Improving Your Lovemaking

Having been involved with FamilyLife and working with couples for over 28 years I’ve noticed that people assume I’m a ‘sexpert’. I’m not, but I have learnt a lot about intimacy from listening to real experts, studying, and speaking with countless couples on this topic.

I often get asked for advice on how to improve lovemaking. In fact just this week, a lady wrote and asked an extremely vulnerable and courageous question regarding intimacy. I so admired that lady. It would have been easy for her to ignore it, sweep it under the carpet, and settle for less. However, her attitude was commendable. I remember Vonette Bright (the wife of Bill Bright, the great Evangelist and founder of Cru) many years ago making the statement, “if there’s a better way to bake a cake then I want to know”. She applied that to all areas of her life, including sexual intimacy.

With that in mind let’s talk about ways to turn the heat up, not in the kitchen, but in the bedroom.

1. Talk about your ‘sexpectations’

Talking is essential regarding intimacy. If we don’t communicate then we make assumptions, and assumptions are more often incorrect than correct. Maybe it’s time to have an honest conversation and ask each other if you are currently fulfilled in this area of your lives. The message version of the scripture 1 Corinthians 7:3-4 puts it so very well:

“The marriage bed must be a place of mutuality – the husband seeking to satisfy his wife, the wife seeking to satisfy her husband. Marriage is not a place to ‘stand up for your rights.’ Marriage is a decision to serve the other, whether in bed or out.”

Due to a myriad of reasons, every marriage goes through seasons of ‘restrictions’ or unavailability – just ensure that it stays a short season, not a never-ending drought.

2. Be curious about your partner’s sex drive and desires

You probably already see areas in your marriage where you and your partner are totally different, intimacy is just another. You may be an introvert married to an extravert, or a saver married to a spender, or a fast-paced person married to a slower-paced one. Intimacy is just another difference needing to be understood, appreciated and embraced.

If we lean into these differences, seeking to understand one another by being curious, open-minded and accepting, conversations will flow much easier. Sometimes it can be difficult to bring up topics of discussion, so a few years ago Andy and I created a resource of question cards called, “Small Talk for the bedroom”. It’s far easier asking a question when it’s coming from a card, and it will open up conversations that you’re probably eager to have, but haven’t known how to.

3. Get comfortable with your own body

People often assume (there’s that word again) that this is just an issue for women. While it’s true that approximately 80% of women suffer from negative body image, men also suffer. In a recent study of 2000 males in the UK, almost half of them said their poor body image had impacted their mental health. It seems that our mind plays a key role here. If our eyes only recognize the ‘problem’ areas of our body then we’ll take those thoughts with us into the bedroom, and we will find it difficult to be “naked and unashamed” (Genesis 2:25) with one another, and our sex life will suffer.

Can I encourage you to instead “take every thought captive” (2 Corinthians 10:5), and appreciate your body for what it has done for you. Maybe it’s brought children into the world; maybe it’s overcome an illness or currently working hard to build wellness into your system; maybe it’s been the backbone of your productivity – whatever it’s been to you, appreciate it. Appreciating our body allows us to be comfortable in our own skin, which then means we can be more comfortable to allow another to appreciate it too.

Ladies you may need to hear this, but when your husband sees your naked body, he delights in you. He doesn’t see those stretch marks from child-birth as a flaw, he doesn’t see the cellulite and get turned off – he sees the woman he loves, the mother of his children, a warrior Princess. And remember you are the only legitimate female body he can look at – so can I encourage you to let him look, and let him enjoy you.

4. Give yourself permission

Some of us need to be told this – to give ourselves permission to be a sensuous partner. God gave sex to us as a gift. Yes, the act of sex is for procreation but it’s also for our pleasure. It can be an oasis, refreshment for our souls, and bring us deep comfort and enjoyment. Climax also releases oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin – all the wonderful hormones of feeling good, connected, pleasurable and fulfilled. Lovemaking not only increases our emotional health, but it’s also beneficial for our physical health and mental well-being.

5. Commit to growing in this area

We upskill in so many areas of our life, why not commit to upskilling in lovemaking. If we want to build our communication skills or our budgeting skills, we’ll seek out the information we need. What would happen to your lovemaking if you applied the same priority? We don’t know what we don’t know, so being open to learning about your partner’s body, desires and pleasures is all part of the process. Maybe consider reading a relevant book together and practising what you learn.

Part of growing in this area is setting time aside. Planning intimate times together. Planning isn’t unromantic. I’m not talking about every Friday evening playing scrabble and then having sex. I’m not meaning that structured. However, planning can create anticipation and allow us to get our minds and body aligned.

Many couples I talk to admit to being too tired and too busy. I would say that if you’re too tired to have sex, then you’re just too busy and something needs to be cut from the schedule. Maybe it’s time to have a conversation around your calendars and talk about how intimacy can be made more of a priority in your lives.

To wrap it up

Life is full of ups and downs, it’s got challenges, pressures, and responsibilities. Married life can become an endless list of projects, child-rearing, work engagements, eating, sleeping – much of what we do is humdrum. In the midst of our daily lives, God gives us a gift to refresh our souls, to release our tension, to connect on a truly deep level, and to being comfortable, connection and delight.

It’s the gift of sex.

Can I encourage you to slow down, unpack your gift tenderly and delight in the pleasure of lovemaking.

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