Q&A: Faking the Orgasm? It’s Time to Get Real.

Welcome back to another summer installment of Q&A with J. Today’s question is another one many wives can likely relate to. It’s about orgasm:

I need some insight. I’ve been married for almost 2 years and I’ve never had an orgasm. I have always had a very healthy view of sex. I have no history of negative sexual experiences (none at all). I feel like I get plenty relaxed and I truly enjoy it. However I have been faking it since we got married. I know I need to tell him. But how do I approach him about it and what are the chances that I ever will have an orgasm?

Faking the Orgasm? It's Time to Get Real. via Hot, Holy & Humorous

Wives, how many of you have ever faked an orgasm? Raise your hand.

Holy cannoli, that’s a lot of hands.

Sorry, men, but I suspect a lot of women have at one time or another faked an orgasm. Before you all storm the female race and decry us for being deceptive divas, most of the time the intention is a good one. If your wife has faked an orgasm, it could be because she wanted you to know how much she appreciates your efforts to bring her pleasure. It seemed only right for you to be rewarded with a show of how fabulous a lover you are.

Yes, some wives fake orgasm to “get it over with” or keep you happy, but I believe more are truly interested in sending positive signals about sexual intimacy.

I wanted to clear that up before answering this specific wife. Now here’s my advice.

Stop faking. Good intentions or no, you’re lying to your husband. Proverbs 12:19 says, Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment,” and Colossians 3:9-10 exhorts us, Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” As your question indicates, you want the kind of marriage relationship built on truth and openness.

Pretending to climax is deceptive, and it’s created this conundrum of what to do now. How do you repair the rift between what’s really happening and what your actions have made him believe? I think the first step is what our Lord often says when we’re in the midst of wrongdoing: Stop it. Just stop. Repentance has been described as stopping where you are and turning around in a different direction. And that’s what needs to happen when you’ve been lying to your husband about anything, including the orgasm. Don’t fake again.

Telling him. You say, “I know I need to tell him.” I am well aware of the admonitions that you must share everything with your spouse. But honesty doesn’t require a full airing of everything you’ve done, felt, and thought in the past. The Scripture strikes a balance between being truthful and being compassionate (see Ephesians 4:25, 29). For instance, sharing with my husband all of my premarital promiscuous past activities would be honest, but how does that build him up? What benefit does it provide?

Consider Psalm 32:5: “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.’ And you forgave the guilt of my sin.” To God, we must bare ourselves entirely and seek His better way. To others, ask what telling will accomplish. Are you simply wanting to confess because it will make you feel better to get it off your chest? Would he be crushed to find out later you were faking it before? Or more crushed now to find out you’ve been faking? Will sharing your struggle bring you closer together and create a bond of in-this-together?

You might not think so at this point, but I believe the wife should fess up. Still, timing matters. Maybe she should say something now, because then hubby will be on her side in figuring out how to make the real deal happen. Some husbands would respond great to, “I’m so sorry, honey, but I’ve been faking the orgasms. I wanted you to know how much I was enjoying sex, but I shouldn’t have lied that way. I really want to have one, though, so let’s figure it out together. I really think you can get me there.”

Then again, maybe now isn’t the time. Maybe after that first amazing orgasm would be a good time to say, “I’m so sorry, honey. I was lying to you before about orgasms, faking it because I wanted you to know how wonderful you are. I always enjoyed sex, but I will never lie to you again about the orgasm. That one was real, and I loved every second of it. I really want to make that a regular part of our lovemaking.”

So tell him, yeah. But think about when, where, and how. Make sure your words are honest and uplifting. I’m not saying to avoid conversation for fear of conflict (sometimes marriage must go through conflict to reach unity on the other side), merely consider how you approach the topic and be thoroughly loving in your words.

You can orgasm. I’ve seen the statistics on women who have never experienced orgasm. So call me crazy, but short of some real physical hindrance, I think — with intention, patience, and pursuit — every wife reading this post can reach the pinnacle of passion and bellow like a banshee.

