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I remember the first time I opened a Cosmopolitan magazine. I was a teenager hanging out at in the magazine section of Barnes and Noble, and curiosity killed the cat. At the time, the only knowledge I had concerning sex was what body parts were involved! I flipped through the magazine and landed on a “how-to be good at [insert intimate act]”. Each step I read made my cheeks turn a brighter shade of red. Suddenly the magazine felt like a hot coal in my hand. I was blushing on the outside, but on the inside I was choked with fear about what lied in store for my future (hoping that I would someday marry). How is that physically possible, I wondered?How is that enjoyable for the guy? How is that enjoyable for ME? How can something that seems so…dirty…be fun and okay when I’m married?
Five years after that, I’m married and sitting in my college cafeteria across from my engaged housemate. You can imagine what she wanted to talk about: the wedding night. We speak in hushed tones and giggles, and I see her cheeks are extra pink. This time, my insides aren’t wringing with fear.
“Let me tell you what I wish someone had told me,” I begin.
I’ve participated in a fair amount of intimacy-related chats over the six years I’ve been married. Sometimes the conversations are fruitful and a blessing, and other times they’re awkward and one or all parties involve share a little too much. Here’s the thing — it’s okay to talk about marriage intimacy, but consider the following:
Who You’re Talking To
First off, have you talked to God? It should be obvious, but I think many women feel a bit weirded-out by the thought of going to God about their sex life. He cares, though! After all, He’s the one who created intimacy for marriage in the first place.
Second, if your issue is with something your husband is or isn’t doing, he is the first (and maybe the only) person you should talk to. If you have questions or are in need of advice, seek help from a fellow Christian married woman. I prefer someone who has been married a similar amount of time as me, if not longer. A friend who hasn’t been married as long as you might not understand the situations or problems you’re having. Regardless, whomever you talk about sex with should be someone both you and your husband view as trustworthy. Most importantly, talk to someone who will give you unbiased, Godly advice. If your friends are always siding with you and never helping you see how you might do things differently, they’re not really looking out for your marriage.
What You Want To Talk About
Maybe the conversations you’re having about sex aren’t related to negative feelings or experiences. My friends and I have joked before about the differences between sex in movies/TV and sex in real life. We’ve shared embarrassing stories (like the time my friend found herself in a creaky bed on her honeymoon) and asked each other questions about birth control, lingerie, what it’s like to try to conceive, what it’s like to have sex after children are in the picture, etc.
Many women can relate on marriage intimacy, and it’s a comfort to discover you’re not the only one who feels (or has felt) the way you do. But it is OKAY if you would rather not know anything about anyone else’s sex life. You are not required to listen or participate. If your friends tell you something that makes you uncomfortable, it’s okay to tell them you’d rather them talk to someone else. If you do want to share, first ask yourself if your husband would be embarrassed by what you plan to say. I’ve over-shared before and regretted it. Better to be safe than sorry!
How And When To Bring It Up
When my engaged housemate met me for dinner that night years ago, she had told me ahead of time that she had questions. I had time to prepare what I wanted to say. If you have something specific you want to discuss, it’s a great idea to give your friend a heads up. This allows them to pull together any resources they might want to share. I’ve asked Andy many questions on my friend’s behalf (though he doesn’t know who is doing the asking). Having a male perspective is extra helpful!
In retrospect, meeting at a cafeteria was probably a bad idea. There were people everywhere, and we could have been overheard. Take advantage of times when you’re alone with a trustworthy friend—say you’re at her home, or you’re on a walk.
Why I Recommend It
I remember how I felt after meeting with my housemate. I was excited for her (because intimacy can and should be fun) and I was proud of myself for being open on a topic many Christians are tight-lipped about. My own expectations of marriage intimacy were based on things I saw on TV. I wish I had felt comfortable enough to ask my married friends for their advice! As my other college friends got engaged, I saw discussing sex with them as an opportunity to help prepare them for life with their husband—real life, not Hollywood’s version.
We’re told marriage intimacy is a wonderful thing to be celebrated, not a shameful act to be hidden away. So, as married women, let’s do our part to help engaged women and other married ladies out!
Laura Rennie lives in Maryland with her hilarious husband and constantly shedding dog. She loves reading, writing and playing word games. Her greatest desire is to share Jesus through her words and actions as she learns how to be a better wife, daughter, sister and friend.