Sunday, 9 March 2014

The spice of married life...

A husband and wife's sexual life has a number of dimensions.  The frequency of sexual intimacy is one dimension that gets a lot of attention, and it is easy to make the mistake of thinking that if the frequency is too low to meet the needs of both partners, that is the only thing to work on.  Likewise if frequency is not an issue, other aspects of the relationship might get overlooked.

One such potential blind spot is variety.  As with the sex drive, the need for variety in a couple's intimate life is real, and can vary a great deal person to person.  Some people can be perfectly happy to have sex the same way over and over in a predictable but satisfying manner.  Others can hunger for a menu of options to combine creating range of pleasurable experiences.  It can even turn out that the spouse with the lower sex drive has the higher need for variety.

This need for variety by itself is not a bad thing, in fact I would say God built that into us the same as he built into us a desire for sexual fulfillment.  God did not create one kind of flower, one kind of tree, one kind of bird, and one kind of dog.  He did not give us one kind of food or one kind of weather either.  He created a world overflowing with variety and said:
Doctrine and Covenants 59:18
Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart;
Satan of course can twist anything to his purposes, and so he uses the desire for variety as a means of pulling people into the trap of pornography.  This excelent TED Talk video goes into detail on that and I recommend everybody watch it, even if pornography is not an issue in your marriage:

What the video doesn't cover is that this drive for variety can be harnessed for good within a marriage.  Certainly a variety of partners is off the table, but there are many areas where variety can be introduced

The most obvious place to start is with a variety of positions.  You don't have to be a double jointed acrobat to develop a list of a few different positions that work for you.  The three most common are missionary (man on top), cowgirl (woman on top) and 'doggie style' (woman hands and knees with the man entering from behind her).  From there you can branch out and try things like CAT, reverse cowgirl, having sex while standing up.  Not every new position you try will be workable for your body types, but half the fun is in trying.  Don't make a big deal out of it when something you try isn't right for the two of you, just have a laugh and learn from the experience.

Type of sex
Vaginal intercourse is not the only option.  Giving each other oral sex or manual sex opens up the possibility of greater sexual intimacy at times when vaginal sex is not desirable or possible, and each spouse can provide that for the other.  'Outercourse'  is another option, or phone sex if the two of you are at a distance from each other. 

Both lingerie and sexy costumes add excitement and variety.  Wearing lingerie sends a message that you desire your spouse, and you hunger for sexual intimacy with them.  Costumes allow for playing out sexual fantasies with alternate reality versions of the two of you.  This harnesses the imagination to expand the realm of variety beyond the limits of reality.  It can even help overcome needless inhibitions. Role playing like that can be done without costumes too, but it does add something to it when you can dress the part.

While making love is a private act, it doesn't have to be limited to the master bedroom.  One anniversary we sent all the kids out to have sleepovers at their friend's homes.  For that weekend our home was our hotel suite and we enjoyed having the privacy of the bedroom extended to the entire house.  You can also get a real hotel room for just a night or for a weekend, find a secluded place to park after the sun goes down, take a blanket with you to a private beach,  or hike to your own Garden of Eden where either in the moonlight or the full light of day the two of you can become one.

There are a variety of ways to express affection (love notes, touches, public displays of affection, gifts...) or flirt (sexual touches, sexting, erotic desires whispered in their ear, 'bedroom eyes' from across the room...), and a number of different intimate activities ( taking intimate photos, massage, showering together...).  There is no such thing as an exhaustive list.

With just a little effort and forethought, even a couple that has been married a long time can find something new to try, or do something they haven't done in a long time.  Building up a good menu of intimate options will let variety become the spice of your marriage, and you'll love the flavor.