Inhibition to Intimate Vulnerability: A Journey of Redemption

Today I share a guest post from a reader who has a powerful story of what it took to enjoy and pursue sex in her marriage.

I trust that she will inspire other women struggling with intimacy.

I was beyond encouraged when she reached out, and I am humbly grateful she said “yes” when I asked her to write her journey for you:

My husband and I have been married for 7 years now. We married when I was 21, and I would have to say that I was blissfully naive about all things regarding sexual intimacy.

I knew it was supposed to be good; that God designed it for husband and wife; that it was the “glue” that keeps a marriage together. But in the words of Julie Sibert, “I didn’t know what I didn’t know.”

I didn’t know that it would take work. I didn’t know that it wouldn’t necessarily come naturally. I didn’t know that taking the pill would affect me so much. I didn’t know that 4 years down the track, I would still not know if I had had an orgasm or not.

There were a lot of things I didn’t know in the early years of our marriage, but sexual intimacy topped the list.

During our early years of marriage, I really struggled with sex. In my mind it was supposed to be easy. I loved my husband, found him attractive and desired to be close to him, but I found sex hard. While we were dating, it was always, “No, stop, we shouldn’t do this or that, in case it leads to this or that.”

But once we got married, those feelings stayed.

I found it hard to let go of my inhibitions, to feel comfortable enough to fully give myself to my husband. I was scared of my feelings, of letting myself feel pleasure and of letting my husband see me experience pleasure. I tried, as best I could, to enjoy it, but would often be left feeling empty and used.

More often than not, I would end up crying afterwards, confused as to why I was feeling this way. My poor husband! It was not his intention to make me feel like this at all, and I must point out that he is extremely loving and understanding.

I tried hard to be “available” when I could. I’d feel guilty saying no too often, so would give in to his advances if I thought it had been awhile. I had sex out of duty, because I had to.

This went on until the birth of our first son, 4 years into our marriage. When he was 3 months old, we struck a curve ball. All other areas in our marriage were great. Our failing sex life didn’t appear to be having a negative effect on our friendship intimacy. We were happy. Or so I thought.

Then I was taught a lesson in grace and forgiveness. My lack of communication and my indifference to our sexual challenges lead to a bomb shell being dropped into my lap.

I then had to make a decision. I could throw a massive hissy fit, blame it all on my husband and forever hold it against him. OR I could fight for this area in our marriage.

God opened my eyes to what was actually going on. By refusing my husband and not fully giving myself — my whole self — to him, I was cheating him. I was disobeying God’s Word and was letting the enemy have a foothold in our marriage. This was a turning point for us and the beginning of our journey towards authentic sexual intimacy.

I liken sexual intimacy to a journey, because it is one!

So often I think young Christians enter marriage thinking sex will be easy, something that will come naturally and that won’t require much work; I know I did. I think God designed sex to be within marriage for the very reason that it is a journey that takes time to master.

Marriage is a covenant relationship between two people who have their whole lives to walk this journey of sexual intimacy. I think if we enter into marriage knowing that it may take time to get it right, that communication is key and that you have to teach each other (and yourself) what feels good and what doesn’t, maybe there wouldn’t be so many disillusioned, frustrated husbands and wives out there.

At our turning point, we didn’t suddenly go from ho-hum sex to mind-blowing-out-of-this-world orgasms. It’s been a journey. It’s been a slow journey too. I had to make changes to the way I thought about sex.

For me it all starts in my head. I had to make an intentional effort to focus my thoughts and fully engage in the moment. I had to learn about my body and let go of my inhibitions. I had to feel comfortable in my skin and then feel comfortable enough to be completely vulnerable with my husband.

I had to learn to communicate and to tell him what I liked and what I didn’t. I found this hard, but it helped us a lot when I finally found my voice in the bedroom. I also learned just what sex means to my husband. Now this was eye opening!

During the early years, I was saying “yes” even when I didn’t want to, because I thought sex was all about the physical release for my husband, and if I didn’t meet that need, he would find it somewhere else. I thought it was good enough to just show up, offer myself and say “hurry up and get on with it then.” I guess that’s where my feelings of being used stemmed from.

I have now learned that sex means way more than that to him. His needs were not being met by me just showing up and letting him achieve physical release.

Intimacy is what he was craving. He wanted me, not just my body. He wanted all of me and he wanted to express his love for me by bringing me pleasure.

He also wanted me to want him; to desire him. It’s an emotional need not just a physical one.

