Monthly Archives: August 2013

Using Your Body in Marital Intimacy: First, Your Mind

A reader recently added a song suggestion to my Marital Intimacy Playlist post: “Brass in Pocket” by Pretenders. In this song, Chrissie Hynde sings:

Gonna use my arms
Gonna use my legs
Gonna use my style
Gonna use my side-step
Gonna use my fingers
Gonna use my, my, my, imagination
Cause I going make you see

There’s nobody else here
No one like me
I’m special, so special
I got to have some of your attention

Give it to me

Which got me thinking about how we use our bodies in the marital bedroom.

Sex should involve so much of our bodies, as we touch, kiss, and join together in this intimate act to express and foster love. So for the next few weeks, I’m going to be posting on Thursdays about how to use your various body parts in lovemaking: your mouth, your arms, your legs, your hips, etc.

First things first, though. While some husbands might assert that the notion of sex begins somewhere between your belt buckle and your kneecaps, we wives know that sex begins in the mind. That’s the body part we ladies need to get into the groove so that we can . . . well, get into the groove.

Brain pic

IT ALL STARTS HERE.
by National Institute of Health via Wikimedia Commons

You have to engage your mind to engage your body.

Unfortunately, we mental multitaskers often have difficulty focusing on sexual intimacy with our husbands. It might not seem like such a tall order, but setting aside all of the other thoughts and concentrating solely and wholly on lovemaking can be a challenge for many wives.

So how can we involve our mind in sexual intimacy?

Set aside the time and space. Start by making sure external distractions are not competing. Yes, there are times when you must squeeze sex into eight minutes flat while your toddler is finishing his nap or you shove work piles from the bed to make love, but that shouldn’t be the norm.

Set aside time on your calendar or in your schedule. Make it a priority somewhere below breathing or eating and way above a pedicure or polishing faucet fixtures. When you set your mind to spending the next 30 minutes in physical intimacy with your husband, you can more freely engage without thinking of everything else you could be doing.

Also set aside space so that you two have room to make love without the distractions of children’s toys, electronics, to-do lists, etc. Remove from your sight and mind whatever might compete for your attention.

Start anticipating in advance. Think ahead of time about how you will feel in the arms of your beloved. Be positive in your anticipation — considering how your senses will be awakened, how your husband’s touch will comfort and arouse you, how you want to pleasure him and be pleasured, how precious this gift of sexual union is.

Some wives anticipate sex with dread, ranking it alongside toilet cleaning in their daily task list. If you experience pain or have no drive, you need to address those issues. But our brains are very powerful, so if you simply don’t look forward to the experience, retrain your mind. Choose to focus your mental energy on those lovemaking moments that were enjoyable and anticipate that you can have that pleasure once again. The more you joyfully approach an event, the more likely you are to enjoy it.

Focus on your hubby. See that hottie over there? Yep, that one: your hubby. That’s the guy you chose (and who chose you). You must’ve thought he was something special when you said “I do,” so dwell on what’s so great about your husband.

Think about the physical and internal attributes that are attractive to you. Drop the negative stuff from your mind. Of course, he’s annoying at times; my husband is too. (Newsflash: We annoy them back.) This is the time to pull our minds toward the beauty of his body, the strength of his character, the fun he brings to life, the gift of his love.

Consider how you desire your husband and how you want him to rejoice in you and be captivated by your love (Proverbs 5:18-19). Keep your mind actively engaged in thinking about your husband and lover.

Become aware of your own body. Your body is equipped with five incredible senses and an amazing number of skin receptors that register touch, temperature, vibration, pressure, and more. On top of that, God blessed certain parts of your body with extra sensitivity to respond happily to sexual arousal. Indeed, one part of your body, the clitoris, has absolutely no purpose whatsoever but to make you giddy with delight when appropriately stimulated.

When making love with your husband, turn your mind to the sensations your body is experiencing. Think about the places he touches, kisses, fondles, strokes, penetrates. If you mind begins to wander to whether you turned off the oven or how much you distrust Congress or whatever, regain control and return your mind to where it should be — on the interesting tickles and tingles of your body.

