Iago: “I am one, sir, that comes to tell you your daughter and the Moor are now making the beast with two backs.”

We recently wrote about board games we play together, and our list included a few “board games” that we play on the tablet instead of on the table. One advantage of tablet games is that you don’t have to worry about overturning the game if you’re playing during sex, which means you can turn your game session into a bifecta! Last night we tried this for the first time and it went pretty well, but we also learned a few lessons that will make it better in the future.

First, how do you do it?

  • Prepare your tablets and game. Before your sexual encounter begins you should get your tablets ready and launch the game. We decided to play Ascension, but just about any game will do. We recommend a game that can be played one-handed on two tablets so you don’t have to pass back and forth — you’ll be facing opposite directions, so the passing would get annoying.
  • Find a comfy place to sit. We sat on our bed, with me leaning back against the headrest and Sexy Corte sitting on my lap with her legs wrapped around me (hence the beast with two backs reference). Make sure you’re comfortable, because you’ll be in the position for a while and it will disrupt your flow to move around.
  • Hop on. As the wife sits on the husband’s lap she should position herself with his penis inside her, and then scoot up close so their stomachs are touching. You won’t be able to get the deepest penetration, but you should be able to nestle together effectively. We recommend using lube because you’ll be in this position for a while.
  • Use a vibrator. Once your bodies are together, make sure the wife’s clitoris is lubricated and then slip a vibrator down and wedge it between your bodies. Start it on low — and the husband can turn it up if the wife starts winning (haha). Since you won’t be moving much, the vibrator will provide a constant low level of stimulation for both spouses while you’re playing and give you a great opportunity to edge.
  • Play with your spouse on their turn. If you want to win you’re going to have to do your best to distract your spouse during their turn — remember, this game is serious business. The wife’s breasts will be right in her husband’s face so he will have an easy time licking them, and the wife will be able to drive her husband crazy by wiggling on his lap. Kissing, nuzzling, and rubbing are also highly encouraged. The husband should boost the vibrator on his wife’s turn for some extra advantage.
  • Reward for winning. When the game is over the winner should get a reward! Then toss the tablets aside and give each other an orgasm.

We did learn a few lessons from last night that will make our next session even better.

  • The bed isn’t the easiest place to sit. Sure it’s soft, but Sexy Corte’s legs got uncomfortable because of their angle. Next time we will try using an armless chair that will give me back support and also let SC’s legs rest more comfortably.
  • Start with the weaker vibrator. I knew that our session would last longer than one vibrator charge, but I made the mistake of starting with the stronger vibrator. I had another vibrator standing by, but the second one wasn’t as strong as the first — the reduction in power disrupted SC’s ascent to orgasm.
  • Pre-position surfaces for the tablets. After we got started we arranged some pillows to hold the tablets, but it would have been more efficient if we had planned that in advance. This will be especially important if we move to a chair next time, because we won’t have a bed to put pillows on.

Give it a try and tell us how it goes! Leave a comment with tips of your own.

We touched on this topic several months ago while writing about period sex, but it’s worth highlighting because we get so many questions about oral sex. You may be surprised to learn that the questions aren’t all from husbands who want more oral from their wives — we get similar emails from wives. We also get emails from wives (and husbands) who are lukewarm towards the idea of giving more oral to their spouse, and the number two reason given comes down to the feeling that performing oral sex is boring. (The number one reason is *drumroll* reluctance to swallow semen.)

So here’s a simple idea: make sure both spouses are being stimulated while one is performing oral! How can you make that happen?

  • Play with each other: The positions we call Old Faithful and New Faithful enable the husband to use his fingers or vibrator on his wife while she is performing oral on him. The Sixty-Nine position seems obvious thanks to pop culture, but it’s not very practical — the top spouse holds his/her body up for a long time while the bottom spouse gets buried and struggles to breathe. Better in theory than in practice.
  • Play with yourself: The husband can use his hand on himself while his head lies between his wife’s thighs. The wife can use her hand or vibrator on herself while she kneels and performs oral on her husband. If the giver is having fun I can virtually guarantee that the receiver will have fun.
  • Non-sexual stimulation: The stimulation doesn’t need to be sexual! Try a bifecta: watch your favorite show or read a book out loud while playing with each other. Bonus: here’s a new way to decide what to watch: whoever is giving oral picks the show. Your husband will discover a newfound love for romantic comedies.

