Sexual Honesty

Sexual honesty helps us achieve full intimacy in our marriages.

We should be naked and unashamed with our husbands.

That naked part isn’t always easy. Plenty of women struggle with the idea of having sex with the lights on or being completely naked. It took me a long time to be completely comfortable and uninhibited in letting my husband see me naked, in all my glory, in full light.

I was even more reluctant to be naked and exposed with my sexuality—and I know I wasn’t alone in that.

Sexual Hiding

We can hide our sexuality from our husbands—and from ourselves—in various ways:

  • We suppress our sexual thoughts and feelings because we think good Christian women shouldn’t think about sex—or shouldn’t think about sex when we’re sitting in church or taking care of kids.
  • We don’t ask for what we need sexually but let our husbands do whatever and hope for the best.
  • We agree to have sex when our husbands ask instead of asking to wait a couple hours so we can deal with distractions and be more fully engaged.
  • We avoid kissing or non-sexual touch because we don’t want to feel aroused unless we’re in bed and everyone else in the house is asleep.
  • We don’t tell our husbands that we masturbate, and if they ask us outright we might even lie.
  • We don’t tell our husbands that we can orgasm only by thinking of certain scenarios.
  • We’ve been lying about our sexual past for years.
  • We have a secret struggle with sinful thoughts or pornography use.
  • When our husbands have an orgasm and roll over to go to sleep, we don’t say, “Hey, wait, I’m not finished, so you’re not done.”
  • We don’t ask for a new sexual activity or position because we think our husbands won’t approve.

Being sexually naked requires us to be vulnerable. That can be kind of scary: What if he is really turned off by the idea of having sex with someone who wants to have sex swinging from the chandelier (or whatever “out there” sexual activity you have in mind)? What if he won’t do what I ask him to? What if I hurt his feelings when he finds out I’ve been faking orgasms all these years or have been masturbating while denying him sex? What if . . . ?

A Barrier to Intimacy

If you’ve been hiding your sexuality in any way, the thought of being completely and totally open, honest, and vulnerable can be overwhelming. It may seem easier to just keep on the way you’ve been doing.

But here’s the thing: God designed us to become one flesh, to share our bodies and our lives with each other. In marriage, being one flesh includes not only uniting our bodies but also sharing a life, developing intimacy, and treating each other well.

That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Genesis 2:24

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. Ephesians 5:31-33

In these passages, we see that one flesh means living as one with someone, the profound mystery of intimacy, and love and respect.

If we are sexually hiding, we are blocking opportunities to completely share our bodies, we are hindering rather than nurturing intimacy, and we are not treating each other as full partners in our marriages.

How to Become Sexually Naked and Honest

Sexual honesty is important in marriage, but how can you get there if you have been sexually hiding?

I’d like to suggest a process to help you grow and gradually become comfortable with increasing levels of vulnerability. These are the steps that worked for me.

1. Don’t speak untruth.

If your husband asks you if you like something and you don’t, be lovingly truthful. Obviously, “No, I can’t stand that” isn’t going to go over well, but “That is a bit irritating, but I really liked what you were doing right before that, a little to your left” is truthful and loving. Truth isn’t always easy to speak, but it is usually best.

Being truthful in response to my husband’s questions helped me begin to see my own sexual desires. I had spent so many years ignoring my own preferences just to get sex over with that I barely knew how to recognize what I wanted. Making the decision to be truthful helped me learn to claim my own sexuality. It helped me become more aware of what I wanted, which helped me feel more like a sexual person.

2. Ask your husband for the things you want sexually.

If you don’t have a habit of doing this already, it can feel embarrassing at first—but the more you do it, the easier it gets. When I was learning to do this, I would wait until we were in the car and Big Guy was driving. That way I knew I wouldn’t have to look him in the eye. Now I can look directly at him and tell him what I would like to try or what I would like him to do a little differently.

Many women struggle with the thought that sex is for them and not just for their husbands. Our bodies are made to experience sexual pleasure, and mutual sexual enjoyment can strengthen the bond between a wife and her husband. Learning to ask helped us both learn that his sexual desires were not the only ones that mattered in our marriage bed. Big Guy’s responses to my requests weren’t great at first. It was new to both of us, and he wasn’t always sure what to say or do. Over time, though, he got better, and I began to feel sexually accepted and valued in ways I hadn’t before.

3. Share your sexual embarrassment, shame, and sinful thoughts.

This isn’t easy, but with truthful communication and acceptance of your sexuality, it might not be as difficult as you think. If you have inhibitions in the bedroom (like being afraid to really enjoy it because you might make a sound you can’t control) or activities that you’ve associated with shame in the past (such as giving your first boyfriend oral sex because you thought you had to in order for him to value you), it is time to open up. Also, if you have sinful thoughts or habits, tell your husband.

