29 Days to Great Sex Day 5: Reawaken Your Body

ReawakenYourBodyIt’s Day 5 of the 29 Days to Great Sex here at To Love, Honor and Vacuum, a series leading up to the launch of my book, The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex! (now available)

So far we’ve looked at the purpose of sex and the lies we sometimes believe about sex, because we can’t have great sex if our heads aren’t in the game! If we’re feeling lousy about sex, that will overflow into how we experience sex.

Friday was an interesting day for me personally, because it was about loving the skin you’re in! And I decided that if I was going to challenge you all to name 5 things you like about your body, I should play along, too. So I sat in bed with my husband and tried to come up with 5. And it was surprisingly hard! Naming 5 things I hate is easy. But what are we actually proud of?

Many of us just don’t like our bodies, and because of that we’re often disconnected from them. And if you’re disconnected from your body, you aren’t going to feel a whole lot of pleasure! That could be due to a number of factors:

1. You’re embarrassed about your body (see day 3)
2. You’re embarrassed about sex in general (see day 2)
3. Your husband has never figured out how to make you feel good (more on this in a moment)
4. You’re really not sure what feels good yourself, and you’re doubting whether you actually can feel good. (see day 2)

In fact, some of the commenters on day 2 said exactly that:

“I was created to feel pleasure.”
I have to admit that was difficult for me to say. But I’m getting there!

That’s probably why scenes like this in movies seem so wonderful, but make us hate ourselves anyway:

For those of you who have seen The Notebook, you’ll know that Allie, who’s a virgin, immediately after this scene makes mad passionate love with Noah, and everything goes so amazingly wonderfully. She orgasms. She feels great.

And we watch that sort of thing, and we think: That’s what sex is like for everyone but me. I’m a freak. I have to work so hard to feel aroused, and I’m not even sure that I can get aroused. It will never work for me.

'Stop Sign' photo (c) 2010, Kt Ann - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Hold it right there.

Remember Day 2, when we talked about some of the lies we women believe? And one of those lies often is, “I will never feel pleasure”. It’s not true.

You were made with body parts specifically designed to feel pleasure–and we’re going to talk about the clitoris more throughout the month. But here’s what happens with so many couples:

  • He fumbles a bit trying to make her feel good, but he does it wrong, because men and women like to be touched differently. Men like a firm touch; women like it much more lightly. If a man touches a woman the way he wants to be touched, it’s not going to be pleasurable.
  • So he does that, and she’s too embarrassed to speak up. She thinks, “I guess I just don’t like my breasts touched,” or “I guess I’m just not sensitive.”
  • She gets increasingly anxious about why she’s not feeling pleasure, and so she tries to force herself.
  • That makes it even worse, because when we’re anxious, we can’t relax, and when we can’t relax, we won’t feel very good.

Are you on that vicious circle? Maybe you’re not, and you’re here for tips on how to make sex even more great. It’s OKAY right now, but you’d like to ramp it up. That’s wonderful, and I think you’ll get a lot out of this month!

But some of you women I know are having some serious problems in the bedroom, and going through these 29 days is a difficult process for you. I received one email that said this:

Sex has long been a really really hard part of my marriage since we got married. No matter what we’ve tried – it’s not getting better. It’s worse. Yesterday’s blog post about lies was painful. It felt like you’d listened in on my internal monologue and aired it to everyone. I was really upset – and thankful.
I might have to make cue cards to remind me of the truths you shared.
I asked hubby to do this 29 days with me. He jumped at the chance – because he knows how much of a struggle this is with me. And tonight we started.
Wow – we haven’t talked like that in so long. It was amazing. Although we have a long way to go, thank you for making it possible for us to open the lines of communication.
Tonight, I want to cry because I feel like maybe, just maybe, there’s hope I’ll become the woman that God intends me to be, the woman that my DH prayed for, the woman I should be.
BTW, I couldn’t think of 5. DH suggested some of his top parts, but I had a hard time accepting them. I really did. I could only come up with one. And that was a hard one to think of. It’s much easier to like the inside me. The outside me – I don’t know how. But thank you for making me think of it – to start looking at myself.

