The 7 (Sex) Habits: #2 Begin With the End in Mind 1

Today we’re going to take a look at the second habit in our series, The 7 (Sex) Habits of Highly Successful People.

Habit 2: Begin with the end in mind is based on imagination — the ability to envision in your mind what you cannot at present see with your eyes. It is based on the principle that all things are created twice. There is a mental (first) creation, and a physical (second) creation. The physical creation follows the mental, just as a building follows a blueprint. If you don’t make a conscious effort to visualize who you are and what you want in life, then you empower other people and circumstances to shape you and your life by default.

What do you want your sex life with your spouse to be like? Forget about fear, rejection, apathy, disappointment, busyness, and any other obstacles… if your sex life with your spouse were unbelievably amazing what would it look like? Be honest with yourself!

Maybe it’s difficult or painful to envision your “perfect sex life” because it seems so far from reality. We get emails from people all the time who are frustrated and disappointed with the sex in their marriage and are looking for help.

Or maybe your sex life is pretty good… but could it be even better? Do you have some unmet desire that you haven’t mustered the courage to share with your spouse yet? Or maybe you know that your spouse has given up on achieving her deepest desires because you’ve been holding back.

If either of these paragraphs describes your marital sex life, then this habit is for you! But before you can hit your target, you need to decide what you’re going to aim at.

So how do you pick a target? The rest of this post will describe a method for creating a Marital Sex Life Vision that will represent the target you and your spouse will aim for in your sex life. Here are a few Bible verses that talk about the value of setting goals, and remind us to rely on God’s purposes even while we plan.

But he who is noble plans noble things, and on noble things he stands.

Isaiah 32:8

The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.

Proverbs 21:5

So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.

2 Corinthians 5:9

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.

Proverbs 16:9

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’”

Luke 14:28-30

(If your sex life — or marriage — are in a bad state right now, you might be tempted to think something like “I just wish he’d never touch me again” — if that’s you, then this exercise probably won’t be of much benefit right now. For the purpose of this post we’re going to assume that both spouses want to have an unbelievably amazing sex life together. Otherwise see: “When All Else Fails, Try Tears”.)

Each spouse should begin separately, by writing down the elements of his or her Individual Sex Life Vision. Below is a list of topics your vision might address. Think of these items from the perspective of, “if our sex life were unbelievably amazing….” Don’t worry about being realistic — aim high!

Feel free to use any format you want for your vision — as you know, we like making lists with bullet points! The post “How to Talk About Sex Before You Get Married” has more ideas you can include in your vision. Write as much as you can, and then spend a little time editing it down. You may decide that some elements aren’t important enough to include, or you may realize that you forgot something critical.

Now each spouse has an Individual Sex Life Vision! Great work. Each of you has something concrete to use when you’re talking about your sex life together. These Visions are fantastic personal tools that you can update over time as your desires and expectations change, and as you refine your thinking. They aren’t cast in stone, so feel free to revisit them periodically.

The next step is to share your Individual Sex Life Vision with your spouse. Take turns sharing your thoughts, and be careful not to interrupt or be dismissive. This is an intimate process, and your spouse is showing great vulnerability by sharing his or her vision. There’s no need to react while your spouse is sharing — just listen.

Now get a new piece of paper to begin documenting your Marital Sex Life Vision. After you’ve shared your individual visions, each element will fall into one of three categories.

  • Agreement. Yay! Your visions are aligned. Write these items down in your Marital Sex Life Vision and underline them.
  • Disagreement. It shouldn’t be surprising if your visions aren’t completely aligned, so don’t be discouraged. You didn’t marry a clone of yourself! Write down areas of disagreement by indicating the desires of both spouses in the Marital Sex Life Vision and put a star next to them. These are items to negotiate over later.
  • Unsure. There might be elements in one spouse’s vision that the other spouse just isn’t sure about. Write these down in the Marital Sex Life Vision with a question mark next to them along with initial of the spouse who is unsure. The initialed spouse “owns” this question mark.

Depending on how many stars and question marks you have on your Marital Sex Life Vision, you might want to take a break. You’ve already done a lot of work just getting to this point, so don’t feel compelled to finish this exercise all in one sitting. Each spouse might need to think about the areas of disagreement, and particularly any question marks that belong to him or her.

When you’re ready to continue, the first thing to do is deal with the question marks. Each question mark should be resolved by the spouse who owns it. If the owner now agrees with the vision element created by the other spouse, remove the question mark and underline the element. You’re done — it’s a new area of agreement. If the owner decides that he or she disagrees, then they should write down their vision for that element along with a star — you’ve got another area to negotiate.

Now it’s time for the negotiation, but the good news is that you’ve already done some of the hard work. The steps to a successful negotiation are:

  1. Know what you want. Done!
  2. Say what you want. Done!
  3. Compromise to reach an acceptable agreement.
  4. Be content to receive what you agreed to accept.

