Category Archives: Q & A with J

Q&A with J: He Wishes I Could Orgasm More

Today’s question is from a recently married wife.

Orgasms have always been difficult for me. I’ve probably had a dozen or so in nine months of daily sex. Now, this doesn’t mean I’m not enjoying sex — far from it! I absolutely love, and get a lot of pleasure from, our intimate times. But while I can get up to, say, an 8 out of 10 on a scale of “Brushing Your Teeth” to “Screaming Orgasm,” it’s pretty rare for me to actually tip over the edge. But I’ve found that one of the surest ways to enjoy sex LESS and be LESS able to get there in the end is to worry about whether or not I’m going to get there in the end. I’m happy most of the time just to relax, have a good time naked with my awesome hot husband, and let things happen (or not) as they will. I’m confident that as we learn to care for each other even better sexually in the coming months and years of our marriage, it’ll get easier for me to have orgasms.

So what’s the issue, then, you may be asking? Well, it’s my sweet, selfless husband, who feels absolutely terrible about the fact that he has 20 orgasms for every one I have. He’s told me he feels selfish, and like it’s unfair. I keep insisting that I’m having an awesome time, that I love having sex with him, and that I need to relax and not spend the first 30 minutes of sex worried about the last 30 seconds. But he still feels anxious and disappointed and, I think, a bit like he’s letting me down or failing me.

What should I do? Should I start… I don’t know, recommending books to him on how to bring a woman to orgasm? Are there such things from a Christian perspective, or that at least aren’t all about impressing your latest partner? Or do I just keep plugging away with the encouragement? I know it’s a bit silly to be writing in for advice because my husband is just too focused on my pleasure (and I can hear the folks in the comments section rolling their eyes now, haha!), but I really don’t know how best to approach it.

Q&A with J: He Wishes I Could Orgasm More

I’m not rolling my eyes, because I can see how this could cause some issues in the marriage. Yes, of course it’s awesome that her husband wants her to experience the mind-shattering climaxes, but not having those every time makes him feel like she’s missing out and then she’s wondering why she can’t orgasm more and it makes sex this chasing-the-golden-ring event. When what they both want and should have is an intimate, exciting experience in the marriage bed.

Now I agree she’s not having enough orgasms for all that daily sex, but I’ll get to that a bit later. First, I want to deal with some other issues brought up.

Is it unfair? She says he feels selfish for having so many more climaxes and thinks it’s unfair. It’s pretty clear he’s not selfish, because he’s concerned about her pleasure. But I agree: It is a little unfair. I know plenty of wives who’ve felt this way when they saw how much easier it can be for many guys to become aroused and to reach the apex of pleasure.

However, even though orgasm can take a long time to figure out or even a long time to reach, we ladies can have multiples. And isn’t that a little unfair to the guys? Rather than comparing apples and oranges here, we should appreciate the benefits and drawbacks to the biology we each have. If she skips orgasms from time to time, but has multiples other times, it can even out. But even if it doesn’t, we’re not keeping score.

Why is he anxious? Beyond his obvious desire to pleasure his wife, why else would he feel anxiety? Look, guys partly judge their sexual performance by how great they make their wives feel. If he has a hard time getting her to orgasm, he might take it personally — like there’s something wrong with his sexual prowess. And I’ll be supremely honest here: Maybe he could improve and help her get there more often.

Now much of the time, not orgasming has more to do with the physiological, emotional, and mental factors she has to deal with to reach climax. However, the popular notion that just by virtue of being a guy, he’ll know exactly how to turn you on is just bunk. Our bodies are complex and varied in how they respond.

It doesn’t help that movies and novels make it seems like women almost always climax during sexual intercourse with their man, yet other methods are far more likely to get her there. Since orgasms are tied to stimulation of the clitoris, direct stimulation from manual play and oral sex are often easier ways for wives to reach the Big O.

