Is Your Sex Life Work or Play?

A friend of mine really likes sex. Her and I love to chat about the cool podcasts, coaches, or books we discover that are all about sex. Her husband is absolutely wonderful and loves her a lot. And he doesn’t like learning about sex. One night as my friend was telling him he should really read this new book, he said, “I don’t know… that sounds like a lot of work and I learned that if sex feels like work you are doing it wrong”. He had always imagined that sex would just come naturally, and felt disappointed to learn his wife wanted more from him.

Does Sex Have to be Work?

Media sources usually depict sex as the most natural thing in the world. Couples go from making out, to taking clothes off, to lying in bed with both parties completely satisfied. If you’ve read any of our other posts, you probably know that’s not true. However, a lot of couples get stuck on the opposite end of the spectrum. Some women have “duty sex” because they feel like it’s their job to give their husband an outlet. Some men spend a lot of time learning about anatomy and are very anxious to find a way to make their wives orgasm. Surely this exhausting and draining process is not the only option when it comes to real-life sex, right?

This week on our podcast, LeAnn and Jeff Austin talked about their own journey of learning to love sex. Here, I’m going to share with you the secret that makes sex not feel like work (even when you are putting in a lot of effort). 

How Is Sex Work?

As a first step, we need to make sure we set realistic expectations. Unlike in the movies, a good sex life is going to take some work. 

#1 Learning from Good Sources

Firstly, sex requires learning. As Christians, a lot of us received limited sex education. We knew not to have sex until we got married, and maybe we learned about birth control school. Whenever I would ask my incredible mother about having sex some day, she would say, “every animal can figure it out, you will to!”. Although she meant to calm my anxieties, I think she missed teaching me a crucial lesson. There is so much cool (and crucial) stuff to learn about sex! 

Putting in the work means seeking out good sources to help us learn all about the wonderful pleasure that is having sex with our spouse. If you are here reading this blog, you’ve already put in some work to find a safe place to learn. Here are some other podcasts and books we recommend.

#2 Trying it for Yourself

The second part of “working” for good sex is practicing. When it comes to sex, you can’t just read about it. You have to try it out! This can feel really intimidating or risky. Sometimes spouses will feel that if things are already working, why rock the boat? What if you’re not good at this new thing? What if you don’t like it? What if your spouse doesn’t like it? 

These fears are normal and natural. However, if we want to improve our sex life and take it to the next level, we need to learn to stretch ourselves. Know that it may take some practice, and that’s okay! And if you end up just not liking something, that’s okay too! Think of it this way, if you are married you will most likely have sex thousands of times with each other. Isn’t it worth a few bad attempts to make all the other times better?

#3 Being Aware of our Spouse

The last form of work we need to put into sex is being aware of our spouse. A great sex life must include an awareness of what our spouse wants. You start by noticing what makes them happy (and not just in the bedroom!). Learn to communicate and ask how they feel about certain things. What gets their desire flowing? What things really pleasure their bodies? The Intimately Us app has a featured called “Our Sexploration List” that allows couples to each take quizzes on their sexual preferences and then compare answers. This can be a great play to start! The greatest sexual pleasures can come from giving absolute pleasure to our spouse. It just takes some work to learn how to do that. 

How can Sex not be Work?

Just because sex requires some work doesn’t mean it has to feel like “work”. 

Think about kids. They will spend hours creating imaginary games, worlds, and characters. My little brother (9) has spent months designing and drawing an elaborate role-play game. He is so excited every day to come home from school and start working on it. He is putting in a lot of hard work, but does he feel like he’s working? No! He’s playing! The difference? He is not trying to meet some goal, and he’s not doing it for a reward. He is working for the pure pleasure of doing it; of creating something he loves. 

This is the secret to non-work sex. It’s not sex that doesn’t require effort, but sex that feels like play. 

How To Make Sex Feel Like Play

Here are a few tips to make your sex feel like play rather than work

  1. Don’t make orgasm the goal: Like I mentioned above, one thing that separates my brother’s game creation from his homework is that there is no imposing end goal. I think he would be happy to keep creating this game forever because he likes making it more than playing it! Similarly, orgasm is fantastic. But sometimes we get so stressed about making orgasm happen that we can’t enjoy the process of getting there! And this stress will actually make it harder to orgasm. So seek to change your mindset. Give yourself permission to just enjoy the experience, and to feel satisfied even if you didn’t orgasm this time. 
  2. Allow yourself to explore: Get curious. What are the sexual things you would enjoy? Try to engage your imagination. As children, we are constantly encouraged to feed our imagination with books, games, and free time. As adults, we tend to lose that opportunity. Use sex as your adult playground to feed that creative and imaginative part of you. 
  3. Be mindful of the experience: being focused in the present is a great way to really enjoy sex. Learn to breathe into the experience, notice all 5 of your senses, and center in your present experience. For more on mindful sex, check back next week!
  4. Focus on your love for your partner: This person in your bed is your best friend. Who better to play with? Center your sexual experiences on intimacy and how to grow closer to your spouse. Notice the ways they show their love to you, and how to give love back.

Good sex does involved some work. But with the right attitude, sex can be our play time! So be silly! Have fun! Play! And get your marriage on 😉 

Written by Amanda Severson with Get Your Marriage On!

Phone Screens of Intimately Us App

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<h3>Amanda Severson</h3>

Amanda Severson

Hi, I'm Amanda! I'm a grad student on her way to becoming a Marriage and Family Therapist. I'm a wife and a sex enthusiast. I am a psychology nerd whose life goal is to help every couple find the absolute joy of sharing your life with someone else.

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