I like giving a holiday gift to my readers—something that says both Merry Christmas and thank you! After all, I wouldn’t be here but for those of you who read, follow, subscribe, share, and comment on my posts.
This year, I took an oldie but goodie and updated it! Below are downloadable gift certificates for wife and husband to tuck into one another’s stockings or place under the tree. Each certificate entitles the bearer to a loving or sexy gift and includes a quote from Song of Songs.
Print them all to create a book or stack of certificates or simply use the ones you like and leave the rest behind. For sturdier certificates, print on photo paper or card stock. Each page has three certificates, and you merely need to cut the page horizontally into thirds.
My last post covered what I believe to be the top myth women learn about sex in Christian circles: Sex is for him. (If you haven’t, go read the whole post here.) Today I wanted to follow up with what I’ve concluded is the top myth Christian men learn.
Again, this is not a scientific conclusion, since I don’t have data to back me up. But I listened to men — in person, online, in articles, in research, etc. — and asked husbands in my closed Facebook group to give their answers. And nearly all responses related to this one myth:
Your sexuality is a problem.
While we see messages in the opposite direction — that something’s wrong with a guy who isn’t wanting it all the time — most Christian men seem to hear at one point or another that their sexuality is a problem for them and/or their wife. Why? Because it’s too shallow, too intense, too aggressive … just too much.
You have my sympathy, men. And my acceptance — because I wholeheartedly believe God created male sexuality to be a wonderful benefit to marriage.
Let’s look at the some of the specific messages husbands reported learning about sex that lead to this overall myth that his sexuality is a big, big problem.
You have to earn sex.
We speak both seriously and jokingly about all the things a husband must do to create the right atmosphere for her to say yes. And while there’s some real truth to that, it can also feel to a man like sex is a reward he has to earn. His sexuality only gets attention when he follows all the “rules” or completes the necessary requirements.
As an intimacy author and speaker, I can attest to the difficulty in threading this needle just so — because yes, we should put forth effort to make sex feasible and meaningful, but it shouldn’t be used as a bargaining tool. (See The Bad Plan of Bartering for Sex.)
Your desire for sexual intimacy with your wife should matter more than you taking out the garbage or mowing the lawn. Those are good things too, but you shouldn’t be made to feel like sex is a treat you earn.
Emotional intimacy is better.
Through the years, several husbands have reported going to Christian marriage counseling, bringing up the lack of sex in their marriage, and being told by the counselor that sex wasn’t that important — that the wife’s desire for emotional closeness through communication and affection were far more worthwhile.
Um, excuse me, would someone like to tell God that?
We have biblical commands to make love in marriage, but — racking my brain — I cannot think of a scripture that specifically says we must converse in marriage. Now don’t go away thinking that you’re off the hook! Because all those verses about loving each other strongly imply that you listen, engage, and respect your spouse. But my point is simply that sex is clearly important in marriage, because it’s specifically addressed in God’s Word.
More importantly, sex is emotional. Or should be. Emotional intimacy matters! But sexual intimacy should not be pushed to the side as if it is lesser than. Especially when that’s a significant way many husbands connect emotionally to their wives.
She’ll never enjoy it as much as you do.
Some men are prepped from the get-go to believe that their sexuality is and will be a problem, because she won’t like it the way he does. Thus, it becomes this conundrum of how he can satisfy his sexual longings while not being too much of a bother to his wife.
Husbands choose different strategies, such as playing “will she or won’t she?” with tentative advances or attempts to read her mood day by day. Perhaps they try to get sex over with quickly, and some wives encourage this (because they heard their own myths), or they downplay her orgasm. They might masturbate instead of pursuing her. Or simply build up resentment against their sex drive.
Meanwhile, husbands with higher-drive wives are caught off-guard to discover that she enjoys it as much or more than he does. And squaring the myth with the reality proves challenging, and can even make him feel like less of a man. (You’re not, but I get it. See A Letter to the Low-Drive Husband.)
Look, few couples have equally matched sex drives. About 70-80% of the time, the husband has the greater desire. But that’s still a lot of marriages where it’s the wife. Regardless, if the mismatch causes a problem — it’s a we problem that you just have to work out together.
She’ll enjoy it as much as you do.
Hold up, hold up, you’re saying. This is the exact opposite of the previous point, so how they can both count as spreading the overall myth? Great question! But what I noticed in husbands’ responses is some guys learned that if you wait until marriage, both husband and wife will be all over each other, all the time, and it will be fantastic — like Skittles candy rainbows all day, every day.
