6 Resources for Spicing Up Your Marriage in the Bedroom

If we want to spice up our marriage in the bedroom, gaining new information is crucial! Whether its changing damaging mindsets that are holding you back or just getting some new tools and ideas to change things up- knowledge is power!

These are all resources that have helped us.

In a recent post, I mentioned four sex books I’ve read and recommended. I’ve gotten a lot of emails and questions about these, so I thought I’d offer more information on those as well as including a few more resources we’ve found helpful.

Spicing up your marriage in the bedroom. If we want to improve, new information is crucial- check these resources out.

31 Days to Great Sex

Are you sick of me talking about this book yet? I feel like I’ve been talking about it for years, but I really think its just such a short, sweet and great intro to sex books. Do the assignments, do the challenges and your sex life will improve.

Boost Your Libido E-Course

This is a course by the same author of 31 Days to Great Sex, Sheila Wray Gregoire.  There are 10 modules- each with a short video, assignments  and resources. Some of the topics include:

        • Feeling comfortable in your skin
        • Making hormones your friend
        • When it doesn’t feel good
        • Making sex exciting

Also! Normally the course is $39, but for the next week (Oct 6 – Oct 13, 2017) she’s offering 25% of our readers! Just put in the code Marriagelab at checkout- this brings the cost to only $29. Steal of a deal.

Check it out here.

Ultimate Intimacy App

This is a free app for Christian couples to spice things up. One of my favorite features is that in the foreplay game you can choose your comfort level (romance, foreplay, heavy foreplay, hot and heavy) – so helpful!  It also includes over 190 position ideas as well as romantic conversation prompts. Check it out!

Check it out here for Android, and here for Apple products.

Slow Sex

A book by Nicole Daedone.

I want to give this book my full recommendation. I really do. Because it has given us our favorite foreplay tool EVER.   But I certainly can’t say I agree with everything this book promotes because it is all about the physical and neglects the MOST important part of sex: emotional connection with your partner.

I will say that the author doesn’t promote porn or toys or even fantasy- she is ALL about getting in touch with your body and meditation as the primary tools to get the most out of sex.

So I’ll say it is a really helpful book tool-wise, but I don’t agree with her overall sexual philosophies (or language for that matter 😉 ). Still, I’m so glad I read it.

Passionate Marriage: Keeping Love and Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships

A book (and separate audio book) by David Schnarch.

Now this book on the other hand comes MUCH closer to resonating with my overall sexual philosophy. He thinks much of sexual therapy completely neglects the two most important tools for a healthy, passionate sex life- emotional maturity and connection with your partner. He holds that society (and sex therapy) focusing SO much on the physical comes at the deep cost of curating mutually satisfying, long-term and passionate sex lives.

Although a fair warning – this book gets really sexy really fast. If that is not your speed- I really recommend his audio book SECRETS of a Passionate Marriage, which is MUCH shorter (only about 2 hours long) and uses less explicit language than the book. So confusing that Passionate Marriage is a book with no audio book and Secrets of a Passionate Marriage is an audio book with no corresponding book.

(I listened to Secrets of a Passionate Marriage first and immediately started recommending it left and right thinking it was a book. Then I finally picked up Passionate Marriage, which is really long and made me blush just from the introduction.)

However, I love both. I’m slowly digesting Passionate Marriage chapter by chapter and have already gotten so much out of it. I always have to have my highlighter and pen at the ready when I read it!

For clarity’s sake- you can get the book Passionate Marriage here:


And the audio book Secrets of a Passionate Marriage here:

E-courses for LDS couples

I have taken two of Jennifer Finlayson-Fife’s online courses and am in the middle of my third. I’ve gotten a lot out of all of them.  Get them here.

I reviewed Jennifer Finlayson-Fife’s e-course for LDS women The Art of Desire here. Those ideas have stuck with me for years now. I also took her couples relationship course and reviewed that here, and while this course is not specifically about sex, it is a great foundation for any and every marriage.  Right now I’m in the middle of her couples sexuality course and man, its good!

It took me a while to acclimate myself to her psychological language and vocabulary, but now that I’ve gotten used to it and understand it, I get SO much out of her lectures. I always watch things while I do the dishes and I’ve gotten my keyboard wet several times while listening to her courses because I have to rush to write down the things she just said.

