Deployments are stressful before and during, but isn’t reuniting supposed to be glorious? Maybe in movies, but not always in real life. Everything from realigning schedules, jet lag, and experiences while apart can have ripple effects when a couple comes back together in bed. Here are four things to keep in mind as you navigate sex after deployment.
Consent is Sexy
One of you might be ready to ride the bike again, but the other might not be feeling it. Sometimes it takes a bit of warming up during foreplay to be ready, but other times cuddling and reading together can be just what is needed in the moment. Consent can make sure you both are on the same page, and neither is feeling rushed or used. Lack of sex is not a valid reason to pressure your spouse to have sex if they are not ready.
Set the Stage and the Expectations
Many spouses agree it’s okay if sex doesn’t happen right away, and it’s okay if it does. Having chocolate-dipped strawberries is wonderful, but if they are coming off 20+ hours of traveling, they might want to skip sex and snooze with you instead. Ensure you have any protection you need so if the mood does strike, you don’t find yourself unprepared. Go with the flow and adjust accordingly.
Therapy is Okay
Sometimes getting back into the groove takes longer than expected. Emotions from deployment and PTSD can impact your relationship in and out of bed. Tara C. shares,
“My ex-husband had PTSD from prior military service. I was a good listener, but he needed a therapist and refused to go. Sometimes he would want sex to feel anything other than anguish, which made me feel very used. Therapy is essential at the first sign of these problems. There’s only so much a partner can do…I wanted him in bed, but he was still in Afghanistan in his mind.”
Find ways to lighten the mood, so you can connect without the pressure of it leading anywhere. One Air Force spouse shares,
“When my husband was gone for six months, we celebrated all the holidays he missed the night he came home, including a sexy costume for Halloween! Celebrating the holidays took the pressure off, and we had fun and relaxed back into us before we got back into the swing of things.”
Regardless of how you feel after a deployment, talk with your spouse and remember that your relationship is the most important. Be kind, gentle, and patient with yourselves, and you might be surprised at where the night leads.