What I Learned on My Sabbatical

I’m back!

Next time you feel like God is telling you do something that doesn’t make a lot of sense to you, realize He sees stuff you don’t see. When I decided to take a month off blogging, I had no idea that my month would end up including family and health issues that would have made keeping up with my blogging schedule impossible.

But even with these additional challenges, I still managed to spend time thinking and praying about the direction of my ministry. And here’s what came from that experience.

Categorizing my content

I’ve written over 800 posts that cover a lot of topics regarding sexual intimacy in marriage, but they’re not sorted into topics in a drop-down menu so that you can easily see what I’ve said on issues like Oral Sex, Sexless Marriage, Higher-Drive Wives, etc. I want to remedy that. In fact, I believe it’s more important for my readers and visitors to find relevant articles I’ve already written than to produce new content. Because many people who come to my blog are looking for answers to specific issues in their marriage bed, and they need to be able to locate those more efficiently.

Blogging once then twice a week

I’ve been blogging three times a week, but I’ll be cutting back to once a week until I can get all those old posts categorized. Once the Great Sort is completed, I will bump it up to blogging twice weekly. Since the Q&A posts take the longest to write, that feature will appear every other week, so that can give each question sufficient attention and care.

Writing more books

Finding time to write outside of the blog has been a struggle. But God’s pushing me to prioritize two projects I’ve had on my plate for a while. Therefore, I’ll be finishing up Pillow Talk, a book that walks couples through communicating about sex, and then tackling my personal passion book for higher-drive wives.

Speaking at events

I had a wonderful experience speaking to women in Brookings, Oregon, and I’m looking forward to keynoting at a marriage conference in Utah in November. But I’d like to do a lot more speaking. I will be pursuing opportunities in the Houston area, MOPS groups in the region, and women’s and marriage events anywhere. I’ll also be extending my Speaker Fee Waived through June 2019. For more information about booking me, click over to my Speaking page.

Podcasting

Sex Chat for Christian Wives is one of my proudest accomplishments. In large part because it’s not mine: This podcast has the synergy of four Christian women committed to helping other wives experience God’s design for sex in their marriages. I’ve been blessed so many times over by my three co-hosts as well as our listeners, and I know it’s making a real difference. Consequently, I felt God telling me very clearly that we need to continue and even look for ways to expand our reach.

Facebook Communities

One of the coolest things that has happened this past year is the two closed Facebook groups I’ve been managing. A lot of great interaction happens there. I’d like to be spend more time investing in interaction, but moderating has taken more time than I expected. Consequently, I’m putting together a moderator application and training for helpers! If you’re in the group, I’ll be posting information soon on how that will be developing.

What else is coming my way is a bit fuzzy. But I feel confident that these core goals are the ones I need to be working on.

I suspect that I’ll get even more clarity when I attend the Declare Conference for Christian women communicators in October, where I’ll finally get to meet Chris Taylor of The Forgiven Wife in person. (I’ve already met Bonny Burns of OysterBed7, who is also coming.) I look forward to that time of refocusing and refreshment. I genuinely appreciate the financial assistance readers have provided to make this happen by donating through our GoFundMe account. (Which, yes, you can still donate to, because all of our expenses are not yet covered.)

I’ll be back next week with more content with the goal of helping couples, especially wives, experience God’s design for sex in their marriage — hot, holy, and humorous as always!

When You Need a Sabbatical

This may be the least sexy post I’ve ever put up. But if you’ve been a long-time reader, I hope you’ll stick with me.

The rest of you might want to go read something more entertaining, like this post: Q&A with J: Sex Isn’t Just for Bunnies.

I’ve wondered lately if I’m facing burnout.

After all, my typically consistent, three-day-a-week blogging schedule has crumbled in recent months — with some Mondays, Thursdays, or Saturdays arriving and me running out of time or energy to get a post written and published.

Moreover, I have too many comments in my queue to moderate, primarily ones that require longer responses than I could provide when they came in. My email inbox is overflowing with everything from off-topic marketers offering to write articles for my blog to heartrending stories of couples whose sex lives are bruised or broken.

