Monthly Archives: January 2018

Is Marriage Terrific or Awful?

On the Facebook page for our podcast, Sex Chat for Christian Wives, we often share Bible verses or quotes that apply to marriage. Consequently, I’ve done a lot of perusing quotes lately, and it struck me today how strong people’s opinions are about the worthwhileness of marriage.

Blog post title + illustration of wedding rings

Some believe marriage is terrific, some believe it’s awful. Take a look at these examples:

Marriage is terrific

“There is no more lovely, friendly and charming relationship, communion or company than a good marriage.” – Martin Luther

“A happy marriage is a long conversation which always seems too short.” – Andre Maurois

“Love is not weakness. It is strong. Only the sacrament of marriage can contain it.” – Boris Pasternak

“Marriage is the most natural state of man, and…the state in which you will find solid happiness.” – Benjamin Franklin

Marriage is awful

“Marriage is like putting your hand into a bag of snakes in the hope of pulling out an eel.” – Leonardo da Vinci

“Many a good hanging prevents a bad marriage.” – William Shakespeare

“A marriage is no amusement but a solemn act, and generally a sad one.” – Queen Victoria

“Marriage is a wonderful institution, but who would want to live in an institution?” – H.L. Mencken

So which is it?

When my marriage was in the pit of doom and despair, I would have answered that my marriage was awful. And yet, somehow I believed deeply that it could become terrific. (See When My Marriage Seemed Hopeless, What Made Me Stay?)

It has become a happy marriage, such that I also wrote 6 Things I Love about Being Married. And believe me, that’s not an exhaustive list!

I know some marriages are awful. One or both spouses are buried in a pile of pain so deep they can’t imagine how they can possibly claw their way out — at least not together. Some of you have experienced the lion’s share of hurt on the issue of a sexless marriage, although most failing marriages are dealing with other issues as well.

Perhaps you’re at the point that you feel like one of these people:

“Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance.” – Charlotte in Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

“Marriage is miserable unless you find the right person that is your soulmate and that takes a lot of looking.” – Marvin Gaye

You think that you were dealt a bad hand or married the wrong person, and you don’t feel like your marriage can ever find health and happiness.

I don’t believe in soul mates. If God created a single person out there intended for you, that strikes me as a cruel shell game to try to find them. Moreover, the Bible shows example of various reasons for getting married, and God’s perspective seems to be that living out the Gospel in your marriage is what brings you holiness and happiness.

Living out the Gospel in your marriage is what brings you holiness and happiness. Click To Tweet

Hands-down, that’s what saved my marriage and brought us from awful to terrific. See Miracle or Quick Fix, in which I confess this what I learned during that process:

I had to commit to being the kind of Christ-follower God wanted me to be. Often we know what to do. We simply don’t do it. We find excuses for not being as loving, patient, selfless, and kind as we should. We don’t give the other person the benefit of the doubt. We focus on defending ourselves and thus offending our spouse. If God directly responded to many of our prayers for a better marriage, Jesus might simply pop into our living rooms long enough to say a “Woe unto you” for neglecting His commands.

What makes the difference?

Perhaps the difference between good marriages and bad marriages is our willingness to be humble about our shortcomings, forgiving of one another, and invite God into our relationship day after day after day.

That’s not a magic pill, but a daily regimen.

The good news is that I’ve been around long enough to see not just a few but many marriages go from awful to terrific. Yes, I’ve also seen some go from terrific to awful — and that stings for all involved. But there are a lot of happy marriages out there (see The Good News about Marriage by Shaunti Feldhahn), most of which required intentionality, effort, and grace.

There are a lot of happy marriages out there, most of which required intentionality, effort, and grace. Click To Tweet

Maybe your marriage is already there, but maybe it’s awful at the moment — which means it might just be pre-terrific. Don’t give up.

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5 Ways This Podcast Helps Your Sex Life (#5 Is a Giveaway)

Did y’all know that I have a podcast?

Even after talking a lot about being one of four hosts of Sex Chat for Christian Wives, I still have people now and then on my Facebook page or here on the blog saying, “What, you have a podcast?”

Sex Chat for Christian Wives Logo + faces of podcast hosts

More often, I’m sure there are those of you who have thought to yourself, I should check out that podcast sometime, but you haven’t done it just yet.

Maybe you don’t even know how to get to a podcast! Where would you go to listen? If that’s you, please go read Podcast Listening for Beginners on the OysterBed7 blog.

And perhaps a few of you are actually tired of me talking about this podcast and wondering why I’m pushing it so much.

Wherever you are regarding my podcast with three other marriage and sex bloggers, let me share on today’s High Five Saturday reasons I love this podcast and, more importantly, how it can really help your sex life.

