Random Thoughts on Human Sexuality and Marriage

Now 21 years into our marriage, Lauren and I have been reflecting quite a bit on the wonderfully rich, though not always easy, journey we’ve been on together. So many couples never reach 21 years, and too many of those who do aren’t happy. We consider ourselves fortunate: We’re still deeply in love, happy and desirous of each other.

One of the most important aspects of our marriage is our vibrant and perhaps unique sex life. We have made sex a priority. We are both convinced that the great sex we enjoy nearly daily together is not just a byproduct of our strong, enduring marriage but also one of the direct causes of our happiness and contentment as a couple. The time we spend every day having sex and/or engaging in sometimes edgy sexual adventures provides for mutual pleasure, physical affection, loving dialogue, great memories and true vulnerability. It’s also a lot of fun, which is important because fun brings people together. Great sex is the fuel for the fire we have for each other!

Having said that, human sexuality is incredibly mysterious and there’s still much we’re learning, especially as we age. Human sexuality and its interface with marriage is a hugely important topic that too many married couples struggle with and ignore, likely because sex is a hard topic for many of us to discuss openly and honestly with our spouses as it may involve “secrets.” Lauren and I both feel sex is entirely too important NOT to discuss with candor and take to the outer limits of what’s permissible for husband and wife. Allow me to share some thoughts from our own experience and some reading, and I look forward to thought-provoking dialogue in the comments.

First, sexual desire is something all of us experience. As one of Lauren’s friends who’s a sex therapist recently shared, we humans possess an innate desire to have sex and procreate and at the core of this desire is the base impulse to want to have sex with anyone who we find attractive and potentially a good mate, whether we realize it or not. That is an uncomfortable thought when you dig into it. For me, it’s uncomfortable because, for instance, my wife has friends (including the sex therapist!) who I find attractive, which then means I find them sexually attractive. I also once had a boss who I found quite attractive, meaning I found her sexually attractive. Would I ever have sex with my wife’s friends or my boss? No. Why? Because desire doesn’t equal intent. Plus, I love and am committed via marriage to my wife. The desire itself isn’t the sin, and desire isn’t cause for shame. Acting on the desire for someone who is not your spouse, whether through fantasy or execution, is the sin.

If my wife strips down in a seductive way and is nude, I’m going to desire her, get an erection and want to have sex with her (intent). If my wife knows she’s turned me on, that’s going to elicit a sexual response in her–she’s going to get wet (her desire). We then have a sexual connection (shared intent) and will act on it by having very enjoyable sex. Vice versa as well. I may do something that turns her own and makes her desire sex. Because we’re married, we can and often do act on our desires for each other, and it’s wonderful!

We recently conducted an interesting experiment. We were both quite horny for each other and I slid my cock all the way into her vagina, but I didn’t move my cock at all once in her. We wanted to see how long we could go without any sexual motion. I stayed put inside her. Just being inside her pussy–feeling her incredible wetness, seeing the look of pleasure on her face, watching her breathing change–was overwhelming to me. I tried to not begin the act of intercourse but I literally could not stop myself from fucking her, which I did, and she immediately responded by fucking me back! The same was true in the inverse on a separate occasion. I was on my back. She got on top of me a la cowgirl. She stayed put only for a few seconds before she had to start riding me. She couldn’t help it. Once there was penetration, there was no turning back.

Sex is in fact so physically pleasurable that science has enabled us to enjoy it without the result being pregnancy unless that’s the plan. Birth control, vasectomy, etc. have all allowed humans to have sex just for the fun of it. Sex is in fact the only thing I can think of that feels just as good today as it did 21+ years ago. I get just as excited now by having sex with my wife than I did the first time.

When we want sex but can’t have it, perhaps because we’re physically apart due to business travel, etc., oftentimes we turn to another form of pleasure–masturbation. Masturbation is another subject that too many married couples avoid–more secrets. They shouldn’t! Masturbation is a part of being human and has a place in a healthy marriage. Like sex, self-pleasure feels as good to me today as it did 35 years ago when I first got myself off. Lauren has said the same thing about it.

