Category Archives: Current Issues in Sexuality

Q&A with J: Top 5 Questions Readers Ask about Sex

Lately I’ve been giving interviews on Christian radio stations and podcasts about my recent release, Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design. One of the questions that has come up is about the most common questions I’ve received since writing about sex. I thought it would be interesting to let y’all know the top two queries I receive from husbands and wives each and then the top one I receive from all spouses.

This is by no means data I’ve collected and analyzed; rather, it’s my general feeling — though I think an accurate one — that the following five are the most prevalent queries I receive.

Top 5 Questions Readers Ask about SexHusbands

1. Why doesn’t she understand how important sexual intimacy is to me?

This one basically has three possible answers. She doesn’t get it because:

  • She doesn’t feel that way so she has a hard time imagining the sexual-emotional link you feel;
  • You haven’t explained it to her in terms she can understand; and/or
  • She’s been told most of her life that sex is a purely physical act.

Of course, within each of those categories are a myriad of possibilities. For instance, she might not feel the same way because of hormonal issues, pain or discomfort during sex, past sexual abuse, etc. So the specifics on what to do depend on your situation. Which is why I strongly suggest trying to get to the core of the issue and addressing the underlying problem.

That said, my second reason here is something you can control. So listen up, guys: Do not talk about your desire for sex in terms of physical needs or release. Don’t tell her you have “blue balls.” And certainly don’t threaten that if she doesn’t give you sex, it makes you more ripe for frequent masturbation, porn, or an affair. I completely understand that the longer you go without, the more physical and intense the need for sex feels. But your wife needs to know it’s about intimacy with her, not just a physical release. Whatever you can say to help her understand that you want her not just sex will go much farther toward getting you both.

2. Why doesn’t she believe me when I tell her she’s beautiful?

Another one with three possible answers:

  • She’s inundated with constant messaging that her beauty isn’t good enough;
  • She looks in the mirror and doesn’t see herself the way you see her; and/or
  • She doesn’t like how she looks because she knows she could do better.

Trust me on this one, hubbies: You don’t know how much pressure there is in our society for a woman to be beautiful. I absolutely believe men have their own challenges, areas in which society pressures men in unrealistic and even destructive ways. But if you look at advertising geared toward women, the model/celebrity industry, and how often we’re told that you guys are all visual, you’ll begin to understand how many messages are thrown at us gals every day to be more and more beautiful.

This tension can be exacerbated by my third point above, when a wife knows she could do better with the body she has. It can be a vicious cycle for a woman to watch her body lose some of its shape over time…and then you give up and wallow in a pint (or gallon) of Ben & Jerry’s, and then you’re disgusted with yourself all over again. Or you’ve looked and looked and looked and cannot figure out when in your busy work/house/mom schedule you can exercise.

Your reassurance, guys, can really help. It might feel like you’re fighting a losing battle when you tell your wife she’s beautiful to you and she dismisses your comments. But keep going and let her know that you are not a liar, but the man who adores her more than life itself. And you have really good taste, right?

You’re not responsible for her learning to feel beautiful. (Which is why I talk about this subject often on my blog primarily for wives.) But you can be supportive and encouraging.

Wives

3. How can I feel good about having sex?

My answers to this one are:

  • Adopt a godly perspective of sex;
  • Deal with the baggage from your past;
  • Learn more about your body, his body, and sexual pleasure; and/or
  • Become a more savvy lover.

If you want help with these, wives, I’ll direct you to Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design which has biblical and practical answers for all of these. Also, I’ve written about dealing with baggage from your past here and here.

And keep reading my blog and others (like Intimacy in Marriage; Awaken Love Class; To Love Honor and Vacuum; The Forgiven Wife and Bonny’s Oyster Bed, which are both for low-drive wives), which address these subjects. Most importantly, seek out what God has to say about sexuality in His Word.

4. Why doesn’t my husband want me?

More and more, I hear from higher-drive wives who struggle with husbands who don’t want sex as much as they’d expected. The wife would like to increase frequency, excitement, and intimacy. And the husband is the one dragging his feet to the marriage bed, if he gets there at all.

