Category Archives: Q & A with J

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.

Q&A with J: When Your Groom Is Anxious about Sex

Today’s question comes from a lovely woman on the brink of new marriage. With just weeks until the vows, here’s what she wrote:

hi, im getting married in [a few] weeks, my husband to be has usually been a little reluctant to talk about sex which we always said was good to keep us from going too far before married. we did some sessions of premarital counseling a while ago and our pastor suggested looking at the site the marriage bed shortly before our wedding. I have read quite a bit on their site as well as yours which has helped me be less scared about sex, but now that he has read some things on their site he says he is super weird about the idea of sex. I asked if there was anything in particular that scared him and he said “putting my hands and face where they don’t belong.” I told him that I will never make him do anything he isn’t comfortable with but just the idea of sex is still scaring him. he is a very very logic driven person so has a hard time understanding why anyone would want to do any of the things he read about (even just normal sex). …

I don’t want him to be scared of sex and both of us have a really good understanding that sex is a good thing from God and its not dirty, it just is best within marriage. do you have any suggestions on ways I could make him less scared? I have told him its ok if we don’t have sex right away, we can spend time just becoming comfortable with each other and I will wait until he feels ready. I want to know how to love him best.

Blog post title + midsection of groom looking at his watch

I love that last line: “I want to know how to love him best.” Isn’t that a great way to approach your spouse, no matter how long you’ve been married?

But I wanted to tackle this question because it gets at a few issues that people often don’t consider.

Men also absorb the purity message.

Last year, Sheila Gregoire wrote 10 Things That Scare Me About the “Purity” Culture. One of those ten was “The Purity Culture can make women afraid of sex.” Now Sheila was writing specifically to women, but her point is valid for both genders: Well-intentioned Christians can preach sex as such a huge no-no that they create fear about engaging in the act even when married.

Here are clues that suggest this young man has been exposed to, and absorbed, some purity culture messages:

1. He’s highly uncomfortable talking about sex, but then they decide that’s a good thing so that they won’t go too far.

Except that talking about sex generally and talking about sex specifically are very different. As Christians, we need to be able to comfortably talk about our sexuality, our temptations and challenges, our longings for the future, etc. Silence isn’t always golden. Indeed, teens that have parents and mentors willing to discuss sexuality honestly and in the context of values tend to wait longer to have sex. 

When and how should much should you talk about sex before marriage? Check out this guest post from Eric and Heather Viets of Preengaged.comHow Much Should You Learn about Sex before the Wedding Night? Also, Lauren Hanna also guested here with Let’s Talk About Sex, Shall We?

2. He’s worried about “putting my hands and face where they don’t belong.”

Who said they belong there? I’ll deal with this issue more thoroughly below, but suffice it to say that I wonder if he’s absorbed the sense that godly sex involves a pretty narrow repertoire. It’s a message you get in some Christian circles, but it’s not what God’s Word says.

3. The questioner insists that they don’t believe sex is dirty, just best within marriage. That might be a completely innocent comment, or it could be that this young man is still trying to convince himself.

You know how we do that — tell ourselves something over and over so that we’ll eventually believe it. But if the belief is embedded deep, it can be harder to genuinely feel something is true, even when you know logically it is.

Men are simply not immune to the messages many Christian singles received about sex — that it’s dangerous territory. As being such an off-limits activity or even discussion before marriage, it’s hard to flip the switch after the vows.

What can you do? Here’s my go-to on this one: “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). To me that means that we get what we want when we want what God designed for us to have (see Aligning Your Sexual Desires with God’s Plan). You, as a couple, must learn to delight in God’s design for sex. That can take some time, but it’s worth the study, communication, prayer, and perhaps even counseling you may need.

Sex IS weird.

Let’s just be honest: The act of sex is a strange thing. You get naked, put yourselves in all kinds of positions you wouldn’t get into otherwise, and you match up body parts in unusual ways. I’ve often wondered what God was thinking when He created this act. Wasn’t there an easier alternative?

But if you think we‘re weird, go look at the animal kingdom. I’m fascinated at all the ways reproduction happens among creatures, like the female praying mantis that sometimes eats the head of her mate after copulation or the argonaut octopus that has a detachable penis. You can really get lost in articles about the strange mating rituals out there. I don’t know why God made it that way for some species, but it sure makes me grateful He chose our way of doing things for the creatures made in His image.