Before you start, it’s important to set expectations for when each spouse is going to orgasm. Is the oral sex just foreplay? If so, then the receiver should hold off orgasm until the right time. Are you performing oral to completion? If so, then the giver should get a chance to have an orgasm also. (It’s super hot when Sexy Corte has an orgasm when I’m in her mouth, and I bet your spouse would enjoy that too!)

Do you have any other ideas for making the gift of oral sex more enjoyable to give? Leave a comment.

Reader Derek left a comment on our post about “Mutual Masturbation and Finishing on Her Body” to share the disappointing results of an experiment by him and his wife:

My wife recently allowed me to ejaculate on her breasts, which has been a desire of mine for quite some time. She was reluctant, but agreed. I could tell she wasn’t real excited about it, after the act. I had a wet washcloth there to clean her, afterwards. She has never liked to have my semen on her, even when some just gets on her thigh, etc , which is a little disappointing. Unfortunately, I don’t think this will continue to be part of our sexual routine.

But at least they tried something new right? That’s a win all by itself!

A few days later Derek left another comment, and their win had become a huge victory thanks to the power of communication.

Just wanted to give a HUGE shout-out to Communication!!

The night after the experience mentioned above, my wife and I had an awesome conversation about sex. Just laying in bed together, I asked her how she felt about what I had done, and if I had upset her. Much to my surprise, she said (and I’m paraphrasing) “No, in fact, the warmness of you on me felt kinda good.” Turns out, the wet washcloth I had waiting, had turned ice cold while we were having sex, and that’s the part that she didn’t like (haha, note to self, HOT washcloth!)

We continued our conversation for nearly 2 hours, talking about likes/dislikes/boundaries, etc. It was great, and I think will lead to even better sexual encounters ahead!

Thanks again for the great blog, and encouraging all of us to make our physical love a top priority in our marriages!!

Sexy Corte and I are always excited to read emails and comments like this. It brings us great joy to hear that we’ve played a tiny part in helping a married couple improve their sex life — and we believe it pleases God too! Please don’t hesitate to email or comment to share your sexual victories with us.

Be brave and talk to your spouse about sex.

Normally we post sex games, but several people have asked for more information about the board games that Sexy Corte and I play together. We are disciplined with our kids’ bed time and try to minimize our television viewing, which leaves us with a few hours each night to spend doing shared activities. This time is great for our marriage and our friendship! Sometimes we have people over or go on dates, but most evenings we play board games. Below is a list of the games that we most enjoy playing as a couple — the list doesn’t include games that we most enjoy playing with friends or kids.

For each game I’ll give my impression of how “heavy” it is — how hard it is to learn and play — along with a brief description. All the links go to BoardGameGeek.com, which is a board game database not a retailer; follow these links to learn a lot more about each game. If you have a good Friendly Local Game Store or shop around online you should definitely not pay full MSRP for board games.

Cooperative games

We really enjoy cooperative games — if you’re not familiar with the term, it means that all the players are on the same side, trying to beat the game together. These are great team-building activities, they stretch our brains, and they give us a fun set of shared experiences to talk about later.

Eldritch Horror — Weight: Heavy. Our go-to game for several years. It’s a cooperative adventure game of Lovecraftian cosmic horror. We own all the expansions and have probably played 100 times.

Gloomhaven — Weight: Heavy. Our new go-to game, recently replacing Eldritch Horror. It’s an adventure legacy game with character development and strong tactical decision-making. We’ve played about 20 times.

Mansions of Madness: Second Edition — Weight: Light. An immersive app-driven board game in which you explore a haunted house and try to solve the mystery before you get devoured by evil.

Arkham Horror: The Card Game — Weight: Heavy. A living card game in which you build a deck of cards that represents your investigator and then work through a campaign of scenarios to defeat cosmic evil.

Lord of the Rings: The Card Game (LCG) — Weight: Heavy. Similar to Arkham Horror (above), but set in the Tolkien universe. You can play scenarios that correspond to your favorite parts of the books, as well as scenarios that flesh out activities that the books allude to but don’t show “on screen”.

