The Art of Snuggling 1

Buddy the Elf said “First we’ll make snow angels for two hours, then we’ll go ice skating, then we’ll eat a whole roll of Tollhouse Cookie Dough as fast as we can and then we’ll snuggle“. There are few pleasures in life that are greater than snuggling. However, in our busy lives, how often do we take time to snuggle? Buddy was onto something with scheduling time to snuggle. Put snuggling on your calendar — or set an alarm to snuggle.

Snuggling has a lot of health benefits. When you snuggle, you release oxytocin, which does all sorts of wonderful things. Oxytocin can make you feel all lovey, can boost your immune system, relieve pain, lower stress, and help you sleep better. It’s the chemical that is released in nursing mothers that deepens the bond between the mother and child. Human touch can also release dopamine, which can increase intimacy and enhance your lovemaking experience.

There are a variety of ways to snuggle:

  • Spooning: El Fury and I have a ‘Snuggle Alarm’ that goes off 10 minutes before we actually want to get up. Actually, it goes off 10 minutes before we have sex… and then we get up. I love that 10 minutes in the morning. I roll to my side and El Fury nestles up behind me for spooning. We lay there in a sleepy state, sometimes talking about how we slept, sometimes lucid dreaming. If I’m going to have sexy dreams, those usually take place during this 10 minutes of snuggling. We also spoon for a few minutes before we fall asleep.
  • Snuggle Classic: There are times that my body craves sidling up to El Fury, laying my head on his chest and draping a leg casually over one of his. This is a great position right before bed, especially if El Fury is still reading and I’m drifting off to sleep.
  • Sexy Snuggling: My favorite foreplay position! I can stay in this position forever, it is so delightful. El Fury and I face each other, I prop my leg up on top of his and nuzzle my face into his neck. He plays with my lady bits while I lay there and bask in comfort, and eventually I start to play with him. Time disappears. At some point I’m motivated by the thought of the kids waking up and we switch to a more aggressive foreplay position.
  • Sit next to each other: This seems simple, but even sitting close to each other while watching a show or parallel playing can still give you the benefits of snuggling.
  • Spontaneous Snuggle: Sometimes a quick hug or snuggle does the trick! Be mindful to make intentional touch-points throughout your day. If El Fury is sitting at his computer and I come in to ask him a question, he opens up his arms and I hop on his lap for a minute.

Do you and your spouse snuggle? What are your favorite ways to snuggle? I hope you enjoy each other in this way. Marriage is a blessing, and the presence of someone you love is one of God’s greatest gifts. Don’t let the time slip by without enjoying the simple pleasure of snuggling.

Use Breast-Play to Bond With Your Spouse via Oxytocin 2

Communication is always a great place to start, but here’s a biological trick you can use to jump-start intimacy and bonding with your spouse: play with the wife’s breasts. Breast-play releases the hormone oxytocin which stimulates bonding and feelings of intimacy.

Larry Young, a professor of psychiatry at Emory University and co-author of The “Chemistry Between Us” (2019), believes that men’s love of breasts is simply that human evolution has co-opted an ancient neural circuit which was originally designed to strengthen the bond between mother and infant.

Oxytocin is nature’s “love drug,” and nipple stimulation, be it from an infant during breast feeding, or from a man during coitus, floods a woman’s brain. This helps the woman focus on the task at hand. Quite simply, when men bit, nibble, suck, or caress women’s nipples, he helps her body release oxytocin in the woman’s brain producing a bonding experience.

According to Young, attraction to breasts “is a brain organization effect that occurs in straight males when they go through puberty…Evolution has selected for this brain organization in men that makes them attracted to the breasts in a sexual context, because the outcome is that it activates the female bonding circuit, making women feel more bonded with him. It’s a behavior that males have evolved in order to stimulate the female’s maternal bonding circuitry.”

What’s more, nipple stimulation for women apparently triggers the same areas of the brain as genital stimulation.

For many women, nipples are erogenous zones. A new study may explain why: The sensation from the nipples travels to the same part of the brain as sensations from the vagina, clitoris and cervix.

