Tag Archives: Sheila Gregoire

Q&A with J: No Interest in Sex & Meeting Emotional Needs

It’s Q&A day again! Today, I’m tackling two questions: one about a lack of interest in sex and the second about meeting emotional needs in marriage. Let’s get to it!

Blog post title + illustration of bed with question marks above

1. No Interest in Sex

I’m in a strange predicament. I relate to the term “demisexual”, which basically means someone better be my best friend if they want a prayer of me thinking they’re attractive. I lovingly refer to this as “the most convenient orientation”, but it has had its inconveniences as well.

Growing up, I was unable to relate to my friends who seemed to fall in love so quickly. I rarely thought about sex until I got serious (staying pure till marriage- no worries!) with my fiancé. Sex seems like fun! I’m looking forward to it and I want to be as experimental (now that I know you can be! Lol)

The hardest part, though, is that both my fiancé and I have a mutual concern. I don’t think much about sex. I am not interested in it as much as the normal person. I don’t understand why sex sells and I am a businesswoman and a performer. I am mortified that my wiring is going to ruin my marriage. Heck, it took me two years to kiss the poor boy. He is the most respectful and patient and loving man I have ever met, but I feel so guilty and like this aspect of me is going to be a curse on our relationship.

What advice do you have to give to women who just don’t have much active interest in sex? Or couples with different libidos?

Let me first say that I don’t think all those terms (“demisexual,” “asexual,” etc.) are all that helpful. It’s a label that makes it seems like you’re different in a way that doesn’t seem all that weird to me. A lot of people aren’t that interested in sex with someone unless and until they feel deep companionship and connection.

A lot of people aren't that interested in sex with someone unless and until they feel deep companionship and connection. Click To Tweet

In addition, not being interested in sex isn’t the kiss of death to your intimacy either. Many — really, the majority of — women have libidos that are more responsive than proactive. Such wives can have wonderful sexual intimacy if they prioritize sex in their marriage, decide to engage, and then surrender to the pleasure of the experience. They may not ever have an independent urge to have sex, but from memories of how good it made them feel before and how sex keeps them connected to their husband, they continue to enjoy ongoing affection and sexual pleasure throughout their marriage.

All that said, a nonexistent libido or inability to respond sexually could be a problem. One question I’d have is whether you experience physiological arousal at any time. That is, do you experience lubrication and swelling in the genital area at any time when you’re with your fiancé? Women often aren’t as aware of their arousal, but if their bodies are physiologically responding, it’s a good sign for future sexual engagement. If that’s not happening, you should visit a doctor to check on hormone levels and any other factors that could influence your sexual physiology.

I also highly recommend a video course recently released by fellow marriage and sex author Sheila Gregoire titled Boost Your Libido, which you can find HERE.

If you get married and continue to have problems, I’d suggest seeing a counselor to determine what else might be going on. God really did create us to be a sexual beings, and while our libidos can run the spectrum, having zero sexual interest or response isn’t likely without some underlying reason.

Related post: What Is Sexual Interest? Why Should I Care? from OysterBed7

2. Meeting Your Spouse’s Emotional Needs

This has less to do with sex and more with maintaining a healthy marriage.

My husband and I are similar in many ways but words of affirmation is an area where we are not. He is a tender, humble, hilarious husband! I have nothing but good things to say about him—to others. But when it comes to expressing appreciation and love, in a deeper, heart-to-heart way, to HIM, I stink! I feel so uncomfortable!

My husband is an ESFJ, if that means anything to you, so feeling valued and appreciated is very important to him. He truly NEEDS to hear affirmation–a LOT. For me, as an ESTJ, I can go without words of affirmation for a long time and be totally fine. Sometimes his constant need for praise feels like insecurity and can be annoying to me. At the same time, I hit the jackpot in regards to husbands and am overwhelmingly grateful most days.

Any insight on how I can become more comfortable in being verbally affirming?

For those who might not recognize the label, that’s a four-letter personality type based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), a test I’ve taken, administered, and interpreted. I’m a big fan of the MBTI.