I’m so glad that she feels like they’re finally able to communicate, and that there may be light at the end of the tunnel. Today I want to give you a challenge that will hopefully give you even more confidence and encouragement. Here’s how:

Light some candles, get a space heater to make sure your bedroom is comfortable, and put some massage oil on the bed. Now take a timer and set it for 15 minutes. For the next 15 minutes, while you lie still, ask your husband to explore your body, without any anticipation that you will actually orgasm. And you can’t make love! This isn’t foreplay. This is just play. He can touch you where he wants. But here are the rules:

  • If he’s doing it too roughly, tell him gently (or take his hand and show him how to do it better).
  • If it honestly is giving you the willies (if you have anxiety from previous abuse, for instance) you can ask him to move on to a different body part–but you must let him keep touching you!

Do your utmost to concentrate on what he’s doing. Don’t worry about the timer. Don’t worry that he’s grossed out, or that he doesn’t want to do this, or that he thinks this is silly. Instead, I want you to think specifically about what he’s doing. Pay attention to your body. And start asking yourself, “what wants to be touched now?” That may sound silly, but it’s not because you’re judging him or wondering if he’s doing it right. It’s because if you ask yourself the question, “where does my body want to be touched?”, then you’re actually paying attention to what your body is feeling. And you may just realize you do want to be touched!

Warning: Don’t worry about having an orgasm! Honestly. Sometimes the reason we can’t experience pleasure is that we get too goal oriented. Just relax and treat it like a gift. And if  you’re worried your husband will be bothered by this request, say something like this to him:

Honey, I want to learn how to really love sex so that we can have an amazing time together. But I’m worried that I don’t always know what my body likes. So can we take 15 minutes where you just explore my body? And I’m not supposed to tell you to stop? I don’t want to have to orgasm; I just want you to touch me and see what feels nice. Can we try?

I guarantee the vast majority of husbands will love the chance to enjoy seeing you naked and exploring your body. Really.

And then, since he’s probably going to be pretty worked up afterwards, you can always make love “for him”, if you’d like. Get on top and give him a gift where he doesn’t have to worry about you feeling good. The purpose here is to get away from anything goal oriented, and just learn that your body can, indeed, feel something. And that’s easier to do when there’s no pressure and when you’re relaxed!

Now it could be that you’re really nervous, and you have a hard time relaxing during that 15 minutes. Try it in the bathtub if that’s easier. And if this first time doesn’t go well, don’t fret. Sometimes we need to repeat this exercise a few times before we start feeling good. Use lots of massage oil and encourage your husband to concentrate on your legs and back, too, only slowly working his way to your more traditional erogenous zones, if you’re really nervous. The goal is to learn to relax and to learn to just FEEL. And if that takes a couple of sessions, that really is okay.

So to sum up, here’s your challenge:

Great Sex Challenge 5: Let your husband explore your body for 15 minutes straight, while you just savour it. Light candles, close your eyes, and just FEEL. Concentrate on his touch, without forcing your body to respond. And you just may realize that some things actually do feel good!

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!

Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex

Still 30% off at Amazon!

 Next:
Day 6: Why Your Hubby Wants You!
Day 7: Moving in the Right Direction
Day 8: Playing with Your Hubby!
Day 9: Preparing For Sex Throughout the Day
Next:
Day 10: 16 Ways to Flirt with Your Husband
Day 11: Appreciating Your Husband’s Body
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 Your 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 When You Have Children
Day 26: Rebuilding Your Sex Life
Day 27: Experiencing Spiritual Intimacy when you Make Love
Day 28: Overcoming Selfishness in your Sexual Life
Day 29: A Round-Up and a Party!

Remember to hit the Share buttons to share on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest! (or any other buttons below :). Let’s spread the word about the series, and help other marriages thrive!

The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex

Marriage isn't supposed to be blah!


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.

