Tag Archives: marriage blogging

800 Posts, Mostly about Sex

If you’d told me that I would be blogging for seven years, put up 800 posts, most of which have been about sex, and have thousands of people regularly reading them, I’d have said, “Excuse me, I need a vacation from just thinking about all that.”

Actually, I still want that vacation.

But rather than a vacation, I’ve been on a journey. I started in December 2010 with a Blogger site, writing one post a week and agonizing every time my finger hovered over the Publish button. I was sending my thoughts about sex into the world! A subject I was passionate about, but that not everyone was comfortable discussing.

Still, I believed that:

  • Sex mattered in marriages, more than people often spoke aloud.
  • The Word of God had far more to say about sex than I’d known while growing up or struggling with premarital promiscuity.
  • God wanted me to do something with my story of redemption—and wouldn’t leave me alone until I did!

Seven years later, here’s my blog by the numbers:

Pardon that pause. I had to be awakened from my faint with smelling salts. Because good gravy! those are some big numbers.

But the number I don’t have—the number I’m curious about, but don’t need to know—is how many marriages God has strengthened through Hot, Holy & Humorous.

He deserves all the credit. While I believe wholeheartedly in what I do, and think I do it well, even that comes from God.

As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3:4-7:

For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings? What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.

I’m just glad I got to be part of the gardening. (Because in real life, I suck at gardening.)

And you have made my journey so much nicer! I started this venture alone — well, me and God — but along the way, I’ve encountered so many who have trusted me with their stories, invited me to share what I’ve learned, encouraged me with generous words and deeds, and thanked me for whatever part I’ve played in their journey to a stronger, more intimate marriage.

As we approach Valentine’s Day, I simply want to say thank you to my brothers and sisters in Christ who have kept me and this blog going. You’re all sweethearts!

Now go bless your spouse with your love! And a little bow-chicka-wow-wow, while you’re at it. 😉

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High 5 Favorite Blog Posts of 2017

It’s time for my High Five, which is what I’m calling my Saturday posts in which I share five things I want my readers to know about—whether resources, Hot, Holy & Humorous happenings, or quick takeaways for your marriage bed.

One of my favorite fellow sex bloggers, Julie Sibert of Intimacy in Marriage, recently asked about a favorite blog post from last year. Oh my goodness! Seeing as I had 145 posts in 2017, it’s a really tall order to pick one.

But perusing my content, I fairly quickly came up with five favorite blog posts from last year.

blog post title + illustration of computer screen with male/female symbols insideIn case you missed them, or want to go back and re-read, here are those posts and why they make my favorites list:

 1. Q&A with J: “What Should We Call Persistent Porn Use?”

Title with text over black hole graphic background

There’s been a bit of an argument over whether watching a lot of porn should be called an addiction or a habit. In this post, I tackle that question with my own thoughts, research on the issue, and other bloggers’ posts that are worth reading on the subject.

I wanted to include this in my favorites list because I think we should question our terminology sometimes to make sure we are speaking in ways that actually help people overcome sinful behavior and challenges to their marriage bed. I’m willing to be challenged and consider how to talk more effectively as well.

2. Do Our Yoga Pants Make Men Sin?

Title with 5 pairs of yoga pants

At the risk of setting off another round of comments, I’m still adding this one to the list. Because it shows the ongoing debate about who is responsible in the modesty/lust conundrum.

I deal with this issue a lot as a Christian sex blogger, because it’s often on people’s minds. But as a middle-aged woman, I can also tell you we gals receive hundreds of admonitions to dress modestly over the years. And by golly, some ladies are just exhausted from it all—as if our yoga pants will cause “the downfall of otherwise good Christian husbands.”

3. How Did You and Your Spouse Meet? Here’s My Story.

Blog post title + picture of J and her husband in the park

This was just fun to write about my meet-to-marry story and share photos of me and “Spock” through the years. I have always felt like God had a firm hand in our coming together, and maybe you’ll agree after you read our tale.

Also fun was reading your stories in the comments!

4. A Letter to the Low Drive Husband

Blog post title + woman's hands writing a letter

I have a lot of high-drive wives reading my blog, and I’m so glad you ladies are here! Because while you represent somewhere from 15% to 30% of marriages, your type of marriage is underrepresented in Christian books and teaching about sexual intimacy. I want you to feel at home here on my blog, free to be who God made you to be and—at the same time—to struggle for something better in your marriage bed.

Even more underrepresented than high-drive wives, though, are low-drive husbands. I honestly do not know of a single blog or ministry reaching out to these men. That’s why I believe this post is so important, and it’s one that higher-drive wives might want to share with their low-libido husband.