You did the first two steps when you wrote your Individual Sex Life Visions, so it’s time for step three. For each element of disagreement, you’re going to have to talk about your vision:

  • Are there any parts that are not essential?
  • What are you willing to give to get what you want? This can mean compromising on one vision element to gain more on another.
  • How can you bless your spouse by giving him or her something they want?

Remember: the point of negotiation isn’t to convince the other person that your desire is better! You don’t need to change your spouse’s mind in order to reach an acceptable agreement. In fact, negotiations often break down because both parties get so focused on changing the other’s mind that they get angry and frustrated.

For example, let’s say that Spouse A wants to have sex every day, and Spouse B wants to have sex once a week. It would be easy to argue about who is “right” and which is “better” for the marriage, but it’s unlikely that either spouse will genuinely be convinced. So just skip all that. Recognize that each spouse wants what they want, the desires are legitimate, and you don’t have to want the same thing. You’re trying to reach an acceptable agreement! If “about three times a week” is acceptable to both spouses, then they can agree to that without either spouse changing their individual vision.

Negotiation is tough, and sometimes it’s hard to resist the urge to give up everything you want in order to avoid conflict. Similarly, it can be tempting to push your spouse to give up her vision in favor of your own. Being loving doesn’t mean being a push-over, and it doesn’t mean “winning” at the expense of your spouse. Give a little, get a little, and show Christlike love.

It may surprise you to learn that there are several passages in the Bible that talk about negotiation, and particularly the importance of honesty and fairness in the process.

Honest scales and balances belong to the Lord; all the weights in the bag are of his making.

Proverbs 16:11

Laban said to him, “Just because you are a relative of mine, should you work for me for nothing? Tell me what your wages should be.”

Genesis 29:15

Then Araunah said to David, “Let my lord the king take and offer up what seems good to him. Here are the oxen for the burnt offering and the threshing sledges and the yokes of the oxen for the wood. All this, O king, Araunah gives to the king.” And Araunah said to the king, “May the Lord your God accept you.” But the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will buy it from you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.

2 Samuel 24:18-25

Hopefully you’re able to reach agreements that are acceptable to both of you on all your starred items. (If not, come back to them in a day or two and negotiate some more.) Write your agreements down on the Marital Sex Life Vision and erase the starred individual elements that led to the negotiation. These agreements are now part of your Marital Sex Life Vision, and it’s time for perhaps the hardest part of negotiation:

Be content to receive what you agreed to accept. The Marital Sex Life Vision isn’t permanent, but we suggest that you try living with it for a while before reopening any negotiations (at least six months). Update your Individual Sex Life Vision as often as you like, but do your honest best to live up to and accept the agreements that you made in your Marital Sex Life Vision. If you’re having trouble being content, recognize that the shared vision is probably very close to the best possible arrangement you can make with your spouse (as long as you were both acting in good-faith throughout the process).

Like clouds and wind without rain is a man who boasts of a gift he does not give.

Proverbs 25:14

Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.

Matthew 5:37

Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?

Amos 3:3

You didn’t get exactly what you wanted, and neither did your idiot, short-sighted, unimaginative, selfish, lazy spouse. I’m kidding of course! You’ll never convince your spouse to want exactly what you want, nor vice versa. Now that the two of you have negotiated acceptable agreements and created a Marital Sex Life Vision, it’s time to move forward and make this vision a reality — which will be the topic of the next post in this series: Put First Things First.

Do you and your spouse have a shared vision for your sex life? Do you know the target you’re aiming at? Leave a comment and let us know.

Get (and Give) a Better View of the Action 2

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.

Best Christian Sex Links of the Week 3

It’s been a while since we’ve posted some links, and I was shocked to see how many of the blogs we had linked to in our sidebar no longer exist! Crazy.

These link posts might seem easy, but they’re actually some of the most time-consuming posts we write. It’s a lot of work to survey the internet for Christian sex content, but we think it’s valuable for two reasons:

  1. We want to bring our readers the best content
  2. We want to share the best readers with other blogs

So, without further ado…

If you want to share another link, please leave it in a comment!

How to Get Deeper Penetration 4

This post is also available as a podcast: Podcast #008: How to Make the Most of the Size You’ve Got

We recently wrote about how to make the most of the size you’ve got and talked a bit about penis anxiety — the common fear among men that their penises just aren’t good enough. Go back and read that post for some survey data that reveals that men care more about penis size than women do. For the most part, girth is more important than length, and the previous post gave some tips for how to feel thicker.

In 2001, Russell Eisenman published a paper in BMC Women’s Health wherein 50 women were asked whether girth or length contributed more to their sexual pleasure. Ninety-percent of the surveyed women responded that the thickness of a penis was a more important elicitor of pleasure.

You may be surprised to learn that the average penis is more than long enough to reach the end of the average vagina — even accounting for the fact that the vagina lengthens when the woman becomes aroused!

