Taking Care of Yourself

How well do you take care of yourself from a social or emotional standpoint? I know that our husbands are our best friends but they do not need to be our only source for social interaction. I talked briefly about the positive effects friendship can provide in “Orgasm, Chocolate and Friends…Oh My!!!” I am now referring to having friends as a support system.

I was thinking about how important friendships are to children. Young children will even pal around with a pet, stuffed animal or have imaginary friends. In our teen years our friends have a big influence over the type of personality we develop. As we get married many women lose their identity. Sometimes we get ultra focused on pleasing our husband that we lose sight of the things we enjoyed before we were married. I am not saying that you should be hanging out in clubs with your girlfriends if that’s what you did with them prior to being married. You can easily connect with a friend on a short walk or over a cup of coffee. All you really need is one good friend. Quality is much more important than quantity. It is great to know that I have friends with whom I can laugh, cry, pray with, vent to or get advice from. My friends are some of my biggest fans as well as my toughest critics and I know it is because they love me unconditionally.

It is a known fact that friendships can lower blood pressure, heart rates, cholesterol and stress. Have you ever become so consumed in an activity with a friend that issues that had been hanging over your head suddenly took a back burner for a bit? It is a great feeling to be able to pray or laugh with a friend when times are tough.

In the past I have become so consumed with trying to be a good wife and a good mother that I lose my sense of self. While it’s true that I am a wife as well as a mother, I am also my own person. It is so important to have interests outside marriage. In the long run they enrich the quality of my marriage. Plus, my husband fell in love with that person so why would I ever want to get rid of her?

The Balancing Act of Beauty

There is something of a balancing act I have found myself sometimes struggling to figure out when it comes to beauty.

Many scriptures seem to indicate that the external things we so often focus on are not the things that determine beauty. In fact some seem to indicate that we should not be utilizing any of the world’s standards for beauty.

1 Peter 3:3Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.

So why do I spend time curling my hair and improving the physical features on my face with makeup when it’s what’s inside of me that matters?

The key is that if you have not first and foremost devoted yourself to becoming godly, none of that matters. If you have perfected your hairstyle and know which colors make you look amazing and how to select clothing that flatters you, but you are not living a life of love for God and the people around you, then your true beauty is not developed.

The beauty that matters to the Lord comes from inside of you and it is allowing exactly who He made you to be to be released completely. This is why beauty looks different on different people. I hold a special memory in my heart of the day my husband first expressed his delight in my inner beauty. We were not even engaged yet. It was the end of the day and we were relaxing at the beach. At one point he looked at me and I had no make up on and my hair was completely undone, but he saw something in me that enraptured him and with conviction he said, “You are so beautiful.” I think I originally looked at him with great confusion, but for him to have seen into my inner self and seen the truest part of me and to call it beautiful was inexpressibly meaningful to me.

My beauty is going to look different than yours, and yours different from your best friend’s. God made us all different and it is when we let out the essence of who He made us that real beauty is established. Are you compassionate to those in need? A good teacher, whether it is your profession or not? A lover of mercy and justice? An encourager? Talented in what you set your hand to? Your real beauty will come out when you know what your calling is and when you walk in it.

I love this quote from a Nelson Mandela speech as it pertains to beauty:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

So while there is something we call “natural beauty,” that is a very subjective concept and is certainly molded significantly by the society we live in. If you consider the women I have pictured in this article, which one is beautiful?

Mother Theresa most certainly let out the essence of who God made her to be. Her compassion is so much like that of Jesus. That is the rawest form of beauty I know of. I do not know Beyonce’s heart or what kind of compassion she has for the poor and those in need, but she certainly possesses a kind of beauty. And yet, if she has only concentrated on how to perfect her outer beauty, it is quite meaningless. Princess Diana had both outer and inner beauty. She had great compassion for those in need and used the platform God gave her to extend mercy to those who needed it, but she also was a beautiful woman externally.