29 Days to Great Sex Day 2: Starting Fresh

Starting FreshIt’s Day 2 of the 29 Days to Great Sex here at To Love, Honor and Vacuum, a series I wrote leading up to the release of my book, The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex! (Update: The book is now available!)

Yesterday we talked about how central sex was in a marriage: it’s supposed to be the acting out of everything marriage signifies, and it’s supposed to unite us in three ways: physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

But what do you do if you don’t have a positive attitude about sex? What do you do if you’re bringing baggage into your marriage which is making seeing sex as a positive thing, or getting excited about sex, difficult? Or what do you do if sex has just never felt that great, and you’ve almost given up?

No matter where you’re at today, your sex life can start fresh. That is what God wants for you! But sometimes we have trouble with that because we keep believing things that aren’t true. And, as we’re going to learn throughout this month, our primary sex organ is our brain. What we think about sex completely determines whether or not we enjoy sex. So here’s your challenge for today: we’re going to confront any lies that you believe about sex, and replace them with the truth that God tells us. Let’s look at how that plays out in practice:

1. You are a new creation

Are you haunted by things you did before you were married? Do you have flashbacks from old boyfriends? Or even ex-husbands? Are you bothered by past porn use?

All of these things can intrude on our ability to think of sex as something sacred between you and your husband.

So when you start to have doubts, and when thoughts of your old lovers start coming back, think about this verse instead:

If anyone is in Christ, she is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

You are a new creation. You don’t have to be that old person anymore. And that old person no longer has claims on you. And not just that, but when you married your husband, God glued you two together. You are now one flesh with your husband, not with anyone else. The two of you, together, are also a new creation.

So when you get these negative thoughts in your mind, replace them with the positive: You are a new creation. You were bought at a price.

To explore this further, I’ve written a much longer post on how to Reconcile Your Sexual Past with Your Marriage, which may prove helpful to many of you.

2. You are Pure

When God looks at you, He sees you as pure. Sometimes we have a hard time feeling like we’re new creations because we know what we’ve done in the past. But other times we have difficulties because of what was done to us. We were abused, or raped, or fondled, or teased. And we feel like we’re tainted, used, and dirty.

That is not the way God sees you. God does not judge you in terms of what others did to you; He only sees you in terms of what Jesus did for you. You are completely and utterly pure, once you believe in Him.

So the next time you start to feel dirty because of what was done to you; the next time you think that everyone else is healthy, but you never will be; the next time you feel like there is no hope for you; remember this verse:

He will rejoice over you with singing (Zephaniah 3:17)

Think of how you hold a baby and sing to it, so amazed at how new and precious it is. That is how God thinks of you. He rejoices over you! So when you start having negative thoughts about your identity, replace it with that positive one.

And if you want to explore this further, I’ve written a post on how Abuse Survivors can Start Seeing Sex Differently.

3. I Was Created for Pleasure

Do you believe that? Because it’s true.

God made you to feel sexual pleasure.

And I can prove it. Assuming you’re a woman (since it is mostly women who read this blog), you have a clitoris, a little knob of flesh just in front of your vagina which has no other purpose in the body except to bring pleasure. Guys don’t have that, by the way. Their primary sexual organs are multi-functional. That’s not true for us. God gave us a little piece of our bodies that was made simply to feel good.

So if sex isn’t feeling great for you yet, and if you have started to believe, “I will never have an orgasm”, or “I can’t see what all the fuss is about”, or “Everyone else may like sex, but I never will”, stop it. Don’t say those things to yourself. Instead, say this,

I was created to feel pleasure.

Because it’s true. And wouldn’t you rather say something true to yourself than to say a lie?

Now maybe you haven’t experienced a lot of pleasure before. That’s okay. In the surveys that I took for my book, I found that the best years for sexual pleasure for married women are between years 16-20. If you’ve only been married for a while, then, know this: it gets better with time. Women get more orgasmic with time and practice. So instead of doubting, or worrying, or giving up, get excited!

