Monthly Archives: March 2012

Get Off Our Marriage Bed, Fido!

The other night, my husband and I were engaged in intimate activity when a loud scratching sound started. We attempted to ignore it, but there is only so long that such noise can go on before you sigh, get up, and open the stupid door for the cat.

Want some humor in the marital bedroom? Introduce a pet into your family. Dogs and cats especially can be masters of your coitus interruptus.

Dogs on bed

By Iibao123 via Wikimedia Commons

I had a friend who said that her dog stood at the end of their bed and watched them copulate every time. It’s as if he thought the show was for him. Maybe he was rating their performance or considering tips he could give. “Use your paws more. Pant. That’s it, that’s it.”

Others have reported their dog howling throughout their sexual interlude. Now when you think about background music, you probably don’t imagine Fido’s rendition of “Who Let the Dogs Out?”

Some dogs attempt to jump into the action themselves. After all, why can’t they join in with the wrestling match? And cats may traipse through at the most inopportune moments looking for a little of that affection for themselves. Since you made your husband groan, surely you can take some time to make your dog growl or your cat purr? Really, how dare your leave your pet out of the fun!

Other pets are downright offended that you would engage in such physical activity. I have another cat who escapes when we make love. The second anything starts, the cat bolts off the bed, leaves the room if possible, or hides in a corner until we’re done. It’s as if the snooty little cat cannot abide such rollicking activity when he was planning to take a nap on that very bed.

Pets can interfere in varying degrees, and some couples face a genuine problem in having sex with their pet around. What’s a couple to do when the dog won’t stop barking or pawing at them when they’re making love? How do you explain to a cat that it isn’t her time and she needs to take that persistent clawing elsewhere, thank you very much?

Like children, the best option can be to lock them out of the bedroom until you’re done. But as my first example indicates, you may find yourself interrupted anyway if they claw, whimper, or bark at the door.

Instead of consulting sex experts on this question, I researched what pet experts have to say. The truth is that your pet likely makes no connection between their own mating instincts and what you and your husband are doing in the bed. As far as they are concerned, you’re tangled in those sheets doing whatever humans do. They don’t understand the TV watching, book reading, or laptop working either. The only activities in the bed they relate to are lying around and sleeping.

Thus a WebMD article suggested that if the pet is interrupting your intimacy, you should get them off the bed altogether. Train your dog to sleep in his own bed next to yours, or get the cat a new spot with stimuli to distract him away from you. There are plenty of resources available for how to train your dog or cat — through books, websites, classes, and/or your veterinarian.

This may take some effort and time on your part, but if the disruptions are ongoing or severe, take action. Remember that as adorable as your pet is, he/she isn’t your husband. Your marriage takes precedence over your duty to give Fido or Fluffy an ear or tummy rub.

Then again, I know a family who has a python as the family pet. If that thing interrupted my sexy time, I think the appropriate response would be screaming. (“Snakes, why did it have to be snakes!”)

How does your cat, dog, or other animal impact your sex life? Have you and your spouse had to deal with a persistent pet? What advice do you have in this area?

The Gospel in the Bedroom

Did that title catch your eye? We don’t usually see the words “gospel” and “bedroom” in the same sentence.

The Gospel is the central point of Christianity. Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, entered the world in human form; lived and preached among us; sacrificed himself as the ultimate blood offering for our sins; and conquered death through His resurrection so that we can live with our LORD eternally . . . that is definitely good news, or gospel, to the whole world.

Cross with wedding rings

by AnonMoos via Wikimedia Commons

The Gospel calls us to higher principles, purposeful lives, and servant hearts. Often, we don’t allow it to permeate every area of our lives. The Gospel should impact what you choose to do with your time and money, which thoughts you dwell on and which ones you resist, how you treat your friends and the restaurant drive-through employee, and — believe it or not — how you approach the marital bedroom.

The Gospel matters a great deal in every aspect of life, including the intimacy you experience with your husband. These are just a few of the aspects of the Gospel that affect your married sex life:

Because of Christ, you can trust that God can redeem your brokenness.

