Tag Archives: Hot Holy Humorous

Are Women Harming Male Body Image?

We’ve all seen the completely unrealistic images of women with uber-long legs, teeny waists, melon breasts, and flat tummies. They’re on magazine covers, billboards, advertisements, and posters plastered around your local mall. Too often, we look at those pictures and wonder, Is that what a beautiful woman looks like? Is that what men want?

I’ve written plenty about body image for wives, arguing that all those PhotoShopped, airbrushed images undermine the beauty of individual wives—who are varied in their appearance but beautiful nonetheless to the Creator who made them, to the husband who married them, and to all others who love them. Which should include ourselves.

The Era of the Six-Pack

These days, women are not the only ones having unrealistic images and ridiculous expectations pelted at them. Just ask any guy who’s semi-aware, and he’ll tell you the “six-pack” is the new must-have for many men.

When I Googled “how to get six-pack abs,” I got 76.5 million results. Admittedly nowhere near the 496 million one gets if they Google “how to get big boobs,” but still a crazy high number. And how many guys out there are actually going to end up with washboard abs?

Yet six-packs, tight butts, big biceps, and every other muscular show of masculine strength is all the rage now. From Magic Mike to male cover models to superhero movies, the men who garner attention female attention are sporting a body that most only get with a strict diet, extensive exercise, and methods like taking diuretics. And guess what? If a male model or actor is over a certain age and still sporting a six-pack, they may also have had surgical intervention, such as liposuction to suck out fat and reveal muscles more prominently.

Meaning the average man…just can’t live up to the ideal.

Before the Abs Frenzy Took Hold

A lean yet muscular look has become a new standard for male attractiveness. But it hasn’t always been. Just look at these classic actors once considered particularly handsome in their day (and yes, they’re shirtless to show what I mean, but I avoided anything I thought was too much):

With the exception of Paul Newman, those are all just men who are in good shape, reasonably muscled, but not ready to wear today’s Captain America unitard. They’d be sent to a dietitian and personal trainer to push themselves up to the new, ridiculous standard.

Chris Evans, the Captain America actor, told a magazine about getting into shape for his role in Avengers: Infinity War: “For this film it was about three months of training, and I wasn’t looking forward to it…I’ve always liked going to the gym, but these weren’t normal gym sessions. I was puking at the gym. They were brutal, absolutely brutal.”

Seriously, are we wanting our men to puke so that we can look at steel abs for an hour and a half? If so, I don’t think we can say that women are the only ones being fed a pile of poop when it comes to body image.

Are Women Leading This Charge?

I blame a lot of players for unreal beauty and strength standards in our culture—from casting agents to magazine publishers to advertising executives to gym promotions. But you know what? Long before the ab craze, there was Fabio. And who bought those books and fell for the cover model? Women.

Who’s sharing “man candy” pics on Twitter and Facebook? Women. (And a few gay men.)

Who oohs and aaahs over Jason Momoa’s chest? Women. (He’s the actor who played Aquaman.)

The truth is that I don’t know if women are leading the charge, but they are contributing. And for a group of people who don’t like having Barbie-shaped expectations thrown at them all the time and object to being objectified, maybe we should own our part and do better, ladies. Maybe it’s time to create a new standard in our minds for what a handsome man looks like.

What Do “Real Men” Look Like?

Real men have varied body types just like women. Some are lean, some are bulky. Some are broad-shouldered, some are narrow-shouldered. Some display strength in their chests, some in their legs. I could go on and on with the variations, but you get the point that God made a plethora of physiques, all of which can be appreciated.

But your average guy, even in shape, is not going to look like the next Fabio or Black Panther. And we wives shouldn’t make our husbands feel bad about that. Rather, we should regularly and honestly show that we like and desire our husband’s body. Men are struggling with body image too.

Men are struggling with body image too. @HotHolyHumorous Click To Tweet

Gary Thomas wrote a fabulous post about The Only Man/Woman in the World, talking about how our own spouses should become The Standard for us. And while that doesn’t mean we’re blind to the beauty or muscles of some very nice-looking people around us, it means that we cherish the real person we have in our lives.

The world will not suddenly stop the madness of throwing unrealistic body types at us, but we can make a difference in our own home by letting our husband know that he is The One for us.

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:

A Few of My Favorite Things for Christmas

Looking for gift ideas for Christmas? I’ve done so many posts on that topic that I will list them at the bottom of this post. But first, I want to highlight some of my favorite new offerings this season.

Peace. Love. Joy. from Calm.Healthy.Sexy.

Gaye Christmus of Calm.Healthy.Sexy. recently released Peace. Love. Joy. – 75 Simple Ways to Take Care of Your Health, Happiness, and Marriage this Holiday Season. I love Gaye’s approach to creating a life that’s simpler, stronger, and sexier. Once again, she applies her practical approach to the holidays—with lots of wonderful tips on making this season the very best it can be!

12 Sexy Days of Christmas from The Dating Divas

For both the crafty and craft-challenged, like me, The Dating Divas has a lot of resources to add romance and spice to your marriage. I’m impressed with the depth of detail put into their products, and here’s one that could help keep your sex life zooming over the holidays. The 12 Sexy Days of Christmas printable pack includes a countdown organizer, customizable envelope covers, and customizable activity and gift tags.

Intimacy Mentoring from The Forgiven Wife

Chris Taylor of The Forgiven Wife is starting a new endeavor of providing intimacy mentoring to wives who’ve struggled to engage in or enjoy sexual intimacy in their marriage. She’s offering a range of services from a weekly encouragement email to weekly personal check-ins and monthly videoconferencing. Wives, this could be just the right gift for yourself and your marriage. (And a quick note to frustrated husbands: I understand your frustration, but your wife should be the one to sign up.)

On-Sale Lingerie from Honoring Intimates

Honoring Intimates, a Christian-based lingerie and marital aid store, has good, quality items at reasonable prices. And right now, they’re offering a fabulous deal of 35% off orders of $30 or more! The deal is good through December 22nd with the code CHRISTMAS. Check it out.

affiliate link

A Christmas Short Story from Me

A couple of years ago, I wrote a short story just for Christmas. Under the Mistletoe a quick read and absolutely free! I recommend not only that you read it but pass it along to another couple. Stories are a great way to ease a friend into thinking about how wonderful God created sex in marriage to be.

It’s Christmas Eve, and Grace still hasn’t seen a present under the Christmas tree from her husband. When Todd announces there is no present coming, she feels snubbed, not realizing that he’s got a different surprise planned. But is his gift what she really wants? Or even what she needs?

4000-word short story.

Amazon Kindle

And as promised, here are a lot of other Christmas gift idea posts through the years. (My apologies if any links do not work; sometimes a product or page goes away.)