A while back there was some discussion in the comments both here and over on TGH about women who had multiple partners before marriage. Some men suggested such a woman was irreparably damaged and would never want or enjoy sex with her husband. Not being a woman, I could not challenge this from personal experience. So, I phoned a friend! The result is this guest post by J Parker.
Part of my redemption story involves moving from a premarital promiscuous past to a marital monogamous present. While I wish the change had happened like “Beam me up, Scotty”—one moment here, one moment there—I actually walked a long road to arrive at the sexual intimacy God wanted me to have.
I’ve analysed my past enough to understand all the reasons I chose to have sex before marriage with multiple partners, but one reason is that it felt great.
God created us as sexual beings, and being touched, turned on, and brought to orgasm are good sensations. To say I didn’t enjoy the physical experience of sexual activity with past lovers would be a lie. But that’s not the same as saying that it was good for me. Or that I didn’t have serious regrets.
A wife recently wrote to me saying that she’d had my book, Pillow Talk: 40 Conversations About Sex for Married Couples, on her list of things to check out for a while. But she thought it was just a book of topics to talk about and getting over the weirdness of saying words like “sex” and “naked,” whereas she wanted to go deeper.
Once she downloaded the sample, this wife was amazed how much information and communication the book included. She purchased her copy right away and thanked me several times over.
Yep, notes like those are really awesome! But her statement also gave me a V8 moment. (And those of you who don’t know that a V8 moment is suddenly realizing something you should have thought of before, you’re making me feel old.)
Why had I never shared a sample chapter on my blog?!
You can download a sample through Amazon and Barnes & Noble, with a few chapters to try it, but I wanted to give my fabulous subscribers and readers a freebie here!
The introduction to Pillow Talk is a guide on how to use the book. But right after that comes a chapter titled Ground Rules. Since it begins, “Whatever you do, don’t skip this chapter,” let me at least summarize what I said there.
Each conversation chapter consists five sections:
Introduction—a single paragraph introducing the topic.
Ask and Listen—three questions to ask of your spouse and then listen to their answers.
Read and Consider—scripture to read together and thoughts on that passage.
Touch and Pray—an invitation to hold hands or embrace and pray over what you’ve discussed and learned.
Go and Do—two activity options to help you apply what you’ve learned.
That second section, Ask and Listen, is where we can fall prey to misunderstanding our spouse, insisting on our perspective, and wading into arguments. To avoid that happening, follow some ground rules.
First, choose a good time and place. Pick a time when both of you can focus and don’t feel too tense, as well as a location that seems neutral and isn’t loaded with distractions.
When it’s your turn to answer.
Be honest and vulnerable. “There is no great gain in intimacy without vulnerability and authenticity.”
Consider how you express your concerns. How you express something matters as much as what you express.
Keep your requests reasonable. For example, don’t demand a strip tease if your wife won’t undress until it’s dark. Ask for progress that can reasonably happen.
Stay calm. Easier said than done, but the book has more tips on how to maintain a cool head.
Seek clarification. If you don’t understand or something feels like an attack, probe a little. Your spouse may not be saying what you think.
Accept their feelings. Just because you don’t or wouldn’t feel the same way doesn’t make your spouse’s feelings invalid. Even if their feelings are based on error, that doesn’t make them illegitimate.
Think through their answers. It’s tempting to react quickly, but let your spouse’s words sink in and mull over your response before you speak.
Each of these points is further explained in the book, but those are the basic guidelines.
The first chapter of Pillow Talk is about praying for your sex life. While I believe in the importance of starting there, I’m actually sharing chapter two below, because I think it’s more representative of the book as a whole. Also, this conversation could really help some couples open their eyes to their similarities and differences regarding sexual intimacy in their marriage.
Below is Chapter Two: What We Learned About Sex. Or click the button for a downloadable version you can print out.
How we grew up hearing and thinking about sex can make a big imprint on our perspective later in life. Unfortunately, few Christians report having received thorough, positive, Scripture-based instruction about sexuality. How has what you learned impacted your sexual intimacy?
Ask and Listen
What’s your earliest memory of sex? When did you learn about it, and what did you learn?
