Monthly Archives: November 2012

Do You Dream about Others?

Q&AA few more posts from my Q&A with J at HHH series. Today’s question is about dreams.

“My troublous dream this night doth make me sad.”

William Shakespeare, King Henry VI

Mommaof3: My husband and I have been married for 5 years, and in the past year or so I have been having some troubling dreams. I try thinking good things before bed, since everyone says that you dream what you’re thinking…that doesn’t help at all. I keep dreaming about cheating on my husband with 2 different people (who i know in real life). I’m not asking for an interpretation or anything like that. lol Just do you have any advice on how to deal with these dreams? My husband thinks that it is funny because one of the people I dream about is his brother, so he likes to tease me and say that I married the wrong brother. However, it really bothers me to have these dreams about these 2 guys, because then it kind of changes how I think of these people in real life. So I guess I would like to know if you can suggest any ways to stop the dreams, and also how to deal with them (or forget them!) once I wake up in the mornings. (these dreams happen like once every week or so. So not every day, but not just occasionally.) Thank you for speaking so openly about marital sex and all that goes with it! ūüôā

Woman in bed & alarm clock

Oh no, what did I dream?!
Photo from Microsoft Word Clip Art

“This was my dream: what it doth bode, God knows.”

William Shakespeare, King Henry VI

Let’s start by looking at dreams themselves. I guarantee Mommaof3 isn’t the only spouse out there who has had disturbing dreams. It can be a shocker to wake up and realize you had a “sex dream” about someone other than your mate.

What are dreams? Scientists are not certain of the purpose of dreams. Dreams occur during the rapid-eye-movement (REM) period of the sleep cycle, when our brains are quite active but our bodies are essentially paralyzed. In such a state, we can imagine all kinds of actions that our selves are unable to act upon. (By the way, sleepwalking and night terrors do not occur during REM sleep.)

REM sleep is thought to aid in problem-solving and memory organization. Dreams may be our brain’s way of sorting through the events of the day, trying out various, and sometimes wild, approaches to issues in our lives, and working through mental and emotional stress.

What do dreams mean? Throughout the centuries, people have attempted to interpret dreams. Other than those to whom God gave this special ability — such as Joseph and Daniel — such efforts are largely shots in the dark. Sigmund Freud thought every cylindrical object in a dream represented the phallus, and every receptacle represented the vagina. This is where we get our comical interpretation of “I dreamed I was on a train going through a tunnel . . .” Is that about sex? Or did you just happen to buy an Amtrak ticket that day?

You can try to figure out what your dream “means,” but it may mean nothing. It may be a series of unrelated objects thrown together in a hodgepodge. Your brain may simply be playing out various scenarios that have little to do with any deeper desires or fears.

Does God use dreams? We know that God has used dreams. The first biblical example is when God comes to Abimelech in a dream to tell him that this Sarah he has taken as a wife belongs to Abraham (Genesis 20:3). God spoke to both His own people and enemies of His people through dreams: Jacob (Genesis 28), Joseph (Genesis 37), Pharaoh (Genesis 41), Solomon (1 Kings 3), Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 2), Joseph of Nazareth (Matthew 1), the Magi (Matthew 2), and Pilate’s wife (Matthew 27). God also¬†said: “Listen to my words: ‘When a prophet of the LORD is among you, I reveal myself to him in visions, I speak to him in dreams'” (Numbers 12:6).¬†At times, God has used dreams to speak specifically into someone’s life to inform them or affect their decisions.

I do not, however, know of anyone who believes that all dreams are Heaven-sent. The vast majority of dreams appear to be of the sort-through-stuff kind. Anyone in Scripture who had a dream sent from God did not wake up like a normal day; they were shaken until their bones rattled. Thus, I’m skeptical about implying any grand messages from God to our everyday dreams.