Yet masturbation for us is a complex subject. We do it together, but we also do it separately. Sometimes it’s to fill a need when we’re apart (as noted above), and sometimes it meets other needs. We do not hide it from each other; in fact, we tell each other every single time we do it. She’s shared that pleasuring herself isn’t always about me, i.e., she may not be thinking about me or us when she’s getting herself off. Sometimes she’s just in her own pleasure enjoying her body and that’s enough–a concept I don’t entirely understand. For me, I masturbate when 1) she’s not around and 2) I feel the need to ejaculate, and typically I need stimuli in the form of one of our sex tapes. Our outlooks on self-pleasure are different (she’s more about the journey and I’m more about the destination) and we respect those differences. By the way, Lauren masturbates 2-3 times per week! I’m about the same. And yet we STILL have sex daily and sometimes multiple times per day.

The pleasure of sex is entirely too wonderful for it to have been anything other than a gift from God, meaning God gave us this gift to enjoy within the confines of marriage. Which brings me to marriage. When we marry, we essentially are committing to one partner, who is both a life partner and sexual lover, for the rest of our lives. This is a huge and sometimes hard commitment, and it’s no surprise that one of the leading reasons marriages dissolve is infidelity. And a big reason for infidelity is a lack of sexual satisfaction and true intimacy, which then causes partners to stray and have affairs. In many ways, marriage is an institution that civilizes us animalistic, desirous humans. I am not above admitting that I do have an innate desire to mate with as many women as possible (my wife probably has the same desire with men) but I have sought an enlightened state of being and that state is marriage to my wife. I am her one and only and vice versa. This is not easy! As noted above, desire is powerful and that’s one reason why enduring marriages take work and commitment!

So we have established that 1) humans are at their core sexual beings full of desire to mate and 2) marriage is a lifelong commitment between two adults who are in love with each other, monogamous and willing to put in the work to maintain and build their shared love.

Sometimes, those two are in direct competition with one another. Allow me to share a personal example. A few years ago, I was at a three-day corporate meeting in another city. We had a dinner one night amongst all at the meeting and there was a lot of alcohol being served. I limited myself to two glasses of wine because I have always heeded my dad’s advice about maintaining control of myself in potentially risky situations where temptation can take over. There was a woman at the dinner sitting next to me. I knew her quite well. A wife and mother, she was quite attractive and coming onto me and asked me if I wanted to go up to her room for some “no strings attached fun.” The desire I felt in that moment was quite strong and we could have gone to her room for hot sex and no one would have found out. The sexual being in me wanted to say yes. The happily married husband screamed no. The latter won the day, as it should have, and I declined her offer.

I think a big reason Lauren and I have a strong, enjoyable marriage is that we recognize in each other that we are 1) sexually desirous beings who are 2) united in marriage. The problem in so many marriages that end in divorce, I think, is a disconnect between those two aspects, leading men and women to seek sexual fulfillment from others (infidelity). Where Lauren and I, I think, have gotten things right is in our willingness to have a marriage where we can probe our base sexual desires together, feel safe doing so, and keep it all undergirded by the bonds of marriage.

At a base level, what this means is that sometimes we “fuck.” Sometimes we get quite kinky. Sometimes we explore the outer limits of monogamous marriage (never crossing any lines). Sometimes we get fetishy. We’ve engaged in exhibitionism (see my story about the hotel window as an example), use of sex toys, creation of an extensive library of very graphic sex tapes, role playing, some light bondage, etc. That’s the wild side of what we have, and it’s allowed me to see the kinky side of my wife and for her to see that side of me. Note that while we often get kinky (fun), we never get perverted (gross). The kinky side, you could say, is fueled 100% by desire that is unbridled so long as it’s between the two of us. In so many marriages, it’s this side that’s so repressed and hidden; for us, it’s all set free. Other couples we know who are in touch with this side of their sexual beings tend to be far happier together. Those who aren’t tend to feel trapped and unfulfilled.

