Let the squeamish run! Yes. I'm going to be talking about intimacy. For many, sex is easy: waves of high libido flying in just from a touch, a look, or a word.
Nevertheless, intercourse doesn't come as naturally for others, whether you've been married for years, or made to feel shame about the act, or if you have vaginismus. For those of us who struggle, these next tips are for you—and they're not just suggestions for sex. They're suggestions to let down the walls of shame that might be barricading you from truly letting yourself go and being sexually comfortable with your spouse.
1. Be intimate outside of the bedroom.
The old saying "It's easier to trap flies with honey more than vinegar" stands true. Ask yourself this. Outside of a legal document, stating that you are husband and wife, what relational differences are there between your spouse and a co-worker, best friend, or neighbor? In what way does your spouse KNOW that you seek them at the deepest level? Do you hold their hand on a regular basis? Do you pull them over for a kiss now and then? Do you leave them a note saying how much you love them, and why?
Intimacy is not just for the sheets. Intimacy was made for the soul. That's why sex is a FORM of intimacy.
Otherwise, it would strictly be called "intimacy," not "sex." Find different ways to communicate to your spouse that they are still the one you desire!
2. Schedule time for uninhibited intimacy
What the what? You probably heard "schedule time for sex." If I'm anything like my marriage counselor stated, I'm not some microwave that turns on when you press the buttons—although men most definitely are. Women are like ovens. For the most part, we need time to wind our brains down and focus on our spouse. We try to juggle the kid, classes, the house, our jobs, and all other things you can imagine, that it's hard to relax when we are on a time crunch. The solution? Get away for the weekend, or spend the evening alone. Even if it's for a few hours, give yourself a chance where you can properly "preheat," and seek your spouse without any outside pressures getting in the way.
3. Be naked
I can hear you laughing. Trust me, I did too when I came across this in my psychology studies, but hear me out. If we want to increase sexual desire, we gotta go back to Adam and Eve.
There is a reason Genesis 2:25 says that they were naked and not ashamed. Y'all, sin has done a number on us, especially body image. Our bodies, meant to be temples and holy, are now covered in shame. Sadly, we take that shame into the bedroom as well.
However, hear this well...this is not what God designed marriage to be! Sex is the most intimate form of intimacy because we literally lay our bare selves out to our spouse. We let them interact with us in the most vulnerable way anyone can. That's why, when we are behind closed doors, we need to leave our shame at the door. No, you don't have to have sex. Some of us are still working toward that goal, thanks to vaginismus.
But, take the time to hold each other naked unashamedly. Studies have shown that not only does it help release oxytocin (the "woohoo" hormone), but it also INCREASES body image and self-esteem. I mean, how hard is it to feel bad when your spouse has seen you in your birthday suit and thinks you're a fox! Even so, what a better way to put good memories into being naked, versus bad ones? As a sexual assault victim myself, it's comforting to think about the GREAT moments I've had naked, versus the bad one. All goes without saying, this one might need to be taken gradually, but it will certainly help more than you'll ever know!
4. Pamper yourself
Yes! Ladies, as I've said, we take the world on, and then some. We rock the messy-buns and black leggings more than any other people on the planet. But don't forget that we can be sensual too. We need to fuel the "spouse" and "lover" part of us. So, what does this mean? It means taking time to connect with who YOU are, and who God made you to be. Shave those no-shave November legs. Make it a point to style your hair the way that makes you feel sexy, or wear an outfit you feel confident in! Buy some lingerie, or pick out a pair of cute heels to wear. Now, before I get nasty emails, let me clarify—you DON'T need to worry about your appearance, or need to do these things to feel sexy. What I'm saying is, pampering yourself can make you feel more confident, relaxed, and self-assured! This way, when intimacy does come, you're not barred by insecurities.
5. Connect spiritually with your spouse
When was the last time you prayed with your spouse? When was the last time you worshipped with your spouse, or read Scripture with your spouse? Listen: If Jesus said man cannot live on bread alone, neither can a marriage. Without God, marriage is doomed to the enemy's traps. There is such an increased rate of infidelity, divorce, and pornography, that make marriages hard to keep afloat in this day and time. But, when you come together and reassure yourselves in God's word, you can have your iron sharpened, and your battle armor ready for whatever tries to separate a holy union. It doesn't mean bad times won't come, or we won't fall to sin. It means we'll be resilient and prepared for the times we DO face hardships!
All in all, to keep intimacy alive, we've got to facilitate growth in ourselves, our marriage, and Christ. Despite what you have heard or feel, intimacy is AWESOME. Sex is not bad. It is a way for a husband and wife to chemically come together, in the closest way possible. It can be scary to open up to your spouse in this way, but know that these baby steps will one day be leaps and bounds! Sometimes we are our own worst enemy, but it's time to break down the walls Satan wants us to build!
Intimacy can be beautiful if we let it.