Tag Archives: christian sex

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.

Ad for Pillow Talk: 40 Conversations About Sex for Married Couples

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.

Christmas Gift Certificates for Your Spouse

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.

Gift certificates for him: Click HERE to Download

Preview

Christmas-Gift-Certificates-for-Him

Gift certificates for her: Click HERE to Download

Preview

Christmas-Gift-Certificates-for-Her

Merry Christmas!

from J at Hot, Holy & Humorous

Some previous years’ gifts:

Q&A with J: Are Separate Bedrooms Okay?

Today’s question is an interesting one, and a take on separate bedrooms I’d never considered before. Here’s what the wife asks:

Is having separate bedrooms a sin? We have sex several times a day…. I cannot sleep in the same bed as my husband. I wake up numerous times a night. He is hot (temperature) and I wake up sweating. He also snores. … He tells me that separate bedrooms are the fast way to divorce. I’m not leaving. I just want to sleep a full nights sleep in my pajamas and read for 10 minutes before turning off the lamp and going to sleep.

Is sleeping apart a sin?

No, having separate bedrooms is not a sin. 

In various cultures and eras, separate bedrooms were used by husband and wife, including men and women in the Bible. One example is Genesis 31:33: “So Laban went into Jacob’s tent and into Leah’s tent and into the tent of the two female servants, but he found nothing. After he came out of Leah’s tent, he entered Rachel’s tent.” Jacob, Leah, and Rachel all had their own tents, and that setup doesn’t appear to have been unusual.

Will separate beds cause divorce?

Today, the National Sleep Foundation reports that 1 in 4 couples sleeps in separate beds. The divorce rate is about 33% (it’s hard to calculate, but that’s close), and I simply cannot believe that separate-bed couples account for a big percentage of that. So clearly, some couples are sleeping apart and remaining married.

If everything else in the marriage is good, why would not spending time together during the part of the day you’re mostly unconscious cause you to lose your commitment to one another?

What are the benefits of separate beds?

One can make a good case that separate beds actually benefit the marriage and your sex life. By not sharing bed, you avoid issues of snoring, cover-hogging, needing different mattress firmness, noise and light preferences, and falling asleep at opposite times or in unmatched ways. Dodging those interruptions contributes to achieving more and better sleep.

And quality sleep could help you get along better. We all know that feeling of being sleep-deprived and feeling a little snippy with others. But a specific marriage study conducted in 2017 with 43 couples demonstrated that a lack of sleep (less than 7 hours) heightened stress and conflict. If both spouses hadn’t slept enough, arguments became more hostile. Not a good outcome for marriage.

Fatigue is also named as one of the primary reasons why lower-drive spouses don’t feel like engaging in sex or struggle to participate fully. Sex requires some energy, and if you’re wiped out from not sleeping well, you don’t have as much juice to devote to sexual intimacy. As one husband who admitted to not sleeping with his wife said: “We have the most active sex life of any couple I’ve spoken with on the subject. Let’s face it — lack of energy is a far greater threat to an active sex life than lack of opportunity. And we are better rested.”

What are the drawbacks of separate beds?

If you moved into different bedrooms, and sexual intimacy fell off, then yes, it could be a problem. This questioner actually says, “We have sex several times a day.” Several times a day? That’s quite a lot for any marriage. I hardly believe that sleeping separately at night will kill that sex life.

But for many couples, sleeping apart may indeed cause problems. Drawbacks could include less sexual intimacy, not sleeping as well without your spouse, losing physical touch, and missing connection times. Sleeping apart usually reduces the opportunities you have to talk, touch, and make love. You could make that up at other times, but the question is will you?

Some couples who end up in separate beds drift apart in other ways, as they simply spend less time together. And some spouses actually head to another bedroom to avoid communication, affection, or sex—in which case, this is obviously a bad idea.

What about temporary arrangements?

Most couples at one time or another sleep in different beds, due to illness, caring for children, rampant snoring, or even that rare argument that makes you want a little more time to cool off. 

If the situation is temporary, it’s not likely to change your overall marriage. But it’s worth discussing how it might affect each of you and looking for ways to minimize any negative consequences.

What about this specific situation?

Back to the original question, it’s certainly not a sin to sleep in separate beds. It strikes me that all of your reasons for wanting to do so are reasonable—your desire to wind down through reading, his snoring, your sweating, and your waking up several times a night. You’re not dodging him or sex, just trying to get a good night’s sleep.

First, try addressing the issues that get in the way of you getting sleep while in the same bed. But if that doesn’t work, you could snuggle up and stay until your husband falls asleep, head to the other bedroom. Then you can both get the rest you need.

Intimacy Revealed Ad

Sources:  “Lack of Sleep Fuels Harmful Inflammatory Response to Marital Stress.” Newswise = Smart News Connection. Accessed December 04, 2018. https://www.newswise.com/articles/view/676974/; 
“My Wife and I Sleep in Separate Bedrooms. Our Marriage (and Sex Life) Have Never Been Better.” Los Angeles Times. March 26, 2018. Accessed December 05, 2018. https://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-austin-separate-bedrooms-20180326-story.html. 

#1 Myth Christian Men Learned About Sex

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.

God created male sexuality to be a wonderful benefit to marriage. @hotholyhumorous Click To Tweet

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).

Your sexuality is from God, and He knew exactly what He was doing when He created you. @hotholyhumorous Click To Tweet

If your sexuality has been marred by sin, address that! But embrace your sexuality itself as a God-given benefit to your marriage, one that can spur you on to greater intimacy with your wife.