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.” Ephesians 1:7

If you have sexual baggage from your past — an addiction to pornography, an affair that wrecked the trust in your bedroom, or whatever other sin you can think of — Jesus Christ died for that sin. He brings forgiveness and healing when you confess and repent.

Because of Christ, you can forgive your spouse and give grace.

“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13

Has your husband mistreated you sexually at some time? Sought his own pleasure and ignored yours? Ignored your sexual needs? Demanded sexual satisfaction or refrained from giving himself fully? Quite honestly, most of us can think of a time when our spouse was selfish regarding sexuality. But regardless of what has happened in the past, you can be generous, give grace, start over.

Give your spouse the benefit of the doubt. For instance, maybe he awakened you to have sex last night at 3:00 a.m. not because he doesn’t care how exhausted you were after taking care of a sick child yesterday or working on a job project with a looming deadline; maybe he was restless and started thinking about how beautiful you are to him. We can’t know exactly what our spouse’s motives are, so lean toward the most positive possibility. And forgive past sins, as you have been forgiven.

Because of Christ, you can have hope for your future.

“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 1:18-20

Think about that. The same power that God used to resurrect His Son is working in your life. You have hope for better things — in the life after this one, and in this life as well. We know that Jesus wants our lives and marriages to be full (John 10:10), loving (Ephesians 5:2), and fulfilling (1 Corinthians 7:3). When we know that God desires for us to have intimacy in our marriage and then shares His power with us, we have hope! Maybe your marriage and sex life isn’t everything it should be. Continue in prayer. Continue in faith. Continue in hope.

Because of Christ, your body has intrinsic value.

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Your body is valuable and has the capacity to honor God. The verse prior says to “flee from sexual immorality,” and then gives the above reason. But if you are fleeing from sexual immorality, where should you run to? Well, to sexual morality of course! Welcome to God’s plan for marriage. You honor God with your body when you follow His plan for it in marriage; when you delight in the mate your Father has given you; when you seal your commitment and intimacy with physical bonding.

Because of Christ, you know what true love is.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34

I teared up while looking for passages for this one. There are SO MANY to choose from. We know what true love looks like because Jesus modeled it for us. He was patient with disciples, gentle with sinners, humble before God, and serving and sacrificial above all. Imagine taking the perfect love of Jesus into the bedroom and being patient, gentle, serving, and sacrificial. Imagine both of you approaching physical intimacy that way. Now tell me how fabulous that would be for your sex life.

Because of Christ, you know that your intimacy mirrors and symbolizes what the Church has with Jesus, her Bridegroom.

“‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.” Ephesians 5:31-32

Isn’t it amazing that the verse chosen to reflect Christ and the church ends with “the two will become one flesh”? The unity of a husband and wife is like Christ’s unity with His people. I desire one day to have with my LORD the intimacy that mirrors the intense closeness I experience with my husband in the midst of sex. How I long for it! And when I experience such pleasure and bonding with my husband, I know that it is a mere taste of what God has waiting for us in Heaven.

If the Gospel is true, the implications move into every aspect of our life. Our marriages are affected by God’s steadfast, redeeming love. Our physical intimacy with our mate is affected by His example and sacrifice.

We Christians need not approach the bedroom as the world does. Sex isn’t merely physical or all about oneself. The apex of intimacy is not multiple orgasms or more and more kinky sexual acts. The goal isn’t to have sex when we want, with whom we want, however we want, wherever we want without regard to others. We have the ultimate instead: a Gospel-driven life that shows a better way in every area — including the marital bedroom. And guess what? With God’s perfect design, we can end up having the most amazing sex! (See Spiritual Intimacy While Making Love from Sheila Gregoire.)

I pray for each married couple to experience the Gospel in their bedroom — to know the overwhelming love of Christ and to share it with their spouse.

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19

My sincere thanks to Debi Walter of The Romantic Vineyard who said something that inspired this post. Be sure to check out her marriage blog!

