Category Archives: Current Issues in Sexuality

A Letter to the Low Drive Husband

I’m not sure how many low-drive husbands read my blog, but I know quite a few high-drive wives read it. Sometimes they comment or email me about the issues in their marriage, and I personally lament how few resources there are for couples in this scenario.

Today it’s on my heart to write not to the high-drive wife (though I have done that and will continue to do so), but to the low-drive husband because that’s also a tough position to be in.

Blog post title + woman's hands writing a letter

Dear Low-Drive Husband,

You live in a frustrating world. All around you, the message is that men want sex constantly, that their appetite for sex — particularly with the woman they love — is nearly unquenchable. It’s a message you grew up with, so much that it seems like masculinity itself is linked with a high sex drive.

And while you’ve got the equipment and it works, you’re just not that needy for sexual encounters with your wife. Sure, you like them. But on any given day, you’re not busting out of your pants zipper at the thought of sex, or even the thought of your sexy wife — as gorgeous as she is. And plenty of nights you long for sleep as much or more than you do sex.

Confessing this to other guys, however, might get your Man Card revoked. So you haven’t gone around asking how it’s going with others or seeking resources for your “issue.”

Even admitting it to your wife is difficult. Especially if your wife is high drive and wants sex more than you expected her to, or than you feel like. In fact, something about how much more she wants sex makes you feel like you don’t measure up.

As someone who has studied and written on married sexuality for almost seven years and hears from higher drives wives almost every week, let me see if I can explain a few things.

You’re all man.

Totally man. Completely, thoroughly M-A-N. A more passive sex drive doesn’t make you any less male. If you’ve got the package and you know how to use it, rest assured you’re good to go. God knows what He made, and he made you XY — man. In fact, this is a big factor in why your wife wants you so much. Because she’s very into you being different from her and how you fit together as male-female so perfectly.

Please don’t listen to the messages that equate masculinity with unbridled sex drive. They aren’t from God. Rather, principles of biblical manhood within marriage are controlling sinful appetites, providing for one’s family, and servant leadership.

Pay attention to these words from King David: “When the time drew near for David to die, he gave a charge to Solomon his son. ‘I am about to go the way of all the earth,’ he said. ‘So be strong, act like a man,…’” His next words were not, “And show off your sexual prowess, thus getting lots of high-fives in the men’s locker room.” Rather, David finished his instructions this way: “and observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses.”

Also, consider what the Apostle Paul said: ” As for you, Titus, promote the kind of living that reflects wholesome teaching. Teach the older men to exercise self-control, to be worthy of respect, and to live wisely. They must have sound faith and be filled with love and patience” (Titus 2:1-2,  NLT). These are pictures of biblical manhood.

You’re not alone.

You’re not the only one out there whose sex drive isn’t in high gear 24/7. You’re in the company of 15-30% of other husbands. Let me break that down for you. In terms of the U.S. population, that’s about 22 to 45 million men. If we’re talking world population, it’s 0.57 to 1.13 billion men. So while some may make you feel like a stranger in a strange land, you’re not.

While it seems risky, if not dangerous, to admit to another guy that you have a lagging sex drive, there are resources for you. Some have written about low-drive husbands, and you can also take many married sex articles, books, resources and just reverse things in your mind (if they say the wife is lower drive, but you are in your marriage, then pay more attention to the advice on that side).

That doesn’t always work, which is why I have a chapter in Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design about higher-drive wives and the men who love them. And I’m also working on a whole book about higher-drive wives, mainly aimed at women but there will still be information for you.

You need to take action.

Dude, your wife is hurting. I hear from higher-drive wives all the time who question their desirability, their marriage relationship, and even their husband’s love, because they feel like the weird one whose husband doesn’t want them sexually. Even more importantly, God intended for you and your wife to have regular sexual intimacy in marriage.

You have a biblical obligation to engage in the marriage bed: “The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs” (1 Corinthians 3:5). Now that doesn’t mean that you should schlep to the bedroom with duty, duty, duty playing through your head. The second part of that verse, and so many other places in the Bible, show us sexual intimacy in marriage is for both spouses and should be pleasurable and connection-building.

