How can you work on your sex life if you’re not together to practice? How do you work on your sex life long distance?
I’ve had two women send me in questions like that recently. One woman writes:
I just finished reading The Good Girl’s Guide. Although I am not very religious I found it extremely enlightening and I definitely have a good direction to go in now. And A LOT to work on. Something that I didn’t get answered is how to deal with sex/marital issues when you are apart. My husband is in the military and we have been apart a large chunk of our marriage. He has a very strong need for sex and I am polar opposite. I would love your advice!
Another woman said this:
First of all, I have just been introduced to your website and I cannot tell you how THRILLED I was to hear of it. I was raised in a church that stifled the idea of an enjoyable marriage and made the s-e-x word a dirty word! My question: I recently read your article on masturbation within marriage and you touched on the idea of using masturbation to be climactic and reach orgasm as being a potential problem in marriage. My husband is an active duty Marine and, for some time, we have used technology (FaceTime/text messaging/phone) to correspond and fulfill each other sexually when he is away for very extended periods of time. Is this sinful? When we are together, we obviously fulfill each other’s needs in person. Thanks again, so much, for the time your pour into other couple’s lives. It means so very much!
Both of these women are military wives, but I know many people would have similar questions, if their husbands worked on oil rigs, were long-distance truckers, travelled for business, or were just plain gone a lot. Or maybe you’re the one who is gone! So what do you do?
Let’s take a stab at this for Top 10 Tuesdays!
1. Masturbation is really up to you
I think when you’re gone for a long time from each other, and you’re using it as a way to cope–well, quite frankly, I’m simply not going to pass judgment on that, and I don’t think anyone else should, either. You are married. It’s okay to think about each other! And when you’re in the military and you’re away for that long, well, I just believe that grace should be the overarching principle here.
When I wrote previously about masturbation in marriage being potentially dangerous, I was addressing relationships where masturbation was used to get people through times in marriage where the other didn’t want sex, or because someone preferred masturbation to sex. Neither of those situations is good. It’s avoiding intimacy.
In this case, though, it’s not about avoiding intimacy.
A few things to consider: try to keep your spouse “in the loop”, so to speak, so that it doesn’t become a secrecy thing. And, as always, beware of becoming reliant on sex toys for orgasm, especially if orgasm has been difficult for you during intercourse. This can exacerbate the problem. But with those warnings, I really think it’s up to you couples.
2. Boudoir photos–again, it’s up to you!
I’ve been an agnostic on boudoir photos on the blog. I’ve written before that I think taking sexy photos of yourself for your husband can be dangerous, especially if he’s used pornography in the past. The danger there is that he can get aroused easier with a picture than with a person, so you’re actually cementing that problem. I think because I get so many heartbreaking emails about porn use I’m just hyper sensitive to the dangers of it.
But boudoir photos aren’t really pornographic photos. A boudoir photo shoot can simply be a woman wearing lingerie or a man’s shirt or something. I asked last week on Facebook what people thought of it, and got some really interesting answers. One woman said:
Boudoir shoots are an amazing way to boost confidence and can definitely spice up a couple’s sex life. In a way they are the opposite of porn because they are not exploitative. Instead they honour a woman’s sexuality and encourage a healthy relationship with that sexuality.
I tend to agree–as long as he’s not addicted to porn. And, as always, get them password protected and encrypted!
But now let’s turn to some practical things that you can do to enhance your sex life when you’re away that aren’t as focused on sexual release per se. Here we go!
Things to do to help sex feel more pleasurable
3. Do some Kegel exercises and strengthen your pelvic floor muscles
Did you know that you can exercise your pelvic floor muscles to give yourself more control? This can help sex feel more pleasurable for you–but also help you to be able to “squeeze” him rhythmically to help it feel better for him. Also, the more toned these muscles are, the more sensation you will feel.
Another benefit–if you’re having pain during intercourse (vaginismus), learning to control these muscles can help you to minimize it. My awesome friend J from Hot, Holy, and Humorous has a great article on pelvic floor exercises that can help!
4. Work on physical fitness and developing a great sleep/eat/exercise routine
I don’t think we realize how much our physical bodies impact our sex lives. When we’re feeling fit, when we’re sleeping well, when we’re eating well, to a schedule, so that we’re not suffering from adrenal fatigue–well, everything’s going to feel better. Including sex!
But sometimes when we’re together it’s hard to get into a new routine. When he’s gone, here’s your chance! Start going to bed at a regular time and getting up at a regular time, leaving at least 8 hours for sleep (do this for long enough and you won’t even need an alarm, because you’ll wake up rested). Make healthier choices for your family’s diet. Try to work in some exercise, even if it’s just a little bit more than you’re doing right now. When your body feels good, sex is going to feel better. And your libido is likely to increase, too!