But emotional needs have also been identified through other resources like The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman and His Needs, Her Needs by Willard F. Harley, Jr.  Regardless of which approach you use, you’re likely to discover that you and your spouse are not the same person. Surprise! You express and experience love in different ways.

You're likely to discover that you and your spouse are not the same person. Surprise! You express and experience love in different ways. Click To Tweet

Now most of us expressed love in just about every way possible while courting, because the experience of falling in love does that to a person — makes you gush out your feelings through every pore they can find. Once married, or past the honeymoon phase, we tend to fall back into the habits our personality type is comfortable with. That’s a good thing, because it means we’re maturing in our love. But it’s also a bad thing if we let go of an action that was particularly meaningful to our spouse.

What’s the answer? Well, you can keep your personality type and still meet your spouse’s emotional needs. You will have to do some changing, but it won’t be that painful. Really. Here are my suggestions for meeting the emotional need of verbal affirmation, but the principles can apply to meeting any emotional need for your beloved spouse.

Recognize it will be awkward at first. Whenever we’re setting up a new habit, it feels unnatural at first — because it is. But over time, it will become more natural if you keep at it and let the new habit sink in.

Set up a routine. Make a point of saying something affirming when you wake up, when you leave, when you get home, or whatever triggers work for you. Even set up reminders on your phone to share something positive with your husband.

Write it, if that’s easier. Some people feel weird saying compliments aloud, but find it easier to write them down. If that’s you, then buy some cute post-in notes or stationery and make it a habit to write a word of affirmation and plant it where you husband will see it (e.g., in his lunch bag, on his computer screen, on the bathroom mirror).

Be genuine. Don’t say stuff you don’t believe or “fluff” that you think he wants to hear. Look for something positive in your hubby that you really believe, even if it’s something small, and then comment on that.

Pray. Yeah, pray for the right words and the right attitude and the right reception from your husband. It seems to me that your desire to bless your husband in this way is entirely in line with God’s will, so surely He will bless you in this endeavor if you invite His guidance.

That’s it for today’s questions. More Q&A next week!

High Five Resources for the New Year

In Monday’s post, I explained that I’m not choosing a theme this year to write about on Saturdays, as I have done before. Instead, I’m going to use those Saturdays to provide five resources and/or tips to encourage you in your marriage and sexual intimacy. Because I like word play, I’m calling this my High Five for the week!

Since we often start January with resolutions or goals or hopes for what we can accomplish in the new year, today I’m sharing five resources to help you improve sex in your marriage in 2018.

blog post title + caricature of me high-fiving the air

1. Listen to Our Latest Podcast Episode.

My three podcast partners and I chat about the importance of health for yourself and for improving sexual intimacy in your marriage. We go beyond exercise into other areas that impact your health and lovemaking.

Or I could just call this The Episode in Which a Bedroom Pole Is Mentioned. (See, that’s click bait, right?)

Sex Chat for Christian Wives logo + episode title

CLICK TO LISTEN

2. Get Intimacy Revealed: 52 Devotions to Enhance Sex in Marriage Now!

The ebook is currently priced at $2.99 through Amazon or Barnes & NobleIntimacy Revealed provides 52 devotions, one for each week — or whatever you pace you want — focused on applying God’s Word to your view of sexuality and the marriage bed. I provide thoughts on each passage, as well as questions you can answer and a prayer.

While I wrote the book for wives, I’ve had couples say they went through the devotions together and found it very helpful in opening up conversations about sex in their marriage.

CLICK TO BUY

3. Join my Facebook community!

A few months ago, I launched a closed group on Facebook where spouses can interact about my posts and general marriage questions. It’s been really nice to see people post questions and get insight from others. And I hear that it’s nice for people to be able to comment on my posts without their parents or siblings or kid’s preschool teacher seeing what they say about sex.

