Monthly Archives: March 2013

Volunteer for Marital Intimacy Research Today

On Monday, I posted about Fun Findings on Sex — interesting conclusions drawn from studies on sexuality.

When I’ve read about how some of these studies are conducted, I admit to wondering who in their right mind would volunteer for that. For instance, one study involved women masturbating to orgasm while researchers nearby recorded their body’s responses and brain activity. Another asked female participants to “have sex” with a fake penis that had a camera on the inserted end.

Most of us gals cringe at the thought of our next mammogram or pelvic exam, so the idea of being a research participant for a sex study would be like asking us to dance in a thong at the next inaugural ball. We would never agree to that kind of exposure.

But I have news for you! You can be a research participant. You can learn a lot about your body and your sexual responses. You can learn about your husband’s body and his sexual responses. You can sign up for this research today!

Bed

SEX LAB?
Pic by Dorehowhatz via Wikimedia Commons

Because the very best information about what works for your sex life will be discovered in your own bedroom. You and your husband will be both the research participants. No extra equipment or cameras needed. No third parties to observe you. No fear of exposing yourself and your private sex life to others.

You see, I and others can give you a lot of information about what we have discovered generally. Some things are simple fact — like the clitoris existing solely for the wife’s pleasure — but how you use those facts is something you and your spouse should explore and discover together. And the specifics of what works with your particular bodies in your particular marriage may be different from the general prescription.

Here’s an example. Most wives can more easily achieve orgasm through manual or oral stimulation of their clitoris than through vaginal intercourse. That’s a general conclusion that has been studied and found to be true. But in your marriage, it may be that you reach climax more easily through your husband’s penis making internal contact with your G-spot. You figure that out by researching with your husband what feels good.

Research (noun). Investigation or experimentation aimed at the discovery and interpretation of facts, revision of accepted theories or laws in the light of new facts, or practical application of such new or revised theories or laws. Merriam-Webster.com.

I like the idea of investigating my husband and experimenting in our sexual encounters so that we can discover facts, revise what we’re doing, and apply our knowledge in a practical way. Sign me up for that research study!

Go ahead and gather knowledge about sex from reputable medical and Christian resources. I’m certainly in favor of learning anatomy and techniques that will help in building a quality sex life in your marriage. I have personally benefited from gathering and using such information, and I have committed to provide information in this blog that might help your sex life.

However, you have to test out what you learn in your own marriage. It’s okay to treat your bedroom a bit like a lab and test those theories of which touches, positions, environments, and techniques produce the results you both want in your marital intimacy. Perform your own research. Consider your findings. Apply what you’ve learned.

Volunteer for your own marital intimacy research today!

I have a feeling your spouse would enjoy being your lab partner.

Fun Findings about Sex

Before starting this blog and quite a bit since I began, I have read a lot of findings about sexuality. Some are intuitive, some are surprising, and some are, well, odd. I decided to share a few of my favorite findings about sexuality with you today.

Are your feet too cold for climax? A study by the University of Groningen in The Netherlands looked at brain scans during orgasm to see which parts light up and which turn off. In addition to findings on their original purpose, they also reported an interesting result: Both men and women had an easier time reaching orgasm with their socks on, with a 30% increase in climax among those couples who kept their feet cozy.

Psalm 139:14 quote

How cool is the penis? I recently watched a TED talk from research scientist Diane Kelly, who studies “the evolution of copulatory systems and sexual differentiation in the nervous system.” Don’t worry; I’m not sure what that means either. Except that she has specifically studied mammalian penises and discovered that they are constructed in a unique way. The penis is stretchy like a worm but can also get hard. The general explanation is that blood flows into the penis, causing it to expand and stiffen. But blood flow alone doesn’t cause that stiffness, just like a worm can expand but not stiffen. Kelly studied cross-sections of the mammalian penis (go ahead and cringe, guys) and discovered that the fibers in the penile wall were arranged in a way that scientists had never seen in any other “skeletal” structure. In fact, “If the wall around the erectile tissue wasn’t reinforced in this way, the shape would change, but the inflated penis would not resist bending and erection simply wouldn’t work.” The upshot: The penis is uniquely designed by God not only to expand in size, but to maintain the rigidity necessary for intercourse . . . and no other skeletal system is designed in this way.

