Monthly Archives: August 2012

When You’re Sexually Sinning

The last three weeks, I’ve taken the time to talk about building a wall around your marriage to keep out Satan’s attacks on your marital covenant, the biblical response to sexual temptation, and the steps that lead to an affair.

This topic has come about primarily because a good friend of mine is going through the total destruction of her marriage due to the adulterous actions of her husband. This came from a man I would have never suspected was capable of such a thing. However, I believe that given the right combination of circumstances and a lack of intentionality in preventing adultery, sexual temptation can creep up and take just about anyone hostage. We must be as innocent as doves and as shrewd as snakes regarding this issue (Matthew 10:16).

So what if you’re already there? What if you are already in a compromised situation with someone outside your marriage?

I have discussed here my sexually promiscuous past before my marriage. In effect, that was adultery too because I was having sexual contact with someone other than my husband. God desired for me to focus all of my sexual energy on the spouse that He would provide for me. I’ve done a lot of thinking since then about what would have prevented me from getting trapped in sexual temptation. I have a list of things that would have helped me never arrive at that point. However, I am less certain what someone could have said at that time to pull me out. The one direct challenge I received, I rebuffed like a volleyball and then stopped talking to that person.

So what can I say to you either? What words can get us to wake up and understand that things can be different?

I think the words are What if. When you are in the midst of sexual sin, you don’t see how you can go without and you don’t want to. You also don’t want to feel the horrendous guilt or hurt others in the process. So you feel stuck.

Here’s what someone might have said to me then, and it could have made a real difference:

What if you could have the pleasure you experience without the guilt?
What if you could have this experience within a secure, committed relationship?
What if you knew that you would be able to stop yourself before going too far?
What if you could feel pure again?

Quote bubble with "What if?"In a similar vein, if you are in a compromised sexual position with someone other than your spouse, you need to ask some important what if questions:

What if you could have all these feelings of romance and desire for the spouse you already covenanted with?
What if you knew your relationship with God and your spouse could be restored?
What if you knew the other person you’re falling in love with would be okay without you?

Time after time, couples have survived infidelity. These are not hypothetical what-ifs. They can happen. In fact, I suggest you follow Marriage Life Ministries and My Beloved Is Mine blogs to see stories from people who not only survived but thrived after adultery. AffairCare also offers resources for renewing a marriage after infidelity.

And I assure you that making that other person into an adultery partner is not doing him or her any favors: You are hurting their reputation, their family, their future, and their relationship with God. Step away and let them find an appropriate mate for life.

If you don’t believe that God can redeem your marital relationship, I pray that you will reconsider. I believe in every fiber of my being that’s exactly what God wills to do. Jeremiah 29:11-13 says, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.'” And Psalm 37:3-6 says, “Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.”

Read The Gospel in the Bedroom for more on God’s desire for your marital intimacy.

Stop and ask yourself What if? What if this affair doesn’t work out? What if things could be better in my marriage if I would give it my all? What if the way that seems right to me isn’t the way I should go? (“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” Proverbs 14:12) What if my marriage could not just survive, but thrive?

What if.

I also highly recommend that you check out the powerful post and the video presented by the Mission:Husband blog: ‘Til Death Do Us Part.

Are “Au Naturale” Destinations Okay?

Today’s question from my Q&A with J at HHH post is from a reader who wants the bare facts about nudity in public places. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

I’m so happy for the chance to ask this question b/c I have no idea who else to ask and I love your blog so much! Please talk to me about au natural/nude beaches. My dh and I are both strong Christians, but when he’s in Jamaica at a resort, he loves the au natural beach – he’s private about it and doesn’t look at other women, but loves the warm sun and sea on his skin. I’m much more modest, and I haven’t found any biblical grounds for nudity in a public place like that. This is a real problem, ’cause I want to bless him with what makes him relaxed and happy, but I don’t have the conviction that this is o.k. as a Christian. How can we resolve this? Thanks!!!

I posted a brief reply to that question. We’ll start with what I said then:

“I can do a whole post on this, but my quick answer is no, it’s not okay biblically. 1 Corinthians 7:4 says, ‘The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife.’ Our bodies are not for public viewing, but belong to ourselves and our spouses. Some parts are indeed private. Moreover, 1 Corinthians 10:23-24: ‘”Everything is permissible” — but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible” — but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.’ I can’t see how traipsing around on a nudist beach is beneficial, constructive, and for the good of others. It sounds like your husband is pursuing his own interest. And I’m sorry to say, his claim that he isn’t looking at other women if he sees them on the nude beach is at the very least questionable.