It all just seems overwhelming at times, as I plug away here on my blog, write books alone in the quiet of my office (which take me far too long to pen, but that’s how writing goes), and sift through reader emails and comments. All while invoices arrive in my inbox for website and podcast hosting, stock photos, and post and newsletter distribution.

Yet I’m still just as passionate about passion.

When I look at the challenges facing marital intimacy all around us, when I’m writing or speaking about God’s design for sex in marriage, and when I interact with readers who have benefited from my words, I still feel that same surge of longing and energy to make a difference. I still feel God’s hand nudging me forward.

Then I hear from couples who have turnaround stories like mine, only in their retelling, Hot, Holy & Humorous has made some difference. And I’m blown away by that! Just blown away. Lord, who am I for You to use me that way?

Plus, I have projects I’m eager to get to — more books, the possibility of another podcast, speaking engagements, etc. — all about sexual intimacy in marriage as God created it to be.

So maybe I’m not facing burnout, but reality.

My ministry consists of me and a virtual assistant who works on my stuff about 10-15 hours a month. And I’m not even full-time. I have another part-time job I have to keep up, as well as copy editing jobs I take on the side to help with our family income. With the amount of time and money I have, there’s just only so much I can do. And I think I’ve hit my mortal limits.

As I type this, I want to curl under my desk and weep for all the people who took their time and courage to write and explain their difficult situation and ask for my advice … whom I likely will never be able to give a full answer to. Because I want to. I want so much to help every single wife and husband who writes me. But my own husband, being more of a mathematician than I, recently calculated how many hours I would need to respond properly to all those messages … and let’s just say I’d need God to freeze everything around me for about three weeks while I catch up. I consider that an unlikely event.

I also would love to blog here five days a week, but the three I committed to are already not happening. Then those books I want to write — or rather, feel God’s calling to write — are not getting done while I manage all the other things. So what’s a mere mortal to do?

I’m not quitting.

Lest you think this is my way of saying: I am outta here! Nope. You can’t get rid of me that easily! You did read that whole section about my passion, right?

But I am going to be taking a hiatus in July.

Because I really feel like I need to reset, see where I am and what is most important about this ministry, and dedicate the time I would spend here to time with God to discern His will for me going forward. I already have a very good sense that it will involve me continuing to blog (though how much, I don’t know), podcasting with Sex Chat for Christian Wives, and writing more books. However, I haven’t been still enough lately to listen to His voice.

Since starting to blog in 2010, I’ve never taken this long a break, and it’s a scary proposition for me. What if my readers go away? What if I miss the opportunity to help someone? What if I find out that I’m not really missed?

But I also feel enormous peace about stepping away for a bit and this strong sense that it’s what I need to do — for recharging, for spending time with my family, for trusting my Heavenly Father.

What can you do in the meantime?

Well, there are a great blogs out there! I have some recommended ones on the sidebar (or scroll down, if you’re on a mobile device). But in case you haven’t noticed, I also wrote some books!

CLICK ON A BOOK COVER TO CHECK IT OUT!

  Hot, Holy, and Humorous book cover  Final Book Cover - smaller

And I have more than 800 posts on my blog that you can search for content relevant to whatever you’re going through. The search bar is at the top. (And yes, I really want to categorize all my posts so you can more easily find what you want, but that’s another hours-upon-hours job I haven’t had the time or money to get to.)

You can tune into our wonderful Sex Chat for Christian Wives podcast, where I’m still talking about sex in marriage by God’s design. I also did an interview with Dr. Corey Allan of the marvelous Sexy Marriage Radio, which will be aired sometime in July, and I will post that here on the site for you to go listen to.

Oh, and one last thing you can do in the meantime: Pursue hot, holy, and humorous sex with your spouse — today, this week, this month, and for the rest of your lives.

How can you help my ministry?

Buy those books. I hate to be pushy about it, but if you’ve been thinking of purchasing one of those books, it would nice for you to go ahead and do it. Because the way this works is that my book sales help me to continue what I’m doing, and publishers look at the numbers when deciding whether to give another contract to an author.

But it’s not about me. I really believe in what I write and that it can help your marriage. So don’t just do it for me — do it for your marriage!

