Tag Archives: Christianity and sex

Q&A with J: “Our Marriage Bed is a Mess” Part 1

My inbox is filled with questions from spouses telling me about their hardships regarding sexual intimacy in their marriage. I have maybe 100 such emails, and I often feel bad that I cannot get to each and every one. I imagine these individuals finallypainfully telling the details of their concerns and hoping to find some answer that will set them on the right path.

Yet my time is limited, my own marriage and family require attention, and God doesn’t expect any one person to do it all. I’m just one finger, or maybe just a toe, in the Body of Christ. I take heart that even Jesus sometimes turned away from the demands of people to keep His focus on the primary mission: “Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Luke 5:15-16).

Since I don’t have the time and resources to answer each of those emails, I want to share six responses that come to mind when reading various stories of marriage bed difficulties. These are for the people who write me to essentially say, “Our marriage bed is a mess.”

Blog post title with unhappy couple in bed

I’ll cover three today, and three next week. Perhaps one of these touches on your particular situation.

And, by the way, I’m going to be really candid. No mincing words.

1. You’re married to a selfish jerk.

Sadly, some of you are living with a selfish spouse who dismisses your beliefs, belittles your feelings, and/or thinks your body belongs solely to them to be used as a sexual tool. Perhaps they also pursue sexually sinful practices and expect you to get involved or to look the other way.

If that’s your situation, you have to stand up for you! Set some boundaries. If you don’t know how to do this, go read Boundaries or Boundaries in Marriage by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend. Then follow through.

If your spouse’s attitude and behavior reaches the level of abuse — verbal, emotional, even physical — you have to stop allowing and enabling that. Even walk away, for your safety and wellbeing. And please no one tell me that suffering through abuse is somehow analogous to Christ suffering on the cross. Jesus allowed Himself to be mistreated then for a specific and higher purpose. But two other times, He escaped people wanting to physically harm Him:

At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds” (John 8:59).

Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp” (John 10:39).

A selfish jerk likely won’t change unless you throw a wrench in the gears, meaning you stop playing your part of the system. Instead, calmly oppose mistreatment wherever occurs, to others and to yourself. That’s biblical.

Learn to do right; seek justice.
    Defend the oppressed” (Isaiah 1:17a).

2. You are the selfish jerk.

Sometimes the spouse who writes me is the selfish one. They complain about how they’re not getting everything they want in the marriage bed and explain how they’ve whined and argued with their “beloved” about how they’ve been mistreated without any progress. Wow, I’m sure that makes you a lot of fun to be around. 🙄

If you’ve given your spouse the clear impression your only interest in them is getting exactly what you want sexually, why are you surprised they don’t want to sleep with you? If you’re always complaining, often angry, or only touching them to get sex, you’re not an appealing lover. Kevin A. Thompson wrote a great post about this: I Wouldn’t Sleep with You Either.

Your answer is to remember what you did while you were dating, falling in love, first married. Are you doing those things now? What kind of person are you to be around? Do you need to focus on giving your spouse the gift of happiness? Are you making sex all about you? What about your spouse’s needs and desires? Ask yourself some tough questions, and then pray for God’s help and guidance on what you can do to be less selfish and move loving. (I’ll give you a hint: It looks more like Christ.)

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus….” (Philippians 2:3-5).

3. You have a poor theology of sex.

Theology is “the study of the nature of God and religious belief.” More specifically, it can refer to “religious beliefs and theory when systematically developed” (Oxford Dictionaries). One core part of my ministry is correcting erroneous beliefs about sexual intimacy; that is, throwing out our wrong thinking about sex and replacing it with God’s design for sex in marriage.

Unfortunately, too many Christians still have beliefs about sex that aren’t in line with how God our Creator made sex. And those ideas of what sex really means, how it should practiced in our lives, and what to do when we face challenges impact our marriage beds. What plenty of spouses need is an adjustment in their theology.

So when people write me and say that they heard something was wrong or something was right when it’s really the opposite, I wonder if we shouldn’t simply open our Bibles more and see what our Lord Himself had to say about it all. Of course, some people don’t know where to look, and that’s something I’ve tried to address often. It’s also a problem that our churches and pastors don’t talk enough about sex and marriage. Sometimes what we spread is just off-the-mark, like my recent post for Crosswalk.com on 10 Myths about Sex You Heard in Church.