That knowledge changed the way I viewed sex with my husband. This was something that required and deserved my full participation and enjoyment.

We came a long way just by me changing my attitude and choosing to intentionally prioritize and pursue sexual intimacy. My husband was also on a journey, and he was striving hard to play his part in nurturing this area too. But it still wasn’t amazing.

Then I stumbled across Julie’s blog Intimacy in Marriage. This changed everything.

Previously, we felt like we were on this journey alone. I had no idea who I could talk to or ask advice from and I hadn’t found Christian sex books all that helpful. It was my experience that wives don’t talk about this topic, and when sex was mentioned, it was usually complained about.

How do you bring up your struggles and frustrations without embarrassing yourself or someone else?

I didn’t know if our experiences were normal or not. But Julie’s blog really hit the spot for me. Without even knowing it, she was my mentor, answering my questions and encouraging me. She challenged me, gave me tips and tricks to help experience orgasms, all within a very biblical viewpoint.

I found freedom from reading her posts and those of the other Christian sex bloggers she links to. Through reading their experiences and encouragement, it helped me to finally let go of the last insecurities that were holding me back. I found freedom and my husband and I are both loving it.

I wish I had stumbled across it sooner! My love and affection for my husband has increased. I enjoy doing things for him again. I no longer have sex just for my husband; I do it because I want to, because it’s fun and exciting and pleasurable.

We have three kids aged 3 and under, so my life is busy and stressful.

I’m so thankful that even among the late night feedings and early mornings, the stretch marks and nauseous morning sickness, the demanding needs of babies and toddlers, I chose to pursue sexual intimacy.

I found Julie’s blog after our third child was born, so to say having young kids limits your sex life is a lie. Ours is better than it has ever been. It all depends on where you place your priorities. I don’t think I could cope now without the intimacy my husband and I share. He lowers my stress and gives me something to look forward to after a long day being a stay-at-home mum.

I know from reading the comment section on the blogs that my story is not unique. So many husbands are crying out for more intimacy with their wives and constantly being refused. My heart breaks for them and I now feel I have to reach out to these wives.

I want to share my story, get alongside young wives and encourage woman in their sexual journey. The enemy has a strategy. He is deceitful and manipulative. He knows God’s plan for marriage is for a husband and wife to come together and experience immense pleasure from each other.

Satan throws everything he has at tempting couples into sex before marriage, outside of God’s plan. Then once they are married, his strategy changes and now his goal is stop them from having a fulfilling sex life.

Have you noticed that it is not just Christian marriages that complain that sex is often non-existent? Doesn’t the saying go on all the sitcoms and from the guys at the bachelor party, “Once you get married, the sex stops.”

It doesn’t matter if you believe in God or not, marriage is a covenant relationship designed to mirror Christ and His church, and the enemy will stop at nothing to destroy that and his number one strategy is to exploit and corrupt sexual intimacy.

So we need to fight for it. Encourage one another and seek help when it gets hard.

I love where my husband and I are at at the moment and I know he does too. We are still on this journey together and I am now no longer naive enough to think that we won’t come across struggles as the years go on.

But it is my hope and prayer that the highs far outweigh the lows, and I hold onto the truth that it just keeps getting better and better with age!

Aren’t you glad she had the courage to speak up? I know I am! For more reading, consider my page that lists all my posts, as well as my page that lists posts specifically on sexual pleasure.

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

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10 thoughts on “Inhibition to Intimate Vulnerability: A Journey of Redemption

  1. Jeff says:

    Thankfully this young woman saw the need for change and ACTED on that need. Too many people will see the need, but will not go thru the work to actually change. To know the right words is one thing, to act on them is another.
    FAITH without WORKS is dead. That means we need to WORK on CHANGE!
    As always Julie – great job!

  2. Sharon Verrett says:

    http://www.saverrmarriage.com

    I appreciate the courage of the young woman to open up and to share her experience. We have such a different perception of what sex will be like after marriage and when it doesn’t match our perceived thoughts, it can leave us feeling inadequate and shattered. Nobody ever talks about how this may be common among many couples, because nobody shares their experiences, for the fear of inadequacy. We can never overcome if we never share our problems, thinking we stand along. Thanks for sharing.

  3. OlderMarried says:

    This is an awesomely vulnerable and honest posting.

    According to my wife, sex isn’t something women talk about–in a constructive way. There is either silence (because your sexual relationship is personal and private) or there are complaints. So if a virginal couple waits for marriage, thinking all will work out, and then, once married, it doesn’t, where does one go? Not the church. Not my church for sure.

