Monthly Archives: October 2013

Using Your Body for Marital Intimacy: Heart and Soul

Today is the wrap-up of my short series on how to use your body parts during sexual intimacy. I previously covered the following:

First, Your Mind

What to Do with Your Hands

What to Do with Your Mouth

What to Do with Your Legs

What to Do with Your Hips

While I believe that marriages can benefit from specific coaching and tips, I don’t think that technique is as important as other factors. It’s quite possible for both participants to be technically fabulous lovers and not experience fulfilling sexual intimacy.

How do I know this? Okay, sadly, I know this because I’ve had both experiences. What is the biggest difference between my premarital sexual encounters and my marital sexual encounters? The former attempted to have meaning (and failed), but the latter has deep, deep meaning.

Why? Because my marital intimacy is born of an entirely different relationship: one that involves committed, covenant love; years of shared sorrows, joys, tears, and laughter; security and hope for our future; and the blessing of our Heavenly Father. For sexual intimacy to be the full gift that God intends it to be, it must involve the heart and soul of husband and wife.

The Song of Songs (or Song of Solomon) describes the beautiful sexual love between a husband and a wife. The passages are romantic, passionate, and — if you read ’em right — can be titillating. But in the last chapter, we get a clear picture of what makes their sexual love so meaningful. The wife declares:

Picture: Microsoft Word Clip Art

Picture: Microsoft Word Clip Art

“Place me like a seal over your heart,
like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death,
its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire,
like a mighty flame.
Many waters cannot quench love;
rivers cannot sweep it away.
If one were to give
all the wealth of one’s house for love,
it would be utterly scorned.”

Song of Songs 8:6-7

“Like a seal over your heart.” The best sexual love involves the heart. And not the momentary rush of emotions in the heart, but a deeper commitment of the heart — like a seal.

A seal in Bible times was used to “guarantee security or indicate ownership” (Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology) — the kind of I’m-yours-you’re-mine commitment that exists in a godly marriage. Indeed, the wife in Song of Songs says that very thing: “My beloved is mine and I am his” (2:16, also 6:3).

The way I think of it is the phrase “heart and soul.” Which means completely, wholly, totally. In a sense, your sexual encounters should remind you of your wedding vows when you said to your mate, “This is it. I am all in.”

Sometimes I fear we wives hold back on that emotional and spiritual connection with our husbands. Too many women feel that sex is merely a physical act — a pleasurable physiological experience or a release of body tension. But God intended it to mean so much more:

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Matthew 19:4-6

Look for ways to engage your heart and soul in lovemaking with your husband. Be tender, be active, be intimate. Express your love both verbally and physically in the bedroom. Remind yourself that sexuality is a gift for marriage from our Lord and Father — that it came from His own heart to bless ours.

Is an STD Affecting Your Marriage?

God’s design for sexual intimacy is pretty clear: one man, one woman in lifelong covenant marriage experiencing pleasure, intimacy, and, more than likely, reproduction.

But many of us didn’t get to our wedding day with our virginity intact. Premarital sex is a part of our history, even if we have repented and received God’s full forgiveness (see 1 Corinthians 6:11). Others are in a second or third marriage, meaning that other partners were sexually involved before. And some, sadly, have experienced infidelity in their marriage.

std

No one wants one,
but they happen.

Thus, it’s quite possible that some of your marriages are contending with a sexually transmitted disease. Which can seriously impact your marital intimacy.

STDs are probably more common than you realize. For instance, check out the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) statistics for the following:

Chlamydia: 1,412,791 cases reported in 2011; annual estimate of 2.86 million cases
Gonorrhea: 321,849 cases of gonorrhea reported in 2011; annual estimate of 820,000
Genital Herpes: inflicts 16.2%, or about 1 out of 6, people aged 14 to 49 years
Trichomoniasis: Estimated 3.7 million in U.S. infected; only 30% experience symptoms

Most STDs can be cured or treated in one way or another, but untreated infections can cause problems with pregnancy and complications such as pelvic inflammatory disease. The purpose of my post, however, is not to do a medical breakdown of the diseases, their symptoms, and treatments. That’s better left to medical websites such as the National Institutes of Health, Mayo Clinic, or WebMD.