“Personally, I really enjoy skinny-dipping. I can understand the pleasure of warm sun and sea (or river or pool water, etc.) on your skin. However, there are ways to accomplish this WITHOUT visiting nude beaches where you see others naked or expose yourself to others.

“Somehow you need to let him know this is not okay with you. Of course, attacking him with anger and scripture isn’t likely to get you the results you want. Try approaching him with your concerns and questions about why he does this and how you and he might do it far more privately and biblically. My thoughts and prayers are with you!”

So here’s the skinny. (Seriously, couldn’t resist.)

For your spouse, not others. This is an activity a couple should probably engage in together. If one of you wants to frolic around naked outdoors, why would you do it in the presence of others and not with your spouse? The better route would be to save outdoor nudity for those trips you can take together. That way, hubby can gaze to his heart’s delight on the woman who belongs to him, and the wife can do the same (and yeah, I’m kind of thinking she can be there to keep his eyes where they belong). It may feel very uncomfortable the first time you get naked outside, but if you choose a secluded area, you might find that you and your spouse can enjoy the experience.

Accommodating destinations. Some places will accommodate your request for such privacy. Since the wife mentioned Jamaica, I started there — at the Visit Jamaica website. According to the website, au naturel settings are popular in Jamaica and accommodated by several beaches and resorts. While there are nude beaches, the site claims that guests can “ask for a little more privacy at Reggae Vibes, Ocho Rios, and the managers will corner off a section of the beach just for you.” I take them at their word that there are options for a couple to have a private space where they can bare it all — for each other and each other alone.

Finding a spot. You can also hunt down your own place to enjoy an au naturale experience. Find a secluded cabin or house, and I bet no one would bother you. Seek out lodging that has a private pool or hot tub for the two of you to enjoy. One of my readers suggested looking at a vacation rental website for “private cabins who ask [their] hot tub users to not wear anything into [the] tub.” This anonymous reader also mentioned that “There [are] also places where they have private ponds or lakes that you could do most anything nude in your own private place.” I feel certain that such places exist, even if you might have to look a little harder to find them. You can also tap a travel agent for advice and lodging options. In almost every church I’ve attended, there has been a travel agent, so ask around to find someone who would understand and accommodate your desire.

Be careful. There are laws against public nudity (also known as “indecent exposure,” “public lewdness” and “public indecency”) in many places. In the U.S., these laws are set by each state. Thus, you have to be careful where you show your stuff. You don’t want to have to explain to your children that mommy got in trouble with the police for letting it all hang out.

Avoiding lust. One of the biggest problems with the assertion that one isn’t looking at others on the nude beach is that, even if true, you could still be a temptation to lust for others. In Matthew 5:28, Jesus said, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Then in 1 Corinthians 8:13, Paul says about meat sacrificed to idols: “Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall.” Tying these biblical principles together, we can conclude that going nude in a way that causes someone to sinfully lust is not okay with God.

It’s hard to avoid lusting with our own eyes as well. I have a difficult time imagining a guy enjoying a visit to a nude beach and not being there in part to look at the naked women. I don’t want to cast doubt on your husband’s integrity, nor do I want to cause a wedge between the two of you, but that sounds like a tall order for any guy. While I aim my posts at the wives (did you ever notice the feminine pink and orange [original] background?), I know I have male readers and they can provide a man’s perspective which I obviously cannot, so maybe they can chime in here on whether it’s possible to go to a nude beach and not look at the women there. I gotta say that plenty of us gals would have a challenge as well if a Daniel Craig-type walked by naked. In Job 31:1, Job wisely says, “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl.” We need to make that covenant ourselves, which means that public exposure of private parts isn’t a good or godly idea.

