Tag Archives: Hot Holy and Humorous

Q&A with J: Sexual Wants Vs. Needs

Let’s talk about needs and desires. It’s the subject of a question from one of my readers, a husband who told me about a discussion he had with his wife. He’d expressed what he thought was a sexual need, but she did not see it that way.

His email then came to the crux of the question below:

Ultimately, the bigger issue – I think – that our conversation brought up was the question of what is a need verses what is a desire. They are so close, but yet subtly different; for me fulfillment of needs nurtures me at the core, the other doesn’t effect me emotionally if it does not come to fruition. I personally can think of sexual/intimate activity that I need on a regular basis; and there are other activities that I think are fun, exciting, erotic, and amazing — but I don’t *need* them, but definitely like them. So — how do we determine our needs (even as they change!) verses our desires (even as these change too! — and maybe become needs?) and how do we effectively fill those needs for each other when we don’t see it the same way.

Blog title + WANTS and NEEDS on balance scale

I’m going to say something really unpopular, but here I go anyway: You don’t even need sex.

For a marriage and sex blogger, that seems like a crazy thing to proclaim. I mean, why would I spend so much time trying to convince wives, and couples, to nurture the sexual intimacy in their marriage if they don’t really need it anyway? Am I wasting my time?

By no means! I believe deeply in the significance of sacred and sizzling sex in the marriage bed. I’ve even said it’s inaccurate to call sex “the icing on the cake,” when it’s actually an ingredient — an important one.

However, I remember taking the popular His Needs/Her Needs marriage course, which has been revamped and is now presented as Marriage Helper. While there was a lot of good that came from that experience, I was always bothered by the potential of one spouse looking at the other and declaring about anything they want, “This is my emotional need. Now meet it.” Indeed, that wasn’t the core message of the course, but there was the potential for misuse.

After all, the first definition of need in Merriam-Webster is: “necessary duty.” Ugh, who wants to have a marriage filled with “necessary duty”? Of course we have obligations, but what we really desire is partnership, companionship, intimacy.

However, a couple of definitions down, we get: “a physiological or psychological requirement for the well-being of an organism.” Okay, that sounds more like it. And I would then agree that sex is a requirement for the well-being of the marriage.

Sex is a requirement for the well-being of the marriage. Click To Tweet

But when you talk to your spouse, which definition of need are they hearing: You owe me? or This is good for our marriage? I fear too many spouses hear the former.

And in truth, I don’t think you need any sexual activity in particular or even sex itself. That is, we don’t individually need to have sex. Yes, I know it’s listed on Maslow’s famous Hierarchy of Needs:

Pic credit: Wikimedia commons, Factoryjoe

But it’s not like food or water or shelter from harsh elements. You can survive without sex. So proclaiming that you have a need for some particular sexual activity can come across as exaggerated, or even melodramatic.

Besides, if you look back at Maslow’s Hierarchy, you’ll see that “sexual intimacy” is listed in the Love/Belonging category. So even if sexual release is a need, in marriage we’re aiming for sexual intimacy. That’s what God wants us to have.

I’m really drawing from my own life and marriage on this one. Years ago, when things were rough in our relationship, I thought I needed a lot of stuff my husband wasn’t giving me. And I wondered: Why isn’t he listening? Doesn’t he care about my needs? Doesn’t he want to meet my needs and show me love?

I look back at that wife and want to say, “Oh, get over yourself.” Had I shifted to expressing my wants, longings, and desires and then taking care to figure out and meet his wants, longings, and desires, I’d have been in a way better place.

The truth is that all my actual needs are met with basic physical care and safety and salvation through Jesus Christ. Everything else resides in Perksville.

All my needs are met with basic physical care and safety and salvation through Jesus Christ. Click To Tweet

Thankfully, we have a generous God who wants your marriage bed to be squarely in the neighborhood of Perksville, Population 2. But if you express what you want sexually as a want, as a longing for greater sexual intimacy with your spouse, can you see that you might actually feel more grateful and encouraged and excited when your mate obliges?

I’m not saying that sex isn’t a need for your marriage. It clearly should be a part of your relationship, an important part, and neglecting one another’s desires can negatively impact the well-being of your marriage.

