Monthly Archives: January 2013

What to Get Your Husband for V-Day

Woman holding Valentine's present

Photo credit: Microsoft Word Clip Art

Valentine’s Day is on our heels yet again, only two weeks away. Google “what to get a man for Valentine’s Day,” and you’ll see variations on a theme. The general consensus is that what hubbies really want is sex.

Yes, I know: You’re shocked. You were certain that it would be flowers or that new pair of shoes he saw in the window last time you both went shopping.

It’s true for many men, though. While wives think of the romance of Valentine’s Day involving flowers, chocolate, poetry, etc., husbands often see romance as synonymous with the intimate entangling of your two bodies. In their heads, what could be more romantic than a tango under the sheets?

If that isn’t your husband — if he is less inclined toward sexual activity than you — this statement may not ring true. Statistics are not clear in this area, but perhaps 20-25% of marriages have a wife with a stronger libido than her husband.

But all of us wives may want some ideas on what to get the hubster. After consulting with a friend on this very topic, I decided to share my brainstorming ideas with you as well.

Plan the date you want. If your husband is reluctant to take the reins, offer to do it yourself. Maybe that’s the very thing he wants — for you to create the romantic atmosphere that makes you feel warm, fuzzy, and in the mood.

Find online or create gift certificates for romance/sex acts that you both enjoy. Tailor them to your situation. Of course, some people truly enjoy these certificates, while others would rather not wait to “redeem” the coupon. Think about what your husband would prefer and go with it.

Put together a special basket of bubble bath, wine/beer, scented massage oil, etc. and give him a bath for two and full body massage followed by whatever. Let him unwrap the package of goodies, then put them to good use right away.

Unveil special lingerie that he would like to see you in (and out of). You can plan a shopping trip to include him in the purchase or spring it on him as a surprise. My advice for those who are uncomfortable wearing the super-lacy or racy stuff: Don’t expect to go from sleep shirt to corset-and-thong. Just stretch a little bit beyond your comfort zone. You might also want to ask a sales clerk what type of lingerie accentuates your assets.

Create a small photo album or online presentation to showcase your favorite memories with him and view it together. You can do a pretty quick video at Animoto. Gina Parris of Winning at Romance posted an example some time ago.

Vajazzle. There are even Valentine’s themed vajazzling kits available. But a few strategically placed crystals with a heart or “Luv U” could send just the message you want.

Watch a romance flick that he would like. I posted some time ago a list of lovey-dovey flicks that even your man will enjoy: Movies to Inspire.

Buy him a tie, scarf, or other clothing accessory he wants, and then show up wearing only that for the gift presentation. Afterward, not only will he have a nice necktie, but every time he puts it on, it could bring that moment of you wearing it to mind . . . and make him smile.

Take the usual chocolates or flowers and make it your own project . . . like spelling a message with the chocolates or using the flowers to make a trail to the bedroom. You could even take a candy bar, remove the wrapper, and replace it with your own design. (Found cute bride & groom ones here.)

Cook him a meal or dessert he likes. If it’s just the two of you, you could even wear an apron and sexy undies while preparing the food — whetting both of his appetites. (Although in my marriage, we’re better off eating out.)

Record yourself reading a love poem or the Song of Songs or singing a sexy song. Make it an MP3 or CD. Then your hubby can listen to your sensuous voice any time he wants.

Buy him a tool or new gadget. This one isn’t sexy, but let’s face it: A lot of guys like this gift. Honestly, even Spock (my husband) gets excited about a brand-new power drill.

That’s my list! It’s certainly not comprehensive, and some of these may not be your style. Hopefully, you know your own mate enough to have an inkling of what he would enjoy. If not, it doesn’t hurt to ask. See what expectations he has for this special day celebrating love.

Now share with the rest of us! What Valentine’s Day gift ideas do you have for the hubbies?

And guys…most wives would adore getting a love letter.

