5 Hard (Yet Fabulous) Truths About Sex in Marriage

I’ve made peace with the sexual struggles of my first marriage, but at the same time, if I could talk to 23-year-old me about sex, I would mention the below 5 Hard (Yet Fabulous) Truths About Sex in Marriage.

Do you see your own marriage in any of the below? And if you’re going to any weddings soon, consider printing this and slipping it into the wedding card.

5 Hard (Yet Fabulous) Truths About Sex in Marriage

1. This gig ain’t gonna take care of itself.

Having sexual intimacy in marriage that is consistently enjoyable and meaningful is an ongoing decision. If you were fed a lie that simply getting married would “naturally” or “instantly” lead to profound sex, then there’s no better time than now to let go of that fallacy.

In the words of Idina Menzel, Let it Go!

Great sex takes effort. Interestingly, the more genuine effort the two of you put in, the easier some things become. I mean, you never can completely slack on being intentional, but the more you build sexual oneness, the more quickly you experience sexual oneness. The two of you figure out what works sexually and keep building on that.

Which leads me to my next point…

2. You both are responsible for nurturing sex.

Sex is an equal opportunity privilege and responsibility. Neither of you can bail on your commitment to intimacy and think the other person can sustain it all on their own.

If that’s the dynamic in your marriage and you are the one who has bailed on nurturing sex, then I guarantee you that your spouse is going to bail soon too (if they haven’t already). No, they may not actually leave (lots of people don’t leave), but they may emotionally check out or grow distant or feign interest in the relationship.

Now the irony is that if you are the one who doesn’t care about sex, you may find it a relief when your spouse stops pursuing you sexually. I encourage you, though, to not wave the victory flag too quickly.

Lack of sexual intimacy in a marriage where two people could be having sexual contact segues sadly and painfully into surfacey relationship or underlying bitterness or greater temptation to dismiss that fidelity thing.

Any or all of that is yucky. Yuck. Double yuck.

You both are responsible. You made the grown up decision to get married. Now make the ongoing grown up decision to pour into your sexual connection.

3. You’re going to face sexual struggles.

Maybe I’m over-reaching a bit here. But probably not. I’ve yet to meet a couple or hear of a couple who hasn’t had at least a few sexual struggles in their marriage.

Maybe it’s different sex drives or the toll infertility can take on sexual intimacy or the frustrating and discouraging experience of erectile dysfunction or trying to get on the same page during tough seasons.

Maybe it’s none of the above but something completely different.

So the opportunity you have becomes, “What are we going to do about this struggle?” Or you can stay stuck at, “I can’t believe this is happening to us.”

Why is the fact you’ll face sexual struggles a hard and fabulous truth at the same time? If you commit to working through sexual struggles, you likely will find more profound connection on the other side of those struggles.

Don’t be too quick to give up in the face of sexual miscommunication, struggle or confusion. Resolve instead to work through those struggles together. Perseverance is vital to your strength as a couple, sexually and otherwise.

4. Missionary position may never have the wow factor for a wife.

Oh for the love. Can we be done already with the idea that the only way for married Christians to have sex is in missionary position? I do think we have come a long way in recognizing that nowhere in the Bible does it say godly sex cometh only if a husband is on top of his wife facing her when they have sex.

But still.

As Christians, we should be championing much more freedom for married people to enjoy a wide variety of touches, techniques and positions in the exclusivity of their sexual bond.

Why does missionary position still reign as the righteous godly position?

Well, we actually are so far removed from the supposed origins of “missionary position as the right way to have sex,” that we can’t place all the blame on that anymore. We would be better to acknowledge that our grip on this narrative also is fueled by Hollywood. Why?

Missionary position is the tamest position in which a movie can depict sex and still appeal to a mainstream (even conservative) audience.

I’m not saying missionary position doesn’t have its good points, because it does. I’m just saying that if a married couple keeps having sex only in this position, even if (or especially if) a wife is not able to climax this way, then something is askew. Of if they keep having sex in this position because they think it’s the only acceptable way to have sex, then something also is off kilter.

There are pa-lenty of sexually bored wives out there thinking, “Beige. I’m going to paint the ceiling beige.” And there are pa-lenty of sexually bored husbands too. Maybe they’re thinking of different colors for sheets. Not sure.

Sex in marriage doesn’t have to be boring or anti-climactic, but it very well may end up that way if you limit yourself to missionary position.