And then, they get married, and it doesn’t happen quite like that. So they conclude on their own or get told that their sexuality is the problem. Perhaps it seems like they want sex too much. Or what actually happens is that she enjoys it more than he does — and what on earth are you supposed to do with that?!
We are complex beings, with a range of physiology, personality, values, and experiences that all shape your sexual interest. When you get married, an individual marries an individual, and then your sexuality becomes about our sexuality — and you have to work that out together. Welcome to the challenges and joys of relationship!
Once you’re married, temptation will end.
“Once you get married, you won’t be so tempted to lust or watch porn because you’ll be getting sex with your wife.” And you might think this doesn’t work with the whole your sexuality is a problem myth, because on its face, this statement sounds like your sexuality isn’t a problem — as long as it’s directed at your wife.
But when you get married, and you’re still struggling, you can feel like your sexuality is a problem. When what’s actually a problem is sin.
We probably use food analogies with sex too often, but they work so well! So here I go: The idea that getting married will quash your porn habit makes about as much sense as saying that a well-prepared meal will keep you from eating junk food between meals. Good food will help, but if you’ve trained yourself to raid the pantry every day for Red Bull and Twinkies, that habit isn’t going to go away just because someone put a healthy salad in your face. And the problem isn’t food, but your misuse of it.
You have to work on the bad habits and the temptation itself. A quality sex life can help, but it will not stop you from sinning. And really, your sin will make it difficult for you to have a quality sex life, because your spouse deserves your full sexual attention.
Is Male Sexuality a Problem?
Some Christian men received a mixed message that could almost be expressed as: Left to its own, the male sexual desire is a savage beast beating at its cage, and if completely released, it can wreak destruction! … So go use it with the woman you love.
Wait, what?! Even if your sex drive is an animal, you can train it. Just like you have to train everything in your life! As a child, you had to figure out how to walk, how to talk, how to use the bathroom (they even call it potty training). But nobody says walking, eating, and using the bathroom are a problem. They are good and healthy parts of being human, knit together by the Master Himself.
One particular husband in my Facebook group summarized so well how some men have been made to feel about their sexuality:
“…it’s not just that we are taught our sexual feelings are ‘big and bad’, which we totally are. It’s that we are not taught that our sexuality is as divinely appointed a part of the whole of who we are as is our spirituality, our intelligence, our physicality, etc. We are taught, or left to conclude, that our sexual self and all of the accompanying feelings, is corrupt, fallen, should be despised, and must be defeated. It’s not just our actual struggles we feel guilty about, it is for having sexuality.”
Ray, married 26 years
If you’ve been taught your sexuality is bad, gentlemen, that’s a lie. Yes, Satan desires to twist anything and everything in our lives to move us away from the vast blessings God can give us. But your sexuality is from God, and He knew exactly what He was doing when He created you. “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalm 139:14).
With a title like that, it’s really not fair for me to withhold the answer, is it? But I should first admit that I have no research to back this up, just years and years of hearing from Christian women about what messages they absorbed in the culture around them—church and secular—about sex. And, sadly, they learned this:
Sex is for him.
This myth that God created sex more for men — and its corollary that He thus cares more about men’s sexuality than ours — has floated around like a dark mist that many wives struggle to wave away.
Did anyone say those words to us exactly? No, but it was the underlying message of a bunch of other advice we received. Did you, sweet wife, happen to hear any of the following Greatest Worst Hits?
Teen guys have a hard time stopping.
“Teen guys struggle with their sex drive, so you need to be the one to stop things from going too far. ” As if SHE doesn’t struggle too?
When I was sixteen years old, two married women in my church offered to teach a Wednesday evening class for young ladies. From a place of wanting the best for us, they warned us about the intensity of a teen male’s sex drive. It was described almost like a bucking bull just inside the rodeo chute; one crack in the gate, and all heck would break loose. (Don’t get the rodeo analogy? Watch the video below.)
And you know who had their hand on the latch? We young ladies.
Since their libidos were wild animals, we had to be in charge of making sure nothing broke out of the pen. Unfortunately, I recall sitting there in class wondering who was going to help me tame my inner beast. Because sex sounded really interesting to me too.
Even gals who didn’t have as strong a drive were at least curious. But since saying so might mean we were wayward young ladies, many of us either denied our drive, interest, curiosity or decided we were fighting a losing battle and should just unlatch the gate already.
Most boys/young men masturbate.
“Most teen boys masturbate because the resulting climax is so satisfying. “This practice might have been accepted, tolerated, or condemned, but it was presumed that he has a longing to experience the physical release of a climax. Ignoring that SHE would also like to know what it feels like to orgasm.
