Committing to a New Year of good sex
by Dr. Dave Currie
Relax. Though we are passed January 1st, you haven’t missed out. And while it might be really fun, the title is not referring to welcoming in the New Year while having sex. But don’t go anywhere! There’s more. Research shows the best sex is marital sex; it’s the most frequent and most satisfying. Intimacy in marriage is a great and dynamic bond, but it can be laced with all kinds of tension and many couples don’t talk about it. In my four decades of coaching couples in this area, my guess would be one in three couples experience sexual challenges that need to be coached through. Further, when the marriage isn’t going well in other areas, the sex life almost always goes in the tank (my perspective – true of nine of 10 couples)! What can you do to improve your sex life in this New Year?
The sexual struggles in marriage come in many shapes and sizes: differing expectations, fears, no relationship outside the bedroom, sexual abuse in the past, boredom, tension over frequency, pornography, loss of libido, unresolved hurts, withholding sex to punish, insecurities, illness, constant rejections, needs not being met, no variety, long gaps, mistreatment, unfaithfulness, one-sided sex, routine, lack of affection and more. Read through the list again and in your mind, honestly check off those issues that you have faced in your marriage.
Now, the question: Have you ever talked about sex with your spouse? Most couples don’t. That’s the crazy thing. The late Dr. Garry Smalley and I did a TV show together on Sexuality in Marriage and called one segment “Sexpectations”, which encouraged couples to begin a dialogue about their sexual expectations. It’s not easy for most couples. We complain. We throw out our disappointment and criticize. We avoid each other, almost trying to punish our mates for lack of or insensitivity in regard to intimacy. But. We. Don’t. Talk. Talking is critical for a turnaround in your sex life.
Tips for a New Year of Sex
A balanced marriage includes a healthy vibrant and mutually fulfilling sex life. How can you turn things around in the New Year? These tips would be a great place to start.
1. Take Initiative: Start by sharing with your spouse that you’d like to address some concerns about your sexual relationship in attempt to make it more mutually satisfying over the next year. Bravely begin the discussion.
2. Honest Appraisal: Ask them to engage in a detailed discussion about your intimacy. Using the list of sexual struggles above in this article, identify the top three issues each of you feel are affecting your marital intimacy the most and discuss them together.
3. Address Struggles: Listen to each other’s concerns about gaps in your sex life. Don’t dismiss, deny, deflect or defend. For things to change, there has to be a game plan of what can be done to address the sexual gaps. Work together to create some solutions. Commit to making changes. Try them for a while. Go for help if the struggles persist.
4. Assess Connection: Discuss the nature of your relationship outside the bedroom. Do you have enough ‘us’ time? Where is your friendship? Are you still dating, talking and playing? Do you feel like a priority to each other? The greater the relationship outside the bedroom, the greater the chance you will have sexual connection in bed.
5. Increase Affection: Look at how often you hug each other. Do hugs only imply an interest in sex? Is kissing part of your daily interaction? Frankly, is kissing part of your foreplay? Warmth, kindness and affection all show that the interest is more than just for sexual pleasure. You are saying, “It’s you I love. You are my focus and the sexual intimacy is simply a fuller way to express it.”
6. Target Mutuality: Sexual intimacy needs to be satisfying to both partners. You need to understand, respect and meet the needs of your partner. What makes sex great for them? One-sided sexuality where it’s good for one but unsatisfying to the other is not acceptable. Be a giver not just a taker.
7. Tackle Frequency: This is not a male-female issue as if all guys want more sex. Rather the high-desire spouse and the low-desire spouse have to find a balance – come to an agreement on how often they will be intimate. Both should feel free to initiate. Some sexual times should be planned and some spontaneous.
8. Avoid Porn: Nothing destroys the level of trust and intimacy like knowing your spouse is getting off on sex videos of others. Porn doesn’t make you more sexual. It neuters you. Look at the research on the number of young men who are facing erectile dysfunction because of their addiction to porn. Spouses are almost always feeling hurt, inadequate, used and more. Get help for your porn problem now.
9. Face your Past: There are so many possible things that could be affecting a person here. Were you sexually abused as a child? Were one of your parents sexually addicted? Were you exposed to pornography early? Were you sexually active as a teenager? Has your love map been damaged in some way so that negotiating through the sexual maze is really hard. Face these things. Don’t bury them. Get help where needed.
10. Pray Together: Take your sexual challenges to the Lord. He created the passion for intimacy and truly wants you to freely and fully enjoy it within marriage. Ask Him to help you have good talks about your intimacy. Pray for new ideas and compromises to allow for sexual growth for both of you. Believe He wants it to be good too.
Have a Happy New Year in the bedroom too. Don’t hesitate to fire me your questions. Watch the TV episode on “Sexpectations” with Dr. Garry Smalley on our website. Here’s the link: www.doingfamilyright.com/sex-now-youre-talking-part-1-dr-gary-smalley-and-ted-cunningham-on-marriage-uncensored/