Last Thursday, I talked about the importance of having friends who support your marriage and sexual intimacy, along with tips for finding such friends.
I received some respectful push-back from husbands concerned about wives sharing information about their sexual intimacy with others. Wouldn’t that make a hubby uncomfortable to have his sex life discussed with other women?
That seemed a reasonable line of inquiry to me. What am I talking about when I say wives should chat about their marriage and sexual intimacy? What sex topics are okay in friendship circles? What should you share about your sex life with friends?
Keep the truly private stuff private. In these days of people posting their most intimate information on social media sites, revealing their bodies at the click of a camera, and song lyrics and books and TV shows and movies giving details on any and every sexual act imaginable…well, it can seem like sharing what happens in your marriage bed with a close friend is no big deal. But it is.
Details about specific sexual acts, the unfolding of a particular scene between you and your husband, and descriptions of his private body parts should get “bleeped out” of conversations with others. You don’t need to get all that specific with a friend to discuss issues such as your difficulty achieving arousal, low or high sex drive, finding time to make love, dealing with the interruptions of children, etc.
Your marriage bed is a private, intimate place. Even with all I talk about sex here, I honestly believe people do not know what my marital intimacy looks like. Nor do my closest friends. They can’t picture it in detail, because the specifics of what happens in my bedroom remain between my husband and me. So keep the truly private stuff private.
Treat his body with modesty. True story: A friend of mine once gave me a pretty good idea of her husband’s penis size. My next interaction with this man was a little uncomfortable for me, because her words popped into my head unbidden. Of course, he had no idea his wife had shared that information. My point? I soooo did not need to know that.
Nor do any of your friends need, or want, to hear what his private parts look like. If he shows some body part only to you, keep it to yourself. You can’t un-say those things. If you must describe something specific about him to deal with a physical issue, talk to a doctor.
Remember that the Bible prescribes treating our bodies with proper care and modesty. In fact, in 1 Corinthians 12, the apostle Paul compares the church to the body. Although the point of that passage is the unity of the church, he states as a given that we treat our private parts with more modesty (“…and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require.“ v. 23b-24a, RSV). You owe it to your husband to protect his modesty by sharing only what you need to share, not chit-chatting about his body parts. Give him the same care you’d want given to you.
Focus on your own challenges. Have you ever listened to a husband-bashing rant session? What tends to happen is all the focus is on him. “He never listens. He makes a mess. He drives me crazy. He is a selfish pig. Blah, blah, blah . . . him, him, him.” If you treat every problem in your marriage like it’s his fault, you’re engaging in rants with friends, not conversation meant to encourage godly counsel.
Focus on yourself and what you can do to improve sexual intimacy in your marriage. It can be tempting to rant about how “he wants sex all the time” and “what is his problem?” and “doesn’t he understand I can’t get turned on at the drop of a hat?” and so on and so on. However, if you and your friends want the best for your marriage, you need to give enough information about your husband to illuminate the issue so you can figure out what you can do next. After all, you’re the only person you can control here.
When I speak with one of my friends, the focus is on my struggle with the issue. Yes, it could be that my husband is messing up, but then the question would still be What do I do with that? I’m not discussing the topic to rant and feel better about myself, but to figure out what to do with the issue and thus improve my marriage.
Remember it’s heart, mind, and body. Yes, I’ve benefited from hearing specific tips about things you can do in the marital bedroom, and I wrote a book (Sex Savvy) that includes detailed tips on improving sex in marriage. It can be wonderful to have a friend suggest a body-focused tip or technique to include in your marriage bed, such as a position you haven’t tried or a personal lubricant you haven’t used.
But sex is more than physical, and where many of us wives struggle is the heart and the mind. Thus, a majority of my conversations with women about sex have been about how to approach the marriage bed with the right attitude. Many wives are trying to figure out what’s okay and what’s not, how to make sex feel good when they grew up thinking it was bad, why their libido isn’t as strong as they — or perhaps their husbands — want it to be, how to understand their husbands’ sex drive, and the like.
I suspect those are the conversations with friends many of us wives need to have. We need the counsel and encouragement of other godly women who can enlighten, inform, encourage, and exhort us to follow God’s design for marriage.
