One of the most challenging areas of a marriage is a couples’ sex life. There are a myriad of reasons for this, but in the 15 years I’ve been working with couples, I think it boils down to one core question: Who is sex for?
No one makes it through childhood and adolescence sexually unscathed. There are various degrees to which we are sexually named, but everyone has a story of how their sexuality was used, abused, provoked, seduced, sabotaged, or marked by ill intent. We all bring these stories into our marriages hoping, praying, and expecting them to be rewritten.
These stories of harm, pain, and disappointment all result in feelings of shame about our sexuality. Shame says that something is wrong with us, that we’re flawed, and our desires are bad. Without knowing it, we often engage sexually with an intent to quiet or get rid of our shame. The result? Sex usually serves ourselves, not our spouse. A great sex life takes practice, conversation, and service.
Unfortunately, too few couples address their sex life outside of the bedroom. If this is you, a great place to start a conversation is to think about and answer this question together as a couple: Who (or what) am I serving in our sex life?