Monthly Archives: February 2014

Does Your Husband’s Rejection Make You Doubt Yourself?

On Monday, I wrote Do You Make Your Husband Feel Guilty about Sex? My intent was to explain to wives (my main audience) how husbands say they feel in the face of their wife’s rejection or disinterest in sexual intimacy.

Of course, rejection goes both ways. There are a number of women that post didn’t apply to, because those higher-desire wives are the ones getting refused. And it hurts. I get it.

Some of these wives wrote about their experiences in the comments, how they were the ones made to feel guilty. I thought about that for a while — why I’d heard about guilt from husbands before, but not so much us ladies. And I think it’s because I more often hear from higher-desire wives about doubt.

Maybe because we ladies are often constant self-evaluators, maybe because society proclaims (incorrectly) that “normal” is a horny husband and a reluctant wife, maybe because stories of cheating husbands are so prevalent . . . maybe. But for whatever reason, I suspect that higher-desire wives whose sexual advances are consistently rejected, or perhaps merely tolerated, by their husbands tend to experience severe doubt. About what? Well, here are some pangs of doubt brought on by a husband’s rejection of his wife’s sexual desire.

Doubt about her appeal. This wife worries there must be something unattractive about her. After all, hasn’t she heard all her life that men are flooded with sexual desire the moment they see a beautiful woman? Naked flesh? Even a hint of sexy stuff? Yet, her husband doesn’t respond to her. So maybe the problem lies with her lack of appeal.

This is highly unlikely. Sure, a person can let him/herself go to the point they lose attractiveness. Yet, most spouses are surprisingly reasonable about their mate’s looks — still highly pleased and aroused by their beloved, even as their bodies change through the years. It’s far more likely that you, wife, possess distinct beauty and appeal.

Besides, doubting your appeal won’t help your sex life. If you personally want to improve your health or appearance, go ahead and do so. (Better health never hurts!) But hold your head high and your body erect. Be confident that God knit you together beautifully (Psalm 139:14). You are attractive, and your husband’s lack of interest probably isn’t related to a lack of appeal.

Doubt about the relationship. This wife feels her marriage must be failing in some way because her husband doesn’t want her in the bedroom. Perhaps there are some horrible kinks in their relationship she can’t see, something she’d fix if only she knew what it was. The marriage is sinking, and she can’t even say just when and how the hole formed in their relationship boat. A sense of doom creeps over her, and she wonders if they will ever be okay again.

Did anyone else read He’s Just Not That Into You? It was a relationship book that was all the rage a few years back, and one of its premises was that if a man isn’t trying desperately to get you into bed, he’s just not that into you. That’s a prevalent notion out there, that if a guy isn’t like a bucking bronco in the chute when it comes to sex, he doesn’t want to take you on any kind of relationship ride, period.

Hogwash. There are a number of couples who have good marriages but honestly haven’t worked out all of the issues in their marital bedroom. Perhaps a spouse’s resistance to sex stems from unhealthy teaching in their past, a history of sexual abuse, physical or hormonal challenges, mood disorders, or a heavy blanket of stress in their lives. Sometimes, a person’s lack of sexual interest isn’t about their spouse, it’s just about them.

Now, of course, whatever affects one spouse affects both of you. Once you say “I do,” his problems are your problems, and your problems are his, and it’s a beautiful thing to have someone on your team who’ll do everything they can to help you work through your issues and overcome. So sexual problems in marriage, regardless of how they came about, are a we thing to resolve. But their existence doesn’t necessarily indicate some relationship hammer about to drop.

Doubt about his faithfulness. This wife wonders if his lack of sexual desire in their marriage means he’s getting sated elsewhere. Is he carrying on a physical affair? Is having an online affair? Is he looking at porn?

Yes, there is some percentage of husbands for whom this is true. But there are also plenty of men out there whose desire simply isn’t that high. They aren’t getting fulfilled somewhere else, because they require much less filling to begin with. They might be content with sex now and then. And feel quite devoted to their wife.