Making way for the true beauty God put inside of you doesn’t mean that you need to go around dressing frumpy and drab. I believe it is a great gift to our husbands to present ourselves in the best way we can. Consider how educated clothing choices, well applied make up, and the healthiest body you can have would bless your husbands, but don’t focus on them at the expense of your character. If these things aren’t important to your husband then that is fine, but still present yourself the best way that you can. If he likes a certain color or piece of clothing on you, wear it intentionally to please him. If he likes your hair done a certain way, try to wear it like that within reason. You aren’t a servant to his wishes, but you can offer him some eye candy when appropriate. 😉

Above everything else remember:

Proverbs 31:30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

 

Instead Softcups

 

My friend, Cinnamonsticks has written about the Diva Cup. I am trying my own little experiment this cycle…something new and different for me.

While shopping at the local Walmart for my normal monthly necessities, I came upon the Instead Softcup. I believe it is similar to the Diva Cup in that when inserted, it catches menstrual fluids in a softcup that can be dumped out when removed. The main difference is that these are disposable and not reusable. I just bought a package of 14 at Walmart for $5.48 (online they are about $7.99) Granted, I tried my first soft cup on a heavy flow day, these were pretty comfortable and I hardly noticed it was there! I will be great for using on my long days at work because you may leave these in for up to 12 hours! This is a great relief for me considering pads and tampons need to be changed quite a bit more frequently and potty breaks aren’t always convenient at my place of employment.

Another interesting thing that the Mr. Nutmeg and I might need to try is period sex with these. According to the website, you can enjoy clean sex and he won’t even feel it in there! Hmmmmmm…… I may need to update this article in a day or so with the results! DISCLAIMER: please remember that this product IS NOT for birth control and DOES NOT protect against sexually transmitted diseases.

I was reading on another website something that I didn’t even consider using one of these for…getting pregnant! At the Fertility Shop, I was reading how if you insert one of these cups after intercourse, it helps keep the sperm closer to the cervix. I would never have thought of this, but if I were trying to get pregnant, I certainly would give it a try! There is no guarantee that you would get pregnant, though, even though there are very good testimonials on the site. I wouldn’t take it as the gospel truth considering there are only 7 testimonials.

Since I am rating this, though, on the basis of monthly visits and not pregnancy, I will tell you this. I do have a bit of leakage, but I think that is my fault for trying it on a heavy flow day. As I get used to inserting it and getting it in the right place, I would highly recommend this for anyone who is very active during their menstrual period and I would give it 4.5 out of five chili peppers!

The Influence of Body Image on Sexuality

Do you have a good body image? I haven’t really for most of my life. There have always been parts of me that I wished were different, but I would say in the last year or so I have come to the place were I really embrace how I am. The only thing I still didn’t like is that I was mildly, but uncomfortably overweight. I had an epiphany quite suddenly this past summer that involved the realization that perhaps I could actually do something to change this. So I made some minor, but effective changes and am well on my way to having a body that I feel better about. So I accepted the things that I could not change and started changing the things that I could.

As this relates to my sexual relationship with my husband, I really hated certain positions that showed the rolls on my belly and I felt like I wanted to give him something better to look at. Of course, he always loved and accepted me and he never said anything derogatory about my body, but he has also appreciated the effort I have made to get fit again. He is doing the same thing, working towards a more fit body and a healthier lifestyle.

Having lost a sizable amount of weight I definitely enjoy looking in the mirror more when we are having sex than I did before. I love running my hands over my thinner frame when we are intimate. Certain positions that were uncomfortable for me before are more erotic and passionate now. Sometimes when we are making love he will run his hands over my back and say “Man, you really have lost weight, haven’t you.” I love that I got victory in this area of my life that was pretty much out of control for quite some time.