You can request to join the group HERE. I do moderate incoming members, and due to the interactive approach of the page, I’m only approving married, or engaged, people. By the way, it’s not always easy to know that someone is married, and I suggest some of y’all take a look at your Facebook profile with that in mind. Could a visitor or old friend easily see that you are currently married?

Group description image

CLICK TO JOIN

4. Sign Up for My Newsletter.

Confession: I was really spotty sending out my monthly newsletter last year. But I’m getting back on track. The newsletter shares my favorite posts of the prior month and must-reads from other blogs, some marriage humor, and a scripture for the month, as well as keeping you updated on the ministry.

You can sign up HERE.

5. Boost Your Libido This Year.

This last resource isn’t mine; it’s put together by Sheila Gregoire of To Love, Honor and Vacuum. But some wives really do struggle with a lower libido, and I really like this online video course she launched last year. She addresses several different factors that come into play and gives you practical tips to increase your sexual response and desire.

This is an affiliate link, but I don’t ever promote something on my blog that I don’t believe in. And I believe Boost Your Libido is an excellent resource that can help you have a better year in the libido department.

CLICK TO BUY

That concludes this week’s High Five. I’ll be back next Saturday with more resources and/or tips for your marriage bed!

Intimacy Revealed Ad - $2.99

 

Q&A with J: “I Can’t Really Seem to Get Into Sex”

Today’s question is from a wife who’s struggling with her pleasure in the marriage bed:

Hi, I’m hoping you can give me some advice. My husband and I have been happily married for 11 years…I love him more than ever…the problem is I can’t really seem to get into sex. I know it’s important and we usually have sex twice a week but I don’t seemed to get turned on through it. I do orgasm most of the time but I just want to desire sex…I want to really want sex!!! I want to have the wet “horny” feeling but only very occasionally does happen. We do have 4 kids aged from 3-9 years so I don’t know if that has anything to do with it. I’m kinda hoping one day this stage will pass and I’ll all of a sudden be back into sex? Anyway, any advice would be great!

Blog title + couple's feet in bed pointed away from each other

First off, yes, I think four children ages 3 to 9 years has something to do with it. Lots of wives report a decrease in their libido while their children are young, because that’s when we’re exhausted, distracted, and stressed. If you think that’s contributing, then check out my suggestions in When My Sex Life Sucked – Part 2.

But the libido and pleasure issues may run deeper, as they sometimes do for wives. I’ve talked recently about how in 15-30% of marriages wives are estimated to be the higher-drive spouse, but that still means that in 70-85% of marriages, he wants sex more than she does.

And many women have been sold the idea that they’re supposed to want sex like their husbands — with a burning need or intense desire to be experience sexual pleasure. They think the proper order of things is desire, arousal, sex, and then orgasm. But you know what? That’s not what the research shows. Rather, female sexual desire seems to kick in for many after the decision to engage and getting aroused.

Yet what concerns me is that you say, “we usually have sex twice a week but I don’t seemed to get turned on through it.” Yeah, your body should be more responsive to sexual sensations. That’s how God intended it to work.

So while I don’t want you to sweat not having that “horny” feeling before you start having sex, I do think you need to look into why you’re not enjoying the experience.

And for that, I’m actually going to turn you over to three trusted sources. Because while I’ve definitely addressed this topic (for instance, herehere, and here), these three ladies have gone above and beyond in reaching out to lower-desire wives. I believe they can help you get on track.

OysterBed7. Bonny Burns maintains the OysterBed7 blog where she says, “I blend science, scripture and stories of my own life to encourage and empower the low sex drive wife and her marriage. You write what you know and I know about low sex drive.”

Her honest, gentle approach is also biblically and practically based. While I suggest reading her blog, and listening to her on our joint podcast, Sex Chat for Christian Wives, she has a specific resource you might want to check out: Unlock Your Libido: 52-Week Sex Drive Transformation.

The Forgiven Wife. Chris Taylor defines the mission of her blog as: “to encourage Christian wives as they work to grow in their approach to sexual intimacy in their marriages. After 20 years of restricting the sex life in my marriage, I have learned to dance with desire and enjoy the full intimacy that comes with passionate and joyful sex with my husband.”