“But I haven’t!” you scream at me.

Wait, save the screams for your bedroom. I admit some ladies are orgasm magnets, and others are orgasm-challenged. (That should totally be a thing, right? Orgasm-challenged?) If you’re orgasm-challenged, it’s going to take more effort, but you’re a tough lady so you can handle it. Plus, your husband is likely willing to step up to the challenge.

You’ll need time and practice. Give yourself permission to explore how your body works, what gets you going and keeps you charged, what takes you over the edge, and how long the process requires. Let me assure you if your first orgasm takes an hour to reach, it probably won’t always take that long. You two will get better at it.

And now, here’s a bunch of information about how to orgasm:

From my site
Orgasm: If Only I Could O
3 Tips on Having a Great Orgasm
But I Still Can’t Orgasm! What Next?

From Julie Sibert, Intimacy in Marriage
The Orgasm Page (with link to a bunch of posts on orgasm)

From Paul Byerly, The Generous Husband
Orgasmic Massage

What now? Regardless of how much you reveal, you need to talk to your husband. Approach him with a positive challenge to increase your pleasure in the bedroom. Explain you want to explore what turns you on, and you want to take more time to enjoy one another’s bodies.

You will likely need to become more participatory in bed — suggesting things to try, guiding his hand where it feels good, asking him to slow down or speed up or be more gentle or use more pressure.

However, your pleasure may not increase so much by specific techniques as setting the mood and fostering romance between you. Many wives get as much aroused by the lead-up to the sexual act as the sexual act itself. Spend more time touching, kissing, and fondling each other — even adding sensual massage. Use lubricant freely, since moisture affects how well our female bodies respond to touch, pressure, and friction.

Go for the clitoral orgasm first. It’s easier to achieve. Have him use direct contact with your clitoris, through manual or oral play. You don’t have to climax during intercourse for it to “count.” Anytime during the sexual encounter, a climax should be welcome — hey, given an embossed invitation and greeted heartily upon arrival.

Stop faking, start talking, get engaged, and you can — and will — orgasm. Maybe not tonight or next week or even next month. But sex isn’t ultimately about the peaks, but the whole journey. Enjoy the climb, and you’ll eventually reach the top!

Where Do You Need to Say “No” to Say “Yes” to Your Marriage?

Where Do You Need to Say "No" to Say "Yes" to Your Marriage?Today’s post is personal. Straight from my heart and no-holds-barred.

I have 22 emails in my Inbox, several messages on Facebook, and 17 outstanding comments that require more than a 1-3 sentence reply. I’ve let these things stack up, and I feel bad about it. Truly, truly bad. I want to respond personally to everyone, but I haven’t had the chunks of time to do it properly.

Then there’s my church, which often wants me to volunteer in more ways. Sing on the praise team? Teach a class? Make food for a family? These all take time—time I don’t have. (Plus, that last one takes cooking skill, which is also somewhat lacking…but I digress.)

I had to turn down an editing job recently that would have paid me some money I could use, because it bumped against three other deadlines in my life and I was pretty sure my husband would give me his why-did-you-agree-to-that?! face if I said yes. (He’s right. I tend to think I accomplish more than I can.)

This doesn’t include deadlines I have for my writing or that others have for me (agents, critique partners, etc.). I have books to read, products to review, colleagues to answer. I’ve even skipped a couple of blog days lately, and one month’s newsletter, for no other reason than I plumb ran out of time to get it done.

I know what it feels like to be overly busy.

And I need to say “No”—so that I can “Yes.”

Not only will I not be singing on the praise team for a while yet (sorry, fellow songsters), or editing a manuscript I really wanted to read, or running for the Republican presidential nomination (Why not? Everyone’s doing it!), I must remove things already on my plate.

Because while these things matter, they do not matter like my faith, my marriage, my family.

Sometimes I think there’s where we get way off track with our marriages. We put all kind of things first: our children’s activities, church volunteering, extra jobs and hobbies. When we run out of time for daily conversation, date nights, and sex—oh yes, sex—we throw up our hands and exclaim, “But I’m so busy!”

