Category Archives: Sexual Intimacy Encouragement

5 (More) Christmas Gift Ideas for Your Wife

Last week, I gave y’all five more Christmas gift ideas for the hubbies. This week, let’s talk about what hubbies can get the wives. Again, remembering that my subject matter is usually the marriage bed.

I haven’t done nearly as many posts with ideas for wives, but here’s a previous one for Christmas: What Does Your Wife Want for Christmas? And from Valentine’s posts: here and here. Here are my five more ideas:

1. Making Love Potions.

How about some home recipes for foods and oils that could enhance your sexual intimacy? Making Love Potions has wonderful illustrations, inspiring quotations (including a couple from the Bible, but other sources as well), and instructions for making aromatic drinks for stimulating mood, to sensual massage oils, to natural personal lubricants. If your wife enjoys cooking or being crafty, this could be a great choice for her to use her interests and skills in ways that benefit your marriage bed.

P.S. You men can also make these recipes, of course.

Book cover - illustration of woman with "potion" bottle in hand

2. Aphrodisiac oils and perfumes.

Good Clean Love — and other companies, I’m sure — have a line of aphrodisiac products that includes essential oils, perfumes, and personal lubricant. Our sense of smell is definitely connected to the emotion center in our brain, and it’s this insight that has caused aromatherapy to really take hold in recent years. Some wives detect a difference in how sensual they feel with the use of aromatic products like these. Maybe your wife would enjoy them as well.

3. Comfortable Sleepwear.

I’ve advocated plenty for wearing lingerie and covered the why and how of getting lingerie in my book, Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design (which is also a great gift). But when asked in my closed Facebook group what intimacy-related gift was my favorite, I answered that my husband once bought me sleepwear that was super-comfortable, but something that he enjoyed viewing me in. A few hubbies followed up with questions about what that means.

Well, some lingerie is so uncomfortable and/or revealing that many wives don’t want to wear it. Indeed, when I look through what counts as “sexy lingerie,” some items look more like contraptions than clothing. So why not get your wife something that feels really feels good and covers her, while still being suggestive or nice to look at. Here are some ideas:

illustration of cami + shorts and chemise nightie

  • Camisole and shorts set
  • Cotton or satin chemise
  • Long, single-straps nightgown (wives: wear without panties)
  • Pajama set in thin or sheer cotton
  • Satin nightshirt

Your best bet for finding such items is a local department store.

4. Behind Closed Doors.

When I’m not writing about Christian sex and marriage, I’m often writing fiction. While I write some other mainstream stories (under a different name), my book, Behind Closed Doors, was a labor of love in which I joined my passion for godly sex with my joy of writing fiction. The genre is basically Christian romance, but specifically covers issues of sexual intimacy in marriage. Each of the five stories deals with a different challenge in gaining or maintaining hot and holy intimacy, but none of the “lessons” are hit-you-over-the-head. They’re just stories, which I think your wife would enjoy.

Book cover - couple close to each other on top half, wedding bed on bottom half

5. Bedroom budget.

I admit this one isn’t necessarily cheap. However, ambiance matters to many women, yet we tend to spend money on other stuff for the house more readily than our bedrooms. What if you just handed her an envelope with money or an IOU inside with the caveat that it must be spent on sprucing up the bedroom so that it’s a place you both want to be?

Let her redecorate with better sheets, nice pillows, soft lighting, and even word art, like I have in my bedroom:

"I have found THE ONE whom my soul loves." Song of Solomon 3:4

Bless her with the opportunity to make the bedroom a place she wants to be … with you, of course.

What other ideas would you add to my list?

5 (More) Christmas Gift Ideas for Your Husband

Now some of you are already done with Christmas shopping, you crazy people, but the rest of us are just now making our list or filling in the gaps. In the past, I’ve had lots of suggestions for Christmas gift ideas for hubbies!

10 Sexy Stocking Stuffers for Your Husband

10 Sexy, Manly Items for Your Hubby’s Christmas Stocking

10 Last-Minute Stocking Stuffers for Your Husband

Wrap It Up for Hubby: 10 Christmas Gifts for Your Marriage Bed

5 Fresh Christmas Gift Ideas for Your Husband

Not to mention my Valentine’s posts with gift ideas (here, here, and here). What else is there to suggest?