Consider a donation. I don’t donate to every cause I believe in, nor do you. But if I have touched your marriage in a special way, or you also feel passionate about getting the word about God’s design for sex in marriage, perhaps you’d consider giving Hot, Holy & Humorous some financial support. You can learn more by visiting my Patreon page. Below is the video is from my welcome page on the site!

Become a Patron!

Pray for my ministry. Because, again, it’s just little ol’ me here typing away in a corner of an extra bedroom in our house, with periodic interruptions from family, our overly vocal cat, and Amazon deliveries (my husband has an online ordering problem). I continue to be surprised by how much I have gotten done. I feel I should “raise my Ebenezer” (See 1 Samuel 7:12, “Thus far the LORD has helped us“) and also thank all of you for your part.

Okay, that’s it. I’m out for the rest of July. My virtual assistant will be moderating comments when I’m not around (waving at the marvelous Heather, whom you should also have your prayers). And I’ll be interacting here and there as time allows. Many blessings, and I’ll see you in August!

5 Answers to Emails Sitting in My Inbox

I have a lot of email sitting in my inbox that I still hope to address in one way or another. But whenever I hear people’s stories, there are some general answers that fit a lot of specific scenarios.

So today I’m covering broad responses that apply to a lot of situations. Ask yourself if any of these might apply to you.

1. Adjust your expectations.

You expected to have sex every day, but your spouse only wants it every two weeks. You thought your husband would be eager to have sex, but it turns out he’s the lower drive spouse. You anticipated your spouse understanding how your drive would diminish when you had kids, but they still seem you to think you can keep up the old schedule.

And so you’re disappointed, angry, or feeling lost. I understand all of that, and I’m not saying you should settle! I firmly believe that your marriage deserves an active, satisfying sex life. Which is what the Bible says as well.

But you do need to recognize that whatever you thought was going to happen, it didn’t. And so you are where you are. And that’s the point from which you need to make progress.

A lot of getting started is simply recognizing from where you’re beginning. Adjust your expectations, let go of the frustration, and get on the same team with your spouse to improve your intimacy in all areas.

2.  Read and research more.

You just found my blog, and I’m thrilled that you did! So you shot off a question at once, and I can answer it. But I also have over 800 posts about all kinds of topics, which you can search to find answers for your question.

In addition, there are books! There are my books, and other books I recommend that can help you sort out what is normal, what is good, and how to get there.

The beauty of living right now is that we have so much information at our fingertips, but we have to be willing to look for it. I’m happy to answer questions when I can, but realistically I simply cannot answer them all. Which means that if you’re struggling with something, you need to look around for answers on my blog, other blogs, books, and resources that I point you to.

3.  Connect with others.

Do you have friends or mentors whose marriages are admirable? Oftentimes, they have answers you can tap into. I know it can be awkward to bring something up in conversation, but you might be surprised how welcoming people are.

In fact, one of the best things I’ve learned in the course of my ministry is that the old ladies at church are the least judgmental about what I do. They’ve been around long enough to know that dealing with sexual intimacy issues is a worthwhile endeavor. Once you’ve reached about 70 years old, apparently, there’s not much that can shock you anymore. You might be surprised who could mentor you.

And one of the best places to get some answers now is my closed Facebook community. Members post questions and get answers from the group as a whole. I usually chime in as well, but the collective wisdom is really impressive.

4.  Get professional help.

I am not a physician, or a psychologist, or a sex therapist, or even a licensed counselor. I have a master’s degree in counseling, but I never got the opportunity to attain the license. Instead, I consider myself a teacher and adviser.

But while I have learned a lot, and truly enjoy doing research on these topics, professionals can possess specialty knowledge I don’t have. And if they’re local, they can personally see you, assess your specific situation, and deliver tailored advice.

If you’re having sexual problems, start with a visit to the doctor to check your physiology. If you’re struggling with your faith due to sexual intimacy, talk to a well-informed and wise pastor. If there are relational problems in your marriage, find a qualified therapist or lay counselor. And if you don’t have resources where you are locally, some counselors will now work with you online.

5.  Talk to your spouse about how you feel.

Many times, I receive an email where someone expresses their discontent with what’s going on in their sex life, but their spouse doesn’t really understand how they feel. That could be because the person hasn’t even discussed the issue with their mate, or it could be that they’ve spoken about it in a way that the message did not come across.