Yes, you are. You’re too busy. Even if your schedule is filled with wonderful things, if those things are whittling away at your marriage and your marriage bed, you’ve got to set new boundaries. It’s time to say “no” to other things so you can say “yes” to your marriage.

My hubby and I had a recent sexless stretch of two weeks (rather atypical), and it was honestly because our schedules were crisscrossed and crazy. (Plus, a couple of sick days in there.) We just looked up, and suddenly two weeks had passed. Well, no wonder we felt disconnected and grumpy and “off”!

So yeah, I understand how this can happen to a couple. But I’m chiding myself and encouraging you at the same time to stop the madness, wives! Let’s look at our long list of to-dos, our schedules, and our priorities…and make some changes.

(And please don’t play the “if I don’t do it, no one will” card with that one ministry in your church you’re keeping alive. I contend heartily that if a church’s ministry relies entirely on one person’s efforts, it’s not a ministry of the church. If you step aside and no one else takes your place, maybe it was time for the church to say “no” to that so it could say “yes” to something else.)

I do not want to look up 5-10 years from now and have a successful writing career, a fabulous volunteer ministry, people singing my praises…and a flailing marriage. I’ve had a flailing marriage before, and I definitely want the thriving marriage I have now.

For myself, I have to say “no.” For example, I’ll be cutting down on answering personal emails—even though my heart goes out to each and every reader who writes to tell me their story—because I want to still have a great marriage years from now and be able to confidently speak into this ministry of Sex & Marriage by God’s Design.

I’m encouraging you to do the same. Even if it’s something good, it could distract you from what’s even better—your time with God, your priority of family, your marriage relationship, your sexual intimacy.

Don’t turn down sex for days and weeks because your schedule is overloaded. Say “no” to something else so you can say “yes” to your marriage.

If you do have a question for me that I might be able to answer on the blog, you can email me at hotholyhumorous [at] gmail [dot] com. I read the emails, but I can no longer personally answer each and every one. Know that I will not use your name if I choose to answer your question in a post.

Q&A: My Shy Husband Is “Grossed Out” by Sex

When fellow Christians balk about why I write about sex in marriage, I often want to say, “You should see my email.” If they could read the scenarios and testimonies I receive, perhaps they’d understand how important ministries addressing marriage and sexual intimacy can be.

With that in mind, here’s a heart-wrencher question today. This young wife and her husband waited for all the physical stuff until their wedding day, including the kiss. I’ve known others who waited for nearly everything until the honeymoon, and most are like children ripping open the Christmas present with eagerness and excitement; they can’t wait to be intimate! Not so this couple.

My Shy Husband Is "Grossed Out" by Sex via Hot, Holy & Humorous

My question basically is, how do I encourage my husband to be more comfortable with me when he is (well is seems to me) grossed out by stuff… I try to use my tongue while kissing, and [he] absolutely won’t use his. I have stopped because it makes me feel rejected when he does that, but I really would like to be more intimate that way. I tried reading a book with him called A Celebration of Sex for Newlyweds but he didn’t seem interested or at least was to shy to be reading words like sex and orgasm :)…

I don’t know how to help educate my husband so that he is confident in touching me. He doesn’t explore my intimate parts unless I intentionally sit down with him and then he seems to [lose] interest in 3 minutes even though I am doing my best to encourage him. And if I try to move his hand there while in bed he resists me (again rejection feeling). So I want to be respectful of his discomforts so I just suggest every once in a while and leave it at that. But he is fine with me touching him for the most part except that he is extremely ticklish.

So I am feeling frustrated because I want more, but don’t know how to communicate with my shy quite husband. And will I have to keep asking? I also feel frustrated because of the stereotype of the way men should be in my mind and he is not that, i e he does not pursue me aggressively in a sexual manner which is what I want/expect. I feel like I am doing all the work. It seems like he was such a good Christian boy who never ever let his mind wander or fantasize. I ask him if there are things he would like to do or try and the answer is always “i don’t know.” How do I get my husband to want me more and in new ways? I guess the real answer is prayer. I should pray more for him. But again how do I get him interested in learning about sex? 