What messages about sex did you get from your parents, mentors, and the church as you grew up?
What, if anything, that you learned about sex as a child has negatively affected your view of physical intimacy now?
Read and Consider
Read together Deuteronomy 6:6-9.
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
God’s pronouncement to the Israelites in this passage involved teaching the children who God was, what He had done for His people, and how they should honor Him by living according to His commands. This foundational education was to be an ongoing practice, saturating their daily existence.
Within the law of Moses, they were expected to follow commands about sex which showed God’s desire for it to remain holy and mutually satisfying in marriage. But many of us weren’t taught what God’s design for sex really was. Instead, our parents and church leaders were silent, ignorant, or negative. Often they hadn’t received godly instruction themselves and didn’t know how to teach us.
It’s not too late to learn. God’s Word can still teach you what it means to experience intimate, meaningful, and pleasurable sex as God intended in the covenant bond of marriage.
Touch and Pray
Holy Father, You are the creator of sex, the designer of pleasure and intimacy in the marriage bed. But we have struggled with messages that make it difficult for us to fully embrace the gift You long for us to enjoy. Help us to align our understanding with Yours. [Pray specifically for the issues you brought up in your conversation.] In Jesus’ blessed name, Amen.
Go and Do
1. Take a sheet of paper and make two columns. On the left side, write down underlying messages about sex that you got from the teaching you received. Those can be anything from “sex is good in marriage” to “only bad girls want sex” or “sex is for the man.” In the right-hand column, counter any negative messages with your growing understanding of what God says about sexual intimacy. You don’t have to believe these yet, but record what you think is the right answer. Finally, put a star by those erroneous messages you struggle with most.
2. Trade lists. Yes, this is a vulnerable exercise. But let your spouse see where you’re struggling, so they can help and pray for you. In turn, promise to help and pray for your spouse.
I shouldn’t be surprised that one of my closest friends lives over a thousand miles away and I’ve only spent a few days face-to-face with her. After all, my own grandmother married her pen pal, whom she’d only met once before they got engaged.
But it’s a bit different in the internet age, in that I met Chris Taylor of The Forgiven Wife through blogging channels and got to know her through comments and Facebook messages. Together, we then hatched the idea of a roundtable podcast, invited Gaye of Calm.Healthy.Sexy. and Bonny of OysterBed7 to join us, and deepened our connection through Skype chats and podcast recordings. We finally got together in person last fall and did it again this past April.
What really seals our friendship is our similar personalities and shared mission to promote godly, intimate, and satisfying sex in marriages. So what a pleasure today to have my good friend Chris with us to share her thoughts on the secret sex lives of real wives. Take it away, Chris!
The Bible very clearly tells us that God created men and women differently.
“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).
Not only do men’s and women’s bodies look different, their sexual response is different too.
I’m going to let you in on a secret about that.
This is God’s
A Male Paradigm
Our differences are part of God’s design—yet we seem to
think our sexuality and sexual response should work the same way in either sex.
More often than not, we look at male sexuality and assume it should be like
that for all of us, women included.
This male paradigm of sexual response tells us several
Orgasm is reached after only a few minutes of
Even if you’re tired or stressed, sex should be
Intercourse is the way to have an orgasm.
For most men (not all), this is pretty much the way sexual
For women? Not so much.
What About Women?
For most women, sexuality looks very different from what we
see in men—but far too often this is such a secret that we ourselves don’t know
how our sexual response works.
We learn about sex from our parents, our schools, our churches, and popular culture.
We’re taught about how our bodies will change during
puberty. We may learn the basics of sexual mechanics (although even that
instruction presumes that arousal has already taken place). Some of us have
learned from our churches that boys think about sex a lot.
It’s rare to find a woman who arrives at adulthood with information about female sexual response.
Without accurate information about women’s sexuality, we assume that our sexual response should look like a man’s—and when it doesn’t, we easily can feel defective or broken or think it means we have a low sex drive or sexual dysfunction.
A woman’s sexual response has nothing to do with whether she has more or less sexual interest than her husband does. A wife with a higher drive than her husband has a female sexual response, just as a lower-drive woman does.
