Monthly Archives: February 2017

Should You Track the Frequency of Sex in Your Marriage?

How often do you have sex? It’s a question some spouses can easily answer, and some not so easily.

If you read my short story, “After the Baby,” in Behind Closed Doors: Five Marriage Stories, the main character is a husband who knows exactly how long it’s been since he and his wife made love. Because it’s been too long. And I get that in comments and emails from time to time — a spouse who can state with absolute accuracy how many times they’ve had sex with their mate in the last month or year.

Yet maybe we think we know, and don’t. Spouses are not always on the same page about how often sex is happening in their marriage.

I found it interesting that Jimmy Kimmel Live has grabbed couples off the street and asked how many times they’d had sex in the last month. Check out one clip from the show:

One couple matched each other’s answers, but the other didn’t. Why the discrepancy?

It made me think about the suggestion I’ve heard that a spouse track how often they make love in their marriage. Is this a good idea?

Calendar being marked with a pencil

I used to think probably not. Because this practice is often suggested by someone who thinks they’re not getting enough, and they’re basically looking for evidence (translation: ammunition) to make the case that they’re being cheated.

But I then I decided to test it out myself. Unbeknownst to my husband (Hi, love! Are you reading this?), I marked on my calendar the days we made love for about a month. And you know what? It was more often than I thought it would be.

As the higher-drive spouse right now in our marriage, maybe I was a little more focused on when it wasn’t happening than when it was. And isn’t that really a bit short-sighted? Perhaps even selfish?

Now that I have a better sense of our routine, I can relax a little more. Yes, I sometimes want a higher frequency of sexual intimacy, but we’re doing pretty well. And putting those instances on the calendar, I could connect what might have gotten in the way of us making love or, better yet, what made it a good time to make love.

My general conclusion was that loaded calendar days kept us from connecting in many ways, including physically, while quality time together often ended with lovemaking. Hardly a stunning revelation, but it was helpful to see in my own life.

If you can approach tracking the frequency as an interesting experiment, perhaps it would be worthwhile to see how often you’re making love. I suspect what would happen is what occurred in the video. Some couples would find that they’re having sex about as often as they thought, and then they can decide whether that’s enough for their marriage or if they need to make some calendar changes.

Other spouses will discover a discrepancy — probably because lower-drive spouses think they’re doing it more often than they are, and higher-drive spouses think they’re doing it less often than they are. For this second couple, it could be eye-opening to discover the truth of what’s happening in your relationship. And it might pinpoint an attitudinal or behavioral change you need to make for the wellbeing of your marriage.

Having actual data could help you avoid making unfounded accusations about what’s happening in your sex life. After all, one of the Ten Commandments is “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor” (Exodus 20:16). And let’s face it: Some spouses have falsely accused their spouse of pursuing more or giving less sex than they actually are. If you’re tracking to uncover the truth, maybe this idea would work for you.

Have you ever tracked the frequency of sex in your marriage? Were you surprised by the results? Do you consider this a good or a bad idea?

Related Post: How Often Should You Have Sex?

A Prayer about Sexual Temptation

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the struggles people have with sexual temptation. Whether it’s a porn habit/addiction, reading or watching erotica, emotional affairs or adultery, or lusting after others, too many marriages face troubling situations and the appeal of temptation that has damaged, or will damage, their marriage bed.

In keeping with my Praying More goal for 2017, I’m posting a prayer for the sexual intimacy in our marriages at the end of each month. This time, I invite you to pray with me about the sexual temptation we and our husbands face.

A Prayer about Sexual Temptation with woman's hands holding heart

Dear Lord,

We know you are listening. You have invited us to cast our anxiety on you, because you care for us (1 Peter 5:7). We are weary and burdened and need the rest that only Your Son can provide (Matthew 11:28). Because we are under attack, our husbands are under attack, our marriages are under attack.

