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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Harris

Sex and Intimacy, Part Four (Let's Get Practical)

In a highly sexualized culture, you may be surprised at how little married couples are actually having sex. And while we are busy and we have many demands made of us and many distractions in our faces, I have a theory. I don’t think busy-ness is the root cause for lack of sex. I think it can be traced back to shame and guilt and lack of communication.

How comfortable are you bringing God into your sex life? Do you pray about your sex life? If it feels uncomfortable or awkward to bring Him in, you need to look at where in your life are issues of guilt and shame. Get therapy if needed.

How often do you discuss your sexual health and happiness with your spouse?

Many couples desire more sex. But they do not know how to get it, or how to talk about it. So, let’s examine some barriers that stand in our way.

Barriers to Sex

Cultural messages- Don’t assume that the messages you are fed from media are accurate for your spouse. Do not run on assumptions. Have an open and honest conversation with your spouse about their sexual needs and how you can best fulfill them.

Connection- Sit down on Sundays and plan out your week together. Take in the big picture of what your week looks like. If there is not adequate time to connect or have a date night, you need to eliminate commitments. Connect outside of the bedroom and watch your connection in the bedroom grow. Schedule regular date nights, nights away, and if possible one trip a year!

Serve selflessly- Do you know what your spouse likes/doesn’t like? Do you make sex all about you or do you make sure that your spouse if experiencing pleasure? Have a conversation outside the bedroom.

Communicate- Communication leads to connection which leads to greater intimacy. Provide a safe place to get real with one another. Work through hurt, baggage, expectations, grief, trauma and any other factors impacting your marriage. And DO NOT WAIT until things have fallen apart to seek help. Seek help at THE FIRST RED FLAG. Additionally, communicate about sex outside of the bedroom. No one likes a performance review in bed.

Sexpectations Have you ever slowed down enough to examine what you are truly expecting out of sex? Do you know you spouse’s expectations? Communicate about these. Unvoiced expectations cannot be met! This only causes resentment. And that is on you. Your spouse is not a mind reader.

Incomplete picture of sex- If you believe that sex can be compartmentalized into a physical act alone, you are deceiving yourself. Sex is physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Men, it is a double standard if you get upset with your wife withholding sex while you are withholding emotional and spiritual intimacy. Make sure you have a full and complete understanding of sex. Don’t just get naked physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well.

Crazy cycle- If you are stuck in a crazy cycle (communication spirals into the negative) please get help. The most mature spouse gets to go first. Husbands, make sure you are constantly pursuing your wives. Wives, make sure you are constantly affirming your husbands. Men need respect, women need love. Wives, you are to submit (bridled strength, knowing when to be assertive and when to hold back) to their husbands and husbands are to love as Christ loved the Church. He died for the Church, by the way. When both spouses are living this out, marital issues will be greatly decreased.

Division of household labor- These days many wives work yet they carry the emotional load and household load for the family. Men, have you heard of Chore-play? That’s right. Get down and dirty folding clothes, cleaning the kitchen, scrubbing those toilets and you may be amazed at how your wife wants to reward you. But in all seriousness, discuss the division of labor. Invest in a house cleaner if possible. Divide and conquer and celebrate together.

Lack of self-care-You don’t need to have the perfect body. But you do need to be a good steward of your body and of your health. Exercise gives you energy. Studies actually show that you and your spouse will most likely have really great sex after you have exercised together. Pay attention to what foods make you feel good and which make you feel gross. Eat what makes you feel good in the long run! And don’t over-eat on date night! That can be a sex-killer for sure. Invest in your health. You are worth it. Women, especially, take inventory of what makes you feel good and in the mood.

Stress- Again, if your calendar does not allow you to connect with your spouse, your priorities are out of place. Prioritize, delegate, set healthy boundaries. Take care of your health. Eat healthy. Exercise. Get enough sleep. Schedule sex. This allows you to get your mind in the game.

Guard your eyes- This is for men AND women. We tend to label porn as a man’s problem. It isn’t only a problem for men. If you consume porn, don’t wait to get help. Also, be careful of what your eyes take in. It means the world to your wife when you look away from inappropriate scenes on TV or your phone, and instead look at her and tell her how much you love her. Women, do you need to un-follow some people on your FB or IG feeds? Porn and social media train us to be unsatisfied. Put up safeguards. Get help-now.

Lack of frequency- The more you do it, the more you want it. Don’t believe me? Challenge your spouse to a 7 day, 30 day or even 60 day challenge!

Fear of rejection- If you turn your spouse down, be gentle. Try something like “Oh honey, I love you so much. And I really want to be close to you. You know how crazy today has been. Can we re-schedule for tomorrow morning?” Don’t say no, just say “Yes, we can. How about at this time?” Then follow through.

Lack of non-sexual touch- Your wife needs non-sexual touch. If she squirms away from you, it may be because she always feels pressure to perform sexually. Be generous with non-sexual touch out of love, not expectations.

Lack of respect- While wives want to feel respected, this need for respect is paramount for men. Our emotions impact our sex drive. Show your husband he is respected. It will go a long way.

Lack of cherishing- Show your wife she is cherished. Ask her specific things that make her feel loved, cherished, and adored. It will go a long way!

Cultural tells us that sex should be hot and steamy and spontaneous at all times. However, intimacy is built through being intentional and prioritizing one another.

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