Well, here are five more Christmas gift ideas for your beloved, manly, sexy hubby! Remembering that I focus on bedroom kind of stuff. 😉

Click on any image below to find the link for that product. (All Amazon links are affiliate coded.)

1. Wet Wipes for Men.

You know what kills the mood? Body odor. And let’s face it, wives, sometimes your man stinks. (Sorry, guys. Talking truth here.) I’m not saying we wives never stink, but studies show that our female noses are more sensitive than male ones so we’re more likely to pick up on body odor, even when the issue is mild.

If your guy doesn’t time to do the whole shower thing, how about some manly wet wipes? I found a couple of brands.

Whice for Men.

Whice for men

Dude Shower Body Wipes.

DUDE Shower Body Wipes, On-The-Go Singles for Travel, Unscented, Naturally Soothing Aloe and Hypoallergenic (1 Pack, 10 Wipes per Pack)

2. Body groomer.

I’ve talked here about us wives “trimming the hedges,” and our Sex Chat for Christian Wives podcast also covered the subject of hair removal down there with our episode on Tending Your Garden. But what about the guys? How about a little manscaping?

You don’t necessarily want him to use the same shaving equipment on his nether regions that he uses on his face. So I did a bit of research on what experts suggest for manly groin grooming, and here’s one great option for hubbies.

Phillips Norelco Bodygroom.

Philips Norelco Bodygroom Series 7100, BG2040

3. Double hammock.

Hammocks are very popular right now. My teenage sons and their cohorts love to hang out in hammocks at the local park. But you know what’s more fun? You and your honey-bunny snuggling up together.

All that close affection outside of the bedroom certainly helps stoke the fires of romance inside the bedroom. Plus, even if it leads to nothing at all … it’s cuddling with your hubby! Still good stuff. Here’s one example, but you can find a lot of choices at Amazon or your local sporting goods store.

Striped outdoor hammock with couple inside

4. Underwear.

A few years into our marriage, I piped up and gave my two cents about what kind of underwear I’d love to see my husband in. (No, I’m not giving you details.) Suffice it to say that he incorporated my opinion into what he now wears. But I also got the opportunity in that conversation to hear what was most important to him about underwear, and that was comfort.

Since then, I’m always on the lookout for men’s underwear that might be better or more comfortable. One particular brand was mentioned on the Art of Manliness podcast, and when I checked it out, I was impressed with its BallPark Pouch™ design that keeps everything down there tucked in just so, allowing for comfort and “breathability.” Check them out.

Saxx.

24-Seven Men's Boxer Brief – Heather

5. Ultimate Intimacy App.

When the creators of this app contacted me for support, I did what I always do: Took my time looking through the resource to make sure it’s something I can confidently recommend to my readers. Truth is, they did a really good job with this one.

Ultimate Intimacy App screenshot

The Ultimate Intimacy App is free, but go ahead and upgrade for $6.99 to get the restricted content. The core part of this app is a game you can play with sections on Romance, Foreplay, Heavy Foreplay, and Hot & Heavy. Don’t worry — there’s nothing extreme even in the Hot & Heavy section. And as I always say, if you don’t want to do something a game suggests, skip it. This should be a physical intimacy tool to use in ways that serve your marriage.

There’s also a section on Conversation Starters to increase emotional intimacy. And I must admit the creators have excellent taste in books when Hot, Holy & Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design is listed among their recommended Products. (No, I didn’t ask them to plug my book. They just chose it.) Moreover, they have a section on Positions with tasteful illustrations from Christian Friendly Sex Positions to inspire you.

And there you go — five more Christmas gift ideas for your husband and your marriage bed!

Remember as you deliver the gifts that a lot is in the presentation. For instance, add a note to the groomer about what oral delight you’ll be blessing him with once he trims with it. Or take a few screen shots of the Ultimate Intimacy game, print them out, and wrap up that paper along with instructions on how to download the app as a teaser.

Let your husband know that the gift isn’t just the item itself, but the way you’ll use that item together later to nurture your physical and emotional intimacy.

