Monthly Archives: July 2011

The Punctuation of a Kiss

Gustav Klimt's The Kiss

Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss

In my post last Thursday, I wrote In Celebration of the Kiss.  Kisses have been lauded for a long time as a beautiful expression of love between a man and a woman.  My focus on this blog is the love between a husband and a wife.  And sometimes, we forget to keep the romance alive through tender and passionate kissing in our marriages.

Now there are types of kisses — from the quick peck to the soft exploring kiss to the open-mouthed twisting of tongues.  They all have their place.

Jeanne Bourgeois said (in 1955):  “A kiss can be a comma, a question mark, or an exclamation point.”   How true!  The type of kiss can say a lot about what is going on between the two of you, and — like grammar — there is room for all kinds of punctuation.

Here are a few kissing types:

Butterfly Kiss.  This kiss is often given from parent to child and vice-versa.  It involves blinking one’s eyes to rub eyelashes against another’s cheek or some other area of skin.  It’s sweet, but not particularly romantic.  If you get hot and bothered from a butterfly kiss from your spouse, it’s been way too long since you had some nooky.

Peck.  Pecks are those quick puckered-up kisses usually given in a hurry as one of you rushes out the door.  A peck can also be a nice way of kissing in public without making everyone cover their eyes or puke.  Pecks are great for what they are — a quick reminder that you love this person and cherish them.

Face Kiss.  This is simply one of you kissing the other anywhere on the face — cheek, forehead, nose, etc.  A face kiss allows one of you to express affection or distract your spouse from whatever he/she is doing.  Like if I’m blogging here, and my husband starts kissing my forehead, check, chin,… Where was I?  Anyway, you get the idea.  Soft kisses on the face are initiated by one partner, but usually rather appreciated by the other.

Soft Lip Kiss.  My favorite!  A soft lip kiss is simply leaning in and tenderly kissing one another’s lips.  In this kiss, lips are typically parted like a cracked door or a hot dog bun — a small opening, but not too much.  This soft kiss should last several seconds, to allow lingering on one another’s delicious lips.  It can be enjoyed alone or as a teaser for a more passionate kiss.  Many classic Hollywood kisses are soft lip kisses and leave us wanting more.

French Kiss.  I don’t know why the French get credit for this one.  Were they the only ones with tongues?  I think not!  It’s also called “tongue hockey” (lovely, eh?).  Basically, you tangle tongues and share saliva.  A great French kiss is incredibly passionate and can tickle you all the way to your toes.  A terrible French kiss chokes you or leaves you calling the HazMat team to clean up all the extra spit.  The most important thing to remember here is to be gentle and flexible.  Don’t attack your spouse’s mouth; tease, explore, and enjoy it.

Licking Kiss.  A licking kiss involves your tongue stroking his/her tongue, teeth, lips, etc.  This is also a titillating move, as long as you remember this is your honey’s mouth and not the Tootsie Roll Lollipop that you must reach the center of.  Take it slow, and use your tongue lightly.

Nibbling Kiss.  How much should you involve your teeth in the process of kissing?  Some people like to nibble on their spouse’s lips.  Notice I said “nibble,” not “bite.”  Yes, Edward and Twilight are all the rage, but if you feel a vampire impulse with your beloved…not cool.  Keep it a nice soft use of your teeth.  Of course, some people don’t like this at all, so gauge your spouse’s pleasure as you try it.

I’ve kept my kissing types to the lips, although the beauty of kissing is that you can pucker up, lick, and nibble almost anywhere on your spouse’s body (as long as they enjoy it too).

If you need more help in the kissing department, I found some hilarious video tutorials for kissing.  Here’s one on How to Kiss Passionately (warning – lots of kissing, of course).  And here’s a link to bad kisses; for example, the Grouper and the Wrecking Ball.

Here are a few questions for you:  Can you think of any other kissing types?  Do you have a favorite?  What do you like about your favorite type of kiss?

Here are a few questions to ask your spouse:  What is your favorite type of kiss?  How important is kissing to you feeling loved and cherished?  How can I be a better kisser for you?  Do you want to kiss now?   Hopefully, that’s the last question you’ll get in before your lips and tongues entangle.  It might lead to other things, or if your house is like mine, it might lead to your kids walking in and saying, “Eeewww!”  Either way, it’s a better use of a few seconds than whatever else you were going to do!

