Q&A: Erectile Dysfunction ~ Part Two

I am 22 and my husband is 24.  We have been married for a few months.  We were virgins on our wedding night and my husband doesn’t look at porn.

The problem is my husband is losing his erections during sex. He gets hard while we are kissing or while he watches me undress or whatever and penetrates me and lasts for a while.  But before he orgasms, he loses his erection and it is really hard for him to get it back.  We both get frustrated, as he tried to get hard enough again to penetrate me, he starts to sense that I am not feeling as aroused and then it makes him worried and even harder to get his erection back.  I get frustrated because he wants me to keep trying to put his penis back inside me even when it is soft and it is just not sexy to me trying to put his soft penis back inside me so he can start thrusting again so he can get hard again.  I want to help so I try but it doesn’t work.  I try kissing him and and rubbing him with lube and my hands to try to stimulate him so he’ll get his erection back…sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t….lately it hasn’t been working.

This problem is starting to get bad for us.  My husband feels inadequate and frustrated.  I feel frustrated too.  I try to be affirming and I always encourage him and tell him that I want to do whatever he needs.  I feel like he is starting to feel worried when we have sex that he is going to lose his erection again.  I’m afraid that fear in itself makes him lose his erection…i don’t know how to help him. I don’t want him to associate feelings of inadequacy or frustration with sex.  I want him to feel fulfilled, strong, manly, and loved.

Do you have any advice on how I can help him?  I don’t want this to come between us.  I love him very much.

The following answer was given by Lauren Jordan, Certified Sex Therapist:

I can hear how frustrated you and your husband have become in trying to deal with this very common problem.  I can also see that you love each other very much, and think you can bank on that love for each other in working to overcome this issue.

First,  I must say that I  cannot do a full assessment as I would if you were in my office with only the information from your letter, so please keep in mind that I will be providing you with general information about Erectile Dysfunction, as opposed to actually providing sex therapy for you and your husband.

What happens often is that a couple will have an incident where he loses his erection, and then the couple becomes anxous the next time they make love, wondering if it will happen again.  Just thinking “I hope I can keep my erection” takes a man away from the wonderful sensations going on in his body, and makes it more likely that he will indeed lose his erection.  The woman may also be worried, and this can be intuited by the male, and increase his anxiety.  It is far too easy for this to become a pattern.

I would advise you both to read The New Male Sexuality  by Bernie Zilbergeld, MD.  It has a series of exercises a man can do to get out of this trap.  Some of it involves thinking positively about his erections, some of it involves relaxing about it – and this would help the partner as well.  Some exercises will help a man learn to “just play” and enjoy the sensation without trying to have full intercourse.

The best thing a wife can do in this situation is NOT take it personally.  I know this is hard to do, as it can make even the most sexually confident wife lose esteem.  Repeat “this is not about me” and “this is not a catastrophe” in your mind so you can approach sex in a more relaxed way.  Take time hugging and kissing to stay connected while he is doing the exercises, and also before you try intercourse again.

Finally, I would encourage you to try to broaden your view that a “soft entry” is not sexy.  This could be a bit of a challenge, but allowing that this happens to so many men, and that soft entry, and then thrusting is one prescribed way to overcome the problem.  If it saves the sexual encounter from being a total disappointment, why not go for it?  It beats feeling frustrated and defeated.  As men age, especially in their 50’s, they may have more difficulty with keeping erections, and if you have already found a variety of ways to creatively work around this, you will be ahead of the game.   If you don’t have success with doing the exercises, I’d recommend that you seek therapy with a Certified Sex Therapist.

Lauren Jordan, LCSW
Certified Sex Therapist

Related Articles: Erectile Dysfunction

Toy Review: The Breast Stimulator

It’s time for another toy review, and this time it’s not all wonderful. I went to my favorite toy store last year, and found this product: The Breast Stimulator. I was pretty excited at the possibilities. I love it when my husband stimulates my breasts/nipples when we are making love, but some positions don’t allow for that. So when I saw this product, I knew I wanted to try it.

I will say up front that I was let down. The silicone cup is supposed to stay in place while it vibrates and stimulates your nipples. It doesn’t. In missionary it does okay, but it doesn’t stay on in any other position. It is frustrating to have to stop every couple of minutes to “fix” them or re-position them.

These breast stimulators do work better if you wear a bra over them. The bra keeps them attached to your nipples. I guess that could be an option for some women, but I don’t like wearing a bra when I’m making love to my husband.

I guess it just comes down to the suction cups not being strong enough. It’s a pity too, cause the mini vibrators in them are pretty good to be so small! I’ll have to give these a rating of only 1.5 pepper hearts, because I doubt if I’ll ever use them again.

