Sexual Intimacy: Is There Ever a Good Time?
by Megan Wyatt, Founder of Wives of Jannah
Sexual intimacy is an area of marriage that can cause a lot of tension for a couple despite the fact it's supposed to be an area that brings about closeness, pleasure, and connection for both the husband and the wife.
So why are things often so complicated?
First of all, it's important to recognize that sexual intimacy is likely the closest physical and emotional connection you can or will experience with your husband. It's not "just sex" but rather an experience that impacts you beyond the biological functioning of your body.
In short, it's personal. It's not just a physical exercise but one that carries meaning and value. Anything that personal is bound to be difficult to navigate through at times. This is your body, your heart, and your whole being we're talking about. (And this is exactly how most of my female clients discuss sex!)
When something is meaningful you don't just "do it" because you want to feel that the experience carries an emotional meaning for you and your husband.
But what happens when the list for a meaningful experience becomes too tall?
What happens when there are so many barriers to being intimate? Here are some of the most common examples from the women I hear from:
I am so exhausted from the baby keeping me up all night...
I spent all day walking in circles cleaning up after the kids...
Work was really stressful today with endless meetings and a new tight deadline to meet...
I'm really upset because of something I'm going through with my sister...
We have a to go to my in-laws house for lunch on Saturday, and then cousin's wedding on Sunday, and in between that get a new fridge...
My husband hasn't spent enough quality time with me alone for me to want sex...
I'm completely tired of being in the house with the whole family because of the pandemic...
I am just so tired and want a break to do nothing...I don't want sex...
I am PMSing right now and I don't feel in the mood to be intimate...
I am on my period right now, so I'm not available of course but my husband wants me to touch him at least...
I've gained weight recently and I don't want my husband to see me right now...
I'm not secure about my body right now and so I'm avoiding being intimate...
I feel like he needs to help around the house more first before I have sex more often for him...
With so many things happening in life my question to you is this: when is a good time for sex?
And I'm serious. When is a good time?
Not a perfect time. Not the most ideal time. Not the most romantic time. But a good time? A decent time? A time where it's possible for you to make it happen?
I am absolutely in full support of women feeling loved, supported, and cherished in their relationships. A marriage isn't supposed to be one-sided where you just sacrifice away all of your well being for your husband.
At the same time it seems many women have lost connection with how important it is for them to make time for intimacy.
I say this to women because quite often they are the ones that set the schedule for availability.
Your husband can ask to be intimate, but if you aren't in agreement he has to wait. There may be times when this is necessary but my work has also shown me that many women are waiting for the perfect time to say yes to intimacy and that perfect time isn't coming.
As a result, the relationship is severely struggling.
Here are some tips that have helped other women who found themselves pushing away intimacy:
1) Schedule time even if you're a bit tired.
Trust me for a second before you roll your eyes! You might be tired for the next five years (multiple pregnancies, babies, nursing, kids in tow...I get it, I have four kids of my own) but you can't go five years without having sex for yourself let alone for your husband! You deserve to relax and enjoy the physical and emotional connection that sexual intimacy can provide you.
But let's face it: you aren't always going to feel like it. Tired or not your husband still desires you and likes you just the way you are! So, schedule time anyways and there is a good chance you will enjoy yourself too, feel closer to your husband, and feel more at ease in your marriage.
I'm not saying harm yourself. I'm asking you to accept that the most ideal time might not arrive for awhile so adjust to your "new norm." Less than perfect sex can do a lot for a marriage vs. waiting for the perfect time, perfect energy, perfect connection, and a perfect sexual experience can be really harmful in the long run.
2) Make sure he understands your body.
If sex isn't satisfying for you it's time to have a talk with your husband and let him know. If you aren't even sure yourself how to reach satisfaction it's time to do some research and reading. (Put on a strict filter on Google to avoid inappropriate websites from coming up!)
Many women have told me they don't like sex because there isn't anything in it for them. It's a woman's Islamic right to experience sexual satisfaction in her marriage so make sure you both are on the same page about your body. Need some insight into your body? Check out this podcast by The Village Aunty.
But don't continue settling for a sex life that isn't satisfying and meaningful for you or just pushing intimacy away.
3) Don't make sex only a night time thing.
If being with your husband late at night works for your marriage by all means keep it up. Many women I've worked with, however, have confessed that by the time Isha salah rolls around they are barely keeping their eyes open. All they want to do is sleep.
