Tag Archives: sex in marriage

How Sex Can Help Us Cope

My background is only relevant inasmuch as it has a bearing on my mission and ability to fulfill it. Which is why I’m totally transparent about my past sexual baggage and how God redeemed my marriage.

I’m also authentic about struggles I’ve had and the minor frustrations of life. Because I want people to recognize that a happy marriage doesn’t mean a perfect marriage. After all, we’re all sinners (Romans 3:23, 1 John 1:8), and that includes both husband and wife. We will let each other down, but we can continue to strive for the best and show agape love that covers over our sins when we fail (1 Peter 4:8).

But I’ve wrangled with whether to say anything about what I’ve been going through lately, because it doesn’t directly impact this ministry. Except I concluded there’s something worth learning from it.

A Foundation Shaken

Long story short: I recently learned that my mother perpetuated a 16-year deception on an issue of significance. Whatever trust we’d built before shattered, and the fallout has been difficult for my family of origin.

As a consequence, I’ve been distracted and distraught. Like someone grieving, I have good days and bad days. On good days, I cross off the to-dos on my list and interact with others with a genuine smile. On bad days, I end up on an hour-long phone call with a sibling, escape into writing fiction where the real world doesn’t exist, or simply cry a lot.

A Strange Way to Cope

Oddly enough, I’ve been having more sex in my marriage. Or perhaps it’s not odd at all, because that is also a way of providing balm to a weary soul. Those moments of connection with my husband and intense pleasure for myself have taken me away from the heaviness of my heart and allowed me to reset my mind and heart, even if for a short while.

There is a beautiful verse in the last chapter of Song of Songs, almost a summary of the marital love portrayed in the book: “Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away.”

When other parts of our life seem to have been swept away by a raging river, the covenant love between husband and wife—expressed in the sanctity of the marriage bed—can make us feel grounded, safe, solid.

When other parts of our life seem to have been swept away by a raging river, the covenant love between husband and wife—expressed in the sanctity of the #marriage bed—can make us feel grounded, safe, solid. @hotholyhumorous Click To Tweet

Sex That Soothes

Not all sexual encounters necessarily have this effect. Rather, you may need to cultivate the atmosphere or specifics that result in sex that soothes. And your emotional needs are specific to you.

Let’s look at what I mean with some examples:

  • Spouse A may desire slow, deliberate caresses that calm their nerves and comfort their soul.
  • Spouse B may want sex that’s hot, heavy, and even fast, thus taking their mind from what’s happening and engaging it in solely in passion.
  • Spouse C may want to focus on giving their mate sexual pleasure, as that provides them some sense of control when the rest of life feels out of control.
  • Spouse D may want to try something new, giving them the reminder that they can choose a new direction and find positivity from it.

Sex is not just sex, but often reflects where we are in life and/or reminds us what we can do and be in life. Many spouses, especially husbands, say that a satisfying sex life makes them feel like they can take on the world. When that world has been particularly shaken, sexual intimacy with your beloved can soothe your tender places and infuse you with courage to take on the struggles you’re facing.

When your world has been shaken, sexual intimacy with your beloved can soothe your tender places and infuse you with courage to take on the struggles you're facing. #marriage @hotholyhumorous Click To Tweet

Getting What You Need

I do not have the magic formula to get you the sex you need/want for your whole life or marriage. That’s a process which my ministry certainly helps with, but it isn’t a quick fix. Moreover, this section presumes two good-willed spouses—imperfect, sure, but good-willed.

But let’s say you’re in the midst of a foundation-shaking life event, and you desire sex that could soothe your soul, how do you go about getting the specific kind of sex that would accomplish that goal? How can you communicate to your spouse what you desire in a way most likely to result in you getting just that?

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Well, you have a few choices, and you can pick which one you think will work.

