Category Archives: Sexuality and Health

Praying for Sexual Health

One of the obstacles many couples face with sexual intimacy is their health. That can include anything from chronic illness to physiological problems to mood disorders. While sex is good for your health, sound health is also good for your sex life.

Most Christians have a lot of experience praying about health issues. We pray for those in our midst who are facing life-threatening disease, for those dealing with the consequences of an accident, for those having medical tests and wanting optimistic results.

But have you prayed about the health issues that impact your own marriage bed?

Blog post title with close-up of woman with praying hands

I suspect if I polled spouses, a strong majority would say that poor health has at one time or other negatively affected the sexual intimacy in their marriage. But do we recognize those issues readily? Do we bring those before God?

One of the two Greek words most used in the New Testament to mean healing is iaomai, which brings with it the connotation not merely of good health but wholeness. Yes, it refers to physical healing (like when Jesus healed the Centurion’s servant and an official’s son), but it’s also translated as being made whole.

I believe God wants us to operate from a place of wholeness in our marriage beds.

Of course, I don’t mean that every spouse will experience perfect health. Some of us will nevertheless face challenges, because this is a broken world, but we can pray for God to help us deal with our health issues.

Sometimes it means asking for God to put people in our lives—friends, mentors, doctors, therapists—who can give us answers and treatment. Sometimes it means asking Him to guide us to the answers we need to fix what’s amiss (see The Unveiled Wife’s story). Sometimes it means asking for strength and support to cope with physical issues that won’t go away, but can be managed. Sometimes it means asking God for a divine kick in the pants to get ourselves on that diet or exercise program we’ve been meaning to adopt. …

(Sorry, I had to stop to stare at myself in the mirror on that last one.)

Sometimes it means meditating before Him about what wholeness would look like and asking Him to point out where our health issues are. We might have overlooked how stress or depression or physical pain have hampered our sex life, until we look to our Heavenly Parent and ask Him to tell us what’s happening with our marriage bed. Like a doting mother, He may check our temperature and diagnose what’s wrong. If we’ll ask, and then listen.

I don’t know what this looks like for you, but I know that health challenges are a common issue with us marrieds. And I’m wondering if we’re really praying to be made whole. Not just for the sake of feeling better, but so that we can experience better physical intimacy in our marriage.

How have you prayed for health in your marriage? Have you prayed about health issues that affect your marriage bed?

“Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well” (3 John 1:2).

Want to Work All Your Muscles? Try Sex.

I was listening to Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!, the NPR news quiz game show, and they mentioned an odd study about sex. Of course, I had to go look it up.

Title with drawn couple exercising

So here’s what happened: Upbeat Active (a fitness company) commissioned research tracking how many muscles are used for various activities. They learned that texting uses 38 muscles, dancing uses 99 muscles, and cycling to work uses 155 muscles. But the only activity that uses all your muscles, all 657 of them, is sex.

Well, sex if you’re “doing it right.”

How can that be? you ask.

It turns out you use your facial muscles for kissing; abs, chest, diaphragm, and neck to make sound; eye muscles as you look around or at your beloved; lower limbs, pelvis and core, legs, etc. Basically, if you’re really into sex, you’re tightening and exerting all of your muscles.

And the muscle that gives sex its unique status as the All-Muscle Activity is the bulbospongiosus, which — get this — is also known as the “sex hero muscle.” Both men and women have one, and it receives training during male erection and ejaculation, female clitoral erection, and orgasms for both of you.

Did you know you had a “sex hero muscle”? Well, now you do! Drag out your superhero cape and wear it with pride.

But are you currently using all of those muscles with the way you’re having sex? What should that total-body workout look like? Lead researcher Mike Aunger said, “Ideally it should last more than 30 minutes…. But I’ve got no stats on how long sex lasts for [the] average British couple. To be fair, 45 minutes would probably be better.”

Okay, so they’re British, and you’re whatever. However, I bet most married couples don’t go a whole 45 minutes. *sigh* And nice as they can be, quickies apparently don’t give you the full exercise experience.

