Tag Archives: Sheila Gregoire

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.

The Post My Readers Wrote: “One Thought” Marriage Advice

On Monday, I posted a review of Sheila Wray Gregoire’s 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage and asked readers to comment on one thought that positively impacted their own marriage. The feedback was fabulous!

After reading through the comments section, I concluded my readers could write their own blog post with all this terrific wisdom. So this is it—the blog post my readers wrote. Or at least a summary of your thoughts on how to nurture marriage. (I edited some for clarity and combined some comments.)

The Post My Readers Wrote: "One Thought" Marriage Advice

The responses seemed to fall into four categories: Choosing Your Attitude, Resolving Conflict, Growing Closer, and Taking Action.

Choosing Your Attitude. Philippians 4:8 says: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Proverbs 4:23 says: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” It matters what we think in our minds and believe in our hearts. Sometimes changing how we view ourselves and our spouse makes all the difference in the world. Here are the attitudes my readers recommend:

  • True intimacy with your spouse is worth the effort.
  • It is not a failure to ask for help.
  • Respect your husband.
  • I am not my husband’s Holy Spirit.
  • My husband cannot fulfill all my needs. I need God first of all and I need trusted friends.
  • I don’t have to be right.
  • God does not intend for me to change my husband—that is His job. My job is to support and help my husband as he becomes the man God shapes him to be.
  • Assume with love. Meaning everything your spouse does, assume they did it out of love and respect for you.
  • Focus on the positive things my husband does and not the negative.
  • The only thing I can change is myself.

Resolving Conflict. Proverbs 20:3 asserts: “It is to one’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.” I dare say many of us have been fools in our marriage. But how can we avoid strife and resolve conflict? Here are your ideas:

  • When a problem arises within the marriage, it is the husband and wife vs. the problem, rather than the husband vs. the wife.
  • We’re doing life together, and whatever comes up, we’re going to figure it out because neither of us is going anywhere.
  • Sometimes I have to be the brave one and bring up tough topics.
  • Talk honestly while problems are small to keep them from becoming big problems.
  • Be a peace maker, not a peace keeper (Sheila’s book covers this well!).
  • Be patient. We’re not always on the same page. but we eventually get there.
  • Think the other person is saying something unkind or unloving? Ask for clarification. Most times, they didn’t mean it to sound the way it came out.
  • Extend grace. Your spouse will fail you (a given with imperfect people). But the ability to forgive and love in spite of the failures is priceless.
  • Try to step back and see the issue through his eyes before just saying that’s not right.
  • Turn toward each other, not away from each other, when things get rough.
  • Don’t have a conversation if you’re Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired (HALT).

Growing Closer. Resolving conflict keeps you from being at each other’s throats, but that’s not enough to get you in each other’s arms! In marriage we’re aiming for: “I belong to my beloved, and his desire is for me” (Song of Songs 7:10). Here are your thoughts about growing closer:

  • Spend 15 to 30 min face to face daily. Once a week go out on a date night. Once a month stay out one night. Once a year take a week-long vacation.
  • Have a date night with no talking about kids or problems. Just enjoy each other’s company.
  • Keep things light-hearted.
  • Sign the kids up for Awana (or another youth Bible program). Instant Wednesday night date night. KEEP it as date night, do not, I repeat, DO NOT fall into the “let’s do laundry and clean the house” night. We call it “Doyawanna” night.
  • Never leave the house without saying I love you.
  • Say yes to sex. Win-win.

Taking Action. 1 John 3:14 states: “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” These final ideas are miscellaneous action items:

  • Thank God for your spouse before you get out of bed in the morning.
  • Choose to engage in sexual intimacy, even if the feelings or desire aren’t there—they come eventually!
  • Never assume you know your spouse so well you read their mind and predict their behavior every time. Study them instead.
  • He can’t read my mind: I need to tell him what I need and want.
  • Set boundaries with your in-laws early on.
  • Take the word “divorce” out of your vocabulary. When quitting is not an option, whatever comes your way, you have to work to improve.
  • Always build up your mate.
  • Invest in a personal relationship with God. Your relationship with Jesus is a higher priority than the relationship with your spouse.
  • “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).

I believe wholeheartedly that “a man reaps what he sows” (Galatians 6:7). Pick a few golden nuggets from these lists and start putting them into practice . . . then see what happens in your marriage.

