November 27th, 2015 by Julie Sibert


This situation isn't exactly unique, right? A married Christian couple. Who slept with each other before marriage.

sex-before-marriageBut what is baffling for some couples is that the sex before the marriage was better than it is now.

"What's up with that?!!" they may ask quietly to themselves, not really wanting to dig through the rubble to look for the answers.

Yes, some couples may chock it up to "life is busier now" or "that was when we were younger."

Sometimes, though, I think couples land on a different answer -- sadly, one that is incredibly short-sighted.

It's one I hear particularly from women in these situations.

She knows they were out of God's will with the premarital sex, so when sex in the marriage begins to tank, she assumes it's punishment.

It's their lot in life now, she thinks. God's payback for doing things in the wrong order.

Consider, though, why that reasoning is short-sighted:

First, God is totally in the forgiveness business.

It's His main gig. His calling card. His neon sign. His love letter.

So if you think the sin of sexual promiscuity and premarital sex is worse than other sin -- some how beyond His reach of forgiveness -- I beg of you to adjust your lens and turn it toward His heart.

Why is this so hard? I'm not sure.  Probably has something to do with our innate struggle to humbly accept something we've come to believe we in no way deserve.

Any. Way. What I do know is this...

What He asks of you regarding your past sexual experience -- even if it was with the person to whom you eventually pledged your life -- is that you ask for forgiveness and repent of the sin.

The good news about that is the mere fact that your sexual activity is now in marriage shows that you do indeed know how to repent.  You have left your sexual promiscuity behind you. Any sex you are having now is in its right and holy context.

Yeah you! Yeah God!

But you have to believe and accept forgiveness for it to authentically transform your life, your marriage and your sexual intimacy.  Will you do that?

Second, when you get stuck thinking mediocre sex is God's punishment, you put a big smile on Satan's face.


Yeah, that enemy, he is a conniving, scheming, manipulative, sneaky jerk (and I'm saying that through my filter, so feel free to add any choice words that come to mind).

It delights Satan to no end to see your marriage suffer.

Satan hates marriage, something that is so drenched with God's heart and vision that Satan can't help but do whatever possible to sabotage it.

And here's the thing. Satan is kind of a grassroots sort of guy.

Sure, we see glimpses of him in the larger social realm where marriage is being re-defined and maligned.  BUT where does he really gain ground?

In individual marriages.  Maybe even in your marriage.

And he has become so adept at spinning one particular lie that we are often unaware of his presence until long after he has been snuggled up at the foot of our marriage bed, possibly for years.

Yes. Years.

The lie?  He tells singles to have sex because "Everyone is doing it!" and "It feels good and you deserve to feel good!" and "If something feels so good, how could it possibly be wrong?!"


Wait for it...

He tells those EXACT SAME PEOPLE after they are married that "Sex is boring! sex is duty! Your spouse is selfish for wanting sex! You sinned before marriage! God won't let you have great sex now! You don't deserve it!"

See what I mean?

Conniving jerk.

Satan's "go to" strategy is always division. Always. So whatever he can do to cause division and disconnect in your marriage and in your sexual intimacy, he will do it by any means possible.

The good news is that you can take back the ground in your marriage Satan has said is his.  You can.  Tell him he has to go.

"Well, how do I do that?!"

Ask for God's help. And start shedding light on the pain and sexual disconnect and sexual lethargy between you and your spouse.

Satan works in the dark (a.k.a. silence, isolation, confusion, assumptions).  God, on the other hand, works in the light (a.k.a. humility, honesty, transparency, conversation, tenderness).

Talk to your spouse about how you want things to look different -- better -- healthier in your marriage bed than they look right now.

Take baby steps to undo mediocrity and replace it with authentic and frequent intimate connection.

Pray. Seek God's Word. Go after biblically sound resources that give you insights about sex.

Do all this enough and Satan will crawl right out of your bed, retreating to the shadows where his influence is nil.

If you had sex before you were married, even with the person who is now your spouse, those past sexual encounters do not define the course in your bed now.

You and your spouse define the course.

And God.

I don't know if you think the sex now isn't as hot because you've got a couple rugrats running around -- or you think it's not hot because you haven't allowed yourself to truly walk in God's truth.

What I DO know is that God's vision for your marriage is nurtured and passionate intimacy all the way around.

You, your spouse and God define what's happening sexually in your bed.

How about the three of you get together and come up with a plan?

Copyright 2015, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.












Posted in authentic, marriage problems, sexual intimacy struggles, sexual struggles, Uncategorized Tagged with: , ,

begging for sex
October 21st, 2015 by JulieSibert


begging for sexAs someone who blogs about sex, I see common storylines revealed through the comments and emails I receive.

Yes. I know.

Every marriage is unique with its own details, history, circumstances, plots and perplexities.

But today I want to talk about marriages where there are no huge struggles -- except for sexual intimacy.

One spouse wants sex more often.  The other spouse couldn't care less about sex.

Maybe sex happens every now and then, but usually in these marriages, weeks or months will go by with no sex.  Obligatory sex makes its appearance occasionally, just to keep the peace.

But eh, not always.

What then?  Well, maybe you see your own marriage peek out from this sexual dynamic:

The refused spouse responds to the ongoing refusal by taking a practical approach. They logistically think that if they can just "win" their spouse over with good deeds and romantic gestures, the natural response from their disengaged spouse will be more sexual interest.

Sadly, that usually doesn't happen.

So then the refused spouse tries to address the issue in a more direct way through conversations or questions about "what may be wrong" or "why don't you want to have sex" and so forth.

This usually garners a bit of defensiveness from the spouse who is doing the refusing.

The spouse who doesn't see sex as a priority starts to throw into the arena questions like "Is that all you think about?" and "It's just about sex, isn't it?"

A back-and-forth battle ensues. it's intermittent, though, resulting in discouragement and anger, but rarely humility and hunger to draw close.

Classic passive aggressiveness from both sides may arrive on the scene too.  Silent treatment. Manipulation. Withholding sex as a way to punish a spouse.  Lack of respect.  Sabotaging things that are important to one another.

