Q&A: Erotica Vs. Real Touch

I think I have started confusing erotica online with real touch. I find myself loving the idea of sex but not the act itself. Me and my husband used to have a okay sex life, but now that I am feeling this it has gone way down. I just want to know if there is anyway I could just forget everything I have learned about sex, and start over? And if it’s more complicated than that, what steps can I take to get back in touch with him?

I loved this question. I thought it was so honest and I could relate to the struggle of sometimes choosing the “easy” way to arousal by using external stimuli. I think for many women we find that our minds are very connected to our arousal. For some of us it’s not enough to just be physically stimulated and we need to actively engage our minds in the process, too.

I think this woman asks an important question. After getting used to outside influences causing arousal, is it possible to retrain our brains and, if so, how do we do it? I’d love to hear your own insights in the comment section after I share mine here. I do think it’s possible to retrain our brains and I believe that much of the success of the process depends on how helpful our husbands are and how honest we are willing to be with them and ourselves. It takes a lot of self reflection to learn why we do what we do. What the motivators are that cause us to make the choices we make in our sexuality will be the start to getting free from habits and mindsets that limit our sexual pleasure in marriage. So honest prayer and introspection is key. Here are some of the important questions to ask ourselves in this process, and you could apply these sorts of questions to any sexual temptation you are encoutering:

  • What kinds of erotica am I drawn to online?
  • What is it about those things that makes me feel sexually excited?
  • Does part of me feel aroused because it feels like naughty sex?
  • Does my husband know that I get hot by the idea of this in bed?
  • How could I bring that arousal into the reality of our sex life?
  • Does married sex have any negative associations for me?
  • Has our culture’s voice saying “Sex goes down hill after you’re married” taken root in my heart in any way?
  • Other questions?

In many cases you will find that one of these questions stimulates another question. That’s great. It may help you to journal or map out your thoughts as you consider and pray about how these kinds of questions have influenced your sexuality. And if you can be honest with your husband the two of you can work together to build true erotica in your sex life. If this isn’t something the two of you have discussed before, the context with which you establish the initial conversation can significantly influence his response. Compared these two statements,

“I don’t like this about our sex life and I am bored in bed. What do you want to do about it?”

“Hey babe. I am so excited to see us become even better lovers to one another. I really want to see our sex life on fire. Can we talk about how the two of us could make that happen?”

Which one would you respond better to? Such a different tone in the two statements! How easy is it to bring the positive, proactive, same-team mentality into the conversation rather than the negative one? It just takes a change in your heart and then the good that is in your heart will flow out.

In the Bible in Romans 12:2 it says to not conform to the pattern of this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of your mind. It goes on to say that in doing this you will be able to know what God’s will is. His good, pleasing and perfect will. How do you think this portion of scripture might relate to the issue we are discussing? Please feel free to continue this discussion in the comment section. I am certain you have further insights on the issue.

Q&A: Are Tattoos OK?

My husband and I were talking the other day, and he said he thought it would be sexy if I got a tattoo.  What does the Bible say about this?  I haven’t found anything about it in the Bible, unless you call it defiling the temple, and I’m not sure if it is or not.  What do you think?

Tattoos are becoming very popular. What used to be only something you would see on a sailor or member of a motor cycle gang is now becoming very common place, even for people in the church. There is a verse in Leviticus 19 which is often cited as God’s law against all tattoos. “Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD.” We do really need to take the time to understand what the Lord was saying in this because the previous verse says that men are not to shave the sides of their heads or beards either. What was God’s concern when he declared these things?

The Hebrew people were overtaking the land and all around them there were non-Jews who were taking part in practices which involved acts that showed their pagan worship of the sun god during their mourning of deceased loved ones. The four practices mentioned in this portion of scripture refer to those acts of mourning. Cutting, shaving or pulling out hair from the sides of the head. Cutting, shaving or pulling out the hair from the sides of the beard. Cutting marks on the body. And printing marks on the body, aka tattooing. There are other places in scripture where the trimming of the head or beard is commanded as an act of mourning (Numbers 6) so we need to perceive what God’s intention was when he said these things.