So talk about sex with godly friends, but remember to be respectful of your husband. A test I’ve given myself is: How would my husband feel about this if he heard a recording of the whole conversation after all was said and done? For instance, say I struggled with an issue and chatted with my best friend about it and she helped me figure out a better approach and I worked on that for a while and then the conversation was eventually played back to my husband, would he be okay with my sharing? Or would he object?
Actually, my own husband knows about these friends and my discussions. I often share things we’ve said, and he trusts me to handle the issue with discretion and respect (and humor — because he knows me). I pray that you and your husband have the kind of relationship in which you can seek godly counsel from others and know these issues will be handled with kindness and care.
10 thoughts on “What Should You Share about Your Sex Life with Friends?”
I think those are great guidelines for discussing marital issues in general. To me, when we talk about any issue related to our husband or our marriage, we should balance discretion with respectful honesty.
And yeah…I’ve also had a friend joke about her husband’s…size…and it’s awkward. If you wouldn’t want your husband chatting about your breast size, than you can show the same courtesy and not discuss his penis either.
As a man, I had to think about this. I know that my wife has talked to one of her friends about sex, and I know her friend has shared about issues she is having in her marriage. But I don’t believe my wife shares. I don’t have an issue with her talking; in fact, for my wife it would be a good idea. At the same time, I completely agree with your guidelines here. Her friend doesn’t need to know specifics of my body (shape, size, etc.). What can come from the discussions, and you nailed it J, is support and perhaps some direction to work on issues within our marriage bed.
This was a nice response to last week’s post and responses. This is a subject which men and women approach from very different positions.
I believe that most women do not understand how easy it is to appear disrespectful to their husband. Some men, no matter how “macho” they may appear might well be very sensitive inside.
A good exercise is to ask your husband what communicates respect and honor to him. It may surprise some of your fans how different we each feel about respect in the smallest forms.
You’re picture of the “recording” for your husband is good. Another suggestion is to ask how would he respond if he was in the same room?
You do a great job with a difficult subject set.
Thanks — Jerry Stumpf
Interesting thought, Jerry. But I do think the hubby would be uncomfortable in the same room and I couldn’t talk as freely as I do with my close friends. Not because I’m disrespectful to him, but because my mode of communication in that circumstance is different and he might read small things differently in the moment than he would seeing the big picture later. Does that make sense?
But yes, I think we wives should be acutely aware of how important respect it to husbands and how we can convey it.
Great article. I agree that sometimes when women are around other ladies they sometimes forget to that they should still be protecting their husbands’ reputation. That being said, women do need safe spaces to learn and grow alongside girlfriends which will even benefit marital intimacy. It is certainly a balance but I appreciate your thoughtful explanations here.
I respect your perspective on this . I embrace the idea of women having discussions on marital intimacy/sex. Seeking Godly council from friends can be misconstrued . Sometimes women are not aware of protecting their husbands reputation or how this can be a weapon used by the enemy when not done respectfully. I am a the wife of a Church Planter; a pastor’s wife, and I am approached by women often . Truthfully there have been times because of the desperate need to be enlightened or encouraged women tearfully just blurt out their struggles about sex. More often than not she or her husband has never even considered it to be a subject that has direct instructions and biblical principles. It can be challenging for me because I am expected to have the proper way to discuss this subject. I am blessed by your approach on Christian sex . It inspires me to allow transparency into a subject that I too struggle with but have been in wise council with Christ and my intimacy with Him gives me ways of discretion and love guided explanations on how we are to conduct sex in marriage.
Well, you are in the trenches, Felicia. You have my admiration, my prayers, and best wishes. Blessings for all you do!
Hi! I found your website on another post on Pinterest. I’m in college and have been in a serious relationship since high school. We have been long distance for quite a while now as he went away for college and I went to the local university, and we are still going strong, in fact growing closer all the time. We believe God has marriage in mind for us and we plan on getting married right after we graduate. I’m a very future-oriented person and I think about all kinds of aspects about the future often! Sex is definitely not excluded from that list.
