Category Archives: Marriage Blogging

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 Marriage Bed Tips from the GDPR (New European Union Data Regulations)

If you work on a website, you’ve probably heard of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) the European Union recently put into effect. It’s a series of measures designed to ensure the privacy and control of one’s personal data when they interact with a website, including a blog like mine.

To be compliant (some of y’all live in the EU), I’m adding some stuff to my site. But I just cannot bear the thought of tossing out all that legalese language at you. Instead, I’m going to explain a bit about how I handle your data while making it informative and empowering for your sex life.

You ask: What on earth does the GDPR have to do with my sex life? Well, keep reading!

1. Have you fully opted in?

One major focus of the GDPR is making sure everyone who’s contacted by a company or organization opted in. In the United States, you have opt out, which is why when you buy something on a website, you receive emails from them until you unsubscribe.

Since it obviously stinks for someone to use your personal information to stalk you until you buy something more from them or enter the Witness Protection Program, opt-in systems are much better. Which is why I have one. You have to ask to subscribe to my blog, and then you should receive a follow-up email confirming you really said you wanted to hear from me. And you have choices to receive my blog posts, my newsletter, or both.

How about your marriage bed? Have you opted out? Or opted in? Are you stalking your spouse into “putting out” or inviting them to subscribe to some great content? Hey, no one wants duty sex, and one of the best things you can do for your sexual intimacy is to opt in — all the way in.

2. What’s your privacy policy?

You can read mine right here, and it basically says I won’t sell or share your information; I send you only what you ask for; and any marketing I do is simply telling you about resources I recommend, including affiliate linked products and my own books.

But how about a privacy policy regarding your marriage bed? You see, husband and wife should agree on what is and isn’t okay to share with others. I certainly have some suggestions in that regard (see How Much Should You Share about Your Sex Life? and What Should You Share about Your Sex Life with Friends?), but the important aspect is that you two agree.

Also, if you ever sext one another or have revealing or suggestive photos, you should take care to keep them confidential. If you’re not on the same page with your spouse on privacy, may I suggest the more private spouse’s view wins out. You can keep talking the issue, if you think you have a good point, but don’t intentionally cross your spouse’s line.

3. How is your data used?

If you comment on my blog, all others see is whatever name (or initial) you use, your website, and your comment. I see that stuff, plus your email and an IP address that means nothing to me. I don’t do anything with that information other than moderate and respond. If you subscribe, your data is stored by MailChimp in a list according to your preferences so I can then send you what you asked for. Your data does get compiled and analyzed in the aggregate, to produce website statistics I can then use to know how it’s going and to target ads on Facebook (I’ve only done this twice in 7+ years) to people who might want to know about my books. But you’re not tracked individually.

Meanwhile, how do you use the “data” you provide one another in your marriage? When your spouse shares how they think or feel about sexuality, do you treat that information with care and respect? Do you use that data to harass them (like some unscrupulous websites have done), or to build a better relationship?

If you want your spouse to open up to you more about their challenges with sexual interest, their likes and dislikes, their desires and fantasies, then you need to demonstrate that you care about the information they give you by treating their beliefs and feelings with openness and respect.

4. Can you correct or erase your data?

Two GDPR rights are covered here with the right of rectification (correcting erroneous information) and the right of erasure (making your data go away). Multiple times I’ve had someone ask me to change their name or some small bit of content within a comment, or to simply to delete a comment altogether. That’s fine by me, so I just make the change and move on. Likewise, you can always unsubscribe from one of my lists, using the handy-dandy button provided at the bottom of each post or newsletter, and voila! your information is gone.

But let’s be honest. Isn’t this one of the hardest commands about love in the Bible? “[Love] keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Corinthians 13:5). Our spouse is going to blow it sometimes, and we need to let them correct the mistake and/or erase the record.

That’s true regarding sexuality as well. It could be baggage from before you got married that you’re still holding onto. It could be their poor phrasing of sexual initiation or doing that boob-grab thing most wives hate so much. It could be any number of misstatements, actions, or histories that make it hard for you both to move on. If you’re in the thick of a problem, of course you don’t just hit the delete button — you address the issue. But many times, we really could correct the situation or give more grace.

5. What security measures are in place?

My website is hosted by a tech company that specializes in website security. Indeed, one of its owners has worked as a “white hat hacker,” identifying and fixing potential security breaches for companies. Also, every company that ever accesses my information (MailChimp, social media sites, etc.) has its own security measures. I won’t deal with someone who cannot prove to me that they are committed to keeping my and your information safe.

As for marriage, if you ask me what women really want, my answer these days is always security. It could be physical security (a strong, protective partner), economic security (the breadwinner and provider), emotional security (affection and commitment), spiritual security (spiritual leadership or encouragement), or any number of other aspects of men that attract different women. But I think security is key, because women need to feel safe to become vulnerable.

But this is true for both husbands and wives regarding sex, where we open up ourselves to one another so completely. We need to know our marriage bed is a secure place to be — that it’s exclusive between husband and wife, that it’s free from porn and erotica pulling our minds away, and that we set one another as the standard for beauty and lovemaking. When we feel that deep security, then intimacy has a place to blossom.

Long story short: My data and privacy policies are all about Luke 6:31: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” And if we really lived that out, moment by moment, regarding our marriage beds, we’d probably all feel more secure, more loved, more intimate in our marriages.

Maybe you should discuss your own policies for the sexual relationship with your spouse this weekend. It’s not mandatory (like the GDPR), but it’s a good idea.

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Q&A with J: Good Websites for Husbands About Sex

Since I started blogging in 2010, there has been a flourishing of websites like mine — Christian women devoted to helping other Christian women pursue holy and pleasurable sexual intimacy in marriage. We come from different perspectives, but many of us share a similar mission.