Does size matter? While flaccid (aka “limp”) penis size varies greatly, erect penises stay pretty much in the range of 4 to 7 inches (10-17 cm). A study by Psychology of Men and Masculinity reported that 68% of men are between 4.6 and 6 inches, and a mere 0.4% are above 6.9 inches (17 1/2 cm) when erect. How much of that can a wife feel? Aroused women have about 4.25 to 4.75 inches (10 1/2-12 cm) of vaginal length, and the most important area for sexual response is the outer one-third . . . so you guys are just fine.

Pie chart

Penis size among men, by inches.

Want proof that women were meant to enjoy sex? Let me introduce you to the female’s clitoris. The clitoris is a knobby bit of flesh above the vagina that is particularly sensitive to touch. The only known purpose of the clitoris is to provide pleasure. It does not assist in reproduction, urination, or menstruation. In fact, the clitoris is the only sex organ devoted solely to hmm-that-feels-so-good. God did not include the clitoris as an afterthought; clearly, He wants us wives to enjoy the gift of sexuality in marriage.

Can’t get rid of your hiccups? Try sex. A 1999 case report by Drs. R. and A. Peleg related the incident of a 40-year-old male who was struck with intractable hiccups. After four days of trying everything to get rid of them, he had sex with his wife. The case study stated, “The hiccups continued throughout the sexual interlude up until the moment of ejaculation when they suddenly and completely ceased. . . .” So the next time that glass of water or standing on your head doesn’t work, suggest a “sexual interlude” with your spouse.

Feeling down? Maybe you need a natural antidepressant. And that antidepressant would be . . . semen. Yep. A study by two evolutionary psychologists at the State of University of New York found that women regularly exposed to semen had better mood and fewer depressive symptoms. Apparently, the seminal fluid has mood-elevating compounds (endorphins, estrone, prolactin, oxytocin, thyrotrpin-releasing hormone, and serotonin) and the vagina is very absorbent.

Any research findings you’ve heard that demonstrate how interesting God made sexuality and our bodies? Which of the above findings surprises you?

Sources: Everyday Health – Does Penis Size Really Matter?; Elite Daily; Times Union; Psychology Today; TED Talks: What We Didn’t Know about Penis Anatomy by Diane Kelly; Discovery Health – Clitoris; Sexual Intercourse as a Potential Treatment for Intractable Hiccups; 10 Things You Didn’t Know about Orgasm; and a whole bunch of other articles and books I’ve read that I can’t remember to list here.

Rain Check Sex

A couple of days ago, I sent out this tweet:

Now you might expect that Mrs. Hot, Holy & Humorous is always ready for a midnight romp or an early morning roll-in-the-hay . . . but sadly, no. I am squarely in the “do not deprive each other” camp regarding marital sexuality. (See Sheila Gregoire’s great article on what that really means.) However, I am not among those who believe that every single attempt at lovemaking will result in actual lovemaking.

Because life interferes.

For instance, in my above example, someone might make the case that I denied my husband sex by refusing his 1:00 a.m. advances. But, for the sake of argument, let’s just assume that my moniker “J” actually stands for Jekyll. If you wake me in the middle of a deep sleep, you get Mrs. Hyde. While I know I am ultimately responsible for what Mrs. Hyde says and does, it’s a little hard to get a grip on that when Mrs. Jekyll doesn’t even know what Mrs. Hyde is doing!

Honestly, I was barely aware of what had happened the next day and said something to my husband like, “Did you come on to me last night around one o’clock?” I half-wondered if I’d dreamed the whole thing.