What I believe this portion of scripture teaches us about God’s concern for us is that He does not want us doing things as worship to false gods. In scriptural examples, so often two people did the same thing, but it was their heart that determined if it was acceptable or not. Cain and Able are a perfect example. They both brought offerings to the Lord, but they had radically different heart conditions. One was acceptable, one was not. We must do everything unto His glory. He wants His people set apart. When we mourn, He wants us to seek Him as our comforter.

All this context is vital to perceiving a godly response to the question, “Are tattoos OK?” It is easier to pile up all the evidence for and against and then place a yes or no judgement that would apply to all people, but that is not how I believe the Lord operates. The older I get, the less I see the world in black and white. I don’t think we can say that everyone is free to go ahead and get a tattoo. Neither do I think it is wise to say that tattoos are absolutely forbidden in all circumstances for all people. If I am convicted that it is not right for me to be tattooed, I ought not put that judgement on another person. And if I have been given freedom to be tattooed, I ought not look down on my sister or brother with pride because they do not have the freedom that I do. How many different examples could we give in this? Whether or not to consume alcohol. Whether or not to wear make up. Whether or not to marry. Whether or not to celebrate halloween. The list goes on and on and on. It’s endless and few things are black and white. The heart of worshipping other gods is sin, but how that plays out in your life is between you and the Lord.

So I can not give the woman who wrote in a definite yes, that she she go ahead and get a tattoo. Her relationship with the Lord is vastly different than mine, but what I can tell her how this question has played out in my life. It’s quite simple. I grew up believing that all tattoos showed that you were in rebellion to God. I no longer believe this to be true. I have come to the place where I would like to get a tattoo and I have received freedom from the Lord that it would be OK for me. The reason I haven’t is because my husband is not convinced he would want me to and since my body belongs to him as well, I will not get one without his blessing. So you can see that even though I have received freedom, I am choosing to honour my husband above my freedom.

I hope this has helped you.

What’s behind the “seven year itch”?

I read an article last month that was out of London called The Seven Year Itch is Now the Three Year Glitch and I created a poll from it as well back a few weeks ago.  You can find it here.  That got me thinking….what really is the seven year itch?  Does it really exist?  Or is it getting shorter?

Movies have been written about it…did you see the movie starring Marilyn Monroe?   The one with the dress and the subway grate?  Surely you’ve seen that scene on TV or commercials.   It was also a play on Broadway.   In the 1800′s, it was an irritating skin complaint, pimply and itchy, that supposedly lasted for seven years.   Traditionally, now a days, it is used to commonly refer to the inclination to become unfaithful after seven years of marriage.

When I was in the first 7 years of my marriage, I really thought it was something that was real.  Unbeknownst to Mr. Nutmeg to this day (well now he’ll know), I was really scared when we got to that 7th year.   Was he going to get bored of me?  Was I going to get bored of him?  Would one of us cheat on the other?   Did it start at the beginning of that 7th year or after our 7 year anniversary?  Yes, I was, and still am at times, very naive about things.   Around that 7 year time period for us was when I got pregnant with our daughter and after her birth.   Was I planning on cheating? NO!  Was he?  NO!   I was just truly ignorant to and believed what society thinks is a done deal.

I was reading several articles on the subject, one (quoted above) that suggests that maybe it happens after 3 years of marriage, and it amazes me what is published out there that people believe as the gospel truth.  In the article Can you Survive the Seven Year Itch?, they interviewed four women.  The first one in the article expected love to conquer all.  Love can’t do it by itself, and much to her husband’s sorrow, she wants to separate and divorce.  He isn’t meeting her expectations.   The fairy tale marriage blew up in this relationship.  Once all the glitz and glamour was gone and the real world set in, their marriage began to implode…at least to her.   I did agree with the assessment in this article of why 7 years is the landmark of the itch… “As soon as you’ve been married for seven years, you can’t help but momentarily evaluate your relationship. And I can see why it might be a turning point – the honeymoon period is over, the warm period of normality and familiarity may be cooling, and some people may start looking for what’s next.” I think that is why people start doubting that they made the right choice…. That huggy, touchy, feely kind of love that you had in your dating period, the fairy tale weddings, and the newlywed phase wear off, and that is where you really start to learn what love really is.

