Same Sex Attraction: Interview

I want to introduce you to “Cori,” an acquaintance I met through The Marriage Bed forums. Her story has touched my heart so in my preparation for this series on Same Sex Attraction (SSA) I contacted her and she agreed to participate in an interview so that our readers could hear how this issue has touched a Christian marriage. You will also see that in Christ, Cori and her husband are finding victory in their journey. Please feel free to read the introduction to this series that was published last week if you have not had a chance to do so yet. 

Please share with our readers how SSA has had an influence in your marriage.

My marriage would not be what it is today without the influence of SSA and the redemption of this issue in our lives.  I am utterly re-defined in terms of my walk with Jesus, my marriage to my husband, and how I live my life in compassion and truth because of SSA.

Did you both enter your marriage unaware that this was an issue? If so, how did you each come to realize that this was a problem?  

My husband knew of his struggle (he was acting out while we were engaged, unbeknownst to me), but was unable to admit it to me, for fear that I would bolt.  I had no idea – he presented as a straight man.  I knew he had a porn issue, but I thought it wouldn’t be an issue once we got married and had sex.  I was that naive.

It was in Year Two of our marriage that this issue came to the surface – we had just gotten online and after an unexpected slowdown in the computer’s performance and learning about the “temporary internet files,” I discovered my husband’s secret.  It was porn, for sure, but it was gay porn.  This sent me in a tailspin – I didn’t expect gay images on the computer and didn’t know what to do with it.  Additionally, my husband was reading “muscle magazines,” but didn’t workout.

I ended up writing him a letter explaining how much I was hurt and putting it in his suitcase when he travelled for work.  He was gone for the better part of a month on that trip and I had time to calm down and he had time to think.  I honestly thought we were headed for divorce, but that was one of many times when God told me to stay in the marriage.  When my husband returned home, we talked.  He threw out his muscle magazines and promised not to go to porn sites on the computer, but that didn’t solve his problems.

What was the initial transition like to accepting that this was going to be a battle you would have to fight? Did it take a long time to accept that SSA was a problem?

I honestly stuck my head in the sand initially, preferring to trust my husband’s promises.  It soon became clear that he wasn’t able to “stay on the wagon” with regard to the computer, and we began a cycle of renewing our relationship, having him fall away (or step away intentionally) to self-medicate, and then finally confrontation/tears & apologies/promises to stop self-medicating.

I think I accepted that SSA would be a part of our life somewhere around Year Five – it never seemed to end, and I was firmly in the closet, because we didn’t have a safe place to be real.

What do you mean when you use the phrase “self-medicate?”

Using porn, masturbating to images that were not *me*, etc.  It’s a euphemistic phrase that covers any sort of undesirable behaviour and numbs whatever pain the user is experiencing.  It’s commonly used in recovery circles and in that case, can be any number of addictive behaviour cycles – drinking, using drugs, acting out sexually, etc.

Do you both view his struggle as something to get free from and healed of? Or is it something you accept as part of him that can not and should not be changed? 

My husband’s journey within SSA has been unusual and is morphing even now.  His actual attraction to men (the level of that attraction) has gone from a high of about 90% attracted to men to a current low of about 15%.  He reports that it continues to diminish as he gets healthier and closer to the Lord, dealing with his brokenness as he goes.

But in the same vein, we both recognize that this “thorn in his flesh” is one to be embraced and not prayed-away.  This issue has done multiple things that are damaging in our lives and stems from his horrible past of childhood sexual abuse, but has been redeemed to a point where he is more dependent upon the Lord than ever, which is a good thing.  His walk with God is more vibrant than it has ever been and although his actual attraction to men has lessened, we both see the struggle as a sort of ‘tether’ to Jesus.

Elizabeth Moberly, PhD, said that the struggle of SSA is based in legitimate needs and that those needs shouldn’t be prayed away – that instead, the struggler should focus on praying that those needs are met in a healthy, God-honouring way.

We recently went to a conference for married couples impacted by SSA and the overwhelming message of the weekend was that if our struggle keeps us dependent upon God, then He will keep that struggle in our lives.  He wants us to depend on Him in everything, and if the struggle does that, then it’s a blessing and not a curse.  So we can attempt to “pray it away” or “rebuke it away” or use any number of spiritual techniques to relieve the pressure of the attraction, but God might just be keeping us in the midst of it in order to redirect our focus to Him, not the struggle.  That idea radically changed how I viewed my husband’s struggle and our marriage within the context of his struggle.  It brought new meaning to 1 Thes. 5:18 (Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus).

Do you believe that certain aspects of your husband’s past influenced the struggle he now has with SSA? If so, can you give us insights into those things?

Absolutely yes.  My husband’s story isn’t identical to some with SSA, but it does reverberate loudly with many strugglers.

My husband was a “perfect storm” for sexual brokenness.  He was sexually abused by his maternal grandfather beginning at the age of 3.  He told his parents about the abuse directly, but they chose not to believe him.  They also chose not to get him any help or protect him from his abuser, which permitted the abuse to continue.

Compounding that abuse was his father’s outright rejection of my husband – my father-in-law poured his affection, time, and attention  on my husband’s younger brother, who was (we think) “clean” in the mind of my father-in-law.  The rejection by his father compounded the confusion my husband felt as a young boy – why he “felt different” and his body responded to the abuse he was subjected to.  The gender confusion was cemented in adolescence when his emotions became sexualized and as an awkward teen, he was ostracized for being “different.”

And adding more confusion to the mix, my mother-in-law is a very unhealthy woman who had an emotionally-incestuous relationship with my husband, making him her confidante when my father-in-law was emotionally and physically unavailable.

What has the journey with this struggle been like for your husband? How have you been able to support him in it?

It has honestly been excruciating for my beloved.  He has fought his attraction for so many years and felt like such a failure because of his inability to “stay on the wagon” and not self-medicate.  He has been porn-clean since January 2008, which has been amazing, but he still struggled with his mind and eyes roaming where he didn’t want them to roam and where he knew God didn’t want them to roam.  He’s had more freedom in the last 18 months, but is still on his guard.