On our podcast, we’ve often talked about how sad it is that
we were married and sexual for so long without understanding our own sexual
response. I’ve heard from many women who’ve read my blog and say how relieved
they are to learn that they are completely normal.
Secrets of Female Sexuality (and Tips for Husbands)
Female sexuality is shrouded in mystery—and it shouldn’t be.
Today I’m going to lift the veil and reveal some things that shouldn’t be
secret at all.
Unfortunately, our husbands might be even more in the dark
as we are about our sexuality. So for each of the secrets below, I want to
include a tip to help husbands make the most of that aspect of female sexual
1. Orgasm requires time.
Women require an average of 20 minutes to reach climax,
which means that although some women need less time, some will need quite a bit
Instead of thinking it is taking you a long time, tell
yourself that it takes how much time it takes—and that your sexual pleasure is
worthy of both your time and your husband’s.
Tip for husbands
In Song of Songs 6:2-3, we see a husband who takes his time browsing in his wife’s garden. So guys? Take your time to browse. Slow waaaaaaayyyyyyy down. (See J’s The One Sex Tip I Give Husbands Over and Over.) Don’t be in a rush to get to a happy ending. Enjoy the journey of your wife’s body.
2. Sexuality is contextual.
Research into women’s sexual desire and response* shows that
women are influenced by many factors that seem to have nothing to do with sex:
their emotional state, current life stresses, dysfunction in her family of
origin, physical and mental health, self-image, general level of intimacy and
connection in non-sexual aspects of her relationship with her husband, and
So ladies? Take care of that context. Tend to your health.
Learn to deal with stress. Work on intimacy outside the bedroom. Taking care of
yourself helps your sex life.
Tip for husbands
Make it easier for your wife to take care of herself. Take on some of the mental and physical responsibilities of caring for your home and children. Create space for her to do things that help her feel good about herself. Encourage her to seek healing of old emotional wounds. Be intentional about fostering non-sexual intimacy in your marriage. The Bible tells you in 1 Peter 3:7 to live with your wife in an understanding way. Let that understanding come with support and encouragement.
3. Intercourse is not the most effective means to reach orgasm.
Only about 30% of women achieve
climax through intercourse. Most women find that manual or oral stimulation
have the best chance for leading to orgasm.
Many couples find that it works best for her to experience orgasm in some way first. Then they proceed to intercourse and his orgasm. Talk with your husband about what kinds of touching and kissing you like, and when. If you like to be aroused through kissing and your husband’s hands first and then proceed to oral sex, be sure to communicate that to your husband.
Tip for husbands
Learn the kinds of touch that are most helpful and pleasurable for your wife. Be sure to check out this great post at Awaken Love about how to touch your wife.
No More Secrets
Women, we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Our sexuality
works the way it does because God created us in this way.
If it takes you a while to achieve climax, if you find that
you are easily affected by other things in your life, or if you need something
other than intercourse to help you experience an orgasm, know this:
You are not broken. You are not lesser than. You are not
defective or dysfunctional.
She lives with her husband in southeastern Wisconsin where she enjoys Wisconsin weather even in the winter.
Sources: *Basson, R., et al. (2003). Definitions of women’s sexual dysfunction reconsidered: advocating expansion and revision. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology, 24, 221-229. Basson, R. (2002). Women’s sexual desire—disordered or misunderstood? Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 28, 17-28. Brotto., L., Heiman, J., & Tolman, D. (2009). Narratives of desire in mid-age women with and without arousal difficulties. Journal of Sex Research, 46 (5), 387-398. Goldhammer, D., & McCabe, M. (2011). A qualititative exploration of the meaning and experience of sexual desire among partnered women. Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 20 (1-2), 19-29.
Today, she’s giving tips on creating the exciting sex life wives want! Take it away, Ruth.
Plenty of wives want sex more spicily than their husbands. Women are masters of creativity. We understand subtle variations in colors, textures, and creating different atmospheres.
Though women might not allow themselves to fully indulge yet, I see the sparkle of agreement when I talk about spice at Awaken Love classes. For women, embracing God’s design for sex, includes having the courage to create a sex life that excites us.
Many of the women attend Awaken Love classes because they don’t look forward to sex. I think one of the main reasons is because they are bored.
