Since When Did Halloween Become Sexy?

I blame Elvira.

Elvira photo from Movie MacabreDoes anyone else remember her? Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, was the host of the 1980s show Movie Macabre. There had certainly been physically appealing horror characters before, but she took it to a new level with an over-the-top vampire costume and SEX practically tattooed across her face. Ever since then, it seems like the sexualization of Halloween has been on overdrive.

 

Woman's feet with black-and-orange tights with blog title

Whether you celebrate this holiday in some way or not (and I’m not getting into the arguments about that here), it is rather disconcerting to visit a party shop these days and see the plethora of skin-revealing costumes being pushed on women to wear. You can be a sexy cop, sexy nurse, sexy vampire, sexy cartoon character, sexy animal, sexy superhero . . . and I even saw a sexy Hershey’s Kiss costume.

As if chocolate isn’t sexy enough. ;)

So why am I on this soapbox? Because I see this is a larger representation of what has happened with sex in our culture. In many ways, it’s become trivial.

Rather than being an intimate experience between husband and wife, as God designed, it’s a physically charged, publicly revealed, push-the-envelope display. It seems like some people treat advertisements, commercials, clothing lines, music videos, and even holidays with the attitude of “How can we sex this up?”

Of course, I talk about sex here all the time, and I’m not above chuckling at a sex pun. But sex itself belongs in the marital bedroom. And Christians who preach and practice that philosophy sometimes feel like a guppie swimming up rushing rapids. How can we keep in the right direction when the tide is against us?

Rather than getting overwhelmed by the whole thing, let’s just get back to what we can do in the costume realm today. (As the Chinese proverb goes, the journey of a thousand miles begins with single step.) So how can we swim against the tide?

  • Don’t wear a sexy costume outside your house. If you want to dress up for your spouse, go right ahead. Introduce a little playfulness into your marital bedroom. But keep that unwrap-my-silver-wrapper Hershey Kiss costume for your husband’s eyes only.
  • Don’t buy your children or teenagers questionable costumes. Start early with the idea that costumes, for whatever event, should be good-natured fun.
  • Make your costumes. While I’m quite possibly the world’s worst seamstress, there’s something to be said for this. Even I can operate a glue gun. And in my case, there was Grandma. (God bless Grandma.) But if you make your family’s costumes, you have more control over the length, the fit, etc.
  • Modify a costume. No one’s standing over your shoulder making sure you put on everything just the way the photo on the package shows. Alter the costume to cover up more and be more comfortable. For instance, add pants or an undershirt. Just use your common sense to make it something more wearable.
  • Speak up. Hey, if you feel comfortable doing so, let your party store know — in a kind, gentle, helpful, Christian manner  — that all the sexy costumes are a bit much. Maybe even praise them for their better choices, providing positive reinforcement.
  • Throw your own costume party, with a twist. Encourage people’s real creativity by putting on a masquerade party where the focus is fun masks. Or host a costume party with a theme, like your favorite fictional, historical, or biblical character. There’s no guarantee someone won’t dress a little inappropriately, but those parameters are much safer. (Since I’ve yet to see a sexy George Washington costume. And if you find one, don’t tell me.)
  • Or ignore costumes altogether. Sure, this is a choice. And quite a few people would prefer to never don a costume for any reason.

The tide may be strong, but every bit we do to stand for godly sexuality is a move in the right direction. As Dori from Finding Nemo said, “Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.”

As for myself, our area has an annual renaissance fair, and many people go in costume. The next time my husband and I go, we’d like to dress up. But having been there before, I already know that place will have its share of sexy costumes, with men in tight tights and women in push-up corsets. We’ll just avert our eyes from that, make our costume choices fun ones, and enjoy the experience. Because even if the Renaissance was sexy, our costumes don’t need to be. We’ll save that stuff for our bedroom.

What are you thoughts on the sexy costume trend? How do you think that reflects the approach of our culture toward sex?

But I Still Can’t Orgasm! What Next?

No matter how many tips on orgasm I give, there are likely to be wives out there who say, “But I still can’t orgasm!”