Hanabi — Weight: Light. A simple card game in which you and your team try to launch fireworks in the proper order. The tricky part is that you have to be able to reach each others’ minds in order to win.

Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island — Weight: Medium. A very thematic adventure game in which you explore a mysterious island. And probably die.

Sentinels of the Multiverse — Weight: Medium. A card game in which you each play a superhero and work together to defeat a super-villain.

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective — Weight: Light. Solve mysteries like Sherlock Holmes. This isn’t really a “board game” per se, more like a choose-your-own-adventure book with numerous mysteries to solve together.

Mythos Tales — Weight: Light. Like Consulting Detective (above), but based in the Cthulhu mythos.

 

Exit: The Game — Weight: Light. Escape rooms in a box! You can only play each once, but they’re way cheaper than going to a real escape room and still plenty of fun. There are several other brands of escape room games, but we haven’t tried them yet.

Elder Sign — Weight: Light. We don’t own the board game, but we play the app together on our tablet. Cthulhu-themed Yahtzee.

Spaceteam — Weight: Light. This is a phone app, and a fun way to kill some time by shouting instructions at each other.

Competitive games

We each seem to think the other person wins “most of the time”, so I guess we’re pretty evenly matched at these competitive games.

Ascension — Weight: Light. A quick deck building game with art we love and chaotic mechanics. We play the free app version on our tablet and have paid a few dollars to unlock several of the expansions. Playing on the tablet means that there’s no setup or tear-down time!

Patchwork — Weight: Light. A fantastic geometric game in which you each craft a quilt using Tetris-like patches of fabric. It’s competitive, but there’s little direct confrontation.

7 Wonders Duel — Weight: Medium. Build your civilization from the ground up. Very competitive, and requires a lot of planning and foresight to optimize your turns.

Akrotiri — Weight: Medium. Easy to play, hard to master game of exploration in which you score points by building temples in secret configurations on random terrain.

Terra Mystica — Weight: Heavy. A game of resource management and area control in which tiny optimizations to your strategy are the key to victory.

Fury of Dracula (third/fourth edition) — Weight: Light. One player is Dracula, traveling around Europe and sowing chaos; the other player is the team of vampire hunters trying to track him down and kill him. Hidden movement and a complex rock-paper-scissors combat system make this a game of reading your spouse’s mind.

Tales of the Arabian Nights — Weight: Light. More of a fun story generator than a game. You wander around the Near East and have amusing encounters with bizarre characters, travel to other dimensions, and try to fulfill your personal goals. We usually don’t even finish the game, we just uncover random stories until we feel like going to bed.

Viticulture — Weight: Medium. A worker placement game in which each player runs a vineyard and scores points by growing grapes, crafting wine, and filling orders.

Role-playing games

Not sexy role-playing games, just the normal kind. Escape from yourself and pretend to be someone else — with awesome powers. Not just for geeks anymore!

Cthulhu Confidential — Weight: Light, for a role-playing game. Finally, an RPG designed to be played by just two people! The core book contains all the rules plus three noir-style Cthulhu mythos adventures. One spouse runs the game as the Game Master, and the other spouse plays a character who tries to solve the mystery without getting devoured.

Divinity: Original Sin and Divinity: Original Sin II: Weight: Medium. These are computer role-playing games that you can play cooperatively sitting on your couch. We’ve put over 100 hours into each of them, so you can’t beat the entertainment value. Good stories, good character advancement, and fun combat.

Dungeons & Dragons (5th Edition) — Weight: Medium, for a role-playing game. Thanks to 5th Edition (or “5e” as it’s usually called), Dungeons & Dragons is experiencing a golden age right now. This isn’t a game that you’re likely to play just with your spouse, but Sexy Corte and I are having a lot of fun playing in multiple campaigns together. We play over Roll20.net in the evenings after our kids go to bed, and it’s a great way to spend time together and be social without getting a babysitter.

Conclusion

I’ll add more games to the list above as our already insane library expands. Do you have a favorite game you like to play with your spouse? Leave a comment below!

