For most of our marriage, sex was a source of conflict. Which one of us would win—the one who wanted sex, or the one who didn’t? No matter how it was resolved, one of us would be unhappy; the marriage felt divided rather than unified.

I would read about people feeling a sense of sexual unity and a one-flesh-ness to their marriages. I never really believed it. With all the sexual conflict and division in our marriage, I simply couldn’t imagine what this meant.

Sex was a war. Whichever of us “won” a particular sex battle wasn’t really happy. My husband would get sex, but he wouldn’t have the emotional intimacy that he craved as much as he did the physical release. Or I would be off the hook, as I saw it, but I was deprived of the emotional intimacy that I craved because my husband was so grouchy and physically uncomfortable. Even during the rare encounters that were mutually desired and enjoyed, there was an underlying tension, with each of us knowing that it was a fluke, that this wasn’t the way our sex life really was. Sex was a reminder of what we didn’t have in our marriage. It was a war, and neither of us ever won. Our marriage certainly didn’t.

Three years ago, I took a step of changing my sexual interactions with my husband. It was mostly something of an experiment, just to see if it actually changed anything. At best, I figured it might make my husband less depressed because he’d be having more orgasms and he wouldn’t have to go to battle to get them.

I didn’t expect the overall improvement in our marriage that I’ve seen. Despite my emotional slump of the last two weeks, our marriage is stronger and better than it’s ever been. I’m not surprised. Working on our sex life didn’t magically make anything better, but it removed a major source of tension between us. Without an overlay of sexual discord on everything, we were able to work on our relationship in increasingly healthy ways. We each felt encouraged and supported by each other since we were no longer in a constant sexual battle. We developed a sense of facing the world together rather than facing off against each other. Working on sex changed our marriage.

I didn’t realize that working on sex would change sex as well.

Yesterday, my husband and I sent flirty texts to each other throughout the day. He made dinner reservations so we could have a date. We had a lovely steak dinner seated next to the fireplace in the restaurant. We came home. We went upstairs.

In my husband’s arms last night, I realized that it isn’t just our marriage that has changed; sex itself feels different. As we worked on sex, our communication, love, and sense of unity improved—and these things, in turn, gave us a new version of sex.

The frequency, involvement, and nature of our sexual activity are different, but it’s more than that. Our relationship itself has changed, so sex simply means something different than it used to. Sex is richer, imbued with a deeper texture. Even a romp that seems more about an orgasm than about romance happens over a foundation of love, care, and communication that never used to be there. It isn’t just about the spark of sex; it’s also about the embers that keep the heart alive.

Sex is now a comfort. It is a healing balm. It is a unifier. It is a reminder of what we are and what we have built.

Sex itself transformed into something completely different than I had ever imagined it could be.

Sex isn’t what it used to be.

It’s even better.

21 Thoughts on “Sex: It’s Not What It Used to Be

  1. You said you changed your sexual interactions and it made your husband less depressed, so what’d you do??

    • This blog is the story of that, although you can find the beginning of the story here.

      I had spent a lot of years sexually refusing my husband and otherwise controlling our sex life. The first thing I changed was that when we had sex, I fully participated instead of giving “duty sex.” The second thing was that I stopped saying “no” to his sexual advances.

  2. Cindy B on October 12, 2013 at 3:56 pm said:

    Woop Woop!!! 🙂

  3. Does your husband read your posts, does he know you keep this blog?!

  4. Well, you are a very courageous couple for sharing your feelings and weaknesses. Even taking into account the annonymity, it takes a lot of courage to be so transparent. Maybe that’s one of the reasons it is so good. Thanks both of you!

  5. Big Guy on October 12, 2013 at 6:53 pm said:

    Yes, I am well aware of the blog. No, I do not read every post. It is not necessary. My wife would not be able to post something embarrassing about me because, according to Christ, we are one and posting something embarrassing about me would cause her to post something embarrassing about herself. I am very comfortable with her level of discretion as it relates to her calling in this ministry. One of the truly great things about a Godly, Christian marriage is I have no need to ever check up on my spouse.

  6. trixie1466 on October 12, 2013 at 7:16 pm said:

    Big Guy, nice to cyber meet you! I don’t think I’ve ever seen you comment before. I love how you’re supporting your lovely wife!!! Way to to go!

  7. Leila James on October 12, 2013 at 8:03 pm said:

    Know that you (as well as your husband) just encouraged me. I’ve been married for 7 years now and have refused more times than I care to admit. Sure, I’m tired. After running behind 2 year old twins and doing everything else in between of course I’m exhausted. But that doesn’t mean that I have the right to control our sex life. At this moment I have prayerfully decided to say yes. Every time. In spite of how *I* feel I will make the choice to say yes. And I will let him know that I do want him just as much – if not more than I did 4 years ago. Thank you both! God bless.

    Your husband blessed me with his comment 🙂

  8. Welcome! I will say some special prayers for you as you begin the journey of “yes.” I have twins, too, so I totally get the exhaustion. You need the sanctuary of your husband’s arms all the more because of the extra chasing you do. I’m sending super big (((hugs))) to you!

  9. My wife sounds like you were before. What can I do to encourage her to want to make that change? Any comment or suggestion or forwarding or blogs like this one always meet with resistance.

  10. I will print this post and share it with my wife. It might effect a real miracle in our marriage, especially because it comes from another woman.

  11. Gods Daughter Patiently Waiting on October 13, 2013 at 3:57 pm said:

    Thanks for this blog post.
    Im not married, never had sex before and waiting upon God to make all things beautiful in HIS time! I feel bless to read how Married life is and the things married couple go through. This will help me build a Godly and willing mind in order to become the wife God created me to be!

    Please guys just remember me in your prayers!!! 🙂

  12. How fascinating that sex isn’t what it used to be for you. As I read through your description of how you now view sex, it seems to me that your perception is now more “masculine”. Please don;t take any offense, by no means do I mean to imply that you are any less feminine. I mean that you describe sex itself as a way of connecting emotionally with your husband, rather than connecting emotionally in order to enjoy sex. I do think that is how many husbands, myself included feel about sex.

    • Hmm. I disagree. It’s more that I feel emotionally connected on a more consistent basis and therefore sex feels like an extension of that. The emotional connection is already there, and I feel it even before we have sex.

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