Also think about how your body can produce delightful feelings for your husband. Your hands, lips, breasts, and other parts of your body have the amazing ability to bring him great pleasure. Revel in how he feels against that hand, those lips, those breasts, etc.

Turn your mind to gratitude. Gratitude is an attitude nurtured in the mind. God has given married couples the gift of sexual intimacy. He could have made it simply for reproduction, but our Father wanted us to enjoy sex and use it to grow intimacy. What a gift!

Just as you pause to soak in the beauty of a colorful sunset or the melodious sounds of your favorite song, pause in your mind to be grateful for sexual intimacy. Make it a regular habit to thank God and your mate for your sexual pleasure.

What tips do you have for using your mind to experience satisfying marital intimacy?

Thou Shalt Have Sex and Other Commands

10 Commandments Scroll

By Jekuthiel Sofer via Wikimedia Commons

There is one commandment of the Ten Commandments which applies specifically to marriage. In five simple words, it is translated from the Hebrew as “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14, Deuteronomy 5:18).

People are often bothered that the Ten Commandments stress actions that God is AGAINST and not as much what He is FOR. In fact, this small set of big rules has been called the “Thou Shalt Nots.”

But before you go storming the throne of God demanding Him to become a more positive guy, remember that the entire Word of God — all 66 books — tell us who our Father is. And he is VERY positive about marriage. In fact, I would argue that if one were to word God’s heart for marriages as commandments, you might find these concepts:

Thou shalt honor your commitment to one another above your feelings. Emotions run the gamut in most marriages, ranging from desperate admiration for the love of your life to absolute disgust that you married a guy who clips his toenails in bed and then asks to make love. More seriously, the vast majority of spouses experience ups and downs in their attraction toward their mate.If you go by how much you feel “in love” with your honey at the moment, you may dismiss how good your marriage really is or can be. Commitment is the foundation that makes you work on your marriage and make it the best that it can be.

Thou shalt treat your spouse with action love. Throughout the Bible, God gives commands on how we are to treat others with love — not a love born of mushy-gushy I-wuv-you sentiment, but of actions that display respect, concern, and desire for that person’s best. “Love your neighbor as yourself,” (Mark 12:31), the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), and all of those “one another” passages are applicable to marriage.

Indeed, if you should be kind, gentle, patient, and loving with anyone, it’s the person you plan to spend a lifetime with. Of course, those married longer than about five days know that daily display of Christ-like love to our mate is a bigger challenge than we might have expected. Living in close quarters with someone for long periods of time breeds an awareness of the small stuff that can drive you a little crazy. But love anyway. Love when it’s hard. Love with your actions. Love, love, love.

Thou shalt have sex. There are plenty of spouses who wish that the command had been that clear, so they could dangle it over their mate and say, “See, it’s a BIG one — right up there with ‘Do not murder.'” No, it’s not stated that directly, but the Bible is clear that married couples are supposed to physically intimate.

From Genesis talking about husband and wife becoming one flesh (Genesis 2:24), to the celebration of sexual love in Song of Songs, to the admonition to fulfill our marital duty of having sex (1 Corinthians 7:3), the Bible is clear that sex is part of marriage.

Moreover, this isn’t a honeymoon phase. Proverbs 5:18-19 says, “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 intoxicated with her love.” Always and ever. Sounds like a pop song I remember. But the meaning is obvious — that we are supposed to make love and keep making love for the duration of our marriage.

(Note: If you struggle with enjoying sex, see For Wives: When You Don’t Desire Sex or Pain & Pleasure.)

Thou shalt give your spouse priority. It’s easy to assume that your marital love is secure and thus put your spouse down on the priority list. You almost expect him to behave like a dog who, though ignored for a while, will still come up and nuzzle against you when you’re ready. Newsflash: Your hubby is not a dog.