You can suggest resources to him, but even better is you two seeking them out together. My book, Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design, is directed at wives but has a lot of tips you can both put into practice. It also has a whole chapter on reaching orgasm, including those multiples I mentioned. I also recommend Lovemaking by Dan and Linda Wilson and Sheet Music by Dr. Kevin Leman.

But let him know you’re willing to explore and discover what feels especially pleasurable to your body. Not like an All Encompassing Mission, but a playful adventure of trying new things and sharpening your skills together. You want to become experts in one another’s unique bodies. And for that, the best sex classroom is your own marital bedroom.

The best sex classroom is your own marital bedroom. Click To Tweet

Why is he disappointed? I’m not sure about this husband, but I hear generally from hubbies that they get an extra kick of excitement when their wives climax. It really turns them on to see their wives turned on. It wouldn’t be a shocker, then, for this husband to long for her to orgasm more often. Why not watch her reach the peak and fly right over with a big smile on her face? It makes the whole sex experience even better for him.

However, climax isn’t the only indicator of how fabulous sex feels to us gals. Sure, I’m all for rock-the-bed-frame orgasms, but what you describe is what I and other wives have also felt: Sometimes we can be happy to “have a good time naked with my awesome hot husband.” There’s a lot to be said for the vulnerability, closeness, and general pleasure of having sex, even if climax doesn’t happen this time around.

How can you get him to understand? That’s a tougher question. I’ve had some success drawing analogies that my husband would understand. Like for the sports lover: “What if you started playing a game, but got rained out before it finished? Would you feel the whole thing was a waste of time, or would you appreciate the time you got to play?” Or for the video gamer: “Do you feel like you have to win every round you play? Or do you sometimes enjoy just playing for the sake of it?” Not sure those are great, but you get the idea. Come up with your own analogy that he might relate to.

Should you keep plugging away? Your actual question was: “Or do I just keep plugging away with the encouragement?” But I’d say yes to both: encouragement and plugging away (if you know what I mean, *wink*). You’re absolutely right that you don’t need the extra pressure of Must Climax This Time. Trying too hard to reach orgasm can prevent a wife from reaching orgasm.

Keep things light with encouragement that you love the experience, that you enjoy orgasms when they happen, and that you believe you can work together to make your peaks more frequent. Keep reminding him that you like the whole shebang, not just the she-goes-bang. But then plug away with the sexual experience! Help him make small adjustments with his hands or mouth or your angles during intercourse. Speak up for what feels good . . . and what feels even better.

Let’s face it: Your current sex-to-orgasm ratio could be improved. And since orgasm feels so incredibly awesome, why not have more of them? Check out the tips on getting there from my book, go slower with arousal and foreplay, and figure out what makes your body sing.

And yes, I think orgasms will get easier as you grow accustomed to one another’s bodies. After all, according to the famous 10,000-hour Rule, we need about 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become experts at something. Sure enough, couples report more satisfying sex after a decade or two of being together. Thankfully, you have a lifetime together to get in all that great practice. Enjoy!

Q&A with J: I Long for the Sex I Had with my Late Husband

Today’s question about sex is from a widow. My heart goes out to her.

I had been very happily married until my husband died last fall [edited a bit to protect her identity]. How do i go from thinking as a married woman who greatly enjoyed sex with her husband, to thinking as a single woman? Is it wrong that i still read your blog and other Christian sex blogs and identify with many of the issues you and other readers refer to? How can i deal with not having sex, not feeling loved in the sexual manner and not being confirmed by my husband as a woman? Is it wrong that so often i bring to memory those incredible personal moments we had together? I don’t long for sex just anyway, i long for the sex i had with my husband.

Q&A with J: I Long for the Sex I Had with My Late Husband

First off, let me offer my condolences to you for the passing of your spouse. While I’ve not experienced it, I recognize this is one of the hardest challenges people go through. While you had the blessing of a happy marriage, your beloved’s untimely death is a shock to the system. I pray the following for you:

God, I know you are close to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18). Please comfort this widow, and others grieving the loss of their spouse, as they mourn (Matthew 5:4). Heal their broken hearts and bind up their wounds (Psalm 147:3). Give them rest from the weariness and burden of grief (Matthew 11:28). We know your faithful servants who’ve passed are precious to You (Psalm 116:15). Help us to focus on the eternal glory You have promised (2 Corinthians 4:16-18). In Christ’s name, Amen.

