Tag Archives: godly sex

Are You (Too) Content with “Better Than It Used to Be”?

I recently wrote a pretty unfiltered post about the problem many of us wives have with being contentious in our homes. Sometimes I think God has me write things so that I’ll pay attention to where I need to grow in my marriage.

Because after that post, I had a couple of different conversations in my home on that topic. One of them involved my older son, an adult man now, and how his personality and mine differ in expressing emotions. Now, if you’ve been around Hot, Holy & Humorous a while, you know that I’ve compared my husband to Spock, in how logical and non-expressive he can be.

Well, our elder spawn has taken on more personality traits from his father and could well be Spock Jr. So you can imagine when emotionally expressive mom gets frustrated (as all normal moms periodically do), she can take on a “tone” which doesn’t play well with the Vulcan species in her family.

But as we calmly talked about this issue, I pointed out how much better I am than I used to be. I wanted major credit for having lowered my volume a few dial settings and holding back on the contemptuous body language (such as eye rolling) that I used to display. I felt like it was unfair to say that I needed to improve a lot because “Hey, this is way better than it used to be!”

Guess who shows up then? Yeah, I’m pretty sure it was the Holy Spirit, poking me in the ribs to tell me that better ain’t good enough. Better does not meet “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). Jeez, Jesus, that’s a really high standard to aim for!

My conclusion was that I still have some issues to work on.

Blog post title with illustrated couple giving "okay" hand gesture

However, I thought about this with the sexual intimacy in our marriages as well. I periodically hear from couples say that things are better than they used to be. Now I’m 100% sure we should celebrate that progress, those victories, those shifts in our marriage that strengthen our bond and honor God’s design for sex.

But are you setting down Ebenezers to mark progress along your path, or settling in for good with the attitude of “good enough”?

If you don’t know what an Ebenezer is, it comes from the story of the judge Samuel who sought God’s help in fighting the Philistines. After Israel’s army defeated their attackers, 1 Samuel 7:12 says, “Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.’” Since then Ebenezer has come to mean “a commemoration of divine assistance” (Merriam-Webster).

Samuel’s use of “thus far” is apt, because by 1 Samuel 12, the Israelites are back to fighting with the Philistines. It’s many years before King David finally defeats the Philistines for good, and in between are many battles in which the Israelites seek God’s help to win. Every hard-fought battle is a step toward eventual victory, but along the way were many moments that called for Ebenezers.

Like the Israelites versus the Philistines, I suspect many marriages are in a constant battle, fighting to reach God’s design for sex. But it’s easy to become complacent, to settle in and say, “Okay, that’s good enough.”

Do any of these describe your marriage?

  • “We used to have sex once a month, but now I give it to him twice a month, which is enough.”
  • “She never had orgasms before, but now she has one every few times we make love.”
  • “I show up regularly — what more does he want?”
  • “I’ve only looked at porn a few times this month.”
  • “I tried communicating about our improving our sexual intimacy, but he didn’t want to talk about it, so I gave up and decided our sex life was fine.”

God’s not a fan of good-enough in the marriage bed.

God's not a fan of good-enough in the marriage bed. Click To Tweet

Two of my favorite Bible verses about sex are:

A loving doe, a graceful deer — may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love” (Proverbs 5:19).

Eat, friends, drink, and be drunk with love!” (Song of Songs 5:1, ESV)

There are many warnings in the Bible against gluttony and drunkenness, but sexual love in a marriage is one place where God throws out the concept of “enough” and tells us to go overboard — to get intoxicated.

Isn’t that amazing?

Now of course, you can make sex itself into an idol. You should ask whether you’re seeking a truly better, more intimate sex life with your spouse or merely seeking your own pleasure or some unrealistic fantasy.

But I stand by the idea that we can continue to make progress throughout our married lives. And like Samuel, we can ask for divine help.

Indeed, if we ask for God’s design for sex in our marriage, that’s where our Lord is generous. What that looks like might not be what you think (e.g., lots more sex), and He usually expects us to start with ourselves, but He wants our physical intimacy to deepen so that our whole marriage can be strengthened.

We shouldn’t stop pursuing godly sex in our marriage. We shouldn’t cease improving our own attitudes and theology about this beautiful act of love. We shouldn’t settle for “better than it used to be.”

Thinking back to the Ebenezer story, what’s particularly interesting is that the constant battle with the Philistines came from the Israelites saying “good enough” long before Samuel was around. After the Israelites moved into Canaan, there is this passage:

When Joshua had grown old, the Lord said to him, ‘You are now very old, and there are still very large areas of land to be taken over. This is the land that remains: all the regions of the Philistines and Geshurites, from the Shihor River on the east of Egypt to the territory of Ekron on the north, all of it counted as Canaanite though held by the five Philistine rulers in Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath and Ekron…‘” (Joshua 13:1-3). 

God told Joshua there were still places to be conquered. But the Israelites didn’t follow through. What places regarding our marriage have yet to be conquered? Will we follow through?

