Should Christians Get Plastic Surgery?

I rarely re-run posts. But this past week, I was reading an article from Juli Slattery on Is It Wrong to Get Plastic Surgery? She did an excellent job covering the questions involved with such a big decision.

FashionHowever, Juli Slattery mentions that she’s considered plastic surgery and decided against it. I also considered plastic surgery, and did it. So I wanted to revisit the topic and explain my own thoughts on whether it’s okay to have plastic surgery, from someone who went through it.

First inward, then outward. I have a friend who lost 90+ pounds in a year and went from obese to oh-babe! How did she manage that? I think it’s because she got her inner self right first. She stopped looking at herself in the mirror and seeing a fat person. Instead, she saw the beautiful woman inside and decided she was worth something better. Once she believed in herself, willing to see herself as God saw her, she felt empowered to do the hard work of changing her diet and exercise routine so that she realized her goals.

That’s often how body image improves — not by fixing the external parts first, but rather by appreciating the unique way God knitted you together (Psalm 139:13). You are wonderfully made, beauty! If you’re looking for plastic surgery to resolve your inner self-image issues, you’ll likely be disappointed. Satisfaction with who you are must come first from within. It’s from an understanding of who God created you to be.

Those poor women who have procedure after procedure after procedure never get this. They’re always looking for another outside fix for what really ails them inside. Get your priorities straight and work on your inner self first. It’s only from a position of inner, emotional health that you can make the right decision on what to do to improve your body for health or appearance.

Some things really are a matter of degree. Some Christians believe that it is wrong to have plastic surgery, that altering your appearance is going against God’s design.

Yet we do plenty of everyday things that involve aesthetic reasons, like bracing our kids’ teeth and wearing make-up and coloring our hair. Plus, we correct appearance that goes awry, like skin grafts after fire damage or breast implants after a mastectomy. Before announcing that all plastic surgery is off-limits, we might want to pause and ask what appearance-altering steps we’ve taken and what makes those okay and not others.

Because honestly, some things are a matter of degree. Eating is perfectly fine, but the Bible certainly warns against gluttony. Jesus attended a wedding with wine, but drunkenness is always spoken against in scripture. A little spice in the bedroom is rather wonderful, but an obsession with more and more kink becomes unhealthy. Likewise, some enhancements of our appearance would seem just fine, while extreme changes can become problematic.

And the question is then: What constitutes “extreme”? Is it numerous procedures? Surgery itself? Any changes to your appearance?

I suspect most people would agree on where the ends of the continuum are, but it’s that middle section of what’s a-okay that we struggle with. And we should. We should struggle to answer that question. Because if we are considering something as invasive as surgery, we need to ask some hard questions of ourselves and ensure that our choices honor God.

But I also suspect that my answer of where to draw the line might be different from the answer of another Christian whom I love and respect. And that’s where our own soul-searching and conscience come to bear.

For you, not someone else. I did not get bigger breasts for my husband. In fact, my husband was originally opposed to me having breast augmentation, because he was concerned about me undergoing surgery of any kind that wasn’t absolutely necessary (that sweet man). We talked about the pros and cons for a while, and he agreed with my conclusion and supported my decision. But I didn’t do it for him. I did it for me.

I’m always taken aback by the number of women who have plastic surgery as a “gift” to their man. And the number of men who request that. Having plastic surgery because you don’t feel like enough for your lover isn’t a great reason. Indeed, it’s likely to make you feel that you don’t measure up generally — that you’re only acceptable if you can “correct” whatever external appearance issues you have. And love looks beyond that.

Of course I wanted my husband to have more to handle in the bedroom, but that wasn’t my ultimate reason. My husband had already chosen me — flat chest and all. For most husbands, it’s about how much they love us and the feminine form itself. So as long as we wives show up (especially naked), they’re reasonably happy. We don’t have to look like magazine models or waste time and money fixing imagined flaws.

When considering plastic surgery, ask why. Is it for your own convenience and confidence or to feel like you measure up to an unrealistic standard for the sake of someone else? At the end of the day, you will be the one having surgery, you will be the one living with the results, you will be the one changed. So make sure it’s what you want.

Obviously, I wanted to have plastic surgery, I made the decision to do so, and I do not regret it. I’ve been open on my website about my own doubts about plastic surgery, my process and reasons for deciding to augment, and my concerns about jumping in too eagerly to solve body image issues. I’d like to hear your perspective.

When do you believe it’s okay for Christians to have plastic surgery? Have you had any procedures? Why did you choose to do it and what was your experience?

What to Pack for Your Honeymoon or Vacation

What does one pack for one’s honeymoon? In my short story “Suite Nothings,” from Behind Closed Doors: Five Marriage Stories, the main character shuffles through her luggage for this, that, and the other on her wedding night. Unfortunately, she couldn’t adequately plan and prepare for the night she was going to have . . .