What ideas do you have to share? What are your sexy and satisfying Christmas gift ideas for hubby?

Q&A with J: What Can I Do About My Sexless Marriage? Part 3

Are you sick of this topic yet? If you’re the refused spouse in a sexless marriage, you’re not. Because you want answers.

Also, some spouses who are not engaging fully in sex in their marriage have been reading as well. While they understand the need to improve sexual intimacy, there are good reasons why they’ve been refusing — or at least reluctant — and they want answers too.

Last week, I talked about the importance of building trust as a foundation for working together toward mutually satisfying physical intimacy. This week, I want to talk about four things that blocked all progress in my own marriage in the past and that happen in sexless marriages too.

Blog post title + man sleeping on bed with tearful woman sitting on edge

These aren’t my ideas. They belong to John Gottman, Ph.D., author of Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. Dr. Gottman and his colleagues have done extensive research into committed relationships and what causes them to thrive or fall apart. He identified what he calls the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Sound familiar? Yeah, because he swiped that title right from the Bible.

But Gottman contends that these four communication styles can accurately predict divorce or, if you stick it out regardless, deep unhappiness. Let’s see how these patterns directly impact what you’ve been dealing with in a sexless marriage.

1. Criticism.

One or both of you is likely critical about what’s happening. From refused spouses, it’s talk about how selfish or mean their mate is. And from withholders, it’s often about how selfish or oversexed their mate is.

Criticism isn’t voicing a complaint or concern about what’s happening; it’s an attack on the other person. It’s not “We haven’t had sex in a while,” it’s “You’re a cold-hearted person.” It’s not “I feel pressured to have sex,” it’s “You’re a pervert.”

Years ago, when I took over management of a Christian preschool, I asked a schoolteacher for advice on how to talk to parents about their misbehaving child. She wisely told me that verbs are always better than adjectives. If you say, “Johnny is mean to other kids,” reasonable parents will take that as criticism (because it is). But if you say, “Johnny took a toy from another child, and when the child asked for it back, he hit her and called her a name,” reasonable parents will realize they’re child is being mean to other kids. The point being: deal with the behavior, not your presumption of what it means about the person.

Stick with talking about the issue itself: the lack of sex in your marriage and the barriers that prevent you from enjoying the intimacy God intended you to have. Don’t descend into criticism of the other person, because no one responds well to being personally attacked.

Don’t criticize one another, brothers and sisters. Anyone who defames or judges a fellow believer defames and judges the law. If you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one lawgiver and judge who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?” (James 4:11-12, CSB)

2. Contempt.

It’s hard not to build up resentment when you’ve been at odds over sexual intimacy for so long. The refused spouse can be understandably resentful for having to go without, for their constant physical discomfort, for feeling ignored or insulted, for having their sexual longings — and thus a core part of their self — belittled. Meanwhile, the withholder can understandably be resentful of the pressure they feel, the frustration of not having a sex drive, and the sense that their worth to their spouse is wrapped up in sexual performance.

But resentment can kill a marriage, and contempt is essentially resentment on display. It’s outright disrespect expressed with ridicule, name-calling, harsh vocal tone, and body language like shrugging and eye-rolling. It’s the difference between saying, “I know you want more sex, but I’m just not sure how to get my body in the mood” and “You want more sex? Well, I’d like a week-long vacation in the Bahamas, but neither of us is going to die if we don’t get what we want. Is that what you’re saying — that you’re going to die if you don’t have sex right now?”

That’s an example from a withholder, but I guarantee the contempt can go the other way. And the point is all that contempt makes the subject matter rife with negativity, such that any time the topic is brought up, you and your spouse both immediately tense up.

I’m going to digress for a moment and say This One. This is the horseman that I had the hardest time with! I still struggle at times with resentment for things I wish I had gone or would go differently. But as tempting as it is to hold on to resentment, especially when you feel its source is reasonable, I cannot think of a single time it did me any good. Letting go of the issue isn’t the answer, but letting go of the resentment will help you better address the issue itself.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31-32).

Intimacy Revealed ad, click to buy book

3. Defensiveness.

Your spouse asks a question: “Are you touching me because you want sex?” And you respond: “So what, I can’t touch you now? You think I’m so oversexed that I can’t put my hand on my own spouse without immediately wanting to get busy?!” Whoa. Where did that come from?

