We get a lot of emails from husbands and wives who are distressed by the wife’s low interest in sex. Libido is affected by a whole host of factors — relationship, communication, family situation, stress, time management, hormones, and more — so medication shouldn’t be your first resort. But while you’re working on all those other areas in your marriage, it’s probably worth your time to talk to the wife’s doctor about any health problems that may be contributing to her disinterest or dissatisfaction with sex. This can be an embarrassing topic to bring up, but your sex life is worth an awkward conversation!

Along with the other tools available to your marriage, it appears that the drug flibanserin is effective at improving female libido.

Flibanserin is used for hypoactive sexual desire disorder among women. Those receiving flibanserin report a 0.5 increase compared to placebo in the number of times they had “satisfying sexual events”. In those on flibanserin it rose from 2.8 to 4.5 times a month while women receiving placebo reported also an increase of “satisfying sexual events” from 2.7 to 3.7 times a month. The onset of the flibanserin effect was seen from the first timepoint measured after 4 weeks of treatment and maintained throughout the treatment period.

Let me translate:

  • Baseline low libido women: 2.7 satisfying sexual events per month
  • Baseline low libido women taking placebo (sugar pill with no medical effect): 3.7 satisfying sexual events per month
  • Baseline low libido women taking flibanserin: 4.5 satisfying sexual events per month

As is often the case, placebos alone show significant improvement over the baseline. This means that you can do almost anything to improve your sex life as long as you believe it will work! The human mind is a powerful thing.

However, the results also indicate that flibanserin is significantly better than a placebo, so it’s worth asking your doctor if it’s a good option for you.

Have any of you tried flibanserin? Did it help you? Leave a comment.

Proverbs 15:16 says: “Better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble with it.”

Psalm 127:2 says: “In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat — for he grants sleep to those he loves.”

Proverbs 5:18-19 says: “May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer — may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love.”

Maybe the Bible is on to something! Scientists have recently discovered that sleep and sex make you happier than wealth!

The new happiness index, developed by Oxford Economics and the National Centre for Social Research, and commissioned by Sainsbury’s, has found that sex and sleep are the two things that have the strongest association with a person’s happiness and wellbeing – well above money. Researchers found that while upping your income (even if you quadruple it) causes very little increase to your happiness, being well-rested and well-sexed have a significant impact on how joyful you feel. The study involved polling 8,250 Britons, finding that the average person has a Living Well score of 62.2.

Those who get the most sleep were found the score 15 points higher on the index than those who struggle with sleep, while people who are deeply dissatisfied with their sex lives scored seven points lower than those who said they’re very satisfied. To be clear – very satisfied doesn’t mean these people are having loads of sex. It just means they’re very happy with the quality and frequency of the sex they’re having. Increasing your household income from £12,500 to £50,000, meanwhile, results in an increase of only two points.

So quit working late, leave the chores for later, and go to bed with your spouse!

New research shows that Americans are having less sex than 20 years ago and suggests that the decline might be due in part to improvements in electronic diversions like Facebook and Netflix.

American adults had less sex in the early 2010s than they did in the 1990s, to the tune of nine fewer times a year, according to new research published in Archives of Sexual Behavior. (That’s a drop from a yearly average in the low 60s, to one in the low 50s.)

This slump holds true regardless of gender, age, race, work or marital status, although it’s most precipitous for American who were married or living with a romantic partner, a group that reported having sex 16 fewer times per year in the early 2010s when compared to the early 2000s.

[…] Twenge has another theory on why we’re getting frisky less frequently: technology. More specifically, the rise of smartphones and streaming services, which began gaining real traction in the late 2000s.

“Entertainment is more entertaining now, it’s more on demand — you can access it anytime you want,” she says. “DVRs became more common right around that time, too.” In other words, we might be too busy binge watching shows, playing video games, and Snapchatting our friends to bother having sex.

Basically the theory is that electronics are out-competing you for your spouse’s attention. No one likes competition, but you can be more interesting than the internet if you’re intentional about it. In addition to the tips in that post (go read it!), here are some ideas for protecting your marriage (and family) from excessive electronic distraction.

