We’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!
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
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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.