They Do Exist.

Sex Expectations – by Claire & Aaron

Editor’s Note: Alright, women. We’re talking about sex today. Claire volunteered to write this (and her husband Aaron helped!) to share with all of you. You can follow Claire at @lovliestweets & her blog at Glitter & Grunge. They are almost 10 years into marriage and crazy in love with each other, but they’ve had a hell of a time in the bedroom. If this hits home & you would like to speak with Claire, she has made herself available to you. Please send me an email at goodwomenproject[at]gmail.com & I will put you in touch with her. I don’t need to say anything more. Go read.


My husband, Aaron and I are very different people. We always joke about what a free spirit I am, ready to drop everything for an adventure anytime any day, responsibility be damned. He will never take a sick day unless he is really sick regardless of what spontaneous adventure I have cooked up for us. I am a creative, always thinking of the next project I want to work on, even if it never gets done. My husband is logical, likes to plan and prepare, unfinished projects haunt him. I have a tendency to say and do what I think when I think them with little regard to those around me, while he carefully chooses his words and actions. I like things to always be rosy and happy, lets not talk about our problems! He likes to sit down and really hash out our issues and get those suckers resolved.

You can imagine how these attributes could lead to a little bit of friction in those first years of marriage, can’t you? Now imagine if one of your biggest issues after the wedding day is sex. For many of you that might be the case. Your past, unmet expectations, unvoiced worries or fears can and will collide in those first few months (sometimes years) of marriage and your sex life will probably be at the center of it.

For years I had heard women in my life complain about how often their husbands wanted to have sex with them and how annoying it was, when all they wanted was to sleep. I had always thought it sounded great to be wanted by your spouse every night and was determined not to be the wife who would say no. It never occurred to me to ask these women how often they were saying yes (that would be rude!), so I made a very unhealthy assumption that they “gave in” as often as they said no.

So I went into my marriage thinking A) my husband will want to have sex every night and B) I would be doing him a favor by wanting to have sex every single night. That is, after all, what all men want, right?

If he didn’t initiate sex I would feel unloved, unwanted, like something must be wrong with me or that something was wrong with him. I would lay awake mortified and humiliated, frequently crying, which would wake him up. He would be absolutely horrified that his wife, the woman he loved, was lying awake crying over something he did (or didn’t do). Half the time he had no idea I was interested in sex in the first place because I hadn’t said anything, I just expected that as a man he’d naturally want it every night. If he didn’t I would be devastated. It didn’t matter if I didn’t really want to either, I thought men wanted sex all the time.

The worst thing I did was compare our sex life to what I thought was normal without any real knowledge of what normal was. Normal for us and normal for someone else is NEVER going to be the same thing. In anything! Just because it’s normal for your spouse to mow the lawn in his boxers in February does not make it normal for every other husband to do that. How silly would it be for me to expect that in my marriage, and yet that was essentially what I was doing.

It was difficult to come to the place of humbleness required to talk about our sex life, but once we did Aaron assured me time and again how much he loved me, desired me and needed me. Sex was always fun and enjoyable, regardless of this hurdle we were trying to overcome. I always felt cared for and wanted sexually, so honestly it was as baffling to me as it was to him that I also felt that I wanted more, especially after we established that my original expectations about sex and marriage were unrealistic.

Later we went to a marriage conference and it was there that we learned about something called “love languages”. We all have a love language which is the way we best give and receive love. Mine, as it turns out, is physical touch. I am constantly hugging and kissing my kids and husband. I always want to cuddle on the couch with him or one of our kids. I love to sleep with my arms around my husband. I need to be touching the ones I love most. So, it really shouldn’t be much a surprise that I feel most loved when they are doing it back to me. Having physical touch for a love language really has little to do with sex (though it sure helps!) but about our daily physical interactions.

Once we learned that physical touch was one of the ways love needs to be communicated to me Aaron was much more intentional about showing me love in a way that I could more readily understand. He would sit next to me at a restaurant instead of across from me so we could sit closer together, he would kiss and hug me before leaving in the morning, or cuddle closer on the couch when we watch tv. For the record, physical touch ranked low on his list, they were not natural responses for him so to make the extra effort to show me love how I need it really does show how much he loves me.