Just say no. Another obvious solution is to simply not get naked outside, period. I mentioned in my brief response to the commenter that I enjoy skinny dipping. I do, but I haven’t been in (counting on fingers) . . . forever. Because seriously, how important is it for me to get naked in a pool or body of water? Is it worth hunting down a secluded location for me to strip down and show my stuff? Is it worth the cost of putting a pool in my back yard and a high (possibly electrified) fence to keep my goods hidden? How badly do I really want to swim nude? Not that bad. If an opportunity arises someday for me to skinny dip in a private, holy way, I may indeed do so. But in the meantime, it just isn’t that important.

That said, if naked outings are a priority and a great pleasure for your husband, then the two of you should expend some time and money finding a way to enjoy this activity together and in a private, holy manner — not exposing your nudity to others. Will it take more effort? Quite likely, yes. But the benefit of keeping yourselves only for one another and not tempting others to lust is worth it.

7 Steps to an Affair

The last two weeks, I’ve been talking about the temptation of adultery: first with an admonition to protect your marriage with boundaries and then with the Bible’s answer to sexual temptation: flee. If you’ve ever witnessed someone in your Christian circle fall to sexual temptation and become entangled in an affair, the question that we all ask is how. How did this person go from being a spouse who promised to “keep myself only unto you” to the person sneaking around to cheat on their marriage partner?

Painting of King Solomon

Simeon Solomon [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Proverbs 5 breaks it down. In this passage, King Solomon tells his son not only the importance of avoiding adultery, but how to keep from becoming entrapped. His words of warning show how this happens. Knowing the progression of an affair means that we can see the steps and stop the process anywhere along the way.

Step One: Don’t admit you need a plan.

My son, pay attention to my wisdom,
listen well to my words of insight,
that you may maintain discretion
and your lips may preserve knowledge.

That’s where this all starts — with a willingness to believe that you could fall if you don’t heed the warnings and encouragement of God.

Step Two: Start with words.

For the lips of an adulteress drip honey,
and her speech is smoother than oil; 

but in the end she is bitter as gall,
sharp as a double-edged sword.
Her feet go down to death;
her steps lead straight to the grave.

She gives no thought to the way of life;
her paths are crooked, but she knows it not.

An affair starts with words. This woman’s words are described as being like “honey” and “smoother than oil.” The most reckless affairs can begin with seemingly harmless conversations in which someone makes you feel good about yourself. Maybe things aren’t going so well at home, and you don’t feel appreciated. And then your co-worker or friend compliments you, converses about interesting topics instead of how to juggle the family schedule, or even comments on how you are not being treated as well as you should be by your spouse.

According to that last line, she/he may not even know that they are on a crooked path. This person isn’t thinking clearly either about where it will all lead, how the destination is death . . . the death of your marriage. The conversations may not feel like betrayal to your spouse since it’s just words, right? You haven’t actually done anything.

And it’s true that you can stop it here. If you realize that you have become more comfortable talking or listening to a man other than your husband, you can back off and stop anything else from happening. If this is where you are, think right now about how this could be the beginning of the end for you and your marriage.

Step Three: Keep in touch.

Now then, my sons, listen to me;
do not turn aside from what I say.
Keep to a path far from her,
do not go near the door of her house,
lest you give your best strength to others
and your years to one who is cruel,
lest strangers feast on your wealth
and your toil enrich another man’s house. 

So far it’s just words, but Solomon is very clearly in his prescription: “do not go near.” Even if you think you’re strong enough to handle a close opposite-sex friendship, the wisest man ever is saying, “Don’t risk it. Stay away.” The Bible’s answer to sexual temptation is not to master your urges in the moment but to avoid being in a compromising position to begin with.

If you are starting to have feelings, ties, or sexual thoughts about someone outside your marriage, do not go near that person. Break off contact. Be bold about protecting your marriage.

Step Four: Ignore others.

At the end of your life you will groan,
when your flesh and body are spent.
You will say, “How I hated discipline!
How my heart spurned correction! 

I would not obey my teachers
or listen to my instructors.
I have come to the brink of utter ruin
in the midst of the whole assembly.”

The next step is not listening to others. This can be exhibited in different ways. You may have someone who actually speaks up and voices concern about your contact with this person, and you rationalize it and avoid further conversation. It could be that you simply don’t tell anyone. You know in your heart that others would have an issue with the close relationship you’re developing with someone other than your spouse, so you don’t tell anyone. You just don’t want to hear their correction. Whatever form this takes, you are listening to your own desires and your new found love interest.