I don’t know why I felt the need to say that, since it should be obvious. However, we sometimes don’t understand how important this marital relationship is, how it must take priority over such competing activities as recreation with friends, children’s activities, volunteer work, and ministry duties. Yes, of course, we should engage in all of those things, but not to the neglect of our marriage.

I love that God included this command to husbands in Deuteronomy 24:5: “If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid on him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married.” Even in life-and-death times of war, God placed priority on a husband and a wife coming together and experiencing joy. If you feel you don’t have time for conversation or date nights or sexual encounters with your mate, perhaps you need to take a good, hard look at your priorities.

Thou shalt remain faithful. This is simply the flip side of “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Interestingly enough, the Proverbs passage about being always satisfied with your wife comes after a long warning about not giving in to adultery. The proscription for staying away from other women comes in this advice a few verses earlier: “Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well” (Proverbs 5:15). In other words, remain faithful to your own spouse.

And remain faithful in every way. That means that you place your efforts into building up your own marital relationship and do not allow yourself to even toy with other options. Be careful about who you spend time with and how much time. Don’t fantasize about others, through porn, erotica, or other stimuli. Keep your eyes focused on your own mate rather than lusting after others (Matthew 5:28).

Stay the course with your spouse. Avoid adultery by remaining heart-and-soul faithful to the one you chose.

What other “Thou shalts” would you include for the marital relationship? What biblical commands about marriage stand out to you?

Redesigning the Website

A little blog business today.

I’ve been working with a web designer to get a unique look for the Hot, Holy & Humorous website. When I started the blog almost three years ago, I adopted a Blogger template and I’ve stuck with it for a long time.

Moving the website. Pretty soon, however, I’ll be moving to a self-hosted website on a WordPress platform. For those of you who know what I’m talking about, you understand that’s a decent-sized undertaking. For the rest of you, just know that when the new website comes up, I’m hoping and praying there will be no glitches, but I make no guarantees. My strengths do not lie in online technology.

Contacting J. Very little will change with the navigability of my site. However, I am planning to include a contact form — something that has been missing here from the beginning.

From time to time, I get a comment from someone asking how I can be contacted. The person wishes to share their particular situation and get my advice. Thus far, I’ve resisted giving out an email to readers. It’s not because I don’t care. I care enormously! But I struggle to answer the comments I have and still maintain a livable household, so I don’t know how responsive I can be to individual requests for wisdom. Moreover, as I’ve said several times, I am not a theologian, a minister, a health care worker, a psychologist, or a licensed counselor. I’m a wife and ongoing student of the Bible who figured out a lot of stuff about godly sexuality and has a passion for encouraging passion.

To be completely honest, I also cringe at the thought of receiving hate and spam email. I happen to know that other marriage bloggers have received some frustrating messages. Almost all of us are open to conversation, but tongue lashings can feel like whip cracks and scar an otherwise good day or even week.

Elmer Fudd & Bugs Bunny

It was Chuck Jones, the creator of Bugs Bunny (my favorite childhood cartoon, hands down), who said, “Anyone can negatively criticize — it is the cheapest of all comment because it requires not a modicum of the effort that suggestion requires.” Sure, there is constructive criticism, and I’m open to hearing other opinions and engaging in healthy debate, but I confess reluctance to open myself up to the less-constructive barrage of verbal barbs. To what end?

Yet at the end of the day, all things considered, I don’t want to be unreachable. While I wish to maintain family privacy and a humble perspective of what I can offer, I want readers to be able to contact me, should they have something important yet confidential to share.

Searching the site. I am also hoping the move will make my site more searchable. As it is now, I have moments of thinking, Now I know I blogged about ____, but when I go looking for the post, I can’t find it. Ridiculous, right? You should be able to search keywords on Hot, Holy & Humorous like “pregnancy,” “Song of Songs,” “hand job,” etc. and find the relevant posts for those topics.

