Tag Archives: christian sex

Should You Use a Dildo?

When the subject of wives who have difficulty orgasming comes up, oftentimes people suggest using a vibrator. That can be a good addition to a couple’s sexual intimacy, if it’s mutually engaged and doesn’t get in the way learning how to arouse one another well and enjoy skin-to-skin contact. You can see more about my thoughts on that here: Q&A with J: Is It Okay to Use Sex Toys?

But what about penis-shaped vibrators, or dildos?

Women have long used dildos.

A dildo is defined as “an object resembling a penis used for sexual stimulation” (Merriam-Webster). And dildos have been around a loooong time. The first written use of the word dildo comes from a rather bawdy poem written by Thomas Nash in 1592-3, but given its use, the word was probably well-known before then.

Preshistoric Phallus
Thilo Parg / Wikimedia Commons, License
License: CC BY-SA 3.0

Go back further to ancient Greece, 411 B.C., to be precise, and Aristophanes presented the play Lysistrata, in which women go on a sex strike against their husbands to end a war and bring them home. In the wives’ original complaint, Lysistrata explains: “And not the slightest glitter of a lover! And since the Milesians betrayed us, I’ve not seen the image of a single upright man to be a marble consolation to us.” The Milesians manufactured those “marble consolations,” aka dildos, but they were no longer being imported because of the war.

Take your time machine back even further: Archaeologists have discovered penis-shaped objects dating back to prehistoric times. Although experts largely dodge the issue of whether they were used as sex toys, when you see them, it’s a little tough not to think that someone could have used these phalluses for stimulation.

Thus, whether or not to use a dildo is an age-old question. But these days, it’s far easier to get one—just click on an online store and in a few days it’s delivered to your door.

Click to listen to our podcast episode on sex toys!

Are there are concerns about dildo use?

Hygiene

If you looked at that museum photo up there, you might wonder about the hygiene involved in using a stone phallus like that. But today, we have cleaner materials, hot, running water, and cleansers that can help you keep sex toys safe for use.

So hygiene shouldn’t be a big concern, as long as you regularly and fully clean the item according to instructions.

Your expectations

We get used to things when we use them, whether it’s our favorite pair of broken-in jeans or the appliance we finally figured out how to use or the toy we incorporate into our sex life. Using a dildo sets up expectations within your body about size, stimulation, and satisfaction. If you grow to enjoy the sensations of a dildo, will you enjoy the other stuff as much?

Plenty of people argue they’re just expanding their repertoire, and this is a different sensation, not a better one. That’s a good point. Except I’ll be honest: I’ve heard too many wives say things like, “I don’t even need a man. My vibrator works does the job as well or better.”

A too-large number of women have grown used to the stimulation of a vibrating dildo and believe it’s as effective or more effective than their husband’s penis. So let’s ask the tough question of what expectations we’re setting up with the marital aids we use in our bedrooms. How do they change what our body expects and desires?

Your husband’s feelings

Let me share with you an email I received recently from a husband. He wrote about finding his wife’s dildo at their house. He didn’t know about its existence before he came across it, which is clearly an issue that needs to be addressed. But he also says this:

It’s a dildo and the first thing that came to my mind was how inadequate I felt next to that thing. I could understand if the dildo was a little bit smaller, the same size, or even a bit bigger. But this thing is double my size. 9 or 10 inches and really wide. I’m not a very big guy 4.5 inch long and kind of thin. I can’t compete with that thing when it comes to intercourse.

Yep. Dildos can do things men can’t do. Because we can engineer them that way—longer, wider, differing temperatures, vibration, and so on.

I’m always mystified when a wife wonders aloud why her husband opposes the use of a vibrating dildo in their bedroom. Given that the average penis is 5.16 inches in length and 4.59 inches in girth (see Q&A with J: “Is My Penis Big Enough?”), and many dildos are 6-7 inches, how do you think that comes across to a husband? Not to mention that he can’t make motions like that. So is it really surprising to discover that a wife begging to use a dildo could make her husband feel inadequate?

Let’s turn the tables. Imagine if in the midst of lovemaking, your husband said, “I don’t want to penetrate your vagina. I’d rather use a penis sleeve.” (For those who don’t know, a penis sleeve is a hollow, cylindrical device, made with materials that mimic or “improve on” the vagina, into which a man can insert his penis and experience sexual stimulation.) That might be reasonable if your vagina is absolutely, under no circumstances whatever, an option. But to know that your husband prefers that would be hurtful for many wives.

So I get it when husbands object or secretly feel hurt.

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Are dildos really that bad?

