Who Needs Sex? 7 ways to sabotage your marital sex life

It’s always been one of my favorite stories and it was just about the only form of premarital prep that my dad had before marrying my mom.  Right before the ceremony, they began to throw a football together.  My Uncle David looks at my father and says,

“Harold, how do you think God thinks about sex?”

I’m not sure how dad replied.  But Uncle David’s reply was priceless,

“God thinks it’s great.”

Not sure where we get the idea that anyone, especially Christians, should be silent on the issue of sex.  For some reason, we’ll shout from the rooftops all of the blessings that God has given us but we stay strangely silent on the issue.  But with our (the church) silence, I believe, we’ve seen a toll taken upon our world.  We can blame Hollywood or any type of media outlet.  I’m of the opinion that we (the church) stayed silent over something God wasn’t silent about.  Since no one stepped up to the mic, someone else did. And now we are playing catch-up with a deranged understanding of this awesome and amazing gift given to our marriage by God himself.

My heart behind todays blog is to help bring liberty and freedom to married couples.  Again, sex is a gift from God. Like any gift from God, Satan would love to pervert the truth as to change it into the image that he desires.  In fact the definition of the word “pervert” is, “alter (something) from its original course, meaning, or state to a distortion or corruption of what was first intended.” And that’s exactly what he’s accomplishing.

God desires you to have a prosperous sex life in your marriage, yet there are some things we do to sabotage the enjoyment.  Like everything from God, we are called to be stewards.  And yes, you are to be a steward of your sex life as to not damage this blessing.

Here we go, 7 ways to sabotage your sex life

1. Use guilt. Manipulating the emotions of your spouse might win you a battle or two but you’ll lose the war.  Using guilt is wrong and abusive and it’ll make your spouse despise the every act that is supposed to bring your marriage joy.  I’ve always taught: God uses conviction; Satan uses guilt.  Conviction is a job of the Holy Spirit to prod us to move forward.  Guilt, by design, wants to keep us in a place of blame.  You’re not the Holy Spirit so stop trying to convict your spouse and/or stop acting like Satan and guilting your spouse.  Guilt is not your role.

2. Wait till you are in the mood. Sex not a gift just for the spouse with the higher libido.  It is a gift from God for you both. Imagine with me, your love language is “Quality Time” and your spouse responds to that need with “I’m not in the mood.” Or maybe you’re a “Words of Affirmation” person and desire conversational intimacy but what you get is “No thanks, I don’t feel like that today.”  In the words of my amazingly wise wife, you are the only one in this world that can sexually satisfy your spouse.  Regardless of what your love language is, we are called to serve our spouse (not just sexually).  Be open and be creative.  Take some steps forward, not out of guilt or condemnation, but out of a genuine heart to fill your spouse’s “love tank” to FULL. If your marriage is made up of two people desiring to serve each other (pouring into your spouse’s needs), the two of you will never run on EMPTY.

3. Invite pornography into your marriage. As I stated in my blog “Eviction Notices,” This is not just a male issue.   Both men and women can be stimulated by pornography and seduced into thinking it’s a help for their marriage.  The goal of pornography is to skew the authentic with fantasy.  Whether its “Visual” or “Emotional” porn, it is a huge stumbling block for couples and causes tremendous sexual issues. Two of my biggest reasons is it causes an unhealthy view of the female body as well as an unhealthy sexual expectations.  Top it off with the addictive nature of porn devised to make you dependent upon it, you then have a monster that isn’t worth the amount of space it will take up in your thoughts. Like a thirsty man crawling through the desert after a mirage, pornography has you crawling toward an illusion that will leave you constantly in want.

4. Comparison with other couples. We all get caught doing it.  We listen to another couples and/or see their marriage lived out on social media.  Comparison can be dangerous because it either puts us in a place of condemnation or competition with/by other couples…both of which are extremely unhealthy in marriage.  Just as you are uniquely made by God, the two of you as a couple are unique in your oneness.  Simply said, you two are not called to do and act like other couples when it comes to their marriage practices.  Yes, there will be characteristics we all possess as we strive to have our marriages reflect Christ.  But the manner and frequency will differ based upon the two people who make up the marriage. When it comes to the frequency of sex, there is no magic number.  Assuming someone else has a BETTER quality sex life because they have more quantity isn’t a healthy mindset (not that I’m against quantity).  But comparison will break you down and take your satisfaction from your spouse and place it upon the opinions of others.

