What’s the real truth about married sex?
Many couples get married believing they know everything there is to know about intimacy in marriage. Others treat married sex like a child in a candy store – a play-field of easy delectable options.
But the truth is, even what we think we know (or don’t know) is tested and proven through the lens of reality.
If you want to improve your sex life, you have to be ready to learn and unlearn a few things.
Today, we are going to “switch on the lights” so we can see the truth that helps us and kick out the lies that hurt us.
Sex is fun and deeply fulfilling but only when we understand what makes it tick.
Without further ado, let’s lay out the truth..
14 Important Truths About Married Sex
1. Just because you are married doesn’t mean the sex is great
As a single woman, I thought all married couples were s-experts.
Then I got married and discovered I was wrong: the wedding ring doesn’t come with automatic sexual endowments.
To understand how sex works (so you can enjoy it), spouses must become students of one another. They must learn new things and unlearn old ways.
Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t fancy going back to school. Humility in marriage, the willingness to learn and adapt, is hard.
Further, even those who sign up for the “intimacy improvement class” must enroll for a lifetime. Not easy for those who prefer quick gains.
Now, this truth about married sex ought to bless every newlywed couple as they realize no one has it figured out. We are all working towards deeper intimacy.Married sex is fun and deeply fulfilling but only when we understand what makes it tick.
2. Selfish sex – intimacy will show you out
Married sex shows us out. The practice of intimacy reveals how far we are willing to go when there’s nothing in it for us (at least, in the short term.)
For example, a husband who doesn’t need a lot of foreplay or a wife who wants to stick to the “tried and true” bedroom repertoire – how far they are willing to go for the sake of their spouse reveals their general attitude in marriage.
It reveals if they are givers or self-focused. If you are wondering about your level of giving in marriage, consider these two questions.
- Is my spouse’s pleasure as important as my own?
- What am I willing to forego, even temporarily, so sex can be more fun for my spouse?
3. How often should a married couple make love?
Great sex is seasonal. And that’s okay. No, I am not proposing settling for an average sex life but married people need to be a little less idealistic and more realistic.
A healthy sex life is the result of a healthy relationship overall. Because of the connection between the bedroom and the rest of life, we should expect ups and downs. Because life has ups and downs.
We all go through seasons of labor and seasons of rest. Seasons of honeymoon and long stretches of reality checks. Periods of newborn babies, staying up all night, and the long years of empty-nesting. Times of building a career or starting a business and periods of establishment.
So don’t lose hope because of a “down” season. Sometimes there’s nothing you can do about it other than riding it out.
Keep making an effort, even when it feels pitiful compared to past seasons of grandness. Your intentionality still counts for something.
4. What you tell yourself about your married sex life matters
Our upbringing, relationships, sexual experiences with other people before marriage (or with our spouse before marriage), trauma, culture and subculture, religious beliefs, life experiences; they all shape the story we tell ourselves about marriage and intimacy.
Never think, “I am my own woman.” That you are not under any influences.
Instead, prayerfully consider areas of growth, change, confession, or healing. There’s always room for growth in marriage.
5. Sexual experience outside marriage takes away from healthy experience inside marriage
Sexual intimacy is a relationship between two people, not merely a joining of two bodies. The truth is, we can be “experts” of the sexual act with other people but complete novices of sex with our spouses.
Married sex is a whole-relationship affair. You have to connect with this one person emotionally, spiritually, mentally, physically, socially to achieve that one-fleshness we all crave.
In that sense, great intimacy doesn’t begin on the marriage bed, but further out – at the doorstep of a relationship.
I am not knocking on the person with sexual experience outside of marriage.
I just want you to be aware that consensual sex outside of marriage is casual and recreational, and you have to make adjustments once married because married sex requires more than what you’ve been used to giving.
6. Your wedding night is not the best sex you’ll ever have
When you are learning how to bake, your first batch of cookies is not the best batch you will ever make.
The first few times you go to the gym will not be your training heydays.
When you are trying to change your diet, the first spoonful of a healthier lifestyle will not taste like the best food you ever ate.
The point? The first time is rarely the best.
It gets more satisfying. More fun. Wondrous. Deeper.
With time and practice.
