Today I heard from a woman who’s started to make some changes in her marriage by saying “yes” when her husband initiates sexual activity, sexual touch, or non-sexual touch. But what’s next? Once you’ve taken that first step, then what?
It probably doesn’t matter what steps you take and in what order, as long as you are taking steps and moving forward. If there are things you used to enjoy, it might make sense to start there—but the important thing is to pick something and then work on doing it.
Here are some ideas:
- Fully participate in sexual activity. Your body’s there already, so bring your mind and your attention and your heart along as well. This might mean focusing your attention on the physical sensations your body is experiencing, making a point to touch or kiss your husband, or looking him in the eyes at some point during sex.
- Initiate every now and then. Give yourself a frequency, say, every two weeks. At least once every two weeks, you’ll be the one to suggest sex.
- Touch your husband outside the bedroom. This might mean sexual touch (such as groping his favorite body part), but it may also be that you touch him on the shoulder when you walk by his chair or drop a kiss on the top of his head.
- When your husband kisses you goodbye or hello, put down what you’re doing, put your hands on his shoulders or face, and give your full attention to the kiss.
- Talk to your husband about sex the next day. It’s easy to get into the habit of compartmentalizing our sex life so all sexual conversation and activity happen only in certain places or at particular times. Decompartmentalize. Say something to him when he walks by you. It can be explicit—“I really liked it when you licked my breast.” It can be vague— “I enjoyed last night.” It can be in code, which is especially helpful if you have kids around—“Dessert was really good last night, wasn’t it?”
- Have sex with the light on.
- Let your husband see you dress and undress.
- Sleep in a nightgown rather than a t-shirt and sweats—or sleep in the nude.
Now, some of these things may sound intimidating if they’ve never been part of your marriage or if it’s been a really long time since you’ve done them. So break them into baby steps, and just look at one baby step at a time.
I used to sleep in a t-shirt and underwear every night. The only nightgown I’d bought in over twenty years was flannel. One of the things I tried to change was what I slept in. I didn’t have a particular goal in mind: I just knew that I wanted to try something different. So one day when I was at the mall with my daughter and noticed a sale on nightwear, I bought two nightgowns that were the same fabric as the t-shirts I was used to. For about a year, I wore nightgowns instead of t-shirts most nights; I was still wearing underwear underneath them. As our sexual frequency began to ramp up, it became easier to just go without the undies. When I bought new nightgowns, I started to get ones that were a little slinkier than I’d had before.
Although I do like sleeping in the nude now and then, my husband and I have agreed that with kids still in the house and our middle-aged middle-of-the-night bathroom trips, we’ll wait a couple years before doing that on a regular basis. A couple weeks ago, I accidentally left my underwear on while I was getting ready for bed, and my husband thought I was mad at him. In his mind, my new habit of wearing no underwear to bed had become a sign of openness between us.
Once you’ve taken your first step or two and have gotten comfortable with your new “normal,” look at what you can do next. If it seems too much, break it down into smaller stages that feel less intimidating. Even a baby step is a step—as long as you take it.
Image courtesy of Iamnee / FreeDigitalPhotos.net