The Beauty of a Woman

Illustration from Microsoft Word Clip Art

Illustration from Microsoft Word Clip Art

Today’s post is from the male point of view, though not a hubby. Greg Donner is a single man who speaks out in favor of biblical sexuality. He has followed my blog and made poignant comments for some time. I knew that he had written on this topic and found an article on his site. I asked his permission to reprint it, with some editing for space.

Greg’s post was originally aimed at men but provides insight for women as well.

Admire and Acknowledge

“If God made anything more beautiful than a woman, He kept it for Himself.” — Unknown

Since I was a boy, I have admired girls and women a great deal. I believe God made women to have, and be, everything a man lacks and longs for — emotionally, mentally, physically, and sexually. They are to be deeply appreciated, envied, and lauded; not debased, objectified, or ridiculed. Solomon described the intricate beauty he saw in the woman he loved:

Song of Solomon 7:1-9 (NIV 1984) “How beautiful your sandaled feet, O prince’s daughter! Your graceful legs are like jewels, the work of a craftsman’s hands. Your navel is a rounded goblet that never lacks blended wine. Your waist is a mound of wheat encircled by lilies. Your breasts are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle. Your neck is like an ivory tower. Your eyes are the pools of Heshbon by the gate of Bath Rabbim. Your nose is like the tower of Lebanon looking toward Damascus. Your head crowns you like Mount Carmel. Your hair is like royal tapestry; the king is held captive by its tresses. How beautiful you are and how pleasing, O love, with your delights! Your stature is like that of the palm, and your breasts like clusters of fruit. I said, ‘I will climb the palm tree; I will take hold of its fruit.’ May your breasts be like the clusters of the vine, the fragrance of your breath like apples, and your mouth like the best wine. May the wine go straight to my lover, flowing gently over lips and teeth.”

Human anatomy — for men and women — will always be noticed. We’re only lying to ourselves if we say we don’t — it’s as instinctive as breathing. However, we are wrong to place value solely on the physical, since beauty is subjective and truly in the eye of the beholder. True beauty never emanates exclusively from the physical; attitudes can be subjective and change quickly; e.g. how people view an overweight woman who then loses that weight. Opinions vary substantially even over actors and actresses who, by cultural standards, have “arrived.” Many women struggle with the notion that if their body does not match the unrealistic Photoshopped “ideal” imagery touted by the media (who promotes and destroys at will), then they inherently lack appeal, and are not attractive. However, their core anatomy can still be appealing and attractive regardless of how “feminine” or “perfect” it may seem to them. Its greatest allure remains the fact that it’s still a different yet complementary design from men, and it contains the elements and attributes that God intentionally created men to be visually drawn to.

Bill Cosby muses that after God created Eve, Adam’s naming of her as “woman” came from his reaction of first setting eyes on her: “Whoa! Man!” Physically, mentally, and emotionally, there are many things that happen to men when they encounter a woman they find attractive — the catch is what we think and how we respond to this. Admiration stems from a myriad of elements: mannerisms, voice, movement, and attitudes, as well as visual/physical attributes. From head to toe, there is a vast wonder and beauty about women, and I believe that man is a steward of something much better and greater than himself. Emotionally, women express their feelings and are often in touch with themselves and others. Mentally, they have many skills and abilities that parallel and often exceed men (e.g. able to read body language twice as well as men). Physically, they possess a very powerful sensuality and aesthetic beauty. Sexually, their differences are nothing short of breathtaking. God has truly blessed women in the way they are made — each part of them is unique and desirable in its own way. In her book For Women Only (p. 100), Shaunti Feldhahn notes one man’s words that echo this:

“She doesn’t understand how even her occasional dismissals make me feel less desirable. I can’t resist her. I wish that I, too, were irresistible. She says I am. But her ability to say no so easily makes it hard to believe.”

