It’s Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage! I introduce a topic, and then you follow up either by commenting or by writing your own post! Today I want to tackle a big, and rather personal, topic.

November 5th.

Photo by jlcwalker

Do you ever feel like sex is about achieving a goal, rather than just enjoying each other?

That was something that often irked me when we were first married, before we really figured out how to get sex to work like clockwork. According to all the marriage books we had bought–even Christian ones–we were supposed to be able to figure out how to make sure that I achieved the “Big O”. And when I didn’t, we felt like we were failing.

So let’s get honest here for a moment, ladies: how important is it that we actually achieve orgasm during intercourse?

Here’s the real problem: When we decide that we want to, and when it becomes our goal everytime we make love, then everytime we’re together we feel like we’re being given a grade: you either pass or you fail. It adds a whole level of stress to sex that I’m not sure it was ever supposed to have.

Are orgasms great? Absolutely. But not all women experience them during intercourse, even those women who have been married a long time. And I really hate the thought that women are going to feel like they’re somehow less than sexual, or somehow inadequate, if they don’t.

Besides, as soon as you make it your goal to reach orgasm, it automatically becomes less likely that you will. As soon as you set the goal, you become just that little bit agitated. And in order to reach orgasm, you have to be able to let go and relax. The two things are working against each other.

Here’s what I wish I had understood when we were first married, and here’s what I’d like to give you as an encouragement today:

Orgasms are great, but they’re easiest to achieve when you understand how your body works and how the different levels of arousal feel. It may be easier to understand that if you work for a while on achieving orgasm in different ways–through him touching you, for instance–rather than just through intercourse.

Once you understand that, you can then work on getting excited enough during foreplay that once you start making love, it’s more likely you’ll get to that “big O” because you started off pretty close.

But you don’t have to achieve simultaneous orgasm to have good sex. You don’t even need to achieve orgasm during sex to have good sex. You just have to enjoy being together, laugh, and have fun. If you can’t laugh, you’re too uptight and you’re doing it wrong.

The more you laugh, and the more fun you have, the more you’ll relax and the more your body will learn to respond. But stop thinking of your sex life as a series of individual sexual encounters, which have to be judged on their own merit, as either a pass or a fail. Think of your sex life as something which will be decades long, a journey of discovery, where you learn more about each other, grow more deeply in love, grow more intimate, and learn to let go. That’s a process that takes a long time, and it’s a destination you never really get to, because there is always more to learn.

Maybe if we saw sex as a journey, we’d focus less on whether we had an orgasm last night and more on whether or not we relaxed, had fun, and felt like we’re getting to know each other better.

As you take that long-term view, you’ll likely find that it’s easier to enjoy yourself, because you know you don’t have to reach a milestone right now, this minute. You’re simply moving in a certain direction, and that direction is good.

Learn how your body works. Learn what feels good. But don’t panic or feel inadequate if your body isn’t responding exactly the way you want it to yet. Sometimes it takes time, and that’s okay. That’s what marriage is for! And if you stop stressing and do take that time, you might just find that you achieve that “Big O”–without necessarily even trying.

This post was cross-posted at Adding Zest to your Nest.