At the same time, we have always recognized, perhaps subconsciously, that sexual adventure and deeply sexually enjoyable and kinky experiences together aren’t nearly enough to sustain a healthy marriage. So we also frequently make love–the ultimate fuel for a healthy marriage. I have thought a lot about the definition of “making love.” To me, making love is an act we do to feel vulnerable together, to experience pleasure together and harness that intense shared pleasure to feel and express deep love for one another in the moment. Intimacy is the goal of making love–not orgasm–though for us making love always results in orgasm! When we make love, we hold hands, we kiss, we say “I love you.” Afterward, we hold each other. It’s tender.

We have always sought to keep balance between those two aspects of our marriage, but at times the kinky side has taken up too much space (it’s a lot of fun) and on three occasions we took it too far (never violating monogamy). We have managed to self-correct along the way, perhaps from God’s hand.

So those are the two main aspects of our sex life–the kinky side and the love-making side. They are distinct but not always mutually exclusive. Sometimes truly naughty sessions can morph into incredible vulnerable and loving sex; yet typically the two are quite distinct but work together to help fuel a healthy marriage.

The key for us is to be open and honest. I have sexual needs and desires. Lauren has sexual needs and desires. Some of these are very kinky. We share it all together.

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11 replies
  1. QueenandHubbie says:

    Good ramblings, MTHB. Queen and I explore many of these same thoughts, paradigms, beliefs, etc., seeking to align them with our faith and belief in the Bible. Not always easy, but it seems to me, always worth it. I think I see some alignment here with two major thought streams for us. If I may …

    I believe that sex and accompanying real passion with and for each other is a powerful “bonding agent” created for marriage. I believe God reserved it for marriage because it’s so strong that, if left unchecked, can do a lot of damage. The protective “crucible” of marriage keeps the power where it belongs. Too often sex/passion is seen as “dirty”, base, and to be minimized – such a waste of power! Unfortunately, this view is often promulgated by the church. Our focus tries to be on those few limitations directly in the Bible, and then to be free to mutually explore/enjoy all else.

    I’ve played/coached/ref’d soccer in my past, and love that the best teams use the entire field, and that the side and end lines are part of the field of play. We use that analogy to play all over the field, including right up to and on the line. Do we risk going out of bounds? Of course, but I’d rather play the whole field (including the lines), than stay stuck in the center circle! The freedom of playing the whole field with my wife is exhilarating, and provides passionate energy to our marriage. I believe this defends and strengthens our marriage more than puts it at risk.

    In any event, good post and I think positively provocative thoughts. Thanks.

  2. Stag-on-a-hill says:

    Thank you Marriedtoahotbabe. This is one of the best posts I've ever read here over the years. I very much agree with everything you've said. I'd love to hear more. I loved the distinction between 'desire and intent.' That's a great way of putting it and captures exactly what Jesus says in Matthew 5 on lust. Everything else you said is exactly what I feel/believe. Thank you for putting it all into words so well. Please keep writing.

  3. LovingMan says:

    I really appreciate your discussion post. You put it into words so well… about the wild and kinky sex sessions and the lovemaking sessions.

    My wife and I agree that, for us, both types of sex are wonderful and good for our marriage.

    We’ve had epic kinky sex outside, as part of giving each other erotic massages, in hotel rooms, in role plays, even before major surgery!

    Yet we have also had many times when the sex we had felt like true marital bonding and uplifting lovemaking.

    You are right that these types of sex are not always mutually exclusive … meaning a rambunctious erotic romp can turn into acts of tender sexual love that fill your soul with love for your spouse.

    I even think that making love to and with my wife deepens our love for our Savior because we are so grateful He helped us find and appreciate each other!

  4. RockyGapMan says:

    Love your “Thoughts on Human Sexuality and Marriage.” Especially your honest vulnerability.

    Yes. I believe we as sexual beings are attracted to people sexually for various reasons – and that often if we’re honest it triggers sexual thought/desires. I believe that’s just how we were created.

    But as you also pointed out, there’s a difference between triggered desire and intent. I believe this is a key cognitive difference we possess as human beings created in God’s image. As opposed to animals, we have the ability to cognitively process those triggered desires. And make the conscious decision of whether or not to act on them. We control our intent.

