Give Thanks for your Spouse's Sexuality 1

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.

Sex Q&A: Oral Sex Positions, Glow-in-the-Dark Tattoos, Multiple Orgasms 2

Here are a few emails from readers that are worth sharing with the community but don’t require long responses from us. (Some of these responses are from Sexy Corte, some are from El Fury, and some are from both of us.)

Reader “TH” asks:

How can I get my wife to read your site without knowing I sent it?

It’s best to cultivate an open channel of communication with your spouse! However, it can be difficult to get the ball rolling at the beginning. We suggest using Mailinator.com to send anonymous emails — you can even use this service to ask us a question if you don’t want to share your real address with! Simply make up a Mailinator address, or use marriedchristiansex@mailinator.com to send your email. (Note: Mailinator is a good way to send anonymously, but it’s hard to get a response back because the service deletes all incoming messages every hour.)

Wife “DO” asks:

Hello! I would like to ask more details on the Old Faithful position. Is it like 69? Does the wife’s butt face the husband’s face?

Just wanted to say thanks for setting up this website, it has been very informative and educational for married Christian couples who need all the help they can get.

For Old Faithful the husband lays on his back and the wife kneels to his side facing him, with her knees spread and near one of his hips. Then the wife bends down over the husband to perform oral sex. The husband reaches up between the wife’s legs to stimulate her at the same time. See also: “New Faithful”, and “Stimulate Both Spouses While One Is Performing Oral”.

Wife “IJ” asks:

My husband and I have been married for ten years and our sex life is AWESOME! And while I know that my husband loves it, I am often the “initiator “ which I don’t mind but I would love for him to be the sex beggar occasionally.

He works hard and doesn’t get enough sleep sometimes so I know he’s tired and I’m a stay home mom of two and I try to do things to make it easy for him at home. For example: I have dinner ready when he gets home, I lay out his towel and washcloth and always have his clothes clean and hung up so that he doesn’t have to lift a finger at home. We were both married before (unfortunately) so I don’t know if there was a lot of rejection there, but I’ve been very open that I’m ok to do it anytime and I’ve never said no. It may just be personality because he does really love it, I want to be clear that there’s no problem there and he’s very considerate of me. I just wonder if you have any advice on how to help him initiate more. Thank you, I just found y’alls website today… I love it.

It sounds like your sex life is pretty great, so yay for you guys!

It’s common for a wife to want/expect her husband to initiate, because women tend to be more “responsive” sexually, and men tend to be more “spontaneous”. Of course, everyone is different and there’s nothing at all “wrong” with you initiating more than your husband.

So, there’s nothing “wrong”, but you’d still like your husband to do more of the initiating. The best thing you can do is tell him! You may be thinking… “but if I tell him to initiate, aren’t I the one initiating?” Maybe, but he can’t read your mind.

Here are some ideas for what to say to him (if these are true):

  1. I love our sex life. You really satisfy me.
  2. I’d love it if you would initiate more. I don’t know if you’re waiting for some signal from me, but don’t bother. I’ll never say no. Just do it and you’ll see. (If he is worried about rejection, tell him explicitly that you won’t turn him away.)
  3. Here are some ways that I’ll signal that I want you: sleep naked, secret message panties, flash my boobs, etc. Make up an “innocent” signal that tells him to hit on you.

Wife “TJ” asks:

Thank you so much for this site. It has helped me and my husband so much!  We have been married for over 24 years and we have only just begun to view sexual intimacy and pleasuring one another in the correct way. I was much too uptight and focused on being a proper, good church girl. I wouldn’t dare admit I was enjoying our sexual encounters, nor would I give him a lot of attention sexually. It’s very sad looking back. We’ve both talked very openly about this over the last few weeks and it’s like we’re on a honeymoon period!  We’re trying things on your site and it’s incredible how close our relationship has become from the sexual intimacy we’ve been sharing. So, thank you so much!

My question is this: I’m having a harder time climaxing from clitoral stimulation (or any kind of stimulation).  We have sex daily, and on most days multiple times.  I’ve talked with him and he understands that I don’t expect to have an orgasm every time we have sex, but he wants me to at least once a day.  Is this difficulty coming from us having sex so often that I can’t get aroused enough to climax, as I did when we went days (and sometimes weeks) between intercourse?

Have you encountered this before?  Do you have suggestions to help me?  Is it possible for a woman to have an orgasm daily or multiple times every day?

Sexy Corte responds:

This is our favorite type of email to receive. I will say that I’m the same, it’s hard for me to have an orgasm every day. I do alright two days in a row, but if I try for three it’s a lot of work! I do best having 2-3 orgasms per week. Other times, I’m happy to have sex without an orgasm because El Fury does want to have one every day. Also, there’s a big difference in the time required — it takes him less than 10 minutes, for me it takes 20-30. I hope this helps and that your sex life with your husband continues to be fun!

