Respect 1

Some of the best marriage advice I ever heard was this: “no one will respect your spouse more than you do”. You set the tone for how your friends, family, co-workers see your spouse. Let me ask, how are you doing? I am part of a woman’s group at our church and it’s amazing how fast a simple complaint about a husband can snowball. Everyone has a story to share or a frustration that can be topped. While most of the time it’s playful, I don’t always find it to be honoring to our husbands. I am sure the same thing can occur in men’s groups. We should lovingly guard our spouse’s reputation. Here are a few ideas how:

  • When you are talking about your spouse, try to speak about them in ways that it wouldn’t matter if they overheard what you were saying.
  • Say good things! If you talk about your spouse in a positive way, it’s likely to make you feel more loving towards them. A session of complaining about your spouse will often make you have a negative attitude towards them. Think about how you want your spouse to talk about and treat you, then try to emulate that.
  • Tame your tongue. The writer of James was right in James 3:8 “it is a restless evil, full of deadly poison”. Before you speak, think.
  • Be careful about who you talk about your spouse to when you have a problem. If your mom doesn’t particularly like your husband, definitely don’t share any marital problems with her.
  • When you are in a group that the conversation heads towards talking about spouse’s in a bad way, redirect. Try to have topics on hand that you can switch to.
  • 1st Corinthians 16:14 Do everything in love.
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How to Have Time and Energy for Great Sex 2

One of the most frequent questions we get is: “How do you find time and energy to have an exciting sex life when you’ve got kids, jobs, church, and everything else going on?”

Sit down. I will now explain something to you that is very simple to understand, but very hard to execute:

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.

Yes, yes, I know: all the things you do are super-important… but is your sex life just an optional luxury? Not if you want your marriage to thrive! It’s easy to neglect your sex life because it’s not urgent, but don’t fall into the trap of mistaking urgency for importance.

Steven Covey created the Importance-Urgency Matrix, which is one of the best self-management tools that I’ve ever seen. The matrix divides your activities into four groups based on urgency and importance, and it’s best insight is that many urgent things are not important.

Covey_Time_Matrix_Web

 

  • Quadrant 1: Activities that are both important and urgent. These are emergencies that you need to handle now. Most people have no problem prioritizing these things.
  • Quadrant 2: 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: Activities that are urgent, but not important. It’s so easy to get sucked into these. These 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 these activities if you aren’t extremely diligent.
  • Quadrant 4: Activities that are just wasteful. Some people can get trapped in these lazy, pointless activities, but most adults can recognize this garbage. Checking your email every five minutes. Surfing Facebook. Worrying. Pouting. Substance abuse.

This is all basic time management stuff, but don’t lose sight of the fact that it applies to your sex life. Your sex life with your spouse should generally be in Quadrant 2 — important and not urgent — so don’t sacrifice it for deceptive Quadrant 3 junk.

Here’s the application: Identify the Quadrant 3 stuff in your life and stop doing it. It’s simple to say, but hard to do because many Quadrant 3 activities are bound up in your responsibilities and commitments to other people. You may not be able to quit immediately because you gave your word, but you can immediately start 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.

If you don’t have time and energy for a great sex life with your spouse and you don’t have a newborn or a serious illness, then it’s your fault. You need to cut out some of your other activities. Be brave. Stand up to other peoples’ expectations and say no to Quadrant 3.

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Come Together 3

Even when you have a healthy sex life there are sometimes outside circumstances that can prevent you from coming together with your spouse. El Fury and I recently went through one of these periods. We had family staying with us, both of us were sick, I was on my period, one of our kids was up all night for a few days in a row. We were both exhausted. Our sex life got out of whack for a few weeks and it made our relationship feel strained. We both felt stressed and like we weren’t connecting. I felt like I was being short with him and with our kids.

First Corinthians 7:5 says Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”

Now this verse is obviously talking about prayer, but the point is the same. You need to come together regularly with your spouse. If you deprive one another of sex it leaves you open to temptation. This could be temptation other than sexual immorality. When I feel like my relationship with EF is “off”, I am much less gentle, kind and loving toward everyone. I am more easily angered, selfish and self-pitying. Sex with your spouse sets the tone for your marriage.

EF and I were able to get back on track once things slowed down and we were healthy and well rested again. Coming together was a sweet reunion. But I hope we learned from this experience. No matter how crazy your life may seem at the moment, it’s not asking much to find 30 minutes to connect with your spouse. When you do, you can handle all the crazy with a much more gracious attitude.

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Prioritize Penis-In-Vagina Sex 4

We get a lot of emails along the lines of, “Can we *blank*?” Generally, the answer is yes, you can *blank* *blank* *blank* with your spouse. The three requirements we point to for sex are exclusive, consensual, and satisfying. If *blank* meets those requirements, then have at it.