“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth!”

Song of Songs 1:2

She Wants, He Doesn’t Want

Men are always the ones hot for sex, while women are lukewarm to cold much of the time.  Right?  That’s what society, and many churches now, tell us over and over.  So it must be true!

No, it’s not always true.

Some wives go day to day questioning what’s wrong with them or their marital relationship because they desire a physically intimate relationship but their hubby doesn’t.  It’s the hush-hush secret we don’t discuss that some men don’t care about having sex much, and their wives are silently suffering.

Question Mark

Photo credit: Microsoft Word Clipart

So what happens when a woman isn’t sexually desired by her husband?  Most women start to question.  They wonder to themselves one or more of the following:

What’s wrong with me?  If all husbands are panting and grabbing after their women 24/7 and my husband barely glances my direction when I don a sheer negligee, is there something about me that is distasteful?  Am I not attractive?   Why doesn’t he find me physically pleasing?

Response:  You are likely a beautiful woman.  Your husband desired you enough to marry you.  As long as you are reasonably keeping yourself up, your husband should find you attractive.  If he doesn’t, there is something amiss with his standards.  There are things that many women can do to turn their hubbies’ heads (flattering clothes, presentation, etc.), but a man who has almost no sex drive is probably not going to respond merely because you throw on a black lace teddy tonight.

Is he having an affair?  If men think about sex every 7 seconds and my hubby hasn’t thought about it in three weeks, is he getting his fix elsewhere?  Is he not pursuing me because he’s already caught another woman?

Response:  Some men are having affairs.  But if you have no other clues in that direction, this is probably not the case.  Moreover, married men in affairs may continue to have sex with their wives, so lack of interest isn’t overwhelming evidence of infidelity.  It is probably evidence of lack of interest, period.

Is he gay?  Is he simply not interested in sex with women generally?  Is he desirous of another kind of relationship?  Could he possibly be homosexual? 

Response:  There are no good statistics on how many spouses eventually “come out” as homosexual, but it isn’t common.  Once again, if you have no other hints that your spouse could be gay, he most likely isn’t.  Lack of sex drive is not a good clue for sexual orientation. 

Is our marriage over?  Does he not find me physically attractive because he is simply no longer in love with me?  Does he not want a sexual relationship because he doesn’t want any kind of relationship with me? 

Response:  The marriage is not over.  If you have a good relationship otherwise, you can most likely improve this area of your marital life as well.  If you are not experiencing a good marital relationship overall, and your sex life is also poor, you should seek professional help.  If your spouse will not go with you, go alone and see if the counselor has suggestions for what you can do to positively impact you both. 

Is something physically wrong with him?  Is there a medical or emotional problem getting in the way of his sex drive?  Is he too embarrassed to admit it?  Is he simply okay with not having sex? 

Response:  This is the most likely reason for your spouse’s lack of interest!  A sufficient amount of testosterone is required for a man to experience a normal sex drive; if he is low on this hormone, his sex drive will decrease.  Low thyroid, depression, high blood sugar, and other factors can also affect your husband’s libido.  In addition, negative events of the past can impede a person’s desire and enjoyment of sex with their partner.  If a man was molested or inappropriately exposed to sexual material as a child, it can suppress his ability to engage in appropriate physical intimacy now. 

What can I do to improve our sex life?  If I bring up this subject, will I embarrass him?  Will he be angry?  Hurt?  Even less attracted to me?  Is there any fix available?  

Response:  Ultimately, you must bring up the topic if you want to see any improvement.  If you are concerned that he will be embarrassed, angry, hurt, or whatever, I recommend scheduling a therapy session with a Christian marriage counselor and addressing it in that safe environment.  If you can address it with him alone, select a time away from the children, household interruptions, etc. and find a place with privacy and quiet.  In either setting, do not complain about the lack of sex or unleash your theories about why he doesn’t desire you; rather, explain that you are concerned about your physical relationship, that you desire greater physical intimacy, and that you want to address any and all issues that affect your lack of connection in that area.  If there was a time when things were better, you can reference a “Remember When…” and explain that you want to experience that closeness again. 

Is this as good as it gets?  Am I relegated to a sexless marriage?  If it never gets any better, how can I remain in this marriage?  How can I be okay with that? 

