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Thoughts of a married evangelical woman:
When I was engaged, a recently married friend of mine took it upon herself to gift me a set of vaginal dilators and explain that she had used dilators before she got married because a number of her close friends had had such painful wedding nights that their sex lives were damaged for years. (They tensed up during sex, making it hurt; their husbands were worried about not hurting them, etc.) It was the best thing she could have done for me. Yes, sex can hurt the woman if the man isn’t gentle, especially the first several times, but the two most important things you can do to get your sex life off to a good start is to prepare and communicate. Do your research. Take a trip to your gynecologist. Use dilators (and in the name of mercy, use lube with the dilators–inserting the larger ones hurts more than having sex the first time does, especially without lube). Stock up on lube before the honeymoon. Read a book or two. (If you come from a very evangelical background, Leman’s “Sheet Music” might be helpful.) Try on that lingerie you got at your bachelorette party in front of a mirror and think about how sexy you look, instead of dwelling on your flaws. (Believe me, he’s not going to see your flaws.) Have frank conversations about sex with your married friends. Most young evangelical women I know are actually really open and relaxed about it once someone initiates the conversation; it’s the bringing it up that’s the hard part. Married women: we can all do our engaged friends a favor by offering to have these conversations.
And, of course, be really open with your fiancé about your expectations and his. At least a week or two before the wedding, talk through what you’re comfortable with on your wedding night and honeymoon, and what you think you might be comfortable with long term. Escalate physical affection before the wedding. (By all means save sex for marriage, and I would even say save anything that could give the other an orgasm for marriage, but there is nothing particularly holy about saving your first kiss for the altar, and I imagine that doing so makes for a more awkward wedding night.) Be willing to try things at least once if they’re not dangerous (*ahem* men, if you pressure your wife into anal sex, she might end up in the ER. Just saying.). Be sexually open even if you’re not in the mood. (And that goes for men too–if your wife is feeling frisky and you’re not, let her seduce you. You’ll probably enjoy it, and sometimes she needs to get off just as badly as you do.)
The most important thing, however, is to always put your spouse’s needs above your own. The biggest reason, I believe, that my husband and I have a great sex life is that we prioritize pleasing the other person above getting our own needs satisfied. This doesn’t mean that we never ask the other person to meet our sexual needs in a specific way, but it does mean that in a sexual encounter we are happiest if the other person is feeling really good, regardless of whether we get off or not. And that’s more important than any bedroom technique.
Pardon the brevity of my reply. It’s a lack of time and energy, not disinterest… Good comments here. Thank you for sharing.
I think that single men also need to hear the message that sex is not inherently sinful. They seem to get the message that any sexual feeling or response is bad/sinful/perverted and that a proper Christian does not do those things or think that way. A lot of the problems in my own marriage have stemmed from my husband’s difficulties in getting to a mental and emotional place where he thought that sex was ‘holy’ and not ‘dirty’. When men consistently hear the message that sex and the expression of sexuality is bad, it can be very difficult for them to really engage fully in it. From what I’ve seen and heard, men tend not to talk much about their ‘real feelings’ and struggles in their sexual lives.
In my own experience, my Christian women friends were much more open and sex – positive than most people describe. We would talk about things and encourage one another to make it a priority.
Extrapolating from the information and statistics that I’ve read, difficulties in our sexuality is evenly distributed across genders. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been a lot of books or information, especially in the Christian subculture, encouraging men’s emotional and mental development in thinking about their sexuality. The same books that have caused problems for women, also cause problems in men. That’s the more hidden part of the equation.
Great and insightful comments, Tammy. I concur.
Speaking from experience, single guys have a similar, although not identical, problem to these single ladies. Too often, sex is something that is done with your wife (which I agree with), but the discussion stops at the bedroom door. Guys are told “Sex is bad! Bad! Bad!” but are never really told about it in appropriate ways, so it gets shut down, which often leads to porn. Both have become taboo words, only spoken at meetings and conferences directed specifically at guys. Very few of these have an honest discussion of either sex or porn, save that sex should only be with your wife and porn is well… bad. There’s no honest discussion with other guys, which usually means that girls are right out. If we don’t know how to talk to fellow dudes, how can we possibly take our beloved sister’s prized purity by even mentioning such a sinful thing?
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