My concern, rather, is how an STD can affect your marriage. When your partner brings an STD into the marriage, you are at risk. These diseases can spread through oral, genital, or anal contact. While condoms are helpful barriers, they aren’t a surefire method of preventing the spread of diseases when you engage regularly and fully with your mate.

The good news is that several STDs can be cured. For instance, chlamydia and trichomoniasis can both be knocked out with antibiotics. Others, like genital herpes, remain in the body. Herpes can continue to cause problems for a married couple each time an infected partner experiences an “outbreak.”

So what do you as a married couple need to know about STDs?

If either has had prior sexual partners, or if infidelity has impacted your marriage, you should get tested. You may not think that you’re carrying an STD, but some infected persons do not experience symptoms. They are unaware that they are carrying a disease and could infect their mate. So ask your doctor about testing you for STDs. Once you know you’re both clear, then you can relax and engage in full sexual activity.

If you have an STD, you have to remain abstinent during the infection or outbreak. Which, yeah, totally sucks. But forgiven, redeemed, and sanctified, we still sometimes carry the consequences of our bad decisions — and may be impacted by the bad decisions of our spouse (two become one, you know). The difficult-yet-loving thing to do is to avoid oral, genital, and anal contact when you are getting well from an infection or outbreak. Once you’re better, make up for lost time in lovemaking. Knock yourselves out!

Your sexual health can hurt your relational health. While you’re waiting for an infection to clear up, it can be very frustrating. You may have to go weeks without sexual contact with your mate.

You’ll need to focus on your relationship in other ways, spending more recreational time together, sharing affection, communicating, and anticipating when you can come together again. The infected mate may feel guilty and apologetic, while the infected mate may be particularly frustrated and angry. How could you bring this STD into our marriage?!

Remember that if this STD was part of your sexual past, the sex part needs to remain in the past. It’s not beneficial to keep reliving the mistakes of your past; as the Apostle Paul set the example, acknowledge your mistakes, learn from them, and then live into the forgiveness and wisdom you now have. And, like it or not, you promised “in sickness and in health,” and that sickness may include your mate having to deal with an annoying STD. Work together to get past it and find that “health” part of the deal.

God’s design for sexual intimacy prevents STDs. If you married as virgins, good for you! Seriously, I’d like to stand up and applaud. Only about 3% of Americans successfully hold out until their wedding night (although about 20% in highly religious groups wait) (see 4 Cool Statistics about Abstinence in the USA). You are among the few, the proud, the STD-free. Hey, the reason these are called sexually transmitted diseases is because they require sexual contact to spread. If a husband and wife only ever have sexual contact with each other, they aren’t going to contract or spread an STD (at least not without some very odd occurrence, like a blood transfusion, etc.).

If you’re among those who didn’t wait but are experiencing God’s gift of sexual intimacy in marriage now, keep it that way. Taking on other partners, even a one-night stand, can introduce STDs into your body and your marriage. Bad, bad idea. Stick with God’s design of Him + Her 4 Life.

Even secular sources admit that marital monogamy is ideal for preventing STDs. From the CDC: “The surest way to avoid transmission of sexually transmitted diseases . . . is to abstain from sexual contact, or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and is known to be uninfected.”

We parents need to warn our kids, so their marriages aren’t negatively affected by STDs. Sexually transmitted diseases disproportionately affect young people — teenagers to young adults. We parents need to talk honestly with our kids about all of the risks of premarital sexual activity — spiritual, emotional, relational, and physical. Only avoiding intercourse doesn’t keep a young person from contracting an STD, and condoms are not a completely sufficient method of avoiding infection. The way is God’s way: “Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires” (Song of Songs 2:7, 3:5, 8:4 — yep, three times). See related posts on Talking to Your Kids about Sex: No More One and DoneIs Don’t Have Sex Enough for Teens? and How to Talk to a Teen about Sex.

