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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

7 ways to be more fully engaged during lovemaking.

We are in the middle of a Gift of Sex series that started back here.  As part of the series, a few weeks back we started exploring ways to give "more" in the sexual dimension of your marriage, starting with The Gift of More Often, which explored the issue of sexual frequency.

Today we are looking at:

The Gift of More Engagement

As I said in The Gift of More Often, frequency is not the only factor in sexual satisfaction. You could be having sex often, but if you do not you feel your partner is fully present and engaged during your sexual encounters, chances are you'll be left feeling less than satisfied. This fact probably accounts for those in my survey that were having fairly regular sex but rated their sex lives as less than satisfactory.

Sex was designed by God as the ultimate and most intense expression of intimacy. If both of  you are not fully present during your sexual encounters, the intimacy you experience will be inhibited. Intimacy is about fully knowing each other, and if either of you is "absent," that's not really possible.

Eventually, dissatisfaction will cause frequency to decline, because lack of engagement sends  the message that your spouse isn't interested in you or attracted to you sexually. Ouch! Most people will respond to this by withdrawing sexually in order to avoid being hurt further. Remember, in my recent survey, 98% of husbands and 97% of wives said it was either important or very important for them to feel that that their spouse desires them sexually. Communicating your sexual attraction to your spouse really matters! (BTW, if you haven't yet, please take my sexual satisfaction survey)

That communication of desire starts with giving yourself to your partner frequently, but engaging freely and fully during your sexual encounters sends an undeniable message of "I want you." 

What does engagement look like?

What matters most is that you engage in the ways that mean the most to your partner, so the best idea is to have a conversation about it.  Ask each other, "are there ways in which I can more fully engage with you during our lovemaking?" As with any discussion about sex, it's important listen to your partner's answer without being defensive or passing judgement.

If you or your spouse have trouble finding the right words, here are some common ways in which to more fully engage with each other.
  1. Be present - keep your mind focused on your spouse and on what you are feeling.
  2. Be involved - actively find ways to provide pleasure to your partner.
  3. Be enthusiastic - express desire with eager words and bold action
  4. Be vocal - get comfortable communicating pleasure.  It not only shows engagement but also helps your spouse know how to please you more. 
  5. Be focused -  keep your mind in the game and push aside those thoughts that want to distract you (this is often a challenge for the ladies due to the different way their brains are wired).
  6. Be free - don't allow fear or shame to cause you to hold back. Let yourself go. 
  7. Be immersed - press fully into both giving and receiving pleasure as an expression of your love for each other.
Whether you realize it or not, you bear a significant part of the responsibility for your spouse's sexual satisfaction. My survey found that 89% of  husbands and 86% of wives agree or agree strongly with this notion. Here's an unavoidable truth:

Engagement plays a significant role in sexual satisfaction, and without it you can't experience the fullness of intimacy God intends for your sexual relationship. [Tweet This Now]

Pick a Place to Start

If engagement has been an issue for you, don't be overwhelmed. Start slowly. I challenge you,  next time you make love,  pick just one avenue of engagement, either as suggested by your spouse or from the list above, and do your best to stretch yourself in that one area. Once you find a degree of comfort with that one, pick another area to focus on developing.

What dimensions of engagement do you find the most challenging? Which ones are most important to you to receive from your partner? Share your thoughts below in the comments.

image credit: analina /


tori said...

I recently noticed a trend in our lack of sex. He and I were both sexually active before our marriage, both with each other and with others. As a result, when my husband met me, he viewed me as dirty. I have gotten right with God and gotten rid of the shame sexual immorality causes. However, when I engage fully, he still views me as damaged or dirty. This is especially a problem since I have been used for sex since I was 4 by just about every man who has shown me sexual interest. He was also sexually abused and raised in a home where sex was viewed as something dirty. This is by far our biggest hindrance to a good sex life. Any suggestions?

Scott said...

Hi Tori. I'm sorry to hear of the troubles in your sex life and marriage. Past sexual trauma often requires professional assistance to work through and that would be my suggestion.

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