It might make your fiancé feel better to just accept that sex IS weird. But just because something is strange doesn’t mean it isn’t also natural and enjoyable. There’s a lot of strange stuff in nature that’s pretty cool. (See Travel & Leisure’s World’s Strangest Natural Wonders.)

So yeah, sex is weird, but give it a fair shot … because it’s also quite wonderful.

Where do your hands and face “belong”?

I grew up on the rural side of Corpus Christi, Texas, where my high school let out for the local livestock show and rodeo because too many students were involved to continue holding class. Those of us not involved still attended to check things out and cheer on friends.

After one livestock show ended, a friend shared how she’d been walking past the hog stalls where two hogs lay head to toe. A romantically involved couple just ahead said something like, “Hey, those pigs look just like us!” (referring to the 69 position). My friend was way creeped out and ranted for a while about oral sex, wondering why anything would do such a thing … right up until a married woman nearby calmly responded, “You’d be surprised what you’d do.” You could have heard a pen drop … or maybe me snicker — one or the other.

Anyway, it’s not unusual for sexual acts to seem really strange as well and even off-putting before you do them. Hey, I remember wondering when I was young why people would touch tongues together and how that could be enjoyable. Turns out, French kissing is quite enjoyable, but I didn’t know until I tried.

Of course not every sexual act is a good idea. So how do you know where your hands and face really belong — from a Christian viewpoint? Here’s the upshot:

  • God clearly wanted penis-in-vagina intercourse to be part of sexual intimacy in marriage. Just think of the number of times something like “he knew her, and she became pregnant” occurs in the Bible.
  • The vast majority of our bodies is hygienically clean enough for hands and mouths. One exception is the anus, but our skin and genitalia are pretty much fair game. It’s a wide, wide playground God gave us to work with.
  • If oral sex is among the concerns, I — and quite a few others — believe it’s specifically referenced in Song of Songs: “In his shade I took great delight and sat down, and his fruit was sweet to my taste” (2:3) and “Let my beloved come into his garden and taste its choice fruits” (4:16). Check out Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design for more in-depth treatment of oral sex and other sexual activities.

Essentially, your hands and your mouth belong on your spouse’s body where God says it’s okay, where your spouse says it’s okay, and where you want to go. God gave us a lot of freedom in the marriage bed.

God gave us a lot of freedom in the marriage bed. Click To Tweet

How do you deal with your mate’s genuine anxiety in the bedroom?

Actually, I think you’re on the right track. You need to nudge, but not pressure; communicate, but not nag; request, but not demand. The beauty of sex in marriage is that you get a lifetime to figure this whole thing out.

Unfortunately, some people think their first few experiences of sex together represent the destiny of their married sex life. And they don’t.

Just because of how life works, you’ll have seasons when things are better and when things are more challenging. But you also have the opportunity to grow together in intimacy in all areas, including the physical.

However, you need to be intentional in pursuing a good sex life together.

You need to be intentional in pursuing a good sex life together. Click To Tweet

In addition to what you’re already doing, I’d suggest that you read a few books together, which you can probably do now since you’re so close to the wedding. For couples, here are a few recommendations:

While I wrote it for wives, it could also be very beneficial for you two to go through my devotional book, Intimacy Revealed: 52 Devotions to Enhance Sex in Marriage. Each devotion is brief, steeped in a biblical perspective, and includes questions that can help you communicate better and find out where you need to grow.

Take it slow, but don’t stop progressing. And many blessings for your upcoming nuptials!

Q&A with J: “How Does Satan Target Women?”

A commenter recently asked:

J writes: “[porn] is everywhere, and Satan knows exactly how to target men. (He’s got other ways of targeting us women too.)” … How does Satan target women? And what do women do regularly that Christians call out frequently as sin?

Blog post title + arrows flying at target, with one bullseye

I could give you a long list of ways I believe Satan tries to sink his crafty claws into the hearts of women. But the focus of what I do on this blog, and the context of this commenter’s question, is in the area of sexuality.

So the question really is: How does Satan target women regarding sexuality?

Get ready, ladies, I’m going to give you to you straight.