Response:  I wish I could answer this one.  A sexless marriage is NOT what God intended.  Having said that, if my husband was physically injured tomorrow in a way that made it impossible for us to be physically intimate, would I stay?  Absolutely!!!  However, I understand that being unable to perform and unwilling to engage are two different things.  I simply advise that you spend time in prayer asking for God’s help to work through the hurt and the loneliness you likely feel during this time.  Sex is not the reason to get married; there are many other benefits to having a relationship with your spouse.  

Frankly, I don’t know if men ask these questions of themselves when they are living in a sexless marriage.  Not having yet cracked the code of the male brain — which my husband swears is a relatively simple connect-the-dots puzzle — I still don’t understand guy thinking.  (For instance, when a man says he is thinking about nothing, apparently he is. How is that even possible?!)

But women whose husbands have physically neglected them are probably going through a self-evaluation more extensive that the battery of tests given to a patient on psychiatric commitment.  It is okay to ponder the problem, but not good to obsess and question every little thing about yourself or your marriage.  Address the issue, seek help if needed, and pray for greater physical intimacy.

In Celebration of the Kiss

As I considered writing a blog post about kissing, I started doing some research (and, I’ll admit, a case study with my hubby).  What I discovered is this:  The beautiful act of two married people bringing their lips together in a kiss cannot sufficiently be addressed in a single post!

Thus, welcome to my three-part series on the ever-popular kiss.

Songs have been written about it.  Have you heard the following?

  • Kiss Me from Sixpence None the Richer
  • This Kiss by Faith Hill
  • Passionate Kisses by Mary Chapin Carpenter
  • Kiss by Prince & the Revolution
  • Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not? by Thompson Square
  • A Kiss to Build a Dream On by Louis Armstrong
  • The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s in His Kiss) by Betty Everett
  • Bésame Mucho by [take your pick]
  • Kiss by Dean Martin

I’m sure you could add to my brief list.

Poetry has been composed.  Take Ella Wheeler Wilcox’s poem “I Love You”:

I love your lips when they’re wet with wine
And red with a wild desire;
I love your eyes when the love light lies
Lit with a passionate fire.
I love your arms when the warm white flesh
Touches mine in a fond embrace;
I love your hair when the strands enmesh
Your kisses against my face.

And Poet Robert Herrick wrote:

Give me a kiss, and to that kiss a score;
Then to that twenty, add a hundred more;
A thousand to that hundred; so kiss on,
To make that thousand up a million;
Treble that million, and when that is done,
Let’s kiss afresh, as when we first begun.

Alfred Lord Tennyson declared:

A man had given all other bliss,
And all his worldly worth for this,
To waste his whole heart in one kiss
Upon her perfect lips.

And my personal favorite is from Edmund Vance Cooke:

Kisses kept are wasted;
Love is to be tasted.
There are some you love, I know;
Be not loathe to tell them so.
Lips go dry and eyes grow wet
Waiting to be warmly met.
Keep them not in waiting yet;
Kisses kept are wasted. 

There is, of course, the classic movie kiss.  For instance, Scarlett and Rhett from Gone with the Wind or Ilsa and Rick from Casablanca.  If you want some reminding, here’s a video to stir up the memories.

Of course, there have been plenty of famous Hollywood kisses since those times.  Did you catch Lady & the Tramp kissing after a shared spaghetti noodle? Mary Jane planting a kiss on Spiderman as he hangs upside down? Leonardo di Caprio and Kate Winslet kissing on the prow of the Titanic?  (If I must admit my own preferences, may I say that Casablanca, Spiderman, Sleeping Beauty, and absolutely any time Cary Grant kisses anyone in a film are my favorites.)

Let’s face it.  We can get a little obsessed about kissing.  Think about the trepidation that preceded your first kiss.  How you felt in that moment of your first kiss with your spouse.  Whether you pecked each other at the wedding or slurped each others’ faces to the near embarrassment of the wedding party and witnesses.  The tender kisses that formed the prelude to your first night together.

Who doesn’t store up memories of their best kisses or long for the perfect, passionate kiss with their beloved?

But while we can get obsessed about kissing, sometimes after the I do’s we get complacent about kissing.  I mean really, you have kissed this person a million different times in a million different ways.  Is there anything left about their mouth to discover?

