Today’s question is from a wife who doesn’t struggle with her husband seeing her naked. But she struggles with seeing him naked.
hi, soon I’ll be celebrating fifth anniversary with the most amazing husband I could ever wish for…. When we got married, I was a virgin, but it wasn’t hard for me to let my husband see me, explore me and to make love in the daylight. It still isn’t. But it was hard to see him naked and to be brave enough to explore his body. I feel more awkward seeing him, than letting him see me. Although it’s getting easier (and I like and love my husband a lot), I still prefer him to have his underwear on until the last minute before intercourse. I would love to change that and get used to him touching me not only with his hands but his penis also while preparing for intercourse. As I told – he is awesome, so he is totally okay with it, but still I’d love to feel more free around his naked body. Any suggestions where to start? 🙂
This is a truly serious subject, but I can’t help myself from imagining a wildlife program with the announcer saying: “And here we find the male form in its natural habitat, a wild and untamed thing. While some females of the species find this male ‘plumage’ attractive, a few females display a fear response when confronted with the daunting phallus. Our goal today is to help this one shy female successfully approach and interact with the male, using a process referred to in psychology as desensitization. Through repeated and escalating exposure, we’ll help the female learn to appreciate and engage with this rather impressive appendage.”
Look, while it’s unusual that this reader is perfectly fine with exposing her whole body to her husband yet has issues engaging with his genitalia, it’s not entirely surprising. Honestly, that wiggly thing in between his legs becomes a rather sizable, potent tool come intercourse-time.
Thinking back to the days of seeing my first penis, I do remember thinking that it was big. Like way bigger than I thought I was “down there.” And — holy space invaders — it was supposed to penetrate! Then there were testicles and, um, hair. It was just a whole other landscape.
All I’m saying is that I don’t know the reason why you, questioner, are resistant to seeing and touching your husband’s genitals, but there are understandable reasons why you might be nervous.
On the other hand, your comfort with him seeing you but discomfort with you seeing him might have something to do with a past experience. This response would make total sense for someone who had been molested as a child by an adult male flashing his genitals at her. Or even a child seeing a naked man in a context that felt disorienting (a glimpse of porn, walking on a particular movie scene, etc.). If you think this might be the case, I’d advise sitting down with a Christian counselor and delving into that issue.
Either way, let’s talk about addressing that nervousness.
Systematic desensitization is a process developed by psychologists to help persons suffering from phobias. The idea is to take what you’re afraid of, come up with a plan for exposing you to that stimulus through repeated and increasing presentation, and over time you learn to move past your fears.
For example, let’s say you’re like Indiana Jones and you fear snakes. Instead of throwing you into a pit of poisonous snakes with nothing more than a dying torchlight (which, by the way, is called flooding), we put you in a large room with a glass-caged snake at the far end. You sit there for a bit and go through relaxation techniques to get used to that exposure. The next time, the snake moves closer. Closer again the next time. Eventually, we take it out of the cage. And, if you want, the successful conclusion might be actually holding the snake.
Yes, this really works with people. And not merely for phobias, but simply situations in which you’re nervous. It’s the whole reason I’m an introvert who can function like an extrovert in social situations — I’ve learned to handle my belly butterflies through desensitization.
And this process could work well for your issue in getting used to your husband’s naked body and particularly his genitalia.
You can’t really cage that “beast” and set it across the room while you learn to relax, but you can do things that expose you slowly and let you relax when confronted with his nudity. Here are some practical ideas to explain what I mean:
- Does he dress/undress in the bedroom when you’re there? Perhaps you could make a point to be in the room when he’s getting ready for work or at bedtimes so you can acclimate to his nakedness.
- How about taking a shower or a bubble bath together? You can stay focused on the main goal — getting clean/taking it easy — but you’d also be close to him while he’s nude and get used to how things look and behave.
- Have you ever played naked Twister? You don’t have to play that one, but grab a game and play in the buff. You can take nearly any board or card game and make it into Strip ___: Strip Battleship — sink their ship, they strip; Strip Monopoly — pass Go and collect $200 and a garment from your spouse; Strip Gin Rummy — loser of the hand also loses a piece of clothing. That atmosphere can make getting undressed more relaxed and flirtatious.
- You know that front flap in most men’s underwear? Slide your hand in there and touch him. You can let your hands get used to the feel of him without adding visuals to the experience.
- Do you use strategic lighting? Candlelight or low lights can go a long way toward creating a soothing atmosphere and allowing enough visuals to see one another without conveying a stark Here I am in all my glory!
