Monthly Archives: March 2014

Getting Comfortable Being Naked with Your Husband

Woman peeking past doorLower the bedroom lights. Cue the burlesque jazz music. Step into the bedroom wearing nothing but a smile. And what do you get?

Well, you either get a happy hubby, a super self-conscious wife, or more likely both.

I had a brief exchange last week with a commenter and fellow blogger about whether wives are able to disrobe and display their goods to their husbands with confidence. I admitted that it took quite a bit of time in my own marriage to get there. While my body is objectively less attractive than it was when I was younger, I’m far more confident now about sharing my body with my husband.

So how do you get to the point where you can enter your bedroom where hubby awaits with just a smile and a swagger? Here are some thoughts on sorting through our self-doubts, ladies.

He just likes naked. Whether you understand it or not, God has infused your husband with an appreciation of feminine beauty and especially nudity. As in, your nudity. The draw isn’t that you look like a supermodel. You don’t have to look like a supermodel. You are beautiful because you are all woman — which is entirely different from him and incredibly intriguing and arousing.

You have curves. You have breasts. You have softer flesh. You have tender, exciting places down below. Whether you also have ten extra pounds and some varicose veins doesn’t detract from all of the goodies he sees. We wives simply need to recognize that God created men to be visually excitable creatures, and your hubby is aroused and interested in your naked body. So show it off!

It’s the only body you have. You can spend your whole life wishing you were taller, shorter, curvier, thinner, fuller, flatter, lighter, darker, etc. But this is it — the body you have. And it’s a pretty good one. Hasn’t it served you well in many ways?

There are plenty of people with unusual challenges like paraplegia or malnutrition or terminal illness who would love to have the very body someone complains about all day long. Now I’m not trying to give you what-for just because you’re unhappy with some aspect of your body. That’s understandable, because we all have something we might want to change and the feelings that come with that simply are. But learning to appreciate what you have goes a long way toward being willing to share it with your husband.

Since this is your body, find ways to love it. Focus on your best features. Keep it healthy. Enhance what you can. Live in gratitude for your body. Get over thinking you want someone else’s, and intentionally learn to appreciate this one and only body you have.

Remember he ain’t perfect either. I find my husband very attractive, even though I objectively realize he will not be named People‘s Sexiest Man Alive any time soon. He’s my flavor of man, so I think he’s “the bomb.” Why not believe your hubby feels the same way about you?

He loves you and that impacts how he sees you — making your beauty shine and your flaws seem insignificant. Moreover, he recognizes you’re both aging, that wrinkles and gravity are taking their slow toll, and he doesn’t expect you to look like a 20 year old for the rest of your life. (Hey, some of us didn’t look our best at 20 anyway!) He knows you aren’t perfect, but he isn’t perfect either. But you still can be perfect for one another.

You’ve been through so much, what’s a little peep show? Honestly, this one has contributed a lot to my level of comfort around my husband. Truly, what’s the big deal about showing him my body after all we’ve been through together?

We’ve experienced the better and the worse, the richer and the poorer, the sickness and the health. We’ve seen each other at our strongest of times and our most vulnerable. We’ve nursed each other through stomach flu, surgeries, and grief. We are intimately connected in every other way, so why would I withhold this one way?

If you want that deep connection with your husband, you have to open yourself up. You have to trust him with your heart and with your body. You truly aren’t likely to have a fabulous marriage in every other aspect if you cannot also be vulnerable and open in the marriage bed. Chalk it up to one more thing that makes your relationship unique: You walk through life together in a way you don’t with anyone else, including the way you share your bodies with each other.

All of these deal with your attitude and approach to being naked with your husband. Next week, I’ll cover some specific tips on how to get over your trepidation and share your body more freely with your husband.

Are you comfortable being naked with your husband? If you’ve grown in this area, please share how you became more confident about sharing your body with him.

6 Things I Love about Being Married

Warning: Don’t ever send me a chain letter, because I’m that person who inevitably breaks the link. I’m terrible at playing tag that way, making sure the relay baton gets to the next person in line.

However, when an interesting blog thread comes along, I don’t mind taking the baton and running my leg of the race. So when I saw posts on what’s wonderful about being married, I decided to throw in with my own list. First, here are the posts I’ve seen so far:

Black and Married with Kids – 4 Awesome Things I Love about Being a Married Man

Generous Husband – 7 Awesome Things I Love about Being a Married Man

Generous Wife – I Love Being Married

Now here’s mine:

1. He does the stuff I’m not good at doing. My hubby takes on some tasks I’m not crazy about and he doesn’t mind so much — like mowing and edging our rather large lawn, killing any roaches that (despite our best repellent efforts) manage to squeeze their disgusting bodies into our home, getting the stuff on the high shelves that would require a step ladder or a pogo stick for me to reach, lifting anything so heavy I’d risk an emergency room visit to attempt it, and teaching our kids how to master sports I happily watch but don’t play. Likewise, I do stuff he’s not good at, and we end up doing more together than we could accomplish alone.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor” (Ecclesiastes 4:9).

