The Act of Marriage.
Also known as…
The Marriage Bed.
Married sex is a fabulous thing, but that’s not always the case for every married couple. (I know, I lived it!)
The letter from this young wife hits close to home for me. She has had many obstacles surrounding the physical intimacy in her marriage as well.
Here’s her story.
I’m 24 and have been married two and a half years, and I have never been able to enjoy sex with my husband. We were both virgins until our wedding night, and I was so looking forward to this area of marriage. Now I hate sex and all the pain it has caused, I hate all my insecurities and the fear that has developed, and I’m so at a loss about how to even start healing.
At first I just had physical pain and discomfort. I’ve never had an orgasm with my husband (I can with a vibrator he got me but I hate it. I hate that I have to use a machine to give me that release, but I do it because he wants me to and it’s easier to take care of my babies when I’m not too sore to walk.) And it’s rare if I feel even a little pleasure when we’re together. He’s always tried to be gentle and we have spent so many hours trying to get me turned on and make my body respond, and it just doesn’t. Before we were married I never had any trouble with desire, even though we never did anything, but it was definitely there . Then I started my period on our wedding day, I was quite sick for several weeks after our honeymoon, and our first baby was born nine months and one day after our wedding. We just had so many negative (for me) experiences that I started to hate sex.
Now there is emotional pain that is far worse than anything physical was– I feel like a failure as a wife, a woman, and a mother (because I want to badly to be joyful and emotionally healthy for my babies, and that’s a constant struggle that I often lose). I know I am not able to fulfill my husband’s desires. I almost always do whatever he wants physically, but he also wants me to desire him and to show my enjoyment in our times together. He’s struggled a lot with temptation to think about things he shouldn’t, and although he rarely tells me, he wishes I were something different in bed and that hurts too. I want to be what he wants, and I want to enjoy physical intimacy, but I feel like I have tried everything I know to make that area better and it has just continued going downhill.
I don’t know how to handle the hurt anymore; I don’t know what to do. Our church is small and mainly young- I have no one to talk to, and I’m terrified by the person I am becoming.
~a wife who hates having sex with her husband
Dear sweet wife,
Can I first say that I applaud you and your husband for remaining pure until your wedding night! 🙂 That’s just precious and EXACTLY how God designed it. However, I can imagine you feel a little cheated by what you’ve experienced in your marriage bed.
I know you’re hurting. Sad. Frustrated. Lonely. Desperate. And you probably feel like no one understands. I’ve been in some very similar shoes as yours, so I’m here to tell you that I can relate.
Here’s a short video I did addressing sexual problems and how to overcome them.
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If you can’t view the video in your reader, you can watch it here.
I see your issue as being compounded; one obstacle to overcome after another. So what I’m going to do is peel back the layers and help you connect the dots so you can move forward with solutions to each aspect of what you’re dealing with: physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
Sex is usually painful for a virgin. The bride hurts when her hymen is torn and sometimes there is even bleeding involved. The physical desire and longing to be intimate on your wedding night is a fabulous thing for two people who are pure. Of course, you’re entering your honeymoon with pent-up passion, high sex drives, and expectations and let’s not forget the romanticism. But every virgin bride also needs a dose of reality. And the reality for most virgin brides is when you have sex on your wedding night, you should expect it to be painful (and awkward.)
But the new husband is raring to go! He can’t wait to have sex again, and again, and again. The wife on the other hand is wanting to tell him to cool his jets and slow down because she’s in pain. (And she probably needs an ice pack!) And when you’re in pain in that area, who wants to have sex? Umm, not me! But because the wife loves her husband and she physically desires him, she (and hopefully he) work to fix this problem. But this process can take a long time to get right. Now just because you’ve had sex a second, third or fourth time, this does not mean you’ll enjoy it. Sex can still be a physically painful experience for some time.
Low sex drive
A baby comes 9 months and 1 day after the wedding day. Bringing a child into the world can definitely change a woman’s hormones. She can be deficient in progesterone, which is a hormonal imbalance that causes a low sex drive. I understand this problem because I lived it for many years. When your sex drive is low (or non-existent) what woman wants to have sex? Um, none that I know of!
Not enough lubrication
Whether it’s a hormonal imbalance or lack of interest in sex (not in the mood), these issues will compound the problem because a woman’s body is not producing enough lubrication. When there’s not enough lubrication during sex, then you’ll have friction while lovemaking. When there’s friction, there’s pain.
Allergic Reaction to Lubricant Products
Many lubricant products on the market contain additives- ingredients that are not natural. When you put something on your skin in the vaginal region (the most sensitive part of your body) your body might reject the product. You might experience pain and inflammation as a result of your body having an allergic reaction to the ingredients.
Now, are you starting to see the snowball effect yet?
Sex is painful to a virgin.
It takes time to figure out how to be sexually intimate with your husband.
You bring a baby into the world and now your hormones are possibly imbalanced.
Either your hormones are jacked up or you’re not in the mood for sex, or shall I say, “You’re not in the mood for pain?”
Imbalanced hormones lead to low sex drive.
A low sex drive leads to lack of lubrication.
Using over the counter lubrication can cause an allergic reaction in your body.
Mental and Emotional Issues
Fear of impending pain when you have sex again.
And brokenness in an area you’ve waited your entire life to experience.
Now you’re let down by your reality.
