Tag Archives: pillow talk

Launching the Conversation About Sex in Your Marriage (with Downloadable Sample Chapter of Pillow Talk)

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!

Ground Rules

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.

When it’s your spouse’s turn to answer.

  • Listen. “Do not interrupt, do not correct, do not contradict, do not defend, do not criticize.” (See Are You Listening to What Your Spouse Says About Sex?)
  • 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.

Sample Chapter

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.

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

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

  1. What’s your earliest memory of sex? When did you learn about it, and what did you learn?
  2. What messages about sex did you get from your parents, mentors, and the church as you grew up?
  3. 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.

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.

After the Lovin’: What Happens after Sex?

Alan Bernstein understood. He wrote the lyrics to the 1976 song “After the Lovin’,” recorded by Englebert Humperdinck:

So I sing you to sleep
After the lovin’
With a song I just wrote yesterday
And I hope you can hear
What the words and the music have to say.

It’s so hard to explain
Everything that I’m feelin’
Face to face I just seem to go dry.
But I love you so much
That the sound of your voice can get me high.

Thanks for takin’ me
On a one way trip to the sun.
And thanks for turnin’ me
Into someone.

So I sing you to sleep
After the lovin’
I brush back the hair from your eyes.
And the love on your face
Is so real that it makes me want to cry.

And I know that my song
Isn’t sayin’ anything new.
Oh, but after the lovin’
I’m still in love with you.

There’s an old joke that after sex, men simply roll over and fall asleep. That’s not entirely true. But if that’s what happening every time in a marriage, the couple is missing out on another opportunity to bond — after the lovin’.

So what does or should happen after you make love?

Spouses vary on what they desire, but it’s good to consider what can reinforce their sense of intimacy. Let’s start with a little primer about your brain.

This is your brain.

Egg - raw

By Paolo Neo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

 

 

This is your brain on sex.

Egg Souffle

By user:lokionly (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

 

 

 

During sex (especially orgasm) and afterward, the brain releases the chemicals oxytocin and vasopressin, which produce feelings of connectedness and contentment. Hello, soufflé!  We go to a happy place in our minds and hearts, and these chemicals are responsible for what scientists call “pair-bonding.” Pair-bonding is the glue of monogamy — that sense of you-and-me, we-belong-together, I-only-have-eyes-for-you. So it’s not surprising that after some good lovin’, our bodies may feel awash in satisfaction.

Which sometimes leads to…

Zzzzzz . . . sleepytime. Some husbands, and some wives, do want to roll over and go to sleep immediately after sex. And it’s not usually because they want to be done with their spouse. Their bodies are exhausted and sated, and they feel so good and relaxed that it’s natural to slip into slumber. Now this may not be a good idea if you’re married to someone who wants to chat or cuddle, but it is understandable. Of course, if you both want to journey into dreamland, knock yourselves out. (Not literally, of course; the sex will have done that for you.)

Stick figures spooning

By Patrik “Naimina” Fredriksson (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons

Snuggle bunnies. Some couples love to extend their hands-on time with cuddling, stroking, etc. They fold their bodies together and snuggle like bunnies. One typical post-sex position is spooning, in which one spouse is backed up against the other. But other embraces are common. What matters is the skin-to-skin contact that continues beyond lovemaking. Indeed, that flesh-on-flesh also produces oxytocin and lowers the level of cortisol, a stress hormone, in your body. So it’s no surprise that snuggling is an outgrowth of sex for many couples. It keeps the bonding going.

Talk that pillow talk. The reduction of stress, the lowering of blood pressure, the release of oxytocin and endorphins, the general sense of closeness and well-being — all of these can contribute to more intimate conversation after sex. This is often referred to as “pillow talk.” Your honey may drip words like honey — sweet nothings oozing from his mouth about how much he loves you, how beautiful you are, how awesome that felt, etc. Or the conversation may run deeper, one or both spouses desiring to reveal more of themselves now that they feel connected, vulnerable, safe. It’s also possible the excitement of sex just has you two chatting about this, that, or the other. Maybe you even crack a few private jokes, and this time he laughs at your brilliant sense of humor. However it happens, the intimacy of sex can spill over into the verbal part of your relationship, expressed with some much-appreciated pillow talk.

I’m so hungry now! Some of us get hungry afterward. Possibly even ravenous. A case of the munchies post-coitus is not uncommon. You might even crave something specific. Like a double-decker brownie with ice cream and chocolate sauce. You can ignore the cravings or simply head to the kitchen for whatever will make those pangs of hunger go away. If you don’t want to miss the other stuff — cuddling, talking, and eventually sleep — you can bring your food back to the bed. A few crumbs in the sheets won’t hurt. You were probably going to wash those sheets anyway, right?

Whatever you choose to do, consider your mate. Maybe you don’t feel the need to cuddle much, but a few minutes of snuggle time would mean so much to her. Maybe talking afterward doesn’t occur to you, but he needs you to listen and respond. Maybe you aren’t that hungry, but she could use a little help eating that double-decker brownie with ice cream and chocolate sauce.

Those moments right after sex can prolong the feelings of intimacy you experience in lovemaking. For many wives in particular, continuing to find ways to connect lets us know the lovemaking was about more than the physical release of sex and climax — that it truly is about becoming one flesh.

Now, it’s your turn: What do you do “after the lovin'”? How important is the time after sex to you and your spouse?

Other recommended articles on what happens after sex: Afterplay by Generous Husband and After the Act by Do Not Disturb