Wifey Wednesday: How Being a Control Freak Can Wreck Your Sex Life


Being a control freak will wreck your sex life.

It’s Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage! I introduce a topic, and you all write on it on your own blogs and then put your link in here, or leave a comment in the comment section! And today I want to talk about how to have great sex, we have to be “out of control”.

When I speak, I often ask women, “how many of you are control freaks?” About 2/3 of the women raise their hands. We are control freaks, because we have very definite ideas of how life should go. We have high expectations of ourselves. And we want to seem like we have it all together.

There’s a ton of other reasons, too–fear of failure, fear that something will happen to those we love, fear of rejection–but today I want to talk about how the control freak tendency can really wreak havoc in the bedroom.

I received an email from a reader recently which said,

I have had an epiphany about my sex life with my hubby. I am a control-freak. So, I think, that spills over to our sex life. While expressing this to him, this is what I told him, “when we are intimate, it makes me feel out-of-control. A lack of control, if you will. It’s like I don’t have control over my body, sensuality, emotions, etc. ..but in a good way. I almost feel nervous and silly, especially initiating sex.” He loves for me to initiate but I do not do it very often. Because of the above-mentioned.

She’s so right, and she’s not alone!

When it comes to the bedroom, the problem is not so much that we’re trying to control other people as it is that we’re trying to stay in control of ourselves. That doesn’t work. So, ladies, here’s why being a control freak CAN’T work in the bedroom:

Great Sex Means You Need to Lose Control

What does it mean to be in control? It means that you have full control of all of your thoughts. You know what’s happening. You’re aware of your surroundings. You’re standing on guard. Nothing will take you by surprise.

But sex doesn’t work well that way. For you to actually enjoy yourself, you have to be able to stop concentrating on what’s going on and just start FEELING. Sex is about FEELING, not so much about THINKING. If you overthink things, sex won’t work well.

Often one of the biggest roadblocks to actually reaching orgasm, for instance, is that we’re so worried about it. In order to really achieve an orgasm (as I talked about in my post on orgasm, and as I go into much more depth, with more tips, in The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex), you have to just let the waves take over you. If you’re constantly thinking, “am I there yet? Will I? Will it happen?”, it won’t. The waves can’t take over if you’re thinking too much.

So great sex means you need to turn off the constant dialogue in your head. And that’s hard.

Great Sex Means You Aren’t Really, Well, Proper

A proper woman is someone who is fully buttoned up, with the tea kettle on, not a hair out of place, and very gentle speech.
Great sex is the opposite of all of that. You can’t be worried about what you look like, or what you sound like, or even what you’re doing if you’re going to be able to enjoy yourself. Why is that we try so hard to be proper in our everyday life? We care what others think of us. So it’s as if we’re walking around outside of ourselves, watching ourselves, making sure we’re doing everything right. We train ourselves to be conscious of our every move.

Great sex means throwing caution to the wind and letting yourself be primitive, not proper. This isn’t, by the way, because there’s anything “improper” with sex in marriage; on the contrary, God created us so that our most basic and instinctual need to be connected to another human being mimics the deep need we have for intimacy with God. And that intimacy isn’t quite proper, either.

Remember how in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe the Beavers are trying to explain Aslan to the children, and they keep saying, “he’s not a tame lion, you know.” That’s what sex is like. It isn’t tame. It isn’t something you can put a lid on and keep it unmessy and organized. It spills over. It revels. It even screams.

Good Sex Requires Trust

The opposite of control is trust. When we’re in control, we have no need to trust anyone. We’re safe. We’ve got everything under our fingers.

But in order to really enjoy sex you have to be able to trust the other person. What makes sex stupendous is that feeling as if you’re truly one. That feeling of spiritual intimacy feeds the feelings of physical pleasure and makes the latter so much stronger. But you can’t feel like you’re one if you’re in control of everything you do, and he’s in control of everything he does, and you just move together in bed. That’s two people, not one person.