If this is where you are — not really knowing what part sexual intimacy should play in your marriage — then continue reading my blog and check out other responsible Christian marriage blogs like To Love Honor and Vacuum, OysterBed7, Heaven Made Marriage, The Forgiven Wife, Calm.Healthy.Sexy, Awaken Love, and the like. A part of me would also like to tell you which sources to avoid, but instead I encourage you to study your Bible more so that you will be “be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).

Also, read books that cover this subject well, like my Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design, Sheila Gregoire’s The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, and Julie Sibert and Jeffrey Murphy’s The Pursuit of Passion. And listen to my podcast with three other marriage and sex bloggers, Sex Chat for Christian WivesGet others around you reading and listening these resources so that you have allies. Ask your pastor and/or elders to introduce more resources for married couples. In short, seek truth. I know there are a lot of voices competing for your attention, but truth is out there for those willing to pursue it.

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it….” God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day” (Genesis 1:27-28, 31).

I have three more overall answers to many questions I’ve received, which I’ll cover next week.

If you’re one of the readers I haven’t specifically answered, please know that I appreciate you writing me, my heart does go out to you, I wish I could clone myself and do much more, and I’m praying for you and your marriage.

Q&A: My Shy Husband Is “Grossed Out” by Sex

When fellow Christians balk about why I write about sex in marriage, I often want to say, “You should see my email.” If they could read the scenarios and testimonies I receive, perhaps they’d understand how important ministries addressing marriage and sexual intimacy can be.

With that in mind, here’s a heart-wrencher question today. This young wife and her husband waited for all the physical stuff until their wedding day, including the kiss. I’ve known others who waited for nearly everything until the honeymoon, and most are like children ripping open the Christmas present with eagerness and excitement; they can’t wait to be intimate! Not so this couple.

My Shy Husband Is "Grossed Out" by Sex via Hot, Holy & Humorous

My question basically is, how do I encourage my husband to be more comfortable with me when he is (well is seems to me) grossed out by stuff… I try to use my tongue while kissing, and [he] absolutely won’t use his. I have stopped because it makes me feel rejected when he does that, but I really would like to be more intimate that way. I tried reading a book with him called A Celebration of Sex for Newlyweds but he didn’t seem interested or at least was to shy to be reading words like sex and orgasm :)…

I don’t know how to help educate my husband so that he is confident in touching me. He doesn’t explore my intimate parts unless I intentionally sit down with him and then he seems to [lose] interest in 3 minutes even though I am doing my best to encourage him. And if I try to move his hand there while in bed he resists me (again rejection feeling). So I want to be respectful of his discomforts so I just suggest every once in a while and leave it at that. But he is fine with me touching him for the most part except that he is extremely ticklish.

So I am feeling frustrated because I want more, but don’t know how to communicate with my shy quite husband. And will I have to keep asking? I also feel frustrated because of the stereotype of the way men should be in my mind and he is not that, i e he does not pursue me aggressively in a sexual manner which is what I want/expect. I feel like I am doing all the work. It seems like he was such a good Christian boy who never ever let his mind wander or fantasize. I ask him if there are things he would like to do or try and the answer is always “i don’t know.” How do I get my husband to want me more and in new ways? I guess the real answer is prayer. I should pray more for him. But again how do I get him interested in learning about sex? 

Mourn with those who mourn. First, I want to hug this wife. Sex is supposed to part of the package deal of marriage, and she’s got a lifetime ahead of her with the man she loves, but it’s just not happening…at all. I want to “mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15), because this is real grief. Yet God knows. And, while I cannot reach her, He can wrap His strong arms around her and her marriage and help her through.

Sexual baggage? Second, my red flags are up and flying at full mast. If this husband were in my counseling office (no, I don’t have one, but let’s pretend), I’d ask a lot of questions about his sexual history. An extreme lack of interest and discomfort with sexual intimacy could relate to events from his past—such as childhood sexual abuse; harsh punishment for sexual curiosity; teaching that sex is “dirty” or sinful; deep and unyielding shame about prior inappropriate activity (e.g., watching porn).