Regardless, let’s look at a breakdown of the muscles and what actions you can take to use as many as possible:

Pucker up! Kissing exerts your facial muscles. And you don’t just have to kiss his lips. You’ve can come up with other smooch targets on his body.

Make noise. They say moaning uses your diaphragm, chest, and other muscles. It makes me wonder what yelling, “You’re my Superman!” does for a gal. (Asking for a friend.)

Leave the lights on. Your eye muscles get a work out, as you check out the view and your eyes dart around — that is, if you leave the lights on and can actually see. If you don’t like full light, try low lights or candlelight.

Move your neck. You’ll do it anyway, but it’s on the list of muscles that get worked out as you rotate or flex your head, look down and up, raise your shoulders … and so on. Maybe it’s a good thing when your kid knocks on your door, making you jerk your head up and respond, “Um, we’ll be out in a minute” — uses those neck muscles at least.

Try different positions. Your lower limbs get a better workout with interesting positioning. Your quads, biceps femoris (backsides of your thighs), and calves will thank you. For ideas, check out our Sex Chat for Christian Wives podcast on sex positions.

Thrust. Okay, ladies, you don’t really thrust like your hubby does. But your pelvic and core muscles will be exerted if you engage your hips more in sexual activity. Tilt, swivel, and shift down there, and try woman-on-top from time to time, where you can take a lead role.

Use your arms. Your arm and shoulder muscles get more use in certain positions. That’s what the article I read mentioned, but it didn’t give specifics. But we can imagine that some positions require you to hold yourself in place. I also suggest stroking and caressing your hubby, maybe even massaging him where he likes.

Grip something. Your hand muscles get a workout when you grab something, like your husband’s shoulders or hips … or even something lower.

Let your heart pound. You don’t have to think about this one, because your heart muscle will do its own thing, getting a good workout during sex. But maybe you can at least appreciate how hard it’s pounding and that it’s a good thing for your health.

Go for the orgasm. That sex hero muscle (aka bulbospongiosus) does its thing when you’re in the throes of passion, with a clitoral erection and waves of pleasure we know as orgasm. So go for it! It’s good for you.

Now go forth and get healthy, y’all! See how many muscles you can use. If you’re “doing it right,” whatever that means, you’ll be giving all 657 muscles a healthy bit of exertion. And even if a muscle or two gets missed, you’ll be enjoying yourself. You’re welcome.

Sources: NPR: ‘Wait Wait’ For March 4 2017: With Not My Job Guest Jordan PeeleThe Telegraph-UK: Sexercise: 657 reasons why the ultimate workout happens between the sheets; Daily Mail.com: From texting to having sex: The ultimate full-body workout to flex your muscles WITHOUT hitting the gym

Q&A with J: “Is It Okay to Sleep Naked?”

Today’s question is straightforward, but I thought it was a good one. Here’s what the wife asks:

I’ve been worried about this weird question I have. Kind of embarrassed and dumb for having to ask it, but here it goes. Is it ok for a Christian woman to sleep naked? I just can’t fall asleep or sleep as deeply when I am tangled up in a nightgown or pj/s. I tend to toss and turn a bit. And I just don’t see anything in the bible that I know of to answer this. I am married and faithful to him. We don’t have kids, so its just us in the house.

with woman tangled up in sheets

Please don’t feel embarrassed or dumb. It’s a reasonable question. Because if you’ve grown up your whole life wearing jammies and having modesty, modesty, modesty plugged away in your head, it can feel a bit weird to sleep naked. Or even think about sleeping naked.

First of all, let me assure you that there is no biblical command to be modest with your husband. Modesty is always framed in public contexts, where it is indeed important. But with your spouse, it’s clear that you are to share your bodies.

Proverbs 5:19 tells husbands to find satisfaction or delight in their wives’ breasts — which is somewhat difficult if she keeps them under lock and key, or layers of fabric. And in Song of Songs, the lovers take great care to describe one another’s bodies in detail (see 4:1-7, 5:10-16, 7:1-9) — including parts that would only be exposed when unclothed.