  • No television in the sex room! Televisions are ubiquitous these days, but I guarantee that if you have one in your master bedroom it is reducing the frequency of sex. Do you doubt me? Haven’t you ever laid in bed, barely able to keep your eyes open, while trying to finish a show before you pass out? I bet you didn’t have sex after that, even if you were both frisky when you got in bed. Your master bedroom should be your sex room, and you should protect it as such.
  • Keep your computers in public places. This goes especially for your kids — computers that are in public parts of the house (as opposed to bedrooms) are much less likely to be abused. If you have a home office (like we do), try to stay away from it when you’re not working so that you aren’t pulled away from your family time. If your computer is in a public part of the house, then even when you have to use the computer at least you can stay near your family instead of completely disengaging.
  • Limit access to electronics by time and place. We try very hard to limit our use of electronics to specific times and places. The kids only watch television during quiet time. Phones and tablets are not allowed at the table during meals. Mobile devices with full internet access are not allowed in the kids’ bedrooms. Sexy Corte and I only watch Netflix in the living room, usually after we have sex upstairs. It’s important to create consistent boundaries that work for your family, and these will probably change over time as your kids get older. The electronic boundaries in your marriage need to protect your relationship and your sex life — find shows and games that you can enjoy together, and have sex first!
  • Shared access. Shared devices are much less likely to be abused than private devices. Adults will probably have their “own” phones, but in our family we know each others’ pass-codes and can access all the devices — and the same goes for email, Facebook, or whatever. We use LastPass to store our passwords, which is great for security and convenience and also ensures that Sexy Corte and I can get access to whatever accounts we need. (Ensuring access would also be especially important if one of us were to become incapacitated or worse.)
  • Don’t get caught in the web. Learn to recognize when you’re mindlessly surfing the web without purpose and make yourself stop. I’m most susceptible to this trap when I’ve had caffeine too close to bedtime — I’ll just lay in bed, bleary-eyed, clicking on links when I should be sleeping. It’s hard to stop because the internet is addictive, but when you learn to recognize what you’re doing you can apply your willpower to put the device down.

Got any tips to share? How do you and your spouse protect your marriage from Facebook and Netflix? Leave a comment!

Yet another post about how science indicates that sex is good for you! In this case, a long-term study followed adult men for 18 years and found that frequent ejaculation reduces the risk of prostate cancer.

It found that men ages 20 to 29 who ejaculated 21 times or more each month were 19 percent less likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than those who ejaculated less often, between 4 and 7 times per month.

And it wasn’t just young guys who saw the benefit: Men 40 to 49 who ejaculated at least 21 times per month reduced their risk of developing prostate cancer by 22 percent.

Won’t be having sex 21 times this month? Don’t worry: The study showed a dose-dependent relationship with ejaculation and prostate cancer risk, meaning that the more you do it, the more your risk decreases, she says.

So even ejaculating just a few more times each month can likely bring some benefits to your prostate.

Twenty-one times a month means having sex about five times a week on average, which is more than most married couples. However, if you follow our steps to make sex a daily habit you can at least improve your batting average. If you have a family history of prostate cancer this can be even more important.

And wives, don’t do it just for your husbands — check out some of these links to learn about how sex is good for women’s health:

Frequent sex with your spouse is as important for your health as eating right and exercising.

In a completely surprising turn of events, scientists are suggesting that frequent sex may be the key to a happy marriage!

During the 14-day study period, couples reported having sex on an average of 4 days.

Not only was sexual activity associated with same-day sexual satisfaction, but also the researchers found that a single act of sex produced an afterglow that persisted for 2 days.

However, they found that couples who reported a stronger sexual afterglow were more likely to report greater marital satisfaction 4-6 months later, compared with couples with a weaker sexual afterglow.

Meltzer says the study findings are important, as they support previous research suggesting that sex plays an important role in partner bonding.

What would we do without these brilliant scientists?! This is amazing, groundbreaking research.

If you have lots of sex, not only will your marriage be stronger, you’ll also get a promotion at work!

