Sex is one of the only things that set you and your partner apart from just being roommates. Because of that, sex is vitally important to your marriage. But if you're like most people, the extent of your sex education was limited to one awkward class during P.E. in middle school. You learned how it works and even about some of the diseases you can get from it. Maybe it was just hormones, but despite that awkward class you couldn't wait for that partner that you'd be able to share that intimacy with. You thought it would be great - like what you see in the movies.
Well, you don't have to be married for too long before you realize that sex isn't exactly as matter-of-fact as your P.E. teacher made it out to be, or as romantic as you see in the movies. Come to find out, there are a lot of fighting, arguments, and tension surrounding sex and intimacy. When your relationship is going great, so is the intimacy. And reciprocally, when the intimacy is going great so is the relationship. But if you knew some of the secrets to keep the sex and intimacy going well in the meantime, you could avoid a lot of the fights, tension and distress that go along with(out) it.
Here are 4 clues from a marriage counselor to help you solve the puzzle of intimacy.
Clue #1: You really don't know your body
You see your body every day in the mirror when you get out of the shower. You've had embarrassing medical conditions, and you know what clothes you do (and don't) look good in. Because of this, you think you're an expert about your body. But when it comes to sex, you really don't know yourself as much as you think you do.
Many sexual experiences require two people, so there's no way that you can familiarize yourself with everything you like and don't like in the bedroom. Sure, some things might look pretty exciting in the movies or reading about them in magazines, but that doesn't mean you'll actually like them once you try them. So the bedroom becomes a learning place for you to get to know your body and what you actually do and do not like.
Clue #2: Your partner really doesn't know your body
In the movies, you see couples intuitively reach for each other, begin kissing and they seem to intuitively know what to do to drive each other wild. But the truth is they know what to do because it's scripted.
When it comes down to sex in real life, it's not nearly as intuitive as what you see in the movies. Your partner doesn't know what you think they know, and it's not as intuitive for them to know what drives you wild, either. Give your partner a break and don't expect them to magically know what you like and don't like. Communicate openly about what you want to do or try and don't be surprised if they ask you questions along the way. A little communication can really help spice things up in your marriage.
Clue #3: There's no replacement for good old fashioned communication
In the dating world, it's the guys' job to ask the girl out and plan the date. He doesn't even know the girl but if he guesses right, and goes somewhere she likes, he's rewarded with another date. Unfortunately, this kind of guessing game is awful when it comes to marriage.
In marriage, there's no replacement for good old fashioned communication. If you want to know why your sex life is lagging, it's best just to ask. Sure, it's not very romantic but your marriage is too precious to waste time on inaccurate guessing. Sit down with each other and talk about what's bothering you. And don't expect each other to have the answer. Oftentimes, your partner is trying to figure it out the same as you are.
Clue #4: Intimacy in marriage communicates something deeper
When you were in high school or college you knew friends who would have sex just for fun. It wasn't hard for them because bodies are biologically wired to get aroused and they just needed to find an arousing partner. But in a marriage, sex is more important than "just for fun." Sex creates feelings of connection, intimacy and love. It also can create feelings of anger, embarrassment and even feelings of being used.
Because of the many emotions that sex can evoke, it becomes a unique form of communication between a couple - for good and for bad. Sex can be a communication to celebrate an anniversary or to end a fight. It can also start a fight or make your partner pay for saying something mean. When you view sex as a form of communicating, you're more deliberate about it. You're also more deliberate about why you're doing it.
Aaron Anderson is a therapist and Director of The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, CO. He is a writer, speaker and relationship expert. Checkout his blog for expert information on how to improve your relationship.