I know you’re not restricting sex in your marriage, but Chris delves into reasons why a wife would feel disengaged in the bedroom and unable to experience full pleasure, and then she addresses them with practical suggestions. You can also hear Chris on our podcast.

Boost Your Libido Course. Sheila Gregoire recently launched a new product, and I had the pleasure of checking it out fully. Her Boost Your Libido course not only deals with a wife’s sex drive, but her pleasure in the bedroom. This course has 10 modules with videos of Sheila explaining the main points in a wife-to-wife chat format, along with a fact sheet, worksheet, brainstorming exercise, and additional resources.

Sheila deals with such issues as “What Is Libido?”, “Making Hormones Your Friend,” and yes, “When It Doesn’t Feel Good.” I’ve really enjoyed Sheila’s blog and resources over the years, but I found this course in particular to be a great approach for working through the issues of low libido and enjoyment of sexual intimacy.

You can view the videos in the privacy of your home, or perhaps with a friend or two so that you can discuss and support one another. (However, you should each pay for your own course, for ethical reasons and to get the additional materials you need to make progress.) She suggests taking your time through the homework, but it’s not hard to complete. You can easily see the big picture and how progress will be made by working on these modules.

And you know what? It’s $39. I know that’s more than a book, but $39 is a pair of shoes, one piano lesson for your child, a meal for two at a sit-down restaurant, and just 1/15th of an iPhone. Seriously, a total bargain. For more info, click on the pic below.

Let me assure you that I rarely do affiliate links. While looking into advertising some on my blog, I’ve been so reluctant to do so because I’m not willing to just throw products at my audience that I don’t entirely believe in. If I outright suggest something, I’ve viewed the entire resource myself and believe it’s a good deal for my audience.

So, while I write some about low libido, I know that it’s not my niche like it is for these three women I’ve mentioned. And I trust them to give you good advice. I encourage you to check out their resources.

Q&A with J: Can Christians Get Sex Tips from Cosmo?

Today’s reader question is a practical one and worth covering.

I have a question that I would love to get your thoughts on: Is it “OK” for a Christian woman to go to secular websites (such as Cosmo) for sex tips? I do this every so often to find new positions/foreplay ideas/etc. Obviously, there is a ton of trashy/sinful stuff that goes against God’s Word (porn, threesomes, etc.) and I bypass this. As for sex positions, they are obscure drawings…..but is that considered “pornographic material?” I don’t feel like I’m going against my conscience in looking at these sites, but to be honest, I would feel awkward telling my girlfriends (or even my husband) that I do, I guess because Cosmo has a rep for being trashy. But, are there Cosmo-type Christian sites to get ideas?? Yours is the closest thing I’ve found (for which I’m grateful! As is my husband. ;). But it’s not as detailed as what I can find on secular sites. Anyways, I’m interested to hear your opinion!

Q&A with J Can Christians Get Sex Tips from Cosmo

While standing in the grocery store line, I sometimes pick up the latest issue of Cosmo magazine and flip over to an article titled something like “14 New Ways to Drive Your Lover Wild!” or “Do These 3 Things for a Stronger Orgasm!”  Am I looking for ideas? Not really. I’m just curious what they have to say.

But to gather ideas, I have looked through secular sources like books in used bookstores, articles from websites unaffiliated with Christianity, and studies conducted by state universities and research labs. Even if they don’t share my values, they can have useful information.

You can guess my general answer based on what I do, but the complete perspective requires some clarification. (Please read to the end, because the most important conclusions are at the bottom!)

Lay a strong foundation. At one point in my life looking at Cosmo magazine articles on sex would have been a very bad idea, because I didn’t have a godly view of sexuality. You need spiritual maturity to keep your Christian perspective intact while looking through secular sources — that is, a strong foundation.

In Ephesians, the apostle Paul speaks of the importance of God’s people being fully equipped so that “we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming” (4:14). But I suspect more Christians believe they’re mature enough than really are. 1 Corinthians 10:12 always warns: “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” Apparently, people can think they’re standing firm, and still be susceptible to falling into temptation.

