Now that we find ourselves in the month of February and only a couple of weeks away from Hallmark’s favorite time of the year – Valentine’s Day, there is no doubt that many of you are thinking about romance and sex and the possibility of the absence of both in your relationships.
So this month we are going to be focusing quite a bit on both these subjects with our posts and content delving into what healthy sex should look like for both men and women (and how this understanding may challenge or rub up against many of the traditional evangelical teachings about sex and sexual servitude).
I know… what does this all have to do with porn, masturbation, and sexual addiction?
See, over the past decade of working with individuals struggling with their sexual integrity, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard (mostly) guys blame their porn use on a lack of sex or that sort of thing, specifically when it comes to their marriages.
And hey, I get it.
But realize that chronic porn use and/or masturbation never has to do with a lack of sex.
Let me say that again…
CHRONIC PORN USE AND/OR MASTURBATION NEVER HAS TO DO WITH A LACK OF SEX.
Sex just happens to be an easy scapegoat for our poor choices and problems.
However, I will say that when there are issues with sex in a marriage, it can certainly make porn use worse and the recovery process more difficult.
And that’s why we need to talk about these things with our spouse.
Being silent is not going to help your marriage.
It will only hurt it.
Not having the guts to talk with your spouse on certain topics will not strengthen your unity; it will just breed discontent and resentment. And, of course, there is a balance here. There is a difference between having legitimate sexual frustrations and just being whiny.
Don’t be whiny.
So with that in mind, here are 3 solid reasons you should talk with your spouse if sex is an issue in your relationship.
Reason #1: The Sex is Absent
If your sex life is on the same schedule as the presidential elections, then there is very likely a MAJOR problem. There may be many reasons for that, some very legitimate or even health-related.
But the point is, you need to talk about the infrequency or just blatant absence.
God created sex for the purposes of marriage and the benefits that HEALTHY sex brings to your relationship are many – primarily in terms of the connection it creates between both spouses.
If you rarely (or never) have sex, then it’s time to have a real talk.
Lay it out and be honest about how the lack of sex makes you feel emotionally.
Help your spouse understand that it’s just not about needing an orgasm, but it’s about a void in your intimacy and the feelings of rejection you experience when things get shut down, again and again.
Being silent on this issue will eventually ruin your marriage, one way or the other.
Reason #2: The Sex is Not Good
I know that sounds a little harsh, but let’s be honest: sex should be enjoyed, not endured.
I’ve heard too many times comments like…
“They just lie there like a corpse (or dead fish or bag of flour… you pick the inanimate object)”
“If it weren’t for quickies we’d never have sex.”
“It always feels like we are having pity sex.”
And so on …
Listen, culture and porn have artificially elevated our expectations about what “great sex” should look like, but bad sex is just bad. You can’t blame porn for that one. And the reasons your spouse seems to indicate little enjoyment or excitement about the prospects of sex could have a lot to do with you, your technique, and your overall approach to physical intimacy.
So what can you do about it?
Again, talk about this stuff.
Tell each other what works, what doesn’t work, and what’s just plain jacked up.
Realize that “bad sex” may have more to do with a lack of intimacy and emotional connection far more than the physical act itself. But even in the context of physical pleasure, understand that one-way sex is not enjoyable.
Yes, I know it may sound difficult, and it may even feel a little hurtful, but if you talk about this stuff in a loving and understanding way, you can work through it and arrive at a better place.
And that will greatly benefit your relationship.
Reason #3: The Sex is Uncomfortable
The truth is, we all have sexual hang-ups. We all have things that make us feel uncomfortable. We also all have things that we particularly enjoy.
I’ve talked to many people who get frustrated because their spouses refuse to do certain things.
Maybe it’s a certain position. Or a certain type of sex act. Whatever the case, their spouse is a no-go for these requests because it makes them feel uncomfortable or “wrong.”
Sometimes these objections are legitimate, sometimes not.
Sometimes they’re based on experience, sometimes medical, sometimes psychosomatic discomfort and pain, and sometimes based on upbringing.
It might be something that’s clearly out of bounds like your spouse wanting to watch porn together to “spice things up.” But maybe it’s something like getting weirded out by having sex in any position other than missionary.
These situations need to be examined because it might have something to do with physical discomfort, or it might be because of some unmerited, self-imposed shame brought on by an unhealthy theology of sex.
Either way, the important part is that something in your sex life is causing friction or discomfort between you both, and you need to flush that out.
You need to discover why.
You need to talk about it, so some resolution can be found.
Marriage is a sacred union. Nothing should come between it, especially an unwillingness to work through sexual frustrations.
Do yourself a favor.
Do your spouse a favor.
Do your marriage a favor.
Get your sexual life on a healthy track, even if it means a little bit of discomfort along the way.
And if you need some advice on how to get these conversations going here are two books that might help:
- When Shame Gets Real: A new way to talk about sex, porn, and masturbation – Available Feb 8th at www.whenshamegetsreal.com
- The Good Guy’s Guide to Great Sex: Because Good Guys Make the Best Lovers – Available March 15th on Amazon.