Women, We Have Heard You – Part Two

Two weeks ago we published this article and asked our female readers for feedback on whether or not they would like to continue to see comments from men on the CN blog. We are thankful that by and large most people were very respectful of other’s opinions and for all the points that were made. We privately discussed the ideas you presented and have prayerfully considered all the opinions expressed.

There seemed to be a lot of concern regarding the simple fact that men are reading a website that has a focused ministry towards women so please understand that our new policy on comments from men is not going to change the fact that a large percentage of men are reading our blog. We think our blog helps most men in healthy marriages to have a better understanding of their wives so we bless that they are reading here. The insight they will gain is going to end up being a blessing to their wives. For those men who are reading here with a covetous heart that they do not have a wife who desires sex, we can not manage their sin for them, but we will restrict their ability to voice their grief here and direct them to appropriate avenues.

There was also some discussion around whether or not the opinion of another man is at all helpful for ladies to understand their own husband. Some were adamant that they only want the opinion of their husband.  Others who are in conflict with their husband or who simply value the opinions of many like hearing the perspective of another man.  While our blog has always been focused on ministering to women, we have never banned comments from men for this reason.

We thought the suggestion of having a separate area for men’s comments was a good one. We discussed this option and realized that since the format of our website is a WordPress blog, it would be complicated, take too much extra time and add confusion.

The most helpful comment that was made regarding the negative consequences of a complete ban of men’s comments was this one:

Even if the men can’t comment, you bet they’re still reading the things you put down. And the very dishonest ones can easily pretend they are women if they want to. So what will we accomplish? We will exclude the honest men who have meaningful additions to the conversation, and the perverts will still get in.

On the other side, one woman made this comment, which struck the heart of the issue for us:

Thanks ladies….This makes me feel a little safer and more free to participate. I, for one, have not participated recently, due to so many men commenting…It was just over a line for me. If I wanted that kind of communication, I know there are other resources – just look at your blogroll – for that. I appreciate the time, effort, thought and prayer you ladies put into this site!!!

After considering all of the points, we have made a decision. We couldn’t possibly have pleased everyone who expressed their opinion so we didn’t even try. We considered all that the women shared in light of our heart for this ministry and came up with this policy that we have peace about:

  • Comments from men will now be moderated on a case-by-case basis.
  • Most comments from men will be deleted, particularly if they are graphic in nature, argumentative, negative or disruptive to our mission.
  • If a man’s comment contains information that is presented in a positive and supportive way and that is a truly unique perspective we might approve it.

Here are some examples of comments from men that will no longer be published:  “I really like this position of the week and will ask my wife to try it soon!”  “Thanks for this review.  My wife and I have been wondering about this book.”  “I really like it when my wife dresses sexy for me.  It heightens our date night!” Each of these comments is rather tame and nice, but do not share a unique perspective that is absolutely helpful to our women readers.  In simpler terms, we will no longer allow our blog to become cluttered with mundane comments from men. We decided to make this decision retroactive, meaning that we have spent hours pouring over all comments made from men since the beginning of our blog.  Those comments that do not fit with our new guidelines have been deleted, so most men will find their comments have been greatly reduced.

We ask that you respect our decision and if you no longer wish to participate because of our policy on comments from men, then we bless you to continue on your journey from here. If for some reason you need to contact us regarding this decision you can do so through our Got Questions? page.

Weekly poll #31: What is your husband’s love language?

Monday’s Mission #85

Your mission this week is to think about a creative gift to give your husband for Valentine’s Day that won’t cost you money. Write him a poem or story. Change the lyrics to a tune you both know so that it becomes a personal song for the two of you. Create some love coupons. It’s time to get creative, ladies! Feel free to brainstorm and share ideas in the comment section.

Q&A: Sexual Assault and Abuse

Introduction

We received an email from a woman who shared with us some of her painful story of having been raped. In order to protect her privacy I will not quote her email, but she was asking why we hadn’t spoken more about this topic on our blog seeing as so many women have endured similar experiences and also how to develop a healthy sex life in marriage after enduring painful sexual experiences like this.

The primary reason that we do not have more articles devoted to this topic is because of the three current authors who write here, we have not experienced this. I have attempted to speak to women who have experienced sexual abuse of various sorts to see if they could give some insight into this for our readers, but understandably so it is not an easy topic to be interviewed about and I respect how difficult it would be to talk about when you know that your answers will be read by thousands.

So even now I hesitate in knowing where this article will go, but I prayerfully step out and invite the Holy Spirit to be our guide as we discuss this sensitive issue. I may not know the pain of having been sexually abused, but I know the One who knows us both and His Spirit is in me so I will gently step out and hopefully give some wisdom about this very important subject.