While we should be careful not to elevate women, we need to admire and acknowledge the incredibly beautiful way in which God has made them. In addition, we need to be careful that we don’t ignore them. One woman shares about this:

“…I, too, see it as a cop out. I believe Christian men have been led to believe the lie that they will always struggle with lusting after women. It’s taught when they are teens, and supported through adulthood. This lie leads them to treat half the Christian population like they are invisible (bouncing the eyes) and keeps them from reaching out to women who aren’t believers because they may be dressed skimpily.

“Yes, men can and do have lust problems, but they don’t have to be slaves to lust! Jesus came to set us free — how do we display that freedom with the current ways we teach men? Seems to me they become even more enslaved to the program of keeping themselves ‘pure’, while beautiful sisters in Christ are not looked at, not talked to, etc. because these teens/men are encouraged to ‘bounce their eyes.’

“Yes, it’s a sore spot for me as a beautiful woman who is friends with beautiful women who have all felt weird by men who won’t look at us when we say hi!

Compliment

“Find a guy who calls you beautiful instead of hot; who stays awake to watch you sleep. Wait for the guy who kisses your forehead; who holds your hand in front of his friends. Wait for the one who is constantly reminding you of how lucky he is to have you.” — Unknown

Women — even little girls — are constantly bombarded by negative, exploitative messages and unrealistic expectations in the media and world in which we live that exacerbate insecurities about themselves. They need to be reassured and reminded that they are beautiful—not “hot”—and that beauty does not mean perfection. In response to an article about this, Jennifer Vaughn notes that:

“My personal experience: not complimenting a girl results in anxiety, insecurity, and obsession with looks.”

Negative messages can be countered by simple reminders of the truth: beauty takes many forms, and again, does not equal perfection.

Physical beauty and attractiveness are subjective, and appeal differs for everyone — men and women alike. For men, staying focused on the person is not easy to do, as visually attractive women will always catch our eye, and are often overpowering. Those not as physically attractive we tend to overlook or ignore; but giving equal attention to all women is possible, and should always be what we strive for. The true value of a lady is who she is inside — not how physically attractive we find her to be (the following verses leaving little room for debate):

Proverbs 11:22 (NIV 1984) “Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.”

Proverbs 31:30 (NIV 1984) “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.”

It goes without saying that these verses apply to men, too, as they address attitudes of the heart. The truth is that most women endowed with physical beauty do not appreciate being scrutinized or ogled, and less attractive women may be grateful that you are paying them equal time and attention. Regardless of perceived physical beauty, women should never be ignored or treated as a sex object. In this regard, a lady once shared with me that:

“A smile and good, solid eye-contact tells a woman all that and more. Work on flirting with your eyes. Look into their soul; not their blouse. That is the ultimate compliment.”

As someone else put it:

“Treat her as the person God intended; not the plaything this world thinks she is.”

The poem The Beauty of a Woman describes it another way:

The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears,
The figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair.
The beauty of a woman must be seen from within her eyes,
Because that is the doorway to her heart,
The place where love resides.
The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole,
But true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul.
It is the caring that she lovingly gives,
The passion that she shows,
And the beauty of a woman
With passing years
Only grows.

(Authorship is variously attributed to the following: Maya Angelou, Ralph Fenger, Audrey Hepburn, and Sam Levenson).

Greg DonnerSo much to think about there from Greg. I appreciate his viewpoint and willingness to come on Hot, Holy & Humorous.

From his website: “Besides an interest in computers, his greatest passion is to, somehow, be involved in a ministry advocating for truth about biblical sexuality and intimacy in the midst of a world that attacks and distorts it. . . . He has no qualifications or biblical counseling training, nor is he even married; but sexual immorality is one of the biggest, gravest threats and problems of our time, requiring the church to step out of their comfort zone and boldly stand for truth.”

All for One, and One for All: Advocating Godly Sexuality

Have you ever heard the saying, “Don’t toot your own horn”? The message is that you shouldn’t brag about yourself. Let your successes speak for themselves. The admonition to be humble in this regard makes it hard at times for me to share when someone else out there has said good things about HHH.