Tourist couple walking in city with suitecaseBut the rest of us can do some looking ahead and packing for the honeymoon, or a romantic trip for any wedded couple. Since I am hopelessly bad at organizing and prepping for travel, I consulted with one of my best friends who is a near-genius at such things. She put together a list of ideas, and I fleshed it out with my comments.

Breath mints. You should be doing a lot of kissing and close-up interaction, so make sure your breath smells good. Pack some breath mints or fresh-flavor gum, and maybe mouthwash. Keep your mouth as kissable as you can!

Scented candles. You can set the mood wherever you go with scented candles. If one of you has allergy issues with candles (my husband does), you can try the battery-operated candles which also cast an inviting glow. If you’re nervous about getting undressed the first time on your wedding night, adding some low lights can ease you into the process. If you’re driving to your destination, pack matches or a lighter. If you’re flying, be careful and check the rules on what you can and cannot take in that department.

Chocolate or other sweets. You could buy something when you arrive, but if you have a favorite, you might want to pack a treat. Some wives have a tendency to get hungry post-lovemaking, and it’s nice to reward your sweet tooth when you’re done. You can also bring food items into your lovemaking with whipped cream, chocolate sauce, or whatever appeals to you.

Music CD or playlist. Put together a playlist of romantic mood music or maybe dance music to twirl around to in your hotel room. The right music can create a sensual mood and get you touching and moving together. For playlist ideas, check out my post on music for sexual intimacy.

Azo or Uricalm urinary pain relief pills. If you haven’t had sex, or haven’t had sex in your marriage much lately, engaging in lots of it carries the potential of infection of a gal’s urinary tract. Which is seriously uncomfortable. If you start to feel discomfort while urinating, start taking Azo! While this will not cure an infection — and you’ll still need to consult a doctor — it will definitely help with pain and keep you on the right track to get over the infection quickly.

Movie night package. Believe it or not, you can’t have sex the entire time. Well, maybe you could, but you might want to take a break now and then to regain your energy. Why not cuddle up for a movie night? Grab or download two movies — one manly movie and one click flick; bring microwave or pre-popped popcorn; and toss in Junior Mints or other movie candies. Maybe a little romance on screen will even inspire you!

Massage oil. Massage is such a beautiful thing. It awakens your senses, shows affection, and gets your body’s love chemicals firing. Grab some good massage oil or lotion and enjoy the experience of exploring and getting to know one another’s bodies.

Vacation Mad Libs (or other game). Games are a great way to spend time together as a couple, get to know each other, create memories, and have fun. Pack a game or two to play. Remember that almost any game can be made into Strip ___. But here are some posts on other board games to consider:

Two Player Games for Couples, Dates by Design
The BEST 2 Player Games for Date Night, Happy Wives Club
20 Two Player Games to Play with Your Husband, To Love, Honor and Vacuum

Prayer or devotional books. Start your marriage out with God at the center, using a devotional, scripture, or prayer book together. You could grab the pocket-sized book of prayers for The Power of a Praying Wife and The Power of a Praying Husband. If you’ve been married a while, try Closer: Devotions to Draw Couples Together by Jim and Cathy Burns to open up conversations and mutual faith-seeking. Or pick up my devotional book, Intimacy Revealed: 52 Devotions to Enhance Sex in Marriage.

Sleep accessories. Let’s face it: If you’re not used to sleeping with each other, or you’re just on vacation for relaxation, you need to set yourself up for a decent night of sleep. Pack some ear plugs to keep the neighbors, his snoring, or your snoring from interfering. Check out a white noise machine to help you sleep better (I recently stayed with a friend at a hotel who had one, and I was surprised by how wonderful it was). Be wiling to pack your favorite pillow or pillowcase. Whatever helps you snooze the night away, or at least a few hours in between you-know-what, slide it into the luggage.

Do Not Disturb sign. You can use the hotel’s provided sign, or create your own. You can find a couple of printable templates here:

Template 1
Template 2

What else do you recommend packing, in addition to the usual clothing and toiletries? What makes for a smooth, romantic honeymoon or vacation?

The Summer of Q&A with J! Ask Me Anything.

I have such a special place in my heart for the readers of my blog. From those who share my posts, to those who comment, to those who read consistently, to those who lurk (yes, I see you!), to those who stumble by on occasion — I write for you.

Although when I write, I don’t picture everyone out there altogether. Instead I tend to visualize a single person, usually a wife, sitting across from me at a table in a coffee shop or café, and I’m sharing my heart about this or that marriage or sexuality issue.

But when it comes to my comments and emails, sometimes the table gets a little crowded. I’m having an increasingly difficult time responding in a timely fashion to questions posed here on my blog or through my blog contact page.

You may have experienced that issue of me taking way too long to approve and reply to a comment or to respond to an email. At times I’m simply away from my computer, and other times I’m overwhelmed with to-do’s. Despite my asking God repeatedly for superpowers (which seems to make Him chuckle), I am still a mere mortal and cannot do it all.

Especially when I prioritize God, family, and the friends in my midst. As a ministry grows, the leader(s) ask questions about how to best use their resources. In my case, one of those resources is my time.