The most commonly used measurements regarding the size of vaginas come from Masters and Johnson’s work from the 1960s. They looked at 100 women who had never been pregnant and found that vagina lengths, unstimulated, range from 2.75 inches to about 3.25 inches. When a woman is aroused, it increased to 4.25 inches to 4.75 inches. Regardless of how long the vagina is, the area that is thought to be important for most women’s sexual response is the outer one-third.

(The average American man’s penis is 5.6 inches long when erect with a girth of 4.8 inches.)

And as that quote indicates, the outermost one-third of the vagina, near the opening, contains 90% of the vaginal nerve endings and is much more sensitive to touch than the deeper two-thirds of the vagina.

How to Get Deeper Penetration 5

Taking all that information into account, we can conclude that penis length matters a lot less than we husbands often think. Nonetheless, achieving the deepest penetration possible for you and your spouse can still be extremely pleasurable for a variety of reasons.

  • Nerves in the lower shaft of the penis are often the most powerful trigger for male orgasm. Shallow penetration (and stimulation of the head of the penis) feels extremely good but often doesn’t lead to a quick climax. Approaches like the frenulum technique or tip top technique are awesome for a slow build-up and edging (and will generally lead to orgasm eventually), but stimulating the nerves along the whole shaft will generally get you there faster.
  • Feeling of fullness. Even though the upper part of the vagina doesn’t have as many nerve endings as the lower third, filling it up can give the wife a pleasurable sense of fullness. The vaginal fornices (anterior fornix and posterior fornix) are to the front and back of the cervical opening, and stimulating them can produce an indirect feeling of pleasure. Because of the angle of the wife’s body, usually only the anterior fornix can be stimulated in missionary position; but in doggy style, when the wife is aroused and the vagina has lengthened, the head of the penis can also reach into the posterior fornix.
  • Mental and emotional pleasure. It is extremely intense for the husband to penetrate his wife to her greatest depth, and for the wife to share with her husband the most intimate parts of her body. Deep penetration creates an opportunity for gentleness, vulnerability, submission, and closeness that epitomizes the “one flesh” of the husband and wife.

Here are a few tips for getting the most from deep penetration.

  • Husbands, lose weight! Excess fat can bury your penis and reduce its usable length. We’ve said it before, but go lift some weights. This is basically the only real way to make your penis longer.
  • Turn her on. Most women won’t find deep penetration to be comfortable or pleasurable if they aren’t aroused. During arousal the vagina not only lengthens, but the cervix actually rotates upward and out of the way of the penis. If a woman isn’t aroused deep penetration will likely result in the penis pounding into her cervix, which most women don’t enjoy.
  • Leg positioning. Missionary position isn’t the best for deep penetration, but you can still do pretty well if you position the wife’s legs properly. Spread them wide open and push her knees up to her chest. Depending on her flexibility, the husband can put the wife’s legs over his shoulders or hook his arms behind one or both knees to hold them up. This positioning accomplishes two things: first, it moves the wife’s legs out of the way of the husband’s hips; second, it pivots her hips and stretches her vagina so that it can accept more length. Sexy Corte and I find this arrangement to be especially intimate after she has an orgasm — we roll her over onto her back, I climax as deep into her as I can reach, and then we cuddle.
  • Doggy style. Probably the position that enables the deepest penetration, but without as much intimacy as missionary. The wife should arch her back (pushing her tummy down towards the bed) to create the most depth for her husband, and even with her legs together he should be able to reach her posterior fornix. Sexy Corte and I have found that doggy style is a great position to transition to once she is warmed up, but it isn’t the right way to begin.
  • Wife on top. The wife-on-top position is good for letting her control the depth, but often doesn’t enable very deep penetration. To maximize depth, the wife can stand on the balls of her feet while straddling her husband rather than resting on her knees. This positioning puts her knees higher and moves her thighs up and out, which creates room for the husband’s body to get closer to her vagina. Then she can bounce up and down and drive her husband crazy.

It’s worth noting that the intimacy of deep penetration isn’t limited to vaginal sex — it’s also extremely intimate for the wife to receive her husband deep into her mouth as well.

Do you have any thoughts about deep penetration? Leave a comment!

Role-Playing: Professor and Student 6

This post is also available as a podcast: Podcast #009: Sexual Role-Playing: Professor and Student

The most common emails we get are about oral sex, but a little way down the list are questions from folks who want to incorporate role-playing in their sex life, but aren’t really sure how to get started. I wrote a post about how to do sexual role-playing, and today I’m going to give more specific tips for how to play out a professor-and-student scene. This scenario is probably the most common role-playing that Sexy Corte and I do, and maybe these ideas will get your creative juices flowing.

(If you haven’t read the how-to post yet, you might want to start there. Don’t worry… it’s normal to feel a little silly and awkward at first!)

From here on, I’m going to assume that the wife is playing the Student role, but you can easily flip it. Remember: role-playing is play. Both spouses should be comfortable and have fun, even though the play puts them in roles of power and submission.

