Category Archives: Q & A with J

Q&A with J: How to Celebrate an Anniversary

It’s another Q&A with J day, but frankly I’m exhausted. I went a conference in Chicago last week, and then my husband joined me for a few days of rest, relaxation, and sightseeing. On Sunday and Monday, I walked over 14,000 steps, and on Tuesday, I walked 18,848 steps!

So let’s imagine this is the question y’all asked: How should a couple celebrate their anniversary?

It’s a good question, right? Surely, someone out there wants to know the answer!

Blog post title + illustration of couple embracing

1. Acknowledge your interests and values.

What do you both enjoy doing? What do you do together well? My hubby (“Spock”) and I love to explore new places and visit museums. So when I scheduled a trip to Chicago for a conference, we saw the opportunity to explore a city we hadn’t been to before and set The Art Institute and The Field Museum as our two must-sees.

J and Spock on the steps of The Field Museum with Chicago skyline behind them

On The Field Museum steps with Chicago Skyline behind us

Other couples would prefer dinner and dancing, a party with family and friends, a beach vacation, a tent-camping trip (what’s wrong with you people?), or even snuggling up on the couch for a weekend movie marathon. That’s great! Don’t fall for the pressure of This Is How You Celebrate; rather, do your own thing and let your celebration remind you of why you enjoy being in one another’s company.

2. Allow for each other’s quirks.

My husband is one of the most deliberate human beings on the face of the earth. Like how he spent five full minutes folding and putting his jacket into his suitcase. I also know that if we pause at a museum plaque, we’ll probably be there for a while.

I used to get really antsy about such things, but now I embrace that that’s just who my guy is. (Also, I prayed for patience a long time ago and God has a sense of humor, so it’s really my own fault.) I just build that time into my expectations and don’t sweat if we’re not moving through as quickly as I might on my own. In fact, that’s the point—doing our anniversary together.

View of park and Chicago skyline from Maggie Daley Park

Taking a leisurely stroll through Maggie Daley Park in Chicago

When you consider how to celebrate your anniversary, think about your quirks and your spouse’s quirks. If she’s always late, don’t plan something where timing is crucial. If he’s a picky eater, don’t go to the new Asian-Mexican-African fusion restaurant. Plan for the quirks you know you already have so that you can avoid anxiety and just enjoy one another.

3. Avoid stress-producing topics.

While on our trip, it was tempting a couple of times to use our extended time to discuss current politics or some financial issues we need to cover. But we navigated away from those very quickly, because we simply wanted to refresh and reconnect. And wouldn’t you know—discussing Congressional hearings or retirement planning is apparently not the way to relax!

Yes, you might have some topics you need or want to discuss — whether your relationship, your children, our finances, or something else — but hold off. This is a celebration! No one stops in the middle of an Easter egg hunt or Christmas present opening to discuss heavy issues. Your anniversary deserves the same kind of focus.

4. Appreciate the good years.

Spock and I have been married for 25 years. How many of those were good years? Definitely not 25. Maybe 20? But we held on in those five or so years and rebuilt our relationship with a solid foundation that set the stage for many happy years to come.

J and Spock sitting on the bench in the elevator of the Drake Hotel

Sitting on the lush bench in the elevator of The Drake Hotel in Chicago

On the day set aside to honor your marriage, you don’t need to dwell on the bad stuff or even the stuff you still need to work on. Embrace what makes you glad you’re still married and celebrate that. Commemorating the positive will give you inspiration and hope for the future.

5. Arouse and excite one another intimately.

When I posted the above picture in my Facebook group, a couple of people commented that they expected some hot things to be going on between Spock and me in that elevator. I added the comment: “Wow, what y’all think of us! Lol. Our hotel room was only steps away, you know. ;)” And yes, we made reasonably good use of the bed. Gaye of Calm.Healthy.Sexy. wrote about this with 5 Ways “Hotel Sex” Can Improve Your Marriage.