5. On “Pigs,” Good Men, and the Difference

Blog post title + four pigs mucking about in a muddy spot within a field

Ask me what I’ve been really passionate about this past year, and one topic that will come up is the #MeToo movement. Why? Because I know from the stories that wives share with me that sexual misconduct against women can damage how they view men and sex in their marriage. Thus, in my pursuit of sex in marriage by God’s design, I’m highly motivated for our society to see a substantially decrease in sexual abuse and harassment.

This particular post felt like the culmination of my thoughts, because when I went looking for biblical answers, the simple and straightforward words of Jesus illuminated the subject so clearly. As usual, our Lord has the answers.

And that’s it! My five favorites of 2017. Do you have a favorite I didn’t mention? If so, I’d love to know which post reached out to you this past year.

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Stop Competing & Envying (and a Bit of a Rant)

Saturday is the day I share a Bible verse passage that we can apply to our marriages. I’ve been encouraging y’all, as well as myself, to memorize more scripture and apply it to our daily lives.

Today, I have a scripture to share for your marriage, but it’s also part of a plea I want to make to my commenters. Here it goes:

“Let us not become conceited, competing against one another, envying one another” (Galatians 5:26, NRSV).

Stop Competing & Envying: Galatians 5:26

Merriam-Webster defines conceited as “having or showing an excessively high opinion of oneself.” And let’s face it, we’re all prone to being self-centered. We see our day, our community, our universe in terms of how everything affects us.

We also see our marriages in terms of how we’re getting our own needs met. It’s our set-point that we have to reach beyond, learning how to love as Christ did — with a humble, other-focused, sacrificial love.

That’s not to say we let ourselves be doormats. By no means! But we should look at our marriages in terms of how we are doing, not just me.

We should look at our marriages in terms of how we are doing, not just me. Click To Tweet

Yet I see so many spouses doing what this scripture says not to do: competing against each other and envying one another. How? We constantly complain that we are the ones being mistreated in our marriage, that our spouse has it better than we do, that we are victims while they are villains.

I’ve done it in the past. I have years of prior marital unhappiness to demonstrate what a bad idea that is. At the height of my troubled marriage, I’d have said that I was the spouse who suffered the greater hardship. But now, with a clearer perspective, I recognize how deeply my husband was hurting. Back then, I discounted his pain because I was so focused on mine.

I wish I could do that over again. But I can’t. All I can do is remember what I’ve learned and share it with you: It doesn’t matter who has it worse. You’re one-flesh now, so if one of you is hurting, both of you are hurting.

You're one-flesh now, so if one of you is hurting, both of you are hurting. #marriage Click To Tweet

For example, if your spouse isn’t giving you the sex you should get, you’re missing what God desires you to have. But — whether they understand or not — your wife or husband is missing that too. If your spouse is watching porn, you’re being denied the exclusivity of sexual focus you should have in marriage. But your porn-addicted spouse is being injured as well. As a pastor I know often said, a self-inflicted wound still hurts.

People all around us are hurting, including our spouses, in ways we don’t understand. And one spouse being worse off, whoever it is, affects the whole. A good marriage isn’t preoccupied with being conceited, envying, or competing.

Nor should our lives reflect that attitude …

There have been several comments lately in which readers want to argue the point of my post by essentially saying, “Yeah, what you describe is bad, but isn’t my situation way, way worse?”

Honestly, it’s often not worse. And even if it is, how does it help you to compete against others and envy their presumably better situation? For the love of God, can I please get across how destructive this attitude can be! That way madness lies! (King Lear)

You can get so caught up justifying the comparisons, the competition, the envy that you waste precious time and effort that could be spent on changing what really matters. You could be working on yourself, becoming the person God wants you to be. You’re far more likely to see positive outcomes by moving away from selfishness and into humility, as modeled by Jesus Christ, and working on your own issues.

Truth is, I’ve gotten caught up with you, arguing a point far too long — back and forth, back and forth — in an effort to get through. Frankly, wasting time that could be better spent writing and speaking about godly sexual intimacy in marriage. This past week, God reminded me that is mission.

Thus, my Comments Policy might be getting an addition soon — something about how discussions of I have it bad … no, I have it worse … no, I have it way worse are fruitless and destructive. Because by allowing those conversations to continue ad infinitum, I feel like I’m enabling what this verse says not to do. When all our time would be better spent in prayer with God, in conversation with our spouse, or in flat-out fixing ourselves.

Yes, I know some of my readers have been through hell and back, and I do not take that lightly. I want this blog to be a place where we can share our real struggles and find compassion, encouragement, and answers. Such comments will be approved, and we can hopefully hammer out some ideas on how to help you where you are.