Rather, this is a call to action. If you’re not currently fulfilling your wife’s sexual needs, you need to work on why and what to do about it. How can you create a situation in which you both desire sexual intimacy? I don’t know what your issues are, but I’ll throw out a few possibilities:

  • Your body chemistry is off
  • You had/have a porn habit
  • You have sexual baggage
  • You were taught that sex = sin
  • You’re not attracted to your wife (see note below)
  • You have self-doubts
  • You’re super-stressed
  • You’re just a passive guy

This is a really long letter now, playing right into the stereotype of the talkative female (which I totally am). So I’m going to hold off on explaining each of those issues and some fixes until next week. But it’s my prayer that you will find something here to take steps in the right direction. You might need to see a doctor, seek help to deal with your porn problem, study more about what the Bible says about sex, etc.

And if your wife shared this blog post with you, maybe it’s time to take a walk together hand-in-hand or sit across the kitchen table and have an honest conversation about sex in your marriage.

Because she wants you — all of you. And I suspect, once you work out a few things, you want her a great deal too.

Note on “not attracted to your wife”: High-drive wives will likely read that as physical appearance, but men tell me it’s almost always things like feeling disrespected or ignored that makes her less appealing to him.  You, dear woman, are beautiful, but relationship issues can tense men to the point that they don’t feel as drawn to their wives. I’ll cover that more next week, but I really didn’t want to leave the wrong impression!

Q&A with J: “What about an Adult Nursing Relationship?”

Sometimes I get questions and I wonder if I should answer them, because then I’ll be introducing people who don’t know about a certain practice to that practice, and is that a good idea, and will someone read the question and answer and shudder… Anyway, since I’ve been asked this 3-4 times, I thought it was time to answer the question on my blog. Here’s a recent query in this regard:

Something I have recently been reading about & simply unsure how to process is the subject of ANR (adult nursing relationship) in essence breastfeeding your husband. First obvious thought was “WHAAAT?!?” But I know I really enjoy breast stimulation as foreplay, like REALLY enjoy it. I have breastfed our children & while doing so my husband & I just kind of considered breasts off limits in a sexual sense. I’m currently pregnant [again] & the thought of no more stimulation from my husband after baby starts nursing is really….sad. But am I weird to even consider wanting that type of relationship? I am in no way sexually aroused by infant nursing, that’s a completely different category! & to be honest I still think that a true ANR relationship is strange. Nursing your husband multiple times a day for at least 10 minutes? Ain’t nobody got time for that! anyway, sorry for the strange email.

As I said, you’re not the first person who has asked.

Blog post title + silhouette of man and woman embracing

Let’s first cover what an adult nursing relationship (ANR) is not. It’s not your husband simply using his mouth on your breasts because it’s pleasurable to both of you. That’s foreplay and/or sexual affection. If he likes kissing, licking, or sucking your breasts, and you enjoy it as well, go for it — whenever you both want. (Well, I mean within reason: Don’t horrify your neighbors by doing it on the front porch.)

ANR, also known as erotic lactation, is the exchange of breast milk between two adult sexual partners. So basically, the wife produces breast milk, and the husband drinks it right from the breast.

Sometimes ANR is established while a woman is breastfeeding, and the husband tries her milk, and they both enjoy the experience so they continue. Other times, many times, a wife must induce lactation — through massage, nipple stimulation, sucking (with his mouth or a breast pump), and perhaps even drugs that help the process along. Breast milk works on supply and demand, so for lactation to continue, regular feeding must take place.

Some of you are asking: Why would anyone want to do this? Here are a few of the reasons commonly given:

  • Breastfeeding can be an erotic experience for some women particularly sensitive to the nipple stimulation. Some moms might feel bad about these feelings when they’re nursing a baby, but with their husband they get to lean into those feelings.
  • Oxytocin is produced while nursing. In mothers and infants, this body chemical helps establish bonding. Some participants feel ANR does the same thing for their marriage.
  • We associate breastfeeding with caretaking — the women takes care of the one being nursed, and the one being nursed feels taken care of. That dynamic is appealing to some couples.