We are under attack, our husbands are under attack, our marriages are under attack. Click To Tweet

Sexual temptation is constant in our world. We cannot turn on a television, walk through a mall, or visit the grocery store without being exposed to lies Satan wants us to believe about sex. The world promises that sex is about our own selfish pleasure, that flesh is a commodity, that consent is all that matters, and that Christian ideals about sex in marriage are antiquated, irrelevant, even prude.

But You created sex to be a beautiful gift in marriage. Please prick our hearts when we stray from Your superior design for intimacy. We invite the Holy Spirit to convict us when we have lost our way, whether through our actions, our words, or our thoughts. Help us to take every thought captive, Lord, and make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).

Strengthen our husbands as they struggle with visual temptations and the false messages of the world. You said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18). I don’t want my husband to be alone in this battle; rather, I want to be his helper.

Mold my heart so that I can be a safe place for him to admit his struggles. Give me courage to fight alongside him. Help me to be a constant support so that he can gain true victory. Give me your eyes to see him as you do — a sinner in a battle for his heart, soul, and effectiveness in the world. May his problems become our problems, as we live into your one flesh design for our marriage.

But wives are also prone to sexual temptation. You know my struggles and how Satan wants me to wander from my marriage and Your plan. Lord, help me to be in this world, but never of this world. Protect me from the evil one (John 17:14-16). Help me to avert my eyes, to guard my heart (Proverbs 4:23), and to flee from sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:18).

Where I have been blind to my faults, show me where they are. Expose the lies I have bought into. Help me to align my desires with Yours. Prod me to take action to rid myself of temptations in my own home, to confess my sin to someone who can help me (James 5:16), and to seek professional assistance if I need it.

Put in place the resources and mentors my husband and I need to deal with the struggles we face. Lead us in Your righteousness (Psalm 5:8).

Oh Father, my heart also aches that many — far too many — spouses were mere children when the “father of lies” (John 8:44) spread his poison. They were exposed to porn and other sexual temptations at a tender age. We know how deeply You care for our little ones and the harsh fate You’ve declared for those who cause them to stumble (see Matthew 18:1-6).

Help me to see those exposed so young, who yet struggle as adults, as victims as well as sinners. But You alone can give us victory and trample our enemies (Psalm 60:11-12). Activate me and other Christians to oppose this preying on our children whenever we see it. Use us for Your purposes, to save not only this generation but the next. 

Above all, help us to seek the best in our marriages and our marriage beds. Let my own marriage bed set the standard for what sexual intimacy is and should be. Bless our sexual union so richly that we lose our taste for anything but Your perfect plan. Infuse our hearts with sexual longing only for one another.

All this I pray in Jesus’ name,

Amen.

Q&A with J: “My Husband Is Addicted to Porn”

Today’s question is an important one. And it’s very straightforward. Here’s what the wife asks:

My husband is addicted to porn. I have no one to talk to — where do I go?

Q&A with J- My Husband Is Addicted to Porn - sad woman with hands over face

Even in this short question, I can sense the pain, urgency, and despair. When it comes to pornography, let’s be clear about two things:

  1. Too many men battle this temptation and feel trapped by a horrible habit that they don’t want to continue, yet feel insufficient to overcome.
  2. It’s cheating on your marriage. What was supposed to remain entirely within marriage — sexual pleasure and satisfaction — is being met elsewhere.

As much as I feel for the addicted porn viewer and their struggle, it’s no wonder that wives who discover their husband’s porn use feel betrayed. According to Jesus, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27-28).

...it's no wonder that wives who discover their husband's porn use feel betrayed. Click To Tweet

Porn isn’t the stray glance or public temptation of scantily dressed women; it’s the intentional consumption of sexually charged materials for the purpose of lusting and receiving sexual pleasure.