Love is just a feeling. Marriage is  a commitment.   A covenant.  “Honey, I may not feel that I love you, but I really do love you” kind of covenant.   The “grass is always greener on the other side of the fence” doesn’t even factor into the covenant you made with your spouse.  When you make this covenant with your spouse, your vows don’t say that you’ll look for something new when the old flame wears out.   That’s when the richer or poorer kicks in….in sickness and in health….for better or for worse….until DEATH do us part.   I made that commitment to my husband and to God.

It would have been really easy during my refusing years to decide that it was all Mr. Nutmeg’s fault that I was so unhappy.  Comparing my marriage to others at church, thinking that they must be in a perfect marriage and hoping that I am not showing that I am not. You know, it wasn’t until years later that God revealed to me that while my marriage wasn’t perfect by any means (I mean whose is?), but that He had chosen the perfect man for me that completes me.   My spouse knew the true meaning of love and was willing to do everything and anything in his power to keep our marriage alive.   That’s basically the opposite of what Melani decided  in the quoted article above.   It was her husband’s fault that they couldn’t buy a house.  It was her husband’s fault that she wasn’t happy.  In the article, it sounds like he was very level headed.   His voice in that article sounds like my husband’s. “I fell in love with <her> the moment we met and I’d do anything to spend my life with her”.  It is obvious that unless she has a heart to heart with God and with her husband, no one is going to please her and she may doom herself in future marriages if she tries to marry again.

Here’s an article from Psychology Today to discuss a bit, too, in the comment section entitled How to Avoid the Seven Year Itch.  In the article, Drs. Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz offer 7 rules to help avoid the seven year itch and how to build a love that lasts.   My husband and I discussed these 7 rules together.  He agreed with them.   He added in our conversation that in our marriage, we don’t at this point have “opportunities” at work that some find in coworkers.   Being unhappy and discussing it with coworkers of the opposite sex that are unhappy, too….he’s right….Infatuations and affairs all come in these situations, so it is important to guard your heart and not to ACT on your infatuations.

Please feel free to add your thoughts, feelings and experiences with the “Seven Year Itch” below.   We can all learn from each other how to keep our covenants alive in our marriage and maybe we can share things we’ve done/tried when we start to feel boredom come into the picture or feel like we are falling out of love with our spouse.  I look forward to reading your responses.

Chair Sex!

“Hey CN girlfriends, Can you help me with the following. I love to ML to my DH while he is sitting on a chair (Position #?).  The only problem is when things start really moving (literally), I can’t hang onto his neck very well.  Are any of you aware of a chair with”handle bars” to hang onto or do you have a solution of your own for this favorite position of ours? Thanks for any input.”

I like making love on a chair too!  It’s a different angle, a different rhythm, a different feel altogether!  It is very hard to find a nice comfortable chair for this activity, though.  The best ones that we have are our kitchen chairs (because they are armless), and believe me when I tell you that they are NOT comfortable.

So, you have me thinking here…  how fun would it be to go “sex-chair shopping!”  :lol:   I can just see it now… dh and I walking around looking at the lovely pieces of furniture…waiting for the salesmen to turn and walk the other way… dh sitting down in a chair he thinks might work and inviting me onto his lap… me hurriedly sitting on him, facing him, and seeing if there is anything for me to hold on to or grip on to on the back.  Oh the giggles that would involve!

We have a large Lay-z-boy, but it’s still somewhat awkward to use.  It’s nice and cushiony, but it’s so large and my feet can’t touch the ground, so I can’t really have any control over what we do.

