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For the first several years of our marriage sex was “nice,” but it was not like what you hear or see on TV or in the movies. My world was not “rocked,” my toes did not curl. I finally started to realize it was “ok” to want sex, to enjoy it, and to be actively involved.

I started telling my husband what I liked, and guiding him to what felt good in the moment. I finally had a real orgasm. Now I really wanted sex! I went from only having sex because my husband wanted it, to wanting it myself.

We finally started to figure it all out. I think one of the biggest factors was realizing that I, as a woman, have to let go. I have to relax and not try to control everything. Our lovemaking has really evolved as we have learned more about each other.

I have had several different orgasms. I am not sure as to why they are different or what causes the differences, but in the last few years I have had ones that are so intense that I personally do not have control over my body. I strongly believe all these different orgasms are now possible because I have learned to completely let go and give myself to my husband and the intimate experience.

What is Transcendence?

Transcendence in lovemaking is the ability to relax into the experience. It is letting go of control with a “take me” attitude. It’s the ability to be vulnerable and surrender to the present moment, trusting that all will be okay.

Sexual surrender includes detaching from expectations and allowing the experience to take over and go where it will. It’s the ability to let go and let God. “Letting God” is trusting in God, His plan, His timing and His purposes, even in the sexual dimension of life.

Transcendence is the power to move beyond one’s non-aroused self, and its attending inhibitions, into the consummate state of sexual arousal and orgasm. Orgasm isn’t something you can will yourself to do, but something you surrender into. It’s a physical and psychological surrender.

Women must be able to let go and surrender to the sensual pleasure and passion of the sensations they are experiencing in lovemaking. They need to transcend any mental or physical distractions. It may also mean transcending minor disturbances in the relationship or in one’s day, in order to let go and connect with one’s spouse sexually.

Understanding and practicing transcendence and surrender in a sexual context is a vital ingredient for a sextraordinary marriage. For a woman to fully experience the ecstasy of sexual intimacy, as it was intended, she needs to be able to regularly experience orgasmic release–the ultimate transcendent experience of sexual surrender.

The endgame of sexual surrender and transcendence is to share the sublime, sensual satisfaction of making love and becoming one with one’s spouse.

Challenges of Letting Go

The element of transcendence and surrender to the sexual experience highlights many of the challenges women inevitably face in lovemaking. Relaxing can be a challenge. Letting go of control can be a challenge. Trusting in our spouse, or God even, can be a challenge.

Surrender requires a level of self-mastery and self-development that demands intentional effort. Sex therapist Dr. David Schnarch states, “Letting go requires a strong grip on yourself.”[i] “Doing” and “being done” require that you are able to hold onto yourself, but also fully let go–knowing you’ll find your way back.

Dr. Schnarch reminds us that because sexual intimacy has to do with disclosing ourselves through sex, then those who can let themselves be fully “known” have greater potential for profound sexual experiences.

Additionally, feeling safe enough in the relationship and the sexual encounter itself–emotionally and physically–can be a challenge. Trusting in the unknown of an involuntary sexual response, such as orgasm, can be intimidating. How will we look? How will we act? What will happen? What will my husband think about what I do?

All of these can be obstacles to letting go and surrendering to the unknown, altered, yet exquisite state of sexual arousal and orgasm. Such obstacles inhibit the sexual response. The most pleasurable part of sex is the involuntary orgasm, where you are momentarily “out of control.” If you struggle with “letting go,” then you are likely to struggle with having an orgasm, and will be limiting the experience of sexual oneness.

Sheralyn was terrified to lose control during sex. She was afraid of being unladylike. She was afraid of losing control of her faculties. She didn’t want to act in a carnal manner, because she wasn’t that kind of person. These fears inhibited her sexual response.

While writing this and thinking of what many women go through to “get” these concepts of “Transcendence” and “Surrender,” I was taken by the enormity of what is required. The ability to “do” sexual surrender is a lot like jumping from a secure place into the darkness, believing that a strong and loving husband (or God) will catch you. Here are the necessary components for sexual surrender:

  • Relaxing into the experience
  • Letting go of control
  • Trusting ourselves, our spouse, and God that all will be okay
  • Letting go and trusting in God
  • Connecting sex with spirituality
  • Being and feeling emotionally safe; letting go of fears
  • Being emotionally and physically vulnerable
  • Surrendering to the present, to the unknown, to sexual sensations
  • Transcending minor disturbances in your life
  • Detaching from expectations and allowing the experience to take over
  • Willingly moving into a sexually aroused state
  • Letting go of unnecessary inhibitions
  • Exercising mental discipline from mental distractions
  • Keeping a Sexual Self-Discovery Journal

With sexual transcendence as the final key to unlocking a sextraordinary marriage, you may want to delve in deeper to this concept of surrender and see if you can develop this dimension more fully. It’s worth the effort!

Self-Evaluation – “Transcendence”

To give yourself a guide as to how you are doing in this dimension, how would you currently rate yourself, and your spouse overall in the area of “Transcendence”? — I am able to relax and let go within the sexual experience. I embrace the spiritual and sacred nature of sex. I realize sexual satisfaction isn’t just something my husband can do for me, but something I must be willing and able to let myself experience.

            RATING (0 – disagree to 10 – agree):   You ______ Your Spouse ______

For help with improving this aspect of marital intimacy and the other 12 “T’s” read Knowing HER Intimately: 12 Keys for Creating a Sextraordinary Marriage by Laura M. Brotherson. This article was excerpted from Chapter 12 — “TRANSCENDENCE” of Laura’s NEW book — Knowing HER Intimately: 12 Keys for Creating a Sextraordinary Marriage. Get your copy here for a fabulously discounted price…especially for Meridian readers!

Other articles in this series:


BIO — Laura M. Brotherson, LMFT, CST, CFLE

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and Certified Sex Therapist (CST), Laura M. Brotherson, is the author of the best-selling book, And They Were Not Ashamed: Strengthening Marriage through Sexual Fulfillment, and her latest book Knowing HER Intimately: 12 Keys for Creating a Sextraordinary Marriage. She counsels with individuals, couples and families in private practice (and online), and is the host of “The Marital Intimacy Show” podcast.

As a Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE), Laura is actively engaged in providing marriage education through Couples Cruises, articles, newsletters, radio and television broadcasts, and presenting at conferences and workshops. Laura is passionate about helping couples navigate the intricacies of intimacy to help build stronger marriages and families. She and her husband, Kevin, of 26 years are the founders of—your trusted resource for education, products and services to strengthen marriages… intimately!

Connect with Laura:

Instagram: @StrengtheningMarriage

[i] Schnarch, David, Passionate Marriage: Keeping Love and Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships. Holt Paperbacks, 1998, 287.