Keep on Walking


Break it into baby steps.

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.

Break it into baby steps.

Image courtesy of radnatt at

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7 Comments on “Keep on Walking”

  1. OMG, I just ditched the tshirts and underwear and did the exact same thing…I bought 2 new cotton night shirts. Now I need to find something for the summer. Now I only wear underwear at night if I am on my period. One time he thought something was wrong too! My only problem now is that his libido is almost totally gone…I finally “get it” and my husband can’t physically perform the way he used to.

  2. You have provided so many great suggestions. The simple gestures can mean so much. Just before my wife left for work today she walked up to me and affectionately squeezed my butt. I was thrilled! It made me feel validated as her lover. It made me feel desired in a way that means so much to me. In response, I sent her a text telling her how much her gesture meant to me. She appreciated my simple gesture as well.

  3. Other than the first year of our marriage, my ex-wife almost always wore long sleeved shirts and long pants, covered ankle to wrist (or maybe a full length flannel gown). She claimed it was because she would be cold otherwise (and her internal thermostat was certainly different from mine). But I’m sure it was also, as Chris says, so that I “wouldn’t get any ideas.” At one point in the last couple years of our marriage, we put our heads together and could think of exactly two times in our marriage that she came to bed naked (and on those occasions she put clothes back on after sex). Underwear was always basic, plain, and cheap. Thongs were out of the question. She preferred privacy for showers, and she rarely changed in my presence. I could never get her to understand that my desire to see her and feel her was a desire for HER, not just pervy male desire to see any and all possible nudity. You wives who are taking a different approach are definitely blessing your husbands.

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