I’m a believer that in the long course of your married life, you will be met with various interruptions to your plans to have sex. It might be . . .

  • inability to arouse yourself from a really deep sleep
  • your child awakening from a bad dream just as you and your honey were about to live out a good dream (Seriously? Couldn’t the Bogeyman wait 15 minutes?)
  • getting called into work or an emergency
  • your period arriving a day early (for which “Aunt Flo” should be made to leave two days early)
  • a myriad of other reasons

So if we are indeed supposed to fulfill our marital duty and not supposed to deprive each other (1 Corinthians 7:3-5), then what should we do when sex just isn’t fitting into that moment you anticipated it would?

Rain Check Sex.

This is important, so listen up. If you cannot engage in sex at that moment, it is important to reschedule and then follow through. (See Should You Refuse? Part 2.)

Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” I think this is true of marital intimacy.

When your spouse makes sexual advances, they are hoping to engage in physical intimacy with you. Having that hope dashed doesn’t just frustrate their physical release; no, it saddens their heart. Most men in particular would have a hard time putting that feeling into words, so they may end up claiming “blue balls” or pent-up sexual frustration. However, when you interview husbands and get to the core of it, their hearts are sick at the thought that their wives don’t want them. And that’s also very true of wives whose husbands turn them down — perhaps even more so because women constantly hear that it’s the other way around.

But the second half of the verse is so important: “A desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” That sickened feeling in your heart doesn’t have to happen . . . if you know that your desire will be fulfilled.

If you make a habit of giving rain check sex, your spouse can hold on — knowing that sexuality is a priority in your marriage and, even if this moment didn’t happen, sex is on the calendar very soon. Their desire will be fulfilled.

Looking at my tweet again, you’ll see what I mean:

I immediately offered to my husband “Tonight?” My no — even if delivered by grumpy ol’ Mrs. Hyde — was never really a “no.” It was a “not now.” Given the regularity and reciprocity we have in our sexual relationship, my husband knew with certainty that he would get a rain check.

Did I deliver on that promise? You bet I did! No way was I going to defer that hope until his heart felt sick. Not to mention that when awake, I’m rather excited to be physically intimate with him. I can’t say that a tree grew in our bedroom afterward, but our desires were definitely fulfilled.

If your lovemaking gets interrupted, welcome to Life. It happens. But don’t just leave it there. Reschedule. Give your spouse a rain check. Then make sure you follow through!

Our Marriage: We Do…

Do Not Disturb blog challenged fellow marriage bloggers to write a post on “We do . . .” showing “what real marriages are like.” I encourage you to pop over and take a look at their post on Keeping Our Marriage Strong: We Do . . . Justin and Megan listed things they do to keep their marriage strong.

Now here’s my contribution for what we do to keep the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Hot, Holy and Humorous strong.

We do committed. At this point, we know that we are “in it to win it.” We’re like Prime Minister Winston Churchill during World War II (1941) advising to “never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never.” We’ve long since misplaced the towel that we might have thrown in at the worst of our marriage. It’s simply no longer an issue. The “D” word is never spoken, never hinted at. God has made us one flesh and “let no one split apart what God has joined together” (Mark 10:9).

We do presence. We spend time with each other, growing our friendship, sharing our concerns and joys, and just hanging out. Time matters. Show me what you give your time to, and I’ll show you what you treasure. Sometimes it requires creative scheduling or sacrificing other activities, but we prioritize our marriage.

We do do-overs. We don’t hold grudges from when our sex life sucked or from the inane thing he said ten minutes ago. (Of course, I used he because I never say anything stupid, right?) When you get married, you believe this person to whom you pledged your undying love will never let you down.

Yes, he will. The only one who will not let you down is God. Your spouse, however, will mess up. So it’s important to treat them as God does — giving forgiveness, grace, and the chance to do over. We believe that if King David and the Apostle Peter got a second chance (and a third and a fourth), then so should my spouse.

