Category Archives: Current Issues in Sexuality

Q&A with J: Should I Skype Sex with My Husband?

When I first read the following question, I thought surely I’d answered it before. But while I could find a post about sexting your spouse, I couldn’t find one specifically about having “Skype sex.” So I’m tackling it today.

My husband works away from home (over seas) for up to six months at a time. Obviously, this means that we are unable to be intimate during the time that he is away (fireworks when he’s home). We have started to use skype for “skype sex”. I’m not terribly comfortable with it because I’ve been told so many times that masturbation is wrong. However, I also know that it is time spent with my husband, keeping our marriage strong. It doesnt involve anyone else and were doing it together.

I guess what I am asking is, should there be shame here? I’m so torn.

Q&A with J- Should I Skype Sex with My Husband- woman on bed with tablet

I’ve written about masturbation before, and I won’t be able to do as thorough a treatment of that topic here. So let me first point out those posts that deal specifically with masturbation:

Two Wives & Candid Conversation about Masturbation

More Candid Conversation about Masturbation

Masturbation: Hands On or Hands Off?

Q&A with J: “Is It Okay for Him to Please Himself While Thinking of Me?”

Summarizing what I’ve said before, masturbation is not biblically wrong, it’s fine in the marriage when mutual engagement is part of the sex act, and masturbation should not take sexual energy away from your spouse.

Of course, excessive masturbation or touching yourself while looking at or picturing others are problems. If that’s happening in a marriage, it needs to stop.

It is indeed quicker and easier for most people to reach orgasm using their own hands, because we have a feedback loop for what feels good and can immediately adjust. If you get overly used to that form of sexual satisfaction, it can be difficult to be patient and adaptable in the presence of your beloved to make things happen. Because it takes more communication and connection to have your husband bring you to climax, or vice versa. However, it’s ultimately more fulfilling.

What you’re describing, though, isn’t solo masturbation. It’s mutual. You’re engaging together as much as possible, while at different ends of the Earth. If you were in the same room, you’d be jumping each other’s bones and setting off those fireworks. But time and distance are preventing that from happening.

To my mind, here are the choices:

  • You shut down sexually for six months. Now, I’ve actually heard of military husbands who prefer not to stoke their sexuality at all while away from their wives, because they feel it’s even harder to be reminded of what they are missing. But that’s not most spouses I hear from. And it requires a great deal of willpower.
  • You feel all those sexual urges and do zip about them. This is difficult, but it can be done. For those in this scenario, my post for singles about what to do with sexual desire that can’t be satisfied might be helpful.
  • You take of your own business. This is the solo masturbation option, where you let your sexual desires build and build until you finally release the tension. You might flirt, sext, imagine, and express your sexual love, but you don’t act on it together. You take care of that buildup separately.
  • You engage in mutual masturbation. Which is the course your husband clearly wants to take, and that you’ve agreed to at times. It’s a way to be as sexual with one another as you can, while still many miles away from one another.

I don’t believe any of these choices is expressly wrong. Rather, they each could cause you to grow closer or to grow further apart, depending on who you each are and your relationship. And that’s the measure.

You state yourself: “However, I also know that it is time spent with my husband, keeping our marriage strong. It doesnt involve anyone else and were doing it together.

It sounds like you know the answer then. Engaging in this activity, as awkward as it might seem at first or to some, seems to be strengthening your marriage.

So why do you feel shame?