As for the reader, there are several questions here. Let me take a stab at each of them.

How do I go from thinking as a married woman who greatly enjoyed sex with her husband to thinking as a single woman?

I’ve heard from widows and widowers that the loss of sex is among the aspects you grieve when your spouse dies. I’ve talked a lot here about flipping the switch to go from being an abstaining single to a sexually active married, but I think it’s far tougher to flip the switch the other way. You’re used to being sexually touched, desired, intimate. And now, in addition to everything else you’ve lost, that’s gone. Your body will crave what it was used to having, particularly since yours was a positive, pleasurable sexual relationship with your husband.

But honestly, if not fed, cravings — the ones that don’t determine our life or death — tend to increase for a time, then decrease after a while. If you have coffee every single morning and quit, you’ll want even more for a while, then less. That’s not to say that you won’t crave coffee again, but it’s not so tough to go without.

I’m not comparing your husband to coffee (that would be insulting and ridiculous), but I believe our sexual desire can behave a bit like this. If we don’t dwell on it and find other ways to engage our physical selves, the sexual longings become a bit less difficult to manage. For what to do with your sexual desire in the meantime, maybe this post for singles will help.

Is it wrong that I still read your blog and other Christian sex blogs and identify with many of the issues you and other readers refer to? 

No. It’s not wrong. Having been married, you certainly understand what we’re talking about here and can appreciate God’s design for sex in marriage. But continuing to read about sex could stir up your sense of loss or your sexual desire even more. If that’s an issue for you, give it a break.

Also, I know this is very, very, very premature. But if at some point in the future you start dating again, you probably don’t want to be reading sex posts while trying to keep things on the up-and-up.

How can I deal with not having sex, not feeling loved in the sexual manner, and not being confirmed by my husband as a woman?

Short answer: Find your worth and reassurance in God. Of course, I recognize that God isn’t going to literally speak to you or physically touch you, and that’s a big part of what you miss. But God can fulfill some of that absence in other ways — through the closeness and affection of friendships, through finding purposes for your unique personality and talents, through reaching out to others in need.

You are indeed a sexual being, but your “womanness” is expressed in many other ways. Not to mention that you are a specific kind of woman (we’re not all alike!), blessed by God with a singular perspective and skills. Consider where you can now spend your time and effort that affirms who you are and honors God.

Also, go ahead and appreciate your sexuality! Even if my husband is on a long business trip, I wear nightgowns that make me feel confident and pretty. I’m not expecting to get lucky of course, but it’s perfectly fine to celebrate your feminine beauty, even if it’s just between you and God. Don’t lose gratitude for the amazing body your Creator gave you — just more in terms of sensual beauty than sexual desirability.

Is it wrong that so often I bring to memory those incredible personal moments we had together?

No, not at all. Why wouldn’t you? I think you should revel in gratitude for all the beautiful moments you had with your husband, and there’s nothing off-limits about the sexual moments versus the times you just held hands and walked through the neighborhood. They are all a part of what made your marriage special and memorable. Treasure all the good memories of your time together.

I have heard that over time, the memories will come less often, but they will never go away. Your marriage to your loving husband is a part of you, and he will always be in your heart. Consider that God’s blessing for your life and for his.

Q&A with J: Does Going Without Sex Make You Cranky?

Today’s question is a great one. Here’s what the querying wife asks:

We’ve been married 15 years and have very fulfilling sex…I’m just in awe of this beautiful gift God gave us and how through our years of marriage the sex just keeps getting better. My question….I have found that if we go too many days between sexual intimacy I get very moody and cranky. Is this normal? I haven’t checked my calendar to see the relation this is to where I am in my cycle. I’ve just noticed many times that if we get to 5 or 6 days without (due to husband’s travel, time of month or busy schedule) I start to feel irritable. It’s like I can feel my need to be intimate. I just wondered if others ever feel this way.