Many times I think that if one spouse only knew how important an issue was, then they would do something about it. For instance, someone reading this is so close to walking out the door because of a sexless marriage, and their spouse really cannot comprehend that. They just don’t grasp how emotionally painful that rejection has been.

You have to talk to your spouse about what what’s going on, and if they won’t listen, then you need to look into why. You may need a professional mediator with a counselor, you may have set up a situation where you are talking but not listening, or you may have expressed yourself in ways that are difficult or even confusing for your spouse to hear. Find a way to have that important conversation — or rather, conversations — in a positive way. (See also How to Talk about Sexual Problems with Your Spouse.)

Bonus answer

And there are a few messages I get for which the actual answer is this: stop being a jerk. Some of you qualify for Kevin A. Thomson’s great post titled “I Wouldn’t Sleep with You Either.”

Yes, truly. Some of you have such unrealistic demands, such selfish behavior, such anger and resentment — I’m not shocked at all that you’re not getting laid. Because no one wants to sleep with that.

I hate to say it so bluntly, but that’s just the truth. And as I say it, I realize the people who really are jerks probably won’t agree with what I said anyway, because they’re too selfish to see it. Alas, that’s how it goes. But at least I told it like it is.


I don’t know where you land, but many of your situations really are in those generalized responses. Rather than letting your frustration rule this moment, try to breathe easy, think clearly, and pray about where God wants to direct you. What is the next, or first, step you can take to improve sexual intimacy in your marriage?

Intimacy Revealed Ad

Do You Check Your Phone During Sex?

Stuart Tutt of Something to Stu Over recently shared a statistic with several of us marriage bloggers. He’d heard a report on the radio that “about 10 percent of couples actually check their phone during sex if they get a notification.”

This spawned an interesting conversation among several of us in which we posited why someone might do this, and what other aspects of our devices can be distracting — like the screen light flashing on or off.

Then I jokingly challenged the fabulous author of the site Christian Friendly Sex Positions, who also provides the illustrations for the Ultimate Intimacy app, to come up with device-friendly positions for those who just don’t think the notification can wait.

And wouldn’t you know it? He rose to the challenge! So peppered throughout this post are his illustrations, and you’ll just have to keep reading to see them all. (Yes, please read my words interspersed between his illustrations. Tempting as it may be to just scroll… 😉 )

Good reasons to check your phone

You can read more about the research Stu mentioned here, but I contend there actually are some good reasons to check your phone during sex. For instance:

  • Your driving-age child is on the road and is supposed to text when he arrives at his destination. A mama’s mind might relax and enjoy the sex more once she’s checked that notification and knows her family is safe.
  • You’re referencing the Christian Friendly Sex Positions website, Ultimate Intimacy App, or — best of all — your ebook copy of Hot, Holy & Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design for ideas and instructions.
  • You forgot to turn off the volume, so when it sounds at that inopportune moment, you reach over to mute any further notifications.

Not-so-good reasons to check your phone

Your team is playing.

This is your alma mater. Your fantasy football picks are riding on the outcome. C’mon, it’s the World Cup! The last time you ignored a game, the other team won — so clearly, you’re the lucky charm.

Checking the Score position — when he absolutely must see how his team is doing in the game.

I can just hear her saying, “Why did you pause? Is that clicking I hear? Wait, what are you doing back there!” Not your best move, guys.

That two to three-hour game can be put on hold for a period of time to give full attention to your spouse, showing your beloved that you value them ahead of all but God. Even ahead of … gasp! … sports.

Exception: Your team is the Astros playing in the World Series. At least, that’s an exception in my Houston area, in which case sex might look more like this:

Checking the Score Together Position

Your social media site pinged you.

Did you know that FOMO is an actual word? It’s an anagram that stands for Fear Of Missing Out and is described by Oxford Dictionaries as “anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on social media.”

Thankfully, very few are actually addicted to social media, but plenty of people have created habits whereby they check their social media sites so often that it disrupts other real-life activities. Like … for example … SEX.

12 More Likes Position — when she must check her social media site

I’ll let you in on a little secret about social media. It’s like a soap opera: You can miss a day, jump back in, and catch up really quick. If there’s a huge event, they’ll still be talking about it when your lovemaking session is done. And there’s this neat feature whereby you can scroll backward to see anything you missed!