But it’s not a need for you. Or me. Or any individual.

So getting back to the original question of how to determine whether something is a need or a desire … I don’t know that it really matters. At least when you’re trying to ask for or convince your spouse to do something sexually. Using “I need this” language isn’t likely to get the response you want.

A better approach is “I desire you,” followed by what you want and how that makes you feel more connected to your beloved. Some acts will make you feel more connected, and some less so. And that distinction you can also express.

You could even use a How Important Is This to Me/You/Our Marriage? scale. Imagine a 1 being Not At All and a 10 being Makes Me Feel One Flesh. Then you can each rank on that scale how much you want, desire, long for a particular activity. That gets the message across to your spouse.

And if you want to use the word need — and it’s not a bad word at all! — then use it about your marriage. “Our marriage needs more attention to sexual intimacy. Our marriage needs more sexual frequency. Our marriage needs more pleasure.”

Because I agree that your marriage wants and needs sex. But as for you, and me, and everyone else individually? Maybe we should get over ourselves. We can live without, though we are blessed that God wants us to live abundantly — even in the marriage bed.

Q&A with J: He Wishes I Could Orgasm More

Today’s question is from a recently married wife.

Orgasms have always been difficult for me. I’ve probably had a dozen or so in nine months of daily sex. Now, this doesn’t mean I’m not enjoying sex — far from it! I absolutely love, and get a lot of pleasure from, our intimate times. But while I can get up to, say, an 8 out of 10 on a scale of “Brushing Your Teeth” to “Screaming Orgasm,” it’s pretty rare for me to actually tip over the edge. But I’ve found that one of the surest ways to enjoy sex LESS and be LESS able to get there in the end is to worry about whether or not I’m going to get there in the end. I’m happy most of the time just to relax, have a good time naked with my awesome hot husband, and let things happen (or not) as they will. I’m confident that as we learn to care for each other even better sexually in the coming months and years of our marriage, it’ll get easier for me to have orgasms.

So what’s the issue, then, you may be asking? Well, it’s my sweet, selfless husband, who feels absolutely terrible about the fact that he has 20 orgasms for every one I have. He’s told me he feels selfish, and like it’s unfair. I keep insisting that I’m having an awesome time, that I love having sex with him, and that I need to relax and not spend the first 30 minutes of sex worried about the last 30 seconds. But he still feels anxious and disappointed and, I think, a bit like he’s letting me down or failing me.

What should I do? Should I start… I don’t know, recommending books to him on how to bring a woman to orgasm? Are there such things from a Christian perspective, or that at least aren’t all about impressing your latest partner? Or do I just keep plugging away with the encouragement? I know it’s a bit silly to be writing in for advice because my husband is just too focused on my pleasure (and I can hear the folks in the comments section rolling their eyes now, haha!), but I really don’t know how best to approach it.

Q&A with J: He Wishes I Could Orgasm More

I’m not rolling my eyes, because I can see how this could cause some issues in the marriage. Yes, of course it’s awesome that her husband wants her to experience the mind-shattering climaxes, but not having those every time makes him feel like she’s missing out and then she’s wondering why she can’t orgasm more and it makes sex this chasing-the-golden-ring event. When what they both want and should have is an intimate, exciting experience in the marriage bed.

Now I agree she’s not having enough orgasms for all that daily sex, but I’ll get to that a bit later. First, I want to deal with some other issues brought up.

Is it unfair? She says he feels selfish for having so many more climaxes and thinks it’s unfair. It’s pretty clear he’s not selfish, because he’s concerned about her pleasure. But I agree: It is a little unfair. I know plenty of wives who’ve felt this way when they saw how much easier it can be for many guys to become aroused and to reach the apex of pleasure.

However, even though orgasm can take a long time to figure out or even a long time to reach, we ladies can have multiples. And isn’t that a little unfair to the guys? Rather than comparing apples and oranges here, we should appreciate the benefits and drawbacks to the biology we each have. If she skips orgasms from time to time, but has multiples other times, it can even out. But even if it doesn’t, we’re not keeping score.