Whether you’re in a posh hotel room, your own bedroom, or the floor of a camping tent (seriously, how is that a vacation?), pay extra attention to your physical connection. Take a little more time with one another’s bodies or try something different. Express extra affection as you touch, caress, and kiss. Remind one another of why this relationship in particular is different from all others—including the intimacy you experience as one flesh.

But all of this actually can start with holding hands as you walk into a restaurant, a party, or a museum; lingering with your eye contact; speaking lovingly to one another; and flirting with playful innuendo and suggestive touches. This is the time to awaken all those senses and enjoy the mutual experience of physical pleasure.

Your turn: What are your tips for having a great anniversary?

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Q&A with J: He Doesn’t Want Regular Intercourse

Today’s reader question addresses a husband who prefers oral or anal sex over regular PIV (penis-in-vagina) intercourse. There’s more to the email that the wife sent me, but the pertinent parts are here:

Because of my husband’s past sexual experiences he tends to prefer sexual acts other than just vaginal intercourse to get aroused and to climax. For example, he seems to only get aroused if I give him oral sex and he likes anal sex. I have told him that anal sex is very painful for me and that I do not find it to be an appropriate sexual act for two Christians. He has since stopped trying to initiate anal which I feel is respectful to me and I appreciate his response.

However, when we do have sex I have to start out with oral to get him hard and sometimes he never even penetrates me, he just finishes by climaxing in my mouth. I do not mind giving him oral sex but the semen in my mouth makes me gag every time. Also, if he does penetrate I am grossed out when he wants his penis back in my mouth almost immediately (I do not like the taste of my own juices). He sometimes can’t even stay hard unless he puts it back in my mouth.

Is this normal for a man to not like or to not prefer his penis in a vagina and just like it in a mouth?

Blog post title + illustration of worried woman with thought bubble

I hate to break it to you, but no, this isn’t normal. Or at least, it’s not good and how God designed sexual intimacy in marriage.

It sounds to me like your husband’s view of sexuality is that it’s primarily physical and for his own pleasure. Additionally, I suspect his desire for edgier sexual practices could be based on previous partners or pornography.

Regardless, he’s missing the core goal of intimacy. Becoming “one flesh” can mean a number of things in marriage, but it certainly involves the physical connection of husband and wife in intercourse.

Becoming one flesh can mean a number of things in marriage, but it certainly involves the physical connection of husband and wife in intercourse. Click To Tweet

What about anal sex?

As for anal sex, I advise against it for a number of reasons. In fact, my podcast partners and I discussed a listener’s question on anal sex in our last episode. I shared my opinion that it’s not okay for Christians to misuse the bodies God gave them.

And I believe it is a misuse of our bodies since health professionals give clear warnings that anal sex:

  • Can lead to fecal incontinence, by stretching the sphincter muscle intended to hold in feces
  • Can increase the risk of anal cancer, by passing the HPV virus
  • Is the riskiest sexual behavior for contracting HIV, more  than 17 times higher than vaginal intercourse and twice as risky as needle-sharing during injection drug use
  • Is more likely to transmit other diseases and infections, such as gonorrhea, Hepatitis A, B, and C, parasites, and bacteria such as E.Coli

Why does anal sex pose greater risk? Because the anus lacks the natural lubrication of a vagina, such that penetration can tear the interior tissue, allowing bacteria and viruses to enter the bloodstream. Using lubricants alleviates, but does not eliminate, tearing. Moreover, the interior tissue lacks the protective barrier protection our outer tissue has, making it more vulnerable to fissures and the spread of infection.

Just looking at all this information convinces me that God did not intend for the penis to penetrate the anus, and your husband needs to know it’s a bad idea.

Not to mention that the vast majority of women report pain with anal sex. While some later report pleasure, after many penetrations, they might have merely loosened their sphincter muscle enough to not hurt in the moment—but clearly, there’s a price to pay for damaging your sphincter muscle this way.

“’I have the right to do anything,’ you say—but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others” (1 Corinthians 10:23-24).

What about oral sex?

What’s more concerning right now is your husband’s seeming fixation on oral arousal. While I’m certainly not opposed to “blow jobs,” the crown jewel of sexual intimacy should be penis-in-vagina (PIV) intercourse.

