29 Days to Great Sex Day 26: Rebuilding Your Sex Life

Rebuilding Your Sex LifeWe’re in the home stretch of the 29 Days to Great Sex, a series leading up to the launch of The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex (update: Now Available!) I hope you’ve enjoyed the posts! I’ve so enjoyed your encouragement on Facebook, in the comments, and on Twitter, and your emails. Apparently we’ve already had one 29 Days to Great Sex baby conceived, so I’m honoured. I think :).

A number of you have read this series just because you want things to be better. They’re going okay, but you know you’re not experiencing all you want to in your sex life, and you long for that greater intimacy and greater fun.

But there are also a number of you who are coming from difficult places. Adultery. Porn addiction. Sexual abuse. Or basically a sexless marriage, and now you want things to be different. You want to turn it around. But when there’s so much water under the bridge, when there’s been hurt, when there’s been negative patterns, how do you forge ahead?

So today I want to talk about how to have a new start. You’ve read the series and you’re ready to go. You have all these ideas, and a new outlook, and you want it to become a reality, but your old relationship patterns are holding you back, and you’re scared you’re going to go back into them. Or you’re embarrassed to start the conversation with your spouse about where you want to go from here. Here, then, are some strategies for mapping out a new sex life, and getting off to a new start:

1. Talk to Your Spouse

Have you really talked to your spouse yet, and told him what you dream of for your marriage? Have you talked to your wife and told her how you want to feel more intimate? If you want to start fresh, you have to take this step of opening up communication.

Sometimes we’re really embarrassed to talk about sex, and sometimes we just are afraid to because it’s been such a source of conflict in the past that we’re worried our spouse won’t take us seriously, or will assume we have bad motives.

You can’t control what your spouse thinks or how your spouse reacts. But you can start the conversation and tell the truth. If your spouse doesn’t react well, resist the urge to defend yourself. Let your spouse talk, especially if there’s been hurt in the past. But share your own heart, too.

2. Apologize for Your Part in the Hurt

It’s so crucial to acknowledge when we have actually caused hurt. When my husband and I were first married, we each hurt each other. I hurt him by withholding sex, or by blaming him for wanting it so much. He hurt me by not considering my feelings and not taking things more slowly. But at the time, when we were in the middle of the conflict, neither of us could see that we were doing anything wrong at all. All we could feel was how much the other person hurt us.

Examine yourself and see if you are in the wrong at all. Even if your spouse did something big, like have an affair or use pornography, ask yourself honestly: was I withholding sex from him? Was I being fair to him beforehand? I’m not saying you’re to blame for your spouse’s sin; not at all. But it’s important that we truly look and see if we have anything to apologize for, and then be upfront about it.

3. Forgive Your Spouse

If your spouse has hurt you sexually, by demanding things you didn’t want to do, by not being patient, by withholding sex, or whatever it may be, choose to forgive. Tell your spouse how they hurt you, but then confess to what you have done.

And now choose to put it behind you, once and for all. We had to do that in our marriage; I had to say, “I no longer have the right to hold this against you”, or else we could never really move forward. Any time we had another conflict about sex, we’d drag up all the stuff that had already happened, and then we couldn’t solve it. So we had to say, once and for all, this is forgiven, this is taken care of, this is in the past.

4. See Your Spouse with New Eyes

Now that it is in the past, commit to seeing your spouse differently. Perhaps you’ve always doubted whether or not your wife really wants you. Perhaps you’ve always doubted whether or not she actually can have an orgasm. You have to put these things behind you. If your spouse says they want a new start, believe it! Try to not doubt their motives, and try to act as if you’re beginning again, and rediscovering each other.

Imagine this scenario: a wife realizes that she hasn’t been generous sexually with her husband, and has been withholding sex. She wants things to be different. At the same time, he’s been withholding affection because he doesn’t feel loved. They both confess this to each other and resolve to go forward together. They’re excited about it!

