Before I attempt to explain what I mean by "seasons of sex" as it relates to something that, I personally believe, all married couples experience, let me start off with a bit of advice to any engaged folks (or people who desire to be married someday) who may be peeking in.
Because I'm pretty confident that every husband and wife on the planet will agree that marriage ain't for the weak (not by a looooong shot), I'll begin by saying three things. One, if you suck at forgiving, you will suck at marriage; marriage requires some level of forgiveness on almost a daily basis. Two, if you are considering marrying someone who has no clue what their purpose in life is, it's probably best that you wait; a healthy marriage consists of two people who are able to support one another in their purpose. People who have no clue what their purpose is can actually put a lot of stress and strain on a relationship until they do. And three, it is absolutely imperative that you join your life to someone who understands that, as with nature, marriage has seasons; if they don't know how to embrace and endure that, it's going to be an extremely bumpy and potentially devastating ride.
Are you ready to delve into just what I mean by that?
The Seasons of Marriage
Seasons. If you read up on why we have spring, summer, autumn and winter, the gist is that, as the earth rotates, based on how close we are or aren't to the sun, seasons shift. When it comes to unions like marriage, a really good book for any couple to add to their library is Dr. Gary Chapman's The Four Seasons of Marriage.
According to him, spring is "The excitement of creating a new life together…not exclusively for newlyweds". Summer is when "Life is beautiful and reaping benefits of efforts to understand each other. Spouses share a deep sense of commitment, satisfaction, and security in each other's love". Autumn is when "…marriages look fine externally; outsiders may even comment on how happy the couple seems to be. Yet inside the marriage, things are changing". And winter is "characterized by coldness, harshness, and bitterness. The dreams of spring are covered with layers of ice. Conversations are only about logistics—who will do what and when they will do it. Communication is relegated to silence, arguments, criticism, and, at times, verbal abuse. Lives are lived independently, although under the same roof. This is caused by rigidity: unwillingness to consider the other person's perspective and work towards compromise".
Based on his description, the summer season is great. Problem is, if you're not aware that winter happens too, when winter arrives, you might panic and think you need to end your relationship. Thing is, just like when winter weather rolls around, so long as you are prepared and patient, it tends to pass—whether it's "winter" when it comes to your marriage overall or "winter" as it specifically relates to your sex life. It's all about knowing what typically comes with each "sex season" so that you and your partner can commit to getting through each of them—together.
Spring Sex: The Beginning of Sex, When Things Are Fresh and New
Ah, newlyweds. Ain't they precious? They're so in love that, just being around them makes you want to test your blood sugar levels. And, if they are open enough to share with you what their sex life is like (trust me, many of them are), they basically can't seem to get enough of each other. Sex, on a daily basis, is almost a given, and coitus 2-3 times a day is certainly not inconceivable. It's nothing for them to drop off of the grid on the weekends or to take little trips to small towns to test out random bed and breakfasts. For them, everything is awesome because everything is exciting and new (especially if they waited; a great read is "How Leaping into Bed Harms Relationships"). In their mind, their sex life will always remain just as it is. Why wouldn't it?
Unfortunately, something that a lot of newly married couples don't factor in is their biggest sex organ is their brain. Meaning, a part of the reason why the sex is so bomb is because they are so in sync. No real tests have come yet. There might be little irritations here and there but not anything that's too earth-shattering. The marriage is too new for things like boredom to set in. Plus, just like spring is the season when seeds are planted, they are still figuring out what turns each other on, which makes sex the ultimate adventure.
Summer Sex: When Sexual Satisfaction Is at Its Peak
Summer sex. It's truly the only thing better than spring sex! The reason why it is able to top it is because this is when you and yours have truly mastered what make one another tick. You know each other's spots. You have figured out the guaranteed ways to make each other climax. If there is any room in the house where you feel like you both are totally on the same page, it's the bedroom and, because of that, you can't seem to be able to get enough of each other. No matter what is on the agenda, you are going to make sure you make time for sex because you can't recall the last time that you "engaged" and you were even close to being disappointed. Just like the actual summer season, your summer sex is hot—blazin'! Even during your spring sex, you had absolutely no idea that sex could be so good.
