China's Richest Man Urges His Employees to Have More, Longer, Sex 1

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 2

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 3

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 4
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 5

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 6

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.)

Set Your Alarm for Morning Sex 7

Finding time to have sex can be hard when you’ve got jobs and kids, and if you wait for the end of the day you may be frequently frustrated by a lack of energy and enthusiasm. Sexy Corte and I have found that the morning is often the most efficient and reliable time of day for us to have sex, but it does require some planning.

We’ve written before about the benefits of having sex before date night instead of after, and the same benefits apply to morning sex. Quote:

  • Oxytocin: Orgasms get your bonding hormones flowing, which will jump-start intimacy for your date.
  • No pressure: There won’t be any pressure to make sex the capstone of your date when you get home late. We find that it’s especially hard for Sexy Corte to summon up the energy for an orgasm late at night, no matter how great a time we’re having. Time of day has a big impact on many wives, and it doesn’t always line up with date night.
  • Lingering arousal: Date nights are a great opportunity to talk positively about your sex life together — what you like, what you want to try, how it feels when your spouse touches you just — like — that. If you have sex before your date, the lingering arousal can fuel your conversation. It’s hot to look at your spouse across the restaurant table and know that you just rocked their world!
  • Mementos: You can carry a memento of your recent sex with you on your date. For example: a secret hickey or lingerie. It’s a huge turn-on for me just knowing that my semen is still inside Sexy Corte when we go out. We’ve also talked about the idea of me finishing on her body and SC wearing it under her clothes, but we haven’t done it yet.

Your whole day will be better if you kick it off with sex! So how can you prepare for morning sex?

  • Be proactive. You probably won’t just tumble into reliable morning sex — you have to be intentional. Talk with your spouse about it, and decide how you’re going to communicate your interest (or lack thereof) in the morning when you’re both drowsy. Decide before you go to sleep if you’re likely to have sex the next morning or not.
  • Set an alarm. We actually set three alarms! First alarm is for if Sexy Corte wants an orgasm that morning; otherwise we cuddle. Second alarm is for if we’re going to have a quickie. Third alarm means that it’s actually time to get out of bed. (We may be classically conditioning ourselves to have sex when the alarm rings.)
  • Be prepared. Keep your tools ready: lube, vibrator (with batteries), rags, and whatever else you need. Having to find some missing essential can really break your momentum.
  • Sleep naked. As Sexy Corte wrote: “Not only does your skin feel amazing right up against your spouse’s, but feeling nice and silky sheets as you sleep is an added bonus. If your spouse is always wanting sex in the morning, but you have a hard time rousing yourself for it, sleeping naked is an excellent way to get yourself in the mood.” Wives should try some thigh-high socks in the winter to stay warm and sexy — as an added bonus, women have an easier time reaching orgasm when their feet are warm.

Do you have any tips for morning sex? Leave a comment to share.

Improve Your Sex Life By Tracking Your Monthly Cycle 8

Several years ago I started experiencing some sexual frustration. El Fury and I had a few kids and life was getting more complicated. I felt like there were frequent times I would be in the mood, but the stars would not align properly and the sex would be more hurried than I’d like. Or by the time we got to the end of the day I would be so worn out I wouldn’t be in the mood enough to want to put forth the energy it takes to have an orgasm. Then a few days would pass and we would have time, but I wouldn’t be in the mood anymore. Over time this could make me feel frustrated and annoyed. I decided to start tracking my cycle.

Sexual desire ebbs and flows in tune to a woman’s menstrual cycle. If you pay attention, you can figure out your peak times. Ovulation happens about mid-way through a woman’s cycle. This is when a woman is at peak fertility, so your body’s natural desire to procreate makes you experience heightened sexual desire. Take advantage of this! Make space for it in your calendar. The first day of my period I create a calendar event for two weeks ahead so that El Fury and I know that we have plans that evening. We try our best to guard that time. It’s usually a good time to try something new and to have extended sexual playtime. Cycles can differ between women, so if you’re having a hard time figuring it out pay attention to your body. To put it bluntly, you’re probably ovulating when you’re feeling horny about a week after your period.

Most of the ovulation info on the internet is for couples trying to get pregnant, but ovulation is a great time for sex even if you aren’t trying for a baby.