And it’s not typical for a man to require oral manipulation to maintain an erection or reach climax. It sounds like this has become the way he gets aroused, probably because of past experiences that rewired his pleasure process.

As frustrating as it may be in the short term, I’d suggest you stop doing oral. Because your husband needs to rewire how he gets turned on, maintains an erection, and achieves orgasm.

Now I don’t think it’s ever a good idea to march in the bedroom and say, “That’s it, buddy; no more ____ for you!” That’s likely to devolve into an argument. And understandably so. Neither spouse should be the sole determinant of what happens in your marriage bed.

But you need to discuss the situation with your husband and explain that you want to experience better sexual intimacy, including more exploration of one another’s bodies, more romance and foreplay, and a focus on learning how to engage in PIV. To that end, you feel like you need to move away from oral for a while until his body can respond to other sensations involved in making love.

Encourage your husband to read Song of Songs with you and see how much they engage in flirtation, kissing, touching and appreciation of one another’s bodies, and lovemaking. It may inspire him to see how sensual and erotic the Word of God is regarding sex in marriage. We could learn a lot from those godly lovers!

Also, if he is struggling with his past or what he saw in porn, he should consider getting counseling to undo the damage of those experiences. If porn remains a draw, get internet filtering software to keep the temptation at bay, like Covenant Eyes. And work together for true physical intimacy in your marriage.

Sources: The Consequences of Heterosexual Anal Sex for Women – Medical Institute for Sexual HealthAnal Sex Safety and Health Concerns – Web MD

Q&A with J: Doesn’t She Really Want a Bigger Penis?

One of my most popular post continues to be Penis Size: From the Wife’s Point of View. So I’m not surprised that this issue continues to be on husband’s minds. Here are two related emails from readers:

I read your article on Penis size. There seems to be a lot of truth in it from my experience but some claims do not tally with my experience….My wife tells me she can feel my presence deep within her and she enjoys that feeling.

I stumbled across your webpage by googling “Does size matter?” and found your blog. I am the husband asking this because I wonder if my wife really deep inside wishes I was bigger.

Q&A with J: Doesn't She Really Want a Bigger Penis? with ruler

I have talked to a lot of women about this and done quite a bit of research. Thus, let me break down more fully what I know.

Penises are big.

For almost every woman, the first time she sees a penis and thinks about it fitting inside her, she’s like whoathat huge thing? We even talked about this in a recent Sex Chat for Christian Wives episode on male anatomy.

With the exception of a medical condition called micropenis (which is 2.5 standard deviations below average, and only 1.5 in 10,000 men have that), the penis is big enough to make her stretch, to provide friction, and to feel good.

Bigger penises might reach deeper.

Studies now show that yes, women who engage with longer penises may report some additional pleasure because there could be the potential to reach deeper erogenous zones.

But it’s not a given, and those zones can be reached in other ways. A guy with an average-sized penis can use sexual positioning and angles to hit “just that right spot,” if she’s so inclined. Moreover, you have your fingers too, which can curve and reach in ways your penis cannot.

Your penis isn’t the best way for her to orgasm.

Most women don’t reach orgasm through vaginal penetration anyway. The vast majority of orgasms for a woman are from direct clitoral stimulation, rather than the indirect stimulation intercourse provides.

If you really want to get her going, check out my recent post on the “golden trio”: These 3 Actions Could Bring You to Orgasm.

Committed wives value their husband’s penis.

When I receive a complaint from a woman about her man’s penis size, it’s always from a woman who isn’t in a committed marriage. I was about to type “almost always,” but then I realized the only exception I could think of was a guy who actually had that micropenis medical condition.

Every other time, it’s been from a promiscuous woman whose enjoyment of sex is more linked to some physical high than the deeper, and truly better, emotional, physical, and even spiritual connection that can happen in the marriage bed. From everything I’ve heard, wives in good marriages like their husband’s penis just fine.

From everything I've heard, wives in good marriages like their husband's penis just fine. Click To Tweet

It’s not the size of the tool, but its effectiveness.

