Every marriage is as different as the individuals involved and this makes the dynamics of the sexual relationship wide and varied. Sexual relationship in marriage is meant to be full of life, rich in emotion and ever changing within the security of marriage commitment. When lovemaking takes on a tiresome sameness of routine, both partners may feel a vague sense of dissatisfaction with unnamed longings, even though they do not realise that something precious is missing. That missing something is the free and active expression of a loving sexual relationship. A couple whose sex life is no longer fulfilling or exciting needs to have their love renewed.
Sex remains indefinable, inexplicable, and mysterious. Those who want to understand their sexual relationship in marriage must experience it, and experience it the way it was intended to be – spontaneous, free, enjoyable, renewing and more filled with meaning than words could ever tell. Some couples don’t give love a chance but instead dwell on things that are not important or beneficial to their relationship, hence fail to discover the real pleasure of sex.
Living in close proximity with another person, like happens in marriage, not only reveals our good points but also the negative traits. We all fear in varying degrees that we might not be very lovable if our partner got to know our worst qualities. Because of this we try to hide our bad qualities and only reveal the good ones so that our partner can continue to love us. This is especially true when it comes to the intimate issues of sex.
There is no point in trying to put on a completely false front especially in matters of sex. You should always strive to be real as no one is perfect. When you don’t completely reveal yourself to your partner in a relationship, tension inevitably builds up and communication begins to deteriorate. If we fail to balance the good in us with the bad, then we are unable to accept inevitable criticisms and confrontations that occur as a natural product of life together. Equally, it will become easier to respond in kind with our own criticisms without feeling a burden of crushing guilt. In order to continue enjoying fulfilling sex in our marriage, we must be prepared to discuss sex freely, stating our likes and dislikes and taking our strengths and weaknesses in their stride, as well as our good qualities and bad qualities.
Sexual desire in everyone varies from day to day, and like the rest of our behaviour, is dependent on what is going on around us. For instance, there is no way sexual desire can surmount a sudden shock, severe illness, bereavement, or an ill child, and it would be foolish to expect it to do so. In fact, sexual urge is subject to the much smaller ebbs and flows that affect our daily lives and we should take them in our stride and accept them realistically.
Sex may not be enjoyable all the time, and just like any other sensory experience, it can be good or bad. While it is realistic and healthy to accept that it can be less than good, having bad sex once does not mean that it will happen frequently or even again for some time. It is a natural variation and should be accepted as such. However, a couple should not accept to continue with regular bad sex, but should instead find the underlying cause and rectify it.
There are no universal rules about what people should enjoy in sex or what they should not. As long as couples agree mutually to an activity and neither finds it unpleasant or feels coerced, then there is nothing wrong about them trying it. It is perfectly fair to say “No” to your partner if you really do not feel like making love. A good sex life can only be founded on honesty and candour; there is very little to recommend sex where one partner is faking it. Knowledge of this in retrospect would only make the other partner unhappy.
There are bound to be occasions when one partner wants sex and other does not, and each has to accept that it is reasonable for that partner to say so, and for sex to be shelved. Of course, in saying no, one has to be entirely honest and say, “No, I want to be left entirely alone,” or “I don’t feel like sex but I would love to have a cuddle,” or “I am very tired and would prefer we get some sleep first and have sex in the morning.”
Sometimes a dull routine develops because either husband or wife fears change and tries to keep the act of love static as a security measure. That individual is unwittingly choosing emptiness, not fullness. The choice becomes another form of burying one’s goods in the ground, because one is ‘afraid’ to reveal them or use them.
What keeps the relationship vital and moving is a joyous pattern of mutual response. A couple should have a period of almost indescribable pleasure interspersed with changes of fortune and diversity of feelings. A marriage does not have to be a perfect relationship because we are human, but the union must remain a glorious blend of mutual pleasure coupled with intense appreciation.
