At its simplest core, sexual initiation in marriage should be a given, right?
God wove sex and marriage together, so clearly initiation is part of that scenario. Every sexual encounter in a marriage begins because at least one spouse makes a move—subtly or not-so-subtly—in that direction.
Broadly speaking, sexual initiation shouldn’t come as a surprise. Certainly, if we hold the covenant of marriage in high regard, we don’t want our spouse initiating sex with someone else, so we should want sexual initiation to be a fairly common part of our relationship, right? If anything, shouldn’t a husband and wife be somewhat perplexed, even concerned, if they both aren’t initiating sex on a somewhat regular basis?
I’m probably trying too hard here to paint a picture. I do have a point, though.
Isn’t it interesting that for something that should be so commonplace or expected in a marriage, sexual initiation notoriously elicits a range of reactions and responses.
What is your gut reaction when your spouse initiates sex?
Are you happy? Surprised? Excited? Nervous? Annoyed? Angry? Disgusted?
I can hear “it depends” coming up as a disclaimer, too. Depends on what’s going on in our relationship. Depends on the circumstances at the moment. Depends on when we last had sex. Depends on how my spouse initiated.
So let’s take hypotheticals out of it, because I get that if you are dead tired one evening and your spouse initiates sex, your gut reaction may be unabashed resistance rather than eager enthusiasm. I get that if you are trying to walk out the door for a time-sensitive meeting, your gut reaction may be that your spouse is being selfish or clueless.
When you look across the landscape of your marriage in a general sense, though, what is your gut reaction when your spouse initiates sex? Generally speaking, do you like this and appreciate it and receive it? Or do you dislike it and reject it (or give in begrudgingly)?
I believe initiating sex is an incredibly vulnerable experience, even between a husband and wife who possibly have been married for years or decades. And when I say “vulnerable,” I mean it both as a courageous step (putting oneself out there when there is a chance of rejection), as well as a deeply transparent step (expressing you desire to be emotionally and physically naked with your spouse).
I think too many marriages underestimate the power of sexual initiation and how it can fuel oneness.
When there is not nurtured sexual intimacy in a marriage, I often hear people say how much they long for their spouse’s desire. They want their spouse to want them sexually.
It’s a unique desire—the hunger to be desired sexually. Maybe it’s because we can’t ethically go get that from someone else. Maybe it’s because we feel a disconnect if our spouse says they love us and could be pursuing us sexually, but chooses to downplay or ignore our desire to be pursued.
When your spouse initiates sex, what is your gut reaction?
Another twist on this question is, “When you initiate sex and your spouse doesn’t respond positively, what do you feel?”
They may not be two sides of the same coin. But they are definitely in the same relational bank account.
Copyright 2020, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.