Image of Betty Davis with "Fasten your seat belts. It's going to be a bumpy night."

All About Eve (1950) – Bette Davis

I mulled over several options. Are we ladies targets in the area of erotica? Yes, to some extent. Gate-keeping and sexual refusal? Yes, for some women. Immodesty? Yes, we can have that problem. Emotional affairs? Yes, some women are easily drawn in.

But those don’t apply to women largely. They are struggles wives definitely have, but not with so much frequency and generality that I can confidently say, “This is where Satan has our number.”

Rather, as I thought about the wives I’ve heard from who are harming their marriage bed, and as I delved deeper into the Word of God for the biblical answer, here’s where I concluded women on the whole have a big sin problem: We’re naggers. Complainers. Whiners.

Just look at what Proverbs says:

  • “Better to live on the corner of a roof than to share a house with a nagging wife.” (21:9, HCSB).
  • It’s better to live alone in the desert than with a quarrelsome, complaining wife.” (21:19, NLT).
  • It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a contentious wife” (25:24, NRSV).
  • “A quarrelsome wife is like the dripping of a leaky roof in a rainstorm; restraining her is like restraining the wind or grasping oil with the hand” (27:15-16, NIV).

Truth is, we ladies are wired to notice when things aren’t how we think they should be and then to speak up about it. That’s not a problem in and of itself, but we can put this inclination on overdrive. We can easily become nagging wives. Even, and sometimes especially, in the area of sexuality.

All my life, I’ve heard complaints like:

  • “All men are perverts.”
  • “Men only want one thing.”
  • “He doesn’t care about romance, just sex.”
  • “I can’t even undress in front of him with being ogled.”

Or maybe the tables are turned, and she‘s the one with the higher drive. So the complaints become about him not satisfying her needs, not being like other men, not being manly (what a dig to a guy already struggling with low libido).

Many wives complain when sex isn’t done her way: the timing she wants, the atmosphere she wants, the initiation she wants, the activities she wants, etc. Such that sex itself becomes an area in marriage where he’s walking on eggshells, and you’re judging his performance like the Simon Cowell of sexual intimacy.

Some of you are now saying, “But I’m not a big complainer.” You’ve still likely had your moments. I certainly have.

Even the sex-positive wife in Song of Songs had a short fit of complaining when she was sound asleep and her husband arrived home wanting to make love:

I slept, but my heart was awake.
Listen! my beloved is knocking.
“Open to me, my sister, my love,
my dove, my perfect one;
for my head is wet with dew,
my locks with the drops of the night.”
I had put off my garment;
how could I put it on again?
I had bathed my feet;
how could I soil them? (5:2-3).

I can just hear the whine in her voice as she says, more or less, “Seriously? I just took off my robe, and you want me to put it back on and open the door for you? You want me to get my feet dirty to let you into my bed? I want to sleep, not have sex. Can’t this wait until morning?”

And it’s not just about sex itself. In various areas of our marriage — household, parenting, finances, relationship, religion, you name it — we think we know what’s what and then let our husbands know with disrespectful words, critical tones, and grumbling attitudes.

We become prickly.

And our quills-out approach might be the very thing killing our sexual intimacy. Because, frankly, who wants to make love to a porcupine?

Porcupine saying, "What do you mean I'm not sexy?"

It’s a battle we have to fight, because it includes our physical makeup. Even from young ages, females express emotion more than males, although some of that is certainly social conditioning. However, in research studies, women consistently report experiencing negative emotions, such as fear and anxiety, more than men.

So we’re more emotionally expressive and more anxious. Now add in our biology of the hormonal highs and lows that come with menstruation, pregnancy, and eventually menopause, and you have a recipe for a Big Nag Sandwich.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying that we women don’t have legitimate concerns. I absolutely hate when you bring up a reasonable issue to some guy and he asks, “Is this ’cause you’re ‘on the rag’?” You want to reply, “No, it’s because you’re a jerk!” But at same time, let’s fess up and admit that our hormones can increase our intensity.

And just like Satan is happy to use male biology to dangle the temptation of porn underneath men’s noses, he’s more than happy to twist our biology for his ends. If he can take our fear, our anxiety, our expressiveness, and our hormones and fashion that into a quarrelsome, nagging, contentious wife who tears apart her house and marriage bed with her own hands…he’ll do it.