I began our journey (post-revelation) as his “accountability,” which I now call “being his cop.”  It wasn’t pleasant for either of us, mostly because it put me in an awkward position of policing the computer and his reading material and it put him in the role of trying to live up to the “policing,” and when he failed to do so, hiding his “crime.”

We’ve left that stage behind and I am now able to walk with him in this – we are a team and it’s not a matter of “his struggle” as much as it is “our life together, impacted by his struggle.”  We do a lot of talking and decompressing, but I make sure that even with my educational background in counseling, I don’t become his therapist.  I’m his wife and he needs me in that position.  We have a therapist for a reason, and I’m not that person.

I am my husband’s cheerleader, his support, his lover, and his Shield-maiden.  I pray with him, for him, and for myself and our family – and when he’s tired or war-wounded from his battles, I hold up the shield for him and he has a place to rest and heal.

Every so often we do a “status check” where I ask and he tells me how his journey is going on an internal level.  It’s for my healing of trust issues as well as to enhance our marriage and communication levels.  He knows that no matter what he says, I will love him and accept him.  I am a safe place for him.

How has his struggle influenced your own emotional and spiritual wellness? What resources have you utilized to get support for yourself?

I had no idea how my spiritual and emotional life would be changed by marrying my husband.  I expected a fairly “normal” life with him; this journey has been anything but.

I had my own issues of self-esteem and trust.  After discovering my husband’s “secret,” my self-esteem and trust issues became front and center.  It took me a while to separate myself from my the struggle and realize that although it affected me deeply, it wasn’t about me.  I didn’t “make him gay” and nothing I did caused his attraction.  Once that became clear to me, I was able to look to the Lord to heal my issues and help me heal on with my husband’s journey.

Things came to a head for me in the spring of 2008, when I very clearly heard the Lord (audibly) speak to me.  He said, “Your husband is about to become the man that I have called him to be.  You need to match him.”  YIKES.  That began a path to healing in my own life that allowed me to more actively be a help to my husband and focus on his pain and past, not clouding the issues with my own.  The Lord removed thorns from my heart from past events that were poisoning my life, and when the process was over, we were able to focus on my husband and his healing.

Resources which have helped me include The Marriage Bed, private counseling, Cross Power Ministries, Intimate Issues by Pintus & Dillow, hours of girl-talk with other women who understand intimacy-issues, and referring back to a bevy of books on homosexuality, emotional healing, sexual abuse, and emotional incest.

How has your husband’s battle with SSA affected your intimacy with one another, both sexually and in emotional oneness?

It’s a huge issue for most couples impacted by SSA, and we were not excluded from the struggle.  My husband grew up understanding sex to be bad, secret, and twisted, and I had terrible messages about sex from my upbringing, in addition to having sexual trauma that took place in college but that I neglected to deal with.

We also made mistakes in our engagement in the name of “purity” that set us off on the wrong foot; we opted not to have any physical contact (touching, kissing, petting, etc.) until we were married.  We actually had our first kiss on the altar during our marriage ceremony!  We did it for multiple reasons, all of which were Godly, but all of which were devoid of God’s leading.  We decided to do this without consulting the Lord, and ended up making things very difficult for me in later years.  I had to go from 0-100mph in the course of about 3 hours – from kissing to “I’m supposed to do WHAT?!”  It was a recipe for disaster and didn’t help me develop trust and intimacy with my husband.

When you combined that decision, our backgrounds, and my husband’s SSA, we were more like roommates for the first 13 years of our marriage than anything else.  He would self-medicate with porn & masturbation, have nothing left for me, and then I would take his rejection of my advances as “he doesn’t want me” or “he doesn’t like my body.”  I also transferred a subconscious anger at him because of my un-healed sexual trauma, which was entirely unfair to him.

Our intimacy was probably down to once every 4-6 months at different points in our marriage, infrequently dotted with times of sexual connectedness.  Things really began turning around for us sexually in 2008 as I dealt with my issues and sexual trauma – my husband was delighted to be a participant in my healing and my subsequent appetite for him.

It has been challenging to have this concept of SSA in our bedroom, but by working slowly and consistently and letting the Lord lead us, we have made huge progress.  We now make time for each other and for sex by making it a ‘scheduled item’ on the calendar and have found tremendous satisfaction and emotional intimacy in that.

As our sex life turned around, our emotional oneness also grew deeper – we were no longer shy about praying together, reading the Bible together, and otherwise talking about the hard things.  Sometimes it still takes me “screwing my courage to the sticking place” to talk about certain things, but it definitely has gotten easier to be emotionally vulnerable with him compared to what it once was.

As you have been processing through this struggle, what opinions and philosophies have you encountered in secular streams of thought? Have they been helpful or not? How so?

Most secular theories discount us as “freaks” or “religiously motivated nutjobs,” and unfortunately, many inside the Church believe the secular world’s take on the subject.  “Once gay, always gay” is the prevalent belief outside the Church.  There are some secular groups who marginally and begrudgingly accept where we are, but only because in order to be considered “inclusive,” they have to include people whose experiences and worldviews are different than theirs.

Most of the secular philosophies are not terribly helpful, with the exception of two:  cognitive therapy (talk therapy) in the hands of a skilled Christian therapist can yield tremendous results.  My husband has come to grips with the roots of his struggle in this way.  EFT (emotional freedom technique, or “tapping”) used in a Christ-centered context is also very helpful in releasing pent-up emotions and wrong beliefs about oneself.

What about the Church? Has your local church been helpful? Are there people in the church who are aware of his struggle? What about the broader Church? What is the predominant sentiment expressed by the Church at large to people who struggle with SSA? Is there any shift in thinking that you have noticed?

The Church as a whole has flubbed much of this issue.  There seems to be two main lines of thought/belief within the Faith about SSA:  1)  the temptation (i.e., SSA) is sinful and the appropriate response is condemnation and isolation; or 2) everyone is loved by God, regardless, and the only appropriate responses are to be affirming and re-define Scripture.

Very few churches pick the middle path to acknowledge SSA and still hold to a Biblical belief that while the attraction isn’t wrong, acting out on the attraction is – although it is not a sin which is Greater Than Any Others.