(Side note: if you think our blog is explicit, you should see some of the emails that we don’t write about.)

So, while our opinion is almost always yes, we also like to append an encouragement: no matter what your *blank* is, we think it’s important to prioritize plain-old vanilla intercourse — penis-in-vagina. As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10:23:

“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.

In your marriage, every sex act that is exclusive, consensual, and satisfying is lawful, but not every *blank* builds up your marriage the same way that traditional intercourse sex does. Here are some advantages to intercourse we think you should keep in mind.

  • Intimate. There is nothing more intimate in the human experience than when your body joins together with your spouse — when your spouse desires you, accepts you, embraces you, and your bodies intertwine and move as one flesh. Traditional intercourse is sometimes considered vanilla and boring, but if so, perhaps we’re taking the intimacy of marriage for granted after years of familiarity. On the other hand — if you’re thirsting for intimacy — tender, enthusiastic love-making with your spouse is the oasis you’re longing for. There’s a reason that the Hebrew word yada` is used for sex; the word means to know. Genesis 4:1: “Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived…”.
  • Primal. Intercourse touches the very essence of our being in a way that other sex acts don’t. It’s how we reproduce. Penis-in-vagina sex fulfills the most basic sexual urge that each of us felt when we first noticed that girls and boys are different. We have been created with a primal, biological need for intercourse that no other sex act can satisfy.
  • Simple. Traditional intercourse doesn’t require a lot of planning, talking, convincing, or preparation. You don’t need any props or toys. You don’t need any explanations. You don’t have to wonder if your spouse will be “into it”. You can be anywhere, at any time.
  • Unifying. The Bible says that men and women were created from one flesh, and in marriage we become one flesh again. Penis-in-vagina sex is the method that God created to unify two separate people into one single flesh. We have ups and downs in our marriages, and we don’t always feel united, but intercourse brings us together again, over and over. We separate ourselves from every claim the world has on us, and we hold fast to each other. Genesis 2:22-25:

And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said,

“This at last is bone of my bones
    and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
    because she was taken out of Man.”

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

So, try every *blank* you can think of! Explore your sexuality with your spouse, and have an awesome time. But don’t make novelty into an idol, or your spouse into a sex toy. We encourage you to do everything crazy thing you want to do, while not neglecting to come together regularly for simple intercourse.

What do you think about “vanilla” penis-in-vagina sex? Leave a comment and let us know!

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Don't Make Your Wife Be This Perfume Commercial from 1980s 5

This 30-second commercial for Enjoli perfume illustrates the conflicting, overwhelming demands that the world puts on women. Husband, don’t try to make your wife into the woman in this commercial! If you expect her to have the energy to “kiss you and give you the shivers” then make sure she isn’t overloaded with burdens the world says she has to carry, but are of little eternal value.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Q0P94wyBYk&w=420&h=315]

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Can we *Blank*? 6

This post is also available as a podcast: Podcast #001: Can We *BLANK*?

Are there any sexual limits or boundaries in a Christian marriage? Long-time readers of our blog may not be surprised at the short answer: no! But, of course, there are a few caveats worth discussing. In general, God has given us a wide field of freedom that is fenced with a few rules for our protection. Some rules are precise and explicit (example: “do not commit adultery”) while others require discretion (example: “love your neighbor as yourself”), but we think the principles are pretty easy to apply to sex in marriage.

  • Sex in marriage must involve only the married couple. The only holy sex is sex between a married husband and wife. Spouses cannot agree between themselves to bring other people into their sexual relationship. Any sexual practices that involve anyone other than the husband and the wife are sinful. There are numerous passages in the Bible that command strict monogamy; consider this post about Proverbs 5, “be intoxicated always in her love”Hebrews 13:4, and Proverbs 7.
  • Sex in marriage must be consensual. The Bible is pretty heavy on love and humility, and there’s no place for non-consensual sexual activity in a loving relationship between humble spouses. You’re free to play at non-consensual sex if both spouses desire it, as long as it’s play that is founded on real consent. Power exchanges, like bondage play, can be quite fun, as long as it’s play. Consider Philippians 2:3 and 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
  • Sex in marriage must lead to satisfaction for both spouses. Sex in your marriage must satisfy your sexual needs and your spouse’s. One aspect of satisfaction is frequency — sex needs to be as frequent as is required for each spouse to avoid temptation into sexual immorality. When one spouse is feeling angsty, the other spouse must satisfy that need (to the extent possible, given health, distance, etc.). Each spouse must also make a good-faith effort to satisfy the other’s specific sexual desires, as long as those desires don’t violate one of the other bullet points in this post. This point doesn’t mean that every single sexual activity must lead to an orgasm for both spouses, but rather than your sex life as a whole should be mutually satisfying. 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 says:

The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

  •  Sex in marriage must be done in faith. It’s beyond the scope of this post to explore the topic exhaustively, but consider Paul’s teaching about eating food offered to idols in 1 Corinthians 8. Some of the Corinthians believed it was a sin to eat such food, while others knew that the idols had no spiritual power and that therefore the food offered to the idols was no different from any other food. Paul instructs each person to follow his conscience with regards to such food, but to be careful that the strong do not cause the weak to stumble. Applying this principle to sex: as long as you don’t violate an explicit command as described in the points above, you can have sex however you want in your marriage — but don’t push your freedom on others and thereby cause them to stumble. See also 1 John 3:18-21 and Titus 1:15.