To understand the impact of sex on work, the researchers documented 159 married employees over the course of two weeks, asking them to complete two surveys a day.

Overwhelmingly, employees who had sex were in more positive moods the next day.

And the elevated mood levels in the morning led to more sustained work engagement and job satisfaction throughout the workday.

The effect, which appears to linger for at least 24 hours, was equally strong for both men and women.

If wives don’t get enough sex, they may become angry.

Corrine, a mother of two children aged five and 15 months, made the connection between her mood swings and the state of her love life after her children were born.

‘Before we had children, we’d have sex whenever we wanted and would hardly go a day or two without,’ she recalls. ‘But then parenthood drained our energy and we’d often be too exhausted.

‘As the gaps between our lovemaking became wider, I noticed the difference in my attitude to Matt. Even when we hadn’t had sex for just a week, I’d start to feel like we were drifting apart and it made me frustrated and angry.

Just this week, scientists from Florida State University confirmed the importance of sex in making women happy, revealing it triggers an ‘afterglow’ that lingers for 48 hours and which helps couples to bond. Without it, they become miserable and distant.

You may have noticed the common thread in these three stories (because I bolded it) — the beneficial side effects of sex last for up to 48 hours, and then it’s time for another dose. Even if the lower sex-drive spouse (usually but not always the wife) doesn’t realize it, the marriage itself and both partners individually benefit from frequent sex. We’ve written about “duty sex” before, and even though we don’t like that term we do think that married couples should create the habit of daily sex — the more sex you have, the better it gets. Maybe a better term is “maintenance sex”.

Let me tell you, the “quickie” saved my marriage. I read about it in the book “Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus” years ago where the author explains how important the sex act is to the man and that the woman should give into the quickie.

Best…I mean BEST…sex advice I ever received!!! Long live the quickie!!

What about your marriage? Would it improve if you had sex more often? What’s your target frequency? Are you hitting it?

God intends sex to be hot and awesome inside marriage, and commands abstinence outside of marriage. That’s a difficult expectation! Our society says that abstinence is a waste of time and effort — maybe even harmful — but that’s how difficult endeavors often look to people who don’t want to try. Climbing Mount Everest looks foolish, dangerous, and difficult, and many people who make the attempt fail, but I can only imagine how fantastic the journey is for those who succeed.

In any event, my purpose here isn’t to advocate for abstinence. If you’re a Christian, God commands it. (See: 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 and Hebrews 13:4, among many other verses.)

However, it’s unfortunate that the command for sexual purity has been widely applied within the church so as to avoid almost all other discussions about sex. Most unmarried Christians are taught to abstain before marriage, but little else. There’s an unspoken expectation that right after the wedding ceremony a switch will flip and the newly married couple will somehow “figure it out” on their own. This is a recipe for disaster! And, in fact, it often leads to sad results: mismatched sexual expectations between spouses that aren’t revealed until it’s way too late — either so far into the relationship that it’s too painful to break it off, or even after the wedding.

So, my strong encouragement for unmarried Christians is twofold:

  • Give some serious consideration to your sexual expectations for your future marriage, long before you have a potential spouse in mind.
  • Have a frank conversation about sex early on in any relationship. It may quickly become obvious that your partner isn’t on the same page as you, and you can spare yourselves a huge amount of heartache by breaking things off quickly.

The difficulty is obvious: how can you learn any of this without having sex? How can you know what you like if you’ve never tried it? To some degree you can’t, but that’s fine. The point isn’t to be  a sexual dynamo before you get married. Think of it like you’re planning a vacation to a place you’ve never been — first consider for yourself the kind of vacation you’d like to have, and then discuss your ideas with your partner and compare. If you get excited about the same kind of things, great! But if you want to sit by the pool every day and your partner only wants to hike, then you need to figure if and how to compromise, or whether to just cancel the trip.

It isn’t only the specific sexual interests and expectations that reveal a lot about your compatibility, but also the way in which you and your partner engage in the discussion. There are no “wrong” answers, but if your answers and approaches are significantly different from each other then that might be a red flag. Is your partner open to your ideas and desires? Is your partner suggesting things that repulse you? When there are disagreements (as there are bound to be), is your partner eager to compromise? Or resistant and stubborn?