Grow Your Marriage Award 2012But I was blown away by this comment from Lori at Generous Wife when she awarded Hot, Holy & Humorous a 2012 Grow Your Marriage Award:

“Three cheers for the Three Musketeers of Sexuality! These gals routinely turn out good material on marriage and sexuality. Their ability to talk about tough subjects amazes and blesses me. And they make me laugh . . . a lot.

Julie of Intimacy in Marriage
Sheila of To Love, Honor and Vacuum
‘J’ of Hot, Holy & Humorous”

Bam! Did you hear the sound of me falling over in amazement? To be in the category with Julie and Sheila was too delightful not to share. But then I got to thinking about “three musketeers of sexuality”? What was so appealing about that phrase?

While I’ve not read the novel by Alexandre Dumas, I am familiar with the Three Musketeers as being friends of the main character D’Artagnon. The three friends were inseparable, members of a military guard called the Musketeers, and lived by the motto “All for one, and one for all.”

There is strength in numbers. The Bible says that “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12) and that “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:20).

One of the blessings of having this blog has been discovering others willing to address biblical sexuality and advocate for (lots of) sex in marriage. When you link with others to pursue a mission for God, your impact doesn’t increase like addition — it multiplies.

Even in the two years since I’ve been online writing about sexuality, many voices have joined the chorus of Christians desiring better marriages and intimacy that honors God. I pray that as the voices grow in number and volume, our world reaches the “tipping point,” defined by Merriam-Webster as “the critical point in a situation, process, or system beyond which a significant and often unstoppable effect or change takes place.” Unfortunately, forces in our world have weakened marriage substantially, and we need to tip over to the side of preserving and strengthening marriage — in part by strengthening the intimate relationship between husband and wife.

But moving back from a big world point of view, we all need three musketeers of sexuality in our own lives and churches. At times I’ve heard from a reader who is eager to tackle this topic with biblical insight within their church, but the leadership or members aren’t cooperative or simply ready. Some wives have no one to talk to about their sexual struggles or with whom to celebrate the beauty of sexuality. You could use someone nearby with an “all for one, and one for all” attitude.

I contemplate now and then what we can do to foster this advocacy. How can we get more (and more and more) people on board to address the topics of purity before marriage, preparing for intimacy in marriage, addressing issues of sexuality in marriage, and broadening and deepening your sexual experience within marriage — all according to God’s Word? Who are those people who might simply need a nudge to step forward and volunteer for the Musketeers?

My own confession is that I had largely given up addressing this topic among my friends and within the church before starting my blog. I had hit the wall of resistance so many times that my confidence and my forehead were bruised. I am making a resolution in 2013 to find more musketeers in my own area.

I plan to keep fencing alongside Sheila and Julie — women who began blogging before me and who have inspired and encouraged me in numerous ways. Knowing that they, and others, are out there promoting godly sexuality gives me confidence to speak up for marriage with boldness. But I also see the benefit of having support locally — creating that synergy within your church to reclaim the blessing of sexuality for the marriages in your midst.

Please pray for me as I approach my own church with some ideas, and then pray for what role you should play in your area to advocate for godly sexuality. If you have the gift of speaking and biblical wisdom on this topic, ask for opportunities to share what God says about sex. If you have struggled with sexuality, ask for access to helpful resources for married couples in your church or local area. If you have special knowledge (a physician, a counselor, etc.), see how you can use your expertise to positively impact marriages.

Let’s join together to be the Three Thousand Musketeers . . . and beyond. In fact, I think our motto should be “All for THE ONE, and THE ONE for all.”

“And [Christ] died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” 1 Corinthians 5:15

Ten Lies Wives Believe about Sex (And Ten Truths Husbands Want You To Know)

Scott & wife Jenni

Scott & wife Jenni

I have another favorite husband blogger today. (Have you noticed I have several favorites?) Scott Means of Journey to Surrender joins us today to talk about some of the faulty thinking we wives have regarding sex. I have been guilty of a few of these lies myself.

