Tag Archives: Stupendous Marriage

My Interview with Stupendous Marriage

Stupendous Marriage logoLast week, I chatted with Stu Gray of Stupendous Marriage. He interviewed me about my new book, Sex Savvy: A Lovemaking Guide for Christian Wives, and about sexual intimacy in general.

The interview has gone live, and here’s the link:

Episode 86 – Interview with J. Parker of Hot, Holy & Humorous

Plus, if you leave a comment about this episode on their site, you’ll be entered in a drawing to win the book!

My thanks to Stupendous Marriage. I really enjoy Stu and Lisa Gray’s podcast, and if you don’t have it on your own playlist, check out some of their other episodes too. You can also find them on iTunes.

My Blog, 3 Marriage Books, and an Upcoming Interview with “J”

Does it ever feel like there’s just a whole lot going on? If you’re more Christmas-inclined than I am (honestly, a rather low bar), perhaps you’re looking forward to a busy season. As long as what’s going on is positive and you’re not feeling overwhelmed, then it’s all good.

Well, it’s all good here.

For me, this has felt like a busy, busy month, and I want to share with you some current resources and upcoming releases to help you in your marriage.

Tips about my blog. Since moving over to a self-hosted site, I’ve been discovering small issues to address. For instance, a fabulous reader recently informed me that I didn’t have sharing buttons (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) below each post. To which I thought, Duh, J! Sharing buttons! I’ve remedied that oversight. So share away!

I asked my website designer to move the “Leave a reply” button from its default position at the top of a post to below the post, where it makes sense after you read. So it’s now a nice red button you can easily see and click.

I also want readers to know that the option to leave a comment as “Anonymous” is still available. When you click “Leave a reply,” you’re presented with blank boxes to input name, email address, and website. Simply type “Anonymous,” or your made-up moniker, into the name box, write your comment, and post.

Given the subject matter here, all comments are approved before they appear. You can find my policy by clicking the Comments button on the menu bar above. A summary of the policy is “Treat others the way you want to be treated” (Matthew 7:12).

31 Days to a Better Marriage. Jolene Engle of the Alabaster Jar coordinated and hosted a series of marriage posts for wives all throughout October. I was thrilled to contribute my own post on “Can Sexy Wives Be Godly Wives Too?” But if you missed the series or any posts in the series, don’t worry. You can get the whole thing in a free downloadable ebook! Sweet deal, right? To get your copy, click the pic below! 31 Days to a Better Marriage ebook

The Pursuit of Passion. Fellow Christian sex blogger, Julie Sibert of Intimacy in Marriage, has co-authored a book titled The Pursuit of Passion: Discovering True Intimacy in Your Marriage, which was released just this past week. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s on my e-reader. And since I agree with almost everything that gal says on her blog, I feel very comfortable recommending her book.

Pursuit of Passion book cover

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Sex Savvy: A Lovemaking Guide for Christian Wives. Doesn’t that title alone make you want to get my upcoming book? It’s a handbook for Christian wives to learn the ins and outs of sexuality in marriage, to become savvy women in the bedroom.

When can you get your hands on copy? Thanksgiving Day. (‘Cause nothing says sex like eating turkey and cranberry sauce, right?) For those of you not in the United States and not celebrating turkey day, that would be next Thursday, November 28.

For those wives in the United States, just make sure to finish the cooking and serve the bird at Thanksgiving before you buy and start reading Sex Savvy. I’d hate to be responsible for your family having to hungrily wait an extra hour because you got distracted by the chapter on orgasm.

Sex Savvy will be available first by ebook and then by print. But first, here’s the cover reveal. You ready?

1…

2…

3…Awesome book cover for Sex Savvy

Besides thinking ooh and aah, I know what you’re asking yourself: What’s that?!!! Is that a last name? Is that her real last name?! Why yes, yes, it is. After much consideration, prayer, and consultation of close friends (also known as relentless prodding from close friends), I decided to forgo the pen name I’d considered and use my married name instead.

Upcoming Interview. I love listening to podcasts and audio books. In my opinion, it’s really the only way to clean a toilet.

One of my favorites is The Stupendous Marriage Show with Stu and Lisa Gray. If you’re not subscribed to their podcast, check them out. There’s such an authenticity to their Christianity, their marriage, and their answers for couples seeking help. I’ll be appearing in the next few weeks on their podcast when they interview me about the book, Sex Savvy, and sex in general. (Although I also hope Stu and I can chat about Batman for a little bit. If Lisa will let us.)

So that’s it! All of my announcements for today. If you have any questions about anything, leave them in the comments and I’ll answer as soon as I can. Blessings!

What Does It Mean to Be Masculine?

