I grew up in the Church. I went to Christian schools too (well, my elementary education was Christ-like; looking back, the EEOC should've come in and shut my high school all the way down). Looking back, if there's one topic that never really got discussed in either setting, it's sex. It really is sad that although the Bible has PLENTY to say about it (Song of Solomon is an entire book about it!), in my humble opinion, far too many folks do the very opposite of what Genesis 2:24-25 instructs us not to do—they attach shame to nakedness. Sad. Very sad.
That's why, whenever I do premarital counseling couples, I tend to spend at least 3-4 weeks on sexual intimacy—what you were taught about sex, your views on sex, your expectations of sex, etc. Because if you're gonna actually do what you vowed and remain with someone until death parts you, that's a REALLY LONG TIME to be sittin' somewhere sexually pissed off at least half of the time.
And yet. It happens. A LOT. Not just to couples who waited until marriage to partake, but people who felt they should "test the car before driving it too" (I'm with Meagan Good on this one—we need to drop that comparison; people are not cars). And since the importance of sex isn't explored as in-depth as it needs to be, lots of people find themselves faking it, making excuses not to do it or…yes, cheating. And you know what? All three of those approaches to sexual incompatibility are unhealthy and super counterproductive. They really are.
So, what do I recommend you should do if you and your spouse aren't as sexually harmonious as you'd like to be? For starters, consider that what's really going on may not be as much about sex as you might think. It could be a myriad of things that have created your not-so-perfect storm.
Ponder If It's Sexual or Emotional
There's a couple I worked with where the husband hated to give oral sex but was all about receiving it. On the surface, this is childish and selfish, I'll give you that. But counseling is about digging beneath the surface. That said, his wife misspends money, makes major decisions without his input, plays the victim when she's called out on her reckless behavior and rarely apologizes for any of this. As a result, he feels like she also is a very selfish individual (he's right), so he doesn't want to give her his all. Naturally, he's not big on cunnilingus; however, he doesn't even feel the desire to "make the sacrifice" because of how put off he is emotionally.
Do you see how, on the surface, it looks like they aren't on the same page when it comes to a particular sex act when the reality is there is a profound emotional disconnection? Whatever it is that you and your spouse are struggling with in the bedroom, don't just assume that it's sexual or physical. Sometimes, there's a deep emotional issue going on too.
Next, Figure Out If It's Actually About Sex or Selfishness
A lot of people frown on couples who wait until marriage to get it on, but here's something to keep in mind. When you're single and sexually active, whether you realize it or not, you tend to be pretty selfish. I'm not saying when it comes to your stamina, technique or tricks. I'm talking about your overall mentality. Single sex is about having sex solely on your terms. Married sex requires considering someone else and making compromises along the way.
Here's an example. Say that you love morning sex while your spouse prefers to have sex at night. Did you know that science is discovering that a part of what makes us morning people or night owls has to do with our genetic make-up? When you were single, you had sex when you felt like it; your partner(s) had to get in where they fit in.
Now that you're married, it's important to take your partner's needs into account.
If you like it in the morning, sometimes you might have to stay up late because they don't. If you're a night owl, sometimes you might need to sleep a couple of extra hours in order to get the job done before work. My point is this—whatever isn't happening the way that you would like, how much of it is about you wanting sex just the way you want it without figuring out if it pleases your partner or not? What some think is sexual incompatibility is really nothing short of 100 percent Grade-A selfishness. Real talk.
Openly Discuss How You Feel with Your Spouse
There are a lot of couples who end up throwing in the towel because they are sexually dissatisfied. That might sound shallow to some, but if there is only one person that you're supposed to have sex with for the rest of your life, GOOD SEX is important. Here's the thing, though. Something that tops the list of why spouses divorce isn't sexual incompatibility or frustration; no, it's poor communication.
I can't tell you how many couples I've worked with who are M-A-D at their spouse for not being able to read their mind as far as what their needs are in the bedroom. Their spouse should know they're bored. Their spouse should know that they are not satisfied. Their spouse should know they are faking orgasms (actually, if someone is really paying attention to their partner, they should know this one).
We all know what they say that assuming does to a person. Well, "should" is assumption's favorite girlfriend. It's not fair to be upset about something you're not talking about. Oh, and by the way, discussing it doesn't mean blaming, humiliating or berating your partner. The brain is the biggest sex organ we have. You're going to do NOTHING for your sex life by belittling your partner in the effort to get more of what you want and need from them. (This applies to what's happening in the bedroom and out of it.)
Also, Be VERY CAREFUL Who You Share Your Issues With
I can't remember who originated the quote, but one of my favorites is, "Complain to someone who can actually help you." To be at work or on the phone with someone who also has a less-than-stellar sex life isn't going to help you to take a more positive and proactive approach to what's happening in your own bedroom. All it's going to do is encourage you to be even more negative about your situation. Also, based on who you're talking to (and how often), it might set you up to be caught up in an emotional affair as well.
There's something else to consider when you're discussing your bedroom issues—just because you're dissatisfied doesn't mean the next gal would be. Make sure you're talking to someone who is genuinely being helpful…not just nosey. And ultimately, messy.
Make Sex a Higher Priority in Your Relationship
Another couple that I've worked with? They've been married for over a decade, the husband is headed towards his late 40s, and he still prefers to have sex 3-4 times a day (quickies included). His wife? She's good with having it a couple of times a month. Yep, sexually incompatible.
Some might wonder how they even jumped the broom with an issue like this not being addressed. Oh, but this is another example of how having sex before marriage can creep up on you. When they were dating, it was a long-distance relationship. So, of course, they could have sex for hours on end whenever they saw one another. But once they got married and saw each other every day, things changed. It reminds me of a hilarious comedy clip that I recently watched entitled, "Real Couples Don't Hold Each Other All Night".
Sometimes sex before marriage falsely advertises in ways we wouldn't predict.
What did I recommend that they do? Make sex a priority in their marriage; not just the physical aspect but the emotional and spiritual too. While she needed to be open to having sex more often, her husband needed to think about what he could do to make his wife desire him more from an emotional and spiritual standpoint.
Sometimes spouses aren't sexually compatible because they don't feel close enough to their partner to want to do certain things or have sex more often. Sometimes, when the other rooms of the house are handled (metaphorically speaking), the bedroom takes care of itself.
Put a "Sexual Needs Box" on Each Nightstand
A lot of us make relationships a lot more complicated than they have to be because we act like a want is an actual need.
Wants are what we desire; needs are what is required.
Am I saying that sex is not a need? I am saying the total opposite of that! Even the Bible says that if you withhold from your partner, you can open the doors to all sorts of mayhem and foolishness (I Corinthians 7:1-5). From a legal standpoint, some states will let you have what is called a "fault divorce". Things that fall under this category are constructive desertion, cruelty or abandonment based on a lack of marital relations (sex).
However, sex is a pretty general word. In order to have great sex with your partner, it's important to also discuss what both of your wants and needs are. What are y'all's desires vs. what is required for you to feel fully satisfied (essential)? Talk those things out, jot them down on sheets of paper, pick up a couple of boxes from Target or Pottery Barn and put those answers inside. Your answer box should go on your husband's nightstand; his should go on yours. Then make it a point to revisit what is on those sheets of paper and mutually commit to meeting one another's needs (more often).
Even if your spouse isn't the perfect sex partner, a part of what your love commitment is all about is meeting each other's needs—in the bedroom or out. If you're both determined to do that, you have a lifetime to learn how to make each other climb the walls; to make sexual incompatibility a temporary issue, not a lifelong sentence.
Featured image by Getty Images.
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