 

A lot of readers come here looking for something new to do in bed, but their spouses may not be up for trying bondage or sexy games quite yet. Well, here’s an idea that might add a new twist to your comfortable sex routine without being too “out there”: position your bodies to get (and give) a better view of the penetration. Why is this fun?

  • Husbands especially are visual creatures, and we like to watch — I’m sure some wives do, too! It’s not only highly arousing to look at your spouse’s parts during sex, but it also gives you an opportunity to watch how his or her whole body reacts to stimulation.
  • Moving bodies around gives the husband an opportunity to take control, and gives the wife an opportunity to be submissive.
  • Showing yourself off is an opportunity for vulnerability, which builds intimacy.
  • Even small changes in position create a sense of novelty — but don’t sweat it if you need to fall back on your “standard” position to actually reach orgasm.

So how do you do it? Here are a few tips.

  • Turn on the lights. You can’t watch if you can’t see.
  • Spread her legs. In a face-to-face position, the husband can grab his wife’s knees (which may normally gripped tightly around his waist) and spread them open as far as they’ll go. This may make the wife feel vulnerable and exposed, but isn’t that exciting? Don’t be shy.
  • Perpendicular bodies. Keep your torsos at a right angle instead of pressing together. It’s less intimate, but unless you have x-ray vision it’s the only way to see the action. Positions like doggy style (arch your back) or wife-on-top can be good, especially for the husband to see the penetration. The wife can also lay on her back near the edge of the bed while the husband stands on the floor.
  • Take it slow. You’ll see more if you move slowly, and shallow thrusts will keep space between your bodies and maintain line-of-sight.
  • Oral sex. Mouths and fingers are hot to penetrate and penetrate with, and often easier to see.
  • Mirrors. If the wife wants to see much, you may want to use a mirror (or two). Sexy Corte isn’t as visual as I am, so we haven’t tried this.
  • Take a picture. We haven’t done this either — make sure to lock your phone.

Do you like to watch yourselves have sex? Leave your best tips in the comments.

The “husbands” tag will lead you to several posts intended to help husbands be more attractive to their wives, including topics like clothes, muscles, hygiene, and improving her orgasms. Today I’m going to share a list of 19 ways for a man to be more attractive — according to science! I’m not going to talk about each one, because some of them are dumb or don’t apply in a marriage. Here it goes…

We’ve written about your wife’s indicators of interest before. A wife usually expresses her interest in sex more subtly than her husband, so don’t miss the cues!

“First the woman smiles at her admirer and lifts her eyebrows in a swift, jerky motion as she opens her eyes wide to gaze at him. Then she drops her eyelids, tilts her head down and to the side, and looks away. Frequently she also covers her face with her hands, giggling nervously as she retreats behind her palms.”

Grow a beard, it will make you look more dominant and aggressive.

In a 2013 study from researchers at the University of New South Wales, researchers had 177 heterosexual men and 351 heterosexual women look at images of 10 men in one of four conditions: clean-shaven, light stubble, heavy stubble, or full beard. Participants rated the men pictured on several traits, including attractiveness.

That women said the most attractive beard length was heavy stubble.

“Facial hair correlates not only with maturity and masculinity, but also with dominance and aggression,” write authors Barnaby J. Dixson and Robert C. Brooks.

“An intermediate level of beardedness is most attractive,” they add.

Build some muscle. Here the phrase “short-term relationships” basically means that the woman wants to bang.

In a 2007 study from University of California, Los Angeles, 286 women looked at pictures of shirtless men and indicated which ones seemed like they would make the best long- and short-term partners.

Results showed that women were more likely to want short-term relationships with the guys who had big muscles.

Wear strong colors, like red.

A 2010 cross-cultural study — with participants from China, England, Germany, and the US — found that women are most attracted to men wearing red.

In one experiment from the study, 55 female undergrads looked at a color photo of a man in either a red or green shirt, and then rated the man’s attractiveness.

Sure enough, the man was rated significantly more attractive when he was wearing a red shirt. The results were similar when researchers compared the red shirt to other color shirts as well.

Interestingly, participants generally weren’t aware that the man’s clothing color was influencing their perceptions of his attractiveness.

Be funny.

