Monthly Archives: May 2013

Preparing Yourself for Sex

You are planning or he is hoping to have sex soon. But right now, you’re in that take-or-leave-it mood. Or maybe even a leave-it-or-leave-it mood. *sigh*

If you waited to be perfectly “in the mood” every single time to have sex, some of your marriages wouldn’t experience another sexual encounter until Labor Day. Some of you would get lucky this weekend, but you are supposed to be having sex tonight.

Lightning bolt

The lightning bolt of lovemaking?
Photo from Microsoft Clip Art

Thankfully, it’s not about being in the mood, as if you stand around and suddenly get hit by the lightning bolt of lovemaking. You can create some electricity yourself. You can get in the mood. So wives, here are some tips on how to prepare yourself for sex. You can try one or more and see what works for you.

(Not to leave you out, husbands, but I don’t know how you prepare, other than your wife walking through the room naked.)

Build anticipation. We tend to enjoy what we anticipate. Got a vacation coming up? A birthday? A massage? We think ahead about what that will be like and plan how much we will enjoy its arrival. Try doing the same thing with sexual intimacy in your marriage. Think ahead about when you’ll make love later.

If you’re planning a night of hot-and-heavy, let the images of that come to mind throughout the day. Think about the attractiveness of your husband, the way you felt the last time he kissed you or when you last climaxed, the joy of becoming physically one flesh, and the gift that God has given us of sex in marriage. Pray that your evening will go well, and that you’ll both find pleasure and connection with one another. Let the anticipation build, and your body may respond by feeling more ready when the moment arrives.

Remove distraction. One of the greatest difficulties for wives is distraction. Female brains are typically able to juggle more balls than a Las Vegas act. We have so much else going on in our lives and around our houses that asking us to focus on sex is like asking that juggler to toss a single ball. We get antsy.

But you won’t be able to relax and enjoy the pleasure of sex with your husband unless you focus. Do your best to remove distractions. This can include getting the kids to bed early, straightening up the bedroom, putting away your to-do list–whatever you need to do to put down those balls and get into The Act.

Prepare location. Atmosphere matters. We instinctively know this when we enter restaurants and get an immediate feel for the food based on the surroundings. Likewise, we can create a mood by preparing the location of our lovemaking. That might mean taking the time to refurbish your bedroom to make it a pleasant place, adding ambiance enhancers like candlelight and music, or creating an inviting space for the two of you to feel as randy as a pair of mating-season rabbits. It could even be a simple as getting the Legos and the Barbies out of your bedroom.

Consider what environment would evoke your romantic and sexy side. Then make the effort to have your bedroom reflect that environment.

Bedroom photo

Photo from Matemwe Retreat, Zanzibar, Africa…where I now want to go

Awaken sensation. We have five senses — sight, smell, hearing, touch, and taste. Sexual intimacy is particularly focused on sight and touch but can involve all five senses. To get in the mood, try to awaken those senses. You can light a scented candle and inhale deeply; turn on a sexual intimacy playlist and close your eyes to listen; take a bubble bath and feel the hot water and foam stroke your skin; replace your regular sheets with satin ones; bring chocolate-covered strawberries or champagne into the bedroom.

Think of things that are not specifically sexual, but rather sensual. Find ways to awaken your senses, so that you’ll be ready when your senses are engaged in lovemaking.

Ask for affection. Wives often need more affectionate foreplay before feeling ready to make love. Let’s be honest here, ladies: Holding off a horny husband from going straight to the erogenous zones can be like defending your kingdom with a Nerf sword. At some point, you want to yell, “Hey! Hold hands first, handle hooha later!”

Yet, one of the sexiest things evah is your husband stroking you gently with his broad, manly hands. Or that soft-lipped, melting-into-each-other kiss that lingers until the tingle runs all the way down to your pinkie toe. Ask for the affection you need. Explain that you might get in the mood if you could spend some time touching, kissing, snuggling, or getting a massage. Ten to fifteen minutes of that, and you might find yourself very eager to make love when you didn’t think you were in the mood before.

Use communication. Here are two things you should remember: Most husbands love to turn us wives on, and most husbands cannot read their wives’ minds.

So tell him what feels good. You can use words, moans, shrieks, whatever, but communicate clearly what you enjoy in the bedroom. It can feel awkward at first to say things like, “Over here is better” or “I love it when you ___,” but the initial discomfort passes and most spouses are receptive to positively-phrased suggestions.

Pay attention. Whatever preparation you’ve done before, you still need to pay attention to what’s happening in the moment. Once you come together with your husband, think about what’s happening to your body and to his body. You can open your eyes and watch your bodies melding or gaze at his facial expressions. Or you can close your eyes and focus on the nerves of your skin as they awaken with the touch of your husband. Hone in on your erogenous zones and focus your mental energy on their arousal.

If your mind wanders, just bring it back to the moment at hand. You might need to do this a few times before your mind is fully engaged. But do your best to give that time of sexual intimacy your full, undivided attention.

Using these tips to prepare yourself for sex, you might find yourself more in the mood for lovemaking than you originally felt. Hopefully, you can get turned on as you progress into this sexual encounter with your husband. And if you want tips on how to reach orgasm, you can check out that post HERE.

Technical Difficulties

Just a quick note to my subscribers to explain that I’m without Internet. My apologies if I have not approved or replied to your comment. I just can’t get to it. I should be back to a normal schedule on Wednesday and have a new post on Thursday.