Yet for some, many perhaps, it is also like an addiction. As I said, they know it’s bad, often they want to quit, but the temptation is so strong. If you’ve ever been addicted to anything — drugs, smoking, coffee, soda, etc. — you understand how the head knowledge and the heart desire to quit something are constantly battling with the baser need you have to feed the hungry beast. You’ve experienced the longing, followed by the dopamine and adrenaline rush, and your body tells you to keep that loop going.

The point is that when one spouse is habitually using porn, both of you are suffering. Your marriage is suffering. It’s easy to feel like you’re on opposite sides. So one major goal you need to have is to get on the same sideIt will take both of you working together on this issue and your marriage. He needs to do his part, and you need to support him.

To the question: I have no one to talk to — where do I go? The best response I think I can give is to point you to resources. Following are a few great posts addressing the issue of a husband’s use of porn.

First Steps in Battling Pornography from OysterBed7

Discovering Your Husband’s Porn Use from To Love Honor and Vacuum (guest post from Hopeful Wife Today)

What Should You Do If Your Husband Looks at Porn? from Authentic Intimacy

Pornography Destroys These Things In A Wife from Unveiled Wife

Unveiled Wife also has a list of Resources to Educate Yourself on Pornography

Q&A with J: When Your Husband Falls Off the Porn Wagon here on my blog

You should also look into filtering software, such as Covenant Eyes. By the way, Covenant Eyes has a blog with helpful articles as well.

As far as talking to someone and getting real help as the wife of a porn-addicted husband, XXXchurch provides many resources for overcoming porn addiction and walking through that experience with your spouse. They have small groups you can participate in online, as well as an entire program for wives called Recover. (If someone has been through this program, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.)

Some of the churches in your area might also offer programs for porn recovery, including outreach to spouses. Check around and see what’s available; you might be surprised to discover useful resources in your own neck-of-the-woods.

I don’t know whether your husband confessed the porn addiction or you simply discovered it, whether he is remorseful or recalcitrant, and whether he wants to seek help or you feel alone in this matter. Of course, this will all be easier if he is repentant and willing to reach out for help.

If he is not cooperative, you need to be willing to bring it up to someone in your church congregation. Of course this is difficult, and scary, but you cannot allow your marriage to disintegrate. Nor is it any favor to your husband to allow him to continue in sin. Likely he recognizes that his porn habit is taking a toll on himself and his marriage, even if he doesn’t admit it right away.

Many Christians steeped in pornography have a hard time getting help because they feel such shame even admitting their problem. It’s hard to bring out in the open the worst parts of ourselves and ask for help and healing.

But Luke 8:17 says: “For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.

God already sees and knows. As long as you hide, however, you cannot be healed. Consider it like this: Would you want a life-saving operation to be conducted by your surgeon in the dark? We have to step into the light so that all our struggles can be seen and our Healer can make us, and our marriage, whole again.

Be wise about whom you bring into your confidence. But consider that this may be a step you need to take.

I pray that the resources I provided will point you in the right direction. And may God bring you strength, comfort, and hope.

Why You Should Try This Sex Position

If you listened to our recently launched podcast, Sex Chat for Christian Wives, episode two, you heard myself, Bonny of OysterBed7, Gaye of Calm.Healthy.Sexy, and Chris of The Forgiven Wife talk about the benefits of trying various sexual positions in the marriage bed. I’ve written about positions as well here on my blog and in my book, Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design.

But at some point, that podcast conversation got to this exchange:

I’ve been mulling that moment over many times since. Funny as it was at the time, it really is a problem for many Christian wives to try sex “doggy-style.” (In case you’re unfamiliar with that position, you can find out more here, courtesy of christianfriendlysexpositions.com.)

Why You Should Try This Sex Position with sketched bed in background

First, let’s talk about the arguments against this position. I’ve heard, from various Christian wives over the years, two main protests about incorporating it into their sexual repertoire.

1. It’s named “doggy-style.” And when you hear that, you immediately picture a female dog in heat and a male dog going at it with all the intimacy that a Super Bowl viewer feels for his next potato chip. (Yum, that was great — let’s move on.)