The emotional chasm is like a sleeping giant just below the surface. It begins to define their new normal of little or no sex.

And then, if all of that doesn't compel some positive change, they arrive at a crossroads.

I say "they," but what I really mean is that one of them -- the rejected spouse -- has arrived at the crossroads.  The spouse doing the refusing is oblivious that the crossroads is right beneath their feet (or right in the middle of their bed, as the case may be).

At this crossroads, the refused spouse makes a decision -- to either shut down completely sexually (setting up unspoken emotional distance and boundaries at the same time) OR to begin begging for sex.

Shutting down.  Or begging.

That's usually the decision happening at the crossroads.

So, my question to you is, if the above scenario feels painfully and eerily familiar (like I'm literally describing what's going on in your marriage right now), what is happening at that crossroads?

Is the refused spouse shutting down?  Or are they begging for sex?

Those two options are not good.  Like not good in a "huge red flag" sort of way.

None of us stands at an altar and imagines a day when we will shut down emotionally and physically to our spouse.  Or a day when we will have to beg -- literally beg -- for sex.

These are hard hard things.  I know.

You may be the spouse doing the refusing. Or you may be the spouse being refused.

Regardless, the status quo is unsustainable.

My hope is that somehow the two of you will move TOGETHER toward healing and strengthening your marriage, including your sexual intimacy.  This blog post may just be your wake up call.

So, wake up. Please wake up.

"A year from now what will you wish you had done today?" -- Liam Linisong

Copyright 2015, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

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Posted in marriage problems, sexual intimacy struggles, Uncategorized Tagged with: ,

low sex drive
September 29th, 2015 by Julie Sibert


Few things sabotage sex in a marriage more consistently than low sex drive of one of the spouses.

Frequency of sexual intimacy becomes a battleground, where a husband and a wife have extreme difficulty finding common ground.

Bonny Logsdon Burns of Bonny's Oyster Bed does an amazing job today looking intimately and thoroughly at this issue of low sex drive.

Though the blog post is about low sex drive, I think the post is full of nuggets of relationship gold that you won't want to miss.

Bonny's post is part of my ongoing guest blog series on things that destroy sex in marriage

Once the bird seed and bubbles of newlywed bliss settle, most marriages discover that a husband and wife don’t quite agree on the frequency of love-making.

low sex driveThen arguments build, and pretty soon you have a full-blown battle.

A shiny new marriage usually has plenty of physical urgency coming from both spouses.

So, what happens?

Biochemically, the tingles of first romance putter out after 24 months and one spouse is less motivated to be sexual than the other.

Low sex drive can affect both wives AND husbands.

The low-drive spouse no longer can rely on the lust cocktail of brain chemicals to trigger physical urgency to connect in the bedroom.

The high-drive spouse starts to feel short-changed. Their need, which at first was vigorously met, is slowly brushed to the side and finally lands low on the priority list.

The low-drive spouse starts to feel objectified as the high-drive spouse tries to persuade, cajole and convince their mate to meet them in the bedroom.

Low-sex drive can absolutely destroy sex in marriage.

Having a sexless marriage (sexual encounters less than 10 times per year) can lead to destruction of the entire relationship through adultery. And yes, the straying spouse bears much blame for their wrong choice. However, a low-libido spouse must take the higher-drive needs of their mate seriously.That’s part of selflessly loving like Christ.

I’m here to tell you low-libido is not a permanent condition.

It just takes finding what replenishes the desire for sexual intimacy outside of the physical "gotta have you now."

A low-libido spouse has to more fully rely on the spiritual and emotional nature of intimacy in order to desire to connect through sexual intimacy.

This is the blessing of the low-libido challenge. To improve low-libido, it usually involves growing as a couple.

Here are three basics that helped change me from, “No way!” to “Okay!”


First of all you must know that it is absolutely OK to pray to God about your sexual relationship with your husband. Just because the church at large cringes at talking about sex, God gives it a big ol’ nod!

When I first started praying about my marriage’s sexual conflict, I prayed for God to increase my sex drive. That didn’t work. So, I prayed for God to decrease his. That didn’t work either.

Then, I simply prayed for understanding. This was the prayer God answered (Matthew 7:7, James 1:5, Daniel 2:21).

Love pours into me through conversation. I eventually understood that love-making was my husband’s most intimate conversation. For my high-drive spouse, touch said what words could not. Love pours into the high-drive spouse through sexual intimacy.

God placed resources in our path to improve other aspects of our marriage. I came to see that my low-drive was partly from a physical place, but it also had emotional reasons.

Pray for wisdom to know how to connect more fully with your spouse. When you figure out how to connect emotionally with your spouse, you will both feel more "heard." Feeling understood will help a low-drive spouse tap into another libido, the emotional libido.

Sexual intimacy has been compared to the type of relationship God wants to have with us through Christ (Ephesians 3:8-12, Ephesians 5:32), an earthly symbol of a heavenly reality. Pray that you both grow in spiritual maturity to understand this as you walk with the Lord.

And finally, work towards praying with your spouse about your marriage bed. This will help the low-drive spouse tap into the third and most important dimension of libido, spiritual.

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

It only takes one little decision.

Decide to try meeting your high-drive spouse in the bedroom. That one little decision will spark a change in the entire atmosphere of your marriage. I can 98% guarantee it.

When I finally made my decision to go "all in," I began to do a little studying. At the time, blogs weren’t on the radar and there were only a few books on sexual intimacy written by Christian authors.

I bought every one of them and spent a little time each night learning about God’s approval of "gettin’ busy." Studying God’s ideas about sexual intimacy helped me get rid of skewed ideas that remained from pre-marital baggage and understand that I could give myself permission to be a sensual creature.

One little decision led to another little decision to visit the doctor. Which led to other little decisions about medical and scientific research. Which led to another little decision about being actively engaged during each rendezvous.

God’s path for your rejuvenated libido may not look exactly like mine. However, if you make the decision to start seeking. He will answer.

