Category Archives: Sexual Intimacy Encouragement

Flip the Switch from Initiation to Availability

Today’s post is aimed at higher drive spouses—wives and husbands—who feel frustrated by the gap in sexual interest.

If you’re the lower drive spouse, you may appreciate this post and want to share it with your higher drive mate. If you’re the higher drive spouse, but you’re not frustrated, you may still like this tip. And if you’re equally matched, my advice here will also serve you during the busy seasons of your lives.

This is not for sexless marriages, which have greater challenges. (See instead this post for a rundown of my series on sexless marriages.)

But assuming a higher drive spouse and a willing but less interested mate, let’s get on with it.

How Often Do You Initiate?

What percentage of sex initiation attempts in your marriage come from you?

That’s the question I recently asked of my higher drive wife community, but I also answered it for myself—80%.

Yep. In my marriage, I’d guess 4 out of 5 times someone suggests a sexual encounter, that someone is me. One to 3 of those 4 times, I get a favorable answer. One to 3 of those times, I get a pass. But most of Spock’s passes come with rain checks, so I certainly don’t feel deprived.

In fact, by happenstance, I made a discovery about initiating that has made the current libido gap between my husband and me much less distressing. I flipped the switch from initiation to availability.

Initiation and Hope Deferred

Initiation simply means getting something started. That can happen in all kinds of ways—some obvious, some less so. But at some point, there’s a word, a look, an action that indicates one spouse wants to make love.

The bid for sexual attention is made, and the other spouse must decide whether to match that bid and go for it.

As the higher drive spouse, you may already start from the perspective of not initiating every single time you’d like to have sex. Or you may go ahead and give it a shot each time, figuring you definitely won’t get a yes if you don’t even ask.

Regardless, if you’re frustrated about the frequency of sex in your marriage, you likely initiate, get turned down, and then feel hurt. Because somewhere between the ask and the no is hope — hope that this time, your beloved will say yes! And as the Bible so aptly tells us, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life” (Proverbs 13:12).

What if you could feel hope without being hurt when it doesn’t work out the way you want?

Availability and Desire Fulfilled

Hailing back to my 4 out of 5 times that I initiate sex in my marriage, 2 of those are straightforward initiation. I say what I want, he can say yes or “another time.”

But the other 2 times—half of the time, that is—I just make myself available. No strings, no expectations. Hope, yes. But without real initiation, I’m not caught up as much in the outcome. I haven’t really put out a bid.

It’s the difference, I suppose, between saying, “Hey, if you want to play a board game, I’m up for it,” and saying, “Let’s play a board game!” while you’re setting up game pieces on the kitchen table. If your potential partner says no, in which version have you invested more and will thus feel more hurt?

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“I’m Available” Statements

If you go this route, you can’t be ambiguous. You have to be explicit that you are available for sex from X time to Y time. But don’t wait around. If your spouse doesn’t jump on the notion right away, go busy yourself with other stuff. You’ve made it clear, they know the deal, and they can take you up on it or not.

What does that explicit statement look like? Here are a few ideas:

  • “I’m headed to bed. I’d love for you to come join me so we could have some intimate time before I fall asleep.”
  • “If you want, I can give you a massage. If that sounds good to you, take off your clothes and lie down.”
  • “Just so you know, I’m feeling particularly interested in sex tonight. If you’re up for it, let me know.”
  • As you’re headed out for work or elsewhere: “It’s been a while, so sex today would be great. Text me if you’re interested.”

In all of these cases, you’re making it clear what you want, but you’re not setting an expectation that it will happen.

Paradoxically, some lower drive spouses are more willing to say yes to an if you wanna invitation than a let’s do it suggestion. It’s a softer startup and feels less insistent.

That’s what’s actually happened in my own marriage. Perhaps it was that my tone and facial expression were less tense, which made the prospect of sex even more appealing to my husband. I’m not sure. I just know that since flipping this switch, I’ve felt less tense, more accepted, and happier with our sex life.

Have you tried availability instead of direct initiation. If so, how has that gone? If not, could flipping this switch help?

Also check out 40 Ways to Initiate Sex with Your Husband here on Hot, Holy & Humorous and and Why Doesn’t She Initiate? from our new blog for husbands, KHS Ministry!

Resolution Week: "And Now for Something Completely Different…"

To me, New Year = Fresh Start. Yes, I know it’s just a date on the calendar, but it feels like a new beginning is on the horizon.

You don’t need the New Year, though. Whenever you want, you can press the reset button and do things differently from how you did them before. That’s what I want to talk about today, on the last day of Resolution Week—just doing something different with the sexual intimacy in your marriage.

Why do something different?

Readers come to my blog for two main reasons: (1) to figure out how to address a problem with the sex in their marriage, or (2) to get ideas on how to maintain and nurture the sex in their marriage.