In the meantime, I’m praying for your marriages!

Blessings!

-J

Common Myths of Romance Novels

Jane Eyre book cover

I like romance novels. At least some of them. Hey, one of my favorite novels ever is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.

Lately, romance novels have taken a beating from some Christian writers and speakers and, in many cases, rightly so. It’s a very bad idea to base expectations about relationships and marriage on happily-ever-after fiction. You see, falling in love isn’t the same as staying in love or making a commitment or fostering a long-term marriage. And romance novels are mostly about that falling-in-love stuff.

I think we can read romance novels (of the PG/PG-13 kind; I’m not talking 50 Shades here), as long as we filter through them and don’t pull comparisons to real life. Don’t expect your husband to be as lovey-dovey as the heroine of the romance novel or your sex scenes to be quite so seamless as they are on the page.

The real danger, though, is the underlying themes that we may accept hook, line, and sinker without even realizing. Think of theme as the lesson or moral of the story. For instance, the theme of Red Riding Hood? Be careful with strangers. The theme of The Wizard of Oz? “There’s no place like home.”

But some themes are myths, especially in romance novels. Let’s take a look at a few:

The Time Traveler's Wife book cover

Love conquers all. So what if the guy you love is a time traveler and bounces in and out of your life at various ages? So what if your love interest is a vampire who desperately wants to suck your blood dry? These are minor challenges in the face of Invincible Love! So say most romance novels. Sure, there may be 200-300 pages of figuring out how to make it work, but they always do. Somehow or other, their love makes all of the obstacles surmountable.

The thing is, I believe this one to an extent — in that active love, practiced by both spouses as described in Scripture — can indeed conquer obstacles. But romance and “chemistry” can’t. In the real world, you need someone who shares godly values with you and who will put elbow-grease effort into your relationship.

Real love happens at first sight. One of the hackneyed exchanges in romance novels is a single person asking an attached person: “How do you know when you’re in love?” And the wiser, more experienced person answers, “When you meet that right person, you just know.”

Balderdash! Real chemistry happens at first sight. Real love takes time and care to develop. Sure, you want to have chemistry with your spouse, but if you no longer feel your tongue hanging and your toes curling at the sight of your beloved, no worries. In a long, successful marriage, you will likely have at least once that you wonder, Why did I marry this person? Did I mistake stomach butterflies for true love? Those rushing feelings of being in love can energize you to work on a relationship with someone, but nobody knows for sure that someone is perfect for them on first sight. You have to work for perfect … or at least amazing.

Wuthering Heights book cover

(Romantic) Love makes bad people good. You know this one: Good girl meets bad boy. Because of her overwhelming love, bad boy leaves his bad life and embraces a new life — full of light and love and laughter. *cue music* Romance novels often assert that people can change, practically overnight, for the sake of romantic love. They will happily leave behind their wayward ways and fulfill all of their potential because of the love of a good woman.

Now let’s poll all of the women who married men with severe addictions. Did those scenarios all work out … easily? As much as we love a good conversion story (yay, Apostle Paul!), changing your character takes a lot of work, a lot of time, and a lot of commitment. Few people overcome their inner demons in the time it takes to court a mate. I’m not saying that people don’t change; they do. But don’t count on your romantic love to suddenly yank someone out of a nasty mess. What really changes people is their own determination to turn over a new leaf, the support of others around, and God’s working in their life. Romantic love can inspire, but it’s not enough.

Great sex is key to falling in love. It’s practically a given these days that a fictional couple will have sex, and then decide that they are truly meant to be. Perhaps they suspected, but the way their bodies melded together was so perfect in their lovemaking that it sealed their destiny. *swoon*

Blah, blah, blah. Give me a couple who’s willing to work on their marital intimacy, and I’ll give you a couple with a successful sex life. I don’t care if their first time functioned like a Rube Goldberg machine. I’ve known plenty of couples who had fabulous sex with someone, and the marriage didn’t work. But a working marriage — with two committed, understanding, desiring-to-honor-God spouses — will eventually produce fabulous sex. Romance novels, and our society as a whole frankly, has the cart before the horse.

The Mountain Between Us book cover

Romance novel from a Christian author

So can you read romance novels?

As I said, I read romance novels — although I tend toward romantic comedies where things don’t always go right and that’s funny — but I don’t swallow these themes. I’m careful about what I read and how I read. I make sure that my Christian world view informs the way I see novels, not the other way around.

After all, we’re generally okay with our daughters seeing Disney princess movies, but at some point, we expect them to grow up and realize that their future hubby won’t be riding up on a horse or on a magic carpet singing love songs. We know that fiction is a pretend world. It may be entertaining, delightful, and perhaps realistic about some aspects of life, but it isn’t a manual for how to get or be married.

If someone wrote my marriage as a novel, you would fall asleep by page 12. Because much of making my marriage work is the small, seemingly mundane stuff of basic courtesy, carrying out household tasks together, honoring each other in how we spend time and money, hugs and pecks, and tickling and giggling with our children. Who wants to read that? (Although our sex scenes might be steamy … 😉 )

So my marriage isn’t like a romance novel. I’m fine with that. After all, things didn’t end so well for Romeo and Juliet.

Do you read romance novels? What are your standards for what you read? What other themes have you seen in romance novels (or TV or movies) that you believe are myths?