3 Steps to Amazing Sex If You’re Remarried

It’s Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage! Today’s guest post is from Julie Sibert, a good friend who blogs at Intimacy in Marriage. I asked her to address a topic I felt I couldn’t speak on, since I’m not in that situation: how to get rid of baggage from a previous marriage when it comes to the bedroom.

I didn’t ask her to talk about this because I don’t take divorce seriously; I do, and I do not condone divorce at all, though I do believe that in some marriages you have no choice.

3 Steps to Amazing Sex if You're RemarriedHowever, many of my readers are in second marriages. I see it in the comments and the emails that I receive, and many of them are struggling. I do believe that God gives grace to those who have chosen to now live for Him, even if they did not before. And He also gives grace to those who have remarried after heart breaking divorces that they did not want. So please, don’t turn the comments into “you shouldn’t publish this because you’re permitting divorce”, because I’m not. Read here and here to see that. But marriages are in turmoil, and I want to offer all the practical help I can where people ARE AT NOW.

I remember it all clearly.

The struggle I had with sex in my previous marriage. It’s not that it was my struggle alone. It was our struggle. But we never really handled it that way. In fact, we never really handled it at all.

While sexual struggle wasn’t our only issue, I have no lingering doubt about the role it played in landing us in divorce court.

The hollow words that our relationship was “irretrievably broken” still echoed off the courtroom walls as the judge severed our marital bond. Doing so seemed as routine to him as drinking a cup of coffee. (Probably was, considering about half of all marriages don’t last).

Flash forward a few years and I found myself in love again…about to become a wife. Again.

So what about sex this time around? Would the struggles that plagued my first marriage find footing in my second marriage?

Not if I had anything to say about it (which of course I did). So do you, if you are remarried. If you are wondering if sexual intimacy can indeed look different – better – than it did in your previous marriage, I promise you it can.

Here are three steps to amazing sexual intimacy second time around:

1. Believe you are capable of change.

I know, it sounds like I’m about to ooze sappy “self-help” slogans all over you, doesn’t it? Not so much. I’m just going to speak simple God-ordained truth instead.

The Lord is all about making things new. Try as we may to edge Him out of this area of sex, He’s actually quite interested. He’s just generous that way.

In my first marriage, I was a big part of the problem sexually. Unavailable. Uninterested. Unwilling to understand my own body and my own pleasure. Resistant to even bring the matter up for discussion.

You get the picture. From day one of my first marriage until the day he walked out the door, sex was a painful bewildering journey for us.

Honestly, it would have been easy to slide into that path in my second marriage, because let’s face it – sexual mediocrity was all I knew. But I intentionally decided I wanted and deserved something healthier.

I was capable of change. You are too.

If you glance back on your previous marriage and see any sexual struggles that you created, contributed to or suffered from, decide right now to do the hard work to heal those areas of pain.

Face your own tangled mess. And stop letting it wreak havoc in your heart, head and bed.

2. Embrace that your current spouse is not your previous spouse.

I don’t know your story, but I’m going to err on the side of two optimistic assumptions: You and your spouse love each other, and you want this marriage to be stronger and happier than your last marriage.

When I remarried 10 years ago, I knew what would be crucial for our wellbeing is that I not let my view of my current husband be tarnished by the pain from my last one. They are two different guys.

If you find that the sexual difficulties that tripped you up last time are trying to set up camp this time, get brave. Call those things out and say to your husband, “Sex was a big struggle in my first marriage. I want things to look different for us. I love you. I need our sexual intimacy to be a priority for us.”

My educated guess is that your spouse wants that too. No matter where you are in your re-marriage, you and your husband have the opportunity to create something amazing sexually. Embrace the privilege to learn this man’s body. And allow him the privilege to learn yours.

3. Count the costs. Count the gains.

Want to have fabulous soul-drenching sexual intimacy this time around? Sit down with pen and paper and list all the benefits that would come from that.

Put it down on paper.

Get specific on what nurtured sexual intimacy would do for your marriage, your physical and emotional wellbeing, the stability of your home and family life, and your outlook on life.

I’d bet my last dollar that if you saw it all there on paper, you’d fight harder for it. You’d better appreciate what is at stake. Count the costs and count the gains. You’ll see what you and your husband can create together.