If you are LDS and are struggling with sex, I can’t recommend these resources enough.


Alright, those are our favorites- help our readers out by letting us know 1. if you’ve read or used these resources and what you thought and 2. what books and resources have helped you?

What Would Happen if You Had Sex Every Other Day For a Month? (PHYSICAL TOUCH Love Experiment Re-cap)

What happens when you have sex with your spouse every other day for a month?  Good things. Good things happen.

This post contains affiliate links.

We just wrapped up our love experiment for the month- having sex every other day. This challenge is based on Gary Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages, specifically the physical touch love language.

Time for a re-cap!

What would hapen if you had sex every ohter day with your partner? Amazing things! Click through to read all about it.

Of all the love experiments we’ve done so far this year (connecting for 10 minutes everyday for quality time, sending a loving text/note everyday for words of affirmation and giving a gift every week for gifts), this one – to have sex every other day – was by far the most demanding.

It was also the most rewarding.

We had to SUPER prioritize it in order to make it happen.  If we’re being honest, when every other day rolled around, at least one of us, but usually both of us would have rather just watched a show together instead of having sexy times.

Why? Because sex takes energy and its just plain easier not to do it.

BUT I’m SOOOO glad we did. Two years ago, Rich and I held a similar experiment and I wrote all about the outcomes of that in this post (spoiler alert- the experiment went FAR better than I could have ever anticipated).

I’m happy to report that we experienced similar results this time around. Suddenly, we were flirting like we normally didn’t, we were understanding each other better, we were happier. When he came home from work, instead of our usual disconnect from him having a demanding day at work, me having a draining day with the kids and neither of us being totally sure if we’re just drained or if we’re miffed with each other- we were just on. He would come home and we would be legitimately happy to see each other. We had lovey eyes.

Awwww.          [source: Tenor}
We were able to express having a hard day while still being grateful for each other.

It was like this upward cycle. I’m not sure who would start it. But I think having regular good sex just brings out the best in Rich- he’s more attentive, more caring, more empathetic, which then in turn brings out the best in me. Or perhaps its the other way around?

Either way the little things that come up that plague our marriage just sort of dissolve into oblivion as we connected sexually every other day.

Did you know a good sex life could do that??

I didn’t (well, I did since we started working on it two years ago, but before that I had no idea!).

Let me try to explain where my mind was at two years ago (and often still resides). I didn’t prioritize sex. I did it mostly to appease my husband and to improve our marriage, but I didn’t enjoy it for ME. I didn’t think I had to. I plainly just never thought about my sexual desires one way or the other.

I think I did this because I had SO many other things to prioritize when it came to my own self-improvement and sex just was not on the list. I strive to be more kind and generous by prioritizing serving those around me. I strive to be closer to God by prioritizing prayer and scripture study. I strive to be a better mother by being more patient while disciplining effectively.  I strive to be healthy by cooking meals and exercising. I strive to keep my life clean and orderly (ok, this one is kinda far down on the priority list, but you get the idea).

In ALL of these many priorities I strive for, where would prioritizing my own sexual development come in?

It wouldn’t. I didn’t see it as necessary AT ALL to my personal progression.

Sex was mostly for Rich and to feel connected to him.

And here’s the thing- I still can’t really find the words to convince anyone who thinks like I did to start prioritizing their own sexual feelings and development.

All I can say is that by doing so, my life became indescribably better.

Just everything better- my generosity, kindness, patience, happiness.

I have no idea why this occurred. Really I don’t know.  I just know that once I started thinking about sex a lot, talking about it a lot and doing it a lot- life became so much more rich than it was before.

And I can’t stress enough that the mental transition from “doing it for my husband” to “doing it for me and for us” was SO necessary.

I didn’t want duty sex, Rich didn’t want duty sex, and yet duty sex was what we had for SO LONG. It wasn’t until I started exploring what I really wanted and owning that, that things changed.

And I’m SOOO thankful to this blog for helping me to start the experiment in the first place. I honestly don’t think I ever would have if it weren’t for this blog.

Here’s the official experiment re-cap:

What would hapen if you had sex every ohter day with your partner? Amazing things! Click through to read all about it.