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

A Prayer for Your Sexual Intimacy

When I started this series on Praying More for your marriage and your sexual intimacy, I admitted that I didn’t know exactly what it would look like. How would have a whole year of blog posts about praying? But God kept nudging me that this was the direction to take, so I stepped out in faith. Okay, okay, I shuffled out in faith, but I’m lengthening my strides week by week.

Today I have this strong sense that I just need to write a prayer. One that you and I can both say for our marriages and our marriage beds. I hope you’ll join me.

A Prayer for Your Sexual Intimacy with PRAY in the background

Dear Heavenly Father,

I really didn’t know what I was getting into when I got married. Yes, of course, I prepared in some ways, and even tried to figure out some things ahead of time about what sex would look like in our marriage. But, as You know, Lord, it’s different going through the experience and dealing with my unique husband. Also, I couldn’t have foreseen the seasons we’d go through — times when sex was good, and times when sex was a struggle.

I want to bring my concerns, my hurt, my longings all before You and lay them at Your feet. I cast all my anxieties on You because I know You care for me (1 Peter 5:7). Guide me to the path I should take and teach me Your way (Psalm 25:9).

Now let’s start with this body You gave me. It’s an amazing creation, able to accomplish so much automatically and at my will. I thank you for all the workings of my body that allow me to go through my days and do what I need to do. But when it comes to sex, it’s not always been an easy road. At times, getting aroused with my husband can be difficult, and at other times, my body is ready to go when there isn’t a chance in the world that we can have sex. How fair is that?! Orgasms can be like my best friend, eager to hang out with me, or my nemesis, avoiding me at every turn. I don’t adore every inch of my appearance, my body does weird things in certain angles (like why is my stomach hanging down like that? — blech), and flexibility feels like a thing of the past.

I need to see myself how You see me, how You designed my body, and how You blessed me to be with my husband. I also need more understanding of my body and how to help it cooperate with the sexual intimacy I need and want to have in my marriage. Help me to identify real issues that need addressing through medical assistance or counseling or exercise, and to have the purposefulness and persistence to follow through. Place before me the right resources to deal with those concerns.

Help me to feel beautiful. Give both me and my husband an acceptance and appreciation of my body’s own sexuality and help us learn how I can experience both pleasure and intimacy in the marriage bed.

My God, I also struggle with my background. I brought baggage into my marriage — teachings about sex that weren’t in line with Your Word, experiences that colored my perception of sexuality, and labels that I carried in my mind about myself and about men. Please wash away all the debris and replace it with truth.

Help me step by step to replace the negative self-talk in my mind with messages that align with Your design for sex in my marriage. Help me to demolish every argument and pretension against Your will for my marriage bed, to take captive of every thought and make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). Transform my mind so that I will know Your will for me, even in the bedroom (Romans 12:2).

You are a God who heals, so I also pray that You will heal any rifts between me and my husband. It is indeed good and pleasant when Your people live together in unity! (Psalm 133:1). Where my husband and I do not see eye-to-eye on sexual intimacy, I pray that we can move toward unity. Help us to listen to one another, to communicate about difficult issues, and to make the personal changes we need to make to find common ground.

And this weekend, today, even now, I pray that you’ll open up my heart and my body to taking even one step in the right direction. While I long for a Red Sea moment, when You perform some great miracle that makes my marriage and marriage bed a perfect reflection of Your design, I recognize that more of my Christian life is walking faithfully with You. With Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path, showing me only the bit of road ahead that I need to see (Psalm 119:105). Help me take my next step in the right direction, and the one after that, and the one after that. Until I am striding along on the road You want me to be on, and my husband and I are moving toward greater intimacy and more honor to You, our Father.

Lord, what I haven’t said here, You already know. Where I don’t know what to pray, the Spirit intercedes for me (Romans 8:26). You are, and will always be, my Savior.

In Jesus’s name, Amen.

Be a Giver, Not a Taker

On Saturdays, I’ve been talking about specific verses and passages in the Bible, in hopes that we will learn and memorize more scripture to equip us in our lives and specifically our marriages.

In Acts 20:35, the apostle Paul refers back to something Jesus said, which isn’t recorded elsewhere. Not surprising, since Jesus surely said much more than what’s recorded in the Gospel accounts. Here’s that second half of that verse: “…remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ “

I’m betting you’ve heard that one before. Parents often use the better to give than receive line to make a kid surrender part of his spending money to the church collection plate or to share the bigger piece of pie with his sibling. But, not using it as a hammer, there’s certainly a lot of truth here — more blessed to give than to receive.

Be a Giver, Not a Taker: "...REMEMBERING THE WORDS THE LORD JESUS HIMSELF SAID: 'IT IS MORE BLESSED TO GIVE THAN TO RECEIVE.' "Admittedly, when it comes to sexual intimacy, I’m not always sure about this maxim. When the focus is on my pleasure, I’m sort of wrapped up in that joy of that moment that I think receiving is pretty darn good. But when I look more broadly at our sex life, I know the blessings that come from a giving nature.

