People sometimes ask if I get tired of writing about sex all the time. Not really. The topic itself is rather interesting, and I am motivated over and over again by sad stories of deep pain, wrong messages propagated about sex that harm relationships, and success stories of marriages turned around. Not to mention the humorous tales and tips I come across.
But there is one time I don’t so much enjoy writing about sex.
When I’m not having it.
I won’t go into details, but physical obstacles have recently kept my husband and me from fully engaging and enjoying our typical frequency and connection. And honestly, I just get a little cranky when that happens. Like I now know how important this aspect of our marriage is and how it both expresses and fosters our intimacy . . . and I can’t have it. It feels like looking into the window of a chocolate store and knowing I can’t take a bite.
So I’m giving myself a little pick-me-up advice today and hoping some of you could use it as well.
When You Can’t Have Sex:
(due to illness, infection, bed rest, recovery, whatever)
Spend time in recreation, conversation, and affection. Just because the sexual connection isn’t happening at the moment, that doesn’t mean you must forgo all connection. Find other ways to feel intimate — like talking, touching, flirting, playing together.
Maybe this is the perfect time to snuggle up on the couch and watch that movie you’ve been saying you’ll see together. Maybe it’s time to pull out the two-person board games. Maybe a walk through the neighborhood hand-in-hand would be good. Maybe you can do a devotional together and spend time in prayer.
Stay connected in other ways, so that when sexual intimacy gets the green light, you already feel close and ready to engage.
Be creative with sexuality. Perhaps the main course intercourse is off the sexual menu, but there are appetizers and desserts there as well. Find other sexual activities you can engage in, like intimate touching, digital manipulation, a hand job, oral sex, etc. What else is open to you?
Don’t get bogged down thinking about sex as a single activity; that is, intercourse. In fact, God created sex to encompass a wide variety of activities. They may typically culminate in intercourse, but for the time being, they don’t have to. They can be enjoyed for their own sake.
Focus on a little self-care. Whatever is causing the physical issues, a little self-care can boost overall health and the likelihood that you can return to sexual activity as soon as possible.
Treat your body with respect and care. Follow doctor’s orders, if you have any. Eat regularly and well. Exercise if you can. Get enough sleep. Take a Sabbath attitude toward your life, making sure you carve out time for rest and refreshing.
Consider if anything might be causing unnecessary stress and thus over-taxing your body, and figure out what approach you should use to deal with it. Do you need to drop something? Reprioritize? Pray for wisdom? Let go? Take care of you, so that when sex is do-able again, you feel ready to share you with him.
Pay even more attention to generosity. Generosity is a beautiful virtue to cultivate for your marriage anytime, but especially important when your mood tells you to do otherwise. So if you’re feeling cranky that it’s been a while, you need to focus that much more on attitudes of patience, grace, and giving.
Make sure you’re not allowing your physiological blues to color your perception of interactions with your husband. Continue in love, and pray for God to work that love through you each and every minute of the day. Be a safe harbor for your husband and a positive blessing to others in your life.
Let the physical issue remain physical and not take over your emotional, spiritual, and relational health. Soon, the physical problem will abate, and you’ll want to have everything else in good shape.
So that’s my personal pep talk! Hope it helped someone else out there.
What do you do to stay intimately connected when you’re unable (for whatever reason) to partake of sex in your marriage?
17 thoughts on “When I Don’t Like Writing about Sex”
I am wondering if you have any suggestions for couples who may be living apart (ie the army wife) on how to foster intimacy in the relationship while apart. Maybe another possible topic down the road!
I just wrote about that over at Warrior Wives! Here’s the link: Staying Intimately Connected While You’re Apart
Thanks I will check it out!!
Timely post since we just had a baby three weeks ago! 🙂
Congratulations! Many blessings to you and your family. 🙂
Here too! It’s making me crazy. I’m so excited about getting another chance without a pregnant belly or hormones in the way (I’ve been pregnant 9 out of the 11 months we’ve been married!). At first I found my drive blissfully gone (hello second degree tear and assorted baby trauma) but now it’s coming back. Combined with the fact I have a strong physical touch as a love language and I’m just a little bit off. Also somehow nursing in the night limits ones ability to snuggle with hubby, who knew?? I’m just feeling a tad starved for physical touch and intimacy and very excited that baby times his arrival so that our anniversary is 6 weeks from his birth. I don’t care if it hurts the first time I am very excited about just TRYING.
Second degree tear? I can’t remember what that is, but it sounds really bad. You have my sympathy.
As I remember, it does hurt that first time after you haven’t in a while (and, you know, after you pushed a BABY out of there), but take it easy, lubricate like crazy if needed, and you’ll hopefully be back on track very soon. Be sure to get that affection when you can as well. That can keep you connected and remind you two that you are still lovers as well as parents.
Congrats and many blessings!
Honestly it’s not as bad as a lot of people experience! My aunt apparently had a 3rd degree…the 2nd degree just means in addition to skin I had some muscle tearing as well. When you get to 3rd and 4th apparently that’s just SUPER horrid. I honestly think the tearing was less painful than the stitching up afterward.
I have a great husband so I have been very open about my need for extra touching right now and he has been so good and loving. But I know we are both excited to use more than our hands. 😉 I think in addition to the fact it’ll have been awhile since we did IT the healing from the tear/stitches may be a little tighter and tender at first so we will definitely use lots of lube and he has been very eager to prove how slow and gentle he can be (thinks he can eliminate all pain, I’m not so sure hah!). I think someone suggested doing some stretching with fingers prior to the main event and that could help. Sounds like wedding night all over again to me haha!
This sounds so familiar! I hope you heal up soon!
Great post and very good advice. I especially like the reminder about self-care, as that is near and dear to my heart. My hubby has been sick on and off for two weeks, so I can feel your pain.
Yuck! Hope your hubby is feeling 100% very soon! Take care of both of you. 🙂
I hope you and Spock are okay!
Thanks so much! We’re fine. Frustrations temporary, love everlasting. 🙂
Hear hear! I’m almost eight months pregnant, which is wonderful, but it is requiring creativity.
Me, too! Baby is due any day and we’ve had quite an adventure doing our “homework” to help move things along. Pregnancy has offered its fair share of challenges in intimacy, but the results have been highly rewarding to our marriage! I encourage anyone in the same position to keep trying and get creative!
Thanks J! Timely for us as well, as I am at the tail end of recovery after a hysterectomy. Had to wait 8 weeks initially after surgery, and we are still getting used to the new me together.
I found we talked more, and cuddled/snuggled more during that time. Physically it would have been too difficult (and exhausting!) to do anything else.
So important to stay connected, no matter how you do it 🙂
Encouraging! My husband was just diagnosed with testicular cancer and had a mass removed in the left test. It has been hard as we both are use to cuddling being close. The generosity spoke volumes as I have noticed in my own process I withdraw with lack of intamacy. He has always been the driving force and blessing in our lives, now it gets to be my turn.
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