Solve Your Marriage Difficulties By Having Sex 1

We get emails from people every day who are having problems of various kinds in their marriage, and the simplest, most direct solution is often just have sex. Obviously this isn’t true in every single case, but you’d be surprised how often sex itself can smooth over differences and disagreements.

How does it make you feel when your partner is cold and distant? Or when they’re critical and prickly? Does it make you want to rip their clothes off, order in a vat of whipped cream and install a chandelier to swing from?

No? Well there’s your problem – according, at least, to Michele Weiner-Davis, the marriage-guidance counsellor whose Ted talk explaining her unconventional advice to warring couples has been viewed almost 3.5 million times online.

Her advice couldn’t be simpler: shag. Do it even if you don’t want to, do it especially if you don’t want to and, most important of all, do it frequently whether you want to or not. To make it even clearer, she’s borrowed one of the most famous advertising slogans of recent times: Just Do It. “Your partner will be grateful, happier and therefore nicer, too,” she explains from her clinic in Colorado. “It’s a win-win situation for both of you!”

Over the years, Weiner-Davis has honed her message. She’s now stripped it back to what she believes is the essence of a successful marriage. Gone is any therapeutic consideration of a couple’s history; of their emotional travails; of cause and consequence. Now she is entirely one-track minded: no matter how appalling the state of a marriage, she believes that kind, generous and frequent sex can bring it back from the teetering edge of collapse.

Let’s expand on the idea a little! Here are a bunch of related posts.

Sometimes we can get so wrapped up “communicating” that we forget the importance of body language. Maybe you should quit talking about your problems for a while and go have sex!

Do Whatever It Takes to Give Your Wife as Many Orgasms as She wants 2

Husbands, I’ll be very direct: if you wife isn’t having regular orgasms then she isn’t going to love having sex. She might enjoy the intimacy of sex, she might like to give you pleasure, she might do it out of obligation, but she isn’t going to love it.

“How often should we have sex?” There isn’t one right answer, but here’s what we say: each spouse should have as many orgasms as he or she wants. Often that means that the husband will have more orgasms than the wife does, and we think that’s fine as long as the wife has as many orgasms as she wants. In our marriage, I have an orgasm every day and Sexy Corte has an orgasm about twice a week on average. Her orgasm frequency can be pretty bursty though — sometimes she’ll have an orgasm four days in a row and get exhausted, and sometimes she won’t have an orgasm for a week and get really angsty. (It’s hot when she’s angsty).

This formula is pretty simple to follow as long as everything is going smoothly, but from experience and reader emails we’ve noticed two common problems that lead to wives not having all the orgasms they want:

  1. Some wives give up because they feel self-conscious about the effort required.
  2. Some wives give up because their husbands don’t put in the effort required.

When a wife gives up on having the orgasms she wants it’s very easy for her to become disillusioned with sex and resentful towards her husband. It’s a fact of biology and relationships that men tend to orgasm more easily than women, and husbands and wives should both be sensitive to this reality.

Let’s look at problem #1 first: yes, sometimes it’s a lot of work for a woman to reach orgasm, both physically and emotionally. Sometimes it takes a lot of time and energy. Sometimes it requires a vibrator. Sometimes it requires oral or fingers. Sometimes it’s messy. Sometimes it’s loud. Sometimes it’s exhausting. Sometimes the kids won’t go to sleep. Sometimes it’s easier to just watch TV.

“Why are male orgasms so easy and female orgasms so hard?!” I don’t know, but get over it! Wife, you don’t need to feel guilty or selfish for wanting an orgasm even if it’s difficult. Some women we’ve heard from didn’t think they could have orgasms at all, but it turned out they only needed a little coaching and openness. It isn’t “noble” or “selfless” for a wife to talk herself out of a satisfying sex life, so don’t make yourself a martyr. Take ownership of your needs, talk with your husband, and be open to trying new things. Get the orgasms you want!

Solving problem #2 starts with a question for husbands: Does your wife know that you’ll do whatever it takes to give her an orgasm? Maybe you’ve given her signs that make her think her orgasms as too much work and she’s pulled back from what she really wants. Maybe you’ve been too quick to accept her hesitation when she does want an orgasm but isn’t sure you’re willing to put in the work. Maybe you haven’t been creative or skillful enough. A wife who is self-conscious or reluctant to speak up for herself might interpret these kinds of behaviors as a lack of desire on your part to give her pleasure. She might think that you think her orgasms are too much trouble.