I approached it like this: “Honey, you know I’ve been trying to grow more comfortable with my sexuality, right? I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking and praying about sex, and I’d like to share something with you that I think has been a problem for me. When I struggle to have an orgasm, the only way I can get there is to think about something that is sinful.” I told him what the sinful image was, and asked him to help me push that thought out of my head during sex. Over time, I was able to share other struggles I faced, one at a time.

It was embarrassing, and it felt weird to say out loud—but it offered a new level of vulnerability and intimacy in our marriage. Each time I shared something, it was easier. The sharing allowed me to release some of my feelings of shame, and bringing my temptation into the light helped it lose its hold on me. Even more, my vulnerability made it easier for Big Guy to begin to open up to me about some of his struggles. Being naked sexually helped us both feel more emotionally connected than ever.

4. Confess and repent any sexual lies and sins.

If you’ve been faking orgasms, hiding a masturbation or pornography habit, or carrying a lie about your sexual past or present, it is time to admit what you’ve done, acknowledge your sinfulness, ask for forgiveness, and commit to walking in repentance. Start by confessing and repenting to God. Your sins are a barrier between you and God even more than between you and your husband. Get right with God first.

Then confess to your husband. If one of your sins is something he already knows about, begin there. For instance, if you’ve been withholding sex from your marriage for any length of time, your husband already knows. He will be able to hear your contrite heart without also trying to process shocking information. If it was a sin against your husband, your confession and genuine contrition and repentance will help him begin to heal.

But what if there is something more that you’ve been keeping from him? Did you have an affair ten years ago? Did you have an abortion when you were mad at your husband and expecting to divorce him? Did you use webcams in sexual chats with other men?

If you have been keeping something from him, he is likely to feel hurt both by the truth and by the fact that you have kept it from him. He may feel angry and betrayed—and he is allowed to have those feelings. I’d like to encourage you to approach this with a great deal of prayer and, if needed, pastoral or professional support. How much should you tell him? How can you do so in a way that will help your husband rather than add unnecessary hurt? How can you prepare yourself to respond to your husband’s feelings? How can you best pray for him?

Although I think honesty is generally the best policy, there are some situations where honesty needs to be approached with extra sensitivity and requires guidance and support. Absolutely be honest and confess your sin to God. Then get support in figuring out how (or how much) to do so with your husband.

Naked and Unashamed

Learning to be sexually naked and honest was not an easy thing for me. What looks like a nice neat four-step process was messy and took me several years. I still struggle from time to time.

But, oh, what a wonderful difference is has made in our marriage! In the marriage bed, where I am most vulnerable, I have become completely naked. My husband sees me—body, heart, and soul—in my full glory as a wife who offers her complete self to him, in full light.

Becoming sexually honest allowed me to become truly naked and unashamed, just as God intended.

Sexual honesty helps us achieve full intimacy in our marriages.

 

Image credit | xusenru at Pixabay.com

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8 Comments on “Sexual Honesty”

  1. Excellent Article Chris!!

    You really did well at pointing out things that will increase intimacy. This particularly hit me very hard….

    “For instance, if you’ve been withholding sex from your marriage for any length of time, your husband already knows. He will be able to hear your contrite heart without also trying to process shocking information. If it was a sin against your husband, your confession and genuine contrition and repentance will help him begin to heal.”

    It would have been so nice if my STBXW would have said something like that. It is too late now, but it is a great idea, and I am sure it will help someone.

  2. This is my first time posting here but this article spoke to me…I have realized that I have been also sexually hiding from my husband.
    However our issue wasn’t gatekeeping but disrespectful behaviour ( unknowingly) for the majority of our marriage ( married 14 years, major disrespect on my part for about 10 years, now have been on a journey of becoming respectful and godly wife for 2 years).
    So…. during those 10 disrespectful years I have said very hurtful thing to my husband concerning our sex life….that combined with the other hurtful things made him shut down and not trust me ( no infidelity )…
    Now for the last 2 years our sex life has been very active, but for the most part, I feel that my husband doesn’t allow himself to fully trust me with his sexuality….it’s like I get glimpses very rarely of what he could be like but it doesn’t last. I tried to gently bring it up but he just doesn’t go there and only sarcastically says something related to that hurtful comment I made years ago.
    That’s why I m at a loss…I want to be sexually honest with him but I’m afraid I will either push him away, will make him feel disrespected ( like that our sex is not good enough for me) or something else….
    I gotta admit that I really can’t tell whether he just doesn’t yet trust me completely or doesn’t care enough… because in bed I literally get for the most part 0 attention from him if you know what I mean and it slowly starting to hurt…
    But to say something I’m just too scared to for the above reasons…
    I build him up always, saying how good he is in bed, how awesome it was etc. He does like that I can tell…
    And on couple of occasions he did show his wild side so to speak …and I loved it!!!! Sadly it didn’t repeat… despite my hints how I’d love to repeat it.
    Any advice in this situation?
    Thanks!

