Monthly Archives: June 2013

Wives Should Be Lovers Too

I may have been born in the wrong decade. I was driving around listening to my new favorite station, a satellite radio offering called Siriusly Sinatra. The station plays jazz and standards, like Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darin, Peggy Lee, Sammy Davis Jr., Doris Day, Dean Martin, Dinah Washington, and more. I’m in heaven.

Anyway, Frankie himself came on singing “Wives and Lovers.” I hadn’t heard this one before, so I listened to the lyrics. Let me share them with you. You can either push the play button on the video to listen or read the lyrics below.

Hey, little girl
Comb your hair
Fix your make-up
Soon he will open the door

Don’t think because
There’s a ring on your finger
You needn’t try anymore

For wives should always be lovers too
Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you
I’m warning you

Day after day
There are girls at the office
And the men will always be men

Don’t send him off
With your hair still in curlers
You may not see him again

Wives should always be lovers too
Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you
He’s almost here

Hey, little girl
Better wear something pretty
Something you’d wear to go to the city

Dim all the lights
Pour the wine
Start the music
Time to get ready for love
It’s time to get ready for love
Yes, it’s time to get ready for love

Early in my marriage, I would have objected strongly to this sentiment. How sexist is this! So even though I’ve had a rough day too, I’m supposed to dress up and greet him all happy-like? And you mean he can’t keep it in his pants unless I keep myself in a skirt and fawn over the dude? What a crock!

Admittedly, there are a few lines I’m not crazy about. But well into my marriage, I see a lot of wisdom here. Sure, the song was written back in 1963 (by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, by the way). However, there is some ages-old advice here that isn’t half bad. Simply put, it’s this:

Don’t stop being his lover.

Mary Tyler Moore & Dick Van Dyke

My favorite “still his lover” wife in a sitcom
(He’s spruced up too.)
Photo credit: Wikimedia

And it’s really easy to forget that when life is distracting you all over the place. When the house isn’t clean, when the kids have driven you crazy, when you have a million things to do, when all you really want to wear is that pair of yoga pants and your favorite threadbare tee . . .

Don’t stop being his lover.

Yes, of course he shouldn’t stop trying either. But if he has, don’t get your hole-ridden, granny-panties all in a wad. In fact, ditch those hole-ridden, granny panties (when did you let yourself go like that?) and take the lead on reigniting the spark. “Dim the lights, pour the wine, start the music . . . get ready for love.” Treat him the way you’d want to be treated.

Don’t stop being his lover.

My least favorite part of the song is about the girls in the office. I have a negative visceral reaction to that idea. But sadly, I see it in messages I receive. It’s not that husbands are all pigs just snorting their way around the office pool looking for some new curly tail. However, if their wives have completely checked out of the love-and-sex department, the temptation of others does get stronger. Being available and intimate with your spouse can help your husband focus on what he’s got at home. After all, “why go out for hamburger when you have steak at home?” (That’s a Paul Newman quote. See? Born in wrong decade.)

Don’t stop being his lover.

Think about whether you still have that lover vibe in your marriage. Do you still pay attention to your appearance for one another? Do you still flirt? Do you still touch by holding hands, hugging, playing footsie, etc.? Do you still make time for romance? Do you still have sex regularly?

If you’ve stopped being his lover, it’s not too late for a reboot. You can start again. Greet your husband wearing something pretty, embrace him, tell him that you want to be physically intimate with him.

Be your husband’s lover.

Swimsuit Shopping (without Weeping and Wailing)

1925 Swimsuit
John Oxley Library via Wikimedia Commons

It’s swimsuit season. Now before some of you utter, “dear God, kill me now,” read on. Because I have some tips on finding a swimsuit to fit the beautiful woman you are without ending up in a crumpled pile in the corner of the fitting room weeping and wailing.

Yeah, some of you have been there. Right?

Pass right by the teen section. You know that area, right? The store puts it front and center, with cute little ruffled bikinis and bright-colored halter tops with boy shorts. Now, if you’re a woman who is that size, stay in that section because it doesn’t matter where you purchase your swimsuit, but rather that you have the best fit. But the majority of women need to look the other way and keep walking because (1) if you’re 36, 46, or 56, you shouldn’t be dressing like you’re 16, and (2) even your 16 year old shouldn’t wear a lot of that stuff as it reveals far too much skin. As I have said before, three triangles and some string do not a swimsuit make.

Don’t wallow that you can’t rock a string bikini. You don’t need to. You need to flatter the lovely lady figure you have now.