  • Talk about it outside the bedroom. Tell him/her how you’re feeling, what sexual experience you believe would help, and then invite them to have that kind of intimacy with you.
  • As you’re starting a lovemaking session, be specific about your desires. Explain that you’d like to try X, Y, or Z because you long for the comfort that provides you in the midst of your current challenge.
  • Give ongoing feedback to guide your spouse. Using verbal encouragement or moving either your or their hands, mouth, body, etc. to where/how you want it, and then give positive reinforcement when it’s going the way you need/want.
  • Take charge and make it happen. Go directly for what you want, inviting him/her with your actions to go along with the lovemaking you desire.

If you’re both going through the same earth-shattering event, you may be on the same page with what you want, or you may need to take turns getting what you each need. Be willing to minister—yes, minister—to one another through sexual intimacy.

You’re Not Alone

One of the most beautiful aspects of sex in the midst of emotional pain is the sense that you are not alone. God created human sex such that it involves the penetration of one’s body part into the other’s body part—a physical connection that meets the “one flesh” description in the Bible. In that moment of intercourse, husband and wife are not separate, but joined…literally and relationally.

When life is not just giving you lemons but lobbing them at you like a game of fruit dodgeball, you can feel very alone. Sexual intimacy can remind us that we’re not alone. Not only is God in our corner, always beside us, but He has provided a partner in life who will be there too.

It’s true: sex can help you cope.

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101 Words for Your Private Parts (But No Curse Words)

Periodically, I’ve come across lists of words people use for erogenous zones and genitalia. From what I recall, all of those had both good ideas and icky ideas.

In an effort to equip Christians with a lot of sexy ideas, I’ve compiled a list of 101 words for private areas, none of which are curse words or generally considered vulgar. Still, make sure your choices are okay with your specific mate!

Some words are scientific, some straightforward, some poetic, some funny. But the intent of this list is to inspire you to speak positively and creatively about your body and your spouse’s body.

I have a feeling this post will bring readers who don’t usually come to Hot, Holy & Humorous. If you’re one of those, you should know that I write for married couples and encourage you to check out what God says about sexual intimacy!

Breasts

A woman’s breasts includes fatty tissue, areolas, and nipples. Breasts come in various sizes and shapes, including athletic, bell-shaped, east-west, and round.

Whatever they look like, though, a woman’s breasts tend to be an erogenous zone for one or both spouses. As Proverbs 5:19 says to a husband about his wife: “May her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love.”

Here’s a variety of ways to refer to a wife’s breasts:

  1. bon bons
  2. boobs
  3. bosom
  4. bust
  5. chest
  6. chesticles / breasticles
  7. chi chis
  8. coconuts
  9. cookies
  10. cupcakes
  11. fawns
  12. fruit
  13. the girls
  14. Grand Tetons (or another mountain reference)
  15. lady humps
  16. lovelies
  17. mangoes (from Bend It Like Beckham)
  18. nipples
  19. pillows
  20. rack
  21. second base
  22. tatas
  23. taters
  24. twins
  25. yabos (from Hocus Pocus)

Vulva

Vulva refers to all the external female genitalia, including the pubic mound, labia majora, labia minora, clitoral bulb, vaginal opening, and Bartholin’s gland ducts (pea-sized openings where secretions emerge).

Song of Songs seems to prefer the word “garden” in reference to the wife’s vulva, but below are many options.

  1. bajingo
  2. bud
  3. cave of mysteries
  4. clitoris
  5. cookie
  6. core
  7. flower (also rose, tulip)
  8. folds
  9. garden
  10. honey pot
  11. hooha
  12. kitty
  13. lady bits
  14. (vaginal) lips
  15. magician’s hat (his part disappears inside)
  16. muffin
  17. nub
  18. papaya
  19. petals
  20. sheath
  21. sweet spot
  22. tunnel of love / love tunnel
  23. vagina
  24. vajayjay
  25. velvet glove
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Penis

The penis is a fascinating body part. The more one learns about it, the more one appreciates God’s creation. (See Are You a Fan of Your Husband’s Man-Part?)

Given how many labels men have come up with for this (favorite) body part they own, this probably could have been a post with 101 words for penis. But we’ll stick to the ones below.