5. Make intimacy all about intercourse.  Intimacy is the culmination of a day and not just a few moments in a bedroom. Sex is bigger than intercourse.  It’s bigger than foreplay.  It encapsulates the way you text, call, serve, respond, and look at each other throughout the day.  A great way to sabotage your sex life is to think that what takes place between the sheets is completely disconnected from the rest of life.  Open your eyes.  Perhaps he/she is struggling to respond to you because you haven’t responded to him/her all day.

6. Stop having fun together. You can’t discount fun in a marriage.  Dates cannot be rare occasions.  Anne and I, early in our marriage, didn’t have much money or ability to just leave the house because of two little ones.  It didn’t stop us from enjoying time with each other.  From projects and walks together to watching shows on our laptop, we found ways to engage in “fun” things that we both enjoy doing together.  Laughing together is good for the heart, good for the soul, and can stir the libido.  Fun is mandatory inside and outside of the bedroom.  Learn to enjoy each other.

7. Ignore past hurts. It’s painful to remove a splinter in your hand.  What’s even more painful is to wait thinking it’ll go away.  The longer you wait, the deeper the actual wound will get.  First, if you have past sexual hurts that you have carried into your marriage, tell your spouse and let him/her help you.  Remember, the two became one.  What is your issues is his/her issue and you move forward together.  Second, please get some help ASAP.  You’ve held onto it long enough and that hurt has no right in your life.  Find a local Christian counselor that specializes in this and begin the road to healing.  The healing that comes from the atonement of the cross includes our deepest hurts.

I end with this…

Proverbs 5:18-19 Let your manhood be a blessing; rejoice in the wife of your youth. Let her charms and tender embrace satisfy you. Let her love alone FILL you with delight.

A key word (amongst many key words) in this passage is “FILL.” Just as much as sex is a gift from God, you are a gift to your spouse. You are the ONLY ONE that is equipped to “FILL” your spouse with “delight.”  If you are in a place of hurt or confusion, please seek Godly help. Don’t wait on it.  I’ve never met a couple that had a healthy sex life that got divorced.  I think the biggest reason behind that is they’ve learned to serve each other by “delighting” their spouse. And if your spouse is full, there is no room for Satan to work with.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Marriage blog: Unnatural Aphrodisiac

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Basil, figs, oysters, strawberries, avocados, and, of course, chocolate are just a few of the many of the foods that  have been rumored to have aphrodisiac properties. By definition, an aphrodisiac is a food, drink, or substance that increases sexual desire. How do foods like these accomplish that task? They can reduce stress, increase blood flow, and/or positively affect the neurotransmitters in your brain all of which can improve or affect your libido. Hey, I’m all in for a higher libido in my wife, but serving her a plate of Fig Newtons and Oysters is a bit too obvious and, quite frankly, not an appealing combo.

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I can’t tell you which natural aphrodisiac works best.  I’m not a doctor nor a nutritionist.  (My medical knowledge is limited to my dvd collection of M*A*S*H.)  I imagine everyone responds to different foods…well…differently. But if there’s anything I’ve learned in the past 15+ years of marriage is what, I found, is the most affective aphrodisiac is THE unnatural one.

Let me explain.

In the midst of our sex-craved culture, we find a heart of selfishness.  Selfishness is natural. It drives individuals and ultimately destroys intimacy. Couples fight about that all the time. Everything is about “what I need to meet MY desires.” People, therefore, resort to actions in order to position their spouse into a mood to have their personal needs met. Proverbs 18:1 says, “An unfriendly man pursues selfish ends; he defies all sound judgment.” Selfishness produces unfriendly spouses. Unfriendly spouses defy any type of wise judgement. Unfriendly spouses destroy sexual desire in their marriages. Again, you don’t have to teach selfishness.  It’s just natural.

I understand needs.  I believe that your “needs” (not wants) need to be met. But I’d challenge you go after the ultimate unnatural aphrodisiac: Serving.

There’s nothing so counter-productive to marital intimacy as selfishness.  But there’s also nothing so potent to growing  AND increasing intimacy as serving. Proverbs 11:25 says “Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.” Simply stated: if you want an enriched sex life stop being selfish (“one who waters“)…learn to “bring blessings” by serving your spouse.

Serving isn’t natural.
Serving punches pride in the face.
Serving says, “it’s not about me.”
Serving says, “my spouse comes first.”
Serving takes hard work.

