Monthly Archives: February 2017

Q&A with J: Sexual Wants Vs. Needs

Let’s talk about needs and desires. It’s the subject of a question from one of my readers, a husband who told me about a discussion he had with his wife. He’d expressed what he thought was a sexual need, but she did not see it that way.

His email then came to the crux of the question below:

Ultimately, the bigger issue – I think – that our conversation brought up was the question of what is a need verses what is a desire. They are so close, but yet subtly different; for me fulfillment of needs nurtures me at the core, the other doesn’t effect me emotionally if it does not come to fruition. I personally can think of sexual/intimate activity that I need on a regular basis; and there are other activities that I think are fun, exciting, erotic, and amazing — but I don’t *need* them, but definitely like them. So — how do we determine our needs (even as they change!) verses our desires (even as these change too! — and maybe become needs?) and how do we effectively fill those needs for each other when we don’t see it the same way.

Blog title + WANTS and NEEDS on balance scale

I’m going to say something really unpopular, but here I go anyway: You don’t even need sex.

For a marriage and sex blogger, that seems like a crazy thing to proclaim. I mean, why would I spend so much time trying to convince wives, and couples, to nurture the sexual intimacy in their marriage if they don’t really need it anyway? Am I wasting my time?

By no means! I believe deeply in the significance of sacred and sizzling sex in the marriage bed. I’ve even said it’s inaccurate to call sex “the icing on the cake,” when it’s actually an ingredient — an important one.

However, I remember taking the popular His Needs/Her Needs marriage course, which has been revamped and is now presented as Dynamic Marriage. While there was a lot of good that came from that experience, I was always bothered by the potential of one spouse looking at the other and declaring about anything they want, “This is my emotional need. Now meet it.” Indeed, that wasn’t the core message of the course, but there was the potential for misuse.

After all, the first definition of need in Merriam-Webster is: “necessary duty.” Ugh, who wants to have a marriage filled with “necessary duty”? Of course we have obligations, but what we really desire is partnership, companionship, intimacy.

However, a couple of definitions down, we get: “a physiological or psychological requirement for the well-being of an organism.” Okay, that sounds more like it. And I would then agree that sex is a requirement for the well-being of the marriage.

Sex is a requirement for the well-being of the marriage. Click To Tweet

But when you talk to your spouse, which definition of need are they hearing: You owe me? or This is good for our marriage? I fear too many spouses hear the former.

And in truth, I don’t think you need any sexual activity in particular or even sex itself. That is, we don’t individually need to have sex. Yes, I know it’s listed on Maslow’s famous Hierarchy of Needs:

Pic credit: Wikimedia commons, Factoryjoe

But it’s not like food or water or shelter from harsh elements. You can survive without sex. So proclaiming that you have a need for some particular sexual activity can come across as exaggerated, or even melodramatic.

Besides, if you look back at Maslow’s Hierarchy, you’ll see that “sexual intimacy” is listed in the Love/Belonging category. So even if sexual release is a need, in marriage we’re aiming for sexual intimacy. That’s what God wants us to have.

I’m really drawing from my own life and marriage on this one. Years ago, when things were rough in our relationship, I thought I needed a lot of stuff my husband wasn’t giving me. And I wondered: Why isn’t he listening? Doesn’t he care about my needs? Doesn’t he want to meet my needs and show me love?

I look back at that wife and want to say, “Oh, get over yourself.” Had I shifted to expressing my wants, longings, and desires and then taking care to figure out and meet his wants, longings, and desires, I’d have been in a way better place.

The truth is that all my actual needs are met with basic physical care and safety and salvation through Jesus Christ. Everything else resides in Perksville.

All my needs are met with basic physical care and safety and salvation through Jesus Christ. Click To Tweet

Thankfully, we have a generous God who wants your marriage bed to be squarely in the neighborhood of Perksville, Population 2. But if you express what you want sexually as a want, as a longing for greater sexual intimacy with your spouse, can you see that you might actually feel more grateful and encouraged and excited when your mate obliges?

I’m not saying that sex isn’t a need for your marriage. It clearly should be a part of your relationship, an important part, and neglecting one another’s desires can negatively impact the well-being of your marriage.

But it’s not a need for you. Or me. Or any individual.

So getting back to the original question of how to determine whether something is a need or a desire … I don’t know that it really matters. At least when you’re trying to ask for or convince your spouse to do something sexually. Using “I need this” language isn’t likely to get the response you want.