It comes from feeling like questions and statements from your spouse are personal attacks, whether or not they are. Defensiveness is a way of counterattacking, or rather a peremptory strike. You know a defensive person when they ask things like “What is that supposed to mean?” or “You’re just trying to get me to _________.” Defensive people also transfer blame by pointing the finger at others, circumstances, and past events. For instance, instead of saying, “I’m struggling with getting in the mood tonight,” they might say , “I can’t get in the mood when I have all this stuff to do. Do my priorities mean nothing to you?”

Defensiveness is a form of self-protection as well for those who experience fear and self-doubt, which I’ve come to believe is a primary reason why withholders don’t engage in sex. Because if the problem isn’t you but something outside of you, over which you have little control, you don’t really have to change it. And for some, changing is super-scary. It can involve pulling back layers, exposing hurts and vulnerabilities, and even risking the relationship you have now.

Defensive spouses need a different target — the struggle itself. They need a spouse who can come alongside and reassure them that marriage is a team sport. It’s not you against each other, but you together against the problem.

‘Who told you that you were naked?’ the Lord God asked. ‘Have you eaten from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat?’ The man replied, ‘It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it’ ” (Genesis 3:11-12).

4. Stonewalling.

Try to start a conversation about sexual refusal, and some spouses will erect an invisible wall faster than you can say “one flesh.” They’re not critical, contemptuous, or defensive; they’re just not there. They shut down. And that is stonewalling.

In some ways, stonewalling is the most controlling tactic, because you have absolutely nothing to work with. The shut-down spouse doesn’t respond at all, so you can’t address the underlying issues, correct any erroneous assumptions, or share your feelings. It does no good to talk to a wall.

At times, I’ve recommended that a spouse stop talking about sex in their marriage — when it’s become such a contentious subject that pushing the topic makes things worse. I’m not saying you don’t stop working on sexual intimacy, but rather stop trying for that one discussion that will result in a breakthrough. That might be what someone with a stonewalling spouse needs to do — just shut up for a while. If the topic is so painful to your spouse that they automatically shut down, you may have some other work to do to create a more trusting environment for them to be willing to engage.

Of course, stonewalling can’t be allowed to go on for too long. You have to eventually address the snarling, stomping elephant in the room. And this is a circumstance in which intervention may need occur. Interventions, however, can be effective or damaging, all depending on who intervenes and how. So approach this one carefully.

But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and covered their ears. They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the Lord Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. So the Lord Almighty was very angry” (Zechariah 7:11-12).

So I’ve laid out these four communication styles that hinder progress in sexless, or sex-challenged, marriages. Now what?

Well, I’m going to tackle this subject one more time next week — and get to concrete tips on how to confront sexless marriages. But I encourage you to make sure you’ve read what I’ve said so far, because these posts lay the foundation for being effective with those specific steps.

Is the Church Failing Sexless Marriages?

Q&A with J: “What Can I Do About My Sexless Marriage?” Part 1

Q&A with J: How Do I Write a Post that Helps Sexless Marriages?

A Prayer for Those in Sexless Marriages

Q&A with J: “What Can I Do About My Sexless Marriage?” Part 2

Your Own World Series…in the Marriage Bed

American English has a lot of slang — like referring to sexual acts in terms of sports terminology, like scoring, getting a touchdown, or the all those bases in baseball.

In keeping with that theme — and because I cannot stop thinking about the amazing American League victory by my home team, the Houston Astros — let’s talk a bit about your own world series … in the marriage bed.

Blog post title + heart-shaped baseball image

On Deck. In baseball, being “on deck” means you’re next in line to bat. Watch someone whose in the on-deck circle, and they’re not just standing there. They’re warming up!

Your sexual intimacy needs some warming up too. The quality time you spend together, the friendship you build, the nonsexual touches throughout the day, the compliments you pay one another, the acts of service you perform — all of these are good ideas in their own right, but they also lay the groundwork for a successful “at bat.”

