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In marriage, it’s common for one spouse to initiate sex more often. But if you’re the one every time, it can easily lead to resentment, frustration, and feeling undesirable or unwanted. If you’re there, it is not your fault. And it may not be your spouse’s fault either. Let’s take a look at steps you can take to get to a more balanced place in your marriage.

Identify any barriers.

There may be reasons your spouse doesn’t initiate sex. Here are some questions to consider. These aren’t to be taken lightly, either.

  • Are there any underlying physical issues that make sex difficult? When is the last time your spouse has seen a doctor for a checkup?
  • Does their view of themself make them feel less desirable?
  • Are they under increased stress from work demands?
  • Is this stage of parenting exhausting them?
  • Do you two have differing views of when and where sex should happen?
  • Is there sexual or physical trauma in their past?
  • How was sex viewed in their home growing up?

The answer to all of these can help identify if there are barriers to your spouse initiating. They may want to initiate more often (as the previous research indicates many men and women do), but there may be a barrier that has nothing to do with you or your marriage. 

Some of these barriers may require the help of a therapist or counselor. If your spouse is open to discussing these roadblocks with you, be supportive. Offer to walk with them in whatever way possible to help them find healing. We all want our spouses to be their best selves.

Have the right conversation.

Let’s proceed as if there aren’t any traumatic barriers. If you want your spouse to initiate more often, you have to tell them.1 I know this seems obvious, but sex isn’t always the most comfortable conversation, even for married people. Think back to those barriers; maybe your spouse grew up in an environment where sex was a taboo topic. Perhaps you did, too. 

And maybe you have already  tried to bring it up, and nothing has changed. Keep in mind, if your spouse isn’t a natural initiator, it will take time to make this change! Keep trying. And maybe try a few of the conversation starters below to get the right talk happening.

Ask your spouse…

“What is one way you like to show me you love me?”

“What’s your biggest turn-off and turn-on?”

“When I initiate sex, does it make you feel desirable?”

“What is one thing we can do to increase emotional intimacy in our marriage?”

“Do you ever feel like one of us should be taking the lead when it comes to initiating sex? Why or why not?”

Invest in a lifestyle of intimacy.

Did you know intimacy is about more than sex? Sexual intimacy is just one expression of an intimate relationship. There is also emotional, intellectual, experiential, and spiritual intimacy. Living an intimate lifestyle means focusing on all of these. It’s about growing each type. A great starting point is “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. We all speak a love language, and knowing your spouse’s language builds intimacy in your relationship.

When you invest in the other types of intimacy, sexual intimacy grows. You also feel more desired, seen, and loved when there is a holistic approach to intimacy.

Schedule sex.

Yes, schedule it. My wife and I are extremely busy with work and other commitments. Add two kids with their own schedules, and sex can easily take a back seat. Scheduling sex doesn’t make it boring; it can actually enhance it by building anticipation. Agree on how often you both want to have sex and put it on the calendar. You can also determine who initiates, so the pressure and guesswork are off. This gives you both freedom to express yourself.

Set realistic expectations.

Every marriage goes through seasons. And in some seasons, sex may be difficult for one or both of you. Be gracious with your spouse. If both of you are committed to an intimate marriage, you can navigate those times when sex isn’t feasible. Focus on those other areas of intimacy and be there to support one another through difficult times. When you walk hand in hand, helping each other through the ups and downs of marriage, your passion will grow.

Take other possibilities into account.

It’s very possible that your spouse really never does initiate sex. But it’s also possible that they initiate differently than you! Are their cues so subtle or different that you have missed them?

There are two types of sexual initiation: direct and indirect. Direct is, well, direct. This could be telling your spouse you want to have sex or physically touching them. Indirect is less obvious. Maybe it’s kissing them or complimenting their appearance. Research finds that indirect initiation is more common than direct.2 But, guess what! Direct is more effective. Maybe your spouse utilizes indirect initiation and it’s not as easy for you to recognize.

So, what do you do? You gotta talk about it. I know, I know, I’ve already said that. But communication increases connection.

Sexual intimacy is a vital part of your marriage. Protect and nurture it. Keep the conversation going in your marriage. 

