sexually dead marriage
February 12th, 2016 by Julie Sibert

So it's been awhile, you say?

sexually dead marriageAwhile since the two of you genuinely enjoyed sex.

Or even had sex.

The circumstances that usher a married couple into little or no sex are varied, and it's possible I've heard them all.

Some of those circumstances are rooted in painful betrayals, like abuse, infidelity and pornography use.

Some are fueled by empty promises of "Not tonight. But maybe tomorrow."

And some... well... some we couldn't quite pinpoint even if we tried.  Life happened, what with its babies and bills and busyness and basketball practice and broken dishwashers and brash calendars.

Life got crazy.  And you didn't just push sex to the back burner.  You pushed it right off the stove (ya didn't really mean to, but that's what happened).

And I also hear from pa-lenty of couples who are just exhausted and disillusioned with marriage, wrestling more with heartache and heaviness. Instead of resting with hope and happiness.

So whatever circumstances landed you at a sexually-dead marriage, maybe it's time for a new perspective.

I'm an optimist to the core! Yeah for me!  And yeah for you, if you're still reading!

And I believe -- genuinely believe -- that nearly all sexually-dead marriages can be revived, if the two people in the mix are willing to walk in that direction.

5 Must-Try Tips for Reviving a Sexually-Dead Marriage:

1. Address the long-standing issues

I know.  You hate it that I started here.

But if there are long-standing unresolved sexual struggles in your marriage, no better time than right now to start shedding light on those.

God is totally in the business of redeeming the pain of our past, whatever that may look like, and refining it into His vision for the future.

Your future likely includes hot passionate authentic sexual intimacy, if you're willing to deal with and heal from whatever messed up sex for you in first place.

 

2. Pour yourself into friendship with your spouse

Everyone wants to know what I think is the secret to great sex.  Most are surprised that my answer is friendship.

But not just any friendship. The kind of friendship where a husband and wife intentionally seek after each other's company.

When was the last time you laughed with your spouse?

When was the last time the two of you did something fun together?

When was the last time you really felt like you had each other's back, understood each other's inside jokes, and longed for each other's voice?

Well, my friend, hot sex is hottest when you have endearing friendship with the person who stood next to you at the altar.  No lie.  It is.

 

3. Embrace sexual freedom

Have you ever noticed that whenever "married" sex is referenced or portrayed in the media or entertainment, it's often made out to be boring and void of any real pleasure?

Sadly, sex in a marriage is used as fodder for jokes, rather than laid out as a passionate opportunity for fun and oneness.

Within the exclusivity of your marriage, you have a lot of freedom to enjoy each other's bodies.  No one is privy to what's going on when you shut that bedroom door, and that kind of privacy should inspire us to make the most of it.

As long as your sexual intimacy doesn't involve any third parties (real, portrayed or imagined) and as long as neither you nor your spouse are finding pleasure in causing the other person pain (physical, emotional or spiritual), then you really have a lot of freedom to enjoy sex.

Embrace sexual passion.  Enjoy each other's bodies.  Try different positions.  Get crazy beneath those sheets.  Get loud if you want.  God is the author of orgasm and sexual arousal in a marriage.  Well done, God. Well done.

 

4. Make your spouse's orgasm of utmost importance!

I know the reason a lot of wives struggle with sex is they are rarely if ever having an orgasm, either because they don't think their orgasm is important (insert sad face here) or they have a selfish husband (insert even sadder face here).

We could get rid of a lot of sexual apathy if both a husband and a wife took great care to help each other climax intensely. To do this well, you have to communicate and learn each other's bodies.

A popular post I wrote was 3 Reasons Your Husband Likes It When You Climax.  I also have a ton of helpful posts over on the orgasm page on my site.

 

5.  Put sex high on the priority list

I've long said that healthy patterns are intentional and unhealthy patterns typically are unintentional (we drift into them rather than actively pursue them).

Here's the deal -- whichever way you go will become your normal if you go that way enough.

So if you are intentional about nurturing sexual intimacy and making it a priority often, then that will become your normal.  If you are unintentional and let yourself drift into little or no sex, then that will become your normal.

What normal do you really want to be living?

As for me and my marriage, well... you can guess which normal we are loving and living!