What I am saying is that because this was important to me, having made the change has had a positive effect on our sex life, but it was just as important that I come to a place of accepting the parts of me that I could not change. I needed to embrace those things in order to walk confidently into my bedroom and be the sexy wife that I am now. God created me with certain physical features that are unchangeable (unless I was to get surgery of some kind to change it.) If I was still annoyed by my breast size and overly irritated by the shape of my nose, I believe that I wouldn’t be as free in all the areas of my life where I have seen freedom come, including my sexuality.

So I have happily found my way through this balancing act of learning to embrace who I am on every level and I feel better about myself than I ever have. Please know that I do not presume that the exact journey I have been on needs to happen for everyone in the same way it did for me. I needed to change the size of my body, but that may not be the thing God calls you to at this time, or at all for that matter. I do think, though, that all women need to come to a place where they love every part of themselves for it is then that we can be confident in who God has made us which will end up blessing everyone around us, including our husbands.

Pregnancy: To Be or Not To Be

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I loved being pregnant. Nothing compares to feeling the baby’s first kick, watching your belly swell, hearing the heartbeat on the monitor, or seeing him/her on the ultrasound. Some people don’t care to have their belly rubbed but I was all for it. “You want to rub my belly? Here you go.” My brother’s wife had a very difficult pregnancy. She lost a bunch of weight, couldn’t keep any food or liquid down and she ended up being hospitalized. She didn’t see how it would be possible to have another baby even though my brother always wanted a slew of kids. It wasn’t guaranteed that she would become sick like that again but what if she did? Her son needed her. She couldn’t care for him if she were to have a similar pregnancy. This is when I had my brainstorm. I loved being pregnant, I’ll be her surrogate!!!!

My husband was not 100% for this plan. He would have to deal with my hormone fall out after the birth of the baby. When people would see his wife pregnant he would need to explain that I was carrying my brother’s baby. Would I be able to let go of the baby after giving birth to it? I tried to ease his mind by addressing his concerns. “But we won’t have a crying baby in our house in the middle of the night so I would be getting my sleep. It wasn’t hormones it was just lack of sleep.” “It’s not like I had sex with my brother! I would just be a house for the baby.” “ Of course I can give it up. It’s not like it’s really ‘my’ baby and I’m not a huge baby person anyway.” As my sister in law and brother were discussing the possibilities I started having irregular bleeding. I went for a bunch of tests and they all came back fine. Obviously this threw a wrench into our possible plans. I couldn’t possible be a surrogate with a wacky cycle happening.

Last week I attended a funeral service for a family member. As everyone paid their respects I looked behind me a spotted and 4 week old baby girl. The baby’s aunt was holding her and the baby started squirming. The aunt, who is just a teen and looking a bit unsure as to what to do, asked my mother if she wanted to hold the baby. My Mom said that she had to talk to some people first but would after that. Then it happened. This aunt made eye contact with me. “Hey Peppermint Girl, want to hold the baby?” I said OK and said a little prayer that the baby would not start screaming while in my arms. This place was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop. I took the little bundle in my arms; she looked at me with her gorgeous eyes, grabbed my coat with her tiny figures snuggled into my neck and fell asleep. Now that the baby wasn’t fussing anymore the aunt asked to take her back. Reluctantly I handed her over. That night while laying in bed my husband asked me what I was thinking about. I told him that I was thinking about the baby. I couldn’t stop thinking about her. I held her for 15 minutes tops and I still felt empty handing her back. Maybe I was more of a baby person then I thought.

Back when my cycles were irregular we made a decision that me being a surrogate was out of the question. The cycle following that conversation and every one after were fine. No irregular bleeding. I honestly think that God was giving me a message during my irregular time and I didn’t realize it until last week. I don’t think I could have given birth and given the baby away without feeling a tiny bit empty. God has a plan and I guess this wasn’t part of it. Hmmmm, Maybe His plan is for us to have one more of our own!!! Now I need to convince hubby to get a vasectiomy reversal. Do they even make cars that seat 6 kids?

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Don’t Let That Period Blot Out Your Fun!

I’m starting to feel crampy and bloated.

That can only mean one thing: my period will be here soon.