Husband: be direct and explicit. Tell your wife frequently that you want to pleasure her and you’ll do whatever it takes.

And then enthusiastically do whatever it takes!

As long as what the wife desires involves only the two of you, is consensual, leads to mutual satisfaction, and is done in faith then you should do it. Be proactive. Don’t make your wife nag you. Be a student of her sexuality and put in the effort to become proficient with her body!

For a husband or wife who feels they need a little education, check out this post: All About Female Orgasms (Safe Diagrams).

“If Mama Ain’t Happy, Ain’t Nobody Happy.” Husbands: if you want to maximize your sex life you need to do whatever it takes to give your wife as many orgasms as she wants. Wives: if you aren’t getting the orgasms you really want then you need to speak up and be a little more selfish!

Leave a comment and let us know if you are putting in the effort in your marriage to give you spouse all the orgasms he or she wants.

Give Thanks for your Spouse's Sexuality 3

The Bible has a lot to say about giving thanks to God for His blessings in our lives.

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Colossians 3:17

“Whatever you do” includes your sex life with your spouse! To celebrate Thanksgiving, here’s a list of 10 elements of your sex life that you can thank God and your spouse for. For each item, write down something specific that your spouse is or does that you are especially thankful for.

  1. Body: What parts of your spouse’s body are you most thankful for?
  2. Appearance: What about your spouse’s appearance are you most thankful for?
  3. Behavior: What sexual behaviors of your spouse are you most thankful for?
  4. Words: What sexual words of your spouse are you most thankful for?
  5. Intimacy: What forms or moments of intimacy with your spouse are you most thankful for?
  6. Giving pleasure: What ways do you give pleasure to your spouse that you are thankful you can do?
  7. Receiving pleasure: What ways does your spouse give you pleasure that you’re thankful for?
  8. Position: What sexual position are you most thankful for?
  9. Sexual activities: What sex games or activities that you do with your spouse are you most thankful for?
  10. Trying hard: What is your spouse working on sexually for your benefit that you’re thankful for? Not that your spouse has necessarily accomplished it yet, but you’re thankful that they’re trying.

There’s no need to stop at 10 — maybe these will just get you started! If you want to share your thanks, leave a comment and let us know what a blessing your spouse is to you.

One Simple Trick for Showering with Your Spouse 4

We’ve written about shower sex and the human loofah, but this post is focused on how to actually get clean while showering with your spouse.

If you’ve showered together then you probably know what can go wrong: you bump in to each other a lot, and you have to wait for access to the soap and water. Horrible! Sexy Corte and I have developed a shower dance that deconflicts our use of shower resources, and there’s one simple trick that makes it all possible: we get in and out of the shower at different times.

If we get into the shower at the same time, then we both want access to the water and soap at the same time too, and one of us has to wait on the other. However, if we stagger our entrances to the shower then our work is syncopated and we aren’t both trying to do the same thing at the same time. Magic! Usually I let Sexy Corte get in first, and then I get in after she gets wet. (Ahem.) In this way, we can naturally alternate our use of water and soap so that neither of us has to wait on the other.

Here’s an example sequence of events. As you can see, because we get in at different times we can easily take turns doing activities that require the water (bolded).

  • Sexy Corte gets in the shower and gets wet. El Fury does whatever, outside the shower.
  • Sexy Corte shampoos her hair. El Fury gets in and gets wet.
  • Sexy Corte rinses her hair. El Fury soaps his face.
  • Sexy Corte conditions her hair. El Fury rinses his face.
  • Sexy Corte rinses her hair. El Fury soaps his body.
  • Sexy Corte soaps her body. El Fury rinses his body.
  • Sexy Corte rinses her body. El Fury gets out.
  • Sexy Corte turns the water up to 200 degrees, washes her face, etc. El Fury dries off.

This post sure is exciting, isn’t it? Well, here’s a sex angle: if taking a shower with your spouse is easy and convenient, you’re more likely to have sex in the shower.

Do you take showers with your spouse? Leave a comment!