One of my favorite posts of all time is Extraordinary Sex in Your Ordinary Life.  You might find it encouraging too.   Also consider Sheila Gregoire's post Do I Have to Live in a Sexless Marriage?

Never want to miss one of my posts?  Subscribe via email on this page.  And be sure to join my more than 7,000 followers on my Facebook page and 9,000 followers on Twitter.

Pursuit of Passion ResizeIf you know of engaged or newly-married women, please help them get their marriages off to the right start sexually by telling them about the March 5, 2016, Pursuit of Passion Event in Omaha!

 

Copyright 2016, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

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clean sheets
February 8th, 2016 by Julie Sibert

clean sheetsEvery now and then, I receive comments or emails from husbands that read like a laundry list of the worst excuses their wife has ever given for not wanting to have sex.

Sometimes I laugh.

Most often, though, I'm sad.

Yes, I know, I'm hearing only one side of the story when these husbands reach out.

But even if I were to hear both sides of the story, we would still arrive at the same picture -- marriages struggling sexually.

Until a comment I received recently, it had been awhile since I had heard the "clean sheets" excuse, meaning, "I just changed the bed and the last thing I want to do is mess up these clean sheets with sex."

Some of you have said it.

Some of you have heard it.

Ultimately, though, God longs for us to ask what our marriage means to us.

By what should a marriage be recognized?

I sure hope it's not clean linen.  Sweet baby Jesus, help us if it's clean linen, because that would be sad commentary.

"Well, their marriage was nothing special.  But did you see the sheets?  Phenomenal. 1,200-thread count Egyptian cotton, and I swear it looked like they'd never been used, if you know what I mean."

Joking aside, this is one of those "ya gotta count the costs" sorta things in a relationship.

What if the "clean sheets" excuse really isn't the reason.  What's the story behind the story, so to speak?

Is it possible that "clean sheets" is just code for some deeper struggle in your sexual relationship with your spouse (especially if it's one of many excuses on the laundry list. No pun intended)?

Whenever I speak to women's groups, I always try to at some point to bring the conversation to a "count the costs" focal point.  I'm annoying that way, but some of them actually tell me afterward they appreciate this kind of candid transparency.

If there is something you and your spouse could do to heal sexual brokenness and better nurture sexual intimacy, isn't your marriage worth that kind of effort?

I think it is.

Yes, it takes courage and humility and possibly even the trusted resource of a professional Christian counselor to start digging yourself out of sexual disconnect.  But there are many couples who have done it.

And along the way, they've discovered that sex is never just about sex.  it's about a oneness and strengthening to a marriage that can't quite be described.  Intimate and exclusive sexual intimacy is one of the main things that God designed to set marriage apart from any other human relationship.

So, when we ask the question, by what should a marriage be recognized, most Christians who have studied God's heart and word would indeed have "sex" in their answer.

If there is more to your "clean sheets" excuse than "clean sheets," I encourage you to hunger for God's truth and redemption in this tender area of your marriage.

And if there really is nothing more behind your "clean sheets" excuse?  I mean, if your sexual intimacy is actually quite great, except when you've just changed the sheets?

Well, there are these crazy contraptions called towels.  With a little planning, it's amazing the way they can protect clean sheets.

See, I do care.  About your marriage. And your sheets.

Copyright 2016, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

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Still life of martini mixed drink with raspberry fruit agaisnt white background.
February 1st, 2016 by Julie Sibert

I can feel some of you tensing up even just reading that question.

"Julie, if you're about to vilify me for kicking back with a few brewskis or a glass of wine before getting crazy beneath the sheets, I don't want to hear it."

I'm not about to vilify you. Relax.

But don't tune me out either.

I like an occasional glass of wine or beer as much as many people, but as someone who blogs about sexual intimacy in marriage, I would be careless to not devote a blog post to this topic of alcohol and sex.

And I'm not talking about alcohol addiction, because obviously if someone is addicted to alcohol, that's creating all kinds of problems in their life (sloppy sex is probably the least of those, but no doubt it's in the mix. No pun intended).

You may not be addicted to alcohol (as addiction is generally defined), yet you may still rely on a drink or two to "get you in the mood" for sex -- to the point that nearly all of your sexual encounters don't happen unless you've had something to drink first.