That is a bummer for a variety of reasons, the least of which is that GingerPapa and I have both been under the weather lately and there hasn’t been as much conjugal activity as usual. So now I’m getting ready for 5-6 days of The Red Menace, and I’m in the mood for love.

What to do?

Well, there are all sorts of things that we can do. Now granted, for the first couple of days I’m crampy and sore and want to be left alone. But by the third day we have to start making alternate arrangements.

Before I even start the list I want to mention that I know very well that some people go ahead and have intercourse during their period. We’ve tried it, but I just don’t care for it. If it works for you, run with it, but it’s not my favorite thing to do.

So without further ado, here’s a little list of ideas to tide you over:

1. Breast sex. This is something that I really enjoy on occasion. I love for my husband to play with my breasts, and so it’s really cool visually for him to go from sucking them to molding them around himself. We add a little lube to my cleavage, and away we go! He can ejaculate on me, which is a great visual for him.

2. Oral sex. Although oral play is a regular part of our lovemaking, I don’t often give him oral all the way to completion because we’re doing so many other things. So during my period sometimes I like to just take him in my mouth and do the whole whammy. It’s a nice surprise for him. But it’s not totally sacrificial, because I really get excited to see how excited he’s getting and well, it’s all good.

3. Anal sex. I think that Cumingirl has done a great job of describing the how-to’s of that. All of the usual foreplay, but with back door entry.

4. Semi-vaginal sex. We’ve done a sort of modified vaginal thing where he doesn’t actually enter my vagina per se, but I kind of wrap my outer labia around him, and he slides up and down. I’m not sure how to describe that better.

Some couples like to do manual sex at this time. Cumingirl has written a great piece on that, complete with a link to an instructional site.

Some couples also like to do something dubbed “The Scarlet Kiss.” The freshly showered wife inserts a clean tampon and then her husband proceeds to perform oral sex on her, just avoiding the area with the tampon. Not for everybody, but it’s an option.

So when it’s getting to be that time of the month, surprise your hubby with some new ideas for the bedroom. You’ll be glad you did!

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As We Age: Self Lubrication

It took me almost 11 years of marriage to love sex like I do now. I feel like I have lost something though…my body is older now, and it does not work like it used to when I was younger. The one thing that I notice the most that bothers me the most is my ability to produce my own natural lubrication. It just doesn’t happen anymore….well, it does slightly when I am ovulating, but that is the time when my husband and I practice our NFP and come up with other ways to satisfy our needs. I decided to do some research on natural lubrications.

It was disheartening at first to read that some women have the opposite reaction to me…they produce too much lube! But then I found one site that I giggled at…Dr. Sue Johanson suggests on her website that when we produce our own natural lubrication, that we are “horny” (her words). SO that is my problem! I am not horny! (Sorry, I just had to giggle there) Estrogen is a major factor in self lubrication. As you approach your late 30’s and early 40’s, the level of estrogen in your body may not be as high and when you were younger. THIS made more sense to me. I am possibly entering in the perimenopausal stage of my life, so changes in the hormones in my body do and will affect my sex life now.

So what am I to do about lubrication? I can tell you that sex without it can be painful for me, so my husband and I went through a process of elimination to choose the right lube for us. We tried KY Jelly and found it very sticky and not too comfortable. We tried Astroglide as well. I like it better than KY. Then we heard about coconut oil.

coconut oil

At first, I was like…”Don’t you cook with coconut oil”, but coconut oil was non greasy, it didn’t stain our sheets, it was inexpensive (we buy Louana coconut oil at Walmart for $3 a tub), and it worked awesome! Since we don’t use condoms, we have no problem with using coconut oil, but if you do use condoms, be sure to choose a water based lube. The oil will break down a condom. Now there are times when I do like to go back to Astroglide or we’ve even tried flavored lubes like Juicy Lube (great for oral sex!!!) , but for the bang for the buck (hee hee), coconut oil is the way to go.

aka nutmeg nympho

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