Spend Most of Your Non-Work Hours Together

If a marriage is spiraling downward, some spouses run away from each other. I get it. You’ve been hurting each other with words and you want to avoid being hurt. If you’re not in your spouse’s presence, you can’t be hurt.

However, the answer is to run toward each other when things get tough. Don’t look outside of your marriage, especially with a person of the opposite sex, for any kind of emotional validation.

A low-libido spouse must connect emotionally and spiritually with their spouse. Emotional and spiritual libido substitute for the lack of physical urgency.

The way to connect is simple. Spend lots of time with your spouse outside of the bedroom doing fun stuff and having conversations. Optimally, 2 hours a day with just the two of you. But, I realize with young families, that’s not easy.

In whatever way you spend time together, avoid being snarky, disrespectful, sarcastic, demanding, threatening and angry.

Author Michele Weiner Davis states, “A more loving marriage may be the only aphrodisiac your marriage needs.”

Final Thoughts

It is possible to regain the birdseed and bubbles of newlywed sexual craving. It just might be in a way you hadn’t contemplated before.

Pray for resources to help you through the maze of low-libido. Decide to see your marriage as a relationship worth fighting for. Spend more time with your spouse being the person your spouse married; fun, happy, and friendly.

If you do all these things, not only will your libido come out of hiding, but your spouse will probably return all the love you are investing.

I’d like to place a resource in your view right now.

Written for the low-libido Christian wife, Unlock Your Libido: 52-Week Sex Drive Transformation, will help you uncover little known aspects of her lost inner sensuality.  Ramping up lagging libido doesn’t happen by magic.  However, it can be an easy journey with profound results by following along with this 52-Week guide.

Although not a Bible study, its foundation is God’s Word.  Based upon a 2012 French study, the blend of science and scripture helps wives re-discover their sensual hidden nature, covering not just physical, but also emotional and spiritual aspects of libido.

Each week, a commentary sets the theme.  The key is consistent thought and prayer revolving around the theme.  It only takes 5 minutes a day.

BonnyBonny Logsdon Burns writes to encourage the low libido wife at She and her husband, David, are candid about their struggles and victories revolving around sexual intimacy. She is passionate about empowering and equipping hurting women through God’s Word and practical tools. They have three sons, like to try new foods, laugh at corny jokes, and dance to their own music. (You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.)


Copyright 2015, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

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Posted in authentic, marriage problems, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , ,

financial struggles impacting sex
September 3rd, 2015 by Julie Sibert


I think the vast majority of us know full well that financial struggles can cause all kinds of problems in a marriage, including a toll on sexual intimacy. 

In today's post, Jennifer Smith of The Unveiled Wife digs into what financial struggles can do to sex in a marriage and how a couple can try to lessen the impact of those struggles. Jennifer's post is part of my ongoing guest blog series on things that destroy sex in marriage.

Jennifer also is author of the book The Unveiled Wife, which I reviewed here.

financial struggles impacting sexFinances are one of the greatest contributions to marital stress.

Many conversations and even arguments are held between couples regarding how money is spent. It is one of those necessities in life that influences and affects us in many ways, including our emotions and attitude.

I believe finances can be a source of contention in marriage because our expectations of how we experience life are dependant upon them.

When I became a wife, I desired a nice home with nice things. The reality of our situation was that we decided to put that kind of life on hold to travel as missionaries. However, in our second year of marriage, we returned to our hometown because we were low on funds and my husband’s debt came looking for payment.

We lived with my family for two years, as we put every penny we earned toward paying off my husband’s school loan. I did not always have a good attitude about how much money we were sending away.

Truth be told, I emotionally kicked and screamed, blaming my husband for his debt being the cause of misery in our marriage. I was angry that our financial situation was so bleak and I dwelt on all the things our money could buy instead of getting out of debt.

I harbored bitterness in my heart toward my husband, because we always seemed so low on funds. I was convinced I had made a mistake getting married and that the life we had together was not the life I wanted.

My attitude and the negative thoughts that stirred in my heart kept me from being intimate with my husband. We already had intimacy issues in the bedroom, but this was just one more reason as to why I never initiated sexual intimacy.

Our finances were destroying our sex life!

It was not until I grew in maturity and in my understanding of how important it was for our future to be debt free that I was able to embrace being a team with my husband to knock out the debt together.

It required that I changed my attitude and my perspective of our situation. It required that I sacrificed the things I desired during the time we were striving to get debt free, so that we would have the means to build the life we desired.

Once I was able to accept the responsibility of being one with my husband in the area of finances and agree to the budget we set up, I was better able to embrace true intimacy with him in other areas of our marriage, namely sex.

I believe there are many marriages where couples are so torn apart in an area such as finances, that they are hindered in their sexual intimacy. We need to recognize the importance of being a team with our spouse, especially in finances.

We need to be willing to communicate about the state of our money and keep each other accountable to reaching specific financial goals. As we do this, we will see the positive impact it has on our intimacy.

My challenge for you is to have a transparent conversation with your spouse about the state of your finances and make a plan of action that you both can keep each other accountable too as you strive to reach your goals.

Be open about how your finances and the way each of you spend money makes you feel. Also, be sure to listen just as you desire your spouse to listen. Be willing to come to agreement about your budget, including the sacrifices you may need to make now for the benefit of your future.

And lastly, encourage each other in the area of finances and communicate about your budget daily to avoid letting bitterness settle in your hearts.

The-Unveiled-WifeJennifer Smith blogs at The Unveiled Wife and wrote the book The Unveiled Wife: Embracing Intimacy with God and Your Husband.  You can follow her on Twitter @unveiledwife.








Copyright 2015, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

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Posted in marriage problems, sexual intimacy struggles, Uncategorized Tagged with: , ,

Sorrowful couple after having an argument
August 6th, 2015 by Julie Sibert

… show up?

Do you make your body available, but never your heart and soul?

While "lack of sex" is a common storyline that sadly shows up in many marriages, equally discouraging is accommodation sex -- whereby one spouse merely goes through the motions, but never really shows up.

We can try to argue it otherwise (and trust me, many people have), but God truly designed sex to be a profound encounter between a husband and wife.