And for some of you, it's really not about getting in the mood -- as much as it is about numbing pain.  You use a drink or two to keep at bay the emotional pain that sex triggers in you.

The pain of past sexual abuse or sexual indiscretions is too much, and you believe you're better able to manage it with a little alcohol.

Whatever the reasons, some people simply believe alcohol makes them a better lover.

Maybe you think it makes you a better lover.

But alcohol is a depressant, so its calling cards are hardly more coordination or more alertness.  If anything, too much alcohol quickly will cascade you into one chaotic sexual mess.

Sure, it may be memorable.

But for all the wrong reasons.

And as far as numbing emotional pain, alcohol will never usher you into authentic and long-lasting healing.  That's found only through learning from the one true Healer -- Jesus Christ -- and trusting Him as you walk a journey toward authentic healing.

I know.

This post is getting heavy, right?

And some of you are saying right now that you don't have deep issues. You just like the way alcohol helps you feel less inhibited sexually.

"Julie, after I have a drink, I loosen up!" you may say. "I feel more relaxed. I  feel more sexually confident."

Your spouse may even echo that sentiment.  They are totally on board with you having a drink before crawling into seduction.  "The sex is better!  It's like they are someone else --  a sexier version of themselves!"

So where have we arrived, now that I've painted all the above scenarios?

My hope is you are starting to see where all the circumstances start to drift into one huge underlying problem.

If you rely on alcohol to numb you or boost your sexual confidence or make you a sexier version of yourself, you likely are robbing yourself of authentic sexual freedom, in my humble opinion.

What?!

Yeah. It's true.

You may think all that alcohol-induced sexual passion is the real deal, when all the while, the real deal is just beneath the surface, waiting for you to discover it -- without alcohol as your admission ticket.

When we let go of the training-wheels alcohol appears to give us, we make room for something better.

Genuine relaxation.

Rich communication about sex.

True transparency between a husband and a wife.

Vulnerable nakedness that feels safe, not overwhelming.

There is nothing quite like experiencing sexual freedom and oneness in the exclusivity of your marriage bed without relying on alcohol to get you there.

So hear my heart when I say that if you enjoy a drink every now and then before sex, that in and of itself is not wrong.

But if you know you're using alcohol as a mask to protect yourself from true vulnerability or as a counterfeit way to build passion quickly, then I believe God has something better in store for you and your spouse.

Do you believe God has something better in store?

Copyright 2016, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

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The word hope and females hands showing black board against bright blue sky with clouds
January 18th, 2016 by Julie Sibert

 

Occasionally, I hear from women who have struggled tremendously with vaginismus, a condition that causes the vagina to tighten, making sexual intercourse extremely painful.

So you can imagine how grateful I was to open up my email and see an alert about a new post from my fellow writer and pal Sheila Gregoire.

Sheila recently did a series on vaginismus, and highly recommend you read the series!

Profound and needed information in these posts. (I included the links further down, so keep scrolling).

Not only did Sheila suffer from this condition early in her marriage, she also has heard from countless other women.

Some of these women are bravely sharing their stories in an effort to shed more light.

Even if you have never suffered from vaginismus, reading the posts could help us all build good empathy for women who do.

A big thank you to Sheila and the women who have shared for this series. Here are the links:

A Story of Vaginismus: 5 Things I Wish I Had Known
The Voices of Women with Vaginismus
Overcoming Vaginismus: 9 Steps Towards Recovery

 

Copyright 2016, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

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sexual-intimacy-struggles
January 11th, 2016 by Julie Sibert

 

sexual-intimacy-strugglesI hear many stories about marriages struggling sexually.

The circumstances are as varied and vast as stars in the sky, as cliche as it may sound.

And there is legitimate and heart-wrenching pain within every scenario, where behind closed doors, the true character (or lack thereof) of a marriage is forged and revealed.

Many, many sexual struggles.

But do you know the one reason at the root of almost all of them?

One person in the marriage wants nurtured healthy sexually intimacy.  And the other person does not.

Another (yet less frequent) version of this scenario is the two people do want to heal, but they can't agree on what healing looks like.  So they stay stuck in their corners.