Q&A with J: Does Going Without Sex Make You Cranky?

Oh, my young Padawan, you have learned much (in awe of this beautiful gift God gave us”). Let me add to your great wisdom by affirming that oh yeah, one can get seriously cranky during a dry spell.

I could tell you so many stories couples have shared with me. I’ll come up with a composite one that goes like this:

We were feeling annoyed, just uptight and even arguing over little things. I felt this edginess and couldn’t figure out what was going on. And then suddenly we looked at each other and said, “Wait, how long has it been since we had sex?” Lo and behold, it had somehow stretched to eight days. We cleared our schedule for an immediate rendezvous, and afterward we felt so much better. Relieved. Happy. Satisfied. Equilibrium had been reachieved.

Why do we get grumpy when we have a dry spell? I think there are several reasons:

Sex relieves stress. We build up stress in numerous ways throughout our days and lives. And sexual intimacy is a proven stress-reliever. Sex lowers blood pressure, improves sleep, and produces feel-good chemicals in our bodies. It even boosts your immune system. (See 10 Surprising Health Benefits of Sex.) If we’re used to sex being one of the ways we ease stress, our bodies will notice when that help is gone.

Sex bonds us together. We experience relational connection with our husbands when we make love. Our bodies even respond through the release of dopamine (a pleasure and reward system) and oxytocin, the same body chemical released when a mother nurses her baby. We feel emotionally and physiologically connected through the act of sexual intimacy. Not surprising, therefore, if it’s been a while, we can feel disconnected. Even at odds with each other.

Sex expresses intimacy. Although there are many alternatives for expressing love to one another, sex is a rather special one. With other people, we can chat, spend time, do activities, hug and peck cheeks, etc. But there’s only one person in the world we should be making love to — our spouse. Because of its unique character, we can miss that special connection when it’s gone. Of course, not every couple feels this way, but those who “have very fulfilling sex” likely will.

Your hormones can also play into this feeling of crankiness. Not only do we ladies deal with what’s commonly called Premenstrual Syndrome, we can experience a spike in sexual interest around the time of ovulation. Feeling more randy than average, it can feel like a real letdown not to act on that increased libido. Hello, grumpiness.

So the bad news is that yes, a lack of sex can make feel grumpy. And the good news is that once you know that, you can adjust: by either having sex, or ignoring it until the feeling goes away. One way or another, it won’t last forever.

And in the meantime, you can do what I do and just recite positive scriptures in my head, reminding myself that my crankiness does not give me license to be frustrating to others. Rather, I just have to pray and work harder to keep my happy in place.

Until I can get with hubby, that is . . .

Q&A with J: Do Women Like Sex?

I had to pare down the reader question today. There was some more background, but I included enough to get to the core of this husband’s question:

My wife and I have been in marriage counseling for almost a year with little progress. There are several issues in our marriage but one of the most disappointing is that we only have sex once or twice a year. Several of those years have gone by without any sexual contact at all. The longest we have gone is over a year and a half. This has gone on for 37.5 years. You are probably wondering why I would allow this situation to go on so long. The only answer that I can give you is that our relationship has been the perfect storm

I want you to know that I am doing and have done everything I can think of or that either therapist suggests to make this marriage work. I love my wife and have no intention of leaving my marriage unless she drives me off.

Ok, so here is my question, my sister-in-law is an RN and she and my wife are good friends. She is upset that I am making waves and has said that since I tolerated this behavior for more than 37 years I should just continue to tolerate it. Besides, she claims, that woman do not like sex and only do it because their husbands demand it. She says that sex should be quick and that anything over 30 minutes is much too long. Our therapist has commented that in the context of sex, I think like a woman stereotypically thinks and my wife thinks like a man. I am a hopeless romantic who prefers long love-making sessions that include lots of touching and kissing. I didn’t get much touch when I was little, at least not the good kind. She shows me very little affection or tenderness which, I have told her are my top two needs.