My husband and I particularly appreciate this last approach – it creates a culture in which broken people can find healing in the presence of God and shuns the idea that some sins are somehow worse than others.  All sins put Jesus on the cross – to then make some “more grievous” than others indicates that the blood of Christ is incapable of satisfactorily cleansing all sin, which is heresy.

Our local churches have been fantastic – we moved across country last year and our church where we used to attend was amazing.  We were honest with them about our journey and they embraced us, trusted us with leadership positions, and encouraged us in our healing process.  Our current church has been incredible – from the platform we hear compassion, Biblical truth, and see people live out God’s love in a way that touches us to the core.

Portions of the leadership in our current community are aware of our journey and have embraced us; we are telling staff as we build relationships with them and have a chance to bare our souls.  We haven’t been rejected and indeed have been asked to lead small groups within our church’s marriage ministry.  They recognize our journey and testimony and we have been accepted.

We see glimmers of hope across the country with different churches and how they handle this issue. We are hopeful that as the “changing of the guard” takes place and new leadership comes in with more of the compassion of Christ than a love for “clean churches,” the trend will continue.  There is room for all sorts of brokenness in the Church, and the more we are changed by the love of Christ, the more we can pass along that love and compassion to others.  If being real about our journey encourages others to deal with their “stuff” and find healing, then it’s all worth it.

Where are the two of you at right now? Are you in a good place?

We are in a good place!  We are clinging to Jesus and to each other, and God is continuing to work out things in us.  We know our next step is to meet with a new therapist and pursue more healing for my husband – that’s a scary step, but we’re willing to do it, knowing that the Lord is leading us.

Spiritually, emotionally, and sexually, we’re doing better now than we ever have.  We have our ups and downs like everyone else, but we’re much quicker these days to ‘get back on track’ than in the past.  We’re walking this out one day at a time, but I’m here to tell others who are impacted by SSA that there really IS freedom in Jesus and that His touch isn’t too weak to heal in this issue, either.

Thanks so much to “Cori” for sharing the journey she and her husband have been on. It is our hope that it will help those for whom this is a struggle. If you would like to read more from her about this topic feel free to visit her blog at My Heart | His Heart. Watch next week for my wrap up article in this series on SSA. Please remember that we would love to have you contribute to the discussion in the comment section below, but comments will be moderated if they are lacking in grace and compassion towards one another. 

Interview With a “Feet” Couple (Part 2)

This is part two of an interview we started last week. If you missed part one, then click here: Interview With a “Feet” Couple (Part 1)

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6. Do you prefer bare feet or do you have an attraction of feet in stockings or socks too?

Hubby: It depends on my mood. For the most part, her bare pedicured feet are wonderful, but then there are other times where a nice pair of fishnet ankle socks or even a simple pair of nude knee highs is a wonderful treat. The texture and scent of stockings are sometimes just that added little touch that makes her feet that much more exciting.

Shoes are also fun. My wife has several pairs of shoes that she has never worn out of the bedroom. These can be a pair of simple ballerina flats, or her three inch Lucite heels which are by far my favorite pair!

Wife: I personally prefer bare feet. I don’t mind stockings and nylons but I prefer natural looking feet and legs and I especially prefer to be barefoot. I do occasionally put on stockings or nylons to arouse my husband and add spice to our sex life.

7. Do you bathe your feet before using them in a sexual act or is this not important?

Hubby: I would answer this question by countering with the question; do you always wash your hands or take a shower before a sexual act? I would be willing to wager that not everyone does and when it comes right down to the heat of the moment who really pauses the action to go take a shower? I believe that this question falls into the misconception that feet are inherently dirty. However, think about the last place your hands went on an average day; cleaning up the kid’s messes, diapers, or perhaps cleaning up the pet accidents or even the toilet. Feet merely take us where we need to go. My wife always wears sandals or slippers in the house and is only barefoot in the bedroom, so her feet remain relatively clean. On the off chance that she happens to have stepped into something, I will grab a wash cloth and lovingly clean off the soles of her feet.

I can state with confidence that I have never received a fungal infection in my mouth from kissing her feet or sucking her toes, nor have I ever contracted any type of athlete’s foot in my genital area from foot sex., so I believe that feet are just as clean, if not cleaner than say our hands are.

Wife: I personally don’t bath my feet other then when I take a shower. I usually wear slippers, sneakers or sandals that protect my feet. If I do go barefoot it is only in the house where the floors are usually clean. If on occasion I do get them dirty my husband will clean them for me or I will wash them really quick. I personally don’t think that this is important because to me feet are not that dirty. You can look at people who use their hands during sex; does the wife wash her hands before sex? Probably not and if you think about what a typical mother does during the day like wiping kids noses, changing diapers, fixing dinner, cleaning the house, doing laundry, taking care of sick kids, pets and the house. How clean is her hand during sex? A husband is the same way. Oral sex is the same thing; does anyone brush their teeth before oral sex? Or shower and clean below the waist before oral sex? Another reason I don’t wash my feet before sex is that the aroma of the foot after a day of work or life is part of the allure for those who like feet.

8. Besides the usual walking, standing, etc and sexual uses for your feet, do you do anything else with your feet? (eat, write, etc)

Hubby: My wife can pet the dog with her feet, which leaves me thinking at that exact moment, I wish I were the dog, but other than that, she really doesn’t do anything unusual. Her feet have become very dexterous over the years due to manipulating certain parts of me, so she is quite capable of picking up objects with them rather easily.

Wife: I personally don’t use my feet to write or eat. I do use them to pick up some objects off the floor so I don’t have to bend over or pet the dog with my feet. I do use them to tease my husband and make sure my nails are painted especially bright colors in the summer.

9. What is your favorite foot technique?

Hubby: I guess I would have to say that my favorite things would be anything that my wife does with her feet to flirt with me when we are out and about. She often kicks off her sandals and drives barefoot during the summer months because she knows that I love to watch her feet working the pedals. On the off chance that I am at the wheel, she will instead put her bare feet up on the dash just to see if I am paying attention. While waiting in the car for the kids to get out of school, she will often kick off her shoes and place her feet in my lap to sneak in a quick foot massage before they are out for the day. When we are apart for just a little while, she will often send me a text message from her phone with a little picture of her feet to remind me that she is thinking of me.