  • Because there is a prevalent view that masturbation is always wrong. Which I address in the above posts. I think you can relax on that one and make your test for this activity the principles of Galatians 5:22-23 (the Fruit of the Spirit) and 1 Corinthians 13:4-6 (the Love Chapter).
  • Because it’s awkward to touch yourself. If touching yourself hasn’t been a part of your sexual encounters while together, it can feel really odd to do it here. It’s a bit self-indulgent, and your hand certainly feels different from his. The truth is the only way to get over this is to get through it. That is, do almost anything more times and you’ll get more comfortable with it. It won’t ever feel like his hand, but if he feels a part of the experience, you’re not just selfishly getting yourself off.
  • Because you’re in front of a camera. I’m well-aware that some women get paid to do this on the internet, and that’s clearly wrong. So you might feel this weird sense that maybe you’re like those gals, feeding a voyeuristic turn-on for the guy on the other end of the phone call. But this is your husband, and you’re engaging in sexual activity entirely within the confines of marriage. Would it be wrong if that camera was a window? It’s the same principle, so maybe think of it that way.
  • Because it’s going over the phone lines. Or internet lines. Or however all that technology works. And this is where I get the most concerned. Probably because I still don’t entirely understand how my light bulb turns on, much less all the ins and outs of Skyping. Is there any possibility that someone else could tap in or that any of that imagery gets saved somewhere in the vast world of internet data? I felt like I should research this, but then I decided that instead of spending hours running down rabbit trails to figure all that out … I’d ask my tech-savvy readers. I know you’re out there. Will you please either warn us or explain why there is no cause for worry? I expect to see you in the comments. Thank you.

One final thought: If you don’t want to have Skype sex with your husband, you don’t have to. While everything I’ve said (with the exception of the technology question, which someone else will answer) show that I don’t consider this a problem, it still isn’t something a spouse should demand in a long-distance season of marriage.

It’s legitimately okay to say you feel so extremely uncomfortable that you need to find another way to deal with your sexual desires. Because it isn’t straight-out sex, so I don’t think you’re depriving your husband if you don’t engage (see 1 Corinthians 7:3-5). It’s the physical separation itself that’s causing the absence of sex.

But given your situation — six months apart! — you might want to give long-distance sexting or Skype sex a shot. It might help you both hang on until you can be back in one another’s arms and in your literal marriage bed.

Overcoming Childhood Sexual Abuse: One Powerful Story

A little while ago, I answered a reader’s question in a post titled Q&A with J: Surviving Childhood Rape & Building Sexual Intimacy. That was a tough post to write, especially because I can only imagine the emotional pain of my readers who have gone through childhood sexual abuse.

To take an innocent child and abuse them in the most vulnerable way is a heinous kind of evil I simply don’t understand. And It breaks my heart.

Yet I believe in my Redeemer. I know my God is capable of bringing people out of the pit and into the light. I’ve seen it in my own life, and I’ve seen it the lives of others.

So when one of my readers responded to that Q&A post with a link to his personal testimony, I watched the video with both deep sorrow for what he’d been through and great rejoicing at how God had walked him through healing. Today, all I want to say is watch this video.

 

It’s important to recognize the horror of sexual abuse, to provide a safe and restorative place for those who are hurting, and to celebrate what God can do once we let Him work in our lives.

Thank you to the reader for sharing this video with me and for his permission to share it with you. His testimony is powerful, because our God is powerful.

Q&A with J: “My Wife Gets Aroused from Abuse Fantasy”

What a tough question we have today. It’s from a husband who wants to know how to help his wife enjoy sex with him. I was heartbroken when I found out that she can get aroused but it’s mostly from imagining herself as a sexual abuse victim. Here’s the question:

[My wife] is a very quiet person and finds it hard to express anything verbally in bed or out of bed. Years ago I found out that she was getting high 99% of the time by thinking of abusive situations. She battles that because she knows it is not of God, but her heart mind and body craves for the God gift of orgasm. I also found out that she does not feel much so it may be that there are issues with her clitoris. We have [several] kids so this could be part of the reason, but it has been so many years that she has used wrong thoughts that she is not sure when or if clitoris stimulation was ever the reason for her getting high. We do talk. We do read. Many talk about her exploring that area and understanding her own body and what stimulation gets her going. She may have done this, but she has never admitted it to me. She receives pleasure from me gently kissing and sucking on her breasts. We are both aware that she has the potential to have an orgasm from breast stimulation, but when she gets stimulated it gets to be too much for her and she has never tried to flow with that to see if that might be a way to get to orgasm. So, year after year goes by and she struggles with the moral dilemma of needing and wanting to get high, but seems to only be able to do that with going to the wrong thoughts.

It is very hard for us both. She does not give me clues that I am pleasuring her by touch or sex. When I ask her she says yes. “Do you like that?” – “Yes” – “Is that ok?” – “Yes” So for me it makes me feel selfish. Receiving pleasure and wanting so much for her to receive even more, but powerless to do anything.