- Could you do an I’m exploring and you can’t interfere session? While your husband lies on the bed, slowly remove his items of clothing, touch him tentatively and then more intensely as you wish, and have the freedom to explore at your own pace. That opportunity to remain in control and take breaks when you need to pause, breathe, and relax can help you feel more confident about him being naked in your presence.
- After having sex, can you remain naked together and talk or snuggle? That might be a less intimidating situation and would allow you to be close to him. Bonus points for stroking his penis or testicles post-lovemaking.
You can probably come up with your own ideas in line with these. But essentially, you’re looking to expose yourself to his genitals in ways that encourage you to relax, to feel good about the experience, and to become confident about your willingness to see and touch him.
Finally, add a component of self-talk that settles on the truth of your husband’s body: that it is “remarkably and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14, HCSB). Repeat this and other such verses to yourself before and during the unveiling of your husband’s body:
“How handsome you are, my beloved! Oh, how charming! And our bed is verdant” (Song of Songs 1:16).
“My beloved is radiant and ruddy, outstanding among ten thousand” (Song of Songs 5:10).
Ask God for His perspective of your husband — every inch a masterpiece. His genitals are also remarkably and wonderfully made. Once you see and believe that, you’ll be more motivated to look, touch, and enjoy this special part of his body.Ask God for His perspective of your husband — every inch a masterpiece. Click To Tweet
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29 thoughts on “Q&A with J: How Can I Feel More Free Around His Naked Body?”
I was brought up that any nudity apart from bathing yourself was sin. I even dressed and undressed in ways that my body was always covered. And to see the opposite gender’s privates was a big bad biggie no-no. Even the world reiterated this in that women were plastered everywhere in various states of undress, and my parents would bark at us to leave the room if a sex or nude scene appeared in a movie….always female nudity, never male. So, somehow, in my mind, it became a HUGE taboo to see male nudity. It was somehow more sinful to see male nudity than female nudity.
So, I avoided looking at my husband’s genitalia and only engaged in it for what was needed during sex. Then, I read something about male body image and the importance it is to husbands for their wives to handle and enjoy and admire their “manhood.” So, I started to. It was a little weird at first, but now it is second nature.
We guys love being admired and it’s really a shock to us. Frankly, we don’t really have the same visual appeal as you women do. C.S. Lewis once said the beauty of the female is just as amazing to the female as it is to the male. Make sure you talk to him about these issues as well. An understanding husband will work through them with you.
I guess C.S. Lewis wasn’t right in everything he wrote.
I think our amazement/admiration is different. For many women, it’s more tentative. And for many men, it’s dive-right-in. But there’s still a fascination on both sides.
C. S. Lewis was quoting Charles Williams when he made that point in the novel That Hideous Strength. It echoes some of the ideas found in Song of Solomon. It may be true for some women, and it may have been true for Eve, but since the Fall, all of us are to varying degrees disconnected from our bodies. The Fall infected all things, including our feelings about our own or our spouses’ bodies.
My wife thinks I’m weird when I tell her that her vulva is a thing of beauty that I could stare at for hours. And she is not particularly entranced by my penis, regarding it as more, er, functional, shall we say. Every couple is different, thank God, and I’m glad your reader reached out on this topic. It takes courage to be that honest.
In addition to your desensitizing program, I would also suggest that she get some accurate scientific information about how her husband’s genitals work. I did this recently, reading about both female and male genitals, and it was an eye opener, even about my own body. I had some assumptions that were inaccurate, even about myself. I think that some good objective information will go a long way toward getting her comfortable around her naked husband. And it will underscore the fact that, even in our fallen state, we are truly fearfully and wonderfully made.
Funny how everyone is different. My husband isn’t at all fond of viewing vulvas, mine or anyone else’s (thank God for the latter).
I can definitely relate to this wife’s question and comments. And I agree with Libl’s comments in that it has to do with upbringing and what one was taught regarding sexuality and nudity growing up. I know that it has played a part in my uncomfortablity in seeing my husband’s nudity. Thank you J for these ideas on how to overcome the uncomfortableness.
Good suggestions, J. The two additional thoughts/questions I have are first to keep in mind that her husband’s body will perhaps never have the same effect on her that her body has on him. I’ve been married ten years and have no problem now with nudity of any kind, but my husband’s naked body, even if he is aroused, isn’t really a turn on to me in itself. I am not visual the way my husband is. So just in case this OP isn’t visual either, I want to say that it’s okay if fireworks don’t go off, either the first time or the millionth time, when you see his penis. (Unlike most hubbies, who will pretty much always get immediately turned on by even a hint of their wives’ body.) Those gender differences are normal and okay!
