Monthly Archives: January 2018

Q&A with J: “He Won’t Touch My Clitoris”

I’m getting control of my email inbox, slowly but surely. (I’d lost control in 2017.) But this means that I’m re-reading old messages, so some questions I’ll be answering on Thursdays were posed to me months before. However, I considered this one worth addressing, because I suspect it happens in other marriages too. Here’s the reader’s question:

What does a wife do when her husband is afraid or uncomfortable touching her clitoris? I used to feel so resentful and bitter he wouldn’t but I have had more peace about this issue as of late and the last time my husband and I had intercourse, I ended up taking care of myself but he had already gotten up and was in the bathroom and don’t think he noticed me or cared that I took care of my own needs at the end. I don’t know why touching my body below the waist makes him so uncomfortable. I have tried talking to him and he said it’s the way it feels and he seems rather OCD about body fluids… We were making some progress where he felt more comfortable with a glove on even though that felt a bit “clinical’ like I was at the dr or something but I didn’t care that he had a glove on if that was the only way he would touch me but it still felt a bit awkward…. I know I can’t change his feelings about touching me, but I’d sure like him to help me experience orgasm with him. I would like to feel more “mutual” pleasure in our marriage as I know God created it to be a mutually satisfying experience. 

Blog post title + illustrated hand with pointer finger extended, touching heartLet me start with this sentence: “I have tried talking to him and he said it’s the way it feels and he seems rather OCD about body fluids…” Yeah, that might well be it.

I hear from spouses now and then who wonder why sex has to be so, well, messy. I mean, usually it’s a bad sign when something is leaking or oozing out of your body, so it’s a strange twist for some minds to embrace that fluids coming out are a good thing in the case of sexual intimacy.

Then there’s the texture of the fluids themselves. For instance, semen has been described as having the consistency of a beaten egg. Really? Who wants to handle or swallow a raw, beaten egg? Maybe we should come up with a different analogy…

Now take a person with cleanliness issues, and you’ve got a real challenge. And I understand how difficult it can be to try to convince someone with OCD traits that everything will be okay if they’ll just do the thing they feel they must avoid. I don’t have that Help! Sex Is Messy issue, but I all the presidents on my currency must face the same way in my wallet, and telling me the world won’t crater if a five-dollar-bill is upside down doesn’t stop me from turning it the “right way.”

Thus, telling your husband that his aversion isn’t logical or to just get over it isn’t likely to work. So what can you do? Here are some suggestions. (And a big thank you to those in my Facebook community who chimed in with their thoughts.)

1. Talk about your concerns and desires.

I know you’ve tried talking to him. But keep the conversation lines open. Let him know that you’ll support him, even if he says something that wouldn’t seem logical to others. Be a safe place for him to express his concerns, and be willing to share your desires as well and why addressing this issue is important to you. You might find some helpful tips in this post: How to Talk about Sexual Problems with Your Spouse.

2. Study female lubrication.

If something seems dirty, we might assume it is. But we’re not always right about which substances in nature are harmful or harmless. So what is all that lubrication made of? You can find a bit of a breakdown here on the LiveStrong website. But after reading so much about female fluids that my eyes were starting to cross, it comes down to this: very little sweat or oils are involved in the lubrication that happens with sexual arousal. Instead it’s mostly a mucus — which doesn’t mean ick, mucus! but rather a slippery substance that moistens and protects — secreted through the vaginal walls and Bartholin’s glands. That mucus contains some starch, chemicals that make the substance slick, healthy bacteria, a bit of acid that kills off bacteria that could harm the vagina, and — believe it or not — alcohol.

Point being that the fluid is harmless, unless there is an infection of some kind — which you would probably sense based on feel, smell, consistency, etc. Otherwise, it’s not can hurt anything whatsoever to touch it, it’s actually very useful in making sex comfortable and enjoying for both of you, and it even has its own bacteria-fighting properties.