Man in suit

Photo credit: Microsoft Word Clip Art

I recently posted on Man Up & Take Me! Alpha Male or Beta Hubby? and a conversation flared in the comments section about whether the term “alpha male” was appropriate for Christian husbands and whether masculinity includes taking charge in some way. After all, wasn’t Jesus the ultimate man and he was humble, meek, and sacrificial as he gave his life for us on the cross?

Without getting much into my use of the term “alpha male” — which I intended in the more colloquial usage than the scientific definition — the post made me think more about what we wives want our men to be. We want them to be masculine, right? But what traits are masculine traits?

I’m hardly the only one asking these questions. Bestselling books like Iron John: A Book about Men by Robert Bly, Wild at Heart by John Eldridge, and the recent The Book of Man by Bill Bennett indicate that people are reevaluating what a “real man” should look like. Stu and Lisa Gray of Stupendous Marriage mentioned another book, Point Man by Steve Farrar, in their podcast just last week. I also recently discovered a blog called The Art of Manliness, which covers topics as wide as writing love letters to your wife, waxing your car, and understanding retirement accounts; its motto is “reviving the lost art of manliness.” But what is manliness, or masculinity, anyway?

Dictionary.com defines masculine as “having qualities traditionally ascribed to men, as strength and boldness” and manly as “having qualities traditionally ascribed to men, as strength or bravery.” Surely, though, strength, boldness, and bravery are not merely male qualities. I can think of numerous women who possess them — women who are not manly in the least.

So what is this elusive set of traits? What does it mean to be masculine?

Jesus is indeed the ultimate example.

Sculpture of David

By jimmyweee (Jerusalem Uploaded by russavia) via Wikimedia Commons

For this post, however, I want to look at the person about whom the Bible says: “God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do'” (Acts 17:22). Don’t we want our husbands to be men after God’s heart?

So what was David like? Here’s what I see from the life of David.

He was a protector. David was raised to be a shepherd, protecting his father’s flock. He watched over the sheep and, if they were taken by a lion or bear, he rescued the sheep from its mouth. In the same way, David protected Saul’s life twice when he had the opportunity to take it, but he waited instead on God’s timing and protected the king God had put on Israel’s throne.

He was a warrior. David fought the giant Goliath; he delivered the foreskins of 100 Philistines to secure marriage to Saul’s daughter Michal; he forced the Philistines out of Israel; he defeated Moabites, the Edomites, the Ammonites and the Arameans. About him, the Israelite women sang, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.”

He was a lover. David had eight wives and pursued each of them. He liked women and how they looked. That’s how he ended up committing a huge sin with Bathsheba. Yet, it wasn’t his desire for a woman but the wrong context that was condemned.

He was a leader. Before becoming king, David was given command of 1,000 men and led troops in their campaigns. When King Saul pursued David, four hundred men gathered around David and “he became their leader.” He garnered the loyalty of his men such that three of them risked their lives merely to bring David water when he thirsted.

He was an artist. David played the harp and was so good that he worked in the king’s palace playing for him. He wrote over 70 psalms and collected more. His prayers and songs express heartfelt emotions and honesty before God that have touched generation after generation. David danced before the Lord with freedom and passion.

He was a friend. The story of Jonathan and David is one of an incredibly close bond between friends. Later, the Bible tells of another friend, Hushai the Arkite, who infiltrated Absalom’s camp on David’s behalf and warned David to save him from an attack.

He was a provider. David spread his kingdom and attained wealth that he shared with family, friends, and citizens throughout his reign. But one of my favorite stories of David is how he sought out Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth, and gave him a seat the king’s table to provide for him. After Absalom defiled David’s concubines, David kept them in the palace and provided for them without sexual relations; he didn’t have to do that, but he did.

Certainly, these characteristics can be found in women as well, but I think that the way David made them a priority and how he carried them out demonstrates something about true masculinity. Make no mistake, however: David wept; David grieved; David showed his emotions. At no time did he lose his manliness by wearing his heart on his sleeve.

I think David’s life can teach us a lot about manliness. The one time he is rebuked harshly in the Bible for his actions is when he became selfish and allowed his manly desires to get out of control. The prophet Nathan then brings him to task for taking what was not his to have. In that moment, David was not a protector, a provider, a friend, a leader… When he sinned with Bathsheba, he was a man, but not a manly man. And he humbled himself and was contrite before God for using his masculinity for self-gain.

All of these roles I see in the life of David (and in Ephesians 5) suggest a balance. Indeed, those things that typically make a man (higher levels of testosterone, greater body strength, competitiveness, etc.) are all traits that can be focused into being a man after God’s own heart or being twisted by Satan to become heartless.

Leadership can be twisted to become subjugation.
Strength can be twisted to become violence.
Protection can be twisted to become control.
Sexual love can be twisted to become forbidden lust.
Even self-sacrifice can even be twisted to become someone’s lapdog or doormat– not God’s intention at all.