Cultural norms have trained wives to believe that their husband is the expert. He has the greater sexual need, and our job is simply to care for him. The truth is that we have sexual needs too. Our needs don’t just entail having an orgasm, but having fun, creative, spicy and connecting sex. Until a wife understands the mutual role that God portrays in the Song of Songs, the marriage bed misses out on the nuances a wife brings.
Jim and I were married almost 25 years before I embraced my role in the marriage bed. We’d had a good marriage and sex life, but it didn’t compare to what we have now. I believed lies like, “I need to do it for my husband” or “Sex is just a physical thing to satisfy hormonal urges.” Since Jim and I did not talk about sex, we figured out what worked and stuck with it.
Sometimes the lack of creativity and boredom drove me crazy. To compensate, I would fantasize about the two
of us having sex on a beach to help me orgasm. Because I had not embraced my
role in the marriage bed, we missed out on what I could bring to the table.
I not only have seen my marriage change, but I’ve witnessed hundreds of marriages transform when the wife embraces her sexuality. For the last seven years I’ve taught Awaken Love classes to help Christian wives. Not only do we learn about God’s design, but we learn tangible ways to start creating a fun, spicy, intimate sex life. Embracing sex is not just about having more sex; it is about having better sex.
Sex is a team sport. Even when the wife has embraced sex, she
might feel frustrated because of her husband’s lack of creativity, or
connection. Before we get started, let me share some tips to help your husband
stretch in these areas too.
1 Corinthians 7:3 says,“The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.”
A husband fulfilling his marital duty is not just about
bringing his wife to orgasm. He needs to learn to have sex in a way that
fulfills his wife’s desires. Change can feel scary, threatening, and even
impossible for a husband. With the right encouragement,
someday he may thank you for showing him a whole new world. Below are some tips
to encourage his growth.
Start by showing your husband what great sex
looks like to you.
Take the lead and create positive memorable experiences
that he won’t soon forget.
Always have an attitude of encouragement and
affirmation, even just for trying.
Break learning down into specific baby steps that
move towards the goal.
Remove the pressure by having fun and
disguising new steps of growth as games.
Be patient and extend the same loving grace that
you would want.
Now let’s dive into three important areas of sexuality for women to embrace: Creativity, Words, and Connection.
Creativity requires the freedom to explore without fear. If
either of you have baggage from your past that you haven’t dealt with, then
start going after healing in those areas. Be honest with each other, extend
grace and develop trust.
Most men think of sex in a linear progression going from low arousal to increased arousal to orgasm. Creativity multiplies when we understand that sex can follow whatever path we dream up. Think outside of the box on what it means to create anticipation, to tease, to change gears, to circle back around, to put on the brakes or step on the gas. Show your husband the most delicious, circuitous route to orgasm he has ever experienced. Remove the boundaries of expectations or norms.
Song of Songs 7:11-12:
Come, my beloved, let us go to the countryside, let us spend the night in the villages. Let us go early to the vineyards to see if the vines have budded, if their blossoms have opened, and if the pomegranates are in bloom— there I will give you my love.
In Song of Songs, the wife takes the lead and plans a fun
adventure of having sex in the vineyard early in the morning. Don’t always expect
your husband to make your sex life creative. Planning the adventure is half the
One winter morning, I decided to bring my beach fantasy to life. I cranked up the heat and told Jim to change into his swimsuit. Wearing my bikini, I rubbed suntan lotion on him as he relaxed on a beach towel in our bedroom. That day we had amazing sex on the beach together.
Recently, a simple strand of pearls sparked my imagination. After applying red lipstick to complete the transformation, I slipped into a spicy version of myself. Get creative and have some fun going beyond your everyday safe self.
God made women brimming with creativity. Take the time to listen to your desires and have the courage to create them with your husband. Share your spiciness with the most important person in the world—your husband.
Using words can quickly transform your marriage bed from mundane to spicy hot—especially for women. If you don’t believe me, then think about what reading a sex scene in a romance novel does to a woman’s body or why sex chat rooms thrive. Words hold power that many couples still have not discovered. Most wives will need to take the lead in helping husbands with the art of seduction, teasing, and creating sexual tension through using words. With encouragement and practice, a husband will realize how much fun and passion words can create.