3. Get clean together.

Since one of the concerns might be cleanliness of the area, take a shower or bath together. Let your husband be in charge of washing you down there; that way he’ll know the area has been thoroughly cleaned. I recommend using cleanser pH-balanced for that area, like the Sliquid Balanced Series (link goes to Christian marital aid store, Marriage Spice).

4. Wear a glove or finger cot.

You mentioned this, and it’s certainly an option for your husband to wear a glove. To make it a comfortable experience, try a thin latex glove and make sure it’s powder-less. Another option is a finger cot, which is basically a latex covering just for a finger. You can find gloves and finger cots at a medical supply store or your local grocery or discount store.

If you go this route, find a personal lubricant that can help make the glove slick as well so that it feels good to you. A silicone lubricant might be a good choice for this particular kind of manual play. You can also try different kinds of gloves made from various fabrics or substances to see if a particular texture feels better to you than another.

5. Use systematic desensitization.

When dealing with high anxiety or fear, psychologists often prescribe systematic desensitization. You can find many resources on how to apply this procedure, but it’s gradually exposing yourself to the anxiety-inducing stimuli and introducing a relaxation response at each stage.

In this case, hubby’s a little freaked out about touching your clitoris (or, really, the whole vulva). Essentially, the steps above could be part of a systematic sensitization program, where he talks about his worries, then gets used to the idea of your female anatomy, then touches you with a washcloth, then moves to sexually stimulating you with a finger cot…

Perhaps the next step is touching your vulva through your panties, feeling some of the wetness on the fabric but not making direct contact. You could also insert steps among the ones I mentioned here: like having him watching you stimulate yourself to climax so that he can clearly see what happens and become more comfortable with the fluids there, or him stimulating your clitoris with a vibrator (see Q&A with J: “Is It Okay to Use Sex Toys?”).

Regardless, the key is him intentionally relaxing at each step, reassuring himself that this act is beautiful and holy and good for your marriage. Indeed, God’s perfect design makes this natural lubrication the perfect substance for sensitivity, slipperiness, and protection. You can encourage him with your words as well.

What if he never gets to the point of touching your bare vulva? It’s likely he can make real progress, especially if he is personally motivated, but there are no guarantees. If he just cannot get there all the way, then you can ask how he feels about you touching yourself while he stimulates you in other ways. You can stroke that knobby bit of flesh while he kisses the rests of your body or gives full attention to your breasts, or while you two are engaged in intercourse. That way the self-touching still adds to mutual intimacy.

Any other ideas from readers on how to address this particular scenario?

5 Things You Should Know about Oral Sex

Ah, oral sex … the first posts I wrote about it were oh-so-popular. I mean, really — a Christian wife talking about “blow jobs”? Yet, it’s been a while since I revisited this topic.

Now if you want my best tips on giving and receiving oral sex, check out my book, Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design, in which I have a whole chapter just talking about this particular form of sexual intimacy.

Hot, Holy, and Humorous book cover

But today, I thought I’d cover five things you should know about oral sex — especially for those who have been reluctant to try it (or try it again, as the case may be).

Blog post title with the number 5 as a graphic

1. The Bible doesn’t prohibit oral sex, and may even mention it.

For those who think, Oral sex isn’t okay with God!, ask yourself why you think that. Actually, there’s no prohibition against oral sex in the Bible. Indeed, some scholars believe that the lovers mention oral sex poetically in Song of Songs with these verses:

Wife to husband: “Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest is my beloved among the young men. I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste” (2:3).

Husband to wife: “Awake, north wind, and come, south wind! Blow on my garden, that its fragrance may spread everywhere. Let my beloved come into his garden and taste its choice fruits” (4:16).

If you don’t buy that those refer to oral sex, how about this passage?

I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride;
I have gathered my myrrh with my spice.
I have eaten my honeycomb and my honey;
I have drunk my wine and my milk.

Eat, friends, and drink;
drink your fill of love (5:1).

A better translation of that last line is “be drunk with love!” (ESV). And that last line is either a group of friends or God Himself speaking, with the message regardless that you can indulge in sexual delights with your spouse. Oral sex is an indulgence, but it’s not prohibited and perhaps here even encouraged.