Wife: My favorite foot technique is more about using several different ones. My husband and I came up with what we call the cradle position during foot sex. I also like to use my toes to encase my husband and stroke certain spots to please him. I personally love rubbing my feet in his face during sexual encounters as well.

10. What do you suggest to a couple who one spouse isn’t comfortable using their feet for sexual acts, but the other wants it?

Hubby: The first thing I would emphatically state is take it slow. Societal pressures and even our theology can cause us to put on blinders temporarily in which we believe that something is wrong sexually just because it isn’t necessarily what everyone else does. You should never force a spouse to do something that they are not comfortable with. But at the same time, letting a relationship founder over liking feet is equally harmful without a spouse attempting to make an effort to understand it. Talk openly and more specifically discuss why you like feet and what about your spouse’s feet turns you on. Don’t wait until months or even years into the relationship to admit you like feet. If you have not been honest about it, come clean immediately. Communicate openly and start slowly perhaps with a foot massage and even some light toe sucking or foot kissing when both parties are comfortable. Progress slowly and eventually you can both find that feet are inherently sexual in nature. Learning to embrace foot sex doesn’t come naturally for some. It requires patience and understanding. But once you let go of your inhibitions and preconceived notions and embrace it, you will find that it can be something that binds you closer as a couple because you have grown, nurtured and learned to accept something that is uniquely your own that perhaps others cannot fathom.

Above all educate yourselves and learn to understand why feet used to be considered sexual in nature. During my years of research into the origins of those who like feet, I was able to discover that feet were an important part of sex in the ancient world. For example, in his work the Erotika Biblion, author Mirabeau tells us that Greek and Middle Eastern wives perfected techniques passed down in which they learned the skill of using their feet to gently manipulate the male genitals and provoke orgasm. William Rossi writes that it was also a common practice by wives of the ancient cultures of the Greece, Japan and throughout Asia. Education is the main reason my wife and I run a blog called Foot Fetish 101 which seeks to enlighten those who maybe new to the whole notion of feet in the bedroom. To gain further insight we would also recommend the book entitled, the sex life of the foot and shoe by William A Rossi which can be found for under $10 on amazon.com.

Wife: As I have said on my blog and to other people on the Marriage Bed, take it slow. Make sure you are open, honest and understanding. Start slow with maybe a foot massage, gentle kissing, and a lot of talking about how you feel and how she feels about foot sex. Some people just don’t understand it so do research to get informed. There is mention of foot adoration in India, Rome, Greece, Egypt, China and it is even mentioned a time or two in the bible. The key is not going to fast or forcing either party to do something they are not comfortable with. If the guy is the one who is interested and the woman is hesitant, try doing a loving massage, a pedicure and talking about how feet make you feel or why you are attracted to them. Be open to answering her questions about your attraction to her feet. For a woman who enjoys having her feet touched, it is a little different. You need to explain that it increases your pleasure, how you like your feet touched and try to see if your husband is willing to explore different variations of sexual encounters to experience the benefits of foot sex. He may not be attracted to feet but he might still like the foot sex experience. Most importantly keep an open mind. There is nothing wrong with foot sex. An attraction to feet is just like an attraction to the butt, breasts, chest hair on men, tattoos and ripped abs.

Many thanks to this couple for taking the time to answer these questions fully and honestly, and for giving us some insight into what it’s like to involve feet in your marriage bed!

 

If you are interested in reading this couple’s blog then you need to register with WordPress and get a username.  Then you need to email this couple at:  dr.sole2@yahoo.com requesting access to their blog.

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Interview With a “Feet” Couple (Part 1)

We have been hearing more and more about couples who enjoy using their feet during their intimate times together… so we set out to find one such couple to interview!  Below is part one of our interview of a couple who love using feet in their marriage bed.

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1. What exactly does it mean to “like feet?”

Hubby: Simply stated, it means that you are partial to the feet of your spouse as opposed to those who prefer their spouses breasts, butt, legs, or otherwise. It means that you enjoy gazing at the bright nail polish of her latest pedicure, the symmetrical order of her toes, the deepness of her arches and the round suppleness of her heels. It means that you can find the sight of your spouse in nylons and heels especially exciting and can be turned on just by the delicate dangling or dipping of any shoe that she has on her foot.

Liking feet is not something which I believe is an acquired taste that one merely develops. I was aware of my attraction to feet at a very young age and I believe that based on several studies it is entirely possible that I had a predisposed liking towards feet. I also subscribe to the imprinting theory and I believe that my fascination for feet may have been imprinted at an early age by someone who innocently let me massage their feet during story time to keep me occupied. I have studied the accounts of many others who also like feet who can also recall similar instances in which they felt that their fascination for feet was innocently awoken by similar circumstances. It is not something that abates over time. Liking feet is a lifelong fascination that requires an open minded and loving spouse who can embrace this uniqueness. Above all, as our blog states, I believe that liking feet is fun and okay.

Wife: Also I consider liking feet to be when a person loves to have their feet touched in a sexual or non sexual way. In my case, it improves the intensity of my orgasms to have my feet touched during sex with my husband. I also love to have my feet massaged nightly or during quality time with my hubby. If I don’t have foot sex or receive proper foot attention on a regular basis I do tend to become irritable.

2. At what age did you decide that it was cool to use your feet during sex? (i.e., did you ever masturbate with your feet before meeting your spouse?)

Hubby: Once aware of this fascination, I didn’t think about using my own feet for sexual purposes as much as I was thinking that I needed to eventually find an open minded spouse who wouldn’t find my fascination weird or abnormal and would be open to trying foot sex or foot jobs in the bedroom. I can say that I was indeed blessed to have found her early in life.

Wife: I was 19 the first time that I had foot sex with my husband. To me it was a good thing that satisfied both my husband and I. I took psychology classes in College so I understood sexual contact, reflexology, and fetishes which were considered normal to a point. To me foot sex felt right and pleasurable with my husband.