For this one, I’m just going to list all of my posts for high-drive wives:

She Wants, He Doesn’t Want
Wives Want Sex: Link Up
He Doesn’t Wanna, But I Do! Help for Higher Drive Wives
He Doesn’t Wanna, But I Do! Be the Brownie
One More & I’ll Go Insane!
I Am the Higher Drive Spouse (or Yes, Rejection Hurts)
Can Sex-Driven Wives Be Godly Wives? for Christian Wife University
Two Words Your Higher-Desire Spouse Needs You to Hear
Does Your Husband’s Rejection Make You Doubt Yourself?
Confessions of a Higher-Drive Spouse
3 Things Higher-Drive Spouses Long For
Q&A for J: How Can I Help My Husband Be More Adventurous In Bed?
Q&A with J: “I Feel Rejected All the Time”
Q&A with J: Why Doesn’t He Want Sex?
Q&A with J: When It Comes to Sex, My Husband Says I’m “Too Much”

And let me add that in my own marriage, we’ve been matched in our sex drives, then he was the higher-drive and I was the no-drive low-drive spouse, and now I’m the higher-drive spouse. So I’ve experienced all sides of this. I understand the feelings of a spouse who doesn’t want to engage sexually and the disappointment of your spouse not being eager or even willing to engage. I have compassion for your situation, and I believe there are answers.

In fact, one of my goals for 2017 is to write a book specifically for high-drive wives. If that’s something you’d like to see, please pray for me and that endeavor. If it’s God will that I write that book, it will come together.

All Spouses

5. How can make my spouse _________?

This is likely the number one question I get: How can I make my spouse _______? You can fill in that blank with anything from “have more sex” to “try new things” to “fulfill my sexual fantasy.” And I also get the periodic How can I make my spouse leave me alone sexually?

The answer to this question is simple: You can’t. You cannot make your spouse do anything. God gave him/her free will, and you need to honor that. Demanding or forcing sexual activity on your spouse, or trying to make him/her think exactly like you do, isn’t what God had in mind when He designed sex. You can’t have sexual intimacy without respecting the intimacy part of the equation. And there’s nothing intimate about “Gimme sex, woman, or else!”

You can, however, influence your spouse in many, many ways. Which almost always starts with changing yourself. If you change what you do, then his responses will likely change. If you stop playing your role in a dysfunctional dynamic, you will have changed the system, requiring him or her to adapt.

Because we’re creatures of habit, you might find that when you change what you do, you won’t see immediate results. Indeed, you’ll probably get push-back. But stick with doing the right thing, and you might find the dynamics changing after a while. As Galatians 6:9 says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

And remember that God will bless you for doing the right thing. The blessing may not come in the way you expect, but I’m living proof that He works in our lives when we let Him. I believe that principle wholeheartedly.

So that’s it: The Top Five. And some general answers for each. I’ll be back next week with a specific question from a reader and my response. If you want to send me a question, head up to that Contact tab above and click Contact J. Then fill out the form, and I will receive your email. I am unlikely to respond right away, but I do read all messages and get to as many questions as I can.

Husbands, Are You Being Harsh with Your Wife?

I hope you’ve been memorizing some scripture with me this year! I’ve been choosing verses that we can apply to our marriage and sexual intimacy. The past couple of scriptures have been gender-focused, and today’s is as well.

When we look at the roles of gender in marriage, often people turn to Ephesians 5:25-33. This passage is an excellent resource, and I’m particularly drawn to the way the apostle Paul compares the one-flesh experience of husband and wife to the intimacy of Christ and His church (v. 31-32). However, Paul also goes through family roles in Colossians and sums things up very well for husbands with this gem: “Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them” (3:19).

Marriage Memory Verse 4-30-16

In light of some recent posts It’s True. Porn Can Kill Your Sex Life. and When Should You Stop Battling Porn?), when I saw this verse I saw an immediate link. The Greek word translated in the NIV as “harsh” is pikraino, and it appears two other time in the New Testament — in Revelation in references to bitter waters and a sour stomach (see Revelation 8:11 and 10:9-10).

I don’t know of any Christian wife who, upon finding out that her husband has been consuming a steady diet of pornography, doesn’t feel that she has been treated sourly, bitterly, harshly. I know that may seem to add only another pile of guilt to a man who already feels shame for his actions, but my statement isn’t intended that way.

Like Colossians 3:19, I’m making a plea to husbands to love their wives and do not be harsh. To aim for something better and higher and deeper and lovelier. To pursue the best for themselves and their marriage. To take whatever steps they need to take to live out the love they have for their wife.