Some women feel they have tried every piece of advice they’d been offered or could seek out on their own, and the much-touted climax is still dangling out of reach. If this is you, perhaps there’s an underlying problem getting in the way of your ability to achieve the Big O. Let’s cover a few of the possibilities:

Woman with thought bubble and blog post title

Pain. How can you feel extreme pleasure when sex flat-out hurts? If you’ve been hoping that having an orgasm will deal with the pain you’ve been experiencing, that’s not likely to work. You need to address the pain itself, so you can enjoy sex with your husband. Then you’ll be able to feel the full pleasure of sexual intimacy and eventually reach climax.

If sex hurts, talk to your doctor about solutions. There is likely something that can be done to address your discomfort. You may also want to read my post on Pain & Pleasure and Sheila Gregoire’s excellent post on When Sex Hurts (Vaginismus).

Don’t settle for having pain during sex. It isn’t supposed to hurt, so treat it like any other pain in your body and look for answers and treatment.

Insensitivity. Some wives have reduced sensitivity. They feel pleasure, but it’s not quite enough to get them over the hump to orgasm. What are some possible reasons? Oftentimes, medications are at play. Certain medications, including some antidepressants and oral contraceptives, have been known to make it more difficult to achieve climax.

Talk to your doctor and consider other options. You might want to try another antidepressant or a different contraception method.

Of course, scarred tissue could be a factor for a few out there. Your gynecologist might have some suggestions for getting past that obstacle.

Psychological barriers. Even though you feel like you’ve done everything reasonable, you could still have psychological barriers keeping you from achieving orgasm. For instance, the wife who can’t surrender entirely because she was falsely taught that good girls don’t enjoy sex that much; the woman who was molested or raped and has buried memories of that horrible abuse; the wife who reconciled with a cheating husband and wants deep intimacy but struggles with trusting in the marriage bed.

Reaching the peak of sexual pleasure requires being able to surrender to the experience, and a bad sexual history can interfere with feeling comfortable and confident about letting go. If you believe something in your past is interfering with you getting the full pleasure God desires you to have in marital intimacy, then speak with your spouse, a friend, a mentor, your pastor, and/or a counselor. Start somewhere and don’t stop looking for answers and help until you’ve found it.

Fatigue. Too pooped to pop? It can happen. There is a certain amount of body energy required to reach climax. If you are super-low on sleep, not eating well, stressed beyond belief, depressed, or deficient in vitamins, you might find yourself struggling to march all the way up that hill of happiness to the peak of ecstasy.

My advice? Do what you know you should be doing. Sleep. Eat well. Rest. Get a checkup. And check out stay healthy tips from a blog I really like: Calm.Healthy.Sexy. Be good to yourself outside the bedroom, so you can feel good inside the bedroom.

Have you struggled to reach orgasm? What issues do you think you might be dealing with?

5 Tips for Reaching Climax

On Monday, I compared various sensations of orgasm to an amusement park. (Because my brain works strangely like that.) But I know some wives still haven’t achieved orgasm, and others have been on that ride but not as often as they’d like.

So here are five tips for reaching climax:

Woman's hand counting to five

1. Empty your brain. Okay, okay, I know some of you women are clutching your sides with laughter. The notion of a wife, mom, household manager, worker, and task-master shoving everything out of her brain is like me suggesting you lasso a hurricane. But get your rope ready, girlfriend, because I believe in you!

As long as you have other things running through your brain besides your arousal and love and connection, it will be hard to climax. So how do you “empty your brain”? Start by preparing for sex, doing what you need to do to focus on the marriage bed. Then shift your mind away from stray thoughts that try to pull you away and onto what’s happening in your body and with your husband; this is a process you’ll likely have to practice. Meditate on the sensations in your body and lean into your pleasure.

By the way, one of those distractions you don’t want running through your brain is concern about whether or not you’ll climax. Thinking about pleasure and thinking about climax aren’t the same thing. Focus on your feelings, and then let the excitement happen.

2. Get to know your body. In one sense, female orgasm is pretty straightforward in that stimulation of the clitoris, direct or indirect, is what leads to that Squeee! moment. But how your clitoris likes to be stimulated is specific to you.