“The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down” (Proverbs 14:1).

By contrast, Proverbs 31 describes the role model wife this way:

Strength and dignity are her clothing,
  and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
  and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue” (31:25-26).

Yeah, that woman is not a complainer.

Today’s question included this: “And what do women do regularly that Christians call out frequently as sin?” I have to admit that we don’t call this out often enough.

It’s certainly in the New Testament as well:

  • “Do everything without grumbling or arguing,  so that you may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’ Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky” (Philippians 2:14-15).
  • “Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door! (James 5:9).
  • And do not grumble, as some of them did — and were killed by the destroying angel” (1 Corinthians 10:10).

This clearly makes husband-bashing a problematic pastime. We gals might be surprised when our ladies’ circles get visited by the Destroying Angel.

I’m feeling uber-convicted right now myself, wondering where I’ve fallen short in my marriage. How have I made our sex life more difficult with my nagging attitudes? Have I nagged specifically about sex? Have I become prickly?

And have we ladies been letting each other get away with sin? I really hope there isn’t a chorus of men saying, “Here! Here!” in the comment section (though I promise to publish reasonably worded comments). Rather, I hope we women will own up and hold each other accountable.

What can we do to avoid being the nagging wife who makes her husband want to retreat to the corner of the roof? How can we change so that our husbands are instead drawn to us into our marriage bed?

Q&A with J: “How Do You Feel about Your Implants Now?”

I’m near-trembling as I write this one. Because since writing about getting a breast augmentation, many of my family and friends have learned about this blog. When they started reading, they likely didn’t go back and find my archived posts on Aiming for My Best Chest and Aiming for My Best Chest – Part 2.

Now the cat is most definitely out of the bag. And I really don’t want anyone to look at me, and especially my chest, differently. I might just keep my arms crossed over my chest for a week after this is published. (As if that wouldn’t be awkward. :/ )

But readers who find those old posts sometimes write and ask follow-up questions about getting breast augmentation, or other plastic surgery, and I decided it was time to revisit the topic and answer some of those queries. Here is a sampling:

I am scheduled to have a breast augmentation … and I am filled with anxiety. Just looking for a little support. … My anxiety comes from fear of pain and complications. Any words of wisdom? Is this anxiety normal?

Due to pregnancy and breast feeding, I am now very much considering a small implant to help with the loss of volume and size. … I am not looking to “change” myself as much as restoring what was lost. … I’m wondering how you feel about your procedure? Do you have any regrets? Have you had any issues?

I was really pleased to read [your] blog post about breast augmentation as it’s something I’ve been considering…. I struggle with it not being a ‘worthy cause’ to spend the money on and the risks I’m taking with my health. I was brought up in quite a fundamentalist church where even makeup and ear piercing was forbidden (according to some scriptures). However, I don’t want feeling guilty about doing something for me stop me and it was great to read a Christian’s perspective on it. I’m also worried that my new breasts would not feel like part of me and I’m interested to find out if yours now do? Is it possible for implants to feel like your own breasts?

Blog post title with silicone and saline implants stacked up on a table

While there are plenty of women who walk into a plastic surgeon’s office, order up a pair of implants, and never give it another thought, many Christian women struggle with guilt and anxiety about this decision.

If you’re considering implants, I suggest reading my posts on Should Christians Get Plastic Surgery? and Plastic Surgery: Should You or Shouldn’t You? In those posts, I go into greater detail about my Christian perspective on this issue.

But let’s talk about the questions I get asked.

Guilt. When you’re considering plastic surgery, and I think especially breast augmentation (BA), there are several potential sources of guilt. Here are a few:

  • Feeling like you’re being vain
  • Wanting to change the body God gave you
  • Spending money for a nonessential procedure
  • Fielding outright disapproval from others

My answer to these would be that yes, some women who get a BA are vain, don’t appreciate the body God gave them, and spend money they shouldn’t spend … and thus, it’s not surprising they’d encounter some disapproval. But when I was researching BAs, and afterward talking to others who’d had them, I discovered a majority of women just wanted to feel normal and good about themselves.