5. A teachable spirit is the best sexual gift you can give your spouse.

The last hard (yet fabulous) truth I want to highlight is that to really get sex right in marriage, you’re both going to need to humble yourselves — and be teachable.

It is super easy for a married couple, especially early in their marriage, to fall into this pattern that they intuitively will discover what leads to great sex. They establish sexual patterns. And before long, those patterns become a sexual blueprint for how every encounter plays out — we initiate this way, we make love this way, we kiss this way.

Some couples do this without ever discussing any of it along the way, even if they individually aren’t all that thrilled about the sex they’ve built with the blueprint — yes, the blueprint they drew up without bouncing a few ideas around.

You wouldn’t build an actual house together that way, so it stands to reason it’s not the best construction plan for building profound sexual intimacy either.

Yes, I’m a sold-out fan of trying various ways to arouse your spouse. But I’m an even BIGGER fan of both of you also communicating what you do and don’t find arousing.

A little feedback goes a long way. Don’t be so easily offended when your spouse shows you or tells you what type of touch they find arousing. Be slow to offend and quick to be teachable. When this is a mutually-held value, wow! Lots of super sexy fun stuff can be laid out on that blueprint. And… well… laid out lots of places.

So when you look at your own marriage, whether it is brand new or you are a few years or decades in, where do you see how these 5 hard truths apply? What can you do to make them fabulous truths too?

For more reading, cruise through my list of past posts. as well as my page with a bunch of posts on orgasm.

Copyright 2019, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.

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6 thoughts on “5 Hard (Yet Fabulous) Truths About Sex in Marriage

  1. Changling says:

    Thank you again and again for your very gentle but truthful posts! You have helped me through a VERY challenging time in my life. At first when your posts came it was hard to open them, even harder to read them with an open mind an heart! But through prayer and pushing myself to put my husband’s desires above my own I’ve changed a whole lot. I can’t tell how happy and sexually fulfilled he is! We both continue to learn new things in this area. I write this with tears of gratitude to you Julie. I was on the verge of leaving. I just wish I had been open and searching much earlier. But we can only improve the future not the past.

  2. Julie Sibert says:

    @Changling… THANK YOU so much for taking the time comment. That means a lot to me. I’m so encouraged when I receive comments like yours!!

  3. Alex says:

    Really great post. A few thoughts in no particular order….

    1) A healthy sex life in marriage can at times require a ton of effort, especially when you have kids. You just need to make time for it and, as my wife and I, be very opportunistic. If we get a spontaneous opening with alone time, we’ll sometimes use it to make love.

    2) For us, we have developed an open-book deal with our sex life. We accept no limits so long as the limits don’t go beyond the two of us. It has been exciting and sometimes scary at times and we have sometimes gone into gray zones but it has always been together and involved no one else.

    3) My wife, who is 45, is a truly beautiful woman and I admit that her beauty has certainly made our sex life easier to come by. But looks are only skin deep…..

    4) After 20 years of marriage, I feel like our sex drives have mostly been uneven but are now equal. I have always had a high sex drive and hers is now pretty high and I wonder if it’s just her age? I feel we’re having the best sex of our marriage and she’s also more in touch with herself (literally and figuratively…hahaha!) than ever before and it’s been exciting for both of us.

    5) Let’s not forget there are lots of variations of missionary! We love missionary but we also love her on top and of course doggy style. We believe that if it’s between us then it’s OK.

  4. Alex says:

    P.S. Several years ago, we decided to do a 30-day “challenge” of having sex at least once a day for those 30 days. At first, it was great! But then after about 5 or 6 days, whenever we had a tough day at work or were tired, it was at times a grind. But then we’d have a magical day of sex and it got rekindled. By the last week, we were loving it! Something like 45 or so love-makings in 30 days and we had the time of our lives. We have revisited the challenge a few times since then but with a kid it’s not easy!

  5. oldermarried says:

    Hey I love this post, every word of it true. I’m the guy that just signed up for the class, my wife had a screaming, bawling fit, cussing me up one side and down the other, etc. So, I love your posts, but am going underground, as you say above–

    “Lack of sexual intimacy in a marriage where two people could be having sexual contact segues sadly and painfully into surfacey relationship or underlying bitterness or greater temptation to dismiss that fidelity thing.”

    I’d never give her the satisfaction of divorcing me over something like that. I’m just going into my “surfacey” thing, and pray that God takes away my physical desire for sex.

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