What should you do in the bedroom? What should happen during sex?

One of the biggest roadblocks for sizzling sex is what’s going on in our brains. When we feel guilty, uneasy, or inadequate, it’s hard for sex to feel wonderful. So if you’re expecting yourself to perform sexually or respond sexually a certain way, and you don’t–then sex will fizzle.

It’s Day 3 of our Sizzling Summer Sex Series, and in these preliminary posts I want to dispel a lot of the harmful things we believe about sex that hold us back. We already looked at how dangerous it can be to see women’s sexual pleasure as secondary to his. Now let’s look at some more specifics of things that can cause sizzling sex to fizzle instead.

Do you believe any of these guilt and inadequacy-inducing “shoulds”?

What Should You Do in the Bedroom? 10 Shoulds we need to banish from the bedroom so that sex is about the relationship, not about feeling guilty or inadequate.

1. Sex should be natural and easy

Everybody on the big screen, when they fall into bed, has an amazing time. So that’s what sex is, right? It should be something that’s easy to do.

And as Christians, we’re almost promised that. “Don’t have sex before you’re married–because then sex will be amazing!” When it’s not, we feel cheated. Or else we feel as if that promise was true for everyone BUT me–so therefore I must be a freak.

The end result is that when sex isn’t great right off the bat, we think it never will be. We give up. There’s either something wrong with sex, or there’s something wrong with us.

In reality, sex is multifaceted. Our bodies, emotions, past experiences, spiritual lives, and so much else combine to make sex what it is. And sometimes we just need to relax and take a little bit of time!

2. You shouldn’t really need foreplay

When we think “sex”, we think “intercourse”. And intercourse is certainly central to making love! But the making love encompasses a lot more–it’s anything that is truly intimate that you do physically with your spouse and with no one else. Kissing and touching and paying attention to other parts of the body are also part of sex.

And here’s the thing: the central place for sexual pleasure for men is the penis, which gets tons of stimulation during intercourse. But the central place for sexual pleasure for women is the clitoris, which is outside the vagina, and harder to stimulate during intercourse. That means that most women need to be warmed up! But we tend to take men’s sexual experience as “the norm”, and think that women should somehow adjust to what men need. So if women need foreplay, it’s because there’s something wrong with them. They’re inadequate, unlike men.

Nope. This is how we were made, which means that God intended that there would be foreplay! Why? Because foreplay, in many ways, is more vulnerable than intercourse, as I talked about yesterday. And foreplay means that we have to truly pay attention to each other and communicate more. Foreplay makes sex more personal, and thus more intimate, which was one of God’s big designs in the first place!

For many women, intercourse just doesn’t feel that great. Sometimes you’ll be very aroused during foreplay, but once intercourse starts, you lose that arousal. I give some great tips in both The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex and in 31 Days to Great Sex about how to keep that arousal going during intercourse, but it is something that many women have to learn.

Don’t feel guilty when real life doesn’t look like the movies!

3. You should reach orgasm during intercourse

We also tend to “rank” orgasms. Those that come through intercourse are wonderful; the other ones are like the participation prizes we give to everyone. You may get one, but it doesn’t really count, because you didn’t really do it right.

It’s wonderful to be able to reach orgasm together during intercourse, and I do think couples can learn how. But the main thing is that you feel pleasure. And God really doesn’t mind how that happens between the two of you, if you are dedicated to looking after each other!

God made sex to be AWESOME!

It’s supposed to be great physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Feel like something’s missing?

4. You should feel turned on and aroused when you’re with your husband

When you watch movies or TV, as soon as the couple is together, they start to pant. Then they kiss. Then they fall into bed.

They are aroused BEFORE they start to make love. So we think we’re supposed to be panting as soon as we see our husbands. When we’re not panting, we figure that we’re not in the mood.

But while men tend to be aroused before they make love, women’s libido is more responsive. We tend to become aroused once we start. So there’s nothing wrong with you if you’re not aroused just looking at him. It doesn’t mean you’re not attracted to him anymore! And if you want to learn more about how libido works, my awesome (and fun!) Boost Your Libido course can help.

5. He should have the higher sex drive

Speaking of libido, we assume that the husband will want sex all the time, and the wife will tend to not want sex quite as often. If you’re the wife in a marriage where it’s reversed, then, you can either feel like you’re some sex-crazed nymphomaniac, or like you’re completely undesirable (because why else would he not want you?)

