Dear Not into Sex,
Dear Word Washed Wife,
I have been married a little over 6 years to a good and kind man. We have a beautiful little boy and another child on the way. Our problem is an intimacy problem. Physical intimacy is both physically and emotionally painful. I would like to have sex about as much as I would like to have a root canal. I have worked through the emotional pain left by a bad experience that happened in my teens, but sex just hurts. I am an introvert and get my fill of touching by our young child. Most nights I just want to lock the bathroom door, take a long bath with a book and be left alone. My husband is frustrated. I hate the way he looks when I turn down his advances and I hate myself for being manipulated by his reaction. I don’t think God created sex to feel this way, so my question is why does it feel like I was designed to hate sex? Help me, please!
Not into Sex
Dear Not into Sex,
Please know that I do hear your concerns and your heart ache and do not take your situation lightly. However, my response may not be what you want to hear as it is counter-culture. The world says to you, “If it doesn’t feel good, don’t do it; serve yourself and your own needs; it’s all about you; you are in charge of your own body.” As He always does, God turns that logic on its head. The Bible is God’s word and in it we read that God tells us to love Him first and others second (Matthew 22:37-39). Our own needs are not even mentioned. In His word, God tells us, both men and women, that when we marry our bodies are no longer our own but are our spouses (1 Corinthians 7:4). He tells us wives to honor our husbands; that includes our husband’s request for sex. (Ephesians 5:21-28) God does not tell us this to harm us or to marginalize us. Instead, He knows that it is for our own good. You, my sister, need sex. God designed your body with a need for sexual fulfillment. You must not ignore the big plan. A healthy marriage is one with a healthy sex life – a wife’s relationship with her husband is greatly benefited by a healthy sex life. Consider this: sex in marriage is like the oil in an engine – it keeps everything running smoothly, so to speak, and the gears from seizing. God also wants you to enjoy sex. He wants you to relish your husband’s body; He wants your husband to take delight in yours. Couples struggling with issues of painful intercourse or baggage from the past do not have to continue to struggle. If they invite God to help, He will redeem these issues with His healing work. But to receive His help, couples “have to be in the game!”
As your sister in Christ who wants to see your sex life and your marriage flourish, please keep reading as I offer your some practical advice:
1) Ask your husband to forgive your selfishness in the bedroom. Remind him of your love and your commitment to your marriage vows. Let him know you would like to honor him in this area. My bet is that if he is the good man that you state he is, he will be overwhelmed with love for you and will confess his own sin and resentment toward you. I find that couples do not fall out of love, only out of repentance.
2) Ask your sweet husband to pray with you about your feelings and reservations about sex. Ask him to invite God into your bedroom so that He may be glorified in this area of your life as well. Prayer and sex are the two most intimate activities a couple can do together. When you are finished praying, you are half way there!
3) Practice makes perfect. I am assuming that since you have a child, you have been successful in your attempts with sex. So now is the time to throw caution, pride and selfishness to the wind. Jump in with both feet! I suggest that you initiate sex every night for a week. Your husband will be blown away! And, much of the past hurt will become a distant memory. The truth is this: the more sex we have, the more our bodies desire it. Around the third night, it will be a sincere desire; not just an act of love and obedience.
4) Talk about sex with the lights on and out of the bedroom. Make sure your husband knows what works for you and what makes you feel weird. I will caution you that in the midst of sex, his feelings can be bruised with this type of critique. But at the breakfast table and before you leave for work, he will be able to hear your words, process them and anticipate all day his next chance to blow your socks off.
5) Be patient! Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will a fulfilling sex life. You have your entire life to unwrap the gift God has given you in your mate. Savor each nuance and love him well!
I appreciate your bravery in writing to me about this sensitive subject. If you have more questions, please reach out to me again. One of the best Christian books I have read on sex is Kevin Leman’s Sheet Music. It is packed full of good information and is a funny read to boot!
Stay washed in the word, and tonight invite your sweet husband into the tub with you!
Word Washed Wife
1 Peter 4:8
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.
DISCLAIMER: In the interest of brevity and an intent discuss particular topics faced by many in marriage- I have simplified most letters to one question. I have personally reached out to each person who wrote me an e-mail to offer more specific details that address their individual needs.