Oral Sex: Better to Give and Receive, Part Deux

Quick note: One very clinical illustration below may still make this post unsafe for viewing at your workplace. Just wanted to give fair warning.

In my last post, I introduced the topic of cunnilingus — that is, oral sex performed on a woman. I discussed whether this practice is okay with God and why a married couple might want to engage in it. Today I’m covering the more practical side: If you do have oral sex, how can a wife make it feel as good as possible?

Meanwhile, at this point, I think I need to get the t-shirt. What do you think?

Oh no, you didn't! t-shirt

What do you need to do to enjoy receiving oral sex? Just “lie back and think of tinglin’? Sort of. Yes. What I mean is that you need to relax. A wife who has never engaged in or been unable to enjoy receiving oral sex may tense when her husband starts to “go down” on her. We have all kinds of thoughts: Do I want his mouth on my girly parts? Is this clean? What do I smell like down there? What do I look like down there? Eyes up here, buddy; don’t look at my thunder thighs! Does this make me a slut? What does God think of this? What do I think of this?

If those are the wife’s thoughts (and many more because our brains are like tidal waves much of the time), here is what the husband is thinking: Sex. Wife. Vulva. Sweet. Love.

If only we could live in a guy brain for a minute or two, we could relax too.

Much like I suggested in my post about how to orgasm (If Only I Could O), you have to shut off the distractions, train yourself to open up to the sensations your body is feeling, and go with the flow. Let your husband turn you on. When you open your body up to him and to sexual pleasure, you are beautiful and sexy to him.

How can you help it go well? Learn your body. Know your anatomy and where it is likely to feel good. Below is a diagram of a woman’s genitals for your information. (Believe me when I say that I look for the most clinical diagram I can find to avoid any visual titillation here.) The most pleasurable part of a woman’s anatomy is the clitoris, a knobby bit of flesh at the top of the genitalia. Doctors and researchers report that this area must be stimulated directly or indirectly for a woman to orgasm. But the labia minora are also quite sensitive to touch.

Female genitals illustration

pic from American Academy of Pediatrics

As you think about what feels good, give directions. Not as in, “a little to the left, buddy. No, not there! Ouch. Can’t you do anything right? The left, the left!” Gently let your husband know what feels good. You can moan, groan, whisper, ooh, aah, talk, gyrate, purr, or even roar — whatever suits your fancy. You can adjust his head so that his lips and tongue contact you in a delightful place. You can use your hand to open up your vaginal lips and give him more direct access. Some wives (and husbands) swear by shaving or waxing that area to increase sensation and arousal (see Trimming the Hedges); some wives are not comfortable with that. Also, you might want to take a bath or shower beforehand to make sure everything is clean down there and smells nice.

You may wish to talk to your husband ahead of time. Let him know he needs to go slow. It does not feel good to most wives to have hubby go down and start brashly licking or sucking the clitoris. We need time to build up. He can begin by kissing your lips, your body, your thighs, and then move to the genital area. The lips and tongue should be used to tease for a while before pressure is increased. After a while of slow stimulation, you may want him to increase the speed and/or pressure of his mouth’s action against your skin.

Will you climax? Maybe. Cunnilingus is one of the easier ways for a woman to experience an orgasm — because the focus is on her and the clitoris can receive direct stimulation. Whether you climax or not, oral sex is likely to feel good to most wives who wish to have the experience.

Some couples use oral sex as foreplay. In fact, when a wife approaches climax, she may feel a strong desire for penetration. You can allow climax to occur during oral stimulation from your husband or move to intercourse and perhaps experience an orgasm after entry. For women, there are no guarantees for having an orgasm during sexual encounters. In fact, that’s not the purpose of marital intimacy. It is about closeness and pleasure. The paradox is that if you focus on your relationship and pleasurable sensations, you are more likely to have that orgasm.

Now I know I will get comments to this post! I want to say how tickled I was at the tone of the comments for my “blow job” post. Those who commented were respectful, frank, helpful, encouraging, and not inappropriately graphic. So what do you have to say on this subject? What do you like or dislike about oral sex? Have you tried cunnilingus in your marriage? And husbands, please share what you enjoy about the experience.