My sincere thanks to Scott for being a guest on Hot, Holy & Humorous.

First of all, thanks to J for inviting me to take part in the series giving the husband’s point of view on sex.

I often say about marriage (and about life) that what you believe is almost more important that what you do. Or put another way, right thinking leads to right doing. When you get your head screwed on straight, your actions will eventually follow.

This is more true of sex than any other area of marriage, because it’s the place we are most deceived, misinformed, and just plain messed up. It’s often said that the brain is the biggest sex organ we have, and I agree. So then, it’s hugely important that we get our minds to line up with the truth about sex.

Through my experience as a husband of 30+ years, a marriage blogger and writer, and marriage small group leader, I’ve got composed a short list of ten lies that wives seem to commonly believe about sex. I’ve coupled these with the corresponding truths that your husband would have you believe instead.

1.  The lie: I’d be a lot more willing to have sex if I could just lose a couple of pounds. Your husband’s truth: I love your body and am strongly attracted to you just like you are, imperfections and all. You would feel more beautiful if you would let me show you physically how I feel about you.

2.  The lie: If my husband really loved me, he would be satisfied with the way things are in bed. Your husband’s truth: I desire a more varied sexual repertoire because I want more of you, not because I want you to change. It’s all about experiencing deeper intimacy.

3.  The lie: For my husband sex is just about the physical release. I’m basically just scratching his itch.  Your husband’s truth: I want and need to be close to you. For me sex is a primary way to experience closeness.

4.  The lie: Sex is not big deal for me. I can take it or leave it. Your husband’s truth:  Sex IS a big deal. Yes, it’s important to me, but it’s also important for US. We can only reach the deepest level of intimacy in our marriage if our sex is healthy and vibrant.

5.  The lie: If I tell my husband what I want in bed, I’m being selfish. Your husband’s truth: It is as important to me to take care of your sexual needs as it is to see that my own are met. I want to be your hero in bed too.

6.  The lie: I’m just not a very sexual being. Your husband’s truth: God made us all sexual beings. Sure your sexuality and sexual needs are different than mine, but it’s important to me that you make effort to keep yourself sexually awake, in whatever form that takes for you.

7.  The lie: Wearing alluring or sexy lingerie for my husband makes me a sex object. He should like me in whatever I wear. Your husband’s truth: I’m wired to be very visually oriented. I like seeing you adorn that beautiful body of yours in ways that affirm my visual nature. It tells me that what I like matters to you.

8.  The lie: I want romance but all he wants is sex. Your husband’s truth: I don’t separate sex and romance the way you do. To me sex is a romantic act — not the only way to have romance, but definitely part of it for me.

9.  The lie: If I’m affectionate with him, it’s going to make him want sex, so it’s better for me to just keep my distance. Your husband’s truth: Yes, it’s true that kissing and touching and other displays of affection will make me want you more. However, given the choice of affection and no sex or no affection and no sex, I’ll pick the former.

10.  The lie: I don’t have the energy for a wild night, so it’s better just to skip it than risk disappointing my husband. Your husbands’ truth: We don’t need to swing from the chandeliers every time. Quickies can be great too. Wild sex is fun and exciting, but mild sex is better than no sex, as long as I know you are into it — and into me.

Scott Means blogs at Journey to Surrender, where he loves to speak about God’s heart for intimate and passionate marriages. He boldly explains why Christian couples have the inside track on great marriages. They know the One who designed it and have been given a perfect living example of the greatest marriage of all, the one between Christ and the church.

The Premarital Sex Felt Great

How’s that for a title you didn’t expect from me?

Sheila Gregoire at To Love, Honor and Vacuum recently had two opportunities to be interviewed about sexuality by the Huffington Post. Not surprisingly, Sheila was outnumbered in her moral perspective…FOUR to one. I suspect those are better odds than we firm-stance Christians have in the secular world as a whole, though.