Lack of mutual resolve on doing something -- anything -- about the sexual disconnect sets the foundation for more of the same.  Sexual struggle becomes their normal.

"Oh. My. God. How did we get here?!" you could hear at least one of them (maybe both of them) screaming from the pit of their soul.

Sexual struggle may even become so normal that it seems completely counterintuitive and cumbersome for the couple to climb their way to a better healthier sexual normal.

It's tenacious and tender work to create something better, isn't it?

And you know what?

Without even hearing all the details about such a marriage, if I would arrive on the scene, I would bet my last dollar I would find one person who genuinely and humbly wants to walk in the direction of healthy intimacy.

And one who does not.

RELATED POST: Sexual Intimacy and Marriage: I Didn't Know What I Didn't Know

I was talking to a great friend of mine the other day and we were musing about feeling excited about the new year.

Quite the segue I'm making here, huh?!

Any. Way.

My friend and I were talking about the new year, and she said her word for the year is "intentionality."

"I love that!" I said.

Being intentional about anything takes effort, which is probably why the word doesn't inspire waves of action among the vast majority of people.

Being intentional means having to fight against your natural tendency of taking the path of least resistance.

And it means having to baby step and big step your way out of longstanding unhealthy normals.

Hard. Tiring. Frustrating. Overwhelming.

And yet.

Something better at the other end of all that intentionality, if you stick with it.

There's a lot of psychology behind why we as the masses suck at this whole thing of being intentional and pursuing healthiness as our normal.

But come on. You don't want to hear a psychology lesson right now.

You don't really want to hear why you like the cheese curls and chocolate better than the chicken and cauliflower.

We generally, though, know what's healthy and what isn't.  You'd be hard pressed to find someone who would say "the cheese curls are DEFINITELY healthier than the cauliflower."

And you'd be hard pressed to find someone who would say that sexual disconnect in a marriage is healthier than authentic sexual intimacy in a marriage.

Nearly all of the people who read my blog land here because nurtured sexual intimacy is far from their reality.  Their norm is sexual disconnect, discouragement and, for some, desperation.

If you are reading this, either you are the one in the marriage who wants to work on healthier sexual intimacy.  Or you are the one satisfied with the status quo.

Which one are you?

Regardless of which one you are, I'm wondering if you are willing to do a courageously intentional thing.

Could this blog post open the door to some dialogue with your spouse about sexual intimacy?

Psychology lesson aside, it all circles back to the truth that you gotta do something if you want something to look differently.

I don't know your circumstances, but my hope is that you have not lost hope for healthy sexual intimacy in your marriage.

I can't give you guarantees that if you move in the direction of healthy sexual intimacy that your spouse will want to move in that direction with you.

But it's worth a shot to at least try.

Because I doubt more of the same -- an unhealthy sexual normal -- is the marriage you both envisioned way back in the day.

Right?

Copyright 2016, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

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sexual-intimacy-and-marriage
December 28th, 2015 by Julie Sibert

 

sexual-intimacy-and-marriageSometimes people wonder why I'm so passionate about this topic of sexual intimacy in marriage.

They think my confidence in speaking openly and authentically about sex has always been there.

With ease I transition between talking about orgasm and talking about the errands I need to run... talking about sexual positions and talking about my rogue calendar.

Here's the deal though.

The vulnerable no holds barred deal.

I write and speak about sex because years ago -- what feels like a lifetime ago -- I didn't know what I didn't know.

I was a young woman in a new marriage.  Any sex I had before that marriage was in the wrong context. For the wrong reasons. With the wrong men.

And here I was, a new wife, trying (or more often, not trying) to have sex in the right context.

And I didn't know what I didn't know.

I didn't know that authentic sexual intimacy was vital to the strength of our marriage -- any marriage, really.  I didn't know that it had to be nurtured.

I didn't know that my then husband and I had to figure out a way to talk about it, instead of rest in the assumptions that our sexual struggles would "work themselves out."

That's what I vividly remember telling myself.

"Someday we'll figure this out.  Someday this won't be so difficult."

Compounding the issue was that I was on hormonal birth control (the pill). And I had no clue it was sabotaging my sex drive, leveling out the natural peaks of desire that God designed into the physiology of a woman's cycle.

