Monthly Archives: June 2014

What Dads Teach Their Daughters about Intimacy

This Sunday is Father’s Day in the United States. You may be asking why I mention this holiday. What do dads have to do with marital intimacy — the subject about which I typically write? Actually, fathers can impact their daughters’ sexuality quite a lot.

Dad holding & kissing daughterHere are some ways dads teach their their daughters about intimacy:

Body image. Most little girls get their first sense of how pretty they are from their daddies. God has planted in women a desire to be beautiful and cherished by a man. And the first man she encounters is her father, who can either assure her that she’s beautiful in her own special, God-given way, thus growing her self-confidence. Or he can crush her spirit by ignoring her beauty, criticizing her looks, or ignoring/criticizing women around him, thus teaching his daughter that women are not intrinsically valuable.

These lessons stay with a woman into adulthood. Those women who didn’t feel beautiful when they were young may sabotage their looks with poor health habits; use diets, exercise programs, plastic surgery, and other methods to chase an unrealistic ideal; or seek affirmation of their sensual beauty in the arms of one or many men.

But a father who assures his daughter that she has been knit by God to be a beautiful woman inside and out bolsters her ability to appreciate her unique attractiveness and to one day offer that beauty to her husband.

Affection. All humans need touch. Daughters who are appropriately hugged and touched by their fathers fare far better than those who are rarely touched or those physically or sexually abused by their fathers.

Far too many women have pursued promiscuity not so much because they wanted to have sex with a lot of men, but they wanted to be touched and held. They ached for a man’s gentle touch and his secure embrace.

Dads who show loving affection while demonstrating appropriate boundaries teach their daughters what it means for a woman to respect her body. Then, she can choose a partner not based on any effort to fill a gap in affection, and she is more likely to seek a man who respects her body the way her father did.

She will better understand how special the gift of total physical vulnerability with her husband is and hopefully keep it in the private place where it should remain.

Self-respect. More than simply respecting her body, a woman must learn to respect herself, the inner self that is part of a truly intimate act of sex. A father can model for a daughter what respecting women looks like. He does so by how he treats the daughter’s mother, how looks at women, and how he speaks about women. Make no mistake: Girls watch their dads. They know when their fathers are ogling other women or disrespecting their mothers.

And they internalize those lessons. They may emerge with a desire to avoid negative treatment by avoiding relationships or becoming controlling in relationships. Or they may emerge with a healthy sense of self-respect and go forth with a desire to find a man who will cherish her the way she should be . . . as modeled by her father.

View of men. Girls learn what men are like by being around them. Yes, they have friends, brothers, cousins, church leaders, and others to watch. But a dad in the home makes the biggest impression. He’s constantly teaching her what to expect from men in the world. Dad can make a positive impression on behalf of the whole gender by showing what it means to be a real man — to responsibly care for those in his household and love them with a Christ-like love.

Fathers can also overtly teach their daughters what men are like in the sexual arena — how a man’s mind works, what he pays attention to, how he struggles with lust, how he desires a deep connection, how sex is related to that feeling of connection. Dads have the opportunity to arm their daughters with knowledge and wisdom based on their own experiences. They can help their girls navigate the minefields of dating and courtship and then be the kind of girlfriend and wife a godly man needs.

Dads matter. And they matter a great deal in forming a woman’s view of men and her approach to sexuality. Indeed, girls who have poor relationships with their fathers are far more likely to become promiscuous and/or experience teenage pregnancy.

If your husband is doing a good job of raising your daughter, show him your appreciation. Thank him for stepping up.

If he’s not as engaged as you’d like, pray for him and encourage him.

If there isn’t a father in your daughter’s life, look for other male role models to provide reassurance and guidance.

And to the many dads raising their daughters well, thank you.

Happy Father’s Day to all!

10 Ways to Keep Cool While Heating It Up This Summer

Summer is a’coming! Although for some of us who live in warmer climates, it seems to already be here.

While you want your marital bedroom to remain steamy over the summer, you probably don’t want to feel like a sauna’s inside your skin. After all, there’s that classic song, “Too Darn Hot”:

“According to the Kinsey report,
Every average man you know
Much prefers his lovey dovey to court
When the temperature is low.
But when the thermometer goes way up
And the weather is sizzling hot
Mr. Pants, for romance, is not.
‘Cause it’s too darn hot.”