(There’s a third group, a very small one, who read to find out what “the other side” is saying and pipe up from time to time to debate. But let’s not worry about them.)

For those in either of the two main groups, you’ve been doing X, but doing Y could make things better. If you have sexual struggles, you can receive:

  • encouragement to pursue better sexual intimacy
  • insight about how your spouse might be thinking or feeling about the situation
  • summaries of medical, scientific, and common-sense approaches to resolving physiological obstacles
  • biblical perspectives on God’s design for sex in marriage
  • suggestions for meeting your spouse’s emotional and sexual needs, or getting your own met
  • how-to tips for making sex better for you and for your beloved

If you have healthy physical intimacy in your marriage, you can receive:

  • how-to tips for specific sexual activities
  • inspiration to have more frequent and/or more intimate sex
  • regular reminders to keep doing what makes your spouse feel loved
  • biblical insight about how your marital intimacy reflects God’s goodness
  • updates on sex research that can improve your pleasure or connection
  • ways to expand your sexual repertoire

But let’s face it: Hot, Holy & Humorous is about persuading you to do something even a little different from what you did before. If every reader remains in absolute stasis, what’s the point of me writing another word?

Yet, I do write. I do hear from readers. I do know this site, along with other marriage ministries, has a positive impact.

Is different automatically better?

In case you didn’t get the reference in this post’s title, “And now for something completely different” was a catchphrase from the British show Monty Python’s Flying Circus. It was inserted in between comedy sketches, some of which were really great and some of which were what were they thinking?

Likewise, just doing something different in or regarding your marriage bed could be a what were you thinking? moment. But it could also be really great.

How do you know your idea is different-great?

1. It aligns with God’s design for sex in marriage.

Whatever you do in the marriage bed should be God-approved, mutually acceptable, and spouse-honoring. It should align with God’s will.

2. It benefits both of you.

It should be something that not only serves your ends, but also meets your spouse’s longings. Marriage isn’t about you or me, but rather us. You don’t want one spouse thinking the new thing is great while the other responds, “What on earth were you thinking?”

3. It is pursued in love.

You can have wonderful intentions, but if your tactics stink, you won’t get far. Your spouse will likely, and understandably, become defensive. So the different thing you go after should be pursued in a loving way, without pressure or manipulation.

To Leap or to Toddle?

If I had a dollar for every time I or one of my podcast partners said the phrase “baby steps,” we’d be retreating on a Caribbean beach somewhere right now. Working, of course—wink, wink—but with our toes in the sand and the water lapping at our ankles.

Truth is, when one spouse wants to do something different, the other spouse can get worried. What do you mean “different”? Am I not enough? Are you going to want that weird thing again? I refuse to dress up as a gorilla no matter how turned on it might make you! ~snicker~

Now some of you should leap into something different. You’ve been in a pit for far too long, and you need to jump into a marriage class or counseling. Or perhaps you two are mutually on board with trying something sexual that’s a little “out there”—not outside God’s design, but pretty creative.

For most spouses, however, baby steps are the way to go.

Just do something a little extra or different next time, then expand a little from there, then to the next thing and the next thing… Until your baby steps have gotten you down the path a ways and you’re both happy with where you are.

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Different Strokes for Different Folks

So what are some “different but great” ideas? Let me help!

Below are more than 20 suggestions. Each item is not for every couple. Find something that would benefit your particular marriage or brainstorm your own ideas.

Just choose something, or several somethings, different to do this year and see how it can improve your sexual intimacy. If it doesn’t work, you can always chuck it and try something else.

Note: Remember that when it’s something God specifically calls us to do, it may take a while to see the positive results. “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9 ESV).

Resolution Week: What's Your "One Word" for Your Marriage?

I’m declaring it Resolution Week here on Hot, Holy & Humorous, and after a bit of break over the holidays, I’ll be churning five posts this week! All on making resolutions, goals, or attitude shifts—however you want to look at it—to improve your marriage and the sexual intimacy within it.

A few years back, someone concocted the idea of choosing a single word as your “word of the year” that would guide your goals and attitude. For the past few years, I’ve selected a word of the year. This practice has yielded varied results, with me sometimes feeling very focused by the word and other times forgetting what word I chose altogether.

My One Word for 2020

After mulling for a while about my one word for 2020, I’ve chosen PROMISE.

Frankly, I had a couple of other words floated around in my head until yesterday morning when I was at church. I saw the word promise somewhere, and it jumped out at me. Maybe that’s a God-thing—I like to think it is—or maybe the word just appeals to me. Yet promise conveys my desire to be a person who keeps my word, who relies on God’s promises to me, and who feels hopeful about the future, believing it is indeed filled with promise.

