Monthly Archives: August 2016

You’re Not Kissing Enough

Not too long ago, I had an interesting conversation with a few other wives. The topic of discussion was What Happened to Kissing?!

The general consensus was that once men got married and knew that kissing could lead to really good stuff (yay, sex!), they seemed to want to skip smooching and aim for their real target from the get-go. And these ladies were, understandably, disappointed.

Now I’m not here to bash men. Plenty of guys enjoy kissing too. And this was hardly a statistical sample of wives from which I could draw firm conclusions about marriages in general. But I’d be willing to bet my cat — who likes me least among everyone in the family, but I digress — that most marriages could use a lot more kissing.

You're Not Kissing EnoughKissing is one of the romantic activities that too often falls by the wayside in the busyness of our lives and the settling in of our marriages.

Why should you be kissing more?

Health Benefits. Practically speaking, there are health benefits to kissing. Among the perks are lowered blood pressure, easing of cramps or headache pain, facial muscle toning, and cavity-fighting. And contrary to the opinion some might have out there, kissing actually boosts your immune system by introducing your mate’s “germs” to you in small, manageable doses that build up your ability to fight off illness later.

Body Chemicals. Kissing also releases several body chemicals that increase sexual desire and bond you to your beloved. Dopamine triggers the reward system in our brain; endorphins give us a joyful buzz; phenylethylamine has an aphrodisiac effect; adrenaline energizes you; and oxytocin makes you feel more attached to your kiss-mate. In addition, men transfer some testosterone to their wives when they swap saliva which helps to fuel her sex drive. And if that isn’t enough, we also release pheromones, which are attraction chemicals that we, more or less, “sniff out” with each other. All those body effects gives us happy feelings about the experience, our partner, and the potential for sex later.

Intimacy-building. Beyond the biology, kissing builds relationship. The experience of kissing requires us to be face-to-face, even eye-to-eye, which is a very intimate posture. Up close, we’re also engaging our olfactory senses, and smell is the sense most tied to memory. Indeed, a research study showed that people had better recall of their first kiss than their first sexual intercourse. And it’s a personal expression of yourself that has so many variations. Putting your lips together is a lot like a dance, with you having to adjust to one another’s moves to make things work smoothly. It forces you to move in rhythm with your partner.

Love expression. Song of Songs begins with this verse: “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—for your love is more delightful than wine.” This biblical wife links the experience of kissing with knowing how delightful her husband’s love is. This theme is strongly represented in our literature, entertainment, and culture as well. Just think about the amazing kisses from novels you’ve read or movies you’ve seen or even weddings you’ve attended, and how you walked away thinking, “Wow, they’re really into each other.” Or think back to one of your favorite kisses with your husband and how that made you feel. Did you get the tingles? Feel warmth spread through your body? Experience a swell of love in your heart?

Do the genders differ?

Let me return quickly to my original conversation with those wives, who were wishing their husbands would get the memo and bring back some passionate kissing to their marriage. While I didn’t have a statistical sample, one research study indicated that men really do view kissing differently from women. On the whole, of course.

“Males tended to kiss as a means to an end — to gain sexual favors or to reconcile. In contrast, females kiss to establish and monitor the status of their relationship, and to assess and periodically update the level of commitment on the part of a partner” (University at Albany, A Kiss is Still a Kiss — or is it?).

If you’re a guy reading this post, let me break it down for you the way men often like things said — no hints, no frills, to the point. If you want your wife to feel confident of your love, secure in your marriage, and stirred up sexually, you’d better get to kissing her. And kissing her the way she likes to be kissed. None of that slurp-up-her-lips stuff. Y’all know what I’m talking about: Woo her with your mouth. I believe completely in your ability to sweep your lady off her feet with some sexy, sexy kissing. And will it lead to sex? You might get lucky right then and there. But you might not; rather, you might slowly nurture the romance and excitement in your marriage in ways that will pay dividends in your relationship and in your bedroom in the future. Besides, you might find out that kissing for the sake of kissing is pretty awesome after all.

What’s stopping you from kissing more?

Once you understand the benefits, what more do you need to start kissing again in your marriage? I think you need three things:

Commitment. Prioritize kissing in your marriage. Make it a habit for a while, even a goal. Like you could say, “We’re going to kiss for several seconds every day when we get home.” After a little while, you probably won’t need to think about it. You’ll just enjoy it enough to do it automatically.