I doubt many husbands (and plenty wives) would turn down sex with because they’re a little on the warm side, but here are some tips for keeping cool while you heat it up this summer:

Male and female hands reaching for ice in bucket

Take a cool shower or bath together. I recently wrote about Showering and Bathing Together: Why You Should Try It. However, I didn’t mention in that post the benefit of cooling off together in water. Turn on your faucet and get in the cooling water before or after making love. Either way, you’ll cool down your skin and feel refreshed.

Turn on the fans. Yes, this one’s simple, but have you ever done it? Maybe you have a ceiling fan you could turn on high or a few fans in the house you can arrange around your bed. Maybe you could set up the cool windy spot, and then invite your husband to where you wait — your negligee and hair flowing breezily around you as your body tickles with the cool sensations.

Get a cooling massage oil or lotion. You can actually buy a massage oil or a lotion that boasts cooling properties. Or try coconut oil, which has also been reported to be cooling. Mint oils and aloe vera gels/lotions also seem to have a cooling effect. Then massage it into your man, and ask him to do the same for you.

Go outside and find the breeze. Forget the fan and find a breezy spot outside. Make sure you select someplace private, but a cool outdoor breeze blowing over your skin is a lovely sensation. It can awaken your senses more and make lovemaking an unforgettable experience.

Grab some ice cubes or an ice pack. I still remember being in high school and several friends seeing a movie called 9 1/2 Weeks; they came back talking about a particular scene in which a guy rubs his gal’s body with an ice cube. I never saw the movie and do not plan to, but I do understand the appeal of something icy and its potential awakening effect on one’s skin. You could do anything from rubbing ice cubes on one another’s bodies to putting an ice pack behind one’s back or neck or between her breasts or on his or her tummy.

Chill your sheets or pillowcase. Spray cold water onto your sheet to get it mildly damp. (If you accidentally overdo the damp, toss the sheet into a short cool cycle in a clothes dryer for a few minutes.) Or seal your sheets or pillowcase into a plastic baggie and place it in the freezer for an hour or so before going to bed. Keeping you two on colder sheets or a pillow will help keep your skin cool.

Grab the cold foods or drinks. Plenty of couples incorporate eating and drinking into their lovemaking time. You can do the same, but making sure you grab the colder stuff. Chill some champagne or make a milkshake for two. Get the refrigerated can of whipped cream. Hey, bring watermelon and try spitting seeds into one another’s navels. Whatever sounds fun and cool to you!

Go satin — or at least cotton. Satin sheets feel cool to the skin, and their slinky texture can also awaken your skin’s senses. If you don’t have or want satin, make sure you’re at least using cotton sheets. Cotton fabric “breathes” better, keeping too much heat from getting trapped into bed with you.

Play a sexy water gun game. You know those little water pistols you can buy at your local dollar or discount store? Get a couple of them and play a sexy water gun game with your spouse. You can go at a few different ways. One, have a wet t-shirt or nightclothes game: Both of you come to the bedroom wearing white t-shirts, or your sexy jammies, and once the fabric is soaked through, you “lose” — meaning you have to take it off (which is really a win, right?). Two, take turns spraying each other’s bodies and then rubbing or licking off the water there. Three, take turns squirting your own body with water where you want to be touched or kissed, and then let your spouse take care of that for you. Or improvise something else! You may want to put a towel down on your bed, but this can be a fun, sexy, cooling activity.

Throw your own mock winter party. Buy a few winter party decorations, hanging up snowflakes and snowmen. Use a peppermint spray air freshener. Play Christmas intimacy songs. Get some fake snow and sprinkle it on your bed or have a snowfall fight with your spouse. Creating a winter scene can conjure up memories of the cold, which (with our powerful brains) can translate into feeling cooler, even if the temp is nearly scalding outside. If you want to really get the freeze on, you can even plant ice cubes right in front of a fan so that a chilly wind hits you both as you make love.

So there are 10 ways to keep it cool while you’re heating things up in your marital bedroom.

What ideas do you have? How do you stay cool in the summer?

 My beloved spoke and said to me,
“Arise, my darling,
my beautiful one, come with me.
See! The winter is past;
the rains are over and gone.”

Song of Songs 2:10-11

Security in the Bedroom

I’ve had a theory for several years, in answer to the question: What do women want?