Those almost perfect moments that sometimes happen between lovers tempt us to become collectors, trying to capture and repeat our favourite experiences. They are pleasant to remember, but clinging to the past often causes us to miss out on the new delights which are still ahead. The time when our love relationship is admittedly less than perfect will always leave room for movement toward each other. As long as we are committed to each other, we need not fear the constant change within marriage, the ebb and flow of the relationship of two lovers, for it is a sign of life.
If the relationship is constantly changing, so is the need of the two people involved. There is no fixed part for each partner to play within the sexual experience. For instance, there can be no ‘boss’ in the mutuality of coming together. While the man may be tenderly protective, there is no space in love for a rigid dominance on his part. To say that a wife is to be submissive in the overall pattern of the home does not imply that in the sexual relationship she is limited to awaiting his pleasure. She has the equal privilege of initiating the act of love and of offering her own imaginative style of pleasure to the total relationship.
Each can be most truly himself or herself in this particular area of the marriage, with neither locked into a role, which must be played again and again. The husband may be essentially a strong personality, but there are times in the privacy of the their love when he will want to be dependent upon his wife and free to express this. She may sometimes need the knowledge of his strength and should be free both to express her feelings and give him what he needs. Together, each can give the emotional sustenance, which the other requires.
Part of the delight of the marriage relationship is the opportunity in the privacy of your bedroom to be all that you know you can be, yet may never show the rest of the world. You can be most totally your true self with your partner. Perhaps others may think of you as stiff or reserved. But with your partner you can laugh together and are free to be passionate or tender as the mood strikes you, protective or dependent, flirtatious or surrendered. There should be room in the sexual relationship for all parts of your personality, good or bad, to be expressed at one time or another.
The importance of a lighthearted approach to lovemaking in marriage is another aspect that couples ought to remember. Sex with your partner is far more than recreation, but it is that as well – the best, the most relaxing, renewing recreation known to man. No wonder making love is often referred to as ‘love play’. It is fun, not duty; high excitement, not boring; something to anticipate, not a dreary experience to be avoided if you can. It should be and it can be the highlight in each other’s love, to find forgetfulness from the cares and insults of life, and to experience the total and wonderful relaxation of complete release or climax, which is the culmination of the lovemaking. It is ironic that couples search for all manner of recreation elsewhere, never having discovered the fullness of pleasure available to them in their own bedroom.
The sexual relationship in marriage offers the unique opportunity to care for and be responsible for another human being in the most complete sense possible. Married couples are meant to love each other’s bodies as if they were their own possessions. Not as mechanisms that can be used for satisfaction and discarded at will, but as a treasure of great and lasting value. When an individual realises how infinitely their partner appreciates them, they develop the assurance of their own self-worth.
When you love and care for your partner, this caring and responsibility will extend outward to the homey details of life, including taking care of your other responsibilities such as children and looking after each other at all times. This caring relationship best begins with sensitive appreciation of the other partner in the love relationship, and continues to be nurtured throughout the marriage.
The sexual relationship brings out a mysterious oneness to the couple. Two separate individuals become merged into one through a physical and emotional act. Every loving couple has the privilege of living this experience, knowing completion through their marriage partner in the act of love. The human sexual union leaps the walls of separation and loneliness, fuses our partialities and contrariness into wholeness, and joins the fragments of life into a new unifying identify. That this great completion takes place at a moment of intimacy when we also experience the keenest ecstasy known to human beings makes sex a miracle of some sort.
Sex is so uniquely and amazingly personal. It is our very own experience which none can match or enter into. No one else can tell us just how to share sex with our partner. The dynamics are for each to explore, experience, and develop into a harmony as near perfection as possible. This will include spontaneity of life, freedom of expression, expectancy of pleasure, sensitivity in caring, and yieldedness leading to completion. As you come to know yourself and your lover, you will know how best to love that special one. There will be intimacy tempered by lightness of touch, with both partners creating a pattern together, and being invisibly nourished by it. Your response of love, liking and delight in each other will be as a bright thread of joy woven in the ordinary colours of daily life.