Has your marriage been affected by an STD? How have you coped? What advice do you have for others who may be in the same situation?

Using Your Body for Marital Intimacy: What to Do with Your Hips

Look up “hip” in your Bible, and there isn’t much in the way of romance. There is mention of how the behemoth’s strength is in his hips (Job 40:17), but if a husband dared to bring that reference into the bedroom, he’d deserve the glacier-melting glare he got from his wife.

Interestingly enough, the two passages in Song of Solomon in which the husband describes the beauty of his wife’s body (chapters 4 and 7), he skips right over the pelvic area. Legs are described. Waist is described. But not what comes in between, even though it’s a rather important part of the whole deal. Instead, the Lover (husband) primarily refers to his wife’s lady parts with symbolic language, such as “garden.”

Wooden Mannequin showing hips with "Hips, Hips, Hooray!"But the way God designed a woman’s hips allows them to be somewhat of a wonder worker in sexual intimacy with her husband. If she knows how to use them.

So let’s talk, wives.

Using your hips in marital intimacy can be described by the kinds of motions you can make with them.

Tilting. Front-to-back, your hips can work like a pendulum. Tilting them toward your husband can alter the angle of entry and the resulting sensations you both feel. It can also signal to him that you are fully engaged in what’s happening.

When making love face-to-face, you can tilt your hips forward, which may allow your husband to move deeper. In the rear entry position (husband entering his wife’s vagina from behind), tilting your hips backward opens up the area for him to engage more fully.

Rocking. With that same pendulum motion, you can rock your hips forward and backward. This is one of the ways that a wife can take control of some of the thrusting. It is easiest done with the woman-on-top position, where she can pulse her hips in a consistent rhythm.

Altering the speed of rocking can affect whether this is a playful motion that draws out lovemaking or a more intense motion that draws toward climax. Advantages of this position and motion are that the husband has a wonderful view of his wife’s body and he can continue to touch her breasts and clitoris to increase her pleasure.

Wiggling. Wiggling seems the appropriate word for this motion, because it’s kind of like fidgeting your hips around in your chair — only on your husband. This is a sort of tease you can do with your hips and can be very enjoyable as you pay attention to the way your body parts connect and alter slightly with each movement. Be careful not to wiggle too much or too fast, since his erect penis is not meant to be that flexible.

Riding. Oh, how I considered and reconsidered this descriptive word! But that’s really what it is. If you’ve ever been on a horse (or an elephant or a camel — whatever you ride), you know that feeling of your hips bouncing up and down as the animal trots or gallops.

That same up-and-down bouncing motion can be incredibly hot during sex. The wife moves her hips straight up and down, creating the rhythmic thrust for making love. She does the work, but she’s also more in control of her pleasure. If needed, she can slow the pace down to draw out her arousal, possibly making it more likely that she can achieve climax along with her husband during intercourse. Her husband can also signal what he desires by placing his hands outside her hips and guiding her.

Honestly, the best way to “ride” is to plant your feet (think back to the way an equestrian has stirrups to steady her feet). Thus, squatting over your husband will allow more control than kneeling. Your knees and hips can act together to provide that up-and-down motion. If your legs tire, you can change positions to kneeling for a bit and then return to squatting . . . or at this point, you might agree to have your husband just flip you over and take charge (because he’s likely very turned on by how active you are in this sexual encounter).

There you go — ways to use your hips in marital intimacy.

But now I’ve got a couple of popular songs running through my head that relate to this topic. One particular song I learned from Zumba exercise classes, but it seems appropriate to quote here. As Shakira sings:

And I’m on tonight
You know my hips don’t lie
And I’m starting to feel it’s right
All the attraction, the tension
Don’t you see baby, this is perfection

Sure, the song is about dancing, but it seemed to fit. Now go and have fun with those hips and your hubby!

Too Pooped to Pop, or Why I Want a Vacation

When I write a blog post, I sometimes consider the reading audience as a whole, but more often I imagine sitting across a coffee shop table from a girlfriend and sharing advice, encouragement, and laughter about this gift of sexuality from our Heavenly Father. In the vein of that authentic girlfriend-to-girlfriend moment, here’s the scoop on J of Hot, Holy & Humorous.

