If married women graphed their sexual lives for enjoyment and frequency, most would have a visual that resembles a roller coaster. Almost all of the friends I informally surveyed agreed—predictable variances in our intimate life are inevitable.
Though people rarely talk about it, being aware of the ebbs and flows of sexual enjoyment in marriage can prevent us from being blindsided or feeling like there’s something terribly wrong with us.
Unfortunately, in Christian circles, communication about sex is often either avoided, sparse, or overly simplistic: “Wait until you get married—then everything will be amazing,” or “Your sex life will be rewarding because you waited for marriage.”
While I agree that it’s important to wait until marriage, the reality is slightly more complicated and complex. Even the honeymoon fireworks sometimes get rained out! Personally, I’ve experienced four stages of intimacy so far in my marriage—and I believe most couples will navigate these common phases as well.
1. The Early Years
Whether we marry at 22 or 42, the initial phase of married sexuality tends to be intoxicating. Even if we’ve had previous sexual experience, there is an excitement about discovering one another within the safety of the marriage bed.
Typically, couples who marry young have more energy and therefore stronger sex drives, but regardless of age, these first years of marriage often bring robust and frequent sex. (By the way, avoid comparing your frequency with the national average, which I believe is totally skewed due to the inclusion of college students.) During these early years, we learn how to laugh together when the inevitable missteps happen. Though sex always appears perfectly choreographed in the movies, most of us have our share of comic moments.1