Update: In the comments Ann points out that I missed an incredibly important tip:

She soaps her body & he soaps his own? Boring!! Soaping each other is very sensual. You could condition her hair & massage her scalp—in case you aren’t aware, a woman getting her hair washed at the salon by a hairdresser is often compared to being almost as good as sex!! Much better that she think of the last shower with her husband when she is leaned back for that salon experience—she could come home wanting her new hairdo messed up…😉

The Four Levels of Sexual Interest 5

In our marriage we’ve noticed that we have basically four levels of sexual interest, and the level we’re at generally determines how we have sex each day. We believe these interest levels can be a useful tool for communicating with your spouse when he or she isn’t able to read your mind. This post will describe the four levels we experience, and then present a table that illustrates how the the levels affect the sexual activities in our marriage.

Level 0: Wants no sex. At Level 0 you actively do not want to have sex. Level 0 might be due to illness or fatigue, or it might be the result of emotional distress or disconnection between spouses. Level 0 should be rare for healthy people, and if you’re frequently at Level 0 then you should take steps to figure out why and see what you can do to improve your sexual interest. Health issues can’t always be fixed, but they can often be mitigated. Emotional difficulties, tiredness, and disconnection from your spouse can be repaired, and you have a responsibility to work at it.

Level 1: Willing to have sex. At Level 1 you are willing to have sex with your spouse, but you’re not particularly aroused or needy yourself. In a well-functioning marriage Level 1 should be the minimum you aim for, for the benefit of your spouse. Say yes to sex. At Level 1 you’re willing to have sex, even if you aren’t likely to initiate it yourself. In our experience, Sexy Corte generally doesn’t want an orgasm when she’s at Level 1, but sometimes she decides she does want one after she gets warmed up. Women are often more sexually responsive than spontaneous, so don’t neglect the wife’s orgasm just because she may not want one immediately.

Level 2: Wants to have sex. At Level 2 you’re feeling aroused or horny and you want to have sex. A healthy person should hit Level 2 periodically, perhaps in sync with ovulation, other bodily rhythms, or relationship events. When you’re at Level 2 you’re likely to initiate sex, either directly or with indications of interest that your spouse should learn to read. When Sexy Corte is at Level 2 she generally knows that she wants an orgasm. You can encourage Level 2 interest in many ways, including flirtation, foreplay, sleeping naked, and flashing. If you’re not at Level 2 and your spouse is, open yourself up to being elevated.

Level 3: Ready for anything. At Level 3 you aren’t just aroused, you’re Down to Pound. Or DTF, as the young people say. You’ve got high sexual energy and want to do something special. When you’re at Level 3 you want to invest time and create an exciting sexual experience with your spouse. This is the time to try out a sex game, sexual role-playing, a new position, a new location, or whatever else is on your sexual bucket list. It might seem like the stars need to align just right for you both to be at Level 3, but we recommend that you aim for this at least once a month.

Now that we’ve described the four levels of sexual interest, he’s a table that shows how these levels generally impact the sexual activities in our marriage.

The Four Levels of Sexual Interest 6

This table shows how our sex life works in general — yours may be different. You can use this table as a tool to have a conversation with your spouse about how the two of you will act when you’re at each of these levels of sexual interest. There are a few features of our table that are worth pointing out.

  • Sexy Corte’s arousal turns me on. If Sexy Corte is turned on then it’s almost inevitable that my arousal will rise to meet her.
  • When we have sex, I always have an orgasm. This may not be true in every marriage, but it’s true for us. The way we think of it is that each of us should have as many orgasms as he or she wants. I want to have an orgasm every time we have sex, but Sexy Corte doesn’t. As long as we both get an orgasm when we want one the system is working well.
  • If we’re both willing, we lean towards having sex. When we’re both at Level 1 we make an effort to have sex. This usually means that I’ll initiate and we’ll have a fairly vanilla encounter; we believe that setting the expectation for sex is very healthy for our marriage. We’ve created a habit of daily sex, and not having sex is the exception.
  • When Sexy Corte has high energy, we do something special! These are the days when we try all the crazy or weird activities that you read about here on our blog. Hopefully we can hit this level once or twice a month, and it’s awesome when we do.

How do you and your spouse make decisions about sexual activities? Have you talked about it explicitly? Leave a comment and share your experiences.

China's Richest Man Urges His Employees to Have More, Longer, Sex 7

China’s richest man and the founder of Alibaba, Jack Ma, urges his employees and newlyweds to follow a “669” approach to sex.

‘At work, we emphasize the spirit of 996. In life, we should follow 669,’ Ma said. His remarks were a wordplay on the firm’s controversial 996 work schedule, which expects staff to submit to 12-hour shifts between 9am and 9pm during a six-day week.