As for me, sex this time around has been better than I even imagined. (And I have a pretty vivid imagination, so that’s saying a lot.)

Julie Sibert writes and speaks about sexual intimacy in marriage. You can follow her blog at www.IntimacyInMarriage.com. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband, their two boys and one rambunctious German Shorthair Pointer dog who refuses to stay in the fence.

Christian Marriage Advice

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  1. ButterflyWings says:

    I am in my second marriage, my husband his first. We have massive sexual problems but the problem is, they are not my problems – but I am the one suffering greatly (my husband is not bothered by his problems at all which is a big part of the problem).

    When my first husband was suffering from psychotic episodes he would do some horribly abusive things, including sexually, but I never let it impact my feelings about sex when he wasn’t psychotic and I loved him dearly and we had a great sex life when he wasn’t psychotic. He had massive problems with cheating on me, but no matter how nasty he got after our seperation, the one nice thing he said numerous times was that it not about the quality or quantity of sex. His cheating with women was purely about wanting to still feel desirable to women in general, and his cheating with men was to do with fetishes that I (as a woman) could never fulfil. Basically said I was his best lover and had done as much as any woman could possibly do for a man. Considering how horribly nasty he was to me, making fun of everything about me, to hear that from him, was deeply reassuring.

    Yes there were times when I began dating my second husband, physical intimacy issues did pop up. It was months before I could even hold his hand, and then for many more months, I felt dirty holding his hand, like I was cheating on my first husband by doing so. It was even worse when we finally kissed. We weren’t sexually active before marriage as both second husband and I strongly believe that sex is for marriage only, but I must admit, it was an issue I raised in premarital counselling – that I was terrified I would feel like I was cheating on my first husband and that it would mentally block me for having or enjoying sex. But I was pleasantly surprised to discover on our wedding night, that I had no such issues. And never have.

    In fact, the only time I have ever had any issues, had nothing to do with sex. My second husband sleeps the exact same way as my exhusband and he has started snoring the exact same way in the last few months and there have been a few times I’ve woken up and (since they both share some similiarity in looks), when half awake, I have just for a second thought it was my ex and had a panic attack out of fear. But as soon as I’m fully awake, that passes.

    So with all my potential baggage, marrrying for a second time, I was so overjoyed to discover I had no hang ups about sex at all and I find sex with my husband wonderful and something I want to do as much as possible.

    Which is why I was horrifed to discover that my second husband has serious sexual issues. He’s got no sexual history at all – he was a virgin when we married, I was his first serious relationship – in fact I was his first relationship, period. He has no history of any sort of sexual abuse and even though he has dabbled in porn before (he was honest with me before we started considering engagement because he wanted me to know everything about him before planning marriage) it was never a big or long term problem, and he has no contact with it now.

    None of which explains his nearly total lack of interest in sex and his constant refusal of me. Sometimes I feel like, with everything I went through with my exhusband (being married before AND the abuse which some of it was sexual) and other abuse I have suffered, why is my second husband (who has no history at all that would trigger sexual dysfunction) having so many problems? I don’t understand. I have been through so much (only some of it I have shared) and yet I love sex and want a normal healthy sexual relationship, and my beloved husband who has not been through anything (negative or positive) sexually before our marriage, rarely wants sex (has initiated I think twice in our entire marriage), constantly rejects me when I initiate and even though he claims he enjoys it, he makes little comparisons that make it sound like something boring and uninteresting. Things like a nice meal or playing on his computer or reading a book he makes very clear they are more enjoyable. In fact, he constantly turns me down to play computer games or read books for hours on end (sometimes all night) and even did this for the majority of our honeymoon, so much so, that after the initial weekend spent together where we got married, when we went on our honeymoon away for two weeks, the first week we had sex like three times, and the second week we had no sex at all. I was deeply ill with food poisoning AND had second degree burns from sunburn, and yet I was still the one trying to initiate sex and him refusing. I wasn’t constantly pushing – just trying gently to intiate things once a day, but even that was enough to see him become extremely angry by the second week.