4. Sex is a Beautiful Thing

Sex is kinda awkward. It’s messy. You’re all sweaty, and there’s stuff to clean up afterwards. And sometimes it just doesn’t seem, well, proper. And so it’s easy for all too many of us to think, “sex is something we have to do to make babies, but it’s really best not to dwell on it too much.” We like feeling in control, clean, and organized. Sex doesn’t fit into that mold.

Maybe it’s time to throw out the mold. Sex is supposed to be a little messy. Sex is supposed to make you vulnerable, and a little out of control. It’s not supposed to be clinical!

But some of us were raised to think that it was something never to be spoken of or thought of, and then we get married, and that transition is really hard to make. And so we start to wonder if there really is something dirty or wrong with the whole thing.

That is another lie. I’m not saying you’re bad or sinful for believing it; I’m just saying that it’s holding you back from all God wants for you.

When God finished creating Adam and Eve, He pronounced them, naked as jay birds, “very good”. Sex is very good. So if you start doubting it, repeat that, over and over:

Sex is beautiful. Sex is very good.

5. Sex Benefits Me

Finally, here’s the most common one: many of us have come to see sex as an obligation. When we think about sex, we tend to think, “do I have to tonight?”. We figure we should, because our husbands need it. It’s all about him.

Nope. Sex helps you, too! If you’re really tired, sex will help you get to sleep faster and sleep more deeply. If you’re anxious, making love will help calm you down. Making love boosts your immunity, makes you less depressed, and best of all, it makes you feel far more connected to your husband. So sex was not created for him! Not only that, but apparently women have deeper, longer, and more intense orgasms. When it really works, we actually get more out of it!

Next time you think, “I guess I have to tonight, even if I don’t want to”, stop yourself, and replace it with this:

Sex helps ME.

Now, I know many of you would like to move on to the nitty gritty of sex, and don’t worry: we’re going to get there really soon! But before we can work at making the practicalities of sex work wonderfully, we need to make sure that we’re believing the right things about sex. Sex isn’t magically going to work if you’re still walking around feeling slightly dirty, embarrassed, guilty, or obligated. We need to get our heads in the game, because when our heads aren’t there, our bodies won’t follow.

Great Sex Challenge 2: If you start to say negative things about sex in your head, stop! Take those thoughts captive, and tell yourself the truth instead. Repeat it if necessary. And if you really want to make this challenge stick, journal some of the negative things you believe about sex, and then write the truth underneath. Sometimes just writing and thinking and praying through it helps us to see our own negative thought patterns, and then reject them.

Stay tuned tomorrow when we’ll look at how to get comfortable in the skin we’re in!

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.



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

29 Days to Great Sex:

Day 1: The Act of Marriage

Next:
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: Playing with Your Hubby!
Day 9: Preparing For Sex Throughout the Day
Next:
Day 10: 16 Ways to Flirt with Your Husband
Day 11: Appreciating Your Husband’s Body
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 Your 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 When You Have Children
Day 26: Rebuilding Your Sex Life
Day 27: Experiencing Spiritual Intimacy when you Make Love
Day 28: Overcoming Selfishness in your Sexual Life
Day 29: A Round-Up and a Party!


And remember to share this post on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or using any of the other buttons! Let’s let lots of others know about this series so they can join us and make their marriages great, too!

The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex

Marriage isn't supposed to be blah!


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.

29 Days to Great Sex Day 1: The Act of Marriage

It’s here! The 29 Days to Great Sex! Every day in the month of February I’m going to post a new tip–some long, and some short–about how to make sex stupendous in your marriage. Whether you just need a few extra tips, or whether you’re really struggling in this area, this month is going to have lots of practical advice and inspiration and encouragement for you. Each day will have a little exercise you can do to make your sex life wonderful–or to just get you going in the right direction.

For today, let’s start with the very basics: what is sex really about?

When I was thinking about that question I came across this wedding photo. I don’t know how many of us would have been gutsy enough to have a wedding photograph taken while we’re sitting on a bed, but I think it’s refreshing, because it says:

This is important. This is a vital part of our relationship. And it all starts now.