Mourn with those who mourn. First, I want to hug this wife. Sex is supposed to part of the package deal of marriage, and she’s got a lifetime ahead of her with the man she loves, but it’s just not happening…at all. I want to “mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15), because this is real grief. Yet God knows. And, while I cannot reach her, He can wrap His strong arms around her and her marriage and help her through.

Sexual baggage? Second, my red flags are up and flying at full mast. If this husband were in my counseling office (no, I don’t have one, but let’s pretend), I’d ask a lot of questions about his sexual history. An extreme lack of interest and discomfort with sexual intimacy could relate to events from his past—such as childhood sexual abuse; harsh punishment for sexual curiosity; teaching that sex is “dirty” or sinful; deep and unyielding shame about prior inappropriate activity (e.g., watching porn).

I suggest sitting your husband down outside the bedroom and starting a conversation about your previous experiences with sexuality. When did you learn about sex and from whom? Did you have any awkward experiences as a child? What did you think sex would be like in marriage? If he will not engage—because it’s about S-E-X—state clearly, “I need for us to talk about this, because I want to be intimate with you in every way, including sex. If you cannot talk to me, you have to talk to someone.” Then outline some possibilities for him, like your pastor, a Christian counselor, a mentor friend, a support group.

And yes, I think there could be a point when he’s had ample opportunity to follow through but hasn’t, and you must enlist help from others. That could mean going to your pastor, explaining the situation, and asking him to gently and privately approach your husband. It could mean telling a close friend of his who’s marriage-positive, a wonderful confidant for your husband, and who’ll take a biblical approach. I would not take this step lightly, but it’s also not okay to live like this for years on end.

Just too much? That said, this “good Christian boy who never ever let his mind wander or fantasize” may simply feel in over his head. If he expended a great deal of effort avoiding sex to remain pure, it could be difficult to flip that switch. In which case, I’d put away the Christian sex book (yes, even mine *sigh*) and reach for the ultimate Christian sex book, the Bible. You need to start with helping him understand God Himself is entirely in favor of him exploring, enjoying, and satisfying his wife in the marriage bed.

Three times in the Song of Songs, the Bible says, “Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires” (2:7, 3:5, 8:4). Many Christians and churches focus on the first half of that verse, making sure not to arouse or awaken sexual feelings and activity before marriage. But the verse doesn’t stop there; it goes on to say “until it so desires,” meaning there will be a time when love should be aroused and awakened because it’s ready. Marriage is that time.

You can share the Song of Songs, or stories from the Bible about sexuality (4 Great Bible Stories about Sex, 3 More Great Bible Stories about Sex). Take him to one of my favorite scriptures on sexuality—Proverbs 5:18-19: “May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer—may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love.”

Pray for him, and pray with him if he’ll agree. It may help to find some of these specific scriptures and adapt them to pray for your husband’s interest and engagement. For instance, using the above scripture: “Bless my husband’s fountain, Lord, and help him to rejoice in me. Give him Your view of me as loving and graceful. Help him to seek satisfaction in my breasts and my body and to become intoxicated with my love.”

Slowly, slowly. On a practical level, go slow. Like insanely slow. Will this nearly kill you? Not being a patient woman myself, I’m freaking out a little just writing about it. But ask for divine help to persevere and slowly pull your husband out of his extreme timidity.

Set aside chunks of time to use as experimentation. Even if your husband isn’t tuned into his body, your body, and sexuality, he can get there. He may need time, permission, and trial-and-error to figure out what gets him going in the sex department. Explain you want to spend time figuring out how to make sex work between you two.

