My two youngest kids started Junior High this week. It’s crazy thinking about my babies being that old! As they are entering this new phase of life, I’m also starting to notice changes in them and their bodies. The first week of junior high and Luke has had his first zits. He’s already had to shave his upper lip once, and it’s about time to do it again.
As we were driving home last night, I decided we need to have another talk about bodies, sex, pornography, and other things he might be curious about and seeing changes.
He was uncomfortable at first, even though we’ve had similar talks many times, but I talked to him about how he doesn’t need to be nervous or embarrassed because his body is just like everyone else’s and there’s nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed of. That what is happening is good and supposed to happen. That this exactly the way Heavenly Father made our bodies, and we are just like him. By the end of the conversation, his unease has settled, and things were a lot less uncomfortable for him.
Can you remember when your parents first gave you “the talk?” Was there just one, or multiple? Do you remember what they told you and how you felt? Were you embarrassed and uncomfortable? Did both of your parents talk to you? Or just one? Did they seem nervous, awkward, or uncomfortable?
I hear stories of kids being taken out for ice cream one day, tucked away in the back corner of the restaurant so no one can hear them, to be told about the birds and the bees.
I remember the conversation from when I was a kid pretty vividly. I was, six years old, and my dad took me into his bedroom to talk to me about it. I had been asking questions because my unmarried aunt was expecting a baby, and I didn’t understand how that could happen.
Those conversations most likely shaped how you first began to think about sex. If your parents seemed uncomfortable talking to you about it or that it was some secretive thing that couldn’t be talked about openly, you most likely thought that sex was something shameful and embarrassing. And maybe that’s what your parents weren’t trying to communicate, but the way they handled it, that is what came across.
I remember wondering why it was my dad talking to me about this instead of my mom.
Or both of them together. That, along with other messages I got from my parents, shaped how I viewed sex and sexuality. That it was something to be ashamed of and I should be embarrassed about my body. I really don’t think that is what my parents were trying to communicate to me, but that is what I took away from it.
And then as I grew (and I’ve talked to enough women to know this was pretty common) that once you got older, you were told how wonderful and beautiful sex is when it was between two married people. But in my brain, I had a hard time reconciling the two.
How could sex be shameful and embarrassing AND be beautiful and wonderful? This caused some pretty big cognitive dissonance in my brain.
When I was getting married for the first time, I was barely 19 years old, and the advice I received was mostly telling me how painful sex was going to be for a while and that I should “do it whenever he wants” to make the marriage happier. Well, that didn’t give me very positive thoughts about sex, either!
Once married, the novelty of sex was great in the beginning, but it quickly wore off, and then it just became about “satisfying him.” I had no understanding of my body and how pleasure worked for me. I just knew that sex wasn’t at all like it was on TV and the movies.
I remember we had been married for just a few weeks. We lived in the married student housing at BYU, and there was a courtyard in the middle of the apartment buildings. It was summer, and it was pretty dark outside, so it must have been fairly late. I sat on a cement bench in the courtyard and just cried. My neighbor saw me and came out to talk to me. She had been married a year, so she was so much wiser than I was at that point. I asked her if it got better because it felt like all he ever wanted was sex.
Again, I don’t think that is what was going on. That was just my perceptions. But at that point, I just felt used and hurt. Sex wasn’t great.
Over the next few years, things didn’t get much better. I pretty much had no sex drive. I didn’t want to be touched, especially after taking care of small children every day. I was so exhausted. So I’d try to put him off as long as possible and then finally “give in” so that I could get him off my back for a while. Sex was a chore. It wasn’t pleasurable. It was all about him.
I don’t blame him at all for this. It wasn’t his fault. What was happening was because of the beliefs I had about sex and my body.
Things didn’t change until we had been married for probably 12 years. I had been watching Oprah, and she had on these sisters, The Dr.’s Berman. One was a Therapist, and one was a Urologist, and they specialized in sex. It wasn’t until then that I started to learn more about my body and began to enjoy sex. I also started questioning my beliefs about sex.
What did I believe about sex? How were my beliefs shaping my perceptions and my experiences?
I had never really done a lot of research on sex because I had those beliefs about it being shameful. I didn’t want to look into things on the internet because I was afraid of coming across pornography. But, as I watched more of these segments on Oprah (and eventually Dr. Berman had her own TV show on Oprah’s network), I began to understand a different view of sex and what it could be for my own life and things began to change for me. My desires began to improve and to increase.
But…then I got divorced. And things were put on hold for a little while. I had to learn how to manage my desires and urges (almost like I did when I was a teenager) although it was now much harder since my body knew exactly what to do and was used to just “going there” whenever I wanted.
When I met my now-husband, and we decided to get married, he and I had many frank conversations about what we wanted our sex to be like life once we were married. Having both been married before and having different experiences, we were able to communicate our wants in a way that had not been possible when I was 19.
