Many women acknowledge that they have “control issues.” Maybe they were required to suppress their emotions in childhood. Maybe they grew up in a family with out-of-control behavior. Maybe they are in a season of life with a lot of struggles and they need to feel like the bottom isn’t falling out of everything. Maybe they just like to be in charge (that would be me).

Other women have learned to feel shame regarding their sexuality. Maybe they grew up in a family that treated female sexuality as something to be hidden rather than enjoyed. Or they learned to suppress their own sexual feelings as a way of avoiding unwanted attention from males while they were growing up. Instead of experiencing arousal and rejoicing that God designed their bodies to feel so sexy, they feel ashamed and slutty.

Restricting Your Sexuality

In a comment on a post several months ago, a husband said that is wife is “a gatekeeper of her own sexual desires. She has even expressed to me that she’s afraid of what might happen if she were to just let go.”

A wife who might be considered a “gate-keeper” typically is one who limits the position, activities, timing, and location. She is the one who determines what is allowed in the marriage bed.

We usually think of this in terms of restricting things that our husbands request: lighting, what kinds of lingerie is acceptable, oral sex, or a sexual position that isn’t face-to-face.

Sometimes, however, it is our own sexuality that we restrict.

Sexual arousal and ecstasy feel unlike other experiences in our lives. We are out of control. Our bodies tense in unusual ways. We may develop a sex flush. We produce vaginal lubrication. Our nipples get erect and sensitive. We make sounds we don’t make at any other time. We suddenly like a kind of sexual touch that we reject when we are more in control. We may experience female ejaculation. Our toes and facial muscles clench. We are flooded with feelings and sensations that seem to have a mind of their own. We lose mental contact with everything but what we are experiencing at that moment.

We are completely out of control.

When we have control or shame issues, the hardest thing to lose control of is ourselves—so we clamp down on anything that might send us into completely free sexual joy. This might mean that we restrict our own sexuality so much that we become inhibited. We fight our own sexual arousal and response so much that we become sexually cold (what used to be called frigid)

Letting Go

My husband’s biggest complaint about our sex life wasn’t the lack of frequency but the lack of my full participation when we did have sex.

Quite often, I was afraid to let my body do what it seemed to want to do. I just couldn’t let myself go.

Rather than allow myself to see what happened if I let loose, I began to pull my sexuality in so I could control it. When my sexuality tried to escape its bounds (in other words, if I found myself wanting to really let go), I would pull even harder so everything would be back in place where it belonged.

I was so busy concentrating on my body staying within certain bounds that I often was unable to enjoy even the sexual experiences within those bounds.

Concentrating to maintain control over certain physical responses to sexual arousal meant that I wasn’t relaxed enough to really enjoy sex at all.

In my effort to maintain sexual control, I had become my own worst enemy.

Women have shared some of their concerns about letting go and losing control.

  • The kids might hear.
  • My husband might think I’m slutty.
  • My stomach will jiggle too much.
  • My husband will see my orgasm face, which feels pretty ugly to me.
  • I know female ejaculation is actually a thing, but I still feel like I’m peeing so I’d rather avoid it.
  • I let go one time and it scared me how much I liked it. I didn’t seem like myself at all.
  • My husband might expect me to be the same way next time, and I’m pretty sure I can’t make myself be like that very often. I’d just rather not set expectations that I can’t always meet.
  • What if I like it too much?
  • My husband might like it too much and he’ll finish too fast.
  • I can’t imagine God seeing me like that.
  • If I let myself go in physical terms, I might miss out on the emotional connection I need from sex.

When I was repressing my own sexuality, many of these things were going through my own mind.

I confess, though, that there was one other reason I wouldn’t let myself go: fear.

I was afraid to fully trust my husband. Sexually letting myself go required me to completely drop all the barriers between me and my husband. He would see me as I truly was.

Facing the Final Frontier

The Bible does lay sexual boundaries for us. (You can find a good treatment of this at The Marriage Bed.) Within those boundaries, though, we have total freedom with our husbands.

I worked on other aspects of sex for a long time. I participated in our sexual encounters and learned to relax enough to enjoy what we were doing a little. I got comfortable with an increased frequency. I learned to initiate. I began to experience some of the benefits of this effort to our marriage and to my own sense of contentment.

At some point, I realized that I still had one final barrier up: my unwillingness to experience full sexual freedom and release all my sexual inhibitions.

It was the final barrier to full intimacy with my husband.

If I truly let myself go, I would be naked and unashamed—and totally vulnerable.

I knew, though, that the only way to reach out toward this full intimacy was to let go of all the things holding me back.

The process of learning to let go was a slow one for me.

I began to share my thoughts, feelings, and concerns with my husband and ask him for reassurance—which he gave me. I talked with him about sex outside the bedroom to help us become more comfortable talking about it in the bedroom as well. I also decided to believe the things my husband said about what he thought and felt about my body’s reactions.

