What can a wife focus on to strengthen sexual intimacy with her husband?
I am trying to write around monthly topics, and this month we are journeying through sex and intimacy.
We started with Dear Christians, Let’s Talk About Sex where we explored misconceptions around sex and how to overcome them.
Then last week we looked as 6 things a wife can do when her husband has low libido –> When Your Husband Has a Lower Sex Drive.
Today I want to look at priorities; specifically my priorities as a wife* when it comes to building sexual intimacy with my husband because sex was such a hot-spot in our early years.
We haven’t “arrived.” We’re still a work in progress and are always nurturing our sexual connection.
I hope to encourage the wife who is going through similar bumps and angst, and hopefully point her to a more serene place.
When you are newlywed, you have a lot of unique expectations as far as sex is concerned. Many new wives expect sex to be off the charts.
And for many couples, sex is fabulous, right out of the gate. For others, sexual intimacy isn’t amazing and in this post, I share reasons why. If you are struggling sexually, also check out the following resources by Sheila Gregoire (affiliate links.)
- The Great Sex Rescue
- The Good Girls Guide to Great Sex
- The Good Guys Guide to Great Sex
- Boost Your Libido course
For many wives, some of the surprises happen due to high expectations i.e hoping that all sexual encounters in marriage will be sizzling-burning-hot every.single.time. And getting disappointed when sex doesn’t feel amazing all the time.
We hear “come up with ideas to keep the fires burning,” and conjure wild acrobatics and spice to have what is considered a great sex life.
What I am about to share today is my focus and what has worked for me and le hubs. In no way am I saying our way is the only way.
However, I hope to encourage the wife who feels like she’s chasing shadows; she likes what they have, (very important to have this baseline!) thinks it could be better, and they are working at it.
But she’s worried they’ll never get there or have what is considered “a great sex life.”
Tommy and I will be celebrating ten years of marriage next year, and we’ve seen and done a lot in our few years of marriage.
In the early days, I was troubled with the mechanics of sex. I worried easily when it seemed like some guru advice didn’t jive with our marriage. After all, what did I know, being so young in marriage.
But between year six and year eight, I started to breathe. Like, relax and accept my lot; aka figuring out ways to be hot and spicy our way. Not some guru way.
So here are four things I now focus on to build sexual intimacy with my husband.
1. Our whole marriage
The best sex flows out of a healthy marriage. What you are outside the bedroom is what you bring to the bedroom.The best sex flows out of a healthy marriage. What you are outside the bedroom is what you bring to the bedroom.
There’s no shortcut; if you can’t spare a few minutes to regulate, heal and address individual issues, there’s no use investing money on that fancy piece of lingerie to rocket the sex. Sex does not make up for poor ways of relating.
Certainly, sometimes a good tumble between two empathetic healthy spouses can smoothen communication because it can knock down barriers and increase goodwill. But “make-up sex” should not be the go-to path to normalize communication.
I have learned that the more I invest in growing a healthy marriage overall, the more healthy our sex life. So when the days slide by without a single sexual encounter and instead of panicking, I consider the rest of the marriage: are we still friends? Are we still talking, laughing, growing?
After that, we can figure what needs to be adjusted or addressed.
There are specific things I pray for when I pray for our intimacy and one of them is my libido. Based on how the day went, making love can be a faith project. Not because I don’t want to, but because I don’t always feel like. (And it’s okay to not engage in sexual activity if you don’t feel like. Sometimes I don’t, sometimes we just cuddle and fall asleep. There’s absolutely no pressure here. I just like to explore the layers behind feelings.)
I can talk to God right there, connect to myself and explore my feelings. If I choose to have sex and lovemaking ends up not being so starry, it no longer throws me off.
3. Sexual intimacy with husband and normalcy
As a new bride I thought I had to keep everything on the up and up. I had tonnes of sexual intimacy ideas, from reading and research. Some of my ideas worked great but others backfired, rather spectacularly; I got very discouraged.
In the last few years, I have learned to absolutely love normalcy. I know “business as usual” sounds like terrible sex advice. But I am sharing from a few years of chasing shadows.
Seriously, there’s something sweet and powerful about having some routine. While out-of-the-ordinary is superb, it’s not always sustainable. Plus it’s easy to lose the joy and fun in marriage if the only time we feel good about our sexual intimacy is when we aim for the stars.
Many couples have their trusty repertoire; something they fall back to; he knows where to touch to make you sing, you know what to do to make him purr.
Couples need that go-to plan, where they don’t have to overthink things. It’s that kind of ordinary stuff that makes for a great marriage.
4. Fun and friendship
Being able to laugh together in the bedroom and not take ourselves so seriously is amazing. An example.
My husband and I don’t consider ourselves officially old, (although we are nine years older) but in the last two or so years, we’ve discovered creaks in our bodies that didn’t exist nine years ago!
These strains, which tend to show up at the oddest moments have made for fun surprises and entertaining afterglows. Instead of grieving the loss of suppleness and dexterity we are learning to laugh and enjoy who we are today.
Genesis 2:25 talks about Adam and his wife Eve, being naked and unashamed “Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame.”
For most couples, this level of vulnerability and depth is a journey, not an immediate endowment right after “I do.” Or better put – closeness gets better with time when you work at it.
My point? If you invest in building a good friendship, lovemaking can become a fun adventure. You laugh about tumbling off the bed, for example, instead of fussing at your eagerness. You savor the crests as well as the valleys because you now understand your relationship is deeper than physical.
And while you still relish sexual intimacy, your whole love story, the mingling of hearts and tears and moments and life is too big of a story to be sliced up and divided into sections.
So those are the four things I focus on for better intimacy with my husband. Here are three things I don’t focus on.
1. The latest/expensive fad
Nothing wrong with the latest and expensive (as long as it’s God-honoring, which will = spouse-valuing. See What Is Permissible in The Married Christian Bed?). I am all for that. But not everyone can afford luxuries.
So I don’t feel like I am missing out in our love life when I can’t splurge on the latest intimacy conference, or fancy candles or edible underwear. These are nice (if you fancy them) but they probably fall in the category of aids and spice, not necessities.
2. Things that add no joy
I am all for stretching ourselves and adding a little spice but what I don’t focus on? Things that bring me (or him) no joy. Or cause excessive discomfort. We try new things, but we don’t park there (like never) if it’s not working.
3. The 3rd party
Tommy and I were talking about sex toys the other day. (If you and your husband use sex toys, the following is not judgment, just our reasoning.)
The natural progression of sex toys can be “I need the toy to sustain this excitement” not “I want more of my spouse.”
In other words, instead of depending on our real human spouse for intimacy, we can start to depend on toys for those levels of pleasure. A penis-shaped battery-powered toy can do things that my husband can’t do. It will last forever, keep its “erectness,” and provide us zero need for connection.
Toys won’t help me connect to my spouse; they can set up an expectation he can’t meet. My husband and I like to err on the side of caution and that’s why we don’t use sex toys.
And these are my four “dos’ and three “do not’s” of healthy sexual intimacy with my husband. Anything you can add?
The longer I am married, the more I discover new areas to be less-uptight about. I don’t know about you, but there’s a ton of things to evaluate and figure if they are helpful to our marriage or just stressing us out.
Today’s post is one such where I hope to encourage you to breathe a little…a great marriage isn’t all that complicated. You don’t have to do it all to have a great sex life.
The healthiest happiest couples are often the most normal! Stretch a little bit, get out of your comfort zone sometime, but for the sake of your marriage and sanity, don’t be all bent out of shape, chasing unrealistic sexual goals.
*Though I’m writing from my own perspective as a wife, my husband and I share the same views.