Unfortunately there is the other side of the cycle. PMS typically hits one or two weeks before the start of a woman’s period. For me it is one week after ovulation. Just like with my ovulation reminder, the first day of my period I go ahead and put a PMS reminder in our shared calendar (I label as “P.lease M.ake me S.mile” so that it’s a little discreet). Before I started tracking it, PMS would often catch me off guard and I would spend a few days wondering why I was so sad before I realized why. During this part of my cycle I typically do not want to be touched, and El Fury knows to give me some space. It has been helpful to both of us to know what to expect at this time of the cycle. Just knowing it’s coming gives me emotional comfort because I know that there’s a chemical reason why I’m crabby, and that I will feel better soon.

If you don’t already track your cycle, I recommend it! Tracking it and planning for it in advance has been very beneficial to me and our sex life. You can be intentional and have fun during the upswings, and brace yourself emotionally for the downswings. Does anyone else track their cycle?

Finally, the Perfect Gift for That Time of Month 9

Not chocolate?

The 7 (Sex) Habits: #1 Be Proactive 10

(Here’s a link to the series introduction — a good place to start!)

Habit 1: Be Proactive is about taking responsibility for your life. You can’t keep blaming everything on your parents or grandparents. Proactive people recognize that they are “response-able.” They don’t blame genetics, circumstances, conditions, or conditioning for their behavior. They know they choose their behavior. Reactive people, on the other hand, are often affected by their physical environment. They find external sources to blame for their behavior. If the weather is good, they feel good. If it isn’t, it affects their attitude and performance, and they blame the weather.

And you can’t keep blaming your spouse, either!

Stephen Covey describes three Circles that can be used to understand and evaluate our circumstances:

  • Circle of Concern: Everything you care about, everything that impacts your life.
  • Circle of Influence: The subset of your Circle of Concern that you can affect with your decisions.
  • Circle of Control: The subset of your Circle of Influence that you can directly control.

Here’s a diagram, for you visual thinkers.

The 7 (Sex) Habits: #1 Be Proactive 11

When we’re reactive, we spend all our time and energy worrying about things we can’t control or even influence. When we’re proactive, we spend our time and influence on the inner circles, the things we can control (in our own life and body) and the things we can influence in our immediate community and family.

As an exercise with your spouse, it can be helpful to categorize your concerns using these circles. First, list everything you care about. Second, underline the concerns that you can influence. Third, put a star next to the things you can control. (Once you have your list, you can draw the three circles if you want!) Discussion questions: Do your lists match? What items are you spending the most time and energy on?

Here’s what Jesus says about our Circle of Concern:

John 16:33 “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

God is all-powerful, so nothing is out of his control! As believers, we can trust God with our Circle of Concern and have his peace, relying on his power and goodness to handle everything that concerns us.

God’s power isn’t just for our Circle of Concern, but for everything in our lives. Proverbs 3 is full of advice, guidance, and commands for making good decisions — it’s hard to pull out a few verses to quote, but these are some of my favorites:

Proverbs 3:3-6

Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you;
    bind them around your neck;
    write them on the tablet of your heart.
So you will find favor and good success
    in the sight of God and man.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.

Action words for the proactive Christian: bind, write, trust, lean, acknowledge — along with promises of what God is proactively doing for you. God is active — he is always at work around us — and since we’re made in his image he expects us to be active also.

Here’s another passage from Proverbs about being proactive.

Proverbs 6:6-11

Go to the ant, O sluggard;
    consider her ways, and be wise.
Without having any chief,
    officer, or ruler,
she prepares her bread in summer
    and gathers her food in harvest.
How long will you lie there, O sluggard?
    When will you arise from your sleep?
A little sleep, a little slumber,
    a little folding of the hands to rest,
and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
    and want like an armed man.

The ant doesn’t need anyone to tell her what to do, and she doesn’t sit around waiting, pouting, or complaining about the seasons. The ant works within her Circle of Influence to gather what she needs when the circumstances are favorable.

It would be easy to go on and on — God’s commands in the Bible are always proactive. Even when you’re in a season of waiting, you are commanded to be in prayer, service, and study.

So then, what does it mean to be proactive in our sex life with our spouse? Here are some examples that might resonate with you.