So what is masculine? I can’t exactly define it. I know it when I see it. I see it in the life of David, Jesus, and — thank you, Lord — my husband.

I know when my husband is being a leader — in a man’s way, not in my way; a provider — in a man’s way, not in my way; a lover — in a man’s way . . . you get the point.

Also, he kills the bugs. I do not (not, not) like cockroaches, but he doesn’t bat an eye as he slays those exoskeletal dragon-like creatures for me. I don’t know if that’s technically masculine, but I like it. It makes me want to say, “Oh yeah, that’s my man!”

Your turn. I’m opening this up for you to tell me what you think masculinity is or looks like. I consider this an ongoing conversation, so let’s see what you all come up with. What makes a male a man? A godly man? A godly husband?

Sources: Jewish Virtual Library, Devotions for Growing Christians, Bible Gateway

Reminder: Top Marriage Blogs Voting Ends Today

Top 10 Marriage Blogs 2011

As I have said before, I’m a bit uncomfortable with pimping promoting my own blog. In college, I did a project for film appreciation class on the history of the Academy Awards. Back in the 1920s when they began, actors and actresses wined, dined, and gave extravagant gifts to the voters to increase their chances of taking home an Oscar. I don’t want to be a schmoozer like that.

Yet I did think it appropriate to remind readers that today is the last day to vote on Stu and Lisa Gray’s Stupendous Marriage website for the Top Marriage Blogs of 2011. There are almost 50 nominees, and the 10 blogs with the most votes receive the honor of making the final list. You may only vote once.

Vote for whatever blog you enjoy! If you do, or did, vote for Hot, Holy & Humorous, accept my heartfelt thanks. Ultimately, however, the great thing about this exercise is that it gets more readers to blogs that are promoting godly marriages and quality relationships.

I will continue to do what I do here at Hot, Holy & Humorous. And I am continually grateful for the faithful followers, the casual readers, and the oops!-how-did-I-land-here browsers.


Blessings!

J

Orgasm: If Only I Could O

Orgasm. Have you had one? I recently got a question from a commenter. Here’s what she (Anonymous) said:

“My issue is that I have never had an orgasm. I’m beginning to believe that I can’t. I love sex… I initiate it more often than he does! But I know that it bothers him somewhat (a lot less than in the past!) and it bugs me! I believe it might have something to do with letting go and relaxing.. any tips for me?”

So if I were a sex therapist (which I’m not), I would likely ask questions about sexual history, events that shaped sexual perspective, marital health, techniques, and so on. But maybe it’s just as well to give a general “How to” lesson – which will be broad, but may include helpful tips. So without further ado, here’s my rendition of How to Orgasm.

Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally

from When Harry Met Sally

Don’t try to orgasm. Yes, it’s a worthy goal, and I’m in favor of reaching that awe-inducing climax and yelling “Yippee!” at its apex. However, trying to attain an orgasm is like looking for the perfect shoes. You almost never find them when you’re out hunting down what to wear with that outfit you paid too much for. But go out browsing with a girlfriend to enjoy the fun of shopping, and voilá! there they are – the perfect shoes practically winking at you through the display window.

Likewise, orgasms are not what you should aim for. Aim instead for pleasure, pleasure, and more pleasure. When the pleasure becomes particularly intense, orgasm occurs. So your target should be enjoying the sexual act as much as you possibly can.

Learn about your body. There are various ways to do this. Read up on the female body generally. Learn the parts that constitute arousal areas and how they work. The most thorough treatment I’ve read was from Intended for Pleasure by Ed and Gaye Wheat, but there are other sources. One important fact is that the clitoris is where orgasm occurs for women, and this body part appears to have no other purpose than inducing sexual arousal. (Thank you, God.) The Wheats state that “sufficient physical stimulation of the clitoris alone will produce orgasm in nearly all women.” Of course, what constitutes that “sufficient physical stimulation” is what wives, and husbands, need to know.Some experts suggest that you experiment with your own body, discovering where you like to be touched and with what intensity. It will feel different with your own hand versus your husband’s, but this information can be valuable. You can even make this part of a lovemaking session. Most husbands are very aroused by their wives touching themselves, and this can become part of the foreplay for sex. It can help him to see what you like.

You can also have your husband explore your body. I suggest that the wife remove her clothing, but that the husband remain dressed for this session (it can be awfully hard for him to not rush in to penetration if he’s already naked). Dedicate at least fifteen minutes, but even better a half-hour, to him touching you with his hands and lips. It may feel selfish to indulge only one of you, but learning what causes arousal for the wife will benefit the husband in the long run as well.

