Category Archives: Sex Research for Marriage

Do You Check Your Phone During Sex?

Stuart Tutt of Something to Stu Over recently shared a statistic with several of us marriage bloggers. He’d heard a report on the radio that “about 10 percent of couples actually check their phone during sex if they get a notification.”

This spawned an interesting conversation among several of us in which we posited why someone might do this, and what other aspects of our devices can be distracting — like the screen light flashing on or off.

Then I jokingly challenged the fabulous author of the site Christian Friendly Sex Positions, who also provides the illustrations for the Ultimate Intimacy app, to come up with device-friendly positions for those who just don’t think the notification can wait.

And wouldn’t you know it? He rose to the challenge! So peppered throughout this post are his illustrations, and you’ll just have to keep reading to see them all. (Yes, please read my words interspersed between his illustrations. Tempting as it may be to just scroll… 😉 )

Good reasons to check your phone

You can read more about the research Stu mentioned here, but I contend there actually are some good reasons to check your phone during sex. For instance:

  • Your driving-age child is on the road and is supposed to text when he arrives at his destination. A mama’s mind might relax and enjoy the sex more once she’s checked that notification and knows her family is safe.
  • You’re referencing the Christian Friendly Sex Positions website, Ultimate Intimacy App, or — best of all — your ebook copy of Hot, Holy & Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design for ideas and instructions.
  • You forgot to turn off the volume, so when it sounds at that inopportune moment, you reach over to mute any further notifications.

Not-so-good reasons to check your phone

Your team is playing.

This is your alma mater. Your fantasy football picks are riding on the outcome. C’mon, it’s the World Cup! The last time you ignored a game, the other team won — so clearly, you’re the lucky charm.

Checking the Score position — when he absolutely must see how his team is doing in the game.

I can just hear her saying, “Why did you pause? Is that clicking I hear? Wait, what are you doing back there!” Not your best move, guys.

That two to three-hour game can be put on hold for a period of time to give full attention to your spouse, showing your beloved that you value them ahead of all but God. Even ahead of … gasp! … sports.

Exception: Your team is the Astros playing in the World Series. At least, that’s an exception in my Houston area, in which case sex might look more like this:

Checking the Score Together Position

Your social media site pinged you.

Did you know that FOMO is an actual word? It’s an anagram that stands for Fear Of Missing Out and is described by Oxford Dictionaries as “anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on social media.”

Thankfully, very few are actually addicted to social media, but plenty of people have created habits whereby they check their social media sites so often that it disrupts other real-life activities. Like … for example … SEX.

12 More Likes Position — when she must check her social media site

I’ll let you in on a little secret about social media. It’s like a soap opera: You can miss a day, jump back in, and catch up really quick. If there’s a huge event, they’ll still be talking about it when your lovemaking session is done. And there’s this neat feature whereby you can scroll backward to see anything you missed!

Ignore the phone and instead give yourself and your spouse reasons to 👍 , ❤, and 😮 your sexual encounter.

A news story just popped up.

The news cycle is down to minute-by-minute, and if you don’t know what’s happening in the world, what kind of citizen are you? Not to mention that the universe yearns to hear your opinions on every latest political event — meaning you must stay on top of the news feed.

News You Can’t Use Position — when the news cycle won’t wait

Consider this a public service. I’ll summarize the news for you: The United States Congress thought about doing something, but didn’t. Your taxes are too high, and your services for that money are too low. The Middle East is in conflict. People in countries we cannot pronounce and/or locate on a map are engaged in war, famine, or hardship. Someone’s secret sins were discovered, and now they will either pay for it, use the shameful revelation to get a book deal, or both. A woman somewhere, somehow made a fashion faux pas that will give the media something to talk about for the hours they might otherwise use to cover something else just as trivial.

Okay, that’s not quite as detailed as you might like, but it should be enough to get you through your next sexual rendezvous without checking your phone. If you do decide to look at the screen, consider yourself unfair and imbalanced.

Family or close friends are trying to reach you.

“But if I don’t reply, she’ll just keep texting,” you say. After all, this is the person who:

  • nursed you back to health after your last surgery
  • was your best friend throughout college
  • shared a room with you throughout childhood
  • gave you life!

How can you ignore the people you love? And besides, it will only take a moment to type out: “Yes, I’m fine. TTYL.”

Hold On, It’s My Mom Position — when your family just can’t wait

Again, unless it’s a matter of life-or-death — like your driving-age child is on the road or your parent is dying — it really can wait. If your friends and family cannot be put on hold for the time it takes to give full intimate attention to your spouse, you need to reflect back on those vows you took to put your beloved ahead of all others. (Excepting God, of course.)

In short, leave and cleave, baby! Leave. And. Cleave.

Because Siri is secretly your best friend.

Or Alexa. Or Bixby. Whatever device you have, I understand feeling like it’s an extension of your right arm. My husband and I went on a date recently, and I forgot my phone. He was shocked: “You’re never without your phone.” Well, not never, I wanted to answer. But he had a point in that I now choose pants, shorts, skirts, and even robes that have pockets so I’ll have a spot to hold my phone while I walk around. And I wear headphones like a necklace.