Reactive thinking says:

  • I don’t know if I want to have sex, let’s see how I feel at the end of our date
  • It’s not my fault, I can’t help how I feel
  • Our sex life is disappointing because of our jobs/kids/health
  • Why doesn’t he know what I want?
  • Why doesn’t she initiate sex?
  • After my day at work / with the kids, I just can’t do it
  • If he would ABC, then maybe I would XYZ

Proactive thinking says:

You can’t choose your circumstances, but you can choose how you act in response. You can take responsibility for yourself. You can’t control your spouse, but by being proactive you can influence your spouse through service and communication. As you focus on what you can control and influence, your Circle of Influence will grow!

The 7 (Sex) Habits: #1 Be Proactive 12

Being Proactive is a big idea, so maybe you’d like an actionable tip for where to start. Take a look at this post about The Five Love Languages and Sex and find your spouse’s primary love language, then do something for them that speaks to it. Afterwards, remind your spouse of your primary love language and point them at that post and this one. Rinse (if necessary) and repeat!

If this habit has made an impact in your life and marriage, leave a comment to tell us about it.

The 7 (Sex) Habits: Series Introduction 13

This post is an introduction to a new series based on “The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People” by Stephen R. Covey. The ideas in “7 Habits” have been applied in many different contexts, and I think there are lessons that can be applied in our sex lives with our spouses. As always, our thoughts will be guided by Biblical truth, and I think you’ll see that the 7 Habits work very well in the context of a Christian marriage.

As I write the posts, I’ll add links to this list of the 7 Habits.

  1. Be proactive
  2. Begin with the end in mind
  3. Put first things first
  4. Think win-win
  5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood
  6. Synergize
  7. Sharpen the saw

If you’ve never been exposed to the 7 Habits before you may be thinking that they’re a bunch of modern pseudo-psychological gobbledygook, but that’s not true. The posts in this series will include specific, concrete behaviors that you and your spouse can use to improve your sex life. We’ve written before about the power of habits to create real and persistent change in your life, and even though the Bible doesn’t use the word “habit” there are many passages that command us to build positive patterns of behavior. Here are a few examples:

Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Proverbs 3:1-2 “My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.”

Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

1 Corinthians 11:1-2 “Be imitators of me [Paul], as I am of Christ. Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you.”

Proverbs 4:20-27:

My son, be attentive to my words;
incline your ear to my sayings.
Let them not escape from your sight;
keep them within your heart.
For they are life to those who find them,
and healing to all their flesh.
Keep your heart with all vigilance,
for from it flow the springs of life.
Put away from you crooked speech,
and put devious talk far from you.
Let your eyes look directly forward,
and your gaze be straight before you.
Ponder the path of your feet;
then all your ways will be sure.
Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
turn your foot away from evil.

This series will look at each of the 7 Habits and discuss how to apply them in a Biblical manner to improve your sex life with your spouse.

I will conclude this introduction by mentioning a key tenet that is woven throughout the 7 Habits: the abundance mentality. The basic idea is that in most circumstances there is enough of everything for both spouses to get what they need from the marriage. Unless you each want exactly different things, there’s a way for both of you to be satisfied. Habit 4 (“think win-win”) builds directly on this concept, but the mindset is of broad applicability. The abundance mentality stands in contrast to the scarcity mentality — the belief that there isn’t enough for both of us. The abundance mentality isn’t magical thinking, and isn’t about actually having more. The abundance mentality is about acting on the expectation that the resources you have (e.g., time, money, attention, energy) can be used in a way that pleases you both.

The scarcity mindset says:

  • There isn’t enough for everyone, so I’d better get my share now
  • If I don’t get my way now, I never will
  • Only one of us can win this argument (and it’s going to be me)
  • I give her what she wants, but she never gives me what I want
  • How can I get more?

The abundance mindset says:

  • There’s plenty for both of us
  • When she wins, it doesn’t mean that I’ve lost
  • I can give away my time/energy/prestige/power/recognition now because there will be plenty more later
  • We can reach a decision that lets us both win
  • How can I give more?

As Christians, we have more assurance of abundance than anyone else in the world! The abundance of God is obviously not mere worldly possessions, but the fullness of a life built on the foundation of Jesus Christ.

John 10:10 “[Jesus said] The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

Luke 6:37-38 “[Jesus said] Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

Matthew 6:33-34 “[Jesus said] But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things [worldly needs] will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

James 1:17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”

I challenge you to begin thinking about your marriage and your sex life with an abundance mindset! Your sex life is not a competition over who gets what they want. You both have needs in your marriage, and there is plenty of sex, time, energy, and love to satisfy you both. Pray that God would show you his abundance in your marriage.