Let’s Talk about Sex

I have known for awhile that I was going to do a post about sex, and in all honesty it has been difficult for me to go there. Partly because I am going to share experiences that are raw and vulnerable for me, but mostly because I love the sacred nature of intimacy so much that I desire this post to be pure and unexploitable. I pray that my words are filled with truth and healing.

I grew up in a home where sexual intimacy was both celebrated and conflicting. My parents had 11 children, and I always felt secure in their love for each other. We had a strong spiritual and religious foundation of the sanctity of sex within marriage that could be felt but wasn’t discussed. I just knew with my whole being that my parents were true to each other and to their family. While my parents held that beautiful space for me and I learned about it in church, there was major conflict inside of me about sex. There were undercurrents of sexual exploitation in my family and all around me. I experienced sexual molestation as a child and through my teen years, and I couldn’t seem to get away from the shame and secrecy of it. It all came to a head for me when I met and married my amazing husband. We were both entrenched in the shame of sex and brought that shame into our marriage and our sexuality.

When I think of all of the years with my husband, (20 in October) my heart leaps for joy at what we have overcome together and are still overcoming. We truly had so much stacked against us, and yet we continue to come back to each other and choose our budding relationship. It has not been easy and I have felt that in talking about it, someone else can be helped. Is that you?

In the beginning I can honestly say that sex became a dreadful thing to me. I felt it was my duty to fulfill my husband even though I was completely empty. Sex was a physical thing, no more. At times, I could feel a deeper connection, but because of my past I had numbed myself to love, believing it didn’t exist for me. I hated sex and wanted nothing to do with it but I would force myself to engage out of fear of losing my husband and a belief that I wasn’t lovable and I shouldn’t punish my husband. At times, I did use my sexuality as a punishment, withholding because it gave me a reason to escape. Many times, I cried through it and afterwards sobbed from the depths of my soul. This perpetuated the shame cycle for my dear husband, who deep down wanted nothing more than to share his love with me. It really was a hot mess for a long, long time.

I realize now that one thing that kept me holding on was the beautiful but imperfect example from my amazing parents. I knew there was something better. I knew sex and love could be beautiful, but I had no idea how to get there. The seed was buried deep for me, covered up by lies, doubt and fear.

I now feel that we have touched the beauty of intimacy. We are scratching the surface, but I have had many glimpses and experiences of the sacredness that my husband and I hold in this beautiful God-given act. Sexual intimacy is truly meant to join two people; heart, mind, and soul. It is when we take it internally and truly connect at a spiritual, not just physical level that nourishment is attained for both partners. So how do we do that? Looking back, I am noticing the pattern of healing that is occuring.  Here are 5 steps in the pattern and some possible action steps, depending on where you are in your healing.

I. Tune into the true source of love.  It is not my husband’s job to fill me.  I am meant to have a personal relationship with my Creator.  When my husband and I are both filled from the true source, our intimacy becomes a partnership of creation with our Creator.  We are both coming from a place of being filled and that love naturally pours out to each other.

POSSIBLE ACTION STEP:  Ask God to show you who you are and how he sees you.  Ask him to help you feel His love for you.

II.  Weed out the lies and shame.  There is much of sexual exploitation all around.  It becomes confusing for all of us.  The truth is, sex is beautiful, fulfilling, and God-given.  It is a way to connect and celebrate each other and our love.  It is creation in it’s raw form.  It is meant to encompass all layers of our being.  Spiritual, emotional, physical, and mental.

POSSIBLE ACTION STEP:  Read this book to assist you in discovering the lies that are hanging out in your bedroom.

III. Declare what you desire in your relationship and sexual intimacy.  It is difficult to tune in to what we truly desire when we are full of limiting beliefs and lies.  Once we begin the weeding out process, we create space to really see the truth. When we begin to see the truth, we can then create it! There is much power in the written and spoken word.  It is truly the seed of creation.

POSSIBLE ACTION STEP:  Create your ideal relationship and intimacy.  Write it all down.  Include all the senses.  What does it look like?  What are you experiencing?  How do you feel?  Write in detail and visualize it on a regular basis.  Speak it out loud.  Hold space for the creation of it.  Believe it is on it’s way.

IV.  Set an intention.  What intention do you want to create with your intimacy?  Is it connection, trust, love?  Or something else?  Identifying values we are desiring to live in helps us to really stay present and create what we desire.

POSSIBLE ACTION STEP:  Set 1-3 intentions before lovemaking.  Pray for those intentions to be present with you.  Even better, connect to your partner’s values as well and set those intentions too.  This can result in a soul filling experience connecting all aspects of you.

V.  Receive in gratitude.  Remember this step.  It’s super important.  Part of receiving is letting go.  We have done the work, now it’s time to simply let go and receive.  Gratitude is regeneration.  It completes the cycle and begins it anew.  It also keeps us in a higher vibration of thought that continues with us long after the experience is over.

POSSIBLE ACTION STEP:  Visualize yourself letting go, trusting, and receiving.  Express gratitude daily for the reception of all good things into your life.

Thank you for allowing me to share a piece of my heart with you.  I truly hope it blesses your life and your sexuality.  Sending love and blessings.

 

P.S.  This formula works for so many aspects of life.