Sure, a percentage fit the stereotype of some gal with regular-sized breasts who opts for balloon-like tatas and then wears attire to emphasize her new assets. But women who get BAs include perpetually small-breasted women, women who lost a lot of breast tissue after pregnancy and nursing, women with different sized breasts, and women with oddly shaped breasts. You might even be surprised who in your midst has had a breast augmentation or a breast lift, and you never knew it.

If you’re thinking about the surgery, question your motives of course! But it’s not vanity to want to feel good about your physical appearance, and you can be fully appreciative of the amazing body God gave you and still change something. We do it all the time with correcting birth defects, with stomach stapling and liposuction for obesity, and with dentistry and orthodontics for our teeth.

Anxiety. Any surgery is likely to cause some anxiety, but especially a nonessential one. You can start to wonder if it’s worth “going under” for something you don’t actually need. But 279,143 breast augmentations and 99,614 breast lifts were performed in the U.S. in 2015 (source: American Society of Plastic Surgery), so they really know what they’re doing now. It’s an outpatient procedure, and a well-chosen plastic surgeon should have plenty of experience performing breast surgeries. Complications do happen, but they are rare.

That said, let me tell you a little about recovery. First off, your breasts will hurt. This shouldn’t be surprising, but I recall being a little taken aback by the amount of swelling and pain right after the procedure. Follow your doctor’s instructions about taking care of your wounds and pain relief. Also, be responsible with medication use; some painkillers can be addictive.

Also, don’t judge how you feel about your new size until a few months in. It takes some time to know what the final result is, so chill out and play wait-and-see. You may need to invest in one size bra after you get out of the post-surgical “sling” and another size after stuff settles. And if you’re worried about whether people will know that you “had them done” … they might. But you can also choose tops that downplay your chest until the swelling has resolved and you can shop for clothes to fit your new size better.

Criticism. Some people won’t get it. Some Christians believe plastic surgery is always wrong, or at least somehow insulting God. Others just don’t understand why you’d spend that kind of money or alter your body or have elective surgery. If others find out, you could find yourself subject to some criticism.

But it’s easy to have a negative opinion about plastic surgery when it isn’t something you need or want to do. I personally exhausted myself with research, reflection, prayer, and conversation with my husband before I made my decision. Why would I expect others to have come to the same conclusion when they haven’t really given it much thought?

Although admittedly, a part of me got to the point of thinking, If another B or C-cup woman says to me, “Women shouldn’t get boob jobs,” I will throttle her. Okay, I wouldn’t actually. But if you’re that woman who thinks it’s all wrong, let me ask: Do you know what it’s like to be a grown woman with an AAA-cup? To shop in the girls’ department for your bras? To take 20 outfits into the dressing room, and 19 of them don’t fit because you can’t fill out the front? What would you say to the woman who has amorphous breasts or one much larger than the other? What about the woman who wants a breast reduction because it’s painful to have that much weight on her chest? Just try to have some compassion for women considering this difficult decision.

Speaking of criticism, those who get a BA might also receive what I consider to be stupid questions. Here are some examples, along with my answers:

  • Are those real? Well, they’re not imaginary.
  • Are those yours? They better be; I paid enough for them.
  • So those aren’t your own breasts? Yes, they are. They just got a little boost. (Your breast tissue remains and will still have its sensitivity.)

Regrets. Will you have any regrets? I don’t know. I can’t predict what anyone else will feel. For myself, I have none. But a good portion of why I don’t have regrets is that I carefully considered my decision, researched my options, discussed it fully with my husband, and prayed to make sure my motives were not selfish vanity.

Years later, I don’t even think much about the implants. These are simply my breasts. They have the same sensitivity as before, and they only feel weird if I touch them in certain places and ways. I’m most aware of them when I go to my mammogram, where they have to take additional images to make sure all the breast tissue can be seen. I will say that I chose silicone implants over saline, because their appearance mimics real breasts a bit better.

A few last thoughts: Don’t expect that one surgery will solve all of your body image issues. I still have moments when I don’t like some parts of my body; I suspect you will too, and that’s normal. Don’t dwell on those or start thinking of all the other procedures you could get, but rather embrace your beauty. Also, choose a doctor you trust. Find a plastic surgeon who listens to you about the size you want and the concerns you have and who will follow up post-surgery. Finally, go for proportional. Choose implants that fit the body you have, and you’ll likely be happy with the result. Believe me, “proportional” still gives you wiggle room to have choices.