I suggest sitting your husband down outside the bedroom and starting a conversation about your previous experiences with sexuality. When did you learn about sex and from whom? Did you have any awkward experiences as a child? What did you think sex would be like in marriage? If he will not engage—because it’s about S-E-X—state clearly, “I need for us to talk about this, because I want to be intimate with you in every way, including sex. If you cannot talk to me, you have to talk to someone.” Then outline some possibilities for him, like your pastor, a Christian counselor, a mentor friend, a support group.

And yes, I think there could be a point when he’s had ample opportunity to follow through but hasn’t, and you must enlist help from others. That could mean going to your pastor, explaining the situation, and asking him to gently and privately approach your husband. It could mean telling a close friend of his who’s marriage-positive, a wonderful confidant for your husband, and who’ll take a biblical approach. I would not take this step lightly, but it’s also not okay to live like this for years on end.

Just too much? That said, this “good Christian boy who never ever let his mind wander or fantasize” may simply feel in over his head. If he expended a great deal of effort avoiding sex to remain pure, it could be difficult to flip that switch. In which case, I’d put away the Christian sex book (yes, even mine *sigh*) and reach for the ultimate Christian sex book, the Bible. You need to start with helping him understand God Himself is entirely in favor of him exploring, enjoying, and satisfying his wife in the marriage bed.

Three times in the Song of Songs, the Bible says, “Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires” (2:7, 3:5, 8:4). Many Christians and churches focus on the first half of that verse, making sure not to arouse or awaken sexual feelings and activity before marriage. But the verse doesn’t stop there; it goes on to say “until it so desires,” meaning there will be a time when love should be aroused and awakened because it’s ready. Marriage is that time.

You can share the Song of Songs, or stories from the Bible about sexuality (4 Great Bible Stories about Sex, 3 More Great Bible Stories about Sex). Take him to one of my favorite scriptures on sexuality—Proverbs 5:18-19: “May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer—may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love.”

Pray for him, and pray with him if he’ll agree. It may help to find some of these specific scriptures and adapt them to pray for your husband’s interest and engagement. For instance, using the above scripture: “Bless my husband’s fountain, Lord, and help him to rejoice in me. Give him Your view of me as loving and graceful. Help him to seek satisfaction in my breasts and my body and to become intoxicated with my love.”

Slowly, slowly. On a practical level, go slow. Like insanely slow. Will this nearly kill you? Not being a patient woman myself, I’m freaking out a little just writing about it. But ask for divine help to persevere and slowly pull your husband out of his extreme timidity.

Set aside chunks of time to use as experimentation. Even if your husband isn’t tuned into his body, your body, and sexuality, he can get there. He may need time, permission, and trial-and-error to figure out what gets him going in the sex department. Explain you want to spend time figuring out how to make sex work between you two.

Also, I’m not a big fan of blindfolds, but I can see a use for it here or simply asking hubby to keep his eyes closed. He may need to tune out the visual of oh-my-goodness-what’s-happening and focus on sensations of touch. Ask clearly and often about what he likes or doesn’t like. If he isn’t comfortable answering with words, he can provide a hand signal or soft noise—whatever works for you. You may need for a time to hold off on intercourse while you help him explore sexuality itself. Remember the goal is ultimately physical intimacy, not a grand finish (although, believe me, I’m in favor of the grand finish).

You have a lifetime together, so breathe easy knowing you don’t have to get this all nailed down by Thursday. Does it suck? I’m a candid woman, so I’m going to agree that it sucks to be rejected by your husband and have him get grossed out by something as simple as a French kiss. Will it always suck? I’m also a Christian woman, so I’m confident saying that answer is no. God has worked wonders in so many marriages when it comes to sexual intimacy, and I think He can spin a beautiful miracle in yours.

What advice do you have for this wife? Do you have a similar situation in your marriage?

How Sex Can Be Awesome

How cool is this?! I got to chat with Jolene Engle of Christian Wife University, who is also the host of the upcoming Wisdom for Wives online conference. This is a fabulous event in May, with eleven wives speaking on various facets in marriage. As you might guess, my session is on improving sexual intimacy in marriage.

To listen to Jolene’s interview with me, just click on the play button below. And then be sure to click the link to check out the conference. Sign up now and get the early bird discount!