2. He keeps me emotionally grounded. Not surprisingly, I’m more emotionally expressive than my husband. It’s typical in many marriages, but even more so in mine, given that I’ve fondly called my husband “Spock” here on this blog many times over. (Because he’s sooooo logical.) Having to cooperate with someone who has a different personality can help you work on the weaknesses of your own. His solid anchor personality keeps me from going overboard.

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).

3. He models to my kids what it is to be a man. I’ve studied the species of Man all my life, but there’s still a lot I don’t understand. Thankfully, my husband provides the role model of what it’s like to be a man — everything from quality burping to courteously opening doors for women to using physical strength for protection rather than violence. He doesn’t simply show himself as a man, but a godly man. Whenever I list what I love most about my husband, his personal integrity hits my Top 5.

“The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them” (Proverbs 20:7, NLT).

4. He is an amazing provider. Day in and day out, my husband goes to work and provides a living for his family. There is genuine security in knowing that my hubby’s got us covered. Moreover, want to know why I am able to devote time to this ministry? It’s because my husband pays the bills. Of course, I’d still want to do whatever I could to support and encourage healthy sexuality in marriage, but it takes time and money (yes, money) to maintain this blog, put out a newsletter, and write a book. I’m sure I could not have done as much as I have without my husband’s financial provision. It’s been a huge benefit of my marriage.

“Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8).

5. He’s fun to hang out with. Companionship is among the reasons often given for wanting to marry, and it ranks high on my list too. I enjoy spending time with my husband. We have good conversations, enjoy many of the same things, share affection, and make each other laugh. Indeed, my husband’s word play and dry humor crack me up more than just about anything.Yes, it’s an ongoing struggle to attend to this part of our relationship,when daily demands can easily intrude. But we’ve learned how important it is to prioritize our companionship.

“This is my beloved, this is my friend, daughters of Jerusalem” (Song of Songs 5:16b).

6. He sexually rocks my world. I’m still in awe that I get to sleep next to a totally hot guy — Every. Single. Night. How did that happen?! And on top of that, we make love. Deep, exciting, fulfilling, earth-shaking love. Which leaves me quivering with delight. From getting to look at his beautiful body to feeling his affectionate touches to having amazing physical intimacy, my husband sexually rocks my world. I just love this perk of marriage.

“I belong to my beloved, and his desire is for me” (Song of Songs 7:10).

What do you love about being married? What about your marriage has enhanced your life?

What’s So Great about an Orgasm?

Today, let’s celebrate the female orgasm. Why? Because it’s pretty great.

Many wives have experienced orgasm and can back me up here. Other wives who haven’t yet had the Big O, don’t sweat that you aren’t there because it sometimes takes a while to figure out, but do focus on your pleasure during sex and you may get there soon.

Why should even want an orgasm? Well, besides it physically feeling like the best amusement park ride ever, here’s some of what makes an orgasm so great:

Her pleasure. To reach orgasm, most couples must be intentional about it. A few wives do indeed orgasm very easily, but for the vast majority of wives, a sliver of foreplay immediately followed by intercourse ain’t gonna cut it. Which means that if she orgasms, the couple has placed a priority on her pleasure as well as his. In many cases, the husband is demonstrating a desire to arouse, excite, and satisfy his wife — even when it means sex takes longer than required for his own satisfaction. A wife’s orgasm shows intention and priority placed on making sure both partners experience a peak of pleasure in the marriage bed.

Pull-out

Health benefits. Research studies have long shown health benefits of sex and, more specifically, orgasm. Several of these benefits, we wives can personally confirm. Orgasm produces a flow of the bonding chemical Oxytocin, which produces feelings of connection and calm — the same feelings that help you get a good night’s sleep. Endorphins produced during orgasm increase pain tolerance, thus alleviating pain like that headache or backache or even cramps. Blood flow in the brain is increased as well, keeping your noggin healthy. Regular orgasms give a workout to the very muscles responsible for maintaining continence — which we all want to maintain, right? — muscles which weaken with age and could use some exercise.

Orgasms have also been linked to lower blood pressure, less anxiety and depression, and a more youthful appearance. While some of these benefits also result from the sex itself, orgasms seem to boost the positive effects.

Mental break. To the awe or confusion of most men, women’s brains are inundated with a thousand thoughts. At any given moment, ask me what I’m thinking, and you might get up to fifteen items that have passed through my head in the last three seconds. I’m telling you, it’s a mine field in there. However, in the middle of a fabulous orgasm, all of those tangled thoughts and constant concerns melt away. A woman’s brain is overloaded with an explosion of pleasure — resulting in a lovely mental respite, a Zen-like moment.

