I have written about sexual inhibition before, most recently in my post Are You Too Inhibited Sexually? Try This.
A reader, though, asked that I expand on what I specifically believe it means to be sexually uninhibited. Is it possible to unpack this and offer up specific examples?
My initial short answer is more of a rhetorical response. What uninhibitedness means for one person or couple may be wildly different than what it means for another person or couple. Therein is where we find a bulk of the struggle, in fact. One spouse wants to try something sexually that the other person thinks is too much or outside the boundary of what is appropriate or comfortable, and they are at an impasse in finding middle ground.
My other short answer would be that being sexual uninhibited starts with a mindset. When you grow in being intentional and confident in your desire for your spouse and in expressing your own sexual needs, then I believe you naturally grow in being authentically uninhibited. Uninhibitedness begins to feel natural to you, rather than a persona you simply try to adopt to please your spouse.
Notice I threw that word authentically in there. I think for sexual uninhibitedness to have lasting staying power and impact on a marriage, it needs to be authentic, not contrived.
“Enough with your short answers, Julie,” I can hear a lot of you saying. Understandably.
So let’s go with a longer answer where I speak more from my heart and in more detail. Interestingly, I am going to start with boundaries that offer oodles of guidance on the often-asked question, “What is okay to do sexually in my marriage?”
1. I believe God insists a married couple to stay exclusive, meaning no third parties (real, portrayed or imagined) are involved in their sexual intimacy.
2. God also is clear on things that I don’t think are hard concepts by which to abide. Don’t have sex with animals or with your relatives would be a couple of examples.
3. I also believe the basis of marriage is love, so it is not loving for one spouse to force or coerce sexual acts for their own sexual pleasure at the expense of pain (physical, emotional or spiritual) to the spouse who is hesitant.
4. And finally, I would add that sex in general and any specific sexual acts within a couple’s intimacy should foster oneness and enjoyment in a marriage rather than drive a couple apart. In other words, is the overall tone of a couple’s intimacy healthy and mutual and enjoyable?
All of the above may sound like a lot of restrictions, but I actually just see them as boundaries that reveal the expansive freedom God gives a married couple to thoroughly explore and enjoy their sexual intimacy.
If we want to compare it to a playing field with boundaries, the visual that comes to my mind is a massive playing field—NFL caliber size—rather than a 10×10 foot patch of grass. There is a lot of sexual freedom in a marriage, probably a lot more than many couples avail themselves of throughout the course of their marriage. The safety of covenant is what makes sexual uninhibitedness not only possible, but better than anyone could even imagine.
So let’s talk some specifics about being sexually uninhibited.
The Bible tells us that when we marry, our bodies are no longer just our own. Sexual intimacy is one vital characteristic that sets marriage apart from all other relationships. Being naked and sexual with your spouse comes with a fair amount of opportunity for pleasure—your own and your spouse’s. Being naked and sexual with your spouse are not meant as optional aspects of marriage, but rather inherent to the covenant of marriage.
Sadly, I think we too often reduce “sex” to mean only “sexual intercourse”—a husband’s penis in a wife’s vagina. No one would argue this is a significant part of sex, but it certainly is not the only way a husband and wife can enjoy each other sexually. Exploring every inch of your spouse’s body likely will reveal there are other erogenous zones and other touches and techniques that turn them on and turn you on.
So how can one explore their spouse’s body?
With your hands, your tongue, your mouth and your body parts. And let’s not forget sexual toys, silky fabrics, and food. To circle back to something I said earlier, it’s important to note that what one couple discovers fuels sexual freedom and excitement, another couple may find uncomfortable, boring or wrong. Plenty of people don’t have a desire to include food or sex toys in their intimacy, but that doesn’t mean they are sexually inhibited.
Personal preference matters a lot.
More importantly, do a husband and wife share an investment in their sexual intimacy whereby they both are not just sexually satisfied, but also genuinely happy with their intimacy? No big surprise here, but this requires they both be willing to give a bit. One person cannot hold all the keys to sex in a marriage.
Just as it is not loving to demand or coerce certain sex acts in marriage, it also is not loving to unreasonably withhold or limit sexual adventure. You have to strike a balance, and most healthy married couples spend their entire marriage finding that balance.
Many husbands would love it if their wife would caress or rub his testicles with her hands or run her breasts along the shaft of his erect penis. Many wives would find it incredibly arousing if her husband would play with her nipples or caress her vagina and clitoris with his finger tips or come up behind her and kiss the back of her neck. Variety, arousal and levels of inhibition may look quite different depending on the season a marriage is in.
No one is a mind reader, though. You have to talk these things out. Get brave. Be grown-ups and have grown-up conversations about your sexual struggles and your sexual desires.
A willingness to initiate sex and to do so enthusiastically shows some lack of inhibition, which is powerful. One of the most common desires I hear people have is the “I want you to want me” desire. There’s nothing wrong with a hunger for your spouse to desire you sexually. It’s the lack of this or the unwillingness to get at the heart of the lack of this that causes so much sexual peril in a marriage.
Typically when I think of too much sexual inhibition in a marriage, I think of a husband and wife subconsciously or consciously locking themselves into specific roles and parameters. One spouse is the only one who initiates. They nearly always have sex in the same position and location. Their sexual foreplay and lovemaking follow a predictable pattern. There is lack of open communication about the nuances that take sex from mediocre or “just okay” to phenomenal.
I am not a fan of too much sexual inhibition. Clearly.
Not only does it limit the potential sex has to enrich and nourish a marriage, but it also shows a lack of gratitude to God for His gift of sex. And yes, I know this sounds a bit harsh, but I won’t apologize or water down my viewpoint.
I believe a calling card of being uninhibited sexually is that arousing your spouse is just as much a turn on for you as being aroused by your spouse.
I think this can be a learning and growing curve if someone is going from being quite inhibited sexually to less inhibited, but it is possible nonetheless—if indeed someone wants to learn and grow. And therein we find a key or “secret,” if you may. You have to want to learn and grow.
In my current marriage, from the get go, I wanted to learn and grow sexually. I was not shy about my desires, and still to this day, so many years after we said our vows, I find our lack of inhibition to be a sweet path to oneness.
What about you and your marriage? Is there too much sexual inhibition? If so, my hope is you won’t delay in exploring the why behind that, as well as the how in moving toward more sexual freedom.
I’ve given you short answers and long answers. It’s all a lot. I know. Do you want to dig deeper? I think the below posts will help:
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