I can’t tell you when your foundation is strong enough. But I do know what it feels like. I can actually look at more now because I mentally blow off anything that falls short of the beautiful lovemaking I’ve experienced that matches God’s design. At the same time, I’m less interested in looking at anything that wanders from His truth, because it feels like a waste of time. Maybe that’s a paradox, but it’s one way I know that my foundation is solid. And I think that’s the place to start.

Exercise your filter. It’s impossible to avoid all stimuli that contrast with our worldview. Every day, we have to be able to sort through all the messages and choose what’s good and true … while discarding the lies and temptation that Satan wants to put in our path. It’s smart that the reader said, “Obviously, there is a ton of trashy/sinful stuff that goes against God’s Word (porn, threesomes, etc.) and I bypass this.”

Some secular sources have good information we can access and use, as long as we use discretion and wisdom. For some time, the best sexual position site I’d found was a secular, UK-based site that had some too-revealing images on certain pages but their positions section had tastefully drawn images and excellent descriptions. So I made the conscious effort to avoid anything untoward on their website while accessing the areas that met my moral standards.

In fact, my sharing an article or post on social media doesn’t mean I agree with everything on a website. I’m presuming my smart readers will check out the article or post, but filter through anything else on that site that might not agree with biblical teaching. As Proverbs 2:9-11 says, “Then you will understand what is right and just and fair — every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.”

Know your weaknesses. I don’t keep candy bars in my house. It’s just a very bad plan, because I know how quickly I can devour chocolate if it’s easily within reach. I don’t have a poor foundation of health, nor would I only eat chocolate and avoid broccoli. But it’s a weakness … so I’m better not to plant that temptation in my house.

I don’t know what, if any, weaknesses you have regarding sexuality. But if something appeals to or arouses you that you know isn’t good for you, you’d be far better to avoid it. Which might mean flipping past an article or images or simply putting the Cosmo back on the shelf.

So take stock and ask yourself honestly, deeply, mercilessly whether there’s something you shouldn’t expose yourself to. If something would turn your thoughts away from your husband or God’s design for your sexual intimacy, maybe you should pass over that resource. Just know your weaknesses going in.

Seek better resources. At one time there was a scarcity of quality sources regarding Christian sexuality. But that’s changed! Yes, we still have strides to take in discussing this topic more in churches and small groups and friend circles. But as for articles, books, podcasts, video classes, etc., I can name a lot of current sources. I have a books I recommend page you can check out. And HEY, I wrote a whole book with lots of how-tos, all from a Christian perspective, and you can find it online and in many Barnes & Noble bookstores: Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design.

Remember how I mentioned that secular website where I accessed a positions section? That was years ago, and now there’s Christian Friendly Sex Positions. So why go to a site with lots of stuff I don’t agree with when there’s another website that provides all that information from a biblical perspective? New Christian resources arrive all the time, including Awaken Love’s recent video class launch that gets pretty specific.

Also, you need to think about who you’re supporting. Cosmopolitan‘s cover price is $3.99. I personally don’t want to put that money into the pockets of people who shove cleavage and sensational headlines at me and everyone else every single month. Especially when $4.99 will get me an ebook of Sheila Gregoire’s 31 Days to Great Sex or some other Christian resource. So if you’re actually purchasing the magazine, think about whether that’s really where you want your hard-earned money to go.

So can you get sex tips from Cosmo? Yes, I think you can. But whether you should depends on several factors, and it’s best to make spiritually sound resources your initial go-tos. On that note, Julie Sibert of Intimacy in Marriage has been doing a series highlighting marriage blogs and has a blogs and websites page listing quite a few resources.

How Libido Works: For Women, That Is

If you follow me here or on social media, you’ll quickly discover that I share a lot of what Sheila Wray Gregoire of To Love, Honor, and Vacuum writes. That’s because we have very similar views on sex in marriage, and her wisdom is well worth my readers’ time.