Does Satan use dreams? Satan certainly likes to attack our thought life. However, there is no direct evidence in the Bible that Satan has access to our dreams. I cannot find a reference to Satan sending a dream to anyone in all of the Old or New Testament. I suggest that if we give Satan a foothold in our waking lives, though, it can carry over to how we sort through our thoughts when we dream.

Are you responsible for your dream? Probably not. You fall asleep. You are unconscious. You cannot move. Your brain is taken over by images you didn’t invite. And there you are — unaware that you are in the arms of another until the alarm clock rings and you wake up feeling both good and guilty.

Only if you lie in bed and rehearse “Dream about Brad Pitt, dream about Brad Pitt” are you responsible for dreaming about Brad Pitt. If you lust after someone while awake, you do carry some blame if you dream about him/her that night. Your waking thoughts can creep into your dream life. But if someone pops into your dream uninvited, you aren’t responsible.

Should you tell your spouse?¬†Momma of 3 talked freely with her husband about these dreams. Some spouses wouldn’t mind. Others would. You have to make that call yourself. Don’t use your spouse to unburden yourself from contrived guilt or to help you interpret a dream. If you’re telling your honey because you¬†want to feel better, that’s probably not a good reason. If you do, you may feel better and make him/her feel worse.

What should you do with a disturbing dream?¬†If you have a single dream about someone other than your spouse, it likely means zero, nada, zip. It does not mean that you have an attraction or feelings for that person.¬†Consider it a “brain fart”¬†and move on.

If you have a recurring dream, that can be nerve-racking. Why is your brain stuck on that theme? What can you do about it?

“I am accustomed to sleep and in my dreams to imagine the same things that lunatics imagine when awake.”

Rene Descartes

Some psychologists believe that recurring dreams are your brain’s way of forcing you to deal with unfinished business. They contend that you need to delve deep into the dream’s origins and deal with what they signify in your waking life. I’m not a big proponent of this approach. Dreams can be tricky to interpret, and if you address what you should while you’re awake, there’s no need to hail back to dreams for clues. Pursue emotional and relational health when you’re wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, and hopefully your dreams will follow.

The best-recognized treatment for nightmares is image rehearsal therapy, pioneered by Barry Krakow, M.D. ¬†It involves rehearsing a new ending to the nightmare when you are awake. “After recalling the nightmare in detail, the dreamer writes out the new script and envisions it several times a day.” For instance, if you dream that someone other than your spouse leans in to kiss you, you rewrite the script and rehearse a new ending — perhaps pushing him away, or substituting your husband, or shapeshifting into a 50-foot woman who terrorizes adulterous suitors. Whatever works for you. You can write out the story or tell it to yourself. But make it like a storyline — just like your dream would be — with a happy-ever-after ending instead.

Another idea is using smell — the sense most attached to memory. Scents can evoke thoughts and memories. As such, good smells can invite positive dreams, while bad smells can result in negative dreams. Try going to sleep with good aromas nearby. A little potpourri on the night table, scented lotion or cologne spray on your body (and/or your spouse’s), or a sleep sachet under your pillow might help to bring on pleasant dreams. It’s worth a shot.

Pray. I do believe that putting your thoughts before God and asking Him to direct you can help. Without going into detail, I once prayed that God would erase some memories I had. Lo and behold, months later there honestly were things I could no longer recall about that time. So pray about your dreams.*

Finally, we have a tendency to dream about what’s swimming through our brains before we fall asleep. One interesting study showed that volunteers who played Tetris for hours each day tended to dream about it while asleep. There are mixed results with these efforts to influence your dreams. But in the interest of science and all, why not make love with your hubby right before falling asleep? It might help tip your dreams into the pleasant category. Or you might just sleep so hard that you don’t remember your dreams when you wake up. Either way, a positive outcome.

Sweet dreams!

Sources: Shakespeare Online, Everyday Health, Bible Q, Bible Gateway, Wall Street Journal (worth a read); Brainy Quote

*This paragraph was not in my original draft. As I was drafting, I got called away quickly, published the post, and forgot to include it. I was kicking myself for not including, um, hello, prayer, so I revised accordingly.