And the winner of last week’s giveaway of 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage by Sheila Wray Gregoire is HG. If you didn’t win, now’s the time to go buy the book! 🙂

9 Thoughts for Your Marriage & 1 Book Giveaway

One of my favorite marriage bloggers is Sheila Wray Gregoire of To Love, Honor and Vacuum. I often recommend her excellent book, The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, especially for wives embarking on the marriage journey.

She recently released another book, 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage, which she discussed a bit in her guest post here last Thursday. Today I want to give my own take. Is this book worth getting? Who is this book for? Should you read 9 Thoughts?

9 Thoughts For Your Marriage

9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage is written for Christian wives—whether they are heartily struggling in their marriage, wanting to improve a lackluster relationship, or simply hoping to strengthen an already solid bond. Sheila walks the reader through nine separate ideas about marriage that are likely different from the pat answers you’ve heard in the past.

Take, for instance, her chapter on being a peacemaker rather than a peacekeeper. I’ve known marriages with a lot of peacekeeping that were stale and distant or where resentment brewed underneath for one of the spouses who had restrained their opinions — and really, themselves — for years. Sheila tackles the erroneous presumption that absence of conflict means peace.

When it comes to sex specifically, Sheila’s chapter on how having sex and making love are not the same thing, highlighting the problems we’ve had in moving sex from spiritual and emotional intimacy to purely physical pleasure. Yes, of course it should feel good, but sex as God designed is so much more.

Sheila gives specifics on where we’ve gone astray and how to reclaim sexual intimacy for your marriage. She gets practical with the differences in how men and women approach sexual arousal, challenges with low libido, and the damaging effects of pornography. She talks about how to address sexual pain and make sex pleasurable.

What else will this marriage book give you that others won’t?

I most appreciate how Sheila makes things simple without being simplistic. When I get a question here on the blog, usually with a much fuller explanation of the scenario in the original email, there’s almost always no single answer. Our lives are complicated, and we exist in twists and tangles of daily challenges. Yes, of course it’s a simple principle to “love one another,” but it’s not that we don’t understand the commands so much as needing help knowing how to do that in our own lives—and simplistic answers don’t help.

Instead, Sheila provides stories that demonstrate what she advocates, practical tips to apply in your own marriage, and an encouragement to connect with God in prayer and with godly people to carry out the best for your marriage. Tougher stuff in some ways, but well worth the effort. And by giving real-life examples, you see it’s completely do-able.

One last note: When you’re reading a marriage book, don’t sweat it if you don’t agree with 100%. Take the golden nuggets and apply them to your life. Study up on some of the things you’re not sure about and decide for yourself. Even let go those details you vehemently disagree with. Hey, I think Sheila and I could have interesting debate about the exegesis of Ephesians 5:23 (and half of you just fell asleep…), but I agree with her overall conclusions about what a healthy and submitting marriage looks like. And her tips are excellent. That means I can take all the golden stuff and not worry about the little specks we might see differently. You can too.

I’ve known a few couples in my life who seem to float through marriage on a fluffy, happy cloud. But for the other 99.9% of us, marriage is work—not of the toil-and-tribulation kind so much as reap-what-you-sow work. Sheila (and I) promote being intentional about your marriage, putting real effort into growing and deepening your relationship. 9 Thoughts is a great resource to help you be intentional in your marriage about resolving conflict, making peace, finding happiness, enjoying intimacy, and more.

9 Thoughts Book Cover

Click to Buy!

Is what you believe about marriage getting in the way of a GREAT relationship?

When you’ve put into practice all the usual advice, but your marriage still falls short of the intimacy and joy you want, what then? Are patience and perseverance your only hope for a better relationship?

Author and speaker Sheila Wray Gregoire says, “Absolutely not!” The solution to a happier relationship is not found in being a more patient, more perfect wife, but in taking responsibility for what you can do—and especially for how you think about your marriage. She challenges you to replace pat Christian answers with nine biblical truths that will radically shift your perspective on your husband, your relationship, and your role in God’s design for marriage.

With humor and honesty, Sheila invites you to believe that God wants to bring oneness and intimacy to your marriage—and challenges you to partner with Him in that process by changing the way you think.

And to one lucky commenter, I’m giving away a copy of 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage (ebook or paperback in the U.S. or Canada, ebook outside the U.S.). Just leave a comment with ONE thought that has positively changed your marriage!