1 Corinthians 8:8-9 — However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.

We get a lot of emails asking, “can we do X, Y, and Z?” The purpose of this post is to give couples a framework they can use to decide that for themselves. As long as the activity is only between spouses, is consensual, meets both spouses’ needs, and is done in faith, then the answer is yes, you can do it! In fact, our prayer is that as your marriage matures spiritually you will agree with each other to push back your boundaries and enjoy the full breadth of sexual freedom that God has given you in your marriage. God’s plan is for you and your spouse to have an amazing sex life together!

Finally, Sexy Corte and I want to give you our personal recommendation: don’t forget to prioritize traditional intercourse — penis-in-vagina.

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Choreplay the sequel 7

I thought it would be interesting to share my perspective on Choreplay after El Fury’s post. I have been thinking on this concept a while and have a few thoughts:

1. I agree that the idea of trading sex for chores seems like borderline prostitution. However, I also agree with our readers that if this is done in a lighthearted way, it can be fun. If you know that Acts of Service is your spouse’s love language, and can spice up doing dishes while being sexy, go for it! I do think it is dangerous to toy with using sex for manipulation, especially if you imply sex is on the table and don’t deliver it.

2. El Fury and I assume the more traditional gender chores naturally simply because I stay at home with our pre-schoolers. So, I am happy to take care of the majority of the chores while El Fury works. I can remember when I did work full time after our first baby was born. It was so hard to balance taking care of the baby, household chores, and spending time with our family. At that time of my life, I greatly appreciated any help El Fury would give with chores. It helped to ease the burden, and relieved some of my stress. I’m sure this did help to keep my libido intact, although I don’t recall looking at El Fury with a load of laundry and thinking, “ah yeah”. But, as one of our readers commented, less stress is better for sex, so it was probably indirectly related. I will say though, there is something very sexy about El Fury using his drill while wearing a plain white shirt. Rawr. So maybe the studies are right and women find man-chores sexy!

3. I think the studies El Fury cites are interesting. The study says that couples had sex 1.6 times more a month when couples assumed traditional gender chores. I am curious of what the base average amount of sex for those couples is. For us, having sex 1.6 times more a month isn’t really a lot! But, if you are a couple that isn’t having a lot of sex, that could be a lot more sex.

4. What I think is the most important part of this whole idea of choreplay is to find out what your spouse finds sexy, and do that. You are the ONLY person that can fulfill your spouse sexually. That is a big responsibility. Be interested, and be interesting to your spouse. I have heard before that you should be a student of your spouse. You love each other, so be sexy for each other.

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Choreplay 8

Maybe you’ve heard of “choreplay”, but is it real? Can a wife really get more sex by doing more chores around the house? Yes, I can confirm choreplay is a real thing — watching Sexy Corte do chores in lingerie always turns me on. Well, that was a short post.

Oh wait, you want to know if choreplay works in the other direction? Does the sight of a husband doing chores get his wife all hot for him? According to Keelie, yes.

As far as fun turn ons…yeah…any guy that is standing at the sink doing dishes is gonna get it later. It doesn’t just have to be dishes, but a guy can do any chore that their wives don’t like.

To frame our discussion, I want to distinguish between two different phenomena.

  • Type 1: Implicit trading of chores for sex, wherein one spouse does more chores with the unspoken expectation that doing so will increase the other spouse’s sex drive.
  • Type 2: Explicit trading of chores for sex, wherein both spouses agree that the person doing some chore will receive sex in exchange.

Let’s talk about Type 1 first. Research shows that doing more chores can increase sexual frequency, as long as you’re doing the right chores.

Does the sight of men doing traditional female chores turn women off? A new study suggests that the more time men spend on household tasks, the less sex they have.

“Our findings suggest the importance of socialized gender roles for sexual frequency in heterosexual marriage,” lead author Sabino Kornrich, junior researcher at the Center for Advanced Studies at the Juan March Institute in Madrid, said in a press release. “Couples in which men participate more in housework typically done by women report having sex less frequently. Similarly, couples in which men participate more in traditionally masculine tasks — such as yard work, paying bills, and auto maintenance — report higher sexual frequency.”