At Bat. Once you step into the batter’s box, you’re conveying that you’re ready to go. Initiation requires intention. Too often in marriage, spouses are stepping in and out of that box, hesitant and seeking signals from their spouse to see if things are a go tonight or not.

While I’ve suggested many ways to initiate (40, in fact), whatever you do needs to be a clear message that you want to make love. By the way, that isn’t “I need sex” or “It’s been a while,” but more in the realm of “I really want to be physically intimate with you, my beloved.” Need ideas of how to woo your mate? Go read Song of Songs.

Strikeout. Not every single at bat yields a hit, nor does every single time you want to make love mean it’s the best time for your spouse and your marriage. But while a great batting average in Major League Baseball is above .300, meaning 3 hits for every 10 at-bats, your marriage batting average should be much higher.

It’s one thing to get rain checks, which is fine in marriage, and another thing to experience long-term refusal. In a healthy marriage, you might strike out sometimes, but you’ll be back at bat very soon.

In a healthy marriage, you might strike out sometimes, but you'll be back at bat very soon. Click To Tweet

First Base. Here’s an interesting statistic: about 65% of hits in the Major League are singles. Singles aren’t as exciting as doubles or triples or that much-sought-after home run, but they’re very important in putting points on the board. Unfortunately, once married, too many couples neglect first base and lose out on some of the great benefits that kissing, and the embracing that comes with it, provides.

Kissing stirs up our arousal, fires up the brain chemicals that make us feel more connected and excited around one another, and simply express love in a sweet and wonderful way. Song of Songs begins with, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—for your love is more delightful than wine” (2:1). Maybe you as a couple should put a little more effort into hanging out at first base.

Second Base. Houston Astros player Craig Biggio hit 668 doubles in his 20-year career, making the doubles leader list three years. I remember it being a big deal around here when Biggio hit a double, because it was his “thang.” And now you’re asking yourself now if I’m just using this point to boast about my home team. No, not entirely. Second base is also the nickname for a man fondling a woman’s breasts. And for some husbands, that’s their “thang.”

Breasts can be a highly erogenous zone for both husband and wife. Wives, let him have access and describe or show how you like to be touched. (And hubbies, communicate your appreciation for this area of her body — which many women are self-conscious about — and listen to what feels good for her as well.)

Third Base. Third base is just one away from home plate, so it’s tempting to run past it to get to the Score! moment. But just ask the New York Yankees how that plan worked out for them in their ACLS championship series against the Astros:

MLB Tweet with photo of Houston Astros catcher tagging out the Yankees runner at home plate

Tagged out at home plate!

Maybe hanging out at third base is a good idea, at least until it’s the right time to head home.

Third base in sexual intimacy includes manual play for her, hand jobs for him, and oral sex for either. It involves even more intimate caressing, kissing, and pleasure. It’s the place where many wives achieve orgasm, and husbands can as well. A triple is nothing to take for granted, so make third base count in your marriage.

Home Plate. You’ve hit well, rounded the bases, and now you’ve got your eyes on the ultimate goal. Look, there’s nothing quite like crossing home plate. In baseball or in marriage.

Look, there's nothing quite like crossing home plate. In baseball or in marriage. Click To Tweet

PIV (penis-in-vagina) intercourse is the centerpiece of sexual intimacy in marriage. It’s the ultimate act of joining a husband’s body and a wife’s body in the physical representation of the one flesh God spoke about in Genesis 2:24 and Jesus reiterated in Mark 10:7-8. Many spouses report this connection is their favorite thing about sex — his feeling of being inside her, and her feeling of him being inside her. Score!

Grand Slam. A “grand slam” in baseball is when a batter hits a home run with three runners already on base. With that one hit, four players cross home plate. It’s the pinnacle of scoring in baseball. As Major League Baseball says, “Grand slams are incredibly rare.” In the season for which I found a statistic (2005), grand slams only accounted for 2.6% of home runs, and home runs were only 4.8% of batted balls in 2017 (which is actually a record). I know those are different years, but if you take 2.6% of 4.8% … well, that’s a really small number.

So what’s the “grand slam” in sexual intimacy? Scoring more than once. That could be sex more than once in the day, or multiple orgasms in the course of a single sexual encounter. Some couples experience these with regular frequency, but if your grand slams are rare, just enjoy the ones you have. You can certainly swing for the fences, but all of those other bases and experiences are delightful for your marriage.