Is this a problem for you both? Yeah, sure it is. When there’s a severe mismatch in sexual drives, or there’s just not much sex happening, both spouses need to address the issue and seek a mutually satisfying resolution. (Preferably a lot more sex. In almost all cases.) But just because he’s not looking your way as often as you want, doesn’t mean that his eyes have strayed to someone else.

Woman DoubtingBeing constantly rejected sexually by her husband can make a wife doubt herself and her marriage. It takes inner strength to fight against the negative messages that swirl around in your brain when he says no.

Yes, long periods of sexual rejection, refusal, and disconnect will negatively impact your marriage. Yet, have confidence in yourself and your ability to grow through your circumstances. It may take time, research, effort, conversation, prayer, and much more, but change can happen.

Every single day, marriages improve. Spouses break through obstacles, connect where they were divided, reignite the spark.

And where you feel doubt, you can always find confidence in the Lord.

“I cried out, ‘I am slipping!’
but your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me.
When doubts filled my mind,
your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.
Psalm 94:18-19

Do You Make Your Husband Feel Guilty about Sex?

A lot of husbands are guilt-ridden. They go week to week, month to month, sexual encounter to sexual encounter, feeling bad about themselves and their marriage.

Why? Because they want sex, even swear they need sex, but their wives aren’t engaged. What circumstances cause these guilt feelings? Here are a few.

She thinks it’s dirty. This wife was taught that sex was something bad girls do, a mere act of the flesh that godly women don’t desire or enjoy. Or maybe she experienced sex misused in her past and it’s left a bitter taste in her life; she can’t imagine sex being a truly good thing.

So when her husband craves her body and the ecstasy of lovemaking, he feels bad. He knows she doesn’t want it, doesn’t enjoy it, thinks he’s a lesser creature for even wanting such a sordid act so often. But he can’t get rid of his sex drive. He wants his beloved woman, deeply, desperately. So what can he do? How can he get past the guilt of constantly wanting to be one flesh with his wife?

She doesn’t have time for it. This wife is so busy with the demands of being a wife, household manager, mother, worker, and whatever other roles she’s balancing. Yes, she understands that sex is important, but can’t her husband see that it’s secondary to the higher purposes of her life? Perhaps she’s running a ministry, something that makes a genuine difference in others’ lives, and her husband feels guilty for taking her away from her calling.

He feels selfish for demanding her time and attention, for feeling jealous of others who get her time and attention, for not being able to go without. Yet, his body trembles with desire for her, and he simply can’t get out of his mind the longing to connect with her physically.

She rejects his advances. Most times he asks, this wife turns him down. He knows that she doesn’t want sex, not anywhere near like he does, and he can’t even fully understand that. Doesn’t she love him? Maybe the problem is with him, that he wants it too much.

Should he simply pray for God to douse his desire, leave him content with those few times she is willing? He hates to ask again, but it’s been so long and he wants to have sex — sex with her. How can he move beyond the rejection?

She doesn’t enjoy it. This wife will oblige her husband’s advances, but she doesn’t like it. Her attitude screams, This is for you only! Maybe she believes she’s being truly loving, offering her body to him for his satisfaction. And because he wants sex so very much, he partakes.

He knows he’s the only one getting satisfaction, but even that satisfaction is bittersweet. And he feels guilty that he’s using her for his own gratification, when he really desires for her to enjoy the experience like he does. He feels trapped — his only choices being to refuse the sex he wants so very much or continue to feel like a clod for having his way with her.

She downplays her enjoyment. This wife willingly engages, but she discounts her own sexual needs and desires. She doesn’t take the extra effort to figure out her body and what feels good. She won’t communicate what she likes, maybe even when asked. She skips the orgasm more often than not, perhaps proclaiming it’s not worth it. Her downplaying of enjoyment conveys that she doesn’t feel like she’s worth it.