But seriously, the following is not cool.

Siri Interruptus Position — when you need to put the phone down already!

Can you imagine the Song of Songs couple saying:

He
How beautiful you are, my darling!
Oh, how beautiful!
Your eyes are doves.

She
How handsome you are, my beloved!
Oh, how charming!
And our bed is verdant.

He
Hold that thought — our phones are pinging!

(Song of Songs 1:15-16.)

Set the phone side, turn off the notifications, and focus on your beloved. Remember: I belong to my beloved, and his desire is for… his phone? No. It’s “I belong to my beloved, and his desire is for me” (Song of Songs 7:10).

The good news about the 10% who check their phone during sex … is that 90% of us don’t. If you’ve interrupted sex for the sake of your mobile device or been tempted, however, you might want to consider how to keep that from happening again. Make a habit of setting the phone aside, turning of off the volume, and giving sex with your spouse your full attention.

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These 3 Actions Could Bring You to Orgasm

One of the questions I receive most is from wives asking how to achieve orgasm. That’s understandable, since a really great orgasm is one of the few things that lives up to its billing.

I have a full chapter on orgasm in my book, Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design, and that remains my best advice on how to get there. But although I incorporated the following information into what I said based on personal experience and hearsay, I didn’t have the study I want to share about what researchers call the “Golden Trio.”

Triangle with starburst fireworks + blog post title

It starts with 52,000 participants in an online survey, which is obviously a huge sample. Admittedly, it’s not a perfect sample, because this survey was hosted on the NBC News website, so there was self-selection in who participated. Still, given that number, there should be some interesting insights.

Among the many questions about sex that they asked, they queried about orgasm. And while 95% of heterosexual men reported usually or always reaching orgasm during sexually intimate encounters, only 65% of heterosexual women reported the same. That’s a good-sized gap of 30%.

Now one question that I don’t believe was there was whether there was a concerted effort to reach orgasm and the woman was unable to do so. Because, for reasons that men sometimes don’t understand, some wives don’t always feel the need to orgasm (see Why I Sometimes Don’t Care about the Orgasm).

However, it’s pretty clear based on God’s design for sex — our sexual responsiveness, our physiology (thank You for that clitoris!), and the importance of mutual pleasure in the marriage bed — that wives should be achieving orgasm regularly in their lovemaking. Meaning that 30% gap is way too big.

How do you close that gap?

Researchers found that vaginal penetration alone (as I and others have said) is not likely to get to get most women to climax. A PIV orgasm can be great, but it often follows on the heels of an orgasm achieved in a different way. Specifically, according to this study, through the combination of three actions — that is, the “golden trio.”

1. Genital Stimulation

In basic terms, stimulation of the clitoris is what brings a wife to climax. Since vaginal penetration is indirect stimulation of the clitoris, it’s more difficult to get the right angle, pressure, and intensity to bring her to the peak.

More effective is hubby taking his hand and touching the clitoral hood directly. Remember that hood is just the part of the clitoris that protrudes from the body, while more of the clitoris can be aroused by massage of the vulva. Regardless, make sure there’s sufficient lubrication, find the touching that she likes, and directly touch her in that sensitive spot.

2. Deep Kissing

Are you surprised to see that one? I’m not. But I do think we overlook this important activity after we get married and in the midst of making love. All the other bits seem so fun and sexy and only-in-marriage that we forget how fabulous kissing can be. It’s why I wrote You’re Not Kissing Enough.

But this was reported by women in the study as so significant to reaching orgasm that it got equal time with genital contact. Actually, long before that, in the one book of the Bible devoted to marital, sexual intimacy, God shared this wisdom. Song of Songs opens with this line: “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—for your love is more delightful than wine” (1:2). Are you spending enough time delighting in your spouse’s better-than-wine lips? Maybe you should spend more.

3. Oral Sex

That’s oral sex for her, by the way. It’s the same principle as genital stimulation above, in that hubby can directly stimulate the clitoris, helping her to edge up the slope to orgasm and reach that peak with a cry of victory. Why is oral sex (aka cunnilingus) so helpful in this regard? Well, she’s getting lubrication with his mouth, he can cover a larger area with his mouth and tongue, and the tongue can do more delicate things than a man’s finger. It’s a pretty cool pleasure tool.

There are yet some wives who are reluctant to give this activity a green flag, and some husbands who hesitate as well, but oral sex really is a good way for many wives to finally achieve orgasm. Whatever mental barriers you have to this practice, I’ve answered a lot of those in my blog and my book. And let me direct you to this verse from Song of Songs: “Let my beloved come into his garden and taste its choice fruits” (4:16b).

Actually, all three of these actions get their own treatment in my book too — a whole chapter each on kissing and oral sex, and a section in the hands-on chapter about manual play for her (genital stimulation, that is).

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What else helps a woman reach orgasm? The survey concluded something else interesting: Women who played music, changed sexual positions, or exchanged I love yous during their last sexual encounter were about 20% more likely to report usually or always orgasming. Atmosphere and adaptability matter too.