You start to feel like a failure because you don’t enjoy sex. It’s not because you’re don’t desire your husband, it’s just that you don’t enjoy pain AND to top it all off, you’ve never experienced the pleasure that physical intimacy can bring. You wonder what all the hype is about in having sex because you’ve never felt that it was ever enjoyable. Yet everybody in the entire world loves sex! Everybody, except you. Then you start to think you’re broken, but the truth of the matter is, you and your husband just need to take huge amounts of time to explore each other and take things slow AND you need to change your mindset.
Let me insert a caveat here. If your hormones are fine but there is no lubrication, it’s usually because you are not in the right frame of mind. You need to be turned on so your body will start producing its natural lubrication. But sex for a woman is a mental thing. You’ve carried the baggage from your prior experiences into your marriage bed (not that I blame you!) But this mental and emotional baggage that you’re carrying around is killing your sex life.
All these obstacles bring you to the place where you are just physically, mentally, and emotionally miserable in your marriage bed.
Here are some solutions to these obstacles.
See a doctor to make sure you have no internal issues and to see if they can check your hormones.
Since you’re nursing look into bio-identical hormones, more specifically, progesterone cream. Look into talking with an alternative doctor regarding this. Or use some therapeutic grade essential oils.
Use natural lubrication, more specifically- coconut oil if you’re having a reaction to the over-the-counter stuff.
Get plenty of rest. Every mother, no matter if she has issues with sex or not, needs rest! If you’re too tired, it’s quite difficult to get in the mood. Most likely you’ll just go through the motions during sex, and who wants to have sex like that?
Mentally prepare yourself throughout the day to be physically intimate with your husband.
A mindset is a powerful thing for a wife!
Find aspects of intimacy that you do enjoy. For example, kissing, caressing, foreplay, etc. Do these things in a relaxed manner making sure that sexual intercourse IS NOT the goal. You can be in the kitchen, while watching a movie, when you’re just out and about with your man, etc. Explore all forms of intimacy without penetration, this way you can relax and enjoy your husband. Make a point to set aside a time to do this with your husband on a regular basis. Work on this aspect of your marriage without any pressure to have sex and see if these activities will turn you on. (Of course, plan times when your husband is able to have physical intimacy with you so he’s not deprived.) You draw near to him and his needs and have him draw near to you and your needs. Over time, you’ll find you and your man becoming balanced during your times of intimacy.
Be relationship-driven rather than sex-driven. (My husband told me while I was working on this video that he never knew I had a low sex drive. What? I gave him a look of disbelief. This was the first time he had ever heard me say that. Obviously, he knew I had physical problems, infections, ovarian cysts, and imbalanced hormones, but what he saw in me all those years was a wife who participated in sex whether her body was desiring it or not. My heart was to be close to him, and the act of marriage provides that closeness.)
He said to me, “Regardless of your low sex-drive, I saw that you had a high drive for our relationship.”
Yes, he saw me wince in pain, and therefore, he responded.
So we took our time.
Explored each other.
Asked plenty of questions to find out what the other one liked. (Sometimes I find it interesting that a husband may know what his wife likes on her sandwich but he doesn’t know what she likes in bed. Who cares about the sandwich! 🙂 Knowing what your spouse likes in the marriage bed is of far greater importance than some dumb sandwich.)
Be more about your relationship than about your sexual experience. I can’t stress this one enough! (Especially to the husband!!) When you take this mindset into your marriage bed….you just might enjoy the act of marriage as well! 🙂
Most importantly, let go of the past. Put away what was painful, how things fell short, what didn’t measure up to your sexual fantasies and ideals, etc. My encouragement to the two of you would be to just start over with a clean slate.
Pray and invite God into your marriage bed. Since the Lord designed sex for marriage, He knows how important it is for a couple to connect with one another on this level. Give your body back to Him just like the two of you did when you were virgins.
Christ is not surprised by all that you are going through. He knew you’d have these issues in your relationship. He knew what the two of you would have to work for in order to connect physically, emotionally and spiritually. By the way, it’s worth the fight! Don’t give up and try not to grow weary. Stay on the narrow path and delight in each other’s body as you enjoy your relationship. That was key for me all those years I had issues in my marriage bed.
Find the good in your marriage bed and dwell on that.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things. Phil. 4:8
A Husband Needs to Learn How to Please His Wife
Also, I’d recommend you weaning off the mechanical vibrator and have your husband learn to be your vibrator. This will help your man to feel as if you’re desiring physical intimacy with him, and therefore he won’t feel discouraged about the state of your marriage bed. He needs to become an active participant learning what pleases his woman. And when a wife is pleased in bed, trust me, she’ll desire physical intimacy with her husband!
A mechanical device cannot replace the closeness that you’re desiring from your husband; the one flesh comes from you being with him, not from you being with a device. (That’s why you hate it.)
Again, all of this change will take time as well as vulnerability on your part, but if you desire to have that close intimate physical relationship then you need to take a different path than the one you’re already on.
Now I will leave you with this one last thought…
One thing my husband has told me over the course of our marriage was this, “We have the rest of our lives to figure each other out.”
Live a poured out life for Christ,
Need some encouragement and guidance in your marriage? Grab my latest book, Wives of the Bible: 25 Easy Lessons You Can Learn from these Imperfect Women that Will Radically Transform Your Marriage.