Each individual husband, wife, and marriage are different of course, but if you want to increase sexual frequency by doing more chores then your best bet is do to chores that match your gender role. Husbands should do things like taking out the trash, fixing stuff, paying bills, and manual labor. Women should do the housework and take care of the kids.

So, Keelie appears to be wrong on average. In fact, a husband who does a lot of dishes is probably getting laid less then a husband who doesn’t. These kinds of effects are largely subconscious, and I doubt that many wives would know or admit that they’d want more sex if their husbands did less housework.

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.

If you want more sex, do more chores that match your gender role and fewer that don’t. If you increase the chores you do that don’t match your gender, you’ll end up having less sex than before.

So let’s talk about Type 2: explicit trading of chores for sex. For example, “if you clean up the kitchen tonight, I’ll give you a blowjob”. On some level, this kind of exchange probably makes some people uncomfortable, including me. Why?

  • It looks like prostitution.
  • Why should I have to earn sex?
  • Why should I have to give sex to get some help with chores?

I get all that, and I feel similarly. The sexual relationship between a husband and wife should be mutually edifying, loving, gracious, and sacrificial.

But, let’s be real for a second. If you ask your best friend to mow your lawn once, he’ll gladly say yes. If you ask him to do it every week, it’s only polite to offer something in return. If you need your lawn mowed right now, then you’re going to owe him a favor. These trades don’t negate your best-friendship, they strengthen it. They show your best friend that you value him, that you don’t want to take advantage of him, and that you’re grateful for his help.

Spouses are different than best friends, but I think the principles of maintaining a relationship still apply. You value your spouse. You don’t want to take advantage of your spouse. You’re grateful when your spouse helps you out. An explicit exchange demonstrates all this, and it greases the wheels of cooperation and affection. Aside from just more sex, you could also trade for some sex act that your spouse just doesn’t enjoy as much as you do.

Of course, not every chore or every sex act should be a negotiated exchange. However, if you’re laboring at an implicit exchange and it just isn’t working, why not be more explicit? Your spouse can’t read your mind; maybe she doesn’t know what you want. If you want something you’re not getting, offering a trade can open up lines of communication and possibly help the two of you to reach a mutually beneficial arrangement. Just remember to keep the relationship first!

And if your spouse asks you to do a chore that doesn’t match your gender, don’t expect to get extra sex unless it’s agreed to in advance.

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Jumping to Conclusions 9

Boy, I feel dumb! Sexy Corte and I had some sexy plans lined up and I jokingly canceled them because I thought she wouldn’t want to do anything too noisy while we had family staying at our house. Based on that assumption I said, well, maybe next week. I didn’t realize that my assumption left my lovely bride feeling rejected, deflated, and sexually unfulfilled.

Communicating about sex is hard! I thought I had a good read on my wife, but sometimes a message just doesn’t click and both spouses can feel confused and rejected without anyone intending it. Sexy Corte and I wanted the same thing, but neither of us thought the other wanted it. It’s funny in a sitcom, but not so much in real life.

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Too Far 10

I was recently in a conversation with other women and we were talking about dating before marriage. One remembered seeking advice from a counselor about how far was “too far” to go before being married. Another laughed and said “it’s funny, before you are married, you always want to push the limit on how far you can go. After you are married you think, I have to do this again?!?!” It was meant to be funny, but in retrospect has made me sort of sad.

Has sex within marriage become a chore? Or merely a duty? Where did the excitement from dating go? Shouldn’t there be more of a spark within marriage because now you can have sex?! What happens?

Honestly, I don’t know. I can only speculate. My guess is that the tiredness of our busy lifestyles makes sex one of the first things we cut out of our hectic schedules. Sexy time with your spouse should be one of your most guarded appointments. You have to guard it, because no one else will. Your boss, kids or house won’t mind in the least if they suck up that extra time from you. Connecting with your spouse, emotionally and sexually, is one of the most important things you can do.

Another thought is that maybe one spouse isn’t feeling loved. If you haven’t read the Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, I suggest you pick up a copy and start speaking to your spouse in their love language. I know I am definitely more responsive sexually when my “love tank” is full.

You and your spouse might also need better communication. If you do or don’t like something, speak up. As much as I think El Fury should be able to read my mind by now, I know that he can’t. This comes easy for some couples and for others it will take boldness. But the more you communicate about sex, the easier it gets. Do a re-cap after sex. Try saying “I really liked it when you…”

Or maybe you need to find a way to change your attitude about sex. Again, this could be easy or extremely difficult for some. No matter what, pray about it. Pray that you can see sex as the beautiful gift that God designed it to be. Pray that you would welcome those touches and caresses from your spouse and instead of thinking “again?” you would think, “YES, again!”.

God gave us sexual needs and spouses to fulfill those needs. One of the beautiful things about marriage is that you no longer have to worry about going “too far”. There are so many ways to enjoy each other. Embrace your time together and go have sex!

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