The one piece of furniture that I really want, but have yet to purchase, is the Liberator Esse.  It isn’t a chair, exactly, but I think it would be BETTER!

If your husband is handy around the house, then maybe he could weld some handlebars to the back of your favorite chair!?  If not then I’d be on the lookout for some kind of high back chair.

If anyone out there has any more advice or ideas for this couple, chime in below!

Q&A: Flirting

What do you all do to flirt with your husbands to lead to sex
or to simply flirt to show playfulness and interest in him still?

I thought this would be a fun discussion. I really believe that flirting throughout the day is important. It helps me to be mindful of my husband as more than just another being in our home when he and I take the time to be playful and affectionate.

How do you define flirting? To me it is being intentional about giving subtle cues that you want your spouse to draw close to you. Is your husband going to catch every cue. Probably not. Please don’t be upset by that. Flirting is a playful, fun game. Like yesterday at dinner my husband and I ended up sitting on the same side of the table. This doesn’t usually happen, but our kids had set up their own little kids’ table so we were able to sit side by side. At one point I said something and rubbed his inner thigh and then took my hand away. He grabbed my hand and brought it back. It worked, but not every cue is received, even the more obvious ones sometimes.

So what kind of flirting have you discovered to be enjoyable and effective? Hand holding. Undoing a button on your shirt. Leaving a note for him to find during the day. What flirting ideas have you enjoyed the most and which ones get results? Do you find that there are things which your husband does that work to make you draw close to him, but that don’t work so well when you do the same for him? Which things work for both of you?

I liked how the question which sparked this discussion was phrased. If you are a couple who enjoys flirting, do you reserve it primarily as immediate foreplay or is it sprinkled in throughout the day? For me, flirting during the day can be the difference between a night of sex or not. It’s that important. It’s important for me to see him doing it and it’s important for me to be intentional about doing it for him too.

So what do you think? I’d love to hear what you all have enjoyed most in your flirtatious acts towards your husband.

Q&A: Yeast Infections and Vaginismus

I was married and moved to a foreign (3rd world) country a couple days later. My husband I were having great sex for about two weeks. I had no pain on the honeymoon (we were both virgins). Then I developed a yeast infection. Since the infection, intercourse (just the initial penetration) has been painful.

Will this go away? I’ve read a bit in your site on how vaginismus can be triggered by a yeast infection. If I’ve developed vaginismus, is it permanant? All the cures/remidies seem to involve going to a doctor and I don’t have the option of going to a doctor here, so I thought I’d write for advice. Thanks!

We received this letter from a woman and wanted to share the answer we provided her with in case it is of help to any other women suffering with this.

If you have access to sour cream or plain yogurt in the country you are in you should use it to treat the yeast infection. I advise that you eat it every day and also treat yourself topically with it. I would also be a good idea use it on your husband too so you don’t pass the infection back and forth. You can use it during sex, as well. Just make sure that if you opt to use yogurt that it is plain because the sugars in the flavored ones will not be helpful at all. They will actually increase the likelihood of having poor female health.

So for those who don’t have the limitations that this writer has of living in a third world country and not having access to common treatments available in developed nations, you might find this information helpful if you deal with frequent yeast infections or a particularly bad one. Just a helpful tip. :)

Q&A: Why talk during sex?

“My husband likes to talk and whisper ALL THE TIME when we make love.  Why does he have to do that?  He knows what I like, but he continues to ask me questions (like if I want him to suck my nipples or does he want me to have him pinch and pull on them?)  Also when he gives me oral sex, he tells me how good I taste and how good I smell and how much he wants to taste me.  I am very quiet when we make love.  Do you think he wants me to talk too?  Or do you think he might want me to talk “dirty” to him?”

Some people are definite talkers.  Sounds like your husband is one of them!  Whispering and talking during sex is a complete turn on for many people (myself included).  Hearing things spoken audibly can heighten awareness and arousal.

