Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Moving towards sexual fulfillment - Part 1

It's all well and good to say that sexual fulfillment is important in a marriage, but that doesn't really help much if there isn't agreement on what that means.  Conflict and frustration are usually close at hand when each spouse has a different picture in their mind of what fulfillment looks like.  If they have conflicting views it can become a big problem in the relationship if left unaddressed.

Sexual fulfillment is achieved over time, sometimes a long time.  It is the result of each spouse doing their best to provide their mate with the a satisfying intimate physical relationship, and helping their spouse do the same for them.  The focus needs to be on serving your spouse, fulfillment is a gift you can only give, not take.

It is important to realize that the objective here is mutual fulfillment. Neither spouse should be left feeling neglected, used, taken for granted, unsatisfied or unappreciated.  In an ideal marriage, fulfilling your spouse sexually is a big part of your own sexual fulfillment.

Over the next few posts I'll go over what I've found to be some key steps that will help in achieving mutual sexual fulfillment in marriage. I don't suggest this the be-all-end-all on the subject, but I hope they will be helpful at least.

What would the perfect sexual relationship look like to you, what would it look like to your spouse?  My wife and I didn't really talk about that at all before or marriage, or after it for many years.  Big mistake. It is really hard to meet the needs of a person when you do not know what their needs are.  It is really hard to tell your spouse what your needs if you don't know what they are yourself.  The clearer you can make the picture in your spouse's mind of what fulfillment means for you, the easier it will be to make that picture a reality. 

Each spouse ought to look inside themselves and determine as clearly as possible what they need to feel satisfied sexually.  What do you need in terms of frequency, enthusiasm, variety, order, adventure, playfulness, fantasy, flirting, safety, risk, foreplay, affection outside the bedroom, pillow talk,  respect, control, submission, privacy, spontaneity, aggressiveness etc. to feel satisfied?  How important are each of these needs, which are vitally important, which ones are desirable but less important? 

Once you have a firm grasp on what your own needs are, then you need to share them with your spouse.  It would be wonderful if we could all read each other mind's and know what to do when to make our spouses feel loved and happy, but it doesn't work that way.  We need to teach our spouse about the person they married.  Tell your spouse what your needs are, perhaps in a letter or email that they can refer back to.  Discuss them together to ensure they are correctly understood. Get the same information from your spouse and become a student of their heart.

Also be aware that a person's needs can change over time, and it is our responsibility to update our spouse as needed.

Making your needs known to your spouse can be frightening, it requires making ourselves emotionally vulnerable like nothing else does, and with vulnerability comes an intense fear of rejection.  This is what kept me silent for many years, the fear that if I requested *that*, she may think less of me for it, push me away and desire me less.

It is very important when your spouse is sharing something like this, they are trying to help you both find greater sexual fulfillment.  Do not react by judging them, making them feel ashamed, invalidating their feelings or rejecting them in some other way.  Do that and you will find it very hard to get them to open up to you like that again and instead of drawing closer you'll create a wall.

Shared needs are easy to deal with but the chances are pretty good that your spouse will also have some need that will take you outside your comfort zone.  Likewise you will probably have to stretch yourself to meet their needs.  I'm not talking about things that would harm somebody's worthiness before God, risk landing somebody in jail, or cause physical or emotional trauma, I'm talking about things that are common in healthy sexual relationships but one spouse gets nothing out of, or even feels deeply uncomfortable with doing for other reasons.

It is tempting to try and get your spouse to alter their needs so things are easier for you, but is that how you would like them to behave when it comes to your needs?  No. Also, there is no mutual fulfillment in one spouse engaging something (or doing without something) out of a feeling of duty or obligation.  What is called for is empathy.

Empathy is a form of compassion that enables you to relate to how another feels about something even if you yourself do not feel that way about the same thing,.  It is not pity or sympathy, those are feeling for somebody, empathy is feeling with somebody.

Having empathy for your spouse allows you to draw on your love for them expand your comfort zone so you can meet their needs joyfully, with no resentment. Understanding why that need exists (if possible), or what meaning your spouse attaches to having that need met can help develop that empathy.

Empathy is also a two way street in a situation like this.  One spouse needs to cultivate empathy for the need held by the other, and the other must cultivate empathy for their spouse's inhibition. Then you can take a step back and start taking a deeper look at both the desire and the inhibition.

What about it makes it desirable or undesirable?  Is there a way it could me made more desirable?  How important is fulfilling that desire?  How deep does the inhibition run?  What experiences have contributed to these feelings?  Is it need really just a means of meeting some deeper need?  Is there some other way of meeting that need, a win-win solution? 

It may wind up with somebody growing sexually, overcoming an inhibition and expanding their comfort zone.  It may wind up with somebody having enough empathy for their spouse that their own need is eclipsed by their compassion for their spouse's challenge.  It may be something in between, or move from one to the other.  What is important is that both spouses know that their mate understands and accepts their needs, has empathy for them, and will do the best they can to fulfill those needs.

[Click Here for Part 2]

No comments:

Post a Comment