Additional reads:

How to Talk About Sex in Marriage

Be a More Supportive Spouse – First Things First

How to Talk About Sex With Your Partner

Sources

1Curtis, Eddy, L., Ashdown, B. K., Feder, H., & Lower, T. (2012). Prelude to a coitus: Sexual initiation cues among heterosexual married couples. https://doi.org/10.1080/14681994.2012.734604 

2Gonzalez-Rivas, & Peterson, Z. D. (2020). Women’s Sexual Initiation in Same- and Mixed-Sex Relationships: How Often and How?  https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2018.1489489

How to Keep Intimacy Strong in Your Marriage

Growing closer can be a wonderful journey.

Marriage can be a wonderful experience when both spouses are connected and headed in the same direction. Life can be beautiful when you walk side by side, working together. But marriage isn’t always this way. My wife and I recently celebrated 18 years of marriage, and we haven’t always been on the same page. But we’ve learned having a happy, healthy marriage takes intentionality and commitment. And it requires a healthy level of intimacy. It’s important to keep intimacy strong in your marriage.

Let me clarify what I mean by the word intimacy. Intimacy is not sex, although that’s part of it. Intimacy is so much more! It’s the close connection you have with another person and feeling comfortable around your partner. It’s communicating your needs and feelings, and appreciating each other for who you are, not what you do or bring to the relationship. Intimacy is the intentional, ongoing process of fully knowing your spouse and being fully known by your spouse.

Did you know there is more to intimacy than just sex?

There are several types of intimacy: Emotional, Intellectual, Experiential, Spiritual, and Sexual. And they’re all intertwined.

Nurturing intimacy in your marriage requires building up these types. As you strengthen one area, the whole becomes stronger. Think of it as your health. Being healthy is more than just working out. It’s eating right, getting plenty of rest, hydrating, and exercising. When you focus on one area, you feel better. But to get healthy, you have to work on all the areas. Here’s a cool thing about strengthening intimacy in your marriage: When you strengthen one area, others are boosted as well.

So, if we want to keep intimacy strong in our marriage, we must do some work. Marriage isn’t easy. But having a happy, healthy, thriving marriage is possible for any couple who commits to the work. And it’s so worth the effort.

Let’s look at each type of intimacy and some workouts to strengthen them.

Emotional Intimacy

Emotional intimacy is understanding what’s happening inside your spouse (and feeling like they know you the same way). It’s demonstrated through communication and requires vulnerability. You have to listen and share. This is often the toughest intimacy to build, but it’s the glue that holds them all together. These conversations usually involve tough topics like feelings in response to someone’s actions, perception of yourself, or a difficult childhood. They may also include your hopes, dreams, and desires.

Take The First Step:

When you and your spouse see each other next, ask, ‘What is one thing you wish had gone differently today? Why?'”Listen and validate their feelings. This creates a vulnerable and safe environment. 

Intellectual Intimacy

Intellectual intimacy is about getting to know how your spouse’s mind works and letting them understand you better. Don’t get scared! And no, this doesn’t mean you can learn to read their mind. We all have a worldview shaped by our values, beliefs, and experiences. You and your spouse grew up in different families, work different jobs, and may have grown up in different cultures. 

Take The First Step:

Ask your spouse, “What’s one thing or topic you’ve always wanted to do/learn? Let’s find a time to put it on the calendar and learn it together!” Sometimes, intellectual intimacy can lead to talking about things you disagree on. If you disagree with your spouse, ask questions about why they believe what they believe and make sure you’re asking those questions to learn more about them, not change their mind.

Experiential Intimacy

Experiential intimacy is the experiences and quality time you spend together. It’s bonding over shared interests. You don’t have to do everything together, but experiences together are often how relationships begin and grow. 

Take The First Step:

Ask your spouse, “When is the last time we did something new together? Let’s decide on one new thing to try this month!” Setting regular time in your schedule to experience new things together can help strengthen your experiential intimacy. 

Spiritual Intimacy

Spirituality means different things to different people. For some, faith and religion are essential. For others, meditation or nature may feed their spirits. Spirituality involves your belief and values.

Take The First Step:

If faith is an integral part of your life, worshipping and praying together is an ideal way to grow your spiritual intimacy. Ask your spouse, “What’s one thing you do to help you feel grounded? Can we try it together, or do you prefer to do it alone?” One of my favorite ways to increase spiritual intimacy is by getting into nature. Take a walk in nature with your spouse, hand in hand and device-free. 

