Sex is not simply a physical act. The one-flesh relationship that God intended involves a spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical oneness. That’s why sexual tension in a marriage is much more that what is going on under the covers.
Here are ten sex issues in a marriage.
- Criticism: Sexual attraction and enjoyment is diminished when he/she is regularly torn down by words.
- Anxiety: When sex is viewed as simply a physical act, fear of performance and acceptance is high.
- Guilt: Guilt may come from the view of sex in one’s background. If sex was always spoken of in a negative way at home and/or church that will have an impact. Also, sex may be a reminded of past sexual experiences.
- Resentment: This arises when one or both partners feel used.
- Communication: When communication about sexual expectations, needs, and fears are not discussed sooner or later problems will arise.
- Predictable Mechanical Sex: A lack of sensitivity or a too much predictability strips away romance.
- Lack of Sensuality: Husbands, if you show physical affection to your wife only as a lead-up to intercourse…there are going to be some problems.
- Lack or Loss of Trust: Mutual trust is one of the essentials of intimacy. Partners are reluctant to be vulnerable and giving to a person they can’t trust.
- Physical Appearance: There is a direct correlation between a negative perception of one’s body and inhibited sexual intimacy. God planned that the husband and wife are to be “naked and unashamed” before each other as part of the one-flesh relationship (Genesis 2:24-25). Husbands, tell your wife how beautiful she is. Take a page from the playbook of Solomon (Read Song of Solomon 1:8, 10, 15; 2:10, 13; 4:1, 7; 6:4; 7:1, 6).
- Expectation: Our culture has us thinking that sex is an earth-shaking, chandelier-swinging, mind-blowing event every time. In an Time magazine article the authors made this point:
…It’s hard to imagine a culture more conducive to feelings of sexual inadequacy…Tune in to the soaps. Flip through the magazines. Listen to Oprah. Lurk in the seamier corners of cyberspace. What do you see and hear? An endless succession of [people] preparing for, recovering from or engaging in constant, relentless copulation. Sex is everywhere in America—and in the ads, films, TV shows and music videos…the impression branded on our collective subconscious is that life…is a sexual banquet to which everyone else has been invited. (Oct. 17, 1994)
That describes the way many people feel. But we have to have realistic expectations. Sometimes the kids are down the hall. Sometimes the dishes are in the sink. Sometimes parents are sick. Sometimes there are pressures and stress at work. All of life plays into every day ordinary, married sex. Sometimes it is chandelier swinging…but there is also beauty in its ordinariness.
In his book A Grief Observed, C. S. Lewis describes a proper view of intimacy. He writes,
[My wife] and I feasted on love; every mode of it—solemn and merry, romantic and realistic, sometimes as dramatic as a thunderstorm, sometimes as comfortable and unemphatic as putting on your soft slippers. No cranny of the heart or body remained unsatisfied.
Married sex is with the person we love…the person we have fun with…the person we have committed our life to…the person who knows how weird we are and loves us anyway. Sometimes it is mind-blowing…sometimes it is need-meeting. But it is always with the one we are doing life with and in the context of commitment and invested relationship.