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Do You Want Better Sexual Intimacy in 2015?

By Julie Sibert | Sex & Family Planning

 

better sex in 2015I used to be a New Year’s Resolution junkie.

I mean, I was hard core. I loved the idea of fresh starts and new beginnings and embracing optimism to its fullest.

Honestly, I’m still a little bit that way.

But I’m less enthralled with the “thinking” about resolutions and much more focused on the actual “doing.”

And the older I get, I am most conscientious of healthy “doing” in my relationships, particularly my marriage and with other people who are closest to me.

My husband and I had dinner the other night with a friend whose husband recently died rather suddenly of cancer at the age of 53.  It was devastating for all of us, but obviously most for her and their children.

She and her husband were deeply in love, living a strong healthy marriage.  They envisioned many years ahead together.

Our conversation drifted to “life being short” and “you just never know” and the importance of relationship.  It is true that we build a rich life by building strong and compassionate relationships, and at no time does that become clearer than when we lose someone we love.

It is easy to be enamored with the concept of New Year’s Resolutions, but I am convinced a better approach is to simply “do” something — even baby steps, as I have often said.

Do something.

You don’t have to write it down.

You don’t have to first buy elaborate marriage courses or sign up for marriage retreats.  Those things have their place and are among many great marriage resources available.

BUT — and this is vitally important — there’s a lot to be said for being intentional on what you are already equipped to do.

More affection. More kindness. More affirmation. More touch.

I write and speak about sexual intimacy in marriage, so that’s my wheelhouse.  That’s the topic that floods my email inbox and comment stream on my blog.  That’s where I get a glimpse of deep pain and miscommunication in the marriage beds of so many people.

Possibly your marriage bed and relationship are starving for sexual intimacy.

Can you do something about that?  Will you do something?

Will 2015 be a year of better sexual intimacy in your marriage?

I obviously don’t know your particular situation or circumstances, but I do know there are a lot of marriages where the two people in it need to take a humble and honest look at their sexual intimacy. (Or lack thereof, as the case often is).

And that’s hard.  I’m not going to sugar coat it.  It’s hard, even painful, to take accountability for where we’ve played a part in weakening our relationship.

But it’s worth it — and it’s wise — to take that accountability.  To be brave. To do something.

Anyone can give lip service to “wanting to change.”  (Go to any gym in January and see how crowded it is, and then go back in April and see how less crowded it is).

Don’t let “thinking about change” or “resolving to change” be your stumbling block to actually doing something.

The mental gymnastics will kill you if you think you need a solid plan or all the details figured out before you start.

Will 2015 be a year of better sexual intimacy in your marriage?

Not long ago, I spoke about sex to a women’s group.  It was a group to which I had spoke on the same topic before, so they were well familiar with my passion about authentic sexual intimacy in a marriage.

One woman shared how my talk a year previously had challenged her to make some changes and to nurture the sexual intimacy that was lacking in her marriage.   She shared that it was her wake-up call and that she knew she had to do something.

And she smiled when she said that because of what she had done, her marriage was stronger.  She and her husband were more connected, sexually and otherwise.

Will 2015 be a year of better sexual intimacy in your marriage?

I hope and pray it will be.  I hope and pray you will do something in that direction.

Any time is really the right time to do something to strengthen your marriage. Will you do something?

Does Sex Increase or Decrease Your Stress?

By Julie Sibert | Sex & Family Planning

 

sex-and-stressWhen “benefits” of sex are listed, “stress reduction” is usually somewhere in the mix.

It may be phrased a number of different ways, alluding to both physical and emotional side benefits.  No matter how we label it, the people who study this sort of thing often hold up “feeling less stressed” as a big plus of nurtured sexual intimacy in marriage.

And certainly scientists and doctors could explain this reality physiologically. From a scientific standpoint, they would confirm that something good indeed does physically happen within a husband’s body and wife’s body when they enjoy making love.

And I’m not just talking about orgasm.  There’s a lot more going on than just that powerful response, right?  If ever there was a masterpiece of tremendous complexity, it is the human body.

BUT, I imagine it comes as no surprise that for quite a few married people, sex is a source of stress, not a pathway toward relieving it.

