There is a lie in our culture, perpetuated by the entertainment industry, that goes something like this: pre-married sex is exciting and fun, while married sex is boring and rarely (if ever) happens. Many women are going into marriage, not sure what to expect, other than an expression of physical love that might get dull over time. As a happily married woman and cheerleader for healthy marriage, this misconception makes me furious! I will be the first to admit that a healthy sex life takes work, but I will also boldly say that married women can (and should) actually be having the best sex!
A look through God’s word reveals that He created sexual intimacy to be mutually enjoyed. In fact, in His first recorded conversation with Adam and Eve in Genesis 1, God instructs the happy couple to “be fruitful and multiply.” One chapter later, He explains that a husband and wife are to become “one flesh, naked and not ashamed.” God created and promotes sex, not only for procreation, but as a beautiful expression of love between a man and his bride (as detailed in the Song of Solomon!).
Why then can sex be so difficult in our actual marriages? Understanding that sex is more than a physical act can give us helpful tools to fully enjoy this gift from God.
Sex begins in our minds. If we aren’t careful, the mental chatter of grocery lists, kids’ needs, “did we lock the door…are we out of milk?” will steal us out of the moment. Although women are wired with busy brains, we can quiet the noise in some practical ways.
Prepare your brain for intimacy by thinking ahead of time that “maybe tonight” so you are not caught off guard, but instead are mentally prepared to slow down and enjoy your husband. Be all there, in the moment - that grocery list can wait!
Positive thoughts about sex and your husband will go a long way. Guard yourself against a negative attitude towards sex and from focusing on your mate’s less positive qualities. Make a list of things you most appreciate about your spouse and thank God daily for them. Regularly thinking loving, positive thoughts about intimacy and your husband will fan the flame of your attraction.
Pursue mental and emotional health. Issues such as low self-image, past sexual history or abuse, and unresolved marital conflict will impair your ability to fully enjoy intimacy. These need to be addressed in a safe space, such as with a Christian counselor and God’s Word.
Sexual oneness is a spiritual act as well as physical. In the safety of marriage between two believers, the act of sex physically re-affirms the covenant made before the Lord, committing to your marriage all over again. Because of the spiritual significance:
Invite the Lord into this part of your relationship by thanking Him for this gift. Ask Him to give you continued strong desire for one another and to guard your sexual intimacy.
Read the Song of Solomon or a book on intimacy together. (Suggestions included below.)
The most obvious component of our sexual relationship can also be the most challenging - our physical bodies. Many seasons in a woman’s life affect her sexuality: pregnancy (and pre/post pregnancy), breast-feeding, stress, menopause, and even medications. Here’s where education and attentiveness are critical.
Pay attention to your body. Do you feel pain? (See our blog post on When Sex Hurts.) What are your monthly cycles like? When do you most desire sex? Talk to a doctor about any painful situations or changes in your body. Sometimes the fix is as simple as a hormone supplement, allowing the surges in your cycle to work to your advantage, or using a natural lubricant. Don’t let the dreaded “awkward conversation” steal your intimacy.
Bring sexy back. Some new sleepwear, a pedicure, shaved legs, or a gym membership can make you feel better about yourself, sexier and more confident with your husband.
Take care of yourself. Your body just works and feels better when you are well-rested and balanced in health and nutrition.
Remember, you built a foundation on relational intimacy (before things got “grown up” with bills to pay or kids to raise).
Rekindle and reconnect often by making time to play, talk, dream, and laugh. This can be as simple as time alone talking on the couch (no cell phones) or regular date nights. Just don’t let the seriousness of life replace the friendship that sparked it all.
Plan for sex. This may sound like the most unromantic advice, but busy seasons will call for some intentional planning, so make sex a priority. I’ve heard it explained that one way to increase sexual desire is simply to have sex. So not having it isn’t doing anyone any favors.
Talk openly with each other about your sex life. The struggles, joys, needs, and desires need to be discussed. Communication leads to understanding; silence leads to distance.
Plan and take time away together. My husband and I are big believers in once-a-year, just-you-two time together. This can be one night at a downtown hotel or your own house while the kids stay somewhere else, but bottom-line, your relationship is worth the effort.
Although sex builds an incredible bond and leads to intimacy on all levels, the pace of our lives and a myriad of other factors threaten to steal the joy. This month, take some time to pay attention to your mind, body and spirit, cultivating a healthy environment where you can fully enjoy the gift of sex! Don’t buy the lie that culture is selling… married women can have the best sex!
Note: if you experience physical pain or emotional trauma from past sexual abuse or experiences, please see a female Christian counselor or a medical professional as soon as possible. If you are in the Oklahoma City area, recommendations include Christian Counseling Associates and Family Christian Counseling. It is not God’s desire for you to experience pain or shame.
Recommended books on sexual intimacy:
Intimacy Ignited by Dillow & Pintus
The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex by Sheila Gregoire
Intimate Issues by Linda Dillow
Meet the Author!
Heather McAnear is a wife, mom, author and speaker with a passion for sharing God's truth to help women understand their uniquely beautiful design and how to use it for God's glory! In fact, Heather hosts the Uniquely Beautiful Stories podcast on iTunes in hopes do just that! She loves teaching young married couples with her husband, homeschooling their three children, traveling the world, enjoying good chocolate and long conversations in coffee shops. CRBC has been her church home for two decades and she is thrilled to be part of the Women's Ministry team, helping women connect with each other and grow in their walk with Jesus!