Married sex brings a combination of pleasures and challenges. You and your spouse have different ideas, needs, and desires. You don’t hold the same preconceived notions, expectations, or insecurities. You want to please your partner in the bedroom, but you might not know exactly how to achieve that goal on a regular basis.
Using Dr. Douglas Rosenau’s input from the book, A Celebration of Sex for Newlyweds, the following list offers a good starting point to establish habits that will lead to fulfilling sex with your spouse.
1) View Sex as a Means, Not an End
Sex, in itself, is not the final goal. It is an expression of your commitment to and love for your spouse, not the purpose of your marriage. According to Dr. Rosenau, “Sex should never be just a physical rush, but a tender, passionate connection. Without the playful, loving companionship, sex becomes another buzz that loses its perspective and has increasingly diminishing returns.” (6-7) If you and your spouse are having difficulty in your relationship, your problems will follow you to the bedroom. However, by nourishing your union as husband and wife and striving to strengthen your bond, your sex life will naturally improve.
2) Have Fun With It
Some people assume sex has to be a serious, solemn experience every time – but that is not true! Ease the tension by increasing the fun factor. As Dr. Rosenau explains, “You cannot work at creating better lovemaking – you and your mate have to play at it.” (2) Trying turning a game into foreplay, like tag, a pillow fight, or a tickling session. It’s okay to laugh and be silly! Cut yourself slack and have some fun.
3) Study Your Spouse
Become a student of your spouse. “Get a Ph.D. in your mate.” (3) Make an effort to learn what he or she wants during your sexual encounters. Be specific in the questions you ask. Try two different techniques and seek input: “Do you like it better the first way or the second way? Does it feel better when I do this or when I do that?” And once they’ve divulged the prized and sought after information, remember it! Store mental notes to draw from next time.
4) Tell Your Spouse What You Want
Speaking of paying attention, take note of your own preferences. You won’t be able to coach your spouse in how to please you unless you know what works and what doesn’t. Push that nagging feeling of embarrassment aside and muster up the boldness to voice your opinion. Keep adding to your toolkit, too. As Dr. Rosenau suggests, “the couple with their act together sexually know how to create ambiance and be uninhibitedly sensual and playful. They understand various positions of intercourse and they have built a comfortable, exciting repertoire of sexual moves.” (4) The only way to reach this goal is to keep practicing and keep studying – and enjoy the learning process along the way!
5) Learn to Love Your Body
Society tells us we should hate our bodies, that we should cringe when we look in the mirror and be disgusted with ourselves. This culture-made message could not be more wrong. Your body was designed by God, who “knit you together in your mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13). You are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14) – remember that the next time you are feeling insecure about being naked with your spouse. Embrace your God-crafted beauty and use your identity in Him to fuel your enjoyment of sex. Banish any thoughts about physical flaws and hone in on the mystery and wonder of becoming one flesh.
As you become more comfortable with your own body, make sure you’re not holding our spouse to an unreasonable standard. No physical body is perfect. Rather than noting your partner’s blemishes, compliment what you admire. Love them for who they are instead of measuring them against what you want them to become. According to Dr. Rosenau, doing so may lead to some nice payoffs: “You reap the benefit (or destructiveness if you stay obsessive) of nurturing and helping your partner revel in sexual appeal …. Unconditional love and acceptance and affirmation set the temperature for some fantastic sex.” (2-3)
6) Get Creative
Rather than getting stuck in the rut of the same one or two positions or venues, try being spontaneous. Send the kids away for the night so you’re not bound to your bedroom. Sprinkle rose petals on the staircase leading up to a hot bubble bath. Light some candles and grab a bottle of massage oil. Search YouTube for a playlist of romantic songs to set the mood. Use your imagination – the possibilities for married sex are endless.
7) Plan Ahead
If you’re a newlywed, you’d probably scoff at the idea that you could ever become too busy for sex – but it happens. Life moves on, kids may come along, pressure increases at work, church commitments expand. Eventually, you consider it a good night if you actually wipe the baby’s spit-up off your shirt before falling into bed. When you’re in a particularly hectic season, make sure you’re carving out time for sex. It might not just happen. Keep it high on your list of priorities, and even go so far as to turn down other opportunities for the sake of maintaining intimacy with your spouse. Besides – if you’re both anticipating a romantic evening, it heightens the level of excitement and expectation.
8) Woo Your Spouse with Romance
Find out what makes your partner’s heart skip a beat. Try sending a spontaneous text during the day proclaiming your undying love and affection. Brag about your spouse’s accomplishments in their presence. Boost their ego. Fan the flame. Remind them (and yourself) what it is you love most about them. Bring home a bouquet of your wife’s favorite flowers or a box of your husband’s favorite snack. Stick a love note on the bathroom mirror or on your spouse’s dashboard. Set the tone for deeper intimacy later on.
9) Kick Shame to the Curb
Sadly, many Christians have been fed the teaching that sex is dirty, vulgar, or off limits. In an effort to prevent unmarried people from engaging in intercourse, well-intentioned adults have created a generation that naturally recoils at the mention of the word.
Let’s smash that notion right now: God created sex, and He created you as a sexual being. It was His idea. Sex is His gift to you and your spouse. He wants you to enjoy it and find immense pleasure in it.
If you’ve spent your life being told sex is bad and to be avoided at all costs, it will likely take some time to re-train your brain. When shame creeps in, push it aside and fill your mind with truth instead – the truth of God’s Word, which encourages you to drink deeply of the pleasures of your spouse (try reading Song of Solomon if you don’t agree).
10) Emphasize Intimacy
The first point on this list mentions that sex is a means to an end – not the end in itself. Sex is one way in which God draws couples into unity and intimacy with one another. “There is no replacement for what God intended sex to do for intimate marriages. It is the framework for expressing many powerful and exciting emotions such as joy, love, trust, and playfulness.” (7-8) Although you may be tempted to focus on your own pleasure, try making an effort to acknowledge and appreciate the beautiful closeness that only married sex can provide.
If you and your spouse are having difficulty in your sexual relationship, or if you are engaged and would like some guidance about how to transition into this aspect of married life, consider meeting with a professional Christian counselor in Spokane. Taking some time to discuss your concerns with a neutral third party may be exactly what you need to move forward and restore the joy and intimacy of a healthy sex life with your spouse.
All photos from unsplash.com, CC0 Public Domain License
“Let Me Keep You Warm, courtesy of Everton Vila; “Romance in the Morning,” courtesy of Alisa Anton; “Romantic in Winter,” courtesy of Herman Sanchez