I’m not big on looking for signs, so to speak.
I’ve talked to many people at various places in their marriage, and when it comes to the marriages that are sticky strong — they have a few distinct characteristics.
A few signs, you might say.
And because I blog about sex, obviously that’s where my conversation wants to wander. (Always. Even when it’s awkwardly inappropriate. But that’s probably something I should tackle in another post. Or in therapy.)
I hear all the time from people who are discouraged with sex in their marriage (disagreements about frequency, stuck in a pattern of “going through the motions,” arguments about sex, indifference about sex, “I want a divorce because we aren’t having sex.” Those. Types. Of. Conversations.)
Occasionally, though, I talk with Christians who love sex. Really really love it.
Some common threads that run through those conversations, no matter who I talk to? I’ve narrowed it down to five things.
Here are 5 signs you’ve arrived sexually in your marriage:
1. You both initiate — willingly, lovingly, enthusiastically.
Deeply passionate, fun and sacred sexual connection abides in the friendship you share with each other. You both feel freedom in that covenant connection to express your sexual desire for each other.
You grasp what it means to want to be wanted.
I am so encouraged when I hear from couples who are unabashed about protecting their time for sex and intentionally pursuing it.
2. You are teachable and can teach.
We are at our most vulnerable during sexual intimacy. Exposed emotionally and physically.
No surprise that some married couples find it really hard to navigate that vulnerability and to teach each other what feels good.
Yet there is humble significance in exploring arousal with each other and letting go of the need to instantaneously “know” how to turn your spouse on. The healthiest couples learn sex together.
They both are teachable and can teach. And therein they mutually value each other’s sexual pleasure. For more reading on this, consider these 3 Things Your Husband Wants in Bed and a whole slew of posts on a woman’s orgasm.
3. You get what sex does for your marriage beyond the bedsheets.
A friend once said to me that she can tell when she and her husband have gone too long without sex. She feels and senses the tension in their ordinary walk of life, far away from the nakedness of their marriage bed.
In that regard, she knows — has grown to intuitively pay attention to — what sex does for her marriage beyond the bedsheets. I get that too. For more on my thoughts on this, check out my post I Like Him Better After We Have Sex.
4. You don’t use sex as a bargaining chip.
Yup. A sure sign that you have arrived sexually in your marriage is you stopped (or never started!) using sex as a bargaining chip.
You don’t sex him up to simply get him to say yes to something you want.
You don’t withhold sex simply to punish him for slight offenses, like not helping enough around the house or being grumpy about going to the family thingy at your sister’s.
The best sexual intimacy is not a scorecard. It’s not a manipulative tool, wielded around to get what you want or to make an angry point.
5. You are always in the process of “arriving.”
Do you know what I find most fascinating about entrepreneurs and artists and anyone who finds the ordinary extraordinary? It’s that they are always “arriving.”
They hunger for growth and new observations.
This process of always “arriving” is a rare, yet much needed, characteristic in life. And in sex.
People who savor sex recognize that the relationship as a whole is still unfolding.
Great sex is rooted in strong enduring friendship between a husband and a wife. And that kind of friendship — the kind we know is safe haven yet we can never find enough words to describe — is constantly evolving.
My husband and I are not the same people we were five years ago or even one year ago. That being the case, we are always bringing to the table — and to our intimacy (sexual and otherwise) — new perspectives and abilities to nurture our sacred exclusive connection.
When you consider the above “signs,” have you arrived sexually in your marriage?
I mean, even if you aren’t into the whole “sign” thing, the above points have got you thinking, right?
Copyright 2014, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.
21 thoughts on “5 Signs You’ve Arrived Sexually in Your Marriage”
Very insightful post. Points 3 and 4 above are very important. Where sex is infrequent, the whole marriage is adversely impacted. (The numerous comments from readers of this blog on various posts testify to this.) Neither spouse ought to withhold sexual intimacy or use it as a bargaining chip.. When the spouses mature emotionally, they can let go of that tactic.
Wives love your husbands and that includes making love with him frequently. Husbands love and honor your wives. Remember, marriage involves giving of one’s self.
What is sad is that you stated “Occasionally, though, I talk with Christians who love sex. Really really love it.” You would think and hope that among Christians, supposedly led by the Spirit, that it would be much more than “occasionally”. This is a subject that somehow has to be addressed before marriage to try to cut down on the depression and heart ache that occurs about a year after marriage for the majority of us. I’m always amazed at God, in that we (men) are told not to fornicate, better to marry than to burn with desire, get married to a soft curvy female who is indifferent to sex, then don’t lust while married (equals adultery). Children are the only thing that makes marriage worth while.
Great post! For those who have not arrived sexually, your points are a good way of seeing where work is needed.
As to therapy, maybe a few of us can get a group rate?
@ quiverfull There are two sides to every coin and women feel the heartache also. Men feel unloved without sex. Women feel unloved if they believe their husbands see them as ways to “not burn” and “not lust.”