Extra Resources

I mentioned in this post where I talk about how to improve your sex life that the most important thing for me was to acquire new ideas and I mentioned what I read last time we did this experiment.

So I wanted to include some resources I’ve come across that helped me this time around:

  1. Boost Your Libido E-Course

One of my readers recommended this to me (thanks!) and because I LOVE Sheila Gregoire’s book 31 Days to Great Sex, I knew I wanted to check this course out too.  So glad I did.  There are 10 modules- each with a short video, assignments  and resources. Some of the topics include:

  • Feeling comfortable in your skin
  • Making hormones your friend
  • When it doesn’t feel good
  • Making sex exciting

I breezed through the videos pretty quickly and loved them, but I have to say the real magic of the course happens when you fill out the brainstorming exercises for each module.  Its come up again and again this month that it is important to realize exactly what you like and what you don’t and why and these exercises are a great way to do that!  Highly recommend.

Check it out here

2.  Ultimate Intimacy App

I just came across this awesome and free (!) resource- its an app designed for Christian couples to keep things exciting.  Its got this great game for foreplay with prompts and suggestions based on your comfort level. It also includes conversation starters to connect with and over 190 position ideas.  Here’s a video explaining it all.

Check it out here for Android, and here for Apple products.

3.  Sex Prompts

For a gift for Rich, I made us a little box with cut up pieces of paper with what I call “sex prompts” on them. There are three categories- fun, sappy and sexy- depending on our moods. I’ve decided to share them with those that are interested. You can either copy these and give them as a gift to your spouse or just use them whenever 🙂

Since not everyone would want these, I’m including them as a free download here:

Sex Prompts

Enter your email address to gain access to the free download.

By entering your email, you are signing up for my mailing list. You will receive your download after confirming your subscription. You may unsubscribe at any time.


If you like this post, be sure to sign up for our monthly emails. They’re sure to give you that extra kick to keep your marriage fresh and healthy 🙂 (don’t worry, I don’t bite.  Or worse try to sell you things):


YOUR Sex Questions Answered (by a sex therapist) Part I

In preparation for this post, I asked you what you, my readers, are struggling with regarding sex, and passed those struggles along to Aimee Heffernan.

sex therapist

Aimee, who is a licensed couples therapist and sex therapist who lives and works in Washington, was kind enough to answer a number of your questions last year (Part One and Part Two).

In preparation for our interview, I sent her a list of your concerns to review. Right away we noticed some themes and will be talking about those themes instead of answering question by question.

Desire Discrepancy

First up- desire discrepancy.  Here are a few of your struggles on that topic:

“I feel like he always initiates and I WANT to, but really when it comes to it, I’m tired, cranky, pms, or just not feeling attractive etc. etc. I want to initiate without the ‘perfect’ scenario and get past the thoughts that I have to be always in the right mind set to do this.”

“I’m the wife and currently undergoing treatment for a medical condition but the medicine makes me have low libido. I’m willing -touch is my love language – but my husband’s discouraged because I’m not climaxing, which makes it hard for him because he feels like he’s not doing his job and is a failure. I don’t see it that way. I’m not sure how to encourage him to keep trying.”

“My biggest struggle is that I just don’t care about [sex]. I’m not sure if that’s just being a tired mom, or if it’s because of a medication I take, but I have ZERO sex drive anymore. I make it a point to make sure we have sex once a week for his sake, and I don’t mind it because I know that he likes it, but I feel like I could go without sex for the rest of my life and I wouldn’t even notice.”

Here’s what Aimee has to say:

“The first thing I’m noticing is that most of these deal with a ‘desire discrepancy.’ I can tell you right now that that is one of the major things I deal with doing sex therapy with couples.

In ANY relationship you enter, there will always be a low-desire and a high-desire partner. In the field of sex therapy, there are people who don’t love that description, “low-desire vs. high-desire,” because it makes it sound like your desire is a thing that either you’ve got it or you don’t.

One of the most profound things to learn about yourself is what YOUR desires are. Not just how strong they are in comparison to someone else (your spouse). But knowing your own … sexual palate. What works for you and what you truly look forward to achieving because of sex.