And for a few nights things go great. But then one night she’s extra tired and she has a headache. She wants to just go to sleep. He thinks to himself, “Oh, great, here we go again. She said she wanted to change, but she won’t. It will never last.” And he gets angry. She knows he’s angry, and she thinks to herself, “he doesn’t care what I’ve done all week. That really is all he thinks about!” And they’re back to old patterns.

If your spouse has said they want to change, then from that time forward, see them through those lenses, not your old ones. If she’s said she wants to change, and she is changing, then a few nights when she has a headache shouldn’t really be a big deal. But if you’re obsessing on the past, they will be. So see your spouse differently, and believe the best.

5. Change Things Up

The latter is easier to do if you actually change what you do. Remember way back at the beginning of the 29 Days when I suggested learning how to reawaken your body by spending 15 minutes just letting him touch you? And then I advised you to do the same for him? That’s actually a wonderful exercise to do every so often, and when you’re starting again, do it VERY often! It helps you to discover new things about both of you, but it also prevents you from doing the “typical”–either rushing through sex, or touching each other in ways that perhaps you thought were pleasurable but which really aren’t. Starting in a new way, and reacquainting yourselves with each others’ bodies as if you’re doing so for the first time helps you to trust each other that you are trying something new.

And then do new things! If you have tended to make love in a certain way, try something else. Use a different position, a different room, even a different time of day. Just change things up for a while so that it feels different, and you don’t start assuming bad motives of the other. When there has been hurt, or distrust, it’s difficult to put that behind you. Change things so that you’re saying to each other: this is a new beginning. We’re walking forward in a different way now, with a different outlook. And that’s good!

I received one email from a woman recently who basically had not had sex since her last baby was born quite a while ago. She now realizes this is wrong, and she wants to create an intimate marriage. But how does she jump in? And how often should you make love now, especially if you haven’t made love in quite a while?

I guess the way I’d answer that is don’t judge anything by what has been done in the past. Don’t even look at the past. Think of what an intimate life should look like. Think of how you want to be together. And then do that! It may feel strange, especially if sex hasn’t been a big part of your life. Yet concentrate on what’s ahead, not what’s behind. Look to God and ask Him to give you a new vision for your love life, and walk towards that vision. Don’t let yourself be held back by what’s been in the past.

6. Give Grace To Each Other

If your spouse says they’re committed to change, and that they want to grow in this area, it’s not going to change overnight. They may still have old thought patterns they need to get over. If there’s healing that needs to come, it may not be instantaneous. But don’t let the fact that things aren’t 100% better make you believe that your spouse isn’t trying. Give him or her the benefit of the doubt, keep loving your spouse, and forge ahead!

And one more thing: really, really work on your friendship. If you can keep laughing together, sex will be so much easier. If you can keep having fun together, you’ll be able to talk about things, and when you get worried about this aspect of your relationship, you can bring it up more easily because there’s goodwill between you.

Tomorrow and Tuesday we’ll be talking about something really important that will actually help this whole process: learning how to connect spiritually during sex!

Great Sex Challenge Day 26: Make things right between you. Over the past month we’ve talked about sharing visions for your sex life. I want you to do that again tonight, with one major change. Really examine yourselves and see if you have things you need to confess to each other. Then do that. Apologize. Grant forgiveness, if necessary. And then commit to moving forward together!

Sheila is the author of The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex.

31 Days to Great Sex
New! This 29 Days to Great Sex series has been turned into an ebook, the 31 Days to Great Sex (only $4.99!)

It's expanded, it's written for couples (not just women), and it's easy to use! 31 Days to boost your emotional intimacy, spiritual intimacy, and physical intimacy. You'll talk, flirt, and explore! Ignite your marriage here.