Q&A with J--My Wife Gets Aroused from Abuse Fantasy (woman with thought bubble)

Having written this long about sex in marriage, I know what’s going to show up in my comments section if I don’t address it head-on: How can a loving husband continue to have sex with a woman who is putting herself through abuse fantasies (or nightmares) in her head to get aroused? Because I have to admit that I don’t see how I could continue making love to my husband if I knew he was getting off on images of being sexually attacked.

To the inquirer, I know that may seem harsh, but it’s a question I guarantee someone — perhaps including you — is asking. But when I go back through the question, I sense a strong desire from you to work out this issue. It seems that you’ve talked, read, explored, pleaded, and longed for her sexual setting to change. It’s also seems clear that you’re not abusing her sexually, but that she willingly engages in the marriage bed. Albeit under terrible mental circumstances. And your eight children are definitely a blessing from your physical unions.

So I applaud you for continuing to desire what God wants your wife to have and for seeking it out in whatever ways you can. Yet I also encourage you not to enable these awful experiences for her, meaning that you must figure this out somehow.

As often happens, I wish I could talk to the spouse. The wife is the one with key information that would help to illuminate what’s happening and reveal possible solutions. But since I don’t have that access, I’m going to throw out a few ideas and see if any stick. That is, one or more of these options might be a pathway to getting her the help she needs.

Has she seen a physician about this issue?

Since your wife’s arousal seems fueled by mental imagery, and she reports not feeling much with her clitoris, I’d first want to know if there are physiological issues impeding her sexual pleasure. She should see her primary care physician or gynecologist and ask to be examined with this in mind.

By the way, two important thoughts about seeing a physician about sexual issues:

  1. We tend to get embarrassed about bringing up the topic of sex with doctors, but I assure you that you’re not going to shock them. They see all kinds of stuff, so you saying, “I need to know if there are any physical problems preventing me from engaging in pleasurable sex” ranks about a two on the 10-point scale of shockers.
  2. Sadly, some physicians don’t take sexual dysfunction seriously enough. I wish it weren’t the case, but I’ve heard about and experienced doctors shrugging off such problems. Thus, I encourage wives, and husbands, to be advocate for their sexual health, pushing for answers and even changing doctors if needed.

(Related post: Finding a Good Gynecologist)

Was she sexually abused in her past?

Sexual abuse is so confusing, especially for children. A friend who was molested when she was young once explained to me that it wasn’t all bad — that is, since God primed us to experience pleasure when our sexual organs are touched, her body responded positively in some ways to what was happening, at the same time that she felt discomfort and revulsion.

If your wife’s early experiences with sex were abuse, it’s not uncommon for victims to have difficulty differentiating that experience and their sexual arousal. Some survivors report being later aroused by abuse or rape fantasies, and usually feeling shame afterward because they know this is a twisted version of sex. And yet, it’s how their bodies first experienced any kind of sexual pleasure, because their biology just did its job without regard to the circumstances.

This linking of abuse and arousal can continue into adulthood, and the answer to breaking this connection is to heal from the abuse. Your wife should seek help from counseling, a support group, and/or resources like Dan Allender’s The Wounded Heart: Hope for Adult Victims of Childhood Abuse. She will need to relearn sexual responses that are in line with a healthy relationship and God’s design for marriage.

What did she learn about sex?

Another source of sexual abuse or rape fantasies is good girl guilt. Many women were brought up to believe that pursuing or even enjoying sexual pleasure makes you a “slut.” The message could have been direct or implied, but too many Christian wives still have a subconscious feeling that it’s not good to desire or enjoy sex.

Given that your wife seems reluctant to express her pleasure or let breast stimulation continue, even though she gains great pleasure from it, I wonder what messages she received about sex growing up. Was the prohibition against sex before marriage so aggressively preached that she sensed sex wasn’t good even in marriage? Was she told that sex was for the husband, while the wife’s role was surrendering her body to the act? Was she convinced sex’s primary purpose was procreation, and gaining sexual pleasure was selfish? Was she taught that sex was carnal, thus in opposition to the spirituality God desires?

