I just need to say that I’m feeling woefully, painfully inadequate with this post. There are many, many professionals that can address this far better than I ever could. This is something so important! I hope that my talking about some of the ways that I found my sexual self might help somebody else.
So we’ve spent years trying to do what’s right and keep our sexuality at bay until marriage. Then we have to embrace it, right? Sometimes, believe it or not, that’s harder than shutting down our sexuality, for whatever reason. Could it be the thought that we’re sinning that keeps us from fully embracing our sexuality? Could it be lack of knowledge and experience? Fear or embarrassment? These are some of the things we have to change.
This is my analogy for my kids. Sex is like a driver’s license. Everyone says you can’t do it yet. You’re not old enough, you’re not ready, you don’t have the piece of paper that says you can do it. Then one day, all of a sudden, viola! You can do it. Now, do you go around thinking you’re breaking the law when you do it? Do you try not to do it? Do you feel guilty when you do? Of course not!!! You are DRIVING, baby!!!! Everywhere, anywhere, anytime. Oh, mom, do you need a gallon of milk? Oh, good! Can I go get it for you, please? And so on. This is the attitude we need to have with sex. We must stop looking at sex as a sin. It is NOT A SIN. Start looking at it as a privilege. A privilege you have earned when you said “I do”. Something that, if you live righteously, keep your temple covenants, and endure to the end, you GET to do for ETERNITY. In a perfected, resurrected body. Doesn’t that sound nice?
We need to view sex as God given, God created, and God sanctioned–even commanded. These truths came as little lightbulb moments for me, over time. Satan has really twisted us up with regards to sex. Before marriage he tempts us to do it, do it, do it. After marriage, the message is, oh, you’re so bad and this is so wrong, you don’t need that, you shouldn’t feel like that. That is so horribly backwards.
So we need to change. For me I was able to really come into my own sexuality when I:
- Wanted to change
- Wanted to please
- Softened my heart
- Learned about sex
- Thought about sex
- Talked about sex with Conan
- Improved my body image and self esteem
- Separated the little irritations of married life from our sex life
- Forgave Conan of the hurts and slights, stopped holding a grudge
- Had more frequent sex
I wanted to change. Conan was hurt by my refusal. I could hear it in his voice and see it in his face. It became a source of contention in our marriage. I decided that while I didn’t think there was anything wrong with not desiring sex all the time, there wasn’t anything wrong with desiring sex, either. I wanted our marriage to be better. Everything I’d been reading included sex as part of a good marriage. I decided that I would follow the advice I was reading and hearing about. I wanted to change.
I wanted to please. Even when seriously ticked off and unhappy with Conan, I still want to make him happy. I heard that you can make a man happy by very simple things. I realized it was true. Why was I unwilling to do some of the little things that would make him happy, sexual and nonsexual? They weren’t difficult and they weren’t demeaning. I decided to do some little things to make him happy. I wanted to please him.
I prayed. I prayed that I would like sex and want sex more. I prayed that I would have an orgasm. I prayed that I would be comfortable and relaxed. I prayed that I would only have good feelings towards Conan. I prayed that our sex life would improve. Pray, pray, pray.
I softened my heart towards him. I told myself I wasn’t going to think of him as a sex maniac anymore, always obsessed with sex and just wanting to “get some”. I learned that he was NOT a sex maniac. That sex for him was NOT just getting his own selfish pleasure. I wasn’t going to think he was disgusting and juvenile for thinking about and wanting sex all the time. I started feeling tender towards him when he showed his desire for me. I softened my heart.
I learned about sex. Oh, I already knew all the technical stuff, body parts, positions, types of sex, how to have an orgasm, what I liked, what he liked. I don’t mean that. I mean that I learned why sex is good for marriage. Why it’s good for a relationship. Why it’s good for a woman and for a man. How men and women respond differently. How my way is not better than his way. How we compliment each other. How we can improve our relationship out of bed. I learned about sex in a way that had never occurred to me before.
I thought about sex. (I did not become preoccupied with it.) I thought of the little things that Conan likes and how I can do that and no one else can. And how he is happy and content afterwards. I thought of the little things that I like that he does. I thought of ways to find time for it. I thought of little sexual things and the positives that come from sex and felt happy. I began associating sexual thoughts with a little burst of happiness. So I thought about sex during the day now and then.
I talked about sex with Conan. This is very important. We must talk about sex with our spouse. We have to get over our embarrassment. Repeat after me: There is nothing to be embarrassed about. There is nothing to be embarrassed about. We talked about how sex made us feel emotionally and physically. We teased each other and flirted a little. We talked seriously about our feelings. We talked about what we wanted to get out of our sexual relationship. We talked and talked and we continue to talk about sex.
I improved my body image and self esteem. I’m not sure how I did that. I think it comes with maturity. One day a thought came into my head. That thought was this: Conan has been telling me I’m beautiful and desirable consistently for our entire married life. Why haven’t I been believing him? If he thinks I am, well then, I am. Conan has said to me several times, “Look, am I hard or not? Was it difficult for me to get that way? No. You are beautiful.” So I began to look at myself with his eyes, not mine. We women are brutally, unfairly critical of ourselves. We can’t believe what we are saying to ourselves. Once I stopped being so concerned about every little flaw I had, I was able to relax and enjoy and be open to lots of wonderful sexual experiences. I really did see myself as beautiful and sexy and nice and good and I improved how I felt about myself.
I stopped allowing little things that irritated me about Conan to kill any desire for sex. In the past he would do something that irritated me and I would think, “Well Conan, you just blew it. I was thinking about sex tonight, but that’s too bad now. If you wanted any sex you’re certainly not getting any now.” We’re all going to irritate each other now and again. Perhaps even daily. Punishing your spouse by withholding sex is not going to make those little irritations go away. In fact, I believe that withholding sex will magnify those little irritants and make you find even more irritants. Sex is bonding and causes a woman to feel more loving towards her husband, thus those irritating things he does are minimized to things that don’t matter in the long run. Don’t allow the things your spouse does to irritate you cause you to punish him by withholding sex.
I forgave Conan for the things he did to hurt me. Conan is not perfect. In fact, he has contributed greatly to the ups and downs of our marriage. I will not disparage him on the internet or anywhere else, and this blog is about me. But suffice it to say that I needed to forgive him for things. Now, I am (was) the Queen of Holding a Grudge. I could dredge up every last thing he ever did to hurt me from the first week of our marriage. I could go in chronological order with The List. He did this and then he did this and then this and this. I could make him pay for it all. And believe me, I did. If I wanted our marriage to survive I was going to have to forgive him of everything and close the door on the past. If he could forgive me for things, I could forgive him. Forgiving him made me want to be close to him and want to love him and make love to him.
I had more frequent sex. Bottom line: Have more sex, want more sex. I know that seems simplistic, but it’s true. No expounding necessary.
All these things helped me find my sexual self. It has been a journey. I have found so much more happiness in my marriage. My love for Conan has grown exponentially. I am happier in my marriage. Conan is happier. Of course things are not perfect, but we have eternity for that, right?