Graphic with Jolene Engle & Me

CLICK ON THE BANNER BELOW TO LEARN MORE & SIGN UP!

Wisdom for Wives Conference banner

Your conference ticket includes:

  • 14 conference sessions with quality speakers, bloggers, and authors
  • Conference notebook, with session notes and more
  • Access to our private Facebook group community to discuss each session’s topic, ask questions, glean from one another, connect with other like-minded wives AND interact with the speakers
  • PLUS, additional resources including Sex in Marriage, a collection of five entirely new devotionals from me (in the same format as Intimacy Revealed, but fresh material)

Early bird discount until May 5. Be wise and sign up today!

Wise Up, Wives! An Online Conference You Should Attend

Proverbs 4:5-6 says:

Get wisdom, get understanding;
  do not forget my words or turn away from them.
Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;
  love her, and she will watch over you.

What I hope to do here on my blog is share wisdom about marriage and sex. When you soak in God’s truths about covenant love and sexual intimacy, your marriage will be blessed.

Which is why I’m thrilled to be a part of the upcoming Wisdom For Wives Conference, hosted by Jolene Engle and Christian Wife University. You might remember Jolene from her recent, and fabulous, guest post here on Hot, Holy & Humorous about working through physical pain in the marriage bed. Jolene has a beautiful heart for marriages, and her invitation to me to speak at the Wisdom for Wives Conference demonstrates her commitment to helping wives experience God’s gift of intimacy.

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But I’m definitely not the only one. I’m among a wonderful line-up of women speaking to women about important aspects of marriage. Just look at this sampling of conference speakers and topics:

  • Growing into a Godly Wife in Spite of Having Ungodly Role Models with Carlie Kercheval
  • To the Wife Who Is Ready to Run with Michelle Lindsey
  • When Porn Shows Up in Your House with Bonny Logsdon Burns
  • Nurturing Your Marriage in the Middle of the Storm with Roseann Cunningham
  • Choosing Him All Over Again: Tips to Strengthen Your Marriage & Help for Troubled Marriages with Juana Mikels
  • How to Rein in Your Emotions So You Don’t Tear Down Your Home with Jolene Engle

And my session will be:

  • 5 Steps to Improve Sexual Intimacy in Your Marriage

The conference takes place online May 12-15, 2015. But you can sign up today for an early bird discount!

A lot of behind-the-scenes and in-front-of-the-camera effort is going into delivering a content-rich conference that will benefit your marriage, and that you can attend from home. I encourage you to check it out today and see all the conference sessions, resources, and special downloads attendees will receive.

443 x 443 bannerMay God bless this special event! And I pray that you can “come.”

Every marriage goes through seasons. Some seasons are exhilarating and effortless, while other seasons can be faced with serious heartache, disappointment, and downright despair. No matter what season you’re living in, the Wisdom for Wives Conference is designed to encourage, equip, affirm, and inspire you in your role as a wife so you can have the type of marriage that God intended.

CLICK HERE TO ATTEND!

5 Ways to Unlock Your Libido

Oyster Bed Logo

A lot of wives struggle with a lower libido than their husbands. If that’s you, I highly recommend you follow Bonny’s Oyster Bed, a Christian marriage blog dedicated to such wives. To give you a taste of what Bonny offers, read on for 5 ways to unlock your libido. (And be sure to check out the fabulous resource she’s recently introduced!)

Take it away, Bonny!

~ ♥ ~

Consistent, satisfying sexual intimacy is possible in spite of struggling with low physical sex drive.

After my husband and I had worked on our marriage and improved the frequency of our sexual relationship, I realized that I still had one challenge to address: my low libido.

I scoured ideas to help ramp up my physical sensation. There was a bit of success in the physical realm.

My biggest ah-ha moment was when I discovered low-libido wives can be high drive when desiring to emotionally and spiritually connect with their husband’s through sexual intimacy.

I may not always have a zing running through my veins when my husband and I start to engage, but I always have a zing in my heart for connecting with him in a way that has ended up being meaningful for both of us!

Low libido is not a permanent condition. If you are a low drive wife, there is much hope.

Key opening door to bedroomHere are five thoughts to help unlock your libido:

Embrace God’s view of sexual intimacy. 