I didn't know what I didn't know.

That marriage ended nearly 8 years later for a variety of reasons. But I couldn't escape the truth that my indifferences about our sexual challenges didn't exactly have to claw their way to the top of the reason list.

Our lack of nurtured sexual intimacy easily could have been the not-so-subtle theme of our marriage and our divorce.

I didn't know what I didn't know.

It wasn't until after I was drowning in the pain of that divorce that I started to discover what I didn't know.   I took an honest look at those sexual struggles, held them up against God's heart and design of sex, and had my come to Jesus moment.

I humbled myself.

Dug into God's Word.

Asked God for forgiveness for my lack of sexual availability.  Even eventually, years later, asked for my ex-husband's forgiveness for the way I had been so careless with sex in our marriage.

I knew that if and when I ever re-married, I would be more intentional about this area of sex.  I would not wait for "someday" to address challenges. I would not be lackadaisical about what being a lover meant not only to a marriage, but what it meant to me.  And what it meant to any man I would be fortunate enough to call my husband.

When I did remarry, I gratefully discovered that I genuinely could learn and grow from what I didn't know all those years before.

All of that probably would have been enough redemption, right?  To learn from my past mistakes and use them to transform my current relationship.

Well, God (being Who he is and all) had additional vision for how I was to use my experience of "not knowing what I didn't know."

In vulnerable and heart-wrenching conversations with other women who were facing their own sexual struggles in their marriages, I discovered that more light -- Godly light -- needed to fall upon this whole topic of sex and marriage.

So when it appears I speak with such ease and confidence about sexual intimacy in marriage, please know that I fought hard for that confidence.

I fought through my self doubt.  I fought through the skeptic looks I would get when I said, "I started a blog. About sex. In marriage."

And with each opportunity to speak or opportunity to write, I heard more gut-level pain from women -- and honestly, more often from men -- about the sexual apathy and devastation going on behind closed doors in countless Christian marriages.

I knew full well what I didn't know so many years ago.  And I wanted to do my part to see something made better -- to obey the calling on my heart -- to shed more light into dark places.

I speak about sexual intimacy in marriage with less trepidation now.  Less inhibition about what people will think.

I listen respectfully to the naysayers that such a topic is "private" and "off limits" and "not the type of thing Christians should be discussing."   But I don't let any of that slow me down.

I know anyone's discomfort with the topic is often born out of their own sexual devastation, pain and unresolved struggles.

And. That. Breaks. My. Heart.

So if you wonder why I'm so passionate about sexual intimacy in marriage, it's because I want to see broken hearts healed.

And sexually broken marriages redeemed.

I didn't know what I didn't know.

But I do now.

Copyright 2015, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

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sexually selfish wife
November 17th, 2015 by Julie Sibert

sexually selfish wifeRecently, I wrote about sexually selfish husbands, and it's only fair I give equal voice to the reality there are some sexually selfish wives too.

You might be a selfish wife sexually if...

(1)  You see sex as something he has to earn.

This can show up in a variety of ways.

Maybe you subconsciously tell yourself, "If he does such-and-such, then I'll give him sex."  Or maybe you come right out and say something along those lines to him.

Sex becomes a bartering tool, a scorecard of "you do this" and "I'll do that."

In particularly malicious scenarios, you may manipulate the game the opposite way.  You punish him by withholding sex.

Painful damage comes from reducing sex in a marriage to mere commodity, where one person is always in the position of having to "earn" it.  There's nothing in God's Word that would support this kind of arrangement.

If anything, 1 Corinthians 7 gives us a selfless picture of a husband and a wife offering their bodies to each other freely, rather than turning it all into a transaction.   We could even go so far as to say that when you make sex something your husband has to "earn," you have prostituted yourself. In your own marriage.

And God has pa-lenty to say about prostitution.

(2)  You are never willing to try something new.

God gives a husband and wife tremendous freedom in the marriage bed to exclusively enjoy one another.  Go God!  This is one of the sweet privileges of marriage -- you can enjoy 31 flavors of sex, so to speak.

Sadly, too many wives are steadfast on having only vanilla on the menu.

Hey, I'm not saying vanilla is bad (every marriage needs a bit of vanilla sex).  But vanilla every time?

