Some people believe your sexual inhibitions or lack of inhibitions is nothing more than a reflection of your temperament.
It’s a personality thing, they would say.
But is it really a personality thing? Or is it a learned thing? I think it’s a learned thing.
And because of that, I am always suspect when someone falls back on the excuse “that’s just how I am.”
What’s healthier for the relationship is to ask, “Do I have room to grow?”
Notice the headline has the word “too” in it, meaning that the the degree of inhibitions (too much or too little) is compromising the intimacy, not enriching it.
I’m talking only about scenarios where the inhibitions or lack of them is causing a problem in the marriage. That’s key to remember. If you and your spouse are completely fine with how inhibited or uninhibited you each are, then great! This blog post probably won’t resonate with you.
But if the level of inhibitions is a problem, then you may find some helpful insights here.
We can get stuck thinking we cannot change. This can be true with all aspects of life. I just happen to blog about sex, so I’m looking through that lens.
First, let’s look closer at sexual inhibitions—an abundance of it or too little of it. A good clue that this might be diminishing intimacy is if your spouse has actually commented on it or reacted negatively to it. Too much inhibition or too little of it can undermine authentic connection and oneness.
Sometimes one spouse has expressed that they want the other spouse to be more adventurous sexually (within the exclusivity and boundaries of healthy sexual intimacy, of course). Maybe it’s a desire for trying a different position or a different sexual technique. Maybe it’s a desire that the spouse who rarely or never initiates sex would initiate more. One spouse simply wants the other spouse to open up a bit sexually, to be more enthusiastic about sex, and/or to be more sexually confident—in short, to be less inhibited.
The flip side can be true, too. Sure, it’s more common to hear that being too inhibited is weakening passion in the lovemaking. But not enough inhibitions can be a turn off, too.
One spouse maybe is pursuing excessively or expressing themselves overtly sexually in a way that robs the relationship of sexual balance. One spouse is always running the show, so to speak, or calling the shots on how things are going to happen sexually—not in a controlling or aggressive way, but in a way that never gives the other spouse room to make their own sexual move or express themselves sexually.
The above dynamics are examples where too much inhibitions or too little of it is chipping away at sexual enjoyment and connection in the marriage.
Calling it out and giving voice to it, though, is not enough. That simply acknowledges the problem. It doesn’t get at the heart of changing the behavior and healing the sexual disconnect. To do that, you have to get at the why.
Why is someone overly inhibited or uninhibited?
Obviously, the answers to that are going to be unique and individual, but here are a few “dig deeper” questions that can get the conversation going.
On the surface, it’s easy to think these questions only apply to someone being too inhibited. But they all can also apply when one spouse is not inhibited enough.
Is there a lack of trust?
Are there insecurities?
Are there unresolved issues from their past?
Are they uncomfortable?
Are they replaying how they behaved sexually in previous relationships that weren’t healthy?
“But Julie,” you may say, “how could the above apply when someone is sexually uninhibited?”
Well, being overtly sexual or coming across overly confident sexually could be a way to compensate for feelings of insecurity, a lack of trust, or feeling uncomfortable. Or the person has unresolved issues from their past or they are simply replaying how they behaved sexually in previous relationships.
So if this inhibition or lack there of is hurting your marriage, the good news is you can grow and learn healthier ways of connecting sexually.
If you are self-conscious or inhibited sexually, then you can learn to become more expressive and overt. Likewise, if you are extremely uninhibited sexually, you can learn to temper that and allow your spouse to take more of the lead.
Open and respectful conversation, as well as genuine introspection, are steps in the right direction. Be honest with each other. What’s really going on? What’s the why?
If you know there is a struggle in the intimacy because of one spouse being too inhibited or too uninhibited, be willing to get at the why together. Be willing to build stronger intimacy together.
And I have a 5-video series available on building better sex in your marriage. Great way to invest in your marriage! You can find out all about it at this link: Better Sex in Your Christian Marriage.
Copyright 2020, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.