Blog post title + illustration of microphone

1. We deliver content on-the-go.

To read this post, you had to stop everything enough to be able to focus on the words and take in the message. And honestly, this is my favorite way to deliver content! I’m at my core a writer.

But I’m also a very busy person — with my work, household management, parenting, and other pursuits — taking up quite a bit of time. So I’ve found that one of the best ways that I can receive information I want is to listen to it while on-the-go.

If you were to see me in the grocery store, or while doing at laundry at home, or in the midst of getting ready for my day, you’d likely notice headphones in my ears … because I’m listening to podcasts. Some many of you wives are also on-the-go all the time, and our podcast provides an easy way for you to get information you need and want, while still getting everything most a fair amount of your to-do list done.

2. We have varied perspectives.

Bonny of Oysterbed7, Chris of The Forgiven Wife, Gaye Christmas of Calm.Healthy.Sexy. and I all have the same foundational viewpoint of sexual intimacy in the marriage bed. But we come from different backgrounds, different personal stories, different ways that God has worked in our lives to help us reach holy and healthy sex in our marriages.

So when you listen in to Sex Chat for Christian Wives, you get four sources of wisdom for the price of one. And together, we reach women who also come from varied backgrounds and varied personal stories. I suspect your personality or perspective is well represented by one or more of us.

3. We give practical advice.

Inspiration and life principles are great, but sometimes it’s a struggle to know how to apply that insight in your own life. On Sex Chat for Christian Wives, we share all kinds of ideas and tips about improving the marriage bed. We talk authentically about what works and what doesn’t.

Sure, we could spend a half-hour talking about the theology of sex and providing encouraging and inspirational thoughts — and we do talk about these important things — but we want wives to have real-life takeaways from every single episode.

4. We make you laugh.

We certainly make ourselves laugh. Just check out latest episode on Sex Is Funny. But we also make listeners snicker, laugh, and guffaw … which we consider a great service to you and to marriage beds.

I’m fully aware how much deep heartache and ongoing frustration exists around the subject of sexual intimacy in some marriages. I would never want to minimize that. However, Christians can also become so serious about sex that we forget that it’s supposed to be fun. And talking about it in a fun way, when appropriate, can inspire couples to take more of that tone in their own marriages.

5. We give away stuff.

As of February 14, 2018, we’ll have been podcasting for a full year! (Cue the balloons and confetti!) To celebrate, we are hosting an amazing anniversary giveaway.

Twenty-two (22) runners-up will each receive free shipping for life from Marriage Spice, an online Christian marital aid store. Three (3) runners-up will receive free shipping for life from Marriage Spice plus a bundle of e-books from us: The Busy Life Diet by Gaye ChristmusUnlock Your Libido by Bonny Burns; Intimacy Revealed by J Parker; and Behind Closed Doors by J Parker.

And one Grand Prize winner will receive a $150 Gift Certificate from Marriage Spice! Whoa. That’s a lot of money you could invest in stuff for your bow-chicka-wow-wow.

For rules and how to enter, click the image below:

Well, there you go! Five fantabulous ways we are here to help your marriage bed.

Be sure to subscribe through iTunes, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast carrier (I use Pocket Casts). New episodes release every other Tuesday!

And yo, don’t leave before I remind you that my ebooks are currently on sale for a low, low price. If you’ve seen this ad a few times and haven’t clicked yet, go check it out.

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Q&A with J: “Condoms Make It Difficult for Him to Finish”

Today we’re talking about birth control. The reader has an interesting scenario in which other birth control methods aren’t good options, so condoms are what they are using. However, condoms are also affecting their intimacy. Here’s her specific question:

Hubby and I have always had a wonderful and frequent sex life and I’d like to keep it going! However, hubby has a difficult time finishing with condoms (he does perfectly fine without). He just doesn’t get as much friction and doesn’t enjoy the feeling (or lack thereof). Obviously, I don’t either. Do you have some tips for helping him finish and enabling us both to enjoy the experience a little more? 

Blog post title + illustration of three condom wrappers

You know, I’m always amazed at how often condoms are touted as the perfect contraceptive method. Yet a fair number of people report what this wife says: Condoms lessen the friction and can make it difficult for him (and/or her) to finish.

So if condoms are your best, or only, birth control option, what can you do to reach climax?

If condoms are your best, or only, birth control option, what can you do to reach climax? #marriage Click To Tweet

1. Try different condoms.

There is a large variety of condom brands, sizes, and types — not to mention novelty condoms (e.g., glow-in-the-dark). Experiment with different condoms to see what feels best to both of you.