Our issues with sex didn’t go away overnight. Even when we knew how to “fix” the problem a lot of communicating had to be done. A lot of sex talk had to happen and not always the fun kind. After a few years of learning how to communicate love (and anger) to each other we have reached a place where we can talk about anything, and I truly and honestly mean anything. There has, so far in our marriage been no taboo subject. Trust me it isn’t always easy, but we have learned that the problem ain’t going anywhere until you meet it head on.

We were patient with each other. We had to give one another time to understand our own feelings and then more time to figure out how to share them. We had to develop humility. A lot of humility. We needed to each be in a place where we were able to hear the other person’s point of view in a healthy and loving way and that took time. We obviously trusted each other, after all we did get married, but we needed to develop an even deeper trust and respect for one another that just can’t be manufactured outside of a marriage relationship. Out of all of these things, if I had to choose the most important I’d probably say humility. If both of you can’t lay aside your own feelings and desires in order to hear and understand your spouse’s then you will have an uphill battle when it comes to communication. It is the hardest one to figure out, and of course yields the greatest rewards.

Developing these skills in any relationship takes time and patience. Sometimes dating and marriage advice columns will lay out “5 simple steps to a happy marriage” which I always find somewhat maddening. It’s never simple and there always seems to be 5 to 100 more steps hidden in there that the author didn’t mention. We all know marriage is hard work, but it can also be fun even in the midst of challenge. Don’t lose heart and don’t be discouraged!

Those first few years were challenging, but as we near our tenth anniversary I find myself more attracted to and in love with my husband than I was the day we got married. It was worth every bit of heartache our issues caused us to be here with him today.

If you want to determine your love language go to www.5lovelanguages.com and take the assessment test. I’d love to know what your love language is in your marriage and if knowing it helps your husband!

39 Responses

  1. Ari

    >I love this! Everything you wrote is so true. Why we compare our sex lives and marriages to TV and movies is beyond me, but as women we do! Thank you for sharing!

    February 22, 2011 at 8:23 pm

  2. >Just, thank you. You have encouraged me today. Importantly. Thanks for the hope.

    February 23, 2011 at 9:09 pm

  3. >Love this!! So true…

    February 24, 2011 at 1:53 am

  4. >Thanks ladies! I am glad that this was encouraging for you. Feel free to email me if you want to talk further!

    March 4, 2011 at 9:32 pm

  5. Aldo

    maybe she doesn't want him to initiate sex. Maybe she wants him to touch her & show interest in her without necessarily expecting to have sex. then if she feels it, it will happen naturally… i don't know, im just saying. i could be totally off.

    March 15, 2011 at 3:30 am

    • Oh.. and btw. Thanks for posting. It was very informative

      March 15, 2011 at 5:27 am

    • glitterandgrunge

      Absolutely, Aldo. I think the biggest thing to take away from this is for us to articulate our needs. Sometimes it feels unromantic or mood killing to have to talk about it, but if we don't our husbands will never know what we need. Plus, in having the discussion with my husband I learned that touch was what was important to me, not neccessarily sex.

      March 16, 2011 at 10:53 pm

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    May 22, 2011 at 5:26 pm

  28. I cried while reading this because it rang so true in my own life. I expected things that never came, instead, leaving me feeling undesirable and unloved. Thank you for making me feel I'm not alone and reminding me that communication is the key.

    May 23, 2011 at 7:20 pm

  29. Thank you thank you thank you!! I will get my husband to read this, because it will better explain where I'm coming from than I ever could.

    May 27, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    • You keep it up now, udenrtsnad? Really good to know.

      July 2, 2011 at 11:02 am

  30. Amy

    Thank you SO MUCH. The personalities that you described are so alike myself and my boyfriend (I'm a graphic design student, he just graduated with a degree in computer science) and I've been biting my nails over the idea of us not being able to relate to each other in the event that we get married. But God works all things for those who love Him are called according to His purpose. I appreciate the encouragement.