But, by the way, it’s not just porn. Having read many stories of people’s sexual struggles by now, I know there are husbands out there who are harsh with their wives in the bedroom — in demanding sexual acts that make their beloved cringe, in putting their own sexual satisfaction far above their wives’, in insulting her physical appearance when she has been beautifully crafted by God. Thankfully, this is not the majority the men, and — if you’re here at my blog much at all — you know I feel very positive about men.

It’s true that some men are harsh because they want to be, but some have just been misled by wrong messages in our society and do not understand how their actions grieve their wives. They don’t perceive the damage they’re doing.

Which is why I pray my readers constantly turn to the Scriptures for guidance. Because it’s laid out clearly and unequivocally: “Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them” (Colossians 3:19). Men, pursue that goal day in and day out. And I can tell you on the wife end of things, that when I feel my husband’s love and gentleness, I grow more and more desirous of being intimate with him — in all kinds of ways.

I pray that your wife can revel in the loving, gentle husband you are, or will become, with God’s glorious help.

When Should You Stop Battling Porn?

Sometimes my aha moments come when I’m in conversation with someone about godly sexuality. Recently, I was discussing with a friend men’s struggle against visual temptation, easily found these days in rampant pornography that you must intentionally avoid, and I said something like this:

Maybe we’ve talked too much about porn being a struggle. A man can think that it’s okay to struggle for the rest of his life, that it’s just part of being male to fight against porn but never really win.

When Should You Stop Battling Porn? via @HotHolyHumorousAs a writer, I’m well aware of the power of words. While I don’t like honing in on one particular word rather than taking a person’s message as a whole, sometimes our word choice can convey an erroneous message. Or rather it’s truth, but not the whole truth.

With book titles like Every Man’s Battle and my own statement in a recent post that men often struggle in this area, maybe we’ve unwittingly conveyed the message that it’s okay to simply battle the pull of porn for the rest of your life. As such, you expect some wins and some losses, some advances and some retreats, some good days and some bad days. Maybe that’s all you’re truly aiming for.

But the subtitle of Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker’s popular Every Man book is “Every Man’s Guide to Winning the War on Sexual Temptation One Victory at a Time.” Did you see that? Winning the War!

And I’m fully convinced that, in Christ, we can have victory.

“But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).

“For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory” (Deuteronomy 20:4).

“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:3-4).

“With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies” (Psalm 60:2).

“In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God” (1 John 5:3-5).

Of course, fighting against intense temptation is a hard road. It is a battle, but it’s a battle that can lead to true victory.

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

“They have greatly oppressed me from my youth, but they have not gained the victory over me” (Psalm 129:2).

Here’s the reality: I struggled in my promiscuous past and took on plenty of sexual baggage. I was an easy target for Satan and didn’t anticipate that I could ever be good enough to satisfy God. I battled, but deep down in my heart, I didn’t expect victory.

When I finally fell in humility before God and begged for His victorious hand to lift me up, that’s when the real battle began. That’s when I was no longer fighting with an ice pick but a sword. Did Satan get in some jabs? Oh yeah, he did. I still struggled, but I could see progress.

I was no longer having some wins and some losses, but more wins and fewer losses. And my wins became more frequent and my losses less frequent, until one day I realized that the things that used to be a temptation . . . simply weren’t anymore. That old life held no appeal for me.

Porn was not my issue, but it’s the issue many men and some women are dealing with today. Please struggle against it, but with God’s covering and with hope that someday you’ll stop battling porn. Because you will have won.

I’m not discounting the belief that an addict is always in recovery. I get that. You have to remember your history, as Paul often did, and make conscious decisions to guard against that temptation rising against you again. But I also believe this verse:

“He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).

Don’t wallow in the belief that this is something that will always be a struggle, even giving yourself an “out” for bad behavior. Expect more of yourself and of God! Strap on your armor and get to fighting. Fight harder and smarter.

You don’t need to struggle alone. Invite God into your battle. Be honest with your spouse. Find mentors, counselors, confidants, and friends who will fight with you. Seek resources that will keep you on the right path and help you get back on the path if you stray. Believe in the possibility of victory.

So when should you stop battling porn? Not until, with God’s glorious help, you’ve won.

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12).

* * *

I recently learned about an online small group ministry hosted by the XXXChurch, a Christian-based porn recovery ministry. If porn is your struggle, you might check out X3Groups. They also host groups specifically for pastors and for spouses.

Q&A with J: Pegging. Is It Okay?

Today’s question is an interesting one. It involves a practice you may or may not be aware of. This post is also more graphic than normal, so if it makes you highly uncomfortable, please click away and rejoin us for the Saturday post.

