Within our house we are rather eclectic regarding the types and styles of music we enjoy. Justin and I (Megan) both privy ourselves musicians. I am classically trained, Justin is self taught. We’ve spent hours crafting and fine tuning our skills and training ourselves to make beautiful music. We’ve spent years perfecting our sense of rhythm, the central pulse that makes organized sense of music. We find that this applies to our marriage as well. Marriages and sex lives need a good cadence. A strong central rhythm that makes organized sense of two different people coming together to make beautiful music.
Within marriage, there are times when sexual rhythm may seem a bit off. Maybe you aren’t connecting as often or there is some other factor that is infringing on your intimacy. Today we want to explore common factors that lead couples to get out of rhythm sexually.
1. Mismatched libidos.
Sometimes one of you wants to “get it on” and one of you doesn’t. Most marriages have “I’d rather” moments, moments when sex is just not going to happen but it is important to remember these should be the exception not the rule. Marriages which consistently experience times when libidos (sex drives) just don’t seem to match up need to keep a few things in mind. Having open lines of communication is essential to understand what is really happening. Are there an over abundance of activities on your schedule that are making finding the time difficult? Are you truly tuned in to what turns your spouse on or off? Are there relational issues under the surface in your marriage? Taking time to actually discuss and figure these types of questions out will truly help your libido’s line up with one another. Often the discrepancy between your sex drives is not a disdain for sex but a problem communicating what gets your spouse in the mood.
2. Physical limitations.
Throughout marriage every couple will experience times where physical limitations disrupt your sexual rhythm. For some couples these limitations are brief such as pregnancy and child birth or healing from surgery. These disruptions are often easily overcome once the physical healing takes place. Taking time to connect emotionally and physically in addition to preparing your mind for sex is often all that is necessary to get back into a healthy sexual rhythm.
For others, however, chronic pain, erectile dysfunction, vaginismus, and other limitations take considerably more effort and commitment to overcome. A healthy sex life is important in marriage. If there are physical reasons sex is painful we recommend seeking the advice of a professional health care provider. It may seem very uncomfortable to discuss such private issues with a healthcare provider but it is well worth it. Getting help that allows your sex life to flourish is worth the temporary embarrassment and extra effort. However, for some, the pain and disability is still very difficult to overcome. During these times it is imperative to have open, loving conversations about how you can work on fulfilling each others needs in this area. There are so many ways to have a close physical relationship with your spouse that don’t necessarily include intercourse. There are ways to satisfy your God given sexual desires for your spouse. Just take some opportunities t0 think creatively and feel free to try new things out.
3. Emotional reservations.
Feelings are a fickle thing. There are plenty of times in marriage when words are said, actions are done and behaviors are repeated that cause one or both partners emotional pain. At times these situations are resolved, apologies are made, forgiveness is offered. Other times, however, there is never a proper resolution and these types of underlying emotional issues can disrupt your sexual rhythm.
If you’re having trouble “connecting” due to some other marital factor or problem (finances, disagreements in parenting, who will drive the ‘nice’ car, etc.) then you need to take some serious opportunities to talk these things out. Most couples decide to grin and bare it, believing the lie that “this is just the way marriage is”. This. Is. A. Lie. And it’s often small emotional decisions that turn into bigger ones and drive a marriage into the ground. Get on the same page in every major area of life first (finances, parenting) and decide on the little stuff later. If one of you thinks you need counseling to get through it and the other doesn’t – chances are you probably do. And if you don’t like the term “counseling”, then don’t think of it that way. Just sit down with a trusted married couple who has weathered the same storms and ask them how they did it. It may not take professional “counseling”, but having a few well-experienced married friends over through the course of a month and asking them some specific questions about how they pulled through the tough times will reap dividends for your own marriage relationship.
4. Mental Apprehension
We regularly write about how sex is not just physical. Sex is also spiritual, emotional and mental. Working through your reservations, fears, misconceptions and misunderstanding about sex is important. If you have negative opinions concerning sex, seek understanding. Openly communicate with your spouse that you want to work on your sex life and then invite them to help you figure it out together. The greatest sexual organ you have really is your brain so training and teaching your mind to have positive associations with sex is going to go a long way in making your sex life great.
Because of the emotional and spiritual power of sex there are times where sexual rhythm is disrupted by thoughts or emotions that you thought had been dealt with already. You are in the moment, enjoying your partner then all of a sudden there is a flash back, a sensation, a smell that shows up completely uninvited. In those moments it is important to stop, communicate with your spouse what it happening and allow them to help you build a new memory to replace the old one. Thoughts cannot be ignored but they can be dealt with properly.
5. Physical absence.
For most couples, traveling is at least a minor factor that disrupts sexual rhythm. Some couples deal with extensive traveling or periods of absences. There is much to be said of the feast or famine sex lives that some couples have. Sexual rhythm is certainly out of whack when you aren’t even together to enjoy each other. But really, the best way to handle this type of situation is to change your mindset. Your sex life is normal for you. Don’t compare your sex life to others who don’t experience long absences. Evaluate your relationship on how close you are emotionally. Spend time in regular conversation with an emphasis on a great friendship. Don’t evaluate your marriage based on how many times you have sex each week. Build each other up, encourage one another and enjoy your times together immensely when they come. In fact, your anticipation might be so big you can’t wipe the grin off your face for many days afterwards!