Multiple studies indicate that women are more attracted to men who can make them laugh. Interestingly though, men generally aren’t more attracted to women who can make them laugh.

Take “hunter-gatherer” risks.

A 2014 study led by researchers at the University of Alaska at Anchorage found that women are attracted to men who take what the researchers call “hunter-gatherer risks.”

More than 230 undergrads filled out questionnaires about how attractive they would find a partner who engaged in certain risky behaviors, as opposed to a partner who engaged in low- or no-risk behaviors.

Hunter-gatherer risks included mountain biking, deep-sea scuba diving, and extreme rollerblading. “Modern” risks included plagiarizing an academic paper, casually handling chemicals in a lab, and not updating the virus-protection software on your computer.

Low- and no-risk behaviors included biking along paved paths and carefully handling chemicals in a chemistry-lab class.

Results showed that women said they would be more attracted to men who engaged in hunter-gatherer risks — the kinds that were similar to risks faced by ancestral humans. Women said they would be less attracted to men who engaged in modern risks, which might seem just plain dumb.

Eat garlic!

In one study, eight men ate a slice of bread with cheese and 12 grams of fresh garlic; another eight ate bread and cheese without any garlic. For the next 12 hours, the men wore cotton pads under their armpits and were instructed not to use any deodorants or fragrances.

The following day, all the men returned to the lab, where 40 women sniffed the pads and rated the odor on pleasantness, attractiveness, masculinity, and intensity. Results showed that the garlic group was rated more pleasant and attractive and less masculine and intense.

And finally, looking proud is better than looking happy.

In one experiment included in the study, researchers had nearly 900 North American adults look at photos of opposite-sex individuals online.

The researchers were specifically comparing people’s perceptions of expressions of pride, happiness, shame, and neutrality (other people had already identified the emotion behind the expression in the photo). For women evaluating men, the most appealing expression was pride, and the least appealing was happiness.

It’s important to note that the features and behaviors listed above generally do not make a woman more attractive to a man. We’re very different creatures.

This guy is rad — you can tell from the girl’s eyes that she is surprised and impressed with his mastery. The man’s thumbs-up at the end says it all: no big deal.

Nothing’s hotter than expertly popping off your wife’s bra and getting your hands on her sweet, sweet breasts. It’s true: men love boobs. But unfortunately, our wives’ breasts are often imprisoned out of our reach.

Sure… your wife could remove her bra herself… but that’s like letting someone else unwrap your birthday present! No, you must have the glory of uncovering her breasts… but there’s a problem! Your wife has been unhooking bras for years and is very experienced at it. If you fumble, you’ll look foolish during your moment of victory! What to do?

Step 1: Scout the terrain. The “hook and eye” is the most common type of bra clasp, but as you can see in the diagram below there are many others. I know bras aren’t that interesting when your wife’s boobs aren’t inside, but go check out her collection and see how her various bras work. Take special note if she has any front closure bras — these are the worst! You can fumble with the strap in back forever until she delicately informs you that the clasps aren’t even there. Get familiar with her bras, and you you won’t be surprised later when the pressure’s on.

Step 2: Practice before the game. Now that you know what kinds of clasps are on your wife’s bras, take a few minutes to practice opening them. Then do it with your eyes closed! Learn to recognize the clasps by touch, because when you do it for real you may be in the dark or reaching around her body. Lucky for us husbands, bra clasps are all designed to be openable with one hand, so practice that way. To practice: lay the hooked bra face-down on a flat surface (with the clasp up) and reach out to open it in one smooth motion. You may need to put some tension on the straps while they’re hooked in order to create a realistic simulation.

Step 3: Go slow to go fast. This part is key! When you’re actually in position to take off your wife’s bra, don’t rush yourself. You don’t have to flick the clasp open the second your touch her bra. Your wife doesn’t know that bra removal has begun until your fingers begin manipulating the clasp! So before you start trying to open it, run your fingers over the clasp in the course of rubbing your hands across your wife’s back. She’ll think you’re merely touching her for arousal, but you’re also using the opportunity to identify her bra. After you know what kind of bra you’re dealing with, practice opening it in your mind. When you’re ready for the big moment, move your hand away from her bra for several seconds (or longer), and then move back in and unclasp her bra with a single confident motion. Moving your hand away after scouting and then back will make the unclasping seem like a fast, expert, effortless maneuver.