Finally, women are more impressed with what you can do with your body parts than whether Mr. Happy can stand up an extra half-inch. If you want your wife to think you’re absolutely awesome, don’t sweat penis size so much; think about how to give her more pleasure.

For instance, link your penis being inside her with a clitoral orgasm that has her eyes rolling back in her head. You can do this by stroking her clitoris with your hand (make sure the area’s lubricated) during intercourse, or encourage her to use her own hand. Then when her muscles spasm, the presence (and thus size) of your penis will feel especially good.

That’s about it. I suspect your wife is content with your penis. But you can always explore more ways to make lovemaking more meaningful and pleasurable for both of you.

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Q&A with J: “How Can I Orgasm with Penetration?”

Today’s reader question reflects a common goal for many wives: reaching orgasm through intercourse. Here’s what she asks:

I’m not really sure how to ask this in a way that makes sense, but how can my husband and I achieve bringing me to orgasm with his penis or with vaginal penetration? We’ve been married for a few years and have a wonderful love life, but it frustrates me so badly that I can’t seem to orgasm easily unless he uses his hand or mouth. I’m starting to think there is something wrong with me.

It feels amazing when he’s inside, but it doesn’t take too long and I get so sore down there. (not because he isn’t gentle or patient, either.) Do some people just not work they are supposed to? We’ve tried the whole getting me almost there manually before he goes in but by then usually he’s so close it doesn’t take very long before he goes and then it’s really hard to finish me off, although the dear man makes sure we do. What can we try?

Blog post title + fireworks

Let me start with this question: “Do some people just not work [how] they are supposed to?” There’s a myth in there that women are supposed to orgasm through penetration. But studies have reported that 70% or more of women cannot orgasm through intercourse alone.

I recently wrote about the “golden trio” of deep kissing, manual play, and oral sex that seems to best help women achieve climax. Missing from that list of three is intercourse. Why? Because the engagement of our minds and direct stimulation of the clitoris are the two factors more important in getting us to the pleasure peak.

So if you have difficulty getting there through intercourse, please realize that your body might be working just fine. It’s just that we have unrealistic expectations about attaining orgasm with intercourse, based on what we’ve heard, read in romance novels, or seen in TV or movies.

Now let’s go over some questions to consider and some options to try. Because you likely can, one way or another, have a wonderful orgasm during intercourse.

What’s your C-V distance?

The ability to orgasm just with penis-in-vagina (PIV) intercourse seems to be a function of anatomy, specifically the distance between your clitoris and vagina (“C-V distance”). The “magic number,” according to researchers is 2.5 centimeters.

I suppose you can pull out your measuring tape, even enlist your husband to help, and measure to see what your C-V distance is. But one researcher suggests you can get a good sense of your C-V by simply using the “rule of thumb.” The distance from the tip of your thumb to your first knuckle is about 2.5 centimeters. If you’re around or under that distance, you should be able to achieve climax with intercourse.

However, if your C-V is higher, say 3 centimeters or a bit longer than that first thumb joint, then it’s unlikely you’ll climax through intercourse alone. That doesn’t mean you’re broken (see 70% stat above), but that you’ll have to add some additional stimulation.

What positions and angles are you using?

The traditional missionary position is among the worst for a woman to climax. Since an intercourse orgasm relies on indirect stimulation of the clitoris with his penis, the angle at which he penetrates and thrusts determines how much clitoral contact she feels.

If you’re lying in the missionary position, you can move your hips and legs to bring your clitoral head closer to the action, thus making it more likely that his penis will make contact there. I talk about this stuff in more detail in chapters on positions, what to do with your hips, and what to do with your legs in my book, Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design.

But other positions might work very well for you. Some women report PIV entry from behind as being more stimulating or woman on top allowing her to “grind” against him more. Test out different positions and angles and see which ones give you the most pleasure.

Do you have enough lubrication?

You say it feels amazing when he’s inside, but then you struggle with quickly getting sore. This could happen because you’re going at it for so long, chasing that elusive climax. But it could also be that your body runs out of lubrication. In which case, you should consider what you can do to remedy that.