Here’s what the husband reader asks:

I got a question topic for you …and would like you to have a topic about it…pegging…where the wife does the husband. …I like woman’s point of view of it….maybe some husbands. …I’ll give ya time to look into study what does it do for the woman maybe letting her [dominate]. The wife giving the love, the husband receiving it.

Q&A with J: Pegging. Is It Okay?

In case you don’t know, pegging involves a woman using a dildo or strap-on penis and providing the man anal sex. What do I think about it?

No.

I could end there, but maybe you’d like some biblical and practical backup for my answer. Let me start with some questions for the reader and others considering this controversial practice.

Why would you want to do this?

Sometimes I think it would be cool to switch bodies just once with my husband, so that each of us could experience what the other feels during sex. But that’s just a curiosity! Genesis 5:2 says, “He created them male and female and blessed them.” We were made different with each gender being blessed in its own way.

Pegging feels like an attempt to switch gender places, with her being the penetrator and him being the receptor. But that’s not how we’re made. I celebrate that I am female and that my experience of sexual intimacy involves my husband penetrating my body, not the other way around. And he appreciates his own male-blessed role in our marriage bed.

If you’re longing for something different from that, maybe you need to rethink how you feel about the body God gave you and its special abilities and blessings.

Why does anal sex appeal to you?

While I am opposed to anal sex for various reasons, I at least understand why the man would want to penetrate the smaller opening that an anus provides. (There are plenty of other ways, however, to achieve additional friction and pressure.) Yet when a man desires being penetrated that way, we have historically viewed that as a homosexual practice.

Romans 1:27 says, “In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.” Those “shameful acts” certainly had to include anal sex with one another. Having that same kind of sex with a man-shaped object (dildo or strap-on) appears to be a substitute, even if your wife is the one doing it. And the Bible clearly is opposed.

What about prostate pleasure?

One argument for anal play for men is that having their prostate massaged increases the occurrence and intensity of orgasm. The prostate is a walnut-sized gland between the penis and rectum that’s involved in the production of semen; it secretes a fluid that nourishes and protects the sperm which then flows through the urethra in ejaculation. It’s not surprising, therefore, that stimulation of this organ is often believed to bring about stronger ejaculations.

Given the proximity of the prostate and the rectum, some believe that’s the best route to reach that spot. However, there are other ways to reach that spot that don’t involve the rectum. I think we too often neglect the area between the testicles and the anus. That’s a great place to massage and stroke, thus providing more stimulation to the area that contains the prostate gland. I’ve actually written about this area in Making the Most of His Manhood. You can’t directly touch the prostate, so it’s all indirect stimulation. But the penis extends past the scrotum, and that oft-bypassed area deserves a bit of attention.

Also, sexual positions can provide indirect stimulation of our interior arousal spots. To discover what works for you, try various positions and see what feels good. I suspect you’ll find that some positions provide more intense climaxes than others. This is likely true for both you and your wife, so be willing to use positions that give her the orgasm she enjoys as well.

What about letting her be dominant?

This is one of the arguments the reader gives for pegging — that it’s an opportunity for the woman to dominate in the marriage bed. There can certainly be times while making love that the husband or wife takes charge and directs the activity more than the other. The wife taking charge could be a major turn-on for the husband, or it could facilitate her reaching orgasm more easily, or it could simply be a way to switch things up.

But for the life of me, I can’t imagine how strapping on a dildo and pegging would feel dominant. If anything, it would make me feel like a tool for what my guy wants and that he wants something I don’t have. It doesn’t play into a woman’s natural strengths.

Regardless, that feeling of her in charge can be reached in many other ways — through sexual positions, communication, sexual play (like a blindfold for him?), and more. If you want your wife to take charge, let her take charge. And I bet almost every woman wouldn’t have pegging on their I-want-that list.

Sexuality is in flux in our society. On one hand, there’s more information available now than ever, including in churches. The acceptance of sexuality and our libidos is an improvement on some messages from our history that treated sex like a filthy activity or merely a man’s need. On the other hand, a lot of sex in our culture has been divorced from marriage and even relationship.

When sex becomes about physical pleasure, and especially self-pleasure, people often focus on more and more intense activities to increase physical sensations. “Spicing it up” is no longer defined as introducing greater arousal and fun into your bedroom, but rather kinkier and riskier sexual behaviors. It becomes about pushing the envelope with fringe activities. Pegging falls in that category.