‘What is 669? Six days, six times, with duration being the key,’ Ma said to the 102 couples dressed in wedding dresses and suits at the ceremony. In Chinese, the word ‘nine’ is a homophone with the word for ‘long’.

“996” doesn’t sound great to me, but “669” is a good recipe for building a great sex life with your spouse. Check out the frequency tag here on the blog for a bunch of posts about why having sex with your spouse frequently is important. Here’s a selection.

  • Sex quality is important, of course, but great sex only comes from frequent sex. So if you want to have better sex, start by having more sex.
  • How often should you have sex with your spouse? Create a habit of daily sex. Ma’s prescription of six-times-a-week sounds like a fine destination, but we think you should aim for daily sex. You won’t hit the mark every time, but when you don’t have sex it should be an intentional decision, not an oversight.
  • The beneficial side effects of sex last about 48 hours. Partner bonding, positive moods, and the mental and physical benefits from sex can have a huge impact on your quality of life, so don’t go more than two days without sex with your spouse.

When Ma says “duration is the key” we think he’s hinting at the importance of the wife’s orgasms. Husbands tend to climax more quickly and easily than wives, so it might take extra focus as a couple to make sure that the wife has as many orgasms as she desires. She might not want an orgasm every time you have sex, but when she wants one you should both make sure to take the time required to deliver. Learn about the female orgasm and figure out what the wife needs.

Finally, we think that the wedding ceremony is too late for Ma to be broaching his “669” idea with the newlyweds. Couples who are seriously considering each other for marriage should talk about sex long before they get to the altar. If you’re already married it isn’t too late to have this discussion about expectations and desires, but it’s harder to change course once your marriage is set in its ways. Young people should think about these things before they even get engaged.

So what do you think about “669”? What’s your approach to frequency and duration? Let us know in the comments.

Improve Your Marriage and Sex Life by Emphasizing Sex Differences 8

Men and women have a lot in common, but the differences between us are extremely important in our marriages.

We must stop pointing the finger at husbands as if they’re somehow cavemen. Even women with feminist attitudes prefer a conventional arrangement to an egalitarian one! That’s because study after study has shown that for most couples, something goes awry when women earn more than their husbands.

“So in 2013, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business published a paper that looked at 4,000 married couples in America,” Mona Chalabi noted on NPR. “It found that once a woman started to earn more than her husband, divorce rates increased. Surprisingly, though, this data showed that whether the wife earns a little bit more or a lot more doesn’t actually make much of a difference. So the researchers concluded from that that what really matters is the mere fact of a woman earning more.”

Even if the couple doesn’t get divorced, the sex can, and often does, wane. “The very qualities that lead to greater emotional satisfaction in peer marriages, as one sociologist calls them, may be having an unexpectedly negative impact on these couples’ sex lives,” notes Lori Gottleib in “Does a More Equal Marriage Mean Less Sex?”

The point isn’t really about money — income is just one potential manifestation of the differences between men and women. I’m sure you can think of a few more without trying too hard. For example, we’ve written about how the division of labor with your household chores impacts your sex life:

Couples in which women did all of the traditional female chores had sex 1.6 times more each month than couples in which men did all of those jobs. The more cooking and cleaning a husband did, the less sex the couple had; women’s cooking and cleaning was linked with more sex. Couples in which men did more traditional male chores also had more sex; it did not seem to matter if women did more or less of those chores.

Gottleib reports the same effect, and it doesn’t seem to matter whether the wife reports wanting a more egalitarian marriage or not.

That might may sound blasphemous in today’s day and age, what with our insistence on so-called equality. But the fact remains that sexual attraction tends to be strongest when men and women are distinct from, not similar to, one another.

“The more traditional the division of labor,” adds Gottleib, “meaning the greater the husband’s share of masculine chores compared with feminine ones, the greater his wife’s reported sexual satisfaction.”

It’s also worth noting that there are physical sex differences and behavioral sex differences — they’re correlated, but not always identical. Physical sex differences include:

  • Male: Men tend to be larger than women and have penises.
  • Female: Women can bear children and have vaginas.

Behavioral sex differences tend to correlate with physical sex differences, but all people display behaviors of both types to some degree or another. These traits vary somewhat by culture, but are also grounded in biological mechanisms.

