Why Your Wife Thinks Sex is Gross

January 12, 2011

in Links to good stuff, Sexuality

Note: This is a guest post by Julie Sibert of the excellent blog Intimacy In Marriage

Body fluids are GROSS! © Thomas Perkins | Dreamstime.comOkay, maybe your wife doesn’t think sex is gross. And even if she does, hopefully she has never expressed it to you in this way. But I talk with enough women to know that many of them are somewhat disillusioned with the actual act of sex. It’s not that they don’t love their husbands and don’t value the marital commitment. It’s just… well… sex is messy and awkward and usually doesn’t look anything like the latest romantic chick flick.

I happen to be a wife who really enjoys sex (even if it is messy). Enjoying sex, of course, makes me an odd creature in the landscape of Christian wives. When most men and women hear me say that I truly enjoy sex, they generally look at me with disbelief and bewilderment. Like they have just seen a panda in the middle of the Serengeti. (“Gee, she sure is cute…but how strange…”)

Obviously, I am very passionate about speaking hope and encouragement about the gift of sex and the invaluable role it plays in marriage.

Speaking so frankly about sex, though, especially within Christian circles, takes a bit of nerve (even for me, an unabashed extrovert to the core). Honestly, I probably wouldn’t speak up about it so much – if there wasn’t such a need.

I imagine if you are a husband reading Paul’s fabulous blog, it’s because you value sexual intimacy and want to do all you can to nurture it within your marriage. I wouldn’t be surprised as well if you read his blog because you are frustrated that your wife does not share your enthusiasm about sex.

As for sexual struggles from a woman’s perspective, there are many complexities that run the gamut from unresolved past hurts to hormonal challenges to simple tiredness. While I do not have all the answers about your particular situation, I do have a few general insights.

Rarely is there one reason why some wives are indifferent about sex, but I will elaborate on three that may shed some light on what’s going on in your bed. (Mind you, there are no guarantees that these insights apply to your situation. I’m a writer, not a magician).

1. Sex is messy and awkward. Anything that involves various body fluids and positions that you don’t commonly find yourself in lacks the elegance that women tend to crave. As women, most of us romanticize the elegance and the feeling of “being in love.” I mean seriously, how else could we rationalize $2,000 wedding dresses? The actual act of sex – with all its physicality – feels far removed from the lace, flowers and sheer beauty depicted in bridal magazines.

And as much as I hate to call it like it is, we as women must deal with most of the actual mess of sex. We are the ones with semen running out of us – and on to the sheets that we will inevitably have to wash. We already are not overly thrilled with having to deal with the mess of our monthly period, so sometimes sex feels like just one more mess. Now, mind you, I’m not one of these women. But I get that women start to view it this way.

My tip to you: Don’t be lackadaisical about the mess and awkwardness. Maybe say to your wife, “Honey, I know sex is messy and somewhat awkward, but I really want us both to enjoy this time together. How can I help make this more special for you?” (Oh, and offer to help change the sheets and do the laundry).

2. Body image taunts a woman’s mind BIG TIME. Society bombards women with images of what “sexy” is. Rarely do those societal images come in any size larger than about 6 (by the way, most women are more in the 12-16 range). If your wife has had children, her body also likely bears the remnants of what it takes to carry, birth and breastfeed a baby. Hey, I love my kids, but they were relentless on my body. Your wife may need extra reassurance and specific compliments about parts of her body to help her feel more confident as your lover.

3. The clitoris is finicky. If your wife has never had an orgasm or has real difficulty experiencing orgasm, this can make sex feel boring, messy and unnecessary. As frustrating as it is for you that she is not coming (I know – you’ve patiently tried to help), imagine how frustrating it is for her? Not only does she now have the mess of sex, she doesn’t even have any pleasure to show for it. Yuck.

My tip? Try to engage her in a heart-to-heart discussion away from the bedroom. Express to her that her pleasure is of utmost importance to you and that you want the two of you to explore solutions together. There are several Christian sex books that address this (as well as The Marriage Bed site).

BONUS INSIGHT: If your wife was raised in a Christian environment, she more than likely heard this about sex: “Don’t do it.” She may have heard this message with added fervent commentary like, “It’s gross. It’s dirty. It’s disgusting.” Even if you were raised in a Christian home as well, it’s doubtful you received such damaging commentary.

It can be a huge mental challenge for a woman to go from years of hearing “don’t do it” to “Hey, now you get to do it. Enjoy!” Suggest to her that the two of you read together a Christian sex book that explores the richness of sex within marriage. At the minimum, try to have a conversation about the “false tapes” of the past that are sabotaging your intimacy.

