Do You Know What Turns You On?


Were you sexually attracted to your spouse before you got married?

Sexual attraction is an interesting phenomenon, isn’t it?

We rarely have to tell it to show up when we are dating.

A man and woman start spending time together, discover that they have a longing to spend even more time together, and before long…

Sexual attraction becomes the ever-present third party.

Do you know what turns you on?

Sure, we can call it “physical” attraction, but when we really peel back the layers, what we find is genuinely more sexual.

That’s not a bad thing, mind you.

If anything, I think it confirms even more that God designed sex, and that He wants us to understand its power.

People who are not married obviously have to pay close attention to not following sexual attraction wherever it leads, because ultimately it will lead directly to sex if left unchecked.

That’s just how sexual attraction works.

Left to its own devices, it knows where it wants to go.  And for people who are not married, it will go there unless someone reins it in.

I remember when my husband and I were dating and engaged, our sexual attraction was intense.

Immensely powerful.

Fortunately, one of us was always strong enough to set good boundaries. Sometimes that was me. Sometimes it was him.

It wasn’t easy, but we waited for our wedding night to loosen the reins and give into all that sexual tension.

Do you know what turns you on?

Honestly, I would be a little leery of an engagement and forthcoming marriage if there wasn’t a fair amount of sexual attraction in the mix.  Well, not just leery.

I would probably outright tell the person that it is a huge red flag if they don’t find themselves wanting to be intimately close physically to the person with whom they have fallen in love.

Is that a bold statement?  A wrong statement?

I don’t think so. It’s not saying that sexual attraction is the only reason we fall in love with someone.  (I’d be equally concerned about that as I would if there was no sexual attraction at all).

But at our core we should recognize that there is a physical allure…something that draws us sexually to this person in a way that builds upon all the other things that draw us to them.

Do you know what turns you on?

Ironically, what is typically difficult to stop before we are married can garner little or none of our attention after we are married.

At least that’s the case in some marriages. Maybe even many marriages.

It’s fascinating — and heartbreaking — when two people who had a difficult time keeping their hands off each other BEFORE marriage then find themselves in immense battles about sex AFTER marriage.

I know it sounds like I’m just talking about a physical response, but as I’ve already said, sexual attraction is an interesting creature.  And there rarely are hard lines around what piques our sexual interest.

Part of why I had to maintain a lot of self control to keep my hands off my husband before we were married — and without a doubt a main reason I often put my hands on him now — is that I am deeply attracted to who he is to me.

And who we are together.

I am turned on by our friendship, our inside jokes, our knowing, our commitment, our “we’re in the hard stuff of life” together, our laughter, our oneness.

Yes, I am deeply turned on by all that.

Do you know what turns you on?

Sadly, in too many marriages, sex becomes a “have to” rather than a “get to.”

Desire that burned intensely before those covenant vows seems to have faded, been discarded or turned into a bitter source of discord and discouragement.

If you find yourself in that place… that place of sexual attraction having long been lost… what will it take to breathe life into your intimacy?

While passionate sexual intimacy in marriage indeed has to do with touch, foreplay and arousal, I believe it has even more to do with understanding how all of that works intimately within the context of friendship, trust and commitment.

Figuring out what turns you on should compel you to figure out how to foster a deeper and more authentic friendship with the person you love. The person you married. The person you chose to do life with.

Do you know what turns you on?

Now is the time to nurture your marriage. The infamous “later” may never come.

Copyright 2013, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

7 thoughts on “Do You Know What Turns You On?

  1. Scott says:

    This is quite good and sad for some that the once strong sexual attraction is now gone. I love the challenge of do you “get to” enjoy sex or do “have to” endure it. Keep up the great writings.

  2. Big D says:

    Thus far the only thing I think turns my wife on is the thought of spending an hour at hobby lobby or developing the next pattern for the bathroom wall that doesn’t need painted. If they made vibrators that look like cheaply made lamps or dildos shaped like paint brushes I might have a shot at a sexual relationship worth mentioning.

  3. Topper says:

    What turns my wife on is being in a different room of the house from me or, better yet, being not home when I am home, and then frenetically running all around town for hours on end to find out which charitable social programs need do-gooder, spouse-ignoring people to volunteer and exhaust themselves and expend all their creativity over, and then later on basking in the occasional accolades of a local radio interview and local awards ceremonies in which, as soon as upon entering the backslapping, glad-handing fracas, wife gets rip-roaring really super turned on by handing the children off to hubby (me) and then ignoring hubby all night while local elder Freemason-types and business muckety-mucks and their aging Botoxed wives surround her and say what a great person she is for dedicating so much of herself to this or that charitable activity or cause. Husband and children watch from afar as wife receives the bronze plaque; wife appears to be very intensely turned on by bronze plaques and superficial attention given to her by old smiling strangers and acquaintances in suits and their overly dressed wives.
    Then wife extends and prolongs her turn-on indefinitely by befriending several of the same sex and much younger recipients of all her massive and consuming charitable labors–wife REALLY INTENSELY gets off on helping teach “at-risk” teen girls to “be all they can be,” basically–and wife has these girls over at the house quite frequently, and wife gets really really turned on(?) by talking to them for hours upon hours together in the kitchen while hubby (me) is completely and comprehensively and perpetually ignored and made to feel quaint and pet-like in the other room.
    That’s my wife. And that’s what turns her on. And what really really cramps her style and turns her off is when I seek an intimate conversation or moment with her, or if I really really want to make her queasy and irritated, I could–gulp–ask or beg for some kind of physical contact or–dare I become such a grievous thorn in her side–I could–gulp–ask for–gulp–sex?–gulp–please?–okay, okay. Sorry for asking. Never mind. I’ll go back in the other room now. You just finish your conversation with these admiring teenage girls here. Sorry. They’re more important. You’re right. Sorry.
    And so it goes…..

  4. WH says:

    @Big D – why do you let yourself be starved for intimacy? Your wife is abusing the marriage commitment, is she not? Nothing will get better until you make it happen. Tell her that relationships are give-and-take, and of late she’s been doing all the taking. Decide to go forward with a marriage like it’s supposed to be, and invite her along. If she doesn’t want to go, you have your answer. If you don’t do something, you’ll still be leaving the same posts on this website 20 years from now…

  5. Topper says:

    Oh, and I forgot about the occasional local newspaper article and online blog written about Ms. Topper’s amazing all-cinduming charitableness. Who needs a husband when you’ve got that kind of press?
    Or something.

  6. Faith says:

    My husband gets turned on when I tell him he is small or about fantasizing about me with another man and I’m not sure what to do. Help!

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