Monthly Archives: April 2013

Sex Initiation Lines: The Good, the Bad, and the Funny

The Cosby Show ranks as one of my favorite family sitcoms of all time. In one episode, Cliff and Clair Huxtable finally get a night away from the stresses of parenthood when they book a room at a local hotel. All these years later, I remember Cliff’s terrible effort at initiating lovemaking with his beautiful wife.

This strikes a chord with me even now because my get-to-the-point husband often skips the romantic words and lets me know in a more direct way when he is interested in physical intimacy. I started to think that I should write these bad sex initiation lines down. I did. Here are a few on my list:

In the bathroom as I’m putting on my moisturizer: “Do you want to copulate this morning or wait until this evening?”

As I’m putting on my clothes in the morning: “I thought we were going to mate.”

In the afternoon after I promised in the morning that we’d make love that day: “I think you owe me a good time.”

Lying on our bed as he’s watching a game and I’m reading: “Do you want a real-quick quickie?”

“You’ve got to service me later.” Albeit we had agreed on lovemaking that day, so he was attempting to redeem a promise.

Taking off all his clothes and lying on the bed: “You can have your way with me now.”

Thankfully, my husband is married to a gal who looks for opportunities to laugh. If he’d been serious in any of those approaches, he’d have been shot down faster than a North Korean missile over California.

In fact, when I shared with my husband that I’d been collecting his bad sex initiation lines, he responded, “That’s funny. I’ve been record-keeping, and in my book those were successful lines.”

Wow. Have I really set the bar that low? *grin*

This exercise did get me to thinking about how husbands and wives likely view the words used for sex initiation a bit differently. We generally sense that men are visual, women are verbal. The temptation for men is porn; for women, erotica. A “guy flick” is filled with action, while a “chick flick” is filled with conversation. A 20-month-old girl typically has twice the vocabulary of a 20-month-old boy.

However, the stereotypes aren’t true for everyone, and the assumption that women speak a whole lot more than men isn’t supported by research. Yes, Tim the Tool Man, hubbies can use their words.

But what words do we wives wish our hubbies would use to initiate sex? Well, Cliff Huxtable eventually masters it. He expresses how he feels about his wife, letting her know that his desire for physical intimacy is connected to the intimacy they have in other areas of their married life.

My husband has also said some of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard. Those are moments that I treasure and that awaken my desire to be physically intimate with him. I’m not going to share those because they feel so perfect and personal.

But generally, the best sex initiation lines involve one or more of the following:

  • Affirming her beauty
  • Explaining what makes her special
  • Expressing appreciation for what she does
  • Describing what sexual intimacy means to you on a deeper level
  • Proclaiming committed love
  • Thanking God for His gift of marital intimacy

Of course, not every encounter must be worthy of Cyrano de Bergerac. And sometimes, those bad sex initiation lines are funny enough that they work.

But when you read Song of Songs, it’s clear that the Lover totally knows how to use words to make his bride feel beautiful, loved, and desired . . . before he announces his sexual intent.

How beautiful you are and how pleasing,
my love, with your delights!
Your stature is like that of the palm,
and your breasts like clusters of fruit.
I said, “I will climb the palm tree;
I will take hold of its fruit.”

Song of Solomon 7:6-8

Not bad, huh?

So how do you handle sex initiation in your marriage? Are the words important to you? Do you have any of your own less-than-spectacular sex initiation lines to share?

Sources: Sex Linked Lexical Budgets; Cognitive Gender DifferencesBible Gateway

I Am the Higher Drive Spouse (or Yes, Rejection Hurts)

"I want you to want me." - Cheap Trick

Last week, I posted that just because he has stopped asking, that doesn’t mean he has stopped wanting physical intimacy. Within the post and in my tweets about it, I acknowledged that it could actually be SHE who has stopped asking and still wants. Statistics vary, but in perhaps 20-25% of marriages, the WIFE is the higher drive spouse.

Currently, my marriage is in that 20-25%. I’ve experienced all three possible situations: My husband and I have been equally matched in libido; then my libido took a massive drop, and his remained high; and more recently, his has decreased, while mine has increased. So that now, I desire sex more frequently than my husband.

Which means that I’ve been on the rejection end.

Let me clarify that my marriage’s sex life is solid, and that our “rejections” are more like passes until a better time. (See Rain Check Sex.) I know that some, or perhaps even many, of you have received harsh refusals of your advances, and that pain is particularly deep.