Like I said, there are no guarantees, but hopefully some of the above helps you understand your wife’s lens. I truly believe the more a husband and a wife can genuinely try to understand each other’s lenses, the better positioned they are for hot vulnerable amazing sex. No pun intended. (Well, maybe just a little…)

Julie Sibert | Author's image© 2010 by Julie Sibert.

Julie Sibert writes and speaks about sexual intimacy in marriage. You can follow her blog at www.IntimacyInMarriage.com. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband, their two boys and one rambunctious German Shorthair Pointer puppy.

13 comments
ladybug
ladybug

#1: Yes, the mess can be annoying at times ESPECIALLY when #3 is an issue. How about this, husbands....you two make a mess of the sheets so you send her to the bathroom to clean up and YOU change the sheets and throw the enjoyed ones in the washer (and turn the washer on and put in detergent...don't forget to close the lid and bonus points if you remember to switch the sheets to the dryer). #2...Say she's beautiful a thousand times and a thousand times more. Touch and relish those bits she finds "damaged" by children. Tell her she's sexy. And don't don't don't leer at other women, look at porn or watch sultry sex scene/nudity movies. And don't think you have the right to comment on every other woman's appearance good or bad.

Amy
Amy

I can’t say my husband is boring or not his sexual desire where never there in the first place. Married 45 years and since our wedding night we’ve had sex once. That was the first and last time. He is the one who thinks sex is the grosses thing for married couples to do. Before we were married we never had sex in fact he never touched me intimately, I never really thought about it. Maybe this was my first clue as to my future. He got a job and went on the midnight shift, and his first day was the day after our wedding day. He worked midnights for 40+ years. Also he moved all his things to the basement where he lives. I’ve been lonely, depressed, unloved all these years. I try to stay away from the house as much as possible. He never misses me, I go on vacation with friends and he never knows I’m gone. It’s a horrible way to live but I do have a roof over my head, I want for nothing, we have great benefits.

The Generous Husband
The Generous Husband

@Take Two - I agree the mess is not going to go away, but I think it really helps to understand her reality. If we have sex just before we leave the house for the day, I don't have to worry about flow back a half an hour later - or what that is going to make me smell like at the end of the day. If we make love then go to sleep, I am not going to have a wet spot under me in 15 to 30 minutes, and I won't have it running down my leg when I get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night! Are there good ways to deal with these issues? Yes - but they remain things she deals with and he does not. BTW, more men than women faint or otherwise react negatively to the sight of blood!

Brent
Brent

Hmmm...never really thought of the messiness as a problem, just something to be dealt with. But I get it, no one likes wet spots on the bed, much less sleeping a pool of...well, you know... Anyway- good post. Food for thought

Julie Sibert
Julie Sibert

Great conversations going on out here! Thanks for all the comments on the post. Really appreciate everything everyone has written. I'm with you Buffy about teaching kids that sex within marriage is great... I think we need to do all we can to help kids embrace a healthy sense of sexuality... this is an area where parents can really equip their kids for authentic sexual intimacy in marriage.

Buffy
Buffy

I love to have sex with my husband. However, it took a while to get there. A lot of the problems were like Julie mentioned, it is messy which was never covered in sex ed (at home or in the classroom), body image was & still is an issue at times, and of course the whole "O" topic was difficult. I was raised Christian so the 'good girl' complex was in play for a while, what I think was truly difficult for me was that I wanted sex but the 'good girl' complex made me think it was wrong...double negative. I love a good Christian romance novel and clean chick flicks...I like a good Bond movie too, yet part of how I was raised was that tv & movies weren't 'truth' and I've learned to take everything with a grain of salt that comes from entertainment. I find nothing detrimental in that to my relationship with my husband because I know who he is and he is romantic...in his way, to me only. Not every girl is going to see the super romantic gesture of XM radio for Christmas, or a label maker for my birthday, or even knitting needles just because...but I do! Those gifts were entirely romantic and better than a book/movie scene because they were just for me! Not for every girl, not for what I've dreamt of since a little girl, no they met me where I was at that moment in time. That is where true romance lies, in knowing who my husband is and the sacrifice he made to give me something that he doesn't understand or even like, but did it anyway because I wanted it. Above someone mentioned that there has to be a better way to teach sex than no, no, no, go...I agree. Which is why my husband and I have decided with our 5 children (only 1 girl) that we will teach marriage, marriage, marriage. I think we need to emphasis the place for sex not the the places not for sex. While we will teach ways to avoid temptation in sex our hope is to say 'yes, you can have sex when you're married because that is how God intended it.' I'll let you know in 15-20 years if it worked :)

phantom
phantom

My wife makes a great point, sex isn't nasty unless your not married to the person your having it with. Yes it can be messy, but for me that adds to the fun since you can shower together and go for round 2 or 3. I'm sure all of us have more than 1 set of sheets, so if your first set gets soiled, change them! As to Ivan who called Julies post foolish. go and read some of her blog posts, at "intimacy in marriage" She knows what she's talking about. And I think more men ask her for advice and tips then women do. Great job Julie!!!