You can stop now. Tell someone about your thoughts and feelings. Get discipline. Get correction. Avoid ruin.

Step Five: Let your spouse go.

Drink water from your own cistern,
running water from your own well.
Should your springs overflow in the streets,
your streams of water in the public squares?
Let them be yours alone,
never to be shared with strangers.
May your fountain be blessed,
and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. 

A loving doe, a graceful deer —
may her breasts satisfy you always,
may you ever be captivated by her love.

An affair takes full force when one diverts emotional and sexual energy away from their spouse and gives it to another. You wanna have lots of great sex? Keep it in your marriage.

This may be a challenge for some. Perhaps the relationship or couple’s sex life isn’t flourishing. It needs work, commitment, and time to become a situation where you are “captivated” by your spouse’s love. Believe that God can re-energize your marriage if you will recommit to it. Drink water from your own cistern.

Step Six: Commit to the affair.

Why be captivated, my son, by an adulteress?
Why embrace the bosom of another man’s wife?

You’re full in now. You’re captivated by someone other than your spouse. You are embracing the affair partner in a sexual way. You have given your heart, your energy, and your body to another outside your marriage.

Is it too late? The message of the Bible is that it is never too late to do the right thing, to get on the right path, to repent and find forgiveness. If the Rahab can go from being a prostitute to a grandmother in Jesus’ bloodline; if King David can find favor in God’s eyes after adultery and murder; if the Apostle Paul can turn his life around from persecutor to proclaimer of the Gospel; then you can leave this affair, seek God with all of your heart (Jeremiah 29:13), and do everything within your power to restore your relationship with Him and your marriage.

Step Seven: Sow what you reap.

For a man’s ways are in full view of the Lord,
and he examines all his paths. 

The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him;
the cords of his sin hold him fast. 

He will die for lack of discipline,
led astray by his own great folly.

The world around us is constantly teaching that you can get away with sexual relations outside marriage. Think of all of the books you’ve read or movies you’ve seen that get you rooting for an adulterous relationship. We may even know of someone who left a marriage, married their affair partner, and seems to be doing well.

However, I fully believe Galatians 6:7: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” And the passage above says that “a man’s ways are in full view of the Lord.” There are consequences to sin. Ask those who have been down this path and suffered the hardship of divorce and separation from their God, their church, the family, and their friends.

An affair leads to the shattering of expectations, promises, and lives. It is not a private choice between two consensual adults. It is sin.

If we can see how this could happen, we might see how to prevent it. Stop the progression at any point before the physical affair begins and damage can be mitigated. If you are on this path and are flirting with danger, stop, flee, heed the warnings. If you have gone too far, go back. You can turn your heart away from the affair partner. You can ask your spouse for forgiveness. You can recommit and do everything in your power to reclaim the love you had lost with your spouse.

There’s a fabulous song in Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie called “Second Chances.” In it are the lyrics:

You can be restored from your darkest circumstances.
Our God is a God of second chances.

Note: For those of you who track my blog, my apologies for missing Monday’s post. An unexpected visit from a friend and a funeral kept me offline. I’ll return with more Q&A on August 27.

The Bible’s Answer to Sexual Temptation

Last week, I got a case of righteous indignation after learning that two couples I know have been impacted by adultery. I suggested that we need to stop talking about building a hedge for our marriage and instead erect a strong wall to keep out Satan’s attacks on our covenant. This week, I want to look at what the Bible says about what someone should do when directly faced with sexual temptation.

You can’t stay behind that wall all the time, of course. While I personally established The Rule that I will not be alone with a man who is neither my husband nor a male relative, that isn’t practical for everyone. I recognize that you may need to be with someone of the opposite sex for work or in other circumstances. You may even find yourself tempted by someone when in a group. You may be contacted on social media by a person from your past that brings up residual feelings. You may receive overt come-ons from someone when you didn’t ask for them. You are human. You were designed by God as a sexual being. You may one day be tempted to engage in flirtation, romance, or physical contact with someone other than your spouse.

So you should know how keep things on the up-and-up, you should have a ready response, you should prepare for battle . . . Nope. That isn’t it. We often think that the way to handle an adulterous opportunity is to talk our way out of it — explain to the presenting party that we love our spouse and we want to remain friends and nothing more, blah, blah, blah.