Asteroids arcade gameHaving grown up in the video-game-arcade era, I think about this like an old video game. Take Asteroids, for example. (Anyone else ever play that?) You control an arrow in the middle of the screen, and asteroids come at you. You must shoot and blow them up before they can crash into your little arrow. (Yeah, yeah, the graphics were simple.) At first, the asteroids come slowly, then more quickly. And that’s how my day feels. I wake up, and thoughts intrude a few at a time until I reach my normal brain function of a galaxy-full of asteroids bombarding me all day long. But during orgasm? It’s like that moment when you blow up the asteroids in a swirling frenzy, and kaboom! all of them are suddenly gone and the universe around you has gone peacefully quiet. Your body releases tension, and a beautiful calm washes over you. It’s quite a lovely feeling, that mental respite.

God’s beautiful design. When God created people and marriage, He had innumerable choices of how to design the sexual act. Look around at the rest of nature, and you can see some of the options. When it came to His people, though, He seemed to have really thought it through. Considering His design, the orgasm is one part of an amazing way to link a husband and wife in sexual intercourse.

When a wife’s arousal increases, she tends to desire more frequent thrusting and deeper penetration. When a husband thrusts more frequently and penetrates more deeply, more sensitive areas of her vagina are contacted, thus increasing her excitement even more. When her husband closes in on his climax, his penis pulses with the release of ejaculate; and when the wife closes in on climax, her vagina contracts with spasms; and both of these actions encourage the other’s completion and sensations of pleasure. It’s a dance of body parts, each doing their thing, but interwoven in a rather astounding way. Her climax facilitates his climax, and his climax facilitates hers. What a beautiful design.

Now does this happen every time? No. But part of God’s set-up here is a lifetime together to learn one another’s bodies and godly attitudes that make it far more likely for both of you to enjoy sex and experience climax. So the longer you’re married, the more you attend to one another’s pleasure, the more you live out God’s intended plan, the more likely you are to perfect the dance. You get the steps down, you feel each other’s rhythm, you synchronize your movements, and you almost move as one.

So what do you think is so great about having an orgasm? What benefits do you experience?

And if you’re struggling with having an orgasm at all, here are some other posts that might help: Orgasm: If Only I Could O, 3 Tips on Having a Great Orgasm, and Beyond the Single Orgasm.

Apparently, I Snore

When I picture myself sleeping, I look exactly like this in my brain:

Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty

I’m peaceful, serene, quiet, and ladylike — a slumbering princess.

But my bubble has been burst rather noisily lately. Ever since I was informed that my light, sometimes snoring has become loud, almost-every-time snoring. My husband gave me this news delicately — well, as delicately as someone I fondly call “Spock” can deliver bad news — but my kids readily confirmed his report.

And then it was further verified during a recent women’s retreat hotel stay, when I queried a roommate and she had to admit that my overnight growling had indeed reached her ears. *sigh*

So what’s a lady to do?

Indeed, plenty of couples deal with this very issue. While husbands are often accused of snoring like freight trains, plenty of wives engage in their own noise-making while they sleep. And that snoring can disrupt a spouse’s ability to get to sleep or remain asleep at night. Moreover, I suspect those rumbling sounds trumpeting through my nose at night don’t exactly scream, “Who’s your lover, baby!” It’s a wonder my husband still finds me sexy, when I snore like this Disney character instead:

Dwarf

Sneezy Dwarf (I think)

I consulted the handy-dandy WebMD for information on what exactly causes snoring. Of course, the noise itself occurs when the flow of air through the mouth and nose are blocked in some way. But here are some reasons why that might happen:

  • Obstructed nasal passages — which might occur only during allergy seasons or a sinus infection. Or it could result from a deviated septum or nasal polyp.
  • Poor muscle tone — not your biceps, though. We’re talking too-relaxed throat and tongue, which can collapse into the airway. Besides deep sleep, alcohol, and sleeping pills, normal aging diminishes that muscle tone. (Oh joy.)
  • Bulky throat tissue — which can be a problem for people who have large tonsils or adenoids, or those who are simply overweight.
  • Long soft palate and/or uvula — who knew? The uvula is that dangling thing in the back of your throat, and apparently when it and your palate vibrate and bump against each other, the airway becomes obstructed.

If you know what’s causing your snoring, perhaps you can address it. For instance, if you’re carrying way too many extra pounds, losing some might open up your airways. If you have a nasal polyp, a doctor can likely address that issue and help you shrink it. If you’re drinking alcohol too close to bedtime, you can drink it earlier or set it aside altogether, for the sake of better sleep for you and your spouse.

