Is your spouse currently meeting your sexual needs, and do you believe that you are meeting theirs? Have you had a conversation about this to confirm that both of you are content with the way your sex life is right now? I thought I may as well jump straight in for this one, as our sexpectations (sexual expectations) can make or break, or even just put a huge strain on our sexual connection within marriage.
Think back to before you were married… (I know, it’s weird to go back there right?) But I want you to consider what your expectations about sex were before you decided to commit to a life of monogamy. Maybe one or more of the following examples will resonate with you:
- I grew up in a home where my parents didn’t teach me anything about sex, so I feel my understanding of sex has been defined by what society has shown me.
- I have never explored what sex means to me in detail, as I have always had it in mind that this is something that is exclusive to marriage. It is definitely unknown territory for me.
- I was sexually active before getting married, but I feel like those experiences didn’t help me to build a healthy understanding of sex for my marriage.
- I have always appreciated the idea of having sex and what it means, but I was determined to wait until marriage. Now that I am married, I feel like we are finding it difficult to find a common ground to build a healthy sex life.
- I feel like I received a good sex education growing up, but I think this may have caused me to have high expectations about sex as a result. I find myself becoming bored quite easily.
Each of these examples puts into perspective how easy it is for expectations to form, and usually this happens subconsciously. This can then add such a weight to our sex lives within our marriages, that it can seem easier to avoid trying altogether. I want to break down the above examples a little more, so that we can explore the issues as well as potential solutions.
I grew up in a home where my parents didn’t teach me anything about sex, so I feel my understanding of sex has been defined by what our society has shown me.
Sex remains a taboo topic in many homes, often to the detriment of those who remain in silence. This inability to talk about sex always comes from somewhere, and usually it involves a generational cycle of silence and shame. My parents didn’t tell me, and their parents didn’t tell them, and so on…
I remember when I was approaching my teens and I started to notice other girls at school wearing bras. I then plucked up the courage to discreetly ask my mum if we could go bra shopping. My younger brother heard and ran to tell my dad, to which my dad came and said loudly in his West Indian accent, “Whatcha need bra for?!” Needless to say I was so embarrassed that I remember that moment to this day!
As someone who is still learning my body and my language of sex while I’m nearing my thirties, I can’t tell you how important it is for us to teach our children to be self-aware and confident in their bodies, as well as to teach them how to celebrate their sexuality for all that it was created to be.
When we try to silence a part of who we are that will always be there, it is only natural that it will show up in more destructive ways.
Society doesn’t do sex education justice, so you and me need to be willing to reevaluate our expectations and search for our own healthy definition of sex.
I have never explored what sex means to me in detail, as I have always had it in mind that this is something that is exclusive to marriage. It is definitely unknown territory for me.
This attitude can be equally damaging. For those of us especially who have grown up in church, waiting until marriage to have sex is something that is pretty much drummed into us from a young age. Church communities and candid conversations about sex don’t tend to be part of the same sentence, and it can feel like sex is something that only married people get to talk about “on the other side of the fence, where the grass is greener”.
As someone who is married, I can tell you that many married people still struggle to talk about sex! Why? Because when you get married, whether you have had sex before marriage or not, you don’t just flip a switch the moment you walk down the aisle and suddenly know all that there is to know about sex.
The same you that didn’t talk about sex before marriage, is the same you that is lying next your spouse in bed and still not talking about sex within marriage.
Sex education needs to start long before your honeymoon, otherwise this type of thinking can lead to a marriage where your sexual needs aren’t being met on both sides, but you don’t know how to talk about it. It’s never too late to start learning how to talk about sex.
I was sexually active before getting married, but I feel like those experiences didn’t help me to build a healthy understanding of sex for my marriage.
Sex before marriage will create baggage within your marriage. That’s a fact. What matters most is what you do with this baggage, and how you address it to prevent it from negatively impacting the sexual connection that you now have with your spouse. Sex outside of a committed relationship and married sex are two very different things.
When you try and define your sex life with your spouse based on your past experiences, you will only end up more frustrated and disconnected.
You can’t change your past decisions that may be negatively impacting you now, but that doesn’t mean that you should allow those decisions to haunt your marriage. If we’re being honest, most of us allow exactly that, because the idea of actually dealing with our stuff is even more daunting.
When you look at your spouse, do you see that person in all of their exclusivity and feel inspired to discover them sexually? Or do you find your mind creeping back to your past sexual experiences and comparing them to your experience now? These thoughts and feelings need laying on the table for you to actually deal with them, and consider how they may be the cause of the wall between you and your spouse’s sexuality.
I have always appreciated the idea of having sex and what it means, but I was determined to wait until marriage. Now that I am married, I feel like we are finding it difficult to find a common ground to build a healthy sex life.
I go back to the initial question: what did you expect your sex life would look like when you got married? It’s worth listing these things and addressing each point to see if it’s a realistic expectation, and to ask yourself where you think each expectation may have come from. There’s nothing wrong with expecting a healthy, active sex life, but the road is often far less smoother than we would like!
There are so many contributing factors that can affect this; from the experiences that you are having on a daily basis with work, parenthood or other responsibilities, to past trauma that you are yet to deal with, to our spouse and their own expectations that may directly conflict our own! The fact is, this journey was never one that was guaranteed to be easy.
If you are finding it difficult to build a healthy sex life, know that you are far from alone in this.
We may not talk about this often enough for you to believe it, but you are still in a position to learn and grow past any negative perceptions and to nurture a sex life that uplifts you both within your marriage.
I feel like I received a good sex education growing up, but I think this may have caused me to have high expectations about sex as a result. I find myself becoming bored quite easily.
Sex can be boring! Yep, I said it! What matters is that you are open and honest enough to talk to your spouse about anything that you might not be happy with, and then appreciate each other’s needs enough to work on building a connection that takes each perspective into account.
If I have an expectation of my role being just to please my spouse when we have sex, then I am going to struggle to find a voice for the things that I would like to do differently. Of course, sex should be a selfless act where you are both wrapped up in the beauty that results in giving of yourself to one another, but it doesn’t work when it’s one-sided.
Sex should be a selfless act where you are able to share yourself without losing who you are in the process.
We all need to consider our sexpectations in detail, because this is what defines our sexual connection within marriage. The more we learn to be intentional about seeking guidance and understanding in this essential area of our lives, the more room we will create for growth and a genuine, fulfilling sex life with the person we loved enough to marry.
What sexpectations are you holding on to right now that are coming between you and your spouse? Consider the following questions as a way to help you start exploring this important area of your life in more detail:
- How did the home you grew up in impact your expectations about sex?
- What did life before marriage teach you about what to expect from sex?
- How did your spouse influence your expectations about what sex with them would be like once married?
- Now that you are married, what is one thing that you wish someone told you about married sex before you said “I do”?
- If you could change one thing about your sex life right now, what would it be and why?