This conversation about sex shouldn’t be a one-shot, although one discussion may be enough to rule someone out. After the first discussion you’ll both probably have more ideas and questions, so bring sex up again in a week, and another week, and another. Eventually you’ll both either be super-excited at the prospect of sex together, or one of you will be dreading it. If you’re early in the relationship, that dread should be enough motivation to get out while you can.

So what kind of topics should you discuss? Here are a few ideas to get you started.

  • What do you think is the purpose of sex in marriage?
  • What do you think are God’s expectations for sex?
  • What makes you most excited about sex? Most nervous?
  • How often do you think about sex?
  • Have you ever had an orgasm? Do you masturbate? How often? How do you touch yourself? Where? When?
  • What most turns you on? What turns you off? What sights, sounds, touches, experiences, smells, tastes…?
  • How often do you think you’ll want to have sex when you’re married?
  • What should you do when one spouse wants to have sex and the other doesn’t? What if this happens frequently?
  • When is it ok to refuse sex with your spouse? Tired, sick, angry, busy, pouty, worried, sad, distracted…?
  • Even if you know you wouldn’t enact them in real life, what kind of sexual fantasies do you have?
  • How should spouses compromise if one person wants to do something sexually that the other doesn’t?
  • What activity are you most excited to do sexually after you’re married?
  • Is there anything sexual that you definitely won’t ever do?
  • How do sex and romance relate in your mind?
  • Do you want to take charge sexually, or be led? Or both at different times?
  • What do you think about oral sex and anal sex?
  • Do you think sex should be playful or serious?
  • Would you want to try new things, even knowing that some you might end up disliking?

As you go through this list I’m sure you’ll branch off in many other fruitful directions. It you’re still excited about each other after having this discussion a few times then your sexual compatibility isn’t likely to be a roadblock to your relationship.

The key is that you have to be honest and vulnerable with each other — if you can’t, then that itself is a huge red flag. The internet is full of sad stories about “bait-and-switch” relationships in which one partner (usually, but not always, the woman) was sexually adventurous before the wedding, and a cold fish after. If a frank discussion about sex is had early enough in the relationship, then it will be easier for both partners to be honest because the stakes will be lower — you won’t already have invested several years into the relationship that you’re afraid of losing. Even if one partner wants to deceive the other, it will be harder for him or her to succeed at it over the course of a long, multi-part discussion.

Don’t just assume that you and your potential future spouse are on the same page about sex! Have the discussion and be honest — with each other and yourselves.

Got any other tips to share for discussing sex with a potential spouse? Leave a comment!

I don’t know about you all, but this month has been crazy busy for our family! Here are a bunch of great links that have been piling up in my inbox.

Eye candy — Tasty and low-carb. Watching Sexy Corte undress or do anything naked is awesome, especially chores or cooking — probably because acts of services is my primary love language.

Fun things to do in the nude — For when you have the house to yourselves. Why wear clothes on your stay-cation?

How often are healthy couples having sex? — More sex leads to better sex, and we recommend building a habit of daily sex.

Should you get a sex pillow? — We have two wedge pillows with clips to attach cuffs. Very versatile.

Foreplay moves that will actually turn you on — And husbands, yes, it’s worth shaving.

Rear entry with her on top — We enjoy doggy style, but haven’t tried it much with Sexy Corte in the more active role.

How your marriage can benefit from technology — Other than vibrators or sex robots of course! Always use discretion when bringing any outside influence into your marriage.

Growth spurt fellatio technique — The best way to wake up. What’s your favorite thing you wife does during oral sex? Mine isn’t on the poll: it’s when Sexy Corte has an orgasm with me in her mouth.

Adding slang to your sex life — Check out the history of sexual slang.

Romantic Jenga — Here’s a list of sexy activities you can use for your blocks.

Have a great week! Share any more great links in the comments.

If you need yet another sciencey reason to have more sex consider this: sex releases oxytocin, and oxytocin helps keep you slim.

Forget eating salad and pounding on the treadmill – regular sex can help dieters keep slim.

