How much time should be given to the excitement and plateau phases of sex? Should sex always be an “elaborate production”? Are “quickies” sexual junk food or a healthy form of variety? Is it okay to sometimes have sex out of compassion for our spouse more than our personal passion?

In order to engage these questions, we will look at several “types of sex” in marriage. The list is not exhaustive or technical, so as the two of you discuss the list feel free to add to it and change the titles. The purpose of the list is not to help you study for a matching quiz, but to give you expanded vocabulary and concepts for communicating about sex.

  • Normal Sex – This category does not make the list; not because it doesn’t exist, but because it’s a category with a strong tendency towards “ho-hum” sex. Routines tend to take the life out of things that are meant to be intimate. This is true when a couple inadvertently creates a sex ritual – take our clothes off, both get in bed, kiss, rotate, kiss, rotate, intercourse, done, and repeat twice per week. Here are some routine-breaking suggestions.
    • Don’t always begin sex by taking your own clothes off. Allow your spouse to do this as part of foreplay.
    • Don’t always begin sex by getting in bed. Allow foreplay to begin standing on another piece of furniture.
    • Don’t always have sex in the same room. You can go to the bedroom, but start almost anywhere.
    • Don’t always have sex at the same time of day. Morning and afternoon are as fun as evening.
  • Quickie Sex – Duration is not the only, or often even the best, measure of quality. Finding a brief moment that is ripe for sex, making eye contact with a smile, and seizing it can be great fun. In some especially busy seasons of life a couple may show great care for one another (see nurturing sex below) by these quick encounters to stave off frustration or loneliness. However, if the “season” become extended, then a couple needs to re-examine their schedule and priorities.
  • Duty Sex – This category also does not make the list, because it takes a gift and devolves it into a job. When “should” and “have to” become the verbal prefix to sex, then either a couple is turning play time into a responsibility or there is a larger problem that needs to be addressed; interpersonally through communication, relationally with a counselor, or physically with a physician.
  • Nurturing Sex – The alternative to duty sex is nurturing sex. It is not an obligation to fulfill, but a way to care for your spouse even if, at that moment, sex is not personally desired by you. Nurturing sex can be engaged for several reasons: greater desire for sex by one spouse, desire of one spouse to encourage the other when he/she is down or insecure, or when there is a desire for closeness more than pleasure.
  • Passion Sex – While nurturing sex is engaged out of compassion, there should also be times when sex is engaged out of passion and overwhelming desire for your spouse. “I want you more than I want anything else in the world right now. I can’t think about anything else and don’t really want to.” If a couple practices the recommendations of chapter four, then both spouses should be able to affirm the other with times when their desire rises to this level.
  • Fun Sex – There are also times when sex is just fun. If the choices are between watching a movie, engaging a hobby, going shopping, or sex, then sex should frequently win out simply because “it’s more fun.” The fact that sex should be seen as a celebration more than recreation doesn’t mean it’s bad to view it as satisfying recreation. Fun sex is a great way for a couple to remind themselves of the playfulness essential to a good sex life.
  • Celebration Sex – Whether it’s birthday, anniversary, Valentine’s Day, or achieving a personal goal, sex is a great way to celebrate significant occasions and achievements. This is a gift only you can give and a celebration that only the two of you can share. It is fitting to celebrate special occasions in a way that is exclusive to the two of you.
  • Gourmet Sex – Candles, fruit, music, bed and breakfast, full body massage with scented oils, etc… You don’t fix a meal like Thanksgiving dinner very often, but when you do there are usually two results: (1) you remember it and (2) you talk about it. There ought to be times that you put enough forethought into sex that it is memorable and that the two of you say “do you remember when” for years to come. Like everything else in life, sharing the memories is one of the sweetest parts of enjoying sex. Don’t rob your sex life of reminiscence.

If this post was beneficial for you, then considering reading other blogs from my “Favorite Posts on Sex and Sexuality” post which address other facets of this subject.