Using or not using a dildo is not a salvation issue! And you are free to disagree and choose a different path for your marriage bed, because God gave us free will.

That said, we often ask this question: Where’s the line? That is, what can I include in my bedroom that won’t cross some invisible boundary?

And it’s the wrong question. That approach is about how much you can selfishly pursue rather than what leads to mutual pleasure, marital intimacy, and mature faith. Instead, we should ask: How can we best honor God in our sexual intimacy?

So should you use a dildo? Will that honor God in your sexual intimacy?

I can imagine a situation where the answer would be yes. For instance, a man who is physically, medically incapable of becoming erect could find it intimate to pleasure his wife with a penis-shaped object while touching her in other ways as well. And she might enjoy that experience as well. Even then, I’d consider which dildo to get, but I can see such a choice honoring God’s design for physical intimacy in a marriage.

But most of us aren’t in that situation. Rather, the desire to include a dildo in sexual activity comes from several possibilities, including:

  • Lack of sufficient sexual frequency for her
  • Frustration at not having an orgasm yet, either ever or during penetration
  • Husband not spending enough time or knowing how to help her become aroused and/or reach orgasm
  • Desire to “spice things up” by adding a sex toy

And there are ways to address these issues without the drawbacks dildos often bring. In fact, this blog and my books are chock-full of ideas. I suggest starting with Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design.

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Does Your Husband Prioritize Your Orgasm?

Now and then, I get a question that goes something like this:

My husband always climaxes during sex, but I often don’t. I leave feeling unsatisfied and even frustrated that I didn’t get to have my orgasm, when he always gets to have his. He wishes I could get there too, but doesn’t really put in the effort to get me there.

Sometimes there’s a caveat, like: I take a long time to reach orgasm, so I know it’s hard for him to keep going.

Regardless, this inquiry comes up often enough that I can say without doubt: Some husbands don’t prioritize their wife’s orgasm nearly enough.

Why doesn’t he prioritize her orgasm?

Sure, a husband could be a selfish lover who goes after his own satisfaction without taking full consideration of his wife’s sexual desires. But oftentimes, it’s something else.

Plenty of men don’t really understand how a woman’s arousal and orgasm work.

They haven’t been taught what it’s like for a woman. And without more to go on, they figure your orgasm should work like theirs. Meaning you get aroused, you have sex, you climax, and that’s that. It’s a fairly straightforward.

If your husband was exposed to pornography, or simply paid attention to movie and TV sex scenes, he may have also swallowed the ideas that a woman can be ready for intercourse quickly, that penetration will bring her to climax, and that if she isn’t orgasming, it’s a problem with her. Erroneous information, of course, but if this is what you’ve seen/heard all your life, it’s confusing when your wife doesn’t behave like that in bed.

If your husband doesn’t seem to understand how your arousal and climax work, ask if he’d be willing to listen to a podcast with you. It’s less than 26 minutes long, and if you use a podcast app and change the settings, you can listen to it even faster. (I often put mine on 1.2x speed.) Meaning it’s not much to ask! But it might help for your husband to hear four seasoned wives talking about how women’s sexual response works.

You can also get my book, Pillow Talk: 40 Conversations About Sex for Married Couples, which has several chapters in which you can explain what things are like for you and listen to what it’s like for him. By learning more about each other, without criticism or judgment, you can develop a healthier view of what you should be pursuing together for your sexual intimacy. Which involves climax.

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But there could be another good reason.

Women aren’t the only ones taught that sex is for him.

One of the biggest myths perpetuated both in secular and religious culture is that sex is primary for the husband. (Listen to Lies Woman Believe episode.) Except that’s not at all what God said. The passage often used to urge wives to have more sex with their husband, 1 Corinthians 7:3-5, doesn’t say, “Wives, give it up for your husband, whether you wanna or not.”

Although the passage talks about an obligation to have sex in marriage, that’s not the point! Paul’s main point is that there must be mutuality in the marriage bed! And if anything, the verse begins with her “marital rights,” not his: “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.”

Yet men have heard this passage and others used—as well as common advice given here, there, and everywhere—to say that the husband’s part is needing sex and the wife’s part is owing her husband sex. It’s total malarkey, but if this is the bad teaching your husband received, he may have come into marriage not expecting you to enjoy it as much as he does or believing your climax doesn’t matter as much as his.

Stinks, I know. But when we realize that our husbands also received wrong messages, we can see that it’s not malice that keeps him from aiming for your orgasm. He simply needs to learn the truth about what God desires for both of you in your marriage—a sizzling, satisfying sex life.

But how can you actually address the issue with him?