  1. boner
  2. erection
  3. Excalibur (yes, like King Arthur’s legendary sword)
  4. fire hose
  5. hard-on
  6. head
  7. hot dog
  8. johnson
  9. joystick
  10. love muscle
  11. love pistol
  12. man-part
  13. member
  14. Mr. Happy
  15. mushroom (especially for a circumcised penis)
  16. pecker
  17. peter
  18. phallus
  19. popsicle (see my own post on this!)
  20. rocket
  21. rod
  22. sausage
  23. snake
  24. soldier (or hey, general!)
  25. stiffy
  26. tool
  27. trouser monkey
  28. wand
  29. weenie / wiener
  30. willy
  31. wood
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Testicles

Having raised two sons, I’ve also heard a lot of names for testicles. (You moms of boys know what I’m talking about!) These delicate semen factories get lots of labels as well.

Here are some options for what to call hubby’s testicles:

  1. balls
  2. berries
  3. cojones
  4. dangling participles
  5. fruit basket
  6. gonads
  7. huevos (Spanish for “eggs”)
  8. jewels (or family jewels)
  9. junk
  10. marbles
  11. nards
  12. nuts
  13. package
  14. pearls
  15. rocks
  16. sack
  17. scrotum
  18. stones
  19. testes
  20. wonkas (apparently because they’re between a willy and a chocolate factory)

Okay, that wraps it up! Be sure to check these out with your spouse! We should show respect for one another in the bedroom.

If you want, you can download a checklist. Fill out one checklist together or print two copies, fill them out separately, and then share your results.

A big thank you to the ladies in my higher drive wife group who made great suggestions, many of which are included here.

When Doing the Right Thing Is Hard

I have about 20 draft posts right now, some with a bunch of words, some only a few, but none ready to publish. You might think I should go work on one of those and post about that. But something else has been weighing heavily on me this week. Integrity.

When I looked up the meaning of integrity, I most liked what Etymology Online says about the word’s origin:

“innocence, blamelessness; chastity, purity,” from Old French integrité or directly from Latin integritatem (nominative integritas) “soundness, wholeness, completeness,” figuratively “purity, correctness, blamelessness,” from integer “whole.”

https://www.etymonline.com/word/integrity

Integrity is about consistency and completeness of character. It’s a core principle I tried to teach my sons, explaining it to them as “doing the right thing even when no one is watching.”

Integrity Takes a Hit

The first half of 2019 was quite lovely and culminated with the marriage of my impressive son to a beautiful daughter-in-law, an event that was nearly perfect in every way. But then, as life does, there were quite a few disappointments in the second half of 2019 — instances in which people acted in ways that I didn’t expect.

From public politics to personal connections, I’ve witnessed rifts that make my chest ache. The details don’t matter, but suffice it to say that I could list a number of times when I’ve wondered about people’s integrity.

Why were people turning their back on principles they’d previously espoused as important? Did they ever believe what they’d proclaimed? Had they changed their minds? Lost their way?

Had I failed too? Did I need to guard better against losing my integrity?

Integrity in Marriage

How are we doing with integrity in our marriage? Are we consistent in doing what is right? What is loving? What we say we believe is important?

When no one is looking — or when at least your spouse isn’t looking — how do you treat your marriage and your sexuality?

Consider whether you could say any of the following:

  • “I know porn is wrong, but I still watch it in secret.”
  • “My spouse doesn’t know how much I masturbate on my own.”
  • “I believe that sex is important, but I haven’t made time for it.”
  • “I said I would initiate sex more, but I haven’t.”
  • “Given how I treat him/her, my spouse might not even say I’m much of a Christian.”
  • “I complain and/or blame my spouse on blogs and social media, knowing s/he won’t see it.”
  • “I had an affair, and my spouse doesn’t know.”
  • “I believe I should meet my spouse’s emotional needs, but I haven’t tried much.”
  • “I’ve been faking my orgasm.”
  • “I’ve lied to my spouse about ____________.”
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A long time ago, Spock and I had a bad marriage. During that time, I believed myself to be a good person, committed to fixing my marriage. But the way I behaved around him and out in the world were two different things.

On one hand, I touted my Christian faithfulness while treating my husband quite poorly at times. On the other hand, I spoke ill of my husband to others while not sharing my own contributions to our problems.