Hey, we are never instructed in Scripture to do hand-to-hand combat with sexual temptation! Do you know what the biblical teaching for such temptation is? FLEE. That’s right. Create distance between you and the temptation. Go away. Run for your life. Get the heck outta Dodge.

Joseph is the prime example for how to handle sexual temptation. After being sold into slavery by his brothers, he went to work in Egypt at Potiphar’s house. He is described in the Bible as “well-built and handsome.” So yeah, he was the Israelite version of Brad Pitt, Ian Somerhalder, Robert Pattison, or whoever you think makes nice-viewing. In fact, Scripture says that Potiphar’s wife “took notice” of that nice view. And then she made her move. At first, Joseph explains that he will not do that to her, his master, or his God. But that doesn’t do it, of course.

Joseph and Potiphar's wife - illustratoin

Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Genesis 39:10-12: “And though [Potiphar’s wife] spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her. One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. She caught him by his cloak and said, ‘Come to bed with me!’ But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.” Do you think Joseph would have stood a chance with Potiphar’s wife if he had kept trying to reason with her? To push his sexual desires aside when a beautiful woman begged him to sleep with her? To stay in close proximity to easy sexuality without lusting? Fleeing was the not simply the best, but the only option.

A few years down the road, the son of an adulterous relationship, Solomon, decides to instruct his son on sexual morality. You might think that his love of his mother Bathsheba and his father King David would sway him toward giving them a pass on their adultery. Things happen, right? King David wasn’t trying to be an adulterer; he just fell in love with Bathsheba one day, and there you go (never mind that he was supposed to be at war with his army).

But Solomon passes along the wisdom he received from God to his own son. Rather than telling him to “look but don’t touch” or “just stop before you doing anything really wrong” or giving him some speech about free milk and cows, Solomon says in Proverbs 5:8: “Keep to a path far from [the adulteress], do not go near the door of her house.” The entire chapter is worth reading, but the lesson Solomon wants his son to receive is that the only way to avoid sinning sexually is to avoid the temptation altogether. Just don’t get near it. If you find yourself on the wrong path, take a detour. Don’t go there.

One other verse from the New Testament puts this concept in as straightforward a manner as possible. In 1 Corinthians 6:18, Paul says: “Flee from sexual immorality.” The Greek word for “flee” here is pheugo, which means “to be saved by flight, to escape safely out of danger.” Sexual temptation is a danger zone. You don’t manage danger, so much as you get away from it. I don’t talk my way out of an oncoming car; I get out of the road!

So if you find yourself tempted (and it is my belief that almost every married individual will at one time or another), FLEE! That means that you cut off opposite-sex friendships that begin to include flirtation or feel too familiar (“do not go near”); you avoid places where you will run into those who may tempt you (“he refused to . . . even be with her”); you deal with come-ons with physical distance (“ran out of the house”); and you know your escape route (“flee from sexual immorality”).

Have you ever been in a tempting situation? Confession time: I have. When my marriage was struggling in prior years, I had a male friend whom I realized I enjoyed seeing a bit too much. Temptation to interact, flirt, or being physically close to someone outside marriage often happens when the marriage itself isn’t meeting your needs for safety and intimacy.

What did I do? I fled. I stopped spending time with this couple (I was never alone with him during this time, since I was following my own rule). Whenever a stray thought about him appeared, I pushed it out and refocused myself on my husband. I confessed my inappropriate thoughts to a close female friend who was clearly on the side of my marriage. I created physical and mental distance. And you know what? A few months later, I had no such feelings for the guy. The feelings untended simply went away.

Boy, am I glad that I didn’t confuse sexual temptation with covenant intimacy. I have a better marriage now than ever. God honored our faithfulness and commitment to one another by giving my husband and me a heart makeover that surpasses anything I had imagined.

Feeling tempted? Flee. That’s the Bible’s answer to sexual temptation.

When He’s Slow to Climax

Q&AAfter last week’s interruption of our Monday Q&A sessions here (with Confessions of a Sexy and Sexy-Happy Hubby featuring my favorite guy, “Mr. Spock”), I’m back to fielding your questions. Here’s today’s question:

I have a husband who desperately desires sex more (we are going through 29 days to great sex currently and it is fantastic!) The problem we seem to be encountering is that unlike me, he has a hard time climaxing sometimes. Mostly when he is tired, but I almost always am ready before he is. Sometimes its ok, and I can go twice, but sometimes it’s just been too long and my lady parts can’t take it anymore :-/ It’s not an issue of being aroused.. he describes it like he doesn’t have enough control to be able to make it happen. Any suggestions??