In addition to the ideas above, I suggest having a conversation away from the bedroom. Tell him what you desire and why. Explain to him how your body works. And ask how he would feel if he was super turned on but didn’t get his climax. I suspect he wouldn’t like that, and neither do you.

Now, not every wife feels the need to climax every time. But if climax isn’t a regular part of your lovemaking, you need to work toward that goal. God created women’s bodies to experience orgasm through the wonderful organ called the clitoris. Yep, that clitoris has one job and one job only—to make sex feel good. And when it gets to the peak of pleasure, you experience muscle spasms that should at least provide a sense of relief if not real excitement.

As to how to prioritize your orgasm, here are a few ideas:

1. Go for your orgasm before intercourse.

It’s a phrase you often hear: she goes first. And it’s not a bad idea. Especially since the average time he can last in intercourse is far less than the average time it takes for a woman to reach the level of arousal she needs to climax. Moreover, a lot of women don’t, or even can’t, climax during intercourse!

Read up on what really helps a woman climax here:

2. Try various positions to see if any/some of them result in climax for you.

They may not (see above), but it could be worth a shot.

For some wives, it’s better to be on top, so she can have more control with the thrusting and tilt her hips in a way that provides pressure against her clitoris. For other wives, a rear-entry position could result in the husband getting deeper and better friction. And for others, face-to-face is the key, but maybe angling your hips upward or putting your feet on his stomach or your knees over his shoulders (assuming that works with your size/height). A sex pillow might help you achieve better angling too.

I also have a chapter about positions in my Hot, Holy, and Humorous book that can walk you through ways to shift your bodies around and find something that might work for both of you.

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3. He stimulates your clitoris during intercourse.

You might combine intercourse and clitoral stimulation to achieve nice results. Get into a position in which he can reach your clitoral hood (that’s the knobby part of your clitoris that sticks out and swells when aroused). Make sure you have adequate lubrication, and add some personal lubricant if needed.

Give him tips on the level of pressure and amount of movement you desire. You may not know yourself until you try it out, but once he hits a good place, let him know. And since one thing doesn’t work for the whole time with most wives, let your husband know when you need him to slow down, increase speed, press harder, etc.

If you’re looking for which positions will work best, check out this page from Christian Friendly Sex Positions and choose “clitoral stimulation” in the search parameters:

4. Stimulate your own clitoris during intercourse.

It can be challenging for your husband to focus on his thrusting and your clitoral stimulation at the same time, so an alternative is for him to focus on the intercourse while you use your own fingers to bring yourself to climax.

Most husbands would be fine with this—and may find that enthusiasm arousing—but make sure your particular husband understands why you want to do this and that it isn’t taking away from the wonderful experience of having him inside you. If anything, having your husband inside when it happens can make a clitoral orgasm better.

5. Get your orgasm after intercourse.

Let him know the intercourse was great, but you’re not really done and would like to finish with an orgasm yourself. Suggest what you’d like for him to do to help you. Do you want him to manually stimulate you to climax? Do you want him to simply caress, kiss, fondle, etc. while you bring yourself to climax?

Your orgasm is still a mutual experience this way, with both of you focused on connection and pleasure.

Yes, I’m sure some husbands are exhausted post-intercourse and aren’t sure they have it in them to keep going. But if you can prevail a few times, I suspect he’ll see the benefit and realize it’s not much more to ask.

What if after all this, he still doesn’t prioritize your orgasm?

If you did all of this, and he still ignored your climax? Then I’d suspect the problem runs deeper than the bedroom, and I’d ask for marriage counseling.

But hopefully, one or more of the suggestions above will get the point across and help you both prioritize your pleasure—as God intended sex to be in your marriage.

Hubbies, Losing Weight Could Improve Your Sex Life

In a recent post, I tackled my concern that society as a whole and women in particular are harming male body image with unrealistic appearance expectations. Most of our husbands will never have a six-pack (unless you’re talking about the beer sitting in your fridge). Instead, we should appreciate the real men in our lives for who they are and how they look.

But here’s the flip side: I hear from wives struggling in their sex lives because their husband is seriously out-of-shape and overweight. I’m not talking about a few pounds. Rather, it’s a big health problem that negatively affects their sexual intimacy.

Once we ditch the ridiculous notions about body image, we are freer to embrace what really matters about our bodies: caring for our health. That’s simply taking care of the body God gave us. And while it applies to both women and men, I’m specifically addressing husbands today.

Once we ditch the ridiculous notions about body image, we are freer to embrace what really matters about our bodies: caring for our health. via @hotholyhumorous Click To Tweet

(For more about the wife side, check out Putting Your Body to Work to Help You Feel Beautiful, a guest post from Gaye Christmas or Feel Beautiful: Dust Off Your Exercise Shoes!)