Song of Songs 4:9
You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride; you have stolen my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace.
One of the first ways I started using my words was to grab my husband and whisper in his ear before he left for work. Using explicit terms, I described what I wanted him to do to me that night. Powerful descriptors like juicy, ache, or throb added to the excitement. Later that night, Jim discovered the power of bringing words to life.
Another way to turn up the passion is to hear your spouse ask for what they want in the heat of the moment. In order for Jim and me to practice asking, I devised a game called 2-Minute Poker. Using any fast-paced game, the winner of each round gets to ask the other person to do something for 2 minutes. Then you play another round. The game tends to start out mild and then ramp up. It forces you to think about what you want and to get comfortable asking.
Using words during sex can feel hard for wives, but it can
feel even more challenging for our husband. Don’t miss out on this powerful way
to add spice to your marriage. Take the lead and help your husband discover
just how much spice words can add.
For years I showed up to sex nervous and tense. Even after I warmed up, sex sometimes felt lonely. It was as if we were both just doing our thing to get to the finish line. At times we weren’t really even aware of each other. We tuned each other out and focused on our own goals.
One of the largest areas of growth that made our sex life intimate and spicy has been to learn to stay connected during sex. Instead of each of us going our merry way, we go somewhere together, or I can go with Jim, or he can go with me. It doesn’t really matter which, but we go together.
Song of Songs 6:2-3
My beloved has gone down to his garden, to the beds of spices, to browse in the gardens and to gather lilies. I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine; he browses among the lilies.
Staying connected during sex is all about staying in the moment. You simply “be,” instead of do … or worry, or plan, or anything else you can try. Rather than driven by purpose, you browse, linger, and savor. With practice, being present gets easier, but it requires letting go of expectations, removing pressure, not trying so hard, and learning to appreciate the journey more than the destination.
One of the things that has helped Jim and I connect during sex is to practice stillness. For me, intercourse used to feel like a blur of motion—basically nothing. Now before we start moving, I enjoy moments of stillness with him inside me. Once connected, we tune into each other and go somewhere together.
How do you know that your spouse is there with you? When you smile, does he smile back? Does a gentle “hey” foster a return gesture, or does it suddenly jolt them out of their own agenda? Do they notice when you feel tense or relaxed?
Few things create more excitement than a spouse vulnerably opening themselves up and sharing their arousal. Are you catching it or are you too busy in your own world? Learn how to stay connected during sex and savor some of the sweetest spice that God created—intimacy.
Don’t buy into the lie that sex is for your husband, and you are just along for the ride.
God created women different than men, and we have important things to bring to the table. Embrace your creativity. Instead of imagining hot sex, make it happen. Learn how to use your words, and you will create a powerful way to get out of your head and nurture excitement. Learn how to stay connected during sex, and you will help your husband move beyond mechanics toward intimate connection. Embrace your role as the sexy, spicy wife that God intended.
In 2012 Ruth invited eight friends onto her porch to share what she had discovered about sex. Since that time almost 1500 women and 300 men have taken Awaken Love either in person or using video classes. Her heart is to open up the conversation of sex in small groups in order to change the culture of sex in the church. She also blogs, speaks, and published her first book, Awaken Love. You can find more information at www.awaken-love.net.
Draw out anticipation by taking off clothes slowly. You could perform a strip tease, easing out of your clothing bit by bit with a playful or sexy tone. Or he could strip tease for you! But you could also simply undress him at a leisurely pace. And tease his skin just at or under the edge of his clothing before removing an item.
3. Tour one another’s bodies.
Yes, we all know where the “goodies” are, but how about spending more time on the whole, amazing body God gave your husband? Using your hands and/or mouth, trace his skin in various places—limbs, torso, head—as if memorizing it. If you need help to slow down this endeavor, offer to spread lotion or massage oil on your husband. Or ask him to spread it on your body.
4. Say what you like or want.
When asked what makes a woman sexy, a common answer among husbands is “confidence.” I know, I know…easier said than done. But if you can say what you are enjoying in the moment or request what you want, that’s a confident move and typically arousing to your man. Not to mention that you then get more of what you want and like in bed! After all, how is your hubby supposed to know how things feel to you unless you tell him? Speaking up for yourself is a win-win.
