Sex Without Walls: 6 Steps to Rebuilding Your Intimate Life
A friend with a steamy married life (but not without conflict), recently remarked that our late 30s through our 50s should be the sexual peak of our lives.
“What? Aren’t the early 20s the best time for that?” Yet, as I hadn’t been married in my early 20s, I couldn’t say.
She went on to explain. “By this point, you should be comfortable in your marriage, comfortable with yourself, comfortable with your body.”
“Oh, but I’m not comfortable with my body. And I sometimes feel as though I have these walls built around me that even my husband cannot get past.”
“That’s because you won’t let him.”
But she was right. I want to share with you six things we discussed.
1. Sex is one of God’s greatest gifts to a marriage. Sex creates oneness. It is the glue that binds people together. Even the chemical properties of sex, the release of the bonding hormone oxytocin, for example, are healing and contribute to well-being. You are supposed to enjoy it, allowed to enjoy it, encouraged to enjoy it. God did not create sex in marriage to be dirty or shameful. Humans have made it that way sometimes, but that was not God’s intent.
2. Great sexpectations. Did you have expectations about what married life would be; what your sex life would be? Sometimes things turn out different than you thought/hoped, and that can lead to seeds of bitterness. In my case, I wondered what was wrong with me. The important thing is to root out those past hurts, to look at your situation and see why things are different. And move past it. (Read Great Sex-pectations).
3. Moving through past hurts. If you are perfect, please stand up. Yeah, I just crawled under my bed. So, we have to give our spouses permission in our hearts to fail. Tough? Yes, especially when their actions directly hurt us. But you must forgive. Yes, there are some marriages that have deep issues of emotional abuse and more, and those often require professional counseling and miracles of God upon hearts.
But what about the smaller stuff? Your husband doesn’t notice you wearing a pretty night gown you thought he would love. He left his socks on the floor again. He didn’t put his plate in the sink or used the wrong tone of voice. Or maybe he used money as a weapon early on in your marriage and you are still angry about it. These kinds of issues are weeds and can grow roots of bitterness. You can’t hold on to that stuff.
Perspective? If Jesus was willing to die for us and forgive all our sins before we were even born, before we knew Him, before we were willing to admit we aren’t perfect, then we should cut our husbands some slack, yes?
4. Tear down walls and let go of control. Sex is an area many women use control, often unconsciously. Still mad at him for yelling at the dog? Maybe you still are willing to make love to him, but … not enthusiastically. Not going to open up my soul that much because he doesn’t deserve it. Or maybe I just get into bed and pretend I’m tired because that will deter him. Why shouldn’t I? He didn’t help with ____, so I am tired!
We can spend hours coming up with legitimate reasons not to offer love openly to our husbands. Some of them even sound reasonable. But is that truly loving someone? Alas, no. Love isn’t selfish. Ugh! Tough to hear for me too! Even harder to do. But as my friend said, you are the one missing out.
5. Be honest in a loving manner. There are issues that need to be discussed. Some of them are emotional, some are a simple manner of hygiene. We all have issues and must learn to do things that please our spouses. The key is to say it in love and be open to—gulp—hearing things about yourself too.
6. Great sex isn’t based on how you look. Surprised? I know better, but I still fall into this trap. But it’s the truth. My above mentioned friend struggles with her weight, yet she is one of the most confident people I know. Great sex with your husband comes from inner confidence and a willingness to love openly without walls, a closeness built by honesty, forgiveness and depending on each other.
For more, read Robyn McKelvy’s book SOS Sick of Sex. .
Also, check out Love Without Shame by Dave Wyrtzen
What issues do you think keep wives from loving their husbands freely and openly? Media messages? Stress? Fear? _______?
I think the media, that is supposed to inform us, actually presents sex as a way to sell (products, tickets to movies, etc.). Thanks for an insightful look at a subject we often will not mention.
Thanks for your insights!
You said that women are the one that will with hold sex. That’s not always true. There has been a lot of time is the past few months where my husband has with held it from me. He says he tried or doesn’t feel good. What is a person to do when that happens? It hurts and makes me question if there is something wrong with me or other things like that.
Thanks for your honest comment. I’m so sorry you are hurting. You are right, women are not the only ones who withhold sex. Please know you are not alone. I think many couples struggle in this area, but most won’t or don’t talk about it.
You mentioned this struggle seemed to start in the last few months. First, I would encourage you to pray for wisdom. James 1:5 God grants wisdom to those who ask.
Second, have a prayerful, open conversation with your husband about what might have changed. For some men, stress at work can have a huge impact on their libido.
Is he depressed? Has he been ill? Are you under financial strain? Is he feeling disrespected in some area of his life? Have either of you lost your jobs? It might be anything. Discuss seeing a counselor and/or doctor together, but resist the urge to blame each other.
I have a MomLife Today post planned for February 2014 that addresses this issue, as well.
Hugs and may God bless you and your marriage.
In my case, it was lack of forgiveness for the way I treated her in the first years of marriage, pride and arrogance, her own past issues with men (her father) … in a word – SIN!
I am not without guilt; just answering the question above …
Thanks so much for your honesty. I think you are so right–it all boils down to SIN, which means “Missing the mark.” We all miss the mark sometimes, don’t we? I’m so grateful we serve the God of grace.
I am trying to figure out how to relate to such articles as the opposite of the stereotype–I’m the one who is denied and declined–so often I am afraid to initiate. I turn heads, but not the one head I want to turn.
Lori, I’m so sorry that you are experiencing this. It is really difficult! But, be encouraged, knowing that it’s not uncommon for a wife to have a stronger sex drive than her husband. The fact that your husband sometimes isn’t interested in intimacy has nothing to do with what you look like. It’s much more likely to be about his being plain, old exhausted. Kay Arthur has written a great article for men and women called “When You Lose Interest in Sex,” http://www.familylife.com/articles/topics/marriage/staying-married/romance-and-sex/when-you-lose-interest-in-sex#.VGqCkfnF8rV. I think you would find it really helpful. There is another one by Dennis Rainey, called “Why Sex is So Important to Your Wife.” http://www.familylife.com/articles/topics/marriage/challenges/understanding-differences/why-sex-is-so-important-to-your-wife#.VGqCoPnF8rU
Your husband might need to be seen by his physician. Sometimes, men have physical issues of which they are completely unaware. Most often, though, they are just plain exhausted by the demands of work, along with incessant busyness and stress. I just prayed for you, and I hope you will check out these articles. You might also want to connect with a confidential, trained ementor at: http://www.familylife.com/mentoring. A wise, spiritually mature woman will reply to you. She will encourage you with prayer support and Scriptures. Blessings to you.
A great blog on a touchy issue.
I pray every night for Family Life and other organizations that have conferences to enlighten couples of all ages on marriage issues. Specifically I pray from the Bible that couples learn to love, cherish, honor, respect each other.