Which means that achieving orgasm means you need to experiment and explore how you like to be touched. Some wives like to try a bit of this on their own first, as personal education, so they can better instruct their husbands later. Or a husband can simply try a bunch of different touches — varying pressure, stroke, angle, location, etc. You can also work together, with you touching yourself and then letting him mimic the motions.

But it could be well-worth your time to take a lovemaking session, or two or three, and find out what really gets you revved up. Many husbands are very willing to give this a go, if you let them know you want to increase your excitement in the bedroom. During this time, don’t focus so much on climax as learning what gives you extreme pleasure. Extreme pleasure should eventually lead to climax.

3. Ask for what you want. Raise your hand if it feels awkward to speak up for something you want during sex! I see all of you out there, and years ago I would have raised my hand too. But honestly, how’s a guy to know what feels bad or good to you unless you tell him?

If you really want him to stop that good-heavens-doesn’t-he-know-I-hate-that move, you have to speak up. Of course, you should use your nice words — something like, “That’s a little too much pressure for me. Could you touch me more gently? I think that would really turn me on.”

Then when your husband really hits the sweet spot, let him know. As if that man just shot a nothing-but-net basket, you should cheer him on. (You go, husband! Well done.) You can leave out your pom-poms (or not), but tell him with words, moans, happy noises, or a little mutual pleasuring when he’s doing something that arouses you.

4. Change it up. The next challenge is that even when something feels totally awesome at the moment, you may need something else a minute later to keep you rising toward that peak. I feel for husbands, because some of them treat our woman parts like a genie lamp — thinking that once they find the right place and way to rub, they can just keep doing it and the magic will be released.

It’s more like rub a little here, rub a little there, harder here, softer there — yeah, like a moving target at times. But hey, your fabulous hubby is up to the challenge, and you can let him know what your body is craving for. Help him vary his approach and keep you on the path toward the peak.

As your excitement increases, you’ll likely want greater pressure, faster stroking, and maybe additional stimulation elsewhere — such as touching or kissing your breasts or digital penetration. If your arousal reaches a plateau, change something up and see if that gets you climbing again.

5. Fogettaboutit! As I said before, one of the climax-killing things you can do is worry too much about reaching orgasm. Do you want to get there? Sure. But worry tenses your body and makes you less responsive to arousal.

So once you’re in the midst of sexual pleasure, just enjoy it. Get as much pleasure as you can from the experience, and be sure to pleasure your husband as well. Your ultimate goal is intimacy, and climax is only one thing that contributes to that one-flesh experience.

If you don’t get there today, you might get there tomorrow. Or next week. Or while at the in-laws’ house during the holidays (Wouldn’t that be a hoot?). But focus on your lovemaking feeling fabulous, and you may find the orgasm comes on its own.

So there are some of my tips.

Now what suggestions do you have for achieving orgasm? What have you found that works? Or doesn’t work?

The Amusement Park of Orgasms

Orgasm seems to be a rather straightforward experience. Scientifically speaking, a woman has had an orgasm when she releases sexual tension through rhythmic muscular contractions in her pelvic area. These spasms are accompanied by heightened sexual pleasure — of the my-world-just-kaboomed-and-I-liked-it sort.

But not all orgasms are the same. While there’s long been a debate about whether there are two kinds of orgasm — clitoral and vaginal — or just one, in terms of experience, there are really many kinds.

Santa Monica Pier

Here are some of the options of what you may have felt or might feel in the future (if you haven’t had an orgasm yet). I hope you enjoy my made-up terms for them. ;)

Roller Coaster Dip Orgasm. This is the basic orgasm you’ve had or heard about. Tension gathers as you move up the sexual arousal incline, your pleasure increasing and increasing and increasing. And then you hit a tipping point and go soaring over the hump with a blast of pleasure and maybe a squeee! to boot. It’s a rather exhilarating experience.

"TopThrillDragsterCedarPointe". Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:TopThrillDragsterCedarPointe.JPG#mediaviewer/File:TopThrillDragsterCedarPointe.JPG

by Matt314, via Wikimedia Commons

It usually happens with clitoral stimulation, either directly through digital manipulation or oral sex, or indirectly with rubbing against that area during intercourse. The Roller Coaster Dip is also what you’re likely to experience with masturbation or a sex toy (I’m not suggesting either of those here, simply mentioning the tie-in).