Also, I’m not a big fan of blindfolds, but I can see a use for it here or simply asking hubby to keep his eyes closed. He may need to tune out the visual of oh-my-goodness-what’s-happening and focus on sensations of touch. Ask clearly and often about what he likes or doesn’t like. If he isn’t comfortable answering with words, he can provide a hand signal or soft noise—whatever works for you. You may need for a time to hold off on intercourse while you help him explore sexuality itself. Remember the goal is ultimately physical intimacy, not a grand finish (although, believe me, I’m in favor of the grand finish).

You have a lifetime together, so breathe easy knowing you don’t have to get this all nailed down by Thursday. Does it suck? I’m a candid woman, so I’m going to agree that it sucks to be rejected by your husband and have him get grossed out by something as simple as a French kiss. Will it always suck? I’m also a Christian woman, so I’m confident saying that answer is no. God has worked wonders in so many marriages when it comes to sexual intimacy, and I think He can spin a beautiful miracle in yours.

What advice do you have for this wife? Do you have a similar situation in your marriage?

Manual Play for Her

Most wives enjoy their husbands touching them with deep embraces and gentle caresses, but what about something more titillating? How can a husband use his hands to stir up his wife’s desire and give her oodles of pleasure?

Manual Play for Her

Manual play refers to your hubby using his hands on your genitalia to arouse and satisfy you sexually. There’s quite a bit he can do down there with his talented, God-given hands. Let’s talk about a few approaches. (I do get pretty detailed, by the way.) If something here intrigues you, invite your husband to give it a try.

Rub-a-dub-dub. Hubby can use his fingers or whole hand to simply rub your privates. This might feel best away from the most sensitive areas, like the clitoris, instead focusing on either side of your vulva or the “mound,” or mons pubis, above the genitals. The right pressure is important, and he should probably approach it like a massage stroke.

Tease and please. Speaking of pressure, his fingers can be used with soft strokes to tease and please all of the areas of your pleasure places. One tip most men need is to go slow. Sometimes a husband can get antsy wanting to rev things up quickly and get you to that powerful peak. However, women usually respond better by warming up slowly and enjoying all the lovely sensations along the way. Let him know this is a tease-fest, and you want him to stay with it until you beg for more.

Round and round he goes. I’m talking circles. Why am I giving circles its own section? Because it’s very easy to explain to hubby and can feel very good to wifey. Where can he circle his hand or fingers? How about around your vulva? The perimeter of your vaginal opening? Your clitoris? All of those places would likely respond to circular motion with his hands.

Slip-’n-slide. Let him come inside. Have hubby slip his finger into your vagina, called “digital penetration.” Usually, the finger that works best is the middle one, because of its flexibility and the rest of the hand stabilizing it. Using that finger also allows him to have other fingers free to stroke or rub the area outside as well. If you’d like, he can add another finger or two, increasing the friction and sense of fullness. He can simply caress your vagina, thrust in and out to mimic intercourse, or hook his finger toward the front and try to locate your G-spot. If he can find it (no guarantee, but worth a shot), your pleasure will likely build even more with direct contact to that sensitive site.

What’s the goal of manual play? Primarily, it’s foreplay. It should be a huge turn-on to you and to him for you to be touched. In this way, your husband can explore your tender places and get to know your body more fully. Meanwhile, you can experience the pleasurable sensations of being lovingly touched in your most private area.

Manual play is also a fabulous way to get your lubrication going. In order to have intercourse, you need to be “wet.” If he can stimulate you first with his hands, then he can reach in a bit, draw out your natural lubrication, and spread it over your vulva. Don’t worry if you’re not producing much on your own, though. You can always grab some personal lubricant and use it during manual play, or introduce it before intercourse. Your manual play might actually feel better with some added wetness to get things moving.

Note that manual play is a great method of reaching climax. Many wives respond well to their husband’s hands stimulating them down below. Quite frankly, a hand can be more precise and adaptive than a penis. Thus, if you need a certain level of pressure or for him to hit that right spot, having him “finger” you might be the best way to nudge you up that climax cliff and send you over the edge. This position can also be very enjoyable for a husband, because he gets to watch the entire thing. Most hubbies love seeing their wives experience that wave of excitement, and knowing he did it all with his hand is a pretty awesome attaboy he can give himself.

