by Scott Kedersha
After I graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary, I went back to audit a one-week class on sexual intimacy. One of the first components of the class was an exercise I will never forget. Ten large papers hung on the wall in the front of the class. On the top of each page was written a word/phrase like sexual intercourse, breast, oral sex, or masturbation. The assignment for the class: grab some markers and write down all of the slang terms we could think of related to each one of the terms.
I have never excelled more at a seminary assignment. I realized how poorly I had thought about and discussed the body and intimacy all of my life. The influence of pornography and the discussions I had with friends had clearly distorted my views and the ways I discussed God’s gifts of the body and intimacy.
The purpose of the assignment was for us to realize how poorly we communicate about sexual intimacy and to help us become more comfortable in discussing intimacy, the parts of the body, and different aspects of intimacy.
The problem for many of us is that we don’t realize we can actually talk about sex with one another. And when we discuss it, we can do so using words and phrases that honor the Lord instead of talking about it crassly. In fact, I believe most couples have almost no clue about how to talk about sex. Either we don’t think we are allowed to talk about it, or we feel extremely insecure in discussing anything intimacy-related with our spouse.
I believe communication is the most important skill needed for a great sex life, even more important than bedroom tips, tricks, and techniques. We need to learn how to communicate about intimacy.
The biggest obstacle when it comes to communication? We are fools. Proverbs 18:2 says: A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion. Often when it comes to intimacy, we are more interested in sharing our own desires and needs instead of listening with the intent of understanding our spouse.
Here are a couple of the challenges, and why we need to improve in communication related to intimacy:
- Men are, typically, easier to please. There is not much mystery in pleasing a guy physically. Women, on the other hand, are tougher to please. Men don’t know how and we can’t read minds. We need to be told (i.e. communication) what feels good. We need help learning how to understand how to please our wife.
- We all have expectations related to intimacy and we need to learn how to communicate those expectations. Otherwise, we will experience frustration and disappointment.
- Talking about sex in general is very difficult. We need to learn how to ask for or express what we want or desire. This is called assertiveness, not selfishness. We need to create safety in communication with one another.
- To be clear, just because we want something sexually does not mean we should do it.
- Sharing our desires becomes a great way to put our spouses desires before our own if we are comfortable doing what they suggest.
- Often we are afraid to hurt one another or we are ashamed to speak about intimacy. Rather, we choose to not communicate instead of taking the time to discuss intimacy. If you talk about intimacy, it doesn’t mean you’re messed up. It’s a good and healthy thing to talk about with each other!
We need to discuss how to get out of the routine and try something new. We need to be able to have fun and try new things. Men often tend to be formulaic. Just because something works one time does not mean it will work the next time you are intimate with your wife. Yet another reason why we need to discuss intimacy with each other.
Discuss the following with your spouse:
- How are we honestly doing in our day-to-day communication?
- Do we have any unresolved conflict in our marriage right now?
- Why is it difficult for us to talk about sexual intimacy?
- Is there anything you would like to share with your spouse on how you can improve your sexual intimacy?
Scott Kedersha is the Director of Premarital Ministry at Watermark Community Church