Sounds boring.

It is no wonder that many husbands want some sexual variety.  Variety that is exclusive, mutually valued and acceptable in God's eyes is not only possible, it is what some married couples pursue with passion and love.

Here is a post I wrote with 3 ideas to spice up your lovemaking.

(3)  You make sexual promises you never intend to keep.

This is actually a big complaint I hear from husbands.  Their wives either tease sexually or promise sex "soon" -- but then rarely follow through.

Some guys even describe this as a mild form of torture, like setting an ice cold glass of water in front of a man who has been crawling around in the desert. But he never actually gets the water.

He just has to stare at it.  Wonder what it would be like to enjoy it.

(I had one man email me this lengthy analogy that sex deprivation in his marriage was like being a starving man chained to a bed in a bakery, but he never gets any bread. He is forced to constantly see the baker baking the bread and smell the bread. But he never gets even a morsel.)

Anyway, I think you get the picture.

The other problem with making sexual promises that you don't keep is that it fuels distrust in the very relationship where you need trust the most.

It causes division, not unity. If your husband doubts your sincerity in sexual availability, he likely doubts your sincerity in other aspects of love -- even if he would never speak those reservations out loud.

(4)  You're not willing to understand what sex means to him.

So many women assume that sex is just sex for a man -- it's just a release and intense sexual pleasure, but it doesn't have much to do with an emotional or spiritual connection.

Wrong.  Especially for the majority of husbands I hear from.  Sex isn't just sex. Some husbands are so pained by their wives not understanding the significance of sex that they have asked God to take their sex drive away (interesting post on that here).

If you have used wide brush strokes to paint your husband into a corner, stereotyping him as nothing more than an animal bent on simply responding to his sexual urges, you have not been fair to the man you love.

(5) You think every sexual request he makes is rooted in porn.

Before you think I don't recognize that porn has caused huge devastation to marriages, please remember that I do blog about sex.  I hear about and read about many circumstances where porn has in some cases destroyed marriages.

BUT.

We have to be careful in thinking that particular sex acts or positions are inherently wrong simply because they also appear in pornography.  Yes, you need to search God's Word and your hearts.  No, it's not okay for one spouse to force another spouse to do something or to hurt their spouse, all in the name of sexual pleasure.

But there are a lot of married couples enjoying different positions, oral sex, sex toys, etc. In those situations, pornography is not at the root of that enjoyment.

(6) You just go through the motions but never really show up.

If I had a buck every time I hear from a husband who says that he doesn't just want her body, he wants her, I'd be a rich woman.

If your husband is like most, when you offer him obligatory sex or you just treat it all like a big chore to check off your list, he is dying a bit on the inside. (I wrote a popular post about that here).

Some wives may say, "Well, what's it really matter any way? He can't tell whether I'm into it or not.  I fake it."  Regardless of whether he is on to your ruse, faking orgasm is not good for you or your marriage.

In looking back over the above examples of selfishness, do you see any where you can begin to be a little less selfish?

Baby steps count.  Take enough baby steps toward nurtured sexual intimacy and you'll be astonished at what it does for your marriage.

Copyright 2015, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

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take sex drive away
October 31st, 2015 by Julie Sibert

 

take sex drive awayI receive more emails and comments from men than I do from women.

This does not surprise me.

What did initially surprise me, though, when I began blogging is the depth of pain expressed in these emails from men who hunger for more sexual intimacy in their marriage.

Notice I just wrote "sexual intimacy," rather than using the word "sex."

Nearly all the communication I receive from husbands clearly shows that sex is not just sex to them (contrary to what popular culture and stereotyping would lead us to believe).

They aren't just looking for a release.

Because let's face it, they could get that from their own hand.  Sure, some resort to secret masturbation on a regular basis, because they see no other option afforded them. Yet most would gladly admit that what they really want is to make love to their wife.

Sex is never just about sex.  It's about wanting to feel connected, affirmed and one with the person to whom you've pledged your life.

Some marriages are high on conflict about sex and incredibly low on resolution and healing.  Two people slowly drift away from each other sexually, either because healing the disconnect is not a shared value or because one or both spouses believe the marriage is irretrievably broken sexually.