If you want satisfying sexual intimacy, turn your attention and your heart toward the intimacy between husband and wife. Be spicy and exciting, but be loving and respectful too. You have so much freedom in the marriage bed, so explore all those activities that can truly make sex in your marriage something to treasure.

It’s True: Porn Can Kill Your Sex Life

I’ve been reading about porn lately, not because that’s my favorite subject, but because I saw two excellent articles about the problems with porn — from secular sources.

Time Magazine’s April 11, 2016 edition had a feature article on Porn: Why young men who grew up with Internet porn are becoming advocates for turning it off.* The author, Belinda Luscombe, did a fair job of reporting what’s happening in science and society as people discover what the Bible has said all along: Sexual intimacy isn’t about using others for your own pleasure. That approach messes with your ability to enjoy what God intended you to have.

Sexual intimacy isn't about using others for your own pleasure. God has a better plan. Click To Tweet

The focus of that article is previous porn users who discovered how their heavy porn diet impaired their ability to perform and connect with a real woman. It’s called Porn-Induced Erectile Dysfunction (PIED), and more doctors are seeing erectile problems with younger men. The theory is that the men are desensitized to normal sexual stimuli and require a level of imagery, intensity, and novelty that isn’t real-life. Thankfully, some of these men are speaking up against the very activity they used to frequently pursue, warning of the dangers and consequences of consuming pornography.

It's True: Porn Can Kill Your Sex Life

Then there are Drs. John and Julie Gottman of the Gottman Institute, famous for their marriage and relationship research. Although previously proponents of using porn to increase intimacy in relationships, they have changed their minds. I encourage you to read An Open Letter on Porn. They lay out several reasons why pornography is detrimental to the user and to their significant other, including sexual arousal difficulties and mistreatment of women in porn.

Based on various studies, they conclude that “use of pornography by one partner leads the couple to have far less sex and ultimately reduces relationship satisfaction.”

Now I’ve heard the arguments that it goes the other way — for instance, a husband not having sex and experiencing low relationship satisfaction then seeks out porn to fill in the gap. But as much as I feel for those in a sexless marriage, that’s not helping!

In the long run, you’re making it harder for both of you to engage in satisfying sexual intimacy if and when the opportunity rises. You’re messing with your view of how your wife should be behave (she is not your sex toy) and how sex itself works. And you’re not satisfying yourself anyway, because you have to get more frequent and stronger stimuli to get the same “high.” Your body responds sexually, but it doesn’t respond with the satisfactory bonding you get when you make love to your wife.

Another thing that always crops up when I address porn is: What about women?! Aren’t they looking at porn? Or reading steamy romance? Yes, they are. The percentage of women viewing porn is increasing, and it’s a real concern. If any woman reading this is struggling with pornography, the one ministry I know designed to help is Dirty Girls Ministries. Check it out.

And I’ve written plenty about the problems with romance novels and erotic novels that promote terrible ideas about sexuality. Look, this is a case of “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters” (Matthew 12:30). Anything opposed to God’s design for sex is a problem we Christians need to address.

Anything opposed to God's design for sex is a problem we Christians need to address. Click To Tweet

I’m glad that secular research is catching up to what God has said all along. The momentary pleasure of viewing pornography is too high a price and robs you of what God intended when He created sex.

If you’re in this struggle right now — either yourself or your spouse — get help. No more dithering: Today is the day. Talk to your spouse. Confess to a godly confidant. Make an appointment with a counselor. Join an accountability group. Get on your knees before God.

Don’t let this ruin your sex life. Here are a few Christian-based sites you might want to visit:

XXX Church (porn recovery for men)
Covenant Eyes (internet accountability)
Dirty Girls Ministries (for women)

Also, don’t be naive about your kids. I’ve talked with my sons about this temptation, and they’ve estimated that 70-80% of guys in their high school watch porn regularly. They’re probably right, and I bet their parents have no idea. Speak regularly with your teenagers about what God desires for their lives, including their someday sex life — which starts with making right and wise decisions now. An anti-porn site aimed specifically at youth is Fight the New Drug (not Christian, but has good overall information).

As Christians and Churches, we need to stay well-informed and outspoken against anything so against God’s design for His children and for sex in marriage. This isn’t simply a cause for us to take up and pat ourselves for doing the right thing. Our denunciation of pornography and erotica is about saving individuals, marriages, and souls.

*The Time article is available online only to subscribers. I read the article by accessing the magazine at my local library.