The professor-and-student scenario is fun for several reasons:

  • Power exchange. The power dynamic between the Student and Professor is fun to inhabit. Instead of being equals, the Student (temporarily, for the purposes of fun) gives up her power in the encounter and pretends to reluctantly submit to the Professor’s sexual advances. She gets to play coy, innocent, and desperate for the Professor’s approval, while the Professor gets to play at using his power and authority to “prey” on the Student’s vulnerability.
  • Familiar emotional hooks. The emotions behind the role-play are easy to grasp, because we’ve all been in the position of the student who really needs to pass her class. She doesn’t want to get kicked out of school! What will her parents think if she fails? Will she have to repeat the class? Will she graduate? She’ll do whatever it takes to satisfy her professor, even….
  • Clear goals. The professor-and-student scenario is relatively easy to improvise because both characters have clear goals: the Student wants her grade, and the Professor wants the Student. It’s not like you’re playing a pirate or an astronaut or Hamlet. Both roles can take initiative and play into their parts without any confusion about where the scene is going. No one should need to break character or say “I don’t know”.

Ok, so how do you get started? I enjoy prompting Sexy Corte with a note early in the day. Something like this:

To: Miss Corte

Please come see me during office hours this evening around 7:30pm. We need to discuss your midterm exam.

Signed: Professor Fury

[You haven’t been doing so well in class, but you really need to pass! You might have slightly cheated on your midterm… hopefully the professor hasn’t figured it out.]

The note proposes a time and place for the scene to begin, which means we can jump right into it after the kids are in bed. The last part, in brackets, gives Miss Corte some motivation for her character so that we’re on the same page when she shows up in my office. She needs to pass the class (of course), but she also has a secret that she hopes Professor Fury doesn’t know, which might give her an extra edge of desperation if it’s revealed.

If Sexy Corte is up for the plan she’ll send me a note or text message back. We’ll probably text back and forth several times, building up the tension and arousal. After the kids are in bed I’ll go to my office and wait for Miss Corte to knock on my door. Here are a few ideas for how each role can be played once the scene begins — this isn’t a script, just some thoughts to spur your imagination!

Things the Professor can do or say:

  • Dress formally, like a professor. You are powerful and intelligent, at the top of your profession — your students tremble at your gaze.
  • Sit in your chair behind your desk. Act stern, aloof, and disappointed in the Student.
  • “I finished grading your test, and you didn’t do very well at all.”
  • “I’m disappointed that you aren’t taking my class seriously.”
  • “If you don’t improve your grade, you’re not going to pass my class.”
  • “You could lose your scholarship, and might not even graduate.”
  • “What do you intend to do about this situation?” — This line is fun, because it puts the Student in the position of having to “reluctantly” propose some sexual favor.
  • “You might be able to earn some extra credit, if…” — Trail off, as if you’re considering some options.
  • “I’m not sure you’re willing to put in the work it will take.” — Make the Student assure you that she is.
  • “Yes, I’m afraid I must insist.”
  • “You say you’re a good girl, but you need to show me.”
  • “Very well. Kneel here in front of me while I think about how to help you. I’m sure you know what to do.”
  • “Before you can bring up your grade, you need to be punished for your cheating. Bend over my knee and pull down your panties. This is for your own good.” — Spanking is always fun.
  • “How many spanks do you think you deserve?” — Make her pick a number. Does she understand how serious this situation is?
  • “Are you really trying your hardest? Is this your best effort?”
  • “You’ve done well on the oral portion of the exam.”
  • “I expect to see you in my office every week, Miss Corte.”
  • “Good girls don’t come without permission.”
  • “While you’re coming, say I’m a good girl! over and over.”

indy student s

And here are some things the Student can do or say:

  • Dress demure or slutty, depending on how you want to play the Student. Wear a dress or skirt.
  • Act worried, reluctant, and desperate. You need to pass this class, but what will it take?
  • Say “sir” or “Professor” in every sentence. He is handsome and powerful. You respect him and need his approval.
  • If you and your spouse are comfortable with it, you can protest and refuse the Professor’s insinuations and demands until he uses his power to coerce you into submission. It’s up to you both how far you want to go with this kind of power play, and you should probably discuss it beforehand and potentially use a safe word so that no one’s boundaries are crossed.
  • “Why did you want to see me, sir?”
  • “I really need to pass this class, Professor.” — Be desperate, flash your eyes, look worried.
  • “If I don’t pass, my parents will kill me, Professor!” — Be scared of the consequences.
  • “But then I might not graduate, sir.”
  • “I always try my hardest, sir.” — You really want to pass. This poor performance isn’t like you at all.
  • “What can I do to improve my grade, Professor?” — You see where this is going, but you’re reluctant.
  • “I couldn’t possibly do that, sir!” — Protest! Refuse!
  • “But I’m a good girl!” — You can’t trade your virtue for a grade… can you?
  • “Yes, professor, I’ll do whatever it takes.” — What choice do you have?
  • “I’m sorry I cheated, Professor. I want to earn back your trust.” — Submission.
  • “Thank you for correcting me, sir.”
  • “Yes sir, I’ll be your best student!”
  • “What else can I do, sir?” — You want to please him, you want to prove yourself to him.
  • “I’m a good girl, sir! I’m a good girl!”