A wife who desires sexual pleasure but feels that getting it is selfish, bad, or impure might have abuse fantasies that allow her to engage sexually without feeling that she’s making the decision to do so. After all, in her mind she’s being forced. During a sexual encounter, such imagery can alleviate the guilt of wanting sexual highs, but of course they result in a different kind of guilt. And this is clearly no way to live a sex life that honors God’s design. If this is the problem, she must confront the wrong messages received and replace them with God’s truth — that sex is good and holy and beautiful within the embrace of marriage.

What does she believe about men?

Another component is what she believes about men. Did her previous experiences convey that men are predators? That a woman’s value is in being used for his sexual pleasure? That a hefty imbalance of power is to be expected in the bedroom? Some women, oh so sadly, believe they are not worth sexual pleasure for themselves; they sense that a man pressuring a woman into sex is how things should go.

That message might conflict with everything she knows about her own husband, but if it’s been implanted deep enough, she can still have that belief. Even if she doesn’t recognize it at a conscious level.  And such a belief obviously keeps her from understand the mutuality of sexual intimacy as God intended. Once again, the answer is to challenge these false beliefs and welcome a better, more truthful perspective of men.

Whatever the cause, I suspect flawed, deep-seated beliefs have affected your wife’s view of herself and sexuality. Uncovering and addressing these problems is really the only way to deal with her situation. Tough as it may be, sometimes the only way out is through.

I’d encourage her to create an intimacy timeline, deal with her sexual baggage, find resources that address her struggle, and pursue outside help if needed. A quality Christian counselor could peel back more of what’s happening and help her through her difficulties.

What’s not okay is settling for the status quo. Sex should never be about abuse, not physically and not mentally. God longs for His beautiful daughter to see sex as He created it — a healthy, mutual sharing of bodies, hearts, and souls in an intimate act that honors Him and strengthens your marriage.

Shall We Chat about Sex? A New Podcast for Wives!

If you read my free Christmas story, you might have noticed a mention on my dedication page about soon-to-be podcast partners. I kinda of jumped the gun on saying anything at all, because we weren’t quite ready to announce what’s happening.

But we’re ready now!

Sex Chat for Christian Wives Coming Soon!

Sex Chat for Christian Wives: The Naked Truth is launching on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2017. This weekly group podcast will offer a biblical perspective of sex in marriage, thoughts on improving your intimacy, and practical tips for your marriage bed.

You’ll also get a behind-the-scenes look at how we crack each other up. While some topics are rather serious, other times we have a lot of fun with our subject matter!

While listeners only hear the audio, we quickly learned that we wanted to do a video call so we could see one another and better gauge when to speak. Plus, it feels more like a true chat when we can see each other’s faces. Here’s a screenshot from the last episode we recorded!

Podcast Screenshot with All Four Hostesses

Now that you also see our faces, let me tell you a bit about each of us and why this foursome will make for great content you’ll want to listen to.

Chris Taylor of The Forgiven Wife writes from her personal story and primarily for lower-drive wives. Her approach generally deals with attitudes and relational factors that prevent you from engaging fully in the marriage bed.

Gaye Christmus of Calm.Healthy.Sexy writes about more than sex, including helpful tips for your household and your health. Her angle of calmer and healthier living gives her a unique perspective on these factors that affect our sexuality.

Bonny Burns of OysterBed7 also writes for lower-drive wives, but she often addresses the physiological challenges many wives face, as well as the attitudes. She’s wonderful at breaking down difficult medical and scientific studies into useful information for our sex lives.

J. Parker of Hot, Holy & Humorous is me! I have my own personal testimony and a longing to be frank about sexual intimacy in marriage — the good, the bad, and the beautiful. Thus, my book, Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design, gives some rather candid how-tos.

Foundationally, we four agree about God’s gift of sexuality for our marriages and the need to resolve outstanding issues and enjoy the experience. But when it comes to the how of nurturing sexual intimacy, we each bring something different to the table.

Ecclesiastes 4:9 says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor.” I don’t exactly what this means for two times two, but we know that together we four ladies are stronger than any of us would be alone.