2. Oral sex isn’t all or nothing.

One of the biggest objections I hear from wives in particular is that they don’t want to put the whole sausage, to speak, in their mouths. Or they don’t want to swallow. Or they don’t want to have his semen in their mouth. To which I say, then don’t. Oral sex is simply stimulating your spouse’s genitals with your mouth, lips or tongue. That’s it — no other requirement necessary. For example, you can lick his shaft, and that’s oral sex. Believe me, a lot of husbands would welcome that. (See What Does He Mean by “Oral Sex”? (It May Not Be What You Think).)

On the other side, husbands reading this, it still counts if she doesn’t swallow. (Yeah, don’t write me your sob story about how life is meaningless because your wife’s gag reflex prevents her from drinking your semen. I’m not buying it.) Oral sex doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You can enjoy what works for you both, and over time some other options might open up.

3. Oral sex is mostly hygienic.

Yes, I put mostly, because it’s possible to transmit bacteria or a virus from mouth-to-genital and vice versa. Both your mouths and genitalia should be free of any lesions, sores, or wounds. Most of the warnings about lack of hygiene with oral sex presumes multiple sex and unknown status of sexually transmitted infections. In marriage, however, we have the benefit of a single partner and, hopefully, open communication about our health status.

But as long as neither of you is experiencing an infection in your mouth or on your genitals, oral sex is basically just a mouth on skin. Albeit very sensitive skin. In which case, the only caveat is to wash up! Male semen and female lubrication won’t damage you, and — for those who are worried — urine is extremely unlikely to leak out at that time.

4. The best way to improve the taste down there is healthy living.

Sex Chat for Christian Wives logo + episode titleI mentioned this in the latest episode of our Sex Chat for Christian Wives podcast, but when recently asked about how to improve the taste of sexual fluids, I did a lot of research. While you can find various tips and “tricks” online to presumably help, the real answer for addressing the taste and smell of semen or female lubrication is healthy living habits:

  • Don’t smoke
  • Drink alcohol in moderation
  • Hydrate with plenty of water
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables
  • Stick to a healthy diet

Yep, that’s it. Just take care of the body God gave you in the manner you should, and one benefit is that oral sex will taste better. How’s that for a reward?

5. Oral sex is one of the best ways for her to reach climax.

For a woman to reach climax, she must have sufficient stimulation of the clitoris. Somewhere from a third to a half of women don’t, and in some cases can’t, experience orgasm through intercourse alone.

So let’s engage in little anatomy lesson. The clitoris is a wishbone-shaped organ, with the merged tip appearing as the clitoral head.

3d printed female sex organ clitoris for human anatomy lessons

The unseen part of the clitoris (the wishbone “legs”) run down the length of the vulva on either side of the vagina and can be indirectly stimulated with hands or mouth and during intercourse. But the head sticks out near the front of the vaginal lips as a knob of flesh and can be directly stimulated. Like with a tongue. Yes, a hand will work too, but the mouth also has the benefit of providing moisture at the same time. So it’s really one of the best ways for a wife to get to that elusive Big O.

Look, you don’t have to have oral sex in your marriage. But many marriages have found a benefit in including this practice in their sexual repertoire. It might be worth discussing with your spouse to see what they like, what they don’t like, and what oral activities you can mutually agree to try.

 

Sources: Kontula, Osmo, and Anneli Miettinen. “Determinants of female sexual orgasms.” Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology. 2016. Accessed January 07, 2018; Herbenick, D., T. J. Fu, J. Arter, S. A. Sanders, and B. Dodge. “Women’s Experiences With Genital Touching, Sexual Pleasure, and Orgasm: Results From a U.S. Probability Sample of Women Ages 18 to 94.” Journal of sex & marital therapy. Accessed January 07, 2018. 

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High Five Resources for the New Year

In Monday’s post, I explained that I’m not choosing a theme this year to write about on Saturdays, as I have done before. Instead, I’m going to use those Saturdays to provide five resources and/or tips to encourage you in your marriage and sexual intimacy. Because I like word play, I’m calling this my High Five for the week!