A Short Parable

A few years ago, I was into running.  Nothing major.  I just ran a few 5k’s and trained a bit just for fun and to show myself I could do it.  But ever since my last baby was born, I haven’t had the desire to run.  Until now.

This week, something sparked in me and I decided to run again.  So far I have run 2 days and I am loving it and learning some lessons that I thought you might want to hear.

The first day, I planned to run a mile and a half.  I thought it would be easy since I used to run 3-5 miles regularly.  But that was more than 4 years ago.  Long story short is I thought I was going to die at the halfway point, and I knew I couldn’t make it a mile and a half.  It had been too long and I have gotten physically out of shape.  So I readjusted my commitment to myself.  I picked a point about halfway between where I was at and where I wanted to be and ran to that point.  Then today I did it again.  It was really hard for me, but I am pleased that I did it.  So what are the lessons that came to me?

1.  It is ok to adjust your commitments when needed.  If you overshot your goal a little, readjust.   I know that I will eventually get to that mile and a half mark and beyond.  I just wasn’t ready for it today.  I still pushed myself out of my comfort zone.  I wanted to quit at the halfway mark, but I ran further than I thought I could and made it to my readjusted goal.

2.  I can forgive myself for falling short.  It really hit me strong today how much God loves me when I miss the mark.  His patience and love for me are unending.  I can be patient with myself.  I could have forced myself to go the full mile and a half, but probably would have burned out and that would have been the end of my running stint.  However, by forgiving myself for not being where I wanted to be, I was able to make progress toward my goal and had the courage to get out there and do it again.

Are there things in your life that need some readjusting?  Are there areas where you could show yourself a little more love and compassion?

You are worth it and God loves you where you are now.

How to fall back in love with your marriage

So, my husband just turned 40.  Crazy.  I remember when 40 seemed really old.  Now, I am not too far from it myself, and it doesn’t seem very old anymore.  Isn’t perspective a crazy thing?

Speaking of perspective, I remember a time, not too long ago when my marriage was on the rocks.  The pain and misery seemed to never end.  It seems every other week or so I was planning in my mind how to get out of it with the least possible amount of suffering for me, my husband and children.  I am so grateful we chose to work it out.  I am not a marriage counselor, but I have learned some pretty great lessons as I have turned to my creator for help with my marriage.  Here are a few ways that my perspectives have shifted:

Be the change!  Do you remember getting into fights or arguments with your siblings, only to have your parents jump in and tell you both to stop?  I do.  It always sounded something like this:  I would say, “But he started it!” and then my brother would follow with, “No, she started it!”  It would go back and forth like that until my mother would shout in desperation,  “I don’t care who started it.  Just stop.  Both of you!”

Sadly, we never really grow out of the blame game.  It is human nature to want to blame another person for our actions or inactions.  In order to have a great marriage, someone has to stop the blame cycle and change.  Not just once, but again and again.  I remember when this realization happened for me.  I was totally angry with my husband.  His concrete business had failed. We were living in my sister’s basement, about to file for bankruptcy, and my husband was watching TV.  I was seething in the bedroom because I thought he should be out looking for a job, and ironically my blaming was keeping me from doing anything productive.

It finally got painful and uncomfortable enough that I decided to pray.  After much prayer and pleading, I opened up my scriptures and read a verse that I have never been able to find since.  It communicated the message to me, “Stop worrying about your husband, and do your duty.”  That verse in that moment changed my life.  I stopped worrying about what he was or wasn’t doing and started focusing on what I could be doing.

And guess what?  Within a very short while he found a job, we moved into our own place and most importantly, our marriage was still intact.

Let go of the past!  Personal healing is so important for a thriving marriage.  Each partner in the marriage must invest time, energy and sometimes even money to heal the issues we are subconsciously holding onto from the past. Not only do we hold onto past hurts with our spouse, but we usually marry someone who brings up at least some of our pre-marriage issues for us.  They usually play right into our old stories and beliefs about ourselves. I have found this to be true at so many levels.  I am so grateful that my husband and I have been catalysts for each other to heal.

Love yourself!  This kind of goes along with the last one, but we must love ourselves in order to have a happy marriage.  Whenever we look outward for our love bucket to be filled, we are giving our power to someone else.  If we are waiting for our spouse to fill it for us, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment and feelings of worthlessness.  When we love ourselves, no matter what anyone says or does, we can quickly and easily let it go because we know our own value.  No one has the power to make you feel unloved, not even your spouse.

Forgive, forgive, forgive  As we become the change, heal from the past, and love ourselves, the next step is much easier.  When your spouse offends, intentionally or not, we can easily forgive and recognize that their offense is their own garbage and has nothing to do with us, or we can use it as a reminder to heal more of our own garbage. Forgiveness is freedom.  It keeps us in a positive place always moving forward.  It is such a deep love and respect for ourselves, that we are unwilling to allow any negativity from any source to hold us back.  It also makes it easier for us to be forgiven for our own offenses.

Love your spouse  As we build a strong foundation of self love, we can’t help but emanate that love to others.  We begin to give love freely because of the joy it brings.  We want our spouse and everyone else to feel that joy.

What are the biggest perspective shifts you have had about your marriage?