    I know, as a husband, I read books, but she didn’t feel comfortable doing so. It wasn’t that she just didn’t care–I think there was a sense of shame in caring.

    Nice girls just don’t think sexually. (What I take as her opinion.)

    My suggestions that she read for information if nothing else are taken as “You want to change me. You don’t accept me the way I am.” At the worst, she told me that I was trying to make her slutty. (I asked that she might try something besides sweats for bed.) Smile.

    She felt and still feels it was / is “something for the husband”, which is mentioned in the post. There are many women who think sex is personal, private, but also somewhat shameful. It’s ok to acquiesce once in a while to keep the peace, but unleashing your sexual nature–this is something polite women don’t do.

    Sad to say, I think this was ingrained into my wife so early that it could not be unlearned after marriage. Kudos to the poster for the effort–emotional, spiritual, social, and physical–it took to leverage herself into a healthy sexual relationship.

    I would also say that guys don’t get a pass. One thing I had to deal with was the guilt in wanting my wife sexually. Since it seemed so unimportant to +her+, I saw +myself+ as base, carnal, and not loving her as much as she loved me. I learned later, much later, that my sex drive was normal and good, maybe even holy. I learned that for most men, loving their wives completely means a strong sexual connection. I wish all wives knew this. I wish my wife knew it.

    I can say in my own marriage that when our sexual connection is good, sadly very seldom, everything about my day / week is better. My entire life is better. Trying to explain this to a woman who has not awakened herself sexually is met with a range from a blank stare to hysterical screaming that I am a pervert. Seriously.

    So many marriages end in divorce or capitulation. By that I mean, the husband basically accepts what he can get sexually. He wants her to want him–wants her to love sex, but she doesn’t. So, does he have an affair or seek divorce? No, in many cases not, because occasionally, or even frequently, sex happens.

    In other areas, maybe in the family there are children or even grandchildren. There are two incomes, financial needs. There is the whole idea of who is right and who is wrong. Are we going to end this relationship over something as “little” as sex? No, not for many people. They just go along, not realizing what an amazing sex life would do for a couple. Pretty sad. But still better than a divorce.

    My prayer is that couples can learn how to make sex a priority. Wives–sex is normal and not shameful. It is to be enjoyed. Read a book. Figure out what you like. Tell him. Husbands–don’t think you are base because you see her in the shower and think about her “that way” all day. Your brain and body are firing correctly. Love her emotionally, spiritually, socially, but also physically. don’t be afraid to want her. It is your best way of connection, at least for most guys. Peace.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I truly appreciate this article.

    We all enter marriage with pretty high expectations of a hot, heavy, frequent, passionate sex life, only to find ourselves completely disappointed. Oops, all of a sudden our biology, our past, our social upbringing come flooding in and make what we thought would be easy and beautiful, into a complete struggle.

    Women seem to have the most problems.

    The author states: “At our turning point we didn’t suddenly go from ho-hum sex to mind-blowing-out-of-this-world orgasms. It’s been a journey. It’s been a Slow journey too.”

    If any men are reading this, please re-read that statement. I get the impression that a lot of husbands out there with wive’s that have sexual struggles are expecting them to miraculously, one day have a sexual epiphany, and suddenly turn into a hot, horny, sensual animal that craves endless passionate sex with her hunk of a husband.

    Male fantasy anyone?
    That doesn’t mean we can’t come to enjoy and appreciate and look forward to our sexual intimacy with our husbands but don’t expect miracles.

    Be patient with your wives who are working on their intimacy issues. I’ve been working on mine for years. It took me a long time just to find Anything I liked about sex. It’s a slow process but it does get better with time. I couldn’t do it without my husbands help and understanding.

    Also remember that men and women are born with two completely different biologies…why do we always forget that? Don’t expect the impossible. Appreciate her baby steps. Don’t push for too much too fast. It’s very easy to give up when pressured.

    Expectations cause nothing but grief and disappointment when they aren’t realized.
    Maybe expectations need to be re-evaluated.
    Maybe the “this is the way it should be” can be turned into “this is the way that it is” Let’s work on what we have.

  5. bp says:

    Wife expresses no interest in reading to become informed about matters sexual. It’s a difference I’ve never fully understood. I think it accompanies the belief that ‘what we’re doing has been and forever will be good enough’.

    It’s a very sad commentary to read and re-read of the scores of men\husbands who bemoan “what could have been”!