Oral Sex: Better to Give and Receive, Volume 1

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post titled Oral Sex: How To in which I gave some tips to wives for giving a “blow job.” In the comments, it was suggested more than once that I discuss how wives can enjoy being on the receiving end of oral sex.

Since I treated you last time to the internal dialogue I had before writing about fellatio, how about another peek into my brain? (Be afraid. Be very afraid.)

Self 1: What should I call this post?

Self 2: How about “Lie Back and Think of England?”

Self 1: No. “Lie back and think of England” is what that crazy Brit lady said to make women think sex isn’t enjoyable. How about “Lie Back and Think of Tinglin'”? That’s more like it!

Self 2: Seriously?

Self 1: Sorta seriously. I could just call it “Goin’ Down.” Bow chicka wow-wow.

Self 2: You are going down . . . into the gutter, girlfriend. What’s wrong with you?

Self 1: Quite a few things. For one, I can’t cook all that well. Plus, my nose is kind of big. And my–

Self 2: No, no. I mean, why do you always joke about sex?

Self 1: Um . . . ’cause it’s funny?

Self 2: You think sex is funny?

Self 1: Don’t you? Hey, I’m about to tell a group of Christian wives why spreading their legs and letting hubbies’ mouths touch their private parts can be kinda nice. I’m even going to mention how it’s actually in the Bible! I sure didn’t know that when I was a teen. If that had been mentioned in my “becoming a woman” Bible class, I would have fallen out of my chair from embarrassment or laughter — or both.

Self 2: You’re digressing. How about “Oral Sex: Better to Give and Receive”?

Self 1: I like it! Let’s go.

Wonder Woman: "Oh no you didn't!"

Oh yes, I did. Again.

Believe it or not, a lot of hubbies would like to get their wives tinglin’ down there. Several husbands have reported being physically aroused and emotionally moved by the openness of their wives when they can give oral sex.

But plenty of wives are nervous, resistant, or downright opposed to receiving cunnilingus (the scientific term for a woman receiving oral sex). For whatever reason, the idea of their husband’s mouth on their privates does not sound appealing. As before — with fellatio — I’m going to give some basic information. Perhaps after learning more about it, you may open up to the experience — figuratively and literally.

Is oral sex in marriage okay with God? This was discussed in the comments section in my first Oral Sex post. I have studied this question, and here are my conclusions.

According to most modern biblical scholars, the Song of Songs is about the sexual love between a married couple. In this Old Testament book, preserved as part of the holy scriptures, specific sexual acts are described. There appear to be at least two references to oral sex within — the first woman to man, the second man to woman.

“Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest, so is my beloved among the young men. In his shade I took great delight and sat down, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.” Song of Solomon 2:3

“Awake, O north wind, and come, wind of the south; make my garden breathe out fragrance, let its spices be wafted abroad. May my beloved come into his garden and eat its choice fruits!” Song of Solomon 4:16

Moreover, there is nothing inherently harmful about oral sex. There isn’t much research into the composition or possible health benefits, but a wife’s natural lubricant appears to be okay for her husband to ingest. The contact of lips and tongue to genitals is not far different from hands or fingers on genitals. No stretching or painful penetration is part of the process. The one caveat is that sexually transmitted diseases and infections can be passed by oral-genital contact, so if that is an issue in your marriage, be aware.

(Note: Some have compared oral and anal sex. There is no comparison. The rectum contains harmful bacteria, is not designed for penetration, and usually involves pain for the woman. That practice has been covered in my post, Uh, No.)

With possible biblical precedent and no harmful physical effects, what are the objections to oral sex? Some believe it is simply unnatural to engage in sex that doesn’t involve penetration. However, sexual encounters involve foreplay which isn’t penetration. This is simply touching of another sort. Some believe it is unnatural because it is portrayed in pornography. Well, so is penetration. While I strongly warn against viewing pornography and attempting to copy what is seen there, there are plenty of people who have never seen it in a porn film and engage in fellatio and cunnilingus. They didn’t get the idea from porn. Also, Julie Sibert of Intimacy in Marriage has pointed out that kissing one another’s bodies is quite all right. So where do the lips stop kissing? Must they stop before reaching genitalia? Inner thigh okay? Vulva not? Without biblical, health, or practical reasons, I don’t see why that area is forbidden.