Sexual Intimacy

This one seems straightforward, but there is so much more than sex. It’s the physical connection between you and your spouse. It’s all the touching, kissing, and hugging.

Sexual intimacy may be hard for some people because of past trauma or abuse. Be attentive to your spouse. If there is past trauma, offer to walk alongside them as they seek help to address it. 

Take The First Step:

I could say have more sex, but it takes a lot more than that. Ask your spouse, “How many times a week would you say is ideal for us to have sex?” Scheduling sex doesn’t have to mean it’ll be boring! Sometimes the anticipation can add to the excitement.

But don’t just focus on the sex. Be intentional about physically connecting with your spouse in ways that make them feel safe. Maybe that’s cuddling, holding hands, or a massage.

Choosing to strengthen the intimacy in your marriage is a beautiful journey. It takes trust, acceptance, vulnerability, compassion, communication, and time. Enjoy the journey!

Other resources:

How to Talk About Sex in Marriage

Why People Really Have Affairs

How to Stay Motivated During Marriage Challenges

Sources:

Weinberger, M.I., et al. (2008). Intimacy in young adulthood as a predictor of divorce in midlife. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-6811.2008.00215.x

Sinclair, & Dowdy, S. W. (2005). Development and Validation of the Emotional Intimacy Scale. https://doi.org/10.1891/jnum.13.3.193

Kardan-Souraki, M., et al. (2016). A Review of Marital Intimacy-Enhancing Interventions among Married Individuals. https://doi.org/10.5539/gjhs.v8n8p74

***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear your computer or device is being monitored, call the hotline 24/7 at 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

How differing drives can cause tension – and what to do about it!

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5 Tips To Keep Sex Healthy In Your Marriage

Build intimacy, connect and do life well together.

How’d you get stuck in a sex rut? It’s just life. It’s normal and to be expected. More importantly, how do you get out? You know, fun, passionate, surprising, and playful sex!

Here are some tips to keep sex healthy, hot, and happenin’ in your marriage.

1. Talk About Sex. 

This is the gateway right here. Many people just aren’t comfortable talking about sex with their spouse. Create an environment where it’s safe for both of you to be honest and vulnerable about your sexual thoughts and feelings. Easier said than done? Probably. 

Here You Go:

Option 1. Make a game out of it. Sexual Truth Or Dare

Option 2. The internet. Is full of questions. To help couples. Get talking. About sex.

Pro-Tip: Keep it positive. No complaining. No judgments. Take turns listening.

2. But What About The Kids?

Isn’t it ironic that you (typically) have kids by having sex, but by having kids, it’s harder to have sex? Again, totally normal, but Kids-In-The-House-Sex: Quick. Muffled. Vanilla. It’s like Splenda. Sure, it’s sweet, but it’s not that pure raw sugar.

The Workaround:

Option 1. Hotel Sex. It doesn’t have to be a vacation or your anniversary. It can be because it’s Thursday and you have a babysitter. You don’t even have to go out of town or somewhere nice. Make it part of the family budget. Best money you’ll spend. Repeat a couple of times a year.

Option 2. Stay-At-Home Synchronized Sick Days. Or take vacation days. Go through your typical morning routines and dress for work. Take the kids to school or daycare like a typical weekday. Nothing going on here. Then meet back at the house. Take your time. It’s not all about sex. Talk through some “get to know you” questions. Go for a walk, then shower together. Have a great day of which sex is just a part.

Pro-Tip: Tell your spouse to take such and such day off. (Don’t tell them why. Plan a fun day.)

3. Don’t Have Sex. Yet.

Anticipation is a powerful stimulant. 

Wait For It:

Option 1. Agree to have sex in 24 hours. Spend that time flirting. Leaving love letters. Texting what you’re looking forward to doing. Engaging in some non-sexual touch. Teasing. Then, finally, pleasing.

Option 2. Same as above, but 72 hours. (Yup.) Crank up that sexual tension. Enjoy it. Don’t neglect the biggest human sexual organ — the mind. Have some great conversations. Do some fun things together. Strengthen your bond. Talk about your relationship.

