It may seem a little strange to have a blog on a marriage site about returning to sex when it’s been a while, but many, many couples report that they have little to no sex in their marriage. This can be the case for several reasons; chronic illness that makes sex difficult or painful, emotional pains in the relationship, busy schedules, or a lack of attraction for one another.
Eventually, most couples who are not having sex would like to start having sex. But, even when both feel that way it can be difficult to get started on their journey to intimacy. Here are just few tips to make that easier.
Start with talking about sex:
Couples often struggle to be honest with one another about their marital intimacy. It can feel incredibly intimidating to tell your spouse, “I’m not happy with our sex life.” This is even more difficult for couples who don’t talk about other areas of pain within the marriage. Even so, I encourage you to speak both truthfully and gently with your spouse.
Remember that anytime you have to have a difficult conversation, begin by telling your spouse the things that are going well. Don’t open the conversation with, “We really need to have sex more often.” Instead, start by telling your spouse what you appreciate about the relationship already. Then, after you’ve talked about that, mention that you feel that the sexual relationship has been lacking and that you’d like to work to improve it.
By the way, many, many couples that I work with actually agree on how often they would like to have sex when I ask them. The only reason that they are not having sex more often is because little problems stand in the way. You’ll never know if this is the case for you unless you talk about it.
Start working on the problems you can solve:
There can be many reasons that couples have not had sex in a while. Some of these reasons are a little easier to solve than others. If the things standing in your way are solve-able on your own, put a plan in place now to do so.
Are you experiencing a lack of time to make love? Find ways to clear up your schedule. This might mean working less overtime, getting friends to watch your children over night, or simply letting some things fall off of your to-do list (think about the never-ending list of errands and chores most of us have). Sometimes hiring someone to clean your house or take care of the yard outside can be one of the best decision for your love life.
That being said, don’t be afraid to schedule sex. Couples often get a little fearful of scheduling sex thinking that it takes away spontaneity or makes sex a “chore.” But here’s the reality – we prioritize and schedule the things that are most important to us. You schedule when you go to work and when you leave work (or at least your boss does), you schedule what time you’ll go to church, and you schedule when you’re going to eat dinner. Now you may not physically write these events in your calendar, but you are well aware of what time (or at least a general idea of the time) each event will occur. Do the same with sex. Set in mind how you’ll make time and prioritize your love making.
Seek help for the more difficult scenarios:
Of course, there are times when just clearing out your schedule isn’t enough to start having sex again. Maybe you’ve been emotionally distant for quite some time or even physically distant and sleeping in separate rooms. There might be past hurts such as addictions or infidelity that have made it difficult to engage in sex, or there might be medical issues that have made sex difficult.
If this is the case, seek the help that you need to bring sex back to your marriage. Men, see a urologist or your primary care physician if you’re struggling with erectile dysfunction. Women, if sex is painful, see your gynecologist or a pelvic pain specialist. For past hurts (or current ones) in the relationship, consider seeing a counselor or a certified sex therapist. If there have been affairs in the past or struggles with pornography use, check out the article here or the podcast here to begin working toward healing.
I fully believe that you can heal your relationship if you are both willing to move toward relationship health. Much of that can be done with the help of some good articles and a therapist to walk with you. If you need help finding a therapist in your area, follow this link for a Christian counselor or this one for a Christian sex therapist. If you’d like to talk to me about consultation services, feel free to contact me and let me know you’re interested. We’ll set up a brief phone call to see if we’d be a good match for one another.
However you decide to seek help, my prayer for you is that God will awaken love and desire within your marriage and that He will help you to forgive the hurts from the past.
Believing God for hope and healing in your marriage,