On the desire spectrum, another way to think about it besides “high” and “low” is “spontaneous desire” and “responsive desire.” That concept comes from one of my favorite people in the field, Emily Nagoski, a sex educator and therapist.

“Spontaneous desire” comes on suddenly, out of the blue, but “responsive” desire only comes on when a person is in a sexual situation already. Mainstream culture really only depicts “spontaneous” desire as real desire. But responsive desire is normal and healthy and way more common in women (as depicted by this graph on Emily’s blog).

What this means is knowing what’s true for you. That is incredibly important. That’s part of owning your own sexuality – recognizing what kind of desire you feel and what affects that desire. And that takes work to figure that out. But when you are able to work on YOU, you are better able to show up for sex and, ultimately, be more satisfied.

Confronting your own sexuality is crucial!

YOUR sex questions answered (by a sex therapist) | improve your married sex life

(PS For more ideas on how to deal with desire discrepancy, you guys, my readers,  answered the question, “How do you agree on how often to have sex?” here)

Redefining Sex

That leads me to the other major topic, one that I am constantly talking about as a sex therapist, and it’s something I saw in your readers’ questions which is women not being able to, or just not having an orgasm.

[Here were some of those questions:

“I’ve never had an orgasm and I don’t know if that’s normal, as we haven’t been married that long but still…It always feels like he gets way more out of sex than I do, and that’s frustrating.”

“I have a hard time reaching orgasm but he doesn’t even know it.”]

There’s a lot to talk about here. Because for some people, this is a medical situation (this post may be helpful there.)

But the first question I have is, “How can we talk about sexuality, with the ‘prize’ not being orgasm?”

The idea of “good sex” resulting in this kind of climax … it’s very normative. Certainly not all people, not all couples achieve that and pretending otherwise only puts more pressure on the act of sex.

And of course it’s important! But there are a lot of other aspects to consider too: How are you sensual with each other? How do you treat and act toward one another in this intimate, vulnerable situation? That closeness, that skin on skin interaction – it feels nice. And for different reasons, for a time, not climaxing might be a part of your sexual story.

Let’s just take away the stigma that there is something wrong with you if you are not able to reach orgasm easily. That is perfectly normal. We need to figure out how we enjoy sensuality without it.

There are a lot of scenarios that might interfere with orgasms. When someone is taking SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), a medication used to treat depression, you are less likely to have orgasms. You may find you can’t quite make it. And so many men experience erectile dysfunction. So the question is: “Is sex only enjoyable because you orgasm?”

I would encourage you to expand your definition of “successful” sex and shift the goal off of climaxing every time.

There are ALWAYS challenges to sexuality. That’s why it’s so crucial to talk about it, and even redefine your sexuality with your partner.

Think about scenarios where someone in a relationship experiences disability. Disability changes sexuality for people. But it’s still a part of those relationships. It’s still on the table, even if it looks different.

That’s why I think we should be, on a regular basis renegotiating, re-establishing our sexuality. That’s what the expectation should be going into marriage – not “this is what our sex life will look like,” but “this is how we are going to approach the changes that will happen in our sex life.”

We talked above about figuring out your own desires. Well, this means we also need to be talking about our expectations and those desires with our partners. Marriage is a “in sickness and in health” agreement and we need to figure out what sex is going to look like in BOTH of those situations.

In this post, Aimee shared a lot of great ideas and ways of thinking about sex and desire. In Part II, she’ll share more concrete suggestions on how to have these (sometimes challenging) conversations, figuring out our own desires, and how to communicate them to our spouse.

Stay tuned!

PS If you would like to hire Aimee, we highly recommend her.  This is her website.

What Has Been the Best Change You’ve Made to Your Sex Life?

In case you’ve missed it- we are talking all about sex this month as part of our physical touch love challenge- to have sex every other day for a month!

Last week, I talked all about how our sex life went from ‘meh’ to ‘awesome’ about two years ago.

In this post, I asked YOU what the best changes were you’ve made to your sex life, so we are going to learn from all your wisdom this week 🙂

Which is excellent, I have the best readers.

Sorry if I didn’t include your response. I read and appreciated each one!