Also, women who orgasm more frequently tended to have a longer duration of sex and higher relationship satisfaction. Smaller but significant factors that also influenced orgasm were asking for particular behaviors in bed and flirting with your partner throughout the day.

Good gravy, it’s almost like they’ve been reading my blog and my book. 😉

Seriously, though, if you’re pre-orgasmic (haven’t gotten there yet), want to have more orgasms, or just want to give this “golden trio” a go, why not try genital stimulation, deep kissing, and oral sex with your next lovemaking encounter? Of course, you can have intercourse too. In fact, many wives who experience this level of pleasure will desire intercourse even more after hitting that high note.

They say that good things come in threes. Maybe “this golden trio” will bring a very good thing to your sexual intimacy.

Sources: The Guardian – ‘Golden trio’ of moves boosts chances of female orgasm, say researchers; Archives of Sexual Behavior – Differences in Orgasm Frequency Among Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Heterosexual Men and Women in a U.S. National Sample

What Makes Sex Intimate? Try Affection.

I had an interesting conversation with my husband recently about casual versus committed sex. Why is committed sex so much better? Casual sex can actually feel quite physically pleasurable, but it lacks the intense satisfaction that marital sexual intimacy provides.

One reason research has revealed is that men get a wash of feel-good chemicals during sex that isn’t nearly as strong in casual relationships as it is in committed sex. Another study showed that men responded positively to the faces of their partners, over images of other women, due to the presence of oxytocin, a body chemical released in especially high doses during lovemaking. And of course, hubby and I discussed the deeper emotional and spiritual meaning of sexual intimacy in marriage.

However, I recently came across another interesting aspect that didn’t surprise me, though I was happy to see it show up so clearly in the research: One primary reason that sex feels so good is the affection we receive from our partner. It’s not just the arousal sensations but the closeness and physical touch we get when we make love.

Couple lying in bed and holding hands with blog post title

This particular study used three different methods to look at what the link between sexual pleasure and affection might be. First, they conducted a survey that showed “a strong correlation between sex and positive emotions, but only when affection was factored into the equation. When affection was removed, the link almost disappeared.” You hear that? If it’s just about the sex, without genuine affection, you don’t get the positive-emotion payoff.

The researchers also had 200 participants, mostly marrieds, keep a journal tracking their sexual frequency and “erotic feelings,” as well as times they had non-sexual intimacy and affection with their mates. The result? “Sex correlated with positive emotions almost exclusively when it also led to affection (more than 90% of the time across all of the couples’ journals).”

Finally, the study asked 60 couples to track their sexual and non-sexual affection in real time on their smartphones. Participants reported affection after sex, but also hours later — demonstrating that affection was a positive consequence of lovemaking.

So are we having sex in part to get affection? It seems that’s a factor. Is sex more meaningful when paired with affection? Absolutely.

Of course, I believe all of this is God’s design for sex. Marriage provides the perfect context for daily affection as well as frequent lovemaking. From this research, it appears that the affection might be more important than the sex in giving you the positive emotions of intimacy with your spouse. However, when both are present in your relationship, they feed each other. Sex increases affection, and affection leads to sex.

Sex increases affection, and affection leads to sex. Click To Tweet

That is God’s beautiful design.

How should you use this information in your marriage?

Well, some of us are more naturally drawn to affection, and some are more drawn to sex. And oftentimes, people from different categories marry each other. And then there are those who have simply shut down both affection and sex in their marriage. Be honest with yourself: Do any of these sound familiar?

  • “I’m not having sex with him unless and until he spends a lot more time on romance and affection with me.”
  • “I’m tired of him wanting to be cuddle but not wanting to have sex. If he wants to touch me, why can’t he arouse me too?”
  • “I try to turn her on, but she takes too long to orgasm. So I just go after my own climax.”
  • “It’s been months since we made love, and we rarely touch anymore.”

Those are just a few examples, and I’m sure you could come up with others, but they illustrate what I’ve heard from various marriages. Some spouses are aching for more affection, and some spouses are aching for more sex. And some marriages are desperately in need of both.

But I’m not sure it matters as much which comes first: sex or affection. Or maybe it does matter, in that you should figure out what your spouse desires and try to meet that. Great marriages arise from spouses who make an effort to satisfy their mate’s deepest longings.

Great marriages arise from spouses who make an effort to satisfy their mate's deepest longings. Click To Tweet

Of course, it’s best if both of you are putting forth that effort. However, one spouse can ignite change in a marriage. So rather than thinking about what you’re not getting, maybe you should consider what your spouse longs for.

Because if it’s affection, providing that might lead to more sex. And if it’s sex, that might lead to more affection. And all of that will produce more positive emotions about each other and your relationship — that is, a greater sense of intimacy.

Regardless, most of us marrieds could spend more time on affection during sex. That is, we could slow things down and spend more time touching.

So ask yourself: Where do I need to invest? Affection, sex, or both? Then go do that. My prayer is that positive emotions and intimacy will follow.

Sources: Forbes.com – The Reasons Why Sex Makes Us Happy May Not Be What You ThinkPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin – More Than Just Sex: Affection Mediates the Association Between Sexual Activity and Well-Being; WebMD – How the ‘Love Hormone’ Works Its Magic