And I’m not just referring to stress in the actual act of intercourse, but also stress in discussing it, navigating difficulties with it and so forth.

What is your experience? Does sex increase or decrease your stress?

I’m personally in the camp of loving — even craving — sex for all the positive things it does to my body and my marriage.  But I’m sensitive to the reality that for some people, sex is a source of tremendous discord in their heart and home.

Whatever camp we are in regarding sex — loving it or dreading it or discouraged about it — I think we owe it to our spouse and marriage to unpack that camp a bit.

Sure, if you love it, seems like there’s nothing to unpack, right?  But I’m a firm believer that good areas of our marriage can continually be made better.  Nothing really is as compartmentalized as we would like to believe.

If sex is a mutually valued part of your marriage, pay close attention to building upon the positive impact it has on your relationship beyond the lovemaking.  Don’t become complacent in showing each other affection out of bed as much as you do in bed.  Don’t assume your spouse knows what sexual intimacy means to you.  Tell them. Affirm them.

If you are in the camp of dreading sex, have you gotten to the root of the reason?

I make it sound so easy, don’t I?  Well, trust me — I’ve written, spoken and read about sex for long enough to know that the reasons can be profoundly difficult, complex and painful. Rarely do I ever think it’s easy to dig into those.

But if sex causes you stress and you know the issues are yours to own, what will it take for you to seek healing for those sexual struggles?  Baby steps count.  Do something, because doing nothing may feel like it’s keeping stress at bay, but it’s more likely just masking the stress.

And if you are in the camp of feeling discouraged about sex in your marriage and tired of feeling rejected sexually by your spouse, I am sensitive to your pain as well.

If you haven’t already, get real with your spouse about what the lack of sexual intimacy is doing to you and to the marriage.  Express to your spouse that you want the two of you to do whatever it takes to work together toward better intimacy (sexual and otherwise).

If they have no interest in your request, then at least you know you did your part in trying to address and heal the matter.  And if they do show interest? Well praise God for wake up calls that help us make our marriages stronger!

All things considered, does sex increase or decrease your stress?

I’m humbly asking you to give that question more than a mere passing glance.  Sit down with it for awhile.  Let it comfort you — or make you uncomfortable.  Marriage begs us to unpack that question with our whole heart.

Will you?

Is There “Plenty of Time Later” to Fix Sexual Struggles in Your Marriage?

By Julie Sibert | Sex & Family Planning

The phone rang at 4 a.m.

No surprise that my husband and I both startled out of our groggy slumber.

It was my mother-in-law, who lives in her own home, but cannot drive. She was in pain. A lot of pain.

My husband and I decided I would take her to the hospital while he stayed with our 9-year-old, who was fast asleep and unaware of the phone call.

Hospital emergency rooms are clarifying places, aren’t they?

As we waited for tests, I listened to the drone of hospital noise.

Footsteps on cold tile floor. Beeps and flashes from medical machines.  The rhythmic opening and closing of doors.  The distant chatter of nurses and doctors, rambling through their own lingo of acronyms and medical-ese.

Unless you truly are dying or show up with a gaping chest wound, emergency rooms ironically feel anything but urgent. This is no reflection on the staff, who more often than not are compassionate and professional.

But even they can move the process along only so fast.

So there is waiting. And more waiting.  The drone of hospital noise your constant companion.

Fortunately, my mother-in-law will be okay. For now.  She is elderly, though, wrought with health issues.

Six hours in an emergency room in the wee hours of a sleepy Sunday morn gives a person time to think, my mind drifting to the fragility of life.  And the shortness of it, really.

I have met plenty of people who live comfortably, yet naively, in the mantra “plenty of time later.”

And because I blog about sex and marriage, I am keenly perceptive of how “plenty of time later” shows up when some married people talk about sex.

For the record, when a married couple struggles sexually, usually one person is indifferently camping in “plenty of time later,” while the other spouse is desperately wondering, “When will that time ever come?!!”

Are you aware of the mantra “plenty of time later?”

Plenty of time later to fix what is wrong with our marriage and our sexual intimacy.

Plenty of time later after the kids are grown.  After money isn’t so tight.  After a climb up the career ladder.