A oneness.

A reaffirmation of what is good and holy and right in the covenant of marriage.

A physical playing out of marriage vows.

It's no wonder that we intuitively and quickly recognize when such experience is reduced to nothing more than duty or "going through the motions."

We know when our spouse is begrudgingly doing something, rather than vulnerably offering their whole self.

I've heard from some people (mostly husbands, but some wives as well) who say they can't decide which would be worse -- no sex at all or sex that is done only out of obligation.

Ask yourself these questions:

Has accommodation sex become the standard in my marriage?

Is it the pattern from which we never deviate?

Does it define all (or nearly all) of the sexual encounters between me and my spouse?

Why is accommodation sex so devastating? If you are the one going through the motions, you may actually be asking this question with contempt, rather than contemplation.

Many wives have argued, "He is getting what he wants -- sex. What does it matter if I'm really into it or not?  Why is he disappointed? He got what he wanted! He got his release."

Well, that's not what he truly wanted.

He wanted the woman he married to desire him sexually.

He wanted the woman he loves and does life with to value sex not simply for the physical release, but for the indescribable connection it creates.

He wanted his wife to crave his touch and his mouth and his body.

He wanted her to show up.  Really show up.

The good news is that if accommodation sex is all that you have ever offered, you don't have to stay stuck in that pattern.

Change is hard and awkward and sometimes overwhelming. I get that.  But it is possible.

And if it is the kind of change that can strengthen your marriage, why wouldn't you walk in the direction of change?

Not sure where to start?  How about getting real with your spouse about wanting sex to look different in your marriage.   How about a humble, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry I've treated sex as duty rather than a gift."

Maybe the hardest part will be digging into why you feel the way you do about sex.  As bewildering and overwhelming as that can be, it is so worth the heart work.  You're worth it.  Your marriage is worth it.

Sure, you could just sit back and hope things will improve on their own.  But why gamble with something as precious as the relationship with the person you fell in love with and married?

For more reading along these lines, check out Why the Excuse "Sex Isn't a Need" Doesn't Hold Water.

Copyright 2015, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

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Posted in marriage problems, sex, sexual intimacy, sexual intimacy struggles, sexual struggles, Uncategorized Tagged with: , ,

July 8th, 2015 by Julie Sibert


As part of my ongoing guest blog series on things that destroy sex in marriage and what we can do about those things, I today welcome Chris Taylor of The Forgiven Wife.

"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past." -- Isaiah 43:18

When I married my husband, I brought a fair amount of baggage to our marriage bed.

Quite a lot it involved my sexual past – both with my husband and before I met him.

sexual pastInstead of enjoying marital intimacy with my husband, my marriage bed overflowed with stuff that got in the way:

Guilt and shame.

I felt so guilty and ashamed of the sex I’d had before marriage. These feelings made me feel unworthy of joyful sexual intimacy, so I avoided anything what would give me what I was convinced I didn’t deserve.

Negative views about sex.

Sex is for the man. Sex is something you need to keep secret and that you rush to finish. Sex was my only source of power or value to men. The only way to keep a boyfriend was to give him what he wanted sexually. All of these negative views were taking a toll on my intimacy with my husband.

Negative views about my husband.

As the man who wanted to have sex with me for the rest of our lives, my husband bore the burden of the lessons I'd learned about men. I thought he cared only about his own pleasure and not about my whole self or about my sexual pleasure. I thought he valued me only for sex.

Sadly, I am not alone.

A survey I conducted about the effect of premarital sex on women's marriages showed that two-thirds of the respondents thought their marriages had been negatively affected. This was the case even when the woman's only premarital sexual partner was the man she married.

The premarital sexual luggage is pretty full and includes the following:

  • The feeling that sex is dirty or bad
  • Expectations of husband based on previous partners
  • False perception of what intimacy is
  • The belief that sex is only for the man
  • A connection between sexual sensations and guilt or shame
  • The inability to trust husband because he pushed boundaries before marriage
  • Spiritual and emotional attachment to previous partners, leaving less left for husband
  • Not understanding that sex is a gift from God
  • Unwanted memories during some sexual acts

Many Christian wives have found that their premarital sexual activity follows them into the marital bedroom:

  • Sex feels wrong, so we avoid it.
  • We are unwilling to express our own sexual desires.
  • We dismiss a husband's sexual desire for us.
  • We are unable to embrace the role of sex in marriage and to address problems as they arise.

Fortunately, there is hope for moving past your past!

If your sexual past has overwhelmed your marriage bed, work to loosen the chains holding back your growth.

Focus on the truth.

Read what the bible says about marriage and intimacy. Especially read Song of Songs. Read Christian blogs about marriage and sex. Do a bible study about marital intimacy. Rebuild your beliefs based on truth, replacing the negative lessons that grew out of premarital sexual activity.

Some wonderful resources are Pursuit of Passion: Discovering True Intimacy in Your Marriage, Passion Pursuit: What Kind of Love Are You Making?, and Intimacy Ignited.

Get support.

Talk with your pastor or a counselor if you're struggling to deal with your feelings and beliefs about your premarital sexual activity. If your sexual past includes trauma such as childhood sexual abuse or rape, this support is especially helpful.

Talk with close Christian girlfriends who will listen and give you a hug.

Communicate with your husband.

Share your struggles with him. Ask for his prayer. Read, study, and pray together. (Not only can this help your sexual intimacy, it can also strengthen your non-sexual intimacy.)

If you haven't been truthful with your husband about your sexual past, perhaps now is the time. If your personal sexual history is affecting your husband's sex life, he deserves to know.

Invite god into the healing of your marriage bed.

Repent and seek God's forgiveness—and accept that forgiveness. You are a new creation in Christ. Spend time in prayer specifically for your sex intimacy. God designed sex and wants you to enjoy sex with your husband—so ask Him to work on your heart.

When you bring sexual baggage in your marriage, letting it clutter up your marriage bed can destroy your sex life.

You cannot change the past, but you can loosen the chains it has cast on you.

"You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." -- Ephesians 4:22-24

Be sure to check out the other posts in this series at this page!