The next question might be: Is ANR wrong? Well, there’s no biblical command against it, and indeed the Bible talks positively about a husband enjoying his wife’s breasts (Proverbs 5:19). So the next step is to see if ANR lines up with biblical principles.

And this is where I think of the scripture that says, “‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say — but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’ — but not everything is constructive” (1 Corinthians 10:23). Thus, is this practice beneficial and constructive?

I have some concerns. First off, when I said that we associate breastfeeding with caretaking, that’s true — but we associate it with mothers caretaking infants. Which is why some readers have cringed as they’ve read this post, because it just seems so … infantile. Like didn’t we outgrow that?

I’m not saying that’s what’s happening in all cases, but I’d be asking questions about why a couple wants to engage in this practice. Is it an attempt to make up for something missing from childhood? Is there something about feeling childlike or motherly with your mate that appeals to you? If that’s part of the draw, then rather than establishing an adult nursing relationship right away, deal with the underlying issues.

Second, it is not easy to keep lactating for years. If you don’t regularly nurse or express your milk, you could experience engorgement, a rather uncomfortable feeling; blockage of milk ducts, which require releasing; and even an infection that requires medical intervention. Moreover, the supply could go away, and then you have to start over with inducing lactation. It’s a lot to ask of a woman.

Third, some women lose erotic feelings while nursing. Plenty of women report a decrease in libido and sensation while breastfeeding, so an ANR relationship might be counterproductive to the main event — sexual intercourse. I’d be concerned if regular suckling took the place of foreplay and sex.

Fourth, it’s pretty one-sided. Yes, I know that she might enjoy the experience as much as he. But she is doing all the actual work of producing milk, keeping it going, dealing with engorgement or blockage or infection, and perhaps leakage. Yes, he has to suck, but ask nearly any guy if he feels like it’s work to suck a breast and he will say, “Nice work if you can get it!”

Finally, I believe in sex. By that, I mean that we don’t have anything from God talking directly about ANRs, but we do know that He created sex that involves breast play (Song of Songs 7:7-8), releases Oxytocin with physical touch and climax, and involves taking care of each other‘s needs and longings. I’m just not sure the primary benefits of ANR can’t be achieved by going with what we already know God designed.

That said, I won’t say that ANR is wrong. I don’t think it is. But it is a somewhat strange practice and quite an undertaking, so I wouldn’t advise anyone stepping into this lifestyle lightly. Ask why it appeals to you, whether you could find other ways to meet your physical touch and bonding needs, and then make your choice on whether you want to pursue this.

Don’t Have Time to Read about Sex? Then Listen.

I recently posted something on my Facebook page about the Sex Chat for Christian Wives podcast, and one commenter responded: “Wait you have a podcast? I didn’t realize!!”

At first, I thought: Really? You didn’t know? Because this is the header on my Facebook page:

Facebook Banner with photo of my book and podcast logo: "Check out the Book and the Podcast"

Then I thought about how often I scan stuff or don’t recall what I’ve seen. Not to mention that I’ve heard about a gazillion times that people need to see something repeatedly to remember it. I admitted that my fairly new podcast could have easily gotten lost among the noise of life.

So I wanted to make it easy for y’all, in case you haven’t listened yet. Below are links to all the episodes we’ve done. And by we, I mean this group of ladies:

Sex Chat for Christian Wives Facebook Banner: showing J, Bonny Burns of OysterBed7, Gaye Christmus of Calm.Healthy.Sexy, and Chris Taylor of The Forgiven Wife

It’s not my podcast. It’s a podcast in which four marriage and sex bloggers — me, Bonny Burns of OysterBed7, Gaye Christmus of Calm.Healthy.Sexy., and Chris Taylor of The Forgiven Wife — sit around a virtual kitchen table and discuss various topics. You’ll see the span of stuff we’ve covered so far below.

