From time to time — in personal conversation, through my blog, or on Twitter — I hear of spouses who are completely blowing it in the area of marital intimacy. I’m not talking about the spouse whose approach or skills could use tweaking. I’m talking about that selfish husband or wife whose actions are destroying the feelings of the other when it comes to bedroom relations.
And while I generally subscribe to non-violence, some of you, to be honest, I want to slap. Seeing that I can’t actually reach my hand through the Internet, find your face, and deliver a personal wake-up call — not to mention that I really am not that kind of person — I’m merely going to describe some types who are not helping their sex lives.
Pound Counters. Those of you keenly aware that your wife weighs 17 pounds more post-childbirth than when she was leading an aerobics class back in the day and remind her often, stop it. (And all of you whose wives weigh 50 pounds more than they used to, but you knew she had never done a sit-up in her life.) As long as you nag her about her weight, she is very unlikely to feel worth the effort to exercise, dress up, and strut into the bedroom for intimate times. Honestly, what beauty contestant would sleep with the judge who gave her the lowest score? I know this happens with wives judging men as well, but I hear more often from wives feeling that they aren’t pretty enough. And being told that they aren’t pretty enough.
What can you do instead? Tell her she’s beautiful to you, over and over. Find something to compliment — even it’s her eyes. Take her shopping for attractive clothing or lingerie. When you have built up her confidence and remembered why you thought she was so hot to begin with, you can suggest exercising or taking a healthy cooking class together for your mutual health.
Barterers. A barterer is that person who conveys something like: If you build a shed in the backyard, watch the children for two hours, go quilt shopping with me, and give me a 30-minute back rub, I suppose I will open my legs a few inches so you can have sex with me. Really? You are making it clear that you do not want to engage in physical intimacy with your spouse and will only do so if he kowtows to your demands. You are putting yourself in the princess throne and expecting your subject to slay the dragon, save the villagers, and bring you the golden crown before you’ll acquiesce to his request to spend time with you.
God intended sex to be a mutually intimate act. That means that you need to willingly engage in sexual intimacy with your spouse, without all the strings that make your honey feel more like a marionette than a treasured partner.
Porn Junkies. Be assured: Not all men look at porn, no matter how much you tell yourself otherwise. There are plenty of men whose view of naked females includes only their wife and their infant daughter during diaper changes. Fess up to what you are really doing — paying women to titillate you. Porn models and actresses are compensated to pose and portray; they love the dollars in your pocket. Your wife is not paid to be intimate with you; she loves you.
Engaging in pornography imprints a perspective of sex that damages your marital relationship. Physical intimacy is not supposed to occur in quick bursts of increasing arousal in which there is no relational connection between the parties. That is the antithesis of what God provided.
Moreover, a husband engaging with porn negatively affects his wife. When you look at these images and make sex about your private arousal, you communicate that she cannot turn you on and isn’t worth the time to try. Many women experience terrible body image issues because their husband is always looking at gorgeous naked women instead. They feel they can’t compete and often lose interest in trying. Which becomes a vicious cycle because the husband may view more pornography when his marital sex life is lacking.
Sex Withholders. If you withhold sex every time that you feel the slightest bit tired, unnerved, miffed, not-in-the-mood, or just “off,” you make it impossible to have a quality sex life in your marriage. If you can count the number of times you’ve had sex in the last six months on one hand, that is a big problem. If you are waiting for ideal conditions to engage in intimacy with your spouse, you are causing both of you to miss out on God’s design for your marriage.
Unfortunately, one of the common themes Christian sex bloggers see is from husbands wondering how to convince their wives that once a month or so isn’t enough or how to get them to enjoy sex with them. Ladies, the truth is that if you rarely have sex, it probably won’t feel good because you need some built-up elasticity for your body to respond favorably; otherwise, it’s like taking a high-energy aerobics class every six months and wondering why you’re sore after every time.
If you don’t enjoy sex or have problems in your marital relationship that are causing you to withhold, address them! Talk to your doctor. Talk to a counselor. Talk to your pastor. (See my Pain & Pleasure post on pain in intercourse, if you’ve having that problem.) But stop wondering why your hubby’s tongue is hanging out at you every time you undress; he’s like a dog who hasn’t had a drink in days, so no wonder he’s panting.
I don’t really want to slap any of you. Of course not! I pray for the marriages of my readers.
I do, however, want to convince you to follow the Golden Rule. It’s a great way to approach life: “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12).
Think about how your choices impact your spouse. Do you communicate genuine love for them? Are your choices selfish and rationalized? Do you need a wake-up call? Or will you wake yourself up and start loving the person you are committed to with the respect and care we all desire?