Chris TaylorChris Taylor has been married to her husband Doug for 24 years. They live in southeastern Wisconsin and have three adult kids who are in various stages of leaving the nest. After a fulfilling career in higher education, Chris now writes at The Forgiven Wife, where she encourages women to tend to the sexual intimacy in their marriages. She draws on her own journey of healing to walk alongside other women trying to embrace full intimacy in their marriages. Chris thrives on coffee, knitting, and chocolate; the order of importance varies depending on the day. You can find her on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.


Copyright 2015, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

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Posted in marriage problems, sexual intimacy, sexual intimacy struggles, sexual struggles, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , ,

June 22nd, 2015 by JulieSibert

Awhile back I received an email from a reader, sharing that her husband doesn't find her sexy (and has actually said this to her, even though he says he does love her and thinks she is pretty -- just not sexy).

What's a wife to do with that?  What would you do with that?

I think this is what I would do...

1. Ask myself, "Does he understand the depth of pain such a statement causes me?"

I know it sounds like I'm just giving the husband the benefit of the doubt, and maybe I am, but I just have to wonder if he genuinely understands how hurtful he's being for even implying such a thing -- that he doesn't find his wife sexy.

If by all other accounts he is a fairly decent guy, then it's possible he has a blindspot in this one area about his words with regard to her sexiness.

So, that being the case, it's worthy of the question -- or rather, a statement -- to him in a clear, yet loving tone.  "When you say I am not sexy, it hurts me and makes me doubt your desire for me."

My hope would be such a statement would be a springboard into more conversation about ways to mutually build desire, affirmation, arousal and intimacy -- rather than chip away at it.

2. If I tried to generate conversation and share what hurts me, and he still downplays my pain, I would suggest counseling.

Yeah, I know.  Counseling seems to be the fall-back advice bloggers dole out.  But that's because a lot of marriages could be (and are) helped by it.

There is a reason professional marriage counseling is a huge field of practice. Counselors are schooled (literally and practically) in the idiosyncrasies of marriage. Because they are removed from the situation, they are able to see things that the couple likely can't see.

If your spouse won't go to counseling with you, go on your own.  It will give you a safe sounding board, help you gain ideas on how to address the situation, and demonstrate to your spouse that you are serious about doing what you can to strengthen the marriage.

3. I would dig into God's Word.

When we are feeling "less than" -- for whatever reason, be it at the words of another person or our own self-defeating chatter in our heart and mind -- the best way to get our feet on solid ground is God's truth.

God says you are enough -- that you are beautiful in His sight.  That's not cliche. That's love incarnate.  That's blood poured out. For you.

Any time is a good time to seek Him, but especially when we need to re-align our identity and worth with His truth.  He is faithful in lovingly affirming us and providing Holy Spirit heart conviction where needed.

4.  I would be accountable for me, rather than try to change him.

This is a tough one.  When all is said and done at the end of the day, we land at the reality once again that we can't change someone else.

We can try to influence and facilitate healthiness, but we can't make someone change.

That's true whether we are talking about health physically, emotionally, relationally or spiritually.

One thing we can always control, though, is our own attitude and approach.

There have been moments I have been really angry and disappointed with my husband (and him with me)  No, he has never said I wasn't sexy.  But we have been careless with each other's feelings in other ways.

And when I feel most hurt by him and when our conversation comes to a roadblock, I have learned to step back and take a deep breath.

Ultimately, as husbands and wives, we each will have to give account to the Lord for the ways we have treated each other.

If your husband thinks you are not sexy, speaks that out loud to you (or implies it) and fails to respond humbly when you point out your hurt, then such carelessness is ultimately his to own -- even if he won't own it this side of Heaven.

5.  I would lean on safe female confidantes.

I know there are some people who say you should never talk to your friends about your marriage struggles.  I'm just not one of those people.

I do think you need wise discretion about these conversations.  We all need safe havens where we can be real about the depth of our pain.

Just make sure those safe havens are other Christian women who will listen, pray with you and for your marriage, not bash your husband, and continue to point you to the truths of God's Word.

I know what it is like to occasionally feel alone in the frustrations of marriage. It is why I rely upon a few women friends who will let me be raw and real about my disappointment -- and at the same time remind me of the sanctity of my covenant with the man I married.

If you are like the reader who emailed me -- and your husband doesn't find you sexy -- that grieves my heart.  I am sad with you.

And while this post may spur in you ideas to reflect upon, in no way do I want to minimize your pain.  As wives, who among us doesn't deep down desire to be desired by the man we married?

It's such a reasonable and authentic desire.

Copyright 2015, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

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April 1st, 2015 by JulieSibert


If there is one thing I have learned in all the years of speaking and writing about sex, it is that sexual struggles in marriage are often painfully complex.

Or simple.

Sometimes the reasons are painfully simple and easy to overcome.

Wherever you fall on that spectrum with sexual intimacy struggles in your marriage, consider the below 10 ideas on what you may need to do.

Do any of these cause your heart to pause? If so, my guess is that is where you will find profound answers.

If sex is a struggle in your marriage, you may need to...

1.  Finally deal with past issues you've been avoiding.

I know full well that some of you reading this suffered greatly at the hands of others who sexually abused you in your past.

Or possibly abuse wasn't your pain, but rather your pain came from your own choices of sexual promiscuity. Too many lovers for all the wrong reasons.

Or maybe just one lover, but you have difficulty moving past that you lost your virginity before your wedding day.

Or maybe you are struggling with regrets and grief about a past unplanned pregnancy.

I don't know your story of past sexual pain, but I do know God wants to speak into that pain with healing and compassion and grace.

He hungers for you to not allow that past pain to destroy sex in its right and holy context of your marriage.

It is heartbreaking that you have suffered, but it is equally heartbreaking if such devastation is still laying claim to your heart and bed -- wreaking havoc on the sexual oneness you could be having with the person you love.

2. Stop believing lies about sex in marriage.

Did you ever hear things when you were growing like "sex is wrong" or "sex is gross" or "sex is bad" or "sex is just for making babies" ?