Lack of lubrication is often a function of hormones, which is why it’s a struggle for many menopausal women. But it’s also a challenge at certain times in a woman’s cycle, meaning you might have an easier time climaxing through intercourse when you are ovulating. Also, if you’re taking oral contraception or on certain medications, they could affect your body’s ability to lubricate sufficiently.

If this is part of the issue, keep personal lubricant handy, apply it liberally, and add it as needed. He can always pull out, add some lubrication to his penis, and then thrust back in. Even if you do this a few times, it could help you go long enough to get to the climax without discomfort.

Why not add manual stimulation?

There is zero wrong with adding stimulation to get you over the edge. Likely, the best way to do this is to get you close to climax, or even have one climax already, and then have your husband penetrate. After that, he can add his hand, or you can add your own, to directly stimulate the clitoral head (the part of your clitoris that sticks out under the clitoral hood).

Get in a position that allows access to the clitoral head. Just a few choices include:

  • “Doggy style” (which fellow blogger Chris Taylor recently suggested we rename “stallion style,” a definite improvement), with your legs far enough apart for him to wrap his hand around or you to reach
  • Adapted missionary with your legs spread far apart, even like a butterfly yoga pose, so that your clitoral head is exposed for touching
  • “Cowgirl” (woman on top) with your hips tilted forward so he can view and reach your clitoral head

Christian Friendly Sex Positions even has an entire section on positions that allow access for manual clitoral stimulation you can check for ideas.

And those who are screaming at me right now, “A vibrator! You can use a vibrator!” Yes, you can use a bullet style vibrator as well to stimulate your clitoral head. I’m personally a fan of first seeing what magic you can work with your hands, but this is a good option for wives who have tried various options and still struggle to reach climax.

Is adding additional stimulation “cheating”? Or somehow less fulfilling than having a climax through intercourse alone? No. It’s engaging in sexual intimacy that is mutually arousing and satisfying to both of you.

You might be able to someday orgasm through intercourse alone … and you might not. Either way, you can orgasm with your husband inside you. And that produces the same wonderful sensations of your vagina spasming around his penis. That’s pretty great stuff, however it happens.

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Q&A with J: Engaging Your Mind in Lovemaking

A while ago, I talked about having over 300 emails in my inbox. Through various efforts, I’m now down to 69 messages. (And yes, I do see the humor in that.)

Slowly but surely, I’m trying to get to the remaining questions either directly or through posts. And today’s question is from (gasp!) May 2017. But it’s such a good one, I wanted to cover it today. Here’s what the reader asks:

I have a question about “engaging your mind.” I’ve read from various Christian intimacy bloggers that many women need to engage their minds in order to be aroused. I feel like this is true for me, but I’m uncertain how to do it in the holiest way. I often feel guilty if I visualize anything because it usually involves other people (not specific people just general other people), or other situations, think anything that doesn’t necessarily involve being happily married. I know it’s a flesh desire, and I have learned, whether I meant to or not, that the arousal from that thinking is very fleeting and doesn’t help me feel close to my husband. So I don’t allow it, but then I feel like I can’t let loose. So what does it mean to engage your mind without turning to something sinful?

Blog post title + silhouette of woman with colored lines swirling through her head

I periodically talk about all the myths that romance novels perpetuate, and I’m no fan whatsoever of erotica, but there are some things the romance genre gets right. And here’s one: Not once have I ever read a love scene where the woman was mentally going through her to-do list, fantasizing about some random guy she saw in a movie or a magazine, or thinking yeah, that feels okay, but I’d rather be watching Netflix.

Oh no — if you’re going to write a romantic, passionate, or even sexy scene, your main character is going to be into it. Seriously into it. Sure, she might think about how she wishes she hadn’t worn the granny panties tonight, but most of her thoughts are about what she’s seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting, and touching. She’s sinking deeply into her senses, as well as her emotions about the man with whom she’s making love.

Much as I hate to grab any wisdom from the pages of a bodice-ripper, I think they’re onto something here.