Once I got real and decided to put into practice what I claimed to believe, that’s when my marriage began to improve.

Once I got real and decided to put into practice what I claimed to believe, that's when my #marriage began to improve. @hotholyhumorous Click To Tweet

Doing the Right Thing Is Hard

It wasn’t easy changing my habits. It’s still not easy when I decide to ditch a bad habit and pick up a new one. Like right at this moment, I’m hungry because I had a salad for lunch instead of my usual sandwich, chips, and salsa — though my last cholesterol test tells me a salad is the right thing to do.

But a touch of a hunger is nothing compared to other personal pain we could invite by following through with integrity. We might encounter:

  • Relational conflict
  • Guilt or shame
  • Loss of respect from someone we care about
  • Criticism
  • Financial expense
  • Emotional discomfort
  • Reduced sexual intimacy

Some of those sacrifices may be temporary, and some may be long-term. We cannot always anticipate how our changes will impact others’ choices. And others have their own choices to make about integrity.

But we can control our own pursuit of integrity. Is it worth it?

God Calls Us to Integrity

  • “The Lord judges the peoples; judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness and according to the integrity that is in me” (Psalm 7:8).
  • “But you have upheld me because of my integrity, and set me in your presence forever” (Psalm 41:12).
  • “Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out” (Proverbs 10:9).
  • “The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity” (Proverbs 11:3).
  • “Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us” (Titus 2:7-8).

Those are just a few of the verses that have the word integrity in them. There are more, and other scriptures highlight the principle of walking in integrity.

What does that look like? Well, what do you say you believe about marriage? About how one should treat others? Are you living up to that?

None of us will get this perfect. If we could, we wouldn’t need a savior! But we do need a savior, and we have one in Jesus Christ. What God calls us to is the ongoing pursuit of integrity — the commitment to do the right thing, even when no one’s looking, or when everyone’s looking and wanting something different, and when it’s just plain hard.

Where do you need to have greater integrity for your life, your marriage, and your sexual intimacy? Pursue that.

Resolution Week: What's Your "One Word" for Your Marriage?

I’m declaring it Resolution Week here on Hot, Holy & Humorous, and after a bit of break over the holidays, I’ll be churning five posts this week! All on making resolutions, goals, or attitude shifts—however you want to look at it—to improve your marriage and the sexual intimacy within it.

A few years back, someone concocted the idea of choosing a single word as your “word of the year” that would guide your goals and attitude. For the past few years, I’ve selected a word of the year. This practice has yielded varied results, with me sometimes feeling very focused by the word and other times forgetting what word I chose altogether.

My One Word for 2020

After mulling for a while about my one word for 2020, I’ve chosen PROMISE.

Frankly, I had a couple of other words floated around in my head until yesterday morning when I was at church. I saw the word promise somewhere, and it jumped out at me. Maybe that’s a God-thing—I like to think it is—or maybe the word just appeals to me. Yet promise conveys my desire to be a person who keeps my word, who relies on God’s promises to me, and who feels hopeful about the future, believing it is indeed filled with promise.

Of course, the word PROMISE has extensive implications for my marriage. I made a promise to my husband 27 years ago, or rather a bundle of promises. We call that wedding script our marriage “vows” for a reason. How have I done fulfilling them? What can I do better?

Regarding our sexual intimacy, doesn’t marriage involve the promise of physical exclusivity, connection, intentionality, desire, and even passion? Whether we know it all at the time, when we say, “I do,” we’re also saying, “I do you.” How’s that going in my marriage?

Whether we know it all at the time, when we say, "I do," we're also saying, "I do you." How's that going in my #marriage? @hotholyhumorous Click To Tweet

Promises to Keep

Maybe I’ve got you thinking about how well you’ve kept your promises in your marriage and whether you need to make some new promises for the sexual intimacy with your spouse. For example, do you need to make any of these vows to your beloved?