Yet her husband yearns to bring her pleasure. He revels in those few times she goes over the top, to the peak of sexual arousal. He feels guilty when he can’t bring her there, when she doesn’t let him focus on her, when the balance of sex is mostly for him. If only he could help her understand how turned on it makes him, to turn her on.

Young Man with His Hand on His ForeheadI hear it from husbands too frequently — that they feel guilty for wanting and pursuing sex with their wives. It’s easy to misconstrue your man’s eager advances as a merely physical desire to “get his jollies.” There are plenty in the male species who approach sex just like that, especially in single life and secular culture.

But what I also hear from husbands is how much sex means to him. How it’s not just about the physical release. Of course, it is about the physical release somewhat; that body craving to be intimate with the person you love is a God-given biological desire. But sex means more than that. It’s an expression of deep love and connection. Husbands feel loved and confident and whole when they experience regular, mutual sexual satisfaction with their wives.

Sex was God’s idea. It is to be enjoyed in the confines of a covenant marriage. It should be mutually sought and satisfying. It is a good thing.

Do you make your husband feel guilty for wanting that?

Think about what messages you intentionally or unintentionally send about the meaning of sex in your relationship. Whatever obstacle prevents you from fully engaging in God’s gift of sexual intimacy, address it today. Help your husband receive what God intended him to have — the intimacy he can only receive from you, his chosen beloved.

When I Don’t Like Writing about Sex

People sometimes ask if I get tired of writing about sex all the time. Not really. The topic itself is rather interesting, and I am motivated over and over again by sad stories of deep pain, wrong messages propagated about sex that harm relationships, and success stories of marriages turned around. Not to mention the humorous tales and tips I come across.

But there is one time I don’t so much enjoy writing about sex.

When I’m not having it.

I won’t go into details, but physical obstacles have recently kept my husband and me from fully engaging and enjoying our typical frequency and connection. And honestly, I just get a little cranky when that happens. Like I now know how important this aspect of our marriage is and how it both expresses and fosters our intimacy . . . and I can’t have it. It feels like looking into the window of a chocolate store and knowing I can’t take a bite.

Woman pouting

SO. UNFAIR.
Pic credit: Microsoft Word Clip Art

So I’m giving myself a little pick-me-up advice today and hoping some of you could use it as well.

When You Can’t Have Sex:

(due to illness, infection, bed rest, recovery, whatever)

Spend time in recreation, conversation, and affection. Just because the sexual connection isn’t happening at the moment, that doesn’t mean you must forgo all connection. Find other ways to feel intimate — like talking, touching, flirting, playing together.

Maybe this is the perfect time to snuggle up on the couch and watch that movie you’ve been saying you’ll see together. Maybe it’s time to pull out the two-person board games. Maybe a walk through the neighborhood hand-in-hand would be good. Maybe you can do a devotional together and spend time in prayer.

Stay connected in other ways, so that when sexual intimacy gets the green light, you already feel close and ready to engage.

Be creative with sexuality. Perhaps the main course intercourse is off the sexual menu, but there are appetizers and desserts there as well. Find other sexual activities you can engage in, like intimate touching, digital manipulation, a hand job, oral sex, etc. What else is open to you?

Don’t get bogged down thinking about sex as a single activity; that is, intercourse. In fact, God created sex to encompass a wide variety of activities. They may typically culminate in intercourse, but for the time being, they don’t have to. They can be enjoyed for their own sake.

Focus on a little self-care. Whatever is causing the physical issues, a little self-care can boost overall health and the likelihood that you can return to sexual activity as soon as possible.

Treat your body with respect and care. Follow doctor’s orders, if you have any. Eat regularly and well. Exercise if you can. Get enough sleep. Take a Sabbath attitude toward your life, making sure you carve out time for rest and refreshing.

