Improve Sex By Focusing on the Peak and the End 1

This post will share ideas about how to use the happy-ending effect and the peak-end rule to improve your sexual encounters. Sex doesn’t always go perfectly, and that’s ok! Sometimes we build up grand visions in our minds about how amazing an experience is going to be, and then the kids won’t go to sleep, the smoke detector won’t stop beeping for a new battery, or you get a cramp in your leg at just the wrong time. By understanding these two psychological concepts you can help yourself and your spouse have great experiences even when things don’t go perfectly.

First, let’s look at what these two effects are. The happy-ending effect probably isn’t too mysterious! The article below presents the effect in a negative light, but you can apply it in your marriage to improve your experiences.

“When you’re deciding where to go for dinner, for example, you think about where you’ve had a good meal in the past,” lead study author Martin Vestergaard said in a news release.

“But your memory of whether that meal was good isn’t always reliable — our brain values the final few moments of the experience more highly than the rest of it. If we can’t control our in-built attraction to happy endings, then we can’t trust our choices to serve our best interests,” said Vestergaard, a neuroscientist at the University of Cambridge in Britain.

For the study, researchers had participants select between two streams of coins falling into a bucket in quick succession. Larger coins were higher in value.

One stream was greater in value but ended with a succession of smaller coins, while the other less-valuable stream ended with a run of bigger coins. Participants consistently — and incorrectly — selected the stream that ended with larger coins.

From the study we learn that people tend to over-value the end of an experience in comparison to the rest — “all’s well that ends well”.

The peak-end rule is similar to the happy-ending effect, but includes the idea that the peak of the experience matters as much as the end.

The peak–end rule is a psychological heuristic in which people judge an experience largely based on how they felt at its peak (i.e., its most intense point) and at its end, rather than based on the total sum or average of every moment of the experience. The effect occurs regardless of whether the experience is pleasant or unpleasant. According to the heuristic, other information aside from that of the peak and end of the experience is not lost, but it is not used. This includes net pleasantness or unpleasantness and how long the experience lasted.

The big idea of the peak-end rule is that an experience isn’t only evaluated by how it ends, but also by its peak or climax. Even if an experience is largely unpleasant, awkward, or disappointing, if the peak and the end are strong then the overall experience will be viewed positively.

So how can we use this knowledge to improve sex with our spouse? By focusing our energy on the peak and end of the experience and learning to let go of our worries and frustrations about the rest. Beginnings can sometimes be especially difficult:

  • If one spouse is sexually responsive, sometimes it will take longer for him or her to “warm up” and become aroused.
  • If you’re trying a new position or activity it might take you a few minutes to figure out how to make it work.
  • If you just put the kids to bed they might come knocking at your door.
  • Your vibrator might need to be cleaned or might need new batteries.

Don’t let these speed bumps discourage you! No matter how difficult the beginning is it won’t have much effect on your retrospective enjoyment of the overall experience. Let’s dig a little more deeply into how we can make the peak and end of sex the best it can be.

This probably goes without saying, but the peak of a sexual encounter is likely to be the wife’s orgasm; if the wife chooses not to have an orgasm, or the activity is focused on the husband (e.g., blow job) then his orgasm will be the peak of the experience.

The most important thing to remember is: Do Whatever It Takes to Give Your Wife as Many Orgasms as She wants. If the wife wants an orgasm, she should get one! If your wife wants an orgasm and doesn’t get one, the peak of your sexual encounter will not be good. If you have to give up on your “great idea”, change positions, take more time than you expected, or whatever, just do it. Don’t prioritize a sexual script over the wife’s orgasm — even if you succeed in executing your plans perfectly, it will all be for nothing if the wife doesn’t get the orgasm she wants.

The husband’s orgasm is also an important part of the peak! Typically the husband’s orgasm is easier to accomplish, so the focus doesn’t need to be so much on making sure it happens, but more-so on timing his orgasm with the wife’s and giving the husband the visual and sensory experience he’s after.

The timing of the husband’s orgasm relative to the wife’s orgasm is an important decision to make.

  • Before the wife: It’s generally not good for the husband to climax before the wife (if she’s planning to have an orgasm). There may be situations where you plan to do this, but make sure you talk about it first.
  • With the wife: When the husband and wife climax at the same time you can create a very high peak for your experience.
  • After the wife: When the husband climaxes shortly after the wife, while she’s still highly aroused and coming down from her own orgasm, you can draw out the peak over a longer period of time.

Usually I climax a short time after Sexy Corte. Timing our orgasms to happen at the same time can be difficult and distracting; sometimes it happens, but usually I aim to climax a bit after her.