Your brain says, This is how animals copulate. And you don’t want to be an animal. You’re human, with human emotion and depth and desires. How can you let yourself be treated like the stray bitch* in the neighborhood?

It’s true that the vast majority of animals have sex facing the same direction, but primates such as bonobos and orangutans also mate face-to-face and dolphins mate belly-to-belly. And there’s a rather funny depiction of other animal sex positions in this popularly shared post: What If Humans Had Sex like the Rest of the Animal Kingdom? It doesn’t make you an animal to use a sexual position used by pets, livestock, or the wild kingdom. Because so much else is entirely different — especially the emotion, communication, and intimacy involved in sex in marriage. That, not the position, distinguishes your very human marriage bed.

2. He’s looking at my butt. Yes, I get it. Especially if your derrière is not your favorite part of your body. But even more so, I’ve heard women wonder why a husband wouldn’t want to look her in the face. Isn’t that far more intimate?

Actually, there’s something quite intimate about giving your husband access to view your body from all angles. Men like feminine curves, and from behind, you’ve got a lot of curvy-ness for his eye to appreciate. Indeed, I’ve heard a man compare a woman’s bum to an upside-down heart shape, which is quite a lovely thought and makes it understandable why a husband might find that appealing.

Sex is the whole kit-and-caboodle. And you’re probably not eye-to-eye the entire time, no matter what you do. So perhaps you can invest in face-to-face moments, but then not worry about the view from behind when you switch to this position.

But why should you try the rear-entry position? Even if it’s okay to engage in, what are the advantages to this position? Let me give you a rundown of some benefits.

1. You’re more likely to orgasm. Originally, I had this lower down on the list, and then I thought, This should get top billing! Having your husband enter from behind means that he’s more likely to stimulate the G-spot and could even make contact with your Skene’s glands (which, while not orgasmic per se, is an interesting sensation). He can also provide direct clitoral stimulation by reaching around and touching you, or you can stimulate the clitoris yourself. Point being: You’re more likely to feel pleasure and sexual satisfaction.

I could end this post right here. Isn’t that a sufficient reason to give it a shot? But…

2. He can thrust deeper. Your husband, and you, might enjoy this position as well because he can go deeper. The angle, especially if you tilt your bum upward, permits him to slide more easily and deeply into the vagina. Even though you don’t necessarily feel the entire length of his penis inside you (see here), it’s a pleasurable experience for him to go all the way in and to have his hips touch you when his penis enters completely.

3. Other areas can be stimulated during intercourse. As I said before, your husband, or you, can stimulate your clitoris during intercourse from this position. But he can also reach around and fondle your breasts and caress your derrière. And you can reach down underneath and stroke his testicles or the length of penis that extends behind his testicles. Yes, other positions allow access to these areas, but you might give rear-entry a try and see what you can touch and pleasure.

4. It’s more comfortable for women with a tilted uterus. I’ve mentioned this before — that my uterus was rather tilted before childbirth, making rear entry a more comfortable position. Honestly, I can’t tell you why this is true, because your husband is only entering your vagina, but there is a sense of pressure on that tilted uterus if the position isn’t a good one. So if you have a tilted, or tipped, uterus, you might want to try this position to see if it doesn’t work better for you.

5. It’s a good option for pregnant women. When you’re seven or eight months pregnant, your belly is in the way. But, unless your doctor says otherwise, sex doesn’t need to be off the table. You can still have sex, but you’ll need to change positions. Woman-on-top might work, but rear-entry is also a great choice.

6. Did I mention you might orgasm more easily? Oh yeah, I guess I did.

Anyway, if you haven’t been a fan of “doggy-style” or haven’t tried it in a long time, why not give it a shot? If it makes you nervous, remind yourself that it isn’t animalistic — it’s creative. And he likes the way you look, from the front and from behind. Moreover, the pleasure he can bring you from this position will make you both feel good.