Well, today’s kissing lesson is brief one.  It comes with homework!  See if you can discover something about your kissing your spouse that you haven’t noticed in a while.  Kiss him or her passionately for several seconds (10-15) and think about the physical sensations of kissing.

And then share what you’ve discovered.  

Next week, come back for some tips about the different kinds of kisses and what they mean for you and your honey.

“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—

for your love is more delightful than wine.”

Song of Solomon 1:2

Kiss Me

Kiss Me

How Do You Measure Up to the Virtuous Woman?

Rubies

“More precious than rubies”
by Mauro Cateb via Wikimedia Commons

Proverbs 31:10-31:  “Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies.  Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life.  She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She finds wool and flax and busily spins it. She is like a merchant’s ship, bringing her food from afar. She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.

“She goes to inspect a field and buys it; with her earnings she plants a vineyard. She is energetic and strong, a hard worker.  She makes sure her dealings are profitable; her lamp burns late into the night. Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber. She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy. She has no fear of winter for her household, for everyone has warm clothes. She makes her own bedspreads. She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns. Her husband is well known at the city gates, where he sits with the other civic leaders. She makes belted linen garments and sashes to sell to the merchants. 

“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness. Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her:  ‘There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!’

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.”

For some time, I have secretly harbored resentment for the virtuous woman described in Proverbs 31.  So have many of you, ladies!  This chick seems like a huge overachiever who makes us look bad.  She’s like that celebrity actress who perfectly wears her string bikini six months after pushing out a ten-pound baby.  Couldn’t she have kept some of the baby fat to make the rest of us feel a little better about ourselves?

Most of us gals naturally compare ourselves to others, and we oh-so-aware when we don’t measure up.  So why did God include this passage in Proverbs that is guaranteed to cause most women to curl up in a corner and whimper at the mere thought of that woman’s to-do list?  If I had to find wool and flax and then spin it to have clothing, my family would have to join a nudist colony.  And if “bringing her food from afar” means traveling more than several blocks to the local grocery store or the pizza shop for take-out, I’m busted.

Listen, this woman gets up before dawn and her lamp stays on past dark.  I need eight hours of sleep to bear fruit of the Spirit.  She spins thread and makes her own bedspreads, for heaven’s sake!  I once sewed a pillow cover; it’s unraveling now.  Her children stand and bless her.  My children slump on the couch and ignore my third warning to stop playing video games or suffer brain cell loss.  She prepares breakfast.  I serve boxed cereal or Pillsbury cinnamon rolls.  She plans out the work for her servant girls.  Wait!  Servant girls?

Now this is the part of the passage that has always struck me!  She had someone to help her.  Actually, more than one someone since it is plural — servant girls.  Now this changes everything!  This is like opening up the magazine article that accompanies the front cover photo of the previously pregnant, now bikini-clad actress titled Gorgeous Gal’s 4 Secrets to Getting Slim and discovering those secrets are (1) her nanny, (2) her personal trainer, (3) her dietitian, and (4) her personal chef.  Hey, if I had someone to watch the munchkins, plan and cook healthy meals, and make me exercise three hours a day, I could at least get back into the sweatpants I wore in college!  How can I compete with that? 

Clearly, though, the Virtuous Woman didn’t lie around on a chaise, eating Bonbons and ordering her extensive household staff around.  She was a hard worker and cared for those around her.  Yet she did have help, and she used that help wisely.  So what if my help happens to come in the form of a restaurant drive-through employee or a lawn service? 

She also didn’t accomplish her list of to-dos every single day.  Sometimes, we read this passage like we could open up Mrs. Virtuous Woman’s day planner and see:

5:00 a.m.         Get up while dark
5:30 a.m.         Find wool and flax
6:30 a.m.         Spin it
7:00 a.m.         Bring food from afar
8:00 a.m.         Prepare breakfast
8:30 a.m.         Plan day’s work for servant girls
9:30 a.m.         Inspect field
10:00 a.m        Buy field
10:30 a.m.       Plant vineyard

And so on.  But this chapter is likely relating a number of things that Mrs. V.W. could be engaged in on any given day, but not every day.  If you were to list all the things that you do for your family and household in the course of, say, six months, what would that list look like?