    We’re not merely slaves to our sexual passions. And yet, we CAN instead of denying/suppressing those triggered desires, make the conscious decision to capture, postpone and save that sexual energy/desire and unload it on the one we’ve chosen to love and cherish till death. Using that passion/energy to fuel the fires you have for each other.

    A much better way to acknowledge and manage our triggered sexual energy.

  5. SecondMarge says:

    Very interesting comments. I appreciate those that admit being turned on by others than then spouse. Pretending they aren’t because they feel it’s wrong, cheating or sinful seems such a waste. Of course mankind like all animals have sex and enjoy sex so that we will procreate. Man had sex millennium before marriage was “conceived”. And animals never marry, even though some tend to be monogamous, but certainly have and enjoy sex just as we do. Not to mention millions of people, who are very sexually active but never marry, but enjoy sex as much or more than married couples. I truly chuckled at the being kinky but not gross comment. I gather the difference is similar to the difference between erotica and porn. We all define them differently.

    Thanks for the honest admission that you desire others. We all do as your therapist friend stated, just rarely admit it. It was a true cross roads in my second marriage. Being honest and open makes marriage stronger not weaker.

    Of course sex is rarely the killer of marriage. That goes to money problems, in law issues, children, jobs etc. we don’t assign sinful to those problems.

    It’s unfortunate we give sex such a mystic label. Secrecy, failure to be honest with others and even ourselves. Of course you should never cheat on your spouse sexually or financially or any other issue. And if you believe all sins are equal, then telling someone they don’t look fat in those jeans is the same as sleeping with that hot coworker at the convention. If not admitting things is equivalent to a lie maybe many thoughts we hide from our spouse are just as sinful as having a threesome.

    It seems thinking gets very vague when sex is involved. But I applaud you for what you did admit.

  6. CrazyHappyLoved says:

    Marge said: "Of course sex is rarely the killer of marriage. That goes to money problems, in law issues, children, jobs etc. we don’t assign sinful to those problems."

    Actually, in the most recent studies I could find, individuals and couples attributed divorce to these top three issues: Lack of commitment (of course), infidelity or extramarital affairs (difference?), and too much conflict and arguing, in that order. As the percentages for each remained above 57%, at least some of that arguing could be reasonably attributed to sexual issues.

    The disconnect between our sexual expectations and reality can lead to a general dissatisfaction that feeds marital tension in other areas. When this builds up over time, we might lose hope that things can get better and that our perceived needs are important to our spouse. Lauren and MTHB are blessed to have similar drives, but we can all put our partner's needs—sexual and otherwise—before our own and stretch ourselves to keep boredom out of the bedroom. Or wherever. Sometimes the kinky stuff *is* the lovemaking.

    MTHB posted: "Where Lauren and I, I think, have gotten things right is in our willingness to have a marriage where we can probe our base sexual desires together, feel safe doing so, and keep it all undergirded by the bonds of marriage."

    This is how Rez and I look at things too. There is no harm or danger in exploring together in fantasy what we think we would like if it were okay. The danger is that we can sometimes convince ourselves that things God has warned us against are fine. We, too, have taken things too far and suffered consequences. But we remained committed to our marriage in the end.

    • SecondMarge says:

      I appreciate your thinking but infidelity is rarely about sex and I tried to explain that cheating as a break of trust, a lie, more than a sexual issue.

      Surveys vary:

      "According to the study, financial disagreements were the strongest disagreement types to predict divorce for both men and women. In an online poll conducted by DivorceMagazine this summer, the leading cause of divorce was found to be financial issues, followed closely by basic incompatibility."

      Tons of Christian and other deeply religious couples stay married despite being sexual incompatible. And if sex was the reward to keep couples together they would not have less every decade. Many times you hear “the sex was great but” or “we were compatible in bed but” when marriages end.

      Infidelity is the same issue as buying a sports car without discussing it first. Again not really a sexual issue. Many spouses who “cheat” do not even have sex or if they do, did not enjoy it. Often it’s a woman craving attention that her workaholic husband does not give her. The cause is not sex, it money. Same goes for a husband that feels ignored.

