Finding Sexual Satisfaction in Marriage
Overcoming the sexual stalemate that keeps men and women from enjoying an act that God created.
Some conversations are hard for couples to have, and there is none more awkward for some Christian couples than having a conversation about sex. It's bizarre that this is true when we live in a culture that is saturated with sexual images, innuendos, and joking yet many couples cannot communicate well about their sexual desires in a healthy and straight-forward manner. In many cases, the result of not being able to express our wishes, especially how we would like to have sex, leads to hidden sexual frustration that creates a standoff. Often this can become complicated and challenging to overcome – or so we think. But why bury it this conversation, when sexual satisfaction may only be a discussion away? So in the spirit of Salt-N-Pepa, "Let's talk about sex, baby."
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Sexual satisfaction matters.
Now, this may seem obvious, but it's not outspoken in many marriages - we both want more and better sex. Yes, you both want it! And the pleasure that comes from it. But if you never talk about sex, then you may be missing a big part of what makes it satisfying. Sex is communication which is just as important as any communication that is oral and physical. For a woman, an emotional connection may be an aphrodisiac (although I believe this is a generalization). For a man, visual or verbal stimulation might be a powerful turn-on, (although I also think this is a generalization). In the end, regardless of what stimulates a man or a woman, I believe both want the same thing - deeper communication and intimacy - yet we both go about it a little differently. And it's our responsibility to understand this subtlety and be courageous enough to provide sexual talk in a way that serves our spouse's intimacy needs. Dr. Marcus Bachmann, the president of Counseling Care a faith-based counseling practice in Minnesota says, "Sex is about giving not taking" and of course we need to be better at giving, not just having. And for goodness sakes, we need to have some sexual fun.
Furthermore, when sexual satisfaction is lacking, it breeds a "communication resentment" which can lead to emotional distance, frustration, and anger. As that resentment grows, you are in danger of growing apart, which is why sexless marriages are not honoring to God. (As a side note, if you are living in a sexless marriage, please seek help immediately. I recommend reaching out to Marcus Bachmann at Counseling Care at (651) 379-0444.) Dr. Bachmann said to me in a recent interview, “A sexless marriage is not God's idea. God created sex.” While the sexual aspect of marriage may need to be discussed and negotiated so that it's enjoyable for both parties; long-term abstinence for a couple is unhealthy and a sign that we are avoiding required communication.
Overcome the shame.
Shame is one of the challenges every man must address. Shame regarding sex may result from subtle messages we embrace about sex from childhood. Or, it may be an issue we have with being vulnerable enough to admit to our spouse our sexual ignorance or needs. Men don't like to be exposed, and this type of conversation is a profoundly vulnerable discussion. We are no more vulnerable than when we are naked in bed and am secretly longing to have a new sexual experience but never broach the subject out of embarrassment, yet also knowing the conversation is what stimulates the change. When you are reluctant to discuss this issue with your spouse, it can become a shaming pattern that has the potential to hold you a prisoner. This is not shaming from God who created physical pleasure for marriage, but it is a shame from the Evil One who wants to keep you apart. As Dr. Bachmann told me, "Sexual messages should be exchanged early in the day, in the middle of the day, and at the end of the day to be celebrated." And I think we should shout yes in agreement. So maybe you need to text your wife right now. ;)
Are you ready to start the conversation?
A straightforward communication tactic can enhance any hard or challenging issue that your or your spouse has - and this tactic is regular prayer. Now that may sound way too simple, but let me explain. As Christian men, we should believe that Christ is the center of our marriages. Some things are hard to talk with our spouse about, but both of us can speak to God about those things – together. And you cannot speak to God about important issues without the two of you starting to respond to the very things you are asking God for help with. So talk with God about your need for sexual satisfaction. This is one of the reasons that husbands and wives ought to have the practice of praying together daily. In a healthy relationship, anything is fair game to talk to God about. Praying for help in your physical, sexual relationship will likely lead to conversations about it which can lead to greater understanding between the two of you. Try it.
Vince Miller is a speaker, author, and mentor to men. He is an authentic and transparent leader who loves to communicate to audiences on the topics of mentorship, fathering, leadership and manhood. He has authored 13 books and small group curriculum for men and is the primary content creator of all Resolute materials. Contact Vince Miller here. His newest book is Thirty Virtues That Build A Man.