Men are visual creatures, and the quality of our orgasms is often connected with the visual and sensory elements that go into it — that’s why my orgasms are usually stronger after Sexy Corte has one! After the wife climaxes — or if she’s creating an experience focused on her husband’s pleasure — let the husband arrange your positions or activities to create the sensory experience he wants.

  • Visual: The husband may want a better view of the action or may want to see the wife from a different angle that isn’t conducive to her orgasm.
  • Wife’s responsiveness: The wife’s moans of pleasure and body responses are an important part of elongating the peak experience. Even if the wife didn’t have an orgasm, her signs of pleasure and arousal are an important part of her husband’s experience.
  • Ejaculation: Let the husband ejaculate where he wants to! Vagina, face, body, mouth, swallowing, butt. Semen is mystical and the husband’s peak will be higher if he can put it where he wants it.

Ok, that’s a lot about the peak — how can we make the end of a sexual encounter the best it can be?

  • Touch and cuddle. Whether it was a quickie or marathon, make sure to include some touching and cuddling afterwards, even if it’s only for a few seconds. If the experience was particularly difficult or emotional for one spouse make sure to spend extra time afterwards with comfort cuddling.
  • Focus on the positive. Ignore anything that went wrong and focus on what went right and what you enjoyed. Be thankful and grateful for the spouse God gave you. Be in awe of your spouse’s sexuality that you get to share. You might need to acknowledge some difficulty, but move past it quickly to praise the peak. “The kids sure were persistent, but wow it felt great when we….”
  • Words of affirmation. Tell your spouse what you enjoyed, what felt great. Don’t give advice or ideas for improvement right now — save them for later. “It felt great when…”, “You looked so hot when…”. It’s good to be specific and explicit!
  • Bring it up again later. The end of the experience can be elongated just like the peak can. “Last night sure was fun, especially when you….”

I encourage you to check out this story from one of our readers that is a perfect example of creating a great ending despite difficulties and frustrations during the sexual encounter. Part 1: “I felt too exposed and vulnerable”; Part 2: Perfect Example of Trying Again.

By focusing on your peaks and endings you can learn to ignore any momentary frustrations and create great sexual experiences. Please leave us a comment and let us know what you think. How do you make your peaks and endings the best they can be?

Here are some concrete ways for a wife to admire and enjoy her husband’s sexuality.

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

How to Admire Your Husband’s Penis: https://marriedchristiansex.com/blog/mental-techniques/how-to-admire-your-husbands-penis/

Maximizing Semen Enjoyment: https://marriedchristiansex.com/blog/information/maximizing-semen-volume/

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

El Fury and Sexy Corte respond to questions from two readers about “pearl necklaces” and finishing on the wife’s body.

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

Q&A: Mutual Masturbation and Finishing on Her Body: https://marriedchristiansex.com/blog/physical-techniques/qa-mutual-masturbation-and-finishing-on-her-body/

Sex Q&A: “Why would any husband want to do a pearl necklace?”: https://marriedchristiansex.com/blog/sex-questions-and-answers/sex-qa-why-would-any-husband-want-to-do-a-pearl-necklace/

Maximizing Semen Enjoyment: https://marriedchristiansex.com/blog/information/maximizing-semen-volume/

Sex Q&A: “Weird” Sex: https://marriedchristiansex.com/blog/sex-questions-and-answers/sex-qa-weird-sex/

What Do Wives Think of Swallowing Semen? 2

This post is also available as a podcast: Podcast #005: Yes, You Should Swallow

For several years that most popular post on our site has been “Yes, You Should Swallow”. It is the most-viewed individual post, and even though it’s old it still attracts a lot of comments. Since most readers probably don’t read comments to old posts, I thought I’d share a few of the best comments here on the front page (all from wives).

Bonnie from Love, Marriage and Sex left the first comment:

Thanks for the reference! Great post and nice to hear from the male perspective. Definitely agree that wives should try to learn to enjoy swallowing during oral sex.

Jen offers a tip:

I swallow and absolutely love it and would encourage those wives reading this who are leary of it to keep going. Yes, it took a while to get used to. But the intimacy it creates with my husband is beyond spectacular and it is something he loves doing seeing the expression on his face is indescribable. I got used to it by him finishing on my face and after a while I was able to taste it on my lips then I started letting him finish in my mouth. That is all… Jen

Michelle agrees with Jen’s approach:

Just to piggie back on Jen’s posting. Getting a facial from my husband is more of a benefit for both of us. I don’t really like the taste of semen and don’t like it in my mouth. My husband finds it quite a turn on when I let him finish on my face during oral sex. I usually am the one finishing him either with my mouth or with a hand job. My husband loves watching himself drip down my face and chin. I am ok with it and don’t have to take it in my mouth. Good for those couples who enjoy this…

Mia takes pleasure in giving pleasure:

Not sure about most women, but I sure enjoy swallowing! For me I feel like I am doing an incomplete job to my husband if I can’t finish him in my mouth! I am used to the taste, as it is something you need to get used to. If I don’t finish my husband during oral to me that is like having intercourse and not having my hubby finish… That pleases me the most is knowing I made him do that!