That being said, I don’t have a super great past with it. Curiosity about sex that my mom wouldn’t talk to me about led me to search magazines and the internet for answers when I was 12, which led to years of slavery to pornography and masturbation. God delivered me from my addiction to pornography, praise Him, but the other issue has lasted far, far longer in my life. By God’s grace He has been delivering me from this and leading me into an ever more pure lifestyle. My boyfriend also has had the exact same struggles, and like me, has been delivered from the one and battles the other on a daily basis. We are each other’s greatest support system, even though many in the church would frown upon us even talking about it with each other. We love and care for each other deeply, and that enables us to really spur each other on towards a more godly lifestyle, and express how proud we are of the other when we are doing well, and restore the other when we fail. Besides, date seriously as burgeoning 20’s and tell me you won’t ever discuss sex! ha! Especially when you seriously believe you’re going to be married someday. But I digress. I never gave myself to anyone, but I’ve gone farther with my boyfriend than I should have. God has been helping us purify our relationship and I am happy to say that things are so much better nowadays than they had been for many months when we struggled and failed frequently. But after all of this background, my idea of sex has been on an emotional roller coaster ride over the years. Recently I even started to dread the idea of it someday. But I can happily say that God has been restoring my views of sex, repainting them the way that he intended them to look, just as he’s been restoring my purity, my boyfriend’s purity, and our purity together. Sex is now something that I look forward to very much.
As someone who does have such a mind for the future, though, and has been seeking to rewrite her ideas about sex in light of how God created it, I am one to research! I have had so many questions, fears, worries, and things that just terrify me about my future sex life! Stumbling across your blog and reading through some of these posts has given me a better idea of what I have to look forward to, and peace about some of those fears. A couple of your posts have even brought about some much-needed healing for some deep-seated pain wrought on my heart by past struggles. I just wanted to post to let you know how grateful I am for that. Thank you for writing a blog that not only is helpful for already married adults, but is also helpful for soon-to-be married young adults who want to know more about what they have to look forward to and want to shape their views to be more informed by the Lord.
God bless you.
Keep pursuing the beauty and intimacy God desires for you! Many blessings. Thanks for your encouragement!
It is an interesting topic J. I know your blog is for women but you do have many male readers. I counsel couples mostly, and I believe it is great to have a Godly woman to steer other women on the right path or a married couple in your life, someone to go to for marital advice, or child issues. I think your guideline is probably pretty safe if you come from his perspective that respect is paramount. And if you also understand that your husband probably would never have the conversation you are about to have, because that respect boundary never gets crossed, not even close, not when it comes to his bride. I would suggest a conversation with him first ladies. Especially if you are young and your husband doesn’t yet know that married women will actually have these discussions that most married men typically do not ever consider appropriate to have themselves. Your husband respects you in a way you might not know, and if he does not another man will probably stop him before he says it.
I will also say that since many young husbands often do not know how married women talk freely about sex, intimacy and marriage and many young husbands are shocked to hear they do, because again men do not and many would not, so don’t surprise him ladies. Most men do not object to their wives discussing something that will help her, if it is respectful to him and helpful to her, and men expect their wives to understand the boundaries first. Ladies he quit talking about your intimacy, for the most part before he decided to put a ring on your finger, you are pretty special to him. Maybe he did as a girlfriend but never his wife.
Oversharing can be problematic, so I urge caution. Bra cup size is not a good comparison because married men can tell that with a quick glance, even if they are not really looking, and don’t care.
If a man has a really good friend or an accountability partner that might be a difference but most husbands just don’t have the close friends that women do, and I would encourage men to find one, if they can. Obviously there are exceptions. I find men who actually do talk about a sexual issue or even a marital issue with a close friend tend to have a marriage in trouble, so aside from a bad joke complaining about infrequency. Which is actually a real problem, since that’s the glue holding your marriage together. Men just don’t discuss their wives and intimacy with other men, as in a general rule. Ladies you may talk candidly about sexual frequency to see if you are on the right path to finding what works in your marriage, but aside from a joke to say it’s not enough he never would. Anyway that’s my experience practically.
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