Maybe you’re in one of those rare marriages where sex is not a problem. Maybe you both agree on the when, where, and how of sex. If so, count yourself as fortunate. But most married couples wrestle with sex. (Pun intended!)
WHY IS SEX SUCH A PROBLEM IN MARRIAGE?
You’d think that something as fundamental to our nature as sex would be simple and easy. But it’s not. In fact, sex in marriage is often fraught with disagreements, misunderstandings, wounded egos, and fighting. There are at least three reasons for this…
1. Sex is very personal.
I know that’s an understatement, but it’s true. Sex is personal because it involves…
- How we see ourselves.
- Our self-confidence.
- How we feel about ourselves.
- Our self-esteem.
- Our fear of rejection.
2. Gender Differences.
When it comes to sex, we tend to act like our spouse should think as we think and want what we want. Yet, we are different…
- Anatomically. – The anatomical differences that attract us, also make it difficult to understand each other’s experiences and desires.
- Hormonally. – We are driven by predominantly different hormones. It’s as difficult for wives to understand testosterone drives as it is for husbands to understand estrogen drives.
3. Social Messages.
Despite our society’s push to create gender-neutral environments, males and females are different. They are raised differently and given different messages about their gender. For example, if males act out sexually, people say things like, “Boys will be boys.” But if females act out sexually, they are considered loose and immoral. We then carry these cultural messages into marriage, complicating a sexual relationship that should be free and open between spouses.
IMPROVING YOUR SEX LIFE…HOW TO START.
You and your spouse don’t have to resign yourselves to lives of frustration and misunderstanding when it comes to sex. There are 4 simple things that will improve any married couple’s sex life.
It always amazes me how spouses can get naked in front of one another, and go through the various acts and positions of sex…yet have trouble talking about it!
Yes, talking about sex is personal. It requires vulnerability to talk about your likes and desires regarding sex. And your spouse may not have the same sexual wants and desires as you.
But with all the gender differences, and personality differences, and up-bringing differences between you and your spouse…there’s no way to make things better apart from talking about sex. Sex is like finances, raising kids, or any other part of marriage…for it to get better you need to talk about it.
Too many spouses try to hint about sex…when they want it and how they want it. But this is a recipe for frustration and hurt feelings. Let me give you an example…
One night, I was feeling a little amorous and wanted some sexual time with my wife. But instead of telling her what I wanted, I did the following:
I said, “Tonight, don’t worry about the kids. I’m going to give them their baths and put them to be a little early.” My wife said, “That’s great!” And I thought to myself, “Yes! she got the hint!”
After the kids were in bed asleep, I yelled down the stairs to my wife, “The kids are asleep. I’m going to go take my shower.” She said, “Great. I’ll be up in a minute.” So I took a shower, fully expecting to come out of the bathroom and find my wife naked on the bed. But when I opened the bathroom door, she was nowhere to be found. The bed wasn’t even turned down!
A little miffed by this, I yelled downstairs, “I’m out of the shower now!” And she yelled back, “Ok. I’ll be up in a minute.” So I climbed in bed naked, and I waited…and I waited..and I waited…getting madder by the minute!
Finally, I did the cowardly thing. I snuck down the stairs and peeked around the corner, only to find my wife kicked back in the recliner, newspaper in one hand, snacks in the other, and watching TV.
I went back upstairs furious. “How could she stand me up like that?! How could she reject me?!”
After a few days of pouting, I finally told her how upset I was. And her reply was, “If that’s what you wanted, why didn’t you say so!”
She was so right. I wish I could tell you I learned my lesson then, but I still fall into that hinting trap from time to time.
Hinting is not a good idea when it comes to sex, so talk about what you want and when you want it. Talk about what really works for you, as well as what doesn’t. Talk about things you would like to try. And talk about how you might like to change things up.
It may be awkward at first, but this one habit will improve things greatly in your sex life.
Timing involves two different things…
The “when of sex.
This refers to the time and place sex can occur during the day.
Is it always at night or can it be during the day? Can you have sex in the morning, or is that not a good time? Is sex something that can be spontaneous, or does it need to be planned? Can it happen when the mood strikes, or does everyone need to be freshly showered? Is the bedroom the only place for sex, or can it occur in other rooms and places?
The “how often” of sex.
The second part of timing refers to how frequently the couple should have sex.
It’s rare that a husband and wife agree on how frequently they should have sex. Husbands usually want sex more frequently than wives, but there are times when that gender stereotype is flipped and it’s the wife who wants sex more than her husband.
As a side note…if a husband is experiencing a low sex drive, I always encourage seeing their doctor and having their testosterone levels checked. If there are no testosterone or medication issues, then there may be something going on between the couple that needs to be addressed in counseling.
What should you do if you and your spouse have different ideas about sexual frequency? I encourage each spouse to say how often they would like to have sex. Then I have them target the number in the middle. It’s not a perfect solution. It will be more often than one would like, and not as often as the other would like. But it’s a good place to start.
Trust is an absolute necessity for good sex in marriage. Your spouse must fully trust you in the bedroom in order to relax, let go, and totally enjoy the experience. And this is especially true for wives.
But this kind of trust must be earned long before the bedroom. This kind of trust is earned daily by:
- Showing you care more about your spouse than yourself.
- Keeping your word…even in little things, like taking out the trash or being on time.
- Not making fun of your spouse or treating them sarcastically.
- Speaking well of them, in front of others, as well as when it’s just the two of you.
- Caring about the things they care about.
When your spouse can trust you with the small things, then they can trust you with the big things…like sharing their bodies.
But trust is also built in the bedroom by never pressuring your spouse to do something they’re uncomfortable doing…even if you see nothing wrong with it. This will definitely wreck your trust with your spouse…both in the bedroom and out of the bedroom.
When it comes to sex, trying means 2 things…
Continuing to working on your sex life. Contrary to popular opinion, sex does not come naturally. It requires work, effort, and practice. And just when you think you’ve got it, then things change. Stage of life changes. Demands change. Heath changes. Body shapes change. The relationship changes. And on and on it goes. So you must continually work on your sexual relationship.
Keeping things fresh. This is the other part of trying. Like any other part of life, sex can easily fall into a rut or routine. We wind up having sex the same way, at the same time, and in the same place. No one wants to have the exact same meal over and over again, and the same is true for sex.
So change things up occasionally. Surprise one another. Try a different location, a different time of the day, or a different position. Use candles or music to set a mood. If your spouse is typically the aggressor, you take that role for a change. Extend the foreplay. Throw in an unexpected quickie occasionally.
I know it’s harder to find the time and privacy you need when you have kids in the house. So you’ll have to set aside money for sitters, arrange for your kids to sleep-over with friends, plan some quick get-aways, and even invest in a good sound screen and a good lock on your door.
Do what you have to, but don’t let your sex life grow routine and predictable from a lack of effort and planning. The more you put into it, the more you’ll get out of it.
A FINAL WORD…
These four things (talking, timing, trust, and trying) are great ways to breathe some new life into sex and make sex better for you and your spouse. And even if your spouse doesn’t seem interested in putting effort into these things, you put the effort into the things you can do. I guarantee it will still make a difference in your sex life and your marriage.