A few issues, though, you may be stuck with, like aging. If you’ve found the Fountain of Youth, let me know, but I suspect we’re all simply stuck with getting older year by year by year. I love the wisdom that comes with my ever-increasing age, but not so much this snoring part. Also, when you have allergies or a sinus infection, it is what it is — annoying and temporary.

Although I do wonder if I have naturally poor muscle tone in my throat and tongue, are there exercises I can do? What would those look like? A-one and a-two and a-three…

Some people swear by sleeping with a mouth guard or nasal strips or with a certain type of pillow. Side sleeping is less likely to result in snoring, so some suggest taping tennis balls to the back of your jammies for a few nights to retrain yourself to sleep on your side.

Or you can go the more standard route of having your spouse shove you a few times in the middle of the night to turn you over and stop your snoring. That’s been my approach to silence Spock’s occasional snoring.

His approach with me? I guess we’re working on one. Because I’d honestly like to stop. I really don’t think that snoring like a saber-toothed tiger in my marriage bed does wonders for my sex appeal.

Thus I’m inviting your collective marital wisdom!

Have you struggled with one or both spouses snoring in your marriage? What steps have you taken to address it? What suggestions can you share with others who are trying to stop the snore fest and get their sexy back?

Not Quite Right Messages about Sex

I’m a big advocate for speaking up more about sexuality in our churches. While I understand the need to maintain the privacy of the marriage bed, the topic of sex itself is dealt with rather often and frankly in the Bible. So I’m happy when Christians broach the subject and try to teach what sex in marriage should look like.

Unfortunately, at times, I’ve heard some not-quite-right messages about sex conveyed at our church gatherings. I’ve been thinking lately about those and what my issues were with the teaching. Here are a few:

Your husband needs to have sex, so just give in. On the face of it, perhaps you think I’ve said something similar on my blog. Indeed I encourage lower-drive wives to engage in sex because their husbands do naturally desire this form of intimacy. However, the underlying message in this statement is that sex is something for a husband, not for both spouses, and that a wife is making some big sacrifice to surrender her body to her husband.

Well-meaning women have suggested that men cannot control their urges, so we must help them out by giving them a God-approved outlet. Okay, I get that, but sometimes we make men seem base and immature and overlook the pleasure and importance of sex to wives.

God created sex for both of you — husbands and wives. Regardless of who is the higher or lower-drive spouse, you both benefit from healthy sexual intimacy. You both can — and should — experience pleasure, connection, and generosity in the bedroom. It’s not about sacrificing yourself on the altar of martyrdom to have sex with your husband; it’s about enjoying this special gift from God for your marriage.

If there’s no specific verse against a sexual activity, it’s absolutely okay. Yet again, this one sounds good. Didn’t all those Pharisees get into big trouble with Jesus for adding regulations to God’s Word? So we want to be careful about adding restrictions where none exist.

But honestly, this makes no sense to me. I cannot find a verse specifically denouncing cocaine use, but it’s clearly not okay. We make judgments all the time in life about what’s good and not good based on our understanding of biblical principles. Not adding restrictions, but applying our understanding of God to current situations. And as we deepen our knowledge of the Word and God Himself, we can better address circumstances and questions that were never specifically raised in biblical times.

Using an extreme example in the sexual realm, where’s the verse against erotic asphyxiation? Hopefully, no one would suggest that suffocation as part of sexual arousal has God beaming down at the participants with a proud grin. We understand at some level that some sexual practices, while not specifically denounced in the Bible, are not God-honoring. Now of course, we can debate which sexual practices those are, but freedom in Christ does not mean freedom from the application of reason, conscience, and love.

Give him what he wants, and he’ll give you what you want. Once again, there’s a shred of truth here that we are certainly more disposed to treat others well when they treat us well. If a husband helps a wife out around the house, most would be more inclined to have the time, energy, and eagerness to make love. But the message often conveyed with this statement is that sex should be used as a bartering chip.

I’ve heard many Christian women happily claim they use sex as a reward for their husbands doing what they want. That puts all the cards in the wife’s hands, diminishes her pleasure and involvement, and makes for duty sex — which is not as good for either of you. Sex is meant to be enjoyed for its own sake, even if a few items on the honey-do list remain undone.

I’ve joked with my own husband that I can’t get him to do anything because he knows I won’t forgo our sexual intimacy long enough to effectively dangle that carrot. Which is a good thing. Because when he does something for me, it’s simply because he loves me. Exactly the way it should be in the bedroom as well.

Thankfully, our teaching in the church about sexuality has definitely improved in the course of my lifetime. I pray that we will continue to make great strides to share good messages about God’s gift of sexuality for marriage.

What not-quite-right messages about sex have you heard at church or church-related gatherings? Where do you think our teaching about sexual intimacy in marriage can improve?