Nicole says swallowing is an acquired taste:

I absolutely love swallowing! My husband loves seeing his semen drip out of my mouth and drip down my chin. I must say though it is definitely an acquired taste and may be hard to get used to.

But not every wife likes the post…

Emma really doesn’t like semen:

I’ve attempted swallowing on several occasions. And ended up vomiting every single time. Thankfully we were in the shower each time.

Most women don’t find the taste enjoyable and only do it to please their husband. I find oral in general unbearable, and the thought of swallowing makes me physically ill.

Then again, I dislike sexual fluids in general and refuse to have sex without a condom.

This entire article is absurd in so many aspects that I don’t know where to start.

Ellie doesn’t seem to like sex much at all:

Yeah, not for me…
The five times I’ve chosen to suck my husbands semen depositor, I vomit, once all over him. Yes, I’ve ‘worked on’ my gag reflex to no avail, and the nausea tends to stick with me for hours afterwards. No swallowing or deep sucking for me!! It’s not a wifely duty…sex is not required of women. If a man can’t respect his wife saying ‘no’ then he has problems. Plus sex is ridiculous, ugly and gross, pregnancy is disgusting and children and creepy.

Here are a few others posts on the topic of swallowing:

What do you think? If you leave a comment on this post people will definitely read it!

Sex Q&A: "Why would any husband want to do a pearl necklace?" 3

This post is also available as a podcast: Podcast #007: Pearl Necklaces and Finishing on Her Body

Reader “QB” writes:

Hello,

My husband and I have enjoyed your site! Thank you.

We’ve been married for ten years and we have two young children. We’re planning to have another baby but we aren’t ready to get pregnant yet, and we’ve been talking about contraception. My husband doesn’t like to use condoms, and he asked that we make our “protection” more appealing to him… suggesting a “pearl necklace” that apparently “some guys” are into.

I said I didn’t think any women would really want that and he said maybe some would. I personally would find it degrading. He’s much more sexually adventurous than I am, which is an ongoing issue. I know he has watched porn in the past, and I’m worried that it has twisted him a bit. I don’t know how to approach this topic because it makes him very defensive.

Do you think a “pearl necklace” is an ok thing to do? I just wonder why any husband would want to do this :( You usually seem to say that between two married consenting spouses, anything goes, but what do you think? I might consent if it’s not something always seen as degrading.

Please help! Any insight is hugely appreciated.

First of all, it’s great that you and your husband are able to discuss your sex life so openly. Most people who write to us don’t, so good for you. Couples often have a great deal of trouble sharing their sexual desires out of fear of ridicule or rejection, so please appreciate your husband’s bravery in sharing with you.

Second, yes, pretty much anything is acceptable within the bounds of marriage, and we’ve written about in “Can we *BLANK*?” The boundaries are simple — sex should:

  • Involve only the married couple
  • Be be mutually consensual
  • Lead to satisfaction for both spouses
  • Be done in faith

So there’s nothing inherently wrong about your husband wanting to ejaculate on your body. Most men don’t want to do this constantly, but some men find it arousing occasionally. Sexy Corte and I have tried it, but it just isn’t our thing. We wrote about it in a previous Q&A: “Mutual masturbation and finishing on her body”. It’s very likely that your husband will enjoy it once or twice and then decide that it’s more fun to ejaculate inside you. (Hint: he might be happy to use a condom if you let him take it off to ejaculate in your mouth, and he may even love it.)

A key element of your email is your statement that: “I personally would find it degrading.”

That’s understandable. As with all sex play, it’s important that it’s play. For example, I enjoy spanking my wife’s butt, but it’s a form of sexual play not a “punishment”. The play gives me a sense of power, and gives her a sense of submission.

Similarly, your husband probably thinks that ejaculating on your face or body will be a sexy, dominant thing for him to do because it requires your submission. Your submission is part of the sexiness. Your willingness to submit to his pleasure and do something you don’t care for is part of the turn-on. (You may find that you enjoy being trusting and submissive, even if the sex acts themselves aren’t directly stimulating to you. Or you may not!)