Plenty of time later to stop believing the lies about sex.

Plenty of time later to fix our miscommunication.  To forgive.  And to genuinely humble ourselves and heal the pain in our sexual disconnection.

Do you think there is plenty of time later?

Even if you do bank on there being plenty of time later (a risky roll of the dice for sure), possibly a more important question is, “How do you want to spend it?”

It sounds so cliche to say life is short and time is fleeting.  Behind every cliche is a sliver of truth, though; an epiphany of sorts.  You don’t have to wait for 4 a.m. phone calls or endless hours in an emergency room or divorce ultimatums or a host of other “a-ha” moments to start taking care of what matters in your life.

My hope is that your marriage — and sex in your marriage — matter in your life.   (Yes, I realize some of you right now are saying, “Yes my marriage matters. But sex?  Not so much.”

If you say your marriage matters to you — and there really is no reason you and your spouse couldn’t be having sex on a regular basis, yet you still don’t — then I wonder how much your marriage really matters to you.

Harsh words? Maybe. But they are real words. Humble words.

Is there plenty of time later to fix the sexual struggles in your marriage?  Maybe. Maybe not.

Either way, don’t you think it’s worth exploring the question now?

Is Sex in Your Marriage Inconvenient?

By Julie Sibert | Sex & Family Planning

marriage-sex-inconvenientRecently on my own blog, I wrote a post about the 5 Worst Excuses for Not Having Sex.

Someone commented on that post inferring that husbands need to let go of this “woe is me” attitude about not getting more sex.

The woman went on to imply that if the husband had to walk in the wife’s shoes for a week, he would see why she isn’t enthused about sex.

Her tone was adversarial, almost as if the husband is one big inconvenience that happens to live in the house (and sex was obviously one big inconvenience that went along with him living there).

Such commentary stirs in me the desire to ask a humble question. If you see yourself in this scenario, I pray you will reflect upon your honest answer.

Is sex in your marriage inconvenient?

Maybe you’re not bitter about sex per se, but at the minimum it is, as the cliche goes,”one more thing on your to-do list.”  It is a chore you avoid as long as possible — until the tension is enough that you give in to tide him over till next time.

This is an important conversation I’m trying to delve into, because disagreements about “frequency” of sex are common in marriage.

One spouse wants sex more than the other spouse, and they are too paralyzed (maybe even too angry) to find a solution that leaves them both feeling satisfied and happy.

I’m not gonna lie.  Marriage is hard (as anyone who is married knows).  But this perspective of viewing sex as a negotiable that you and your spouse will “get around to someday” — or will never get around to — is not working.

It just isn’t.

If that describes your marriage, and you know with everything in you that this is causing horrendous division with the person you love, then I encourage you to take a breath.

Resolve to make some changes.

There are countless marriages that are less than they could be — and less than what the two people who stood at the altar ever envisioned they would be — because of complacency.  And resentment.

And an unwillingness to address real struggles in a way that leads to viable solutions.

I don’t know your particular struggles with sex.  I don’t know if they are because of marital tension or exhaustion or misconceptions about sex, lack of pleasure or deeper issues of having not healed from past sexual trauma, past promiscuity, etc.

I do know this, though.

If you are married, then you can’t ignore this matter of sex.  You owe it not only to your spouse, but also to yourself, to nurture sexual intimacy in your marriage.

Here are 10 questions to ask yourself to get started:

1. Have I been careless with this area of sex in our marriage?

2. If I have been careless, will I be courageous and humble and ask for forgiveness?

3. What do I see are the core issues of our sexual struggles?

4. What can I do to work on those issues?

5. Have I really explored what the Bible says about sexual intimacy in marriage?

6. Do I appreciate not only experiencing sexual pleasure, but also helping my spouse experience it?

7. What Christian resources could I explore specifically on sexual intimacy in marriage? (counseling, books, websites, retreats, etc.)

8. What does sex have to do with strengthening my marriage?

9. Do I love my spouse?

10. How can sex help them experience that love?

Your marriage is worth this kind of reflection and action.  It is.