For so many Christian women, going from maintaining sexual purity in singleness to pursuing sexual passion in marriage is just too big of a leap.

All they ever heard was they should say "no" to sex and now they are in a situation where God (and their husband) wants to hear an enthusiastic "yes" to sex.

If you are struggling seeing sex as good because all you ever heard was that it was bad, then I encourage you to dig into God's Word and heart, as well as other helpful Christian resources, to help you embrace a more truthful perspective on sex.

3. Acknowledge that your orgasm matters.

God designed orgasm for both husbands and wives.  The clitoris serves no other purpose than your sexual pleasure.  None.

And yet, so many wives downplay or disregard all together the importance of their climax.

Do you see value in your sexual pleasure?  If you don't, you probably aren't overly enthusiastic about sex. Ever.

If you struggle having an orgasm, consider checking out this page on my site where I have numerous blog posts specifically about orgasm.

Suffice to say, your sexual pleasure matters to building healthy sexual intimacy in your marriage.

4. Say "no" to some of the things depleting your energy for sex.

You can't do it all.  You are not an endless reservoir of energy.  Are you giving all the energy you have to everything but your marriage?

Hey, I'm not saying prioritizing is easy.  But it is worthwhile, especially when the health of your marriage is at stake.

Don't commit to quite so many volunteer opportunities.  Have more reasonable expectations about how clean and organized your house really needs to be.

At some point, you have to put your marriage near the top of the list, rather than consistently on the bottom of it.  Say "no" once in awhile (maybe even often) to the things that are overcrowding your schedule.

Check out this post I wrote on margin.

5. Plan sexual intimacy with your spouse.

Don't like the idea of "planned" or "scheduled" intimacy?  Think it will rob you of the spontaneity of the moment?

You gotta get over that.

Spontaneity is not the hallmark of amazing sex.  Intention is the hallmark of amazing sex.

For most married couples who have healthy sexual intimacy, their sexual encounters are a good mix of "planned" and "spontaneous."

There is nothing wrong with you and your husband intentionally blocking out some calendar space so you can have sex.

Put those kids to bed early and go make love to your husband.  Everyone will be happier in the morning.

6. Ask for what you need sexually.

Do you need more foreplay?  Do you need more kissing?  Do you need a back rub?  Do you need more caressing?  Do you need his hands and mouth as much as you need the rest of his body?

What do you need sexually?

Don't make him guess.  Don't assume he knows.  Ask for what you need sexually.

And while you're at it, ask him what he needs as well.

7. Stop making your kids the number one priority in your house.

There is a quote hanging on my fridge that says, "The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother." (Theodore Hesburgh)

If I could, I would add to the quote that the most important thing a mother can do for her children is love their father.

I know a quote on a fridge doesn't wrap everything up in a bow.  Life is messy, and it is especially messy when you are coordinating it with another person.

BUT.  In too many homes, when children arrive on the scene, sex takes a hike. It becomes an occasional "luxury" at best, and an outright forgotten privilege at worse.

Those kiddos you are pouring every ounce into? Well, they need a mama and daddy in love way more than they need homemade snacks for every school gathering or gleaming white baseball pants for every game.

Be intentional about nurturing your marriage and your sexual intimacy. You'll be giving those kids a foundation that is difficult to replicate any other way.

8. Visit a doctor and/or counselor.

Some sexual struggles are indeed physical issues that a health care professional can help you navigate and sometimes even eliminate.

And in the same regard, a professional counselor can play a vital role in your mental wellbeing and outlook.

If health struggles (mental or physical) are sabotaging your sexual intimacy, be proactive and do what you can to tame or alleviate those struggles.

9. Be willing to add some variety to your sexual intimacy.

I am not saying you need to succumb to sexual demands that fall outside God's boundaries for healthy intimacy.

What I am saying is that God does give you and your husband a lot of freedom within the exclusivity of your sexual relationship to thoroughly enjoy sex.  Maybe try some different positions or techniques or touches.

If you find you and your husband are struggling sexually, it could be because your sexual encounters always look the same.  Add some variety.  Pursue each other in new ways.

10. Strengthen your friendship with your spouse.

I write and read a lot about sex, and people are curious what I think is the "secret" to amazing sex in a marriage.

They tend to be surprised when I say "a strong friendship."

It's true, though.  Authentic friendship trumps just about everything else when it comes to building passion with the person you married.

But authentic friendship doesn't happen on its own.  You have to head in that direction.

How you spend time together and treat each other when your clothes are on will reveal a lot about what is going to happen when the clothes come off.

Sexual struggles do not have to have the final say in your marital intimacy.  

More often than not, couples can overcome their sexual struggles.  You will have to DO something though.

Copyright 2015, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

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Posted in authentic, marriage problems, sex, sexual intimacy, sexual intimacy struggles, sexual struggles, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , ,

March 30th, 2015 by JulieSibert


No one stands at the altar and imagines a day when they stop making love to their spouse.

Some stand at that altar with eager enthusiasm about sex.  Some stand there nervous about it, but still excited about the possibilities.

And some stand there with curiosity and questions, wondering what sex will be like in their marriage.

But no one stands there thinking sex will not be part of the endeavor.

Do you remember your wedding day?  Do you remember what you thought about sex?

No matter what was going through your heart and mind on that day with regard to sex, my guess is you still knew that it was important.   Sex was a given, so to speak -- a vital expression of covenant love meant for you and your spouse exclusively.

I think sexual intimacy is one of the most difficult things for a couple to navigate over the course of their marriage -- particularly if they do not have good communication about their sexual needs, desires and expectations. (Seriously, even when they do have good communication about those things, it still can be hard).

Sex might even be the most difficult thing for a married couple to navigate (if my email in-box, comment stream and conversations tell me anything).

Has sex faded out of your marriage?

If so, I doubt that was a conscious decision on anyone's part.  Unhealthy patterns are usually unintentional.  We drift into them, distracted by the relentless details and busyness of life.

Colicky babies.  Little league schedules. Christmas preparations. Teenagers' activities. Work demands. Volunteer projects that should have received our "no." House repairs. Car repairs. Financial pressures.

