In these Letters about sex, I have been attempting to bring into open discussion insights gathered over 30+ years of being an adult. In Sex 1, I highlighted different scenarios where sex sent distinct messages and labeled them accordingly. In Sex 2, I pointed out some pitfalls in today’s sexulized world. In the last two Letters, Sex 3 and Sex 4, I looked at sex from the man’s perspective and somewhat from the woman’s. Those were to set the stage for today’s message by drawing out what is foundational in a great sex life. Today’s Letter attempts to point the way with suggestions on what to do to improve your sex life.
It’s very, very important here to understand what I’m talking about and what I’m not talking about. You have a driving desire to have a fulfilling sex life that is a component, only one component, of your overall desire to have a fulfilling life. To that end your thoughts, attitudes and actions with your mate creates a self fulfilling prophecy on how that goes. However, if you think doing the dishes a couple of times will get you wild sex at the end of the week, you’re in for some rude disappointment. That’s called manipulation. What I’m talking about is engagement where you are present and forward moving in relational growth.
So, for guys it’s easy to think of sex as an event, a transactional exchange – veni, vidi, veni. For women, they tend to think of it as the culmination of a series of relational events. Though each person has a veto card, I have never played mine. I can’t think of an instance where I would. And since women are more delicate and thereby more easily knocked off track, the veto card can be used, is used, and is available for use at any time. I would imagine this is true in all normal relationships. So the first step in improving your sex life is to realize whatever turbulence you have, it’s part of God’s plan for marriage. No, that’s not a “suck it up” statement. It’s an intro into the true path to a happy life.
Leadership. This is not rocket science here. If you are looking for a more satisfying sex life where you engage in more quantity, more passion, and where more variety isn’t you pointing at your crotch with your left hand and whimpering. No, the answer to your desires is by engaging in an exploration of where each of you are going in life and sharing a vision of how you can help each other get there. I may have already talked about this but: One night my wife and I were in bed arguing for the umpteenth time about something or other. The issue was then as it most always was – a power struggle for the other person to love first. Of course the specifics always varied, but the theme was the same. Who was right and who was wrong – “me always, you never”. Then that night, I remember it like it was last night, I was hit by an epiphany – “I need to stop this. It’s not about me vs. her. It’s about us getting on the same page and figuring it out together.” Maybe this is simple to you, but at that time it opened my eyes. I did stop arguing. I stopped immediately then and I’ve stopped ever since. Our marriage went from a 6 to a 10 in no time. Why? I changed. I grew up. I changed me first and stopped trying to change her, but instead tried to grow us. The quality of our sex life followed.
As a consequence, we had discussions about problems in our relationship that weren’t accusational, inflammatory, button-pushing events. We were now mature enough to look at life with fresh eyes. We were able to ask the important questions:
What are your wants and needs?
What are your expectations about frequency?
What about fantasy and passion?
What can I do to make it so you feel my love for you?
What are the things I do that diminish your love for me?
In other words, I had been whining. I had been acting like she owed me sexual favors because I earned the money or worse, I performed a few chores around the house. Wow. That was not going to have our marriage go down the right road.
Of course, she had to be willing to participate in such a conversation. My epiphany didn’t automatically result in her realization. I had to sell my new attitude with action and consistency. Otherwise, this “new me” would have looked like manipulation. If you think about it, sulking, anger, short term efforts to get more poured into your own cup doesn’t have the same effect as a shared vision on how to win/win one another’s love language. It became so obvious that this path of talking and agreement was so much more effective than the high school drama silent treatment that conveys the message “Well, you should just know what I want”.
We agreed to make serious effort at fulfilling what the other person wanted that said “I love you.” She wanted me more present in my claim of love – play with the kids, help with the dishes with a happy attitude, appreciate her efforts to fix up the house, help make the bed, clean the toilet up after myself, get my clothes actually in the hamper, demonstrate in a non-sexual way that I wanted to be with her, show involvement in all things Marr, make her feel special. For me, I wanted her to be more intentional in being together physically, touching me as she passed by me in the kitchen, compliment me in my leadership, take note of my efforts at work, acknowledge that I was trying to engage and lead, make me feel special.
It seems so simple, almost simplistic. If it’s so simple, what’s the problem? The problem is it’s easy to forget. It’s easy to think “She’s having a bad day.” “She’s on her period.” “She upset that I didn’t help with the dishes, but doesn’t realize what a tough day I had.” “She, she, she…” In other words, difficulty starts when you want your cup to be filled first or believe that you’ve already done the filling. “Love your neighbor as you love yourself” isn’t about your neighbor feeling your love. This universal truth that Jesus says is the 2nd most important spiritual directive because its about where your focus should be. It’s directed at your perspectives and your actions.
If you want your wife to surprise you with a night of passion, when was the last time you surprised her with a baby sitter lined up and a dinner out?
This Letter is to Ironmen on what you can do to improve your sex life. It’s not a letter to your wife on how she can improve your sex life. Therefore, the best road to take is where you own your life, develop a plan on how you’re going to have a fantastic life that includes abundant sex, act on that plan daily, engage your wife in the fun and adventure that you’ve embarked on together, and be the man that God had intended you to be. It may not be the easiest road because it may require you to grow up some, but it’s the best road. Not the easiest, but the best. If you want a life of abundance, what are you doing to create that life?
To your continued success,
P.S. Please let me know if this 3 part series was valuable to you. Thanks.