Why is he anxious? Beyond his obvious desire to pleasure his wife, why else would he feel anxiety? Look, guys partly judge their sexual performance by how great they make their wives feel. If he has a hard time getting her to orgasm, he might take it personally — like there’s something wrong with his sexual prowess. And I’ll be supremely honest here: Maybe he could improve and help her get there more often.

Now much of the time, not orgasming has more to do with the physiological, emotional, and mental factors she has to deal with to reach climax. However, the popular notion that just by virtue of being a guy, he’ll know exactly how to turn you on is just bunk. Our bodies are complex and varied in how they respond.

It doesn’t help that movies and novels make it seems like women almost always climax during sexual intercourse with their man, yet other methods are far more likely to get her there. Since orgasms are tied to stimulation of the clitoris, direct stimulation from manual play and oral sex are often easier ways for wives to reach the Big O.

You can suggest resources to him, but even better is you two seeking them out together. My book, Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design, is directed at wives but has a lot of tips you can both put into practice. It also has a whole chapter on reaching orgasm, including those multiples I mentioned. I also recommend Lovemaking by Dan and Linda Wilson and Sheet Music by Dr. Kevin Leman.

But let him know you’re willing to explore and discover what feels especially pleasurable to your body. Not like an All Encompassing Mission, but a playful adventure of trying new things and sharpening your skills together. You want to become experts in one another’s unique bodies. And for that, the best sex classroom is your own marital bedroom.

The best sex classroom is your own marital bedroom. Click To Tweet

Why is he disappointed? I’m not sure about this husband, but I hear generally from hubbies that they get an extra kick of excitement when their wives climax. It really turns them on to see their wives turned on. It wouldn’t be a shocker, then, for this husband to long for her to orgasm more often. Why not watch her reach the peak and fly right over with a big smile on her face? It makes the whole sex experience even better for him.

However, climax isn’t the only indicator of how fabulous sex feels to us gals. Sure, I’m all for rock-the-bed-frame orgasms, but what you describe is what I and other wives have also felt: Sometimes we can be happy to “have a good time naked with my awesome hot husband.” There’s a lot to be said for the vulnerability, closeness, and general pleasure of having sex, even if climax doesn’t happen this time around.

How can you get him to understand? That’s a tougher question. I’ve had some success drawing analogies that my husband would understand. Like for the sports lover: “What if you started playing a game, but got rained out before it finished? Would you feel the whole thing was a waste of time, or would you appreciate the time you got to play?” Or for the video gamer: “Do you feel like you have to win every round you play? Or do you sometimes enjoy just playing for the sake of it?” Not sure those are great, but you get the idea. Come up with your own analogy that he might relate to.

Should you keep plugging away? Your actual question was: “Or do I just keep plugging away with the encouragement?” But I’d say yes to both: encouragement and plugging away (if you know what I mean, *wink*). You’re absolutely right that you don’t need the extra pressure of Must Climax This Time. Trying too hard to reach orgasm can prevent a wife from reaching orgasm.

Keep things light with encouragement that you love the experience, that you enjoy orgasms when they happen, and that you believe you can work together to make your peaks more frequent. Keep reminding him that you like the whole shebang, not just the she-goes-bang. But then plug away with the sexual experience! Help him make small adjustments with his hands or mouth or your angles during intercourse. Speak up for what feels good . . . and what feels even better.

Let’s face it: Your current sex-to-orgasm ratio could be improved. And since orgasm feels so incredibly awesome, why not have more of them? Check out the tips on getting there from my book, go slower with arousal and foreplay, and figure out what makes your body sing.

And yes, I think orgasms will get easier as you grow accustomed to one another’s bodies. After all, according to the famous 10,000-hour Rule, we need about 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become experts at something. Sure enough, couples report more satisfying sex after a decade or two of being together. Thankfully, you have a lifetime together to get in all that great practice. Enjoy!

The (New & Improved) Sex Book You Need for Your Marriage

Once upon a time, there was a Christian marriage and sex blogger who decided to write a book. She took some of her blog content, massaged it into book format, and self-published Sex Savvy: A Lovemaking Guide for Christian Wives. Some people bought it. They liked it. More people bought it. And it was a lovely, unexpected thing for the author. She thought no more about it and kept writing.