I and so many other marriage advocates wouldn’t be so passionate about encouraging marriages if we didn’t believe with everything in us that your marriage is worth it.

Headache Again? 3 Real Reasons Why Married Women Lose Interest In Sex

By Dustin | Sex & Family Planning

Headache Again- 3 Real Reasons Why Married Women Lose Interest In SexHas earth shaking, bed breaking sex  turned into a Saturday night snooze fest, or a quickie between taking the dog to the vet and picking the children up from school?

Even though sex is an absolutely critical part of a healthy and happy marriage, many women are losing interest in intimacy with their husbands.

Why does it happen even in the happiest of marriages?

After conducting personal research and reading many letters from people around the world, three problems seem to remain common. Women said their waning interest in sex was related to the low overall satisfaction in life, institutionalizing the relationship, and being de-sexualized.

What does all this mean, and how can we change it?

  1. Low Overall Satisfaction From Life

The reason women lose their libido is often unrelated to relationship issues.

Women can be very happy with their spouse, but not so much with their lives in general. They regularly feel stressed, overloaded with work, and simply bored with their predictable life as a married woman.

Many women don’t realize that this general unhappiness and boredom is the reason behind their libido being so low. A boring sex life is just a part of overall life routine.

Many females admit that there was a lot of desire when they were dating. They were upset when the “honeymoon” was over and regular life problems occurred, moving away the excitement. With both partners working outside of the house, it is no surprise that marital sex has suffered. After working all day, there is little time to do anything else but eat and sleep.

Most women don’t have enough time, and sex becomes not one of their top priorities. What’s more, married women have a hard time with the two different, yet demanding roles that are expected from them.

Going from mommy to vixen is quite difficult. Women of young children often feel over-touched or on a sensory overload and therefore, the idea of her husband wanting to touch her later that night is totally rejected.

When was the last time you dated your spouse?

I don’t mean spending time watching TV with her, but really DATE your partner.  Put a thrill of excitement into your relationship by doing something unusual with your wife. Make sure that someone is taking care of your kids, so she can relax and spend quality time with you.

Take her for a diner or a short trip out of town, so she can remind herself of the old sweet times when you will still dating. Let her forget about everyday issues and rediscover your passion.

  1. Lack Of Excitement

At some point marital sex is too socially sanctioned, sanitized, and women are absolutely tired of the same old routine.

Since they have been married, wives know exactly how their husband is going to touch them, they know how much their spouses love them and they are not embarrassed to take their clothes off. There’s a comfort there that is important to people which is a crucial part of any happy marriage. On the other hand, this lack of adventurousness is followed by a diminishing of desire.

Biologically speaking, desire is fueled by the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine levels rise in response to anticipation and excitement.

Knowing what comes next, the brain and other essential body parts say “why bother?” and the level of excitement isn’t there. The women miss the early days of dating with its flirting and uncertainty, which brought a lot of happiness. Stagnant romance and sex is a buzz kill.

Spice up your sex life with new positions, different places to make love, and mastering foreplay. It’s also helpful to take better care of yourself.

When was the last time you went to a gym? I’m sure your wife loves you as you are, but surely you will appear more irresistible to her if you take better care of your body.

  1. Feeling Unattractive

Female desire is somewhat complicated; they want something more than just intimacy. They want to feel needed and wanted.

Most women are not comfortable with their anatomy especially when they are naked. Women who are uncomfortable with themselves masturbate less and have less sex. Their libido has left the building! Only about 29% of women actually achieve an orgasm while having sex, compared to the 75% of men who achieve orgasm.

If more women felt sexually attractive, they might find sex more gratifying and not just another chore that has to be completed. Make sure that your wife knows how much you love her and how beautiful she is.

Realistically speaking, marital love does not mean nonstop hot sex. If more people realized that, then perhaps there would not be such an obsession with sex.

Sex is an expression of love, the sooner we learn to respect, and treat it as such, the sooner we will be able to enjoy it more.

SarahI’m Sarah Williams.

I’m a writer that is passionate about psychology. After several relationships and a LOT of dates, I would like to share my honest female perspective about dating with you on my Wingman Magazine. After all, I’m just a hopeless romantic trying to figure it all out.

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