The study, published online July 28 in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, is the first to map the female genitals onto the sensory portion of the brain. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), researchers noted which brain areas become active when women touch various parts of their bodies. The genital-sensing brain areas in women roughly correspond to the same areas in men, but the nipple finding was a surprise, said study researcher Barry Komisaruk, a psychologist at Rutgers University.

“My speculation is that this could be the basis for many women saying that nipple stimulation is erotogenic, because it stimulates the same area as the genitals,” Komisaruk told LiveScience.

So if you’re feeling distant or disconnected from your spouse, along with communication invest some quality time in breast-play. The oxytocin released will help you bond together and strengthen your relationship and intimacy.

(See also: How to play with breasts.)

Yes, You Should Swallow 3

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

All Christian sex bloggers eventually get around to the question: should a wife swallow her husband’s semen? As usual, the answer is “if she wants to”. Well that’s fine… no one should be coerced into doing anything against her will… but I’m going to go a bit farther for wives and claim that you should cultivate a desire to swallow.

Why? Well, let’s get inside your husband’s head for a minute. As I’ve written before, we men like to mark our territory — and depositing his semen into your body is one of the primary ways your husband marks you. If you reject his semen, you’re rejecting him as your mate and as the potential father of your children. Even though it’s your mouth, refusing to swallow is basically the same as insisting that your husband wear a condom when you have intercourse.

On the flip side, when you do swallow, you create intimacy between you and your husband. You demonstrate love and acceptance on a very primal level that goes beyond words. If you want to drive your husband crazy don’t just suck him off — dive into him like a woman lost in the desert who has just spotted an oasis. Not like you have to swallow, but like you crave him and will die if he doesn’t shoot himself down your throat right now.

And finally: God himself describes the passion of oral sex better than I ever could.

As an apple tree among the trees of the forest,
    so is my beloved among the young men.
With great delight I sat in his shadow,
    and his fruit was sweet to my taste.

Bonnie Wallace says that semen is the perfect food for a wife. [Update: Bonnie’s blog no longer exists.]

In addition, it also has some great mind-altering effects.  It boosts melatonin, which helps you sleep, and oxytocin, which increases affection and boosts your mood.  You know how they say that breast milk is the most perfect food for an infant?  Well, semen is a pretty darn close comparison for the perfect sex food for a wife.

She also gives some helpful tips on how to swallow:

Ok, I’m not going to say that it is easy to swallow the first time you try to do it.  Depending on how often you have sex, a LOT may come out down there.  I’ll admit that my technique initially was to try to get it all in my mouth then swallow all at once to “get it over with” and that usually ended up making a really big mess.  Instead, it works better to drink it like a water fountain, swallowing and drawing more into your mouth at the same time.  Granted, there still may be too much to get it all, but it works a lot better this way than the other.

Since this topic generates a lot of email for us, let me also point you to these related posts:

Better Sleep Leads to Better Sex, Which Leads to Better Sleep 4

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

Do you want to have more and better sex? Get plenty of sleep.

According to a large new study, women over age 50 who get fewer than seven hours of sleep are less likely to report being sexually active than their peers who sleep more, a problem that increases with age.

Sleep disorders can also interfere with sex. Research suggests that men with obstructive sleep apnea, a condition marked by snoring and breathing difficulties, have decreased levels of sexual activity, possibly because they produce lower amounts of testosterone. Sleep apnea can also increase the risk of cardiovascular problems, which may be related to sexual dysfunction.

But the reverse appears to be true, too: Another recent study that looked at sleep and sex in college students found that for those in romantic relationships, every extra hour they slept corresponded to higher sexual desire, greater vaginal lubrication and a 14% increase in the chances of getting frisky the next day. That’s probably because a good night’s sleep leaves us feeling refreshed, relaxed and energetic — all important for feeling sexy.

Sleep is an important component of staying healthy, along with exercise, managing your weight, and maintaining good hygiene. For (the many) husbands who write to us asking for advice on strengthening their wives’ libidos, helping her get more sleep seems like a great first step.

And… do you want more and better sleep? Have plenty of sex!

The reasons are largely chemical in nature. After orgasm, our bodies release significant amounts of the “cuddle hormone” oxytocin, which lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol, resulting in deep relaxation.