A better approach is “I desire you,” followed by what you want and how that makes you feel more connected to your beloved. Some acts will make you feel more connected, and some less so. And that distinction you can also express.

You could even use a How Important Is This to Me/You/Our Marriage? scale. Imagine a 1 being Not At All and a 10 being Makes Me Feel One Flesh. Then you can each rank on that scale how much you want, desire, long for a particular activity. That gets the message across to your spouse.

And if you want to use the word need — and it’s not a bad word at all! — then use it about your marriage. “Our marriage needs more attention to sexual intimacy. Our marriage needs more sexual frequency. Our marriage needs more pleasure.”

Because I agree that your marriage wants and needs sex. But as for you, and me, and everyone else individually? Maybe we should get over ourselves. We can live without, though we are blessed that God wants us to live abundantly — even in the marriage bed.

What Makes You Feel Sexy?

I’ve been listening to Spanish radio.

This is an odd choice because I speak only a little Spanish. But I was looking for musical playlists for when I write and discovered that listening to a song in a foreign language worked well. I enjoyed the tunes, but wasn’t distracted by the lyrics. Then I fell in love with a few specific songs, checked their translations to make sure they weren’t explicit, and downloaded those to my MP3 player.

So last night, as I was listening to Juan Magan, Gente de Zona, etc. and salsa dancing in my kitchen, I thought, This makes me feel sexy. It wasn’t the lyrics, but the way I was moving my body to the music. It put me in touch with the shape of my body, my feminine form, and how it moves. It made me appreciate God’s handiwork and mirrored the body awareness I have when making love with my husband.

I got to thinking: What other activities might make a wife feel sexy? Do we know?

With a woman's dancing feet

It’s a good question. Because maybe dancing doesn’t do it for you. Maybe it’s something else.

It’s likely several things.

I’m not talking about what gets you aroused. (Although it might.) Rather, I’m thinking about what makes you feel good about your body, your sensuality, your sexuality. Things like bubble baths, body massages, lotion applied to your skin by your husband, sleeping naked, some forms of exercise, aromatherapy, etc.

Those little things we do for ourselves can put us into better contact with our bodies and make us feel more sexy both in the moment and in our marriages. We come away feeling like a woman who is worth making love to and who can bask in physical pleasure.

I’ve talked plenty before about awakening your senses. When readying yourself for sexual intimacy, I believe it’s very important to do two things:

1. Relax. I’m not talking about that feeling you get right before you fall asleep, when your whole body is a jellied lump of flesh. This isn’t the last part of the yoga class where you’re supposed to lie there and imagine some peaceful setting and let all your muscles loosen. (I can’t do that yoga thing anyway, because right after I picture that placid lake, three water skiers go careening by, followed by a motor boat and a party pontoon. But maybe that’s just me…) I’m talking about stepping away from the daily demands of your life, taking time for self-care, and easing into a different role. Relaxing your brain. Which is a challenge for many women.

And I can honestly say that when I’m listening to music and dancing, my brain is not mulling over my to-do list or caught up in the latest political controversy. I’m pretty relaxed. I feel the same with certain other activities, like soaking in a hot bath while reading a book or digging my feet into the sand on the beach. These relaxing activities also make me aware of my body, which brings me to…

2. Awaken. Seemingly paradoxical, you have to awaken other parts of yourself — the parts that feed into feeling sexy. This isn’t just your lady parts, gals. Rather, it includes your five senses. With special attention paid to your skin, which has like a billion receptors or something.

You also want to lean into appreciating your femininity, whatever that looks like for you. I used to feel not-so-feminine, because I wasn’t quite as elegant or delicate as many women I knew. But you have all the features of a woman, and there is plenty to embrace about your own femininity. You have curves — yes, whether you’re a hourglass figure, an athletic build, or apple-shaped, you have curves. Own them, love them. You have sensitivities in places where men don’t, and you should enjoy those. You are built differently and beautifully.

Song of Songs says, “Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires” (3:5, 8:4). But when you’re married, Love desires to be awakened. So go ahead and arouse it, awaken it, embrace it.

Figure out what makes you feel sexy. Then do those things.

For myself, I’ve decided I need to dance more. But I’ve also made a list of other activities that help me appreciate my body and my sex appeal to my husband. Just my own list of 5 Ways to Feel Sexy, with actions I should take more often and more enthusiastically. I suspect my marriage bed benefit.

How about you make your own list? Any ideas to share with others?

LAUNCHING OFFICIALLY TOMORROW! CLICK BANNER TO LEARN MORE.

Sex Chat for Christian Wives Has Launched!