  • Masculine: Strong, courageous, independent, high sex-drive.
  • Feminine: Gentle, empathetic, social, nurturing.

The point isn’t that you can only find happiness in your marriage if you adhere to some “traditional” pattern of life. We’re just pointing out that men and women are different, and your marriage and sex life will be stronger when you play into these differences rather than ignoring them. Each individual man and woman is unique, and sometimes social pressure and expectations lead us to ignore our differences in the name of “equality”.

The 7 (Sex) Habits: #3 Put First Things First 9

It’s time for habit number three in our series, The 7 (Sex) Habits of Highly Successful People.

Habit 3: Put first things first. Execute on most important priorities. To live a more balanced existence, you have to recognize that not doing everything that comes along is okay. There’s no need to overextend yourself. All it takes is realizing that it’s all right to say no when necessary and then focus on your highest priorities.

Habit 1 says, “You’re in charge. You’re the creator.” Being proactive is about choice. Habit 2 is the first, or mental, creation. Beginning with the End in Mind is about vision. Habit 3 is the second creation, the physical creation. This habit is where Habits 1 and 2 come together. It happens day in and day out, moment-by-moment. It deals with many of the questions addressed in the field of time management. But that’s not all it’s about. Habit 3 is about life management as well–your purpose, values, roles, and priorities. What are “first things?” First things are those things you, personally, find of most worth. If you put first things first, you are organizing and managing time and events according to the personal priorities you established in Habit 2.

In our post on Habit #2, “begin with the end in mind”, we walked through a process for creating Individual Sex Life Visions and then combining the individual visions from both spouses into a Marital Sex Life Vision. Habit #3 is about making that vision a reality. The purpose of a vision is to drive your behavior — your Marital Sex Life Vision is the guiding star that leads the decisions in your sex life. When you have a choice to make, you evaluate your options in the light of your vision and move in the direction that brings your vision closer to reality.

Assuming that your vision is in line with God’s will, you will also move closer to him as you pursue your vision. This passage from the Old Testament is an example of how badly things can go when your priorities aren’t right. The Israelites were focused on building their own wealth and neglected rebuilding God’s temple.

Then the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house [God’s temple] remains a ruin?”

Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”

This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the Lord.

Haggai 1:1-15

Even when your vision is lined up with God pursuing it can be easier said than done. For the purpose of this blog post we’re going to assume that you and your spouse were able to create a Marital Sex Life Vision that is in line with God’s Word and also satisfying and agreeable to you both. If that’s not the case, then you’ve got more work to do. This blog post doesn’t talk about how to negotiate your vision. Don’t skip creating your vision together — go back to the previous post if necessary. Creating your Marital Sex Life Vision is fun and rewarding.

But just because you and your spouse agree on your vision doesn’t mean that it’s going to be easy to implement. Sometimes it may even seem like circumstances are conspiring against your sex life: kids, jobs, health, church, anxieties of life, friends, hobbies, electronics… the list is never-ending. When you have more things to do than you have time, that’s where prioritization comes in: putting first things first. We’ve written about How to Have Time and Energy for Great Sex, and some concepts from that post will be helpful here as we talk about Habit #3. As we wrote previously:

You can’t have everything, but you can have what you want most if you prioritize it.

Your time and energy are finite resources, and everyone around you will drain them dry if you let them. Your boss will let you work as many hours for free as you want. Your kids will spend two hours eating dinner and stay up until midnight if you let them. Your church will let you serve every day of the week. Your friends will let you help them with every project. People on the internet will argue with you 24/7. Netflix will create more shows than you can possibly consume.

No-one will stop you from exhausting yourself for their benefit — except your spouse, if you’re blessed. The only one who can protect your time and energy is you.

Here’s an exhortation: if you don’t have time and energy for a great sex life with your spouse, that’s because it isn’t as important to you as all the other things you spend your time and energy on.

Is that exhortation convicting to you? It convicted us when we wrote it!

Steven Covey created the Importance-Urgency Matrix to help people understand how they’re prioritizing, and we’ve found it to be an extremely valuable tool.

The 7 (Sex) Habits: #3 Put First Things First 10
Importance-Urgency Matrix

Everything we do falls into one of these four quadrants.