      Very complicated issues with no simple answers. But religion has done more to harm sex lives than desire for others ever will. If I recall correctly you believe lust in your heart, finding anyone other than your spouse attractive is a sin. Which of course is in strong disagreement with one of the main points. And a huge unnecessary reason for conflict between couples.

  7. CrazyHappyLoved says:

    What? Me? No, indeed. I believe the human body is beautiful and exciting and that unrighteous lust is not simple physical excitement but desiring to have what cannot rightfully be yours, while there is a righteous lust that is eagerly desiring what can be. But I take your point that unfulfilling, little, or no sex are symptoms of a bad relationship and not the cause. I fully agree that anything that breaks trust injures the marriage. But communication and compromise in the issues on which we disagree are also essential, including our sexual ideas and preferences. This is what I think MTHB and Lauren are doing—they feel safe exploring everything with one another because of their commitment to each other and their monogamous union.

    I can't tell you how sad it makes me that there exists a magazine devoted to divorce. In fact, there is an entire industry built around it, but to be fair, also around saving marriages.

    By the way, I searched your quote and discovered a couple of salient points: It comes from an article by the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts. They asked 191 of their certified analysts what clients reported as "the main reason" for their divorce and came up with the following: "basic incompatibility" (43%), "infidelity" (28%), and "money issues" (22%). The other three choices offered by the survey (abuse, parenting, and addiction) lagged far behind at 6% or less. Notably, though, the second item in the list (infidelity) was labeled "Infidelity/sexual issues" on the accompanying chart, which may serve to negate the idea that sex isn't at the forefront of our excuses for divorce. In fact, as one respondent pointed out, "the incompatibility usually arose from one of the other choices." I think the term used in court is "irreconcilable differences."

    The study they referred to and that you quoted " examined how financial well-being, financial disagreements, and perceptions of financial inequity were associated with the likelihood of divorce." I found it extremely well done and eye-opening. "Examining the Relationship Between Financial Issues and Divorce" was published in the journal Family Relations in 2012. It looked to determine if financial *conflict* (ongoing, unresolved disagreement on the meaning, control, and use of money) was a predictor of divorce over other sources of arguments. The authors not only mathematically compared the self-reports of more than 4500 couples from the 80s and 90s, but also the mediating effects of three social theories on the data to try and understand if and *why* financial disagreements could be at the forefront of reasons for divorce. Essentially, they confirmed that money has very deep and different connotations for each of us, like autonomy, safety and security, equality, etc.

    Some other mathematically-derived conclusions drawn: "Results from this study highlight that both disagreement content and communication style contribute to divorce… Financial disagreements for both spouses increase the divorce hazard, yet this effect was shown to be completely mediated by communication intensity." Arguing about money doesn't bring resolution without calmly examining these strong emotional triggers of fear openly and honestly. The authors recommend "financial therapy", a new-ish field combining the skills of relationship therapists and financial planners.

    But apropos to the original post, the study authors had this to say: "Financial disagreements were the only husband-reported disagreement type to predict divorce. Among wife-reported disagreement types, financial disagreements most strongly predicted divorce, and sex was the only other significant disagreement type." Granted that this study looks only at disagreement and not outright breaches of trust, it is still telling.

    • SecondMarge says:

      Far too complicated a topic to conclude anything but that sadly severely things have caused couples to end their marriage.

      Regardless to those of us here sex is an important issue. But I have been in many support groups with mostly women but some men that felt their marriage was great without any or rare sex. Not to mention couples where one learns to accept their partner no longer has the desire.

      If my partner told me he was attracted to no one but me I would tell him there is no need to lie to flatter me. That I realize we ALL are built to enjoy others and desire them. The issue is not to physically or emotionally act upon those desires. Unless your relationship accepts those activities. Only the strongest of couples, in my opinion, can venture into that territory. Some couples might even be damaged by the fantasy. Just as some people can not even have one drink or place one bet. But a strong relationship certainly can add pleasure by role playing fantasies from girl girl to threesomes to swaps. I know we did and it was very hot and strengthened our love and lust for each other.

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