More Than Sex

Your physical relationship needs to keep pace with your changing marriage.
Image: Photograph by Gary Buss/FPG Int'l LLC

In the beginning, couples make love. They create their own private and particular means for expressing love, sexually, together. But if you're a bit past the beginning, if you're comfortable with each other (now that you know more about who your spouse is, who you are, what vast freedom you have for sex), you need to make love all over again. Over and over, as your situation and yourselves change, you can discover the sex that fits you.

You'll practice sex one way before your children are born. Then children make a difference, and your sexual habits reflect that. As your children grow, the time and energies you have for one another are revised—and your sex life can get nudged into smaller corners. Someday you'll be alone again together, but your bodies will have changed and your desires will have been refined. You won't want to go back to the exact same practices you had as newlyweds. Lifestyle changes force changes in your sexuality. But you can keep making, remaking, your loving, sexual expression to fit new circumstances. The mystery and joy of lovemaking is that it is a marital task that need never be completely done, finished forever. It can be done again and again, always with brave new results.

So how can you set out to find your finest, most expressive, most personal sexual behavior? You start by creating trust—earning it with each other by your truthfulness and dependability. Trust allows you both to be "naked and not ashamed." Naked physically: no part of the body is hidden since no curve of it, no organ or flesh of it, will be troubled by embarrassment. Naked emotionally and spiritually: no part of the personality, no feeling, no memory or fear or internal delight needs to be hidden. Trust encourages your mate to present his or her whole self to you, and your honesty hides nothing of your whole self from your spouse.

Desire draws the two total selves together. Your hands do not have to be commanded to move; they move on their own. Flesh finds flesh quite easily and happily. And you are free. Shame and guilt can't restrict you. Nothing whatever, except the law of serving each other, forbids anything you might do.

But some of your sexual practices will be more to your taste (the preference of both of you) than others. How long will you linger, just touching? What kinds of caresses, on what parts of the body, with what parts of the body, are most delightful and generous? What positions increase excitement, sustain desire? How do you know? How do you choose?

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May 25

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