And because we come from different places, this single resource can help Christian wives coming from different places regarding sex.

This single resource can help Christian wives coming from different places regarding sex. Click To Tweet

So what should you do to tune in?

Check out our websiteSex Chat for Christian Wives. You can subscribe to our RSS feed or check out other places to find us like iTunes and Stitcher.

Follow us on social media: Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube. (We’re still learning how we’ll use those last two sites). We’ll post when new episodes have gone up and share other useful content.

Spread the word: Tell others to check out our page or follow our website and/or social media. Word of mouth remains one of the best ways for marriage authors, speakers, podcasters, and ministers to find new listeners for our important message about godly sex in marriage.

Ask a question: In some episodes, we’ll answer reader questions, so if you have something you want to ask four wives who write about Christian sex, this is your chance! Also, if you sent me a question and I haven’t answered, you can resend the question or tag me to move your query to the podcast pile. I still can’t guarantee if/when we can answer, but my personal queue is about 40 unanswered questions, so you can see that — as much as I truly care — I simply can’t get to every one of them on the Hot, Holy & Humorous blog.

Check out what my fellow podcasters have to say: My three partners have all written about this podcast today as well. Be sure to check out their posts:

Calm.Healthy.Sexy.

Oyster Bed 7

The Forgiven Wife

Pray for us: New endeavors are always wrought with stress, but we are devoted to reaching out through this group podcast. We’d love your prayers that everyone stays in good health, that technology cooperates (mostly) with our needs, that our own marriages remain strong, and that Sex Chat for Christian Wives reaches those women who need to hear our content.

Mark your calendar for February 14, and join us as we look forward to launching this new resource for wives!

Your Wife Has Been Sexually Harassed

Sex is in the news. Or at least accusations of sexual misbehavior.

And I’ve been struck by the difference in how women and men respond to these news stories. Now, let me be clear, I believe wholeheartedly that many men are upset by highly improper statements about women made by a particular candidate and the rumors (true or not) that have followed. I salute these men for taking the situation seriously and understanding the importance of respect.

But overall, guys, I’m not sure y’all totally get it. Like really, really get it.

Even the men I’ve personally spoken to, who are disturbed by what’s been said and charged, seem to brush this off a bit more quickly. Or chalk it up to “a few jerks” or even “boys will be boys.”

Sometimes, it’s just hard for men and women to describe fully what it’s like to be their gender. So I wanted to take this opportunity to tell all of you husbands: Your wife has likely been sexually harassed. Repeatedly.Your Wife Has Been Sexually Harassed

She may have been molested or raped as well. But if your wife is the average female, she’s had to deal with vile statements about her body, unwanted sexual touch, and even groping that left her stunned, angry, and/or ashamed.

And I think this is why women are being so vocal on social media and in conversation circles : Because, in the wake of allegations (yet again, true or not), women are sharing personal stories and realizing, “Hey, this is a universal problem.”

From my own life, at least one of the following is true of every women I’ve talked to about this. (And this is from men they were not dating.)

  • While out dancing, a guy’s hands roamed where they shouldn’t have gone, usually to her breasts or buttocks.
  • A man spoke about her genitalia with crass terminology, often adding what he wanted to do with those parts.
  • A guy landed his hand on her knee, and then moved up under her skirt or shorts without invitation or warning.
  • A man cornered her against a wall and shoved his body against hers, usually pressing an erection against her. Sometimes, he did more.
  • A man touched her private parts without encouragement or consent.
  • A guy scanned her body with his gaze, head to toe, and suggested kinky acts or used graphic sexual descriptions.

The second one listed — someone speaking about genitalia in crass terms — happened to me in high school … in front of my dad. If my father hadn’t been turned away and missed what the guy said, I’m pretty sure that guy would have gotten a pounding. And deserved it. But did I say anything? No. Rather, I was disarmed by those comments, felt humiliated, and just wanted to forget about it. Given that it’s over 30 years later, I obviously haven’t forgotten. That moment left an impression.

