If sexual life is to be pleasant for a couple, there should be healthy sexual boundaries with your spouse established by both partners according to their preferences and well-being.
The benefits of personal boundaries cannot be overemphasized and setting sexual boundaries with your partner in your relationship is even more crucial.
The sexual boundary is essential for a good experience for both partners as everyone’s desires are met and turnoffs respected.
Marriages are caught up with the porous or weak boundary problem that has caused more conflicts than excitement.
Related: How To Set Healthy Boundaries In A Romantic Relationship And Avoid Conflicts
Married couples can be tempted to think they know what their spouse wants, but there is always a limit as each person has their thresholds for what they can tolerate, especially in the bedroom.
Your spouse, of course, is your most intimate person and this is the reason why you have to avoid being hurt and speak up about your discomfort under the covers as it’s a long-term situation.
What are healthy sexual boundaries?
Sexual boundaries are the limits we establish on how far we can go in our sexual behaviour with our spouse.
It defines what is within our comfort to do as it concerns sex. There are people who are irritated by cunnilingus and can’t be forced to do it.
When sexual boundaries are set early enough, it protects everyone from disappointment.
Most times, these are better established early in the relationship so both parties understand what the other person is comfortable with.
However, it’s good to mention that healthy sexual boundaries can change over time as we always evolve and our preferences can.
Importance of healthy sexual boundaries with your spouse
Some people feel that sexual boundaries should only be effective in dating to protect us from unhealthy practices or abuse.
They feel that marriage should accommodate every sexual practice and behaviour as far as the other partner wants it. But there are factors that immediately come into play when you think about it.
Religion, culture, and personal preference can be the triggers of these boundaries and should be respected.
Related: How To Set Healthy Boundaries For Your Personal Space And Sanity
There is a popular assumption that sexual boundaries tend to loosen with closeness to your spouse, but that’s wrong. Sexual boundaries matter at all times.
This is why it is very important to discuss this early on in the relationship to be clear and know what one is getting into.
I have seen where this became a big issue because the wife refused to perform some sexual activity on the husband, and he threatened divorce.
This is a bad scenario that should have been avoided at the onset of the relationship.
Healthy sexual boundary examples
The following scenarios are examples of boundaries established in sexual behaviours in marriage:
1. Not masturbating in front of your partner
There are couples who practice masturbation in each other’s presence as they could find it exciting.
However, some others find it disgusting and against their moral belief or religion and should be respected as a boundary.
2. Going naked in the house
Again, some people don’t see any problem with their spouse going naked in the house when they are alone.
If this makes your partner unhappy, you should consider this and please them. Sometimes, people have an uncanny aversion to some things.
3. Sex positions
There are spouses who are keen to explore everything there is in sexual activity as regards positions.
When this type of person is in a marital relationship with someone who is averse to such, there is a problem. It would take a mature dialogue to strike a balance to make each party happy.
4. Oral sex
Oral sex might be delightful for the majority of people, but not everyone finds it exciting and comfortable.
I know a few persons who always talk about how it’s disgusting to go down on another in the name of giving pleasure. Different strokes for different folks.
Types of sexual boundaries
There are two types of sexual boundaries based on how they are established in sexual relationships.
- Implicit boundaries
- Explicit boundaries
Implicit sexual boundaries
Implicit boundaries are boundaries that are not directly or clearly stated because it’s obvious and doesn’t need to be communicated.
However, it becomes a problem sometimes as a partner might cross these boundaries without realizing they have violated your boundary.
Examples of implicit sexual boundaries
- Averse to sexual activity with a drunk partner
- Refusing sexual activity when a partner is unhealthy
- Avoiding sex when on birth control
Explicit sexual boundaries
Explicit boundaries are healthy boundaries that are well-established, leaving no room for confusion or doubt.
Examples of explicit sexual boundaries
- Averse to annal sex
- Averse to public love
- Averse to cunnilingus
- No sex in the open
Establishing sexual boundaries with your spouse
Getting married, or when you start living together, you already know what you like in bed, what you would like to explore, and things you are averse to.
You also would be wondering about your partner’s opinion and their own desires in bed.
This is why honest sexual boundary negotiation is necessary. It should be honest because everyone needs to be happy.
Both parties should be direct and transparent about what they want to avoid confusion.
Although there might be uncommon desires from both partners, there is always room to have a middle ground to accommodate desires from both.
Related: Physical Boundaries and Why You Should Establish Them
You should not ask ‘why’ when your spouse communicates their averseness to a sexual activity
Asking ‘why’ could lead to opening old wounds or eliciting unnecessary emotions that are not appropriate at that particular time.
Not asking ‘why’ also promotes security, respect, and trust.
How to discuss sexual boundaries with your spouse
A healthy marriage or relationship starts with good communication. This means being comfortable discussing topics without the fear of being judged.
It’s always better to talk about sexual matters when there is no sexual activity about to happen, as feelings will not stand in the way and every discussion would be with clear heads.
Sometimes, partners, especially introverted ones might not be too forward to express their minds, suggesting other things might help them to crawl out.
Also Read: Importance Of Setting Family Boundaries
Suggestions like sex toys could spark up opinions and desires, bringing up boundary discussions.
However, it’s not in good taste to agree to a sexual exploration because your partner loves it.
It’s bad to indulge in something that would make you unhappy or guilty because of either culture or religion.
Sexual boundary conflicts
Sexual boundary conflicts arise as a result of the incompatible needs of a couple in the bedroom.
A partner might be obstinate and insists on a particular sexual activity, while the spouse insists that’s not happening.
This is dangerous as it can cause apathy and emotional distancing from each other and very cold interest in the bedroom.
It is always a difficult situation if the reasons are rooted in culture or religion. However, with maturity and sacrifice, this problem can be resolved.
What to do if someone violates your sexual boundary
Well-communicated sexual boundaries are hardly broken, but if it happens, then you have to reiterate that your sexual boundaries have not changed.
Sometimes a partner’s sexual desires might change and they want to explore a new sexual activity with their spouse.
If this is not comfortable for you, it’s not bad to still say ‘no’, and if they do not stop then it’s a problem.
You might explore other means of getting the partner to understand you. Getting a respected family member to wade into the conflict is in good taste.
Know when to walk away if there is no resolution and your safety is not guaranteed
According to Yana Tallon Hicks (https://yanatallonhicks.com/), a sex therapist, if your spouse tries to explain away their behaviours and doesn’t want to respect your needs, or puts the blame on you and disregards your feelings, it’s time to reevaluate the relationship.
However, you should also check if you are being too strict and unreasonable in your boundaries.
In some cases, some spouses become so rigid and fixated on their spouse that they forget they are being unreasonable and a little adjustment would do the magic.
In some cases, the partner would threaten to have extramarital affairs. If every effort to strike a balance fails, it’s time to move and cut off the sexual relationship.
People’s preferences on sexual boundaries change over time. You might want to start doing things you never thought you would and your partner might also want the same.
It’s in good taste to always have sincere discussions on sexual needs and preferences so that no party is bitter and used.
While experimentations in the bedroom are welcomed, healthy sexual boundaries with your spouse are to be established and respected for every party’s good.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A Personal Development Content Creator and an author. I write about life ethics and love to document and share life hacks and experiences of people to help others make good life decisions.
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