We do humor. I think God is funny. Really. The Creator of these animals is bound to have a great sense of humor:

Proboscis Monkey

Tarsier

Komondor Dog

English Angora Rabbit

And then there’s the one Jesus told about the camel and the eye of the needle. Imagine you’re the first to hear that analogy. Wouldn’t you laugh at the image?

Laughter is a blessing from God. Proverbs says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine” (17:22). In the best of times, our marriage has been filled with wordplay, jokes, snickering, and gut-jiggling laughter. I’ve even talked about how sex is humorous. We do humor. We look for opportunities to make each other smile.

We do sex. (Regular readers saw that coming.) Without physical affection and intimacy, this relationship is a parental partnership, a roommate arrangement, or a nice friendship. While those things are okay, they are not a marriage. Even in Song of Solomon 5:16 when the wife refers to her husband as friend, her romantic passion is listed first: “His mouth is sweetness itself; he is desirable in every way. Such, O women of Jerusalem, is my lover, my friend.”

In my marriage, we reconnect physically as frequently as we can and make those moments count by participating fully in the experience of physical unity. We value intimacy as an expression of our love, a nurturing of our love, and a message of gratitude toward God for His pleasurable gift.

What “We do . . .” phrase would you use for your marriage? How do you keep your marriage strong and real?

Sources: Bible GatewayWinston Churchill Centre and Museum

A Marital Intimacy Playlist

music staff

Illustration from Microsoft Word Clip Art

On Monday, I discussed the dangers of our current sexualized music. Turn on the radio or check the music trends, and you’ll find that many of today’s songs are full of explicit descriptions and words about sex. They often convey a completely different view of sex than what God desires us to have.

But today, I want to get practical. If we shouldn’t listen to music that cheapens sex (see Philippians 4:8; Psalm 101:3; and Proverbs 4:23-24), can we listen to any music about sex?

I think we can. There is nothing sordid about God-honoring lovemaking in marriage, and a little background music can set the stage for physical intimacy. I trolled my own playlist and did some research to come up with a suggested intimacy playlist for married couples. Some of what I came up with is simply romantic, and other tunes are more obviously about sex.

Four-poster bed

Got the bed, now where’s the music?
Romeo & Juliet Bedstead, by Oxfordian Kissuth, via Wikimedia Commons

Several things to keep in mind as you peruse the suggestions below:

  • I divided songs into categories, knowing that some of you wouldn’t listen to a country (R&B/classical/etc.) song even if you were stranded on Gilligan’s Island and it was the only station the Professor’s radio could get. But you might be surprised to find something you and your spouse would like a category you don’t normally enjoy, so try to keep an open mind.
  • By highlighting a song here, I am not condoning other music from these artists or even the videos that accompany these tunes. Use your own standards and common sense when deciding which music to purchase.
  • The criterion for inclusion is that the lyrics are appropriate and can be construed to talk about a married couple. That does not mean that the composer and lyricist had that in mind when writing the song, but these songs do not obviously violate Christian ethics.
  • While these songs are appropriate for me and hubby in the bedroom, that does not mean that they are all okay to be on my kid’s MP3 player. Adults are ready for some details, especially in the marital context, that children are not ready for. Use your parental noggin for when and where it’s appropriate to play your marital intimacy music.
  • Tastes vary. Quite honestly, I’d happily make love to Toccata & Fugue in D minor by Bach, but since this is an unusual choice, I left it out. Still, consider your own tastes when you come up with a playlist. Hey, if you and your honey enjoy gettin’ it on to Mustang Sally, who am I to argue? Don’t slow that Mustang down!
  • As you pull together a playlist of your own, think about programming. That is, vary the rhythm and mood. For a marital intimacy playlist, you may want to start with something slow or easygoing (invitation), build up to faster or more intense songs (foreplay & climax), and then finish with something relaxing (afterglow).

With the fabulous help of some Facebook friends, here are some songs you might want to play while lovemaking with your spouse.