Fast forward a few years, and her self-published book caught the interest of a literary agent and traditional publisher. Bringing their expertise to the table, Sex Savvy took on new life. It was expanded, reworked, repackaged, and generally made a whole lot better.

And now I get to share it with all of you!

My new & improved book!

My new & improved book!

This has been working behind the scenes for a while, but Sex Savvy is going off sale and will be replaced by Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design. This is truly a new and improved version, put out by the fabulous folks at BroadStreet Publishing. What can you can expect from Hot, Holy, and Humorous? I thought I’d answer a few questions you might have.

Is it the same content as Sex Savvy? Yes, and no. Everything in Sex Savvy is in this book, but there are several added chapters with even more information and tips for sexual intimacy in your marriage. Also, chapters have been reworked for better flow and readability. If it were me, I’d definitely buy the new version.

Why go with a traditional publisher, instead of sticking with self-publishing? A couple of reasons. One, if you go to a Barnes & Noble, a Lifeway Christian Store, or ChristianBook.com, you won’t find my self-pubbed book. Large book retailers almost exclusively buy from traditional publishers. BroadStreet has relationships with bookstores, and I’m hoping that my book will reach a broader audience through their efforts. Two, traditional publishers have a whole lot of experience putting out their products. They bring their know-how to bear on the quality of the product, and I saw that firsthand as I worked through this process. Hot, Holy, and Humorous is professionally packaged, polished, and produced.

When does it go on sale? June. I’ll be here with a specific date, but that’s when it will go up for sale. Whether it hits your local bookstore depends on the buyers in your market. But it will be up on major online retailers, like Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and hopefully several other, easy-to-reach book distributors.

How can you help the book launch? Order it today! Buy it when it releases. Tell others about it. If you read it, please post a positive review online at B&N, Amazon, iBooks, Goodreads, etc. (By the way, anything less than 4 stars doesn’t work to an author’s advantage for Amazon’s algorithms. Just an FYI.) And ask your local bookstore to carry it. Sometimes, book buyers will respond to requests from their customers.

A book of books…ready to go! Don’t you love that cover?!

Why do you need this book? That’s really the most important question of all. Why on earth should you buy a book about “Sex in Marriage by God’s Design” anyway? First of all, I assume you being here means you’re at least mildly interested in the subject. Second, I’ve gained a bit of wisdom on this topic — made it my forte, my bailiwick, my wheelhouse, my passion. I have a personal story about sex done the wrong way and done God’s way, but I’ve also read a lot on the topic, studied the Bible for God’s instructions, talked to many people about their sexual struggles and successes, and advised plenty of spouses and couples on improving their marriage beds. I’ve heard from more than a few that I have indeed helped, for which I give all credit to God.

But whether you’re clueless about your marital intimacy, have a few issues left to resolve, or think things are going pretty well overall, Hot, Holy, and Humorous has biblically based perspectives and tips for you. It’s a easy-to-read book with lots of practical suggestions, all from a Christian point of view.

So why do you need this book? Because it will help your marriage.

Over the years, I’ve invested in resources that have nurtured my marriage, and it’s a great feeling to be able to offer that to others. I pray this book blesses you and those you love!

Q&A with J: “It’s Just a Boudoir Photo, Mom”

Today’s question is an interesting one. A newlywed wife shared something with her mother, which stirred up an emotional hurricane. Here’s her question:

My new husband and I had a couple’s wedding boudoir photo shoot the day after the wedding. (We waited till our wedding night to have sex.) Our pictures were tasteful and beautiful. I mentioned to my mother (60 yr old) about it, and she asked to see an example of what I was talking about. I sent her 1 picture with both of us, me in the bridal corset and everything I wore under the dress and him in underwear laying on a bed looking in each other’s eyes.

The response was as if we had made a hardcore porn flick to sell on the internet. I was told how embarrassed of me she was and how disappointed in how I turned out considering my conservative Christian upbringing. She could not fathom why I would do anything like that. Suggested that I should be embarrassed to step foot in church and pretty much did everything but call me a whore.