Get over the size number. Who stinkin’ cares whether your swimsuit has a 6, a 12, or a 22 on the little tag that no one sees once you leave the store? If it fits, it fits. Be pleased with how it looks on you, not what someone thinks that number says about you. Size numbers vary across clothing makers, and they can even change without us — the public — being forewarned.

Moreover, you might wear two sizes. You may need to purchase a two-piece suit, like a tankini, to get the proper fit on the top and on the bottom. Maybe you’re a size 14 bottom and size 10 top. You can make that work, and thankfully separates are much more common now than they used to be.

If the size you usually buy isn’t working, try a different size. Don’t sweat the number.

Decide ahead of time what you want to feature and what you want to downplay. Take an honest, yet optimistic, look at yourself. What are your best body features? What do you like about your body? And what are you currently (or maybe permanently) less happy with?

Maybe you’re sporting a little more in the middle than you’d like, but you have beautiful breasts. Or perhaps you don’t have much in the way of curves, but your legs are long and toned. Or maybe your husband can hardly keep his hands off your derrière, it’s so fabulous. If you can’t decide what you like about your body in front of the mirror, ask your husband and see what he likes. Decide what parts of your body you most want to feature and which you most want to downplay. (Note: “Feature” does not mean “show”! Modesty still matters. I’m just talking about what you’re comfortable and uncomfortable with. It’s the same equation you’d do with regular clothing.)

You can look online or in magazines for tips on swimsuit styles that achieve the look you’re going for. For instance, suits shirred in the middle downplay that abdominal pooch.

Give yourself a decent budget. Maybe you can’t do that. So if you don’t have the money right now, no worries. Watch for sales or coupons or ask around for the best bargains in your area. But all too often I know women who walk out of the store with a $30 swimsuit, boasting about the bargain they got . . . but the suit doesn’t fit, doesn’t flatter, isn’t comfortable, won’t last.

Like it or not, a quality swimsuit may run more than you expected. It’s far better to have a swimsuit that you like and that makes you look good and to wear it 2-3 seasons than to switch ill-fitting suits season-to-season. If the swimsuit that will make you feel fabulous is $100 or more, and you can afford that by cutting back somewhere else, feel okay about doing that.

Set yourself up to try on a lot of suits. It’s particularly hard with swimsuits to know from how they look on the hanger whether they will cover and flatter your body well. Only once in my life have I ever taken a single swimsuit into the dressing room and it fit. It was a total fluke (I wasn’t swimsuit shopping; just saw this awesome suit on massive clearance), and I doubt that it will ever happen again.

What can get you to tears is trying on suit after suit after suit, and feeling like nothing does or ever will look good on you. Stop expecting to find the right one that quickly! Unless you know the manufacturer, its styles, and its sizes, you’ll likely need to make several trips to the dressing room to try on various suits to find the one that makes you feel both modest and confident about your body.

Mentally adjust your expectations. Take a friend and make a day of it. Break up the monotony by eating a salad lunch in the middle of the day or grabbing a healthy smoothie somewhere to cool off. One full day to find the perfect suit might be just what you need.

Remember to stay biblical. Some biblical advice for your shopping experience:

Your body is wonderful: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14

Consider modesty: “I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.” 1 Timothy 2:9-10

It’s fine to wear something that makes you feel beautiful: “Let the king be enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord.” Psalm 45:11

Fashion designers are people too: “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:27-28

Cover what needs to be covered. Remember that you need to be able to actually show yourself in public and swim in this suit. If you couldn’t imagine running into your preacher at the pool and having a conversation in that suit, maybe it should go back on the rack. (Yes, I know, that question may depend somewhat on your preacher, but you get my point.) Also, if a particular suit will have you spending more time making certain everything’s tucked in right than swimming or sunbathing, then maybe you need to exchange it for more something less tug-worthy.

That’s my advice. Now what’s yours? What tips do you have for finding a good swimsuit for the summer?

Also check out 6 Questions to Ask about Your Swimsuit.

3 Tips on Having a Great Orgasm

Julie Sibert of Intimacy in Marriage

I’m so thrilled today to have Julie Sibert of Intimacy in Marriage on my blog! Julie is one of my favorite marriage bloggers and a fabulous friend. Let me tell you, folks: In real life, she’s just as wise, sincere, and funny as you see on the page.

And she’s writing about orgasm. I’m ready to read. How about you?

Okay, this one is for the ladies. (Feel free to tag along husbands. You might learn a few things too.)