My response? Security.

By security, I don’t mean the “I’m a weak female, I need man!” cliché. Not at all. I simply believe that we women are comfortable and confident in our relationships when there’s a sense of security. Different women seek different types of security from their romantic relationships in different proportions. Some ladies are into strong, protective men — which appeals to a desire for physical security. Others are looking for ambitious and well-off types — for financial security. Some gravitate toward men who give affirmation, affection, and romance — emotional security. And of course, many of us Christian women want a guy with a deep faith — which gives us a sense of spiritual security.

Security is actually what Naomi wished for her daughters-in-law after their husbands all died: “May the Lord bless you with the security of another marriage” (Ruth 1:9).

But how about sexual security?

Cartoon couple sleeping in bed

Yes, I believe most wives want to feel secure regarding the marriage bed. This need for security can explain why the following situations are so detrimental to marital intimacy.

Insults about appearance. I’ve repeatedly touted that most husbands are very attracted to their wives, in spite of our imperfections, but sadly not all men. Some husbands do indeed critique their wives’ appearance. Putting her down for how she looks or pounds she gains or aging that happens makes her feel insecure in herself and in her sexual desirability. Even if a husband asks later to have sex, how likely is she to feel safe getting naked and showing her body?

Pushy requests for sex. Obviously, I’m an advocate for regular sexual intimacy in marriage. I go to bat all the time for husbands who want more sex with their wives, knowing this is a natural and God-given desire. However, a husband who aggressively pursues the sex act without regard to his wife’s emotional needs or her physical pleasure can make the marriage bed an insecure place. She may wonder if she’s only there to satisfy some animalistic lust of his. Does who she is matter, or would any female do? Is her pleasure important, or is sex only about him?

Comparisons to others. Most women have a tendency to compare themselves to others, wondering if they can ever measure up to models on magazine covers, supermoms who make parenting look like a cakewalk, co-workers who seem to have it all together, and more. (If this is an issue for you, check out The Woman I Am.) Thus, it’s even more damaging when a hubby adds to that burden by comparing his wife to others when it comes to lovemaking. “Why aren’t you more adventurous like X?” “My last girlfriend loved doing Y.” “I never had a problem making my ex-wife climax.” Whatever form the comparison takes, it yanks away the sense of exclusivity and safety. Having to prove yourself worthy in your own marital bedroom doesn’t make you feel secure.

Porn. A wife whose husband is into porn isn’t simply satisfying his own lust (which is bad enough). He’s undermining his wife’s sense of safety. Knowing that he looks at other unclothed women makes her doubt her own beauty, her ability to fulfill his sexual needs, her desirability, and the exclusivity she should enjoy in her husband’s mind and bed.

Adultery. Having your husband cheat with another woman ups that ante on insecurity. When a spouse gives away what should belong only to his mate, trust is damaged. Questions creep into her mind about her appeal, his love for her, and what the other woman offered that she didn’t. (Which, by the way, is a feeling, not truth. Because even if you need to change something about your marriage, his cheating is his sin, not yours.)

Rejection. Contrary to the typical storyline, every day in many marriages, the wife is being turned down for sex. Her husband is refusing or withholding sexual intimacy from her. Since she’s heard all her life how sex-driven men are, the reality of her husband’s rejection is especially painful. Is there something specifically wrong with her? (See Does Your Husband’s Rejection Make You Doubt Yourself?) Very likely, no; most sexual refusal in marriage is a problem within the person refusing. However, the constant rejection can undermine your confidence, make a wife doubt her appeal and her relationship, and foster emotional insecurity.

Now that I’ve completely depressed everyone about the many causes of insecurity in the marriage bed, what’s the answer?

The answers are specific to the problems. Certainly, when you feel unsafe on a wooden bridge with broken slats, fixing the bridge will remove that sense of insecurity.

But start here: Proverbs 3:26 says, “…the Lord is your security.” Grounding yourself in His love, finding your identity and worth in His care, can give you the confidence to see these problems as they are. These challenges are not about you as a person, but rather your husband’s personal struggles or relational issues to be addressed.

When you reintroduce security into your own heart and soul, you can begin to rebuild security in your marriage bed. That may require difficult but necessary conversations, setting boundaries, seeking counseling, finding mentors or accountability partners. It may require emotional vulnerability, ongoing prayer, and serious changes.