Time. We often feel so in a hurry that we don’t take time for little things like kissing. It seems like an optional activity, so it doesn’t happen as much as it once did. But what if you devoted just five minutes a day to kissing? Could you find five minutes? Make time.

Communication. Some of you aren’t even sure you want to kiss more. Because if kissing is like a dance, your husband is constantly stepping all over your feet, so to speak. Basically, the kissing isn’t that terrific. Here’s where you both need to speak up and talk about what makes a great kiss. Be positive about asking for changes in what he’s been doing, but offer what really curls your toes. Tutor each other, practice often, become experts.

Now what do you think? Are you kissing enough in your marriage?

Sources: CNN – 8 health benefits of kissing; Web MD – What’s So Great About Kissing?Men’s Fitness – Kissing Helps Boost Your Immune System; Sparkly Science – The science behind kissing: 10 things that happen when we kiss; Daily Mail – You’re more likely to remember your first kiss than losing your virginity

The Beatitudes in the Bedroom: Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness

I’m back with my series on the Beatitudes in the Bedroom, addressing how these verses relate to our marriages and marriage beds. As I’ve done so far, let me remind you of the whole passage of the Beatitudes from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:3-10

You can go back and review Poor in SpiritThose Who Mourn, and The Meek. But this week, we’re looking at those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.
The Beatitudes in the Bedroom Hunger & Thirst

I suspect the number one question youth ministry workers still receive from teens about sex is “How far is too far?” I know that was true when I was growing up. Good Christian teens wanted to know where God had drawn the line and then, they reasoned, they’d just make sure they didn’t cross that line.

Of course this doesn’t work. When you’re in that moment of burgeoning sexual desire and your hottie is in your arms, all the lines go fuzzy. Not to mention that it’s the wrong question, because it’s essentially asking, What can I get away with?

Now fast forward to marriage, and the same question comes up in different ways. We still want to know what we can get away with.

Some want to push the envelope in their marriage bed. I’ve received questions from readers wondering if they can engage in everything from watching porn to pegging (don’t read it if you don’t want to know) to watching their spouse have sex with someone else. These are Christians who want to be okay with God but also want to figure out how to do what they want to do.

Some spouses want to know how little sex they can get away with having. Is once a month enough to shut him up? How about once a week? Surely, she can do with once a week. Or if they can demand the lights off, covers-to-your-necks, no-frills sexual experience and still high-five themselves for meeting their mate’s sexual needs.

Some people want to know not whether they can ever masturbate, but if they can do it often and without their spouse’s knowledge. Or what they can think about during sex: Is picturing someone else okay? What about imagining their craziest sexual fantasy during sex?

We even wonder about our choices of shows to watch and books to read that involves sexuality. How much is too much? What about a romance novel? Or erotic romance? What if the story involves a married couple? What about Sex in the City or Game of Thrones? Are R-rated films automatically off the viewing list?

Look, some of these are good questions, and I don’t mind answering them. It’s important to know where the boundaries are. God certainly set out both Dos and Don’ts in His Word, so He gets the importance of saying, “Do this,” and “Don’t do that.” We need clear lines sometimes.

But I’m bothered when someone’s whole attitude rests around the idea of simply what’s okay and what’s not in the marital bedroom. Because it misses this concept: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.”

Do you hunger and thirst for the very best in your marriage bed?

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Do you long for everything God wants you to have with your mate when it comes to sexual intimacy? Do you seek out ways to show greater love to your husband? Do you consider what would make your wife a more confident and satisfied lover? Do you look for ways to honor your beloved as you make love?

Do we even understand that God’s design for sex in marriage is righteousness?

And what about the beauty of God’s promise: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Yesterday, my husband, “Spock,” and I were talking about how different the sex experience is in our marriage than anything we experienced before. As we’ve pursued righteousness in our marriage, we have been filled. Our hearts and souls have experienced intimacy we can’t describe. I’m not saying that every single time we head to the rafters in soulful rapture, but our hungering and thirsting for what God wants us to have in our marital intimacy has resulted in us being filled overall.

And even if you’re the one hungering and thirsting for righteousness, while your spouse isn’t quite there, I believe God fills you. The blessings may not come fully in the marriage bed, but they come in other ways — an inner peace of knowing that you are seeking His ways, a hope that things can get better, a sense of God’s hand upon you.

Let’s hunger and thirst for righteousness. What could you do today to bring your marriage bed one step closer to God’s plan for sexual intimacy?