5. Spend some time “down there.”
Do you really know your husband’s penis? Could you, as they say, pick it out from a lineup? If not, maybe it’s time to engage in man-part appreciation. For general information, listen to our Male Anatomy podcast episode, but for specifics, explore all those places on your particular guy. Move into position where you can closely view and handle things down there. As you touch your husband, watch his reactions so that you learn what he likes and how you affect him. God created this vital part of his body, and both of you can be aroused by embracing its wondrousness.
You might not get one if you’re relying solely on intercourse, as many women have difficulty achieving it this way. But if you aim for your climax first, you could: orgasm before he enters; have him penetrate right as you’re beginning to peak; and/or get a second orgasm during intercourse. No bad options there, right? Plus, the arousal your body goes through to reach orgasm should make your vaginal lips ready for penetration—that is, swollen to 2-3 times their normal size and well-lubricated. (If you need additional lube, though, go for it.)
7. Pause once he’s inside you.
You can do this for a few seconds or longer, but once your husband’s penis is all the way in, take a moment to savor that feeling before thrusting begins. Do this yourself from a woman-on-top position, or ask him to stop for a moment until you’re ready to continue—or, let’s face it, until he can’t easily handle the delay any longer. It’s pretty amazing how God created our bodies to fit together, so take a brief interlude and appreciate that experience.
8. Tilt your hips.
Whatever sexual position you use, tilt your hips. More. A little more. You might be delightfully surprised how shifting your hips forward or backward changes the angle of entry and thus the sensations you feel. Even if you don’t orgasm during intercourse, indirect stimulation of the clitoris can be particularly enjoyable, and hip-tilting can help you get some friction to that area. Some couples are also able to achieve contact with her G-spot or Skene’s glands, the latter of which (experts believe) is responsible for female ejaculation.
Want specific position ideas? Check out the resource below.
9. Close your thighs.
This isn’t possible with every sexual position obviously, but you can tighten things up a bit for your husband by closing your thighs, down to your knees. Yep, women were once instructed to avoid sex by keeping their knees closed. But it turns out, once hubby’s in, that’s a good way to narrow the entryway slightly, potentially providing more pleasure for both of you. For even more narrowing, try crossing your legs.
10. Do Kegels.
You know those Kegel exercises you’re supposed to be doing for the health of your pelvic floor? Why not do a few while he’s inside you? A wife’s orgasm creates muscle spasms of her vagina, which tightens around his penis, feeling good to both of you. But you can mimic those spasms a bit with Kegels. Bonny Burns lays out in this post from OysterBed7 how Kegels can also strengthen your orgasm. Since you’re supposed to be doing them anyway, why not during sex?
11. Snuggle after sex.
Do you bask in the afterglow? This could be a key moment for you and your husband to feel more intimate and satisfied. Post-climax, you have several body chemicals running through you, including oxytocin (which promotes a sense of bonding), dopamine (which “rewards” us for what just happened), and serotonin (which provides a feeling of well-being and happiness). Let these feelings wash over you while lying in one another’s arms.
And yes, ladies, you should get up and pee post-coitus, but you needn’t panic about it. Health professionals say you can take several minutes to an hour to make it to the bathroom and still get the health benefits of clearing your bladder.
12. Thank God for His gift.
I’ve encouraged couples to pray for their sexual intimacy and even before, during, or after sex. Still, some are uncomfortable with the thought of God in their bedroom. I get it. It can feel awkward to be mid-intercourse and imagine God blessing your union right then and there. But afterward, take a moment to thank Him for this unique gift to marriage. And if you’re still struggling with sexual issues or concerns, take those to Him too—letting Him carry your burdens and leave you with His peace. (See Psalm 68:19 and Matthew 11:28-29.)
Or just imagine giving Him a thumbs-up for that awesome orgasm you just had. Whatever works for you.
*This post is for couples who have a reasonably healthy sex life. If you’re looking for advice on dealing with deeper sexual problems or a sexless marriage, I have many other posts on those topics and a search bar at the top of this website.