I guarantee that this is a problem for more than one wife out there. Sure, we hear how hubbies are eager beavers and can barely hold back their climax, but that isn’t always the way things play out in the marital bedroom. Sometimes, no matter how much he wants to get there, it’s a challenge.

Let’s start with understanding why this might happen to any husband, and then we’ll go into what to do about it. So what are some causes of a husband having a difficult time reaching climax?

Age. As men age, the nerve endings in their penis become less sensitive, so what used to make them fire off a round easily may not quite get them there anymore.

Drugs. Medications can interfere with ejaculation. Specifically, most anti-depressants, anti-hypertensives (high blood pressure meds), anti-psychotic drugs, and some diuretics. In addition, excessive alcohol, marijuana use, or opiates can have a dulling effect on the ability to climax.

Disease or Injury. Husbands with diabetes, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, and injury to the pelvic region can experience difficulty in orgasming. For all of these, the nerves in the genital area have been negatively affected, so arousal to climax is more difficult.

Masturbation. While I fall on the side that masturbation isn’t by definition sinful (see Two Wives & Candid Conversation about Masturbation), it is often not advisable. If you masturbate often, you train yourself to react to that more efficient form of arousal, rather than the slower — and vastly more relationship-building — interaction with your honey. Husbands may then have difficulty achieving orgasm with intercourse rather than self-stimulation.

A quick note about Pornography: If your husband is viewing pornography as well, that adds yet another barrier to achieving orgasm through regular sexual contact. Porn is a shortcut to arousal, and those addicted to porn may become physiologically unable to take the long way home.

Performance Anxiety. If a man has difficulty achieving climax, the next time he may worry about achieving climax, which makes it hard to achieve climax, meaning he will now worry more about achieving climax, thus making it harder . . . Yeah, you get the point. Stress and anxiety hinder our ability to perform in all areas — from public speaking to getting the torpedo out of the chute.

Pregnancy Fear. If the wife wants to conceive, and the husband isn’t ready or willing to become a papa, he may subconsciously withhold his “seed.” If for some reason, a wife is in that spot, she needs to address it. You simply shouldn’t bring a child into this world without husband and wife both willing to parent. ‘Nuff said.

Relationship Issues. For both husband and wife, there is vulnerability and openness involved in sexually engaging and climaxing. The husband may not even be consciously aware that he’s doing it, but if he feels resentment or frustration with his wife, it can carry over into his ability to ejaculate inside her.

By the way, Fatigue didn’t show up on the lists of causes I looked through. But my personal, anecdotal evidence is that sometimes we spouses are just too pooped to pop. So yeah, I think being especially tired can be a contributing factor, especially as a man ages and it takes longer effort to reach climax.

Now on to how to address “retarded ejaculation” (its medical term). According to an article from the Boston University School of Medicine: “Ejaculatory dysfunction is always perceived as a couple’s issue. Resolving the problem is most successful when both partners can work together as a team toward a successful solution.” I’m certain that God would agree with that one. In marriage, you are “one flesh” and what happens to one of you in the bedroom happens to both of you.

Communication. High-five to the reader who posed this question! She and her husband have already talked about the problem, so it’s out there. They want to work on it together. Through their conversations, she has a better understanding of what’s going on with him (“he describes it like he doesn’t have enough control to be able to make it happen“). Please, wives, don’t read this article with the attitude of diagnosing him, informing him of what’s happening with his own body, and demanding that he get in line with your solution. That’s not communication; that’s lecture.

Open up the lines of communication by mentioning that you want him to have the best possible sexual experience. You can include about how hard it can be for your body to continue at some point, so the two of you should try to figure out how to get him to climax earlier. But don’t make him feel that he has failed (giving him performance anxiety). More likely, his body has failed him. Ask him to explain how it feels–what is different about before and now. Ask how he would like it to feel. Ask if he is experiencing stress or tension. Just ask questions. Then LISTEN.