Considering the issue is reaching climax, first get a good fit. Yes, I know some guys would like to boast that they require the jumbo-sized, hung-like-an-elephant condoms. But in reality, an average-sized penis can more than get the job done. And wearing a too-large condom can lessen sensation. The condom should instead be snug on the penis, feeling like a second skin.

Then look for an ultra-thin condom so that you can keep as much sensation as possible. Also, brands make comfort fit or “pleasure-shaped,” which means it’s tapered at the bottom and wider at the tip to allow for that tight fit around the shaft and more room around the head.

Finally, one interesting suggestion is to squeeze a small amount of personal lubricant into the tip of the condom before putting it on, with the idea that the squishy feeling mimics the feel of a lubricated vagina.

2. Stimulate the perineum.

The space between the bottom of his penis and his anus is the perineum, and massaging it can provide additional stimulation that can help him get over the edge. Some suggest the prostate gland is the male version of a G-Spot, and stroking the perineum can reach that sensitive spot.

Digital (finger) penetration of his anus is also a possibility to reach that spot, but anal stimulation presents some health risks, as the rectum is not designed with the basic cleanliness a vagina has. So while I felt I should mention it, I’m not one to recommend it.

But adding your hand to that sensitive area beneath his penis can assist his arousal. You can read more in this post: Making the Most of His Manhood.

3. Experiment with positions.

When you’re reaching for that elusive climax (for him or her), sexual position can make a difference. While there a gazillion positions out there, I go into all you really need to know about trying new positions in my book, Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design.

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Shift around and give various positions a shot. You might even want to try a wedge pillow that can help you get into the right angle.

4. Employ edging technique.

What is edging? I’ve been meaning to write about this technique forever, but I just haven’t gotten around to it. Essentially, it’s getting right up to the edge of climax, then pausing or lessening stimulation; then building up again and dropping back down; and going up again until the tension is high enough that climax is more likely to happen.

How can he use edging during intercourse? Your husband can thrust for a while as he feels the tension build, then pause and hold still for several seconds, then continue his movements, pause again, and again begin thrusting again, etc.

Some who’ve tried edging also report experiencing a more intense orgasm. Regardless, that build-up, stop or slow down, build-up, stop or slow down, etc. does seem to create an urgency that could help your husband reach climax.

5. Add erotic touches.

Where else does he like to be touched or kissed? Or where does he enjoy touching or kissing you? Add another form of stimulation through erotic touches that gets his heart pumping, and eventually that other part pumping too.

And yeah, I have chapters in my book too that go over how to use your hands, mouth, and other body parts for sexual intimacy. It’s a great resource for fresh ideas!

If you already know things he likes, give those a try during intercourse. Just add that supplemental affection so he’ll feel not only the pleasure with his penis but elsewhere on his body as well.

6. Use your words.

Words are powerful. They convey our feelings, create images in our minds, and set a mood with our tone, volume, and pitch. I’m always a bit amazed by how much of Song of Songs in the Bible involves the husband and wife talking to each other about their bodies and sexual intimacy.

Some spouses are big talkers during sex, and others can only come up with a few coherent words during a sexual encounter. But even a few sexily spoken words could be a big turn-on.

What can you say?

  • express admiration of his body or a particular part of his body
  • tell him what specifically feels good to you at the moment
  • vocalize your own orgasm with abandon
  • detail what you want to do or how you want to feel
  • use nicknames that convey how much you desire him
  • encourage what he’s doing (e.g., “that’s it, ” “right there,” “oh yeah”)

What about “dirty talk”? I believe you can do a lot of sexy talk without having to use words that you would never elsewhere use (see Talking Flirty vs. Talking Dirty). The couple in Song of Songs were very frank with each other about their sexuality, yet they also used symbolic and beautiful language to express their eroticism. And Ephesians 5:3-4 says, “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.” Make of that what you will.

Whew, six suggestions! Surely something in that list will help. Riiiiiight? *crossing fingers*

And don’t forget, y’all: Both of my books are on sale for $2.99 for the ebook.

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When I Prayed for His Sexuality, and God Answered

Man sitting on bed (view from the back) + blog post title

Sometimes I wonder if wives who read my blog think things like: Oh, that J — she’s got sex in marriage figured out and has never struggled like we have.

Au contraire, mon amie!

I’ve written before about when my sex life sucked. Yes, it did. And I know how it feels to believe that improving your sexual intimacy is going to be a hard road. Even though you know the journey is worth it, you’re looking forward to that road with about as much excitement as a week’s-worth-of-groceries trip through Walmart with past-their-naptime children.

