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Enhancing Your Sexual Intimacy



Ron L. Deal and David H. Olson

Taken from The Remarriage Checkup


          Just because sex is a natural function of your body, don’t assume you know all you need to know to be sexually proficient.  We encourage you to reference one of the many quality books available on sexuality and read it together as a couple.  (We recommend A Celebration of Sex by Dr. Doug Rosenau, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2002 or The Way to Love Your Wife by Clifford and Joyce Penner, Tyndale House Publishers, 2007.) 


In the meantime, here are a few suggestions for enhancing your sexual intimacy.

1.      Sex is a gift, not a right.  A couple cannot have a great sex life if either demands sex or if either believes sex is an obligation.  A great sex life grows when both persons give the best of themselves to the other. [1]

2.      Maintain a sense of awe and wonder about sex.  The greatest sex organ is your brain.  How you think about sex gives it meaning and vitality or makes it ordinary.  Remember that every sexual encounter is an opportunity to drink deeply of the one you love.  Consider this mystery with every touch and taste.

3.      Take responsibility for your own pleasure.  Don’t assume the other will know when or how to stimulate you.  Use assertive communication skills to share what you enjoy.  Trust one another to speak up for their preferences without demanding.

4.      Be flexible during lovemaking.  While the typical sexual dance you follow as a couple can be familiar and comfortable, do try new things as your bodies and moods change (See Song of Solomon 7:13). Take care not to follow a rigid “recipe” for excitement or sexual play.  Men, for example, who believe they know their wife’s “combination” will find that it frequently changes.  Pursue the pleasure of the moment, not some predetermined path to orgasm. 

5.      Most women need clitoral stimulation to reach orgasm.  More than 60% of women need direct clitoral stimulation for 15 minutes or longer to achieve orgasm.  Assuming that intercourse alone “should be enough” ignores female physiology.  The clitoris is similar to the head of the man’s penis and often isn’t stimulated during intercourse.  It can be helpful (and fun) for a woman to show her husband how she wants her clitoris to be stimulated (lightly or firmly, quickly or slowly, at different times).[2]

6.      Be playful.  Don’t manage yourself like a “critical parent.”  Let yourself go like a playful child.[3] 

7.      Manage what reduces your sexual desire.  When fatigued, for example, women need to get rest and sleep.  When stressed, men need to get exercise.  Find ways of activating your sexual interests. 

8.      Eat a variety of “sexual meals”.  Over time a healthy sexual relationship is like the variety of meals we eat to care for our bodies.  Have a healthy diet of each:

·         Appetizers with engaging aroma—be affectionate to awaken sexual desires.  Small behaviors like complimenting one another, smiling when your spouse enters the room, calling from work with a sensuous message, and having an extended kiss before leaving for work help you smell what’s cookin’.

·         Snacks—every couple needs quick sexual encounters from time to time (“quickies”).  It’s not a balanced meal and you can’t live for long on them, but they sure fill you up when you need it.

·         Well-balanced Meals—most meals involve the four food groups.  Be sure to balance your lovemaking with a variety of types of “food” (engage all five senses).  Don’t just eat chicken every night. 

·         Smorgasbord—take turns asking for what you want.  Each partner chooses from a list of sexual favorites; take turns being the pleasurer or receiver.[4] 

·         Celebration Events—most households spend hours planning and cooking Thanksgiving dinner; it’s not just a meal, it’s an event!  On occasion, spend extra time planning a special sexual feast that involves time, money, surprises, and lots of fun[5].

9.      Avoid pornography.  It can appear benign, but over time it distorts expectations and makes “normal sex” seem uneventful.  Inviting a third party into your marriage is a slow growing cancer; don’t give pornography any place in your marriage. 

10.  Face sexual problems and get help.  Most couples experience some kind of sexual problem at some point in their marriage.  One national study showed estimated that over 80% of marriages in the US had experienced a sexual problem[6].  Talking with a therapist might seem awkward, but many effective treatments exist for a variety of issues.  When help is needed, seek it out (find a listing of Certified Christian Sex Therapists at www.abcst.org). 




Ron L. Deal is President of Smart Stepfamilies, author of The Smart Stepfamily: Seven Steps to a Healthy Family, and a licensed marriage and family therapist.  He and David Olson have conducted the largest study on remarital relationships ever conducted and have coauthored The Remarriage Checkup.  David H. Olson is President of Life Innovations and developer of the internationally recognized Couple Checkup relationship profile. 



[1] Taylor, D. & Sytsma, M.  7 things you need to know about sex. In Marriage Partnership magazine (summer, 2007). 

[2] Taylor & Sytsma, ibid. 

[3] McCluskey, C., & McCluskey, R. (2004).  When Two Become One: Enhancing Sexual Intimacy in Marriage. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell.

[4] This suggestion comes from Penner, C. L. & Penner, J. J. (2007).  The Way to love your wife: Creating greater love and passion in the bedroom.  Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House.

[5] McCluskey, C., & McCluskey, R. (2004).  When Two Become One: Enhancing Sexual Intimacy in Marriage. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell.

[6] Moreira, E. D., Brock, G., Glasser, D. B., Nicolosi, A., Laumann, E. O., Paik, A., et al. (2005). Help-seeking behavior for sexual problems: the global study of sexual attitudes and behaviors. International Journal of Clinical Practice, 59 (1), 6-16.



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