When my wife Amber and I married, we had distorted views of how sex was supposed to be. I would argue that most couples would say the same. Our culture’s perspective on sex is overwhelmingly shaped and influenced by Hollywood’s vision and rarely by God’s biblical vision and practical wisdom. The wrong messages on sex are so prevalent that unless a believer is intentional about seeking God’s perspective, their perspective will undoubtedly be built on lies. Praise God that he didn’t leave us with a distorted vision but constantly shows us in his Word what true intimacy looks like. It’s been a beautiful journey!

Many couples are chasing an unattainable vision of sex and they don’t know it! Most couples get crushed by their sexual wishes at some point, and sexual intimacy then becomes a duty rather than a pleasure. As a result of not being fulfilled emotionally and spiritually, the wife feels trapped because she struggles to enjoy sexual intimacy. The husband feels rejected because he senses his wife’s distance and doesn’t know what to do.

In Part One of this series, I offered five of 10 ways to cultivate sexual intimacy in marriage. In this post, we’ll discover the remaining five ways.

6. Have Regular “State of the Sex Life” Conversations

The President is required to give Congress a regular address called The State of the Union. This speech helps Congress and the rest of the country see where the President stands on the nation’s issues and what his vision is for the future. In the same way, married couples must regularly come together and have a “state of the sex life” discussion.

If this type of conversation seems embarrassing or wrong, I can almost guarantee that your sexual relationship isn’t going well. Talking about sex with your spouse helps you to better know your spouse and their needs, and it honors God. In fact, the book of Song of Solomon models this conversational openness about sexual intimacy in marriage.

During a “state of the sex life” conversation, both spouses should lovingly voice their opinion about how their sexual interactions have been since the last time they spoke. Be honest! The goal of the conversation is to grow in intimacy and to edify each other.

7. Schedule and Follow Through with Regular Date Nights

If you and your spouse’s dating life looked like it does today, would you have married them? I know that kids, work, and the daily grind has changed since then, but you can’t expect a burning desire for your spouse if your interactions have turned into business transactions. It can be difficult for me and my wife to keep regular date nights while having three small kids, pastoring a growing church, and being in school. But we fight for it and make sure that it happens as often as possible.

So men, stop being boring and lazy. Get off the coach, turn off the game, take your wife out of the house, and have some fun!

Wives, go along with your husband’s plans. Encourage your husband by not complaining about his first few choices for a date night. Just go with it and enjoy each other.

Remember, a date night isn’t the time to discuss finances, work, or any other mundane “business” items you’d normally talk about. It’s a time to dream and enjoy each other! You’ll be amazed at what a regular time out together can do for times in the bedroom.

8. Have Times of Non-sexual Physical Touch

I’ll never forget this conversation. My wife and I had just married and we were walking outside of church, holding hands. A couple who happened to cross our paths half-jokingly told us in five years, we wouldn’t be holding hands when we walked. Those words inspired me and continue to inspire me to be intentional about holding my wife’s hand. To this day, I hold her hand because I love her, and not always because I’m looking for something more.

If the only time you and your spouse touch each other is when it’s time to have sex, you are doing yourselves a great disservice. Physical affection doesn’t have to be just sexual, and it can bring great joy. My wife has helped me understand the importance of physical touch that leads nowhere. Give back massages or cuddle without the expectation of sexual intercourse every single time. It may even be good to tell your spouse that you’re giving him/her a back massage without expecting a pay-off at the end! They’ll appreciate it and won’t feel like the massage was a bait and switch.

9. Don’t Forget Health and Hygiene

When you’re doing your best to take care of your health and hygiene, it helps to eliminate barriers of personal insecurity, and keeps you from offending your spouse. Do everything you can to look your best for God, yourself, and your spouse. Your goal shouldn’t be to look like a model; your goal should be to be healthy.

If you focus on being healthy, besides looking good, you’ll feel better. In terms of hygiene, smelly feet, dried up sweat from a workout, or bad breath doesn’t encourage your spouse to be intimate. Be intentional about eliminating these barriers. Health and hygiene takes discipline and intentionality. By being fresh, you set an inviting stage for intimacy to play itself out!

10. Foster an Atmosphere That Encourages Intimacy

In Proverbs 7, the adulterous woman entices the foolish man into sexual sin by appealing to his five senses. She describes to him her home and her bed, “I have spread my couch with coverings, colored linens from Egyptian linen; I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.” This woman knew the importance of setting a good atmosphere for sex.

While there is much to be avoided from her example, there is a lesson to be learned. Having a clean bedroom with refreshing smells and good lighting encourages sex far more than walking on top of clothes and a room reeking of dirty laundry. Of course, there will be times when the bedroom will simply be messy, and some seasons of life almost require clutter! Trust me, I know. However, a clean bedroom, if you can manage it, can go a long way.

I pray this list was helpful, and I encourage you to share this list with your spouse and pray through the things you may have learned. Remember, your sex life with your spouse is as good as you two make it, and it takes intentionality and prayer.

Proverbs 5:18-19 “Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love.”

What are some other ways that couples can cultivate sexual intimacy in marriage?