Back in the 1980s, Tim Lahaye wrote a book called “The Act of Marriage”, which talked all about how to make sex great. (I guess back then that was as close to the word “sex” as you could get in a title for a Christian book!) But I think the phrase “the act of marriage” is an important one, because it does illustrate something significant: Sex is the acting out of everything that marriage is. We become vulnerable with one another. We become naked with one another completely–and that means real intimacy, not just physical intimacy. We cherish each other. We protect each other. But we also have a ton of fun with each other!

Think about it: in marriage, we are fully committed to one another for life. We love each other and we cherish each other. We laugh together and we cry together. And in sex, we also do all of those things and express all of those things, because sex is  uniquely created to do that. God made sex to feel great, but He also made it to be a deeply intimate experience.

Do you remember when you were a little kid in church and you heard the preacher read the verses in the KJV, “And Adam knew his wife Eve, and they conceived a son…”? Chances are you giggled and elbowed your friends, because we all thought the Bible translators were just trying to be polite. But they weren’t. The Hebrew word used for sex there literally is the word “to know”. And it’s the same word that David uses of God when he says, “Search me and know me…” All of us were born with a deep hunger for spiritual connection, whether we pursue that in God or not. But God uses the same word to describe the way we join together with our spouse. It’s deeply intimate.

So sex is great on many levels: spiritual, emotional, and physical.

Day 1: The Act of Marriage (29 day series on how to enhance intimacy!)

But while sex is supposed to be great, what if it’s not for you? I read this quotation on Twitter recently (and if someone can give me the original source, I’d be so grateful):

Satan’s big marriage strategy: get people to have sex before they’re married. Then get them to stop once they’re married!

In other words, so many of us are having sex before we’re committed for life. The problem with that is that it makes sex all about the physical, and not about the spiritual or emotional connection. And then, because sex has come to mean mostly pleasure, it can lose its ability to really cement us together in other ways.

That’s problem one. Problem two is that when we do finally get married and commit to someone, we almost stop having sex. Or at least we have it rather infrequently. In surveys I took for my book, The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, I found that 40% of couples made love less than once a week. We’re just not connecting that often.

So the “act of marriage”, that act that can be so wonderful, and so fun, and so significant, often isn’t even happening.

Or maybe for you it is happening, but it just doesn’t feel that great. You can’t figure out what all the fuss is about, and you’re worried that it was created for everyone but you. Or you’re haunted by your past–maybe stuff that you did breathlessly in the backseat of a car, or something that was done to you by an uncle, or a baby-sitter, or a date. Or maybe your husband just seems absent when you make love–like he’s thinking of anything but you.

And that intimacy just isn’t there.

This month we’re going to walk through these issues and uncover ways to find the true freedom that sex is supposed to be! Because sex is supposed to be great:

Physically: we’re supposed to feel wonderful together.

Emotionally: We’re supposed to be able to laugh, have fun, and have a deep friendship.

Spiritually: We’re supposed to feel deeply intimate and like one.

We’re going to start unpacking how we can increase the connection and the laughter during sex for the first week or so, and then we’re going to look at specific strategies to make sex itself great.

So here’s  your first Great Sex Challenge: Rate your sex life on each of those three areas: the physical, the emotional, and the spiritual. And, if your husband’s up for it, ask him to do the same. And, if you’re up to it, say this as a prayer, or just journal it if you’re not religious:

I believe that sex was created to feel great physically, and that I am supposed to have a sex drive, and supposed to feel aroused, even if I don’t feel that way right now.

I believe that sex was created to make me feel loved.

I believe that sex was created to make me feel like one with my husband.