  • Quadrant 1, Necessity: Activities that are both important and urgent. These are emergencies that you need to handle right now. Most people have no problem prioritizing these things.
  • Quadrant 2, Effectiveness: Activities that are important, but not urgent — this generally includes your sex life, unless you’re super-horny right now. It also includes all kinds of long-term personal growth: learning, planning, relationship-building, serving. Quadrant 2 is what usually suffers when we mistakenly focus on…
  • Quadrant 3, Distraction: Activities that are urgent, but not important. It’s all-too-easy to get sucked into these. Distracting tasks are often important to someone else who has made them urgent for you, but they aren’t important to your life. Just because something is urgent doesn’t mean it’s important! Say it out loud. This quadrant is tricky and deceptive. You can fill your entire day with distracting activities if you aren’t extremely diligent.
  • Quadrant 4, Waste: Activities that are neither urgent nor important. Some people can get trapped in these lazy, pointless activities, but most adults recognize this garbage. Checking your email every five minutes. Surfing Facebook. Worrying. Pouting. Substance abuse. It’s important to know that not all relaxation or hobbies are wasteful — the waste happens when these non-productive activities become excessive.

So where’s your sex life in this matrix? Your sex life should be in Quadrant 2 — it’s of critical importance, but hopefully not too urgent! Don’t sacrifice your sex life for junk that belongs in Quadrant 3 or 4.

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—
for your love is more delightful than wine.
Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes;
your name is like perfume poured out.
No wonder the young women love you!
Take me away with you—let us hurry!
Let the king bring me into his chambers.

Song of Songs 1:2-4

Identify the Quadrant 3 stuff in your life and stop doing it. This can be hard to do because many Quadrant 3 activities come from your commitments to other people. You may not be able to quit immediately because you gave your word, but you can immediately begin to unwind your commitments. Be warned: people will try to make you feel guilty — this is a trap! You don’t need to feel guilty for quitting unimportant activities.

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:38-42

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.

Proverbs 5:18-19

As for Quadrant 4 activities, you and your spouse will need to use discernment to determine if they’re excessive or not. Are Q4 activities preventing you from achieving your Marital Sex Life Vision? Facebook and television seem to be especially pernicious. You need to be ruthless in cutting back or eliminating Q4 activities until you have plenty of time and energy for Q2, including your sex life. Try finding some relaxing hobbies that you and your spouse can do together!

How long will you lie there, you sluggard?
When will you get up from your sleep?
A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest—
and poverty will come on you like a thief
and scarcity like an armed man.

Proverbs 6:9-11

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

Ephesians 5:15-17

Putting first things first in your sex life means that you say no to activities that aren’t important, and you say yes to activities that move you towards your Marital Sex Life Vision. Your vision should include elements like frequency of sex, how you will communicate, how often you’ll try something new, how you’ll feel before and after sex — all of these things take time and energy to pursue! Throw away the Q3 and Q4 activities that are weighing you down and preventing you from running the race with your spouse.

What are the things you plan to put first in your life so that you can make your Marital Sex Life Vision a reality? Share in the comments!

The 7 (Sex) Habits: #2 Begin With the End in Mind 11

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.

Sleep Naked and Wake up Early 12

This post is also available as a podcast: Podcast #015: You Should Sleep Naked, Even in Winter

Sleep and sex really seem to complement each other, and not just because you’re likely to do them in the same place. If you want to sleep better and have more and better sex, try sleeping naked and waking up early.

First, the health benefits of sleeping naked. We’ve written about why you should sleep naked (and almost naked) before, and this article has some science that might convince you.

1. You’ll fall asleep faster.

2. You’ll sleep better.

3. You’ll improve your relationship.

4. You’ll reduce stress and anxiety.

5. You’ll have more sex.

6. You’ll improve your vaginal health.

7. You may lose weight.

8. You’ll look younger.

9. You’ll boost your self-esteem.

Second, we recently wrote about setting your alarm for morning sex, so we’re not at all surprised to read that early-risers have more sex than people who sleep in.

The survey of 2,000 Americans, split evenly between self-identified early birds and night owls, found that early birds have more sex per week, on average, than their late-night counterparts.

The survey shows early-risers have sex an average of three times per week, compared to twice per week for late-risers — an impressive 50% advantage for early-risers. That’s more than 50 additional sexy times per year — maybe 2500 over the course of your married life. Seems worth it to me.

How do you and your spouse sleep? Are you intentional about what you wear, when you sleep, and when you wake up? Share your ideas and experience in the comments.

(Side note: I couldn’t find an image of a man and woman together waking up early and happy. Go figure.)