What Anne and I would love to speak into you on Valentines day is when it comes to intimately “serving” your spouse, remember: 

1. Your spouse’s needs are a gift to you. This is a perspective change you need to have. Instead of seeing your spouse’s needs as an inconvenience to you.  You need to see them as opportunity to bless your spouse.  Serving helps the perspective change and chases away selfishness.

2. Look for ways to serve with no strings attached. Find what melts your spouses heart and serve with no expectations. Get out of the mode that you are doing something to get something.  That’s called “selfishness.”

3. Intimacy doesn’t always have to do with sex.  When you are serving and meeting intimate needs, you need to get out of your mind that all intimate needs are sexual.  Again, if you serve and it’s laced with selfish expectations, your severing wasn’t serving at all.

4. When it comes to sexual intimacy needs, you are the ONLY ONE who can serve your spouse. No one in person, on a computer, or on a movie screen can and should meet your spouses sexual needs other than you.  It puts a heavy responsibility on you to make sure you are consistently meeting those needs.  That may seem cumbersome.  But if you BOTH are serving each other, you’ll discover more fun than you’ve every experienced.

Valentines day is the perfect day to start a new trend.  Begin to live out Proverbs 11:25 and enrich your marital intimacy with the unnatural aphrodisiac.

Serve your spouse.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Sexual Atrophy

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I use sticky notes quite a bit.  I get ideas for this blog, and I’ll use them. There’s one that has been stuck to the surface of my desk for a month.  It has two words at the top…one specifically that I haven’t been able to let go of.

Atrophy.

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My Sticky Note

It  was 2005 and I had torn my rotator cuff in a softball game. Post surgery, I found myself meeting with my physical therapist. It’s there I heard this word, that perhaps, I had never really thought of.  It’s a word I need to blog about.

Atrophy [a-truh-fee] a wasting away of the body or of an organ or part, as from defective nutrition or nerve damage; degeneration, decline, or decrease, as from disuse

My left shoulder and arm had a significant difference from the right.  Because of my pain, I really hadn’t taken the time to examine my shoulder. I just kept it covered. I had a hard time looking at the damage (I can deal with other people injuries but not mine). My PT went on to explain because of the pain, the damage, the lack of usage, and the procedure, atrophy has set in.  Before I could reply, she warned me if I didn’t take the necessary steps (physical therapy) to get the strength back, the shoulder would never return to full range of motion (full health).

This month, we’ve been blogging on the subject of sex. I’m wondering if there are couples that are dealing with “Sexual Atrophy”: a deterioration of intimacy, desire, and affection.

Ecclesiastes 9:9 says,“Live happily with the woman you love through all days of life that God has given you under the sun. The wife God gives you is your reward for all your earthly toil.”

Simply said, the Lord desires you to live happily with your spouse.  And yes, it includes sexual pleasure as well. Sex wasn’t meant just to be JUST enjoyed during the honeymoon phase.  It’s meant to be enjoyed through all the days of your lives together.

When comparing with my previous experience with “atrophy” it’s caused me to see some parallels with what can lead to “Sexual Atrophy.” I’ve used the signs of physical atrophy to help show atrophy in our intimacy.

Perhaps…
1 – “You haven’t noticed” any sexual atrophy. There’s no desire to check for health and/or change because you’re fine with where you are at regardless of how your spouse feels.
2 – Current “pain” (hurt, frustration, bitterness) has caused atrophy.  You tend to steer away from the subject with your spouse because you don’t want another fight. Perhaps you just don’t want to let go of the pain. Perhaps the pain has become a safe place.
3 – “Lack of activity” is destructive.  You may be fine with little to no sex.  How does you spouse feel? Are their needs being ignored. In many marriages, there’s usually one person that has a greater sex-drive than the other.  I’ll say this, I’ve never dealt with a marriage who had issues with too much intimacy.
4 – “Previous pains”/damages have led to atrophy. We carry our past into our marriage.  Sometimes couples go thought atrophy because there was previous pain that wasn’t dealt with.  Now it’s been carried into the bed.  That pain has built a blockade that is preventing affection.
5 – There is a “fear of correcting the hurt”.  Perhaps previous attempts to fix it have failed.  Maybe you feel like you will be working alone in it. Perhaps you know the problem lies within you and you don’t want to admit it.

No matter what is causing the atrophy, you need to heed the same advice I was given: Take the necessary steps to bring the health back.  I’m not saying that you’ll be back in “honeymoon” form (even though that’s not a bad thing so I won’t discourage it). What I am saying is this TRUTH:

The choice to live with “sexual atrophy” is damaging to the oneness of your marriage. 