Poor health can lead to performance issues.

Obese men have a 50% increase in erectile dysfunction compared with “normal weight” men, partly because obesity is related to medical conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, that affect both sex drive and performance. But also because obese men have lower levels of testosterone. Additionally, wives tell me their out-of-shape husbands fatigue more easily.

And some men worry about how big their penis looks when surrounded by a lot of bulk and are thus reticent about being naked and making love.

This doesn’t mean that being obese or out-of-shape means you’ll have problems or cannot engage in sex. Don’t put your sexual intimacy on hold! You can still have a good sex life now. But trimming down and getting more fit will have a positive impact on your own health and your sexual intimacy.

Some positions are off-limits or at least hard to do.

If a man outweighs his wife by many, many pounds, some man-on-top positions are going to be difficult to accomplish, if not impossible. Look, my hubby only outweighs me by about 30 pounds, and I sometimes push him up a little and say, “You’re crushing me.” Not, not literally. But it doesn’t feel good to have a whole bunch of weight pressing down on your body.

Again, don’t wait to enjoy sex! Chris Taylor of The Forgiven Wife wrote a wonderful two-part series on plus-sized lovemaking. I highly encourage you to go read it: Enjoy a Plus-Size Sex Life, Part 1 and Part 2. Christian Friendly Sex Positions also has an entire section with Sex Positions for Plus-Size Lovers. But the reality is that more angles and positions will open up once you pursue better health.

By the way, this is not true just for overweight people! One can certainly be out-of-shape and still in the weight window your doctor recommends. Any out-of-shape spouse will notice an increase in flexibility and stamina after investing in better health and exercise.

Taking care of your body can increase your appeal.

Let me begin here: The last thing I want to do is “fat-shame” anyone or suggest that some body types are less attractive. I don’t believe that at all! But if your actions indicate a lack of care in how you value your own body, it can be harder for your spouse to value your body as they should in the marriage bed.

And now and then, I’m contacted by a wife who says that her husband has gained so much weight that he has lost the musculature typical of the male build. With his high ratio of body fat, he sweats more and thus struggles with smelling good. There aren’t many clothes that flatter him. And it’s just not the man she married.

Every time I get those messages, I encourage the wife to accept and embrace the man she married. You do not need to wait for a lot of progress in the health/weight area to begin enjoying your sex life as much as possible. Moreover, a spouse should be an advocate for their beloved against the problem of obesity, not in contention with their beloved.

But I understand those feelings—the disappointment the wife feels that she isn’t quite as attracted to her husband as she used to be or could be, if only he would make some effort to care for his body a little more. Most of these wives are not asking for the superhero body, just wanting to see more of the man they love.

Let’s wrap it up.

Of course, I am aware that one’s weight is related to hereditary factors, health conditions, medication side effects, and more. But again, I’m not talking about some extra pounds, which are no big deal, but rather life-impacting obesity.

Moreover, I encourage you not to make goals based on height/weight charts, which do not take your particular body into account. If you want a target to aim for, get a health professional to do a full workup on your body that considers your bone structure, body fat percentage, etc., and you may find your goal weight is far less daunting than what was on the standard chart.

And lest you guys think I’m calling you out unfairly, I want to say that yes, I could say almost all of this to women as well. While I hate the ideal-body expectations out there that cause women to struggle so much with embracing their beauty, I also know that taking care of yourself is an important aspect of both life and your marriage. Your health matters.

But husbands, if this post describes you, could you take a step this coming week toward better health? Could you commit to doing something, a small something even, that shows you want to do better for yourself and for your marriage?

Sources: Gain Weight, Lose Your Sex Life? – Everyday Health; Erectile Dysfunction – Cleveland Clinic for Continuing Education

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Should You Have Sex or Make Love?

Several fellow Christian authors and bloggers have written about how couples should “make love” not “have sex.” These are colleagues I respect and admire, and I agree entirely with the principle underlying their point.

However, I’ve wondered if it really matters in common conversation. I’ve certainly talked about having sex in my own marriage, as one phrase among many options we have to describe our meaningful sexual intimacy. It would feel odd for me to label it as making love every time. In fact, my husband has been known to initiate in such unromantic ways as “Are we going to copulate today?” (His defense is “hey, it worked.”) Yet I still understand how meaningful sex is to him.

With this in mind, I posted to my closed Facebook group, outlining the issue and asking: What do you think about using “having sex”? Is it really important to you that you, your spouse, or others call it “making love?”

Here what I learned.

People have varied perspectives and preferences.