But those who want to set up imaginary scenarios, use bad statistics, or give a detailed account of their own woe-is-me moments so that they feel justified calling themselves victims, I don’t see the benefit of that. As we look across the world or across history, we always find someone who has it better. And someone who has it worse. The comparisons don’t change where we are or what we need to do to embrace a better life — the beauty God has stored for us.

Let’s stop competing and envying. Let’s fix our eyes on Jesus. And let’s pursue health, holiness, and happiness in our own lives and for those in our sphere of influence.

november-giveaway

7 Tips for New or Aspiring Marriage Bloggers

I’m a bit reluctant about today’s post, since it won’t appeal to a number of my readers. However, I don’t know where else to publish this, and I wanted to give a few tips to those who are new to blogging or considering a blog.

Here are some things I’ve learned in my years of blogging:

Blogging word cloudFind your voice. When I first started writing fiction, I really wanted to write like Jane Austen. But I couldn’t get too many words on the page before my characters started cracking jokes, and eventually I figured out I was just a snarky girl.

Likewise, I hesitated writing and speaking for a long time because I didn’t sound like a lot of the female Christian authors and speakers I admire. But I am no Stormie O’Martian, Beth Moore, or Sheila Gregoire. My voice is my voice. And once I embraced that I enjoy writing about biblical sex (holy), that I believed it could be exciting (hot), and that certain things about sex crack me up (humorous), I’d found my voice.

Thankfully, what’s demonstrated again and again in Scripture is that God wants all personality types and spiritual gifts engaged in furthering His kingdom. Your own perspective, aligned with God’s Word, can be the fresh take that helps someone else who finds your blog. As Oscar Wilde (reportedly) said, “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.”

Keep your posts brief and readable. What constitutes “brief” may vary from reader to reader, blog to blog, but as a rule of thumb, most people don’t want super-long posts. So if your standard writing length is 2000+ words, consider whether you can pare that down or break it into a series of posts.

You may need to edit your posts several times to get to a manageable length. Writing shorter posts can at times be harder than long ones. After all, consider Mark Twain’s marvelous observation: “‘I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” But make the extra effort, and resist the urge to cover everything about a topic in one post.

Get to the point quickly. Sometimes I read blog posts in which the introduction is half the post. My own drafts often start this way, with my explaining how I got an idea for a post and then why I want to cover it and what difference it will make. Or telling a personal story or an apt analogy with deep description and fervor. Blah, blah, blah. Your reader needs to know pretty quickly why she’s reading this post — what’s in it for her.

Imagine a 250-page book that didn’t get to anything meaty until page 100. You’d stop reading, right? Use a few words of introduction, but get to your theme fairly quickly. Honor your reader’s time.

Be consistent. Try not to post 11 times in November and twice in the next six months. Some successful blog authors do post whenever time and inspiration allow. However, the more common pattern for success is consistent posting, whether that’s once a week, twice a week, or every day of the week.

Choose what frequency you can honestly manage, and then try to stick to it. If you miss a day, don’t worry about it. If you want to put up an extra post, go for it. But remain fairly consistent so your readers know what to anticipate and expect.

Watch what you cite. Quotations and statistics are often cited incorrectly. Make an extra effort to check your sources. You needn’t hunt down every single citation like a bloodhound on a scavenger hunt, but try to find two sources or the original study or a reputable source. It’s easy to get this stuff wrong, because bad statistics, in particular, float around like dust specks in the air. For instance, in Shaunti Feldhahn’s recent book, The Good News about Marriage (which I haven’t read but plan to!), she talks about how we’ve all been citing a 50% divorce rate for years — and it’s flat-out wrong.

I’m sure I’ve messed up a citation now and then, but I try to get it right. And it’s one thing to be human and err, and another thing altogether to be careless and irresponsible. Check your citations as best you can. And while you’re at it, give credit to others for their words, stats, and ideas.

Decide what your comment policy will be. Some blogs take any and all comments, others moderate all comments, and some are in between. Simply consider ahead of time what kind of blog you want this to be. Do you want to encourage vigorous debate, like a public forum? Do you want to have deep discussions, like a college class? Do you want more lighthearted give-and-take, like a cocktail party? It really helped me when I finally realized I want my blog to be like my home. Respectful guests and lively conversation are welcome. People who insult or make others extremely uncomfortable are not asked back. Those who encourage me and make me laugh will probably get served dessert first. *smile*

Imagining my blog as a particular setting helped me figure out how to treat the variety of comments I receive. Encouragement, respectful disagreement, helpful tips, and personal testimony are welcome, but disrespectful trolls are shown the door.* My house, my rules.

