Sexual & Physical Intimacy in Marriage – Part 1

The frustration of sexual dissatisfaction has been linked to many problems in marriage. If this area of the marital relationship is not healthy, the marriage is obviously in trouble. Married couples need to pay attention to their sex life and the sexual desires of their spouses. Sexual fulfilment is often an indication of the health of your marriage. Sexual intimacy is essential for the well-being of the marriage.

It is expedient for me to establish that sexual intimacy is not just about sexual intercourse between two people. This intimacy involves touching, holding hands, hugging, kissing, caressing and other appropriate sexual activities between couples who have committed themselves by vows to the institution of marriage. Sexual intimacy may not be the only dimension to all round intimacy in marriage (read other articles on my website) but it is very important and must therefore be respected.

Let’s consider the story of Mary and her husband Jacob. Mary had been having serious problems with her husband because of his addiction to pornography and masturbation. After she had tried in vain to convince him of the evil of his habits and the negative effect these habits were having on their marriage she decided to seek help. She informed her husband that she was going to tell their pastor so that he could find much needed support and counselling. To the pastor’s amazement, Jacob was ready to open up to the pastor how he got himself entangled with this addiction.  According to him, he had been unsuccessful in the first 5 years of their marriage to communicate to his wife that he was not satisfied with their sexual relationship. Now in the 8th year of the marriage – she had not changed positively and unfortunately for the marriage he had been drawn into what was like a supplement for him to make up for what his wife could not give to him. This is a very serious problem in many marriages. Couples should give themselves to the exploration of sexual intimacy in their marriage. Many married people are breaking the hedge around their marriage and expect everything to remain perfect. You cannot continue breaking the hedge without the serpent coming in to bite! In as much as it is clear that John was causing more harm to the marriage by his behaviour, it is expedient that couples are committed to the sexual fulfilment of our spouses. The lesson here is that we should endeavour not to plant what we do not want to reap. 

Sexual intimacy is not option in marriage. Remember your vows! Your spouse has the right to feel injured and defrauded whenever you deny them sexual gratification without their consent. You are not fulfilling your vows and you are withholding from them what rightly belongs to them. Do not expect your spouse to accept any other thing as a substitute for sex! Sexual desire is part of the design of God. Without this desire we shall not be able to replenish the earth and to do other things that God expects us to do as one. Marriage is therefore an antidote against fornication. In marriage, sexual intimacy is a safeguard against adultery. Sexual sins are not without two major components – desire and enticement. Sexual desire is put into us by God, if this desire is not met in our spouse or becomes corrupt, we become more vulnerable to enticements which have lured many into finding sexual gratification in inappropriate ways. Sex is one of the excuses for extra marital affairs. 

It is essential for couples to understand that their physical body belongs to their spouse. We should not use sex as a weapon against our spouses and we should not use sex to manipulate and take advantage of each other. Sex should not become our arsenal for winning battles at home. 

Sexual satisfaction in marriage is an area that most marriage counsellors still shy away from. Many will come for counselling with loads of superficial representations whilst the underlying cause of dissatisfaction is often undisclosed – sexual discontentment. I cannot overemphasise that sexual intimacy is a vital part of wholeness and intimacy in marriage. When married people are not sexually satisfied intimacy becomes very superficial and laborious. 

More Grace.

Lekan Wellington Adegunwa