pinned to my love board, via freshly picked
Updated editorial note: Please understand, I know that sex can be a complicated, difficult issue even if both you & your spouse are both entirely loving, selfless people in love. I get that. And my heart truly goes out to those who struggle for one reason or another, be it due to past abuses, health problems, or what not. This post is not intended to make anyone feel bad, nor to say it’s as easy as: just jump into bed with your spouse, darn it! Rather, my intention is to share some of my thoughts & experiences, & hopefully motivate other women to open themselves to the idea that sex is not a chore, but a blessing.
This is one of those posts where I’m blushing.
Because, as a Mormon (ie. socially conservative), you just don’t talk about sex.
But I’m going to.
Because it’s IMPORTANT. Sex, that is.
Call me old-fashioned, but the thing is, I absolutely believe in the power of monogamy & fidelity (which is why this article in the NY Times made me very very sad). That when those two are combined with a relationship based on love, trust, equality, communication, & commitment, sex can be the most amazing thing on earth. Really.
The other day I was in the waiting room of the doctor’s office, reading one of the many women’s mags strewn about, & one article caught my eye.
The author had been married for 25 years & was “tired of sex.” Yes, it was fun & magical when they were first married, but now, she’d rather sleep.
Her whole schpeel was that she thought for so many years that once the kids were older, once she had more energy, then she’d make time for sex, & like it. Her discovery, as she put it, is that, that didn’t happen. She didn’t like sex, and “that was okay.”
What??! (Girl, you are missing out.)
Here’s the truth: sex is “hard” when you don’t make time for it. When you think it’s hard.
If at the end of day you’ve spent every last drop of energy so that that there is nothing left for that person who is supposed to be the most important person in the world, it is hard.
It’s hard if you don’t make time to talk, to make daily & frequent positive deposits into your relationship bank. Because there is no fire in the bedroom, there’s no love & compassion outside the bedroom.
On the other hand, it’s easy if: you make time to serve each other in ways that you know would make your spouse happy & delighted. Simple, thoughtful things that only you know would make your spouse feel loved & appreciated.
For example, I know Joseph likes to be warned before I’m going to turn on the Blendtec to make a smoothie, so I try & always give him a heads up. He likes to have plenty of warning before we do things (he’s not into my “fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants” approach to life). He appreciates when I’m cheerful & happy when he comes home. These are small but significant things I can do to show love.
As for Joseph, he makes it a point to do the dishes whenever he’s able (which, we all know is one of the sexiest things a guy can do). He makes sure to always connect with me & give me a kiss before he leaves. We call each other throughout the day, even if it’s just a minute or two.
It’s easy when there’s open communication, respect. When you see sex as a way to have fun (yes, FUN!), to connect, to show your spouse how much you love him.
I don’t want to oversimplify things here–I know each marriage, each partner is unique, with their own set of health issues, emotional/mental struggles. And of course, if there’s baggage, addiction, infidelity, or if one or both spouses is just plain narcissistic & self-centered–sure all those things are going to muddle things.
Those things aside, sex doesn’t have to be the “chore” that many women see it as.
I’ve had friends over the years confide in me that they don’t “like” sex. At first, I would try hard to mask my surprise–what??! Sex is one of the funnest, best ways to connect with your spouse and, by golly, it’s FREE–why, oh why are you missing out on this, dear friend? But now I’ve realized that I don’t think this apathy of women towards sex is all that uncommon, sadly.
The lady of said article has been married for 25 years.
I’ve only been married just shy of 10, so what do I know.
But hey, I feel like if I, someone who:
1) married young (which, according to the “experts” put me in a special category of “high-risk for divorce”) & quick at that (5 week engagement)
2) have had 5 pregnancies during this time (I don’t think I need to go into detail what sort of obstacles may put a damper on the “sexy” mood–diapers, breastfeeding, morning sickness, stretch marks, sags & bags due to gaining/losing, gaining/losing)
3) have had to support a student-husband for years while I worked & managed babies & home & everything else AND all the while found it absolutely possible to have an awesome sex life, well then, I’m confident you can too.
You’re exceptional, you say. Sure, maybe (It’s true, I admit I think we’re pretty freakin’ fabulous), but I don’t think what we have is something that is just out of reach for everyone else.
I’d also even argue that one of the reasons why our marriage has stayed so strong over the years through babies, school, & financial uncertainty is because we made our intimate life an absolute priority.
Sex is an attitude.
If you see it as a chore, well it’s a chore. If you see it as a way to connect with your spouse in the most intimate of ways, that’s what it will be for you.
“But I just don’t want to!” or “I just don’t like it” you may say.
Consider this. What if your husband told you: “But I just don’t want to talk to you.” or “I just don’t like talking to you.” You would have a strong desire to smack him &/or call him any number of less than polite words, right?
But talking is not the same as sex, you say.
Well, for guys, it kinda is.
It’s not that they’re a bunch of pervs. This is how they bond, how they show love. We like to talk, they like to touch. I’m confident a marriage of the two makes for a highly satisfying sex life.
I know, it takes two to tango, but lady friends, let me tell you, unless your husband is addicted to porn (which, I’m sorry to say often ruins the sex lives of so many couples), or a complete deadbeat, it’s mostly in your ballpark to get the game going because, if you haven’t figured this important life lesson yet: men LOVE sex. It doesn’t take much convincing to get them to want to take their clothes off.
And for those of us who are from time to time insecure about our extra flesh, stretch marks, or concerned about overly curvaceous curves (or lack thereof), remember: men LOVE sex.
They are not looking at all your so-called “imperfections.”
They want YOU–all of you. When they see your unclothed body, they are absolutely not honing in on the stretch marks, the cellulite, the saggy breasts. They are thinking–woot-woot! SCORE!
Through the years of gaining/losing, gaining/losing, Joseph has never once made a comment about my weight. NEVER. And when I lost all my baby weight, did he say–I love you more now that you’re thin? Absolutely not. When I do lose all the weight, he’s only happy because I’m happy. He wants me to be healthy & to be active, but beyond that, he could care less about my size.
He has never commented on my body other than to say: you are crazy sexy.
He says that to me when I’m 140 lbs., or when I’m 9 months pregnant & 200 lbs. He says that after I’ve had the baby & my belly is saggy & stretch marks abound. Yes he’s the best husband in the world, but he’s also a guy. And when our men love us, they love US, not our bodies.
Too many of us are missing out on the best things of life–not just the actual pleasure of intimate, thoughtful sex, but of all the benefits that go with it. It’s a stress reliever. It’s one of the glues that keeps couples together. It’s a lubricant–easing so many of the frictions of life.
Is it all about the actual “act” itself?
Heaven’s no. Touching, hugging, kissing, cuddling–all of these things are so important. But don’t dismiss the importance (for YOU and HIM) of going “all the way” on a frequent basis.
(And just in case you’re wondering, I’m still blushing.)
Meg’s Good Girl Guide to Great Sex & Even Better Intimacy & 5 Reasons You Should Have Sex with Your Husband Every Day
I also recommend Dr. Laura’s The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands–a MUST read (I try to read it at least annually)
What do you find most challenging about having a fulfilling sex life? Other thoughts…Please share!