For instance, I’d count all of my Sex Chat for Christian Wives podcast partners: Chris Taylor of The Forgiven Wife, Gaye Christmus of Calm.Healthy.Sexy., Bonny Burns of OysterBed7. Two other favorite voices are Julie Sibert of Intimacy in Marriage and Sheila Gregoire of To Love Honor and Vacuum. Also, the wonderful Juli Slattery of Authentic Intimacy, Keelie Reason of Love Hope Adventure, Ruth Buezis of Awaken Love, and Jessica McCleese of Be Fully Well. (And I’m going to look at this post later and think of someone I forgot!)

When it comes to wives and the issue of godly sexuality, there are so many more resources now than when I was younger. If you are a wife in need of a biblical perspective and practical tips to address sex in your marriage, I now can say with confidence that there is a resource out there for you. It may well be mine, but if not, you’ve got other places to look.

If you are a wife in need of a biblical perspective and practical tips to address sex in your #marriage, I now can say with confidence that there is a resource out there for you. Click To Tweet

BUT I frequently hear from both wives and husbands asking about parallel resources for husbands. Yes, there are blogs for men, but not that many specifically written toward men. And I’ll be honest: I don’t think there are enough.

Blog post title + illustration of man's shirt with necktie (bow shaped in a heart)

I have enormous respect for several male bloggers who have written well about sexual intimacy in marriage — Paul Byerly of The Generous Husband, Scott Means of Heaven Made Marriage, and Brad Aldrich of One Flesh Marriage, just to name a few, but we need more.

And I really would like to see some godly men speak out on issues that could use more focused treatment, like:

  • Lower drive husbands writing for other lower drive husbands to show them how to be sexually engaged in their marriage
  • Husbands sharing how porn is no longer a temptation, because they overcame it and you can too
  • Older men sharing how sexuality changes in later years and how to keep that intimate spark alive
  • Pastors addressing how to responsibly promote godly sexuality in the Church, with real-life ideas for teaching and ministry

As you might surmise, I believe in strong women. Yet I also believe that for godly sexuality to have its revival in the Church, it needs men to champion the cause.

For godly sexuality to have its revival in the Church, it needs men to champion the cause. Click To Tweet

So when I receive questions like “Where are the blogs or books like yours…but for men?”, I have a few suggestions, but I’d love to have more.

That said, I’m not even sure blogs or books are the best way to reach men. My own husband is less likely to read a whole marriage book than he is to listen to a podcast.

Men often respond well to short snippets of information that get to the point and then allow them time to process the idea. So perhaps the ministry on sex to husbands should look different, with such resources as:

  • A video series in church
  • Daily reminders in his email inbox with a godly sex tip
  • A mobile app with Christian sex ideas (oh hey, there is one of those now—see below!)
  • A podcast for men on how to foster their marital intimacy
  • Short online videos with marriage bed tips
  • Online communities (Facebook or elsewhere) for husbands to plug into advice and support

My suggestions are not intended to diminish anything already happening, but I’ve love to see more. Because I still get these questions, and I don’t like how easily I can come up with answers for the ladies but fewer answers for the gentlemen.

Also, I don’t like that many of the resources for husbands focus almost exclusively on sexual sin. Not that we shouldn’t help men break free from porn, refrain from lust, and avoid adultery — we should! — but husbands don’t merely need to turn away from sin but turn toward God’s design for sex in marriage. Many of them need to know how to effectively nurture sexual intimacy with their wife.

Now instead of me advising a bunch of other stuff, I’m shortening this post so I can hear from you in the comments!

Husbands, what resources do you believe would be helpful in encouraging you toward biblical and beautiful sexual intimacy in your marriage? And yes, you wives are welcome to comment! 

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800 Posts, Mostly about Sex

If you’d told me that I would be blogging for seven years, put up 800 posts, most of which have been about sex, and have thousands of people regularly reading them, I’d have said, “Excuse me, I need a vacation from just thinking about all that.”

Actually, I still want that vacation.

But rather than a vacation, I’ve been on a journey. I started in December 2010 with a Blogger site, writing one post a week and agonizing every time my finger hovered over the Publish button. I was sending my thoughts about sex into the world! A subject I was passionate about, but that not everyone was comfortable discussing.

Still, I believed that:

  • Sex mattered in marriages, more than people often spoke aloud.
  • The Word of God had far more to say about sex than I’d known while growing up or struggling with premarital promiscuity.
  • God wanted me to do something with my story of redemption—and wouldn’t leave me alone until I did!

Seven years later, here’s my blog by the numbers:

Pardon that pause. I had to be awakened from my faint with smelling salts. Because good gravy! those are some big numbers.

But the number I don’t have—the number I’m curious about, but don’t need to know—is how many marriages God has strengthened through Hot, Holy & Humorous.

He deserves all the credit. While I believe wholeheartedly in what I do, and think I do it well, even that comes from God.

As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3:4-7:

For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings? What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.

I’m just glad I got to be part of the gardening. (Because in real life, I suck at gardening.)

And you have made my journey so much nicer! I started this venture alone — well, me and God — but along the way, I’ve encountered so many who have trusted me with their stories, invited me to share what I’ve learned, encouraged me with generous words and deeds, and thanked me for whatever part I’ve played in their journey to a stronger, more intimate marriage.

As we approach Valentine’s Day, I simply want to say thank you to my brothers and sisters in Christ who have kept me and this blog going. You’re all sweethearts!

Now go bless your spouse with your love! And a little bow-chicka-wow-wow, while you’re at it. 😉

And DO NOT FORGET, this sale ends soon. Don’t miss it!

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