It’s an important question.
Sexual desire — the degree to which we sexually long for the person we married — is a tender vulnerable place.
Rich with possibilities. And, in some marriages, fraught with discouragement.
My husband and I had not had sex with each other before we were married, so our wedding night set us on an adventure of learning about arousal. We had much to learn about sexual touch.
Certainly we understood the mechanics of sex, but as far as discovering what we each found arousing with each other — well, that was a blank slate!
And for that we were grateful.
Eleven years in to marriage, and we still love exploring the map, figuring out new ways to turn each other on. With our touch.
Yes, therein lies the power. The way we touch can be positive or negative, and the subtleties between the two is more impactful to a sexual connection — and to the entire marriage, really — than many couples care to reflect upon.
Nowhere does our touch speak clearer than in how we use it sexually with the person we married. That is a bold statement. I know.
But think about your own marriage and the way you each express yourselves sexually — with your touch, not your words. When you look closely at that, what gut feeling are you left with?
One of ravenous gratitude? Or one of disappointment and discouragement?
A common complaint I hear from some people who comment on my blog and who email me is that sex in their marriage has become predictable. I even had someone tell me once that the way he and his wife had sex was so predictable that he could almost time it down to the second.
He was painfully aware that predictable sexual encounters — especially ones drenched in an obligatory tone of “have to” rather than “get to” — fail to take us to the authentic sexual connection we desire.
Just in case you think I’m overly sympathetic to husbands who feel sexually neglected, I do indeed have a heart’s cry for women who find themselves in similar circumstances. They too hunger for a husband who wants them sexually and clearly expresses that desire in the way he touches her.
If you think sexual touch is an area where you and your spouse can grow, consider these three tips:
Consider the ways you can use your fingertips and hands — through a variety of light caresses and firm touches — to arouse your spouse.
And don’t forget that sexual arousal is not limited to only certain areas of the body. Sure, the genitals and breasts are the areas we think of the most, but honestly, the entire body is fair game. You may be surprised at what you discover.
For example, some people find it particularly arousing to have their spouse run their fingers through their hair or along the back of their neck.
Don’t be afraid to ask what they enjoy and also to try new touches and take cues from their feedback (verbal and nonverbal!)
I like an intense orgasm as much as the next person, but I think what can be as invigorating is what leads up to that orgasm. And a lot of that has to do with the time we invest in touching.
Anticipation is powerful, so pay close attention to the way your touch can take your spouse through a delicious cycle of getting close to a sexual edge. Learn how to take them to that edge, back off it ever so slightly, and then go to the edge again — several times before actually going over.
Couples who figure out that cycle find better sex at the end of it. Amazing.
How intentional are you throughout the day to convey to your spouse with your touch, “I want you. I desire you. You’re still the one who turns me on.”
Sadly, too many husbands and wives who couldn’t keep their hands off each other early in the relationship can now go days on end without ever really touching each other, let alone touching each other with passion and playfulness.
It is extraordinary what you can say to your spouse. Without actually saying anything.
For more on sex and your marriage, consider the 10 Best Sex Questions to Ask Your Spouse.
Julie Sibert writes and speaks about sexual intimacy in marriage. You can follow her blog at www.IntimacyInMarriage.com. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband and their two boys. When she's not writing, she's probably drinking ridiculously overpriced coffee.