The Small Stuff Can Drive You Crazy

Worchestershire sauce bottle

Today’s post is about Worcestershire sauce. I know you think you read that wrong. Isn’t this blog about marriage and sexuality? Did I click in the right place?

Yes, you did. But one of the eye-openers about being married for a while is that the small stuff really will drive you the point of insanity if you let it. My illustration is the Worcestershire sauce in my home. It goes inside the refrigerator door, bottom shelf. That is where it belongs. To make sure that everyone in the family understands its proper placement, I even whipped out my handy-dandy label maker and put a sticker sign on the shelf that reads “Condiments.”¬†Yet every single time that I cook something that calls for a little sprinkling of Worcestershire sauce, I come back later to find that the bottle has been returned to the middle shelf, not in the door.

I have asked nicely, I have labeled, I have reminded, I have restated, I have patiently returned the bottle over and over to its proper location, I have prayed, I have pleaded, and the other day, I opened the refrigerator door and found the Worcestershire sauce back on that middle shelf! An unbidden thought — God forgive me — raced through my mind: That of slamming that slender glass bottle over my sweet husband’s head. *Gasp!* Am I really¬†that concerned about where the stupid Worcestershire bottle goes?!!!

Yes. Yes, I am.

But while some of you are secretly chiding me (or maybe not so secretly, since I can’t actually see you), the funny thing is that most of you know what I’m talking about. There is some very small thing that you wish your spouse would do and you ask them to do . . . nicely the first 53 times, then less nicely the next 128 times. You wonder why, why, why¬†he/she would not make it a point to get this teeny, tiny thing right when they know it matters to you.

It’s such a small thing after all. It’s not like you asked your spouse to scale Mount Everest or win a hot dog eating contest for you. You’re not asking for a kidney or bone marrow. You don’t expect them to take a bullet for you or vote for your political candidate (almost as bad as a bullet to some of you). This itty bitty request is a chance for them to prove you are important, to pass a test of their love for you!

Yes, I know for me that it is just a bottle of Worcestershire sauce. But I could make the same point to my husband: IT’S JUST A BOTTLE OF WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE. PUT IT AWAY CORRECTLY.

Why am I obsessing about this on my marriage and sexuality blog?

Because the small stuff will drive you crazy if you let it. You can let that small stuff curdle up in your belly and become resentment and frustration — the very things that make you disinterested in sharing time, affection, and lovemaking with your spouse. You can come to bed so hurt and angry about the laundry he won’t put away or the clutter she keeps on the kitchen counter, or him drinking the last soda or her buying another pair of shoes, or whatever that you forget to focus on the big stuff.

And the big stuff is growing your intimacy.

That small stuff really isn’t a test of love. My husband adores me. In fact, he’d happily take a bullet for me. (Well, maybe not happily.) He would scale a mountain, give me a little marrow, or eat a hot dog or two. But at home, he forgets to put the Worcestershire sauce where it belongs and remembers to cuddle up with me.

Believe me, when I forget to pick up his shirts at the dry cleaners, I honestly did just forget. It was not intentional. But it has happened more than once (too often, I admit) . . . because, as much as I absolutely love and commit to my hubby, my brain skips sometimes.

Today’s goal is to ask yourself what small infractions have you keeping score in your marriage. Are they hampering your ability to feel receptive toward your husband? Are they interfering with your desire for him? Have you given the small stuff more import than it deserves?

I promise I won’t be smacking my husband with the bottle of Worcestershire sauce. (So nobody call the cops. It’s okay. I promise. He’s safe with me.) However, I will be smacking him with my lips and snuggling up to his hot body.

And after a great night of marital intimacy, I’ll be lying on my bed with a goofy grin murmuring, “What Worcestershire sauce?”

How Kinky Can You Get?