  6. Kevin says:

    “I found it hard to let go of my inhibitions, to feel comfortable enough to fully give myself to my husband. I was scared of my feelings, of letting myself feel pleasure and of letting my husband see me experience pleasure. I tried, as best I could, to enjoy it, but would often be left feeling empty and used.”

    There is no confession that makes me angrier…please understand…not this poor lady, but the fact that she and thousands like her have to deal with this mindset, and if they are true to making their marriage work, have to end up making this confession.

    The church is absolutely fantastic at preaching “Good girls DON’T”, but they are absolutely pathetic at the follow-up…”Good Wives DO!”. Most pastors are legalistic about making all engaged couples go through “premarital” counseling, and that is where it ends. Why are not more churches and pastors not held to account for “postmarital” counseling, to help the newlyweds wade through the myriad of feelings and issues that the premarriage mind can not even fathom, and the premarriage counseling only addresses in euphemisms for fear of inciting too much premarriage “interest”, or for fear of making the pastor blush. Seriouisly!. We all know that the bulk of marriage issues arise out of one of two things…either money or sex. No pastor should get the privilege of marrying anyone and forcing them to go through pre-marriage counseling if he is not willing to help do the hard work after the marriage, before they are back in his/her office where s/he has to damage control.
    Ok, I’ll get down off of my soapbox now, with apologies for the scorched earth.
    Let me also add my congratulations to this lady on her bravery, honesty and willingness to share her story.
    Kevin

  7. B says:

    Just one more article, one more example, of what I (a woman) SHOULD be like. One more testimony pointing out how my husbands low sex drive is a reflection on what can only be my repulsiveness. When almost all men crave their wives sexually – and I crave my husband sexually but he could not care less – it just proves I am not, and will never be, woman enough.

    I wish these wives who choose to refuse their husbands would realize how hurtful it is, and how incredibly blessed they are to have husbands who desire them. I have never been desired and I doubt I will ever know what it is like, no matter how much my husband “claims” he loves me.

  8. bt says:

    Thank you for this story of courage. I to like oldermarrieds reply. After 43 years of marriage I’m at a total loss. I love my wife and adore her. I still desire and want my wife. For many of the reasons cited my wife hasn’t been able to want or desire me. Her reasons don’t allow her to trust herself with her own pleasure or sharing it. She gives me the odd “duty sex” (HER WORDS) After many discussions and over many years I now feel deeply hurt. My wife refuses to educate herself through reading or seeking help. Including this site. Will I ever experience the joy of two people giving themselves to each other freely ,uninhibited and joyfully in sexual intimacy. I have children and grand children. I stay. But should I? As for “anonymous”, “Lets work on what we have” This is great idea if we, meaning both partners, work on what we have. I would be overjoyed if my wife decided to work on what we have. But for whatever reason it is too difficult for her to do so. I believe much of our current position is caused by my wife’s early religious and families teachings. As “bp” says “what could have been”. And how do you live with yourself when you betray your own integrity to be a normal male.

  9. Joan says:

    I feel the media makes sex harder than it should be. We see these sexy women in commercials and clickbait adds.
    We see women in the movies clamoring for sex. We see women wearing very little and flaunting what they have.
    This makes men think that most women are very sexual creatures and ready to express it. I think this also gives men and women great hope and grandiose expectations of how sex is going to be the minute they get married.

    That’s what I thought. I thought I’d be hungry for sex all the time and I thought I’d be into wearing sexy lingerie, and into trying all kinds of new things. I thought sex would be easy and fun. Well, sex wasn’t at all what I was expecting. It didn’t feel good, it was awkward, I couldn’t climax, it was messy, and it really wasn’t much fun . Plus, it was expected ALL the time.

    I actually wondered what the big deal was all about! How sad, I had to find a way to enjoy sex in some way or I’d start to avoid it all together. It’s taken a long time to get comfortable with sex let alone look forward to it.

    I just wish it hadn’t been portrayed as such a wonderfully exhilarating mind boggling experience through the media. Maybe then my bubble wouldn’t have been burst by disappointment and I could have started out in a better frame of mind.
    I wish people would let young wives to be know that sex isn’t alway earth shattering.. It’s something you can work on and learn to enjoy but don’t expect ground moving ecstasy from the get go.

    I wonder if it’s the expectations squashed by reality that make many women lose interest. Maybe many women just aren’t the sexual creatures the media makes them out to be. Maybe men should tone down their expectations for their own sake. I think it’s the expectations that are making us all miserable.

    I didn’t know what I didn’t know but I sure believed everything I heard and saw in the media. It just wasn’t me.

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