  1. Episode 1: Getting in the Mood – We launch our podcast with a conversation about getting your mind and body ready for sexual intimacy
  2. Episode 2: Sex Positions – Going beyond the missionary position, we talk about how and why to try new positions
  3. Episode 3: 50 Shades of Here-We-Go-Again – With the release of the second movie in the Fifty Shades series, we talk about this phenomenon and what wives should know
  4. Episode 4: Stress & Sex – Stress impacts our ability to engage in sex in marriage, so we discuss realistic ways of dealing with this obstacle
  5. Episode 5: Sex Scheduling – We talk about putting sex on your calendar, whether and how you should do it, and what benefits it might have
  6. Episode 6: Women’s Sexual Response – Discussing how our sexual response really works and what many people misunderstand about female arousal
  7. Episode 7: Exercise and Sex – Talking about why exercising is important for your sex life, not to mention your health and wellbeing
  8. Episode 8: Sex Toys – Covering what benefits, drawbacks, and concerns are involved with the use of sex toys
  9. Episode 9: Listener Questions –  Chris, Bonny, and Gaye answer questions about honoring feelings, multiple orgasms, and erectile dysfunction
  10. Episode 10: Tending Your Garden – We talk about taking care of your “garden,” aka your lady parts; hygiene, grooming, and decorating
  11. Episode 11: Introducing the Podcast Team – Digging deeper into who we are and why we do what we do
  12. Episode 12: Guy Talk – The Importance of Sex – Chris interviews men from the Christian Marriage Bloggers Association core team, and we comment afterward about their male perspective
  13. Episode 13: Mismatched Sex Drives – We chat about the challenge of differences in sex drives and how to handle the mismatch

And tomorrow, look for a new episode with more Guy Talk.

I’m planning to add a fourth day to my blog every other week, in which I share the new episode so that you won’t miss it! But the best way to make sure you are plugged into our (fabulous) podcast is to subscribe to new posts through our RSS feed, and/or find us on your favorite podcast provider. We’re on iTunesiHeart, Stitcher, and more. I personally listen to podcasts on the Pocket Casts app, and I had no trouble finding Sex Chat for Christian Wives.

Now and then, we encounter some audio issues, because (1) we’re recording the episode via Skype phone call and (2) we are not audio engineers. But we have purchased better equipment, continue working on our editing skills, and try to provide the best episodes we can. Regardless, we believe our content is absolutely worth your time.

We’d love for you to listen, leave a review on iTunes or other podcast provider sites, and share our podcast with others. We want to spread the message about God’s gift of sexual intimacy in marriage and address the challenges we wives face in embracing that gift fully.

Also, as someone recently said to us, “it sounds like y’all have fun.” We really do. We enjoy one another, our conversations, and the experience of inviting other wives to slide their own chair up to the virtual kitchen table and listen in.

Screenshot of Skype phone call, with all four of us smiling

Having fun on the podcast!

Q&A with J: Is Animated Porn a Problem?

I recently talked about seeing porn, and I thought this was a great follow-up question from a reader:

I’ve been reading your blog posts for a while now, but the one you recently did on your first experience with porn stirred me to email you with a question. Does animated porn, featuring not-real people, affect people like traditional porn does (and if so, how?). Whenever I read blogs on the effects of porn and similar topics, I feel that none of the topics they cover apply to animated porn. This leads me to believe the two are significantly different at least in terms of their effects. In short, I was hoping to hear your opinion on the subject.

Blog post title with ANIMATED word 3D against a bunch of 2D letters

I hadn’t actually seen any animated porn before this question. This is always a tough thing for a Christian sex blogger: How much do I go look up to be fully informed on the issue? And how much “research” is crossing a line?

Typing in “animated porn” in Google, the top hits were videos on porn sites. I knew I didn’t want to see any of that. I figured a few still images instead would give me the sense of what’s out there so I could speak to the issue as a whole. Clicking over to images, I saw maybe a page of stuff, and clicked right off. Don’t run this search! Rather, let me tell you what animated porn is like, so you’ll know and then we can all move on.

It’s not typically sketches or the stuff of comic strips. It’s three-dimensional animation that features highly unrealistic body parts and sexual acts. Think about it: Even things that can’t exist with real humans can exist with the tools of computer-generated imagery.

Animated porn is not artistic, but rather salacious.

