When You Look Back on Sex in Your Marriage, What Will You See?

The older I get, the more aware I am that time is fleeting.

A friend and I were talking about this recently. We were thinking back to when we were in our 20s and how anyone over the age of 40 (like our parents at that time) seemed soooo old!!

We were laughing about the irony that we are now that to our own kids. We are in our 40s, and though we still view ourselves as “young” in our minds, we are indeed closer to the grave than the cradle (Sorry. Just keeping it real).

And, if you want to get really philosophical and spiritual about it all, we see value in being closer to the grave than the cradle. Word. (Insert Fist Bump!)

As a writer about all things sexual, I of course look at this “time is fleeting” revelation through the lens of intimacy in marriage.

When you look back on sex in your marriage, what will you see?

Will the lens be foggy because of all the passion or will it be foggy because of all the confusion, disconnect and misunderstanding?

I’ve received a few emails as of late from people understandably at their wits end with sexual rejection and disillusionment. Some of these people (wives and husbands) have gone years without receiving any sexual interest and attention from their spouse.

It’s heartbreaking.

They are angry, sure, but more often than not, they are profoundly sad, feeling as if they have endured needlessly, all because their spouse just “didn’t want to have sex.”

And then I got a cool email from a gal in New Zealand who spoke so authentically about changing unhealthy sexual patterns in her marriage into healthy ones. Now she courageously and enthusiastically is encouraging other women in her circle of influence to nurture sexual intimacy in their marriages.

Good stories. Sad stories.  Lots of stories flowing into my inbox that all have to do with how we handle sex in marriage.

Sex is part of marriage. When we say those vows, who among us could make any sane argument that sex is simply optional, like an ala carte item that’s ours for taking — or passing right on by? No one could make that argument.

When we get married, whether we realize it or not, we are agreeing with God that sex is a good and holy part of His plan, meant for pleasure and oneness in our marriage (not just for making babies).

I write about the importance of healthy sexual intimacy in marriage because my first marriage was marked by a lot of sexual struggle, and looking back now I know I didn’t put in the effort to figure that out then.  I didn’t know what I didn’t know.

I know now, of course, being in a healthy second marriage that sexual desires and sexual struggles and sexual pleasure all deserve tremendous attention.

Or the marriage is going to suffer. Horribly.

Some of you have been married long enough that you do have enough time to look back upon in your marriage — you can, right now, look back at sex in your marriage and piece together a fairly complete picture of what that has looked like.

Others of you reading this have been married only a few months or a few years.  Your look back period is short.  My guess is it still reveals something.

Wherever you are in marriage, how would you describe your sexual intimacy?

Is it mutually valued, pursued and enjoyed? Does it add oneness and pleasure and bring you closer to each other?

Or is it a source of conflict, distancing you from each other to the point that your marriage is a mere shell — a mere arrangement on paper, but void of abundant life?

These are big questions.

I know.

They are worth asking, though.

And if you have young marrieds or soon-to-be marrieds in your circle of influence, you could be saving them years of heartache if you help them see the significance of sexual intimacy — that they shouldn’t take it for granted or assume that slight sexual struggles won’t turn into full fledged unhealthy sexual patterns.

When you look back on sex in your marriage, what will you see?

For more reading on this, consider my posts What if The Last time You Made Love Was Truly the Last Time? and Do You Really Have “Plenty of Time Later” to Nurture Your Marriage?

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

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9 thoughts on “When You Look Back on Sex in Your Marriage, What Will You See?

  1. H says:

    Looking back on our married sex life is just depressing since the rejection and loneliness that I feel now have been there all along. There has never been a time in our marriage when sex was not rationed out in small amounts with long periods of time between. I live with a never-ending well of life giving water but still I die of thirst. I have started taking supplements to kill my sexdrive so at least I won’t have a need going unfulfilled. I can’t feel bad about not getting what I no longer want. Maybe when I stop pursuing her, she will finally get it.

  2. Jim says:

    Same here. No sexual intimacy at all. Or, if there is it’s duty sex. You know, the wife is physically there but emotionally she’s checked out, waiting for it to be over so she can go on to other things she considers more important. And yet having the gall to wonder why we’re not more emotionally connected. Because as far as she’s concerned sex is just a need, an itch, that a guy has to have. Looking back, I wonder if she’ll ever have any regrets over how she neglected/did’nt care about sexual intimacy in the marriage. Probably not.