Classical
Blue Danube Waltz by Johann Strauss II
Bolero by Maurice Ravel (For those old enough to recall, this was the classical song played in the movie “10.”)
Cello suite No.1 Prelude in G Major by Johann Sebastian Bach
Claire de Lune by Claude Debussy
Liebestraum No 3 in A flat by Franz Liszt
Piano Concerto No 21 in C, 2nd movement (Elvira Madigan) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini (Variation 18) by Sergei Rachmaninoff
Romeo and Juliet (Fantasy Overture: Love Theme) by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (You’ll recognize it.)

Country
Breathe by Faith Hill
It’s Your Love by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill
Let’s Make Love by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill
More Than Everything by Rhett Atkins (attributes love to God)
Me and You by Kenny Chesney
Then by Brad Paisley
Your Man by Josh Turner

Oldies (but Goodies)
Can’t Take My Eyes Off You by Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons
I Love How You Love Me by The Paris Sisters
I Only Have Eyes for You by The Flamingos
I Want You, I Love You, I Need You by Elvis Presley
Unchained Melody by Righteous Brothers

Pop
All for You by Imelda May (or really jazz) – my new sassy fave!
Annie’s Song by John Denver
Have You Really Ever Loved a Woman? by Bryan Adams
I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing by Aerosmith
Let’s Make a Night to Remember by Bryan Adams
Longer by Dan Fogelberg
Truly, Madly, Deeply by Savage Garden
Underneath Your Clothes by Shakira
Wanted by Hunter Hayes
Your Body Is a Wonderland by John Mayer (By the way, “damn” is used once.)

R&B
Close the Door by Teddy Pendergrass
Feel Like Makin’ Love to You by Roberta Flack
I’ll Make Love to You by Boyz II Men
Let’s Get It On by Marvin Gaye
Loving Me for Me by Christina Aguilera
Natural Woman by Aretha Franklin
Nobody by Keith Sweat and Athena Gage
That’s the Way Love Goes by Janet Jackson
Tonight I Celebrate My Love by Peabo Bryson & Roberta Flack

Rock
Baby, I Love Your Way by Peter Frampton
Fat Bottomed Girls by Queen – No!!! Don’t you dare play this for your wife. Just checking to see if you’re still paying attention.
Feel Like Making Love by Bad Company
Lay, Lady, Lay by Bob Dylan (If you’re among those who don’t like Dylan’s unique voice, Duran Duran and Magnet have covers of this song.)
Light My Fire by the Doors
Love of a Lifetime by Firehouse

Standards
Kiss by Dean Martin (and pretty much anything else by him. LOVE Dean Martin. Can you tell?)
Misty by Ella Fitzgerald
Teach Me Tonight by Dinah Washington
Unforgettable by Nat King Cole
You Give Me Fever by Peggy Lee (or try the version from Michael Buble or Bette Midler)
You Go to My Head by Frank Sinatra or Sarah Vaughan

Vocal/Jazz
All for You by Imelda May
Do That to Me One More Time by Captain & Tenille
I Want to Make Love to You by Janis Siegel
Paradise by Ana Laan
You and I by Michael Buble

I also found this gem that I wanted to share from Christian Matt Maher, Set Me as a Seal:

By the way, regarding Barry White. Yes, he has quite a few songs that would set the mood for lovemaking. I’m not crazy about his talking instead of singing so much, so I didn’t put him on the list. But feel free to go through his music and see if you find anything you like. You can try out a lot of his tunes on YouTube or iTunes.

And for the uber-brave, there’s always The Beatles’ “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road?”

Floor’s open. What would you add? Please keep it to songs that we Christians can mostly agree would be beneficial for the marriage bed. And if you want to hear the songs listed above, head to my Facebook page where I’ve provided the playlists for Spotify.

“Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.” Psalm 141:3

(If you know of any problems with the songs here, let me know. I filtered, but it’s a lot of music so I might have missed something.)