I was brought up in a Christian home and church where sex was never discussed. The only thing I knew was that I was supposed to wait for marriage. Sex was always taboo. Something shameful to hide away and never even be mentioned outside of telling kids to wait for their wedding night.
Now here I am, married for nine years with three kids, and I still feel uncomfortable with sex. I still feel like it’s wrong. I still feel unsure and uncomfortable with the whole thing.
But that isn’t what God intended for us.
Sex wasn’t meant to be a bad thing that’s off-limits. It’s supposed to be a beautiful gift from God for married couples to enjoy. Sex should be fun and enjoyable and pleasurable within your marriage. We shouldn’t feel embarrassed or ashamed by it.
And yet . . . even knowing this, I still have all of those negative feelings associated with sex.
It’s hard to rewire your brain after so many years of thinking a certain way. I know now that sex isn’t bad. I know now that sex is meant to be enjoyed with my husband, and I have no reason to feel uncomfortable, guilty, or shameful over it.
There’s just so much that goes into it, though.
Add in how I was raised with my history of sexual trauma, mental health struggles, three special needs children, not feeling comfortable in my own body (body image issues), past marriage struggles, and just the overall stress of life . . .
And sex can feel like an overwhelming weight on my marriage sometimes.
It feels like too much, and I get stuck in my head about how even though I want to, I really don’t.
Because I’m too tired.
My head hurts.
I have a stomachache.
I’m too stressed out.
What if the kids wake up?
A strange sensation of guilt and anxiety creeps in at just the thought of being intimate with my husband. The list goes on.
But I want to change that.
I don’t want to be the wife who consistently says no to my husband and become the stereotypical married couple who never has sex. That isn’t what God wants for us in our marriage. I’m convinced of that.
And I’m working to change it.
I’m learning about what God really intended in his design for sex between husband and wife. I’m working through my past traumas. I’m communicating openly with my husband about my struggles and trying to talk through it with him in the times when I feel like I have to say no.
And my husband is doing his own work too.
It’s definitely been a bit of a bumpy road.
Because I never knew before getting married just how hard it could be to have a good sex life with your husband.
You never think it would be something you would have to work for, or that it could be difficult in any way. Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband with my whole heart, soul, and being.
But I never expected this to be so hard.
That my body would shut down and refuse to cooperate even though I want and need my husband as much as he needs me.
That we would have to have some really tough conversations about sex and our expectations, wants, likes, dislikes, and the works. Or how hard and uncomfortable these conversations can actually be.
That trauma from years past could rear its head at any given moment and throw everything off course.
That, by the end of a day, I would be so exhausted in every sense of the word that the thought of physical touch or activity literally makes me cringe.
Who knew that if you wish to have a healthy sex life you actually have to work for it?
You have to be intentional. It means tough conversations. It means compromise. It means being open to both spontaneity if the moment is right and willing to plan time for each other so you don’t lose yourselves in the busyness of life.
Sex won’t always look romantic.
You have to be open to finding what works for you and your spouse. The process may not be pretty. It may take time and trial and error, but it’s worth it to get to where you can experience the great sex that God intended for us in our marriages.
I’m certainly no expert, and I definitely do not have this all figured out. I’m just a wife and a mother who has struggled silently and wants to let others know if they struggle too, they aren’t alone in that.
And we can change it.
But we have to talk about it. We have to bring it into the light and work through it together. If we don’t, how will it ever get any better?