Pro-Tip: Put your energy into connecting with your spouse in non-sexual ways. Pressure, or wondering if sex is on the table, is off the table. (But you know it’s coming.) Get emotionally intimate in the meantime. When you do connect sexually, it will be more profound.

4. Roll Play.

Equipment Needed: Two dice. You. Your spouse.

The Roll Rules:

Option 1. First dice: (1.) Caress. (2.) Kiss. (3.) Tickle. (4.) Lick. (5.) Nibble. (6.) Roller’s Choice. Second dice: (1.) Neck. (2.) Hands. (3.) Mouth. (4.) Chest. (5.) Tummy. (6.) ???

Roll the dice, feel something nice. Time limit per roll? Hey, this is your game.

Option 2. (I think you can see how this game lends itself to modification.) 

Pro-Tip: Roller with the highest score after 4 rounds gets to “make a request.”

5. Play Doctor.

Sorry, not THAT playing doctor. Have weekly or monthly “check-ups” or “check-ins.” Coming full circle, talking about it is the best way to improve sex and keep it healthy in your marriage. Connecting on levels beyond the physical enhances sex. Connected couples who talk about sex have more satisfying sex lives. Talk honestly about your sexual health. Discuss sexual frequency. Talk about what’s working and what might need to be modified. 

Don’t turn to the internet with questions like, “How much sex should couples have?” Turn to your spouse. Sex is best when you don’t just focus on “doing it,” but doing life well together. 

Other helpful blogs:

How Often Should We Have Sex?

7 Questions Every Couple Needs to Ask Each Other to Improve Their Sex Life

3 Ways Good Communication Can Enhance Sex In Marriage

4 Reasons Why Sex Matters In Marriage

I love talking about sex. No, not in a pervy way. Let me explain: I think more problems happen when sex is not discussed than when it is, especially among married couples. Get this: even nerdy science says couples who talk about sex have much healthier… and dare I say, steamier… sex lives than those who don’t! Kind of makes you want to cue up the conversations! 

But just what exactly should you talk about? Uhhh… honey, I like sex… do you like sex?… Ok, cool…

No, no, not like that! There are a gazillion great questions to help couples discuss sex. Questions about likes & dislikes, turn-ons & turn-offs, mood-makers & mood-killers. 

So, because I love talking about sex, and because I want you to love talking about sex, here are seven questions every couple (that’s you!) needs to ask to improve their sex life.

1. What makes sex fun for you? 

Sex is fun, right? But everyone has their own take on what makes sex fun. Talking this through helps you understand what makes the bedroom romp more enjoyable for your spouse and facilitates the fun! 

2. What do you consider be-foreplay?

Some people need certain things to be in place before the room starts rockin’ – perfectly normal. That’s be-foreplay

Do the dishes have to be dried and put away, the bedroom door double-locked, or a fresh coat of WD-40 applied to the bed frame? Discussing this helps you be more aware of what helps your spouse get in the mood and what you can do to make that happen. 

3. What is off the table? (And what’s on the table… if you know what I mean…)

Part of what makes sex in your marriage so adventuresome are the different things you can try. A new position, a new location, a new piece of lingerie, a new piece of furniture… Discuss what you are open to and what isn’t in the cards for your love life. 



4. How does stress affect sex for you? 

Some people have to feel de-stressed before the lovemaking commences. Others de-stress when they have sex. One isn’t any better than the other. But knowing where your spouse is on the spectrum helps you set the tone.

5. We have different interest levels in sex. How do we meet in the middle with that? 

It’s normal for two people in a marriage to have different sex drives. But often, it goes unaddressed, and frustrations can quickly build. 

  • Who has the more active libido? 
  • How can one of you let the other down gently when you don’t want to have sex, and how can you assure them you’re looking forward to the next time? 
  • What are your expectations as a couple as to how often you have sex? 

Discussing these kinds of questions helps put you on the same page in how you approach intimacy and improving your sex life. 

6. What makes me insecure about sex? 

Whether big or small, we all have insecurities about the sexual part of our marriage.

  • I don’t know if I can be kinky or seductive enough for him. 
  • I’m not sure I will last long enough for her. 
  • How do I compare with popular standards of beauty or body type? 
  • Am I a failure if my spouse doesn’t climax every time? 

Call these insecurities out together; work to put each other’s insecurities to rest as you affirm each other. 