Since we often start January with resolutions or goals or hopes for what we can accomplish in the new year, today I’m sharing five resources to help you improve sex in your marriage in 2018.

blog post title + caricature of me high-fiving the air

1. Listen to Our Latest Podcast Episode.

My three podcast partners and I chat about the importance of health for yourself and for improving sexual intimacy in your marriage. We go beyond exercise into other areas that impact your health and lovemaking.

Or I could just call this The Episode in Which a Bedroom Pole Is Mentioned. (See, that’s click bait, right?)

Sex Chat for Christian Wives logo + episode title

CLICK TO LISTEN

2. Get Intimacy Revealed: 52 Devotions to Enhance Sex in Marriage Now!

The ebook is currently priced at $2.99 through Amazon or Barnes & NobleIntimacy Revealed provides 52 devotions, one for each week — or whatever you pace you want — focused on applying God’s Word to your view of sexuality and the marriage bed. I provide thoughts on each passage, as well as questions you can answer and a prayer.

While I wrote the book for wives, I’ve had couples say they went through the devotions together and found it very helpful in opening up conversations about sex in their marriage.

CLICK TO BUY

3. Join my Facebook community!

A few months ago, I launched a closed group on Facebook where spouses can interact about my posts and general marriage questions. It’s been really nice to see people post questions and get insight from others. And I hear that it’s nice for people to be able to comment on my posts without their parents or siblings or kid’s preschool teacher seeing what they say about sex.

You can request to join the group HERE. I do moderate incoming members, and due to the interactive approach of the page, I’m only approving married, or engaged, people. By the way, it’s not always easy to know that someone is married, and I suggest some of y’all take a look at your Facebook profile with that in mind. Could a visitor or old friend easily see that you are currently married?

Group description image

CLICK TO JOIN

4. Sign Up for My Newsletter.

Confession: I was really spotty sending out my monthly newsletter last year. But I’m getting back on track. The newsletter shares my favorite posts of the prior month and must-reads from other blogs, some marriage humor, and a scripture for the month, as well as keeping you updated on the ministry.

You can sign up HERE.

5. Boost Your Libido This Year.

This last resource isn’t mine; it’s put together by Sheila Gregoire of To Love, Honor and Vacuum. But some wives really do struggle with a lower libido, and I really like this online video course she launched last year. She addresses several different factors that come into play and gives you practical tips to increase your sexual response and desire.

This is an affiliate link, but I don’t ever promote something on my blog that I don’t believe in. And I believe Boost Your Libido is an excellent resource that can help you have a better year in the libido department.

CLICK TO BUY

That concludes this week’s High Five. I’ll be back next Saturday with more resources and/or tips for your marriage bed!

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Q&A with J: “How Do We Get Back to Intimacy?”

Today’s question is from a wife who wants greater sexual intimacy with her husband, but they face some pretty big challenges.

My question is how do my husband And I get back intimacy?… I’ve had a hysterectomy so no more kids. We are good with that. Our marriage “broke” 8 weeks after we married due to porn. He didn’t want sex with me anymore and preferred porn and I found dating websites he was signed up too. I was in shock! We obviously had sex again but probably only 10 times in all these years. We’ve done [counseling] on and off. We go to church. We’ve grown in faith. He says I don’t do my “duty” of sex. That makes it awkward to me. But he’s communicating about it with me which is progress. I don’t have those feelings to want him like that, mainly emotionally maybe partially from surgery…. I think the rejection and lies over the years turned me off…. How should I handle this to grow with him?

blog post title + arrow pointing backward

As often happens in a struggling sex life, there’s more than one challenge here:

That’s a lot to deal with. But as usual, the way to break through is to take the next step forward, then the next, and then the next.

To the reader, there are good signs here, in that the tenor of the message makes me believe that he has stopped watching porn. You have attended counseling, go to church, and have grown in your faith. These are important steps forward that bode well for laying a better foundation, both for marriage and for sexual intimacy.

