Reader “MM” asks:
Intimacy after losing a loved one. This is something I’ve thought about in the past. I want to know your thoughts about this. Do you think it’s taboo to engage in sex soon after losing one’s mother, father, brother, ect., or would you say it’s all right? I would think the comfort from married intimacy in the wake of loss would work wonders, but then, I haven’t found myself in that situation. What do you think?
This is a hard question for me to answer: neither Sexy Corte nor I have been in this position yet. Everyone eventually faces grief in life, so your question is universal.
It would seem to me that the intimacy of sex with your spouse would be very comforting in a time of grief. Far from being taboo, sexual intimacy can be a powerful healing force when one spouse is hurting. However, everyone is different, so I’d follow the cues of the grieving spouse. If Sexy Corte were grieving, I would provide all the comfort I could, and be available for sexual intimacy if she desired it.
Sometimes it’s hard for a grieving person to accept comfort of any kind, and that’s normal. However, as the immediacy and intensity of the grief dulls, it becomes easier to both talk about the loss and to welcome another person into the intimacy of the experience. If your spouse is grieving, I recommend that you make yourself available for whatever kind of comfort she desires, whether that’s listening, conversation, distraction, or sexual intimacy.
If any readers would like to share their experiences with this situation, please do so in the comments.
Update: An anonymous commenter points to a verse I should have thought of: 2 Samuel 12:24. After the illness and eventual death of King David and Bathsheba’s first child, conceived in adultery and murder, the parents are grief-stricken. They find comfort in repentance (Psalm 51) and each other.
Then David comforted his wife, Bathsheba, and went in to her and lay with her, and she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon.
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In Proverbs 5 it gives guidance. “let her breasts satisfy thee at ALL TIMES and be thou RAVISHED always in her love.” Ravished is just another arcane name for GREAT SEX. People get comfort from intimacy and times of grief reminds us all of our mortality and it is natural to want intimate comfort from our spouse.
There is a little paragraph in 2 Samuel 12:24 that happens after the death of King David and Bathsheba’s son. It reads, “…Then David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in to her and lay with her. So she bore a son, and he[b] called his name Solomon.” There is great comfort in the arms of your spouse.
I can’t believe I didn’t think of that one! Thank you.
Yes, I believe it’s fine — even biblical. Following the death of David and Bathsheba’s first child, “…David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and he went to her and made love to her” (2 Samuel 12:24a).
I wrote more about this topic with 4 Ways Sex Can Comfort in Crisis or Grief: http://hotholyhumorous.com/2013/11/4-ways-sex-can-comfort-in-crisis-or-grief/ (I shared the link, but delete that if you wish.)
Thanks for the pointer to your post!
While I certainly think sexual intimacy right after the death of a loved one could be comforting, it doesn’t always work out that way. I recently lost a parent in a horrible accident. It was a few weeks before I was able to be intimate with my husband. The first time he wanted to, I just wasn’t able. I cried and cried, because I knew what he wanted but couldn’t give it to him. He held me, and kissed me, and let me cry. A few days later, things had somehow changed.
Thank you for sharing.