Medical Examination. You need to know if the body itself is working like it should. If hubby is on medications, and suddenly he’s slow to climax, the easiest fix may be a different drug. Let’s go with the easiest fix, right? Ask your husband to visit a doctor. You can offer to go with him, or let him go alone if he’s more comfortable discussing the issue without you in the room. However, he should be willing to share the results of the doctor visit. Just start with finding out if the body is in sync.

Treatment. Secular sources I found often suggest having the man masturbate until right before orgasm, then penetrating his partner. Slowly, they suggest, a man can spend less time with masturbation and more time thrusting inside his partner, thus retraining his body toward ejaculation with intercourse.

Pah! I say. Sexual intimacy should be, well, intimate. It involves two people interacting with each other physically to provide arousal to and closeness with one another. Also, this is a we problem; remember the quote above? There’s got to be some approach to this issue that focuses on the two of you together and doesn’t involve self-stimulation as the ultimate answer.

So here are some other ideas:

Wait a sufficient amount of time in between. If you are having sex every day or every other day, that may be too often for a husband struggling with slow ejaculation. Space out your interactions to every few days. Of course, don’t go too long. Your body tends to adjust to what it receives, and you don’t want the “new normal” to be too little physical intimacy in your marriage.

Cease masturbation. If the husband has trained his body to become quickly aroused and climax through self-stimulation, it may be interfering with arousal and climax in sexual intercourse. The best way to retrain yourself is to stop the old, harmful habit and replace it with a new, beneficial habit.

Spend more time in foreplay. Instead of having the husband masturbate almost to climax, the husband can coach his wife toward stimulating him enough in other ways that he feels very close. Find out what he finds particularly arousing. Is it viewing you in full light? Turning you on to the point of orgasm? Receiving fellatio (oral sex) from you? Getting a “hand job”? (Use lube, lube, lube!) Get him close, and then get him in. Over time, have him enter earlier and earlier in that process to retrain himself toward climaxing inside you.

Use lots of lubricant. If a wife is okay with going longer for the husband to ejaculate, she can keep a bottle of lubricant handy. Reapply often and generously because, after ongoing friction, a woman tends to have less lubrication and feel discomfort with continued thrusting. There are many brands of lubricant (KY, Astroglide, and others), as well as the natural option of coconut oil.

Apply sufficient pressure. As I read about this problem, a recurring message was that plenty of men with retarded ejaculation could reach orgasm through masturbation, which provided more intense pressure and speedier thrusting than is often the case with sexual intercourse. It makes sense, therefore, to me that you might wish to try different positions to see if angle makes a difference in the pressure applied on his penis. You could also use your hand to apply more pressure at the base of his penis while your husband is inside your vagina (this may be easiest with the woman-on-top position). Also–while I have a love/hate relationship with them–it’s never a bad idea for a wife to do some Kegel exercises to keep the musculature of the vagina strong. You can even work to flex those muscles with him inside you, thus providing more pressure to his penis to assist ejaculation.

Don’t worry about his climax. Ask a guy when he’s done with sex, and he’ll probably say when he’s ejaculated. But it isn’t necessary for a man to come to have a great time in the bedroom with his wife. As men age in particular, they may find that there are those times when the length of time it would take to ejaculate isn’t “worth it,” so to speak. The husband can still enjoy the physical closeness with his wife and walk away happy even if he doesn’t ejaculate. You don’t have to reach the peak every single time to enjoy a beautiful hike up the mountain. Taking the pressure off may actually have the effect of making it easier for the hubby to achieve orgasm, since performance anxiety could be a factor — whether primary or secondary.

Since retarded ejaculation is not widely diagnosed, there isn’t a plethora of information about treating it. The general take from the experts is to check for medical reasons that can be treated and to focus on reconditioning the man’s sexual response.

I’m a believer that Christianity affects every single part of our lives. As such, I thought about 1 Corinthians 13 as I was writing this, and how it even applied to this situation. So if I were dealing with this issue with my husband, I would be wise to consider that:

Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.

Be patient and kind as you approach your husband about his sexual performance. Let bygones be bygones and work toward protecting, trust, hoping, and persevering with each other. My continued blessings for this reader and all those who struggle with sexual problems in their marriage.

Sources: WebMD, Boston University School of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, International Society for Sexual Medicine, GoFish Ministries blog, The Marriage Bed