7. How has sex changed in our marriage over time? 

Marriage goes through seasons, and your sexual relationship can change as well. 

  • How have these seasons affected your love life? 
  • Have big life events like job changes, moves, grief, or mental health struggles had an impact? 
  • What effect have children had on sex? 

Talking about this helps you work through oncoming seasons of marriage to keep your love life alive and active. 

A final word of wisdom: Sometimes, these conversations will be fun, lighthearted, even hilarious. Don’t be afraid to laugh about sex. Other times, your discussions will carry a more serious tone. Some topics can be heavy and difficult to discuss. Either way, talking about sex in your marriage benefits your marriage. And the best way to get the most benefit is to make it an ongoing discussion. It’s healthy to have sex regularly in your marriage, so doesn’t it stand to reason that you should talk about sex regularly? Talk it up, ask yourselves these questions, and watch your sex life improve! 

Other helpful blogs:

How to Talk About Sex in Marriage

3 Ways Good Communication Can Enhance Sex In Marriage

3 Ways to Have Better Sex in Marriage

4 Reasons Why Sex Matters In Marriage

How to Have More Sex in Marriage

Keeping these things in mind can help it to happen.

I know it ain’t easy to keep things rolling in the bedroom. 

Life happens. Marriage goes through seasons of busyness and stress. Not to mention—one of you may be “in the mood” or tired more often than the other. And finding time to have more sex may not be at the top of your list.

But healthy sexual intimacy in marriage is a good thing. It can enhance and stimulate other parts of your marriage, like emotional intimacy, too. And vice versa. (Related: 4 Reasons Why Sex Matters in Marriage

But if there’s conflict, well… chances are, sparks aren’t flying in the B-E-D. 

So then… how do you go about having more sex? Here are some thoughts:

1. Don’t make more sex the goal.

Wait, what?! Isn’t the title of this article How to Have More Sex? Yes, but here’s the deal. 

Quantity and quality are not the same. And sexual intimacy doesn’t equal emotional intimacy, either.

Emotional intimacy involves understanding each other. Learning and growing together. Caring for and knowing each other well. When each spouse feels valued and understood, that closeness translates into a more satisfying sex life for you both. (Try these 6 exercises to strengthen emotional intimacy.)

Quality sex is where emotional and sexual intimacy meet. It means realizing what goes on in the day to day affects how much you enjoy your sexual experiences. Don’t underestimate the impact that considering your spouse’s needs in AND out of the bedroom can have on your sexual fulfillment. 

So what is your goal? It’s being aware and working toward that emotional connectedness, which naturally leads to  (you guessed it!) some pretty awesome sex. Who doesn’t want more of that?

(Up your Emotional Intimacy IQ here: What Is Emotional Intimacy in Marriage and Why Does It Matter?

2. Don’t let your kids get in the way. 

We’ve all been there: the heat is rising in the bedroom when KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK… “Mommy? Daddy? I can’t sleep. I’m thirsty.

And just like that, the mood is shot.

No doubt, kids can unintentionally hinder sexual intimacy. Over the years, my wife and 

I have established a lockdown procedure. 

Lock door. ✅

Minimize the noise level. ✅. (There’s a closet door close that rattles if it’s not cracked. TMI? Well, now you know…) 

If my wife thinks our activity could draw our kids’ attention, the deal’s off the table. Can you relate? 

So, set up some lockdown rules. 

  • Install locks. 
  • Teach your kids that the bedroom is your room, and knocking is required. 
  • Establish “closing time” for both your bedroom and you; if it’s after closing time, don’t drop by. (Double Bonus: Kids learn respect and boundaries.) 

If they’re old enough, you might bribe your kids to leave the house sometimes. Here’s a dollar; if you go play in the yard and don’t come in for half an hour, I’ll give you another. 

Or, if you’re like a friend of mine, throw 99 pennies in the backyard and tell the kids they can’t come in the house until they find all 100 of them. ; )



3. Talk about sex (more). 

Studies tell us that couples who talk about sex have more satisfying sex lives. 

  • What turns each of you on or off? I mean, what if you’re doing something you think your spouse LOVES, but they don’t (or the other way around)? 
  • That thing they did that drove you crazy? Tell them.
  • Discuss your favorite positions or things you’d like to do that you’ve never done.
  • Send a sexy text, write a racy Post-it note or leave a steamy voicemail to build anticipation for your next rendezvous. 