Of course, you must decide for yourself and live out your life in good conscience before God. I merely suggest that you don’t allow preconceived notions to decide for you. Search it out for yourself. Decide based on the merits whether oral sex will be on your marital intimacy menu.

I honestly believe that God is fine with it being a part of the entire sexual experience, which does include penetration as the pinnacle of merging ourselves together as one flesh.

What’s so pleasurable about oral sex? First of all, the focus is the wife. While I believe that sex should be mutually satisfying, there are benefits to focusing on one spouse or the other from time to time. In fact, it is satisfying to many spouses to give intense pleasure to their partner. I enjoy turning my husband on, and from what I’ve heard, husbands get a big kick out of getting their wife’s engine purring.

Second, it is a different and delicate sensation. I’m back to my frozen treat example. Have you ever held an ice cream cone and eaten it this way and that way? You can slurp with your tongue all the way across; give little licks along the edge or at the whipped top; suck the cream with your mouth; twirl your tongue around; brush your lips against the coolness; come at the ice cream straight on, sideways, or from any angle. Your mouth is a handy tool. Now imagine you, lovely wife, are the ice cream. Can you see why that might feel good?

Third, your husband likes that perspective. For one thing, your husband’s eyes are close to his mouth, and he can see what he’s doing, gauge your body’s response, and revel in your pleasure. Let me cite some husbands’ comments from my other post:

“She is totally open to me and I am giving her incredible pleasure.”
“She is then totally open, giving herself totally over to me.”
“I’ve . . . always loved giving my wife oral (sexually, it is probably my favorite thing to do).”
“I am a husband who loves going down on my wife. I really enjoy experiencing her orgasm from that perspective, it is truly amazing.”

Fourth, it is one of the easier ways for a woman to orgasm. Because the husband can directly stimulate the clitoris, the mouth provides lubrication with saliva, and the mouth can vary in intensity, many wives report experiencing climax during oral sex. Stimulation of the clitoris — the woman’s pleasure center — is necessary for her to experience orgasm. With vaginal penetration, that stimulation is indirect. (That said, I personally think orgasm during intercourse is uber-pleasurable, but we can discuss that another time.) Some wives even enjoy receiving an orgasm through oral sex and then finishing off the experience with penetration by the husband.

What if you just don’t wanna? If the thought of receiving oral sex sickens you, is against your conscience, or you simply don’t enjoy the experience, don’t do it. Godly sexuality is never about forcing or demanding sexual acts from your spouse. If you don’t want to have oral sex, don’t. Find other activities that are mutually pleasurable. The beauty of intimacy in marriage is that, while there are some restrictions, there is a substantial amount of freedom. You can spend the next fifty years getting to know one another’s bodies and engaging in physical intimacy that makes your body tingle, your heart pump, and your connection deepen.

In my next post, I’ll be giving more of the “how to” for wives — what you need to do to enjoy oral sex and what you can do to help it feel good.

Congratulations to Cat, who commented last week on Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex: A Review. I enter 42 names in the hat, and hers was randomly chosen to receive the giveaway copy of The Good GIrl’s Guide to Great Sex provided by Sheila’s publisher, Zondervan.

A few sources I looked at while writing this article: Song of Songs (NIV); The Intimate Couple – Is Oral Sex Okay; -Is Oral Sex Biblically Wrong within Marriage?; The Phrase Finder – The Origin of Lie Back and Think of England

Lust: The Pigpen or The Feast?

“You should lust after your bride.” That’s how Paul Byerly of The Generous Husband began a post last Friday on LUST: I Want You. Paul pointed out that the word translated as “lust” is the Greek word epithumeo. “Epithumeo is not a sexual word, nor does it indicate sin; it actually means nothing more than a strong desire.”

