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.