29 Days to Great Sex:

Day 1: The Act of Marriage
Day 2: Starting Fresh
Day 3: Loving the Skin You’re In
Day 4: Pucker Up!
Day 5: Reawaken Desire
Day 6: Why Your Hubby Wants You!
Day 7: Moving in the Right Direction
Day 8: 14 Ways to Play as a Couple
Day 9: Prepare for Sex throughout the Day
Day 10:16 Ways to Flirt with Your Husband
Day 11: How to Find Your Hubby Attractive
Day 12: If you’re Having a Hard Time with these Challenges
Day 13: Getting Your Head in the Game
Day 14: What if You’re Not “In the Mood”?
Day 15: What is Foreplay?
Day 16: How to Orgasm
Day 17: The Pleasure Center
Day 18: Foreplay Can Be for Him, Too!
Day 19: How to Come Alive Again
Day 20: Deciding on Boundaries
Day 21: 5 Ways to Spice Things Up
Day 22: How Often is Enough?
Day 23: Quickies Are Great!
Day 24: Initiate, Baby!
Day 25: Sex Once Kids Come

Day 27: Experiencing Spiritual Intimacy when you Make Love

Please spread the word about this series by sharing on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, or Tumblr below! Thank you!

The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex

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Sex is supposed to be stupendous--physically, emotionally, AND spiritually. If it's not, get The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex--and find out what you've been missing.


  1. YAY FOR BABIES! I think it’s awesome a new life has been created!!

  2. Congrats on the baby. This journey has brought enormous intimacy to our nearly 28 yrs of marriage we will celebrate in March! Thanks for the awesome daily posts! I can’t wait for my kindle download on Tuesday. Gonna read all day long!
    God bless and good luck this week with this awesome release!!

  3. I am so excited this is going to be available on Kindle. I am going to have to seriously think about figuring out how to buy it now!

    And I agree – how wonderful that a new life has been created!

  4. I was so hurt before and during I learned that men need to express love that way, yet I allowed the act and now it is no longer an act of love but of deep emotional pain that nothing seems to fix. Each time I try new eyes and allow the act trying to not block my emotions, it deepens the pain and disgust of the act when conflict comes up the next day or two. just the word sex brings so much pain and I don’t know how to heal it. It feels like each time I do it, it brings worse pain– opposite of what the goal and what all these Christian marriage blogs say it will do. I’ve got a wonderful relationship w God…. I don’t know if it can ever heal

    • Oh, Meagan, I’m so sorry you feel this way. It really sounds like you need to talk to someone in real life, and not just read blogs, because you obviously have some deep seated hurts. Can I recommend that you find a counsellor or a mentor who will walk you through this, and who will help you to see that sex is a beautiful thing? Remember, you CAN counteract those thoughts that come into your head. You don’t need to believe them. You can choose to reject them. If a thought comes in saying “sex just causes me pain”, or “sex is ugly”, you can take that thought, examine it, look at it, and then reject it, saying instead, “God made sex for me to feel intimate with my husband.” “God made sex to be beautiful.” Or “isn’t it wonderful that we can be thoroughly joined and thoroughly together?”

      You don’t need to entertain the negative thoughts–you really can reject them and fill your mind with truth instead. Pray about this directly with God and ask Him to give you His eyes about sex. But I’d also really recommend talking to someone in real life who can help you through this.

  5. I think that’s the biggest problem in our marriage – I literally cannot talk to him about sex, In any way. He shuts down completely – won’t speak, won’t look at me, won’t respond to me at all. He’ll wait a beat, then change the subject, or say he has to check his email, or whatever. And then he’s grumpy and irritable for a few days.

    Sex is one of a few subjects we are not allowed to talk about. When he shuts down, and then is grumpy for days, that’s my queue that the topic is off limits.

    He is emotionally rather selfish – certainly sexually selfish- and absolutely will NOT confront any problem in any way. As long as I keep the “happy mask” on, we’re fine. If I am unhappy about anything (whether its related to the marriage or not, really, it could be a bad day at work), he shuts down and avoids me.

    Most of the time, I feel like his mommy. Occasionally I am his sexual aid. I’m never a woman, a wife, a partner.

