By now, you hopefully know me well enough to trust me as I address a topic that many couples are afraid to talk about- SEX! Although I can’t cover everything, I thought I would tackle the most common issues I hear about in my counseling office, especially with military couples. While some may have differing opinions on the matter, these suggestions are my clinical opinion on ways you can keep your intimacy healthy and avoid destructive minefields.
- My husband wants to have sex more often than me. Although it is more common for men to have a higher libido than women, there are many women who can identify. Differing sex drives can be difficult on a couple. Finding a balance that works for both of you requires communication and planning (which sounds very unsexy). Talk about whether the issue is frequency or quality and how you each would define those. Assuming this is not an issue of sex addiction but difference in preference, remember that your spouse is wanting to express his love for you.
- How do we stay “connected” when we are separated? Sex in marriage is designed to be a language that goes beyond words. There are only a few circumstances where I would recommend to a couple that they not be intimate. So when a couple is separated by military missions, it is important to decide together how you will handle the separation sexually. Pornography is destructive, only encouraging an attachment to false images and feeding unrealistic expectations. Consider finding safe and creative ways to keep you focused on each other as much as possible. And remember, your need for emotional connection is likely just as strong as his need for physical connection!
- Issues from my past make it difficult for me to fully enjoy sex. This is a bigger issue than you may realize. 1 in 4 women (and possibly men) have experienced sexual or physical trauma that makes intimacy in marriage a real challenge. Counseling can make a huge difference on everything from getting to know your body to learning to relax and stay connected to your body. Like many things in marriage, sex requires a focus on self and your spouse, sometimes at the same time. Preparing yourself ahead of time by taking charge of the evening or taking a bath to ready your mind can make a big difference.
Sex is intended to be both a playground and a place to emotionally connect. With it, you have powerful influence over your spouse feeling loved and needed. That is an awesome opportunity, and only you get to do that! Remember, marriage is an iron-sharpens-iron dynamic that is designed to make you a better person. Intimacy is often the crucible where that happens. It requires communication, grace, and a servant heart. This is the most fragile place for a couple to show up, so take care of it!
Here are some extra resources that can help:
Authenticintimacy.org Full of blogs, podcasts, and bible studies on healthy ways of making progressi n your sexual intimacy.