Note: Men use sex as a bargaining tool, too!!!
This post puts a big smile on my face. Five years ago, not a single thing on this list would have applied to our marriage. Now, they all do! It’s nice to see things that remind me how much has changed for the better.
I totally agree with you about both learning sex together. That is a great sign of communication. I think communication in the bed takes place outside of the bedroom first.
I also think a lot of people come into the marriage with sexual expectations from previous sexual relationships. I think that makes connecting difficult until you get rid of that baggage.
@quiverfull, if what you say is true for your marriage or experience then, you and your wife (if it’s not too late) really should seek counseling. Regardless of what you hear (because you hear more from the complainers than the ones that are happy), the majority of Christian women love sex. God wired us to enjoy it, just like you. If she doesn’t, there are deeper issues. If she’s holding out on you, for spite, that’s still a deeper issue that needs to be addressed. The “no sex in a marriage” thing isn’t usually the root problem. Find out what is.
The last two years of personal change for each of us has brought our 30+ yr. marriage to a stage of renewal and growth that we never even thought we could have; that we didn’t even know to wish for. We also are not the same people that we were before!
We are living all five signs and are enjoying an increasing hotness, eroticism and fun (and frequency) in our sexual play. The mind/body/spirit connection is fantastic and so satisfying.
Wonderfully written – this really connects as WE are becoming the intimate couple that we weren’t even one – five years ago!!
So 19 yrs. later we got the hang of it and each more in LOVE weekly :-))
I really love this post, Julie!
We’ve had out ups and downs with sexual intimacy as everyone does, but as we have continued to work on it I can see us turning a corner in that area to where we are arriving sexually in our marriage and it feels awesome! We are closer and more in-tune to one another which keeps us growing in all areas.
Great post, such food for thought!
This is a great post! I especially like point 1: enthusiasm. Nothing is hotter than enthusiasm for sex. A spouse who says “no” all the time is awful, but “eh, I guess we can if you want to” isn’t much better.
Let’s see if we’ve arrived.
You people are pretty lucky.
And, yes, I do think it’s luck when the woman you married actually remains the woman you married and doesn’t turn into someone without a sex drive, and who has no care whatsoever that her husband is starving sexually.
For many of us men we are living with a person we did not marry. In some cases she was pretending in order to get the man and have the kids she wanted. In other cases she just changed. Either way she wins, we lose.
Couples who aim and strive to please each other sexually arrive faster than others. Point number 4.”You don’t use sex as a bargaining chip”. is so important and should be taking note of because it had and is still causing many marriage breakdown.
Women who deny their husband sex as a punishment or as a bargaining chip soon discover that they had destroyed their own marriage with their own hand.
It is infrequent the man who withholds sex to get something they want. Men are not in a position of power in the bedroom by and large. Yes, there are outliers, but they are that, outliers. Anecdotes stink. The statistics are largely dispositive, that this is a phenomenon that impacts men. It stinks but, it is a opportunity to grow as a person, assuming your spouse is as devoted as you are.
Kelly Taylor wrote: “God wired us to enjoy it, just like you”
This is not a universal truth, Kelly. Some women, like myself, are not created to get physical pleasure from sex. I have to try not to cry whenever I have sex with my husband because it’s thrown in my face how God hated me with my own body.
When you say “the majority of Christian women love sex” I wonder where you get your data. I’m sure many do, but there are many also who don’t.
If God meant for ALL couples to enjoy sex, He would have created ALL women to be able to experience it.
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My husband withholds sex all the time…says he’s not into it anymore. .could live without it. I asked him if he was gay. I don’t know of any man that doesn’t have needs. I feel punished all the time. I look 15 years younger than my actual age and have taken care of myself. He has had porn issues in the past, quite sure they still persist. He isn’t even jealous that his coworkers have solicited sex from me. It’s over. I know it in my gut. We have a son together. I feel like I have to earn everything or anything from this man. He’s secretive, unlike when we were first married. Forget about communication. If I want to try to talk about anything, he considers it b*****g and walks away. Avoidance. I cannot even begin to tell you how emotionally broken I am.
For Miss Reba, a long time ago, now.
“Women feel unloved if they believe their husbands see them as ways to “not burn” and “not lust.””
Not only men see this, but God himself, thru the Apostle Paul, in 1Corinthians. You DO think God is always right, correct? What you are doing, then, is basically telling God that He created men “wrong”.
Funny how the same women who get in a tither if their husband isn’t “churchy” enough for them, are usually the same ones who abandon these same men (and themselves) to one of the greatest temptations ever. Satan is laughing, Jesus is weeping. Just like Reba’s husband probably does when noone but God can see. If he still can.
As I write on most of these comments, if you think you even MIGHT not like sex someday, male or female, then don’t get married. EVER!
Can I recommend “Sexual Responsibility, and Sexual Stewardship” over at The Marriage Bed site? As of this date, it is under the “Problems” button. As good a quick breakdown of Corinthians as I have seen, by MAN and a WOMAN.