whatever it is longterm. It might be having a date night once a week, or trying a new position each month, or you mowing the lawn every week and her serving dinner earlier. Whatever. But make sure it's not just one person carrying the burden of change.

Step 6:
Follow through. See how it goes. If it falls down, go back to Step 1 and try again.


Bettina said...

I have always found in my marriage, that the sex goes when something else is happening that is causing friction. It's a symptom of a relationship problem not an intimacy one if you know what I mean?

Sensuous Wife said...

I agree with Bettina that sex is sort of a thermometer giving us an idea of what's going on in our marriage.

But it's an odd feeling trying to put words to this. I remember seasons in my marriage where if someone would have asked me if I had a good marriage, I would have said "yes" without a second thought. But looking back on those years, I don't remember having a single sexual thought about my husband during the day. No longing desire wish, none. Sex just wasn't on my radar screen at all. And we did love each other then very much. We were best friends and allies and fellow parents. But the lover role was one I was not comfortable with. Yes, there was friction in those days. A huge amount of resentment on my part that was so familiar to me that it was invisible.

But there's also just SO much I didn't know about sex. I mean, if I had known my sexual body and mind and heart then the way I do now, I would have enjoyed sex a lot more and wanted it more often.

and maybe it's just the era of childrearing. The children were so young then and I was perenially exhausted. But no one told me I had sexual needs and at that stage of the game, sex was just one more altruistic nurturing task I had to do. The only times I REALLY enjoyed sex when the kids were little was on day 2 of a minivacation without the children I had mentally switched gears from Mommy to Wife to Woman. I was so focused on meeting others's needs that I was completely clueless about my own.

All that to say, if a girlfriend makes some comment indicating she doesn't want or like sex, I usually respond with a kind smile and say something like "girlfriend, you're missing out!" and recommend a good book like Intimate Issues.

I now believe that if there's no sexual desire that's not healthy.