Sheila's interview - TV still

Sheila’s the one with the beautiful smile on the big screen.

In this last segment, the subject was about having premarital sex in one’s 20s and whether that’s a positive thing for your sex life as a whole. Of course, Sheila took the biblical stance of keeping sexuality in marriage, but she didn’t have to cite scriptures on a secular program; God’s truth is consistent, and the case for sex within marriage is supported by statistics. She did a terrific job and showed that she cares deeply about people experiencing God’s best for their marriages and sex lives.

At one point, the interviewer (not on her side) tried to support his point that sex doesn’t have to be a deep, emotional connection by attempting to quote Woody Allen: “The worst sex that I’ve ever had was still pretty good.” I couldn’t find that exact quote, but I believe this one from the famous actor/director is what the interviewer meant: “Sex without love is a meaningless experience, but as far as meaningless experiences go it’s pretty d–n good.”

Which brings me to my point. We Christians who encourage people to remain sexually pure until marriage need to admit what I knew when I was living the wrong lifestyle: Premarital sex feels great.

It is physically satisfying and entertaining and exciting. We don’t do our cause and our children any favors when we say that sex outside marriage isn’t good . . . and people hear that it doesn’t feel good. So when your teenager gets in the car with a date and goes too far, and it feels awesome and powerful and deep, might they discount the Christian message that waiting is better?

They might . . . because, as I’ve now said three times now, the premarital sex feels great.

BUT the married sex is SO MUCH BETTER!!!

Sex outside marriage is like having a Chips Ahoy cookie. I happen to like those. If someone brings a bag of them to a church potluck, I will scoop up a cookie or two and add them to my waistline. BUT what if you’re looking at a bag of Chips Ahoy versus Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies? (For those of you outside the Girl Scout realm, they are To. Die. For.) No one in their right mind would pick a hard store-bought cookie over a thin mint that delights the senses and supports the Girl Scouts.

If that comparison doesn’t speak to you, pick any of the below:

Sex Outside Marriage

Godly Sex in Marriage

Smart car
Lamborghini
Hot dog stand
Emeril’s restaurant
Hershey bar
Godiva Chocolatier truffles
Faded Glory
Christian Dior
Metal washtub
Jacuzzi bath
Leaky rowboat
Cruise liner

You get the point. If you had no idea about the second column, you might be happy having a hot dog from the street vendor. (This is just an example. Hey, the best tamales where I live come from a truck.) But if you slip into a Lamborghini wearing your Christian Dior outfit and eat a meal at Emeril’s, you know it’s worth a lot more.

I didn’t know I was in a rowboat when I was having sex before marriage. My boat was leaking, but I figured I was doing it wrong somehow, or that I merely needed a better paddle partner. I finally figured out that the only way to get it right was to get out of the rowboat and board the cruise liner!

When I teach my kids about sexuality, I plan to be honest. I tell them that the physical sensations of sex in any consensual context can be very pleasurable. God made sex to feel great. However, He blessed us with marriage to give us the very best. That’s just how our Father is. He loves us enough to want us to have the cream of the crop, the icing on the cake, the thin mint cookies . . . because we are the apple of His eye.

So yeah, those preaching multiple sex partners and 10 New Ways to Orgasm are right in saying that their prescriptions may give your body a real high. But I not satisfied with climbing a hill and whooping it up anymore. I want Mount Everest, baby.

In marriage, there is a blessing from God and a connection of life commitment that provides the foundation for the best physical intimacy one can have. Studies show those most satisfied with their sex lives are married . . . and married for a while.

Sheila beautifully described it in her interview: “It is a beautiful thing. And to say that you can have intimacy with all kinds of people, yeah, but there is nothing like a marriage.”

There is truly nothing at all like a God-centered marriage that pursues His holy plan for sex. I pray that for the couples who read my blog — that you will not just experience physical satisfaction, but spiritual and emotional connection through this deeply personal, physical act.