Here are some necessary steps to help bring the health back: 

1 – Prayer. Most people wouldn’t think that prayer and sex go together. I can’t say it’s foreplay that will get the motor revving. I will say, it will put your heart in the right direction. Pray for him/her by yourself. Ask the Lord to bless them and change you. When you are with your spouse, pray WITH him/her.  Take anything of selfishness out of your prayers and let your spouse hear you speaking over them. Pray over your intimacy. God’s not embarrassed.  He created you, your body parts, and the pleasure that comes from them joining together.

2 – Communication. Do you and your spouse talk about ? Is that conversation always one-sided? Are your minds already made up before the talking takes place? Does your spouse feel heard?  How do you know your spouse feels heard?  Have you communicated the hurt/concerns behind your lack of desire?  Have you told him/her what you like in bed? Does your spouse know the foreplay that you enjoy?  Does you spouse know what turns you off?

These are simple questions to begin the conversation between you two. Some might feel awkward. But too many couples are experiencing “sexual atrophy” because of a stupid word called ASSUMPTION. Don’t assume. Communicate!

3- Frequency.  It’s difficult to fix “sexual atrophy” if you don’t attempt sex.  I agree with fellow blogger, we live in a oversexed society full of undersexed marriages. Sexual frustration is high for men and women for a growing number of reasons (I’ll save that for another blog). I can’t hand you a magic “frequency number.” It will change over time and through seasons of life. I do ask that you find balance. Again, I’ve never dealt with sexually active couple that lacked joy, strength, and health.  Plan date nights that include sex…or just plan sex nights. It’s up to you. Don’t fall for the trick that “planning” isn’t romantic.  The reason why “planning” works great for couples is it take the pressure off of the other days of the week. Does it mean “unplanned sex” can’t happen?  Nope…that’s called bonus sex. (cha-ching)

4 – Desire. My wife and I have dealt with this quite a bit.  Like many couples, I (husband) have a stronger desire than Anne (wife).  It’s not the rule. We know couples that are the opposite.  In helping a wife, Anne spoke some great words of wisdom that I want to include here.  Anne says,

“Does your husband have a similar sex drive (zero desire)? How do you know? Have you asked him lately if he wants more sex? I never have to ask because I know Dave wants more. (LOL) As a woman I understand where there is “non-interest” or a not a huge sex drive. But if your husband is needing intimacy, you need to fulfill that need. This might be a deep issue that is not said because there’s no communication on the subject. If he has more of a drive, he missing out and he either is not communicating or doesn’t feel like he can. Is he settling for your drive because he doesn’t want to “rock the boat.” If he IS missing out on what he needs, it will, eventually, come back to weaken and hurt your marriage.”

As spouses, our desire has to come from desiring our spouse’s desires.  I can’t tell you how many games Anne has sat through and how many “chick-flicks” I’ve watched.  We (Anne and I) did it to please our spouse, and, in turn, brought us pleasure to see them happy.  Imagine if we approached sex in that manner.  The sexual experience wouldn’t just feel better. It’d be more fulfilling.

5 – Help. Don’t feel like you are alone.  You’re not the only one dealing with this. I’ll share another TRUTH: Atrophy isn’t a death sentence. It’s not weakness to ask for help.  It’s weakness to, out of pride, NOT ask for help.  Find a Christian counselor. Why not a non-Christian counselor? Psalms 1:1 warns us not to.  Get someone who will be open, honest, AND be scriptural based.

Anne and I were at a marriage seminar a few years back and the couple leading it said, “If you’re suffering from a lack of desire, don’t be afraid to speak to your doctor.  Don’t let fear ruin your marriage bed.” Anne turned to me and said, “I hope every lady in the room heard that.” The truth is, every man and woman needs to heed that advice.

To wrap up, if you or your spouse is suffering from “sexual atrophy”, it should be a loud warning bell that something is wrong in your marriage. I realize that sex is, many times, a symptom rather than the problem, but the deficiency of sex is an indication that something is wrong. Couples, or spouses, who ignore this, are ignoring a warning that their marriage could be in trouble.

It’s not just sex. It is an indication of the overall health of your marriage.

Ecclesiastes 9:9 says,“Live happily with the woman you love through all the days of life that God has given you under the sun. The wife God gives you is your reward for all your earthly toil.”

Thanks for letting me ramble…