When the only thing I could think of was my jiggling tummy, he was surprised because he hadn’t even noticed it. (Apparently he was too distracted by some other jiggling going on.) My concern about sound was addressed by looking for opportunities when our kids weren’t home or were asleep (along with war documentaries on the tv to create a distracting sound).

I continued to use my prayer, self-talk, and deep breathing to retrain my mind and body away from closing up in order to relax instead.

I learned to say to my husband, “Honey, I just allowed myself to experience xyz. I’m feeling really vulnerable right now. Will you please let me know that you love me and that this was good?”

It took time and patience and a leap of faith, but my efforts paid off.

Over time, I lost every one of my sexual inhibitions with my husband. Every single one.

When I am in his arms, I am truly naked and unashamed—and it is very, very good.

And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. Genesis 2:25

What about you?

Do you allow yourself to experience full sexual freedom with your husband, or do your responses reflect sexual inhibitions?

If you haven’t yet embraced your full sexuality, what is your next step?

Image courtesy of graur razvan ionut at

19 Thoughts on “Are You Naked and Unashamed?

  1. I saw the title of this and was totally taken aback. This is something God has convicted me on these past couple of weeks, and just yesterday I formulated my thoughts into writing and even got brave enough to share them with my husband.

    What God revealed to me (via a fiction book nonetheless) that when I am trying to keep myself covered, that what I am really cloaking myself in is shame, unworthiness and pride. I need to strip myself of that shame, feelings of being unworthy and pride and I can do that physically by not hiding behind behind my clothes, a towel or the sheets.

    When I have that desire to hide when my husband’s eyes are around, I have been going through the steps in my mind, “I am stripping myself of shame, unworthiness and pride. I don’t want to carry this around and hide behind it any more.” I then follow my thoughts by my actions. I then stand before my husband truly naked (body, spirit, soul and mind).

    A few days ago, I actually walked into our bedroom naked. I didn’t even have anything in my hands that I could cover myself with if I wanted. It got his attention. 😉 Then last night I shared what God had convicted me on and what I am trying to do. He said, “That’s what you were doing the other night.” He shared that he was very surprised because I’m “not that way”, and then he shared how he noticed I wasn’t ashamed, I looked confident and like I knew what I wanted. Did I feel that way? No… I was not confident in myself, but I was confident in the fact that I no longer want to be “clothed” in shame, unworthiness or pride. It was good to know that my spirit shined through the vulnerability of my flesh.

    My fear with totally stripping myself down is that I am opening myself up to judgement, to humiliation, to being fully exposed in all my “ugliness” and “flaws”. He could reject me so easily, with one wrong look, one bad word, one wrong action. But I also came to the realization, that as I am spiritually nothing on my own but I am clothed in Christ, that I experienced another level of the comparison of marriage with Christ and the church. As I am stripped and naked with nothing to hide and nothing to give but myself just as I am, Christ covered me in His love. My husband also covered me in his love.

    Now that I equate covering myself with material, like pajama’s, a robe, towels, sheets, a shower curtain, etc to covering myself in shame, unworthiness and pride, it’s not quite as appealing and I don’t want to live like that one more day.

    Sorry this is so long. It’s amazing how many things God is using to confirm the same message over and over to me today. This post was one of the things.

    • I often have that experience, when a message is so important that God sends it to me in many ways. Standing truly naked in front of our husbands can take such courage. It is wonderful that your husband noticed not just your nakedness but your lack of shame. He truly saw the whole of you.

      Thank you for sharing this.

    • Wow! Love this.

  2. I forgot to mention… one of my biggest “coverings” was darkness.

  3. FarAboveRubies on September 21, 2014 at 5:03 pm said:

    I was thinking about this very thing last week and the fact that my husband and I have nothing to be ashamed of, between us. I read about how some women have a hard time being unashamed in front of their husbands, whether it’s the lights being on full blast, or being completely nude. It must be very hard to accept what is in front of the mirror when we have the media blasting us with what is acceptable. Don’t you believe that lie from the media for one second!

    Our marriage started off on good footing. My husband sat me down and straightened me out about his perspective of my beauty, through his eyes. He would not let me go until I saw his perspective. This happened at the beginning of our marriage.

    Part of letting go is accepting your husband’s perspective as the truth, according to his eyes. Our own body image can destroy our sexual freedom, if we perceive something as negative. I must have accepted my husband’s perspective a long time ago. I could always dance with delight completely nude (wearing only stilettos) in front of my husband with the bright living room lights blaring, with the music on. Trust me, I am no prize and never was, but to my husband, I am that million dollar babe. He tells me just that. I must believe him.