The other thing I wonder is whether she is uncomfortable touching his penis too. I would assume so, but it isn’t clear from the post. If she isn’t comfortable seeing or touching his penis beyond what is necessary for intercourse, is it because she might be insecure about what to “do” with it? That sounds funny, but I still don’t feel that confident when I am touching him down there. I think it can be hard to get over the “Am I doing this right?” hesitation. But in any case, I would start with looking before touching, if that is a concern. My hubby and I have taken turns just looking and touching each other’s genitals, not for pleasure exactly but just “getting to know” each other better. I confess I have thought “Penises are so WEIRD,” but I usually say amazing, because it really truly is. It is just so different and unknown. And that can be intimidating. Hopefully easing into it will help this bride to learn to know her husband in brand new ways! Even if it takes some time. There is plenty of time, and even if it takes a while to figure it all out, most men aren’t too upset when you tell them this may require some extra practice!
Great points! And honestly, you hit on one of the reasons I wrote Hot, Holy & Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design — to give practical tips on what to do in the marriage bed. Because we wives feel far more confident about touching and enjoying when we feel like we know what we’re doing.
Okay, so I had a similar problem when I first got married. My husband was the first naked man I ever saw. We were both virgins and I was shy. I knew I wanted to be free with him, my sex drive was not lacking and I was fine with him touching and looking at me. However, when it came to doing hand jobs or giving oral or finding ways to please him down there, I was terrified I would “do it wrong.” And something about him staring at me while I figured it out was unnerving. It also took me awhile to feel free to just LOOK at him. It made me shy to see this man in ALLLLLL his glory just waiting!! Ahhh! Lol
Over a year after we were madried, I FINALLY worked up the courage to do an all out blow job. I did it while we were on a long drive in the middle of the night. Thanks to our car setup, I was able to go down. It was completely dark, he couldn’t just stare at me while I tried to figure it out and I was free to let lose and not feel so silly. Needless to say, he was thrilled. I haven’t been shy about it since. Maybe starting in the dark would help so you don’t feel so self conscience.
Also, keep reading sex positive blogs and read up on his amazing package and how much men adore love from their wives. It’s really helped me a LOT! Especially survey’s from men on how they feel when you touch them, admire them, etc. It’s good to get over the shock factor of your husband’s nakedness and realize it is yours to enjoy and yours to show how much you love him with. If you can, look into his eyes after you touch him or give oral and truly soak in his delight and pleasure. Men don’t expect you to get it perfect the first time. They are all too willing to let you learn and thrilled you’re willing to try.
Showering together is also great…it’s a non-sexual (most of the time;) way to be around your hubby and get used to his naked manliness. I used to face him away from me and put my arms around front and touch him from the back so he wasn’t staring at me.
As suggested, sleeping naked helped me a lot… once you’re finished making love, just don’t bother getting dressed. Hold him close and go to sleep. That way you’re not actually LOOKING right at him, but your bodies are touching under the covers and come morning he can snuggle right up to you when he’s feeling “fresh”…..and you don’t have to go through the awkward “taking clothes off and getting naked” stage. It just happens.
LASTLY…. sometimes you just have to shove all your shyness aside and dive in. Just like you used to do as a kid when the pool water was cold! It’s a bit shocking at first, but totally worth it. 😉
Anyways, I know exactly how you feel!! Sorry if this is TMI…great post, J.
Thanks for sharing your story! It really helps to hear from someone who struggled before and found ways to overcome the shyness/nervousness.
Great thoughts J. I can identify with those feelings she has. It took me a long time to get comfortable with my husband and his nakedness. I really had to work myself up for looking and touching. I think you are right, the key is repetitive and international exposure.
Your suggestions were great.
How about getting him some semi opaque boxers for him to walk around the house on. Then some sheer ones.
Or maybe a short robe with nothing underneath, so she can get glimpses and flashes through the evening.
And when she’s ready, immersion therapy with a naked weekend. 🙂
I had a similar upbringing to Libl’s and my hope, when I married, was that intimacy would take place in the dark, through a flannel nightgown, no more than once a month. My husband and I laugh about that now. His enjoyment of my (overweight and saggy!) body gave me freedom, because I love to please him. I had never seen a man’s ‘you-know’ before marriage, and I was pleasantly surprised, curious and sort of fascinated. For some reason I thought it would be dark and slimy, not sure where I got that idea. I have been absolutely charmed by how my husband likes it when I like his manly parts. I don’t find them a turn-on, but I continue to be amazed at how it works. “Men are strange!”