Ignore the phone and instead give yourself and your spouse reasons to 👍 , ❤, and 😮 your sexual encounter.

A news story just popped up.

The news cycle is down to minute-by-minute, and if you don’t know what’s happening in the world, what kind of citizen are you? Not to mention that the universe yearns to hear your opinions on every latest political event — meaning you must stay on top of the news feed.

News You Can’t Use Position — when the news cycle won’t wait

Consider this a public service. I’ll summarize the news for you: The United States Congress thought about doing something, but didn’t. Your taxes are too high, and your services for that money are too low. The Middle East is in conflict. People in countries we cannot pronounce and/or locate on a map are engaged in war, famine, or hardship. Someone’s secret sins were discovered, and now they will either pay for it, use the shameful revelation to get a book deal, or both. A woman somewhere, somehow made a fashion faux pas that will give the media something to talk about for the hours they might otherwise use to cover something else just as trivial.

Okay, that’s not quite as detailed as you might like, but it should be enough to get you through your next sexual rendezvous without checking your phone. If you do decide to look at the screen, consider yourself unfair and imbalanced.

Family or close friends are trying to reach you.

“But if I don’t reply, she’ll just keep texting,” you say. After all, this is the person who:

  • nursed you back to health after your last surgery
  • was your best friend throughout college
  • shared a room with you throughout childhood
  • gave you life!

How can you ignore the people you love? And besides, it will only take a moment to type out: “Yes, I’m fine. TTYL.”

Hold On, It’s My Mom Position — when your family just can’t wait

Again, unless it’s a matter of life-or-death — like your driving-age child is on the road or your parent is dying — it really can wait. If your friends and family cannot be put on hold for the time it takes to give full intimate attention to your spouse, you need to reflect back on those vows you took to put your beloved ahead of all others. (Excepting God, of course.)

In short, leave and cleave, baby! Leave. And. Cleave.

Because Siri is secretly your best friend.

Or Alexa. Or Bixby. Whatever device you have, I understand feeling like it’s an extension of your right arm. My husband and I went on a date recently, and I forgot my phone. He was shocked: “You’re never without your phone.” Well, not never, I wanted to answer. But he had a point in that I now choose pants, shorts, skirts, and even robes that have pockets so I’ll have a spot to hold my phone while I walk around. And I wear headphones like a necklace.

But seriously, the following is not cool.

Siri Interruptus Position — when you need to put the phone down already!

Can you imagine the Song of Songs couple saying:

He
How beautiful you are, my darling!
Oh, how beautiful!
Your eyes are doves.

She
How handsome you are, my beloved!
Oh, how charming!
And our bed is verdant.

He
Hold that thought — our phones are pinging!

(Song of Songs 1:15-16.)

Set the phone side, turn off the notifications, and focus on your beloved. Remember: I belong to my beloved, and his desire is for… his phone? No. It’s “I belong to my beloved, and his desire is for me” (Song of Songs 7:10).

The good news about the 10% who check their phone during sex … is that 90% of us don’t. If you’ve interrupted sex for the sake of your mobile device or been tempted, however, you might want to consider how to keep that from happening again. Make a habit of setting the phone aside, turning of off the volume, and giving sex with your spouse your full attention.

Ultimate Intimacy App Banner

Q&A with J: “What If Neither of Us Desires Sex?”

Our reader question comes from a wife who doesn’t care about having sex, but neither does her husband. Here’s her query:

…the problem I am facing is that neither me or my spouse have any desire for sex at all, like, none. I think I may be asexual. What do you do if neither spouse has any sexual desire? I mean, we are both very happy and our marriage can’t be any better, but I’m just wondering if this is normal and should we be worried if neither of us have any desire to have sex yet are happy either way…. Is asexuality bad? I love romance and so does my husband, but I have no desire for sex and neither does my husband. I’m just wondering your opinion of married couples who are completely happy being sexless like we are because reading everything you have written makes me wonder if me and my spouse are broken even though we are both otherwise in a happy marriage.