    1. Your husband might be doing some emotional hiding of his own. A decade of disrespect can feel emasculating to a man, even without hurtful words. Even with two years of your genuine change, his sarcastic responses to your efforts suggest that he still feels very hurt.

      I would like to make a couple suggestions.

      1. Tell him you want to say something to him and that he won’t need to respond. You just want him to hear your words. Acknowledge what you did–both the years of disrespect and the specific words. Tell him that you recognize that you hurt him deeply and betrayed is trust. Express your remorse and repentance. Gently point out the things you have been doing for the past two years that show you have made a change. Apologize. Ask for his forgiveness–and tell him that even if he is not yet able to forgive you, that you will be praying for his healing from the hurt you caused.
      2. Go through The Respect Dare. I was disrespectful to my husband for years. Working through this book helped me understand why I was that way, and it gave me some tools to help me be respectful. I chronicled the entire process on my blog (you can find them all on my Special Series page). It might be that going through the book would give you some ideas of how to demonstrate respect to your husband in a way that would speak to his heart.

        I gotta admit that I really can’t tell whether he just doesn’t yet trust me completely or doesn’t care enough… because in bed I literally get for the most part 0 attention from him if you know what I mean and it slowly starting to hurt…

        It is important to have a conversation with him–outside the bedroom–to let him know what you need. Be specific–not “I need more attention,” but “I need ten minutes of non-sexual touch followed by fifteen minutes of sexual touch.”
        Painful sex is not good for either of you, or for your marriage.

      1. Thanks Chris.
        To correct myself- our sex isn’t painful physically. I enjoy it every single time even without all the extras for me ( my husband happily receives my extras and I give without hesitation and happily because I love doing it for him).
        I did both steps you suggested. I apologized that way multiple times. He actually only mentions the past and being rude and sarcastic about it when he drinks…
        I also did a respect dare along with reading about 20 or more different books on marriage and respect.
        He also acknowledged multiple times that I have changed but like you said his hurt from the decade of my disrespectful behaviour left him scarred I feel like and I guess I m getting impatient thinking that 2 years of new me should have undone that by now.
        I’m thankful that he’s always initiating though….I also never turn him down. I feel like in these last two years my drive is through the roof.
        Thank you for your time and advice.
        My guess I need to be more patient…that’s what I keep coming back to… patience and lots of love and grace for my hubby….

    2. My husband shut down sexually, too, though our story is different. He was very disengaged during sex, but I felt the Lord’s leading that I ought to be patient, proactive, and non-complaining. (God may lead you differently). After 2 years of it, hubby slowly started engaging again. Sex is much better than it was. Being friendly, loving, respectful, flirty, and fun outside the bedroom helps, too.

      1. Thank you for your comment!
        I feel being led in the same direction. That I need to be patient…in and out of the bedroom.
        I also am striving to be flirty and friendly and respectful…The idea of ” being your husband’s girlfriend” from Dr. Laura is the general rule I go by these days.
        Like I said before, I’m on my journey of respect for 2 years now and during these years I saw my husband’s ” old” side so to speak.
        So I’m hoping that I’m on the right track here.
        Our problem is also a little deeper because my husband is really struggling with living where we are now. We moved ( my idea- he didn’t exactly want to but I think he agreed to it, to keep me happy maybe….it was during my disrespectful years I decided to do this move and I didn’t want to hear his one time please to no wanting to move) and it was after this move, our marriage started crumbling and that’s when I saw that I needed to change something ….and my husband doesn’t want move back right now because financially it’s pretty much impossible. ( We moved out of the US)
        That’s all to say, that I believe that if this change took place back home, it wouldn’t take this long….
        But I believe nonetheless that we are on the right track….

  3. Stillhoping, it sounds like you’re on the right course. The problem may be him–he may be bitter against you. If you discuss this with him it probably won’t go anywhere good. Start asking the Lord everyday to bless your husband. After you’ve been doing this for a couple of weeks, tell him that you do it and ask him to sincerely pray the same thing for you. Then ask him periodically if he is praying this for you. If he will do this, the bitterness will begin to go away. One can’t be bitter against someone for whom he is genuinely praying God’s blessing.

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