Afterwards, break the scene and leave your roles. The game is over (for now), so go back to being your normal selves. Have a good cuddle. Talk about your favorite parts of the scene, and stay positive. Later on, after the glow wears off, discuss anything you didn’t like and wouldn’t choose to do again. If your spouse really liked some element that wasn’t your favorite, negotiate and compromise and find the common ground that works for your marriage.

Have you ever role-played as professor-and-student with your spouse? How do you play it? Leave a comment!

Intense Focus on Your Senses Makes Great Sex 7

Why is sex so good? Kinda like asking, “why is water wet?” But still, if we understand what makes sex good then maybe we can make it even better!

One of the main questions in life is: Why is sex so good? According to a new review paper, it’s because sex — like dance, yoga, and other body-based pleasures — is rhythmic, and that rhythm has a way of uniting and heightening the senses.

Authored by Northwestern University researcher Adam Safron and published in Socioaffective Neuroscience and Psychology, the paper argues that intercourse can be such a magical experience because of “entrainment,” which is a fancy way of saying that it gets your brain, sensory, and bodily systems all rowing in the same sexy direction. What happens in the run-up to orgasm, he argues, is what goes on in most ecstatic experiences (consider how a “beat drops” in your favorite new disco anthem). Rhythmic perception and action lead you to attend more to the stimuli that’s turning you on, leading to greater enjoyment, and greater attendance, making for “further enhancing entrainment, thus creating a positive feedback cycle of deepening sexual absorption,” he writes.

It’s not enough to call this increased arousal or pleasure: A better way to understand the way people can lose their sense of selves during the act of sex is with trance, the same way that you might feel a sense of absorption on a particularly good night of dancing, a particularly strenuous yoga session, a particularly deep meditation, or a particularly satisfying run. “Intensely focusing on immediate sensations — such as those produced by rhythmic stimulation — is likely to reduce the amount of mental capacity available for other things,” Safron writes, like ruminative self-narratives, wondering about what could have been, or generally having your mind someplace other than where you currently are. “Such an experience of sensate focusing and altered self-processing may be most appropriately referred to as a kind of trance state,” he writes. “If this trance occurs in the context of another individual who is similarly absorbed, then it could potentially contribute to feelings of connectedness along with the expansion of self-other boundaries.”

bolded the part that jumped out at me, and it matches my experience. Sex is best when you are “intensely focusing on immediate sensations” — which is closely related to our posts about the importance of enthusiasm and responsiveness. There’s a feedback loop: in order to have great sex you need to pull your mind away from the mundane considerations of life, and the act of pulling away is self-reinforcing, leading to enhanced focus and even better sex!

So how can you use this information to improve sex with your spouse? In addition to the posts I’ve linked to above, here are a few ways you can focus more intensely during sex:

  • Sight. Get rid of visual distractions. Unless you’re just playing around you should turn off the television, put away your phones, and lock your door. Focus your eyes and attention on your spouse. You can dim the lights, maintain eye contact, or even wear a blindfold for some power play. Wear something sexy. Do a danceKeep your bedroom orderly and comfortable to avoid seeing your surroundings as a to-do list while you’re having sex.
  • Sound. Put on some sensual music, something with a beat! Like the article says above, a good rhythm helps synchronize your bodies and senses. Turn off the baby monitors, silence your phones. Replace the batteries in the #&%&(#@% smoke detector. In my post about sexual responsiveness I talk about how important it is to use words and sounds during sex, so go read that whole post. Moan and groan, cry out, say your spouse’s name, beg for an orgasm.
  • Smell and taste. Using food in your sexy time can be fun, but it may also be a distraction.  If you want to focus intensely on the sexual experience, engage with the taste and smell of your spouse. Bury your face in your spouse’s hair or neck. Kiss deeply. Lick your spouse all over. Use oral sex not only to stimulate your spouse, but also to engage your own senses! During oral sex the attention is usually on the receiver, but try flipping that around: when you’re giving oral sex, focus on absorbing all the sensations that come from being close to your spouse’s sexuality. (Husbands especially: hygiene is important if you want your wife to enjoy your taste and smell.)
  • Touch. Sex obviously involves a lot of touching, but the touching can often be very goal-oriented: orgasm. However, sex with your spouse isn’t (usually) a race — you can focus your sense of touch more intensely if you just slow down. Revel in touching and being touched all over your bodies. An average human has twenty square feet of skin, so don’t just use your fingers: lips and tongues are obvious, but you can touch anything to anything else. (Check out Body Part Twister for some ideas (automated spinner).) Touch, tickle, massage, tease, and you can learn to build your spouse up to some huge orgasms.
  • Restraint. One of the reasons that light bondage is fun is that the person being restrained (the receiver) is free to focus completely on his or her sensations. While restrained, the receiver doesn’t need to think about giving pleasure, only receiving it. Being tied up is permission to be the center of attention, even your own attention. The receiver doesn’t have to do anything, just be.
  • Trust and vulnerability. In order to really lose yourself in a sexual experience you have to trust your spouse enough to let yourself be vulnerable. Your relationship needs to be past the point where you worry about looking right, acting right, or moving right. If you’re worried about impressing or disappointing your spouse, or being awkward, you’re not going to be able to focus on your senses. You each need to be comfortable with your own bodies and sexuality, and you need to respect and cherish each other.