These ideas can be beneficial if one of you is more like a crockpot that needs to simmer and get ready for sexy time. If one of you is more like the Instant Pot, building up the pressure beforehand will make the release that much sweeter when it’s time to get down to business.  

4. Schedule it.

Seriously, get a room. Or find a sitter. Have some “alone” time that works for both of you. 

  • Getting the kids to bed is a great incentive if you know prime time comes afterward. 
  • Are your kids late sleepers? Just might be worth it to be the early bird.
  • Kids in school? You won’t have to worry about interruptions or those lockdown procedures if you take a long lunch here and there… just sayin’. 

5. Get busy with dates.

Couples who have regular date nights report greater happiness. It’s true! 

  • Use what you learned from your sex talks to creatively plan something new and exciting for each other. Finding ways to please each other outside of the bedroom can help you score inside the bedroom. 
  • Invest in conversation and activities that help you connect more deeply.  
  • Plan it or be spontaneous! Dating your spouse doesn’t have to be expensive, but NOT dating your spouse can cost you some of the closeness you crave. (These date nights can make it easier!)  

Doing these things will not only improve the quality of sex you have—it also sets you up for more frequent romps. You’ll be well on your way to more (and better) sex.

So what are you waiting for? Don’t you have some lockdown procedures to take care of?

More Resources:

How to Talk About Sex in Marriage

It may be uncomfortable at first, but it could be a great thing for your sex life.

Awkwardness. Uncertainty. Embarrassment. Shame. These common emotions (and others) can keep married couples from talking about sex. You’re not alone if talking about sex with your spouse is uncomfortable. But let’s get real: you’re more likely to have satisfying sex if you talk about it together. 

Most couples want to enjoy their sex life, but learning how to talk about intimacy in your marriage can take it to the next level if it’s not where you want it to be. The experts agree. So do most couples who’ve found a way to make the uncomfortable a little more comfortable

So, how do you talk about sex in your marriage in a sexual-healing-kinda way?

1. Make the sex talk a priority. 

It may be uncomfortable or awkward. You may have baggage (most of us do). Your feelings are real, but don’t let your emotions keep you from having a better sex life.

2. Pick a good time to talk. 

This isn’t the time to surprise your spouse. Calmly say something like, “I’d like for us to talk about some ways we can improve our sex life. When do you think would be good?” Initiating the topic will give your spouse time to get ready to talk. Then, nail down a time.

*Note: Many experts speak against having this conversation in the bedroom. Take a walk in a park. Sit in a coffee shop. Send the kids outside and find a cozy spot at home.* 

3. Eliminate distractions. 

This may already be a delicate topic, so you’ll want to be fully engaged and tuned in to each other—no cell phones. And set aside plenty of time.

4. Be specific about your goal. 

Maybe you could start with, “I want us to have the best sex life we can have. I’d like for us to talk about understanding each other’s sexual needs.” (You could also say, 🎵🎵 “Let’s talk about sex, Baby. Let’s talk about you and me. Let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be…”  🎵🎵 Thank you, Salt-N-Pepa!)

The Gottman Institute reminds us, “The less direct you are about what you want, the less likely you are to get it.” Tell each other what you want (what you really, really want)!

5. Don’t rush the conversation. 

Your spouse may need time to think and express their thoughts, feelings, and desires. Be patient. This leads us to the next point.

6. This isn’t a one-and-done conversation. 

You don’t know how many times I’ve replayed conversations with my wife because I thought of something later that would help her understand me. I’m sure she’s done the same. You won’t cover everything in one talk. 

7. Listen to understand. 

Feeling valued will always be a part of having good lovemaking experiences in your marriage. One way to ensure your partner feels like they matter is to genuinely try to understand them.

8. Encouraging and positive statements will go further than critical or negative ones. 

For example, “I like it when you do this” is more helpful than “I hate it when you do this.” Or saying, “I need this from you,” is probably more effective than, “You don’t meet my needs in this way.” Think “I” statements instead of “You” statements. 

Talking about sex is not about being right or wrong. It’s about sharing what works, what you like, and what helps you both have fulfilling sexual experiences. Respecting each other’s differences is a must. Different is not deficient—it’s just different. 