But this weekend, I was going back through old journals. Yes, I used to keep journals, though I haven’t done that consistently for years. I found entries in one from the time I went through a women’s Bible study based on The Power of the Praying Wife.

Chapter 4, and thus week 4, is titled “His Sexuality.” The author, Stormie Omartian, is not saying that her sexuality doesn’t matter — it most certainly does — but the focus of this study is on how to better pray for our husbands. So the chapters focus on praying for him.

When I read the prayer I’d written for that week, I knew I wanted to share it here, so you’d all know that things weren’t always terrific in J’s household — that it really is possible to improve the sexual intimacy in your marriage.

In my journal, I refer to my husband by name, but on my blog and social media sites, I’ve always referred to him as “Spock” because he is so much about expressing logic, and not so much about expressing emotion. (If you want to know more, read Does Your Husband Stink at Romance? Mine too.)

Without further ado…

The Prayer I Wrote

Lord, I know that sex is a gift from You, which You designed specifically for husband and wife. Spock and I have struggled for a long time now with having the time and ability to experience this gift fully. Please bless us in our sex life. Help us to overcome obstacles and share our bodies with one another in the way You intended.

Please help us to find more time and energy to have sex. Help us to reach out to one another with affection throughout our days so that our sex is a natural flow of our intimacy and touch.

Lord, please held my body respond as it should to stimulation. Help Spock and me to agree on the priority that sex should have in our lives. Please give us the perspective of being unified in our lives — including physically. Thank You that my sex drive has returned somewhat and continue to increase my interest.

Please help Spock and me to remember that our bodies belong to each other. Help us to be willing to offer ourselves to one another and enjoy one another’s wonderfully made body. Help us to respect one another in deciding when to have sex — engaging each other when we should and being patient when we abstain. Give us unity in our sex life.

I know that’s all pretty vague. But I can break down exactly what we were going through from other notes in the workbook.

The Problems I Detailed

Frequency has been low because of finding time with young kids around and my pain (which recently abated).

Want sex more often, and with more affection preceding.

[My husband will] (1) Ignore me the rest of the day, then want to have sex. (2) Approach me just after I’ve been consumed with the role of mother. (Mind you, these were my feelings at the time, and that first complaint probably doesn’t reflect reality or how he saw it at the time.)

I think exercise is the most important thing I could do to make him and me feel better about my body. I’ve also begun to care for my skin better. I also need to find ways to “refresh” myself from the exhaustion I often experience.

So yeah, we weren’t having sex much, we weren’t prioritizing it, we weren’t laying the groundwork of romance and affection beforehand, I was struggling to switch from mother to lover, pain had been an issue, I didn’t feel good about my body, and I was just flat-out exhausted. Sound familiar to anyone?

Look backing, it’s funny how much of my prayers for his sexuality were really about needing God to act on my sexuality.

Look backing, it's funny how much of my prayers for his sexuality were really about needing God to act on my sexuality. Click To Tweet

And while it took some time, God answered those prayers. I’m not saying we’re 100% now in all those areas. By no means! But our sex life was clearly unsatisfying then, and it’s improved a lot since. Moreover, when we face obstacles now, we’re much better talking about our sexual intimacy in ways that help get us back on track.

The Challenge for You

Some of you face challenges now that sound like these I’ve shared. Some face far greater heartache. All I want to do today is issue a challenge to write your prayer down. Ask God for what you want to have happen in your marriage bed.

Ask God for what you want to have happen in your marriage bed. Click To Tweet

Then keep that prayer tucked away somewhere, so you can revisit it later. You might revisit it a few times and feel like you’re still stuck on the same stuff, but keep reading my posts, my books, other great marriage resources, and — most importantly — what God says about sex in His Word; keep praying; and keep pursuing the best for your spouse and your marriage.

You might have that great experience that I did of finding your prayer and thinking, Oh yeah, God is faithful, God is good. And my marriage bed rocks!

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5 Sexually Sensitive Spots on Her Body You Should Know

It’s Saturday, which means it’s the day I share what I’m calling my high-five! That is, five things I want y’all to know about — whether it’s resources, previous posts, tips, or whatever else comes to mind.

Today, let’s talk about some sex specifics. Although I thought I knew my way around female anatomy pretty well when I started this blog, I’ve learned quite a bit since. So let me share five sexually sensitive spots on a wife’s body that you should know about.

Title in a "spot" (circle) with a spotted background

Wives, you should know about these places on your body—where they are, how they respond to touch, and how you want to incorporate them into sexual encounters in your marriage bed.