    • Wow, Leigh, I’m really sorry about that. Can you find things that you do well together–any hobbies, sports, anything where you can just laugh and talk and it’s lower stress? Can you find ways to work to your strengths as a couple? I find that when people can spend more time in the areas where they connect, they build goodwill, and then it’s easier to talk about some of the other things.

  6. psych_girl says:

    Thank you so much for writing this series! My husband and I are just starting to re-connect with each other sexually. Last year was a long hard year, and I was pregnant besides. Sex was the absolute LAST thing I wanted! This last month my hubby has been so much happier, and I have to admit so have I! I always thought “Oh sex is just something that HE needs, I can do fine without it”. So not true. I need it too! We have connected in amazing ways, in and out of the bedroom and I am so excited to have my old husband back! We both desperately needed this series, thank you so much Sheila! May God bless you as you have blessed so many! :)

    • That’s awesome! I love that comment–that you’ve realized that it’s not just for him, but for both of you together! I’m going to be talking more about that tomorrow, and maybe I’ll use this comment as a tie in!

  7. FringeFiles says:

    Thank you for this wonderful series. I discovered you on Pinterest half way through and have been really blessed by your blog. And, yes, after the first day I pre-ordered your book. Thank you for tackling these very difficult and much needed conversations on sex in marriage. I am finding them to be a great resource and something I feel very comfortable in sharing this blog with other girlfriends who I believe will be blessed by the same information I’ve found. So, thank you from Texas!

    • You’re so welcome! A bunch of people have come here from Pinterest (I love Pinterest :) ). And I’m glad that this has been a blessing to you. And please, spread the word!

  8. I’m noticing I tend to comment a lot/ask a lot of questions. I hope that’s okay. I LOVE your blog. It’s so great to have a Christian perspective on sex.

    I keep noticing throughout the 29 days (I’m just reading it right now. My hubby and I plan to go through it when things settle down in a few weeks) you go back to the “Spend 15 min. on each other” point, and the more I think about it, the less I seem to get it. I mean, it seems awkward to have him randomly rubbing on parts of me. What’s so sexy about him touching my leg or something? We haven’t been married long, and have a fairly decent sex life despite my inability to orgasm, but I guess we don’t have too much adventure right now. A few positions, but nothing that flipped our switches.

    I think what I’m trying to say is I’m having trouble visualizing how you could touch and kiss someone for 15 minutes and not just use the sexiest parts (if you get my meaning).

    • Danielle says:

      Hi Katie,
      I hope you dont mind me responding to your post but I felt I could offer some insight. Using that 15 mins is a chance for you to still your thoughts on everything and anything outside your husband. (Allt he days cares so to speak)You are able to kiss, touch, caress, gently scratch your nails, trace your fingertips up and down your husband. Anywhere, in any way you choose. It also allows him the liberty to explore your body and perhaps find “Sweet Spots” you didnt know you had. For example, the back of your neck, between your shoulder blades, etc. When I’ve done this with my Sweets, I have taken the moment to really listen to him. He may not be saying anything “verbally” but his breathing, his body, perhaps squirming a little or when I know it’s really good, he gets chillbumps. Probably TMI and I apologize if I’ve crossed the line, but I know that this has helped me to be comfy in submitting to not only my Sweets’ desires to explore my body as his wonderland but it’s given me the encourage to embrace the beauty of my body as God intended. Anyways, I hope you give it some thought and open yourself up to the pleasures that you can evoke and can be evoked by your hubbie.