When you trust, though, you can become “improper”. You can really let yourself feel and you can turn your mind off just a little bit. You can stop worrying about what he thinks, or whether he really loves you. You know you’re able to trust (if you can’t trust him because of porn, or because of adultery, that’s such a tough place to be. Before you can truly rebuild your sex life, you likely have to rebuild trust).

Good Sex Requires Embracing Your Sexual Side

Sex and feeling in control are really polar opposites. Someone in control is ruled by their thoughts, while someone enjoying sex is giving in to feelings. And what are those feelings? They’re sexual.

That’s scary to a lot of people, because it feels shameful. But there is absolutely nothing shameful about making love to your husband.

And there is nothing wrong with feeling overwhelmed in the moment and screaming. There’s nothing wrong with desperately wanting to touch something–or to be touched. There’s nothing wrong with feeling like you’re on fire.

But when we grow up feeling that these things are wrong–that only “bad girls” feel that way–then when we start to have those feelings we often work hard to turn them off.

A great sex life means that you give in to those feelings. You embrace your sexual side. You realize that this is who you were made to be–with your husband. And this is a good thing! You can fuel those feelings with some texts to him during the day, or some nibbles on his ear after dinner, or whispers to him. You can flirt. You can tease him. You can even initiate sex!

Good Sex Means You’re Naked

Finally, here’s the hardest one for some of us control freaks: good sex means you’re naked. You can’t hide. He sees all of you–and he still accepts you and wants you.

So often it’s we who hate our bodies, not our husbands (if your husband has put your body down, read this post). If you can let yourself see yourself as your husband does–full of desire and acceptance–that can be intoxicating.

If you sum all of this up, isn’t this what we truly want? We don’t have to worry about what other people thinking. We don’t want to worry about our performance. We don’t want to feel ashamed. We don’t want to feel judged. We want to be able to turn off these constant voices and accusations in our heads, and just relax and enjoy in the moment. We want to feel one. We want to feel connected.

31DaysCover 120These are all truly beautiful things, and they are a gift from God for marriage. You really can have them. It just means giving up control.

Can you do it? Your sex life will never be the same.

If you’re having trouble giving up control in the bedroom, 31 Days to Great Sex can take you on a step-by-step journey that will help! It’s non-threatening, and many of the challenges help you to talk more and learn to flirt more, not just have sex more. Check it out!

Now, what advice do you have for us today? Link up the URL of a marriage post in the Linky below! And be sure to link back here so other people can read these marriage posts and be encouraged, too.

31 Days to Great Sex
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Learn to talk more, flirt more, and even explore more! You'll work on how to connect emotionally, spiritually, AND physically.

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  1. I am very much a control freak. In the 3 years that my husband and I have been married he has helped me with my need for control in our everyday life (like him helping with folding the laundry and me letting him even though he didn’t fold it the way I thought it needed to be folded). I have recently felt like our sex life hasn’t been living up to its full potential. I have read “Good Girls Guide to Great Sex” and that helped but there I knew it could be better. We are currently on day 8 of “31 days to Great Sex.” I feel like you described me in this post! I am currently working on giving up my need for control and giving in to the desires for my husband. Thank you for your help!

  2. well I really relate to this post, but it leaves me with a big sigh thinking “ok, but now what???”

    • Lisa, I get where you’re coming from. What may really help is just working through your feelings about what sex is for. I do that at great length in The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex. It can help challenge you on what you really think of sex, and help you to just let go. So I’d suggest starting there! And it really can be done. I was a TOTAL control freak. I still battle it a lot. But I’ve learned to be present in the moment, and it helps so much!

  3. Great post! Shows why your book is so good, you “get it”.

    For the men reading this to find a way to get their wife to “let go of control” the “secret” is the trust issue.

  4. Crystal says:

    Wow!! Your input on this subject is amazing!! My hubby read it as well. Now, it will “Sheila says…” haha You do a wonderful work!!

