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Married Couples, You Can Revive Your Sex Life With The Help Of 'Sex Vows'
Sex

Married Couples, You Can Revive Your Sex Life With The Help Of 'Sex Vows'

Whenever I get ready to take on a new couple as clients, I make sure that the introductory “test the waters first” session consists of speaking to each of them individually; that way, I can get the unedited version of what’s really going on without them worrying about what their partner thinks about, well, their thoughts. And I kid you not, 7.5 times out of 10, sex always comes up as a more-than-minor issue. Someone isn’t getting enough. Someone’s desires have shifted. Someone hasn’t been honest about their needs and feelings for years. Someone is unfulfilled. Someone doesn’t want to, umm, engage as much anymore…if at all.


And while, to a certain extent, certain sexual issues are normal, after close to 20 years of being in this marriage life coaching thing, if there’s one thing that I wholeheartedly believe, it’s that a lot of husbands and wives struggle when it comes to sex in their marriage due to the fact that they were ill-prepared for the responsibility that comes with being sexually active in such a long-term dynamic. It ain’t casual. It ain’t shallow. And it ain’t for the selfish, entitled, or relationally inconsistent. Sex in marriage is some really serious stuff — straight up.

So much in fact that let me tell it, whoever came up with the original traditional wedding vows did everyone a grave disservice by not mentioning sex once beyond the “be faithful only unto him/her” part — which really deals more with infidelity than coitus. And as a direct result, couples didn’t really vow anything about sex — an act that is literally designed to set marriage apart from all other relationships. And you know what? They should’ve.

I can’t do anything about the past and what other folks are on. All I can do is contribute where I can now in order to help people where they currently are. And that’s why I’m all for encouraging couples to exchange what I call sex vows. Like any other type of marital pledge, these aren’t set in stone and can certainly be “adjusted” to your own liking. However, my main objective is to show you why creating vows when it comes to addressing sexual intimacy can be highly beneficial, not just when it comes to your sex life but your relationship with your spouse overall.

“I will prioritize your needs.”

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Back when I was writing my first book, my editors tried to “sell me” on naming it Single Sex. There are a few reasons why, yet the one that specifically applies to this article is my editors and I all agreed that, when you’re a single person, sex can be extremely selfish and self-centered. It’s all about having it when you feel like it and seeking out someone who meets your needs more than anything else.

When you’re married, that drastically changes — or at least, it should. Even the Bible says that you then are to share your body with your spouse, that neither should not deprive the other of sexual intimacy and that you each should give each other the affection that is needed (I Corinthians 7:1-5). And yes, sex is a need — it’s an essential necessity in a marriage. Otherwise, why not just stay friends? Or why pledge fidelity on your wedding day?

And if we’re going to get out of the “kiddie pool” about sex, even when you stop to think about the fact that oftentimes (not all of the time, mind you), men have the higher libido, if you’re someone who believes that husbands are to be the main provider and protector in a marital dynamic — check out the many ways that sperm benefits you, as a woman, when you get a chance via “Do You Swallow? The Unexpected Health Benefits Of Sperm.” One could say that a part of a man’s need for sex (the late and great Dr. Myles Munroe used to speak on it often) is the desire to give you so much of the scientifically-proven goodness that comes from having it (hmm…).

Again, single sex can have you out here seeing sex as only a want when that simply isn’t the case. Not only that, but sexless marriages, overall, are not healthy ones. A big part of the reason why is that when you pull that type of intimacy out of a marital dynamic, it reveals all kinds of other issues and problems within the relationship. And so, one way to not be a statistic in this way is to prioritize your partner’s sexual needs as they do the same thing for you — the amount, the kind, and the reasons why both are so important to them. Because yes, in marriage, sex is a legitimate and relevant need.

“I will not treat sex as only a physical release.”

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Whenever I listen to our culture talk about sex, pardon the pun but, for the most part, it’s a turn-off instead of a turn-on. Sorry, but the way a lot of people broach the subject sounds like just a step up from dogs being in heat — and sex is designed to be so much more than that. Bringing Scripture back into the mix, another thing that the Good Book says is that “Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact.” (I Corinthians 6:16—Message).

