Six Types of Sex

Why having your own terminology for sex helps you build sexual intimacy in your marriage – 5 minute read

Imagine being able to have a conversation about sex where you’re both easily and clearly able to ask for what you want. Sex conversations are always an emotionally charged issue even before you get started because sex is important to every marriage and it is a complex thing impacted by so many factors. Almost everything impacts your sexual intimacy in some way, positive or negative.

12 months ago we had a game-changing sex conversation. I came out and told Beck what would make me a happy man. We talked openly about frequency and type and it was clear and refreshing. She was pleasantly surprised. What helped was clearly defined definitions, openness and vulnerability. Clarity is super important in sex conversations because it helps us understand what the other means and is asking for. Simply having this specific conversation enabled us to launch into a new phase of our sex life together.

You’ve probably heard of terms like the ‘quickie’ and you might use terms like shag, bonk and making love in your own marriage. But what Beck and I have learned is that defining different types of sex helps us communicate better and define our expectations clearer.

The Goals of Sex Conversations

Before I define the 6 terms we use, let’s look at the goals of sex conversations. This is what we’re trying to achieve here:

1. Both people enjoy meaningful sex in a comfortable frequency

I say comfortable because the frequency will likely rarely be perfect for both of you. The goal isn’t perfection but intimacy. Like Dr Allan Myer said, “Marriage is the triumph of intimacy over perfection.” We aren’t going for perfect because that’s unattainable and will just be super frustrating. We are aiming for meaningful sex for both of us that creates intimacy.

2. Normalise talking about sex

Sex is a conversation that never truly stops. It gets put on hold regularly but it is a conversation that continues through your whole married life together. If the conversation has been paused for too long it can be quite difficult to start back up. Like a car that’s been sitting in the garage for months without being driven, a sex conversation like this needs a jumpstart.

Plan a date night to talk and dream about what you want for your sex life. Make it special and go with a plan.

Save the image here for questions to use on your next date night.

3. Use terminology you both understand

If your spouse says to you, “We don’t have sex anymore” but literally, two nights ago you had sex, then your definitions aren’t working for you. What we are often complaining about is a lack of ‘meaningful sex’ and that’s different. Why? Because meaningful sex will probably mean different things to both of you. And it helps to know what your spouse calls meaningful when it comes to sex.

Let’s talk terminology. You can use these terms and definitions or you can come up with whatever you like. But these types are all different and have a place of their own. 

Six types of Sex

These aren’t the only 6 types but it’ll give you some helpful terminology to work with when you’re thinking about sex and talking about sex with your spouse. 


When you are both engaged in the act of foreplay and sex and it’s meaningful to both of you, I’d call that making love because you are making each other feel loved through sexual intimacy. When we refer to making love in our marriage we generally mean that it’s a slower experience without the pressure of time restraint or energy deficiency. 

I think this should be fairly frequent in a healthy marriage. If there’s no love-making there’s no true intimacy. If you just get it over and done with for him or just want to get a sexual release every time, that’s not building intimacy. See below.

Lovemaking builds the love between you. There’s a deep sense of satisfaction you BOTH feel afterwards. You have enjoyed each other’s touch, lips, eye contact, closeness and affection in a physical, sexual way and it was wonderful. Making love is a great goal to have every month.

Maintenance sex

One of you needs it more than that other. That’s ok but sometimes you love and serve your spouse by doing it for them when you don’t need it and aren’t into it. If you could be turned, see below. Maintenance sex is good for couples with a libido differential. It’s unlikely to help build deep intimacy but it definitely helps. It’s still physical closeness and an intimate act of love and even sacrifice. 

Ice-breaker sex

When it’s been a while and you want to restore some rhythm again ice-breaker sex is your go-to. Instead of putting lots of pressure on the first time back to be wild, passionate, chandelier-swinging lovemaking just lose the clothes, get into bed, enjoy it and do it. Don’t build it up to be a big thing or you might be very disappointed and that’ll only add to your disconnection. 

The 5 minute window

A speaker we once heard said sometimes she’d say to her husband, “I’m not in the mood but I’ll give you 5 minutes to turn me.” My wife has used this concept many times and it’s a great option for when you’re not there but you wouldn’t mind seeing what happens. You can then choose-your-own-adventure whether it turns into some wonderful lovemaking or becomes simply maintenance.

Red hot

You can’t get each other’s clothes off fast enough. You’re both in the mood, the timing seems to have worked with the kid’s bedtimes and all the stars are aligned somehow. Duration isn’t important. You could be done in minutes and both exhausted and satisfied or it could turn into something longer and deeply wonderful. Doesn’t matter. You’re both glowing for hours if not days.

Scheduled sex

One of the most powerful tools in the marriage toolbox especially in our busy, emotionally exhausting era. Scheduling sex is something you need to try! Check out this blog post for more and why this could be the stress reliever you need!

Is there anything you’d add or change?

Feel free to add your own types to this list or change the definitions and make them your own. The goal is to have terminology you both understand when you’re talking about sex or asking for sex so you understand each other and build true intimacy in your marriage.

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