Monday, February 17, 2014
I'll just tell you. It's a post on sex. (the GUYS speak up)
This may be my favorite post yet in this series.
Friends, if you are like me, you have some assumptions about men and sex based largely on how the world portrays them. I've realized it's foolish to believe women are the only ones portrayed inaccurately in our culture in terms of sexuality. Guys are stereotyped too. And unfortunately, our insecurities as women feed into our readiness to take these stereotypes as truth. Maybe you don't even know you're buying into it. We all know women are objectified and stereotyped sexually in our culture. But do you realize men are too? Even married men have been basically reduced to heartless, self-centered, desire-driven beings, who are just looking for the next hot thing to look at.
Well. He may not be the best communicator of how he really feels, but be prepared to have your beliefs challenged as to what may be going on inside your husband's mind and heart in regards to sex.
I asked a handful of husbands some questions pertaining to sex, and they came back with answers full of honesty, vulnerability, and tenderness. Just for some demographics, all these guys are in their 30s and 40s, all are dads of between 2 and 4 kids, and all have been married for a decade, some closer to two decades. These are not rookies when it comes to married life, parenting through various stages, and surviving many different seasons with their wives. And I believe their thoughts are more common than we women realize. Guys are simple; I'd be willing to bet your husband has had some of these same thoughts too (though he may rather be burned at the stake than share the same things with you face to face).
These few questions just scratch the surface of the issues involved in this topic. But please hear the heart behind these guys' words. What might it mean in your life if the same was true in your marriage? (And notice their prolific use of all caps and !!!! in question 3.)
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Question #1: In the area of intimacy, what is something you want your wife to know that you feel she is unaware or unsure of?
"I find you physically much more attractive than I did when we dated. I think you believe the lie that women's bodies are less attractive as they age. And I think you are unaware of the fact that I have sexual fantasies of you, and I might not know how to bring that up in a conversation."
"When I ask you what you need or what feels good or should I do something else, I really mean it. I want you to tell me what works and what doesn't. I am not insecure; I want every time we have sex to be moving forward and growing because we are communicating and learning. Tell me exactly what to do, or better yet, show me. Don't be afraid of hurting my feelings - in fact, it makes me feel loved when you communicate with me."
"Words of affirmation are on par with the actual physical part of intimacy for many men. We are much more sensitive than we let on, and your acknowledgement and affirmation of our status as husbands, lovers, fathers, providers, etc. goes a long way. Also our sex drive is very tied to our ego and self-esteem. We like to be wanted and needed, and your desire for physical intimacy helps fuel our egos and helps reassure our simple brains that we are loved."
"I'm 42 but I met you in high school. I know you are also 42 and a mother of 4. But my mental rolodex still sees my high school sweetheart. I don't want to be the married couple with 4 kids who just goes through the motions. I still want to make out. I still want to be like a young married couple who doesn't have kids and can have "crazy" sex. And believe it or not, I still get nervous when I take you out on a date. I want you at times to still be my girlfriend. I want you to want me....like I want you."
Question #2: What are some responsibilities you would be willing to relieve her of so she can make more space in her day/evening for intimacy? OR what responsibilities do you think she could "let slide" if it meant allowing her more time to relax/detox from the day in order to have more time and energy left for sex?
"This is a tricky one, as you are unable to relax if things are in a 'let it slide' status. Thus relieving you of responsibilities would be key. I'm willing to take on dinner, homework and bedtime routines; the challenge is being "checked in" as soon as I walk in the door. It is often hard to transition...it is serious crunch time when I walk in the door with four kids and all that it entails. The key for me is being a fully present "co-parent" during crunch time, which then allows you to keep your sanity and have fuel left in the tank for our evening."
"Laundry or making kids lunches."
"In our current season, it's not that I need to take anything off your plate; it is that I need not neglect you. I love what I do for my job, but I don't always know when to turn it off. In fact, just the other night, you were in bed next to me (with just one layer of clothing on), and instead of pursuing you, I worked on my laptop till midnight. You fell asleep, and I went on working. The next day, I repented for neglecting you and choosing work over you. This has been much more the norm in this season. The problem right now is me, not you."
