I am so honored to welcome guest contributor Sheila Wray Gregoire from To Love, Honor And Vacuum! Sheila has a candid way of talking about one of the most important areas of marriage: Sex and Intimacy. I hope that this article helps you to focus more on the intimate nature of sex with your husband as she provides a few tips on how to do that!
I dread going to the grocery store.
I may be there to fill up the pantry for my family, or to buy ingredients for a luscious slow cooker recipe, but what usually greets me as I stand at the checkout line is the latest news regarding a story of someone else being caught in a compromising scandal or pictures of women wearing basically nothing, making me gaze at my muffin top and feel that I really should put that ice cream back in the freezer section.
Our culture sells sex everywhere.
What it doesn’t seem to know very much about, though, is making love, for the two are not the same thing.
God created sex to be a truly intimate experience. That’s why when the Bible refers to sex in the Old Testament it often uses the verb “to know”, as in “Adam knew his wife Eve, and they conceived a son…” It’s not only a physical experience. It’s supposed to help us to feel like one flesh. It’s supposed to connect us.
But take sex out of a committed marriage relationship, and you strip it of its beauty. Without commitment, you can’t really know someone, because you can’t be vulnerable. So it becomes all about the body–all about the physical.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with sex feeling physically great! In fact, we were made to experience amazing pleasure. But that pleasure is heightened when we also feel connected to the one we’re with. That’s why studies consistently show that the women who enjoy sex the most aren’t those who jump into bed with a new guy constantly. They’re women who are with the same man for decades, and they’re committed for life. That intimacy makes your body feel even more wonderful!
Without intimacy, sex is shallow. And instinctively our culture knows that. They know something is missing, which is why we’re constantly stretching the boundaries, and doing weirder and weirder things. That Cosmo magazine shouting to you in the grocery store is bragging about “7 new sex secrets”, as if there is anything new. We’ve been doing this for thousands of years, and I think we’ve figured it out. But Cosmo and its ilk have actually forgotten something important: it’s not just about your body. It’s about your soul, too.
Those of us who know God may understand that intellectually, but it may not translate down to our bodies. We want to be truly intimate, but we live in a culture which has taught us that what is sexy isn’t a relationship, but a hot body, and a short encounter, and lots of partners. And with so many men struggling with porn, and women struggling with erotica, how can we achieve that connection, that oneness?
1. Use Your Husband’s Name
When you’re making love, say his name. It keeps you both mentally present, and reminds you that it’s about the two of you, not just about two bodies.
2. Look in His Eyes
The eyes are the window to the soul. So gaze deeply! It makes us more vulnerable, and that increases our intimacy.
3. Focus on your Body
This one may not make a lot of sense. If sex is supposed to be intimate, and not just physical, why focus on your body? Well, it’s because one of the reasons that we have trouble with intimacy is that our minds wander. Instead of being able to think of our husband, we think of grocery shopping lists or to-do lists, or even to some guy with a 6-pack. Think about what your body is feeling, though, and you stay focused on what is happening between you both, not on a fantasy (or a to-do list). So concentrate on what your body is feeling!
4. Lie Naked Together
Finally, spend time wrapped in each others’ arms, both before and after you make love. Even pray together naked! God knows what you look like, anyway, and He’s not embarrassed. And prayer is one of the most intimate experiences. When you can go together before the God of the universe, you do feel more vulnerable, and more connected, and more intimate. And that helps you feel more intense!
We have this myth in our society that the people having the most fun in bed are the twenty-somethings, who are hopping from bedroom to bedroom. It’s not true. The people who most enjoy themselves are those who know that having sex is not nearly as fulfilling as making love–and God designed us for the latter, not the former. So celebrate intimacy with your husband tonight! Tell him you love him, look in his eyes, and revel in just being with someone who will love you forever. There’s nothing else like it, and that’s how it’s supposed to be.
Sheila is the author of The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, which shows how sex was designed to connect us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. She blogs at To Love, Honor and Vacuum.