In your experience, is my sister-in-law right?

Q&A with J: Do Women Like Sex?

I’m going to digress a bit, but hang in there with me because I’ll connect the dots in a moment. As much as I love history, I don’t know how I could have lived before indoor plumbing. If I had lived in the days when outhouses were the norm and that’s what I’d known for 37 years and then one day someone said, “Hey, you don’t have to squat down in a stinky wooden shack in the backyard with bad weather seeping through and insects or snakes threatening. You could just shuffle down the hallway from your bedroom and use a bathroom closet which will flush away what’s left behind.” Well, I can guarantee you that I’d not spend another day steeped in the smell of poop in last year’s latrine. I’d install an indoor toilet immediately!

Which brings me to this: So what if you did something that stunk to high heaven for 37 years?! If you find out there’s a far better option — something God Himself wants you to have — why wouldn’t you pursue that alternative? Saying “you put up with it before” is not an argument for continuing. Step out of the stink and shoot for the intimacy you and your wife should have!

I’m not saying there are guarantees that you’ll get everything you want, or as soon as you want. But it seems wholly preposterous to me not to desire a deeper connection and to foster that intimacy as best you can.

Yet you asked a more specific question: Is your sister-in-law right? Is it true that women don’t like sex? That wives only do it because their husbands demand it? That 30 minutes is more than enough for a sexual encounter?

Let’s put those assertions up against what God said about sexuality in His Word.

“Women don’t like sex.” Just a few verses into Song of Songs, the wife says this: Take me away with you—let us hurry! Let the king bring me into his chambers” (1:4). That sounds to me like a woman eager to get to her marriage bed. Later she says the following:

  • “How handsome you are, my beloved! Oh, how charming! And our bed is verdant” (1:16)
  • I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste. Let him lead me to the banquet hall, and let his banner over me be love. Strengthen me with raisins, refresh me with apples, for I am faint with love. His left arm is under my head, and his right arm embraces me” (2:3-7).
  • “Come, my beloved, let us go to the countryside, let us spend the night in the villages. Let us go early to the vineyards to see if the vines have budded, if their blossoms have opened, and if the pomegranates are in bloom—there I will give you my love” (7:11).

I could go on. But a whole bunch of women have also commented on this blog, written me in emails, and spoken to me personally about how much they enjoy the sexual act in their marriages. Plenty even have a higher drive for sexual intimacy than their husbands.

And lots of gals are orgasming out there. *waving at grinning wives* Not everyone, of course, which is why there’s a whole orgasm chapter in my book, Hot, Holy & Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design. But enough to know that a fair amount of women like sex, want sex, enjoy sex.

So no, one-half of the population does not automatically dislike sex simply by virtue of being female.

“Women have sex because their husbands demand it.” Deuteronomy 24:5 says: “If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid on him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married.” This has often been interpreted, and I agree, as one year to build intimacy in your marriage, including sexually satisfying your wife. Indeed, the traditional Jewish viewpoint of sex in marriage is that it’s the woman’s right and a husband should do his duty by providing sexual intimacy and making it pleasurable for her.

And in the New Testament, 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 says that wives have the same conjugal rights as husbands. Why bother stating that husbands owe their wives sex if the wives wouldn’t ever want sex?

Then, there’s the issue that husbands shouldn’t be demanding sex. No, no, no. There’s nothing Christ-like about that approach. Would God create men to demand sex and then instruct them, “Husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church” (Ephesians 5:28-29)? Or how about this outright command? “Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them” (Colossians 3:19). Unwanted sex is pretty harsh.

Rather, God created sex to be a mutual experience, desired and enjoyed by both husband and wife. Will they desire it exactly the same way, or with the same frequency? No — perhaps because having to work at it a bit forces us to get past our own selfishness and act in love toward our mate. A higher-drive husband should pursue activities that make his wife feel cherished and desirable, and a lower-drive wife should commit to making sexual intimacy and pleasure a priority.