I have written before about not withholding sex when you are tired and making sex a priority in your schedule. But honestly, my sweet fellow wives, I am on week four of a lung-crunching cough that will not quit. I haven’t even been able to mouth-to-mouth kiss my ever-so-susceptible-to-sickness husband in about a month, which has made sex a challenge to say the least.

On top of this lingering illness — which, yes, I have been to the doctor and used medication and home remedies for — I’ve been working with my lovely website designer on a blog move that ended up involving more glitches than my junior high home economics project (and, trust me, that’s saying a lot). I’m thrilled with the new look, but there are still some kinks to work out. For instance, you may have noticed that my “blog roll” — that list on my side bar of marriage sites I recommend — is missing. Also, I’m trying to determine whether my RSS feed and email subscribers are still getting these posts and how to move anyone who isn’t. All of that has added work hours to my already full schedule.

Then there’s my husband’s work schedule, which has been unpredictable at best, and irritatingly long at worst. I’m so thankful that he is working, because I know some people in this economy would love to have a job, but it can be a hard to deal with a spouse gone so much and the need to pick up that extra slack.

All that said, maintaining our sexual intimacy has been a challenge lately. There have been plenty of days in the last few weeks when I’ve thought, I am just too pooped to pop.

Yet the reality is that when we’ve made time to physically connect, when I’ve mustered the energy from somewhere to be sexual with my husband, when we’ve met our obstacles with determination to be creative and figure out how to keep having sex amidst the chaos . . . we feel better. It’s still not easy, but it is worthwhile.

(And just an FYI: The coughing goes away completely during orgasm. How’s that for a prescription for health?)

I’m praying that I will feel 100% better very soon, that my lips will happily engage with my husband’s lips (which I miss very much), that my website issues will resolve, that groceries will suddenly appear in my pantry (oh wait, that ain’t gonna happen!), and that the recent nipping of life at our calendar’s heels will subside.

Or that I can take a vacation very soon. Because that sounds so very nice right now.

Young woman sitting on tropical beach

Bring it on!
Photo credit: Microsoft Word Clip Art

In the meantime, here are a few takeaways and one question for you, my wonderful coffee-shop friend:

  • Marriage is lived out in the real world — a world of daily demands, sickness and health, joy and stress, give and take. When extra challenges appear, it takes extra thought and effort to stay emotionally and sexually connected.
  • Some marriages face huge obstacles to sexual intimacy, but I believe that more marriages face small, niggling issues that interfere with experiencing the best we can have. We have to be intentional about not letting the small stuff pile up, form a barrier between spouses, and turn into a big obstacle — about keeping our priorities straight.
  • Gratitude is foundational in staying connected in marriage. Usually, you hear that communication is the foundation, and I agree that it is so important. But when you’re being buffeted by the winds of life, taking stock of your blessings can keep you grounded. Yes, things have been a little tough lately, but I am so blessed to have a husband who provides, who cares for me, who does life with me, who feels like a gift-wrapped present from my Heavenly Father. So when we have to squeeze sex in at 5:00 in the morning, between coughs no less, my mind is still turning toward how grateful I am to have my husband and remembering that love that we share. That gratitude is foundational for me to feel connected to him.
  • And now my question: If you are a regular subscriber to my blog, how do you subscribe? Are you receiving my posts? I want to check the various methods through which people receive this blog (Blogger follow, RSS feed, email subscription, etc.).
  • Also please check out my recent guest post on Unveiled Wife about The Other Scriptures about Marital Sex. You might be surprised to discover that the Bible speaks to your marital bedroom a lot more than you think.

Using Your Body for Marital Intimacy: What to Do with Your Legs

Yes, legs.

In Song of Songs 7:1, the husband comments on his wife’s lovely gams, “Your graceful legs are like jewels, the work of an artist’s hands.”