My God, marriage is hard, isn't it?  I get that. I know.

I don't minimize the challenge it is to build an intimate marriage. Being married is a high and holy calling and it is hard, hard work.  And so much impacts sexual intimacy, from hormonal and physical issues to relationship struggles to betrayal to life circumstances to skewed views about sex.

The list goes on.

But it is tragic commentary in a marriage when either spouse has prayed for God to take away something that is inherently woven into the very design of marriage.  God's design for marriage.

I am grieved any time I read an email or comment where a husband has resigned to defeat, thinking there is no longer any viable option but to pray -- even beg -- for God to take his sexual desire away.

The devastation of laying next to a woman who neither pursues him sexually nor responds lovingly to his initiation is just too much.  Too much.

To frame this in another perspective, consider if you as a wife are feeling emotionally neglected by your husband.

Do you pray that God remove your desire for emotional oneness with the man you fell in love with and married?

Some of you may pray this, but my guess is that most women in that situation do not wish for their desire for emotional connection to go away.

They would rather see the relationship healed and strengthened, right?

Deep down when a husband has prayed God take his sexual desire away, what he is really screaming from the caverns of his soul is that he desperately wants the relationship healed and strengthened.

He wants -- genuinely wants -- authentic sexual intimacy with the woman he married.

If there are struggles in your marriage about sexual frequency, do you ever wonder if your husband has prayed for God to take his sexual desire away?

Well, here's the deal.

God probably isn't going to answer that prayer with a yes.

And even if He did, would we really consider that a victory for your marriage?

Copyright 2015, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

Click on the below image for more about the book:

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

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September 15th, 2015 by Julie Sibert

sex-and-body-image

I'm probably going to frustrate a few people with this post.

Or maybe not.  I'm not sure.

At any rate, soldier on in reading, even if you are tempted to stop. Where I am going may surprise you.

Sometimes I hear from husbands who are not interested in sex because their wife has "let herself go" -- not shown interest in being healthy, wearing attractive clothing or embracing her femininity.

Sometimes it is wives who are emailing me about their husband who has put on some extra pounds, not paid attention to his grooming like he did when they were first married and stopped embracing his manliness.

And sometimes the emails are from people lamenting not about their spouse, but about themselves, claiming they "let themselves go" and this is the reason for the intimacy woes that are plaguing the marriage.

Whether someone is complaining about their spouse or complaining about themselves, I think this whole "let yourself go" issue is not really the issue.

Because let's be honest.  For the vast majority of people, your body at 40 or 50 is not going to look like your body at 20.

It's just not, what with that thing called aging (not to mention carrying and birthing and nursing the little tykes for us women).

That's not to say you can't aim toward being physically healthy, dressing in appropriately fitting and attractive clothing, and so forth. Yes, this is all well and good.

BUT, the real issue, in my opinion, is your attitude about sexual intimacy and your willingness to have healthy confidence in yourself (not just in your body).

Do you want to know something about those scenarios I shared at the beginning of this post? The ones where I hear from people complaining about their spouse "letting themselves go"?

Those emails by far are a tiny percentage compared to the number of emails and comments I receive, particularly from husbands, who actually have a different quandary.

What torments these guys is their wife has let go of her sexual confidence, despite the husband's repeated encouragement and affirmation.

You see, these men don't care about the extra pounds their wife has put on. And they don't care that she doesn't look like she did when they first married.

What the husband hungers for is a wife who wants to make love, wants to be close and wants to give him the privilege of seeing her naked body.

But she is resistant, even belligerently self-defeating when it comes to nurtured sexual intimacy and sexual passion in the marriage.

The husband isn't hung up on what she perceives as having "let herself go."

She is.

If you are still reading, this may well be your come to Jesus moment as far as what has truly been sabotaging intimacy in your marriage bed.

Maybe you have.  And maybe it has nothing to do with your body.

I hear from countless guys who say that what they find incredibly sexy is sexual confidence.

Given the choice, they would be more excited about a wife who maybe has put on some extra weight and has a few wrinkles YET still has interest and enthusiasm in bed than a wife who looks like a Victoria Secret model YET has zero interest in sexual passion with her husband.

I could do a "man on the street" survey (because, honestly, that sounds like fun). You know where I would arrive with that survey?