  3. B says:

    @Jim, I’m the wife, and I wonder the same thing, if my husband will ever have regrets about neglecting our sexual relationship. I wonder if he will ever look back and think, “wow, I had the chance to have sex with an attractive wife who was very sex positive and I passed more often than not. What was I thinking?” I hate when he gives me duty sex, or as I call it – pity sex. It makes me feel very ugly and worthless.

  4. Jim says:


    I used to think it was me who had this problem of being ‘oversexed.’ But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I was average. I wasn’t asking for my wife to seduce me 24/7, I just wanted her to make love to me once, maybe twice a week, and to do it genuine enthusiasm and passion. Not to just be there like some blow up doll that only acts as a receiver. The more I read Julie’s blog, and others such as J. Parker, and Sheila Wray, the more I see that they all agree that a healthy nurtured sex life is essential for a strong marriage. Oddly enough, while my wife continues to defraud me in the bedroom, she repeatedly states that if I were just more spiritual, then there would be more lovemaking. It never dawns on her that refusal and setting conditions on sexual intimacy is not very spiritual.

  5. realchick says:

    I’m the wife too, B, but I don’t think my husband will have regrets about our lack of intimacy.

    It’s been roughly every 10-15 days since we got married, but when started trying to conceive, it all became clustered around that one week. When I had a missed period (because of fertility drugs) we went 6 weeks between sex cycles. The last failed round of Clomid means that we’re looking at artificial reproduction, and I honestly believe that means that the last time we had sex really is the last time we will have sex.

    I look back and I see loneliness and rejection and deceit. I don’t see any hope of changes in front of me.

    It just feels unfair that I waited until I was married for sex and I went in with a lot of enthusiasm and hope, and it wasn’t reciprocated or rewarded at all. I literally have to burn through my savings just to have children, while simultaneously raising a stepson* who was born illegitimately to my husband and a party girl hook-up. Why do they get those moments of desire and then babies and life? Why do they get to know what it’s like to be desired and loved? I know I sound so petty and selfish and there is no quid pro quo for trying to do the right thing. I just feel like the clean-up committee for prom.

    * I adore my stepson and it is worth everything for him.

  6. C says:

    My husband always complain about lack of sexual intimacy,dispite the fact that he knows I have an undiagnosed health condition which is characterised by pains in my lower abdomen,moreso he keeps malice for every little thing that happens in our home,since we got married never been happy and talking to each for straight 2months,after which they will be a long period of malice,and so on,depriving us from a happy relationship and all my attempt to get him have communication have been futile ,and when he even decides to communicate he blames me for everything and never admits a thing and say it’s because of sex,because of that most often I pretend and ignore my pain to please him,but at the slidest misunderstanding we are back to zero ,it’s been so frustrating since I don’t see the need for sex anymore because it has proven not to heal,so I have list all interest in him,but really pray it comes back.

  7. Barry says:

    I’ve heard it referred to as “the Agony and the Ecstasy of sexual intimacy” & that pretty much sums up a really big and multi-faceted topic.

  8. AG says:

    I’ll look back with regret that unfortunately will make me a very bitter and angry person. It already has to some extent.

    I’m pushing 40 and all I can envision is me being old and crusty lamenting the fact that I never really had a good sex life with my wife when we were both younger and more attractive.

    It’s sad and pathetic that TV, sleep, and eating are far more fun to some than having an orgasm.
    I can’t help but think those that refuse their spouse are doing it out of wanting to control and have a power over you.

    I avg about once a week with her, and while there are those who might think “what is my problem?” I have to say that your happiness with the frequency of sex isn’t based on an arbitrary number, but rather if your needs are being met. And I don’t mean 100% met, that rarely happens. Rather I mean the other is at least meeting you half way and accepting that while sex isn’t a need of theirs, it is for you and they love you enough to meet that need as best they can.

  9. H says:

    AG: Once a week would be a dream for me. I’m lucky if I get a “hand” once every month. There is no sex anymore. None at all. I’m still in my early thirties. No children and no chance of having any now with no sex. No emotional bond anymore. No closeness or connection. Just a dead marriage where we live as roommates. At least after 40 your drive may start to fade. I hope that comes quickly for me but I fear that is a long way off.

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