A Picture of Marriage

Married sexuality can be complicated even without the painful circumstances of sexual assault and abuse so what do we do when we come into marriage having experienced these things? How do we position ourselves so that married sexuality can be what God intended it to be when our purity was stolen, our sexual boundaries were disrespected and people who were supposed to protect us, didn’t? I think one healthy position to take looks like this. You and your husband and God standing in a circle. You are firmly hanging on to the hand of God and the hand of your husband, and your husband is hanging on to the hand of God and, of course, you, too. This community between you does a couple of things. First of all, it allows the wisdom and heart of God to be with your husband so that he can speak truth to you. It is very important for husbands who married a person who was sexually abused in some way to have a heart connection to the Lord. More importantly, though, this circle firmly connects you to the Lord and your husband.

The Trust Factor

If you have been broken because of a known or unknown person violating your authority over your own sexuality, for a healthy, strong marriage bed to be available to you, it will be important for you to be able to trust your husband and God. So that is where I would encourage you to begin. Ask yourself, “Do I trust God? Do I trust my husband?” And if you come to the conclusion that you don’t then do not allow that to fill you with self condemnation and guilt. All the Lord needs in order for redemption to be released for us is honesty. We need to be honest with ourselves and honest with Him. Trust isn’t something we can force ourselves to do. It builds as we get to know people. Many times in the Bible, the Lord tells us to test His character. He is not insecure about who He is so He invites us through relationship to see if He really is who He says He is.

One of the strongest points of distrust for those who have been abused in some way is, “Where were you when THAT happened, Lord?” And that is a very fair question. I would encourage you to not be afraid to ask Him that. I spoke with one young woman who had been assaulted and she shared about how God answered that question for her and it was a very healing moment for her. The Lord, in the way that only He can, took her fragile heart in His hands and spoke truth to her. After years of psychotherapy because of the assault, 10 minutes of asking the Lord this and other related questions about it brought her amazing healing. I do not believe God causes any of our suffering and I used to wonder why He stood by and seemed inactive during painful situations in our lives. I invite you to join me in the journey of asking God why questions. As long as our heart’s motivation in asking is because of a desire for wisdom from Him, I have seen His pure delight at answering all my why questions. While I don’t believe that God caused your abuse or allowed for a redeeming purpose, now that it has happened, if you give Him the freedom to He will not waste the opportunity to bring His awesome restoration and redemption. I hope the distinction there is clear. Rather than approaching Him believing that he was standing there endorsing the act/acts so that you could one day become a stronger person for it, He was standing there weeping and hoping that one day you would come to Him so that you didn’t have to carry the wounding all your life.

Now trusting your husband could be difficult for a different reason. Your husband is imperfect and it is unreasonable to put your trust in the idea that he will never disappoint or fail you. So where should we put our trust in this case? If you have married a man who is devoted to becoming like Jesus, you put your trust in the process of sanctification in both of your lives which ultimately brings us back to trusting the Lord since He is the one who empowers us by His Spirit to become holy. You trust that even if your husband fails you, that he still fundamentally desires to love you as Christ loves the Church.

If you have not told your husband about the abuse I would encourage you to do so. Because it effects married sexuality so strongly, he likely already knows that something isn’t right and if you can find the courage to talk to him about your past it would help to bring insight to him so that he could be an advocate and support to you. Ask him to respect your boundaries on how many details you feel comfortable sharing and be clear with him if he has a “fix it” tendency, that you are not asking him to make this all better. He needs you to be clear with him about exactly what you are looking for from him.

The Forgiveness Factor

For the sexual relationship in your marriage to have deep intimacy, I need to take the time to talk about the importance of forgiveness. What does forgiveness look like when there has been no repentance on the part of those who abused you? What does it look like when the anger, sadness and fear inside you is so strong that the weight of it crushes you? What does it look like when having been a victim of sexual assault or abuse feels like a core part of your identity?

As I said, I haven’t needed to process forgiveness for this particular grievance, but I have had to process forgiveness for other deeply painful situations and abusive relationships. Without going into all the details, the example I had for an earthly father was very poor and so I have gone through years of forgiveness over what I witnessed during my years growing up. When our hearts are wounded so deeply, forgiveness isn’t usually a one time thing. The pain gets exposed in layers sometimes and all God asks is that with each layer, we come to Him and ask Him to lead us through it.

I am not sure whether or not this is an understood concept or not, but in case it isn’t I want to take the time to outline what forgiveness is NOT. It is not saying that what happened was okay. It does not require you to trust the person who abused you or to have relationship with them. And it does not mean that what you experienced didn’t matter.