What other questions do you have about breast augmentation, or any other plastic surgery you’re contemplating? What advice do those who’ve been through this procedure have for others considering it?

Q&A with J: “I Want to Find a Wife Who Can Fulfill My Sexual Needs”

Today’s question is from a young, single man who is wondering about the sexual intimacy he’ll one day have in marriage. His query is filled with issues I want to address, so let’s get started.

I struggle with guilt about wanting regular sex in my future marriage. My sex drive is unfortunately very high to the point where I crave intimacy on a daily basis. I am hoping that if I get married one day, that I will end up married to a wonderful Christian lady who has a higher sex drive like mine and would want it on a daily basis, or at least something close to that like 1-4 days a week (ideally everyday, I REALLY want it everyday). I know there are women out there who would want it on a daily basis, but they seem to be unfortunately very rare as men generally crave sex more than women. I could ask God for someone who would want sex on a daily basis, and I often do, but I kind of feel like why should I expect to get that lucky, considering that most guys don’t? I really want someone who can adequately fulfill my needs. I don’t want to spend a vast majority of my marriage masturbating, I want to be having sex with her. I already masturbate everyday just to get my arousal out, but I still want sex with a real woman and feel that it would be much more fulfilling. Again, when and if I’m married, I want to end up having sex with my wife more often than I masturbate, but I’m afraid that cannot happen. Sometimes I get in really bad moods at the thought of not getting enough sex in my future marriage. I feel that maybe it is due to a porn addiction that I have been (unsuccessfully) trying to quit on and off for two years. I was hoping that marital sex could help me to stop looking at porn. I could use help in that area too. I need help. I’m desperate. Any counsel you could give, regarding what I have written here, would be greatly appreciated. I just ask that you be gentle and understanding about it. Thank you for your time and God bless!

Blog post title + with smiling couple in bed (illustration)

I will certainly aim for “gentle and understanding,” which I try to do on most Q&A days, but sometimes I “tell it like it is.” And as I read your question, I couldn’t help but think that you’ve been sold some malarkey. Believe me, you’re not the only one. But I’d like to correct a few beliefs here, which should give you more hope.

“I struggle with guilt about wanting regular sex in my future marriage.” Of course you should want regular sex in your future marriage. It’s sad to me that there are Christians who feel guilty about having what God wants them to experience in marriage; yet I know it happens.

Unfortunately, sex is sometimes mentioned in the Church, if it’s spoken of at all, only when it involves remaining abstinent outside of marriage and not sexually sinning (like adultery or porn). We leave the impression that sex itself is a problem, rather than Satan’s attempts to twist sex into something God didn’t intend it to be.

Let me be clear: God wants you to have regular sex in your marriage.

Let me be clear: God wants you to have regular sex in your marriage. Click To Tweet

1 Corinthians 7:3-5 says:

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

And He made sure that there’s an entire book in the Bible devoted to marital, sexual love. It’s called Song of Solomon. God is sex-positive! So please don’t feel guilty for wanting to experience the gift He desires you and your wife to someday have. Of course, what He wants right now is that wait for marriage.

I know there are women out there who would want it on a daily basis, but they seem to be unfortunately very rare as men generally crave sex more than women.” Actually, high-drive wives are more common than you think. I don’t know exactly what the numbers are (though I’m researching), but I’ve heard estimates that in 15% to 30% of marriages it’s the wife who has the higher libido. Given my email inbox and comments on this blog, I tend to believe that’s about right. And that doesn’t account for marriages in which the husband has the greater sex drive, but the wife is highly responsive.

I’m not saying that couples don’t have sexual frequency conflicts; plenty do. However, we’re primed by our culture to believe that husbands always want sex and women rarely do. And it’s just not true. So let’s replace the phrase “very rare” with the reality that a majority of husbands desire more frequent sexual intimacy than their wives, but a fair percentage of wives desire more sex and many other wives are certainly willing.

“I really want someone who can adequately fulfill my needs.” Are you equally concerned about meeting her needs? What’s good for the gander is good for the goose, eh? Marriages thrive when you are both concerned about meeting each other’s perceived needs — whether that’s sex, affection, respect, conversation, emotional security, etc. If you want to find Mrs. Right, your focus should be on becoming Mr. Right.

