Hot, Holy & Humorous

A New Year, a New Vision for Your Sex Life

I’m a resolutions maker. Not always a resolution keeper. But I find that setting out some goals or a theme for the year get me on a better track than doing nothing. Not that there’s anything independently special about January 1, but that turn of the year feels like a chance to take stock, imagine the future, and figure out next steps.

One can do that in various areas of life: career, family, faith, health, organizing your office into something that looks less like a tornado came through. (Is that last one just me?) But what about sexual intimacy? Yeppers, that’s why you come here—because I turn nearly everything back to the topic of S-E-X. But hey, it’s a good question! How is your sex life going and what would make it better in the coming year?

Casting a Vision

Have you heard of a vision board? It’s just a collage of images—photographs, magazine clips, quotations, and other visuals—that represent your goals and dreams. I’m not big on making a real one, with posterboard or what-have-you, but a mental vision board strikes me as a good idea.

For a moment, imagine what an intimate marriage with mutually desired and satisfying sex would look like.

Wait—we have to interrupt those images for a moment to pull some of you back from the fantasy world that we’ve been inundated with. Recalibrate and think intimacy, not whatever misguided notions may have come from pornography, erotica, or just regular M-rated TV shows. We’re talking intimacy with two real people who have backgrounds, strengths and flaws, ongoing stressors, and self-doubts.

What images would represent genuine intimacy between you and your spouse? A smiling couple wrapped in a warm embrace after making love? A husband and wife flirting in the kitchen long before anything might happen that evening, or the next morning? A spouse naked into the bedroom, knowing that s/he be greeted with a grin and a compliment? A heart-pounding climax shared by married lovers who take as much delight in the other’s orgasm as their own?

Those are a few mental pictures that might represent a positive image of sexual intimacy in marriage, but they’re not the only ones. And they’re not specific to you and your beloved. How about casting a vision for your own marriage? What would a healthy, intimate sex life look like for both of you? What are you aiming for?

Setting Goals Habits

In a recent Facebook post, I asked about setting goals for the New Year, and one wise commenter responded:

I try to focus more on habits and prioritizing them. What new habits do I want to incorporate in the new year? So not necessarily a goal to be met but habits that will be beneficial toward a certain trajectory.

I LOVE that! In fact, I’d been thinking recently about how my productivity is best when I don’t have a set schedule but rather routines. Having routines (aka habits) keeps me focused and proactive. The same could be said for sex in marriage!

What are your habits in your marriage regarding sexual intimacy? Do you have a habit of flirting? Initiating regularly? Setting aside time on your calendar for lovemaking? Have you habitualized saying “no” more than “yes”?

And by the way, have you made a (bad) habit of pursuing your own sexual desires ahead of your spouse’s? Or do you have a routine of checking in with your husband or wife and asking what their vision for sex in your marriage entails? And then following through?

Luke 22:39 reports about Jesus: “Then going out he went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him.” I hadn’t really paid attention to that before—that our Lord made a habit of going to the Mount of Olives, likely to pray as he did the night before his death. But that wasn’t His only routine. He regularly went away to pray by Himself, to go the synagogue, to eat in people’s homes, and to heal those who needed it. Christ was a man of worthwhile habits.

Of course, we should establish habits of prayer, church attendance, and fellowship, but in marriage, prioritizing sexual intimacy is a godly habit as well.

Being Realistic

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a hundred times on the Sex Chat for Christian Wives podcast: Baby. Steps.

Change rarely happens in giant leaps. Rather, you reach your destination simply by putting one foot in front of the other, over and over again. And, like a young child, if you fall down, you get back up and try again.

While you’re aiming to create better habits, remember that it’s a process. You won’t go from A to Z in a day, a month, or even a season. Everyone I’ve known who made lasting improvement in their marital intimacy says they didn’t feel the turnaround until around a year later. But boy, were they glad they made that effort!

Set your vision, yes. Create good habits, yes. But remember that change takes time. Take one step at a time, celebrate your progress, and then take the next step. When things start to really go better, you’ll be able to look back and see how far you’ve come.

Troubleshooting Obstacles

For some marriages, change won’t happen until large barriers are brought down, brick by brick. The vision of true sexual intimacy is blurred by past trauma, current sin, physical challenges, or relational conflict.

The path to progress begins with getting outside help. It could be a physician that diagnoses a health condition, a trauma-informed therapist who walks alongside an abuse victim to help them reach healing, a support and accountability group that addresses unwanted sexual behavior, or a marriage counselor who works with a couple to draw them closer. Whatever the route, the destination is the same: two healthy people pursuing healthy sexual intimacy in their marriage.