“…I continue to be amazed at how it works.” I love that. Because of what I do, I’ve actually studied up on the biology of the penis, and it’s a rather astounding creation. We take for granted its unique construction and capabilities, but God knew just what he was doing when he made the male penis. I’m rather impressed with the handiwork.
I understand this post completely.
I was just 16 when my boyfriend at the time & I were taking things a little too far. All of a sudden he pulled my underwear aside & penetrated me. I’ll never forget the horror of this massive ‘thing’ ramming at me. I knew about sex but quite honestly thought there was no movement like that involved. I told him to stop, which he did. But then we continued on a sexual relationship I am sad to say. It was the ‘movement’ that horrified me, and still does. Another boyfriend a few years later said ‘have you actually done this before?’ when I thought I was pleasuring him ‘down there’. Obviously I wasn’t.
18 years into a now sexless marriage. I married a porn addict. Guess I just don’t know how to pick them. No, counselling wasn’t helpful.
I’ve learned to live sex is not something I can have as part of my life. Too complicated & stressful.
Your teenage boyfriend raped you. I started to write that he “date-raped” you, but why do we make this distinction as if that would make it somehow better? Yes, he stopped, but for him to simply pull your undies aside and penetrate? That’s non-consensual sex, and it’s no wonder that left a gaping wound in your heart.
Future experiences with men haven’t helped to improve your view of sexuality and men, I’m sure. Now dealing with a porn addict, I’m sure your viewpoint is very sour. I can understand that completely.
What I will say is that your husband’s porn addiction and a sexless marriage are not at all what you should settle for. God wants so much more for you. I believe he longs to heal you, to heal your husband, and to bring you together in full intimacy, including the marriage bed.
You said that counseling wasn’t helpful. Truthfully, some of the counseling I had in the past wasn’t helpful either. That’s why I encourage people to keep seeking for answers, whether it’s a different counselor (like every other profession, some are better than others), a mentor, a pastor, a support group, or a resource that can help you work through some issues. Of course your husband needs to do his part. But whether or not he makes that choice, you can work on your own issues. Based on your comment, it sounds to me like your self-worth took a hit, and I’m praying that you learn your worth and the beauty that God desires to give you in your life.
I’m hopeful that you can take these well-intended words to heart. After all, if you didn’t want something, somehow to get better, would you have been on this website? I think you sense that something’s missing, and you just don’t know where to turn. Know that I — and after this comment, I’m sure many of my readers — will say a prayer for you.
One final note (just to the commenter in response to a follow-up message): I did not immediately publish your comment, because with some content, I first take time to think and pray about how to respond. I ache for your situation, and I wanted to be fair, empathetic, and helpful.
Hi J, thank you very much for responding and your kind words.
I have wondered over the years if I should describe what happened as rape. But I felt unjustified in calling it that because he stopped. Although it did actually take me a few times of saying “stop” until he actually did. He claimed he was a virgin too, though I never quite believed him. I guess he must have known he’d done something terrible because the next day at school he was crying in the sick room all day. He plead with me to take him back, which I foolishly did. And then we carried on a sexual relationship. And I remember so well me bleeding everywhere for the first 6-7 times. Excruciating pain.
Now I’ve come to believe sex is for men and women are objects.
I’ve been too scared to tell people it was ‘rape’ in case they think I’m over dramatisting it 🙁
No, honey, what he did was wrong. And the truth is that healthy sex is for both man and woman, with neither being objects but fully valued people in the marriage bed. That’s what God intended when He created sex, and that truth is the destination. Now of course, the question is how you can start your journey toward healing, health, and hope.
Hi J, thank you very much for your kind words & sympathy.
I have always been too nervous to describe what happened as ‘rape’ in case people think I am over dramatising what happened. It took me a few times of saying “stop” for him to actually stop.
He must’ve felt guilty about something because the next day at school he spent the day in the sick room crying. I am so angry with myself that I took him back and carried on a sexual relationship with him. All I can remember is my blood everywhere and incredible pain the first 6/7 times. I can say in all honesty that I was so utterly shocked when he shoved my underwear aside and penetrated me. I can say in all sincerity that I 100% did not expect him to do that! I knew we were going too far but I never ever imagined he would do that.