Really? Growing up, the theme of “Don’t lust” was pretty big in our church youth group. We all knew that the progression went something like this: Girl wears strapless dress to prom — > boy lusts — > they dance close — > boy lusts — > they make out afterward — > boy and girl lust — > BIG, BIG SIN!

I barely refrained from putting “hellfire and brimstone” at the end of that sequence. But the point was basically LUST = BAD.

Not so, mon ami! Unfortunately, like plenty of issues in the world of sexuality, we allowed sexual desire to get a bad rap because we saw how Satan and the world had tainted it. We reasoned that strong sexual desire must be bad since it leads to premarital sex, pornography, adultery, etc.

Well, here’s the great thing about the little Bible study I did after reading Paul’s terrific article. I pulled out my Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible (a handy tool) and looked up the definition epithumeo and its uses in the New Testament. The Greek word epithumeo is translated as any of the following, depending on context: lust, desire, covet, long. Two of those have generally negative connotations (lust/covet) and two are positive or neutral (desire/long). There are 16 times the word is used in the NT, and here’s the one that struck me — Luke 15:16 from the story of the Lost, or Prodigal, Son:

“And he was longing (epithumeo) to fill his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him.”

Parable of the Prodigal Son: In the pigpen

Distant Shores Media/Sweet Publishing via Wikimedia Commons

Here’s a man who could have been doing things God’s way, longing for delectable meals, and feasting at his father’s table, and instead he goes off sinning a blue streak and ends up longing for something that will never fill him up! That is the way “lust” works outside of God’s design. You are longing for something you shouldn’t have, and God actually has something way better!

Lust and longing are not bad. Epithumeo as a strong desire is perfectly fine in the proper context — marriage. That’s where the Father has prepared us a feast! It’s when we try to twist it all up and start longing for pig’s food — sexuality outside of God’s plan — that it becomes a negative thing.

Thus, LUST IN MARRIAGE IS GOOD. I know that’s causing some of your heads to hurt. But replace the word “lust” with “strong desire” and read it again. When speaking of adultery, Jesus said that a man sins when he strongly desires a woman who is not his wife (Matthew 5:27-28). But that was about adultery. Strongly desiring your own spouse is not only a-okay, but all over the scriptures!

In practical terms, this means that when my husband removes his clothes, I ogle. Yep, I do. When I strip down to even my undergarments, my husband drops his book and starts to look. Married people are supposed to desire and enjoy one another’s bodies.

I dare say plenty of us could use some practice learning to lust in marriage. Oftentimes, we have no problem checking out the “hot babes” or “mancandy” from magazines, film, and TV, but we don’t train our eyes and hearts to look longingly at our spouses. The more we keep that strong desire where it belongs — in marriage — and practice that longing for one another, the less likely we are to be tempted elsewhere and the more we are likely to appreciate our own mate’s beautiful qualities.

Being looked at longingly also makes us feel loved. We all want to be desired — relationally and physically. When hubby gazes in wonder at the curves and softness of your body, isn’t that a compliment of the highest kind? Likewise, try checking him out when he steps out of the shower. Does he have particularly broad shoulders? Strong hands? Penetrating eyes? A cute outey navel? A bald spot on his head that you can barely keep your fingers off? Find something to check out. Lust a little! He’ll love it.

Lust is bad when you do it in the pigpen. At the feast table that your Heavenly Father has set — the union of your marriage — that longing is approved, endorsed, encouraged, and smiled upon.

Feast table

By anjči from London, UK, via Wikimedia Commons

What do you think? Do you enjoy looking at your hunky honey? Do you appreciate when he looks at you? Have you ever heard these distinctions about the word translated as lust?

Note: I posted my review of Sheila Gregoire’s The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex on Monday. If you want a chance to win a copy of her book, head over there and comment. You have until Saturday, March 17, 12:00 midnight EST to enter. I will randomly draw a name on Sunday and announce the winner on Monday.