“Losing yourself” doesn’t come naturally to everyone, but I think we can take some intentional steps to eliminate distractions during sex and really focus on the sensations we’re creating with our spouses. If you have any tips to share, please leave a comment!

Henna Tattoos: Drawing on Your Spouse Is Fun and Sexy 8

When Sexy Corte and I were dating, I somewhat randomly drew on her a couple of times with a sharpie and we both found it to be fun and sensual. A few weeks ago, she suggested I use henna to create temporary tattoos on her body. I was game, but also intimidated — she’s the artistic one in the family, and I’ve never done anything like it before. She sent me this video of design ideas and then told me to draw whatever I wanted on her. No pressure, right?

I did a bit of research and decided to buy a jagua tattoo kit. Apparently henna can cause skin irritation for some people, so I decided to try an alternative considering the intimate areas involved. The kit included all the tools required to mix the ink and apply it to the skin, and simple instructions for a beginner. (Now that I’ve got a bit of proficiency I will probably just buy the ink next time.)

As for the design, I really debated — and in the end I didn’t use any of the patterns from the video above. The first tattoo I created was a design I stole from one of our board games (so geeky) that I drew on the lower front of SC’s hip (about half-covered by her panties). The second tattoo was simple: I wrote my name across her right breast in cursive.

The application process was great foreplay. She laid naked on the bed with a wand vibrator between her legs (and tried to hold still) while I used the tiny applicator to draw intricate lines on her body. By the time the tattoos were done we were both eager to get down to business!

So what’s fun about tattooing your spouse?

  • Marking your territory. It was awesome to use SC’s body as a canvas for my creativity, and she enjoyed coaxing it out of me. As I mentioned, I don’t have a lot of artistic talent, but there was something primal about marking my wife — especially with my name written across her breast.
  • Submission. SC made a few suggestions and requests (e.g., the tattoos should be concealable with clothing), but it was extremely sexy to be given carte blanche to draw on her body however I wanted. That she wanted me to express myself on her body was a huge turn-on.
  • Durability. Most sex is over when it’s over, but temporary tattoos can last two weeks! Whenever SC looks at herself in the mirror she is reminded of me and her act of submission, and whenever I see her I’m reminded of my dominance. For us, that’s sexy! Just seeing the tattoos on her skin turns me on and makes me want her. (Similar to why trying-to-get-pregnant sex is some of the best sex.)
  • Creative. You can draw anything, anywhere. A picture, a love letter, an abstract pattern, a symbol, a poem, anything you can imagine.
  • Vulnerability. It takes vulnerability to be creative, and vulnerability is sexy. I was pretty nervous about tattooing SC — afraid it would look bad or be silly — but her enthusiasm and encouragement nudged me along. And, of course, she was even more vulnerable than I was, since she was the canvas!
  • Secret. Hidden tattoos are a sensual inside joke to share with your spouse. If the drawings are on intimate areas, you can even flash them discreetly to get your spouse’s attention in public.
  • Temporary. The tattoos are durable, but they eventually fade… and then you get to draw something new! I’ve already got several ideas for our next round of tattooing.

Here are a few tips that will make your tattooing experience as awesome as possible.

  • Prepare your kit in advance. I started mixing the ink after SC was already naked, so I rushed while she waited.
  • Set expectations. Make sure you agree on where and what are desirable.
  • Keep it simple. Don’t make the tattoo too complicated, especially if it’s your first time. Pick a simple pattern and practice it on the skin with magic marker.
  • Stimulation during application. Figure out a way to physically stimulate each other during the tattooing process. In this instance, with SC on her back, we used a wand vibrator. Next time I’m planning to tattoo her butt, and we’ll try doing it doggy style.
  • Plan for drying time. The tattoos take 30-40 minutes to dry, so plan accordingly. In our case, we did the hip tattoo first since it would be hard to avoid smudging it during sex.

So there you have it, our first experience with temporary tattoos! Have you ever done this kind of thing with your spouse? Got tips or questions? Leave a comment!