Step 4: Enjoy! Your mastery of her bra has impressed your wife and earned you access to her intimate delights. Claim your just reward and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Do you have any tips to share for husbands trying to conquer that most frustrating of undergarments? Leave a comment!

It’s almost summer! I feel like we missed spring, but at least it’s not winter anymore. It’s time to cover the two topics we know all our readers are wondering about.

First up, how much do men really care about “bikini bods”? Bridget Phetasy asked her followers:

ATTN: Men I need more of your anonymous blatant honesty. Summer is coming. The culture would have us believing men care a great deal about how a woman looks in a bikini but how much do you *actually* care about your significant other’s beach body?

We’ve posted several times about the importance of fitness and appearance, but we believe the focus should be on health and being the best you for your spouse, not pursuing some unrealistic worldly standard of “hotness”. It’s great to read that most of the men who responded to Phetasy feel the same way.

To be honest, I wasn’t expecting such thoughtful, heartwarming and tender answers. (In all, 215 men responded, totaling 19,754 words, which, to give you an idea, is 34 pages of writing, single-spaced.) Instead, I expected men to behave the way they’re represented in the media (i.e., as gross pigs). And so, I anticipated vapid, crass responses, my DMs overflowing with hordes of men saying things like, “Hell yeah, my wife needs to lose 15 pounds. This isn’t what I signed up for.”

Obviously, it goes without saying that when you’re looking for a mate, physicality matters. Attraction needs to be there before anything else, but attraction alone isn’t enough to sustain a long-term relationship. This is a lesson men have a greater appreciation for with age. “In my 20s, I cared about looks,” one guy explains. “I think physical attraction is an important element in relationships, even in my 30s; however, now, I appreciate a girl who can effectively communicate more than her looks.” Another adds, “After giving birth to our three kids, my wife doesn’t have a bikini body anymore, but I couldn’t care less. To me she’s hot AF. I probably don’t even have a dad bod anymore, and yeah, I’m a little sensitive about it.”

Giving your best self to your spouse includes maintaining your health and fitness, but goes way beyond that. There’s a lot more to sexiness than appearance, and how you act is generally easier to improve than how you look. If you don’t believe us or anonymous guys on the internet, just ask Billy Bob Thornton.

Second: beach sex. From the page’s title we can see that the article used to be headlined, “women should do everything they can to avoid beach sex”.

Sand. It gets everywhere. And when you’re naked and rubbing your body up against another person, you’d better believe sand gets in places you never want sand to reach. This is particularly bad in instances where you’re having sex because when sand meets genitals, it acts as an abrasive, causing intense irritation and chafing.

Not only this, but sand isn’t the most hygienic of substances. Imagine all the infants you’ve ever known to pee in the ocean and then times it by a hundred because, according to a study from the Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, beach sand can contain 100 times the levels of fecal bacteria of seawater.

Not just infant humans… the ocean is chock full of disgusting animals! If you really need to have sex on the beach, use a blanket or a tent. Spontaneous sex in public places can be hot, but we recommend doing it standing up.

Got any summer sex tips to share? Leave a comment!

We commonly get questions — usually from a wife — about “weird” things her husband wants to in bed. Where did my husband get this crazy idea?

Well, as you know, humans have been having sex for a long time, and no matter how strict the rules are we’ve always been kinky. I recently listened to an episode of the Ask Historians podcast about libertine literature, and it mentioned a poem that I wanted to share titled “The Imperfect Enjoyment” from 17th century libertine writer John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester. (You can see a portrait of him above — he’s hot for his time!) Rochester is frustrated by his own premature ejaculation, and has written this poem to curse at his penis for failing. An excerpt:

When, with a thousand kisses wandering o’er
My panting bosom, “Is there then no more?”
She cries. “All this to love and rapture’s due;
Must we not pay a debt to pleasure too?”
But I, the most forlorn, lost man alive,
To show my wished obedience vainly strive:
I sigh, alas! and kiss, but cannot swive.
Eager desires confound my first intent,
Succeeding shame does more success prevent,
And rage at last confirms me impotent.
Ev’n her fair hand, which might bid heat return
To frozen age, and make cold hermits burn,
Applied to my dear cinder, warms no more
Than fire to ashes could past flames restore.
Trembling, confused, despairing, limber, dry,
A wishing, weak, unmoving lump I lie.

