Sex in Marriage: When Minds and Bodies Sleep Together

marriage-sexMarried sex is sex that involves two whole people with their thoughts, emotions, and bodies in a state of delightful, committed physical intimacy. The entire point of the sexual act lies in loving each other. In the marriage bed, we don’t “make love,” we give love, physically, to our spouses.

It’s not surprising, then, that the same things that interfere with mental and emotional love, can also interfere with sex and the sexual response. Common culprits include:

ANXIETY. It is hard to be naked and vulnerable when you are nervous around your spouse for any reason. Think of it. If you belittle your spouse or make fun of them in any way, why would they be eager to hop in bed with you? But when a spouse feels secure in the marriage–feels that this relationship and this person is a place of emotional and physical safety–the instinct to cover and hide will fade away.

When a person is anxious for a reason that has nothing to do with the marriage, that anxiety can still interfere with the sexual relationship. Fear makes the necessary relaxation impossible. So can a situation, project, or decision that dominates one spouse’s mind. In all cases, the cause of the anxiety needs to be addressed first, to remove the block to sex.

FATIGUE. A wise couple will monitor the outside demands on their time and energy, and work to make sure they have time and energy for each other. They do something as simple as go to bed earlier, or even midday when they can, or have sex first thing in the morning.

Some seasons of life are exceptionally stressful. A young married couple with small children is caught between the stressors of a young man’s high sex drive and the monumental exhaustion that comes from the wife’s role as mother of small children. If this is you:

  • First, avoid blaming each other. Face this problem together.
  • Change the pattern of your life–radically if you need to (and I don’t mean giving away the children!) for the sake of your marriage. Cut outside commitments and in-home expectations in order to give yourselves more energy and time together.
  • Keep up and work hard on all the other aspects of your relationship.
  • Make sure each of you are doing a fair share of the child-rearing.
  • Hire a babysitter or exchange free babysitting with friends in order to have time alone.
  • Keep a sense of humor as much as possible. This is a situation that many, many couples have to work through, not just you. You’ll make it through.

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