Reading Your Wife's Sexual Indicators of Interest 9

We already know that it’s common for a husband to underestimate his wife’s sex drive — women tend to be a lot more subtle than men, to such an extent that your wife herself might not even know when she’s aroused!

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.

So how can a husband know when his wife is interested? Being direct and verbal can be effective, but can also risk “ruining the mood”. Women like to be romanced and wooed — even after years of marriage! — and “Hey, wanna go upstairs and *blank*?” may not make her tingle.

Every husband should be a student of his own wife: learn everything about her, especially her sexuality. Every person is different, but here are a few behavioral signs a husband can watch for that may indicate his wife is more interested in sex than is immediately obvious.

  • Physical touch. Casual touching is always an indicator of affection and openness. If your wife initiates touching then she’s definitely happy with your relationship and receptive to your overtures. Physical touch doesn’t mean that she definitely wants sex — she may just want to cuddle for comfort after a hard day at work. Touches from hands, fingers, and lips — as well as “accidentally” brushing against you — are likely to be greater indicators of sexual interest than are hugs and cuddles.
  • Eye contact is always a sign of intimacy, and longer is better. You should hold eye contact until she breaks away — it will signal your confidence and dominance. If she breaks eye contact with a submissive downward gaze and a smile, she’s practically naked.
  • Posture and attention. Body language says a lot. Look for open postures: face and shoulders straight at you, rather than with a shoulder towards you; arms and legs uncrossed; leaning towards you; shoulders back, breasts pushed forward; close proximity, inside personal space. Also watch for mirroring, which is generally a sign of rapport and intimacy.
  • Self-touching and grooming. Touching her hair, adjusting her clothes, playing with her jewelry, and other kinds of self-touching — especially around the mouth, face, and neck. Licking or biting her lip, or sucking on a straw or toothpick, is a strong sign.
  • Vulnerability shows a desire for intimacy. Signs include: revealing more skin; exposing her underarms, wrists, or neck; submissive positioning or postures.
  • Verbal cues. In addition to non-verbal indicators, your wife’s language can also indicate sexual interest: giggling; using your nickname; playful teasing; mismatched words and body language (e.g., laughing while disagreeing); complimenting you; soliciting compliments or approval; re-starting the conversation when you stop talking.

Husbands, when you learn to read your wife’s indicators of interest she’ll feel like you really understand her, like you’re reading her mind, like you’re in sync. She’ll feel good about your relationship, your intimacy will increase, and you’ll have more sex.

Wives, what do you think? It’s probably pretty easy to know when your husband is interested in sex… or is it? Husbands, do you have any tips to share? Leave a comment!

How To Do Sexual Role-Playing 10

Maybe you’ve wanted to try role-playing for a while, or maybe you’ve read some of our role-playing posts, but you just aren’t sure how to get started — if so, this post is for you!

It’s common to feel a little uncomfortable, awkward, or embarrassed when you first start role-playing in a sexual context with your spouse. This is completely normal! Sexual role-playing combines two of humanity’s greatest fears: public speaking and the risk of sexual rejection. Either one of these alone is enough to make most people feel anxious. However, with a little bit of preparation and practice you can psyche yourself up to take a some risk with your spouse, and the payoff will be fantastic!

The first thing to remember is that role-playing with your spouse should be fun. While you’re reading the rest of this post, don’t lose sight of this principle:

If you’re having fun, you’re doing it right!

The ideas in this post are intended to help you and your spouse have fun, not to give you a bunch of rules for role-playing “the right way”. Follow the spirit of the ideas, and do whatever creates the most fun for you and your spouse.

Before you get started, it’s important to set expectations with your spouse. You may think it will be more fun to completely improvise, but it probably won’t! Here are a few topics to cover:

  • What are your roles? You can each define your own role, or one person can pick for both. Are either of you playing a role that has power over the other in the context of the scene? The person in this role doesn’t necessarily have to be in a sexually dominant positionbut the power dynamic is usually an important aspect of any scene.
  • Where’s the scene going? Is there some particular relationship, dynamic, or experience that you’re working towards? A specific sex act? Do you have expectations for how you want your spouse to act? Or how you’re going to act? Be explicit, so that no one is disappointed that their spouse isn’t a mind-reader.
  • What are your boundaries? This goes hand-in-hand with the question above. Make sure you and your spouse understand what you don’t want to do.

These questions create a stage for you to perform on; as you get comfortable with the process and with each other you won’t have to spend much time on preparation.

Role-playing your first scene can be awkward and even scary. Sexual role-playing has a lot in common with other kinds of improvisational acting, so let’s look at some general improv guidelines that will help you get started.