Slow way down. Men typically do not require as much foreplay as women. In fact, husbands have been compared to microwaves and wives to slow cookers for how long it takes them to heat up. (Thanks to Sheila Gregoire for reminding me of this comparison.) It takes some time for most women to become aroused, fully lubricated, and for the inner vagina lips (labia minora) to swell.

Moreover, women are mental multi-taskers. This can be a problem when it comes to sex. It takes time to wind down and push the to-do list to the back of our minds; to swat away those pesky distractions rushing through our brains; to relax into the arms of our beloved; to feel valued, treasured, and loved in that moment; and to let go and surrender to the sensations our body is experiencing.

And that’s okay. It can be a good thing when a wife slows down the lovemaking experience and ensures that a couple basks in the delights of one another. Give the wife time for pleasure and intensity to build.

Focus on the sensations. The female orgasm is mostly mental. As I said, God created females to be multi-taskers, so it’s easy for us to think about sex and — sex and our shopping list; sex and the lyrics to the song on the radio; sex i the way our breasts sag to the side instead of perking up like we wish they would. But you have to focus on what’s happening to your body to give in to it, to enjoy it, to climax.

Make your pleasure almost like meditation. Train yourself to focus on where your husband is touching, kissing, or fondling you. Think intently about your private areas as your husband is pleasuring them. If stray thoughts come in (and they do), return your mental gaze to your body and the stimulation of your five senses. Most women must practice this level of concentration – getting rid of distracting thoughts and returning focus to the arousal your body is experiencing. It may take time to do it with ease.

Communicate. Tell him what you like. When something feels particularly good, let your spouse know to keep doing it, or have him increase the intensity. When adjustments need to be made, verbally suggest what you want or direct his hands or lips to the area you want aroused.

Can this be awkward? Um, yeah. I have never seen a Hollywood love scene where one actor said to the other, “Oh, not there. Over a little bit. Yeah, right there.” (Actually, I see very few such scenes these days by avoiding R-rated films, but that’s another story.)

I still feel a little weird about speaking up during sex, but my honey doesn’t mind. Two things to remember: (1) he wants to pleasure you, so if something else would do more to rev up your engine, he wants to know; (2) he’ll respond much better to positive feedback than critical reviews of his performance. For example, rather than saying, “That doesn’t feel good,” move his hand and say, “I love it when you touch me there.” Smiles, oohs, aahs, and groans also let a hubby know when he’s hit the jackpot. You could throw in a “You rock my world, baby!” if you feel so moved. That usually goes over well.

Surrender to the moment. Orgasm is a paradox of tension and letting go. When a woman feels extreme sexual arousal, her body tenses. But she must surrender to the pleasurable sensations in order for her body to climax. This is something you might practice too. When you start feeling intense pleasure, concentrate on the body part being aroused and relax it. Do this a few times, and see if your pleasure increases.Give in to the moment when it arrives. Makes noises. Grimace. Scream. Flail about. Whatever floats your boat. I wonder about couples who videotape their lovemaking sessions because I’m pretty sure that orgasms are not pretty. If you watched a woman undergoing an intense orgasm, she might look like a rabid animal. But this is not the time to worry about how you look or what the neighbors might think if they heard you. (Hey, they’re probably thinking “Good for her!”) At that apex of pleasure, let go and revel in your one-fleshness.

My analogy would be riding a roller coaster (which I LOVE to do!). Tension grows as you slowly inch up to that tallest peak. When you reach the top, you must decide: Am I going to grip this safety bar and close my eyes? Or am I going to raise my hands and scream with delight? As you might guess, I always go for #2. It’s so much funner that way. Surrender to the moment.

Well, that’s it. Today’s tips for how to orgasm.

You know what was so great about this reader’s question in particular? She admits to enjoying sex . . . even without an orgasm. “I love sex,” she wrote.

By learning about my body and my interactions with my husband, I have no problem these days achieving orgasm. However, I don’t require climax to enjoy the closeness, arousal, and experience of sex with my husband. Sometimes, I simply don’t hit that Big O, and that’s okay. When I told my husband this, he was a little surprised. Most men figure that climax is a goal of sex; after all, they usually have one. The Generous Husband recently had a great post on this very topic: Okay – but only if I can skip the “O”.Still, orgasms remind me of ordering a peppermint hot chocolate (my go-to drink) at Starbucks. They always ask if I want whipped cream. I want to say, “Duh. The cocoa is great, but if I can get whipped cream, I’m totally there.”

Sex = chocolaty goodness. Orgasm = whipped cream. Definitely a great combo.

Starbucks cocoa

Now readers, what are you tips for achieving an orgasm? Have you struggled in this way? Learned anything along the way? Share your story or your suggestions.

Quick Note: Stu and Lisa Gray have revealed nominees for their 2011 Top Marriage Blogs List. Check out the links and vote at the Stupendous Marriage website.