3. Is this something both of you agreed upon right away at the beginning of your marriage or have you incorporated it in later years?

Hubby: I believe that honesty is the best approach. I told her early in our relationship that I was partial to feet. I truly believed that if she was the right spouse for me, that she would be able to accept this unique part of me and eventually embrace it. I took it slow and tried to explain to her why I liked feet, what I liked about her feet and especially let her know how pretty I thought they were. We did research together and then we started slowly with pedicures, foot massages, foot kissing and I let her decide her comfort level when trying foot sex. We experimented with foot jobs and foot sex and then talked openly about what we liked. With patience and understanding, her feet quickly became more and more comfortable with any activities in the bedroom and today, nearly twenty years later, it can be said that her feet often have a mind of their own and that they are indeed a large part of our sex life.

Wife: My husband and I talked about everything when we first became a couple. He was open and honest about his attraction to feet which felt right to me. I was open to trying it because I knew from my studies that different people were attracted to different body parts. I knew about foot fetishes from psychology books I read in High School and in College. To me it was a normal thing and a way to connect with my husband.


4. Does every sexual encounter between you include some sort of foot play?

Hubby: I would say that not every sexual encounter includes foot play. But her feet do tend to become involved probably at least 95% of the time in my estimation because we both know that it is something that turns each other on and that we both enjoy. It can be simply flirting, to foreplay, or something more. We do try other things in the bedroom just to keep things exciting and passionate that don’t involve feet and we are never shy about experimenting sexually.

Wife: Almost all sexual encounters between us include some type foot play. I achieve a more intense orgasm when my feet are touched during sex and I feel that my husband gets a better climax if my feet are touching him. We have been doing it for so long that foot play is a natural part of our sexual relationship.

5. I personally believe that having a full blown fetish can be unhealthy for couples. Fetish= not being able to get or maintain an erection without _______. (In this case, feet) Do you believe this is a fetish for you both? How do you feel about the healthiness of your relationship with regard to your focus on feet?

Hubby: The use of the word fetish in conjunction with feet tends to be a bit over dramatized and often carries a negative stigma due to harmful stereotypes portrayed in the mainstream media. I prefer to think of it as a foot fascination. But if the fascination is the only method in which one can achieve sexual gratification then it can indeed present a problem within the relationship. If unchecked to the point that a person ignores their partner’s sexual needs and selfishly only satisfies their needs then they would require professional help. However, in my extensive studies, I often reference an accepted classification tier that describes the five levels of those with any type of fascination. Most people fall within the first two classes and have an otherwise normal sex life. Those rare individuals who fall into the class three or above on the five tier classification cannot.

In our case, I don’t feel that this is a fetish for the both of us. We explore many other varieties and spices in our marriage bed that don’t involve feet. However, my wife does really enjoy having me touch her feet and I relish the opportunity to touch them as well. And it is this simple touch that quite often leads to other things in the bedroom. I think that this enhances our sexual intimacy in regards to frequency and quality. We are very comfortable with each other sexually and we have no problem communicating to each other about what we enjoy and would like to try within the bedroom. I believe this is because we have been able to embrace my foot fascination and incorporate it into our sex life without reservation. We have a very active sex life and we are still very much in love with each other even after nearly twenty years of marriage. My wife often calls me her sole mate as well as her soul mate and I am blessed to be both.

Wife: I personally feel that a fetish can be healthy in moderation. I don’t believe there is anything wrong with a fetish as long as you are in control and it doesn’t cause physical harm to you or your spouse. If you are talking about people who have a fetish that drives them to do illegal or forceful things to satisfy it, then yes that would be unhealthy. But in my opinion, a foot fetish is not harmful. To me the strong connection that my husband and I share with feet is healthy, fun and helps us connect on a different level than most couples.

Come back next week for part two of this interesting interview!

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Sex As We Age: Interview Two

The second in our interview series on Sex As We Age, this interview was done with a woman in her fifties.

What changes have you seen in your sex life as the two of you have matured in age?

Our sex life started out strong, then declined practically to the point of non-existence. There were a few years in the recent past where the number of times we had sex that year could be counted on one hand. The past three years, however, have seen a miraculous restoration, to a higher level of quantity and quality than even in our newlywed days.

What are the most important factors you have found to be supportive of a love life that grows in intimacy?

  • time together–alone
  • a lock on the bedroom door
  • transparency about likes, dislikes, fantasies, concerns, fears, worries, sadnesses
  • absolute commitment to God, to each other, and to the vows you made
  • listening and acting when your spouse “just has a feeling” about someone of the other sex
  • commitment to be sure your spouse doesn’t “go hungry” sexually—if they say they’re hungry- they’re hungry!
  • both sweet and spicy talk and touch throughout the day

What obstacles did you find along the way that you had to overcome which were attributed to aging? How did you resolve them?

Decreased stamina, increased medical issues, stiff joints, changes in speed and intensity of response. Keep a close eye on all-around health, take supplements, allow more time for sex, try new positions, use toys

What advice would you give to a younger husband and wife to help ensure that when they are celebrating the silver and golden anniversaries, they still have a passion between them?

MOST IMPORTANT: Find a way to be able to talk about sex—anything about sex–with your spouse. Write a letter, send an email, make a video conversation, talk while you ride in the car, talk on the phone, sit (or lie) in the dark and talk, but TALK! Get it all out on the table.

How would you describe your sex life today terms of frequency, intimacy level, passion level and so on?

Frequency is usually once a day–or more. Recently on vacation, it was more like 3-4 times per day. Intimacy, we’re closer than ever, and can pretty much bare our souls to each other–with fantasies, concerns, or confession. Passion is still very hot. There are still times when one of us will say, “That was amazing! What you just did was the most intense __________ I’ve ever experienced!”

In what ways has your sex life become better in recent years?

Because of a commitment to meet each other’s sexual needs, and God’s miraculous intervention as we both prayed to be the lover the other one needed, we have gone from a sex life that was basically dead to a frequency and passion that would keep pace with most newlyweds. Plus, after so many years together, there is a “knowingness” to our intimacy that can only come with time.