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Q&A with J: Top 5 Questions Readers Ask about Sex

Lately I’ve been giving interviews on Christian radio stations and podcasts about my recent release, Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design. One of the questions that has come up is about the most common questions I’ve received since writing about sex. I thought it would be interesting to let y’all know the top two queries I receive from husbands and wives each and then the top one I receive from all spouses.

This is by no means data I’ve collected and analyzed; rather, it’s my general feeling — though I think an accurate one — that the following five are the most prevalent queries I receive.

Top 5 Questions Readers Ask about SexHusbands

1. Why doesn’t she understand how important sexual intimacy is to me?

This one basically has three possible answers. She doesn’t get it because:

  • She doesn’t feel that way so she has a hard time imagining the sexual-emotional link you feel;
  • You haven’t explained it to her in terms she can understand; and/or
  • She’s been told most of her life that sex is a purely physical act.

Of course, within each of those categories are a myriad of possibilities. For instance, she might not feel the same way because of hormonal issues, pain or discomfort during sex, past sexual abuse, etc. So the specifics on what to do depend on your situation. Which is why I strongly suggest trying to get to the core of the issue and addressing the underlying problem.

That said, my second reason here is something you can control. So listen up, guys: Do not talk about your desire for sex in terms of physical needs or release. Don’t tell her you have “blue balls.” And certainly don’t threaten that if she doesn’t give you sex, it makes you more ripe for frequent masturbation, porn, or an affair. I completely understand that the longer you go without, the more physical and intense the need for sex feels. But your wife needs to know it’s about intimacy with her, not just a physical release. Whatever you can say to help her understand that you want her not just sex will go much farther toward getting you both.

2. Why doesn’t she believe me when I tell her she’s beautiful?

Another one with three possible answers:

  • She’s inundated with constant messaging that her beauty isn’t good enough;
  • She looks in the mirror and doesn’t see herself the way you see her; and/or
  • She doesn’t like how she looks because she knows she could do better.

Trust me on this one, hubbies: You don’t know how much pressure there is in our society for a woman to be beautiful. I absolutely believe men have their own challenges, areas in which society pressures men in unrealistic and even destructive ways. But if you look at advertising geared toward women, the model/celebrity industry, and how often we’re told that you guys are all visual, you’ll begin to understand how many messages are thrown at us gals every day to be more and more beautiful.

This tension can be exacerbated by my third point above, when a wife knows she could do better with the body she has. It can be a vicious cycle for a woman to watch her body lose some of its shape over time…and then you give up and wallow in a pint (or gallon) of Ben & Jerry’s, and then you’re disgusted with yourself all over again. Or you’ve looked and looked and looked and cannot figure out when in your busy work/house/mom schedule you can exercise.

Your reassurance, guys, can really help. It might feel like you’re fighting a losing battle when you tell your wife she’s beautiful to you and she dismisses your comments. But keep going and let her know that you are not a liar, but the man who adores her more than life itself. And you have really good taste, right?

You’re not responsible for her learning to feel beautiful. (Which is why I talk about this subject often on my blog primarily for wives.) But you can be supportive and encouraging.

Wives

3. How can I feel good about having sex?

My answers to this one are:

  • Adopt a godly perspective of sex;
  • Deal with the baggage from your past;
  • Learn more about your body, his body, and sexual pleasure; and/or
  • Become a more savvy lover.

If you want help with these, wives, I’ll direct you to Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design which has biblical and practical answers for all of these. Also, I’ve written about dealing with baggage from your past here and here.

And keep reading my blog and others (like Intimacy in Marriage; Awaken Love; To Love Honor and Vacuum; The Forgiven Wife and Bonny’s Oyster Bed, which are both for low-drive wives), which address these subjects. Most importantly, seek out what God has to say about sexuality in His Word.

4. Why doesn’t my husband want me?

More and more, I hear from higher-drive wives who struggle with husbands who don’t want sex as much as they’d expected. The wife would like to increase frequency, excitement, and intimacy. And the husband is the one dragging his feet to the marriage bed, if he gets there at all.