If you’re facing daunting obstacles, you’re not alone, and there is hope. Seek out answers. Get past your misguided pride and admit you need help. Make this the year you reach out and get the support you need. Those initial steps will be hard, but a few months from now, you’ll be so glad you did it.

Following Through

One of my favorite Bible verses is Galatians 6:9:

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

That short verse packs in a lot of truth. We can so easily become weary of doing the right thing when it doesn’t yield immediate results. Wouldn’t it be awesome if you exercised once and dropped five pounds? That would really spur you on. But no, it doesn’t work that way. Rather, it takes a steady practice of working out before the results are felt and seen.

Likewise, it can take time to see the results of your devoted efforts toward a better sex life…and marriage. You may change your habits and find your spouse doesn’t respond for weeks or even months to your changes. But don’t become weary! Keep going. There’s a gap in time between sowing and reaping—often much longer than we want. We must persevere, doing the right thing whether we see the results or not.

In fact—and I kinda hate to have to say this, but it’s true—you may not see the results you long for this side of Heaven. In terms of a thriving sexual relationship with your spouse, that is. After all, you’re only half of the equation. But loving your spouse is never the wrong choice.

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

John 13:34

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.

Romans 13:8

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

1 Peter 4:8

But you may also be suprised and find that your efforts yield a beautiful harvest if you do not give up.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.

Proverbs 13:12

Leaning on God

I’ll be honest, leaning on God is hard for me. I want God + _______.

It’s much easier to follow God when He brings tangible blessings to our lives. I have a personal testimony of how following God’s design for sex in marriage yielded pleasure and intimacy beyond anything I foolishly pursued on my own before.

But it’s not perfect. This side of Heaven, it never will be.

While pursuing the best for your marriage, lean on God. He knows. He loves. He comforts. He heals.

But I pray—you have no idea how often I’ve prayed!—that your marriage will discover, embrace, and maintain healthy and holy sexual intimacy.

May it all happen for you this coming year!

Here’s one opportunity to focus on healthy and holy sexual intimacy this coming year!

18 thoughts on “A New Year, a New Vision for Your Sex Life”

  1. We had sex 6 times in 2023. My goal is 10 times in 2024. My wife is retired and I will be retired soon so it might actually happen.

    1. That number qualifies your marriage as “sexless” by expert standards. I’m so sorry! Praying for that increase for both of y’all, and glad that you’re setting a good goal but not one so high it can’t be achieved.

    2. I suspect that it’s not because of lack of interest on your part. So let me hazard a guess: your wife has gone through menopause and with that her body has changed. She perhaps no longer feels comfortable with the way she looks or with baring her body. Sex is uncomfortable at best or painful at worse. Orgasms are unfulfilling or non-existent. Perhaps repeated UTIs have become the norm after sex. Her body no longer responds: it’s as if someone has flipped a switch and her body no longer works the way it did. So she turns to her friends or the internet where there is a dearth of Christian and Biblical help. Instead, she listens to secular advice which can basically be summed up as: it’s normal for some women to feel this way after menopause and their husbands just need to learn to live with it. Our sinful nature latches on to this because it’s so easy. But as a Christian wife, we know God has something better in store for us and our husbands. So we keep searching. We pray. We end up here where we are reminded of the beauty and importance of sex and we grab hold of that truth even when it doesn’t seem to be the reality in our marriage at the moment.

      I know that as a husband you probably can’t change anything unless your wife is willing. Certainly honest communication is key. It’s probably not easy for my husband to hear that I no longer desire sex, but when I say, “But I want to again” then it gives us something to work on and aim for. What I have found – and research backs this up – is use it or lose it. I have discovered that there seems to be a “sweet spot” when it comes to how frequently we have sex. Not too often that UTIs become common, but often enough that the body remembers how to work and accommodate another body. If your wife has struggled with some of the things I have mentioned – and I don’t know your situation and am not trying to be offensive – but to my mind 6 or even 10 times a year is never going to change things up for your wife. The body will never relearn when it doesn’t get to practice.

      I do pray that things will change for you this year. I wish I could sit alongside your wife and we could share our experiences and talk it through. I don’t believe that all wives in this situation are deliberately being selfish. It’s just that sex has become something to them now that it was never meant to be and they don’t know how to break out of the bad habits and patterns that they have created. And it takes a lot of energy and prayer and working together as a couple to break away from what the world says is acceptable and to instead embrace God’s truth.

      1. There definitely is a use-it-or-lose-it aspect! But telling a reluctant wife usually isn’t enough to make her show up in the bedroom more often. Her resistance could absolutely be what you’re talking about (I’ve certainly heard those stories, and you wrote about it well!), but it could also be past trauma, relational tension, pain or discomfort in sex that makes sex seem unappealing, or several other things.

