How can we know if we are sexually compatible if we don’t do some experimenting?
By Jesse Jost (Taken from Extreme Romance)
Sexual compatibility is not simply a matter of two people finding someone else with the right genetic make-up. Sexual attraction is a very complex issue. For whatever reason, some people will be more sexually attractive to you than others. People will argue that you should marry someone who really turns you on sexually. I agree that there should be lots of spark and attraction in marriage, but I disagree that we need to find our certain “type” to be sexually satisfied. Learning how to be satisfied sexually and how to satisfy your spouse is an art that has to be learned. Movies and novels will sell you the idea that all you have to do is put two sexually compatible people together and their experience will be wonderful. It is easy to create that perfect scenario in fantasy, but in real life there are so many more issues that have to be worked through.
When you enter the safe framework of marriage, there are some delightful and awkward lessons and techniques in physical intimacy for you to learn. It isn’t something you can prepare for because each person is unique and you will have to discover your spouse’s individual formula for what pleasures them. To ensure sexual compatibility, you need to understand the immaterial side of sex – soul intimacy.
Sex and soul intimacy
Our desire for sexual intimacy has two sides to it. There is the physical side, which is fueled by desires for physical release and nerve stimulation. In this physical aspect of sex, it’s possible to create pleasurable ecstasy outside of marriage and there are all kinds of immoral ways to find sexual enjoyment. I don’t speak from experience, but I’m sure, before the consequences, that there are a lot of pleasurable sensations in wild, unfettered sex. Yet God designed sex to be much more than physical release or nerve pleasure. There is an immaterial aspect to sex, as well – two souls who are becoming one with each other. Beyond the physical, we also long for spiritual and emotional intimacy. Most kids figure out what has to happen for physical intimacy to take place, but many adults never figure out how to have soul intimacy. Soul intimacy is developed as two people discover the satisfaction of knowing each other fully – their deepest dreams, hurts, passions, and weaknesses. It is found in shared experiences of joy and pain and a willingness to reveal who you really are.
The physical is supposed to be a celebration of the emotional and spiritual intimacy that is being forged between a man and woman. When sex is reduced to a selfish pursuit of physical sensations, it becomes a consuming force that will actually prevent you from being able to find soul intimacy. In contrast, when soul intimacy is formed, the physical side will be full of variety, excitement, and comfort. To forge soul intimacy requires three basic components: trust, fidelity, and selflessness. If these are in place, you’ll never have to worry about sexual compatibility. However, if even one of these elements is missing, it will throw a big damper on the fires of passion and cause real trouble in the bedroom.
Soul intimacy requires exposing the most vulnerable areas of who you are, revealing painful and embarrassing secrets about your past, putting down your weapons, and taking off your armor. Of course, doing this requires great trust that the other person will not take advantage of your defenseless state. If your spouse doesn’t trust you, they will keep their armor on to conceal parts of themselves. Gaining a person’s trust requires great tenderness and absolute commitment to their safety. Anger or harsh words will drive couples apart. A track record of previous romantic entanglements will also make trust more difficult to build.
In marital intimacy, there is only room for two. Nothing short-circuits intimacy like betrayal. Infidelity of any kind, mental or physical, straying eyes, or straying hands, will bring real guilt into the equation. Guilt destroys intimacy. Intimacy requires disclosure, while guilt makes you want to run from it. There are a host of problems that are the result of participating in illicit sexual pleasure. We feel so strongly about the need for sexual purity that we have included a whole chapter on defeating lust and reclaiming purity. If you want real intimacy, pursue purity with a passion.
One of God’s purposes for sex is to bring us out of the trap of self-centeredness and experience the joy of having our eyes turned toward someone else. Sexual ecstasy comes as an act of total surrender to the other person. But when sex becomes a selfish pursuit it will make you feel empty. Many couples say that their sex life is most fulfilling when both spouses’ goal is to serve and pleasure the other. If either person is critically evaluating how the other is meeting their sexual needs, they’ll be disappointed.
The sexual reality
It’s easy for a single person to fall into the trap of thinking that marriage is all about sex, and sometimes desires for marriage are simply desires for sex. Our sexual desires are a huge part of who God made us to be. But many people make the mistake of marrying someone based on sexual attraction alone. In reality, marriage is two people experiencing life together and sex plays a much smaller role in that shared life than most singles imagine. If things are going great, the sexual aspect of marriage will use up maybe one hour out of every forty-eight. So if your relationship is going to be successful, it had better be based on something else for the other ninety-eight percent of the time.
I’m not trying to demean the beauty or importance of sex, but I want to emphasize that for marriage to work, it has to be based on friendship and character. You need your wife or husband to be a great friend, not just a great lover. And it’s inner beauty that makes for great friendships. When making the decision of a life partner, you need to ask, “If I removed the sexual aspect, would I still enjoy this person as a friend?” There are people who know how to play sexual games and turn you on, but they have little depth of character. Sexual desire alone cannot sustain a marriage; there must be deep friendship and selfless commitment.
Sexual tastes and what turns you on can be trained and cultivated within the empowering confines of marriage. But if you let yourself be controlled by your appetites they can and will destroy you.
Won’t sex in marriage with only one person get boring? I though variety was the spice of life?
J. Budziszewski says that there are two kinds of variety: superficial variety and deep variety. The superficial kind is found in having casual sex with lots of different women. It is like wading ankle deep in fifteen different kiddie pools. He says there is also deep variety which is found in exploring the depths of one woman, which is like swimming in the ocean. It is truly amazing to keep getting deeper and deeper into my relationship with Heidi. There is still much of her that is a mystery to me, but I’m thrilled that I have the rest of my life to keep exploring her.
Commitment to one woman allows for a deeper more satisfying type of variety. Budziszewski goes on to address the man who want the depths of intimacy, but doesn’t want the bondage of long-term commitment.
“Is this your thought? If so, you may as well forget it. Outside of marriage there’s not a chance for that kind of intimacy…. Why is that? The reason is a great secret, although it shouldn’t be.
You want to keep your options open, but intimacy requires throwing them away.
Did you hear that? Let me say it again. You want to keep your options open, but intimacy requires throwing them away. That’s why lovers have to be married, and that’s why marriage has to be permanent. If you and your girlfriend haven’t given your lives to each other for good, you’ll always be holding back from each other, whether you know it or not. In fact, you’d be crazy not to. Why should you open all your treasures to someone who might leave you? Why should she? But “holding back” is another way of saying you’re not swimming in the ocean after all. You may reach for her depths, but you’ll only bruise your heart on the wading pool floor. You may think you’re swimming in the ocean because you can’t feel the bottom. But that’s only because you’re not reaching for it, and neither is she.”