It was my husband’s dream vacation — three weeks of camping throughout Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah with an extended stay near the Grand Canyon. Walking around the south rim of the canyon, my husband was absolutely awestruck, snapping multitudes of family pictures all along the way.
Of course, looking at these pictures once we got home didn’t do the Grand Canyon justice. It’s one of those wonders that you have to see up close and personal to fathom how beautiful and awe-inspiring it really is. But I did notice something else as we glanced through our photos, which revealed more about our human nature than about Arizona’s nature.
As I looked at the plethora of pictures we took that day, I noticed the variety of places where we’d stopped to pose and smile for the camera. Some of those places had guardrails, and some did not. Where a guardrail existed, we naturally pressed ourselves right up against it so that the photographer could capture as much of the canyon in the background as possible. Where a guardrail didn’t exist, we stood several feet away from the edge for safety’s sake while having our picture made, and very little of the canyon is visible in the background.
Where a safe boundary existed, we felt the freedom to confidently go right to the edge. Where no boundary existed, fear kept us from fully enjoying the magnificent visual experiences that the canyon had to offer.
A similar dynamic occurs with our sexuality. When no boundaries exist between a husband and wife, fear is often present. We fear they might hurt us physically, or wound us emotionally. We worry that they may ask us to do something degrading, embarrassing, or even life-threatening. We don’t feel comfortable completely letting loose because trust isn’t fully established. How can a woman experience and exude sexual confidence if she is fearful, worrisome, uncomfortable, or untrusting? She can’t. And that’s why establishing and maintaining safe and healthy boundaries is key to fully enjoying the wonder of your sexuality.
… While the goal for sexually confident wives is to become less inhibited and more confident in the bedroom, there are certain boundaries that should and must be maintained. These personal boundaries allow you to feel completely safe and secure, which are vital elements in sexual confidence.
Granted, sometimes sexual confidence is best exuded by wholeheartedly saying “yes” to certain activities that provide pleasure, build trust, and foster intimacy. Other times, sexual confidence is exuded when you feel the freedom to say “no” to those things which you believe would undermine your sexual integrity and your relational goals. So remember, a sexually confident wife doesn’t just throw caution to the wind and say “yes” to anything and everything. Don’t sell your soul just to please someone else, girlfriend, not even your husband!
You have every right to maintain sexual boundaries and to be who you truly feel comfortable being in the bedroom. You have a right to expect sexual sensitivity from your husband. You have the right to demand exclusivity in your sexual relationship. And by exercising these rights with conviction and without apology, your sexual confidence will shine.
Excerpted from The Sexually Confident Wife: Connecting with Your Husband Mind*Body*Heart*Spirit by Shannon Ethridge. Copyright 2008. All Rights Reserved. Published by Random House Inc, New York, NY. Used by Permission. Not to be copied without Publisher’s prior written approval.