Today we have a guest post from Addison Ray, who describes herself as having been “a generous gatekeeper.” She shares her story to encourage women who struggle with guilt in enjoying sex and understanding God’s design for sex in marriage.
When our guest author experienced a sexual awakening, she discovered that every area of her marriage had changed, too.
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Basically my motto growing up was “Good Girls Don’t…” I could have filled a spiral notebook with all the things that good southern girls didn’t do. These were things I learned in Sunday school, youth group, or some summer church camp from well-meaning people. However, it has taken me a very long time to let go of a lot of misguided teachings.
Guilt about Enjoying Sex
The one teaching that has had the biggest impact on my life is that Good Girls don’t like sex, sex is dirty, and only bad girls really like it. There is obviously a lot wrong with this teaching. On a personal level, the problem with this teaching was that I LOVED sex with my husband. But wait, I’m a good girl so I can’t possibly love sex…well, you see the problem. I got to where I avoided any sort of touch with my husband outside of the bedroom because I was afraid he would want sex. Everything, in my mind, led to him wanting sex.
Out of his frustration, my husband suggested we try something he had read about, scheduling sex. This worked for us for a very long time. We decided upon 2 times per week and each picked a day. I no longer was afraid of touch, hugs, kisses, etc., because now I knew when sex was going to happen. It didn’t change any of my attitudes, but it reduced the “battleground” feel from our marriage bed. I enjoyed sex once we got started; I even enjoyed trying new and different things. (This is where the “generous” part of the gatekeeping comes in.) However, I always had lots of excuses for not really wanting to engage in any sexual activity, even after we settled on a schedule. I would feel guilty for enjoying sex so was often in a bad mood the day after, taking my guilt and frustration out on my husband.
This lasted for over 10 years. After admitting to my family physician that I thought I might be going crazy, I was diagnosed with clinical depression. Suddenly, after only a week on an antidepressant, life didn’t seem so hard. Despite the unfortunate fact that orgasms were harder to achieve, our sex life became a bit easier. I felt a little less guilty for enjoying the physical relationship with my husband. After several years on medication I decided to ask my physician for a change to a different one that had fewer sexual side effects.
OH. MY. GOODNESS!
I had a sexual awakening. There are not enough words to describe what I went through. The first thing that happened is that my sex drive went off the charts. Suddenly I was the one all over my husband after being a gatekeeper for decades—and he was loving every minute of it. There were times I thought my head might explode. Sometimes we would laugh as we tried to figure out where this awakening had come from. Maybe an alien abduction? But we concluded we didn’t really care and would just go with it.
I couldn’t run from my fear of enjoying sex anymore.
I had to face the problems I had been running away from for so long, so I turned to God’s word to once and for all find out what “Good Girls” really should think about sex. We found a good study on the book of Song of Songs. You know what? GOD LOVES SEX TOO!
During the first few months of my new sexual self-awareness, I realized I had never completely trusted my husband with my sexuality. I had always kept a piece of myself hidden. I trusted my husband completely with almost everything. Now I had to face the fact that I had not trusted him with my sexual self. One night after a lot of talking I said to him “The answer is yes.” He was curious about what the question was. “Sex”, I said, “Whatever, where ever, whenever, the answer is yes.” After almost 30 years of marriage my default answer for sex was no longer no but an enthusiastic Yes! For the next year sex was a daily (at least) event.
Sexual Awakening►Changed Marriage
Other things began to happen as well. I began to see myself through my husband’s eyes. Even though he had always told me I was beautiful, I, like many of you, chose not believe the one person in my life I should have trusted above all others. I would even point out all the reasons he was wrong: my hips were too big, my chest too small, my hair too straight. What I began to realize was that is not what he saw. I stopped pointing out all those things I thought were wrong with my body and simply said, “thank you” when he gave me a compliment. Over time, all of those things that I disliked about myself simply didn’t matter anymore.
Oddly enough, this sexual awakening has affected all areas of our marriage. We always had a great marriage, but now we are in a completely different place. We have both had a spiritual awakening of sorts. What started out as a search for what the Bible had to say about sex has turned into a continual study of what the Bible has to say, period. My husband will find a book on a biblical subject we are curious about, and I will read it to him during our long drives to and from church or some other trip. We talk about sex a lot, but we also talk about so much more.
Who knew that an increase in my sex drive would create such a change in our marriage? During the last year, that massive increase in my sex drive has waned a bit, but those commitments we both made to our sex life have not. We don’t have sex everyday anymore but have settled into a good routine for us both. The environment of “yes” still exists and that will not change!
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When Addison began to say “yes” to sex rather than avoiding sexual touch or feeling guilty about enjoying sex, she discovered a new version of her marriage. Are you a gate-keeper? Have you wondered what beauty and bounty might be waiting for you if you fling the gates wide open?
Married for over 30 years, Addison is a mother of twins and a Sunday school teacher. She says, “I enjoy spending as much time as possible with my husband and intend for the next 30 years to be even better than the first 30!”
Image adapted from morguefile.com