And finally, a recommendation from wife “BA”:

I recommend that you try glow in the dark temporary tattoos! I put them all over my breasts, charged them up with a cell phone flashlight, and it made quite the impression in a dark bedroom. Husband keeps searching for them on Amazon now!

We will have to check those out!

We love to hear from our readers, so drop us a line.

Please use the contact pages for Sexy Corte and El Fury to send us your questions. We will only share your question if you give us permission, and we’ll never reveal your name or any other identifying information. You can ask questions anonymously, or use a free anonymous email server like Mailinator.

Best Christian Sex Links of the Week 3

Before you talk about sex, work on yourself — with your spouse or your kids.

Blackout Fellatio Technique — wife, blindfold your husband so you won’t be nervous about him watching you.

5 ways for busy wives and moms to feel more sensual — these will all work for men too!

Three great posts from The Forgiven Wife!

12 ways to make good sex even better — here are some ideas for enhancing intimacy during sex.

You can have hot sex in your marriage without it being pornographicporn didn’t invent anything.

“I hate sex, but I’m trying to like it” — great advice for a wife who is doing some hard work to develop her sexuality.

How do you stay interested in sex with your spouse over the long term? — it’s sadly common for spouses to lose interest if they don’t work to maintain it.

Give him signal — wife, you can be more interesting than the internet or any other woman your husband sees.

Noticing is not lustinglust is a deliberate act.

Sexual responsiveness is critical for creating exciting, pleasurable, and memorable sexual encounters.

If this podcast is a blessing to your marriage, please leave a 5-star review and tell a friend!

The Importance of Sexual Responsiveness (https://marriedchristiansex.com/blog/mental-techniques/the-importance-of-sexual-responsiveness/)

The Importance of Enthusiasm (https://marriedchristiansex.com/blog/mental-techniques/the-importance-of-enthusiasm/)

Bondage for Beginners: What, Why, and How (https://marriedchristiansex.com/blog/mental-techniques/bondage-for-beginners-what-why-and-how/)

How to Increase Intimacy During Sex (https://marriedchristiansex.com/blog/mental-techniques/how-to-increase-intimacy-during-sex/)

Enthusiasm is more important than any other single behavior when it comes to having great sex.

If this podcast is a blessing to you, please leave us a 5-star review on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Related blog posts:

The Importance of Enthusiasm (https://marriedchristiansex.com/blog/mental-techniques/the-importance-of-enthusiasm/)

The Importance of Sexual Responsiveness (https://marriedchristiansex.com/blog/mental-techniques/the-importance-of-sexual-responsiveness/)

Sexy Adult Jenga (https://marriedchristiansex.com/blog/mental-techniques/sexy-adult-jenga/)

Naked Marco Polo (https://marriedchristiansex.com/blog/stories/naked-marco-polo/)

The 7 (Sex) Habits: #2 Begin With the End in Mind 4

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.

Comment: "A Huge Shout-Out To Communication!" 5

Reader Derek left a comment on our post about “Mutual Masturbation and Finishing on Her Body” to share the disappointing results of an experiment by him and his wife:

My wife recently allowed me to ejaculate on her breasts, which has been a desire of mine for quite some time. She was reluctant, but agreed. I could tell she wasn’t real excited about it, after the act. I had a wet washcloth there to clean her, afterwards. She has never liked to have my semen on her, even when some just gets on her thigh, etc , which is a little disappointing. Unfortunately, I don’t think this will continue to be part of our sexual routine.

But at least they tried something new right? That’s a win all by itself!

A few days later Derek left another comment, and their win had become a huge victory thanks to the power of communication.

Just wanted to give a HUGE shout-out to Communication!!

The night after the experience mentioned above, my wife and I had an awesome conversation about sex. Just laying in bed together, I asked her how she felt about what I had done, and if I had upset her. Much to my surprise, she said (and I’m paraphrasing) “No, in fact, the warmness of you on me felt kinda good.” Turns out, the wet washcloth I had waiting, had turned ice cold while we were having sex, and that’s the part that she didn’t like (haha, note to self, HOT washcloth!)

We continued our conversation for nearly 2 hours, talking about likes/dislikes/boundaries, etc. It was great, and I think will lead to even better sexual encounters ahead!

Thanks again for the great blog, and encouraging all of us to make our physical love a top priority in our marriages!!