What it means is that you give up to the Lord your right to avenge the wrong doing. Did you know that by not forgiving them you keep them bound up in the chains of their sin? That may sound good to have so much power over them after what they did, but the problem is that it keeps you in chains too, and you are also chained to them. What it will do is continue to allow the situation to have power over the freedom of your soul and it will have a direct influence on how you look at your husband. So hand those chains over to Jesus and place the cross of Jesus between you and those who abused you. Then your healing can begin.

The Healing Factor

I would really encourage you to draw close to the Lord in this process of forgiveness and healing, and I want to introduce a concept that may or may not be familiar to you. About 10 years ago I learned how to ask the Lord specific questions about my painful memories and how to invite His truth to them. The result is that as I have found more and more freedom from the pain of those memories, I have also grown a very intimate love relationship with Jesus. When He speaks his truth to us, the lies we believed about those situations are broken.

It is very easy for satan to submit lies for truth when we are faced with a painful situation. Lying is what he does best and so he takes every opportunity he can to rob us of truth by twisting our perception of what is happening in our lives. We are most vulnerable to this when we are in the midst of emotional trauma. Some common lies which get planted through sexual abuse include, but are not limited to:

  • “I am not worthy of love.”
  • “I am ugly.”
  • “I am bad.”
  • “I am alone.”
  • “People are not trustworthy.”
  • “I am guilty.”

Can you see how these lies would interfere in a marriage relationship? Sometimes the lies we come to believe have a portion of truth to them and we need to invite Jesus to those, too. Now, there is no exact formula for this process of listening the the voice of Jesus for healing so the best thing to do is just follow His lead. If you can find a local ministry that does this sort of prayer counselling, it would be really good to be able to do this with someone else, but you can certainly do it on your own too.

I would encourage you to sit down in prayer with Jesus and ask him to come into that memory with you. If it was not a single occurrence, but happened on an ongoing basis, ask Him where He wants to take you. If it is too painful to go to a memory of the abuse, ask Him to take you in your imagination to a “safe place.” Common safe places are the scene of Psalm 23, mountain tops, His throne room… it’s endless. So just spend some time being with Jesus in that place. You can ask Him all sorts of questions and some good questions to ask him about the assault include, but are not limited to:

  • “Jesus, I know you never leave me, so where were you in this memory when I couldn’t see you?”
  • “What were you doing?”
  • “What did I believe about this?”
  • “How did you feel?”
  • “What is your truth for me about this memory?”
  • “Would you plant that truth in my heart and seal it?”

These questions are about relationship so stay on each one until you have peace from Jesus about those things. He wants to release the power of what He did on the cross for the salvation of our whole beings; body, soul and spirit. It takes a lot of courage to approach Jesus with these memories and it is a great risk to leave it with him, but once you have processed a layer of your pain a great ending question is, “What is your promise or gift for me?” He wants to do more than just take away your pain. He wants you to thrive in the essence of who He has made you to be. If you can trust Him, He will do more than you can imagine to bring you through this and to free you from having to carry this pain.

If you can not locate Churches or ministries in your area that have a focused ministry in this sort of  prayer, I still would encourage you to seek out biblical counsellors or Christian sex therapists (American Board of Christian Sex Therapists) to help you process and gain perspective about the abuse. There are also some really amazing faith-based support groups and ministries that have been set up to help women who were victims of rape or sexual abuse. It’s just taking that step to find out what is out there that is scary, and understandably so, but with so many women having endured this and with many of them coming out the other side healed, those women have been able to reach out and now help other women who are where they were.

Your road of healing is going to have a “God fingerprint” that is unique to you. Your story is different as is your personality and walk with Him. Trust Him, and let Him lead you to a healed and restored heart.

The Marriage Bed Factor

The reason why all that I have said is important is because the process of becoming free from the wounding of your past allows you to have the freedom to give yourself fully to your husband, and it also allows you to receive love from him without having to hold a caution sign over your heart. The two of you will both be free to enjoy the intimacy in marriage if you are not living as a victim of your past.

As in every other hurdle in marriage, it will be very important for the two of you to learn how to communicate well. Be sure that you remain committed to pursuing respectful conversations without allowing your past to have authority over how you behave and respond today.

I know that this is not an easy process, but I do firmly believe that if you stay connected, as in that circle picture above, to your husband and the Lord that you are going to be able to have a thriving sex life with your husband. That’s what redemption is all about. It’s taking the trash that we experience in our lives, whether we chose it or it was thrust upon us, and coming out on the other side of it shining. And you know, where you have overcome, you then have the authority to release that freedom to others too.