On top of burning around 100 calories an hour, it also triggers the release of a hormone which may stop us overeating, new research suggests.

Oxytocin, dubbed the love or cuddle hormone, is released after sex to induce feelings of trust and affection, bonding couples together.

‘Oxytocin enhances prosocial and related behaviors. Increases in oxytocin tend to decrease appetite – especially the consumption of sweet carbohydrates,’ she said.

And that’s not all! Not only does your body produce its own oxytocin when you have sex, but wives also absorb oxytocin from their husbands’ semen — improving their health and mood.

Vaginal tissue is very absorptive. It’s richly endowed with blood and lymph vessels. Given vaginal absorptiveness and all the mood-elevating compounds in found in semen, Gallup, Burch, and SUNY colleague Steven Platek wondered if semen exposure might be associated with better mood and less depression. They surveyed 293 college women at SUNY Albany about intercourse with and without condoms, and then gave the women the Beck Depression Inventory, a standard test of mood. Compared with women who “always” or “usually” used condoms, those who “never” did, whose vaginas were exposed to semen, showed significantly better mood–fewer depressive symptoms, and less bouts of depression. In addition, compared to women who had no intercourse at all, the semen-exposed women showed more elevated mood and less depression.

So next time you’re feeling down or craving something sweet, grab your spouse instead of a treat!

A new study presents data suggesting that husbands underestimate their wives’ sexual desire.

In 3 dyadic studies, we provide evidence that men in established romantic relationships err in the direction of the opposite bias and underperceive their romantic partner’s sexual desire. We also demonstrate that this underperception bias is functional (particularly for men) in that it is associated with their partner feeling more satisfied and committed to the relationship. In addition, people are particularly likely to underperceive their partner’s desire on days when they are motivated to avoid sexual rejection, and men’s underperception bias is, in part, accounted for by men’s higher general levels of sexual desire than women.

Translation: it’s true that a wife often has a lower sex drive than her husband, however, the husband still frequently underestimates his wife’s sexual interest because he doesn’t enjoy having a sexual advance rejected.

XX Factor puts it this way:

The researchers found that, on a regular basis, men significantly underperceived the degree of their female partners’ sexual desire, while women consistently made accurate judgments about how much their male partners wanted sex. Among diary-keeping couples, on days when men underestimated their female partners’ libido, the women showed higher levels of relationship satisfaction.

Basically, when a wife has high relationship satisfaction she wants more sex — but apparently husbands aren’t good at noticing when their wives have high satisfaction. Here are some ideas:

  • Wife: make sure your husband knows when you’re happy with the state of your relationship! He probably already knows when you aren’t happy, but tell him when you are.
  • Husband: when your wife expresses affection and happiness with you, consider that an opportunity to initiate.

This doesn’t seem complicated, but apparently a lot of us are missing the obvious.

It can be hard to consistently find time and energy for sex, and yet we know that the best way to have great sex with your spouse is to have more sex. We get a lot of emails from husbands and wives who want more sex, but for all sorts of reasons it just doesn’t happen. It’s easy to blame your spouse, or to “try harder”, but there’s a tool available to you that you may not have considered and is guaranteed to work: creating a habit.

When was the last time you forgot to brush your teeth? Or put on clothes? Or how to drive to work? You’ve been doing these things for years or decades, and you basically never forget. Sometimes you even drive to work on accident when you mean to go somewhere else! These things are all habits, and you do them easily every day without thinking. They enhance your life, keep you healthy, and satisfy your needs. Bad habits are easily acquired, but good habits don’t just happen: someone creates them. Getting dressed and brushing your teeth seem routine, but your parents worked hard to create those habits for you! In the same way, you can intentionally create the good habit of daily sex with your spouse.

First of all, consider: does your marriage have a bad habit of assuming that you won’t have sex? This is pretty common for married couples. The expectation is set that they won’t have sex unless someone initiates it. The baseline assumption is no sex. That’s a bad habit! Fortunately, the best way to break a bad habit is to replace it with a good habit.

Ok, so how do we build a good habit? Tom Bartow has identified three phases of habit formation that we need to recognize in order to be successful.