So yeah, it’s porn. It’s an image generated to sexually titillate you in a way removed from God’s design for sex in marriage. Perhaps you’d put this more in the category of erotica than porn, because it’s pure fantasy, but it shares several problematic features:

 1. It’s inherently selfish. This stuff is designed to stimulate and satisfy solo sexual desires. The interaction is you and a screen. Now I know some argue that if you watch porn, even animated porn, together, it can arouse you and then you act out your sexuality with each other. To which some small part of me always wants to say, “Jeez, are you so lame at turning on your mate that you have to feed them porn? Up your game!”

Okay, maybe that’s a little too unfiltered. But the point is merely that you are using someone else (albeit a computer-drawn character) to get you turned on, rather than making the effort to connect with your spouse. But getting aroused by your spouse is always the model for sexual intimacy in the Bible.

Getting aroused by your spouse is always the model for sexual intimacy in the Bible. Click To Tweet

2. It’s lusting. Jesus said, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). Since you’re using those animated characters specifically for the purpose of sexual arousal and satisfaction, you have to be lusting while you’re watching it.

In the Book of Job, the grief-stricken Job defends his innocence in this way:

If my heart has been seduced by a woman,
  or if I have lusted for my neighbor’s wife,
then let my wife serve another man;
  let other men sleep with her.
For lust is a shameful sin,
  a crime that should be punished.
It is a fire that burns all the way to hell.
  It would wipe out everything I own” (31:9-12, NLT)

He doesn’t say, “If I cheated on my wife…” He says if I was seduced by another woman or lusting after another’s wife, and he proclaims lust “a shameful sin.” I know that a real woman and an animated one are not the exact same thing, but can you really see Job saying, “Hey God, I only lusted after the three-dimensional CGI babes with the big knockers, so cut me a break!” Nope, it’s all lusting.

3. It’s objectifying. Trust me on this one. These are not normal people. Their sexual features are incredibly pronounced, so the obvious goal is viewing these characters as a collection of body parts. You are not looking at animated porn and coming away with, “Gee, he had nice green eyes and a kind demeanor.”

Yes, of course we linger on our mate’s body parts at times. Song of Songs has passages like these:

Your breasts are like two fawns, twin fawns of a gazelle grazing among the lilies” (4:5).

His body is like bright ivory, glowing with lapis lazuli” (5:14).

But making love with your spouse involves an appreciation of the whole person, not just the “goodies.” And it’s not okay to treat others as body parts there for your entertainment. Yes, these are pretend characters, but you’re training your mind to see others and sex itself as a body part showcase, rather than focusing on the intimacy God desires a married couple to have.

I’ll admit that yes, animated porn is less horrifying to me, just like erotica, for this one reason: Real people are not involved on the other end.

Having read quite a bit about the porn industry, my heart genuinely aches for those who engage in the making of porn. I’ve heard the whole “they’re consenting…they’re emotionally healthy…they’re providing a service” arguments. But I don’t buy that treating your own body like an object for display is a good thing. It’s disrespectful to yourself and to God’s creation.

No good parent would say, “Hey, I can’t wait for my daughter to grow up and show off her private parts to the world.” Why on earth would we think God wants that for any of his daughters? Or sons?

So yeah, I’ll give you that one, that animated porn isn’t quite the same as real-life porn. But it’s still wrong, because it’s selfish, it’s lusting, and it’s objectifying.

Focus on your spouse and arousing one another. That’s far more worth your time and honoring to the One who created sex.

The First Time I Saw Porn

I originally sat down to write about what all I’ve learned about pornography from research and then how the Bible looks at porn and what it does to marriage. I still want to write that post, but as I thought about the topic, my mind wandered back to the first time I saw porn.

Blog post title + XXX-adults only wordsOne little research tidbit I’ll include here is that the average age a person is exposed to pornography is around 13. And that’s how old I was when I was at a friend’s house and she reported that her older brother kept Playboy magazines in his closet. He wasn’t home, and she offered to show me one.

Curiosity impelled me to say yes.

I’d seen adult magazines in convenience stores behind sealed packages that blocked out the private areas of women sprawled on their covers, and I’d heard stories of the sordid features of porn magazines. I wanted to find out for myself what was going on inside those slick covers.