I write about sexual intimacy in marriage, so obviously great orgasms are fairly high on my list of “All Things Married Couples Should Be Experiencing.” (The list exists only in my head, BUT if I ever wrote it out, “great orgasms” would be on it. No doubt.)

If you want a great orgasm, here are three tips: 

1. Let the Clitoris Fulfill Its Purpose!

Sounds like a motivational seminar, doesn’t it?! Can you picture the marketing materials for that?

Seriously, though, I think it would do marriages a world of good if married folks would remember the purpose of the clitoris. I will give you an analogy that might help with this point.

Imagine that someone handed you the keys to a brand new race car, took you out to racetrack and said, “Take her for a spin.”

Would you hop in that driver’s seat, start the engine and let loose at a top speed of 45 mph? Or would you drop that gas pedal and feel what it’s like to drive over 100 mph?

Yes, powerful pleasure of that sort is scary and exhilarating and intense — all at the same time! That’s true about sexual pleasure too. If you are apprehensive about it, it’s good to keep in mind that sexual pleasure for a wife is the clitoris’s one job description, bestowed on it from our Creator.

Try to skirt around this as much as we may, the truth is sexual pleasure is a beautiful gift from God for married couples. Appreciating intense sexual pleasure is kind of like appreciating that driving a race car at more than 100 mph feels different and better than driving it at 45 mph.

Even if you are not a car person, my guess is you still recognize that when race car creators envision a car, they never see it just hanging out at 45 mph. Oh, the tragedy of poor little race cars that never get to fulfill their purpose.
Poor little clitoris. Waiting to drench you in waves of sexual pleasure. Will you let it?

2. Get to Know Your Body.

Appreciating the general purpose of the clitoris is a good start, but not nearly as fabulous as understanding specifically what you personally need to feel sexually aroused. Tip number 2 is “get to know your body.”

I think most wives would agree that it can take our bodies a while to warm up to the idea of sex. For many of you, this means foreplay that involves plenty of caressing, kissing and connecting with your husband emotionally and physically as you lead up to making love.

Don’t assume your husband knows what turns you on. Show him. Tell him. Teach him.

And for that matter, don’t assume you even know what turns you on. I always find it ironic when people think that newlyweds have the best sex right from the start. You know who more likely is experiencing remarkable sexual pleasure? Married couples who have intentionally spent time learning each other’s bodies.

It’s okay to explore your body and to allow your husband to explore it. Intentional exploration and communication are bound to lead to somewhere profound. If there were road signs for this journey, “Great Orgasm Up Ahead” would be flashing in neon.

3. Lean into the Pleasure.

What. In. The. World. Does. That. Mean? Lean into the pleasure.

In simplest terms, when sexual pleasure builds, let your body feel it. Fall into it. Don’t shy away from it.

Honestly, I think this is one of the biggest stumbling blocks, especially for Christian wives. For some reason, we often associate intense sexual pleasure with sin. No wonder so many wives resist it or are scared of it.

Strive to walk in the truth, though. When you are enjoying sexual pleasure in an exclusive God-honoring sexual relationship with your husband, you are pleasing God, not disappointing Him.

So when you feel that sexual sensation that really can’t be put into words, focus on it and lean into it. Receive it for what it is and be grateful for it.

Not only is this good for you, but it’s good for your husband too. If he is like most husbands, he wants to see his wife in the grips of intense sexual pleasure. It turns him on to turn you on.

So, there you have it. 3 Tips on Having a Great Orgasm. You didn’t even need to go to a motivational seminar. Or buy a race car.

Julie Sibert writes and speaks about sexual intimacy in marriage. You can follow her blog at www.IntimacyInMarriage.com. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband, their two boys and one rambunctious German Shorthair Pointer dog who refuses to stay in the fence.

Asking Readers to Share Their Best Advice

No, I am not running out of topics. Believe me, there is PLENTY left to discuss about marriage and sexual intimacy. There are a myriad of challenges and ways to attend to this particular aspect of the marital relationship. The secular world continues to toss out their wrong ideas about intimacy which need to be addressed. Plus, my readers continue to challenge me with new questions and subjects I have yet to touch on.

However, I wanted to take today and simply thank those readers who have taken the time to share their story, give quality advice, or offer encouragement and prayers to others in the comments section. Quite often, I throw up a post, receive comments, and find some amazing gem (or two or three or more) among the readers’ thoughts. You often do better than I at answering questions — especially if you have been through a similar situation and worked through a challenge.