By the way, when you do score, it’s customary to pat your teammate on the butt. That’s just good sportsmanship. 😉

And now I hope I’ve convinced you of two main points:

  • You should savor every experience in the game of loving sexual intimacy in your marriage.
  • You should root for the Houston Astros in the World Series.

same image as above, sized for Pinterest

Are You a High-Maintenance Lover?

In one of my favorite movies ever, When Harry Met Sally, this scene defined well the concept of being low or high maintenance:

Yet here’s the thing: I don’t think we’re all low or all high maintenance. It’s possible to be low maintenance in some areas and high in others.

For instance, in my marriage I am low-maintenance in the romance department. My husband doesn’t have to woo me a whole bunch and I’m proactive in letting him know what kind of romance I need.

Meanwhile, I’m more high-maintenance in the listening department. Because I talk a lot, and he has to be willing to hear me out while I ramble. (Poor guy.) I’m even a ranter at times, requiring him to dig through my blah-blah-blah to get to the point. (Again, poor guy.)

I could name his low-maintenance and high-maintenance areas, but since Spock won’t necessarily admit the latter one and I want my day with him to go well, I’ll refrain from posting that publicly on my blog.

But I’m sure you and your spouse could do the same exercise: naming your high-maintenance and low-maintenance areas for each other. How about if you tried that same thing about how you are in the marital bedroom?

Blog post title + couple in bed arguing

Because I’m just going to say it: Some of you are high-maintenance in the marriage bed. Really. High. Maintenance.

Some of you are high-maintenance in the marriage bed. Click To Tweet

And like Sally up there, you may not realize it. You may think you’re low maintenance but you’re high maintenance. You might even make the case: “Well, I just want it the way I want it.”

Except that, when it comes to sex, your spouse shouldn’t be like your personal waiter having to fill your complicated menu order.

Let’s take an honest look at how we approach sex in our marriage. How many hoops does your mate have to jump through to get your participation in the marriage bed? Here are some common high-maintenance requests:

  • You can’t make love until all of the day’s chores are done, the kids are fully asleep, and you’ve got your to-do list made for tomorrow.
  • The lights must be out, or the room at least in extremely low light, because heaven forbid your husband see you naked.
  • You don’t want to take extra time to get your spouse all the way to climax, because that takes too long.
  • You have a short window in which sex must happen, because the rest of the time you’re exhausted and not “in the mood.”
  • You want your spouse to perform a specific sexual act, and you’re resentful if you don’t get it.
  • You can’t have sex if there’s any chance whatsoever that your child might hear a peep of what you’re doing.

I bet others could add to my list of examples.

But what I’m talking about is getting so persnickety about how sex must unfold that it’s hard to know when would actually be a good time for you to relax and make love.

Now, if it isn’t good for you, I’m not saying to just do it anyway. God’s plan is for you to enjoy the sexual intimacy in your marriage as well. That’s one reason I wrote Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design, to help you become more confident and excited in the bedroom, and I included a chapter on achieving orgasm — because your pleasure matters.

Hot, Holy & Humorous book ad

Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble,  iBooks, Christian Book & Kobo

But the status of quo of “meet my demands or no sex” isn’t tenable for very long. It creates resentment for your spouse and keeps you from pursuing this blessing God longs for you to have.

Whatever the obstacle is — whatever unreasonable demand you’re making — take steps to address it. If you struggle with body image so that turning on the lights is a horrifying thought, check out my Feel Beautiful series or our Sex Chat for Christian Wives episode on Body Image. If you’re rarely, if ever, “in the mood,” check out Sheila Gregoire’s low libido course.

The answer isn’t to simply stay in high maintenance mode, but rather to work on sex in your marriage becoming more maintainable.

And if you’re married to a high-maintenance lover, it’s tempting to start catering to every little request just so you can “get some” already. But the better question is “how can I make this experience one s/he’ll want to repeat?”

Whether you’re the more demanding spouse or married to one, put some effort into transforming high-maintenance into high satisfaction. For both of you.

Same image as above, sized for Pinterest