Females masturbate. Not with the frequency that males do, but when your goodies are all tucked away, it’s not so obvious or easy or even tempting to fondle yourself all the way to climax. Some girls do it anyway, and some don’t.
But most gals are just as curious about what it would feel like to have a sexual orgasm as the guys are. And we are drawn to the physical pleasure and release of climax.
Should we masturbate? That’s a different question. But interest in experiencing the physical sensation of an orgasm? Women have it too.
If you don’t have sex regularly, your husband might cheat.
“You need to have sex regularly in marriage, to help him the avoid temptation to cheat.” Honestly, there’s a thread of truth in this one (see 1 Corinthians 7:5-9), but where is this admonition for husbands? Are we saying that he needs sex a lot, and SHE doesn’t?
And this makes sex sound like merely a preventative measure. Along the lines of “if you don’t need get a flu shot, you might end up horribly sick for a week” or “if you don’t floss your teeth, they’ll fall out.” You and your teeth don’t have equal choice, but in marriage-adultery, both sides are conscious actors. Adultery, therefore, would not be the wife’s fault just because the adulterer didn’t get his groove on as much as he wanted.
Interestingly enough, negative consequences are not a great motivator for positive action (see “What Motivates Employees More: Rewards or Punishments?” – Harvard Business Review). Strong warnings can work well in getting us to not do something — like smoke or cross the street at the wrong time — but not so well if we have to exert effort to prevent the bad thing from happening. So saying do not commit adultery and listing negative consequences makes far more sense than saying do have a lot of sex and listing adultery as a negative consequence. If we want a wife to engage in more sex, we should stress all the benefits to her and the marriage! Because there are plenty.
Men are turned on by looking at women.
“Men love to look at women; it’s just how God made them.” Also not so much a myth—though plenty of women are visual—but growing up, I never heard the other side of how God made women to be aroused. Which made it seem like we didn’t have our own temptations or our arousal didn’t matter as much.
Women are typically more turned on through the senses of hearing and touch. We tend to be auditory and tactile. I wish I’d known that a long time ago. I wish someone had acknowledged how we ladies get aroused, and how that can be both our struggle outside of marriage and our blessing inside of marriage.
I mean, my husband probably should be a little jealous of how in love I am with Dean Martin simply because of his singing voice (though him being dead certainly lessens the competition), but when my husband’s low, rumbling voice whispers in my ear?…
Sorry, I had to go fan myself for a moment.
Never say no to your husband.
“Never say no to a sexual advance from your husband.” This one has come from so many different circles, I don’t really know where to begin. I understand how well-meaning the advice is, because it’s important for wives to be fully engaged in the sexual intimacy in their marriage. But seriously, never say no to your husband? Does that mean HER needs and desire in the moment don’t matter?
Also, there’s a convention-center sized group of higher-drive wives reading this right now and wanting to scream: Did anyone ever tell the men to never say no to their wife?! *waves to ladies* Yes, I see you there, and you make a great point: This advice tends to be lopsided.
If Corinthians 7:3-5 should teach us anything, it’s that sex in marriage is mutual. It matters for both husband and wife.
It’s a necessary act in marriage.
“It’s just what you have to do in marriage.” Sadly, some wives who never learned to fully embrace or enjoy sex themselves characterize sex as a clause in the marriage contract you cannot get out of — though you wish you could. As if it’s written somewhere: “The female party, referenced throughout as ‘Wife’ agrees to faithfully, industriously, and to the best of her skill, experience and talent, perform all of the duties required of the position, including that thing where he wiggles around on top you while you mentally make your grocery list.”
Every time I think about this attitude, I am caught between wanting to cry for the wives who believed or experienced sex like this and wanting to scream about the madness and misery of this myth!
Thank heaven that we’re dispelling that myth more and more these days. Thus freeing up wives to express their sexuality, pursue answers when they don’t experience pleasure or orgasm in the bedroom (their right, according to Scripture), and just revel in a good ol’ romp with their husbands.
Hopefully, by this point you’ve identified what wrong messages might have led you to believe, even in the smallest way, that sex is ultimately for him. It’s not, dear wife. It’s for you too.
God was well-aware of what He was creating when He made women — including her unique sexuality, her longings and desires, her mutual contribution to sexual intimacy in the marriage bed.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Your body and your sexuality are fearfully and wonderfully made, and they matter. Sex is for your husband, created and delivered by God, but don’t buy the myth that sex was created mostly or exclusively for him. God longs for you to enjoy it too.
Have you heard the term sports widow? That’s what they call a wife who receives little to no attention from her husband during one of more sports seasons. Some of you ladies are nodding your head right now.
