By Ketsia Gustave
When I was growing up in church, teens and young adults would get sex talks that went something like this: Sex is only okay once you’re married.
I would also hear things like: When you’re a virgin, you’re giving the greatest gift possible to your spouse—yourself. When you finally come to the moment where you give yourselves away to each other, it’ll be beautiful because you won’t have to worry about being compared to anyone else in your spouse’s mind.
Well, I grew up, got married and inevitably realized some of that was true. But there was a lot about the marital bed that they never touched on in those early lessons.
When the moment came for us to have sex, we stood in front of each other naked, and there was no embarrassment for either of us. I was okay with showing my husband the only thing I had kept from him until now—my body.
But that first time, well, there weren’t any fireworks like they say in the romance novels. There was a lot of explaining…and fumbling…and awkwardness. Even though my husband wasn’t a virgin, this was his first time having sex with me. And being that I was a virgin, I was so afraid of the pain that I stiffened up; I couldn’t relax long enough for him to be able to, you know… This went on for a long time.
When we finally did make it happen, we were so excited that we did it often. But it was still a learning process. If we were in a position that wasn’t giving one of us pleasure, we would adjust, find another position and try again. I’d say it took a good six months for us both to really know what we were doing when it came to pleasuring each other. But once we learned, the sex was awesome.
But it took time.
Every couple’s journey is unique. And there isn’t any shame if it takes your marriage’s intimacy longer to click. Whether you’re preparing for your first experience in the marital bed or you’re a married couple who isn’t quite mastering your sexual connection, here are some things to keep in mind:
Talks, time and effort
It takes lots of practice and openness to exploration. For many of us growing up, sex was a taboo topic. So now, even as adults, it may be awkward to talk about the act with your partner. Well, you need to break that.
If you want to have a great sex life, you’ll have to take your time discovering what that is. And often, that means communicating with your spouse about exactly what you like and don’t like, what feels good to you and what doesn’t ; then ask your spouse the same.
It’s not as straightforward as people like to make it seem, but the more you practice and explore, the better the sex becomes over time. Be patient with yourself and your spouse.
Also note: Though the missionary position is the most common one, it’s not the only one. And you can’t just go right into the penetration part. Half the fun is what comes before that—building the anticipation by stimulating each other in just the right way.
Whether or not you and your spouse abstained from sexual contact with each other before marriage, there could be a lot of people right in your circle of friends who have dealt with some form of sexual abuse—whether it was rape, molestation or some other incident.
In fact, statistics show 20 percent of women and 5 to 10 percent of men have experienced some form of sexual abuse. If your partner has struggled with one of these issues, it doesn’t mean they don’t love you or aren’t sincere in their love for God. It does mean that you both should seek help to make sure that those issues don’t end up isolating you from each other and ruining your intimacy.
Loss of interest
After a couple of years of marriage, my husband and I were both in school or working full time. Being a teacher, I always had stuff to do at home before the next work day. That equaled me being very tired at night and looking forward to getting some sleep.
My husband would reach over to squeeze my hip or boob, and I’d be groaning in my heart because I just wanted to sleep. Sometimes I would get irritated at him because I felt like he was being inconsiderate. It only got more challenging when we had our daughter; my sex drive was nonexistent because I was sleep deprived, breastfeeding and constantly worrying about this new life we were responsible for.
I’m saying all of that to say that you won’t always look forward to having sex. I had to sometimes mentally psych myself up for it by concentrating on the things I appreciate about my husband in order to put my feelings aside and allow the moment to be special instead of a chore.
You might have to do the same. If, and when, intimacy becomes stale or takes a backseat to life, focus on ways to heighten your romantic connection, which may, in turn, be the spark to ignite the flame of your physical connection.
I’ve only touched on some of the issues, but there are areas such as pornography, health, differing libidos, etc., that can impact a couple’s sexual satisfaction.
For these and other issues, I encourage you and your spouse to seek professional help. One or both partners may need to get individual counseling, couples therapy or sex therapy. And that’s perfectly okay. Don’t be embarrassed to turn to professional help. Because at the end of the day, the success of your marriage depends on you.
BMWK, what lessons did you have to learn?
Ketsia Gustave is a blogger, speaker and the co-founder of PureCouples along with her husband Jonathan Gustave. They mentor singles and newlyweds through honest and transparent accounts of their personal experiences. Visit their website purecouples.org, Twitter and Facebook.