  4. I would like to share one more layer to this conversation. PTSD. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

    For some of us who have experienced sexual abuse (this includes being exposed to sexual materials by an adult as a child, inappropriate touches of any kind – including the buttocks and goes as far as intercourse or penetration by objects) Yes…I just went there! We have our own triggers to work through during intimacy with our husbands.

    For years I never understood why sex could feel so frustrating to me. I always attributed it to a disconnect between my husband and I…with most of the responsibility being on him.

    After the last two years of flash backs to sexual abuse memories that were repressed and therefore unexperienced in my soul…I finally made sense.

    My frustration was really the times I was triggering to experiences of sexual abuse. Let me be clear – I did not flash back to a specific memory…rather my body and soul remembered sensations, feelings and experiences that were tied to a traumatic event.

    What I finally understood is that my body and soul were literally “going someplace else” and I was no longer present in the safety of being with my husband.

    I wanted to share this here because I think that the “gatekeeping” signs you mentioned can also be signs of “triggering” during intimacy.

    I didn’t recognize this until I was working through the abusive memories with a counselor.

    Working through the triggering is taking considerable effort on my part to bring my subconscious back to my husband.

    I just wanted to let other women know that this is a normal process of our healing. The control I sought was to feel safe, yes…but it was triggered by feelings, events, memories that I did not choose.

    There is hope – I am healing – Our Intimacy is finding freedom!

    • You are so right. For many women, control is an important aspect of the healing process. Having some control over the marriage bed, at least for a time, can be especially important early in healing.

      So many of us just say “this is the way I am” or “I don’t know why” without ever pursuing that healing. A loving husband will work to do what his wife needs so she can heal, even if that means that she is in charge of their sex life for a time.

      Sadly, facing difficult memories is a hard thing to do. There were times when I thought I would rather have my husband think I was just a selfish wife than have to face a particular set of memories.

      Thank you for sharing this insight–and big (((hugs))) to you on a continued journey of healing.

    • A friend just posted this article about body memories on Facebook today. I thought about your comment and wanted to come back to share the article even though it isn’t recent. The article discusses what you’ve described about the non-specific flashbacks.

  5. FarAboveRubies on September 22, 2014 at 6:13 pm said:


    That article is so good. It struck a chord with me. It is a way for me to deal with the abuse that happened to me at the hands (and mouth) of my Fil. I plan on sharing this article with my husband. He is really just a little injured boy inside. He had it so much worse. Maybe the idea behind this article will be a way to deal with it and heal. The article said heal yourself but I would use the approach, let God heal you through this.

  6. Great post on an important subject!

    We hear this all the time from women, or their husbands. Often the couple has really great sex, with the woman letting go beyond anything in the past – then after she feels bad. So she redoubles her self-control so she does not do the same, or worse, again. Or you have a woman who was fine having sex every day “for her husband” until she climaxes two days in a row. This make her feel like “bad” or “wrong”, and to avoid it happening again she starts to limit how often they have sex.

    I suspect many women fear they desire something which they think is or might be “wrong”. Limiting sex is a sure way to avoid crossing the line, but it does a lot of harm to the woman and to her marriage. Far better to deal with the fear. What is she afraid will happen? Would it really be wrong? How would her husband feel it it happened?

  7. “I was afraid to fully trust my husband. Sexually letting myself go required me to completely drop all the barriers between me and my husband. He would see me as I truly was.” This is brilliant and very introspective.

  8. As a guy, I’d like to speak for (most of) Team Husband and say that Wife + Naked = Good. It’s pretty much as simple as that.

  9. 40SomethingF on October 2, 2014 at 9:46 pm said:

    This article is so powerful to me that I’ve pondered how to respond for the past few days. As Jennifer alluded to, this quote is just so perfect:

    ““I was afraid to fully trust my husband. Sexually letting myself go required me to completely drop all the barriers between me and my husband. He would see me as I truly was.”

    As well as this..

    “At some point, I realized that I still had one final barrier up: my unwillingness to experience full sexual freedom and release all my sexual inhibitions.”

    In my case, it was actually a desire I had…a powerful one that I had kept private, to myself, for a long time. Then, when I was open with him, I discovered he had the same desire, as well. Talk about a moment that brings you closer together – to discover you have the same fantasy/urge/need, but didn’t know it.

    Finally, that last barrier — simply being afraid of our own desire(s) — was taken down, not unlike the Berlin Wall.

    For us, the fantasy was simply an extension of something we loved already — making love doggy style. I had always wanted him to thrust harder. A lot harder. I wanted to be *done*, to put a tame description on it.

    To find out he wanted the same thing, had ached for it for so long..was a relief, as well as a spark for us.

    The rest, as they say, is history.

    Thank you for the wonderful post.

    • Just think what you would have missed if you hadn’t taken the risk of being vulnerable. The revealing of something that has been kept hidden can be a moment of deep intimacy.

      How awesome for both of you to find out the other had the same desire as you did!

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