♥ Happy Valentine’s Day! ♥

Whether you’re celebrating in style or simply displaying everyday romance to your spouse, may your day be an enjoyable one!

And if you’re looking for something to spark your mood or just help you on path toward greater sexual intimacy, it’s our official launch day! Sex Chat for Christian Wives podcast has gone live, and we have three episodes you can listen to right now.
SCFCW We've Launched with Sketched Rocket

We’re pretty excited about our content!

Episode 1 is on Getting in the Mood.

Episode 2 is about Sexual Positions.

Episode 3 addresses 50 Shades of Here-We-Go-Again.

A few have mentioned our not-yet-stellar audio quality. Yes, I realize that there is some background noise and reverberation. And I’m sorry for the inconvenience on your end.

Frankly, we are four working-from-home wives with limited time and a limited budget, and we are still gathering recording savvy, audio editing skills, and equipment to improve our sound. We genuinely hope you’ll stick with us as we continue to develop. Much like our blogs — Hot Holy & Humorous, The Forgiven Wife, OysterBed7and Calm.Healthy.Sexy. — we started with what we had and will prioritize becoming more and more professional in our presentation. But the substance itself is well worth the listen. And I can tell our recordings are improving with the knowledge we’ve gained.

Remember to connect with Sex Chat for Christian Wives through any/all of the following:

Website
iTunes
SoundCloud
Stitcher
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
Instagram

More episodes are coming!

And thanks to you who have already listened. It’s pretty amazing to look and see that, as of publishing this post, we’ve already had 1270 downloads!

We pray that we will find the audience who needs to hear our message about the gift of sexual intimacy in marriage as God intended. We want to reach as many wives as possible.

Praying for Resources for Your Marriage Bed

I’m so honored to be one of the resources my readers turn to for help regarding the sexual intimacy in their marriage. I consider it a compliment, but also an awesome responsibility. What I always hope with my posts is that I say something that helps a wife or a couple to improve or nurture their intimacy, not just sexual — but intimacy throughout their marriage, often expressed physically in the marriage bed.

But I remember when my marriage seemed as likely to survive as the possibility of Big Foot knocking on my door to confirm his existence. I was on the constant hunt for resources that would help me sort out what was happening, why things had gotten so bad, how we could find our way back, and what I could do to save our marriage.

I prayed to find the right resources.

And I think it’s a good idea for you to pray the same.

Praying for Resources for Your Marriage Bed with woman's hands holding a heart

Pray for confidantes. At times, you need a friend who can help you sort through your challenges, your feelings, your next steps. You may not even know if what you’re going through is normal or problematic, if you’re overreacting or right on track. Pray that you’ll be led to speak in confidence to another wife who can listen, provide wisdom, pray for your situation, and advocate for your marriage.

Pray for mentors. Sometimes what we need is a more experienced wife to guide us with good information and wise counsel. Titus 2:3-4 says: “Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that honors God. They must not slander others or be heavy drinkers. Instead, they should teach others what is good. These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children” (NLT). Pray that you can find a helpful mentor, and for boldness to reach out to that wife in your midst who can help you in your journey.

Pray for counselors. I’ve had mixed results with counseling myself — which is why I advise getting quality Christian counseling, and stepping away from counselors who aren’t helping. Like any other profession, you can find excellent counselors, good ones, and those not worth continuing to visit. That doesn’t mean counseling itself isn’t effective; rather, pray to find the counselor who helps you or the two of you effectively deal with the issues surrounding your marriage bed. And then pray for them to give you sage advice.

Pray for speakers and authors. I didn’t read blogs back when my marriage was on the chopping block, because they didn’t exist. But I read many marriage books, participated in classes and events, and listened to a lot of HomeWord with Jim Burns. I truly believe God led me to Jim Burns’s program, in which he interviewed marriage and family speakers and authors. Some episodes weren’t all that helpful, others indeed benefited me — but the biggest impact was that, through hearing about marriage resources and the testimonies of those who’d come back from the brink, I believed that my own marriage could be resurrected and could thrive. So I hung in there. And some of the specific messages I received from this show, the classes, the books … were exactly what I needed to hear.

Pray for our podcast. Yeah, this one’s dominating my attention right now. Because for months, we’ve been preparing to launch Sex Chat for Christian Wives, a podcast for your marriage bed hosted by myself, Bonny Burns of OysterBed7, Gaye Christmus of Calm.Healthy.Sexy., and Chris Taylor of The Forgiven Wife. And now the launch date is here: Well, next Tuesday, February 14, Valentine’s Day. We’re praying that our podcast reaches Christian wives who need to hear our message, whether their marriages are doing well but could use nurturing or their marriages are drowning in despair. We hope you’ll pray for us too.

