Are Clean Sheets More Important Than Great Sexual Intimacy?

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.

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Copyright 2016, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.

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11 thoughts on “Are Clean Sheets More Important Than Great Sexual Intimacy?

  1. Anonymous says:

    Of course it isn’t funny to the rejected spouse, but it is kind of funny, yes.

    We have a smaller house, with less storage. There are sheets on all of the beds, but when we change sheets, they go right into the wash, and the rule is….no one takes a nap on any bed when there are sheets to be washed. It really doesn’t take that long. We race to be efficient and see who can finish fastest with their part.

    Also, I tease my wife that the act of changing the sheets often makes her think about sex; hence, the sheets get changed…and I get laid.

    This leads me to my last point. You can flip any excuse and make it a reason. The sheets are CLEAN! Won’t it be nice to slip under them with your honey? Have a little fun? Then, if there’s a mess, you both work to get those sheets fresh again. Husbands, you ARE helping with that right?

    Sex can be unplanned, (and therefore, more spontaneous). But sex can become ritualized also. The low desire spouse knows that if these criteria are met, he will get lucky.

    We are usuing the Bead Method. I put a bead in her bowl, next to her bed. She knows to prepare her mind for making love. Last night, I put it in, and she saw it late. Said, can we make it tomorrow? I said sure, but I guess my face fell a bit. She said, “Let me get up and take a shower.” I said “Heck no!” I’m already thinking about tomorrow. We went to sleep happy, and the bead is in the bowl. As Ray Ramano said in an episode about this very thing: “Lift off sequence has been initiated.”

    Any way, flip your excuses to make them rituals, and ritualize and therefore honor frequent lovemaking, whether it’s through washing the sheets, dropping beads, writing love notes, or whatever it might be.

    We used to take the kids to grandmas on Sunday afternoons. We’d come home for some afternoon delight, to quote Lovin’ Spoonful. We used to come home, have some fun, and then fold all of the fresh laundry and put it up. Then we’d go get the kids. When the older girl was 14, one time when we picked her up, she said, with a big grin on her face and “air quotes” with her hands, “Did you get all the ‘laundry’ folded?”

    Yep, she was on to us, and now we try to keep her kids in case she and her husband need to fold some.

    Enjoy! Honor your spouse with frequent lovemaking, hugs, kisses, small tokens of affection! You and he / she build walls against a cruel world with healthy lovemaking, but also caring about each other in every single way!

  2. myron says:

    To keep the sheets clean, lay on a towel and wipe yourselves after lovemaking with another towel. We have done this forever and it works.

  3. Sean says:

    Unfortunately, a rejected husband does not care if the real reason is the sheets or not. All he feels is complete and total rejection. Maybe when wives receive notice of a divorce filing, they will realize this is a problem. Probably not.

  4. Rejected30 says:

    Clean sheets
    I’m tired
    I have a headache
    It will wake me up and I won’t be able to sleep
    I’m watching law and order
    And on and on and on.

    I gave up long ago. Now she’s just angry all the time because I just don’t care and I feel very distant. Not going to beg.

  5. Evan says:

    That is an amazing excuse! But it really doesn’t matter in the long run. If it weren’t for that excuse there be a hundred others, and it will all have the same effect on a marriage. There has been some excuse everyday for more than 30 years in my life ( if you want to look for them ) and I’m not foolish enough to think that anyone is going to run out of excuses anytime soon. Priorities have to be decided!

  6. libl says:

    I am going to start this by saying I have NEVER refused my husband sex.

    But, the clean sheets….sometimes we women just want to feel like our housework is done and our efforts last. And while men can sleep just fine on sheets that probably crack if you tried to fold them, women tend to be more princess and the pea about it all.

    Hubby recently told me he likes the look of an unmade bed, especially after sex. It drives me bonkers. Since a fixed bed is more important to me than a messy bed is to him, I get to fix the bed.

    Also, what adds to it is who changes the sheets after messy sex? Probably the wife. Yep, so sex equals more chores for her. Not only is she cleaning up herself (and she could leak semen for up to 24 hours post sex) but now she has laundry while Mister Orgasms Easily Every Time sits back enjoys the post orgasm rush. Simple solution….he wants sex, he changes the sheets after and does the laundry while SHE relaxes for once.

  7. JustWant2BOne says:

    Great article as usual, Julie!
    What is worse than the “clean sheet” excuse is my darling H is a bit OCD it seems. While I am much more inclined to want to have sex AFTER we have both taken a shower either separately or once in a blue moon together, he seems to not want to get “dirty” after a shower but I don’t feel that sex is “dirty” at all. I get somewhat frustrated at times when I am in the mood when he is all Mr. Squeaky Clean and he is ready to go to bed. But I desire sex more when we are both showered and smelling fresh and clean. I don’t made taking a quick freshen up shower or using some baby or personal wipes (have heard those are nice for a quick clean up). I don’t mind taking another quick shower after intimacy.

  8. B says:

    The comments have me wondering just how messy some people are. Throw the top sheet off and get up right after and get cleaned up. You can always throw the covers back on and snuggle after dealing with personal hygiene. Clean sheets are very appealing. I’m sorry for the husbands whose wives turn them away, but sometimes that migraine makes it impossible to enjoy or we really do have a cold or are exhausted – but there should be an offer to make it up in the morning.

  9. Matt says:

    I too have heard this excuse. So now, once the bedding is stripped, I just know the subject of sex does not get brought up for days/weeks/months…

    I think it goes a long way toward demonstrating how men and women are “wired” differently. Washing bedding is a task that women see as a great accomplishment – stripping the bed, washing, drying, ironing(does anyone iron anymore?) folding, re-making the bed, etc. Men see it as an excuse and disappointment because they are being rejected.

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