But wait a minute… God was way ahead of the romance section of your bookstore! Thousands of years ago, He made sure we have examples of what it means to engage in your mind in lovemaking with your spouse. Together let’s visit a book I’ve mentioned quite a bit on my blog (and in my books): Song of Songs, a poetic exchange between husband and wife, lover to lover.

God was way ahead of the romance section of your bookstore! Click To Tweet

It begins like this:

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—
for your love is more delightful than wine.
Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes;
your name is like perfume poured out.
No wonder the young women love you!
Take me away with you—let us hurry!
Let the king bring me into his chambers.

What’s her mind doing here? She’s thinking about the sensations and taste of her husband’s kiss and his oh-so-appealing scent. Also, how much she loves him, and even how his stellar reputation is alluring. She imagines getting whisked away by this particular man to make mad, passionate love!

Whew. Wipe off your brow, y’all — that was sexy.

Now as much as I’d like to go through the remaining 7¾ chapters, breaking down all the amazing takeaways, that would be an insanely long blog post. Instead, I encourage you to go read it for yourself. And notice where and how these lovers engage their minds.

Focus on your five senses.

Instead of fantasizing about someone or something that’s not in the bed with you, how about paying attention to the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touches of lovemaking. There’s a bounty of all that going on, and you can train yourself to tune in to it.

While making love, ask yourself what your senses are experiencing, and revel in those sensations. This practice is really what people now call “mindfulness,” where you increase your awareness of what’s right around you and learn to attend to it more fully.

Here’s an example from the husband in Song of Songs attending to the senses:

Your lips drop sweetness as the honeycomb, my bride; milk and honey are under your tongue. The fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon” (4:1).

Open your eyes.

It’s harder to think about someone or something else when you’re looking your spouse in the eye. Or really, anywhere on their body. Oftentimes, we find it uncomfortable to keep our eyes open, because there’s vulnerability in that — especially given that our facial expressions during sex can be rather curious, shall we say.

But looking into one another’s eyes, taking in the sight of our beloved, and even watching intently where and how your bodies connect can also be beautifully intimate. And it can help your focus remain right there, on the wonderful husband with whom you are making love.

Here’s one example of how the Song of Songs wife gazed at her husband:

His eyes are like doves by the water streams, washed in milk, mounted like jewels.
His cheeks are like beds of spice yielding perfume.
His lips are like lilies dripping with myrrh.
His arms are rods of gold set with topaz.
His body is like polished ivory decorated with lapis lazuli.
His legs are pillars of marble set on bases of pure gold.
His appearance is like Lebanon, choice as its cedars (5:12-16).

Use your voice.

It’s also hard not to concentrate on what’s happening right here and right now if you have to describe it. So speak up and talk about what you’re seeing, what you’re sensing, what you desire. Express the depth of your feelings for your husband through everything from “I love you” to “You rock my world, baby!”

All of that can keep your mind preoccupied on coming up with relevant thoughts and translating that into words. Besides, verbal expression can also increase the arousal factor in your marriage bed.

Consider this was something the husband in Song of Songs requested:

My dove in the clefts of the rock, in the hiding places on the mountainside, show me your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely” (2:14).

Keep on trying.

One reason we fail when we try to engage our minds is we give up too soon. Distractions invade, and we push away the first one or two, but then others come and it feels hopeless. How can we ever stop getting sidetracked? And especially if those rabbit trails lead to greater arousal?

But retraining your mind isn’t a one-day workout program. You’re in a marathon, girlfriend. When that first stray thought comes in the middle of lovemaking, push it aside. Then push aside the next one, and the next, and the next…and so on. Replace each with the kind of engagement discussed in previous points — for instance, shifting your thoughts from that one general guy to gazing into your husband’s eyes. Do this again and again, and you’ll build a new habit. And your pleasure will be even better because it will be all you and all him engaging intimately in the marriage bed.

Remember this verse from Song of Songs:

Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.
Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away (8:6-7).

Your marital love is unyielding. Lean into that — mind, heart, body, and soul.

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