But God wants your marriage bed to be a secure place — an intimate harbor from the storms of life. He desires your marriage to be a place of love and safety. Start with God as your security, and then seek security in your bedroom.

What makes you feel insecure in your marriage bed? Or how have you found security in your marital bedroom?

Showering and Bathing Together: Why You Should Try It

My husband and I have had a dream since the first year of our marriage, a longing for something that we would use and appreciate regularly: We want a double shower.

While our dream shower looks something like this:

Double Shower

How relaxing!

Our real “shower” looks more like this:

Standard bathtub shower

Small, right?

Why do we want a double shower? Because, like many married couples, we enjoy showering together. If you haven’t given it a go in your marriage, I’ve come up with a few reasons you might want to to try showering or bathing together — even if you don’t have a double shower or a jacuzzi bathtub.

Let’s start with some practical ones:

Showering together saves time. Sometimes while getting ready in the morning, we both need to shower right away. So who goes first? Why not just get in there together? Give him the water while you’re doing the non-water stuff like shampooing your hair, and then switch out to rinse off. If you do this together for a while, you’ll even establish a rhythm so there’s no “excuse me” or “my turn” needed. Plus, you both get the hot water before it runs out (assuming that could be an issue at times in your home).

It’s a good space for privacy. We’ve discovered this is one of the best places to have a private conversation. Our kids can’t hear us over the sound of the water, and they’ve learned not to barge in on mom or dad taking a shower or bath. Maybe talking isn’t what you had in mind with sharing a shower, but remember I’m talking practical now: It really is a good space for private communication.

Your mate can help you clean up. Sure, you can buy a bath brush and get that luffa sponge on a stick to reach that spot between your shoulder blades, but it feels way better to have your hubby soap you up in those hard-to-reach places. Or even the easy-to-reach places. Some husbands love to shampoo their wives’ hair, and we ladies know how good that can feel to have your scalp massaged. Given that your hubby may want to touch every part of you he can, he might do an even more thorough job of cleaning you up than you do yourself — if you let him grab the washcloth and give it a go.

Now onto more fun reasons to shower or bathe together:

What a lovely view! I’ll just say it: Naked. Yep, you’re both naked and get to see each others’ bodies. While many husbands love that idea, plenty of us wives are pretty happy about it too. I bet you can think of some pleasant physical features on your husband that are hidden when he’s clothed. But when he’s showering or bathing? That sight is yours to enjoy. Let him enjoy the view of your beautiful body, and savor God’s handiwork in your husband at the same time.

You know you’re clean for lovemaking. Good hygiene on any given day is a reasonable expectation in your marriage. However, if you’re going to have close contact, you may like the idea of cleaning those areas right before making love. In particular, some wives have expressed that they don’t want to touch with their hands or mouths those places on their husband’s body that might hold sweat, body odor, or even germs. Of course, you can get a little OCD on this point, but there’s an easy way to make sure you’re both squeaky clean when you begin: Shower or bathe together. Soap him up and rinse him off in a way that assures you he’s practically sanitized.

It can be fabulous foreplay. With that view and the closeness and the touching, your time in the shower or bath can easily turn into foreplay. Slow down the soaping up and caress each other. Embrace and kiss. Engage in a sexual activity…or two. The water brushing up against your flesh can awaken your skin sensitivity, making you even more receptive to his touch and attention. I have this one particular memory . . . never mind. Just sayin’ it can happen.

Yeah, you can “do it” in there too. Can you have sex in the shower or bath? Sure, you can. As I’ve mentioned before, however, the water will work against your lubrication. So you may want to bring a water-resistant, silicone-based lube if you plan on having intercourse. Also, space may not be your friend. You definitely don’t want to slip and fall, break something, have your kids run in after they hear the crash, and then have to explain your injuries to the ER staff and eventually your in-laws. Consider carefully what position will work best for your particular shower or bath. But if you can make it happen, go for it!

I don’t know when hubby and I will get our dream double shower. I hope it’s in the next house we have. Regardless, we’ll keep showering together, because it’s yet another activity that builds our intimacy.

P.S. We also pray together in there. Really! I talked about it in this interview.

Note: It’s interesting that Paul Byerly at his XY Code blog also recently posted on this topic! This post has been in my queue for a while.