If you want to find Mrs. Right, your focus should be on becoming Mr. Right. Click To Tweet

Also, it’s really hard right now not to view your sex drive as physical tension that demands release. But if you say to your wife, “I want you to meet my sexual needs,” you’re honestly treating her like a means to an end. As I say all the time, your spouse is not your sex toy. She isn’t there to just satisfy your sexual craving. What God wants instead is for you both to pursue intimacy through sexual connection. When you’re both focused on meeting one another’s needs and becoming closer through the exchange of pleasure, that‘s when the sex gets really good.

I already masturbate everyday just to get my arousal out…” I hear ya, but you’re probably making things worse. I don’t believe masturbation is inherently wrong, but it’s unwise to stoke your sexual desire day after day with self-satisfaction. For one thing, the average refractory period for men (time they can easily go between orgasms) is about 72 hours. But if you’re ejaculating daily, your body adapts to anticipating daily release. So you’re basically making your body even more sex-needy.

Also, masturbation involves a feedback loop that you cannot get in marital lovemaking. You are both pleasuring yourself and feeling the pleasure, so you can quickly make adjustments that bring you to climax quickly. Some frequent masturbators then find that having sex with a woman is frustrating, because it takes longer to reach orgasm. Men who masturbate with porn can find that they actually cannot orgasm with intercourse, because their body has been so primed to the hand job.

You really should decrease your self-satisfaction, so you can keep your body’s sexual energy aimed at the ultimate goal — beautiful lovemaking with your someday wife. I have talked about options for when you cannot have sex with Sexual Release Without Sinfulness and What To Do with Sexual Desire Before Marriage.

“I feel that maybe it is due to a porn addiction that I have been (unsuccessfully) trying to quit on and off for two years.” That surely contributes. And to be fair, why should a woman enter marriage with a man who cannot beat this habit? Look, my heart is filled with compassion for men who struggle with this terrible temptation. It’s everywhere, and Satan knows exactly how to target men. (He’s got other ways of targeting us women too.) I’m thrilled you want to quit porn. Thank God you see that it’s both a sin and a terrible habit that can affect your marriage. That’s a terrific first step!

But I wonder what “trying to quit” means to you. Have you taken concrete steps? Installed porn-blocking software? Told a mentor or your pastor about your struggle? Found an accountability partner? Visited the XXXChurch or Fight the New Drug websites for resources on how to successfully quit? Many men have tried to quit on their own and haven’t. Those who succeed set goals, enlist help, and follow through. Believe me, God is on your side on this one — 100%.

“I was hoping that marital sex could help me to stop looking at porn.” While it may help, plenty of married men having regular sex still look at porn. Being happily married is indeed one factor that helps men stay away from porn. According to the General Social Survey of 2000, conducted by the University of Chicago, happily married men were 61% less likely to look at porn. However, in a 2014 survey by The Barna Group, 55% of married men reported watching porn at least once a month, compared to 70% of single men. (See Covenant Eyes Porn Data.) You need to make the decision ahead of time to quit porn. Because while being married can help, it’s no guarantee.

And as gently as I can say this: If a woman contacted me and said she was thinking about marrying a man who’d had a porn addiction for two years and couldn’t seem to quit, I’d tell her to hold off. Neither of you needs that baggage in your marriage. Because porn really can hurt your sex life. But take heart: You can gain victory. Others have done it, and you can too.

What I really want you to walk away with is an understanding that:

  • God wants you to experience amazing lovemaking in your marriage. Sex was His idea, and He knows its best context is marriage. But it is His generous gift to you and your future wife.
  • Great sex awaits you. And it’s not about sexually compatible sex drives, but rather both of you understanding that it sex is a priority and it is worth the effort in your marriage.
  • The best way to make sure you attract a godly, sexy wife is to work on yourself. So focus on sex as a future intimacy-builder and a way to give something beautiful to your wife, not just to meet your needs. And take specific steps to rid your life of porn, so that it won’t damage your future marriage.

What other tips do my readers have? What would you tell singles desiring to have wonderful sexual intimacy in their future marriage?