"In seasons past, I would say I could take the role of bedtime off your plate. I love that you are a stay at home mom, but when bedtime comes around, you are ready for it. I could do a much better job at being fully engaged (not halfway, waiting for you to do the bulk of the work). I could be more intentional to take the helm and allow you to be in the role of hugging, kissing, and loving, rather than you needing to be the one making sure our three rowdy boys actually do what we asked."
"Late night chores like laundry. I would totally be willing to do some laundry. And as far as I am concerned, any chore can be thrown out the window if it means more energy for sex."
Question #3: What would you think or how would you feel if your wife kicked it up a notch in initiating and being more creative in your sex life?
"HECK YAH!!! I would love it if you would initiate the romance more often. That way I won't have those times of wondering if you are responding out of obligation instead of desire."
"Initiating would be amazing! Kicking it up a notch and using creativity would be icing on the cake. Did I say initiating would be amazing?!"
"KICK IT UP!!! I absolutely love the change of pace, the spark, the "Where did that come from?" excitement."
"Yes please! Every time you initiate with me, even in a little way, I feel deeply loved and desired. I would love our sex life to go up not just one notch, but a couple (dozen that is)! This excites me because I know it means we would be growing in our healing and trust while moving closer to a sex life that resembles God's original intent. And hey, let's get creative, but remember stretching is important...wouldn't want to pull a muscle."
Additional comments I thought needed to be shared:
"People think Christian, married sex has to be boring. God doesn't say it has to be 'shirt on, lights out, under covers, missionary...' Somehow we believe that good church people don't have "those" thoughts or do "those" things, when the fact is that we do have "those" thoughts and should do "those" things - with our spouse! I think that hot, married sex in our Christian marriages can help to cure the divorce rate."
"One action item would be for husbands and wives to have a fun topic of discussion on sexual fantasies with one another. I think that all men have them, but many don't know how to bring up the topic with their wives...when in fact, that is the exact person with whom they should bring it up."
"We have been on a journey for the last nine and half years of seeing our sex life become as pure, fun, intimate and free as it was originally intended to be. We both have somewhat checkered pasts. Because of this, we have had to fight for freedom from past choices and mindsets, believing what is true about each other, and releasing each other from unrealistic expectations."
"Pre-marital sex is an action that feels great, but it is just that - an action. There is nothing more to it. The intimacy is somewhere between non-existent and somewhat there, depending on the relationship. Today, as a married man, sex still feels great, but it is second to the intimacy that I have with my wife. It physically unites our bodies. It pulls us together."
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I don't know about you, but I am pretty moved by these guys' responses. I feel humbled for holding stereotypes over them that I didn't even know I had. I feel touched that they still see us as the girls with whom they fell in love, but improved versions! I feel encouraged to be a better communicator, and more free to let go of chores that can wait so that I can prioritize our relationship.
Personally, I wonder: if my husband and I are not being "pulled together" regularly, then over time, aren't we drifting apart? My hope and prayer is that through this series, your passion for your marriage would be growing, and your desire to draw closer to your husband sexually would be increasing. Not because it should be, but because your understanding of who God created you to be, and what God created sex to be is becoming clearer. A great sex life with your husband, even if it seems a long way off, is so worth pursuing! Our husbands are so worth pursuing. I hope this post, offering a bit of insight into the minds of men, has helped you understand their side a little.
You know what? We are blessed that guys are so much simpler than we are. They just love us. They look past our flaws and think we're beautiful and sexy. And above all, they don't just want the physical part; they want to be loved and to genuinely grow closer to us.
Funny how being loved and growing closer to my husband is all I want too. I suspect we over-complicate sex. Often the most important things of life are also the simplest. When we brush away all the issues and look at sex the way God intended, it's pretty clear: Sex is good. It pulls us together. And it's part of what we were created for, what we both need.
I hope you're having fun reading these posts. I am enjoying writing them. Feel free to share them with any married or engaged girlfriends you know who may be interested in our discussion. And as a closing reminder, your sex life with your husband is a journey, a multi-year, multi-season process. It takes communication and patience and effort on both sides. But I can't think of a journey, besides our spiritual one with the Lord, that is as fun and rewarding. So don't be afraid to kick it up a notch. You'll be glad you did.
As for your husband, I bet he'll start using all caps and !!!! as often as possible.