I just don’t know what to say to her now to combat all this. She questioned my husband’s salvation (a newer Christian) and suggested that he is a bad influence and I am unequally yoked. I was regaled with all the plans and hopes and dreams her and dad had had for my life…like missionary and pastors wife…had how short had fallen. Any suggestions on how to approach this?

sexy bride are preparing to wedding

Before I tackle the specific question, I want to point out that this couple waited until marriage to have sex, took the boudoir photos the day after the wedding, and wanted intimate yet tasteful photos. I’ve written about bridal boudoir photography, but I hadn’t covered couples’ photos like this. Actually, I think it’s a rather nice idea if approached properly.

But . . .

The problem arose when she shared the photo with Mom. First off: Hey, Mom, you should know better than to ask to see something called “couples boudoir photos”!

As I’ve said before, (most) parents want their grown children to have beautiful sexual intimacy in their marriages — but they don’t want to know anything specific. It’s like how my parents know I have this blog and books about Christian sex, and they’re pleased, but they do not want to read them. Even if you’re completely fine with what your kids are doing, you can’t erase all that personal stuff from your head. So parents, don’t ask.

But now for the questioner: Yes, I know it’s too late for you, sweet wife, but in the future and for others reading this, keep the boudoir photos to yourselves. I assume your reasons for taking them were to mark the beginning of your intimacy together, to have a reminder of your first day as a one-flesh couple, to relish the special bond represented by the marriage bed you share.

That’s all very lovely. But even though nothing was revealed, it can be awkward for a friend or family member to see you and your husband somewhat undressed. Be careful not to plant images in their heads they really don’t need.

However, Mom asked to see the photo, you complied, and now the pointed edge of her scathing critique has left a wound in your heart and your relationship. Let me reassure you that her attack on your faith was out of line. It is one thing to say, “Oh my goodness, I can’t believe you did that!” — because some people simply won’t get it — and a whole other thing to insult you and your husband personally with attacks on your character and commitment to Christianity.

Even if you were doing something wrong (which you weren’t), the way another Christian should approach the situation is with gentleness (Galatians 6:1) and dealing with the fault at issue (Matthew 18:15). I want you to understand this point because, putting yourself in your mother’s shoes of believing this was wrong, it still doesn’t give her — or any other Christian — permission to slander you in this way.

Yet you still have an obligation to treat her with kindness. That’s so hard when you’re personally attacked and emotionally wounded. But I tell it like it is here, and we don’t get excused for bad behavior on our part just because someone else did it first.

Remind yourself often that you are commanded to honor your mother (Exodus 20:12, Matthew 15:4, Ephesians 6:2-3); that you must respond with love (John 13:34-35Ephesians 4:2); and that agape love is active (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). Honestly, I have times with certain people in my life when I recite the Fruit of the Spirit in my head like a lifeline. No matter how much someone pisses me off hurts me, I don’t want to forget who I am before God and my desire to live according to His commands.

So remember to be the daughter and Christian you want to be, rather than letting your own hurt become anger that lashes out and turns you and your family into enemies.

Now let’s get down to the real question: What to do now? Does treating your mother with honor mean you put up with her accusations and attacks? Nooooo!

It’s time to set some boundaries around your marriage. The decision to take couples boudoir photography was yours and your husband’s, and the photos are for your use and enjoyment. While it’s sad that your mother feels the way she does, she needs to know that you stand with your husband and your marriage.

Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend assert in their groundbreaking book, Boundaries: “For marriage to work, the spouse needs to loosen her ties with her family of origin and forge new ones with the new family she is creating through marriage.” Setting appropriate boundaries means responding calmly but firmly to anyone who attempts to damage your marriage with hostile words or actions.

Likewise, in The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, based on extensive marriage research, author John Gottman, Ph.D. states, “An important part of putting your spouse first and building this sense of solidarity is not to tolerate any contempt toward your spouse from your parents.” When a parent personally attacks your spouse, you should speak up in his defense.

“Mom, I understand your feelings about this, but my husband is a committed Christian who waited until our wedding night and treats me well.”

My husband has not been a bad influence on me. Rather, he loves me, and I hope you can learn to appreciate that.”

I will not stand here and let you insult my husband. If you continue, I’m going to have to leave.”

Stand up for yourself as well — reassuring her that you are the same person she has known and loved for all these years. One boudoir photo she doesn’t approve of does not change who you are.