Searching for the font. And finally, I’m making a plea. Years ago, I designed my own logo. See that one at the top of the blog? Here’s another version of it:

I saved the header and this logo as picture files. My web designer is able to clean up the logo for me and make it more precise and pretty on the new site. However, for the life of me, I cannot figure out what font that is. I’ve spent hours and hours online trying to figure it out. The font existed on my old laptop, which I no longer have. The designer and I have tried various fonts, and I’ll be fine with what we chose instead. BUT if you know what font that “Hot, Holy & Humorous” is in up there, I’d be happy to hear from you! Like really happy. Like can I send you a free marriage e-book? happy. [Update: Yes, readers did help me identify it! Thanks.]

Speaking of marriage books, be sure to check out the marriage book bundle that includes Sheila Gregoire’s 31 Days to Great Sex. It’s a fabulous deal that runs just this week!


CLICK HERE TO CHECK IT OUT!

Want More Money? Have More Sex. (Really.)

money signs

Photo Credit: Microsoft Word Clip Art

“…sexual activity is considered to be a barometer for health, quality of life, well-being and happiness.”

So researchers state in the opening paragraph of a new report on the correlation between sexual activity and wages. Yep, wages.

A British researcher analyzed a study that took place in Greece and included a random telephone survey of about 7,500 households. Respondents were asked about their wage level and sexual frequency (the options being none, once/twice a year, once a month, 2-3 times a month, weekly, 2-3 times a week, and more than 4 times a week). The study also asked for other demographic and personality factors to control or correlate such things as gender, educational level, and extroversion. Note that 58.3% of the surveyed individuals were married.

So the takeaway of the study is that those having sex more than four times a week earn more, by a statistically significant amount. That simply means that the results stood out.

Now this doesn’t mean that there is a cause-effect relationship, that more sex automatically equals more money. But in a seemingly unfair slap from the universe for those not in this category, the ones getting busy more often are also getting rich* more often.

But it’s not so unfair, when we consider why this might be:

Having sex four+ times a week likely means you’re in a relationship. I strongly advocate that relationship be a marriage (since God strongly advocated it first). Other studies have shown great health, well-being, and financial benefits to being a marriage that provides companionship, shared responsibility for finances and child-rearing, and yes, sex.

Those who have regular sex tend to be happier. A healthy sex life is related to higher self-esteem, lower levels of depression, and general happiness. This could be a product of biological chemicals and physiological responses, but I think it’s also a sense of relational well-being and intimate connection to someone you love that contributes to being happier.

Healthy individuals are more likely to have sex and to have higher-wage jobs. There is likely a casual effect of poor health on both earning levels and frequency of sex. If you’re struggling with health issues, you may have difficulty both in having sex and in fulfilling the tasks of a job. The upshot is that, inasmuch as you can effect it, stay healthy. Eat well, exercise, throw off any addictions, etc. You know the drill.

Sex can be empowering. So this is my own theory, one I mentioned here before. Having read about and heard from men on this issue, I believe that having sex with your mate can boost your personal confidence in such a way that you feel like you can take on the world. I doubt it’s just men, too. There’s something about quality lovemaking with your spouse that just tethers you to their love throughout the day and makes some of the daily annoyances roll off your back a bit better. Why this is true, I’m not sure. However, like everything else about God-honoring marital sexuality, I suspect it’s a gift from God Himself.

Knowing what you’re coming home to makes you work harder. Another theory mine, based on conversations with and observation of married couples. You might think that an unhappy spouse would avoid home by staying at the office and working longer hours, and thus earn more. While I have seen that pattern, workaholism isn’t the same as productivity. The person secure in their marriage — through companionship, shared values and purpose, and lovemaking — is more likely to work with fervor, push through tasks more efficiently and effectively, and let stress go when they leave the workplace. They want to be productive and earn their keep to continue providing for the life they enjoy, and the lover they enjoy it with.

Those are the reasons I see for the sex-and-wages correlation.

So what else is there to conclude but that if you want more money, have more sex?

At least it’s worth a try.

*Just to clarify, no, I don’t thinking getting rich is a worthy goal for Christians. But properly providing for your family is (1 Tim 5:8), and some Christians have indeed grown rich and used their money generously for God’s work.

