For individuals with a Y chromosome, sex ranks high on their list of priorities. Men tend to be visually stimulated and physically inclined to act out their affections. To them, the desire for physical intimacy can be turned on quickly, somewhat akin to a light switch. Women, on the other hand, are generally wired in the opposite manner. If we are talking analogies, women are like slow cookers, needing the right set of circumstances to get turned on: time, heat and more time. The gap between what a husband and a wife need sexually often becomes a source of great conflict in marriages.
My husband and I discovered this reality soon after we got married. Within months, we found ourselves arguing consistently over my lack of interest in sex. My husband’s frustrations and my feelings of helplessness pushed us to a crossroads where we knew something had to give. I had to acknowledge how important sex was to our relationship. My husband desperately needed to have his needs met. Thus, we began our journey to developing intimacy, starting with a trip to the bookstore where we secretly perused the aisles for advice. Now, more than twelve years later, we have reached a point in our marriage where our physical intimacy is more fulfilling than we ever imagined it could be. I know sexual satisfaction is possible for both husbands and wives. The following three steps can help you get there.
Connect with God
Early on in our marriage, we had a drawing of Jesus displayed next to our bed. This picture, although beautiful, made me uncomfortable whenever my husband and I were intimate. I actually felt shameful “doing the deed” with Jesus watching us, as if we were engaging in unholy behavior. However, my belief was the farthest from the truth. God created sex. Within the sacred confines of marriage, sex is good. Sexual intimacy between a husband and wife is designed to be hot and heavy! If you need evidence of this, read Song of Songs in the Bible.
Wives, don’t hesitate to talk to God about your sexual struggles. He cares about every aspect of your marriage and desires for you to experience all the benefits of this special relationship. Be honest and pour out your frustrations to Him, even if it’s just a simple, “God, help me enjoy sex more!” For me, when I committed this area to Him, He helped open my eyes to issues I needed to work on (which I address in the following section).
Connect with yourself
For women, so much of physical intimacy begins not with the body, but with the mind. What we think, believe and have experienced all contribute to our perspective about sexuality. A graduate course on Human Sexuality opened my eyes to the distorted messages I had developed about sex early on. Since my parents had never talked about the topic, I felt it had a negative connotation. I did not view sex as something good or even myself as someone with sexual desires. I had to reeducate myself about sex as something beautiful that God intended for the purpose of connection and pleasure. Growing up in a family where physical affection was limited, I also needed to become used to giving and receiving love through touch.
Women, take time to think about your beliefs about sexual intimacy. Start with these questions:
What did you learn about physical affection and sex from your family?
What assumptions did you have about your sex life with your spouse?
If you or your spouse were sexually active before marriage (with each other or with other partners), how does that color your view of intimacy now?
If you experienced sexual trauma in the past, how does that affect you today?
Perhaps these questions revealed feelings of guilt, shame, resentment or disappointment surrounding your experiences with intimacy. If so, know that a satisfying sex life can be within your reach, but you will need to address the beliefs at the heart of these emotions. Start by confiding in your husband. Talk with a trusted girlfriend. Seek professional help for issues where you may need further guidance and healing. With God’s help and the support of others, you can gain biblically accurate beliefs about sex and yourself. God’s grace, love and forgiveness is great and He can redeem us from anything.
Connect with your husband
As mentioned before, women need time and heat to warm up to the idea of sex. Women crave an emotional connection above all, which can only develop through regular conversations and mutual esteem. As a wife, I appreciate the chance to share about my day, if even for ten minutes, before engaging in physical intimacy. I also take this time to clear the air of any issues that need to be resolved with my husband. Holding on to grudges certainly brings heat to a relationship, but only the kind that drives a couple apart. However, when both husband and wife make the effort to be emotionally vulnerable with each other, a desire for physical connection will naturally ignite.
Wives, during sex, focus on being actively involved in the process, not only with your body, but more importantly with your mind. Women tend to be multi-taskers, but this strength can be a great hindrance in the bedroom. For myself, it helps when I stop thinking about my to-do lists and instead focus my attention on my body’s reactions. Make the effort to be in the moment. Engage your senses, feel every touch and make eye contact. Be open to giving your husband feedback, so he knows what you prefer and are comfortable with. Should you experience discomfort during intercourse, speak up. Pain, which could be caused by medical or psychological reasons, should not be ignored. The two of you can work together, along with the help of a doctor or therapist if needed, to find ways to ease the discomfort.
Wives, start considering today what factors, whether mental, emotional, physical or spiritual, may be hindering you from achieving sexual satisfaction. As you work towards resolving these issues, you will find it easier to respond to your husband’s affections and eventually come to desire them. Husbands, if you are reading this, I know you hope for more intimacy in your relationship as well. Support your wife by listening to her needs and praying for her. With patience and understanding on both sides, you will come to fully experience the intimate connection and pleasures God intended for your marriage.