“Mom, I know you see this as evidence of a problem, but I’m totally committed to my Christianity and to my marriage. Even if you don’t understand, I hope you can see past this to the person I really am.”

When things like this happen, it’s tempting to argue out all the points with her. But when the emotions run so high, it’s very unlikely you’ll get anywhere with such a conversation. It’s better to set boundaries so your family understands you’re only willing to discuss this issue, and any other problematic ones, if and when they can approach you with respect.

It also usually takes time and repeated reminders to get across that you really will not hang around for go-nowhere conflict or stand-here-and-take-it slander. Mud-slinging just leaves everyone covers in slimy dirt, and who wants that to be the tone of your family?

In the future, if she can address the subject more calmly and respectfully, you can discuss your reasons for wanting to do boudoir photography. You could even listen to your mom’s concerns, since she may have drawn conclusions that aren’t even correct (like who might see these photos). You can reassure her and perhaps help her to see your viewpoint. It doesn’t mean she’ll agree, but families can disagree about all kinds of things and remain close.

Finally, I want to point out that her reaction may have been extreme due her own wounds. I don’t know this for sure, but often when people have an over-the-top, freaked-out response, it’s because their own sensitive places got poked. If that’s possible, recognizing this might help you to give her a bit of grace while she works through emotional pain.

I don’t know what that wound might be in this case, but a different example (just to illustrate what I’m talking about) would be a mother who’s appalled by her daughter’s super-sexy lingerie . . . because her own husband looked at porn with similarly dressed women. In her mind, that links her daughter to porn stars, which could bring out a negative overreaction. It wouldn’t be okay for her to berate her daughter, but it would at least make her response understandable.

As pastor James MacDonald has often said, “There is no pain like family pain.” It is a unique experience to be in the storm of family conflict — and especially difficult when your family of origin is pitted against your chosen family through marriage. But many have navigated the turbulent seas, reestablished calm, and enjoyed the blessing of having two families who care about them deeply.

I pray this is your outcome.

Q&A with J: Baby’s Here, But Sex? Not So Much.

Without a doubt, the time in our marriage I least felt like having sex was after my babies were born. You might think since they’re now teenagers, I’ve forgotten what that’s like, but I clearly recall the total lack of interest I had in being touched by another human being, much less fondled and sexed up in the marriage bed.

Looking back, I wish I’d handled it all so much better. Frankly, I’ve apologized to the hubster (and made up for it!), but I also learned a few things I can share with the reader who asks this question:

I am writing because I just had my first baby!! She’s wonderful and a great addition to our lives!!!  However, as I figured, things have changed in my anatomy. I don’t feel like myself physically or emotionally! We had sex for the first time at 6 weeks postpartum and it was awful! My husband was very sweet and kind about it!  He was very loving and gentle. What can I do about my brain and emotions to want to be intimate with him again? I just am looking for any advice I can find for sex after a baby! I am praying through this, but am looking for practical advice as well! Thanks!

Q&A with J Baby's Here, But Sex Not So Much.

My favorite line from this query is “I don’t feel like myself physically or emotionally!” Amen, sister. Pregnancy and childbirth take over your body like nothing else and change you. I’ve had lasting consequences from that experience, like a heightened sense of smell and new allergies. Go figure.

I’m not sure an alien abduction could rival the life-changing experience of hosting a tiny human being in your body and then pushing it out into the world. Then, while your body is still in full recovery mode, you’re supposed to figure out how to care for this baby. Welcome to Crash Course Parenting!

Now add your need to return to sexy wife status, and the pressure can feel insurmountable. Someone, send this lady on vacation, please!

But you’re not alone, and others have successfully tread the waters before. Or at least learned important lessons they can share from not doing it so fabulously.

Get a physical check-up. If sex continues to feel “awful,” there could be a physical reason for your discomfort. Tell your doctor what’s going on. Be honest, specific, and persistent. Your hormones could be so thrown off you’re not producing enough estrogen to lubricate and swell down there. You could have an infection. You could be slow to heal from tearing. Make sure your doctor does a physical examination of your body to see if something might be triggering your problems. If pain continues, check out my post on pain during sex.