Sex As We Age: Interview One

As per a recent announcement regarding interviewing women who are enjoying a passionate marriage bed in the more later years of their marriage, today I bring you the first feature on this topic. The couple I interviewed here are both close to the age of fifty.

1. What changes have you seen in your sex life as the two of you have matured in age?

We have seen changes for wonderful and challenging..for me..I had to deal with peri-menopause changes , such as the tissue in the vaginal area getting thinner and working with that ( luckily my doctor believes that the more sex the better to strengthen that area and I also use a estrogen cream occasionally if I need it…)
Dh ‘s was diagnosed with Low testosterone and we had to deal with that..and some beginning signs of ED which we have gotten past now..those were challenges…but we also have more time and energy without having a bunch of small kids to run after… we have learned to “savor” each other more along with quickies too..and we have been together for so long that we just really really know each other which makes for some awesome sex.

2. What are the most important factors you have found to be supportive of a love life that grows in intimacy?

Sharing ..not keeping things bottled up…addressing even the “embarrassing” problems..keeping God at the center ..willing to learn and change as we age and not getting “stuck in a rut”.

3. What obstacles did you find along the way that you had to overcome which were attributed to aging? How did you resolve them?

I addressed some of those in the first question…but as for me, I now at this age, sometimes have unexpected or extended periods..my cycles are not so regular as they were before..,if we allowed it to, this could put a damper on our love life…but we have found ways around that..on light days we just put a towel on the bed..heavier days we use the shower or the tub…On those days that it just is too uncomfortable or messy for me..I will give dh a HJ or OS..and this keeps things sizzling for us and keeps sex a priority..even when we can have PIV.
As for dh, he had lost most of his desire..we were concerned about this and had him tested to find out that he had low testosterone levels.he is now on Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) and his levels are back in the normal range so this has been resolved..he also experienced the normal occasional bouts of ED ..due to aging..by watching his diet and exercise and by keeping the lines of communication open between us ( this IS a biggie) his issue with this has resolved.

4. What advice would you give to a younger husband and wife to help ensure that when they are celebrating the silver and golden anniversaries, they still have a passion between them?

I would tell them to make there love life and intimacy a priority..things in life have a tendency to pull us in all directions..and when we add jobs and children and in laws and hobbies..it is easy to lose sight of where we are..we must make our spouses our priorities and our best friends..connection through sexual touch (kissing hugging etc..) and communication is needed on a daily basis if possible (if your spouse is in the military or works aways from home you need to be inventive in ways that you can “keep in touch)..and your time as a couple must be treated as important. You can not just expect to keep your relationship on a back burner to get to it when you have time.

5. How would you describe your sex life today terms of frequency, intimacy level, passion level and so on?

Dh and I on average have 2 times on sexual connection a day..for us this is a quickie in the am…sometimes PIV..sometimes I will give him OS..or he me…and then in the evening we always make time to have PIV sex..even if we have to record a favorite tv show to watch later..our sex life comes before that..and we make it a priority..
There are times in the middle of the night if one of us can’t sleep..we wake the other up for sex..even though we may have just had sex 3 hours before..and weekends are whenever we want.
As we have aged and have gotten to know each other so well..have been through may of life’s experiences together, it has had an unexpected benefit to our sex life in that we at times can seem like almost one…( Of course, this is how God intended) but at the beginning of our lives together it didn’t seem as possible to be “one ” as it does now.
Sometimes our sexual intimacy is slow and leisurely..I often ask my dh how he doesn’t get bored but he still after all these years tells me he finds my body fascinating and makes new discoveries about it every week…sometimes we have hot and heavy sex…and sometimes when we start , we don’t have any idea which way it will go..
That is the awesome and wonderful thing about sex..if you just let go and let it happen it has the potential to be so many things and never boring.

6. In what ways has your sex life become better in recent years?

The biggest change for us was getting dh’s health straightened out. Our sex life literally exploded when that happened. We also have more time to devote to us…it is easier to carve out the time now and we do..we take every opportunity to find time to do things as a couple that expand and develop out intimate lives.
We save up and take a cruise together once a year..just us..with no other family and we take that week to just totally focus on each other and it is wonderful..as a younger couple , we were limited to doing this on weekends..which was great..but it is even more awesome to have a week to do this.. And as I stated earlier..dh and I have been through so much together at this point..that we can take and discuss anything..nothing is taboo between us ..so that makes our level of intimacy and connection that much deeper.

Interview with Joe Beam: Marriage Expert ~ Part Two

Last Monday we brought you Part One of this interview with Joe Beam. We are pleased to share Part Two with you today.

Joe Beam is an internationally recognized marriage expert and a dedicated Christian. The LovePath 911 seminar he leads has been researched by colleges and psychologists because of its unusually high level of saving marriages in trouble. Joe has been featured on Good Morning America, The Today Show, Focus on the Family, The Montel Williams Show, MSNBC, Fox News, The Dave Ramsey Show and many other television and radio programs around the world. He is author of several books including his most recent, “Your LovePath,” which is a guide for rekindling lost love, for keeping love strong and for finding true love.  For more information on Joe, visit his website at http://www.joebeam.com.

As the tide turns in the Church and more people are becoming aware of the need for godly teaching about sex to be taught by the Church, what do you feel are the most beneficial settings for the teaching to happen? Should it come from the pulpit or in an adult only setting?

As one of the first to talk openly about sex from the Christian perspective, I received both compliments and complaints. An MSNBC poll about my teaching on sex showed that 17% of respondents were appalled. However, about 53% said they wish I were their pastor! When NBC’s Today Show invited me to take questions about sex live on the air with them, Lester Holt visibly perspired. (He’s a dedicated Christian, by the way.) When invited back to the Today Show a couple months later to be interviewed by Natalie Morales, I discovered that she thought I was talking about explicitly sexual matters from the pulpit on Sunday morning. She seemed relieved to discover that instead I did it in specific groups.

More ministers are talking about sex from the pulpit. My understanding is that most of them are doing generic teaching on the subject as opposed to dealing with specific sexual questions such as “is oral sex a sin?” I think it’s wise occasionally to do generic teaching from the pulpit such as preaching on 1 Corinthians 7:2-5 that clearly states that we should be sexually fulfilling in each other in marriage. However, in my opinion, more good is done with specific groups that can ask the questions that they wish to ask so that rather than talking “around” the matter, we can address openly and frankly the things they most wish to understand from a godly standpoint.

