Sex is a popular topic. It gets 506,000,000 online searches a month. God gets 55,600,000. President Trump gets over a million. The weather gets 185,000,000. I offer these stats for a little comparison. More people search for answers about sex than answers about religion, politics or the chance of rain.
Sex is a very popular topic. It is also a topic that I think gets over analyzed to the point that we are confused and discontent in our contrast and comparison of what we should or shouldn’t be doing as partners. I think that is a mistake on our part. Married sex is the best but it is not always perfect. Sometimes it’s worthy of an academy award but more often it’s quick after the kids go to bed but before we fall asleep from exhaustion. Everyone has their own reality about sex. Yours is not mine and that is fine because we are all really different. So let me be real about our married sex, in the hopes that it will encourage you to be realistic about yours. I will begin with…
Everyone has their own reality about sex. Yours is not mine and that is fine because we are all really different.
The First Night
Our honeymoon was our first night together. Our wedding was huge and our reception was packed. It was a blast but I never saw the food–ever. We took off for our honeymoon destination at 11:30 pm. It was an hour drive and he was hyper focused–not even talking. I was starving. Someone had thoughtfully given us a box of reception goodies to eat. The box sat enticingly at my feet and I offered some to Mark, but he was totally uninterested. Don’t ask me why I hesitated; I have never been shy about food, but I was feeling a little uncertain about the intimacy ahead. We arrived, changed and once more I asked if he was hungry. He was hungry but not for food. And so we proceeded and it was lovely.
But, I was still starving. So hungry that I could not fall asleep. In the dark I dropped to the floor and crawled around in search of the goody box. Finding it, I quietly opened the box to discover every morsel tightly wrapped in heavy aluminum foil. It made a racket and I sounded like a rat foraging for food. Mark–Mr. eagle ears–woke up and said, “Susan, where are you and what are you doing?” I sheepishly confessed that I was hungry. He asked in confusion, “You’re hungry?” Like how could you possibly be hungry after that? How unromantic could I be?
At that point it should have been very clear to me–sex was more important to Mark than food.
The First Year
Three months into our marriage I was pregnant. It was a fairly easy pregnancy but the changes to my body were not always comfortable. This definitely interfered with my “intended for pleasure” first year. Sore body parts made me a little touchy about being touched. Two weeks before our one year anniversary I delivered our first. I was out of commission for the two remaining weeks of our first year and the first month of our second year of marriage.
The Baby Years
The ins and outs of pregnancies and nursing made making love a little inconsistent. I didn’t always feel like having sex. Mark, in comparison, was totally undeterred. It didn’t matter to him what condition my body was in, he liked it. For that I should have been thankful but at the time I wasn’t thinking that way. The ups and downs began to take it’s toll on him and left him feeling that “we never had sex.” I heard about this often. In my mind, we had sex a lot but I had to prove it and make him feel good about it at the same time.
So for Christmas that year I gave him a promise in his stocking. I filled it with five boxes of a dozen condoms (our form of birth control) and I promised that all 60 would be gone by the next Christmas. It was a guarantee and the best gift of time and attention I could have given him–he loved it. The condoms were gone by October and he was a happy man. At that time with babies and pregnancies and nursing and sleepless nights, once or twice a week was a win for us. At that point in our marriage I learned that Mark’s love language was physical touch. The Christmas stocking taught me that it comforted him just knowing that he was getting quantity time and attention in numbers.
The Years With Ears
Then we entered the years when the ears were listening in our old house with back to back bedrooms and wood floors that creek and echo every sound–five pairs of ears in the night, listening. We would wait for an hour after our five kids were all in bed. Then, we would lock the door. We would put a pillow at the base of the door because there was a two inch gap at the bottom and then I would threaten my husband to shush! Half the time my ears would be straining for a sound beyond the door even as we made love.
Sex was better in these years though, simply because my body had stopped morphing with pregnancies every other year. And because I usually went to sleep in our bed and woke up in our bed, versus falling asleep in a rocking chair with a baby in my arms or curled up on twin bed with a little one who had a bad dream.
The Years Ever After
We still have some young adults at home but no ears. Twenty-somethings sleep so much more and when asleep they don’t even hear the alarm clock two feet from their face let alone us. Years of knowing each other intimately has brought an ease and harmony to our sex. It is good and I love Mark. He still outpaces me in desire but we have found our way to contentment. And I think that is the point I want to make about married sex–you have to find your way. Intimacy in your marriage may not look like sex as advised by a magazine or portrayed in a movie. A compromise of giving to each other that meets your mutual needs must be decided upon by the two of you.
And remember there are seasons in life when more loving is possible. Your physical relationship may have ups and downs throughout the years but it will get better because married sex is like many things in life that just get better and better with a little time and attention.
What about your married sex? Is it zapped from sleepless nights with babies? Or on the upswing because….?