Now actually picture what a great sex life in each of those areas would look like. Picture yourself enjoying each of those three areas. You don’t have to understand how you’re going to get there yet. That will come! The important thing is that you see that this was the way it was meant to be–and it was meant to be that way for you, specifically, too. Whether you have major hangups, or lots of hurts, or fears or doubts; or whether things are just mediocre; or whether your marriage has scars; sex is supposed to be a big positive in your life and in your marriage. That is God’s plan for you. See it. Picture it. Believe it! If we can all start having a very positive and excited attitude about sex, sex would likely improve astronomically already. And now, over the next month, we’ll look practically at how we’re going to make it a reality!

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.



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

Next:
29 Days to Great Sex:
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 When You Have Kids
Day 26: Rebuilding Your Sex Life
Day 27: Experiencing Spiritual Intimacy when You Make Love
Day 28: Overcoming Selfishness
Day 29: A Contest & a Party!

Remember to share this post using the buttons below on Facebook, or Twitter, or Pinterest, or anything else so that others will see it! Thank you!

The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex

Marriage isn't supposed to be blah!


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.

Wifey Wednesday: The Big "O"

It’s Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage! I introduce a topic, and then you follow up either by commenting or by writing your own post! Today I want to tackle a big, and rather personal, topic.

November 5th.

Photo by jlcwalker

Do you ever feel like sex is about achieving a goal, rather than just enjoying each other?

That was something that often irked me when we were first married, before we really figured out how to get sex to work like clockwork. According to all the marriage books we had bought–even Christian ones–we were supposed to be able to figure out how to make sure that I achieved the “Big O”. And when I didn’t, we felt like we were failing.

So let’s get honest here for a moment, ladies: how important is it that we actually achieve orgasm during intercourse?

Here’s the real problem: When we decide that we want to, and when it becomes our goal everytime we make love, then everytime we’re together we feel like we’re being given a grade: you either pass or you fail. It adds a whole level of stress to sex that I’m not sure it was ever supposed to have.

Are orgasms great? Absolutely. But not all women experience them during intercourse, even those women who have been married a long time. And I really hate the thought that women are going to feel like they’re somehow less than sexual, or somehow inadequate, if they don’t.

Besides, as soon as you make it your goal to reach orgasm, it automatically becomes less likely that you will. As soon as you set the goal, you become just that little bit agitated. And in order to reach orgasm, you have to be able to let go and relax. The two things are working against each other.

Here’s what I wish I had understood when we were first married, and here’s what I’d like to give you as an encouragement today:

Orgasms are great, but they’re easiest to achieve when you understand how your body works and how the different levels of arousal feel. It may be easier to understand that if you work for a while on achieving orgasm in different ways–through him touching you, for instance–rather than just through intercourse.

Once you understand that, you can then work on getting excited enough during foreplay that once you start making love, it’s more likely you’ll get to that “big O” because you started off pretty close.

But you don’t have to achieve simultaneous orgasm to have good sex. You don’t even need to achieve orgasm during sex to have good sex. You just have to enjoy being together, laugh, and have fun. If you can’t laugh, you’re too uptight and you’re doing it wrong.

The more you laugh, and the more fun you have, the more you’ll relax and the more your body will learn to respond. But stop thinking of your sex life as a series of individual sexual encounters, which have to be judged on their own merit, as either a pass or a fail. Think of your sex life as something which will be decades long, a journey of discovery, where you learn more about each other, grow more deeply in love, grow more intimate, and learn to let go. That’s a process that takes a long time, and it’s a destination you never really get to, because there is always more to learn.

Maybe if we saw sex as a journey, we’d focus less on whether we had an orgasm last night and more on whether or not we relaxed, had fun, and felt like we’re getting to know each other better.

As you take that long-term view, you’ll likely find that it’s easier to enjoy yourself, because you know you don’t have to reach a milestone right now, this minute. You’re simply moving in a certain direction, and that direction is good.

Learn how your body works. Learn what feels good. But don’t panic or feel inadequate if your body isn’t responding exactly the way you want it to yet. Sometimes it takes time, and that’s okay. That’s what marriage is for! And if you stop stressing and do take that time, you might just find that you achieve that “Big O”–without necessarily even trying.

This post was cross-posted at Adding Zest to your Nest.