As you keep working on it.Sexual intimacy is a relationship between two people, not merely a joining of two bodies. The truth is, we can be “experts” of the sexual act with other people but complete novices of sex with our spouses.
7. Sex isn’t just for the husbands but that makes it harder than we think
Times have changed, and many Christian wives now embrace the idea that sex is for them too. They are meant to enjoy, not endure sexual intimacy.
But even as wives praise the new truth about married sex, they are yet to understand its full meaning.
You see, there’s responsibility that comes with sexual enjoyment. As wives, we now have to figure out what pleasurable sex means for us. We have to discover and communicate what we want in bed.
We can’t push the sex chore on to our husbands and hope he’ll figure it out for us. We have to educate them. But we can’t if we don’t know.
So, in the end, awareness has brought new responsibilities, and some wives are just wondering if ignorance wasn’t more blissful.
But now we know.
Our husbands can’t switch us on. We own and control the switch.
8. Good sex can get in the way of better sex
Sometimes we don’t change because we are still married to an old image of ourselves.
My husband and I moved to the United States from Kenya, eight years ago. For years after our move, my mind continued to wake up in Kenya even as my body was firmly in America.
It was a strange experience, rising from sleep,with the sights, sounds, and tastes of my home country playing in my mind. Only to open my eyes and realize I was elsewhere.
A lot of us are like that in marriage. The marriage we have today is different from the marriage we had yesterday.
But unlike me who had to wake up, we have refused to wake and adjust to our reality.
We keep dreaming about the days gone by, relishing the sights and sounds of a life long gone, longing for when things were different.
Meanwhile, our marriage and intimacy are begging for us to wake up to our immediate sexual reality.
It’s been years since our relocation, and my mind has adapted to being in America. I don’t agonize every morning. Time, prayer, allowing myself to grieve, growing, adapting – they all helped me welcome a new reality. And my brain switched.
A crucial truth about married sex: intimacy is a journey. Those who enjoy the ride are learners. They are continually adapting and deploying new knowledge so their relationship can thrive.
Here are four questions to help assess your sexual reality.
1. What do you need to wake up from? (for example, obsessions, past hurts, good times that are getting in the way of current times, immaturity, self-focus)
2. What do you need to let go of? (for example, who do I need to forgive? What habit do I need to let go? What secrets am I keeping from my spouse? What sexual acts make my spouse uncomfortable, and how do we talk about it in a healthy way?)
3. What do you need to embrace? (New habits, mindset shifts, new values, new sex routines)
4. What one step can you take today? (Pick a new book, set an appointment to talk to a trusted friend/counselor about a porn habit, confess/apologize to my spouse)
9. Married sex problems and hope
Have you ever had a glorious season of marriage where everything felt amazing: you were able to set aside selfishness and really work on serving your spouse – all the while the rest of your life was going bonkers?
Looking back, you wonder how you were still happy, still holding it together, despite the difficulties you were facing as a couple.
I like to look at such seasons as God’s mercy revealed.
He blesses us despite us to remind us to trust Him.
His present kindness offers hope for other difficult times ahead. It also teaches us to trust in His goodness: He is not limited by problems. And neither should we.
10. “Noticing” someone of the opposite sex isn’t the same as committing sexual sin
As spouses, we must accept the fact that we live in a world with other people in it. We are not an island.
So in the course of living life and going about our daily business, we will routinely and actively contend for our vows.
And there’s no shame in that. I mean, that’s why we took vows, right? They were not fancy words on a piece of paper but also a reminder to watch for threats to exclusivity.
And so we must keep watch. And remember this “watching” aka fighting for our holy union, isn’t something to be ashamed of.
Don’t feel guilty because you had to remind yourself you are married. Don’t be guilt-ridden when someone makes a pass and you have to steer your thoughts away from them.
Spouses who want to be faithful feel all sorts of guilt and shame when they are tempted. But they shouldn’t. In fact, shame and guilt are the worst motivators for change.Are you married but tempted by sexual sin? Shame and guilt are the worst motivators for change. Here's what to do instead
Truth, however, sets you free and allows you to contend for your vows from a place of strength and confidence.
So remember this truth – noticing isn’t a sin. Dwelling, making sexual remarks, fanning attraction, lingering – those go beyond seeing, and those are sinful.