Sexy Corte and I are always excited to read emails and comments like this. It brings us great joy to hear that we’ve played a tiny part in helping a married couple improve their sex life — and we believe it pleases God too! Please don’t hesitate to email or comment to share your sexual victories with us.

Be brave and talk to your spouse about sex.

A Wife's Advice for Dealing with Sexual Frustration 6

We get a lot of emails from husbands who are frustrated with the quantity and quality of sex in their marriage. I’m writing this post to capture the advice that I generally give in response to these emails. See also: husbands dealing with sexual rejection and how to talk to your spouse about sex.

It’s tough to give advice because we don’t know everything going on in each marriage, but here are some things that might help.

  • Pray. Ask God to bless your sex life. Ask to have desire for your spouse.
  • Learn each other’s love language. Then be intentional in speaking your spouse’s love language.
  • Try physical touch with your spouse with no expectation of sex. Hug, kiss, caress, but don’t try to immediately follow up. These non-sexual touches fuel me and often get me in the mood.
  • Be a student of your spouse. I love having sex with El Fury because he knows me. He makes me feel sexy and beautiful. Find out what makes your spouse feel sexy, and they will want to have sex.
  • Communication. The more you talk about sex with each other, the more comfortable you will be talking about sex with each other, and the fewer problems you will have.

Husbands, this is specifically for you. El Fury recently told me a quote: a man can’t consider himself a good lover until he can do the exact same thing for an hour without moving. This is so true. If your wife is anything like me, I take up to 45 minutes to orgasm when my husband uses his hand. If we use the vibrator during sex it’s about 20 minutes. That’s a long time. It can take a long time for a woman to orgasm. Be patient. Here are some tips:

  • Only about 30% of women can orgasm from intercourse alone. If El Fury focused on my vagina I would never have an orgasm. You have to focus stimulation around the clitoris. Combine that with vaginal stimulation and your wife will go crazy. Keep the attention on the clitoris, it’s likely your wife can’t orgasm without that. That might mean that you give your wife an orgasm before you even have penetration.
  • If you want your wife to enjoy sex, focus on her pleasure first. If she’s not having an orgasm frequently, she’s probably not enjoying sex. Make sure you are meeting her needs and she will be more enthusiastic about meeting yours.
  • Pray for your wife and her sexual needs.
Wives, this is specifically for you:
  • Pray. These are the prayers that I often pray: That I would have desire for my husband, that I would have energy in the evening or be alert in the morning, that we would have a sex life that is fulfilling to both of us.
  • Pay attention to your cycle. I especially want sex right before my period, surprisingly during my period, and about two weeks after the start of my period. I try my hardest to make sure I orgasm often during those times, and it makes a huge difference in my overall sexual satisfaction.
  • Have you ever had an orgasm? If you “think so”, then you haven’t. I still remember my first one, and there was no doubt. I had previously thought there was something wrong with my body. I had thought it would magically happen with the right position during sex. I was wrong! It happened by El Fury touching me the right way in the right spot. Since we figured out where that button was, we have learned so much more about my body, what turns me on, and what gets me to orgasm. Sex became fun!
  • Be at peace with sex. Your husband will never stop wanting to have sex with you. He will continue to pursue you. If you find out what you enjoy, his pursuit will be a good thing and not something that you will forever try to avoid.

I hope this is helpful! Leave your questions or suggestions in the comments.

A Simple Script for Husbands Dealing with Sexual Rejection 7

One of the most common types of emails we receive is from a husband who feels sexually rejected by his wife and hopeless. He wants more sex, but feels like his wife isn’t interested and doesn’t love him. Frequent sexual rejection can be devastating to a marriage. Men are taught to hide their feelings and make it look like everything is “ok”, so rather than talking directly about our pain we often lash out in other ways: anger, annoyance, frustration, criticism, and withdrawal. These emotional responses mirror back to the wife the rejection that the husband is feeling by denying the wife what she craves from the marriage. This response creates a damaging cycle of rejection that hurts both spouses and the marriage.

We believe that it’s God’s will for every married couple to have a satisfying sex life! We recently wrote a post about how to talk to your spouse about sex, and that’s a good place to start for the general topic. The purpose of this post is to give a hurting husband a simple script he can use to discuss the pain he’s feeling because of sexual rejection by his wife.

First, husbands, as always, you must be in prayer. You should talk to God about sex ten times as much as you talk to your wife. The Bible says that marriage is a picture of Christ’s love for the church, so meditate on Philippians 2:1-11 and learn about Christ’s humility. Don’t just read it once — read it three times a day for a month. Then you’ll be ready to approach your wife in a Christlike manner. Jesus is a loving leader who God exalted because of his humility. Do you want to lead your wife? There’s no better example than Jesus.