The porn needs to stay far, far away. As the question says, “He didn’t want sex with me anymore and preferred porn…” That’s one possible result of persistent porn use — a rewiring of the brain to respond more easily and consistently to imagery than real life stimulation. Many men have reported impotence problems that have stemmed from too much porn watching and self-stimulation.

Rebuilding intimacy after the porn then requires rewiring the brain back to the sensations of physical intimacy with another person. That takes time and intentionality, but those who follow through can expect far better feelings than they ever experienced with porn. Because God’s design for sex contains not only physical pleasure, but emotional and even spiritual highs that perversions of sex cannot provide.

If your husband isn’t aware of how porn has affected his sexual responses, you should do some research with him. Read An Open Letter on Porn from The Gottman InstitutePorn Can’t Deliver What We’re Created For from XXXChurch, The scary effects of pornography: how the 21st century’s acute addiction is rewiring our brains from The Telegraph, and How Porn Changes the Brain from Fight the New Drug. (By the way, three of those articles are from secular sources, so this is not merely a moral claim religious people are making. It’s science that isn’t surprising to Christians because we know God didn’t create us for porn.) By understanding what’s happening, you can then work on rediscovering sexual intimacy slowly and surely through reawakening your senses and physical pleasure.

But now, three things in particular strike me as needing to be addressed.

1. His rejection and lies.

Sex requires trust and vulnerability. If a wife doesn’t feel physically and emotionally safe, it’s difficult to engage. This is why there are so many resources stressing to husbands how important it is to woo your wife, be kind to your wife, protect your wife, and demonstrate love to her. It’s why infidelity is so hard to recover from, because it breaks trust between spouses. And it’s why building a friendship, not just a sex life, is an imperative in marriage.

Ultimately, you have to invest in the relationship, not just the marriage bed. You two need to rebuild trust in your marriage before you can rebuild trust in the bedroom. How that happens exactly is a little hard to say. It will likely require ongoing conversation, quality time together, investing in what’s important to one another, and even more counseling.

You each need an opportunity to express what would make you feel loved and safe, and then each spouse should pursue making that happen. As much as they can. Of course, your requests need to remain reasonable, but we should be pursuing the good of one another throughout marriage.

Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else” (1 Corinthians 5:15).

2. She has a low libido.

Maybe it’s because of his rejection and lies, maybe it’s partly a result of your hysterectomy, maybe it’s just your set-point. I’m not sure why, but the lack of libido may need to be addressed. I can give you a lot of suggestions, because I do know them, but I have some really fabulous friends who specialize in helping women with low libido. So check out:

Bonny Burns at OysterBed7, who also has a workbook you can go through

Chris Taylor at The Forgiven Wife

Sheila Gregoire’s excellent Boost Your Libido course

It could be that dealing with the relationship issues reawakens your libido. However, many women who experience a prolonged time of not being sexual require purposeful effort to get their libido going again.

Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires” (Song of Songs 2:7) — and then awaken it!

3. He’s pressuring her for “duty sex.”

So look, I believe that we are obligated to have sex in marriage. Strictly speaking, it’s a bit of a duty. But you know what? “I just love having duty sex with my spouse,” said no one ever.

'I just love having duty sex with my spouse,' said no one ever. #marriage Click To Tweet

We sometimes cite 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 to back up the notion that your spouse owes you sex, but if you really read the passage and let it sink in, you’ll see how it stresses the mutuality of sexual intimacy in marriage:

The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

If I were in your shoes, I’d turn that around with my husband and ask how he’d feel if I told him he was duty-bound to converse with me, to take me out on a date, to give me extended foreplay — that he owed me. While there’s some truth to that, would it make him excited to engage in those activities? Wouldn’t a different appeal work better?

“Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers” (1 Peter 3:7).

Explain to your husband that you want sex to be for both of you, and focusing entirely on what he gets out of it discourages the trust and intimacy you need in your marriage bed. And believe it for yourself. See Sex Is for You Too! by Sheila Wray Gregoire and Dear Wife, You Deserve a Great Sex Life Too from Calm.Healthy.Sexy.