Photo credit: Microsoft Word Clip Art (altered)

Photo credit: Microsoft Word Clip Art (altered)

But beyond being a beautiful part of the body for him to gaze upon, what can you do with your legs during lovemaking with your husband? For ease, I am defining “legs” in this post as everything from just below your hip down, including your feet. (See picture to the right, but no, don’t try that handstand.) Here are some tips for what to do with your legs:

Touch. You can start by stroking your husband with your legs and/or feet. When you embrace, rub your legs against his legs or torso. Stroke his back or buttocks with your calves or feet. Wrap your legs around his body. Skin-to-skin contact heightens arousal. Often the more your bodies touch, the better. So involve your legs and feet in touching your man.

You can also use your feet to rub his testicles or his penis. Be gentle! It’s a bit harder to control the pressure of your touch with feet than hands, so you’ll need to be careful to touch the jewels delicately, please. But playing “footsie” with his privates could be a big turn-on for your hubby.

Proximity. Your legs are a great way to signal to your husband how close you want him to be. Assuming you’re making love face-to-face, you can wrap your legs around his body and pull him in closer with your legs. This is especially useful when he’s thrusting and you want him to go deeper.

Of course, your legs can also push him away. For instance, if you want a break to change position, you can use your feet or legs to push him back and reposition your body.

Sexual positioning. So here’s the biggie. Your legs can play a starring role in your sexual positioning with your husband. Besides the usual on-the-bed placement, or wrapped around your honey, what can you do with your legs to try different positions?

Legs wide. This may seem obvious, but there are times when you should spread particularly wide — that is, send one leg east and the other west. For instance, to give your husband a clear view of your private beauty, to provide easy access for oral sex, or to experience a different sensation during intercourse.

Legs together. Closing your legs tighter can provide more pressure on the hubs and provide an interesting sensation for you. This can be done from a front-to-front position or with him behind, spooning, or several other basic positions. The closeness of your thighs to knees is what really matters here.

Legs raised. Positioning your legs and feet up either behind your husband or on him can affect how sexual intercourse feels. Changing your legs’ position changes the angle at which your genitals connect, meaning that the sensations you experience can change. And you may find a position you like particularly well.

What do I mean by “raised”? I decided to spare you my stick-figure art, so instead let’s meet Bob and Betty Pipecleaner:

Pipecleaner examplesThey’ve been happily married for 23 years and agreed to be photographed for demonstration purposes — with the stipulation that no private parts would be shown. (No problem, Bob & Betty.)

Without further ado, here are some options:

Position 2

Her legs over his shoulders

Her legs up and straight

Her legs up and straight

Her legs bent and feet on his chest

Her legs bent and feet on his chest

Of course, you can do these sitting. Him sitting, her with legs up.

Of course, you can do these sitting. Him sitting, her with legs up.

And for the adventurous... him standing, her legs over his shoulders

And for the adventurous… him standing, her legs over his shoulders

(Aren’t you glad I spared you the stick figure drawings? *smile*)

Those are just some of the choices you have, but you can move your legs here, there, and wherever to create different angles. Changing up your legs’ position can provide different visuals, access, and sensations for the both of you. Experiment a little and see what happens.

Rhythm. Your legs, knees, and feet can also control or contribute to the rhythm of your lovemaking. For instance, by squatting over your husband’s body, the wife can take control of the thrusting herself, using up-and-down and rocking motions. In a hands-and-knees position, with the husband entering the vagina from behind, the wife can also rock her body on her legs and meet the rhythm that he provides. The wife can also put her feet on his chest, against the wall behind her husband, or on the floor if they’re sitting to get some traction for using her legs and pulsing her body against his.

If you’ve left the thrusting entirely to your husband thus far, I suspect he’d love to see you get involved. Use those legs and move against him in a way that shows you’re a happy participant. You might also like taking charge at times, so that you can adjust to what feels good to you and increase your pleasure. (Which will likely increase his pleasure, since the vast majority of husbands are very aroused seeing their wife aroused.)

Okay, that’s it! My suggestions on how to use your legs in marital intimacy. Before I go, Bob and Betty would like to wish you well.

"Blessings for your marriage!"

“Blessings for your marriage!”