Intimacy in Marriage

BETTER Sex in Your Christian Marriage

3 Ways to Nurture Sexual Intimacy if You Physically Can’t Have Intercourse

sexual-intimacy-without-intercourseToday I want to talk about something that may be a reality for a small percentage of you reading this.

If it is your reality, though, it is causing great challenge and angst for you and your marriage.

While statistically most married couples are able to have sexual intercourse, there are definitely couples who have physical reasons sexual intercourse is difficult, painful or impossible. By “sexual intercouse,” I am talking about a husband’s erect penis within a wife’s vagina.

Let me get a few disclaimers out of the way first. Bear with me.

For purposes today, I’m not diving into intercourse challenges that find their root in psychological reasons. For example, if someone was abused in their past or experienced some other trauma that left lasting emotional damage, then intercourse may indeed feel physically impossible because of what it triggers in a person mentally and emotionally.

In these circumstances, I strongly encourage individuals and couples to seek professional mental health therapy to work diligently to unravel and heal the emotional pain, so they can reframe their perspective on sex and experience sexual intercourse that is pleasurable.

As for physical reasons someone struggles with intercourse, it’s good to note I am not a medical doctor. Men and women both may have physical reasons that make sexual intercourse difficult, painful or impossible, and I am not going to explore all the idiosyncrasies of those physical causes. If you are struggling with sexual intercourse and have not sought the insight of professional medical health care providers, I urge you to do so.

There indeed could be undiagnosed, yet treatable, physical reasons you are struggling having intercourse. A visit to a general MD and/or naturopathic doctor would be a good start. You may also want to visit with gynecologists, urologists, endocrinologists, oncologists, and/or surgeons to explore every possible solution to the physical challenges preventing you from enjoying sexual intercourse.

So what if you have explored all the physical reasons and maybe even gone through some treatment, but sexual intercourse is still not realistic? If this is your reality, I don’t want you to lose hope.

While it may be discouraging that you can’t experience sexual intercourse as you had envisioned you would in your marriage, you still can experience authentic and enriching sexual intimacy.

For starters, we have to remove this idea that the only “valid” or “legitimate” form of sex is intercourse—a husband’s penis within his wife’s vagina. God is a god of compassion, so certainly He has compassion for married couples who have unique challenges that make sexual intercourse unlikely.

3 Ways to Nurture Sexual Intimacy if You Physically Can’t Have Intercourse

1. Open communication

If as husband and wife you thought sexual intercourse would be a vibrant part of your marriage and now you have come to realize it won’t be, then talk openly about your grief. The grief is real. You’re discouraged and may have a mix of emotions you need to bring into the light if the two of you are ever going to get to a place of deep sexual connection.

This vulnerable, transparent and courageous conversation is vital, and here’s why. More than likely, one of you has the physical problem that is preventing enjoyable sexual intercourse for both of you. It’s not the fault of the person, but they may very well feel they are to blame. It’s their body that isn’t working as they envisioned it would work.

So the open (and hopefully ongoing) conversation is an opportunity for both of you to find comfort and reassurance with each other. You need to be able to talk about this, because it will fuel the common resolve to remember that your love and commitment are bigger than this problem.

Hear me on this. Sexual intercourse does not define your relationship. Intercourse is not the barometer of your oneness.

2. Fearless affection

I didn’t know how to word this point, but I think fearless affection sums it up. Affection while clothed is important for all couples, but I think couples who can’t have sexual intercourse are wise to pay extra attention to this.

As husband and wife, are you consistently able to show each other emotional and physical affection while clothed? Or because of the struggles you have experienced in the bedroom, have you found yourself hesitant or guarded about being affectionate? In other words, do you find yourself questioning if you should touch each other, for fear of “sending the wrong signals” about longings that “can’t be fulfilled”?

Again, this is something that needs to be called into the light. You are husband and wife. Even if sexual intercourse may never be a vibrant part of your marriage, that does not remove the desire to be held, touched and affirmed—emotionally and physically.

Be diligent in nurturing your friendship and desire for each other while clothed. Get to the point where all fear is removed, and you both feel free to genuinely and regularly touch each other and express your love for each other. The more you weave this into the fabric of your relationship, the more you foster an environment for intimacy when you are naked.

3. Sexual pleasure without intercourse

If, to no avail, you have explored all physical solutions to your struggle with sexual intercourse, clearly you shouldn’t stop being sexual with each other. That’s not a realistic or healthy response. You are husband and wife, and the degree to which you can experience sexual pleasure and oneness, you most definitely should.

This isn’t about “settling” for a lesser version of sex. This is about embracing a broader definition of sex. So what does that look like for the two of you?

It may look like experiencing pleasure through oral stimulation, use of a sexual aid, and/or use of your hands. It may look like mutual masturbation. It may look like helping each other climax without skin-to-skin contact, but by caressing your spouse’s genitals with a silky fabric.

It may look like extended foreplay whereby the foreplay itself is what leads to ultimate climax. Sometimes couples rush through foreplay when a better approach (for all couples, really) is to savor and draw out foreplay as a way to intensify orgasm and to nurture a sense of oneness.

And in the cases where climax is not possible for one or both of you, sexual pleasure may be defined as close contact while naked or the feeling you experience through various forms of caressing, massaging and other touches.

Only you know your unique situation. But please remember there is tremendous freedom in the ways a husband and wife experience sexual intimacy in the exclusivity of their covenant. 

Being unable to have sexual intercourse does not mean you have to sacrifice a sexual connection. You may, though, have to be more intentional and creative in nurturing that sexual connection.

Do you have a heart attitude and love that can entertain a broader definition of sex?

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

Copyright 2020, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.

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October 26th, 2020 by