Ivan
Ivan

Addressing point #1 The best wedding present we received was a hand towel, a box of wet wipes, and a bottle of astroglide. Put the towel under whoever is on the bottom to keep the bed clean. The "that won't be a baby" wipes clean up after. And astroglide when things need help sliding into place. Plus, some times when my wife isn't in the mood at all herself, but wants to be generous to me she will ask that I use a condom. It keeps all of my mess with me, and she doesn't have any post sex drainage. (Not quite sure how to say that better.) Point #2 Any left overs from my wife bearing my children are badges of honor for her that I cherish. And since they are children we wanted (one wasn't expected then, but still wanted), anything of her pregnancy is full of agape and erotic meaning to me. :-) Thank you Julie for being so out there. Thanks Paul for keeping the target of Generosity at the front of the mind.

Rich
Rich

Take Two: the chick flicks and romance novels expound in what women tend to favor. My goal in overhauling myself is to focus on increasing aspects of life that my wife enjoys, some of which might be something akin to a romantic rendezvous or a candle lit dinner, kissing in the rain...etc. rather than a utilitarian, existentialist, passionless, dry, and unexciting life, where the mundane is all there ever is. There is more to "living" than just surviving. I choose to LIVE.

Take Two
Take Two

Ummmm..... if romance novels and chick flicks are ruining your sex life and hence your marriage, perhaps your should rid them from your life. Heaven forbid we actually engage in productive activities instead of well packaged lies.

Noah
Noah

Thanks for the work you are doing Julie! Keep it up!

Matthew
Matthew

That bonus insight is one of my wife and I's big annoyances. There has to be a better way to teach about sex than "NO! NO! NO! GO!" However, we're working through those barriers and our sex life is getting even better. Guys, it's well worth the effort to follow those three tips. If you're working on #3 and think that a book would help, but are worried about what people might think to find you in "that" section of the store... don't be! You're married, you're allowed to be there! Don't be ashamed of the fact that you're doing something you enjoy with the woman you love (and let her know the same thing.) .-= Matthew´s last blog ..Food Rules – book review =-.

Take Two
Take Two

And men tend favor pornography, decapitation, and bullet wounds to the chest. Why not give them violent rape scenes where everyone gets slaughtered in the end. The point is these things are wrong and quite frankly, they are sin. We should avoid them at all costs. I hate to break it to you but intimacy is dirty and messy and it will always be that way. I believe God made it this way for a reason. Trying to remove this is to reject God’s plan for us. You simply cannot have sex without the mess. If you think about it may what gives us the intimacy we so desire. I had a professor who used to say “If sex were safe, no one would want to do it”. I think the same could be said, “If sex were clean”. You may as well ask for water to be dry and fire to be cold. You want to alter the universe that you find so displeasing. As for romance, I’m fine with that, but keep in mind you’ll be lucky to find a fraction of a percent of time to make things romantic. Your definition will also make things harder. I actually think romance should never be one sided (how can that be romantic?). If things go well you might be able to achieve this low standard and if they don’t, you’ll never even achieve this. I happen to believe true romance is simply enjoying things the way God made them. This is still largely true today but our observations usually come from pictures or observation decks that sanitize the experience. It is only in modern day society that this type of sanitization can occur. Previous generations knew what it was like to experience firsthand the slaughter house, the farmer’s field, and a nasty wound. Today if we are forced to look at these things, even a distance, we go back to cubicle and slather on an extra coat of hand sanitizer. Modern society is what it is, but it certainly isn’t how God intended for everyone to experience life. This extreme aversion to real experiences is keeping us from enjoying a beautiful world. Keep in mind that utopian expectations are unattainable and possibly dangerous. You may simply be creating a monster that can’t be satisfied. Real life can’t be sanitized or romanticized like a steamy novel. Attempts at this will only lead to confusion. I can testify to this because I have attempted being the perfect husband like you. It was all fine and dandy until it was quite clear I was in a losing battle and started to burn out. Then reality hits and you realize you can no longer control the monster you created. Consider yourself warned. p.s. If someone wants to see the foolishness of this lady’s post, I recommend reading “That Hideous Strength” by C. S. Lewis. I recommend the whole book but for those who can’t, you can read the conversation with Filostrato starting on page 169. You can find in Google books for free. Really drives home the point and is only a few pages

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