Let's face it -- a lot of life starts happening after you unwrap the wedding gifts, cash the checks, put away the dress, return the tux and get down to the high and holy calling of being married.

Life gets messy.  And, sooner or later, hard -- emotionally, spiritually, physically.

Before long, you find that joys and smiles mingle casually with heartaches and disappointments, as if they are all dinner guests that come and go at random.

This is marriage.

And as much as you thought you were prepared for what makes it beautiful and worthy -- and what makes it painstaking and treacherous -- you weren't.

That's not a character flaw on your part.  It means you are human.  And so is your spouse.

Has sex faded out of your marriage?

If so, I am going to bet that one of you is in pain over that rejection.  Maybe both of you, but more often than not, when lack of sexual intimacy is an issue, it is a more prevalent issue for one spouse.

I wish I had easy answers (God how I wish that).  But sexual intimacy struggles are often painfully unique, and I don't know your story.

You may have huge hurts and betrayals you are trying to sort out.  You may have a past that is filled with sexual abuse or sexual lies or skewed messages about sex and marriage.  You may struggle with enjoying sexual pleasure and seeing the value in sex beyond the act itself.

You may have simply gotten lackadaisical about taking care of this aspect of your marriage, because you were always banking on there being plenty of time "someday."

Someday after the kids are raised.  Someday after the house is paid off.  Someday after the job isn't so demanding.  Someday.

I don't know your story.

What I do know is that sex is part of marriage.

And more often than not, when a couple could be nurturing their intimacy, but isn't, there is a toll.

Maybe that toll shows up as distance between the two of you or a lack of transparency or a sense that you are really more like roommates or a hunger to be with someone else.

If you know sex has faded out of your marriage, what will it take for you to stop pretending "this is just what happens in marriage" or "we'll figure this out someday"?

No one stands at the altar and imagines a day when they stop making love to their spouse.

No one.

Has sex faded out of your marriage?

Can you get humble and real about that?  And then do something about it?  The elusive "someday" never comes on its own.

Copyright 2015, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

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Posted in authentic, marriage problems, sex, sexual intimacy, sexual intimacy struggles, sexual struggles, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , ,

March 10th, 2015 by JulieSibert



Are you thinking of leaving your sexless marriage?

You are not alone, even among Christians.

Some of you won't do it, but the thought still hangs out there.

Should have…  could have…  would have...

… echoes of regret over years invested in a relationship that is starved of the very sexual intimacy that is a hallmark exclusive to marriage.

The one place sex should happen often is commonly the place it happens least -- or not at all.

I hear from men and women in sexless marriages, and many of them are hungry for a way out.

Their pleas generally look like this...

"I am going to leave after our youngest graduates from high school."

"There is someone at work who actually wants me, and I can't even get that kind of attention from the person I married."

"I'm so done."

"My wife thinks there is nothing wrong with our marriage, but she has no idea."

"My husband never wants to make love to me, even though I constantly show him I want to be with him sexually."

"Our friends and family think we have a great marriage.  If they only knew."

"I stopped sleeping in our bed because it was too difficult to be that close to the one person who could give me sex but won't."

"I can count on one hand the number of times we've had sex in the last decade."

"I figure I'll just get a divorce and ask for forgiveness later."

This is a searingly painful topic to address, and no matter what I say, there are no real winners.

Are you thinking of leaving your sexless marriage?

Before you do that, I encourage you to look at your situation and ask yourself these 10 questions:

1. Is your marriage truly "sexless"?

I imagine this question stings a bit, because you wouldn't even be entertaining a post like this if you didn't feel discouraged -- maybe even desperate -- about sex and your marriage.

If you and your spouse are struggling with whether once a week or once a month is enough sex, then I think you may have a frequency battle -- rather than a sexless marriage battle.

Many marriages face disagreements about sexual frequency. Many.

I'm not minimizing the frustrations with frequency battles.  They are real and mighty and present in countless marriages.  But having sex once a month when you really want it 2 times a week can hardly be considered a "sexless" marriage.

When I say "sexless," I mean outright refusal for months and years on end, with no willingness from the refusing spouse to address the matter or make healthy changes. One person has arbitrarily taken sex out of the marriage and even gone so far as to try to make the refused spouse feel guilty or selfish for even wanting sex in the first place.

I couldn't put a number on what counts as sexless, but I implore you to discern if what is going on in your marriage is a frequency disagreement or a barren wasteland of no sex at all.

2.  Is the refusing spouse struggling with depression or other mental health issues?

Depression (and a host of other mental health struggles) are real.  When they take a toll on a person's ability to function and interact in healthy ways in their relationships, then the person needs help.

There is no shame in mental illness or in getting help for it (sadly, our society and the church have not always acknowledged mental health struggles as authentic or as serious as they actually are).

If a refusing spouse is mentally sick, you as their spouse owe it to them to do a courageous thing -- strongly advise them to see someone (a doctor, a counselor, etc.) who can help equip them to better function in life.  If they are hesitant about that, offer to go with them or to help make the appointment.  Emphasize that you love them and want to support them in not just coping, but in thriving.

A married couple committed to working closely with doctors and counselors can nurture intimacy amidst such struggles, so that the relationship is not irretrievably damaged.

3. Is the refusing spouse physically unable to do anything sexual?

I know this should go without saying, but if your spouse is permanently injured or suffering from chronic illness that makes sexual activity impossible or extremely limited, then I really don't think you can classify your marriage as "sexless" in the truest sense.

I'm not saying your road isn't excruciatingly challenging.  But the words "in sickness and in health" have got to stand for something.

I remember a man I knew whose wife was dying of cancer.  He shared with me that she had admitted to him that it grieved her greatly that she couldn't be available to him sexually.  You know what he did? He reassured her and loved her and lived his vows until the day she died.

Though challenging, it also can be extremely rewarding and edifying to stand by a spouse who would have sex if they could. But they can't.  Sometimes couples in such situations demonstrate a better understanding of authentic intimacy than couples who have not faced such challenges.