That a wife's sexual confidence is sacred ground -- thoroughly enjoyed by husbands whose wives exhibit it -- and coveted by countless husbands whose wives don't have it (and have no interest in having it).

I'm just not so sure this "let yourself go" argument is really about what we have too often made it about.

I think the deeper issue is about sexual confidence. Not the extra baby weight.

If you're going to let go of anything, let go of this idea that you first have to lose the extra weight or get in better shape before you build sexual confidence.

A better approach just might be to build sexual confidence now.

What do you think?

And for more reading, check out my favorite post on "body image" at this link.

And I might catch some grief for sharing the below video, but it has an incredibly powerful message (warning though, especially for guys, it does contain subtle nudity).

Copyright 2015, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

Click on the below image for more about the book:

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Posted in authentic, body image, sexual intimacy struggles, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , , ,

unforgiveness
September 8th, 2015 by Julie Sibert

Are you harboring unforgiveness toward your spouse? More than likely, you are paying a bigger price for that unforgiveness than you may realize.

Cassie Celestain of True Agape explores what unforgiveness can do to sexual intimacy. Cassie's post is part of my ongoing guest blog series on things that destroy sex in marriage.

I am so grateful for Cassie's willingness to be a part of this series.  She offers great insights on the reality that it is often the small grievances that turn into huge roadblocks in our relationship.

When Ryan and I started dating. we made an agreement to deal with issues as they arose.

unforgivenessIn past relationships, we hid our true feelings, pushed concerns back and dealt with problems once they became big enough that they couldn't be ignored. Those past relationships in part did not work out because of those reasons.

We wanted our relationship to be different, to be genuine.

We will soon celebrate our 4th anniversary. I feel like Ryan and I have done pretty well with our agreement. We have had very few big issues because lack of communication. But to be honest, it's the small things that I constantly have to check myself about.

I must be willing to forgive the little things or else they become big things. Big things that can start destroying our sex life.

How can unforgiveness destroy our sex life? 

There are certainly big issues in marriages that cause unforgiveness. However, for me, and for others, they are typically small disappointments.

We weren't asked if he could help with dinner.

We wished they would have spent more time with us this weekend.

She didn't do something she said she was going to.

These are small disappointments that can easily be talked over and forgiven. But instead, if we focus on those unmet expectations, we can become angry. Our anger can turn into bitterness and then resentment.

In return, staying resentful then makes us come to a stage when we just don't care anymore.

When you "just don't care" anymore it is hard to connect in general, but even more so during sex.

Sex was created to be an intimate action to draw closer together as husband and wife. If we have walls build up from hurt, unmet expectations, anger and unforgiveness, we tend to either avoid sex or complete the act disconnected. Both of those will destroy our marriage sex life.

Ways to overcome unforgiveness to benefit our marriage bed

It comes down to the simple, but not easy, fact that we have to forgive. Forgiveness is not an option, but a must. God forgave us for our sins; therefore, we are called to forgive others of theirs.

Here are some tips to help your heart to genuinely forgive:

Start communicating about tough topics before they build up into something else.

Remember that as amazing as your spouse is, they are human and not a perfect being.

It is not our job to judge our mates action, but instead love them unconditionally.

Pray for your heart to be changed. Pray for God to mold your spouse into who He wants them to be.

When a negative thought comes to mind about your spouse, replace it with a positive one.

Begin rebuilding connection and intimacy with these physical touch ideas.

Personally, staying focused on the fact that sin is sin can also be helpful. That all sin is equal. And all of my sins were forgiven by God who loves me unconditionally.

That is what helps me to forgive and love Ryan even when my human self doesn't think it is possible. It is not in my own strength that I am able to forgive, but with the strength of God.

Cassie Celestain is a wife, mom, runner and a marriage and family blogger at True Agape. She believes respect, trust, understanding and willingness creates happy marriages and families. She strives to keep those things the main focus in her daily life and wants to challenge others to do the same.

You can get her free 6 page report The Secret to Making your Husband Feel Loved when you sign up for True Agape’s monthly newsletter. She also recently released a children's book titled Running is Totally for Me.

 

 

Copyright 2015, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

Click on the below image for more about the book:

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