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Let's Talk About Sex

I first published this post in January of 2012. Our daughter hadn't even been conceived yet, I had just started writing, and my husband had just started his business. Still the stresses of life haven't changed much and things still hold true for our marriage 5 years later. 

One of the babies I watch cried all day today--literally, all day--stopping only for 10 minutes to drink her bottle and for another 10 minutes when I was singing "Old McDonald". We don't have a washer and dryer, so I took 6 loads of laundry one at a time, by foot, to the laundromat on the complex.  I started at 8 this morning and I am still drying clothes. While I was making tea this morning, my one small pleasure during the day, my teapot caught on fire--yes, I didn't know they could do that either.  There is still a bed full of clothes to fold, dinner to make, dog poop to clean off the patio, and baby spit-up in my hair.  I'm exhausted.

But when my husband comes through the door later on tonight, he's going to pick me up in his arms and twirl me around, and kiss me.  As much as I look forward to that moment, I also dread it. I have garlic on my breath, spinach in my teeth, dried mashed bananas on my pants, and what was once the stomach contents of a child on my shoulder. I have circles under my eyes from being awakened by the dog throwing up in the middle of the night.  My hands are cracked from so much washing.  The last thing I can possible think about is kissing, much less doing anything else with, my husband.  My navel is not a "goblet filled with wine" and my hair is not like "sheep coming down from Mount Gilead" that Solomon speaks about.  But I am commanded in Scripture to "come together" with my husband, so that the devil will not tempt either of us.  Lord, how do I do that?  I adore my husband, no doubt about it, but how do I push away the rest of the day, and my own perceptions about myself, to give him what he needs? 

Yes, that's right.  Sex is something he needs, and not just my husband, but all men.  The Lord made every man with a desire to be intimate in physical union.  My husband needs sex as much as I need to cuddle and talk about the day.  I knew about that when I first got married.  I had done my homework, read every man and marriage book I had time for, and had made up my mind that I was going to please my husband whenever he wanted it.  What I didn't count on was, as one woman put it, "He wants it. He wants it all the time." Yep. I had no idea.  But then I began to realize that I want something all the time too.  I want to be treasured and cherished--all the time. I want to be his one and only--all the time.  I want to be the center of attention and the apple of his eye--all the time.  As one woman put it in Eggerich's book Love and Respect: "How can [I] deprive my husband of something that takes so little time but makes him so happy?"

I need to be honest and say that bringing up this topic to the Lord at first seemed, well, weird. But as I read about the Lord's plan for marriage, and *gasp* that he was actually the one that made sex, I began to realize that he was the only one I could go to for wisdom on how to honor my husband in this way.  John Eldredge says it so beautifully in his book, Wild at Heart: "it was God who made a kiss so delicious". When I start thinking about sex this way, about the beautiful act it was meant to be, about how it is a glimpse of the mystery of Christ and his church, and about how I can show affection to my husband in this wonderful way, it goes from being just another chore or wifely duty, to being something that brings joy to the Lord who made marriage and made us to enjoy it. 

Five years later, here are some practical things I've learned to get me "in the mood":

1) Get to know your body's cycle. There are times during the month when I can't even think about sex and when it's actually physically painful. And there are times when it's all I can think about. Learn how your body works and plan around it. Check out Toni Weschler's book Taking Charge of Your Fertility here.

2) Make time for yourself. If you're like me, you won't stop until every last thing on your to-do list is done for the day. Remember that there is always tomorrow. Let the dishes be. Let the laundry be. Put down that phone. Go do something that energizes and refreshes you. It's not only better for your sex life, but better for your mind and health as well. For inspiration, read Stacy Eldredge's Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul here

3) Question everything you've been taught about sex. Have you ever felt dirty while being intimate with your husband? I have. It came from years of well-meaning Christian society telling me sex was a taboo topic and my body was dirty. Check out Gaye's website for changing your mind about what sex in marriage should be.

4) Get counseling and inner healing for anything in your past. We can't give our husbands what we don't have ourselves. We can't be free to be our most vulnerable selves if we're carrying past trauma around. One ministry that has helped me overcome issues in my life is SOZO. You can look online to see if any churches in your area have a SOZO ministry. Or check out Jackie Dorman's ministry here.


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