I have several reasons for sharing this with you men:

Stories of women sexually mistreated affect wives in a different way. Yes, I know some women are dismissing what is rumored to have happened, but most women have had a visceral response. Maybe not to the news stories, but to personal stories now shared by friends or family. Why? Because we understand. Because we’ve experienced it.

Like a Survival Sisterhood, we now recognize it wasn’t our fault that some guy groped us in the nightclub, or the church fellowship room, when we were 19 years old. We didn’t ask for it. And, quite frankly, some of us are sick of this happening and want a better experience for ourselves, our daughters, and our granddaughters.

Sexual harassment impacts how women view men. To me, the most disheartening part has been women who suggest this is just how men are — that we shouldn’t expect anything more than being viewed as a sex object by men. You and I know that’s not true! The vast majority of men I’ve encountered never spoke in such crass terms or put their hands where they didn’t belong.

I believe those men who are true jerks, the sexual harassers of the world, don’t mistreat a few women; they mistreat a lot of women. Which makes it seem like it’s men across the board, but a single jerk can verbally and physically attack tens or hundreds. It’s a way of life for them, and their impact is felt across many women.

But this has left an impression on how ladies view men. Because if our interactions have been negative in this way, some wives begin to wonder: Does my husband secretly think this way too? It’s one reason I hear wives accusing their husbands of being perverts. Because some of the men in our lives were perverts, and it left an impression about the male race as a whole.

In an effort to protect ourselves, some women simply put up a wall against men, even their husbands. Your job, guys, is not to attack her for that belief but to help her pull down that wall by showing that you are not that guy, you can be trusted, and you will protect her.

Unexpected sexual touching can remind us of unwanted sexual touching. I know you guys like to hear things straight, so here it goes: If you think grabbing your wife’s breast out of nowhere is the way to get sex, you’re a fool. There are plenty of physiological and emotional reasons why this doesn’t get your wife’s sexual motor humming, but here’s another reason why she’s unlikely to enjoy that: It reminds her of sexual harassment she previously experienced. Even though she logically knows you’re not him, when you act like that jerk from high school who cornered her in the hallway and copped a feel … something clenches inside her. She may not consciously make the connection, but her body reacts negatively.

Distinguish yourself from that jerk in her past by demonstrating tenderness and respect. Be a secure place for her to express her sexuality without feeling viewed as an object or used for her body parts. Yes, I know it’s unfair that you’re having to deal with stuff some other guy did to her a long time ago, but we all come into marriage with baggage and we have opportunities to break down each other’s barriers and provide someone in this world our spouse can really trust. Don’t you want that to be you? She does — she wouldn’t have married you if she didn’t want the person she trusted most to be you.

Grabbing her without warning or invitation adds to feeling her body isn’t her own. When a woman has had her body touched without permission again and again, she feels a loss of control. She feels helpless to stop those actions that invade her most vulnerable and sensitive places.

When husbands grab their wives willy-nilly all the time, it can contribute to that woman feeling like her body isn’t her own — that it’s a plaything for someone else. Of course, our bodies belong to each other in marriage. 1 Corinthians 7:4 says, “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.” But listen to that word choice: yield. The New Living Translation says it this way: “The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife.” We give authority to the other — as a conscious, willful choice.

If you’ve read me for long, you’ll know that I encourage wives to constantly give the green light to their husbands for affection, foreplay, and sexual intimacy. In our marriages, we should feel comfortable touching one another romantically and sexually. But that doesn’t mean you get to Indy-500 your way to grabbing her privates with no warning. Your wife needs to feel like her body is worth something, and she gets to be involved in flipping that red light to green.

Now it’s awesome that God created us male and female. What a complementary design! But our gender difference can also make it difficult to understand how our spouse views the world. Today, I simply wanted you husbands to try to understand the sexual harassment most women have experienced in their lifetime. For some, it was one time; for others, it was an onslaught of unwanted contact. Regardless, it left an impression.

You can leave a different impression. You can become her standard for what it means to be a man. You, husbands, can beat back the view of men as sexual predators by treating women with respect.

You, husbands, can beat back the view of men as sexual predators by treating women w/respect. Click To Tweet

Start with your wife. She needs you to be her refuge and her ally.

“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