Surprised female - face

You want to do WHAT?!
Photo from Microsoft Word Clip Art

Today’s Q&A is a grouping of three short questions, which ultimately hit at how kinky can you get in the bedroom? Warning: This post will not be gratuitously graphic, but I will explain some possibly uncomfortable sex acts. Just so you know.

All three questions were submitted by anonymous readers. I’ll take them in turn.

1. J, do you have an advice or opinions on rim jobs? Hubby wants to give me one but I’m unsure.

In case you don’t know, readers, a “rim job” is a oral-anal sex which involves stimulating the “rim” of the partner’s anus with the mouth.

I know of no scriptural statement against this practice. However, something need not be specifically forbidden to be off-limits for a Christian. God gave us principles and common sense that we can apply. So let’s apply them.

God created sex for procreation, intimacy, and pleasure. Obviously, oral sex of any kind does not produce children. So then the question is whether it increases intimacy and pleasure. If it only produces pleasure, I’d suggest that something is missing; sex without connection is not God’s design.

So is oral-anal sex wrong? Well, it is disconcerting, mainly because of cleanliness concerns. God did not design the anal opening like the vaginal or urinary openings, which are rather clean. Instead, the rectum carries harmful bacteria which you don’t want to ingest. Therefore, anyone engaging in this practice needs to ensure that the rectum is emptied and the area is extremely clean. Moreover, you can’t switch back and forth between any form of anal sex and vaginal sex because the wife risks rectal bacteria entering the vagina and/or urethra and thus causing infection.

Then there is the question of why someone would want to engage in this practice. Is this really an erogenous zone for you? Some couples do indeed report pleasure from this act. (But I would caution that you can find couples out there who report pleasure from all kind of acts which are suspect at best.)

Before engaging in any sexual behavior that strikes me as different, I would want to know what compels this interest. Is it fueled by porn? Of course, not every sexual act shown in porn is bad; intercourse in marriage is fine and intercourse is shown in porn. But is this where the idea came from? Is it mere curiosity? What would this feel like? Would we like it? Is it a genuine desire to touch and caress different areas of your partner’s body?

I am not going to say this is wrong. I am going to say be careful. If you choose to engage in a rim job, make sure the area is very clean and that the giver doesn’t move from the anus to another easily-infected area. And recognize that you can choose. I’m opposed to any spouse demanding or forcing a sexual act on their partner. God has given us great freedom in the sexual arena, and if you are uncomfortable with a particular act (outside of biblically-commanded intercourse with your spouse), find another activity that provides you both pleasure.

2. My husband has been begging me to use a toy on him anally (like a strap on) is this wrong J? Should I do it? I mean I’m open & as weird as it sounds, it kinda sound fun but idk.

A strap-on sex toy is somewhat like a jock-strap with a “dildo” in front. In this case, the wife would put on the fake penis and enter her husband’s anus from behind.

Some of you may be asking why any man would want to do this. Is it an indication that he is gay? Anal sex is connected with gay males, but it is not limited to homosexual activity. Some straight men desire to be penetrated in this way, particularly since some have recently contended that the male G-spot is the prostate found inside the rectum toward the bladder. This claim is not conclusive, and a large number of men have no desire to have their prostate stimulated. In fact, it is this area that is touched in the notorious glove exam performed by doctors on men over 50.

So is it okay to use an anal toy on your husband?

I admit that I have concerns. First, I have all the issues about the anus’s cleanliness and lack of elasticity mentioned above. Second, this is an atypical request. It does make me wonder what appeals to the husband about this practice. Is he curious about a potential G-spot? Did he see this practice in porn (the practice of straight anal sex has increased since appearing more frequently in pornography)? Does he have any homosexual fantasies? Third, will this indeed increase your pleasure and intimacy as a couple? Fourth, what next? Would this become part of your repertoire? What if he liked it a lot? Would you want to continue to do it?

