Trust seems like such a basic ingredient for a great sex life and yet I am just starting to understand the depth of importance. Though basic trust in a marriage feels very similar for men and women, the challenges men and women face during sex vary drastically. The first step to create trust is an awareness and empathy for each other’s struggles. I want to share some specific ways that wives and husbands needs vary in regards to trust.
Many women have experienced painful situations or breaches of trust involving sex. We have tolerated unwanted touch and looks that left us feeling used and angry. Our own loving husband might have pushed boundaries before marriage that left us wondering if we could trust him. Or he might have concealed a struggle with porn or guilted us into sex because of fear of relapsing into porn. Past experiences make us question whether our husband cares more about his own pleasure than us.
Most husbands fight an uphill battle to gain their wife’s trust. He will need to prove with his words and actions that he cherishes his wife. He must respect our right to say “no” without even subtle manipulation. The more they take ownership for their own stuff, the more a wife will trust him. When my husband asked that I forgive him for not helping us hold the line before marriage, we reached a new level of trust.
For our 25th anniversary Jim and I traveled to Morocco to visit our daughter serving in the Peace Corp. We stayed in mud houses visiting amazing countryside filled with stone terraced wheat fields accessed only by donkey. Needless to say, hot showers were non-existent. When we finally had a little privacy he said, “I don’t even feel clean enough to touch you.”
A husband that respects our need for simple hygiene and grooming creates trust. Our sensitive body requires care. Rough finger nails or the stubble of a beard can feel like coarse sand paper on delicate tissue. A considerate husband will do all that he can to make us feel safe. A clean body, freshly shaven face and smooth hands can make all the difference.
In Tune and Concerned,
Few men understand just how vulnerable we feel during sex. Many wives have tolerated pain or discomfort during intimacy in order to avoid disappointing their husband. An act so pleasurable for a husband, can result in burning and pain because of inadequate lubrication, sensitive skin or the slightest yeast infection. Worry or anxiety can cause our vagina to contract during intercourse. Women are painfully aware that our husband can hurt us during sex, whether intentionally or not.
In the midst of passion, even a loving husband can seem clueless to our discomfort. A clumsy touch or rough hands can feel like an intrusion as he pokes and probes. We tense as his nervousness amplifies through our body. Guilt fills us for acting finicky or controlling. We hold our tongue to avoid discouraging him, or maybe in the hope he will just finish quickly.
We need to trust that our husband is present during sex and paying attention to us rather than blindly forging on with his plans. Watching facial expression or sensing tension will help him identify the difference between pleasure and pain. When my husband started recognizing and asking if something felt uncomfortable he built trust. I knew that he noticed and cared and was happy to adjust to make things enjoyable for both of us.
Two Way Street
But trust needs to be a two-way street. Women have to create trust with their husband by taking ownership and being honest.
Our husband has no greater desire than for us to enjoy sex as much as he does. When we fake orgasm, we cheat both of us. When we refuse to invest the time to recognize lies about sex and learn the truth, we destroy trust. Taking ownership for figuring out our body and sharing that information with our husband creates trust. Our husband would do anything in the world to make sex enjoyable for us, but we have to help them know how.
As much as I want my husband in touch with me during sex, I don’t want him to constantly worry about me. When a husband tip toes around, constantly asking if something feels good, his nervous touch unsettles us and turns us off. What we really want is to feel his confident touch in tune to our body and fully taking us in . We want him to have the freedom to enjoy sex and get caught up in passion. He can’t do that if he is constantly worrying. When he trusts that I will communicate, then he can let loose himself. My husband must trust that I will communicate honestly, no matter what.
We build trust brick by brick, layer by layer. From the intentional choices he makes for cleanliness to the life long journey of communicating our desires and longings. We start with the basics and build one brick at a time. I can only allow my husband to lead when I know that he is more concerned for me then his own pleasure. He can only lead when he trusts that I will be honest and communicate my needs.
What God asks and what I desire, to submit to my husband, requires the ultimate trust. But we can’t really let our husband lead until we absolutely trust him. We need to know that he cares more about us then a sexual release. That he won’t become so consumed with his own passion and desires that he loses track of us. He must trust that we will honestly communicate our needs, even in the heat of the moment. We want to feel the sureness in his touch. We cannot pause in waiting or watching. We must have absolute trust in each other.
We have to create a safe place to enjoy sex. A basic concept and yet honestly the bedrock of great sex, because deep down we desire a husband that will lead. A husband that will sweep us off our feet. That knows what we need more than we know. That will take control and with confidence say, “let me do this”, because he knows exactly what we need.