For many women who have refused or been bedroom gate-keepers, the decision to make a change involves a shift in the heart. We have restricted and controlled the marriage bed for a variety of reasons—our own past hurt, emotional disconnection, physical discomfort, or a low libido. We have made decisions about sexual activity by looking inward, at our own interests and needs. A shift in heart requires us to look toward our husbands and their needs instead. Sexual generosity means that we are thinking of our husbands more than of ourselves.
When we have a pattern of sexual restriction that has lasted for years, we might come out of the fog of it all to realize that we have completely lost touch with sex. We don’t know how people really talk about it, because we’ve either avoided those conversations or have been so busy pretending things are different in our marriages that we didn’t really listen. We haven’t sought out resources about what is okay, how to handle changes that come with the passing of years, or how to continue growing in marital intimacy. We don’t know where we can read. We may not know who in our real lives would be someone we can talk to.
After an extended period of sexual hibernation, you’ve woken up and have no idea how to go about being less selfish sexually, not to mention how to reclaim your sexual self. You may have very good intentions about turning things around in the bedroom. But how?
What does he want?
If you are making an effort to be unselfish and giving, you may think about working on giving your husband something he has asked for. A few months ago, I wrote about asking your husband “What do you want?” in the marriage bed.
In our marriage, when I found the courage to ask and my husband found the courage to answer, we faced a situation where he was asking for something I had no interest in.
The one thing he asked for was something that not only had I never had any interest in the activity myself, I was slightly horrified by the idea. I first thanked him for trusting me with his desire. Then, after explaining that I wasn’t ready for that activity yet, I promised that I would learn about it and think about how I might be able to accommodate this request.
By the time I asked my husband the question, I knew that not only was the requested activity not sin, I also knew that it was something that other Christian couples enjoy a great deal. The only hurdle was me, and that was something I could work through. It took months, but I did it.
Moving toward selflessness
What if the answer you hear from your husband is something that you worry might be sin? What if you’re pretty sure it isn’t sin but you have no idea if other Christians do it? What if it is something that just sounds icky to you? What if it’s something you’ve never even heard of? What if you realize that you have absolutely no idea how to be sexually generous with his request?
Maybe you worry that if you don’t provide what your husband has requested, it will mean that you’re still being selfish. Maybe you worry that you don’t have it in you to make these changes after all. Maybe you wonder if you should give up before you really even try.
Take a breath and cut yourself some slack. Growing toward sexually healthy and mature intimacy in your marriage doesn’t happen overnight.
Sexual generosity might look different during different seasons in your marriage. For me, there was a long stretch of years when simply spending some time trying to understand why a request was something I didn’t want to do would have been generous. Just understanding myself was a big thing for me. When my husband made his request of me, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out my own thoughts and feelings. It was generous and giving of me because I was doing it for the purpose of pleasing my husband rather than myself–even though all I was doing at that point was thinking and praying.
If you are new in your journey of sexual growth and if your husband would like to try something that you find unappealiing, then generosity on your part means that you learn why you feel that way. You take time to understand why it is something that appeals to your husband. You learn how other Christian wives have attempted to work through these same things. You seek out information. You ask questions.
As you continue to develop a habit of sexual selflessness, generosity might begin to look different for you. At that point, being selfless might mean that you actually try the thing you aren’t interested in doing. It might mean that you figure out how to get comfortable enough with it that you can meet your husband’s request. Later, generosity might mean that you offer the activity rather than wait to have it requested.
If it is something you feel is wrong or that scares you, generosity means that you find a loving way to share your concerns with your husband so the two of your can figure out how to proceed.
Sexual generosity means that wherever you are in your journey, you make an effort to take just one more step because it is something that would please your husband. Sexual generosity won’t always look the same–but if your heart continues and gives in selflessness rather than selfishness, you are on the right path.
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