So what if you didn’t plant a vineyard today!  Maybe in the last year, you repainted the bathroom, helped your child with his science project, taught Bible class for a quarter, mowed the lawn, did dozens of loads of laundry, shopped for clothes as your children experienced another round of growth spurts, took family members to the doctor, prepared hundreds of meals, and much, much more!  And if you have servant girls, you probably accomplished all that and had time for a mani-pedi.  Good for you!

Don’t wear yourself out trying to live up to any impossible standard — whether it’s our perception of the Proverbs 31 woman or the expectations of the world around us.  Work hard, be generous, love your family.  And remember that the most important part of this passage: “Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.”  How are you doing on fearing the Lord?

By the way, I love the line: “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.”   Now I don’t know how well I’m doing on that dignity thing, but I have learned to relax in the hand of my Heavenly Father and not fear the future.  And as most of you can tell, I enjoy a good laugh!

Thanks for the Mammaries: An Update

A wonderful reader recently asked me if I had received my breast augmentation and how it went.  It was fine.  I did take a little longer to recover than I had hoped, but I’m feeling great now.  I decided that perhaps I should go ahead and share what I wrote right after my surgery.  So here it is.

Pages from Dr. Seuss's And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street

And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street

Ouch!  Post augmentation-mammoplasty, it feels like the parade from Dr. Seuss’s Mulberry Street is taking-five on my chest.  Some patients have analogized it to an elephant taking up residence on your breasts.

I’ve already explained in previous posts why I chose to forgo the padded bras for the built-in padding.  If you want to know why I chose to do it or how I made my decision, feel free to check those posts out.  I have two goals here:  (1) to describe how it went; and (2) to tell you how on earth this relates to my Christian marriage (and it’s not the answer you might expect).

How it went.  My last recall before “going under” was the friendly anesthesiologist chatting it up with my husband about mutual knee injuries they had experienced and their subsequent surgical fixes. Gee thanks, Honey!  He (the husband, of course) did manage a peck on my lips and an “I love you” before they wheeled me out.  I don’t even remember crossing the threshold.  The anesthesiologist had administered a sweet-dreams drug in my IV minutes before.

I woke up less than three hours later.  Pain was fine then; I was still in a thick London fog.  But I was beyond groggy, to downright Dwarf Sleepy.  Still, my whole time in the hospital was just over six hours.

We headed home with a barf bag (anesthesia can cause nausea and vomiting), my post-surgical instructions, and the old bra I had purchased in the girls’ department now begging to be burned.

A day later, and I’m sticking on the pain medication, muscle relaxers, and antibiotics. It will be about a week before I feel like getting around much and up to four weeks before I see the results.  For now, the pain is more discomfort than anything else.  I am nervous about my doc removing the ace bandage binding my breasts when I go in for post-op this afternoon. Who knows what that will look like?

My marriage.I happened to have chosen a man who finds it hard at times to put two appreciative words together to compliment a long-prepared meal or who stumbles over words in telling me that I look pretty in a particular outfit.  He’s not great at that small stuff.

But he is terrific in a crisis. When the chips are down, and the breasts are up, he reminds me why I love him.  Even as I pound on the keyboard for this blog, he walked in and placed a bowl of soup on my night table.  He has supported me as I walked, tracked down nurses, gotten me food and drink, and lifted things as needed.  Not to mention that, as of this particular moment, my children are still alive!

Mind you, he doesn’t anticipate what I need.  Most guys aren’t attuned like that.  I have to ask:  “Honey, will you…?” “I could use some help with…”  “Thanks for taking care of…”  Give most men a specific problem that needs fixing, and they’re there.  Direct requests are best.

Maybe my husband’s somewhat motivated to help me out because he’s eager to see the final result.  He’s never asked me to enhance any part of my body, but he’s a guy.  Guys like breasts.

And my new set will definitely be bigger than the original model.  Perhaps he’s looking at it as shining up this new baby before he takes it for a spin.  Who knows?

Meanwhile, my breasts are painful because they are full.  But my heart is joyful because it is fuller.

So how do you feel about plastic surgery?  Have you had any?  Is there a procedure you have considered?  If you have or want to have surgery, what are your reasons for doing so?

Also, how have you taken care of your spouse after a surgery, injury, or procedure?  Or how has your spouse taken care of you?  How does this kind of attention make you feel about your relationship?