Consider if anything might be causing unnecessary stress and thus over-taxing your body, and figure out what approach you should use to deal with it. Do you need to drop something? Reprioritize? Pray for wisdom? Let go? Take care of you, so that when sex is do-able again, you feel ready to share you with him.

Pay even more attention to generosity. Generosity is a beautiful virtue to cultivate for your marriage anytime, but especially important when your mood tells you to do otherwise. So if you’re feeling cranky that it’s been a while, you need to focus that much more on attitudes of patience, grace, and giving.

Make sure you’re not allowing your physiological blues to color your perception of interactions with your husband. Continue in love, and pray for God to work that love through you each and every minute of the day. Be a safe harbor for your husband and a positive blessing to others in your life.

Let the physical issue remain physical and not take over your emotional, spiritual, and relational health. Soon, the physical problem will abate, and you’ll want to have everything else in good shape.

So that’s my personal pep talk! Hope it helped someone else out there.

What do you do to stay intimately connected when you’re unable (for whatever reason) to partake of sex in your marriage?

A Love Letter to Yourself

Before I get to today’s post, I want to remind you that the Sexy Valentine’s Day Bundle is on sale only through tomorrow, February 14. The bundle includes four resources on sexual intimacy marriage, including my book Sex Savvy, for only $10.00. Click on the picture below and buy now!

Sexy Valentine's Day Bundle

Speaking of Valentine’s, I went all out this year, with three whole posts on the subject: Does He Just Want Sex for Valentine’s Day?; 13 Sexy Valentine’s Gifts from Your Grocery Store; and 7 Sexy Valentine’s Gifts You Can Make. Which is particularly interesting since my husband and I will likely trade greeting cards tomorrow and call it a day.

I’m personally not that enamored with official holidays generally, although I do believe opportunities to show love to your beloved are important. So it’s good to have a specific day to remind us of romantic love.

But some of you won’t get a Valentine’s gift. Or maybe you will, but you’re struggling in your marriage so it doesn’t mean what you wish it did. Maybe you’ve been reading the posts of others planning big things for Valentine’s, and you’re just a bit jealous. (I remember feeling that way when my marriage was a mess.) Or perhaps — like me yesterday — you’ve just had a bad day and could use a little extra lovin’.

How about writing a love letter to yourself? Here’s mine.

Woman with valentine

Microsoft Word clip art

Dear Beautiful,

I know you don’t always feel beautiful. You look in the mirror and you see the things you wish were different — the crookedness of your nose, the few extra pounds added in the last few years, the stark-white-flesh of your legs, or the wrinkles cropping up here, there, and everywhere. But remember that God carefully knit you together (Psalm 139:13) and has made you to be His masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10).

Your nose can smell a bouquet of roses and a loaf of baked bread and the fresh scent of a baby. Your extra pounds are reminders of the children who grew inside you and the bounty of your table. Your legs can walk and leap and dance. Your wrinkles are best seen in your brow where you’ve worried for your dear family and your smile where laughter has etched its mark on your face.

Besides, where you see flaws, there is beauty (Song of Songs 4:7). Where you see weakness, there is strength (2 Corinthians 12:10). Where you see trash, there is treasure (Deuteronomy 26:18). And your value is far above rubies (Proverbs 31:10).

Just look down at your feet and then up at the sky. Can you measure the distance between the earth and the heavens? And yet that’s how much you are loved (Psalm 103:11). It’s nearly impossible to grasp just how wide and long and high and deep you are loved (Ephesians 3:18). But try to grasp it anyway! You. Are. Loved.

Indeed, you are the great delight of your Heavenly Father. He wants to serenade you (Zephaniah 3:17). Who needs Michael Bublé songs when you can have that?

Even on those days when you feel alone, remember you’re not (Matthew 28:20). Whether anyone ever gave you another Valentine, birthday gift, or Groundhog Day card, you’d still be precious and loved (Isaiah 43:4). And whatever you go through, Someone who loves you is walking beside you, making sure you get through it all (Isaiah 43:2).