If you asked a psychologist or sex therapist what they think, I suspect they’d say you should only have sex as often as the two of you agree to have it. Moreover, some Christian authors and counselors might agree.

But what does God have to say about this?

I mean, hey, He invented this whole put-the-puzzle-pieces-together act. He also created the institution of marriage, with its other benefits and blessings. Surely, as both Creator and Lord, we should hear what He has to say about whether sex in marriage is nice or essential.

The passage many might consider as definitive is this one:

The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs. The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife. Do not deprive each other of sexual relations, unless you both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you can give yourselves more completely to prayer. Afterward, you should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control (1 Corinthians 7:3-5, NLT).

Except in your case, it could be argued that neither of you feels deprived or experiences self-control issues in the realm of sex. So are you really hurting one another to avoid it?

But everything I see in Scripture says that sexual intimacy is supposed to be happening in marriage. Genesis 2:24 says, “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” While this verse includes many aspects of marital intimacy, you won’t find any reputable biblical scholar who wouldn’t say that sex is among them. Even the word choice of one flesh connotes a physical connection.

Jesus affirmed this focus of marriage by citing the verse: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate” (Mark 10:7-9).

Married couples have sex in the Bible. It’s what they do. Indeed, if you didn’t fulfill your full sexual obligations, you could get in trouble (see Genesis 38).

Additionally, God told His people to “be fruitful and multiply” — which means they must have sex. Now I do not believe this means every marriage must produce children, but it does show that one reason for marriage is to provide the context for creating more made-in-His-image human beings.

God’s Word as a whole not only allows but encourages married couples to make love — for the sake of reproduction, yes, but also for pleasure and intimacy.

God's Word as a whole not only allows but encourages married couples to make love -- for the sake of reproduction, yes, but also for pleasure and intimacy. Click To Tweet

And here’s where the crux lies: intimacy.

If you live with someone and have a great friendship and partnership, wonderful! That’s a great relationship to experience in your life.

But it simply doesn’t have the same depth as one in which you are vulnerable at the most intimate levels with one another, literally joining your bodies together in the act of sex. Moreover, you increase intimacy by bringing one another to heights of pleasure that release body chemicals that bond you further together. This is how God made our bodies.

But now that I’ve (hopefully) convinced you that God intends your marriage to include sexual intimacy, but the real question is:

Why don’t you two desire sex?

Because you can mentally believe it’s good for you and still not want to do it. (Same reason why I’m not jogging right at this moment.) And I’m not going to advise, “Just schlep yourself to the bedroom, do the hokey-pokey, and check mark that you fulfilled your duty.”

That’s also clearly not God’s plan!

But physically, emotionally, and spiritually healthy adults respond well to the pleasure and intimacy that sex with a beloved mate can bring. Plenty of people don’t have an independent drive ahead of time to engage, but they do get into it once things get started. So if you’re not getting into it, why? What’s amiss?

  • Have you soaked in erroneous messages that sex is inherent impure or base?
  • Do you experience pain or discomfort during sexual activity?
  • Did you have past experiences that soured you on sex?
  • Do have physiological issues, like depression or hormonal imbalance, that cause you to be disinterested?
  • Are you overly self-conscious about your bodies or the act itself?
  • Do you have arousal issues, like an inability to lubricate for the wife or erection problems for the husband?
  • Is your relationship more like a friendship than a romance?

Those are just some of the possibilities. But I would suggest that if you don’t respond well to sex, then something really is off and needs to be addressed. Because God made us to be sexual beings, desiring physical pleasure and intimacy with our spouse.

I would start with a visit to the doctor, asking for a full check-up to make sure there are not physical obstacles. If the issue is more spiritual teaching on the subject sex, may I suggest grabbing a copy of my devotional book, Intimacy Revealed: 52 Devotions to Enhance Sex in Marriage (ebook less than $5), that will walk you through getting a godly, healthy view of sexuality. You may also want to see your pastor or a counselor together to discuss this issue and how you can address it. (Albeit it needs to be one who actually understands God’s design for marriage includes regular sexual intimacy.)

A sexless marriage, over time, can and likely will take its toll on your relational connection. It’s worth pursuing answers now to awaken the love in your marriage.

Intimacy Revealed book ad - click for more info or to buy