Intimacy in Marriage

Encouraging Christian Women toward Healthy Sexual Intimacy

A Common Sexual Communication Struggle and What to Do About it

Beautiful young woman looking depressedCan you identify with the below scenario?

Husband really wants sex. Wife realizes this, and either responds to his initiation or initiates on her own. The sexual experience is actually quite good for both of them.

The next morning, still buoyed enthusiastically by the previous night's sexual intimacy, he walks into the kitchen and wraps his arms around her waist and kisses her neck.   She immediately stiffens and thinks to herself (or says out loud), "It's never enough, is it? We just had sex and now you want more!"

Certainly some of the variables may look slightly different, but you get the gist of the scenario, right?

The reason I share this is because I occasionally hear from husbands who are completely dumbfounded that a wife would react this way.  He is feeling deeply connected to her and is surprised -- possibly even hurt or angered -- that she doesn't receive his affection as an affirmation of his love.

She, on the other hand, is annoyed.

His display of affection is a signal that her value is only in what she provides sexually -- and that he wants a lot more of sex, not of her. (I'm not saying this is the signal he is sending.  I'm saying it's the signal she is getting).

Interestingly, what I hear from some wives is that the above scenario is one of the reasons they DON'T initiate more often.  It's the infamous, "If I give him a little, he'll just want it all the time. So I'm not going to give that often."

If ever there was a moment when miscommunication takes a toll on intimacy, it is in situations exactly like this.

Sadly, this scenario is common in some marriages, maybe even your own. The encounter repeats itself over and over, causing distance and resentment rather than connection and endearment.

So, what's the solution?   Here are some ideas:

1. Stop making negative assumptions about your spouse's intentions.

Ahhh, easier said than done.  But it can be incredibly helpful if you both can talk about sex and what sex means in your marriage.

Part of that communication has to be transparency.

Husbands, she will likely let her guard down a little if when you do that hug and kiss after all the great sex the night before, you simultaneously say something along the lines of, "I really love you and I'm grateful you're my wife.  I just wanted you to know that."

Wives, if he shares transparently like this, oh my goodness... relax a bit, okay?

And if you are feeling overwhelmed about how often he wants sex or if frequency is a common battle, then be honest and maturely address it, with the goal of solution and connection not selfish agendas.

"Sometimes, I feel overwhelmed about our different levels of desire.  It's not that I don't want sex.  I want us to find a frequency level that we both enjoy. Can we talk about that?"

2. Start thinking the best about your spouse's intentions.

If you as a wife are annoyed that your husband wants you sexually and is particularly drawn to you after having bonded with you sexually, have you humbly tried to see the best in his intentions?

I mean, think about the number of husbands out there who are having affairs or masturbating to pornography or reveling in a co-worker's flirtatious innuendoes.  No, I'm not saying those husbands aren't accountable and responsible for their actions, because they definitely are.

What I'm saying is that you married your husband under the pretense -- biblical and otherwise -- that he would have sexual feelings and sexual encounters with you only.

So, here he is... wanting you only... and you are annoyed by that?  Do you see the irony?

Start thinking the best about his intentions, because if his intention is exclusive and God-honoring sex with the woman he married, he sounds like a keeper.

3. Start being more physically affectionate on a consistent basis with your clothes on.

Miscommunication often happens because in some marriages, physical affection with clothes on happens only in close proximity to when sex last happened (or when a husband wants it to happen).

It's no wonder so many wives start to view all physical affection as sexual affection.

But this doesn't have to be the case.  As a couple, if you both become more physically affectionate within the course of your daily life, you likely will have an easier time recognizing and receiving sexual affection.

For great ideas on physical touch, please check out this post on a new site by Ryan and Cassie called True Agape.

Genuine and intentional physical affection -- everything from hand holding to a kiss to a shoulder rub to a playful embrace -- can provide great reassurance and affirmation to the marriage.

Physical affection that is not solely sexual in nature is good for you individually and for you as a couple. While clothed, touch each other with love and endearment and you'll soon discover what a positive difference it makes in your marriage overall. (And honestly, what a positive difference it makes in your bed).

If there is sexual miscommunication happening in your marriage, are there steps you can take today to bring about a positive change?

Copyright 2013, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

July 16th, 2013 by