For those who are LDS, how can we improve intimacy in marriage? Mormon sexuality can be a difficult and fraught subject. But making love is an important part of married life.
When our Father in Heaven looked into the child-like eyes of Adam and Eve and commanded: “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it,” He also commanded them to do so within the bonds of marriage.
Tim LaHaye, an evangelical Christian minister, suggests in his book, The Act of Marriage, that marital intimacy provides mutual pleasure in marriage, and greater equality between husband and wife, while reducing sexual temptation outside of marriage.
With eternity for Mormons to perfect their sexuality, I have sought out the top advice from Latter-day Saints and other Christians about how to best improve marital intimacy and reap these advantages.
1. Finally Learn How Your Spouse’s Sexuality Works
While intercourse is fundamentally physical, many overlook the other aspects of a person that intimacy connects with. For example, successful sexual experiences increase feelings of fulfillment in men and women. Sexually satisfied husbands and wives develop self-confidence in other areas of life.
But developing this satisfaction can be challenging. Men and women’s psychology regarding sexuality operate in very different ways. Here are some general guidelines
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Remember, while these guidelines reflect general attitudes, talk to your spouse about their specific needs in these areas, by following recommendation number 5 below.
2. Read the Current Best-Selling Books on LDS Intimacy in Marriage
For many people, sex education can be very sporadic. For me, it was in the fifth grade, when my school had a sex-education assembly. But I missed because my family took a trip to Disneyland. Not until freshman year of high school did I have another opportunity. And even these sex education classes tend to focus exclusively on the anatomy of the male and female reproductive organs.
LaHaye explains that:
Millions of married couples accept a second-rate experience because they don’t know much about the reproductive organs and sexual functions and are unwilling to learn.
Many people have similar experiences, but never seek out further education until the moment they are faced with first losing their virginity, and some not even then. With the abundance of bad resources, it can seem easier to avoid sex education all together. But with a little bit of education, you can find useful, faithful resources that discuss sex within the context of marriage. These books explain specifics like how to touch, or excite, our spouse.
My husband and I read Brotherson’s And They Were Not Ashamed together before we were married and continue to reference back to it. Each subject matter is discussed deeply and provided with fantastic suggestions for any emotional, spiritual, mental, or physical problems one might face in marital intimacy.
Here are other resources you may consider:
- Becoming One: Intimacy in Marriage by Robert F. Stahmann, Wayne R. Young, and Julie G. Grover
- Purity and Passion: Spiritual Truths about Intimacy That Will Strengthen Your Marriage by Wendy L. Watson
- Between Husband & Wife by Stephen E. Lamb, and Douglas E. Brinley
- Real Intimacy: A Couple’s Guide to Healthy, Genuine Sexuality by Kristin B. Hodson, Alisha Worthington, and Thomas G. Harrison
- Sexual Wholeness in Marriage by Dean M. Busby, Jason S. Carroll, and Chelom Leavitt
Each of these books explains Mormon sexuality within a gospel context appropriate for married couples. For ongoing discussion check out The LDS Marriage Bed.
3. Overcome Embarrassment or Guilt about your Sexuality
No matter how many times a married couple will see each other naked, or try to talk about past events that may currently be interfering with sexual intimacy, there still may be feelings of embarrassment, or guilt, pent up inside.
With their religious upbringing, Mormon sexuality can be awkward or embarrassing at first. For example, if someone were struggling with the temptation of pornography or premarital sex before or during marriage, they might have to train themselves that any sexual excitement is wrong, in order for them to resist that temptation. Thus, when the time comes to actually make love in an acceptable and sacred manner with their spouse, they may have conflicting feelings.
“It often takes from one-third to one-half of a lifetime for people to accept themselves,” LaHaye notes to couples that may feel insecure about their body image. Thus, taking time to participate in bonding activities is extremely helpful to overcome feelings of discomfort or shame.
Two ideas from And They Were Not Ashamed include:
- Writing down the things you love about your spouse’s body and sharing it with them
- Telling your spouse specifically what you love about exercising marital intimacy with them
Similar activities will boost your spouse’s confidence in themselves as well as reassure that Mormons and sex do not need to be strangers.
4. Encourage Making Love in Times of Hardship by Following Our Plan
Obviously, when you and your spouse are in the middle of a predicament, you can’t just freeze time, dream away all your issues, and go make love. But, you can plan for it.
When you’ve had a rough week, and you and your spouse have just worked through an argument, or you’ve noticed that your spouse is going through a long-term struggle, plan a getaway.
Sexuality not only creates a stronger bond between husband and wife, but has the power to heal previous wounds or stress–inside or outside of marriage.
Sexual activity has been proven to reduce friction in men and relax women’s nerves. LaHaye testifies that “the world looks better…and difficulties shrink to life size when sexual harmony prevails.”
5. Communicate Often by Listening to This Mormon Sexuality Therapist’s Advice
Unfortunately, we were not blessed with the ability to read one another’s minds. Thus, we are forced to communicate our feelings through body language or verbal expression.
Tim LaHayes was appalled to learn:
Even well-educated people find it difficult to discuss their love lives frankly…[Some couples] have never been able to communicate with one another on the subject [of sex].
Trying to play the guessing game during marital intimacy, is like being blindfolded and trying to find a needle in a haystack. Finding the answer only takes longer, and you or your spouse may get pricked–or emotionally hurt–in the process. Taking the time to communicate is much easier and becomes more comfortable over time.
Laura Brotherson, LDS sex therapist, highly suggests talking to your spouse about what you like or don’t like during marital intimacy; even going as far as discussing your ideal fantasy of sex with your spouse. This way, each couple will have a better understanding of what their spouse enjoys, and also what is unappealing to them during intercourse.
While it can be difficult for Mormon sexuality to be healthy and fulfilling, the sublime, intimate moments shared between husband and wife are worth the time and work.
Do you agree? Let us know in the comments below.