Have you prayed to find the right resources for your marriage bed? And what, if any, other resources should we pray for?

Q&A with J: Answering Your Questions about the Podcast

While I would love to answer another personal question from a reader, this week has honestly been inundated with tasks leading up to our podcast debut. As often happens with new endeavor, a great deal of work goes into preparation, and things smooth out after the project is launched. Since answering personal questions are the most time-consuming posts I write — because I usually mull over my answer, pray about the situation, and do more research — I don’t want to shortchange anyone’s question.

Instead, I’ve decided to answer questions I’ve been asked about our upcoming podcast, Sex Chat for Christian Wives, which is coming next Tuesday, February 14.

Answering Your Questions about the Podcast with sketched microphone

Where can I find the podcast?

We’re working to get our podcast to every distributor we can. You can already find us on iTunes, Stitcher, Pocket Casts, and SoundCloud. We’ll soon be on Google Play and iHeart Radio as well. Regardless, if you head to our website, forchristianwives.com, and then look at the top right corner, you’ll see icons you can click on to find our social media sites and podcast providers.

How often will episodes go up?

We have a sneak preview episode up now, and two should follow next week. After that, it will be once every two weeks. At some point, we might become a weekly podcast, but we’ll have to see if all four of us can commit to that in the future.

What are we talking about in the podcast?

If it’s about sex, we’ll talk about it. All from a biblical foundation, of course. So far, we’ve recorded episodes on Getting in the Mood, Sexual Positions, 50 Shades of Here-We-Go-Again, Stress, Sex Scheduling, Female Arousal/Response, Exercise and Sex, and Mismatched Drives. All of these are not ready to be published, but they are in the bag and getting edited for podcast play.

Topics slated for the future include orgasm, body image, and sex toys. In addition, we’ll be answering reader questions from time to time.

How can I send you a question?

You can head to our Have a Question? page on our website and fill in the contact form. You can also use that form to suggest topics.

I think it’s important to note our policy about anonymity: “If we air a response to your question, no personally identifying information will be used. You will be kept anonymous.” Given our subject matter, we believe that’s an important assurance to our readers.

Do I have to type the word sex into my search engine?

Originally, our website was simply sexchatforchristianwives.com, and that’s still our site. But we also bought forchristianwives.com, which will take you to our website as well — because we want to be sensitive to when and where you’re typing in that information.

Why us?

Why are we four women doing this joint endeavor? For several reasons:

  1. We all write about sexual intimacy and are passionate about helping Christian wives figure out this aspect of their marriages.
  2. We come from different backgrounds and experiences, and the sum of our experience is greater than the individual parts — a true benefit for our listeners.
  3. We want to reach out in a new format and to a new group of wives.
  4. Truth be told, no one wanted to do a podcast alone, because we don’t have time to do it all, but the four of us together can handle the work.
  5. We all like each other, and if you’re going into a long-term project together, you should really get along. We truly have fun when we meet on Skype, and we respect one another.

How will I tell your voices apart?

We announce ourselves at the beginning of each podcast, with the idea of listeners associating that voice with the speaker. It might take a few times to sort that out, but having listened to other group podcasts myself, you start being able to pick out who’s who pretty quickly.

Moreover, I’ve now listened to audio of us repeatedly, and I’ve been a little surprised how distinct our voices are. I’ll give you some hints: Chris Taylor‘s voice is a smooth, low alto; Gaye Christmus has a slightly higher alto voice with crisp tones; Bonny Burns is just as chipper as she looks (and sings soprano quite well); and I sound like — oh, I don’t know, me. Honestly, I have a slight Texas twang, so you could try listening for that.

Is the podcast for men too?

No, but we welcome husbands listening. We are aiming this podcast at Christian wives, with the feel of us sitting around a kitchen table with you and discussing our topic for the day. We say things to each other in a way we wouldn’t likely say in mixed company, and our focus is on helping wives improve the sexual intimacy in their marriage.

However, nothing we say is improper to be shared publicly (or we wouldn’t be doing this podcast). And if husbands wish to listen, go right ahead. Hey, I listen to the Art of Manliness podcast; I’m clearly not their intended audience, but the podcast has some good information and helps me to understand men better.

Those are some questions I’ve heard so far. What other questions do you have about the upcoming podcast?