The spirit speaks to a part of you that is connected to something that is far greater than yourself. Synonyms for spiritual include words like divine, sacred, and pure. Ah, so that brings in yet one more Bible verse on marriage — Hebrews 13:4 tells us that the marriage bed is undefiled, which basically means that it is pure.

And since the Word says that sex between a husband and his wife brings forth unexplained or unknown revelations (which is basically what a mystery is) — can you see how marital coitus is about so much more than just “getting off” or “getting some?" When you come together with the person who you vowed to love for the rest of your life, there are some divine, sacred, and pure insights that can come through that act that you might not receive any other way.

Hmph. No wonder the Bible also says that sex should only pause if mutual prayer and fasting are going on — God wants you to enjoy discovering certain insights, together in one of the most pleasurable ways possible. I can totally dig it.

“I will periodically ‘check in’ to see if your desires have changed.”

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I am indeed a quotes girl, so they are something that I use, on repeat, especially in sessions with couples. One of my favorites is, “People change and forget to tell each other.” Sho ‘nuf, one of the hardest things about being married is trying to share your life with someone while you may be evolving in one way and they are in another. It requires a type of patience, maturity, and finesse that many prefer to avoid, so, unfortunately, they choose to leave their union instead of sticking it out…to figure it out.

And you know what? Just like you and your partner can (and will) change when it comes to certain perspectives, interests, and needs, that doesn’t happen in every area of your life but the bedroom. Indeed, the kind of sexual needs that the both of you had 20 years ago may have shifted drastically over time. And if that is indeed the case, the two of you need to discuss what has changed and what is desired in this season and stage of your sexual being. Never assume that things are all good. Never take on the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality. Assuming is rarely a beneficial act.

So, how often should you and your husband “take each other’s temperature” in this way? My two cents would be no less than twice a year. Sometimes what I recommend is scheduling an annual sexcation where two people can openly talk about all of their thoughts surrounding their sex life — since the vacation is sex-themed and sex-focused anyway.

Listen, I’ve had more than a few people tell me that they have ended up resenting their spouse, and it was all because they started to see sex differently than they once did. It’s not your spouse’s job to read your mind, nor is it your job to try and figure out what is transpiring in theirs. If you want the doors of sexual communication to remain open, vow to be proactive with each other about if the two of you are on the same page when it comes to the bedroom — or…not.

“I will encourage us both to remain mutually physically appealing.”

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Anyone who tries to tell someone else that physical attraction isn’t — or even shouldn’t be — a big deal in a long-term relationship they are gaslighting. It is extremely essential. And that’s why I wholeheartedly believe that many spouses gaslight each other when they went into their relationship looking one way, over the years, they started to care less and less, and then they try to make their partner feel bad for not being as physically attracted to them as they once were.

Please hear me very clearly, when I say that someone can still love you and not find you as physically appealing as they once did. I’m working with a couple right now where the wife is dissatisfied with her husband’s weight gain, and the husband is fit-to-be-tied by how his wife looks when she gets ready for bed. And both issues have caused their sex life to tank.

This point makes me think of one of my favorite quotes from the movie The Fault in Our Stars. It’s when one of the characters said, “Oftentimes, people don’t understand the promises they make when they make them.” Say a word, SAY — A — WORD. And when someone promises to not have sex with anyone but you for the rest of their life, it’s not ridiculous to be intentional about remaining appealing so that they’ll want to. In fact, it’s wise that you do.

Not too long ago, during an interview, I was asked what I think is a rising cause of divorce these days. For years, I would say “boredom” and I continue to believe that to be the case. Oh, but one that truly is on the rise is LAZINESS. To be lazy is to be averse to activity and idle. Some synonyms for lazy include apathetic, careless, inattentive, indifferent, and passive — and many couples get this way, yes, sexually — and it’s not good for their marriage.

Just think about it: when you were dating or even when you first started having sex with your man, how much thought did you put into your appearance? Just because you’ve been together for a while, that is no excuse to stop being just as intentional as you used to be. In fact, since he signed up to not be with anyone else but you…that is all the more reason to care more than you ever have before — as he does the exact same thing for you, chile. No wiggle room on this logic either.

“I will be intentional about not getting stuck in sexual ruts.”