I cannot advise readers to use one phrase over another, because your spouse might see it differently. Among the answers I got were:

  • making love applies to the whole of sexual activities in the marriage bed while having sex is intercourse
  • making love feels cheesy and uncomfortable while having sex sounds more natural
  • having sex feels more shallow than making love
  • making love is long, slow, and passionate while having sex is fast-paced and pleasure-driven

And plenty said you can call it whatever you like, it’s always making love because that’s how their marriage bed feels.

The specific language matters a great deal to some—and not necessarily in one way or the other—and not as much to others. Whatever you call sexual intimacy in your marriage, however, it should sound respectful and attractive to your spouse. So ask what they like. You might find out it matters more than you thought or less than you thought.

Culture and generation are factors in word choice.

I remember talking to my sons once about what body parts are called these days…and being astounded by the common use of a word that has no negative connotation in their generation but certainly does in mine. Who’s right on this one? Well, we have to consider culture and context in word choices. In my culture, that label would be a no-go; in theirs, it’s not a big deal.

As it turns out, this appears to be true with making love and having sex—with several younger couples saying making love sounded weird, like a euphemism for people who can’t bring themselves to say the actual words. Now that’s not true of everyone their age, but it’s an interesting perspective.

Some phrases for sex might appeal to people from one region or in one generation or with one background while other phrases appeal to those from different regions, generations, and backgrounds. As an example, references to being “ridden” as part of sex don’t bother me a bit, maybe because I’m a Texan who’s ridden horses, enjoyed rodeos, and seen the affection a rider and the ridden can have. Yet for someone else, that phrase could feel understandably disrespectful. Culture and context matter.

Spouses want sex to be pleasurable and meaningful.

Whatever you call it, spouses want sex to be both pleasurable and meaningful. The point colleagues have made about making love > having sex gets at this very point. While I don’t see the importance of the phrasing the way they do, I agree entirely that sex should be more than a physical act. It should involve our whole selves—body, mind, heart, and soul.

The responses I got from the group members demonstrate this desire. Husbands and wives both want experiences that are physically exciting and satisfying, while recognizing the underlying commitment and intimacy to what they do in their marriage bed. As one husband aptly put it: “Yes, we have sex, intercourse, coitus, I ‘know my wife’, we ‘do it, have a quickie… and whatever else you call it, but in all of those things (and many others) we are making love to each other.”

Husbands and wives both want experiences that are physically exciting and satisfying, while recognizing the underlying commitment and intimacy to what they do in their marriage bed. @hotholyhumorous Click To Tweet

What will I call it in my resources?

I call it everything under the sun. I’m a writer, a crafter of words, a lover of language. I like using all the options available to me, as long as they are accurate and respectful. Since I don’t personally find anything problematic about having sex or making love, I’ll use both of those. But also sexual intimacy, physical intimacy, and any number of nicknames for The Deed. You can check out a few interesting euphemisms for sex here: What Euphemisms for Sex Do You Use?

But please know that I honor your desire for sex to be both pleasurable and meaningful. That is God’s design for sex in marriage—that both spouses feel good, feel connected, feel honored in this intimate experience.

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Here’s How to Talk to Your Spouse About Sex

Having sex can be awkward. Oddly enough, talking about sex can be even more awkward.

Blog post title + couple talking in bed

How do you bring up to your concerns, desires, or ideas to your spouse? What issues should you even talk about? How can you get them to understand you, and how can you possibly understand them?

It’s not easy, because you are two different people, with different histories, different perspectives, and different longings. But guess what? I’m making it much easier for you!

Pillow Talk Book Cover, click to learn more or find buy links

I’ve released a new book titled Pillow Talk: 40 Conversations About Sex for Married Couples. It provides you the framework for having productive conversations on all kinds of topics from kissing to sexual fantasies to frequency to erogenous zones to sexual baggage and much more.

This book is not prescriptive on what exactly your sex life should look like, but rather helps you discuss how you can address the sexual intimacy part of your marriage in a way that honors and satisfies both of you.

For some reading this, that may seem like a tall order. But I can’t think of anything in this book that would be problematic for either a higher-desire spouse or a lower-desire spouse. You each get the opportunity to express where you are and what you think. Of course, you’re often encouraged to not settle for the here-and-now but to pursue healthier and holier sexual intimacy, because that’s God’s design—for both of you and for your marriage.

To learn more about the book, head over to the Pillow Talk page on my site. You’ll find a full description, a sample view, and buy links. For a short time, the Pillow Talk ebook is offered at an introductory price of only $2.99! The print book is coming in early 2019.

I pray this resource will bless many marriages! Happy New Year.