4.  Have you really exhausted every attempt to make your frustrations and pain known?

A sexless marriage usually doesn't happen over a short period of time.  It is the result of an unhealthy pattern perpetuated long enough that it has become the "normal" in the marriage.

If the lack of sexual intimacy in your marriage has persisted, don't assume that "hinting" or being passive aggressive or yelling is going to enlighten your spouse to make different choices.  If anything, that approach will likely just get you more of what you have been getting -- no sex.

You have to make your concerns and needs and pain and frustration known.  One way to think of it is this: "What do I need to say to my spouse so that there is absolutely no doubt that they know I am hurt and our marriage is suffering from the lack of sexual intimacy?"

Answering that question probably means you're going to have to be brutally honest.  Speak in the I.  Speak your pain verbally and write it all down as well. Do it with firmness, but not harshness.  Let your pain show.

Risky?  Hell yes.

BUT it's also risky to try to sustain a facade of marital harmony.  At some point, you have to lay all your cards on the table and let the pieces fall where they may.

After making your pain known, express that you want things to get better and you want the two of you to work on that together, no matter what it takes.  Counseling (individual and as a couple).  Marriage seminars.  Exploring physical reasons (such as hormonal imbalances) for diminished sex drive.  Reading marriage books together. Making changes in your schedule so you can spend more time together.

Whatever it takes.

If your spouse won't go with you to counseling, go on your own.  Not only will you gain valuable insights from someone trained in helping marriages, you also will demonstrate to your spouse that you are committed to exhausting all possible avenues to make the marriage stronger.

5.  Is the marriage trying to heal from a deep betrayal?

If one or both people in a marriage are actively in the process of healing from a past pain, particularly past sexual abuse and/or adultery or porn addiction, then I personally think it's understandable that sexual intimacy may be slowed or delayed in the midst of such journey.

Key is that both people are committed to the marriage being healed.

Hopefully, if you find yourself in this situation, you and your spouse see the value in resuming sexual intimacy within a reasonable amount of time.  This is a realistic expectation, because sex is part of marriage.   If the betrayed spouse has decided sex will never happen again, I question whether that person is genuinely committed to the marriage being healed.

6.  Have you looked closely at your own heart and asked the Lord to reveal where you have been careless with the marriage?

Do I think it is okay for a spouse to indefinitely withhold sex?  No.  In the same regard, though, I think we each individually carry a responsibility for the relationship.  God even goes so far as to outline the responsibilities of a wife and a husband in His Word.

Are you at peace with God that you truly are doing what He has called you to do in your role in the marriage?  If not, I urge you to humble yourself before the Lord and seek first His commands instead of pouring so much energy into what you hate about your marriage.

7. Have you sought the counsel of other mature Christians?

Bailing on a marriage, for any reason, is a big deal.  Our society makes it out to seem like it really isn't, but practical experience and a boatload of research and buckets of tears tell us otherwise.

When two people are knit together in what they thought was a "forever" commitment, especially a covenant commitment of marriage, and then the bond is dissolved, the fallout is often tragic.

Before you leave, take your pain and frustration to 2-3 mature Christians you trust.  Men should confide in men, and women in women.  Choose mature Christians who will listen non-judgmentally, pray with you and for your marriage, not bash your spouse, study God's Word with you and keep all conversations in confidence.

Be specific and transparent with these mature Christians about what is happening in your marriage.  "We haven't had sex in three years and this is the pain it has caused me.  I'm not sure I want to be married anymore."

Ask those Christians to pray for you, with you and for your marriage.

These kind of relationships are priceless when you are contemplating the state of your marriage, especially if you are thinking of ending it.  They can often offer a more objective view and suggestions that you had not considered because of your deep pain.

8. Have you prayed?

Here's the thing. I can't answer the question for you of whether you should leave your sexless marriage.  That is something you and God have to wrestle about.

Ending a marriage is not a light decision at all.  As such, I would encourage you to spend tremendous time and vulnerability pressing into the heart of God and His Word.   I'm talking about your personal time with the Lord, not the time you spend at church or in your group Bible study.

9. Have you followed biblical teaching and confronted your spouse about his or her sin of sexual refusal?

1 Corinthians 7 is clear.   God tells husbands and wives:  Do not withhold your body from your spouse.  If your spouse is withholding their body from you sexually and you have tried to address this with them privately to no avail, I do think you are  biblically supported in going to your spouse with at least a couple other mature Christians and shedding light on the sin.

Is this easy?  Well, of course not.  Rarely are accountability issues easy.  They are wrought with our human nature to defend and justify, rather than walk in humility and welcome the opportunity for repentance.  But if you are at a point of ending your marriage, then first follow the biblical model of accountability.

10.  Have you made it clear to your spouse that you are thinking about divorce?

If you have made repeated attempts to address the issue in a variety of ways and your spouse has not responded, and you are thinking divorce is where you are headed, you should tell your spouse this.

Don't dance around it.  Don't say it in a tone that is threatening, but rather in a humble tone that expresses your deep pain.  Clearly express and outline your repeated attempts for the two of you to address and heal this area of sexual intimacy in your marriage.

And if you are feeling things are at a breaking point, don't rule out first legally separating.  Sometimes this distance can be a catalyst toward incredible healing and restoration within the relationship.

Are you thinking of leaving your sexless marriage?

It's abundantly clear in God's Word that He fully intended and designed marriage to include sex.  It is a "given" in His commands and Word that husbands and wives, as long as they are able, should not only have sex, but have it often.

Any believing Christian who would try to argue otherwise is clearly walking outside of God's will.  While each marriage is unique, I do think that a refusing spouse who has consistently withheld sexual intimacy from their spouse for no justifiable reason has in a sense already left the marriage.  Is divorce always the right choice in those circumstances?

Honestly, I'm not sure.

What I do know is the above questions will help you dig deeper.  And I do know that God is a faithful God, well aware of your pain and heartache and deep need for reliance upon Him.

Are you thinking of leaving your sexless marriage?

What are you going to do with those thoughts?

Copyright 2015, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

Click on the below image for more about the book:











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