The more you talk, the better you connect, the less uncomfortable it becomes, and the clearer you’ll understand one another. As the experts say, talking about sex in your marriage increases the likelihood that you’ll be doing something worth talking about later on. But shhh, we don’t kiss and tell.

More great stuff to read about sex in your relationship:

***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear that someone is monitoring your computer or device, call the hotline 24/7 at 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

Help! Our Intimacy is Gone

Rekindling the passion may be easier than you think.

You expect a campfire to burn hot and then turn into ashes. But you didn’t expect the fire to die down in your marriage, did you? Love… sex… connection… You expected them to go through ruts, maybe. Highs and lows? Sure. But nobody expects to wake up one day and realize the intimacy is gone.

And we’re not just talking about sex. Intimacy is way more than sex. It happens when you and your spouse fully know and experience each other—sexually, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. 

If your intimacy is gone, there are some things you can do to understand why—and find ways to reignite the flames. These questions and “fire starters” may heat things up a bit.

Has your marriage become child-centered? 

Before kids, the backseat was for… you know. (Oh, don’t act like I’m the only one!) But maybe now the backseat is full of car seats. Does your marriage feel like it’s taken a backseat to the kids?

Children can be exhausting. (I know. I’ve got seven of them!) They keep you awake, and they require a lot of energy. It’s hard for parents to be intimate. It can be different, though!

Fire Starter Tips:

  1. Schedule kid-free time.
  2. Give kids a bedtime that allows you to be friends and lovers.
  3. Schedule a good babysitter for date nights.
  4. Teach your kids to do some things on their own.
  5. Intentionally put the married back in married parents.

Where’s your focus? 

It may seem logical to you that if intimacy is gone, more sex will help—but it doesn’t work that way. I said this earlier, but it’s worth repeating: Intimacy is about so much more than sex! In fact, there are 5 different types of intimacy in marriage. (If you want to learn what they are and how you can grow them, check out this toolkit.) When intimacy is gone in your marriage, focusing on emotional intimacy is a great place to start rekindling the flame.

Fire Starter Tip: 

Schedule 15-20 minutes daily to learn about each other’s thoughts, dreams, hopes, fears, emotions, etc. 

No technology. No kids. And no interruptions. 

This consistency will reignite and deepen your intimacy. If you’re too busy, cutting something out of your schedule to focus on each other will help. (Try these marriage conversation starters.)

Are you holding back? 

Being vulnerable is hard. I get it. Especially if there’s been hurt, distrust, or betrayal. But hiding parts of yourself from your spouse (or feeling unsafe) can smother the fire of intimacy. Without transparency and vulnerability, the disconnection grows and blocks the airflow.

Fire Starter Tips:

  1. Breathe life into your relationship by identifying why you may be holding back.
  2. Discuss why it’s hard to open up. A good marriage counselor can help.

Are you both at your best? 

I feel like I’m a better husband when I’m:

Esther Perel, author and marital intimacy expert, says we can offer our best when we are most connected. Different seasons of marriage—having a new baby, caring for a loved one, or working an intense schedule—call for different responses. Being sensitive to extra stress your spouse may be experiencing can increase intimacy.

Fire Starter Tips:

  1. Look at your schedule together and prioritize your marriage. 
  2. Talk about how you can help each other.

What do you expect? 

The early stages of marriage can make you think intimacy is natural. There’s a 2-year honeymoon phase when your body naturally produces chemicals that drive your passion. After that, your body stops producing those chemicals, so it may feel like the natural intimacy is gone. It can hit you unexpectedly. You wonder if you married the right person or if you’re just not in love anymore. More than likely, you’re just moving to a different season of marriage. Perel tells us that our desire for our spouse increases as we see them in their element. It reminds us why we fell in love and increases our curiosity about them. 

Fire Starter Tips:

  1. Don’t look at what you’ve lost; look at who you’re missing. 
  2. Acknowledge and appreciate what your spouse does well. 
  3. Stay curious. 
  4. Do something different.

Intimacy dies when we stop exploring each other (in all the ways) or put up walls. But sometimes, fresh eyes or fresh adventures can get that flame burning high and hot once again. Don’t give up!

***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear that someone is monitoring your computer or device, call the hotline 24/7 at 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***