And you’re worth it. Not because you’re so very worthy in particular, but because you are drop-dead gorgeous in the eyes of your Creator. Beautiful outside and inside (1 Peter 3:4). 

Worth a dozen roses or the big box of chocolates or a night on the town. 

You’re beloved. So . . . be loved. Feel it. Know it. Live it.

See yourself as God sees you. Because today, and every day, you are His Valentine.

With love,

J

Many blessings to you and your marriage. Now I’d better go write a love letter to my beloved husband on this greeting card . . . 

7 Sexy Valentine’s Gifts You Can Make

Domestic diva, I am not. While entirely feminine, I do not have a penchant for cooking, sewing, decorating, or craft-making. But I can follow directions, and I do sometimes think outside the box. Plus, I do have a penchant for sexy stuff.

So I did some thinking, some looking around the house and stores, and some online searches, and I came up with seven Valentine’s gifts you can make at home — gifts that all convey to your husband, “Take me now!” Whether you’re a domestic diva or DIY-challenged like me, you’ll find something here you can do.

Sexual position suggestions. Consider what you have in your household and your crafting ability, and find a way to suggest a sexual position, or two or three or more, with those materials. You could draw positions with your beautiful artistic ability or simply make stick figures and create your own Sexual Positions booklet for his perusal. Or mold Play-doh into people and unite them accordingly. Or twist pipe cleaners into examples (hey, even I can do that!).

Position 2

Homemade personal lubricant. Plenty of married couples swear by coconut oil, which can be found in most natural products sections in grocery and health stores. But how about something flavored? I found this recipe for “Chocolate Mint Love Butter.” It’s organic, safe, and . . . well, tasty. Mix it up, store it in a special container, and then indulge on Valentine’s Day and beyond.

Kiss me cookies. Choose your favorite butter or sugar cookie recipe, and make lip-shaped cookies. Serve them up with a promise to follow each cookie with the real thing from your mouth. Or offer to kiss a different place on his body for each cookie you made. Wilton makes a lip-shaped cookie cutter, which you can probably find online or in local stores.

Lips cookie cutterSexy sheets game. Turn some sheets into an intimacy board game. You can find an old set of sheets or purchase some for this purpose. Then draw your game board on the fabric and surprise your husband with a sexy game for Valentine’s Day. With a game like this, you both win. Check out the Dating Divas’ full instructions on creating The Game of Love for your bed.

Sheet game board - sample squares

Courtesy of The Dating Divas

Sexy Selfies. A “selfie” is simply a photo you take of yourself. You can turn that phone around on yourself dressed in something suggestive and click away for some sexy selfies to present to your husband later. Now I strongly suggest caution when putting anything on your phone, computer, or even print. If you take revealing pictures of yourself, take steps to ensure they remain private. Or simply take a photo that is suggestive, but wouldn’t be utterly horrifying if your parent or kid found it someday (for example, a photo of yourself in his shirt and your hand suggestively unbuttoning). Whatever you decide, you can take a few photos that say, “I want you, lover!” and present them with a flourish to your husband. He’ll probably follow-up with his own message of hands-on intimacy.

Body Paint. Using ingredients already in your house, you can make body paint to apply on your own body or to apply on each other. There are several recipes online, but here’s one for edible body paint. Yes, the blogger wrote it up for children (and that’s a fabulous idea!), but we adults can use it too. (Hey, that’s how some of us got children — by being playful in bed. ;))

Gift Certificates. A couple of Christmases ago, I put together intimacy gift certificates based on the Song of Solomon. The images were Christmas-themed, but I’ve updated them now for Valentine’s! You can find the gift certificates here and print the one or ones you want. With sexy certificates or love coupons, you can kickoff the love fest on Valentine’s Day but make it last days, weeks, or months beyond.

Gift certificate

Click to find and print certificates

Have you ever made a Valentine’s gift for your husband? What ideas do you have to add?