“Sex should be quick.” Song of Songs 2:16-17 says: My beloved is mine and I am his; he browses among the lilies. Until the day breaks and the shadows flee, turn, my beloved, and be like a gazelle or like a young stag on the rugged hills.” Translation? “We did it all night long.” Hmmm.

Hey, I’m not opposed to quickies. They have their place in marriage. However, a diet of quickies would be like eating fast food all the time. It might take off the hunger edge, but it’s not the delicious experience you should have from dining out.

When I looked up the typical time for women to reach climax, the averages reported ranged from 4 minutes to over 20 minutes. Not sure which studies to believe… However, women I’ve talked to say it rarely happens in less than 10, and several take 30 minutes or more. Whereas lots of guys can get it done quicker, although hubbies tend to last longer as they age. Even so, this isn’t like going from zero-to-sixty in a sports car where less time is more impressive. It’s not how quickly you can make sex happen; it’s what length of time fosters real intimacy.

And most couples need time to build anticipation, romance, and desire. Physically speaking, it takes time to arouse a woman enough for her to even be ready for intercourse, since she must be well-lubricated and her inner vaginal lips swollen to 2-3 times their usual size. Then there’s the vulnerability and wonder of being naked together, viewing and touching one another’s bodies. Not to mention the act itself, which can take a bit of time to pull off. If you rush all that, it can feel rote and impersonal. Couples should devote enough time to sexual intimacy for it to actually feel intimate.

Now all of this doesn’t fix where you are in your marriage. I have a bunch of blog posts about how to approach your lower-drive wife and dealing with sexual problems in marriage — so many that it feels a little overwhelming to list them here. I encourage you to use that search tool at the top right of this page and see what you can find. May God heal you, your wife, and your relationship!

HHH coverIn Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design, author J. Parker gives candid advice for wives on everything from kissing to oral sex to orgasm to sexual positions all from a Christian perspective.


Amazon / Kindle | | Kobo | Barnes & Noble / Nook

Amazon | | Barnes & Noble

Q&A with J: How Can I View Sex as “Hot and Holy”?

If you’re like me, today’s question will make your heart crack a little and/or bring moisture to your eyes:

I am a trauma counselor who works with children who have been sexually abused. I hear so many awful stories about abuse and the images are so vivid, I carry them with me and can’t seem to get them out of my head… especially when I am being intimate with my husband. I can’t get excited about sex and I have a hard time viewing sex as “hot and holy.” Never mind the fact that I am already very self conscious about my body, and I know my husband struggles with pornography. I can’t seem to shake my thoughts when trying to “get in the mood” for sex. I have discussed my concerns with my husband, but I’m not sure what he can do, if anything, to help. What do you suggest?

Q&A with J: How Can I View Sex as "Hot and Holy"?

Just that phrase — children who have been sexually abused — presses down on my chest and makes me weep for these precious, innocent victims. It also makes me want to rail against the evil in this world that would do such a thing to those among us who most need our protection.

And this wife hears these stories, in detail, day-in and day-out. That must take its toll. Yet, I’m grateful for trauma counselors who help these children come out of the shadows and find healing on the other side. May God bless their efforts over and over again.

Let me walk through the three issues here: the trauma she hears, the self-consciousness she feels, and the pornography struggle her husband experiences. Each is an obstacle to sexual intimacy in marriage.

Sexual trauma stories. As clearly as I can possibly say it: What those children experienced was not the sex God created. We almost need another word that indicates how it’s sexual in nature, but not at all the same thing as sex itself. It’s abuse, plain and simple. And in the most heinous way — preying upon the vulnerable in the most vulnerable parts of their body.

That “sex” is absolutely not hot or holy. It’s opposed to anything and everything sexual intimacy in marriage was intended to be. I pray that all victims, and those who work with them, hear what I’m saying — that sexual abuse wasn’t in any way the victim’s fault and it doesn’t resemble in any way what God created sex to be.