Sex also has gender-specific benefits. “For women, estrogen levels increase after sex, which can enhance a woman’s REM cycle for a deeper sleep. In men, the hormone prolactin is secreted after orgasm and has been tied to sleepiness,” explained licensed psychologist Rachel Needle, co-director of the Modern Sex Therapy Institutes.

Yeah, yeah — there’s just too much to do. But you need to make time for your health and for your spouse. Go to bed early tonight together!

Sex and Oxytocin Help You Stay Slim and Happy 5

If you need yet another sciencey reason to have more sex consider this: sex releases oxytocin, and oxytocin helps keep you slim.

Forget eating salad and pounding on the treadmill – regular sex can help dieters keep slim.

On top of burning around 100 calories an hour, it also triggers the release of a hormone which may stop us overeating, new research suggests.

Oxytocin, dubbed the love or cuddle hormone, is released after sex to induce feelings of trust and affection, bonding couples together.

‘Oxytocin enhances prosocial and related behaviors. Increases in oxytocin tend to decrease appetite – especially the consumption of sweet carbohydrates,’ she said.

And that’s not all! Not only does your body produce its own oxytocin when you have sex, but wives also absorb oxytocin from their husbands’ semen — improving their health and mood.

Vaginal tissue is very absorptive. It’s richly endowed with blood and lymph vessels. Given vaginal absorptiveness and all the mood-elevating compounds in found in semen, Gallup, Burch, and SUNY colleague Steven Platek wondered if semen exposure might be associated with better mood and less depression. They surveyed 293 college women at SUNY Albany about intercourse with and without condoms, and then gave the women the Beck Depression Inventory, a standard test of mood. Compared with women who “always” or “usually” used condoms, those who “never” did, whose vaginas were exposed to semen, showed significantly better mood–fewer depressive symptoms, and less bouts of depression. In addition, compared to women who had no intercourse at all, the semen-exposed women showed more elevated mood and less depression.

So next time you’re feeling down or craving something sweet, grab your spouse instead of a treat!

Oxytocin and Other Thoughts 6

I learned something very interesting while listening to a podcast on Delight Your Marriage titled “Understanding the Female Orgasm with Dr. Jessica McCleese”. Oxytocin, which is a chemical your body releases to form bonding during sex, is released at different points for men and women. It is released during foreplay for women, and during orgasm for men. Dr. McCleese makes two very good points in regard to this:

1. This can explain why women often don’t feel a need to orgasm every time they have sex. I know this is very true for me. While orgasm is amazing, there is a good percentage of the time that I am fulfilled without needing to climax. My body still needs that release regularly, but at least I now know when that release doesn’t happen I am still getting enough of that feel-good chemical.

2. It’s interesting that God created us this way, so that we help each other out. I think she says that beautifully. God designed us to fit together so well, even in the details that we can’t see.

The whole podcast is worth listening to when you get the time, but here are some other points I think are good advice:

  • She says that sex, when compared to the total amount of time spent with your spouse, is a relatively small amount of the relationship. However, she describes it as sort of a barometer for the relationship. If things are good in the bedroom, it’s a lot easier to talk about other issues. I totally agree. El Fury and I have great communication, and our sexual intimacy makes me comfortable with initiating any conversation with him. I also think that good communication can feed right back into having better sex.
  • Another point Dr. McCleese makes that I have been pondering is how our spouse’s actions are confirmed by our beliefs about our spouse. One action can be taken two completely different ways depending on the attitude you are filtering your spouse through. For example, if you think they are manipulating you, you will interpret something far different than if you think they love you and have your best intentions in mind. This is a great concept. If your attitude towards your spouse isn’t positive, pray for God to give you eyes to see them differently.
  • Dr. McCleese talks about her own marriage and how they fight for their marriage. She gives an example about not talking about marital problems with anyone else until you talk with your spouse. Great advice, and a great way to guard your marriage. I would go further in saying if you do talk about a marital problem with someone, be very careful about who. Make sure it is a person that won’t try to poison your mind against your spouse.
  • The last thing I want to share about Dr. McCleese’s interview is to encourage your spouse! In the bedroom, outside the bedroom. Your spouse needs to be told how important they are to you, what they do that you appreciate, how blessed you are to be with them, and definitely what they do to turn you on!