I am still too nervous to say I was raped for fear people think I’m being overly dramatic 🙁
Fiona. I’m a guy here and I think J can speak of my Christian character and my devotion to my wife.
You were raped.
I say that in no uncertain terms. This guy took advantage of you. You don’t need to have that guilt. I also agree with J. It is not meant for you to have a sexless marriage or anything like that and please don’t think this is God “punishing” you for something in the past. That is the tendency, but not at all.
It’s not your fault.
Hi Nick, thankyou so much for your kind lovely post to me. I have seen you post on this blog many times and absolutely you seem a kind and good Godly man with integrity. Your wife is very lucky.
I can honestly say in all truth I have never been more shocked in my life. Even though we were ‘taking things too far’ that was truly honestly not even anything remotely like I imagined would happen. Some people might think that’s gullible or naive, but it truly hadn’t entered my mind he would do such a thing. Perhaps the fact I didn’t even know how sex worked, is testament to the truth I had no idea what was about to happen.
Fiona. Even if you were going too far, here is the fact you need to learn. You are only responsible for that action. You are not responsible for anything else. Your boyfriend at the time was responsible for his actions. You are not to blame for what he did. He bears the responsibility for his actions, not you. You do not need to think that you are being punished and that God has cursed you in some way for the past.
If one counselor didn’t work, go to another one. If you really want this healing, keep going until you get it.
To the original question asker, thank you! Thank you for sharing your situation. While I don’t have this exact situation, it was nice for me to see that somebody else out there has a situation that isn’t “100% normal”.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying your abnormal, but if you know any of the history of my situation, I always feel so very strange because my marriage doesn’t seem to fall in line with what is “normal”.
So, like others, I applaud your bravery for asking this question, and I have to say, you seem perfectly “normal” to me. What I’m trying to say, and I’m kind of bumbling this, but I guess I’m trying to say – thank you for showing me that there are other folks who may not fit the “all men feel this, all women feel that” mold, and that it can be okay.
I totally agree with what you say here. One of the things I have really appreciated reading blogs like J’s, is that I have a much greater appreciation for the diverseness of people’s lives (including yours). You have struggles that I don’t have (extremely higher libido than your hubby), and also struggles I do have (insecurity). When I read of people in sexless marriages, in abusive marriages, in marriages where only one person is making effort in saving their marriage, it makes me appreciate more the marriage I have, And, it helps me to sympathize with those that I know nothing about. We aren’t all the same, but we Do all struggle with something!
B, I am praying for you and your husband. I pray that you will continue to grow in grace, and that your marriage will be strengthened until there comes a day and you look back to now and say,”Wow, we were There??? Praise God we are Here!!!!”
Have a blessed and Happy Thanksgiving!
Nice post. We are in our 40s and my husband has begun to explore naturism. I was hugely sceptical but he encouraged me to go to a nudist beach. I went in my two piece on the first ocassion, while he was naked. After a few more trips to the beach I decided to let go. It was quite a revelation. I’ve always been uncomfortable about my shape (I’m a larger lady) but seeing lots of others has made me much more accepting. Once we strip down we are all equal before God.
Sorry, but “naturism” is a nice little euphemism for going nude in places where you shouldn’t be. I understand the benefit you’ve received, but there are definitely other ways to become comfortable with your body that do not involve a lack of modesty or exposing your eyes to the nudity of others. I’ve dealt with this topic here , with a follow-up here. Simply remember that the statement “Both the man and his wife were naked, yet felt no shame” from Genesis 2:25 occurred when it was just Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden; they were not in a community at that point.
I am the reader, who wrote the question 🙂
J, thanks for answering! 🙂
And thanks for all of those “It`s great to know someone has similar struggles..” comments 🙂
Kay, You said: “I wonder is whether she is uncomfortable touching his penis too. I would assume so, but it isn’t clear from the post.” Well, no. That`s the interesting thing. I`ve grown to love to touch my husband (but prefer to do that through underwear, which he doesn`t mind). And I certainly know how to bring him pleasure, even to orgasm, and how to drive him wild manually (Not orally, that would be a looong way ahead of me). So this is not the case. It`s just the “seeing” part that makes it all awkward.
To the commenter who said: “maybe a short robe with nothing underneath, so she can get glimpses and flashes through the evening.” No, I think I`d rather see him completely naked, not flashes or glimpses 🙂
And J, I really want to ask God for His perspective on his body. + I appreciate the verses to concentrate on, thinking about him. + the idea of continuously greater exposure is gonna be useful too. THANK YOU. 🙂
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