Even so, I sincerely want to answer questions whenever I can, so I’m launching The Summer of Q&A with J! From June through August, I’ll be dealing with one question asked by a reader or e-mailer each week.

Beach with footprints pointing toward ocean and "Ready?" plus blog post title

Ask. Me. Anything.

Yes, anything. Will I answer it? Well, since I’ll only have 13 weeks, I can’t promise to answer everything. But I’ll choose those questions that cover the most ground or address an issue I’ve yet to cover.

Your questions can be about:

  • A specific situation in your marriage
  • What the Bible says about a sexual issue
  • How to do something in your marriage bed
  • Why low-drive/high-spouses think a particular way
  • Health issues regarding sex
  • Body image concerns
  • Contraception or conception and its effect on sexual intimacy
  • A question arising from one of my books
  • What to do with an especially vivacious bunny (thanks to Paul Byerly for that question!)
  • Whatever you can think of regarding marriage and intimacy!

Send your question to hotholyhumorous [at] gmail [dot] com. You can also click on the Contact J button up there on the menu page and fill out the form there.

Please label your question somewhere with the phrase “Q&A” so I’ll know what it’s for!

The Hot, Holy & Humorous staff will go through all the questions and pick which ones J will address.

*insert hysterical laughter*

Oh, I crack myself up! The “Hot, Holy & Humorous staff” is just little ol’ me, checking emails between laundry loads and writing books and raising kids. But I’ll give it all my best shot.

So go ahead. Give me your best shot! Join The Summer of Q&A with J!

Note: Several of you who have emailed me have asked to remain anonymous. Just so you know…I’ll pose all questions as “from a reader,” so you will not be identified by name!

What Does He Mean by “Oral Sex”? (It May Not Be What You Think)

True story: Some husbands really want oral sex from their wives, and their wives are adamantly against it.

Other than concerns about whether it’s okay with God, the most cited reasons I hear for wives withholding this sexual act are hygiene and the ick factor. I’ve discussed hygiene and reassured wives that there is nothing problematic about that (unless one of you currently has a sexually transmitted disease or infection).

Today I want to tackle the ick factor — the I just don’t want to put his thing in my mouth! issue. Because when your husband says he wants oral sex, it may not be what you think.

Set of lips + blog post title

When we hear “oral sex” or “blow job,” we imagine a woman’s mouth enveloping the penis, then the man thrusting in and out to reach an apex of pleasure. But in actuality, a lot of oral sex doesn’t look like that picture.

Oral sex only means one or both of you are using your mouth to stimulate your partner’s genitalia. That’s it. You’re not required to engulf your husband’s penis into your mouth. If you’re nervous about that, and I understand some wives really are, you have many other options you can explore:

  • Kissing the head of his penis
  • Licking the head of his penis
  • Sucking the head of his penis
  • Kissing the shaft of his penis
  • Licking the shaft of his pens
  • Kissing his testicles (as always, be careful and gentle!)

While down there, you can also vary your kisses and your sucking, from peck kisses to licking kisses, and from light sucking on the skin to more pressured sucking of the penis. You can also use your tongue in a gazillion ways, or at least a lot — flicking, licking, twirling, pumping, etc.

It doesn’t have to look like a classic “blow job” for your husband to enjoy your mouth on his manhood. He may be thrilled for your lips to simply kiss and lick the soft head of his penis. Your tongue licking the length of his shaft may send him right over the edge. He might adore you adding mouth contact while you’re giving him a hand job, or he’s taking care of that part, stacking one pleasure on top of another.

Ask him.

Ask what he means when he says he wants oral sex. If you don’t want to do something he suggests, maybe there is a form of oral play you’d be willing to do and you can negotiate. You might even discover that using your mouth for his pleasure gives you pleasure as well.

Put frankly: You don’t have to swallow him or his stuff to have oral sex. Just start with light kisses and progress from there. God made that skin on your husband so sensitive, and it might make your hubby very happy to have some added oral attention there.

Okay, guys — yes, I’m asking specifically from the hubbies — what oral sex would you be happy for your wife to perform? (Of course, wives are always welcome to comment too!)

Get Wise! An Online Conference That Can Change Your Marriage

I’m terrible at sales. I admit it. When my school made us students sell promotional products, I barely knocked on neighbors’ doors, prayed they weren’t home, and stumbled through my timid sales pitch. I really wanted to just buy the quota of products myself and avoid peddling my goods altogether.

Yep, hard for me to make sales pitches.

Unless I’m incredibly passionate about the product.

Then I feel like I’m not hitting you up for a purchase, but offering something valuable. It’s why I find it easy to ask you ladies once again to sign up for the Wisdom for Wives online conference. So here’s my personal invitation to you!

I’ve attended online conferences, and I was surprised at first how marvelous the experience was. You really can’t beat it for price, convenience, and value. I sincerely hope to see you on May 12!

CLICK BELOW TO SIGN UP!

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