    He was less angry by tthe time we returned home, but he still constantly refuses sex. And now I find in the last few weeks, he is deliberately picking fights over petty things to avoid having sex, like he’ll say he’ll come to bed with me but then before we go to bed, or even once in bed before starting anything, he’ll deliberately pick fights to avoid sex. I’ve told him before, if he doesn’t want to have sex, just be honest with me so I don’t get my hopes up, particularly on the nights he says we definitely will, and while I just sit beside him waiting literally hours on end for him to get off his computer games, he totally ignores me until he’ll switch it off and announce it’s too late for and blame me for not starting things sooner (even though I had given him gentle reminders of “honey I’m ready to go to bed and have sex whenever you are, I’m just sitting here killing time waiting for whenever you’re ready too” every hour or so – which he then repeatedly says to me that he kept playing computer games because he “didn’t to disturb” me – when I have said to him over and over, including when I tell him I’m ready as soon as he is, that I’m not actually doing anything, I’m just sitting here, doing nothing, wasting precious time, because I don’t want to be doing anything to be disturbed when he’s finally ready).

    When he realised he really couldn’t get away with what he ultimately knew was a lie (claiming he played computer games for up to 12 hours because he didn’t want to disturb me, when he knew very well I was just wasting time, doing nothing waiting for him because he kept saying we would definitely have sex and that he wouldn’t be long – when if he’d just been truthful, I’d have done things I needed to do), when he realised his lie (to himself as much as to me) was no longer something he could get away with, since then he’s been picking petty fights and then trying to put the blame on me. eg one of them recently was because he’d been outside playing with our pet and was filthy and I asked him to wash his hands. I didn’t ask him to shower (despite the fact I think it was three days since the last time he’d had one at that stage and I am extremely sensitive to smells because of my health issues, but I didn’t ask him to shower because I just so desperately wanted sex). I just simply asked him to wash his hands because I am prone to UTIs and the last thing I wanted was dirty “up there” and ending up seriously ill. To which he acted like I’d committed some heinous crime asking him to wash his hands.

    I went out of my way to be extremely gentle and casual and non threatening about asking him to wash his hand (asking, not insisting), but merely asking him led to the mother of all meltdowns.

    He’s a lovely placid person the majority of the time, but trying to intiate sex with him leads him to get really angry, and if I leave it up to him, we’d go months without sex – considering we are trying to have children, going month without sex just wont’ work. Not to mention how sexually frustrated this leaves – to the point of feeling physically ill from having him so close, living together, sharing a bed together, wanting him to connect physically with me but being pushed away every time I try.

    I do honestly believe it’s a testerone issue, but he still adamantly insists his sex drive is completely normal (ie he thinks only wanting sex once or twice a month is normal and healthy for a 30ish year old, otherwise healthy man in his first year of marriage) and that I’m insulting him by asking him to get his T levels checked.

    I’m at my wits end … I should be the one who is sexually dysfunctional after everything, but I have a healthy libido and mentality. So why does he have so many issues and why does he get so angry when I try to initiate things and go out of his way to avoid sex?

  2. What great advice! I know several couples who have experienced this: a completely renewed view of sex in a second, more successful marriage. Indeed, it did happen with intention.

    Like you, Sheila, I don’t condone divorce, but it happens. (Sometimes, it should happen, but I won’t get into that.) Still, God doesn’t hold us to our past but calls us to a future of following Him. That includes starting to follow His design for sexual intimacy, starting today.

    Thanks, Julie & Sheila!

  3. Wonderful post! I am in my second marriage after leaving a 20 year abusive marriage.

    Sex in my first marriage was horrible, to say the least. My ex took no interest in ever pleasuring me, it was basically my “problem” if I didn’t orgasm. He was into porn before we married and our sex life revolved around that. He was verbally and mentally abusive, and took that into the bedroom as well. He often told me that it was “like living with his cousin” because I didn’t want to do things that resembled what he had viewed in films…he therefore considered me frigid in a since. And the really ironic thing? I really craved sex! (I realize now that I am what everyone calls the higher drive spouse.) What I wanted in my first marriage more than anything was an intimate relationship where we “made love”, not just had sex, kwim? But because of the abuse I never felt a close connection to my ex and that carried over into the bedroom.