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I truly can’t believe that it’s been three years since I wrote the piece, “7 Signs You're In A ‘Sex Rut’ & How To Get Out Of It” for the platform. And while there will be times when schedules aren’t in sync, life’s demands will cause your sex routine to shift, and you may go through some health issues or physical challenges that could affect frequency or intensity, none of those factors actually qualify as being a “sexual rut.” By definition, a rut is about settling into a situation or state of mind where things are so blah and boring that you end up losing interest — and when it comes to sex, it can happen a lot easier than you might think.

I can’t tell you how many couples — both husbands and wives — have told me that they cheated on their spouse, and a “rut” had a lot to do with it. Because what are you supposed to do when your partner shows zero interest in sex while your needs are totally off the charts? Indeed, some things aren’t justifiable, yet they are indeed explainable — and it’s pretty ridiculous to think that your partner should be fine with a sexless marriage just because, for whatever the reason, you seem to be.

Nothing worth having comes without some level of intentionality and effort. Sex bucket lists. Sexcations. Making sex more romantic. Doing things that will prevent you from falling into a sexual rut is another vow that can help to protect your marriage in ways that are truly underestimated by most.

“I will remember that intimacy is a part of our sexual experience.”

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One more Bible point because it’s relevant to this one. I always liked the fact that when it comes to the King James Version, when it speaks of husbands having sex with their wives, the word “know” is oftentimes used to define sex. For instance, Genesis 4:1(KJV) says, “And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord.”

Knowing speaks to a level of intimacy that goes beyond an exchange of body parts. By definition of know, when you know someone, you clearly understand them, you have a vast amount of knowledge about them, you are aware of some very unique and private things about them — and to get to that kind of place and position, you have to be proactive about learning about your spouse on a daily basis.

This requires quality time. This requires speaking their love language(s) fluently. This requires dating them more than once every couple of months. This requires asking questions and not thinking that you have the answers all of the time. This requires prioritizing them. This requires ever remaining in a state of humility by admitting, both to yourself and to them, that there will always be more about them that you need to get to…know.

Couples who remain curious about their partner oftentimes have a healthier level of intimacy with them because they are constantly looking for ways to go deeper in their connection. And when that happens, that can make their partner feel cherished, loved, and desired — and that definitely can lead to a more satisfying and fulfilling sex life. Indeed, great sex has a lot of intimacy in it — and intimacy is all about what you really and truly know.

“I will want you to feel wanted — always.”

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This last one might be phrased a bit odd, yet it’s by design. Live on this earth long enough, and you’ll realize that it’s no one’s job to MAKE someone feel or be ANYTHING. This includes making them happy because, listen, if you haven’t mastered how to make your own self happy 24 hours a day, why should you put that kind of pressure (which is really more like a burden) onto anyone else?

Along these same lines, you can’t MAKE someone feel WANTED, either. In fact, oftentimes, the people who think this way have such a low sense of self-worth that they think it’s another person’s responsibility to overcompensate for that fact. Not only is that unrealistic and totally draining, but it’s also extremely unfair. So no, it’s not your job to make your partner feel wanted. If they know that they are something special within themselves, they won’t need you to do so anyway. At the same time, however, if your mission is to make sure that you cosign on how good they feel about themselves, that is a healthy frame of mind to be in.

Compliment them. Flirt with them. INITIATE SEX WITH THEM. No one on the planet believes that their partner wants them if they are the one who has to initiate intimacy all of the time (you have no idea how many men tell me that this is one of the greatest issues in their relationship). Wanting your partner to feel wanted means that you are in the head and heart space of affirming them and celebrating them — that you enjoy expressing that you enjoy them on a myriad of different levels.

And someone who feels like their partner enjoys being with them typically will reciprocate that kind of energy…and what better place for two married people to do that than in their bedroom?

____

Remember, a vow is more than just “saying something”. A vow is a promise, pledge, and personal commitment. A vow is rooted in maturity and integrity. A vow is sacred and special. And when you chose the partner that you did, vows were put into place to help the two of you go the distance. That’s why it makes all of the sense in the world to express some SEX VOWS to one another.

For the sake of the longevity of your relationship, sis, please make sure that you do.

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Featured image by Giphy

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