A few last-minute tips for manual play, to make sure things go smoothly.

Give him access. For years, I didn’t think our girly parts were all that pretty, so I wasn’t super-willing to show them off to the hubby. He doesn’t see it that way. Regardless of how we feel about ourselves down there, we need to embrace our husband’s fascination with our goodies. Hubby likely thinks it’s an amusement park down there, and he’s itching to pay his ticket and see the sights. So let him. Share your feminine beauty by breathing easily, opening up, and letting him see and touch this special part of your God-woven body.

Use lubricant. Your own natural juices or purchased personal lubricant or coconut oil will help your husband’s hands glide across your private places and the contact will feel much better to you. After a bit of stimulation, you can invite your husband to swirl his finger into your opening and draw out the wetness there to share with the rest of your area.

Go slow. Make sure he knows this isn’t a race. You want to enjoy his hands and fingers fondling you, so ask him to give you time to bask in his talents and your sensations. Your arousal will be heightened if he can start slow and build the speed, pressure, and intensity as your body responds to his touch.

Remember the clitoris. The clitoris is a particularly sensitive area of your privates. It’s a knobby bit of flesh at the top of your vagina that swells when highly aroused. Climaxes occur when the clitoris is directly or indirectly stimulated, and manual play can take real advantage of that. Your husband can see directly when he’s hitting that spot and lean into that pleasure for you. Show him exactly where you want to be touched, pointing out the location of your clitoris and the type of strokes that feel best.

Manual play can be an excited part of your lovemaking. Add it to your foreplay, use it to explore and experience orgasm, and let your husband be hands-on with his wife. Pay attention to the beautiful sensations that emerge, and thank God for the fabulous skill of hands.

Q&A: His Past Porn Habit Makes It Hard to Know What’s Okay

We’re back to another Summer of Q&A with J question. I guarantee this one affects more wives than the one woman who sent it in:

My husband is working very hard by the Lord’s grace to overcome a pornography and masturbation addiction. He has come so far, but we are not out of the woods yet. I struggle with what sexual things I should or shouldn’t do in order to encourage his healing. As an example, is my giving him a hand job triggering the wrong kind of desires in his mind, or is it okay because it comes from me?

Fist bump for you two working through that struggle. With God’s grace indeed, this couple is on its way to experiencing more intimate and God-honoring sexual intimacy.

The question remains: What’s okay and what’s not for a husband who’s had a porn and masturbation habit? Are certain activities best omitted because they remind or tempt hubby toward sin?

Q&A: His Past Porn Habit Makes It Hard to Know What's Okay

I had some immediate thoughts, but spent more time in the Word of God to clarify my approach.

The past is past, but it can still rear its ugly head. 1 John 1:6-7 says, “If we claim to have fellowship with [God] and yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” Pornography is a dark sin, and the answer to dealing with this addiction or problem is light. Your husband has brought this sin into the light, and Jesus can purify him, meaning that sin — while remembered — essentially goes poof! and it’s gone. This verse also addresses that fellowship with one another is affected; many marriages know how porn negatively impacted their relationship and sexual intimacy and how healing brought a positive impact.

But the past is past, a done deal. Those sins, once confessed, brought into the light, and washed by Jesus’ blood…are forgiven. Does this mean a switch is flipped, and everything’s a-okay? No one who’s walked such a path would argue that. Nor does the Bible. One chapter later, John says: “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father — Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.” John’s talking to Christians, and he basically admits they’re going to mess up.

Yet sinning is not living in sin. We know the difference. Let me first assure you that if you do something in your marriage bed that unintentionally causes porn memories to rear their ugly head, that does not mean a return to pornography permeating your marriage. You and your husband still have an advocate in Jesus Christ, who is working in your lives to lead you further and further into the light.

Your sexual intimacy can provide protection against his temptation. That’s what 1 Corinthians 7:5 says: “Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” Also, in Proverbs 5, a chapter devoted to warning against adultery, the husband is advised to “Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well.” That means have sex with your own wife! It’s one way of protecting against the pull of adultery.