Note that I didn’t say “adults only” specific groups. I’ve been invited to talk with groups as young as middle school about these matters. I think that’s very wise. We should be teaching godly views of sex to everyone, edited, of course, to be age appropriate. Interestingly, the teen groups I’ve talked with about sex were much more knowledgeable about the matter than most of the adult groups.

I strongly urge that if there is to be a Biblical discussion of godly sex, it must be led by a spiritually mature man, woman, or couple that is comfortable with their own sexuality and unafraid to discuss frankly the real questions that people have. It is as important to emphasize the freedom and fun that a Christian married couple can have as it is to explain the prohibitions God gave us.

I sum up all the things we are not to do with three statements: 1) We must not allow, in either reality or fantasy, any other person than our spouse to be involved in our sex lives. 2) We must not involve any animal. Yeah, I know but it’s in the Book. 3) We must not do anything that harms either person physically, emotionally, spiritually, or psychologically.

That leaves many areas for exploration, fun, and fulfillment.

What are the signs of infidelity? If someone suspects that their spouse is committing adultery, what is the best course of action?

There are many signs of infidelity. Short of being caught, most are not conclusive in themselves, but as they begin to add up, they make a strong case that something is definitely amiss. Though it would be impractical to list every potential sign, these are some:

  • Your spouse’s appearance (body shape, fragrances, or dress) has improved recently
  • Money is unaccounted for
  • Time is unaccounted for
  • Cell phone bills are hidden and/or your spouse spends time on the phone where you cannot hear
  • Facebook or email accounts are protected from you
  • Your sex life recently changed (either more or less),
  • You discovered that your spouse told you they would be one place and you discover they were in another
  • Your spouse drifts from happiness to sadness to dreaminess to irritableness
  • Your spouse starts telling you that you are “crazy” or confused when you question things
  • Your spouse gets defensive when you ask about a certain person, activity, or time period

The first thing to do if you suspect your spouse of infidelity is to discover if s/he really is or if you are being overly suspicious or paranoid. I recommend the direct approach, “I need you to reassure me. Maybe I’m just feeling vulnerable, but I’m starting to worry about our relationship. Will you help me by making everything transparent for the next couple months so that I can find inner peace? Let me ask questions and see things and the like. I’m not accusing you; I’m asking you to help me with my fears.” If the spouse agrees, check bills and locations and those things randomly…but not too much or you’ll cause other problems with your spouse feeling trusted. If your spouse becomes defensive, angry, or indignant, it may be wise to start doing some checking on your own.

If you become convinced that your spouse is being unfaithful, get a wise third party to help you think through what to do next. Get that person’s opinion of what you’ve discovered. Before making any accusations, be as sure as you can be that you are right. If necessary and you can afford it, hire a detective. If you aren’t sure enough to make that step, maybe you need to rethink what you think you know.

Finally, once you are sure, get together a group to do an intervention. I will happily send you a link to a document that guides you step-by-step though that intervention process. Just email info@JoeBeam.com and ask for the Intervention Document.

If you intervene, be sure that you have a course of action in mind as to what should happen next. Successful interventions conclude with a call to a specific action; for example, “We want you to agree to attend LovePath 911 next month,” or “We’ve set up an appointment with this counselor…”

Pornography is such a tragic epidemic that is wrecking havoc in so many lives. As the target audience of our blog is wives, what action do you suggest that women take if their husband has a porn addiction?

I recently wrote an article “Internet Porn is the New Sex Ed” that you may find here. Porn isn’t just a male problem. Approximately 15% of men use porn compulsively, but nearly 5% of women do as well. The entire article contains very important information, but for now, I excerpt the following paragraphs…

As a proponent of fulfilling sex in Christian marriages, I shout from the rooftops that porn is not the answer to achieving that goal. It creates impossible expectations that lead to misery. If a couple pursues porn, they will drift emotionally from their partners into an imaginary world that will never exist in reality. They eventually will reach the point where their lovemaking relies on fantasy and not at all on intimacy between them. If you are both into porn in your marriage, please believe me when I say that my experience with thousands of couples demonstrates that you will develop problems with your intimacy, self-esteem, and fulfillment as a couple. Stop now. Save your future by rescuing your present.

If one of you is into porn and the other doesn’t know, don’t think that it isn’t hurting your marriage. Every exposure to porn immerses you into a fantasy world that erodes the reality you could have together. It will change you; maybe it has already. Think you can keep it a secret? Get real. When your spouse discovers, he or she will very likely feel betrayed, rejected, unattractive, and abandoned. As one woman said to me, “I wish I had the money to have cosmetic surgery from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet so that maybe my husband would want to look at me rather than those women on the Internet.” Even before your spouse discovers, you are programming your mind in a manner that leads inevitably to a lack of appreciation of and attraction to your mate.

If one of you is into porn and the other does know, the spouse not into porn should take the lead in demanding the removal of porn opportunities altogether. Get rid of the Internet, just as you would remove an addict’s access to alcohol. Check up on missing time and missing money. Seek out a Celebrate Recovery group in your area (you can find locations online). Finally, do something immediately to salvage the future you can have together. If your marriage is in trouble, let us help. Our success rate over the last decade is three out of four marriages, even when porn, adultery, or other things have deeply hurt the relationship. (See www.MarriageHelper.com)

If not us, let someone help. Don’t think a slap-on-the-wrist and a promise to do better will solve a problem that is deep-seated, especially an addiction such as porn.

I believe that a couple can overcome porn’s affects by learning a new kind of sex education. However, it is very unlikely that they will until they solve the problems in their marriage, especially unrealized expectations on the part of one, or feelings of betrayal by the other.

By the power of God, you can have a great marriage and a great sex life.

Act now. Save your future.
We are so thankful to Joe Beam for sharing his insights and wisdom with us. I know our readers will find this interview a very valuable resource. Thanks again!