But who said sex has to be a night time thing? Many couples have experienced a better sex life by focusing on the early morning hours after they've had some sleep. This allows the couple to have more energy and attention for each other rather than fighting off exhaustion all the time.
If you don't have little kids that have to be watched constantly, consider late afternoons or before dinnertime when you are both still more energetic. These are the times you might say yes to the TV, computer games, or whatever will keep the kids in one spot occupied. Ideal? Maybe not. But as I said before, you have to find your "new norm" and adjust your life accordingly.
If the kids will be alright for a bit make space for the two of you to quietly connect in your room. Creativity is a must if you've got kids around or extended family.
4) Openly communicate your own needs.
Many women put off sex because they feel their emotional needs aren't being met in their marriage. Instead of using sex as a control mechanism, I invite a wife to use sex as a channel to advocate for her needs.
Instead of thinking about sex as something only for her husband I invite her to consider what it might look like if it was about her? What would she ask for? What would the experience be like? What would she change about the whole process? In other words, why does it continue to be about his needs alone? Where is she in the conversation?
The overall goal is to help her communicate her needs, whether emotional or physical, in a manner where she feels heard and her husband is able to respond to her needs.
Changing how she views sex as only "for her husband" is just one exercise I use to teach women how to find their voice and express their needs.
Naturally, the conversation needs to extend beyond this. If you are avoiding sex because, emotionally, you don't feel loved and supported in your marriage then please reach out for support. I want to see you emotionally fulfilled and supported insha'Allah.
5) If he likes your body then relax!
I don't know of a single woman on the planet who is completely satisfied with her body! We are such harsh critics of ourselves. But men aren't like us. They don't look in the mirror and always think about what they need to change about their bodies.
And they don't look at you and constantly think of what you should tweak and change either.
Sure, your husband will notice when you gain weight and lose weight, when you've got stretch marks or scars, some cellulite or imperfect abs, or whatever else it is you might be worried about.
He might notice but then he'll also notice everything else about you that he loves.
If your husband desires you, it's because he isn't seeing your flaws. It means he sees a whole beautiful woman in front of him that he loves. Imperfections and all you are still sexy, attractive, and sensual. Embrace that woman! 🙂
Stop getting in your own way! You aren't saving him from hiding and you aren't protecting yourself either. You're just cutting you both off from a loving experience which would bring you both closer. Don't objectify your own self. You're a whole person and sex is an experience with all of you. Say yes and stop hiding.
The reward of charity.
Sexual intimacy is an important part of your marriage and a natural human desire.
Since it's at the heart of a marriage it's important to make space and time for it even in less than ideal circumstances. That might even mean saying no to some family commitments or coming later just so you have time to connect first as a couple.
Remember, this is your marriage. It has to be nurtured and cared for by you and your husband. in the long run, the small sacrifices for each other's pleasure, connection, and time will be worth it.
To leave you with a final motivation is to remember that when you are intimate with your husband you can receive the same reward as if you gave charity.
"It was narrated from Abu Dharr that some people from among the companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “O Messenger of Allaah, the rich people will get more reward. They pray as we pray, and they fast as we fast, but they give in charity from their excess wealth.” He said, “Has not Allaah given you things with which you can give charity? Every tasbeehah (saying ‘Subhaan Allaah (Glory be to Allaah)’) is a charity. Every Takbeerah (saying ‘Allaahu akbar (Allaah is Most Great)’) is a charity. Every Tahmeedah (saying ‘al-hamdu-Lillaah (praise be to Allaah)’ is a charity. Every Tahleelah (saying ‘Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah (there is no god but Allaah)’) is a charity. Enjoining what is good is a charity. Forbidding what is evil is a charity. Having intercourse (with one’s wife) is a charity.” They said, “O Messenger of Allaah, if one of us fulfils his desire, is there reward in that?” He said, “Do you not see that if he does it in a haraam way he will have the burden of sin? So if he does it in a halaal way, he will have a reward for that.” (Narrated by Muslim, 1674)
Please note: this article is intended only for women who are in emotionally and physically safe relationships. If you feel in any way you are being abused applying the advice in this article would be causing you even more harm. If you aren't sure, learn more here. Please, seek professional support for a local therapist in your area if you're experiencing abuse of any kind. There is help and there is hope.