Bible verses I’d read about sinful sexual immorality leaked into my thoughts about marital sexuality. Sex within marriage isn’t dirty or wrong. Although slippery and messy at times, it’s perfectly God approved!

Satan likes to create a false notion that sex is all about the physical climax. Yes, orgasm is really really nice, but it is not the whole of sexual intimacy.

In my ice princess days, I only saw my husband’s pursuit of me as one dimensional. All he wanted was a place for physical relief. God showed me that sexual intimacy is my husband’s most intimate conversation. Sexual intimacy seals an emotional and spiritual bond that was created by God for marriage.

Pray

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6, NIV).

God truly cares for all areas of your life, especially your marital sexuality. Thriving sexual intimacy keeps many forms of temptation at bay for both of you.

God designed sex and it’s okay to pray about your marriage bed!

Expect God to show you things. 

I’m not discounting God’s abilities to perform miracles. However, I found that my low-libido was a place where he was nurturing maturity. I couldn’t just wish for a little more oomph in the sexual craving department. I had to actively seek through prayer and action. I had to follow God’s lead when he showed me resources and tools. Expect God to show you things!

You are perfectly normal.

There’s nothing wrong with you if you are low drive! Yes, you may want to have a full physical work-up to check hormone levels and general health, but you are not tainted in some way or being punished for having a low drive.

Every marriage is different. Every season in marriage is different. Who knows? You may have an upcoming season of life where you and your spouse desire equally or you may even be the higher drive spouse. 

Don’t compare your experience with anything you read or see (TV or movies). How lovemaking unfolds between you and your husband is going to be unique and normal for the two of you. Great moments in lovemaking can be quiet, calm or klutzy. The klutzy spells usually become priceless inside jokes with your husband. 

Give yourself permission to be a sensual woman.

Open your heart to see that sexual intimacy is an asset to your marriage and to you personally, not just your husband.

Give yourself permission to BELIEVE your husband when he says you’re beautiful, in form and face.

Give yourself permission to let go of worries and just be in the moment, concentrating on the physical sensations of your husband’s touch.

Open your heart to the possibility of seeing yourself warm with desire as the Shulamite wife in the Song of Solomon. “….It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame” (Song of Solomon 8:6). Okay, a blazing fire might seem optimistic, but just open yourself up to a firm maybe.

Give yourself permission to be a sensual woman. It’s okay to look inside yourself and contemplate your physical, emotional and spiritual sensations. It’s okay to want to fire up the old cravings of first romance. It’s okay to have sexual feelings!

This doesn’t mean all of a sudden you’re installing a pole in your bedroom. This just means you are willing to have faith in God’s design. He designed marriage to include sexual intimacy. It’s how he made marriage different and more bonded than any other relationship on earth.

Final thoughts

You may think all problems in your marriage need to be fixed before you can even consider bolstering your sexual activities.

I used to think this way, too. However, that logic is wrong. You really can work on re-connecting through sexual intimacy as you work on other problems. I even think it helps the healing process. I’m here to attest that this is true.

Not all wives are the low-drive spouse. I think much of what is written here can be applied to the low-drive spouse, no matter which gender. Marriages I refer to here are generally good-willed. If there is any kind of abuse, please seek guidance through a Christian marriage counselor.

Would you like to read more ideas on how to Unlock Your Libido?

Although not a Bible study, Unlock Your Libido: 52-Week Sex Drive Transformation is an ebook based on scripture, a bit of science, and my own journey. It’s a simple method that may have profound results.

~ ♥ ~

You can see why I wanted to have Bonny on my blog! She speaks so well to wives with sex drive challenges. I encourage you to check out Unlock Your Libido and her blog, Bonny’s Oyster Bed.

Bonny Lodgson BurnsHi! I’m Bonny Logsdon Burns. I write to encourage the low libido wife at www.OysterBed7.com. I am passionate about empowering and equipping hurting women through God’s Word and practical tools. I live in coastal Wilmington, NC. I’m currently completing a Christian Counseling course. My husband, David, and I are candid about our struggles and victories. We have three sons. My favorite thing to do is laugh at Dave’s corny jokes. We like to try new foods and dance to our own music. (You can also find me on Twitter and Facebook.)