However, you give a practical reason for wanting to slip under the covers buck naked: “I just can’t fall asleep or sleep as deeply when I am tangled up in a nightgown or pj/s. I tend to toss and turn a bit.” And you know what? Science backs you up.

There are health advantages to sleeping nude. Most importantly, your body temperature stays cooler, which helps you remain in deep sleep longer and get a better night of rest. And some suggest that those cooler temperatures facilitate the release of hormones that help fight body fat and provide anti-aging benefits.

Also, some gynecologists advise ditching your panties for the night. Why? Because if things are hot and moist down there, the environment is more conducive to bacteria. Others say it’s the temperature of your whole body that matters more than fabric covering your lady parts and that infections originate inside, not in the alleged “breeding ground” you create by wearing underwear. Personally, I tend to lean toward the first point of view, based merely on my own thought process and anecdotal evidence. But even if vaginal health is not strongly impacted, some women do feel they’re “airing things out” when they get rid of the undies for the night — which you’re obviously doing if you’re completely naked.

One thing, however, that all the experts seem to agree on is that sleeping naked increases the likelihood of sexual intimacy.

Long stretches of skin-to-skin contact have been shown to release our hormone Oxytocin, also known as the “cuddle hormone.” It helps us feel more bonded to the person we’re touching. And with your feelings of connection heightened, and no clothing obstacles, you can get right into the bow-chicka-wow-wow whenever you two want. I daresay with your erogenous zones within easy sight and touch, the idea of sex is likely to move up on your mate’s list of to-dos.

As you can see, I think it’s a lovely idea to sleep nude. But are there any drawbacks? Just a few considerations, perhaps.

Emergencies. I have had this thought: What if in the middle of the night, a fire starts in my home, and then I have to run out into the street as quickly as possible, so then the firefighters and the neighbors and the news cameras see me in all my naked glory or wearing the thin, sheer sheet I managed to grab as I scurried out the door? OR I take time to put on pajamas or clothes, which costs me precious seconds, so instead I’m killed by smoke inhalation? Oh yes, it’s fun in my brain sometimes.

But first of all, the chance of an emergency occurring that doesn’t allow you to grab some clothes is 0.0007%, or something like that. And secondly, if you did have an emergency, they make this really cool thing called a robe. You can keep it at the foot of your bed, hanging on the bedpost, or anywhere else within reach. Even if you have to run out in a hurry, you can tie that baby up in no time when you reach those firefighters, neighbors, news cameras.

Kids. You say, “We don’t have kids, so its just us in the house.” But I want to say to others that it’s still fine to sleep naked with kids in your house. You simply have to take the precautions of locking the door and having that robe handy.

You may have seasons when nighttime nudity won’t work, like while nursing an infant or while a kid is sick and likely to interrupt you during the night. But most of the time, they’re asleep, you’re asleep, and they don’t know what you’re wearing. Hopefully, you’ve also trained your children to understand that your bedroom is at times a private place for mommy and daddy, and that can extend to overnight.

Climate. Living in South Texas, I can’t really speak to this fully. But when the winter is frigidly cold, you may be less inclined to strip down to your skivvies, much less your bare skin. Of course, you can deal with this by using a heater or more blankets if you wish to continue sleeping naked. But you might prefer to make seasonal changes for what you wear to bed.

Health issues. Some people do have health issues that require certain garments to be worn. If that’s you, you know it and you should do what you need to do.

So should you sleep naked? I hear a horde of husbands out there saying, “Tell my wife YES!” Hey, I’m in your corner, guys. But even more so, I’m in the corner of this wife who asks if it’s okay. Rest assured, it’s even better than okay — it’s a good idea.

And for those who don’t want to sleep naked, try sleeping in as little as you are comfortable with. Maybe panties and a camisole, or a gown without the undies? You might sleep better, have more cuddle time with your husband, and enjoy increased sexual intimacy.