My friend pulled down one of the magazines, and we flipped through. I couldn’t tell you what all was in there, because only two pieces have stayed with me all these years. I’m going to describe them in as clinical a way as I can. One was a sexual fantasy story about a woman on an airplane who engages in various activities with several passengers. The other was an image of a woman wearing barely-there lingerie (not covering breasts or genitalia), positioned in a way that focused on her private parts.

I can’t conjure up the specifics of either the story or the image. However, I absolutely remember how I felt. And that’s what I want to share.

I admit that I was fascinated. My curiosity was assuaged, and I was amazed that this whole world existed. Who were the people who put out a magazine like this? Who wrote sex fantasy stories? Who posed for nudie photographs to be shared with anyone willing to pay a few bucks to ogle the page?

But mostly, I felt violated. My stomach muscles tensed, and bile rose to the my throat. I felt creepy and wrong and just off-kilter. Something inside me revolted against the idea of treating women and sex this way. It almost felt like a personal attack as well: Was this what men thought women were good for? Was this what they really wanted women to be? Were we just a collection of body parts? I certainly hoped not.

But then I had another moment of curiosity. Not just about what men wanted, but what my own body was doing. Was I only feeling tension and disgust? Or did something else in me, some strange trigger reaction, want to know more about this whole world of sexuality and what it all meant? Yes, I was repulsed, but also intrigued.

A wave of guilt followed. Not only did I think I’d get in trouble if my friend and I were caught looking at a girly magazine, but I felt it was wrong — both what this magazine was doing and my choice to look. I also knew what I’d seen wouldn’t soon disappear from my mind, and I’d be wrestling with these thoughts a while longer.

Yet another part of me just felt sad. I felt sorry for women who allowed themselves to be treated this way, as merely a tool for sexual arousal and fantasy. The photographed woman especially made me wonder about who she really is, and did anyone looking at the picture care? Or was she only valuable for the size of her breasts and her willingness to strike an erotic pose?

Now when I saw this magazine, I knew very little about sex. At that point, I might have held a boy’s hand. But in a way, my lack of sexual education and personal experience allowed me to look at the magazine with fresh eyes. And my personality is to mull and reflect thoroughly about my experiences. Had I reacted with such aversion purely because of my religious background, or was something else going on — some more deeper and instinctive response?

Of course I didn’t answer all those questions at the tender age of 13.

Throughout the years since, I’ve actually grown less concerned about the rules and more concerned about hearts, relationships, and honoring the Lord. And from that place, I’ve lost all that curiosity and fascination I had when I first saw porn. Yet, I’m left with the same disgust and sadness.

Whoever that poor woman was that appeared in the Playboy issue I saw, she was someone’s daughter and deserved better than to be consumed by greedy eyeballs wanting a cheap thrill. Honestly, even I can’t remember anything about her face, and that’s a shame. Wasn’t she a person? And yet how did I treat her? Like the object she was displayed as being.

That is nothing like how God tells us to treat others.

Some husbands (and some wives) say that looking at porn isn’t a big deal — they just like looking at naked women; it has nothing to do with how they feel about their wives; and it doesn’t affect their intimacy in the marriage bed. Some men suggest we ladies have just made up all this brouhaha about porn being bad and we get our panties in a twist over nothing.

Men still looking at porn: Do you know what your choice says about your view of women? Your view of sexuality?  Do you understand why it upsets so many wives? If you think it’s okay to treat women that way, what might your wife conclude about how you view her in the marriage bed?

Yes, you say it’s different, and I believe you to some extent, but your actions don’t send the right message. They’re making your wife feel emotionally unsafe.

Okay, someone out there is saying: “But my wife is different — she understands / watches porn with me.” You might even argue that it’s helping your sex life. But tell me what you’re doing to that person posing for you: Can you imagine Jesus ever treating someone the way you’re treating that porn star, as a collection of arousing body parts?

Do you recall how you felt the first time you saw porn? Because I suspect you had a mix of emotions too. Some of curiosity, fascination, and perhaps even arousal; but also something sinister in the back of your mind, the pit of your stomach, the core of your heart.

Maybe that sinister feeling was a warning, a nudge from our conscience.

Ultimately, porn is sin. Pure and simple. And it’s time to seek something better.