Sex Through the Seasons

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Adrienne Gross -Sex Through Seasons3By Adrienne Gross | Twitter: @adrienne_gross

There’s a reason the type of sex most prevalent in TV shows, movies and popular music is young, wild, impetuous, and often adulterous. It’s new, exciting and illicit, so people are convinced that kind of sex is desirable. We rarely see happily married couples having home-cooked, comfortable sex. I admit there was a time I believed this, which is something I now find ridiculous.

As a young woman seeking my identity and worth, I fell for what was truly a contradiction: the notion that being with one man for the rest of my life would be boring, while desperately wanting someone to unconditionally love and accept me. This resulted in many relationships that promised things they could never provide, and wild encounters with guys whose names I don’t even remember. Most of these guys were attractive and smart enough to say all the right things that appealed to my heart and emotions, but after hearing cliché platitudes repeatedly, I believed them less and less. As the years passed and no man could give me that ONE fulfilling relationship, I stopped blaming each man for what he had done to hurt me and looked inward for what was missing in my soul.

Jesus saved me at the age of 25. He didn’t just promise acceptance—He accepted me. He didn’t fake love—He loved me. He didn’t get spooked by my past and leave—He said that He would never leave me or forsake me. He demonstrated His acceptance, love and commitment to me by paying for my sins on the cross and purchasing my freedom.

This freedom gave me a new identity rooted in Christ, and opened my eyes to look for qualities in men that had never mattered to me before. Being exciting, sexy, and good-looking were no longer priorities. I also wanted integrity, chivalry, maturity, responsibility, a good work ethic, and vision. Two months after coming to Christ, I met a guy who introduced me to my first, truly Christian dating relationship.

I fell for him hard, but not just because he was handsome, athletic and exciting. He was the first Christian man who actually demonstrated Christ—he treated me with respect. He honored me and never pressured me for sex or anything that would compromise my new commitment to Jesus. He was compassionate and encouraging when I confided in him about my past—acknowledging that while he didn’t particularly enjoy hearing about my past experiences with men, he had no right to judge because of sin in his own life.

So I married him! And our first night together as husband and wife was pleasurable and fulfilling. Sex was great for the first year—carefree, spontaneous, frequent. But as time went on and we became busy, our sex life started experiencing dry spells and lost some of its intensity and fire. Something undesirable in me was awakened when my husband and I had these lapses in intimacy—my mind used memories from my sexual past with other men to provoke a reaction in my body.

If I lacked a connection with my husband, or didn’t respond quickly enough, I would call up exciting memories with other people. I knew this was wrong because I checked out of the experience with him and mentally cheated by relying on memories with other men to awaken me. At first I rationalized it, but when I started crying once while making love to my husband, I came clean and confessed. It was scary, but my husband was kind and asked how he could help. Together we became more vocal about our sexual needs and wants, and found ways to be present in the moment and fulfill each other.

I’d like to say that this was the end of our sexual struggles as a couple, but that just wouldn’t be true. Pregnancy and childbirth (and parenting babies and toddlers) threw another curveball at us, and we had to learn to embrace quickies, love-making that was sleepy, yet comforting, and survival sex. There was not much languid or thrilling about sex during those years, but the connection as a couple overrode the need for excitement.

I learned during that time that sex keeps a marriage healthy, regardless of the form it takes.

We are past the days of family planning now. There will be no more pregnancy, waking every two hours to breastfeed, rapid weight gain or PPD. Now, there is a resurgence of anticipation and desire when it comes to sex. Maybe it’s because I can rely on a full eight hours of sleep each night, but I find myself more interested in sex with my husband. All the years of stressful sex that revolved around either trying to have a baby or fitting it in while babies were sleeping are gone. Now, we can just grow with the family we have and even revive some of our old interests in things we enjoyed doing together when it was just us, like:  staying up late, drinking beer and dancing; traveling, hiking, camping and having woodsy sex.

What the movies and TV shows are missing is the thrill that comes in the bedroom when you know someone well, when you’ve been through tough times, boring times, exhausting times together, but love each other and are committed to figuring out how to make sex better.

I am grateful to God, who continues to give me and my husband thrilling moments as a couple and has rewarded our faithfulness to each other–even during the physically draining years–with a rekindling of sexual excitement. Sure, we experience dry and boring spells in our sex life, but that’s reality. The richness comes when you are married to someone who knows every inch of you and works to make sex fun again.

About Adrienne:

adrienne picAdrienne is a world traveler, deep thinker, and lover of challenges, wine and good conversation. She’s a published poet and magazine writer. She’s happily married and a mom of three beautiful little kids. Writer’s block is pretty normal as a mom of three young children, but one day Adrienne hopes to actually finish a novel!

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  • Adrienne, this is such an encouraging affirmation that intimacy with our lifelong love is one of the precious gifts that comes to us in the package as “heirs together of the grace of life.”

    • Adrienne Folsom Gross

      Thank you. It truly is a gift.

  • My husband is a CPA, so this time of year is challenging for our connections. Throw in two young kids and… we have to be super intentional! It’s totally not romantic but during tax season, we make a pact to have sex a certain number of times per week. (As we approach the deadline, that number has dwindled!) It means that, if the week is ending and we haven’t yet done it, we make time – no matter what. Again, not super romantic, but the acknowledgment of this intimacy is what keeps the rest of our communication better during this stressful season. Thank you for your honesty and encouragement!

    • Adrienne Folsom Gross

      You bet Annie. Good for you guys!

    • I love this, Annie!

  • Heather Deeming

    So encouraging! Thank you for sharing so honestly.

    • Adrienne Folsom Gross

      You’re welcome! I’m glad this resonated with you today.

  • Adrienne, thank you for sharing so honestly! I heartily agree with you that shared intimacy when you’ve been through the trenches together is so much richer. TV and movies don’t show that kind of long-range view of love.

    • Adrienne Folsom Gross

      Thanks! It’s good to talk about this and how it can truly be a struggle for many couples, but with God’s work, can also be so fulfilling.

  • Robin Baldwin

    This is so spot on! Thanks for sharing what so many of us experience and helping us realize we are not alone in this balancing act.

    • Adrienne Folsom Gross

      You’re welcome. I’m glad this spoke to you!

  • What a beautiful expression of love and wisdom and honesty, Adrienne.

    • Adrienne Folsom Gross

      Thank you Idelette. And thanks especially for the forum to express it.

  • Such an honest and thought provoking article. Grateful for this safe space! And thank you for sharing!