Of course, the word PROMISE has extensive implications for my marriage. I made a promise to my husband 27 years ago, or rather a bundle of promises. We call that wedding script our marriage “vows” for a reason. How have I done fulfilling them? What can I do better?

Regarding our sexual intimacy, doesn’t marriage involve the promise of physical exclusivity, connection, intentionality, desire, and even passion? Whether we know it all at the time, when we say, “I do,” we’re also saying, “I do you.” How’s that going in my marriage?

Whether we know it all at the time, when we say, "I do," we're also saying, "I do you." How's that going in my #marriage? @hotholyhumorous Click To Tweet

Promises to Keep

Maybe I’ve got you thinking about how well you’ve kept your promises in your marriage and whether you need to make some new promises for the sexual intimacy with your spouse. For example, do you need to make any of these vows to your beloved?

  • I promise to visit the doctor to see why my sexual interest and/or sexual function isn’t what it should be.
  • I promise to seek help for my porn habit and knock this out of my life once and for all.
  • I promise to give you a rain check if I’m not feeling up to having sex when you initiate. (And I promise not renege on the rain check.)
  • I promise to try something new in the bedroom, to stretch my comfort zone just a little.
  • I promise to prioritize my health so we can be more active in our sex life.
  • I promise to turn on the lights, at least low lighting, so you can see my body.
  • I promise to stop pressuring you about sex.
  • I promise to initiate sex more often.
  • I promise to go through a book about sex in marriage with you.

Of course, promises aren’t worth much unless you keep them.

I once did an extensively study of the Bible, looking for scriptures about trusting others, and you can’t find much on that. God is very concerned that we trust Him, but as for one another, most verses don’t focus on trusting others but rather being trustworthy. Trustworthy people keep their promises.

Or at least do their best. We will let one another down, since we’re not perfect like our Heavenly Father, but we can try to be trustworthy. We can try to be a person of our word.

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My Word Isn’t Your Word

But speaking of words, my word of the year likely isn’t your word. Don’t just copy mine. Rather, figure out where you need to focus right now in your life.

If you hate New Year’s resolutions, don’t think of it as coordinating with this moment in time, but rather this spot in your spiritual and/or relational journey. Where are you in your marriage and with your sexual intimacy? What areas need your attention?

Here are some of the words I’ve recently heard from others. Perhaps something here will strike you.

Healing
Restoration
Forgiveness
Hope
Persevere

Encourage
Joyful
Compassion
Trust
Change

Passion
Prioritize
Margin
Closer
Growth

You can also find numerous blog posts and sites with one-word ideas, such as this one, this one, this one, or even this quiz from DaySpring.

Personal One Word vs. Marriage One Word

But even if you choose a word for yourself, is that the same word you should have for your marriage? Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t.

Whether aligned with the New Year or not, it’s a good practice to periodically sit with your spouse, preferably away from the stresses of work or home, and discuss where your relationship is and where you want it to go. What do each of you see as positives? And where do you see areas for improvement?

What one word sums up what you both want for your marriage bed? Here are a few ideas to get you brainstorming the answer to that question:

Priorities
Purity
Prayer
Unity

Health
Wholeness
Renewal
Peace

Passion
Spice
Selflessness
Trust

Promises Kept

And now I’m back to my word for the year! Because if you do talk this out and come up with a word, don’t just make it a nice exercise you did around January. Rather, make it more like a vow to one another. For instance:

  • “This year, we will mutually pursue PURITY, by making our home porn and erotica-free, by focusing our thoughts solely on one another, by embracing that sex in marriage is a pure act of love blessed by God.”
  • “This year, we will mutually prioritize PRAYER, by making a goal of praying together at least once each day, by praying for one another, and by praying before, during, or after sex to invite God into our one-flesh relationship.””This year, we will foster TRUST, by confessing where we have failed one another, extending forgiveness and working on repentance, being open and vulnerable, and by treating one another’s bodies with gentleness and respect.”

What area of your marriage and sexuality needs your attention right now? What’s your marriage’s one word?

Can Men Really Understand Women's Sexuality?

We’re different—men and women.

That’s a controversial statement in some circles these days, but the more I’ve studied men and women, the more convinced I am that male-female goes much deeper than our external body parts, all the way into how our whole bodies are designed, as well as our brains.

God told us that from the beginning: ” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27).

It’s because we’re different that we’re attracted to one another, that we complement one another as life companions, and that we confuse one another for the next 50 or so years.

Perhaps never more than in the area of sexuality.

Deciphering the Differences

Marriage authors, bloggers, speakers, ministers, etc. have spent countless hours trying to explain men to women and women to men. Some go overboard with stereotypes and generalizations, and we must recognize that we are first humans made in God’s image, then specific individuals, and then man or woman. Plenty of overlapping and exceptions exist!