  • I promise to visit the doctor to see why my sexual interest and/or sexual function isn’t what it should be.
  • I promise to seek help for my porn habit and knock this out of my life once and for all.
  • I promise to give you a rain check if I’m not feeling up to having sex when you initiate. (And I promise not renege on the rain check.)
  • I promise to try something new in the bedroom, to stretch my comfort zone just a little.
  • I promise to prioritize my health so we can be more active in our sex life.
  • I promise to turn on the lights, at least low lighting, so you can see my body.
  • I promise to stop pressuring you about sex.
  • I promise to initiate sex more often.
  • I promise to go through a book about sex in marriage with you.

Of course, promises aren’t worth much unless you keep them.

I once did an extensively study of the Bible, looking for scriptures about trusting others, and you can’t find much on that. God is very concerned that we trust Him, but as for one another, most verses don’t focus on trusting others but rather being trustworthy. Trustworthy people keep their promises.

Or at least do their best. We will let one another down, since we’re not perfect like our Heavenly Father, but we can try to be trustworthy. We can try to be a person of our word.

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My Word Isn’t Your Word

But speaking of words, my word of the year likely isn’t your word. Don’t just copy mine. Rather, figure out where you need to focus right now in your life.

If you hate New Year’s resolutions, don’t think of it as coordinating with this moment in time, but rather this spot in your spiritual and/or relational journey. Where are you in your marriage and with your sexual intimacy? What areas need your attention?

Here are some of the words I’ve recently heard from others. Perhaps something here will strike you.

Healing
Restoration
Forgiveness
Hope
Persevere

Encourage
Joyful
Compassion
Trust
Change

Passion
Prioritize
Margin
Closer
Growth

You can also find numerous blog posts and sites with one-word ideas, such as this one, this one, this one, or even this quiz from DaySpring.

Personal One Word vs. Marriage One Word

But even if you choose a word for yourself, is that the same word you should have for your marriage? Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t.

Whether aligned with the New Year or not, it’s a good practice to periodically sit with your spouse, preferably away from the stresses of work or home, and discuss where your relationship is and where you want it to go. What do each of you see as positives? And where do you see areas for improvement?

What one word sums up what you both want for your marriage bed? Here are a few ideas to get you brainstorming the answer to that question:

Priorities
Purity
Prayer
Unity

Health
Wholeness
Renewal
Peace

Passion
Spice
Selflessness
Trust

Promises Kept

And now I’m back to my word for the year! Because if you do talk this out and come up with a word, don’t just make it a nice exercise you did around January. Rather, make it more like a vow to one another. For instance:

  • “This year, we will mutually pursue PURITY, by making our home porn and erotica-free, by focusing our thoughts solely on one another, by embracing that sex in marriage is a pure act of love blessed by God.”
  • “This year, we will mutually prioritize PRAYER, by making a goal of praying together at least once each day, by praying for one another, and by praying before, during, or after sex to invite God into our one-flesh relationship.””This year, we will foster TRUST, by confessing where we have failed one another, extending forgiveness and working on repentance, being open and vulnerable, and by treating one another’s bodies with gentleness and respect.”

What area of your marriage and sexuality needs your attention right now? What’s your marriage’s one word?

4 Research-Based Tips for Better Sex

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been clearing out emails (ever so slowly), including ones I’d received from Google alerts on sex research. I shared a few findings recently with What Research Says You Need for Better Sex), and I’m sharing more today!

Here are four more tips for improving your married sex life.

Clean the House

Last time, I addressed making your bed. But a survey of 1,000 people looked at how the state of their whole home affects their sex life. Apparently, “choreplay” is a real thing. According to researchers: “Over 50 percent of people said they’re more likely to have sex with their partner after they’ve completed household chores, and just over 60 percent said a clean, organized bedroom makes them more likely to have sex.”

How does that work? A good while ago, I wrote a post titled Is Vacuuming Foreplay?, in which I said my husband performing household chores turned me on. I’ve gotten pushback on that idea at times, but the point is not that his cleaning is itself arousing or that I’m “rewarding” my husband with sex like a bartering program.