Tilt-a-Whirl Orgasm. Don’t remember the tilt-a-whirl? Think teacup ride at Disney World. You’re in a small enclosure going around a big circular platform (think of that as your overall sexual arousal) and now and again centrifugal force swirls you around in a stomach-plunging wave of excitement (orgasm).

By Calle Eklund/V-wolf via Wikimedia Commons

So the Tilt-a-Whirl Orgasm is a series of waves of pleasure, with a small dip in between but rising again to a crest of excitement. These waves can be within seconds of each other, and you might have two or three or more in a row.

Vaginal orgasm may conform to this experience, as the intercourse experience can make your pleasure feel deeper and more intense, resulting in waves rather than a single peak. But you can also have this type of orgasm with foreplay.

Spin Me Crazy Orgasm. When we visited the amusement park, my kids always wanted to go on this one ride that freaked out the mother in me. People were secured into seats at the ends of these long arms, and then the whole thing rose into the air. The arms twisted around, and each car revolved over and over and over. There was no literally no downtime between thrills and screams, just an ongoing assault of frenzy and excitement.

© Milan Nykodym, Czech Republic, via Wikimedia Commons

Sometimes an orgasm feels like that. As if you have no downtime whatsoever between the repeated sensations of pleasure overcoming your body. It’s like you peak-peak-peak over and over. How long can you keep that up? Well, like any ride, eventually a girl gets dizzy, you know? But more likely, the tension releases, the sensations stop having that effect, you just feel like it’s enough, or something…and the spinning stops.

And yes, leaving you an exhausted heap of what-just-happened?

Swing Out Orgasm. Sometimes, however, an orgasm just feels like a free-and-easy swirl through the air. Like that ride where you sit in a chair suspended by cables and fly out over the ground. It’s not as thrill-inducing, but it’s a moment of surrender and excitement.

By Ricardo630, via Wikimedia Commons

By Ricardo630, via Wikimedia Commons

That orgasm can feel like a pleasant wave riding over your body. The spasms may be less intense and further apart, but the climax still releases tension and brings a wash of calm and happiness. A not-as-strong orgasm may be just the thing you need to let go and bask in that beautiful moment of intimacy with your husband.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the orgasms possible. I simply want to draw attention to the fact that orgasms are not a one-size-fits-all. If you experience heightened pleasure and spasms in your pelvis, you’ve had an orgasm. And let’s hope you reveled in it.

Not to mention the grin and swagger your husband gave afterward.

And if you haven’t had an orgasm yet, here’s some advice on getting there. Don’t sweat or worry that you haven’t reached this particular climax; rather, keep pleasuring each other in your marriage bed and finding ways to enjoy your intimacy as much as possible…and you’ll likely get there. As you can see, it’s quite a ride!

How would you describe the orgasms you’ve experienced? What advice might you have for other Christian wives on this wild ride?

Let’s Talk About Sex, Shall We?

What a treat today to welcome Lauren Hanna! She’s a blogger at The Encouragement Express, which delivers daily encouragement to believers. It could be a verse, a quote, a blog post, or something else that gets you thinking and inspires you in your day.

Lauren describes herself as a “Holy Spirit junkie” and she loves puns, so I knew she was my kind of gal when she offered a guest post to Hot, Holy & Humorous. She’s got a perspective I couldn’t have offered, so I’m thrilled to have her here today — talking about why we should go ahead and talk about sex.

Take it away, Lauren!

Mom & daughter talking

I am a 25-year-old engaged virgin. You can only imagine the comments that I have heard because of this. There has been something that I have noticed though. So many people shy away from talking about sex around me. Because of this there is a fear that I have discovered, and I want to expose it. The fear is… “If I talk about sex to someone and tell them how great it is, they are going to end up sleeping around.”

I want to stand (metaphorically of course) in front of all of you and say, “I am living proof that this is not true.” In fact, quite the opposite is true. So for all of you happily marrieds out there, let me encourage you — talk about sex. Talk about it with your single friends, kids, and kids’ friends. Now hear me on this, obviously be age appropriate with these conversations. You don’t need to go graphic for us to get the picture, but it’s something that needs to be talked about.