        Like you, I wish we could sit with this wife and share our stories, our encouragement, and our prayers. But I will also join you in praying for this marriage. Thanks for your kind words!

      2. The problem I face is that my wife and I love each other, but she has no interest in sex. Pretty much declining over the last 10 years but especially the last 3. I’m talking twice a year. I mention that and the response is that people our age don’t do it anymore, we’ve got teenagers so it’s hard to find time, or just that she’s tired. Yeah maybe that would be a good short term excuse – but not being able to find 10 minutes in a 12 month period? That’s no excuse. And yes I serve her, I meet her needs, treat her well, help around the house, help with making her job less stressful, whatever you can throw at me. All I ask for is occasional time in bed, but she is too complacent, doesn’t see it as important, even when I raise how much it upsets me.

        I haven’t brought up Scripture about fulfilling marital duty/responsibility, nor not depriving each other – and if I did I’d get the same answer, similar to that we’re not compatible, maybe I should find someone else. For her to say that after 20+ years of marriage is rubbing salt in the wounds. She will not go to counselling because she doesn’t want to reveal her heart to some stranger. So really any proactive approach will not work. I sometimes wonder if she has had an affair, emotionally or physical, but I highly doubt it.

        And yes, I’ve prayed, fasted, whatever other Christian things you want. I’ve had a look at myself, started to take the plank out of my own eye so to speak. I don’t look at porn, I’ve tidied my thoughts up. I note a previous post about “My sexless marriage is causing me to lose my faith in God”. I shudder every time people say about God wanting you to have a great sex life.

        I have exhausted all methods. I’m contemplating separating for a period, just up and going – but again that would do more harm than good. She could actually live without me, and hurting her by departing would probably drive things to divorce. I’m not stupid enough to commit adultery. So there you go, I’d love to hear a solution. I’m not after nice words, I’m after actions to take. For my marriage’s sake I’d like you to post this.

        1. “I shudder every time people say about God wanting you to have a great sex life.” I can only imagine how difficult that must be. I do continue to say it, because I believe it. In the same way that God wants all of us to be saved (see 2 Peter 3:9). BUT it requires our cooperation. God won’t force either on us, but rather gives us free will to choose His design or not. In the case of marriage, that can be particularly disheartening; after all, you’re only half of the equation. You can agree entirely with God’s plan for sexual intimacy, but if your spouse rejects that plan outright, what next?

          As for solutions, I’m glad you’re continuing to love her in other ways. But you’re right that the lack of physical intimacy impacts one’s relationship, one’s heart, and at times one’s faith in God (even though He is there, rooting for you both). I have suggested to spouses before that they tell their spouse they’re going to counseling and talking about these issues no matter what, and if the spouse wants to make sure the counselor hears their side, they’re welcome to show up. Another option is to bring it up to a trusted pastor or mentor and ask them to intervene, BUT this has to be done very carefully and gently and certainly not come across as an ambush but rather outreach. Finally, I wonder if your wife knows how much this is hurting you (to the point of considering leaving) and why it matters (not because you need a “release” but because you want and miss her). It’s not easy to get that across, but one option is to share an article with her and just check in later to ask if she had any thoughts about it. Two such articles I would suggest are:

          How the Sexually Rejected Spouse Feels (And I suggest you read How the Sexually Disinterested Spouse Feels for yourself.)

          A Moment of Hard Truth – Forgiven Wife

    3. Try twice last year, 3 times the year before, similar for the past 10 years.
      Conversations result in, “you don’t do it after 20 years of marriage….maybe we’re incompatible, maybe you should find someone else”…..I won’t live in a sexless marriage for ever. Sometimes love is not enough.

      1. Oh, I’m so sorry. The whole “you don’t do it after 20 years of marriage” is especially sad to me, because it’s not at all true and oftentimes sex is best when you’ve had many years to, well, get good at it. I wonder where your spouse got those messages or why the wall is there (past trauma perhaps?). I always wish I could talk to those spouses and share why sex isn’t just for their partner but for them too and why an intimate sex life really matters. Praying for a breakthrough. But I do ache for the rejection and loneliness you’ve experienced in your marriage.

        1. Also, there’s no abuse or anything in our pasts. She’s just got complacent, blames tiredness/kids (teenagers knowing what we’d be doing behind closed doors; and she is very selective of timing – not before work because of being uncomfortable all day, and not at night because she can’t sleep afterwards). But you can’t keep that excuse going for years. Not being able to find 10 minutes in 12 months doesn’t stand up. Whenever I bring up how long it’s been, I get the “we’ve been married 20 years” blurb. Sometimes when it’s been heated she’s said, “we’re obviously not compatible, maybe you should find someone else”. The problem with that being said again is that I’ll probably say I should. But that’s the first nail in the coffin. Other counsellors have suggested long term deprivation is a Biblical reason for divorce. If I had the money to be self sufficient, I wonder if I would. We have love, but at the moment love isn’t enough.