For this one, I’m just going to list all of my posts for high-drive wives:

She Wants, He Doesn’t Want
Wives Want Sex: Link Up
He Doesn’t Wanna, But I Do! Help for Higher Drive Wives
He Doesn’t Wanna, But I Do! Be the Brownie
One More & I’ll Go Insane!
I Am the Higher Drive Spouse (or Yes, Rejection Hurts)
Can Sex-Driven Wives Be Godly Wives? for Christian Wife University
Two Words Your Higher-Desire Spouse Needs You to Hear
Does Your Husband’s Rejection Make You Doubt Yourself?
Confessions of a Higher-Drive Spouse
3 Things Higher-Drive Spouses Long For
Q&A for J: How Can I Help My Husband Be More Adventurous In Bed?
Q&A with J: “I Feel Rejected All the Time”
Q&A with J: Why Doesn’t He Want Sex?
Q&A with J: When It Comes to Sex, My Husband Says I’m “Too Much”

And let me add that in my own marriage, we’ve been matched in our sex drives, then he was the higher-drive and I was the no-drive low-drive spouse, and now I’m the higher-drive spouse. So I’ve experienced all sides of this. I understand the feelings of a spouse who doesn’t want to engage sexually and the disappointment of your spouse not being eager or even willing to engage. I have compassion for your situation, and I believe there are answers.

In fact, one of my goals for 2017 is to write a book specifically for high-drive wives. If that’s something you’d like to see, please pray for me and that endeavor. If it’s God will that I write that book, it will come together.

All Spouses

5. How can I make my spouse _________?

This is likely the number one question I get: How can I make my spouse _______? You can fill in that blank with anything from “have more sex” to “try new things” to “fulfill my sexual fantasy.” And I also get the periodic How can I make my spouse leave me alone sexually?

The answer to this question is simple: You can’t. You cannot make your spouse do anything. God gave him/her free will, and you need to honor that. Demanding or forcing sexual activity on your spouse, or trying to make him/her think exactly like you do, isn’t what God had in mind when He designed sex. You can’t have sexual intimacy without respecting the intimacy part of the equation. And there’s nothing intimate about “Gimme sex, woman, or else!”

You can, however, influence your spouse in many, many ways. Which almost always starts with changing yourself. If you change what you do, then his responses will likely change. If you stop playing your role in a dysfunctional dynamic, you will have changed the system, requiring him or her to adapt.

Because we’re creatures of habit, you might find that when you change what you do, you won’t see immediate results. Indeed, you’ll probably get push-back. But stick with doing the right thing, and you might find the dynamics changing after a while. As Galatians 6:9 says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

And remember that God will bless you for doing the right thing. The blessing may not come in the way you expect, but I’m living proof that He works in our lives when we let Him. I believe that principle wholeheartedly.

So that’s it: The Top Five. And some general answers for each. I’ll be back next week with a specific question from a reader and my response. If you want to send me a question, head up to that Contact tab above and click Contact J. Then fill out the form, and I will receive your email. I am unlikely to respond right away, but I do read all messages and get to as many questions as I can.

Does Sex Wake You Up or Make You Sleepy?

Men have long been accused of falling asleep right after sex. Finish up the good stuff, and he’s rolling over and off to Snooze Land.

But is that really true?Does Sex Wake You Up or Make You Sleepy?It could be. Research is still trying to figure out who falls asleep after sex and why. But some evidence indicates that men might fall asleep quickly because they need a refractory period post-climax; several body chemicals released during orgasm — prolactin, vasopressin, oxytocin, and serotonin — are linked to sleepiness; and the prefrontal cortex, the information-processing and planning part of the brain, reduces in activity after sex. There’s also just the reality that men tend to do more of the “heavy lifting” in sex — all that thrusting, you know — which can wear a guy out.

But some of these factors exist with women too, particularly the body chemicals. In fact, one study showed no difference in how quickly men and women fall asleep post-intercourse.

What brought this topic up to my mind is that I’m almost never sleepy after sex. If anything, I get a burst of energy. I don’t know how many times I’ve lain down for a weekend nap, then my husband shows up and we have sex, and my nap time is just over. No way am I getting back to sleep.

Women don’t have the same refractory period as men, which is quite nice if you’re able to take advantage of that with multiple orgasms, but that may mean that you’re not quite so depleted post-climax. If you don’t climax, that exercise might just wake up your body rather than fatigue you. Also, blood flow increases after orgasm, which might stimulate your body. Finally, in my case and others, a case of the munchies can set in with you feeling hungry afterward.

Whether sex makes you sleepy or more energetic, the issue oftentimes is coordinating this with your mate. Who might not — okay, probably doesn’t — react the same way you do in the afterglow. He might want to talk and cuddle, while you want to raid your secret drawer of dark chocolate or skip the talking and just melt into the mattress. He might fall asleep immediately, making you feel neglected and even abandoned just as soon as the physical release is done.