I have been very fortunate to be surrounded by amazing women mentors who were never afraid to be vulnerable with me when I had those awkward questions. Let’s face it. We’re all curious, and if we don’t find out the information from someone we know and trust, we’ll go looking for it elsewhere.

I remember the first potentially awkward conversation I had with a worship leader at my church when I was in my late teens. My best friend and I came up to her, wondering what on earth KY was. We had been seeing all of these commercials on TV for it. We knew it dealt with something in the bedroom, but no idea what or why it was needed. God bless this worship leader! She sat us down, and proceeded to describe what it was, and why lubricants are used. She described how the first time having sex can sometimes hurt the woman and having a lubricant can make the process a lot easier. Call me naive, but I had no idea that was even a thing! I just figured that the first time I had sex it would go like clockwork. My whole world opened up.

Having women in my life who answer these questions is priceless. I mean you should hear the questions I have asked. Be creative in thinking about that, because chances are I’ve asked what you’re thinking about.

Another reason why I think it is so important for the marrieds to talk about sex, is because you are having it in exactly the way the Lord intended. You don’t realize it, but we see and take in everything. We look at you guys and dream of what our marriages will be like.

These women who’ve mentored me have all talked about their sex life in some capacity to me. Sometimes it’s as a joke or a funny story. Sometimes it’s been endearing and romantic. And sometimes it’s even shown me how sex can comfort you in times of trial and grief. All of these things make me so look forward to getting to be with my future husband. However, hearing their stories showed me how intimate sex is, that it’s not really meant to be as casual as our culture would say. To be honest, I didn’t want to be that intimate with anyone else besides my husband.

The best way I can describe it is this. Remember when you were a kid at a theme park, and you couldn’t go on a roller coaster ride because you were too short? Oh you heard the tales of how exciting and fun these machines are, and you couldn’t wait until you were tall enough. If you were like me you would stand next to the fridge and pray that you would be as tall as it was. Did you try to sneak on the ride anyway? No. You waited. Eagerly. Then that day came when you were tall enough to ride the roller coaster, and you were so excited! That’s how all the talking about sex has been for me. I’m the kid who’s not quite tall enough to ride the roller coaster. I understand that it’s best if I wait because it’ll be so much better if I do.

Finally, talking about sex takes the pressure off. I’m sure you remember your first time — there’s a lot of pressure! However, when I read blogs like this one, and talk to family and friends it completely takes the pressure off having to perform.

I have begun to understand that having sex is so much more than the physical. It is the mental, emotional, and spiritual too. The way sex has been portrayed to me is a deeper intimacy between you, your best friend, and the Lord. Sometimes all will go as planned, and other times it won’t — so you have a good laugh and move on. In fact, it has been told to me on more than one occasion that we don’t have to feel like we need to get everything perfect the first time… or the second… or the tenth time! We have our whole lives to get to know each other in this way. That removed the weight of the world off me the first time I heard it.

So please, on behalf of all the single people out there. Don’t be afraid to talk about it, and certainly don’t hold back if we ask you something. On behalf of my generation, we need this.

I know more people who have fallen into porn, because they got curious about how this stuff works and next thing you know, they’re addicted. I have more friends who wish someone would have had a real conversation about sex, answer their questions, and more specifically talk about why it’s important to keep sex in the bounds of marriage. Multiple people have told me they probably would have waited until marriage to have sex had those conversations occurred.

You have a precious gift and a wealth of wisdom that we need. This generation and the next are crying out for it. I promise you we will be far more receptive than you realize. Even if we act awkward or annoyed, don’t let it discourage you. It is still sinking in! You’re planting seeds, and giving us the best chance for a successful marriage and sex life. Both my fiancé and I have learned way more than most going into marriage, and because of that we have been set up for success in the bedroom as well as our marriage as a whole.

Lauren HannaLauren Hanna is a 25-year-old composer based out of LA. She took up blog writing about five years ago when people started asking her to send them daily encouragements. One thing lead to another, and now she is the writer of a successful blog called The Encouragement Express. She loves God with all her heart and loves seeing people become who He made them to be.