Does this mean you then turn him down every time? No, of course not. You do need to rebuild sexual intimacy in your marriage, but stress the need for mutual pleasure and connection. Explain that you’ll be more excited about sex with him if/when he prioritizes your experience too. And let him know what you want in bed. That can help your husband feel that you’re a willing — or even eager — partner, but you deserve to be considered in the encounter as well.

As usual, I could say more, but this post is already really long. And there’s a lot of reading material in all those links!

One final thing: I strongly suggest that you grab my devotional book, Intimacy Revealed: 52 Devotions to Enhance Sex in Marriage. And not just because the ebook happens to be on sale right now for $2.99. Rather, it’s a helpful resource in guiding you through what God says about sexual intimacy in His Word and how to align your thinking and your actions with His design for the marriage bed. Although aimed at wives, some couples have gone through the devotionals together and say they have prompted great conversations. Maybe your husband would go through Intimacy Revealed with you.

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What Do You Need to Let Go to Have a Better Sex Life?

For the past three years, I’ve chosen a theme of sorts for the year and published posts that encourage us toward the goal. They’ve been:

Feeling Beautiful (2015)
Knowing Scripture (2016)
Praying More (2017)

I’ve given a lot of thought over the past several weeks to my theme for 2018. When I didn’t feel that God was clearly speaking to me on what it should be, I consulted trusted advisors who had provided me godly counsel in the past. Their answers weren’t clear either.

The only thing that kept coming to mind were vague phrases like:

Let go
Step back
Surrender

Hmm, tough words for a gal who likes to be passionately proactive. But after a lot of mulling over those phrases, I feel like God wants me to let go of the theme this year. Not because it isn’t a good idea, and I might return to it in 2019, but keeping that up takes time that might be better spent right now on finishing books, tending to my email inbox, and pursuing speaking in a more focused way.

As usual, I asked myself how this lesson I’m learning in life applies to marriage and the marriage bed. And here it is: Oftentimes improving the intimacy in our marriage doesn’t start with doing more stuff, but rather choosing to let go.

Oftentimes improving the intimacy in our marriage doesn't start with doing more stuff, but rather choosing to let go. Click To Tweet

Although I enjoy giving advice on actions you can take to help your marriage enjoy greater sexual intimacy, sometimes the right answer for a spouse’s situation is to just let something go. Here are some ways in which spouses may need to step back or surrender:

  • Let go of that sexual fantasy your spouse doesn’t want to engage in and appreciate all the activities you do enjoy in your marriage bed
  • Let go anger about your spouse’s past sins and focus on the present and the future
  • Let go of your inhibitions and learn how to absorb pleasure in the moment
  • Let go of the worry about what you might discover or what others will think and visit the doctor or counselor already
  • Let go of unrealized expectations and create new dreams for your marriage bed
  • Let go of the anxiety you feel about confessing sin and come clean to your spouse and/or your Christian community
  • Let go of your tension over the kids knowing that you have sex and embrace lovemaking for your marriage’s sake (and theirs)

What do you need to let go to create a better, more intimate marriage in 2018?

What do you need to let go to create a better, more intimate marriage in 2018? Click To Tweet

I’m sure your answer and mine are not the same. But it’s a question we should ask ourselves. The best goal for the sexual intimacy in your marriage this coming year could be letting go of something you’ve been holding onto that keeps you from experiencing the deep intimacy God wants you to have in your marriage.


Speaking of goals, the Intimacy Revealed: 52 Devotions to Enhance Sex in Marriage ebook is on sale for the month of January for ONLY $2.99! This book is for new marriages, old marriages, and everything in between—because the brief devotions are focused on God’s Word, “living and active” (Hebrews 4:12), speaking to us wherever we are.

The New Year is a great time to start, and at $2.99 the ebook is less than a latte at Starbucks! Your marriage is worth more than your next cup of coffee, so head over now and purchase your ebook.