One more time:

Thank you!

And now, I’m simply going to open up my comments to see what wisdom remains out there. Here’s the question at hand that I want you to answer for me and the readers:

What one piece of advice have you received that has made a positive difference in the sex life of your marriage?

It can be something gleaned from the Bible, from a good friend or family member, from a book or blog, from your doctor or counselor, or any other resource. It can speak to the whole of marriage or some specific technique (but don’t get too graphic so that we’re all wincing and spitting here).

I will be gathering up your advice and sharing it in other ways as well. Blessings and thanks to all of YOU. Because I really do have the BEST readers!

What Are You Doing for Pelvic Floor Health?

“Sneezing just ain’t the same.”

A good friend uttered that sentence at a table full of women. There was a brief pause, and then we all erupted in laughter. We got it. You see, we’d all given birth in the not-too-distant past and had experienced stress incontinence.

Stress incontinence occurs when your bladder is “stressed” in some way — through physical activity, laughing, coughing, sneezing — and urine leaks out. It’s not uncommon among women after childbirth or in later age.

But it isn’t inevitable. There are ways to strengthen the pelvic floor to keep everything tight and in check. One of the added benefits of pelvic floor health is that it permits more pressure and flexing during sexual intercourse, which can be pleasurable for both husband and wife.

What’s the primary method for strengthening the pelvic floor? Let’s all say it together, ladies! Kegel Exercises.

Now if you’re like me, you hate doing Kegel exercises. Not because they’re painful, but because you can’t remember to do them often enough, and when you do them, you’re not exactly sure if you’re doing them right. Or you wonder if maybe someone does notice that you’re flexing your down-there muscles since you just remembered to do them in the grocery store line and that woman over there is looking at you funny.

Some ecard: Pelvic Floor Awareness Month

So I started looking at other options. Because I don’t remember to do push-ups, sit-ups, or jumping jacks either, but if you buy me exercise equipment or sign me up for the gym, I’ll exercise (at least some) because I don’t want to waste the money and that gadget looks kind of cool.

I’m sharing what I found, and then asking you to comment on what, if anything, you’re doing for pelvic floor health.

Vaginal Weights. There are several different types, but the main idea is to place a weight of some kind in the vagina. The inner muscles reflexively contract to keep the weight inside, and over time the pelvic floor is strengthened. Examples include Ben Wa Balls, Lelo Beads, and vaginal cones.

Ben Wa Balls
They just look like silver marbles to me.

Lelo Beads
One or more at a time.

Vaginal Cones
Don’t they look like tiny tampons?

This form of pelvic floor exercise has been around for centuries, but professionally manufactured vaginal weights are often recommended by obstetricians and gynecologists today.

Pelvic Exerciser. If the examples above are like the free weights in the gym, pelvic exercisers are like the body-building machines. These mechanical contraptions are inserted into the vagina and then expand and contract to work your pelvic floor muscles into shape. They come with such names as Kegel Pro and Kegelmaster and — for the uber-serious, I guess — the Kegelmaster 2000.

Kegelmaster
Does coloring it purple make it less scary?

Vaginal Sensor. A vaginal sensor comes with a small part to insert into the vagina attached to a sensor that you hold. The sensor prompts you when to flex and when to release, thus exercising your Kegel muscles properly. I suppose it’s like having your own personal trainer at the gym. There are several brand names for such products, and sensors are also used in urology offices to detect incontinence issues.

Bia Health Pelvic Muscle Toner
Does this remind anyone else of a Wii remote with a nunchuk?

“The Flexible Accessory.” I have no idea where to categorize this thing. But I found something called The Magic Banana. It has an odd shape but purports to exercise Kegel muscles and thus strengthen the pelvic floor. It’s sort of like that home gym equipment you see on some infomercial that you’d never know how to use without them demonstrating it for you. So I watched the demo video.

Very soon, I was thinking that this banana was a little too magical. It was going beyond pelvic floor muscle exercises to G-spot exploration. I was starting to have impure thoughts looking at my fruit bowl. But one doesn’t have to use the tool that way. You could just use it to give those Kegels a workout.

The Magic Banana
It sounds like a children’s cartoon show title.

So here are my questions:

  • Have you experienced stress incontinence?
  • Do you exercise your Kegel muscles regularly?
  • What methods or products have you used?
  • Do you have one or more to recommend?
  • If you do exercise your pelvic floor, have you or your husband noticed a difference in your lovemaking?