Many couples said similar things and some couples’ responses were just a little, ahem, steamy for my audience 😉  I don’t think there’s anything wrong with steam, but I don’t want people’s internet filters not allowing readers to read this post 🙂

So without further adieu, here are your responses to the question, “What has been the best change you’ve made to your sex life?” (I threw in some of my own commentary to break things up 🙂 )

Improve Married Sex Life | 13 couples answer the question, "What has been the best change you've made to your sex life?"

“Adding ‘make love night’ to our busy schedule. Because if it’s not there, it doesn’t happen.”

Scheduling! Yes! I’m such a fan of scheduling.

“Having good communication. Like, making sure we talk and connect FIRST. This does way more for me to put me in the mood than foreplay.”

You’re not alone there friend. Its almost impossible for me to get in the mood if we haven’t connected all day.

“At the risk of sounding obvious, the change for us happened when I actually started to want to have sex. LOL! The want was there in droves before we were married, but then basically after the honeymoon, my want waned big time.

The change happened for me when, in a rare moment, a good friend of mine opened up to me, and said she had been married for three years with really painful sex before she went to her doctor, who actually recommended a vibrator for their problem, and she said now she actually loves sex! It opened up a whole new world for her and now she wants sex for her and not just for her husband or for strengthening their marriage. 

I didn’t even know that could happen!! LOL!

I had spent so many years in my lack of wanting or even thinking about my own physical desire, I didn’t even know what that would be like to really love sex. And I thought– I want to experience that– I want to feel what it would feel like to love sex. 

That was what changed everything for us– wanting it for me– instead of duty sex.”

Wow, what a great story!  Thanks so much for sharing it!  Reminds me of things I learned from the Art of Desire e-course (duty sex doesn’t usually lead to great passion).

“Playing “strip” Trivial Pursuit or other board games has been the best way for me to transition from normal life to thinking about sex and has been the key to playful foreplay for us, maybe because we both already enjoy board games outside of the bedroom…It connects our different love languages, I think.”

Love this one. This is one of my tips in my “making intimacy fun” prompts (which you can acquire via this post). Making sex fun was a total new concept for me before I read 31 Days to Great Sex, but I too found it was SO much easier and more my style to ‘get in the mood’ from having fun and laughing and connecting than from doing something more ‘conventionally sexy.’

“The fact that we are extremely open and honest to what we like and dislike. We share our fantasies frequently. Something I never thought we would do, but now we experiment a lot. We are both very aware of our own and each other’s sexuality.”

Good for you guys. Its hard to have a satisfying sex life if you both aren’t open and honest and in tune to each other.

“We do it less often with more feeling then ever before in our lives. It’s amazingly rewarding for both.”

Awesome. Figure out what works for you both and go for it.

Improving married sex life

“Going to therapy!!  For YEARS both of us were so frustrated by our sex lives. We BOTH wanted to be more satisfied and we thought the problem would be solved if we learned some new techniques, new positions, or maybe went on vacation. BUT after some other issues led us to therapy, we finally realized, the answers to our problems in bed did not lie in TECHNIQUE, it was our other marital and personal issues that were getting in the way all this time. These were SO much harder and took SO much longer to work through than finding new positions or toys, but since we’ve been working our long-standing issues out both on our own AND together, we’re finally able to connect in bed in a way we just couldn’t all those years when so many issues were bottled up.”

This is SO true. There are WAY more obstacles to a satisfying sex life than just behaviors in bed! Even though that seems like the obvious and easiest solution to more passion. Its true what they say- the brain is the most important sex organ. So happy you guys are doing well! And thanks for mentioning therapy. I think everyone should go.

“Being able to relax more. I’m not sure if this has come mainly from lowering our expectations or communicating more or just feeling more comfortable in my own skin as I get older, but I have found that relaxing expectations of myself and our time together has been important.”

Absolutely. Expectations can ruin desire. Particularly when they go un-met or differ greatly from our partner’s expectations.

“For me as a woman, we’ve discovered that we’re so much more likely to have sex if a: we connect on an emotional level earlier that evening and b: we get to bed earlier!”

Similar minds think alike. And if you leave sex until you’re both in bed, getting to bed too late will certainly take its toll!