Phase 1: THE HONEYMOON

This phase of habit formation is characterized by the feeling of “this is easy.” As all married people will tell you, at some point even the greatest honeymoon must end. The honeymoon phase is usually the result of something inspiring. For example, a person attends a highly motivational conference, and for the first few days after the conference the individual is making positive changes in his or her life.

Phase 2: THE FIGHT THRU

Inspiration fades and reality sets in. A person finds himself struggling with the positive habit completion and old habits seem to be right around the corner. The key to moving to the third phase of habit formation is to win 2 or 3 “fight thru’s.” This is critical. To win the fight thru, use the following techniques:

  1. RECOGNIZE: Recognition is essential for winning the fight thru. When you have entered the fight through, simply say to yourself, “I have entered the fight thru, and I need to win a few to move past this.” Winning each fight thru will make it easier to win the next. Conversely, when you choose to lose a fight thru, you make it easier to lose the next one.
  2. ASK 2 QUESTIONS: “How will I feel if I do this?”and “How will I feel if I don’t do this?” Bring EMOTION into the equation. Let yourself feel the positive in winning the fight thru and the negative in losing.
  3. LIFE PROJECTION: If the above 2 techniques haven’t moved you to action, then imagine in great detail how your life will be in 5 years if you do not begin making changes. Be totally honest with yourself, and allow yourself to feel what life will be like if the changes are not made.

Phase 3: SECOND NATURE

Entering second nature is often described by feelings of “getting in the groove.” Once in second nature, the following are 3 common interruptions that will send a person back to the fight thru:

  1. THE DISCOURAGEMENT MONSTER: An individual allows negative results discourage him or her into thinking, “This isn’t working, and there is nothing I can do.”
  2. DISRUPTIONS: An individual experiences significant change to his or her current pattern (e.g., vacations, holidays, illness, weekends).
  3. SEDUCTION OF SUCCESS: An individual begins to focus on positive results and begins to think, “I’m the special one. I have finally figured out how to have great results with not so great process.”

If a person experiences an interruption that sends him or her back to the fight thru, winning 2 or 3 fight thru’s will bring him or her back to second nature.

Here’s how to put this process into action and create a new habit of daily sex.

The first thing to do is have a conversation and say it. Tell your spouse that you’d like to change your daily default from no-sex to sex, that you want the two of you to set the expectation that you’ll be having sex every day. The key here isn’t that you must have sex every single day, but that the expectation is for daily sex —  if no one says anything, then assume you’re having sex. Does your spouse agree? If not, then you’re not ready to create a habit because you aren’t both on the same page. Continue your conversation and come back to this post later. To be successful, both spouses need to want to create the new habit.

After you’ve agreed on your goal, start doing it! Have sex every day unless someone asks otherwise. Make sex the assumption, and no-sex the exception. This is the beginning of Phase 1. It’ll probably be easy for a while! Remember your first year of marriage, your literal honeymoon? You’ll want to pick a time that’s usually available every day and start doing it.

But Phase 2 is the hardest part. There may be a few days where no one says anything, and you don’t have sex. Your new habit hasn’t solidified yet. You have to recognize that your expectation is reverting to no-sex, and you need to have a conversation about it. Reaffirm your shared goal of daily sex. Don’t make excuses for why you failed, and don’t feel bad about it. Just recognize the need to “fight thru”. Take the time to get in the mood, muster some energy, and make love. Just Do It. Winning “fight thru” episodes is the key creating a new habit — it will take several wins over the course two or three months to set your new habit in stone.

And finally, don’t become complacent when you hit Phase 3. Periodically remind yourselves about your goal of daily sex, and verify that your new expectation is solidly in place: do you always have sex unless someone initiates a “no”?

Once your habit is in place, you should never have no-sex unless someone intentionally initiates it. The end result won’t be sex every single day of the year — sometimes you get sick, kids drive you crazy, work and chores overwhelm you, and emergencies happen. That’s life! But the expectation every day is that you’ll be having sex together.

What do you think about the daily habit of sex? Is your daily expectation yes, or no?