  9. I’ve been reading through most of the posts on the 29 days to great sex and I have to admit I feel more lost and alone than ever. I’ve been married for 10 years. I absolutely detest how I look. The only feature on my body that I can even maybe like is my teeth. I will not let my husband see me naked. I get dressed and undressed in the bathroom with the door locked. The thought of my husband seeing me in all my ugliness makes me sick to my stomach. I even sometimes pray that God would let me die in a car accident so that my husband can get remarried to someone he deserves. I feel like I’m a punishment for him. I’ve noticed that if he gives me compliments I immediately think he’s lying, but if he puts me down in any way I will take it to heart and never ever forget what he said. My husband works crazy hours. He’s usually up for work at 3:30am and doesn’t get done until 7 or 8pm. Then he usually puts the kids to bed and then falls asleep around 8:30. He’s too tired to think about sex until Saturday or Sunday evening after he’s rested a bit from the weekend. When he is interested I feel like it’s not because he wants to be intimate with me, but rather he just needs a “release” and I’m a good vessel to help him out with that. I so wish I could follow the steps you’ve laid out, but am afraid it’s just not in the cards for me.

  10. It’s really hard when you’re not totally “in love” with your spouse and you’re not sexually compatible with him. Eg Mine likes stuff that many people would consider deviant (as do I). I think it’s because of something that happened to him early in his life, but he gets aroused by things that gross me out. It’s so hard for me.

    How do I correct this wrong idea in him? Anyone know? I just do not know how my love can change this or get him to change his sexual deviancy on it. I dislike it, we have a sort of boundary, but I just want and long for our love-making to be beautiful, and tender, and give and take, but I so wish we were more compatible sexually.

    (edited by Sheila)

  11. Hi. I just found these articles and had to comment. My husband and I have been married for almost 4 years and we have twins with another baby on the way. We have had sexual problems pretty much our entire relationship bc he wants it all the time (every day at least once) and I don’t. We get into fights over it all the time and he has cheated more times than I care to think about. For the last two months though, he has made a point to not cheat or flirt with others. He asks me to be loving, flirtatious, kinky, and sexual. I have been a lot better on the loving/affetionate part, but being 8 months pregnant it is very hard for me to be the others… Is there a way to reassure him that I do want him without sex? ( sex is very painful right now because of sciatica and some bladder issues and oral sex is pretty much out because I still get sick all the time)

  12. This Article is just what I needed to hear. I read it to my husband and I hope he heard it. We have been married 5 years, and we are both guilty of old patterns. I am going to do this for me, because I deserve to be happy.
    Thank u

  13. Would love wisdom from those of you who have been in a similar situation, have been married a while, or otherwise could shed some truth & life into this situation…

    My husband & I married this past summer, me as a virgin & him with a lot of sexual baggage. This haunts me in our marriage. He’s an incredible man of God now who chose wrong decisions in several situations prior to our relationship. Now, I don’t see sex (what I’ve waited to share with my best friend/husband me entire life) as a gift. Instead, I’m left feeling like something has been stolen or lost many times after sex. He didn’t use discretion in the past, so the enemy plagues my mind & thoughts with recollections of that. Therefore, leaving me feeling objectified, used, & sometimes dirty. I’m left wondering how in the world to take back what was stolen from me & given to so many other girls. How do I take captive the enemy’s voice that says, “he’s not been selective in the past, why should you feel like you’re a prize? He slept with each of his girlfriends, gave in to sexual desires & temptations, had a one-night stand. You’re not even what he longs for, you’re just a guilt-free means to an end that he’s chosen to make himself satisfied with because you now have entered into a covenant marriage together?”

    • Hi there! I know that’s really, really rough, and I know that getting those images out of your head is so tough. But you have to fight against it, because ultimately he chose you. I wrote a longer post about getting over your husband’s sexual baggage here, and I hope it helps!

Comment Policy: Please stay positive with your comments. If your comment is rude, it gets deleted. Any comment that espouses an anti-marriage philosophy (eg. porn, adultery, abuse and the like) will be deleted. If it is critical, please make it constructive. If you are replying to another commenter, please be polite and don't assume you know everything about his or her situation. If you are constantly negative or a general troll, you will get banned. The definition of terms is left solely up to us. Sheila Wray Gregoire owns the copyright to all comments and may publish them in whatever form she sees fit. She agrees to keep any publication of comments anonymous, even if you are not anonymous on this board.

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