Wives, you should know about these places on your body—where they are, how they respond to touch, and how you want to incorporate them into sexual encounters in your marriage bed. Click To Tweet

Husbands, you should explore these areas yourself, taking feedback from your wife on what she likes because, while these are all high-arousal places, women have varied preferences on how they like them handled.

Okay, here are the five spots!

1. Nipples.

Ohmygoodness, did I just say nipples on my blog?! Yes. Yes, I did. Hey, we all have them, but in puberty the secretion of female hormones make their nipples far more sensitive than men’s. So while both genders report enjoying nipple stimulation, sexual touch in that area can cause particularly high arousal for wives.

A small percentage of women report being able to orgasm from nipple stimulation, and research has indeed shown that nipple stimulation lights up the same area in the brain the clitoris lights up: the genital sensory cortex.

But although most wives won’t achieve orgasm this way, paying attention to the nipples can enhance arousal, extend foreplay, and increase the intensity of an orgasm that originates elsewhere. So yeah … nipples.

2. Clitoral bulbs.

And now, we’re going to pause and have an anatomy lesson. Because if you thought the clitoris was just that little nub sticking out at the top of the vulva, you thought like a lot of us did. We were all taught that … and we were wrong. Here’s the real story:

Did you see those bulbs that go down the sides of the vagina? Those are also sensitive, arousing spots that can be stimulated with massage. Experiment with stroking the area on the outside and then inside of the labia majora, or outer vaginal lips. This area will require a little more firmness, but it can be a very pleasurable sensation and can lead to a longing for more direct touch of the clitoral hood.

3. Clitoral hood.

And here’s that part that sticks out at the top, which has often just taken the whole definition of clitoris for itself — selfish girl. Then again, you could make a case that she’s selfish for a reason … because making her a center of attention can really pay off in the marriage bed.

Directly stimulating the clitoral hood is often the best way, and sometimes the only way, a wife can achieve orgasm. If you want great tips on stimulating that area, with hands or tongue, I have relevant chapters in my book, Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design, which is currently on a huge sale for the ebook!

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4. G-Spot.

Whether the G-Spot is real seems to get debated as much as the existence of Bigfoot or extraterrestrial life. But having had those aliens land in my bedroom, so to speak, I’m in the camp of believing that the G-Spot is not only real, but wants you to make contact.

The G-Spot is merely an area on the front side of the vagina that, when stimulated, can produce very pleasurable feelings. Some say it can produce orgasm as well, but others say that it’s contact with the extensive clitoris that actually makes that happen. Regardless, if you can find the G-Spot — and it’s not imperative that you do — you might enjoy the sensation. Your best bet is using fingers, but it’s possible for the penis to reach it. Here’s an illustration to help you know where to go looking:

Female anatomy illustration

By Tsaitgaist – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8940986

5. Skene’s Glands.

Take another look at that drawing above. Right above the G-Spot are the Skene’s glands. What is that area for? I don’t know, other than being connected to what’s sometimes called “shejaculation.”

You see, some women report that having that area stimulated results in both good sensations and the release of fluid. This fluid isn’t the same content or consistency as lubrication secreted through the vaginal walls. And while it’s not really all that well-explained by science yet, many wives have experienced this phenomenon colloquially referred to as “squirting.”

Let me warn you, however, that it’s mostly a crapshoot to find these glands. They vary in size from woman to woman, so it might be relatively easy to find for one wife and nearly impossible for another — and that could be about nothing more than different structure.

However, I also want to reassure you that this isn’t the peak of stimulation. It can feel good and produce an intriguing expulsion of liquid, but it’s not like full-throttle orgasm. If you never find it, that’s okay — you have plenty of other spots to explore and enjoy.

So those are the five spots! Let me leave you with two final thoughts:

  1. Husbands, these are five sexually arousing places, but they are not the keys to the kingdom. You get those keys by paying attention to your wife throughout the day, wooing her in the way she enjoys, giving extended attention to other places on her body she enjoys you touching and kissing, and finally, eventually, you can head for these goodies. Because by then, she’ll (hopefully) really want you there.
  2. Wives and husbands, these spots on not like playground rides where you can’t get on the swing and the seesaw at the same time. You can stimulate more than one spot here simultaneously! And doing so could yield big pleasure dividends. You never know until you try, eh?

Don’t forget to check out my book on sale right now! (Just click that banner. C’mon, you can do it!)

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Sources: Komisaruk, Barry R., Nan Wise, Eleni Frangos, Wen-Ching Liu, Kachina Allen, and Stuart Brody. “Women’s clitoris, vagina and cervix mapped on the sensory cortex: fMRI evidence.” The journal of sexual medicine. October 2011. Accessed January 18, 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3186818/.