  • Separate the role-playing from real life. You and your spouse are acting. The things you say and do during a scene don’t “mean” anything beyond the scene itself, so don’t take things personally.
  • Explicitly begin and end each scene. There’s a reason directors say “action!”. You can use verbal cues as simple as “begin scene” and “end scene”.
  • Commit to the role. When you’re in the scene, stay in character. Ham it up. Have fun being someone else!
  • “Yes, and…” — the cardinal rule of improvisational acting. Always do your best to accept and build on whatever direction your spouse goes in the scene. Negations and denials will often kill your momentum and your scene. (Of course, everyone needs to respect the boundaries in place.)
  • Make your spouse look good. Build on what your spouse is doing, and make their choices work in the scene. Don’t break character to criticize or “help” them.

One last bit of advice: be vulnerable, and respect your spouse’s vulnerability. You’ll have a lot of fun if you let yourselves! Don’t take things too seriously, and don’t forget to have sex at the end.

(For detailed examples, see: Role-Playing: Professor and Student and Role-Playing: Bratty Wife.)

To generate some random prompts, check out our naughty story generator. Share some role-playing tips in the comment!

How to Increase Intimacy During Sex 11

On this blog we tend to spend the most words on the physical and mental dimensions of sex with your spouse: topics like games, positions, role-playing, toys, and having more sex. We also talk a lot about the spiritual dimension of sex, about how God wants sex in your marriage to be awesome and fulfilling. Today I want to talk about the fourth dimension: emotion. As your marriage matures and grows, the emotional intensity of sex with your spouse can wane over time. Sex can be fun and frequent, but the emotions may fade to the background as you grow comfortable with your spouse.

It may not be realistic to expect to recapture all the joy and wonder of your honeymoon and maintain it for decades, but here are a few ideas for increasing the level of intimacy in your sex life.

  • Eye contact. Instead of closing your eyes and focusing inward, keep your eyes open and on your spouse. Look each other in the eyes while you touch each other and when you climax. Eye contact is one of the most primal, direct forms of intimacy in any social situation. It shows that your attention is completely focused on one thing only: the person you’re looking at. You can’t make eye contact with two things at once! Eye contact during sex may feel awkward, embarrassing, or vulnerable at first, but with a little practice (and humor) it can add a lot of intimacy to your sex life.
  • Kiss more. Remember how much you made out when you were dating? Sexy Corte and I would make out for hours while “watching a movie”, and not even remember what we supposedly watched. Instead of jumping straight for the genitals, make kissing a significant part of foreplay and sex.
  • Responsiveness. Moan, scream, talk explicitly about what feels good and where. As I wrote in the linked post: “What’s more intimate than crying out your spouse’s name when you climax? When you’re sexually responsive to your spouse you’re sharing the most personal, internal details about yourself, private knowledge about your secret inner workings that no one else gets to experience. If you’re shy about being overtly responsive then work intentionally to overcome that barrier and share yourself more fully with your spouse.”
  • Enthusiasm. As the song says, “I want you to want me / I need you to need me”. Enthusiasm and eagerness for sex increase intimacy — no one needs to feel pressure ask for sex in the “right” way, to perform, or to look a certain way. Enthusiasm builds your spouse’s confidence and breaks down the walls of insecurity that hinder intimacy.
  • Hold hands. Even if you’re in a position that limits eye contact, it’s often possible to hold hands during sex. Holding hands is an innocent intimacy, and a special sign of love and friendship.
  • Orgasm together. This can be difficult unless you’re really in tune with each other. I always try to make sure that I don’t climax before Sexy Corte — because that’s just disappointing — and it’s tricky to hit my peak just when she hits hers. If you want to try this, have the wife do her best to give her husband a few seconds warning before she actually reaches orgasm, and then let him follow as best as he can.
  • Vulnerability. Intimacy is increased when one person trusts another enough to show vulnerability, and that trust is rewarded and respected. Vulnerability can be mental, emotional, or physical. It can be embarrassing to tell your spouse, hey, I’d really like to play Sexy Jenga, or, I’d really like you to swallow — there’s a risk of judgement or rejection. Similarly, there’s physical vulnerability involved with bondage or spanking, and emotional vulnerability to wearing lingerie or asking for more sex. But each time one of you offers vulnerability and the other rewards and respects it, the door is opened for greater vulnerability, trust, and intimacy. The surest way to shut down intimacy is to punish vulnerability from your spouse.
  • Speak your spouse’s love language. Your spouse will receive your love best when you speak his love language. Our inclination is to show love in our own love language, because it’s the most natural for us, but that’s not the best way to touch your spouse’s heart. Learn his or her love language and use it during foreplay and sex.
  • Stay positive. Not every sexual encounter will go perfectly. Not every game, toy, or position you try will work. Not every date will be magical. Not every disagreement will go your way. Despite all these realities, fight hard inside yourself to stay positive about your sex life. Be willing to say yes again and again. Work to improve yourself. Communicate with your spouse, especially when it’s embarrassing or awkward. Laugh together, forgive quickly, and go have great sex with a smile on your face.

Do you have any tips to share to increase intimacy during sex? Leave a comment!