Raise your hand, especially you married folks, if you’d desire a strong sex life. Hands raised? I thought so, but there’s one critical question that will determine whether it is even possible – What does a strong sex life mean to your spouse?
Here is the dilemma – the church teaches that sex is for the confines of marriage, and rightly so considering many of the devastating facts and stats regarding premarital sex. Sex was created for and should be operant exclusively within marriage. The concern is that although the church teaches the proper message of abstinence before marriage–once married, how does that couple operate within it as it relates to sex? It will surely depend on what their individual thoughts are regarding sex before they said “I do.” “Missionary Position” may be all that’s needed for obtaining a strong sex life, but what if one spouse has images of activities more of an adventurous nature? Once or twice per week may be considered a strong sex life for one person, but what if their spouse’s interpretation of a strong sex life is once or twice per day?
Many Christian marriages are experiencing sexual frustration and the church has done little to nothing to address the issue. Married couples can’t be told what they should and should not do –The truth is, not much is taboo in marriage relating to sex between marital partners, however, problems arise when rules are created without conversation or consent.
For instance, Johnny has saved himself for his wedding day because he has followed the teachings of the church. Although he has followed the teachings and has abstained, he is aware of the possibilities of what can occur sexually in the marital bed. He then enters marriage with the thought – “I cannot wait for my wife to give me oral sex!”
Johnny is married to Sara; a very shy girl. Sara has been saving herself for her wedding day since she graduated college; she has had some sexual experiences in high school, however, not since then. On their wedding day, Sara just wants to lay there and allow Johnny to “handle his business.”
Neither Johnny nor Sara has ever had a conversation with the other about what sex would be like once married. Unaware of the other’s expectation, Johnny becomes frustrated that Sara will not do what he has imagined and Sara is uncomfortable with Johnny’s request, translating it as his lack of physical attraction to her.
This scenario can go on for months and even years – until one decides to intentionally communicate their sexual expectations to the other.
WHAT TO DO
As we re-think marriage I offer three challenges regarding marital sex expectations.
PRE-MARITAL SEXUAL EXPERIENCES
While in Marriage Education couples should be allowed to share, whether on paper or directly to their fiancee what their sexual experiences have been up-to-date. Giving each one the opportunity to share what sexual experiences they’ve had and enjoyed will set the platform for what each will expect to occur in marriage. Also, based upon this discussion, the two will have articulated what previous experiences they do not want to carry into marriage. This is important for the couple to clearly articulate; the raw expectations of the other before committing to the “I do’s.”
PRE-MARITAL SEXUAL NEGOTIATIONS
Once the couple has shared their past experiences and has articulated their desired future expectations– the couple can then agree or disagree on whether they will meet the other’s desired expectations. Negotiations and clear boundaries must be set during this period otherwise this too will prove a source of contention.
If the wife’s desired expectation is foreplay for a minimum of 20 minutes before intercourse – the husband needs to know this is her expectation. His willingness to agree or disagree with her expectation is necessary to ensure marital sexual communication and health.
POST MARITAL SEXUAL NEGOTIATIONS
Couples need to understand that sexual communication is necessary for a strong sexual experience. For this to occur, there are some suggestions regarding when and how to initiate these conversations.
One recommendation is that couples set a date, once per week, to discuss what worked or didn’t work during their last sexual experience. The idea of having this set as a date is to relax the two beforehand, as conversations like these can produce anxiety which often leads to arguments. Additionally, couples are more likely to not get verbally aggressive when in public with their spouse. Often times, if couples have established these types of conversations early in marriage – they become enjoyable moments even when being critiqued.
Married couples, especially Christian ones, need to cultivate better communication regarding issues relating to sex. Many affairs can be traced to the notion that, “If my wife/husband won’t do it, someone else will.” This happens but does not have to be your fate. Many frustrations can be circumvented if couples learn to properly communicate their private sexual desires with their spouse. This will, at least, eliminate the guess work out marital sex and ensures you’re a step closer to a healthier marriage.
Next week – Way #5: RE-THINK COMMUNICATION