Not to mention that we’re friends. Which is one of major bonuses of doing what I do — getting to meet like-minded people who are smart, fun, and Christ-like.

It’s my pleasure to share her with you today! Sheila’s here to talk about how libido works — for women, that is. Because it’s not how many of us were taught that sex drive works. And now…Sheila.How Libido Works: For Women, That IsHave you ever noticed that movies and TV shows make women’s sex drives look just like men’s?

Here’s what happens, pretty much every time: the couple’s together, and they start to pant. So they fall into each other’s arms and they begin to kiss. Then the clothes come off. And then they end up in bed.

They pant, they kiss, they take off their clothes, and they end up in bed.

Pant. Kiss. Clothes. Bed.

Every time.

If this is what you see, over and over, you may begin to think that’s natural.

So there you are, at home with your husband, and you’re waiting to pant.

And nothing happens.

So you figure, “I guess I’m just not in the mood”, and you return to browsing Pinterest or you go and make another cup of tea.

But what if that whole portrayal of women’s and men’s sex drives is wrong?

Rosemary Abbott of the University of British Columbia did a study a while ago that found that while men tend to be aroused BEFORE they started to make love (that’s pretty obvious, isn’t it?), most women are not aroused UNTIL they start. They’re not panting at all!

Instead, they make the decision to make love, and then once they start, they relax enough and tell themselves, “I am going to have FUN tonight!” It’s only then that their bodies kick in.

For women, our sex drives are primarily in our heads. If our heads aren’t engaged, our bodies won’t follow.

But that also means that we have a great deal of power when it comes to our libidos! Instead of waiting to feel in the mood, we can tell ourselves positive things about sex: “I am going to enjoy this tonight.” “I am going to sleep so well after this!” Or even, “I am going to rock my husband’s world!”

Unfortunately, many of us don’t quite understand this. We figure that our bodies should kick in if he does the right thing, romances us the right way, or touches just the right place. So we start making love, but while we’re doing that we’re also composing shopping lists in our heads, trying to figure out if there’s enough milk in the fridge to get us through breakfast, and planning our errands route for tomorrow. So sex feels lousy. And it must be his fault, because he’s just not doing it right!

Now, there’s no doubt that husbands often need to learn what makes wives feel good (because many husbands don’t understand foreplay, for instance!). But it’s also true that one night he could do something that has you in raptures, and three nights later he’s doing exactly the same thing, move for move, and you’re lying there thinking, “Will you just get over with because I want to get to sleep!” It’s not about what he’s doing; it’s about what you’re thinking!

That’s why great sex isn’t about panting beforehand and it isn’t JUST about him doing the right thing. It’s also about us concentrating and putting our brains to work for us!

When you make love, ask yourself, “What feels good right now?” That makes your brain cut off that shopping list and concentrate instead on your body. And you just may find that it does feel good, after all!

God made women so that our response isn’t as automatic as men’s sexual response tends to be.

We have to make the decision that we want to make love. We even have to make the decision that we’re going to have a good time! But I think there’s a logic behind that. Because we need to make that decision, then both husbands and wives have an incentive to work on feeling intimate outside of the bedroom, too. We have to build goodwill towards each other to even want to make love in the first place. If our sexual response was always automatic, then our relationships could be quite shallow.

Instead, when things work well, we get the best of both worlds. We feel close to our husbands, and we feel great in the bedroom. But ultimately it’s up to us: will we decide to jump in and take the initiative, or will we sit back and wait for the panting to happen?

Personally, I’d suggest jumping in. Sex helps you sleep better. Sex helps you feel closer. Plus great sex feels amazing! It’s too great a gift to leave to chance. So decide to have fun tonight, and see what happens!

Sheila WC 100Sheila is the author of The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex and 31 Days to Great Sex. She blogs everyday at To Love, Honor and Vacuum.

Come on over and download her free ebook, 36 Ways to Bring Sexy Back to The Bedroom!

Thanks, Sheila! I love this wise advice.