For wives whose husbands have engaged in pornography, the emotional pain for these women is deep. I understand why they would not feel safe in the marriage bed and worry that sexual activities could stir up past imagery. However, while the initial reaction for many wives is to retreat from the marriage bed, God’s prescription is the opposite. You may need a short break to grieve, but in the long run fostering sexual intimacy protects your marriage and wards against outside temptation.

This includes activities that your husband might have seen in porn, but that also occur regularly enough without that example. For example, oral sex might be shown in porn, but plenty of couples have oral sex without the inspiration of porn. Likewise, hand jobs could be associated with a man self-stimulating while watching porn, but it’s also fairly common in the marriage bed.

As you engage in various sexual activities together, you’re rewriting the script. Instead of your husband associating manual arousal with pornographic imagery, it can become something special and intimate between husband and wife. Will this happen after one time? I shoot straight on my blog, so I’m going to say probably not. It’s more like a balance of scales, and over time you add more and more weight to the side of godly sexuality and marital intimacy, so that the scales tip. Eventually, the other side means nothing, and godly sexual intimacy is the way you both view sex.

An activity may be too close to a porn memory and should be left out. Sexual activities should not automatically thrown out because they also occur in porn; however, some activities could truly be triggers for your husband. How can you distinguish?

Since porn addicts struggle with attaching sexuality to imagery, I advise staying away from similar imagery for a while, even if it’s of you. Your husband needs to retrain his body to react to physical interaction with his wife as an all-five-senses and 3-D experience. While a wife giving her hubby a naked or suggestive photo of herself doesn’t strike me as sin, it could be unwise for someone on the road to recovery from a porn addiction. Because it’s still in line with attaching sexuality to imagery.

James 1:14-15 says: “…each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” Apparently, there’s a space before sin that involves desire, and to avoid birthing sin, we should aim for aligning our desires with God’s. A porn addict needs intentional time to get back on track with sexuality being linked to physical interaction, intimacy with a covenant wife, and the layered experience of sex as God designed it. Things that smack of two-dimensional arousal would be off my list for a while.

Other activities, including that hand job, might or might not be triggers. The only way to know is to ask. While building your trust in other areas, build your repertoire of conversation and honesty.  Before you engage in an activity, ask your husband outright what effect it will have on his mind. If your husband’s heart is in the right place — and it sounds like it is — he’ll admit if something is too close to a porn memory and should be avoided.

A few things might need to come off the table (or the bed, if you will), at least for a while. Don’t concentrate, though, on what you can’t do. “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).

Ask your Heavenly Father to help you forge a new reality. How about praying before your lovemaking? Or memorizing scriptures about God being on your side and creating something fresh and beautiful?

Here’s a personal testimony. I had some bad memories from my premarital promiscuous past, and a particular one made me feel very ashamed. Years ago, I began to pray to God to help me renew my mind, even asking him to remove the memories. That memory went away, just gone. I can’t tell you what it was. And I have no other explanation than God erasing it from my memory bank. Had He not removed it, He would have had a reason for leaving it there. But in my specific case, God relieved me of this shameful memory, which allowed me to focus more on godly marital intimacy.

Pray for the healing of your husband’s mind and your own. Here’s an example from Isaiah 65: 18-19:

“Whoever invokes a blessing in the land will do so by the one true God; –– In the name of our one true God, we invoke Your blessing in our land of marriage.
whoever takes an oath in the land will swear by the one true God. — We take an oath to honor our marriage bed.
For the past troubles will be forgotten and hidden from my eyes. — You have forgotten the sins of pornography and hidden them from Your eyes, and we praise You.
See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. — Create a new intimacy in our marriage that honors You.
The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. — As we make love, help us to not remember the former things, and keep any sinful thoughts from coming to mind.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Or more simply: “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10, KJV).

For those who’ve been down this road, what advice would you give to this reader and others trying to recover from porn addiction in their marriage?