I hope that what I have shared is helpful and if you disagree with me or your heart can not receive it that you would extend grace to me. I have vulnerably shared some of the most intimate aspects of my love relationship with Jesus and I pray that it will be released as a seed of hope that grows into freedom in your heart, like the woman in the picture on our homepage. So ladies, please share whatever you can in the comment section. This is a safe place for you.

But the Greatest of These is Love

“We love each other, but sometimes love isn’t enough.”

“I love him, but I’m not IN love with him.”

My own father used that first one on me, not referring to his relationship with my mother, I never remember him telling me he loved her, but of one of his subsequent marriages. The second quote is one I have heard often and that has ended up in the CN email inbox numerous times. What do those comments reveal about us? To me they show that as a society we have come to believe and accept that love should always make us feel good. That love is a temporary emotion which lacks any significant strength in our relationships. That love is determined not by an internal commitment, but by our external circumstances.

What do you think the difference is that people are trying to convey when they make statements about loving their spouse vs. being “in love” with their spouse. To me they are two sides of the same coin and it is important to be intentional about pursuing both in marriage. Even the Bible speaks of people being in love.

Jacob was in love with Rachel. (Gen 29:18)

Samson fell in love with a woman in the Valley of Sorek whose name was Delilah. (Jug 16:4)

Saul’s daughter Michal was in love with David. (Sam 18:20)

In every case the use of the phrase “in love” is use when speaking of romantic love. So then, is being in love about emotions and passion? Perhaps so. That passion is important and if we get apathetic about romancing our spouse it is very easy for that passion to get extinguished. It’s at this point that people use the above phrase, “I love him, but I’m not IN love with him.” The passionate feelings are gone. The desire as been diminished. All because both the husband and the wife pulled back and became inattentive and indifferent, and it was probably not intentional.

So once people have fallen out of love, what is the solution. First of all, turn to the Author and Perfecter of Love, the Source of Love, the One who established marriage and wants the BEST for us in our covenant with our spouse. Prayerfully invite Him to teach the two of you how to romance each other again, to stir your hearts for one another again, to take the two of you into a depth of intimacy and passion that you can not get to on your own. Seek out his Word both in the Bible and that has repeatedly been spoken over you by the Body of Christ. My husband and I have had so many people speak the same blessing over us that we began to think that everyone heard that blessing, but that is not the case. That is a promise for us. And look at Scripture!

Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away.” (SOS 8:7 — this spoken after many years of marriage)

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Rom 8:28)

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” (1 Cor 13:4-5)

“Do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature ; rather, serve one another in love.” (Gal 5:13)

“I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Eph 4:1-3)

“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” (Phi 2:1-3)

“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” (Col 3:13-15)

What amazing encouragement and what a practical guide for how to love well. I get excited reading all those promises and that is just the tip of the ice burg. Scripture is FILLED with promises like that. So if you have fallen out of love, start speaking those things over your marriage and start acting them out by the power of the Spirit of God within you. I mean, my goodness, let’s speak those fantastic things out even if we are enjoying great joy in our marriage relationship.

Once you have called out to God to restore your love, start seeking out godly mentors who can model and teach you authentic love in marriage. You’ll find a lot of women who read and comment here at Christian Nymphos to be a great resource and, of course, we who operate this site want to give you as many tools, ideas and support as we can in your journey with your husband. Be careful about disparaging remarks that your friends make about their husbands or men in general. This will not be helpful to you if you are already feeling a negativity about your marriage.

I’d really encourage a couple who has fallen out of love to begin studying their spouse. Go on dates. Think about The Five Love Languages. Spend a lot of time looking for the treasure in them. Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. Find out what their dreams are or, if their dreams have dimmed, stir up those things again in them. Make yourself the safest place for your spouse to rest, trusting fully in your faithfulness no matter what your circumstances are.

“We love each other, but sometimes love isn’t enough.”

Don’t settle for less than what God has said about love. Are we always going to live in the perfect love of God? One day, but as it stands now, sometimes we cease to live in the power of the Spirit that is in us. Sometimes we fail at living out perfect love. But I am not going to let that stop me from trying. I am going to go after perfect love if it kills me, and it probably will. I need my selfishness to die. The pride of needing to have my voice heard in situations where God has asked me to be silent. The unrighteous anger that sometimes rears it’s ugly head and demands my own way. When it dies, my Lord will rise higher and all that is mine in this mystery life in the Spirit (Romans 8) will be made complete. That is worth fighting for. Love is enough. True, godly love, is always enough. Sometimes it is all we have left, and it is enough.

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