Things to do to help you feel more confident
While you’re apart is also a great time to help you feel more sexually confident!
5. Redo your wardrobe
One of the ways that we can feel sexier is simply to dress better. Go through your wardrobe and get rid of clothes that make you feel frumpy. Try the capsule wardrobe idea, where you “shop your closet” for a few pieces that coordinate that you actually feel good in, and then create outfits out of those. Try to get dressed, do your hair and minimal makeup every day. Feel pretty. This helps you feel more confident for when he gets home!
And while you’re at it–throw out the ratty underwear and bras that don’t fit. Even buy one nice bra and underwear set for when he comes home. Buy some pyjamas and stop sleeping in ratty t-shirts. When you feel like you look better, you’ll be way more eager for sex!
6. Talk through and think through your boundaries
When I publish reader questions I often shorten them, and one of the letter writers also wrote about how her husband has asked her to do things while they’re away that she’s not comfortable with. It could be something like sex over skype, or talking about fantasies in detail, or something like that. While you’re apart, you may need to talk through what you’re comfortable with and what you’re not. And it’s totally okay to say that some things just don’t sit well with you! What I’d suggest doing, though, is being very clear that the conversation will be focused in two parts: What you don’t want to do, but also what you DO want to do. Share memories of things you’ve enjoyed and what you’d like to do more of. You can even make up a survey to send him to ask him what he’d like and what he wouldn’t like, and then fill out the survey yourself! Anything to keep the conversation going. Couples often have a hard time talking about these things, and doing so while you’re away can sometimes be easier.
Things to make the reunion more fun!
7. Write out some sexy dates in the year ahead
Maybe this one is too big a frustration to try when you’re apart, and so it may be better to attempt just a few days before you reunite. But each of you plan 6 sexy dates for the year ahead (which makes one a month!). Write them out on pieces of paper and then seal them in envelopes. It can be new things you’d like to try (as long as the other person is okay with it), a fun night you want to recreate, some place you’d like to go, whatever it may be. Write it out (the more detail the better) and get ready for some fun! Then, when he’s home, do one every month!
8. Talk about the important stuff–share your highs and lows
Your sex life can’t stay strong if your relationship doesn’t stay strong. Sex isn’t the cornerstone of our relationship, after all. It’s more a reflection of the health of the rest of our relationship. When you feel close to each other, passion will be greater. So make sure that in your absence you stay as close as possible. One easy way to do this, that I’m encouraging my daughter Katie to do with her new military husband, is when you check in with each other, share your high and low of the day. That doesn’t just mean the best thing that happened and the worst thing, but rather, when did you feel most in the groove? Most in the zone? Most productive? And when did you feel the most defeated and frustrated?
When we share these things regularly, then we know what’s going on in each other’s hearts, even if we don’t know all the details of everything we’re doing. And it’s the hearts connecting that will keep the fires burning!
Take time to address any problems you may have
9. Take the Boost Your Libido course!
When you’re apart is a GREAT time to take my Boost Your Libido course! In fact, it may even be easier to do a lot of it while you’re apart, because much of it is focused on changing how we think, examining the roadblocks for our libido, and addressing confidence and lifestyle issues that can hurt libido. While some exercises will have to wait until he gets home, many of them may actually be easier when he’s away and you can concentrate on thinking through these issues!
Plus, it’s super fun and it’s a way to make sure that when he does come home, your life together is rock solid.
And because I’m passionate about this, I’m going to set up a coupon code that will work until Sunday at midnight!
Just use the code LONGDISTANCE at checkout to get $10 off!
10. Seek professional help if you have some sexual issues
If you’ve been having pain during intercourse, pain during orgasm, or even pain AFTER orgasm, while you’re apart is a wonderful time to try to address some of these issues. Physiotherapists who specialize in pelvic floor issues can help you with pain related to sex, and physicians may be able to help if you’re experiencing post-sex blues. Sex should feel great; if it doesn’t, take this time apart as a gift to start to try to find some healing.
But physical issues aren’t the only ones we can struggle with. Many of us deal with sexual shame. Maybe it’s from sexual baggage we have; maybe it’s from past abuse; maybe it’s from growing up in a home that taught that sex was somehow dirty or that we were responsible for guys lusting after us. It causes so many bad sexual messages that feeling like sex is intimate is very difficult.
There’s nothing wrong with having issues. Everyone has issues with something! But there is something wrong with not working on your issues. While he’s away is a great time to see a therapist and really dig deep and pray through some of these things. God doesn’t want you stuck.
So there you go–10 ways to foster your sex life long distance! Any military wives here? I’d love to hear what you think especially, since you’re often apart for so long!
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.