Here’s what I mean.
It’s one thing to see a person (because you have eyes) or feel a stir (because someone was kinder or paid attention, for example) But it’s quite another to pause, linger, engage, pursue or fan those feelings and thoughts.
Read the following posts for further insights:
11. How often should a couple make love?
Sex shouldn’t be the glue that holds a marriage together
Because you married a person to love, a person to do life with, (vs. a body to have sex with.) While sex is beautiful, feeding the connection between husband and wife, an overall healthy marriage is built on more than one part.
It’s built on the whole. Commitment to the entire marriage, not just some parts of it.
Maybe if we stop believing “sex is the glue of marriage”
– We’d develop the necessary bandwidth to address intimacy issues. Because confident, hopeful people are more likely to roll up their sleeves and work on challenges than discouraged guilt-ridden people.
– We’d be able to love, serve, laugh, go on dates even if we haven’t been intimate in like two months—no need for all of the marriage to suffer because one part is struggling.
– We’d stop defining ourselves by the frequency of our bedroom interactions because we know we are more than our sex lives.
Undeniably, intimacy in marriage is beautiful. Soul shaping. Heart binding. But overall, commitment to the whole marriage, not just parts of it, is what great marriages are made of.
PS: I am not talking about celebrating gatekeeping. Just proposing a healthier view when intimacy can be a challenge (e.g. in illness, trauma, seasons of stress, difficult pregnancy etc.)
12. God heals all wounds, including sexual wounds
Have you been abused? Assaulted? Harassed? God has made provision for recovery and healing. He rewrites stories and gives endings we never thought possible.
The terror that was meant to break us can stop breaking us.
Granted, we are not assured happy healed feelings. Sometimes we won’t see what we want to see on this side of eternity.
But we can stop being defined by the hurt and pain because the presence of suffering doesn’t mean the absence of God. Where God is, there is comfort and victory.
Read the following posts for further insights:
13. A sexless marriage is unfair
I get emails from women who don’t like sex any more, for different reasons.
But if we are serious about cultivating a happy marriage, at some point, we have to stop focusing on where we got hurt or disappointed and start focusing on where we want to go.
We have to invest in where we want to go, not just talk about what we don’t like.Married sex: We have to invest in where we want to go, not just talk about what we don't like
You see, you are the only sexual option your spouse has: it’s unfair to not even try to get the help you need.
Which brings me to this amazing truth about married sex
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14. Married sex can be a whole lot of fun!
Are you tired of not wanting sex? Perhaps confused because sex is the one the area you never measure up?
I have good news for you. You can change. Your sex life can become pleasurable again.
And it all starts with understanding how you are wired for it all and putting a few things into practice.
Sheila Gregoire, a bloggy friend of mine, has a fabulous resource, Boost Your Libido ecourse.
It’s an online course that teaches wives how to move their marriages from Blah to blazing, just by understanding how our brains, bodies, and relationships all work together to impact our libido!
The course is super practical, and Sheila is hilarious.
And she endeavors to help us understand that intimacy is God’s idea. That He’s generous and knowing how He wired us for intimacy helps us thrive in marriage, as He intended.
Boost Your Libido is enjoyable, filled with practical assignments that can help you see immediate results.
You don’t have to wait until you finish the course to start your libido revving up and your intimacy rocking.
Married sex can be amazing! In summary, here are the 14 things every couple should know so their intimacy can thrive.
1. The wedding ring doesn’t come with automatic sexual skills.
2. Your sex life will reveal if you are selfish or giving.
3. Great sex is seasonal and that’s okay.
4. The story you tell yourself about your sex life matters.
5. We can be “experts” of the sexual act with other people but complete novices of sex with our spouses.
6. Wedding night sex is not the best sex you’ll ever have.
7. Sexual enjoyment comes with responsibility.
8. Spouses who enjoy sex are learners
9. Sexual problems? There’s hope!
10. “Noticing” isn’t a sin.
11. Sex is not the glue that holds a marriage together.
12. God heals
13. A sexless marriage is unfair
And those are my top 14 thoughts on how to improve your sex life!
Your turn – What did I leave out? Which thought resonated the most? Let me know in Comments