Ok here’s a little bedroom tip. Put a bag of popcorn in the microwave before hand. That way, when you’re done you have a treat. –Liz Lemon “30 Rock”
Consider this the biblical alternative to the top left corner of Cosmo. (You know what they print there every month.) Sex is tricky. Both of you have different preferences and desires, and then there’s the insecurity you are not blowing your partner’s mind with your sexual super powers. This list, which references Dr. Douglas Rosenau’s advice in “A Celebration of Sex for Newlyweds,” does not suggest any fool-proof positions or bizarre genital exercises. Instead, it helps you lay a foundation for sexual fun and union with your spouse that will only get better until death do you part.
1. Sex is Not the Point of Marriage
You need to treat sex as a means to an end. Sex is a manifestation of your love and union, not the purpose of it. “Sex should never be just a physical rush, but a tender, passionate connection. Without the playful, loving companionship, sex becomes another buzz that loses its perspective and has increasingly diminishing returns.” (6-7) If you have problems in your marriage, you will have problems in your bedroom. It’s a given. But, the more work you put into strengthening your marriage, the better your sex life will be.
2. Make it Fun
Sex doesn’t always have to be a solemn, serious act. It can be goofy and silly, with both of you cracking jokes until tears roll down your face. Take the pressure off. This way you can try something new and giggle rather than cringe when you don’t get it right the first time. Turn a tickle fight or game of tag into foreplay. “You cannot work at creating better lovemaking–you and your mate have to play at it.” (2)
3. Learn Something
Find out what your partner wants during sex! This is not to say you should only focus on what your spouse wants, but sex is a two-way street. Ask your partner about their preferences in the bedroom. Rosenau calls this “get[ting] a Ph.D in your mate.” (3)
On the flip side, learn what you like. You can’t coach them unless you know what turns you on. And how can you know what turns you on unless you know a little something about sex? Always be adding to your sexual manual. While technique is no replacement for emotional connection, “the couple with their act together sexually know how to create ambience and be uninhibitedly sensual and playful. They understand various positions of intercourse, and they have built a comfortable, exciting repertoire of sexual moves.” (4)
4. Give Your Bodies a Break
Becoming comfortable naked is hard – particularly for women. Our culture’s message is, “Your body is wrong. Hate yourself.” It’s up to you to tell mainstream culture it’s wrong, and you are going to love the body God gave you. Channel your self-acceptance into assertiveness in the bedroom. Focus on enjoying sex and uniting with your partner rather than any real or imagined physical flaws.
As you need to learn to stop holding yourself up to an impossible standard, you need to do the same for your spouse. Honing in on what you’d love to fix about them will not make you any happier. And I’m sure being criticized is not a turn-on for your mate. You expect them to love you for who you are; do the same for them. “You reap the benefit (or destructiveness if you stay obsessive) of nurturing and helping your partner revel in sexual appeal… Unconditional love and acceptance and affirmation set the temperature for some fantastic sex.” (2-3)
5. Communication is the key
This is such a cliché, but it’s true. Assuming you grew up in church, talking about sexual preferences and interests may make you squeamish, but put on your adult underpants and deal with it. Unless you’re married to an X-Man, your partner cannot read your mind, therefore, they can’t be sure what you really like in bed unless you tell them. What are you both comfortable doing? What are you more hesitant about? What do you like or dislike? What sounds like fun to try? This is discussed in detail in my previous article, Christian Counseling for 3 Myths About Marriage Fights.
6. ‘Put a Bird On It’
This is a Portlandia reference. We do not encourage introducing animals into your lovemaking. While a lot of couples blame sexual dysfunction on being married too long rather than the real problem, emotional friction, there is something to be said for changing it up once in a while. Be imaginative; plan sexy surprises. Does your wife keep a stack of Harlequin romance novels hidden in the closet? Go all-out on a cliché-romantic evening, even the goofy rose petals up the stairs. Does your husband start waving and shouting about whether Marvel or DC comics is better? Rent or buy a rad superhero costume and spring it on him after you have sent the kids elsewhere.
7. Make Time for Sex
Most newlyweds reading his book probably rolled their eyes when Rosenau suggested they could even be too busy for sex. But it happens. You get these things called kids, jobs, bills and visits from in-laws. You are making an effort in the bedroom if you actually wipe the baby puke off your shirt before passing out on top of the covers. Rosenau’s not suggesting you create some military regimen where you have sex for one hour every Monday and Thursday evening. But, if you don’t make it a priority, it won’t happen.
It helps to know when you feel most sexual. Try to schedule during these times so you will be more likely to make those chores wait a while longer.
8. Be Romantic
You can be romantic with your clothes on. This is where knowing your partner comes in handy. Does it make your husband glow to have his ego stroked a bit? (“Tell me about that thing you know so much about”) Does it cheer up your wife to have a sweet voicemail waiting for her at lunch? Without resorting to sexist stereotypes, your spouse is not your gender, meaning there are probably some nothing gestures you think are stupid that will make them want to crawl all over you (in a good way).
9. Naked and Unashamed
Just as you shouldn’t be ashamed of one another, don’t be ashamed of sex. God created sex. And then he had someone write a whole book about it (Song of Solomon). That means it’s okay for you to do it. But that doesn’t make it any less difficult to overcome cultural hang-ups that paint sex as vulgar or dirty or something Christians don’t talk about.
“My beloved is mine and I am his; he browses among the lilies. Until the day breaks and the shadows flee, turn my beloved, and be like a gazelle or like a young stag on the rugged hills.” (Song of Solomon 2:16-17 NIV) Unless it took a lot longer in the Old Testament to procreate than it does now, it can be assumed the two lovers weren’t just using sex for making babies. They were unabashedly celebrating God-given physical union until dawn.
10. Make Intimacy Intimate
“There is no replacement for what God intended sex to do for intimate marriages. It is the framework for expressing many powerful and exciting emotions such as joy, love, trust, and playfulness.” (7-8) Just as sex can be fun; it can also be a time of showing your partner how you feel about them. Be vulnerable, warm and affectionate. Show gratitude as they make your skin sing and show your love by doing the same.
Christian Counseling About Sex
If you and your spouse are having sexual problems, or if you and your fiancée would like a few pointers about how to ease into lovemaking, consider making an appointment with a professional Christian counselor. They’re eager to help you talk about your private problems and figure out solutions that will give your greater freedom and fun in the bedroom.
“A Celebration of Sex for Newlyweds” Dr. Douglas RosenauPhotos
Married couple– Flickr user Wedding Photography by Jon Day; Lillies– Flickr user Andrea 44