Rather, hubby cleaning up clears that task to-do off my list, thus reducing my stress levels and making me more likely to get in the mood. Plus, both of us taking care of the house reminds me we’re a team in life — and make a good team in the bedroom too. That perspective is what I’ve heard from many other wives as well. And a few husbands.

Perhaps you should clean up and see how things go.

Source: MBG Relationships – The Surprising Thing That Gets Couples Turned On At Home

Talk (or Make Noise) During Sex

It’s crucial that you and your spouse be able to discuss your sex life away from the bedroom so that you can voice your desires, navigate obstacles, and troubleshoot problems together. However, a study of 398 people also linked sexual satisfaction to verbal and non-verbal communication during sexual activity. Which all boils down to: speak up or make some noise!

One caveat: The study also showed that your partner’s response to your communication style — non-verbal, verbal, moaning like a hyena in heat, whatever — impacts sexual satisfaction. “Given that individuals may be especially vulnerable when engaging in partnered sexual activity, the consequences of a negative partner reaction may have more impact than a negative reaction in a less vulnerable situation.”

We need acceptance and encouragement to express ourselves fully. So make sure you also reassure your spouse and let them demonstrate their pleasure vocally in their own way.

Sources: Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy: Show or Tell? Does Verbal and/or Nonverbal Sexual Communication Matter for Sexual Satisfaction?; MBG Relationships – Why Couples Should Talk More During Sex, According To Science; Explore Health – The One Thing That Leads to More Satisfying Sex, According to Science

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Eat Chocolate

Ooh, aren’t you glad this one made the list?! Though specifically, it’s dark chocolate, not milk chocolate bars.

Dark chocolate has been shown to promote the release of phenylethylamine and serotonin, two body chemicals that improve mood. In addition, chocolate with 70% or more cacao may lower stress levels and inflammation—thus raising sexual interest and performance.

So why not invest in your sex life with a few nibbles of dark chocolate? Even better, feed each other as part of your sexual encounter! Dark-chocolate-dipped strawberries, anyone?

Sources: Medical Daily – Chocolates For Enhanced Libido: Why And How It Works; Express UK – Low libido: Eating this one thing can help increase your sex drive – what is it?

Run, Cycle, or Swim

Exercise leads to better sex? No shocker there. But a good reminder nonetheless.

Researchers surveyed 3,906 men and 2,264 women who were cyclists, swimmers, runners, and/or multisport athletes about their exercise habits and sexual function. Men who exercised more had less erectile dysfunction, while women who exercised more reported increases in arousal and orgasm.

How much is enough? Well, the biggest gains came with more than I plan to do — 10 hours a week of cycling. But improvements were significant in lesser amounts, particularly at the point of 6-7 hours of moderate cycling per week for men and 5.5 hours per week for women. The likely reason is simple: Exercise yields healthier arteries and better circulation, and that makes for your parts working as they should.

You don’t have to cycle, of course. The study also looked at swimming and running. Though if you see me running, you should run too — because we’re being chased by something we don’t want to catch us. I’d prefer to dust off our bikes and get back to riding together again.

Sources: Bicycling – How You Can Ride Your Way to Better Sex; The Journal of Sexual Medicine – Exercise Improves Self-Reported Sexual Function Among Physically Active Adults

A Quick Word on Research

If you see a sex study reported on a blog, website, or news source, don’t just go by the headline. Believe me, sex studies are not all equal. It’s important to look into who they studied, how the study was conducted, and what cautions are given as part of the results.

Who sponsored the study can also be important information, as commercial entities will sometimes finance research that benefits their bottom line. That doesn’t mean all results from such studies are wrong, but they should be more carefully scrutinized.

All to say: Be cautious. “Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways” (Proverbs 4:26).

Wrapping It Up

Here are the four tips in a nutshell:

  • Clean the house
  • Talk (or make noise) during sex
  • Eat dark chocolate
  • Run, cycle, or swim

Pick as many as you’d like and see how it goes!

And gentlemen, don’t forget to sign up for our upcoming webinar. Hosted by four female marriage and sex bloggers, you’ll get the inside scoop on Understanding Her Sex Drive for only $5! If you can’t make that time, no worries — replay is available.