    July 27, 2011 at 12:09 am

  31. Anna

    My mother, I found out, responded best to touch- which, as a teenager, drove me crazy!! After my dad passed away, I made a vow to touch her more often. Turns out, I married a man whose love language is touch, as well! So it was good practice for the rest of my life! (I’m not much of a cuddler- ESPECIALLY at night; my husband and I are both furnaces, and the ac can never be set low enough!

    MY love language is quality time. That was hard on me because my husband went into boot camp shortly after we started dating. We had a long-distance relationship AND engagement. But we managed. :) And now expressing our love is SO easy by comparison!

    Something noteworthy is that while physical touch can be nice… I often slap or punch when I’m joking or wrestling. I spank good-naturedly (or so I thought), and all these things really upset my mom and husband! So for those of us who love people who love being touched, remember: only the nice kind! They tend to interpret “mean” touches to say “I DON’T love you.” (Generalization, of course.)

    August 3, 2011 at 5:56 pm

  32. shawneemckee92

    My primary love language is Quality Time. And my husband's is Words of Affirmation. That book has helped the BOTH of us realize what makes the other one happy. I've seen a definite change in his perspective on our marriage as a whole, thanks to that book. He's more open minded than he used to be. Back then, any generic marital issue question I asked him (basically asking his opinion, not commenting on our own marriage), he usually brushed it off like, "It doesn't affect us, why should it matter what I think?" When all I wanted was an answer, quality conversation is my "dialect"

    June 30, 2012 at 1:39 am

  33. Kate

    I also had interesting expectations for the frequency of sex when we got married. I had gotten the impression that it should happen 3 times a week. I also read stories of couples who didn't have sex for months. I decided that we needed to have sex at least once a week. With this idea, I entered marriage. The honeymoon and the few weeks after that were awesome. As we explored this whole new realm that had been previously off limits to us, it seemed absurd that we would have trouble meeting my self-imposed once a week goal. Then, I got a full time job and was tired just about all the time. I discovered that my husband's libido is surprisingly low. In order to meet my "goal" I was forcing myself to initiate when I wasn't interested. As a result, when we did have sex, it was frustrating for me trying to get aroused. I grew angry and wished that he would initiate more often. I realized over time that I wasn't a bad wife for not wanting it. If he didn't want it, and I didn't want it, it was foolish to try. I still initiate sex more than my husband, but now I only do it when I want it. I am no longer bound by the unrealistic expectations for the sex life. Like the author said, every couple is different. For me, that's not even close to sex every day. It's more like 2-3 times in 2 weeks, but that's OK with me now.

    July 13, 2012 at 12:53 pm

  34. Thank you for your openness in this post. I too have experienced nights where I'm hurt that he doesn't want to make love… even though I'm not really even in the mood. We've only been married a year, and have only been able to have open discussions about our sex life for 4-5 months now. Healing has begun, and your post gives me so much hope for this in the future.

    July 13, 2012 at 1:58 pm

  35. glitterandgrunge

    I'm so glad our story has hellped everyone a little bit. It's so hard when you are in the midst of these trials, but it does get better! Last week we celebrated our 11th anniversary. It has been a beautiful 11 years, even when it's been hard!

    July 27, 2012 at 12:42 am

  36. Anony mouse

    My husband also has low interest… our rate is at the most once a month or once every two months–that’s only 12 times a year!. He as an addiction to online porn. Before I knew about his problem I asked him why he didn’t want to make love more often and he said that he “just wasnt that sexual of a guy” I believed it until I accidentally walked in on him watching it very early in the morning. I was shocked actually because when we were dating he told me randomly and unsolicited that he did not watch porn. He told me that his 4 male roommates at the time all watched it but he did not. I still don’t know why he volunteered this misleading information as I did not even ask. For me it’s also a problem because I don’t think we will be able to have kids due to his low interest. Porn has some very strange effects on the brain and body. I used to model in college and I certainly keep myself in shape so I know it’s not “me” but it sill hurts that he is more aroused and more frequently aroused by women on a screen… I guess it’s because they are new and he has seen me too many times .

    I don’t really know why I am even posting this … Marriage can be a bit baffling I guess.

    December 17, 2012 at 2:26 am

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