And yes, I do think we should rename this position. Doggy-style, rear-entry, unicorns and rainbows … there’s got to be something better. You’re welcome to make a suggestion in the comments.

(*Do not write me hate mail. “Bitch” is an accurate, appropriate word in this usage.)

Praying for Grace in Your Marriage

Praying for Grace in Your Marriage with woman's hands holding heart

I talk a lot on my blog about how to address sexual issues with your spouse, how to speak about your longing for physical intimacy, how to pursue a stronger bond in the marriage bed. It’s often about making sure your interactions with your spouse are calm, unselfish, well-considered, loving, and respectful.

If only I took all of my own advice. Rather — like you — I have those moments in marriage when the stress of the day and the frustration of the moment and the pain of my heart all come together and I blurt out something completely unhelpful. Even though I know that “a gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1), I opt for the harsh word.

Or maybe I keep the words in my mouth, but they come out in an eye roll or a snort or turning away. I’ve also been known to mutter to myself, the tone of which could hardly be mistaken for anything but complaints.

This is not my pattern, but it is a failing of mine from time to time. And probably for you too. Likely you say something in a way you didn’t mean to say it, or you just lose your composure in a bad moment and declare something like, “For heaven’s sake, I need sex and you owe it to me!”

Or maybe it’s your spouse who does that.

In marriage, sometimes we blow it.

We shouldn’t be surprised. Romans 3:23 says that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” And 1 John 1:8 says, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” As my father used to say, “Even perfect people use pencils with erasers.” Because we all make mistakes. We all fail. We all sin.

And so, we all need grace.

Grace can be defined as “the unmerited favor of God toward man” (Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology). But we have in our Christian vernacular begun to talk more and more about giving one another grace, that unmerited favor. Certainly, as we seek to be more like Christ, we would want to approach people as Christ does — with an attitude of grace.

How do we adopt an attitude of grace? We pray for it.

Hebrews 4:16 says: “Let us approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Our time of need may be grace we need from the Father, or grace we need to give to our spouse. But when we approach God’s throne, we come there in prayer.

We ask God to help us show favor toward our spouse, even when they blow it. Just as we’d like our spouse to show favor toward us when we blow it.

So instead of immediately reacting to what your spouse says, or does, or how your interpret the words and actions, you take a step back. Feeling a sense of peace as you let God’s grace fill you, you can then ask questions about what your mate really meant. Or simply consider the possibility that their day went badly and they’re super-stressed. You can stop taking everything personally, like how he left things out that you would have put away. You begin to see better interpretations. You remember that your beloved chose you, loves you, and is still here with you — and that counts for something.

Looking at this in terms of your marriage bed, even a sexual rejection is often not personal. It’s not about you. It’s about the bad day he had, the exhaustion and stress he’s feeling, the testosterone that isn’t working quite like it used to, or maybe even the insecurity of feeling he can’t satisfy you completely. It could be about sexual baggage your spouse still carrying. Or that wayward glance at a pretty woman in the restaurant, while a poor choice, might have been a momentary lapse back to his pre-devoted-to-you days and he might be internally kicking himself for that one. Even in that heated argument when he finally erupts and says what you think he really believes deep down — that all he really wants from you is sex, sex, sex — it might not be what you think. It might just be his foot-in-mouth, we-all-sin moment.

How about we give each other some grace?

How about we pray for grace for our spouse?

How about we give each other some grace? How about we pray for grace for our spouse? Click To Tweet

One way to start is simply to ask God to help you see your beloved with the same unmerited favor God gives His children: Lord, help me to see my husband the way you see him. Help me to show grace in this situation and in our marriage. Give me your eyes, your heart, your love for my beloved. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

When your spouse blows it, try something like that. Pray for grace. You might be surprised how that will help you see things in a different light.

♥   ♥   ♥

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