Sources: PR Newswire – National Sleep Survey Pulls Back The Covers On How We Doze And Dream; Elite Daily – 7 Scientific Reasons Why Sleeping Naked Is Really Good For You; Oxford Academic – “Influence on Human Sleep Patterns of Lowering and Delaying the Minimum Core Body Temperature by Slow Changes in the Thermal Environment”; Daily News – Strip down: Sleeping naked is good for your relationship, survey says; HuffPost Living – Five Reasons to Sleep Naked; Shape – When Going Commando Is a Good Idea; Medical Daily – Underneath Your Clothes: 5 Amazing Reasons Sleeping Naked Is Good For Your Health; MTV.Com News – Is Sleeping Naked Actually Better for Your Health? A Doctor Reveals All

Why Are You Leaking After Sex?

Sex can be messy.

Some wives complain about the messiness of sex. You can put a towel underneath yourselves while you’re making love, keep wipes handy at your bedside, take a shower or bath after sex, or even use a condom if you really want to cut down on fluids.

But I like to think of the sexual experience more like art. Have you ever seen an artist’s studio? Or a preschool room where children have been finger-painting? It takes a bit of mess to create a masterpiece. You can always clean up later.

However, we wives can’t escape the law of physics: What comes up must come down.

Why Are You Leaking After Sex? - water drop

So when your husband showers his ejaculate into your vagina, gravity demands that some will spill back out later. Even if you’re trying to get pregnant, only about 5% of his ejaculate is sperm while the other 95% is strictly semen.

Leakage can happen right after sex, when you head to the restroom to urinate and a glob of stuff comes out as well. But it can also happen the next day as you’re standing in front of a room of coworkers making a passionate presentation and you feel a sudden wetness in your undies. Seriously, could the timing be any worse?

I’m just letting you know that (1) this is completely normal, and (2) if the mess irritates you, find ways to minimize the likelihood of leakage:

  • You can avoid so much coming out later if you let gravity do its thing by using the restroom and/or showering after sex.
  • You can place a thin mini-pad in your panties for several hours after making love. The amount of leakage is unlikely to soak through a pad, so a small one should be sufficient.
  • You can wear a menstrual cup that catches fluids. That could help if you’re needing to stand up for a while and don’t want to mess with pads.

Some of the leakage immediately after sex could also be from you. Some women have been known to ejaculate, or as some crassly call it “squirt,” during sex. I’ve written about the shejaculation experience here. But your fluids aren’t likely to comprise much of the leakage, since most of what a woman puts out comes all the way out.

One last thought, ladies: If you think this sounds supremely unfair, many men experience semen dribble after sex. It’s a bit like when you turn off the water hose and several drops plop out before the flow stops completely.

Like I said, sex can be messy.

But it’s nothing a towel, a shower, a pad, etc. can’t take care of. And you shouldn’t leak more than 24 hours after intercourse. Usually, it happens within a few hours of sex.

Do you have any of your own tips for handling leakage after sex?

5 New Sex Studies (Including One Which Will Make You Laugh)

I love to peruse the internet for recent studies that involve sex. While God’s Word remains the foundation of my perspective on sexual intimacy, we have learned a lot about His creation and how things work in the bedroom from well-conducted research.

My last stroll through the web for interesting reports yielded five studies I want to share with you. A couple of them have important implications, a couple are simply interesting, and one is guaranteed to make you laugh.

5 New Sex Studies (Including One Which Will Make You Laugh)

Does having sex make men more spiritual?

Duke University researchers tested two groups of men by administering oxytocin to one group and a placebo to the second group. They then surveyed the men regarding feelings of spirituality and discovered that those who took oxytocin were more likely to answer questions about spirituality in positive ways. For instance, they said that “spirituality was important in their lives and that life has meaning and purpose” and agreed more with statements like “There is a higher plane of consciousness or spirituality that binds all people.”