Autumn Sex: This Is When Feelings of Discontentment Creep In
Autumn is an interesting season. The reason why I think that the word "interesting" is appropriate is because the weather is a bit unpredictable. Some days might be unseasonably warm while others might surprise you and be freezing cold. On average, though, while the season is pleasant enough to look at, there is a chill that is low-key uncomfortable. It's like a precursor to something that's a bit more…trying. So is the case with autumn sex. During this season, the sex is not always bad. At the same time, it's not always good either. Sometimes, you can go a couple of weeks without intercourse and not even notice—or worse, without even missing it. Sometimes you'll have it but prefer not to cuddle before or after, or you prefer to cuddle for nights on end without doing anything more than that. You find yourself looking at your partner and, while you're still into them, it's not quite like it used to be. It's not uncommon for the feelings that come during autumn sex to be so subtle that even your partner fails to pick up on them. All I know is that if you don't talk this season out, it can sho' nuf lead to the next season—winter sex.
Winter Sex: Sex Has Waned; Activity Is Virtually Non-Existent
A couple of years ago, I checked out a movie that had winter sex written all over it. It was called Afternoon Delight and it was about a married couple, with a young son, who had fallen into a serious sexual rut. The wife's therapist alerted her to the fact that marriage without sex is a red flag. In response, the wife did what a lot of spouses tend to do when they are told that—she got defensive. Then she started to do some destructive things…like bring a stripper into her house to serve as "the nanny". It's a fictional occurrence, but the film was written well enough to explain my point. A little one in the house. Fatigue. Not making time to emotionally, let alone physically, connect. Not dating each other. Not making sex a priority (sex shouldn't be seen as a marital luxury; it should be treated as a marital necessity). These are just some of the things that can usher in the winter sex season—a time when there is barely any sex to speak of. When it comes to the health and happiness of your relationship, it tends to potentially do the most damage. The thing to keep in mind is, like all seasons, even this one shall pass.
What to Remember About Your Seasons of Sex
How many of y'all remember the 80s pop group Exposé and their hit "Seasons Change"? Just like it's unavoidable that the planet's relationship to the sun will cause seasons to transition in and out, in many ways, the same point applies to married couples and their relationship; their sex life is no exception. And how can I be so sure that, just as spring sex comes and goes, so does winter sex and vice versa? It's actually due to a quote by a cartoonist by the name of Richard J. Needham who once said something extremely insightful and profound—"You don't marry one person; you marry three: the person you think they are, the person they are, and the person they are going to become as the result of being." Personally, this is why I think Scripture doesn't say that once two people are married that they are one; it says that they become one (Genesis 2:24-25).
Marriage is the process of constantly learning how to become "one" with your partner throughout life's transitions, and you and your spouse's changes. The ones who truly understand this have a far greater chance of, not only surviving, but thriving as a married couple—and handling the shifts in their intimacy.
Know what else? They have a much greater chance of not being the kind of couple who stays "stuck" in winter (a sexless marriage) for years on end. They take note of what's going on (and what's not going on), then they put forth the effort to address the matter so that they are able to reconnect. As they continue to evolve and become different versions of themselves, that is what can bring them back and spring (a newness of sex), to summer (hot 'n heavy sex), and provide them with the ways to proactively work through autumn (the ho-hum times) and not make reckless decisions like engage in an affair or abandon the marriage altogether during the winter.
Just imagine how many marital unions could remain intact if more couples saw their intimate life from this perspective. No matter what weather season you love and which one you hate, you adjust, right? You don't end your life, just because there is a season that you aren't particularly fond of; you prepare for it and endure. More couples should avoid the thought of ending their marriage just because late fall or winter has arrived as far as their sex life is concerned. In a similar manner, they should prepare and endure. Another baby is coming? Prepare and endure. Someone is about to lose their job? Prepare and endure. Health issues are on the horizon? Prepare and endure. Do this and the season won't last always. Seasons are never designed to. What you can know, without question, is they are so much easier to get through when you're committed to going through them together. Whether it's the weather or the…seasons of sex.
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