Sports seasons can affect your sex life too. Either his sexual interest takes a back seat while he’s front-row fanning for his team, or he neglects the lead-up to sexual intimacy and wonders why you’re aren’t ready at the drop of a rah rah to get bedroom busy.
Mind you, some of you wives are the ones sucking in the sports season like slushie through a straw. And you don’t need to be neglect your sexy self either.
With the football playoff season, World Series coming up, and whatever else is going on — didn’t hockey season just start? — it’s time for some tips on how to keep sexual intimacy going during the sports season. And even tie the two together for more fun!
1. Kiss Every Time Your Team Scores.
Texas A&M University has long had a tradition that when you take a date to the football game, you are supposed to kiss him/her after a touchdown. That’s a good way to motivate fans to root for their team to put points on the board. If your team gets lucky, so do you.
Why not use this approach with your favorite sport and team? Let your husband know that you’ll be giving and/or expecting a kiss if and when your team scores. Then make it a worthwhile smooch, the kind that will having you both cheering on the team to score again … very soon.
2. Wear a Team Jersey—and Nothing Else.
Whether you watch the game with him, or just sit on the same couch and read your book or knit, show up wearing his team’s jersey and nothing else. For many husbands, that’s a good way to keep his eyes from being entirely glued to the game. After all, his gorgeous wife is inches away, looking and feeling sexy, which is well worth some divided attention.
If you want, you can give your husbands peeks from time to time, bending over just so to show off your cleavage, your bum, or something even more promising. Show him that you support his team, but even more … you want your husband to score.
3. Make Out During Commercials.
Do you really need to see another commercial for an automobile, beer, or Viagra? How about skipping those altogether and using the breaks for hot-and-heavy kissing?
There’s even something sexy about getting going and then having to stop when the game returns. With your kissing coming in spurts over the course of a couple of hours, you’ll likely both reach the end with breathless anticipation of what you can do together post-game.
4. Introduce Sexy Rewards.
Let’s say your team scores a run or a goal. What sexual favor does that get you or him or both of you? How about suggesting a sexy game to go along with your team’s performance?
Create a reward card defining out the team’s achievements will translate into something sexual for you two. Like this one for baseball:
Each of you can have a card and keep track during the game, to see what you two will get to enjoy later. You could also make him/her cards, with different activities for each. You could make your reward more romantic, more specific, or whatever you want. Make it work for you! Below is a PDF that you can print and fill in for yourself.
You’ve heard of Strip Poker, right? When you lose a hand, you have to remove a piece of clothing. What if you played a positive version of Strip Poker, but with your sports team involved? Every time your team gets a touchdown, a goal, a run, or any other scoring achievement you negotiate, one or both of you remove clothing.
If your team has a great game, you’ll both end up naked by the time the final play happens. If not, you can look forward to finishing the task yourselves—which would be a nice way to soothe yourselves over the loss.
But what if you’re watching the game with other people around?
6. Tally Up the Score for Private Post-Game Activity.
You two can keep score without people around knowing that the team’s performance has an effect on what kind of sexual activity you’ll be having later. Make it something simple, like every time the team scores you wink at each other. Each wink is worth a kiss or sexual favor after the game ends and you finally get to be alone.
Or come up with a code word or phrase that doesn’t mean to them what it means to you. You could shout “That’s one for us!” with your friends/family thinking that’s one more score for the team, while you and your husband know that’s one more sexual activity for you two later.
After all, sports and sex shouldn’t be in competition with each other. They can both enhance your life and your bedroom. Just be intentional in making it happen!
I have one word for my life lately: discombobulated. Lately, I don’t know which way I’m going, what’s next on my schedule, and how I can keep up. I even found myself waking up this week at 1:30 a.m. to meet an article deadline. (I returned to bed by 4:00 a.m., but still…)
Anyway, I didn’t get my blog post written this week. But that’s okay because it gives me an opportunity to extend a last-minute invitation to wives to join a study being run by my close friend and fellow marriage blogger, Chris Taylor of The Forgiven Wife.
Here’s what she says:
I am leading an online study of the book Passion Pursuit, by Linda Dillow and Juli Slattery.
Passion Pursuit is for Christian wives in generally healthy marriages. If you are in marriage that involves on-going unrepentant sin (such as abuse, porn addiction, or infidelity), you are better off seeking professional or pastoral counseling to address those issues.
If you are a Christian wife who wants to learn God’s truth about sex and pursue sexual passion in marriage, this study is for you!
To read more about it and sign up (now because the deadline is tomorrow), head over to her post HERE.