I cannot find a Bible verse that says, “Thou Shalt Not . . .” to anal penetration. It isn’t there. However, when we consider whether to add an activity to our sex lives, we can ask some questions. Also, we may find that something is not allowable, that it is allowable and beneficial, or that it is allowable but not beneficial. If it is not both allowed in marriage and benefiting your marriage, I suggest you pass. There are plenty of fabulous activities that God does desire us to partake in that will still spice up your sex lives and give you a sense of intimacy and fun.

3. You just did a lingerie post: me & hubby love heels in the bedroom any thoughts, ideas or advice.

Knock yourself out. But don’t hurt yourself. It can be really tricky removing a thong over a pair of stilettos.

I joked in my lingerie post about going too far with a Catwoman costume or a schoolgirl look, but I really think you can be pretty playful here. I agree with Julie Sibert of Intimacy in Marriage who has said that you can dress up in the bedroom as long as you are still you. No pretending to be someone who isn’t there. Marital intimacy is supposed to be about connecting the real you and your real spouse. But if you it’s fun for you to put on a pair of sexy heels or for your guy to wear his cowboy boots while making love, I don’t see any issue with it.

Now if your hubby is in the stilettos . . .

Never mind.

I hope my answers here help. Blessing to all of you!

Be Your Husband’s “Sure Thing”

Do you remember being in high school and wondering if that guy across the room liked you? Or whether your teenage crush would ask you to dance at the school-sponsored ball? Or whether the date you had that young-love crush on would plant his lips on yours when you stood on the porch to say goodbye?

Note with "Yes" written
Photo from Microsoft Word Clip Art

Remember the tingle of anticipation, the anxiety, the fear of rejection, the elation when your questions were answered with a resilient YES! YES, he does want to be with you!

Now imagine, years later, your husband working up the courage to ask if tonight is the night, if the day has gone well enough, if the chaos of family or work has faded enough, if your hormones have aligned like those fortuitous stars, such that you maybe, possibly, might could have sex.

Let’s hope he’s not that anxiety stricken. Yet, sadly, I hear stories of husbands who spend a long time in their head trying to decide whether to make a move on their wife. Some husbands even talk themselves out of even giving it a go because they’ve been rejected so many times; the likelihood of being turned down again makes their courage wilt like month-old roses.

The truth is that many husbands — and not a few wives — are living with the same anxiety they felt in high school or college on a date with a lesser-known person and wondering how it will go. They haven’t any idea whether their “date” tonight is a “sure thing,” despite years of living under a marriage vow.

Be your husband’s “sure thing.”

I’m not saying that you must answer yes every time he gets a gurgle in his groin, but I am saying that your spouse shouldn’t expect no because he has experienced it so many times before. He should have confidence that you sexually desire him, that your yeses will outnumber your nos, that it’s worth it to lean in and try.

Sheila Gregoire¬†recently addressed with great wisdom what the Bible meant when it says, “Do not deprive each other.” The full passage from 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 is below:

The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”

The Bible does not say that either of you can demand sex any time, and the other must comply. Some have sadly used the above scripture to convince their spouse or themselves of just that. Instead, we are admonished to be each others’ “sure thing” — to not deprive your spouse such that he wonders when or if he’ll get your sexual needs and desires met.

Rejection hurts. Pure and simple.

You may remember that anxiety when you were dating of whether things would work out and your elation when they did. But remember when they didn’t? Remember when he didn’t ask you out, didn’t kiss you, explained that he just wasn’t that into you?

Do you want to make your husband feel like that? No.

Be your husband’s “sure thing.”

It feels entirely different to know that you and your desires are accepted within the confines of marriage. There is a deep warmth that comes from knowing that your spouse is your “sure thing” — the one who will talk with you when you need conversation, who will embrace you when you need to be held, who will make love when you need to feel that one-flesh physical connection.

Start tonight. Invite him to make advances and let him know that he will not be turned down. Advance on him yourself and enjoy your “sure thing.” Be there for each other and create the kind of atmosphere that communicates that you value each other in many ways — including the sexual.

Be your husband’s “sure thing.”

Or maybe his “wild thing.” Your call.