Give yourself time. Most doctors prescribe 4-6 weeks to recover from childbirth before attempting intercourse. But honestly, the recommendation is built on averages. Some women can engage after 2-3 weeks, others need 8-10 weeks. Just know your particular situation may vary from the standard, and that’s okay. It’s an individual couple’s decision when to get back to making love. You definitely want to aim for it, but not push so hard that you dread the encounter.

And since I know I have hubbies reading: Listen up, guys. Want to make me madder than a plucked hen? Tell me your wife should give birth one day and meet your sexual needs within a week. Seriously? Have you ever gone through childbirth? No, you have not. It’s a beautiful experience, but it also wreaks havoc with a woman’s body. Rather than demanding sex on your terms, please dig deep for compassion and grace and help her through a difficult transition. Honestly, she’s more likely to want to make love to you if you’re helpful, understanding, and loving to her in this season. That’s how you’re supposed to treat your wife anyway. (Really. Look it up.)

Appreciate your body. Plenty of new moms do not feel great about presenting their naked bodies to hubby. However you felt about that big bulge in your belly during pregnancy, now that baby’s gone, it can look like a sagging sack. It takes a while for everything to get back where it belongs. If you’re nursing, you have the added awkwardness of leaking at inopportune times. Oops, sorry about that, hubs. Many moms have absolutely no interest in using their breasts sexually while they’re baby food factories. Which can throw off your marital sex routine.

But here’s the thing: Your body is incredible. Just look at that baby and imagine how God used your body to grow and nurture that little body with all its intricate parts. Most husbands also gain a fresh appreciation for the wonder of their wife’s body. I remember vividly feeling like a crazy mess a few weeks after my first kid, lying on the couch in my pajamas, and crying to my poor husband about my flabby, exhausted body. He shrunk back with shock and proclaimed, “I love your body even more now.” Hey, that body gave him a child.

Not only did God knit you together, he knit a baby in your womb (Psalm 139:13). Besides, you still have all those curves and fascinating places that thrill your guy. Remind yourself regularly of your beauty and embrace your self-confidence.

Rebuild your sexual intimacy. The reality is that your sex life is not the same. I venture to say it will never be the same as it was B.C. (before children). Your body has changed. Your relationship to one another has broadened. Your child is an ongoing responsibility. Your attention is more divided.

You can’t have sex anytime you want anymore, because baby’s schedule is now in the mix. As your child grows, you’ll be faced with the challenges of getting interrupted, having to take extra measures for privacy, and finding time to squeeze lovemaking between Junior’s piano lessons and parent night. None of this means you can’t have amazing sexual intimacy! All of these challenges and experiences link you together more, making sex even more meaningful.

Simply keep this in mind and rebuild your sexual intimacy from here. Find out what arouses you, how to best prepare yourself for sexual intimacy, how you can creatively carve out time, what you can do to extend foreplay throughout the day (so that when you’re ready to go, you’re ready to go). Learn to laugh about those times when you’re right on the brink of making love . . . and kiddo yells, “Daddy, what are you and mommy doing?” from the other side of your bedroom door. Or other child-specific, funny-bone moments. Just take a fresh perspective of your sex life together.

Focus your mind on sexual desire. Finally, you mentioned getting back into things emotionally. That requires getting your head in the game, being able to switch from your list of Mama to-dos to what you and Papa want to do with each other. New mommy brains tend to be full of responsibilities, worry, and exhaustion. There’s not a lot of room in there for sexy thoughts.

Make room. Make it a goal to think something sexy about your hubby and/or yourself during the day. You can use a journal to record your thoughts, align that task with another (I will remember a great time we made love every day while brushing my teeth), text your husband something romantic, plan a rendezvous. Ask for help from your husband for that mental shift, by letting him bathe the baby or rock him to sleep while you take a few minutes for a soothing bubble bath, a chance to make the bedroom nice and light candles, or slipping into something that makes you feel desirable.

When there’s so much else going on, we have to make a conscious decision to focus on sex with our husband. If you make it a priority in your mind, over time you’ll likely find your emotions following. You will reawaken love for him and your sexual intimacy.

That concludes my advice this time around. I’m curious to hear from my readers. What tips worked for you or what lessons did you learn from your own experience?

Also see A Month Without Sex?! Advice for New Moms.