But God did make us male and female, and it can be helpful to hear how men and women generally think and behave—and then ask your own spouse if it’s true for them.

I’ve made plenty of attempts to explain male sexuality to wives. For example: A Wife’s Guide to Sexual Man Speak; Q&A with J: Is Sex Disconnected from Love for Men?; 4 Things Your Husband Wants from You in Bed.

Resources for Husbands

I’ve also provided posts for husbands like How to Help Your Wife Get Naked and Why Being a Good Father Turns Your Wife On. But this blog, and my resources, are still primarily for wives.

So I get asked: Where are books, websites, or other resources about sex directed specifically at men? Not about porn recovery or wooing your wife romantically or communicating better in marriage, but how to engage and please her sexually?

Well, there aren’t enough such resources. If you’ve been around the sex-in-marriage ministry world for a while, you’ve noticed a synergy with various ministries from women. That same synergy has not come into full focus with a group of husbands having the time, desire, and calling to speak into that need.

However, even if those resources existed, could those men speak definitively about women’s sexuality?

Although I explain men as much as I can on this blog, I often check in with husbands to make sure I’m representing them well, and sometimes I’m still stumped by you guys, because you’re just, well, different. (And by different, I mean weird. But let’s not hang out on that point.)

A New Ministry

Summarizing thus far: Men and women are different. We need resources to help explain male sexuality and female sexuality, with the caveat that we are individuals and generalizations should be checked with our own spouse. Husbands specifically could use more resources that explain women’s sexuality, and such insight may be best provided by women.

And that’s the purpose of KHS Ministry, a new resource coming your way from me and Chris Taylor of The Forgiven Wife.

KHS stands for Knowing Her Sexually, a name that conveys not only a husband’s need for knowledge about female sexuality, but his desire to have intimate knowledge of his wife. In fact, when the first man first makes love to the first woman, the Hebrew word used to express that means to know: “Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, ‘I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord'” (Genesis 4:1, RSV).

KHS Ministry will deliver content in three ways:

Blog

Blog

Every other week, we’ll share posts to help husbands nurture sexual intimacy in their marriage.

Community

Community

Opening in January, this is where the bulk of the ministry will be, with insights from us and other husbands.

Podcast

Podcast

Starting next spring, we’ll have short episodes every other week with tips for husbands.

Why Us?

Chris’s website is aimed wholly at wives. Yet she has heard from so many husbands who say that her explanations of how women think and act sexually have helped them understand their own wives. Chris has a unique and profound way of describing the thoughts and emotions of women.

As for me, I hear from husbands who say that I “get” them—that is, I speak Conversational Male. No, I’m not fluent! But when I speak to men, I understand enough of their language to convey their wives’ view of sex in a way that makes sense to many men.

In addition, Chris and I have both been the lower drive spouse and the higher drive spouse in our marriages, so we know what those feel like. We each have two sons, so we’ve lived with a fair amount of testosterone in our households. And we both think men are pretty awesome, so we’re on your side when it comes to sexual intimacy.

Most importantly, as Chris and I talked through this idea and developed the ministry’s specifics, we felt in tune in a way I can only explain as having God’s hand on us. We have felt His Spirit present in this endeavor.

How to Get Connected

If you’re a husband reading this, keep reading for how to get connected. If you’re a wife reading this, share this post with your husband.

To stay on top of what’s coming, follow our Facebook page and subscribe to our newsletter and blog! (Yes, wives can follow on Facebook to see what’s up with our ministry.)

We’re also on Twitter, if you get info there. And check out our website!

6 Sex-Themed Gift Baskets for Christmas

Every year, I try to give you fresh ideas on what to buy your beloved for Christmas that promotes sexual intimacy!

For something different this year, how about pre-planned gift baskets, themed around sexual intimacy? You can give any of these to a spouse or a close friend.

Links below are affiliate links, and purchasing through this site helps me to cover basic operating expenses. Thank you!

Wet & Wild

The shower is both a fun and a challenging place to have sex. And by sex, I mean the whole enchilada—not just intercourse, but sexual activities that work well in the shower. Here are some items you can throw into a shower sex basket:

Sex On-the-Go

Planning a trip over the holidays? Or having guests come to your home? How about a basket with items for sex while traveling?

Oral Delights

Our mouths can kiss, lick, suck, and nibble, so why not a gift basket devoted to their sensual delights!

Melt Me Massage

There’s nothing quite like a massage from your honey. But you need the right stuff to get going. Try these:

Santa Baby

No need for your baby to “slip a sable under the tree.” Instead, try these sexy Santa items for a holiday night of intimacy.

Song of Songs Sensuality

And from the book of the Bible that encourages us to be more romantic, more intimate, more passionate…here’s some Song of Songs inspiration:

And don’t forget, I have other resources, including my books!