Just think about it for a minute… when you are making love to your husband, many times you may think “I would love it if he _______ right now.” But you don’t actually say it.  You may hint to him or give him some bodily language that tells him what you want instead.  What do you think would happen if you spoke those thoughts aloud?

For me it was two fold.  When I started talking out loud to my husband during sex, I noticed his arousal increased, his erection became even harder, and he became more passionate with me.  What I didn’t plan on was the second factor.  I became more aroused and I self-lubricated more.  Hearing myself saying things to my husband out loud that I had once hidden in my mind was so invigorating and empowering for me!  I loved the fact that my words had power over my husband.  I loved seeing the physical evidence of his arousal and desire heightening as I spoke.  I loved hearing myself claim words that were once too risqué for me to use.  It felt so freeing to be able to speak in clear terms what I wanted to do to him and what I wanted from him during our love making, and my husband reveled in this new found freedom!

It may be the same for your husband.  You say that he likes to tell you how good you taste or how badly he wants to taste you.  It sounds like he is trying to use words as a part of foreplay.  He is wanting to get you all hot and bothered and at the same time he is probably affecting his own arousal by hearing himself speaking to you in that way.

So, a couple of things come to mind here.  First, does it bother you that he talks like he does?  If this is something that is truly bothersome for you, then you need to talk to him about this.  If his talking during sex is working the opposite way he intends for it to, then he needs to know that it’s a ‘turn off’ for you.  If it’s not a bother, then my second question revolves around you talking.  Is this something that you’d like to be able to do more with him?  Taking that first step is often difficult, but once you break the ice you may find that giving your thoughts a voice enhances your love making experience with your husband.  For some suggestions on how to get started talking, check out:  Oh Yes Baby!  Don’t Stop! or Dirty Words in the  Bedroom.

Q&A: Painful Orgasm?

“Hi, I am asking a question on behalf of me and my wife because I cannot find anything to answer this question on the net or a search of your wonderful site. We are happily married, and have a fun and imaginative sex life. We are in our 50s , love Jesus, and have been married for 30 years. A lot of the time, she gets almost to orgasm and then her body just seems to go into spasms. She gets so sensitive and painful I can’t even touch her body. Of course that stops the sex straight away. It is like a part orgasm but without the pleasure. I really want to help her get past that and bless her physically. God has given us a lovely sex life but we know he wants it to be even better. We are puzzled and don’t know how to overcome this. Has anyone reading this experienced this too and understands what is going on? If so, how do we get beyond it? Wise advice really welcome!”

We sent this question to Lauren Jordan, LCSW, CST. Here is what she had to say about this situation:

.

I would have more questions for them than answers at this point.

I would want to know if there have been any changes for her – medications, surgical procedures, ie hysterectomy or even biopsy, menopause – as these could affect her orgasmic response.  Some women have quite obvious full-body “spasms” when they reach orgasm – but don’t report having pain with it.  Would it be pleasurable for her if he stopped all stimulation when she begins to “spasm”?

Because it sounds like they have had a different, and very satisfying sexual life until this began, I would suggest a full physical for her – with a urogynecologist who offers pelvic floor physical therapy in their office – such as the Dallas Center for Women’s Sexual Wellness.  She could have some pelvic floor dysfunction that is causing the change.

Lauren Jordan, LCSW, CST

Low Libido Quiz

Q&A: Admiration Vs Lust

My husband is a very visual/artistic man and says that for him, for the vast majority of the time, looking at beautiful women in bikinis, lingerie, etc is the same as looking at a beautiful car or art picture. He enjoys it for it’s beauty and it has nothing to do with his love or desire for me, nor does he use it for sexual fulfillment.

As I step out to tackle this issue, I am fully aware that there are as many opinions on this matter as there are variables to consider in determining what is right. And honestly I believe that this is one of those topics where there is not one right answer for everyone. We all have different weaknesses and areas where we are more prone to sin, and I believe that two people could be looking at the same thing and one of them could be sinning while the other is not. Your heart before God is between you and Him, and I won’t attempt to determine for anyone whether or not admiring a beautiful person crosses over into lust. What I want to do is create a space to consider what we should be aware of with this issue.