The poem is funny and poignantly humanizing. It’s easy to forget that our ancestors were as human as we are. The libertines are certainly not to be emulated in their philosophy, but why should they get to have better sex lives than married Christians? No way!

Do you have any sexy poetry to share? Leave a link in the comments.

Are you ever confused by your own sexual arousal? By what turns you on and when? Or… maybe you’re confused by your spouse. Why doesn’t she ever initiate sex? Why is he always so turned on? The “he” and “she” there are stereotypical — sometimes it goes the other way — but scientists have identified two different pathways to arousal that map onto these common perceptions. The two polarities are called “spontaneous desire” and “responsive desire”, and they lead to very different behavior that can confuse you and your spouse if you don’t recognize what’s happening.

Men typically (but not always) exhibit spontaneous desire. This polarity manifests as sexual desire that isn’t triggered by any obvious external factors. “Hey, I want to have sex!” Spontaneous desire motivates the initiation of sexual behavior. Spontaneous desire leads you to ask for a date, lean in for a kiss, test boundaries for touching, escalate a physical encounter, try new things, and risk rejection. These behaviors can be confusing for the recipient, because it may seem like the sexual behavior is coming out of nowhere — which it is. It’s spontaneous. The recipient of these behaviors may ask themselves things like:

  • “Why is he touching me now?”
  • Why does he want to do that?
  • “Why is he so persistent?”
  • “Again?”
  • “Does he think about anything besides sex?”

Women typically (but not always) exhibit responsive desire. This polarity manifests as sexual desire that grows after sexual behavior has started. “Oh, that feels good… I guess I am in the mood!” A person with responsive desire may seem to have a low libido because she doesn’t often initiate sex, and it can take some effort on her part to “get into the mood”. What’s especially interesting is that women often don’t even know when they’re aroused at first.

Men’s subjective ratings of arousal were in agreement with their body’s level of sexual arousal about 66 percent of the time, while women’s were in line only about 26 percent of the time.

“The general pattern that I have seen in my laboratory is that women experience a genital response but do not report feeling sexually aroused,” Chivers told LiveScience.

Women’s bodies often get aroused before their minds do. Crazy, huh? With responsive desire, sexual arousal will follow physical or mental sexual stimulation, and that stimulation usually comes from a husband who is trying to initiate sex. Without understanding this process, a husband may think things like:

  • “Why doesn’t she ever initiate sex?”
  • “I’ll wait for her to initiate this time.”
  • “Why do I have to try so hard to turn her on?”
  • “Isn’t she attracted to me? Doesn’t she want me?”
  • “Why doesn’t she suggest something new?”

Of course, there are no absolutes in life. Some men are more responsive, and some women are more spontaneous. What’s more, a person’s desire polarity may vary over time — especially for women, as their hormones change throughout their menstrual cycles.

Now that you know about spontaneous and responsive desire, what action can you take?

If you and your spouse are both spontaneous… well, you’re probably having sex all the time. Congrats!

If you are spontaneous and your spouse is responsive:

  • Don’t judge your responsive spouse for not being spontaneous.
  • Learn how to elicit sexual response from your spouse and recognize when she is getting turned on.
  • Be enthusiastic and persistent with initiation; don’t get frustrated that you initiate most of the time.

If you are responsive and your spouse is spontaneous:

  • Don’t judge your spontaneous spouse for not being responsive.
  • When your spontaneous spouse initiates sex, don’t immediately see it as an annoyance or distraction! Give your mind a body a chance to respond.
  • Learn to recognize your own arousal when your mind and body respond to your spouse’s initiation. It may not be obvious.

If you and your spouse are both responsive, you’re going to need to be extra intentional. Try one of our sex games or the random foreplay generator to initiate sex when you’ve got time, even if neither of you is particularly in the mood. Once you get started, you can both respond to the heat generated by the game!

Do you have any experiences to share? Any advice? Leave a comment!