          1. Did she like sex at some point? Because if I were in conversation with her, I’d be asking how she feels about sex itself and whether it was satisfying for her. Does she recall enjoying it? What her views on how sexual desire work? That is, does she expect that sex happens when people are “in the mood” or can they start and get aroused later? How does she feel about herself as a sexual being? And what would make her feel more sensual? Just a series of questions! Mind you, she’d likely answer someone like me more honestly than the person whom she knows wants sex more than she does, even though you’re the only she should most talk about this with.

          2. Deprived,
            You wrote that your wife can’t find 10 minutes for sex. For a sexual encounter to be physically and emotionally satisfying for a woman it should last definitely more than that.
            I would recommend starting from a whole body massage for her. That should relax her but the time dedicated to the whole experience (massage and hopefully sex later) ought to be at least one hour.

        2. Thank you Martha. The problem is in my experience a good body massage usually puts her to sleep at bedtime, and a foot massage (which happens more often) pretty much does the same thing. I’m not making excuses, it’s just how it is.

          Plus all this is getting to me so much it’s affecting my mood, which in turn affects how I react to things and now according to her I’m moody and grumpy. I’ve internalised it for too long and now I’ve cracked.

          1. My heart hurts for the husbands on here who are voicing the level of pain I hear in your words. However, I agree with Martha re 10 minutes. I sense your frustration in your responses, but I hope you didn’t voice such thoughts to your wife as it probably only served to reinforce the idea in her mind that sex is only for you and all you want from her is sex. From what you’ve said, your wife is making excuses. Is there any possibility that she has become emotionally entangled with someone else? You say you have love and I get the impression that you’re saying your wife returns your love, but how do you know? In a marriage relationship, I would have thought that when spouses say they love each other, that includes being intimate (unless they are working through other issues as J mentioned above) or working towards that goal if there are obstacles or reasons it’s not possible (such as after having given birth or after surgery, etc). As to where you go from here, I like what J suggested: tell your spouse that you’re going to counselling and will be talking about these issues and if she wants her side heard she needs to come too.

          2. I agree with so much you’ve said here! I do advise, however, that before concluding that a spouse has become physically or emotionally engaged with someone else, you look at more than sexual avoidance; that is, there should be more than that single sign to begin suspecting something like that.

          3. Yes, it’s the 10 minutes that I picked up on straight away. I’ve heard this so much in articles and comments over the years and I’m left shaking my head each time. The fact that a ‘good body massage usually puts her to sleep’ could be a starting point. You might have to put in a lot of work before sex the way you want it takes place. If you are not prepared to do something intimate (initially) which might relax her so much that she falls asleep, she might sense your impatience and this is maybe all she can manage at the moment. Massages could be the on-ramp to mutual, fulfilling sex. It was for me. Oh and let her take her time, never mind 10 minutes.

    1. I used it twice? Huh. Guess I missed that. But I have not written about sexual intimacy in heaven, because I don’t think there will be any. Here’s my reasoning on that:

      1. God clearly intended sex to happen within the confines of marriage (see What Does the Bible Say About Premarital Sex? and “But What About…?”: Challenges to the Church’s Ban on Premarital Sex). Then in Matthew 22:23-30, we read:

      The same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him and asked Him, saying: “Teacher, Moses said that if a man dies, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife and raise up offspring for his brother. Now there were with us seven brothers. The first died after he had married, and having no offspring, left his wife to his brother. Likewise the second also, and the third, even to the seventh. Last of all the woman died also. Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had her.”

      Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven.

      So if we’re not married, we won’t be having sex. Plus, we have no indication that angels are involved in romantic relationships, and Jesus says that, in regards to marriage, we will be like the angels in heaven.

      2. The purposes of sex are procreation, pleasure, and intimacy (see What Are the Real Purposes of Sex?). In heaven, we will not need to procreate, we will have more than enough pleasure in the presence of God, and intimacy will come from connection with Him and other Christ-followers. On those last two, I believe the pleasure we receive from sex helps to balance the struggles of this earthly life; it’s the WD40 of marriage that helps the rest of it run more smoothly. Couples who have regular, satisfying sex tend to have show more patience and kindness in other areas of their marriage. And the intimacy we experience through sex in marriage reflects the intimacy God desires to have with us. It’s a glimpse of the goodness of God. So, once we’re in heaven, we won’t need that glimpse. Rather, we will see Him face to face.

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