  5. I totally struggle with the control freak issue in the bedroom. Sometimes I’m able to just let go, and that’s when sex is the best, but often I worry about everything being perfect (the perfect temperature, the perfect surroundings, the perfect time, the perfect look, the perfect movements, etc). I hate being messy by nature and so having sex (which is messy) often weirds me out. I’d say my husband and I have a good sex life, and I really do enjoy sex, but this post challenged me to think about how often I try to control everything in the bedroom and I need to really just throw caution to the wind. My husband loves me, he desires my body, and he wants to make me feel good and connect intimately with me. I don’t need to worry about losing control because I’m safe, desired, loved, and cherished in the arms of my husband. This post challenged me to shoot for a better-than-average-and-good sex life to a great sex life!

  6. Ha! Well, now I can finally explain to my husband why I want a glass of wine and to get rid of the kids for the night! I keep telling him it’s not him that it’s me. Now I have proof!

  7. This strikes me as another excellent reason to wait until you are married. How would you ever be able to just let go and trust if your not with someone who pledged their life to you? I sure wouldn’t be able too. This sounds scary with your husband, never mind someone who could leave you at his convenience. Or worse, a stranger o.O

  8. I’ve read the good girls guide and that has helped me understand the importance to my hubby for sex. I’ve always felt like it was a chore and for the man. Probably because it feels good but so does a foot rub and I can live without foot rubs. I’ve never had an orgasm. Been married nearly a decade. I have a healthy dose of OCD control issues. I’m a RN and I’ve always said jokingly that to be a nurse you need to have a healthy dose of OCD! Anyway I’m beginning to think that maybe I’m not broken and that maybe my control issues are keeping my body from working and even orgasming. Problem is that I don’t really know how to turn it off. Just like I can’t turn my brain off. I’d die. Here is a comparison to my challenge. I’ve been getting hives all day randomly for the last 4 years. A specialist said that my hives were caused my stress. She said to eliminate the stress and they would go away. Whelp that’s helpful…. NOT! I was on VACATION enjoying myself when the hives appeared and my son was a happy healthy 6 month old and life was bliss. My stress is what I consider normal life. I’m a wife, a mother, a nurse and we have mouths to feed and kids to raise in a fallen evil world. All that is stressful but nothing that I dwell on or out of thwart I consider normal. So turning off the hives for me is as challenging as “letting go” “relaxing” “loosing control” “turning off my brain” to achieve vulnerability. I’m not really sure how to do that just like I’m not sure how to get rid of my hives. Does that make sense? By the way I’m in a committed loving Christian marriage and happily. This area has always been our weak spot. Mostly due to my lack of libido and feeling it to be a chore and not seeing it or enjoying it as something for me.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I have a question Sheila. My husband and I have been doing a lot of talking about our sex life and lack there of. I read your good girls guide book first and that opened the doors for me to start talking to him about things and I apologized for never wanting to really participate in sex and for my lack of libido. Can’t say that my libido is better but I’m making an effort to not say no anymore. Anyhow we are both doing the 31 days together and we both agree that control and anxiety hinder me greatly. We don’t drink alcohol for any reason or any occasion but we did discuss the possibility of me trying a glass of red wine an hour or so before we are intimate as a natural way to relax me without using say mood stabilizers or anti anxiety medications. What are your thoughts on that as a trial basis only until I learned how to relax on my own maybe. Also since I’ve never had wine nor do I drink would this even be a reasonable effect to obtain from a glass of wine? I know many a 90 year old ladies that drink a glass of red a day and believe it has kept them healthy and helped them reah their age. I also have many girl friends who choose to “unwind” with a glass of wine after a stressful day and claim it relaxes them. I don’t believe ingesting alcohol is a sin but I believe the REASON people of the world drink today and the way it’s abused is. Anyhow what do you think from a sexual and biblical standpoint on using an 8-10 oz glass of red wine to relax my body and anxiety and control issues before being intimate to help be more open and vulnerable with my husband? So far it’s only been a discussion but one idea that we’ve considered even though we both abstain form alcohol….

  10. Thank you so much for this post. I am such a control freak in bed and truly, it comes from fear of letting go, fear of intimacy, feel of letting someone else have control of my body. Hearing someone else voice – to a tee – what I experience all the time in bed, has made me feel ‘normal’. I’m going to take your advice on board, I seriously can’t thank you enough for this post xx

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