In truth, we all have different libidos, and in about one quarter to one third of marriages SHE has the higher libido.

I’ve got a whole series on what to do if he doesn’t want sex here.

6. Even so, you should still want sex a lot

Even if it’s assumed that you’ll have the lower sex drive, though, we still feel like we should want sex frequently. Then, if we don’t, we assume that there’s something wrong. But again–our libidos tend to be responsive. If you don’t feel a high level of desire it doesn’t mean you’re asexual, frigid, or even that you don’t like sex. If you accept the fact that sometimes your libido needs some prodding to get going, you can still have an active and satisfying sex life, even if you don’t go through the day longing for night to come!

Having “shoulds” in the bedroom can cause deep feelings of guilt and inadequacy. Here are 10 that we need to get rid of!

7. You should like “X” (whatever X may be)

“You should enjoy oral sex.” “You should like being touched there.” “That’s an errogenous zone–it should feel good.” There’s a whole list of things that we all are “supposed” to like. You can even read about them on the covers of magazines at the checkout!

But we are all different. We all have different backgrounds, which may make some sexual acts a bit of a turnoff. We all have different sensitivities, which may make some things feel overwhelming, or else underwhelming. While I think intercourse is a vital part of a good sex life, I think the rest is really up to the two of you. If there’s something that you’re “supposed” to like, but you just don’t, that’s okay.

I’ve got a longer post on “I don’t like it when my husband touches me THERE” that explores this in more detail.

8. You should get pleasure from what brings your spouse pleasure

Here’s another scenario that often creeps up: One spouse really likes a particular thing, but then if the spouse does it as a “gift” without getting much out of it themselves, there’s some resentment. “If I like this, you should like it, too!”

Let’s remember that sex is the joining of two different people. You both may not like the same things. When we see sex in mostly selfish terms, where we want to get our needs met, then it’s easy to demand that our spouse sees sex in exactly the same way as we do–and to feel bitter if they do not. It somehow ruins our sexual experience if they’re not as enthusiastic as we are about something.

But God made sex to be mutual, and sexuality was designed to help us be givers, rather than takers. To reach climax together requires us to understand each other’s bodies and to communicate and listen. If we’re taking one person’s sexual experience as the standard to which the other should reach, we’re approaching it all wrong.


9. You should know what makes each other feel good

Because we know what makes us feel good (or at least we tend to), we often assume that we know everything there is to know about sex. We know how we like to be touched, so we assume that we know how our spouse likes to be touched, too. But men and women tend to like to be touched in very different ways. And no two people tend to like exactly the same things in the same way, either. So just because you may have had sexual experience with someone else does not mean that you know how your spouse works.

Most people are not wonderful lovers overnight. You need to learn together what makes each other feel good. And you are not the standard for your spouse. Your spouse doesn’t need to like the same things as you, but your spouse should be willing to learn how to make you feel good.

10. You should have sex at least every 72 hours

Finally, we often hear the message that you to have sex at least every three days or else the sexual frustration will be too much, especially for men. I actually partially agree with this–I do think that a frequent sex life is super important, and learning how to make each other feel wonderful and learning how to feel intimate together is such an amazing experience. If we make this as frequent as possible, we’ll create wonderful marriages.

But at the same time, sometimes life conspires to get in the way. People have shift work. People get sick. Babies come along. If you are prioritizing sex and intimacy in your marriage, but every 72 hours just isn’t happening, there’s no need to feel guilty. Not everyone’s life works on a clockwork schedule, and so not everyone’s sex life needs to, either.

I was inspired to write this piece by a comment that was left a little while ago, about what should happen during sex.

And I’m going to let her have the last word–because it’s pretty good!

On numerous times I remind myself and my husband that there is no “should” in sex. It’s easy to say to your partner: you should be into this; you should be turned on right now; you should have an orgasm; you should like what I’m doing. But “should” just puts a lot of undue pressure on each other. I think it’s great to say, I like this or please do more of that or less of this, but telling someone what “should” work is pointless. Find out what DOES work and do that.

Amen! Now, ready for your challenge?

Your Sizzling Challenge!

Which “should” plagues you the most in your marriage?

Choose just one and talk about it with your spouse. How can you make this area of your sex life less guilt-inducing and more fun–with more freedom and acceptance to boot?