In one of those discussions, I told him that I would NEVER turn him down for sex. That was a pretty bold statement, I know. But it was seriously one of the best decisions I ever made. And here’s why.
I think for him:
- It gave him the emotional safety so that he wasn’t ever afraid of being rejected.
- If he can see that I’m not in the mood or not feeling well, he doesn’t become needy or desperate because he knows we’ll have sex again very soon.
- It takes him out of the scarcity mindset. He knows if it’s not tonight, it’ll probably be tomorrow.
- It made me make sex a priority. So I purposely gear myself up for it every single day. I intentionally turn my thoughts and desires every day to my husband and how I can love him better.
- It made me get in touch with my body and figure out what I like, and I don’t like. What is pleasurable and what isn’t.
As a couple, we enjoy spending that time together. It brings us closer together. Sure, sometimes it’s just a quickie, and that’s totally fine. But most of the time, it is really taking the time to be together and giving and receiving each other’s love and pleasure.
So what are my beliefs about sex now? They are entirely different than they were.
I believe sex is amazing. It brings me closer to my spouse, closer to myself, and closer to my Heavenly Parents. I believe I was created to be a sexual being. That it is what my Heavenly Parents want for me. I think it should be talked about openly and honestly. And that doesn’t mean the nitty-gritty details of exactly what we did last night, but in a way that invites transparency and openness. I believe that sex is fun and pleasurable and I deserve that.
I believe that by having a good sexual relationship with myself and my spouse it makes every aspect of my life better and easier.
There are so many great benefits of sex individually and as a couple.
I believe that we need to a do better job teaching our kids about their individual sexuality and sex so that their experiences can be different, and hopefully better than ours!
As I have coached many, many, many women on this topic, I have found that it is so needed. There are too many women who aren’t enjoying their sex life. They are anxious and resentful. That sex is a chore and just something that they HAVE to do to keep their husbands satisfied or from looking at porn.
So, I am excited to announce that I am changing my coaching practice just a little bit to focus more on helping women to enjoy their sex lives. I think that sex is such an essential part of marriage, and it is one of the biggest reasons why there are so many problems in marriage today. So while I am still happy to help women who are struggling in their marriage for other reasons, women who are contemplating divorce, women who need help with parenting and step-parenting, I will be switching my coaching practice to focus more on helping women to enjoy their sex lives.
So in this podcast, you will still be getting ways to help you improve yourself and improve your marriage. But, there will also be a lot more episodes on how to improve your sex life as well.
A few weeks ago, I coached someone on their sex life, and I wanted to read you an excerpt of what she sent me a few days later. She had done quite a bit of self-coaching around this area and just wasn’t making much headway, so she signed up to coach with me. This is what she said…
“I have to tell you… this sex stuff felt like the biggest mountain of my life that I would never figure out. I didn’t know how. It’s been in my prayers for years. I didn’t know how to think differently or what new thoughts to grab hold of that I could believe. And ONE session [with you] got me to the top of the mountain?! I am amazed how good I have felt since adopting those new thoughts, that felt believable. Ones I never considered before.
I found myself wanting to withdraw today when he wanted sex. I instantly asked myself, “why are you saying no?” I didn’t even know why. I knew I needed to be different in order to change. I remembered he wants sex to feel good, just like I need prayer to feel good. And then I said, “do it for you!” I breathed. And suddenly I was in a different space. Willing and ready! And the funny thing is, he ended up not wanting it at that moment, which I found interesting. I found evidence at that moment for the fact that it hasn’t been about the sex so much as it has been just to see if I will say yes. Yes to him means I accept him and love him. And he just needed to see that. It was so interesting. I’ve been feeling more love and actually more sexy as a woman since choosing YES.
It has felt SO freeing to think about it being FOR me, AND to know I’m going to say YES every time. Knowing I’m going to say YES just takes away all the drama! And I’m focusing on receiving his love. I’m allowing myself to believe that he DOES love me, and I DO make him feel good, and there’s nothing wrong with him wanting to turn to me to make himself feel good. It feels good allowing myself to receive it. You know that saying “say yes to the dress”…. “say yes to the sex!”
thank you, Amanda.”
Isn’t that amazing? I am so happy for her!
Now, you may be thinking, “I don’t want to say yes every time! I don’t even like sex!” and I totally hear you. But I am guessing that is because of some of your deep-seated beliefs about sex. So, I want to invite you to sign up for some coaching with me.
Sex can be a fantastic part of YOUR life. It can transform your relationship with yourself and your marriage. And I’m guessing your husband won’t have a problem with you paying for coaching when it totally pays off for him.
So what are you waiting for?! Go to my website, AmandaLouder.com
and sign up on the homepage for a free mini-session.
Let’s “Say Yes to the Sex!” and I promise…your husbands will thank me and so will you!