Second, here are some words you can say to your wife. Feel free to change things up as appropriate, but remember to be loving, gentle, and honest.

I love you so much, and I want to have deeper intimacy with you. You may not realize it, but it really hurts me when I flirt with you or try to initiate sex and you rarely seem interested. Maybe on the outside I seem brush it off, but inside I’m really hurting. You’re the only person in the world that I want share my sexuality with, and when you reject me it feels like you’re rejecting my love entirely. Maybe you’re feeling frustrated or disappointed also. Can we talk about how to have a sex life that’s more satisfying for both of us?

That should get the conversation started!

See also: Sexy Corte’s advice for dealing with sexual frustration and how to talk with your spouse about sex.

If you have a tip to share, please leave a comment. Have you had this conversation with your spouse? How did it go?

How To Talk With Your Spouse About Sex 8

Some of the most common questions we get are variations of, “how do I talk with my spouse about sex?” So here are a collection of tips, both positive and negative. I won’t elaborate much on each one, but I’m happy to answer questions in the comments.

(See also: Sexy Corte’s advice for dealing with sexual frustration and a simple script for husbands dealing with sexual rejection.)

  1. Pray first. Either together or separately, pray that God will bless your marriage and your sex life. Ask for humility and gentleness towards your spouse. Pray that God will help you to understand and love each other the way He intends.
  2. Be honest and gentle. Remember that your goal isn’t to manipulate your spouse into a certain behavior, it’s to grow in intimacy together. Be brave enough to be honest, and be humble enough to receive honesty from your spouse. Agree together that it’s safe to be honest with each other, and then discipline your own emotions before you react to honesty from your spouse.
  3. Pick the right time. When you and your spouse are in a good mood, when you’re feeling connected, when you have time for an intimate conversation. Talking about sex after you have a great sexual encounter can be wonderful, but avoid it after a disappointing encounter. Even if the conversation is urgent to you, respect your spouse enough to be patient. If you think your spouse will be resistant to even talking about sex, you might want to give him or her a heads-up that you’d like to have a conversation sometime in the near future.
  4. Set a purpose and expectations. Clearly explain your purpose for the conversation at the beginning. Talk about the most important thing first, and try to focus on one topic at a time. It’s easy to get distracted by side issues, especially if communication has been poor for a while and there are a lot of pent-up frustrations. Recognize that you may need to give your spouse some space to vent, but try to keep your contributions to the conversation as focused as possible.
  5. Stay positive. Express your love, admiration, and gratitude for your spouse. Don’t complain, but instead talk about how passionate you are for a great sex life. You don’t need to be pointlessly cheery, but using positive language helps avoid hostility and defensiveness. Consider the difference between “we hardly ever have sex” and “I’d love for us to have an exciting sex life together”.
  6. Ask questions to understand. Make sure your questions are sincere and loving. It’s very tempting to use questions to disguise accusations and frustrations, but your spouse isn’t a fool and will quickly grow to resent these passive-aggressive attacks. Focus on “what” and “how” questions instead of “why” questions — “what would you like from our sex life?”, “how do you feel about oral sex?” “Why” questions often make people defensive at having to justify or explain themselves. You want to understand what and how your spouse feels, but you don’t need to dig into why.
  7. Be specific and explicit. Your spouse can’t read your mind. Your spouse can’t read your mind. Get it? Your spouse can’t read your mind! If you want something specific, you have to use actual words to say so. I know it’s more “romantic” if your spouse just knows what you want and does it without you asking, but that’s not how real humans work. If you don’t know exactly what you want then it’s fine to express a general desire, but then be prepared to discuss it and nail down some specifics.
  8. Reach a conclusion. Before you’re both exhausted, revisit your purpose for the conversation. Have you accomplished your purpose? If so, declare victory and conclude the discussion. Great job: you successfully talked about sex! On the other hand, if your conversation has meandered endlessly make an effort to refocus yourselves and reach a conclusion.
  9. Actionable agreement. At the end of your discussion make sure that you each know what actions you’ve agreed to take. Don’t settle for a vague understanding that something will be different from now on — make your agreement specific and explicit. “Yes, I will try XYZ”“Yes, I will plan at least one date night each month”.
  10. Follow through. Now that you’ve made a specific and explicit agreement, you actually have to do it. If you find that your spouse isn’t living up to what he or she agreed to, you’ll need to have another conversation.“It really meant a lot to me when you agreed to plan a date night for us each month. I can’t wait to spend that time with you. Will we be able to do it soon? I’ll make it worth your while….”

I’m sure there’s a lot more that can be said… hundreds of books worth… but these are the main points I find myself writing to people over and over. What do you think? Share your ideas or questions in the comments!