Many married people are not having an active sex life for no other reason than they "don't feel like it"-meaning they think they have to feel this great desire and/or a huge emotional connection at the front end or sex isn't going to happen. In my last post I addressed the desire aspect of this flawed thinking. Now, I'll dispel the myth regarding the requirement of a huge emotional connection.
Women, more often than men, get hung up on this one and think they have to have all these warm and fuzzy emotions to feel like they can get physical with their husbands. I'm not saying that you always have sex with no emotion or connection-that would not be a healthy relationship. But what I am saying is that sometimes sex can just be sex. The joining together of a husband and wife to get close to each other, relieve stress, enjoy the release and just have a good time enjoying one another-no romance novel level of desire or surge of emotions required! Again, much of this comes from the media-with chick flicks being a huge culprit.
There are a couple of things that you must understand about Hollywood sex... first, it is not real; they are actors and they are being paid to act! Second, and probably most important, a very high percentage of the time (probably like 98%) movie and TV sex is not in the context of marriage-it is either extramarital because it is an affair, or it is premarital sex. In both cases the emotions and desire typically run very high and strong. I hate to break the bad news to you, but what Hollywood shows us is not real, everyday married sex. After you've been together for a bunch of years, not every time is going to be the "ground shaking, heaven bending down to kiss the earth, lights exploding from the sky and angels singing the hallelujah chorus" encounter! Yet that is exactly what so many people foolishly expect and require.
When we are talking about the emotional component of sex there are a couple of different situations to consider here-first time married sex and sex outside of marriage. First, when you experience sex in the early stage of marriage, you are typically filled with high levels of desire and emotional connection-that's just the way it is. The buzz and rush are there because of the newness and excitement, and it should be that way. All that desire and emotion go a long way in bonding a brand new husband and wife together. The thing to know and remember is that it just doesn't stay that way, and when you set that as your standard, you are in trouble. After awhile the honeymoon does wear off and you eventually grow into a stage where it is more of the safe, comfortable married sex that is still very enjoyable, fun and pleasurable. It just isn't going to be the Fourth of July experience with fireworks and bombs bursting in air every single time.
But for people who experience premarital sex (which so many people do, though they should be waiting until marriage) or extramarital sex through affairs, it can become a real problem because the desire/emotion component is especially strong and potent due to the forbidden and naughty nature of that type of sexual encounter. Often men and women go from relationship to relationship, and move from one highly charged sexual tryst to the next. People actually condition themselves to the euphoria and the high level of desire and emotion if all of their sexual experiences are this context. Therefore, when they get married and the initial high and excitement is no longer there, they don't want to have sex, think it's boring or they go looking for that buzz elsewhere in an illicit relationship or pornography. It is another important reason why sex outside of marriage is such a bad idea.
Whether or not you start your marriage as virgins or have had sexual experiences outside of marriage, when you think the emotional rush that you feel in a new sexual relationship is the norm and then combine that with the nonsense of the media telling us what sex is "supposed" to be like, it's a recipe for disappointment and difficulty. In a long-term, committed, marriage sometimes one or both of you will experience all those great feelings when you engage in sex, but it's certainly not every time. If you become reliant and dependent on that desire/emotion cocktail, and if one or both ingredients are not there consistently, you'll end up believing there is something wrong with you, your spouse or your love life.
The truth of the matter is there is nothing wrong. As I said, sometimes sex is just sex; it's what you do when you are married. Just like cleaning the toilet is what you do to keep your house clean...and I bet you don't have this great desire or huge emotional connection to scrubbing the porcelain! You do it because it needs to be done and that's the way it is with married sex... it does need to be done! It's the glue that God gave us to bond us to one another. The bible is very clear that it is your responsibility as a spouse.
Understand that there is no need for all this desire and emotion nonsense. Don't feel badly if you aren't overwhelmed by all the over-the-moon feelings and passion ahead of time. There is nothing wrong with you. If you can enjoy sex once you start and have a good time, that's all that matters. Just break the mindset that you won't do it unless you feel like it. Let not your hearts be troubled. Just enjoy the deal without all the fuss and worry over the desire and emotion. It's actually a trap, that if you aren't careful, you can get caught in and you, your spouse and your relationship will suffer.
Mark Gungor is one of the most sought-after speakers on marriage and family in the country. Each year thousands of couples attend his Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage® seminars. His take on marriage issues is refreshingly free of both churchy and psychological lingo. Mark is pastor of Celebration Church in Green Bay, WI. He speaks for churches, civic events, and business meetings and is even a speaker for the US Army. Mark has been featured on national broadcasts such as Focus on the Family and ABC News. His daily internet radio show is heard worldwide and weekly television show Love, Marriage and Stinking Thinking is available on TBN and Sky Angel.