The Worst Thing That Can Happen When You’re Naked

I awoke on a Saturday morning in March 2008, alone in my bed, my wedding only weeks away. My waking mind soon scurried with wedding plans until it drifted to a familiar longing, my desire to marry my best friend, to wake up next to him, to never again say goodnight and part ways.

But this morning, the room hushed quiet around me as a different anticipation snagged my attention. “There is no one here but me,” I noticed, suddenly thankful. “Appreciate your last few days alone in bed. It won’t be long before a man lies next to you, breathing heavily, nuzzling closer, wanting only one thing.”

My fiancé and I had that chemistry young couples possess, the barely-keep-your-hands-off-each-other kind. And yet I’d read what was about to happen to me. I was about to be married, and no matter how much I wanted sex with my fiancé now, married girls don’t want sex. They fake headaches instead.

There was nothing in our relationship that indicated my pulsing hormones might turn off. Nevertheless, every book I read, religious or not, plainly informed me of the dynamics of men, women and sex. Men are visually stimulated, I learned. I wouldn’t even be able to dress myself in the morning without him wanting sex. Good grief. How was I going to get anything done?

The books also told me husbands can convince their wives to have sex if the husband washes the dishes first. I didn’t much care about dishes, but I assumed marriage would change me.

A few weeks later, we got married. That’s when I turned into a man. Well, not exactly.

I kept all my girl parts, but I learned an unthinkable lesson: men weren’t the only ones who liked sex. I did too. Me and all the men.

Although our early sex life was fraught with problems, including discomfort for me, which slowed the process way down, I didn’t mind much. It frustrated my new husband, but despite the pain, I found myself wanting to be intimate as often as possible.

Neither of us suffered from self-esteem issues, but when I suggested sex and he said, “No,” I experienced feelings I never imagined I would in marriage: Trapped. Cast aside. Wounded.

That’s when I learned the worst thing that can happen to you when you’re naked is getting rejected.

Offering sex to our partners is not only a nakedness of the body but also a nakedness of the soul. It’s an expression of desire for your husband or wife, a request to be wanted, coupled with a deep need to have that desire returned.

When my husband rejected my offers for sex, I felt helpless and ashamed. I was angry with him. I was angry with myself. First, I decided something must be wrong with him. He was a man who didn’t like sex (as much as me). But then, I was a woman who did like sex. Maybe I’d absorbed too much testosterone from something I ate. Something must be wrong with me.

The rejection wounded and infuriated me, and I learned the meaning of Shakespeare’s famous prose: “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” But just beneath the anger, I felt small, powerless and trapped. I knew I wasn’t going to get sex from anyone beside my husband. I would have to accept the fate that for the rest of my marriage, I may want my husband more than he wants me. The fact that all the books told me it would be the other way around left me feeling more alone than ever.

Until I discovered something, an entire subculture of women who liked sex and found themselves shocked and dismayed in their relationships by their partners who were not that into it.

This realization didn’t solve my problem, but at least I didn’t feel alone. Crying and talking with God and my friends helped me immensely. But it would be months, even years before my husband and I reach a place of similar sexual interest.

What brought us together wasn’t my ability to convince him of my sexiness. Instead, I learned to ask more questions and serve my husband, rather than wanting sex on my terms. I discovered fears and hang-ups I’d collected related to sex, and God helped me replace them. I read Mark and Grace Driscoll’s book, Real Marriage, just the sex part, of course, and felt liberated to experiment.

I learned to initiate sex with the understanding he might say, “No,” and that was his right. If I wanted to accept him, I needed to accept his “No” as well. And timidly I adopted an approach of excruciating honesty, telling him how it felt to be rejected and what I needed from him.

Slowly, awkwardly, we met in the middle. As I more gracefully accepted “No” and learned to serve, he found himself desiring sex more.

Talking about sex is scary and vulnerable, but so is the act of sex. Our sex lives will never be deep and fulfilling if we are afraid of the conversations.

So whether you are the sexual initiator in your relationship, or the one with the lower sex drive, be open to discussing how you could improve your sex life. Talk with your partner about what you need, then do more listening. Don’t judge each other. Keep an open mind. Honor each other’s boundaries and fantasies, as long as they strengthen your marriage relationship. And seek counsel if you discover something may truly be amiss with your sex life.

Sure, you only spend a fraction of your life in the act of sex, but nevertheless, it is an important indicator of relationship health. Not only that: it’s free fun that provides you with a great way to bond and deepen your married love. So go ahead: talk about and prioritize sex. I promise you won’t regret it.

Photo Copyright: 123rfmalaysia / 123RF Stock Photo



Sarah Siders is a social-working writer and church planter with her husband in a Midwestern college town. She is the author of two books, My Birthright For Soup, a short collection of stories, essays and prose illustrating our tendency to trade our hopes and dreams for comfort and predictability, and Called to Come Alive , a primer on recovering dreams and vision for our lives. She laughs and thinks out loud on dreaming, relationships and the hilarity of parenthood at her blog home,, or you can find her on Twitter: @sarahsiders.


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