However, I know how it feels to get yourself all geared up and feel that fire in your belly and want to express your love for your mate in sexually intimate ways . . . and get a “not now.” It stinks.

In that moment, I sometimes wonder if it was my presentation. Like maybe my belly fat really has crossed the line over into my being unattractive physically to him. Or maybe I came on too strong. Or maybe I worded my desire badly.

I’ll wonder if my timing was off. Would he have been interested 30 minutes earlier? In the morning? Right when he got home from work?

I’ll wonder if there is something wrong with me. Am I too interested in sex? Should I be able to tone it down? Shouldn’t the husband be pursuing the wife?

Now I don’t wonder such things at other times because, as I said, solid sex life. My husband and I have fostered our physical intimacy in a way that satisfies and honors God. But in those moments when the “not now” happens, I know that heart-sinking feeling of rejection. I know the frustration of feeling pent-up with no immediate outlet for your desire. I know the doubts that creep into your mind.

I haven’t walked a mile in your moccasins, but I have tried them on.

Reading the comments from last week’s post, it was clear that rejection hurts whether experienced by the wife or the husband. The saddest statements were from those who wished that their sex drive would simply go away so that they could avoid the pain of rejection and simply enjoy the remaining areas of their marriage. That is not God’s intention for marriage! But I could hear the heartache in the way these spouses explained their feelings of frustration and loneliness.

So what is the answer for the mismatch in drives?

Well, there are really two scenarios:

1. Spouses are willing to work together to meet each others’ needs. There are plenty of marriages in which one spouse has a stronger libido than the other, but it works out just fine. Perhaps the lower-drive spouse participates anyway and enjoys the intimacy, even if they don’t desire for it beforehand. Perhaps the couple negotiates an amount of sex that is higher than the lower-drive spouse would choose, and lower than the higher-drive spouse would choose, but both are satisfied. Some may choose to have sex less, but for longer periods of time. Or more frequent, but for less time each encounter. Some may use lubricant or marital aids to get things rolling for the lower-drive spouse. Neither is depriving the other of marital intimacy, and both are considering the others’ needs (1 Corinthians 7:4-5; Philippians 2:1-4).

Whatever works here, as long as it works, the mismatch in drives is well-managed and results in two happy spouses.

But then, there is . . .

2. Lower-drive spouse refuses and won’t listen to the higher-drive spouse’s desire for intimacy and pain of rejection. That’s a whole other ball game, folks. At the core of the problem here is selfishness — and it can be from either side or both sides. The lower-drive spouse may refuse sex because they don’t personally want it, but they also refuse to see how their actions negatively impact the other. They may brush off the advances, make excuses, participate so little in sex that they say they are meeting the need but really aren’t, or even mock their spouse’s libido level. OR the higher-drive spouse may demand sex, pursue constantly, ignore the lower-drive spouse’s need for atmosphere or foreplay to get in the mood, or even cite scriptures and appeal to a sense of duty to get what they want.

But selfishness is the culprit here. Thus, the question becomes less about how to avoid or get sex than how to foster communication, understanding, and unity. How can the two become one flesh, even in their approach to sexuality in marriage?

I admit that #2 is harder to solve. What I have heard from couples is that various methods have cracked through the barrier to satisfying marital intimacy. Examples include marital counseling; one spouse hearing a sermon or reading an article that finally awakened them to the hurt caused by their actions; an extramarital affair or near-affair jolting the couple into addressing these issues.

However, I want you to take heart. If your marriage is currently one in which your drives are mismatched, there are answers. Couples who can communicate and work with each other can find solutions to address the libido difference, and couples who cannot currently communicate and work together can find healing in the future.

While I read tales of pain and heartache in marriage, I also read stories of hope and joy. Check out these comments:

Please don’t feel ‘relieved’ when your HD spouse stops pursuing you . . . I speak from experience! I never realized what depths of pain I was causing my husband . . . It is only through the grace, mercy and love of God that we are still together and thank goodness I finally “saw the light” so to speak. Our sex life is now better than ever and I see what a difference ‘ministering’ to my husband in that way makes.

My wife and I experienced a sort of re-awakening of our whole relationship about 3 months ago, including dramatically increased sex. We went from an average of about twice a month (for many years) to, I kid you not, twice a day . . .  Oh, btw, I’m 56, wifey is 51. I’m hoping to keep up this pace for another 20-30 years.