Keep your own priorities. Sometimes it’s difficult to walk away from answering comments or emails or drafting another blog post, when I really need to go on a date with my husband or spend time with my family. You can get swept up interacting with others on your blog or social media, or feel the strong tug of wanting to help others. But having a marriage ministry should never take precedence over your own marriage.

Maintain your own priorities. Since I write about sex, I’d better step away from this screen when my husband approaches me to engage in sexual intimacy. (Sure, I’ll say, “Let me finish this thought,” but then I step away and head to our bedroom.)  First things first, and that includes God and your family.

So those are my tips for new or inspiring bloggers. Do you have any tips of your own to share?

*By the way, spam is constant, but disrespectful trolls are not common.

Too Pooped to Pop, or Why I Want a Vacation

When I write a blog post, I sometimes consider the reading audience as a whole, but more often I imagine sitting across a coffee shop table from a girlfriend and sharing advice, encouragement, and laughter about this gift of sexuality from our Heavenly Father. In the vein of that authentic girlfriend-to-girlfriend moment, here’s the scoop on J of Hot, Holy & Humorous.

I have written before about not withholding sex when you are tired and making sex a priority in your schedule. But honestly, my sweet fellow wives, I am on week four of a lung-crunching cough that will not quit. I haven’t even been able to mouth-to-mouth kiss my ever-so-susceptible-to-sickness husband in about a month, which has made sex a challenge to say the least.

On top of this lingering illness — which, yes, I have been to the doctor and used medication and home remedies for — I’ve been working with my lovely website designer on a blog move that ended up involving more glitches than my junior high home economics project (and, trust me, that’s saying a lot). I’m thrilled with the new look, but there are still some kinks to work out. For instance, you may have noticed that my “blog roll” — that list on my side bar of marriage sites I recommend — is missing. Also, I’m trying to determine whether my RSS feed and email subscribers are still getting these posts and how to move anyone who isn’t. All of that has added work hours to my already full schedule.

Then there’s my husband’s work schedule, which has been unpredictable at best, and irritatingly long at worst. I’m so thankful that he is working, because I know some people in this economy would love to have a job, but it can be a hard to deal with a spouse gone so much and the need to pick up that extra slack.

All that said, maintaining our sexual intimacy has been a challenge lately. There have been plenty of days in the last few weeks when I’ve thought, I am just too pooped to pop.

Yet the reality is that when we’ve made time to physically connect, when I’ve mustered the energy from somewhere to be sexual with my husband, when we’ve met our obstacles with determination to be creative and figure out how to keep having sex amidst the chaos . . . we feel better. It’s still not easy, but it is worthwhile.

(And just an FYI: The coughing goes away completely during orgasm. How’s that for a prescription for health?)

I’m praying that I will feel 100% better very soon, that my lips will happily engage with my husband’s lips (which I miss very much), that my website issues will resolve, that groceries will suddenly appear in my pantry (oh wait, that ain’t gonna happen!), and that the recent nipping of life at our calendar’s heels will subside.

Or that I can take a vacation very soon. Because that sounds so very nice right now.

Young woman sitting on tropical beach

Bring it on!
Photo credit: Microsoft Word Clip Art

In the meantime, here are a few takeaways and one question for you, my wonderful coffee-shop friend:

  • Marriage is lived out in the real world — a world of daily demands, sickness and health, joy and stress, give and take. When extra challenges appear, it takes extra thought and effort to stay emotionally and sexually connected.
  • Some marriages face huge obstacles to sexual intimacy, but I believe that more marriages face small, niggling issues that interfere with experiencing the best we can have. We have to be intentional about not letting the small stuff pile up, form a barrier between spouses, and turn into a big obstacle — about keeping our priorities straight.
  • Gratitude is foundational in staying connected in marriage. Usually, you hear that communication is the foundation, and I agree that it is so important. But when you’re being buffeted by the winds of life, taking stock of your blessings can keep you grounded. Yes, things have been a little tough lately, but I am so blessed to have a husband who provides, who cares for me, who does life with me, who feels like a gift-wrapped present from my Heavenly Father. So when we have to squeeze sex in at 5:00 in the morning, between coughs no less, my mind is still turning toward how grateful I am to have my husband and remembering that love that we share. That gratitude is foundational for me to feel connected to him.
  • And now my question: If you are a regular subscriber to my blog, how do you subscribe? Are you receiving my posts? I want to check the various methods through which people receive this blog (Blogger follow, RSS feed, email subscription, etc.).
  • Also please check out my recent guest post on Unveiled Wife about The Other Scriptures about Marital Sex. You might be surprised to discover that the Bible speaks to your marital bedroom a lot more than you think.