This may be something that you have to rehearse your head again and again: that is not sex, that is not sex, that is not sex. It could be that the wording makes a huge difference to you for distinguishing the two. So that you even get rid of the word sex when referring to what happens in the marriage bed, and call it marital or physical intimacy. Because that’s what God intends for marriage — a deep relational connection that is voluntarily expressed in a physical way.

Right now, I think the scales are so tipped toward sex being attached to the abuse stories that it’s hard to tease that out. Besides making a clear-cut, black-and-white distinction between sexual abuse and marital intimacy, you also need some experiences that reflect the better side of sexual touch and activity. That’s one of the reasons I believe healthy marital intimacy can combat some of the bad messaging kicking around in our heads: It readjusts the balance so that we identify with a new script that involves God’s design for sex in marriage.

Self-consciousness. I don’t know any woman who isn’t at some time self-conscious about her body. Maybe those women exist, but I don’t know them. We may be more confident or less confident, but body image continues to be a struggle for many wives. It’s why I launched my Feel Beautiful goal last year with the hope and prayer that we ladies would learn to embrace our inner and outer beauty.

I highly suggest you read the myriad of posts from myself and other Christian wives about how to feel beautiful. But ultimately, my confidence in the marital bedroom to bare my body is simply about courage. And, being a Texan, I like this definition of courage from western actor John Wayne: “Courage is being scared…but saddling up anyway.” Funny thing is, once you “saddle up” and go for it with your husband, you often end up feeling better about your body. Because your body is a truly remarkable masterpiece.

Your softness and curves, your sensitive places and pleasure spots, your ability to affect his body — it’s all rather amazing. And none of that is changed by sporting a few extra pounds or not having the breast size you want or wondering if your thunder thighs should be registered as a lethal weapon. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, and if your husband wants to see you naked, it’s because he likes to see you naked. He recognizes that your feminine form is exciting. Talk yourself into owning that, with a dose of courage that you can reveal the beauty that is you.

Pornography struggle. That said, having your hubby looking at porn is not helping your body image. And it’s certainly hurting his view of sex and your marriage as a whole. He’s unlikely to white-knuckle his way out of this habit, so take steps to fight against the temptation of pornography. Be his supporter and his advocate, but yes, be his boundary too, if needed.

You should make clear that you don’t want pornography coloring your marital intimacy. It needs to stop. Rather, you two need to foster the kind of physical intimacy God wants you to exclusively have in the proper bounds of covenant marriage.

The sex displayed in pornography is at the least unrealistic and quite often abusive of women on the screen. So it’s no wonder wives often object to that representation of sexual contact. I recently read a well-researched description of the adult video industry (in Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle by journalist Chris Hedges), and the amount of physical abuse displayed and perpetrated against porn actresses is staggering. It utterly breaks my heart.

But regardless of how tame some porn might be in comparison to the hardest core stuff, it all objectifies people and focuses purely on the physical. Yet again, this is so far from the gift that God bestowed on marriages when He created sexual intimacy. It’s incredibly important that your husband move away from this depiction of sex, and that you both embrace the far better version of sexuality God described in His Word.

When someone asks what that looks like, I often refer them to 1 Corinthians 13:4-7:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Of course we don’t perfectly measure up to this ideal, but if the intimacy in your marriage doesn’t look like that description at all, it’s not what God wants you to have.

It will take intentionality and time on your part to adjust how you’ve seen sex up to now. I encourage you to read up on God’s plan for physical intimacy. My own book, Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design covers both attitudes and tips for creating that “hot and holy” experience in your marriage bed. I also encourage you both to read Pursuit of Passion: Discovering True Intimacy in Your Marriage by Julie Sibert and Jeffrey Murphy, which is a great overall treatment of physical intimacy for husbands and wives.

Read quality marriage blogs. Study what God’s Word has to say about sex; for example, the Song of Songs. Communicate with your husband about your concerns and your hopes. Pray for your heart to heal and your mind to focus on what God wants for your marriage. But you can get there. And I pray that God blesses your marriage with intimacy that truly is hot and holy.

Hot, Holy, and Humorous Book Footer