“Just changing my mind set. I ordered the ‘boost your libido’ e-course from Sheila Gregoire and it was really helpful in realizing it starts in my mind. :)”

Awesome resource – thanks for sharing! I’ve been wanting to take this course!

“Well, we’re luckier than most from the outset because neither of us have sexual trauma in our past and both of us actually like sex, which I’m realizing the older I get is pretty rare.  Our biggest obstacle has come from having a bunch of little kids that take all our time, attention and energy.

This isn’t anything profound, but the best change for us has just been just making it a priority. Its so easy not to, but I was struck by something said on your blog actually in answer to a reader who said their biggest obstacle to a good sex life was tiredness and the therapist said its probably actually NOT tiredness but just not prioritizing it. That really struck me and got me out of my excuses of always being ‘too tired.’ We make time to do all sorts of things, so once we got it in our head that sex was really important to prioritize, we actually DO have time for it if we make time.”

Perfect. Thanks for sharing. That post they are referring to is this one.

“I haven’t been married for long, but its been a realization for us that we don’t have to be “in the mood” when we start. I guess I got this mistaken idea from media??? I don’t know, but often we’ll get there even if we don’t feel like having sex at first. For us, having sex puts us in the mood for more sex!”

This was a revelation to us too.

“This might sound weird, but I think internally I had to accept that sexuality and passion isn’t bad. I grew up in a very conservative culture where it was constantly preached to repress any and all things related to sex, sexual thoughts, desires until marriage. But then when we’re married, nothing else is preached on the matter, so those repression tendencies or this underlying feeling like we should be very weary of desire and where it will lead sticks around. These feelings don’t promote passion in a marriage. So, my first step was to realize that sexual desire isn’t inherently bad and in fact we’ve been given the body parts and desires we have by design by God for our enjoyment. Embracing my own desire and confronting and questioning my own mental obstacles regarding sex has freed me up to ACTUALLY FEEL PASSION.  Then of course, we had to learn some new skills and figure out what we like and don’t like, but changing my previously unquestioned and unconscious negative ideas about sex was the first step. My husband was oh-so-happy I worked on this.”

Ah! I’m so glad someone said this!  Thank you! I went through a similar realization two years ago.

There you have it. Thank you to everyone who contributed your wisdom to this post and if you have more wisdom to share- let us know in the comments!!  Thanks guys!




Improving Sexuality in Marriage- the Why and the How

Offering a three step plan to improve sexuality in marriage: read and research about it, make a sex plan, and talk about it a lot!

–This post contains affiliate links.–

Twice in recent memory I’ve been with a group of my girl friends, all of whom are married,  and the topic of sex came up. 

Both times the general consensus seemed to be that they didn’t care much for sex. “Ugh! I don’t care at all about sex.” “I’m so over sex.” “I have no sex drive at all.” Shrug. 

This reminded me of an email I received in response to my recent ‘what is your biggest struggle with sex?’ question I posed last post. This reader said,

“My biggest struggle is that I just don’t care about it.  I’m not sure if that’s just being a tired mom, or if it’s because of a medication I take, but I have ZERO sex drive anymore.  I make it a point to make sure we have sex once a week for his sake, and I don’t mind it because I know that he likes it, but I feel like I could go without sex for the rest of my life and I wouldn’t even notice.  I wouldn’t say it’s a source of contention for us, but I know he would love it if I were more into it.  But it’s so hard to muster up the energy.”

Most questions I get about sex, I don’t feel at all qualified to answer (that’s why I’ll be interviewing a sex therapist to answer your questions later this month), but this one?  I think this one I can tackle.

Because I’ll be honest. I could have written this two years ago (minus the medication part).

This month’s reader question is “What has made your sex life go from ‘meh’ to ‘awesome?'” (And I’m appreciating all the responses! If you have an experience to share- please respond in this post).

Next week, I’ll be posting all of YOUR answers to that question, but this week, I wanted to open up and share my answer.

You ready for this?  Things are about to get personal . . .

grab your popcorn

I can honestly say that two years ago, our sex life went from ‘meh’ to ‘awesome.’ (and I didn’t even think there was anything wrong with it in the first place!)

