Ahh, sexual pleasure. Yours. Your husband’s.
Maybe even the sexual pleasure you derive from his pleasure. (I sometimes am more turned on by my husband being turned on).
As a writer and speaker on sexual intimacy in marriage, I sometimes paint in broad brushstrokes about sex.
I assure you, though, my ear and heart are always bent toward the individual application. Always.
Does something I write resonate with you as a husband or wife? Do you glean something that feels as if I am speaking only to you in a casual conversation over coffee? I hope so.
So the question I would pose to you today if we were chatting over coffee about sex in your marriage would be, “Do you both value sexual pleasure?”
I have this theory that we cannot truly appreciate what sexual pleasure means to our spouse until we appreciate what it means to us. The more I appreciate my own arousal and orgasm, the better empathy and awareness I have for what arousal and orgasm may mean to my husband.
I’m not talking about selfish sexual gratification. Far from it.
Mature love in marriage calls us to never reduce sex to “me getting what I want, whenever and however I want it.” What a recipe for disaster that plan of action is; a real mood and intimacy killer for the person who feels they are there only to cater to the sexual whims and demands of the person on the other side of the bed.
Yuck. Double yuck.
Authentic sexual intimacy, on the other hand, has so much to do with how you each value sexual pleasure — your own and your spouse’s.
I can’t tell you the number of times I hear from people who long to sexually please their spouse, but the spouse downplays their own sexual pleasure. What happens in such a scenario is the entire experience becomes a bit skewed — both people end up missing out on what could be.
Rejection, miscommunication and mismatched expectations become the fallout strewn about the room. Yet likely not discussed.
Even worse is the one who really wants both of them to be enjoying pleasure ends up feeling like the other person is just going through the motions.
Have you ever made your body available simply to check sex off your list? You didn’t really show up, let alone care much about your own pleasure, and you thought simply showing up would suffice to satisfy your spouse’s sexual hunger?
If that describes you, in all fairness I do believe your motives are not careless. Maybe that’s the pattern you both set in motion early on and it’s hard to break out of it. Maybe you’re super distracted. Maybe you have a difficult time climaxing.
Maybe there’s a whole host of reasons you go through the motions and see sex as something for your spouse, but never really for you, too.
I want to challenge you to break out of that mindset, even just a bit. Baby steps toward recognizing that sexual oneness is intensified in a marriage when both the wife and husband find it arousing and pleasurable.
Which begs another question.
If sex isn’t arousing and pleasurable for you, do you know why?
Long ago in my first marriage, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I wish back then I had stumbled across a writer like me to turn on a few lightbulbs in my head as to why sex was such a struggle for me and my then husband.
It wasn’t until it was too late that I started to put a few pieces together and begin to understand why my sex drive was so numb.
For one, I discovered after the fact that the hormonal birth control I was on was likely a contributing factor to my low sex drive. I also made the grave assumption that my husband and I would simply get better at our intimacy without having to actually talk about it and address struggles.
But haphazardly hoping things will get better someday rarely leads to change.
Back then, I also didn’t take the time to understand my body and what it would take for me enjoy sex. I didn’t know how to communicate what I found arousing, and I certainly didn’t pursue sex (for my own sake or my husband’s sake) as much as I wish I would have (knowing what I know now).
So when I ask, “Do you both value sexual pleasure?,” I’m asking from a place of hard-fought lessons and losses. If you can learn from my missteps and mistakes, then I want you to learn.
From the moment I married my current husband, I have never wavered in the high value I put on our nurtured sexual intimacy. Our sexual pleasure — mine, his, ours together — has residual effects far beyond the bedroom.
That kind of oneness lingers and equips us in ways I can’t quite put into words.
And I’m a writer, people. So that’s saying a lot.
For more reading, check out, “If You Don’t Like Sex, Have You Figured Out Why?”
Copyright 2018, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.