Hi, this is the wifey of Mr. Anonymous. What he didn’t tell you is that we’ve been married for 30 years . . . “by chance” through wandering around on Pinterest (praise God for Pinterest!!) I found Sheila Gregoire and her blog and read this post and man! my eyes were opened to how my husband truly feels about sex. I was so thrilled to have discovered this post, as it revolutionized our marriage . . . That post and others in her series, and eventually Sheila’s e-book 31 Days to Great Sex opened up a whole new world to me/us and we are experiencing true intimacy on every level and amazing sex! And with the help of male bloggers like you, Paul, and J on the women’s side we are learning so much good stuff to enhance our relationship.

This is a sampling of what I’ve seen on my blog and others. I have had a glimpse of the pain of rejection. I know some husbands and wives experience far more. But don’t relinquish hope.

More and more Christians are speaking up about godly sex in marriage. As this movement of reclaiming sexuality as God designed it spreads, more lower-drive spouses will hear the message, take it to heart, and discover a reawakening in their marriage.

Rejection hurts. But healing happens.

Continue to pray. Continue to hope. Continue to love.

Why I Don’t Use Sex Toys

Despite my willingness to try new things and experiment in the bedroom, I’ve been reluctant to include sex toys in our marital intimacy.

I don’t have a moral or emotional aversion to them. I believe it’s fine to include sex toys in your marital lovemaking as long as it is mutually agreed upon and enjoyed and they don’t become a crutch. So why don’t I use sex toys?

The names. When I look at what these things are called, they don’t invite me to use them. “Nipple clamps”? “Cock ring”? “Penis pump”? “Butt plug”? Even the word “vibrator” isn’t the least bit appealing. I think these products need some serious relabeling. Perhaps the makers of sex toys need to consult the teams who name amusement park rides. Perhaps that vibrator should be renamed the Thunderbolt Express or El Toro. Personally, I suggest “The Pleasurator.”

Oddly-shaped vibrator

Don’t know what this is, but at least it’s called…
The UFO Masturbator
Pic by Morderska, via Wikimedia Commons

The stores that sell them. Most of the stores that sell sex toys also sell porn. The most popular sex-products store near me has lingerie, sexual aids, novelty items, and then a back room full of pornography. I would be incredibly uncomfortable doing business with a store that promotes and profits from porn. Thankfully, these days there are Christian retailers online who sell “marital aids” or “intimacy products” for married couples. While I haven’t purchased sex toys from them, I have bought other sexy items through such retailers.

The scary stuff alongside the sexy stuff. Enter the store I mentioned above, and you’ll see a range of products. Sure, there are the racks of lacy nighties, displays of romance and sex coupons, and the wall of vibrators (seriously, a whole wall), but there are also items that remind me less of sex and more of medieval torture. Life is painful enough without introducing pain into the bedroom. Once I see such things, I can’t get them out of my mind. My cringe-radar goes off, and I find it hard to focus on the sexy stuff.

“Designer Vibrators”
Pic by Eva K., via Wikimedia Commons

The machinery. Technology is awesome in many ways. I love my car, my cell phone, this laptop, the Internet that allows me to blog, etc. Getting a new gadget can put a smile on my face for a week. But I guess reading science fiction novels and watching The Terminator more times than I can count has also caused me a little trepidation about using machines for everything. Do I really want to invite “the rise of the machines” into my marriage bed? You know, it never ends well in science fiction when the machines take over.

The lack of flesh. One of my favorite things about sex with my husband is the skin-to-skin contact. I confess that I have never liked using condoms for that very reason. So the notion that I’d give up the feeling of my husband’s hand or penis in exchange for a synthetic substance touching me — no matter how “talented” it is — doesn’t appeal to me. Perhaps even more than having an orgasm, I like being touched.

The cost. Okay, I admit it. I’m a cheap date for my husband. He doesn’t have to buy me dinner or bring home flowers or toss jewelry in my direction to get me in bed. (Although if you’re reading this, Spock, dinner out would be lovely.) Sex may be the least expensive and most fun thing we do. For the cost of a small bottle of lubricant, a nightie or two, and a candle, we can create hours and hours of mutual enjoyment. But sex toys cost money. I’ve yet to look at a sex toy and think, “I want that so much that I’m willing to shell out $___ for it.” Maybe I’m still waiting for a marital-aid company to send me free samples . . . you know, given my Christian sex blog and all. But for now, I’d rather use my money on a dinner out . . . or even better, a dinner in.