To begin with we need to keep in mind that although there is much grey in this issue, there is no grey in the fact that God is clear that lust is sinful. For more information on this you can read our article on lust, but suffice it to say that if you are unable to look at beautiful people without developing a sexual desire for them then you need to figure out how to manage that. You are going to have to maintain sufficient boundaries to protect your heart.

The grey area is in whether or not you are able to look at people who are in situations that you associate with sex, and not lust after them. Men in a Calvin Klein underwear ad. Women in a Victoria Secret catalog. Nude sun bathers on the Mexican Riviera. Artistic paintings that portray intimate acts. I can not draw a line for anyone else in these situations because our weaknesses are different. Where one person sees nudity as being redeemed through Christ’s death on the cross where he removed our shame, another person has only ever seen nudity with a connection to sexual acts. How can we possibly establish a black and white rule that would apply to both people? That is why we need the Holy Spirit to lead us, because He knows us and will guide us in how to be self-controlled in our thought life.

So I do believe that the husband, in the case of the writer of the above question, could very well be able to look at beautiful women and admire her without becoming sexually desirous or covetous of her, but if in fact he sees an attractive woman in lingerie and admires her and then desires her, he needs to be accountable for that sin. In either case, an important factor is that his wife is uncomfortable with it. In order to be loving toward her, when he is with his wife and an attractive woman is near by in a bikini I think it would be respectful of him to keep his focus on his wife in these situations. I think it’s important for a couple to be able to communicate these sorts of things to one another and so it’s good that this man could express his perspective on it and perhaps at some point this writer will adjust her own perspective and there will be more unity between them. For now, though, it would be beneficial to their relationship for them to extend a lot of grace to one another.

We need to remember in all of this that nakedness, in and of itself, is not sinful. It’s the circumstances around how someone is or isn’t dressed that determine if it is sin or not, and because we live in a fallen world, we do need to be mindful of the fact that to see immodesty is a struggle for a lot of people. This is why I believe that a certain amount of awareness of the impact of  how we dress is important. Having said that, I also believe that the onus is not on us to manage another person’s sin for them. If a man or a woman looks beautiful and they dress well, people are going to notice and will choose where they allow their thoughts to go.

Another woman wrote us the following:

My husband continues to point out beautiful women that we see in public, on the internet and on TV.  I’ve told him that this hurts my feelings.  I am a beautiful woman and I’m happy with the way I look and he agrees.  He feels it’s better that I know that he his looking at other women, than keep it a secret.  He is very communicative about all things and that’s usually a blessing, but his commentaries on beautiful women bothers me.  Should I just get over it or tell him again to please stop?

This is another situation where not every solution will be appropriate for every couple. I have friends who are very expressive with their spouse about the attractive people they see and they are fine with that, but the fact remains that if this writer has told her husband not to mention the beautiful women he sees, he should be respectful of her wishes and keep those observations to himself.

So what is your opinion on this? How do you feel about your husband looking at beautiful women? Do you think it’s ever possible for him to look and not lust? Are you able to look at handsome men and admire them without lusting? I’m interested to hear your perspective.

Q: Sex Positions for Pregnancy

We had someone write in and ask us for a list of favorable positions to use during pregnancy. I thought it was a great question so I pulled some of the positions from our Position of the Week feature that are likely to be comfortable, though some of them may require some slight alterations depending on what stage you are at and you and your husband’s body shapes. I haven’t included man on top positions because they are likely to be more uncomfortable although my husband and I did a version of a basic missionary position all the way up to the end of my pregnancies.

First is a list of woman on top positions where you are facing him:

Second is a list of positions where you are on top and facing away so your belly isn’t feeling squished:

Lastly I want to mention that if you have the option of making love underwater it can be very helpful in taking the weight off your belly so if it works in your situation there are some great underwater sex positions as well:

So I hope this list is helpful to our pregnant readers. :)

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