We can truly enjoy the pleasure we bring to our husband, from the small affections we express to the shuddering climax we evoke from our beloved. There’s so much to enjoy from being a giver, not a taker:

  • The sly smile on his face when you offer him a look-see of your intimate places.
  • The excitement that sizzles under his skin when you suggest a new sexual activity or old one you both enjoy.
  • The improved mood of man who knows he’s loved in every way by his wife.
  • The confidence he feels in his abilities as a good husband and lover.
  • The sexual satisfaction that helps to keep his heart and mind focused on the good thing he’s got waiting at home.
  • The kid-in-a-candy-factory expression on his face during some great foreplay or right after you’ve made love.
  • The knowledge that you are following God’s design for sexual intimacy in your marriage.

Take that attitude into your marriage this week, and into your marital bedroom: It is more blessed to give than receive. What can you give your husband that would make him happy and you blessed?

And speaking of giving…

If you were here in September, you know that I announced this great giveaway with lots of goodies and the rules and blah, blah, blah. But then, my entire month was thrown into a tailspin. Long story short: My father died. The event of his death, though not the timing, was expected, and it was a positive goodbye to a life well-lived. But it did reek major havoc with my calendar.

At one moment of surrender, I said to myself, The giveaway is not happening this month. Some of the personal pressure I was feeling lifted from my shoulders, and I decided I’d reschedule when my life was a little more predictable.

So I’m rebooting! The giveaway starts today and will run through the month of November. It is indeed more blessed to give than receive, and I feel very blessed to have these items as part of my giveaway:

Sept 2016 Giveaway 1

Sept 2016 Giveaway 2

Total value = approximately $200! And here are the rules:

Hot, Holy, and Humorous 3D CoverThe giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian residents only. (Sorry, international followers, I just can’t ship that far!) Find copies of my book in your local bookstore. It’s usually shelved somewhere in Christian Life: Marriage.

To Enter Once: Snap a picture of yourself holding the book in the bookstore and email it to j [at] hotholyhumorous [dot] com, identifying where the photo was taken (bookstore, city, state).

To Enter Twice: Snap that picture, email it to me, and include express permission for me to post it on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest). I will not include a name unless you want me to do so, but I would like to include location.

To Enter Three Times: Snap a picture of yourself buying the book at the cashier and holding the book and your purchase receipt, send it to me, and you’ll be entered three times.

That’s it. Send me the photo anytime up through November 30, and I’ll randomly draw a winner the first week of December. If you win, you’ll receive the package just in time to wrap it up and put it under the Christmas tree for your spouse! (And don’t tell me you’ve already done all your Christmas shopping, or I might have to throw tomatoes at you instead. 😉 )

I’m excited to see where my book has shown up and to blessedly give away a great prize to one lucky reader.

The Beatitudes in the Bedroom: Experiencing God’s Promises

The Beatitudes. Lately, I’ve been covering how these principles can be applied to our marriage and marriage bed. However, I’d be surprised if some of you haven’t thought of an image like this during this series on my blog:

Bee - Attitudes!

(Yes, I used to work in Children’s Ministry.)

That’s really not a bad way to think about these commands from Jesus: They are attitudes that we take and people we want to be, whether we’re dealing with fellow church goers, co-workers or friends, or our spouse. And the be-attitude we adopt impacts how we view our world, including sexual intimacy in our marriage.

One more time, I want to give you the passage from the Sermon in the Mount that we refer to as The Beatitudes. If you’ve been following this series, you may be tempted to skim these familiar verses, but I encourage you to really read through them and let each sink into your mind and heart.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:3-10The Beatitudes in the Bedroom: Experiencing God's Promises

There are two more verses that complete this section of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” They expand on the final beatitude of “Blessed are those who are persecuted….”

Now I firmly believe that God’s commands reach every aspect of our lives. But His promises delve into every crevice as well. What if, living according to the Beatitudes, your marriage experienced these promises? What if your marriage itself:

  • belonged in the kingdom of heaven
  • was comforted
  • inherited the earth
  • felt filled
  • received mercy
  • saw God
  • was called a child of God
  • knew the kingdom of heaven

Sounds pretty good, huh?

In wrapping up my own study of this passage, I read a little further in Matthew 5. Now the Books of Matthew and Luke both give an accounting of Jesus’ sermon, and while there is a great deal of overlap, their different perspectives give us a slightly take on what was said and when. No, this isn’t a problem in verifying the truth of what Jesus said; rather, it’s how eyewitnesses report the same incident — with main points that agree and enough variations in detail to conclude they didn’t rehearse a false story. But Matthew may have chosen what came next in his account, rather than this being the order in which Jesus delivered his words.

Still, I was intrigued when I read:

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Matthew 5:13-16

That’s how I often feel about the godly sexual intimacy. While it’s a very private affair, how we conduct ourselves in this area can become a public testimony to the world about our Christian commitment and our spiritual fruit.

As you pour yourself into sexual intimacy, as one of several forms of intimacy you can have in marriage, some of that goodness overflows and shows. Your relationship is holier, heathier, and happier. Your friends and family may never fully know what all is behind your better, stronger, sweeter marriage, but your light shines.

My prayer for you and your marriage is that you will be blessed. That you will be salt and light. That you will experience God’s promises.

Blessed are those…

Let’s be those. Let’s be blessed.