Intimacy in Marriage

Encouraging Christian Women toward Healthy Sexual Intimacy

The Altar of Seriousness: Are You Sacrificing Your Sexual Intimacy?

Sex can be a lot of fun!

That's why I'm thrilled Mrs. Hot Holy Humorous has decided to chime in on my "altar" series.

Truth be told, a lot of couples are just so serious when it comes to sex.  Instead of enjoying the playful and recreational aspects of sex, they go through the motions and zap any hint of fun right out of it.

So, praise God today for my pal J who blogs about sex at Hot Holy Humorous.  Just as we have looked at the altars of Lack of Time, Waiting for Ideal Conditions, Inhibition, Too Tired and No Pleasure, we now take a peek at the Altar of Seriousness.

Picture the most romantic, passionate love scene – one where the man and woman melt into each other, can barely contain their desire, and every kiss, touch, and pleasure is more intense than the last.

Don't you wish every intimate encounter with your spouse mimicked that scene?

Scrolling through that mental video, however, I would bet that not once did either partner laugh. Which is a shame.  Because sex is humorous.

Don't believe me?  Imagine the Queen of England having sex.  (Prince Charles got here somehow!)

In one sense, God's amazing gift of sexuality to married couples is serious business.  He has purposed this activity to produce children, express love, give pleasure, and increase intimacy.

Yet, if you think about it, the logistics of how we accomplish that are  . . . well, funny.

To have sex, you get into positions you would never otherwise strike – except perhaps in an expert-level yoga class or to "put your left hand on red" while "keeping your right foot on green."

Also, you are naked as the day you were born, and stripping down in any situation usually causes a bit of a blush on our cheeks (maybe both sets).  Also never contemplated in passionate lovemaking:  The words "Ow!" or "You're on my hair!"

(If you manage to stay married for 10 years without ever injuring your spouse (sorry for accidentally racking you, Honey), you could write a sex manual for the rest of us).

Listen, sex can be comical.

Moreover, God designed us to enjoy humor.  Most animals do not laugh; humans do.  In fact, laughter maintains health by reducing stress hormones and releasing endorphins; "a cheerful heart is good medicine" (Proverbs 17:22).

You can find examples of humor in the Bible:  Remember that one Jesus told about the camel and the eye of the needle (Mark 10:25); at least one of His disciples laughed at that image.  Plus, the speck and the plank in the eye (Matthew 7:3)? Hello! That’s witty.

Given that sex is a funny experience and God enjoys humor, why not introduce laughter into the bedroom?

Sadly, we sometimes sacrifice our sexual intimacy on the Altar of Seriousness. We allow certain barriers to hinder our ability to relax, enjoy, and be playful.  See if you recognize any of the following:

1. Self-consciousness.

Concerns about physical appearance and performance can make us self-conscious to the point of near paralysis. It's natural to wonder if we are attractive to our mate when we're buck-naked.  Chances are, though, your spouse doesn't mind if you have a little back fat or if a normally smooth area is stubbly.

Clean yourself up, groom a bit, and smell decent. Then strut into that bedroom with an "I'm too sexy for my shirt" attitude, and your spouse will likely yank that shirt right off.

We can also over-think performance.  How are we doing?  Will I climax this time?  What will she think if I propose a new position?  What will he think if I make noise? However, your sex life is not made up of one instance of do-or-die lovemaking.

Intimacy is achieved through a pattern of give-and-take, live-and-learn, ouch-and-adjust, and so on.

2. Sense of duty.

Whether it's a sense of duty to procreate or to fulfill God's desire that you not deprive your spouse (1 Corinthians 7:4-5), we can approach the bedroom like a mere obligation.  Yes, we are expected to have sex with our spouse, just like we are expected to eat food.  But you don't munch on bland toast all day long, do you?

So spread some love jelly on your intimacy bread and make a tasty meal.  (I meant it figuratively, but I can see where some of you are going with that.)

3. Secrecy.

Hopefully, since you're reading this blog, you're not someone who must whisper the word "sex." But we can make physical intimacy such a confidential subject that our spouses practically need a code and a secret handshake to get into the club.

Sex is private, but within the context of the married couple, your bedroom should be like Las Vegas:  What happens there, stays there!  So loosen up and enjoy your personal vacation to Happy-Land.

4. Sanctity.

Yes, God has blessed this union of marriage by saying that we will become one flesh.  Yet, we can have both sanctity and playfulness.  Consider the formal sanctity of a wedding, perfectly punctuated by the groom dipping his bride and delivering a prolonged, giggle-inducing smooch.  If a wedding can be sacred and mirthful, why not your sex life after the I do’s are done?

5. Stress.

Sometimes we are so stressed that we can't relax and have fun.  It happens in life, and it happens in the bedroom.  So what relieves stress? Um, exercise, laughter and sex.  Really. Look it up.

So how do you introduce playfulness into the bedroom?

Think about what makes you smile or laugh outside the bedroom.  When are you playful with each other?  If you've never done anything to bring humor into your sex life or want more options, here are a few ideas:

Use word play or tell jokes.

"Is that our baby's 3:00 a.m. feeding bottle in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?"

Use humor to comment about your sex life. (Make sure, of course, that you are building each other up).

For instance, my husband recently said that something was "Amazing! Stupendous! Awesome!" and I responded with a goofy smile, "That’s what I said when I saw your [manhood]."

He replied dryly, "Really? I'm surprised you could even speak." Guffawing ensued.  (And for the record, Honey, you are indeed – ahem – stupendous!)

Wear something that brings on a smile.

I'm not talking about a lace negligee (though most husbands would grin at that).  But the not-so-serious approach is wearing your old cheerleading uniform, gift-wrapping your body, or spraying whipped cream on your most delicious places.  Hey, who doesn't like to dress up?

Play a couple's sex game.

A board game with a few fun suggestions can bring out the comedian, as well as the sex kitten, in you.  My husband and I once played a game called Bliss that got us laughing hysterically and making love passionately.  Check Christian sex products retailers for options; there are several online.

Introduce physical humor.

I am not suggesting pratfalls in the bedroom or hanging from your ceiling fan for your spouse's entertainment.  But crawling provocatively toward your honey or performing a belly dance for him might free up your funny bone.  Wiggle, jiggle, and giggle.  (As you age, you’ll have more to wiggle and jiggle!)

Try something new.

A new position or role play might liven up your sense of playfulness.  Or having sex in a new place or in your car could get you laughing, especially if you drive a stick shift.  Just do something out of the ordinary and let loose!

Whatever you do, just don't sacrifice your physical intimacy on the Altar of Seriousness.

You will both have a great deal more joy when you learn to relax, smile, laugh, and enjoy the gift that God has given. As a loving Father, God wants you to take pleasure in His gift. When you introduce playfulness and humor into your marital sex life, God smiles as well.

To read more about humor, sex and sacredness all wrapped into one, check out the blog Mrs. Hot Holy Humorous writes. You can also find her on Twitter.

Don't miss the other posts in this on-going series!  Sign up with the RSS-thingy so you can catch what other great marriage bloggers will be saying about the Altars We Sacrifice Sexual Intimacy On.

PART 1: The Altar of Time by Dustin Riechmann

PART 2: The Altar of Ideal Conditions by Lori Lowe

PART 3: The Altar of Inhibition by Kate Aldrich

PART 4: The Altar of Tiredness by Paul Byerly

PART 5: The Altar of No Pleasure by Sheila Gregoire

July 3rd, 2011 by