I’ve written and talked a lot about what a wife can do to make sexual intimacy better in her marriage, including ways to reframe what sex means for her, to get in the mood, and to initiate well. But today, I’m homing in on what she can do during sex to ensure things go smoothly and receive the pleasure and intimacy she desires.
While “sex” can be broadly defined, in this post, I’m addressing the experience of foreplay, arousal, and then—at some point—intercourse.
1. Seek the Foreplay You Want
Kissing. Undressing. Caressing. More kissing. Breast stimulation. Manual play. Oral sex. Whatever gets your motor humming, ask for it. (Caveat: whatever item you request should already be on your mutually decided menu.) Let your husband know what you want, why you like it, and when you’re ready to move on.
I simply hear from far too many wives who want more foreplay before intercourse and don’t feel comfortable asking for it. Or they have asked for it, and it feels like he doesn’t listen because you told him that one time and he changed for the next two lovemaking encounters, but now he’s gone back to his old ways, and why doesn’t he enjoy foreplay as much as you do, and… Except all of us tend to need multiple reminders before we change ingrained habits. So gently prompt your husband again about your need and desire for sufficient, and passionate, foreplay.
2. Share Your Body
Speaking of your arousal, it’s not helpful to suggest he get your engine revving but not give him full access under the hood, so to speak. Deep sexual intimacy requires vulnerability, and that means giving your husband access to see and touch your body. If you’re not ready for the bright-lights reveal, try low lighting with a lamp, maybe even a colored lightbulb, candles, or string lights.
But also get naked. Let him touch where you like to be touched. Open up your legs (no dime between the knees anymore, wives! ~grin~). Share your body with your beloved. (See Tips for Confidently Baring It All for Your Hubby.)
3. Explore His Body
You’re not the only one with interesting parts. Your husband’s masculine body is worth exploring, from his strong jaw to his stiff penis, and all in between. Take time to stroke his body and ask him what feels good. Tend to those places you like most and those places he loves you touching.
You may already be comfortable touching places outside his genitalia. But also, get comfortable with his penis. Learn how to handle his testicles (hint: gently, gently). Massage the perineum—the stretch of skin between his scrotum and anus—which may feel good for his prostate.
You don’t need to do all of this on Day One but start exploring and you may find fresh appreciation for this man you married. And for inspiration on this front, check out Song of Songs 5:10-16.
4. Focus on Arousal
His, yours, both…yes. But concentrate on your senses, so that you are aware of what’s happening, what feels good, and how your mind and body are reacting. If you get distracted, just let the distraction pass and then back into focus on the lovemaking. (See Mindfulness & Meditation During Sex.)
Breathe deep. Relax. Enjoy the sensations. Savor the pleasure.
5. Get into Position
Hopefully, you two have talked about sex positions before you arrive in the bedroom for a sexual encounter that requires you choosing one. But among your options, you should communicate which one(s) you want to try today. And then get into that position and adjust until you’re ready to try intercourse.
6. Check Your Body’s Responsiveness
Before he enters, check to see if your body really is ready for it. Yes, that means touch down there. This is increasingly important from perimenopause forward, as our estrogen decreases and our bodies can become less cooperative with swelling and lubrication.
A wife may think that she’s fully aroused and rarin’ to go, but then discover that her labia have not swollen sufficiently and/or lubrication is insufficient for penetration to feel good. Your inner vaginal lips should swell to 2–3 times their regular size, and things should be pretty slippery down there. You or your husband may want to use a finger or two to draw some of your natural lube from the vaginal interior (just a bit into the opening) and spread it on the exterior vulva.
If you’re not ready, engage in more foreplay and/or add personal lubricant to prepare yourself better for entry. It won’t feel good if you’re not ready, so take the time to make sure you are.
7. Guide Him In
While intercourse seems fairly straightforward with Tab A going into Slot B, a lot of positions don’t allow either of you to really see how penetration is happening. And it’s important for your husband to come in at the proper entry point and angle. So why not guide him in?
You can move the head of his penis to where it would be best for him to enter, and/or you can reach down and spread your vaginal opening out a bit so that the entry point is easier for him to find. If things feel slightly off, use your words and/or hands to adjust so that the moment his penis penetrates your vagina, it’s not a poke-and-prod experience but rather a satisfying feeling of being joined and filled.
8. Fine-tune Your Position
Once he’s inside, you may want to modify your body’s position to make sure his thrusting hits your good spots. Tilt your hips forward or backward to change the angle and/or add friction from the base of his penis to your clitoral bulb. Lift or cross your legs to get new sensations or change tightness. Grab pillows—especially a wedge pillow—and place under your bum or hips (depending on your position) to lift yourself toward him or remove some of your muscle tension.
Of course, if the general position you’re in isn’t working for you, suggest another one! You can always change sex positions midstream. Feel free to experiment and see what feels good for both of you.
9. Participate Fully
Given that you’re in the throes of lovemaking, you might think: How much more fully can a wife participate?! But let’s face it—most ladies can multitask even during sex. We can enjoy what’s happening, yet also wonder:
- How do I look? Does he notice my extra pounds? Is my facial expression all twisted up?
- I wish he’d thrust a little harder. Should I tell him that? Or will that sound weird?
- Oh my goodness, I just grunted. Not very ladylike.
- What’s my husband thinking? Is he just into the physical side, or does he really feel connected to me right now?
- Will I reach orgasm this time? I hate when I’m almost there but can’t get over the hump.
You may need to practice focus and re-focus during sexual intimacy. (See #4 above!) But one way to help it is to give yourself full permission and encouragement to just BE who you are in the moment.
Forget what you look like. Make noise. Grab his bum, squeeze, and draw him in deeper. Ask for what you want; one-word directions can work especially well (e.g., “harder,” “softer,” “faster,” “slower”). Put his hands or mouth where you want them. Make direct eye contact. Say his name.
While you may feel self-conscious doing such things at first, it’s actually pretty arousing to your mate for you to be super into it. There’s even research showing that her making noise helps him climax. But expressing yourself also keeps your attention there and helps you enjoy it more.
10. Engage in Afterglow
What happens after sex can add to or detract from what happened during sex. If you finish and say, “Well, that’s that,” get up and use the bathroom, then go on your way, what impression have you left your spouse? Conversely, if you finish and say, “I love you,” then pull your beloved close, and remain entangled for a few minutes, what impression have you left? Clearly, the second option speaks love in a way the former does not.
That’s not to say that your afterglow needs to look like I’ve described. You may embrace for a while after sex, sit up and have a conversation, watch a show together to spend more time snuggling, be playful with jokes and flirting, shower together, or fill-in-the-blank. But taking a few minutes to extend the closeness you felt during sex can make a difference for how you feel about the physical intimacy itself.
There you go: 10 things you can do, wife, to help sex go well. Believe me, I’m rooting for you! And may you and your husband experience the one-flesh intimacy God intends for you to have.
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