Now, sex should be mutually edifying and satisfying for both spouses, and honoring to God. Your husband shouldn’t actually degrade you — but it’s ok if both of you want to play with dominant and submissive behavior. You may not get much arousal from him ejaculating on you, but if you participate in fulfilling his fantasy then he should be eager to “pay you back” by making sure that your quirky sexual needs are also met. (And be honest… there’s probably something you want to try that you’ve been too shy to share with your husband.)

You also wrote: “I know he has watched porn in the past, and I’m worried that it has twisted him a bit.”

I’ll quote from an earlier post about “Weird sex”:

Porn didn’t invent anything it depicts. As Ecclesiastes 1:9 says:

What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done,
and there is nothing new under the sun.

Our ancestors were no more virtuous or innocent than we are. The Bible is full of sex. Shakespeare’s works are full of sex. Some of the oldest known works of art are pornographic. Ancient Roman graffiti was largely pornographic. A modern person may learn about a sex act from the internet, but our ancestors did everything we do.

Humans are kinky creatures, and porn didn’t cause that, it merely reflects our kinkiness. God’s desire is that sex with your spouse is a bonfire compared to the sickly, sputtering candle of pornography.

We suggest that you continue talking with your husband about his desires (and yours). You’re not obligated to perform a specific sexual activity with him, but we encourage you to lean towards “yes” when you can.

Updates:

First, a response from “QB” who asked the question above.

Thank you so much for all the information and your honesty.

I think sometimes my go-to response to my husband is either “no” or “why would you want to…”. So your perspective really helps. I may come from a place of judgement when really I should like you said be open and happy we’re communicating.

I will try to lean towards “yes” when I’m able.

Thank you so so much!

And below, here’s a great comment from the wife at Marriage 4:29:

I can understand why it might not be anyone else’s thing, but I wanted to throw my thoughts in there because it is TOTALLY our thing.

I love watching my husband ejaculate (the way his body shakes, the face he makes, the flow of his semen shooting out) because I know that I alone am responsible for that sensation.

Especially if I’m not necessarily in the mood for intercourse, a mutually satisfying compromise is always him standing, me on my knees pleasuring him with my hands and/or mouth (WITH THE LIGHTS ON—more vulnerable for the both of us and therefore more intimate in my opinion).

When he reaches climax I’ll take his semen wherever (but I’m right in front of him…it might as well be on me—that way we know exactly where it went for easy cleanup LOL) but what drives him wild is when I sometimes say “Cum all over my [redacted]” It a little naughty, but it’s a fun way to play with my beloved…and it makes him feel loved that I loosen up and allow myself to enjoy this kind of stimulation too so it’s not just one sided pleasure.

Thanks to everyone who is sharing in the comments!

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.

Pop Quiz for Wives: How Can You Tell When Your Husband's Orgasm Is Over? 4

If you said, “he ejaculates!”, then you’d better keep reading.

Most people think that female sexuality is more complicated than male sexuality — I love this illustration.

man-woman_machine

And… ok, it’s probably true! But there are still nuances to a husband’s sexuality that may not be obvious to his wife. For example, did you know that your husband’s orgasm isn’t over when he starts ejaculating? Most people equate ejaculation with orgasm, but a man’s orgasm actually begins a few seconds before ejaculation and can last for up to a minute after. There are two different things going on when a man has an orgasm.

First: Emission. Emission occurs several seconds before ejaculation, when the man’s vasa deferentia squeeze sperm out of the epididymis into ducts near the urethra. Men can feel this emission keenly — it’s very pleasurable — and this is the “point of no return” after which the man cannot stop the orgasm from happening. In these ducts the sperm is mixed with fluids from several glands to create semen. This all happens inside the man’s body and is probably unnoticeable to his wife (unless he’s giving you cues).

Second: Ejaculation. A few seconds after the semen is mixed and in position, ejaculation proper begins with repeated contractions by the bulbospongiosus muscle. These contractions move the semen through the urethra and shoot it out of the body. The contractions and spurting of semen are probably the most notable events for the wife, but ejaculation actually occurs only a few seconds into the orgasm — the whole orgasm can then last up to a minute longer.

After ejaculation the muscle contractions continue with decreasing frequency and strength and the penis gradually loses sensitivity as the orgasm winds down. It varies from person to person, of course, but post-orgasm sensitivity seems quite different between myself and Sexy Corte. After she has an orgasm, SC’s clitoris often becomes so sensitive that further stimulation is unpleasant; after my orgasm, I enjoy continued stimulation for a while until the sensations eventually become rather neutral.

As with everything, the key is to talk with your spouse about what he or she enjoys! Wives, you can use this little bit of biological knowledge to maximize your husband’s pleasure when you are leading a sexual encounter: don’t stop what you’re doing right when he ejaculates. Keep going for another minute or so and he’ll melt.