    Fast forward to this day…I’ve been remarried for 1 1/2 years to the most wonderful man. I never knew what a healthy relationship looked like until now or a healthy sex life. My husband takes so much pleasure in pleasing me and just the other night I asked if he wanted to try a different position (mainly for him because I’m perfectly content with your typical vanilla positions, LOL) and he gently said to me that he prefers being face to face while he makes love to me. I just about cried, it was so loving.

    Was having sex in my second marriage hard at first? Yeah, because you do bring all the baggage from your other marriage and I honestly was afraid that I wouldn’t be good enough in bed or that maybe my husband would want those things that I just honestly did not like doing. But through communication and our intense love and respect for each other we have the most amazing love life I could ask for…well, a little more often would make it a tab better, but we’re working on that. 😉
    I would say for me that the only issue I had when we first married was trying not to compare myself to his ex-wife. Not that my husband has ever or would ever say anything about that, but I think women just naturally tend to compare themselves to others. It was hard at first to not let those thoughts ruin the moment for me, but now with time I know that I’m the one he is with and I’m the one he desires.

    And yes, God does make all things new again…and although divorce was not something I ever thought would happen to me, I realize now that it is not the ultimate sin and is sometimes necessary.

    Thanks again for the post.
    Amy recently posted…Breathing it all in…My Profile

    • ButterflyWings says:

      Amy I understand what you mean. While my exhusband accepted I wouldn’t follow him into the depths of his depravity, sex for him was purely about his pleasure not about bonding. Looking back, while I was able to enjoy it physically, we didn’t really have any emotional connection through sex. I did try everything he wanted that wasn’t immoral – no matter how uncomfortable or even painful it was, or how much it bordered on demeaning.

      After everything with my exhusband, I am always questioning myself whether I should be trying out more positions etc, but every time I offer, my second insists he likes it “vanilla”. We’ve tried more adventurous things a few times but he doesn’t like it. Maybe it’s just part of his aspergers (finding one particular way of doing things he likes and obsessively sticking to it), but I love it about him.

      And I can remember thinking just recently how I adore that the only two ways he likes are both face to face. I never had that with my exhusband. I don’t think he wanted to look me in the eyes for so many reasons – not caring how I feel, maybe fear I would be able to pick up he was cheating, whatever it was – and I guess I didn’t want to look him in the eyes because I could find physical enjoyment, but I don’t think I could have hidden in my eyes the pain of dealing with his abuse of me.

      I too wish that my husband would have sex more and stop rejecting me. It’s the one baggage I do have and I can’t see a way to overcome. My first husband rejected me sexually – he didn’t stop having sex, but I wasn’t enough for him because he knew I wouldn’t join his depraved acts. And now my second husband rejects me, rarely having sex.

      It’s hard not to feel undesirable when rejected sexually (albeit differently) by two husbands. If my second husband didn’t constantly reject sex, I know I wouldn’t feel this way. To be honest, I’m not even sure it is “baggage” as I’m pretty sure I’d feel this way even if he was my first husband.

      Butyeah, just wanted to say how nice it to have a husband who likes being face to face.

  4. I think strong communication before marrying your second husband is extremely essential. i think premaritial counseling even in before your second marriage is important. It is really hard to live for years with someone who cant sexually satisfy you, and many persons that i heard that have problems in bed is because they didnt talk about what to expect. This is so hard because as a christan you can have sex with them before you get married. in my marriage sex at first was amazing, but then my husband encourage me to gain much weith so that men would not look at me, and for seven years we hardly never had any sex, i dont ever want to go thru this againg.

  5. I always smile when I come here Sheila. My husband smiles too! :-)

    Anyway while I do not have much to offer in the way of being remarried I do want to say that much of this rings true in my own marriage. When we got married I, umm, was not a virgin. My husband was. I came to the marriage with a LOT of baggage including 10 years of sexual abuse. (that is a whole other blog…or book!) But after almost 30 years of marriage with a still not so perfect sex life, I can say that what Julie share is true for me. 1) God can change me (I’ve already come SO far) 2)I have learned to embrace my husband (although sometimes it can still be hard) 3) this one I haven’t really done, but I do talk about it to him.
    Sharon recently posted…Sinning Against My HusbandMy Profile

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