Interview with Joe Beam: Marriage Expert ~ Part One

Joe Beam is an internationally recognized marriage expert and a dedicated Christian. The LovePath 911 seminar he leads has been researched by colleges and psychologists because of its unusually high level of saving marriages in trouble. Joe has been featured on Good Morning America, The Today Show, Focus on the Family, The Montel Williams Show, MSNBC, Fox News, The Dave Ramsey Show and many other television and radio programs around the world. He is author of several books including his most recent, “Your LovePath,” which is a guide for rekindling lost love, for keeping love strong and for finding true love.  For more information on Joe, visit his website at http://www.joebeam.com.

Tell us about your LovePath 911 Marriage Seminar. Who is it for and what is the purpose of the seminar? What topics does it cover? If one spouse is resistant to the idea of trying this seminar, are there effective and reasonable ways to persuade them?

I developed LovePath 911 in 1999 as an intense three-day weekend to “turn around” marriages in crisis. In 2006, we engaged Jim Grayson, PhD, to survey our effectiveness over the first seven years. Three out of four couples were still together. That success rate is electrifying, especially when you consider that only couples in crisis come, and most of those have at least one spouse that did not want to save the marriage but came only to pacify their family, church, or friends, or to get concessions in the divorce.

LP911 helps people comprehend the underlying causes that got them into their current situation, the future each will have if they continue on their present course, and how to change course so that each of them will find true fulfillment. We cover areas ranging from how to stop hurting each other to how to overcome an affair, even if one of them is madly in love with someone else. It’s quite a comprehensive lineup – anger, forgiveness, personalities, life desires, negotiation, respect, commitment, and more. The workshop centers on a model we call the LovePath that visually demonstrates how people fall in love, fall out of love, fall in love with someone else, or fall in love with each other again, no matter what has happened beforehand. Couples come with issues that span the spectrum – stepfamilies, addiction, disrespect, constant arguing, affairs, parenting, drifting apart, financial stress, sexual disharmony, and more. No matter what the specific reason, research demonstrates that most people divorce because they don’t feel loved, liked, or respected. We start at that core and work out to the symptoms.

We’ve seen people convince their reluctant spouses to come by offering concessions in the divorce, asking that they try this one last thing so that each can depart with a clearer conscience and nearly anything else you can imagine. Many involve their pastors, the spouse’s family, their children, and respected friends. We have a document that provides several suggestions of potential avenues to convince the spouse to come. As far as I’m concerned, anything that is legal and ethical is fair game. We’ve learned that even when spouses come angry and resentful, our success rate continues to be three out of four. Just give us a chance.

Tell us about your Love, Sex and Marriage Seminar. What can couples expect when they attend this seminar?
Love, Sex & Marriage is a fun, informative, and stimulating one-day seminar packed with extremely important material thoroughly seasoned with hilarity. I focus on three areas: walking the LovePath, understanding each spouse’s personality, and increasing sexual satisfaction and enjoyment.

The LovePath visually demonstrates the process of falling in love and growing in love. I explain crucial areas of every relationship. The personality session visually demonstrates how couples can understand each other and how to use that understanding to change the way they communicate. The sex session uses Scripture and the latest scientific research to explain how to have an exciting sex life in marriage. That session ends with the audience anonymously submitting questions about anything concerning sex that they wish, and receiving straight and frank answers to those questions, no matter what they may be.

Churches and organizations around the world bring me in to do this daylong workshop for their members and communities.

What are a couple of key things that a husband and wife can do to most effectively improve their relationship?

We can sum a great deal of research spanning many years with this statement: Most people seek divorce because they do not feel loved, liked, or respected.

Similar research indicates that most affairs don’t begin as sexual liaisons but evolve from needing validation, friendship, and reciprocated love.

My experience with thousands of couples indicates that the aforementioned research is dead on. Those three things – needing to be liked, loved, and respected – lie at the base of most major marriage problems that I encounter. Sometimes it is because a person does not like, love, or respect self. More often, it is a lack of feeling liked, loved, and respected by one’s spouse. Therefore, the most basic advice I can give a person in any relationship is first to understand what would lead the other to feel that you like, love, and respect them. Your feeling that way toward them isn’t enough; they must feel that you do.

Feeling loved means feeling that the other person accepts you as you are, flaws and all, and genuinely cares about you. It includes feeling safe and being confident you will not be abandoned.

Feeling liked means feeling that the other person actually wants to be with you and enjoys it when they are. It doesn’t mean the other person says that they do; it means that you feel that their actions and priorities prove to you that they do.

Feeling respected means that the other person treats you as an equal in intelligence, emotion, and wisdom. Neither sits in judgment on the other, acts superior to the other, or tries to control what the other thinks, feels, or does. That doesn’t mean that you always agree – or that you accept destructive behavior – but it means that when you don’t think or feel the way the other wishes you would, they accept that you don’t and validate your right to differ from them.

I have heard you say that there is a process to falling in love and how this influences the success of marriages. Can you tell us more about this?
Falling in love is a process. If you follow the process you fall in love whether you mean to or not. If you vacate or violate the process, you fall out of love whether you mean to or not. The problem is that most of us not only don’t have any idea what the process is, we aren’t even aware that it exists.

It took an entire book, Your LovePath, to explain the LovePath, therefore I provide only the basic outline here. The first step is Attraction that draws you Closer to another. The second is Acceptance that leads you genuinely to Care about that person. The third is Attachment in which you Commit to that person. Aspiration occurs when you Cooperate with each other so that each of you helps the other achieve his/her life desires and dreams.

Of course, each of those steps has certain dimensions that make it work. When those things don’t happen, rather than moving up the LovePath you move down the LovePath and fall out of love. For example, the Attraction step includes one or more of the following; physical attraction, intellectual attraction, emotional attraction, and spiritual attraction. To the chagrin of Madison Avenue and “the beautiful people,” understanding those different areas of attraction gives as much hope to the emotionally attractive as it does to the physically attractive.

Each step is important to falling in love, staying in love, and growing in love. Ignore them and love fades.

We are looking forward to sharing Part Two of this interview next Monday. Stay tuned! You will not want to miss it!


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