What’s particularly interesting about this study is that oxytocin is a chemical produced by our bodies that has been labeled the “love hormone.” It’s been linked to feelings of bonding, trust, and satisfaction. And it’s released during breastfeeding, prolonged physical contact (like a long embrace or holding hands), and sex. Indeed, at sexual climax, men in committed relationships get a huge rush of oxytocin into their system. The upshot is that having sex may make your husband feel not only connected to you, but to the spiritual realm — and our Heavenly Father. So the next time your husband claims making love with you confirmed that there is a God, he might really be reporting his mountaintop-like experience.

Source: Duke Today: Oxytocin Enhances Spirituality, New Study Says

Is sex bad for his heart, but good for hers?

A federally funded study led by a Michigan State researcher looked at the link between frequency of sex and cardiovascular health. Participants were between 57 and 85 years of age, and information was collected once and again five years later. For those who had sex one or more times a week, men had a higher risk of cardiovascular events (like hypertension, heart attack, etc.), while women had a reduced risk of hypertension. So basically, more sex seemed to be bad for his heart, but good for hers.

But wait… The bigger question is why: Why are men at greater risk for heart conditions just by having more frequent sex? It’s not clear that it’s the sex, because older, sexually active men are also more likely to use medication to boost sexual function and could be straining themselves more to reach an orgasm that isn’t quite as easy to attain as it once was. Maybe the takeaway is that we need to let our sexuality mature with us — take our time, don’t sweat it if the orgasm doesn’t happen, and enjoy the vast array of sexually intimate acts. And if that doesn’t work, I know plenty of husbands who’d simply say: “I don’t care if having sex increases my risk of heart attack, because what a way to go!”

Source: MSU Today — Is Sex in Later Years Good for Your Health?

Should you turn on the lights?

Research conducted by the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology Congress studied 38 male participants with disorders characterized by a lack of interest in sex. They gave them half of them light therapy (exposure to light that mimics the sun’s rays and is used with seasonal depression) and half of them exposure to much dimmer light. The men who received bright light therapy showed increased sexual satisfaction three times higher as well as a jump in testosterone production.

Honestly, this matches one of my theories of why more men have lower sex drives these days. I believe that since many men aren’t spending time outside and in manual labor, they aren’t doing things that used to maintain their testosterone levels and decrease their stress. Whether my theory’s true or not, it appears that sunlight or light therapy would be a good idea for men whose libidos aren’t where they, or perhaps their wives, would like them to be. For you higher-drive wives, maybe you could suggest a daily walk or time together outside more days than not.

Source: Popular Science — New Research Shows How Bright Light Could Wake Up Men’s Sexual Desire

Why should college students have all the fun?

Researchers at the University of South Dakota surveyed 706 college students and discovered that having sex in a parked car remains a “fundamental coming-of-age phenomenon.” Sixty percent reported having experienced parked-car sex, and although men reported a higher rate of satisfaction, a strong majority in both genders viewed the experience positively.

Why am I talking about this to married Christians? Because hey, you can do it your car too! Frankly, as you get older, your car is usually bigger and more conducive to having sex without getting jabbed by a gear shift or slammed into the dashboard. You might well own a garage so that maintaining privacy is an easy goal to meet. And you’d probably be surprised how much your body can still bend and move when romance and libido run high. Some of us even own trucks, meaning we have an actual “bed” in our vehicle. Doesn’t that mean we should use it as the word intends?

Source: The Daily Beast — Science Says: Car Sex Is Still a Rite of Passage

Is polyester killing your sex appeal, guys?

Cairo University Professor Ahmed Shafik dressed lab rats in pants of different fabrics, then studied how they affected the rats’ sex drive. He discovered that rats in polyester pants got less action than those wearing cotton or wool — a finding that once-and-for-all confirms the 1970s were the worst fashion decade.

Image result for rat in pants

So throw out your old leisure suits, husbands, because that polyester look is not helping your sex appeal! Go with cotton or wool (or even a mixed blend, I suppose). Although I wonder how those rats would have fared in satin boxer shorts. Do you think they would have become “love machines”? Maybe, maybe not. But you could give it a try.

Source: Polyester pants dampen rats’ sex appeal: Ig Nobel prizes honor weird research

What do you think about these research studies? What surprised you or shed light on your situation?