As a result of this blog and writing this series, Rich and I conducted an experiment two years ago where we REALLY prioritized improving our intimacy. I’ll explain more below, but basically we drastically increased the quantity (having sex pretty much every other day) and the quality of our sex life.

And I could not have been more surprised or pleased by the results.

Improving sexuality in our marriage was so great for its own sake, but what I wasn’t expecting AT ALL was how much this transformation improved almost every other aspect of my life – my mood, my productivity, my happiness, my parenting and most certainly my marriage.

Everything seemed easier. I was less stressed, more quick to forgive, to love and I was just happier. Just all the time happier and more easy-going. Not to mention, to date, I think those were the best months of our marriage EVER (yes, sadly we’ve regressed, more about that at the bottom of the post).

It was like a domino effect and it surprised me to no end how drastically improving our sex life improved and enhanced every other aspect of my life.

I would have worked harder to improve our sex life sooner if I had known how much it would positively affect everything!

The biggest reason I have for those of you “low desire” partners to put a little more ‘umph’ into your sex life is that you really never know what the outcome will be until you try! Like, really try.**  (and if you are experiencing pain as a main barrier, please read this post)

Improving Sexuality in Marriage | Click through to read how to take your married sex life from meh to awesome

I’ve been chewing over what exactly we did that made such a big change and I’ve come up with three things:

  1. Reading and researching about it (This one is first for a reason!)
  2. Making a Sex Plan (not making sex dependent on our moods).
  3. Talking about it A LOT.

1 Reading and Researching

I can’t stop thinking about this quote from Steven Covey that says “If you want to make small changes, work on your behavior. If you want to make quantum leap changes, work on your paradigms.”

This has been SO TRUE for improvements in our sex life. I had to change mindsets I didn’t even realize were there, mindsets I didn’t even realize were a problem. Finally two years ago, after seven years of marriage, I started reading up on how to improve our sex life mostly to research for posts for this series on improving intimacy.

Everything I read helped a lot to give me new ideas and new mindsets about our sex life, why I act the way I do, why Rich acts the way he does and what has been holding us back.

I think I was scared of sex books before. I’ve been a bit of a ‘good girl’ my whole life (perhaps an understatement) so I had this mistaken idea that sex books were NOT something I should be seeking out.

But there are SOOO many amazing resources out there to improve your sex life. Sex books that, no matter your comfort level, won’t feel  icky or uncomfortable. Christian sex books, books to get a marriage going again.

The books I read were simply invaluable to me and were the exact spark I needed to make some changes. I simply would not have and could not have made the changes I did without these new ideas. Just improving the quantity of our sex lives really would have done little to improve the QUALITY had I not read these books.

So what did I read?

  1. I started with 31 Days to Great Sex, which I discuss at length here. My first sex book 🙂 A short, helpful, read from an openly Christian author.  Great one to start with if you are new to sex books. I don’t think any couple could go through those 31 challenges and NOT come out with a better sex life (also SUPER recommend her book The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex).
  2. I took Jennifer Finlayson-Fife’s The Art of Desire e-course for women, which I discuss here. This isn’t a book, but it definitely helped to change up some mindsets and break up some of our roadblocks.
  3. I read the book Slow Sex. This was recommended by Jennifer Finlayson-Fife, and I have to give a warning here that the author does curse quite a bit and her descriptions of sex could be considered vulgar. I think I might have set it aside rather quickly had I not already gotten my feet wet with the above two resources first 🙂 HOWEVER, this book gave us my absolute favorite and most effective foreplay tool to date. And we use what we learned ALL the time. I’m really glad I read it.
  4. I read Passionate Marriage. This one starts out by providing the most helpful marriage mindset tool ever, differentiation, which I describe here, and then goes on to discuss sex. It’s a very large book and I’m still in the middle of it, but its already given me lots of new ideas. I just love how David Schnarch thinks about marriage.

If you feel like your sex life is in a rut, READ A BOOK!!!  You don’t have to read one of those, research your own. I promise there is a book out there for YOUR SPECIFIC problem- look it up (and then maybe make sure to sign into YOUR amazon account instead of your parent’s account to buy the book. otherwise you might get really embarrassed next time you see them).

