It’s that time–you and your husband are ready to get it on! But there’s a problem. While you like sex, you’re awfully shy. You pull the sheets up to your chin, turn the light out, and your heart starts pounding–just not from arousal. What’s he thinking? What are YOU thinking? You just can’t relax during sex.
For something that is made to look so easy in romantic comedy movies, sex in real life often is cumbersome and stressful.
Do you struggle relaxing during sex? If so, you are not alone.
1. “Can I just not relax during sex or can I not relax during the rest of my life too?”
If relaxing during sex is difficult, possibly you have a hard time relaxing in general.
In our chaotic culture with endless details to corral, you wouldn’t be the first person to plead “stress” as an intimacy killer.
There are groceries to buy, bosses to please, permission slips to sign, appointments to set, lunches to pack, diapers to change, laundry to fold. The list really is endless. You run through a demanding day (or sometimes crawl, depending on how much caffeine you’ve had), and at the end of it, you find it tediously hard to shut the list off.
The list follows you everywhere.
Into the bathroom. In the car. It even crawls in bed with you, totally insensitive to the grip it has on your mind when you try to make love.
Take a good hard look at your life. Where do you need healthier boundaries? Where do you need more realistic expectations about what you can accomplish on any given day?
It’s okay to just let go a little and be at peace with a messy imperfect life (which, ironically, is what everyone else is living as well, despite what you’ve maybe told yourself).
2. “Is our bedroom too hot or too cold?”
We all think we can rationalize this away. The room is too cold or too hot and you figure that once sex gets going, you will forget how distracted you are by being too hot. Or too cold.
A better approach is to fix the temperature problem before foreplay even starts.
3. “Would a shower help?”
I’m a big fan of the hot shower or hot bath before sex. It gives you a few moments to wash the day away (figuratively and literally, especially if you’ve had newborns and toddlers pawing at you all day).
And it also allows you to come to bed clean.
Not surprising, a concern about cleanliness can cause some people to be anxious about sex, especially if oral sex will be part of the encounter. A hot shower or bath can help ease these concerns and help you relax.
Maybe suggest that you and your spouse shower together. This can be a great precursor to fabulous sex. I’m speaking from experience on this one!
4. “Have I become too indifferent about my own sexual pleasure?”
Women have become masters at disregarding their own sexual pleasure, even going so far as faking orgasm just to end the entire encounter sooner. The irony is that if you are stressed, you likely need orgasm more, not less.
Your sexual pleasure matters. Do you struggle having an orgasm? Many women do. This is such a hot topic that I compiled an entire page of posts on it. Check out The Orgasm Page on my site.
5. “Do I just need to live in the moment?”
Sometimes we can “over-think” sex. It’s hard to relax if we are worrying about body image or wondering if we are “doing everything right.”
Stop over-thinking and allow yourself to live in the moment. Sexual intimacy with your spouse should be a place of uninhibited fun and connection, where you can let go of your insecurities and just live.
6. “Do I need more foreplay?”
I can’t answer how much foreplay you need, but generally speaking, women need more than men.
Teach your spouse what is arousing for you. Caressing? Kissing? Backrubs? Oral sex? The more you allow yourself to be aroused, the less likely you are to be stressed about sex.
Stop seeing foreplay as “an extra” if there is time. Instead, embrace it as a vital and enticing aspect of lovemaking
7. “Have I flirted with and affirmed my spouse throughout the day?”
This is an easy one for newlyweds (generally speaking). But for people who’ve been married awhile or who are in the throes of parenting little creatures?
Yeah. Takes a bit more effort to think sexy thoughts and say sexy things to one another. But there is a lot of truth behind that saying “sex begins in the kitchen.” I would add that a positive attitude about sex begins in the kitchen early in the day and must be sustained throughout the day.
A kind word. A tender text. A suggestive whisper. A discreet sexual touch. A lingering kiss. All are great aphrodisiacs if you start pursuing them as such.
8. “Have I considered what sex does for my marriage outside the bedroom?”
We often accuse men of compartmentalizing sex (and really everything in their lives). But women sometimes do it as well.
Some women see sex as nothing more than a task to check off their list and forget about until next time. But the positive benefits of nurtured sexual intimacy reach far beyond your marriage bed.
When you look at sex this way, it’s easier to relax about it, even intentionally go after it.
9. “What’s the worst that could happen if the kids hear us?”
A big reason women have a hard time relaxing during sex is they are consumed with thoughts of the kids hearing them.
Consider this, though. If your children are young (under age 8), they are likely fast asleep. If they are older (over age 12), and they happen to hear you, they already know what you are doing and really don’t want to confront you about it.
And if they fall in-between 8-12? They are at an ideal age to be reassured that mom and dad are fine and it’s important they spend some private time together.
Instead of worrying so much about the kids hearing you, buy a lock for your bedroom door and turn on some light music. And remind yourself that the best thing for those kiddos is a mama and daddy in love. Sex is part of marriage.
Certainly your kids shouldn’t be privy to the details of your sexual intimacy, but you’re not doing them any favors by trying to give the impression that sex never happens.
10. “Do I really just need to connect first with my spouse?”
Marriage is hard. I know few people who think it isn’t. That being the case, there is a lot to be said for connecting with your spouse before you scamper beneath the sheets.
My husband and I have become more discerning about our genuine need to spend even 20 minutes at the end of the evening simply talking. That connection sets the tone for anything that might happen once our clothes come off.
Put the kids to bed. Turn off the TV. Sit close to each other. And just talk. You might be surprised at how relaxing it is. And how arousing it is.
When you consider these top 10 ways to relax, which ones are you willing to try?
Julie Sibert writes and speaks about sexual intimacy in marriage and is the co-author of Pursuit of Passion: Discovering True Intimacy in Your 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 kind of wants to chew up the kitchen floor.
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