Rarely are our reactions personal. They’re a function of our bodies experiencing different sensations and chemicals during intercourse and orgasm.

Your best way of dealing with the differences is to talk it out. If having sex right at bedtime gives you a boost of energy you don’t need, ask your hubby if you can make love a little earlier in the day or even in the morning. If he’s falling asleep immediately after and you need more cuddle time, ask for a few minutes of pillow talk before he succumbs. (But then stick to your few minutes, so you both get what you need.) If you’re the one who wants to head to Dream World right after sex, let him know that’s how your body feels and then see what he needs that you can provide before you drift off completely.

One personal example is that my husband has shown up at nap time wanting sex, and, while I usually oblige, I have asked for a rain check if I’m beyond fatigued and desperately need the rest. Then we curl up in each other’s arms and fall asleep, and I wake up later feeling refreshed enough to make good on that promise.

What about you? Does sex make you sleepy or wake you up? And how do you and your spouse differ?

Sources: No Sleepless Nights: Why Do Men Fall Asleep After Sex?; Live Science: Why Do Guys Get Sleepy After Sex?; Shape: Your Brain On an Orgasm

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The Beatitudes in the Bedroom: The Meek

Lately, I’ve been taking on the Beatitudes and how they relate to our marriages, specifically our marriage beds. You see, I believe that whatever the Bible says about how we should be outside the bedroom applies to how we should be inside the bedroom.

Let’s review the full passage of the Beatitudes found at the beginning of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:3-10

I’ve covered Poor in Spirit and Those Who Mourn. This week, let’s talk about the Meek.

The Beatitudes in the Bedroom: The MeekI think the word meek is a bit like the word submit in the Bible — hard to define and often misunderstood. Merriam Webster says it means, “having or showing a quiet and gentle nature : not wanting to fight or argue with other people,” and Oxford Dictionaries defines it as, “quiet, gentle, and easily imposed on; submissive.” Well, that sounds awful — “easily imposed on.”

But the original Greek word, praus, doesn’t mean being a weakling, a pushover, a doormat. Some have explained it as gentleness or strength under control. But apparently, the word was used secularly to refer to a wild horse that eventually gives in to the bridle. That is, tamed and controlled.

Unbridled sexuality isn’t really the point of God’s design for sexual intimacy. Rather, He wants us to exert some control over our passions. And by “exert some control,” I mean “surrender to His bridle.”

Wild animals can resist bridling by rambunctiously trying to go off in their direction or they stay put like a mule that refuses to budge. I’ve definitely seen both of these scenarios in marriages struggling with sexual intimacy.

Some spouses want to pursue their own pleasures without regard to their mate, or pursue activities that God frowns upon. Others are sexual refusers or gatekeepers, trying to keep control by being the one in charge of the marriage bed.

And both attitudes are not meekness.

Rather, the meek give in to God’s will for their marriage, to His superior plan for intimacy with our spouse, to His gift of sexual delight in the marital bedroom. Maybe they are indeed quiet, gentle, submissive, and easily imposed on — but only by opening themselves up fully to God’s taming. Letting the Creator of sex show us the way.

Meekness is what Christ Himself possessed, as spoken in Matthew 21:5 about Him riding into Jerusalem on a donkey: ” ‘Say to Daughter Zion, “See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” ‘ ” Jesus was definitely within the will of God, surrendering Himself to His Heavenly Father.

I also find it fascinating that Matthew 5:5 mirrors a scripture from the Old Testament: Psalm 37:11 says, “But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity.” And this is the very chapter in which the psalmist David tells us to “Take delight in the Lordand he will give you the desires of your heart” (verse 4). We begin with taking delight in the Lord and His vision for our marital intimacy, and once we understand how good He is, it’s far easier to become meek in the marital bedroom. To let God guide our decisions and our attitude toward our husband, or wife.

Have I mastered this? Let’s just confess that no one fully has. We are constantly fighting our own selfishness. Which is why we need to think intentionally about the quality of meekness.

Begin by aligning your desires with His, throwing off anything that is clearly against God’s plan, and letting Him guide you to something better. The Bible says the meek will “inherit the earth.” I won’t try to break down exactly what that means, but the attitude of meekness in the marriage bed can also help to bring an inheritance of healthy sexuality and intimacy.

What other applications for the marriage bed do you see from this verse?

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