2 Making a Sex Plan (not making sex dependent on our moods)

For years we never scheduled sex because it seemed so unsexy! Shouldn’t sex be spontaneous?

The truth is, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Left to its own devices, your free time will sprout legs and walk itself to the nearest screen faster than you can say, “What do you want to do tonight?”

And the real problem with not ever scheduling sex is that it leaves it up to our moods. If one or both of us is tired, lacking energy, or just in a kind of blah mood, sex just wouldn’t happen. And sadly, one, if not all of those characteristics describes one or both of us. . . um . . . . EVERY NIGHT!

I suggest talking it over together and making a plan of when and how often to have sex and then stick to it as best you can.

So. Two years ago, after diving into some of those sex books, we decided to have sex every other night for a month or so (hey!, that sounds like this month’s love experiment!) and I for the first time, sex wasn’t conditional on our energy level or moods. And it was great! In fact, 99% of the time sex improved both my energy level and my mood even if I wasn’t “in the mood” at the outset (which with juggling 3 kids all day? I rarely am).

Improving Intimacy in Marraige
sexy . . .

3) Talking About It-  A LOT!

Since we’ve been really consistent about having our weekly marriage check-ins (we call it inventory) every week for our entire relationship, and sex is often discussed, I always assumed we had ‘communicating about sex’ thing down pat.

Two years ago, I thought I understood Rich’s feelings perfectly.

But then we ran this series, which Rich was really involved in (being the one to actually interview the sex therapist we interviewed) and we talked and talked and talked about sex.

Then I read all those sex books and each book we read assigned specific questions to ask and discuss together. And we did them! (Rich read most of the books on his own too!)

Even though, I thought I knew it all, boy howdy did I learn a lot about Rich and his feelings in those few months! I learned there was so much more to learn about him than I ever assumed there was.  I thought I knew his feelings exactly, but I didn’t. In fact, I was often flat out wrong about how he felt about sex and why he felt it.

For example, I didn’t realize how important it was to him that he feels desired by me (or that just viewing himself as a desirable person mattered to him), or that if he had to choose between sex that *I* didn’t find enjoyable or no sex at all, he’d usually prefer to skip it altogether.

Improving Sexuality In Marriage

I’m so grateful for the whole experience of talking A LOT about sex. It REALLY improved our marriage.

Not only did it help to understand Rich’s thoughts and preferences- it really helped to explore and articulate my own! Never have I dug and dug and dug into why I feel about sex exactly the way I do.  I learned about myself and my likes and dislikes without judging myself one way or another and then I was able to articulate to Rich better than I ever have exactly what I like and don’t like AND why (the why was something I had never explored before).

But I’m so glad I did.

I think most times we discussed sex in our inventories, one or both of us were trying to push our own agendas on the other one, which really doesn’t lead to great communication. But being genuinely curious about what each other thought and wanted and cared about, learning for learning’s sake, made a HUGE difference.


So even if you think you know PERFECTLY your spouse’s thoughts and likes and experiences with sex, I encourage you to go deeper. Communicate and counsel together and maybe read a sex book together and see what comes out.

Even after knowing how much it improved my life and our lives,  I’m slightly embarrassed, but still won’t hesitate to say that we’ve slid back to our old ways since that time.

Peaks and valleys- that’s how life works sometimes. That’s how marriage works.  We’re certainly not perfect. Our energy, moods and agendas all get in the way. Its so easy to fall back into not prioritizing sex.

BUT all is not lost- that’s why I’m so excited for our love experiment this month, which if I haven’t mentioned is to have sex every other day for a month!**

So what do you guys think? Has increasing the quantity of your sex life also increased the quality? How do you prioritize sex?  And have any of you read any books you’d recommend about sex?

You can answer in the comments are email me at celeste{at}marriagelaboratory.com



** Important caveat to this month’s experiment- if you are the low desire partner and are legitimately feeling pressured to consent to have sex more often than you feel comfortable with, please don’t let my experiment or words make you feel guilted or pressured into doing anything that goes against your conscience.  Likewise, if you are the high desire person in your relationship, you need to be willing to let your partner move at their own pace. Communication from both partners needs to be encouraging and consensual, NOT coercive. Please see a therapist if you feel like your partner is pressuring you into sex against your will.