We recently returned from an epic family vacation through parts of the midwest with our youngest child (Oldest child went to New York City, which was apparently a more appealing offer than the Columbus Zoo in Ohio. I know. Baffling, right?!)
So hubby and youngest child and I made our way to all these cool destinations we’d never experienced — the St. Louis Arch, the Louisville Slugger Baseball Museum and Factory, the Cincinnati Reds stadium (we saw the Cubs beat the Reds! Go Cubs!), the Ark Encounter in Kentucky, the Columbus Zoo, a zipline adventure, and the Field of Dreams in Iowa where the movie was filmed.
Like I said. It. Was. Epic!
What this vacation didn’t afford my husband and me was any opportunity to have sex.
Even traveling with children in the past, we have managed to get creative in hotel room bathrooms (or by sending our kids to the pool when they were old enough to be at the pool without us).
But our traveling companion was our incredibly kind and sensitive 14-year-old, and while I’m sure in the future he’ll be able to recount many examples of our substandard parenting, I consider it a victory that he won’t be able to say we sent him to a hotel pool alone so that we could “nap.” (Well. He can’t say that now. I make no guarantees about future vacations).
In all seriousness, what makes a sexless vacation (or any longer-than-you-would-prefer lapse in lovemaking) more bearable?
A history of healthy sexual connection with each other. That’s what makes it more bearable.
Now if you don’t have such a history, my hope would be that this post is a nudge toward a much-needed conversation with your spouse. Whether you are the one who has been withholding sex or you are the one who has been sexually ignored or if you both are complacent in the lack of authentic sexual history, what can you do to right the ship?
Three ideas on building sexual passion and sexual history:
1. Make small gestures.
How affectionate are you when it comes to handholding or sitting next to each other on the couch or offering up a genuine hug now and then? When was the last time you kissed passionately — not because you were engaging in foreplay, but just because?
I wish I could do some sort of study that would reveal if married couples who are never or rarely affectionate with their clothes on actually have hot passionate sex when their clothes come off. I don’t know about you, but I think what happens when the clothes are on is a great indicator as to what the lovemaking is going to be like when you’re naked.
How can you become more intentional about being affectionate with each other in small gestures? It could be revolutionary for your connection.
2. Pay attention to the friendship.
Are you and your spouse emotionally invested in each other? Are you friends in the sort of way that lends itself well to being attracted to each other? Authentic and mature friendship in marriage isn’t a side note. It’s the bed of music that makes life work. And it is what fuels passion.
When you married, your vows weren’t just eloquent inconsequential prose, but a declaration that you would be committed as friends and as lovers.
3. Don’t downplay sexual pleasure.
Sexual pleasure in a marriage is not a burden; it is a privilege and joy. Whenever sexual pleasure has become skewed or tainted, it is certainly not because God’s design of sexual oneness was insufficient or wrong. He had it right from the very beginning, so props to Him for coming up with arousal and orgasm. Props. To. The. Almighty.
It’s wise to ask yourselves and each other if you are treating sexual pleasure the way God designed it — embracing it, pursuing it and nurturing it? Or have you downplayed it, cursed it and maligned it in your marriage?
Your sexual pleasure and your spouse’s sexual pleasure have value. If your sexual history with each other hasn’t been marked by a positive view of sexual pleasure, why not have a vulnerable conversation about that? Is this easy? Well, no. But could it be transformational? I believe so.
Every married couple has a sexual history in their marriage, and for nearly all marriages (mine included), the history includes good points and difficult points. I know it may come as a surprise, but even someone who blogs and speaks about sex has experienced sexual struggles.
But if the overarching pattern you have built (or are going to start building after reading this post) is one of nurtured sexual affection, then moments of sexual distance become more bearable.
I would have loved to have sex every night on our vacation, but I get that such aspirations were not a realistic goal. And I’m fine with that, because I knew when we came home, we would reconnect. We’d make love. We’d savor the sexual intuition we’ve built over years of intimacy.
Our sexual history helped us on our sexless vacation.
Copyright 2019, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.