Teach Your Kids the Correct Words for Body Parts

A couple of weeks ago, I talked about how to talk to teens about sex. This week, I wanted to cover a what on talking to kids about sex.

Here’s one what: Teach young children the correct words for their body parts.

Now I know some of you are objecting already. I once had argued this point with one of my best friends until my tongue turned blue, so I’ve heard the reasoning:

They can learn those names later. What if they repeat it in public? They don’t need to know about sex parts until they’re close to doing something with them. Teaching them the names will increase their curiosity. Those names sound icky.

Look, I’m not suggesting you give your children diagrams and show them where the clitoris and the frenulum are. But from early on, use the correct words of penis, testicles, and vagina.

Why?

Mother & Daughter reading

Photo Credit: Microsoft Word Clip Art

Because it sates their curiosity. Toddlers soak up the words for anything and everything around them, excited to know what things are called. And children are naturally curious about their bodies. Naming body parts is a common activity in year two or three. They want to point to stuff and hear you identify what it is, so they can learn the word. If you act flustered, or avoid naming each part of their fascinating, God-given bodies, they wonder what’s up. In fact, calling the whole section simply “private parts” or whatever may increase their curiosity. Because inquiring growing minds want to know. Naming the part and moving on sates their curiosity.

Because it demystifies these parts. There is nothing less wonderful about having a penis than having an eyebrow. (In fact, plenty of men would testify that they could yank out every last eyebrow hair but would never want to live without their penis.) Talking in a straightforward manner about a child’s private area demystifies those parts. They are accepted as another aspect of the wonderful body God has given them (Psalm 139:13-14).

Because you establish yourself as a knowledgeable source. If your kids start hearing about penises and vaginas elsewhere, and you’ve never called them the correct names, what might they conclude about your level of knowledge or comfort in discussing the subject? Why should they ask you a bunch of questions about their bodies and sex when you can’t say or don’t know the proper names for those body parts? Use the words, be the expert. Make sure they know that you can handle whatever questions or concerns they have, so that you position yourself, the parent, to be the one to teach both physical facts and spiritual values at the same time.

Because they can communicate better with adult resources, if needed. Your child may at some time need to discuss a health problem with a nurse, doctor, or adult supervisor that involves his/her private part. If your family has named it a beedlebum, that means nothing to the adult. Language is meant to foster communication between people, and it could be important for your child to know the right terms to discuss potential problems with others. Also, I pray that no one ever, ever, ever goes through this . . . but what if your child was molested or approached by a molester? He/she needs to know the proper terms to report what happened.

Because it encourages them to stay away from crasser names. I’m not naive. Of course I expect children, especially teens, to hear, and perhaps say, such crass words as cunt, pussy, prick, wang, etc. However, when you arm people with better language, they are more likely to use it. I personally don’t have a huge problem with less crass words, such as dick or balls, but the words you teach someone are more likely to be their go-to terms when they discuss the subject. You can decide what best reflects your values, but penisvagina, and testicles are universally recognized and not inappropriate.

Because there’s simply nothing wrong with penis, vagina, and testicles. Making a big deal out of it . . . makes it a big deal. Make the big deal about what your child does with these parts, not what they’re called. Teach him/her the right values about his/her body, health, purity, and sexuality. Put the focus where it belongs.

Now of course, you should talk to your child about appropriate use of these terms. Just as we teach our children time and context with other topics, such as Aunt Harriet’s new hideous hairdo, how long the preacher goes on and on, and what color our skin is (as a child, I wanted to call blacks “chocolate people” . . . which I thought was super cool and a total compliment — who wouldn’t want to be chocolate?!! — but my parents gently instructed me that it might be construed another way).

You can gently instruct your child about appropriateness when he yells, “My penis itches!” at the Thanksgiving table or she proudly informs a friend, “My vagina is the hole in the middle.” We managed to convince our children not to give away the Santa secret to friends for years, so trust that you can teach your children to handle the information in a honorable way.

But teach them the correct words for their body parts.

What do you think? How have you handled this instruction with your children? How was it handled with you?