The contentment. This is the number one reason we don’t use sex toys. We really like our sex life the way it is. My husband and I are able to get aroused, pleasure one another, reach orgasm consistently, and feel satisfied with our sexual encounters. We’re not really feeling the need for more in that area. If I’m going to invest in a toy that would improve our marriage, it would probably be something more like a self-vacuum cleaner or a universal remote — both of which would save us time and allow us more time to make love.

So what are your reasons for using or not using sex toys? Do you think they enhance marital intimacy or detract from it?

See also Is It Playtime? Sex Toys.

Just Because He Stopped Asking Doesn’t Mean He Stopped Wanting

One of the best things about having this blog is hearing from couples who are in various stages of figuring out God’s gift of sexuality for their marriage. Some have celebratory stories, some have heartbreaking ones, and some are in between. I pray for all of them.

But themes also emerge from the comments I receive and the conversations I have. One common thread is the spouse who stops asking for sex.

The story goes something like this: One spouse has a higher drive (HD), and the other spouse has a lesser drive (LD). Spouse HD asks, pursues, begs, pleads, prays, asks, wonders . . . and finally stops. Spouse LD, meanwhile, feels frustrated, cajoled, annoyed, resentful . . . and finally relieved.

LD is glad that the constant demands for sex have finally ceased. LD figures that HD got the message that having sex once a week — or once a month or whatever — is more than sufficient for their marriage. LD believes that HD has matured to the point of not acting like a horny teenager or a silly newlywed. Now they are in a calmer stage of their marriage, no longer arguing about when the next sexual encounter will be or why his/her libido isn’t as strong. Surely, this is much better — not arguing about sex all the time.

Couple in bed, doing their own thing.

Probably not.
Photo from Microsoft Word Clip Art

The rest of that story I often hear from those HD spouses — usually husbands, but sometimes wives — is that they stopped pursuing sex because they are so pained by the personal rejection. Having put themselves out there over and over again and done everything they can think of to appeal to their spouse and have the kind of intimacy they desperately desire, they can’t stand the thought of setting themselves up for more refusal.

Has the desire to be physically intimate disappeared? No. It hasn’t gone anywhere. It still lingers like a hungry person waiting to be fed. But instead of reaching out with both hands, that hungry sex drive cowers in a corner and waits to be called to the table.

When your spouse stops asking, it doesn’t mean he has stopped wanting. (Or she.) It means that he (or she) has given up. And giving up on an important aspect of your relationship is never good for the whole marriage.

Of course we should sacrifice selfishness and petty complaints that don’t really matter to the health of our marriage. But wanting to express and grow our affection for one another in physical union isn’t selfish or petty. In fact, spouses don’t stop asking for sex only to avoid the hurt, but oftentimes to avoid conflict in their marriage. They sacrifice their sexual desire for the sake of peace.

But that “peace” is shaky. It’s not real.

One of the worst things to see in a couple whose marriage is on the rocks is a spouse who shows no interest in arguing through anything. Their unwillingness to deal with issues indicates that they have disengaged from the relationship, that they no longer believe the marriage can be saved.

Your spouse may have stopped asking for sex because he/she believes your sex life cannot be saved.

I know differently. God can redeem your marital intimacy. I know it from the Word of God. I know it from personal experience. I know it from the testimony of others. It is result of the Gospel saturating our lives (see The Gospel in the Bedroom).

If your spouse has stopped asking, and you are relieved because you don’t really want to have sex anyway, reconsider that approach. Your spouse likely still desires you. His sex drive is still hungry and needs to be fed.

It’s not about physical release. If that was all it was, your spouse could have taken care of it himself without bothering you. The reason he continued to bother you was that you were what he wanted, not just sex.

It may be a struggle to figure out why you are not interested, to deal with the physical or emotional issues preventing you from enjoying that kind of intimacy. It may be uncomfortable and make you feel vulnerable. It may take time.

But don’t let your spouse give up . . . on you, your sex life, your marriage. See his desire for you as a good thing, a God-given thing.

I belong to my beloved,

and his desire is for me.

Song of Songs 7:10

Maybe it’s your turn to ask him: “Can we work on our sex life?”

That question could be the beginning of you two growing your physical intimacy into the beautiful experience God wants you to have in your marriage.