The Four Levels of Sexual Interest 1

In our marriage we’ve noticed that we have basically four levels of sexual interest, and the level we’re at generally determines how we have sex each day. We believe these interest levels can be a useful tool for communicating with your spouse when he or she isn’t able to read your mind. This post will describe the four levels we experience, and then present a table that illustrates how the the levels affect the sexual activities in our marriage.

Level 0: Wants no sex. At Level 0 you actively do not want to have sex. Level 0 might be due to illness or fatigue, or it might be the result of emotional distress or disconnection between spouses. Level 0 should be rare for healthy people, and if you’re frequently at Level 0 then you should take steps to figure out why and see what you can do to improve your sexual interest. Health issues can’t always be fixed, but they can often be mitigated. Emotional difficulties, tiredness, and disconnection from your spouse can be repaired, and you have a responsibility to work at it.

Level 1: Willing to have sex. At Level 1 you are willing to have sex with your spouse, but you’re not particularly aroused or needy yourself. In a well-functioning marriage Level 1 should be the minimum you aim for, for the benefit of your spouse. Say yes to sex. At Level 1 you’re willing to have sex, even if you aren’t likely to initiate it yourself. In our experience, Sexy Corte generally doesn’t want an orgasm when she’s at Level 1, but sometimes she decides she does want one after she gets warmed up. Women are often more sexually responsive than spontaneous, so don’t neglect the wife’s orgasm just because she may not want one immediately.

Level 2: Wants to have sex. At Level 2 you’re feeling aroused or horny and you want to have sex. A healthy person should hit Level 2 periodically, perhaps in sync with ovulation, other bodily rhythms, or relationship events. When you’re at Level 2 you’re likely to initiate sex, either directly or with indications of interest that your spouse should learn to read. When Sexy Corte is at Level 2 she generally knows that she wants an orgasm. You can encourage Level 2 interest in many ways, including flirtation, foreplay, sleeping naked, and flashing. If you’re not at Level 2 and your spouse is, open yourself up to being elevated.

Level 3: Ready for anything. At Level 3 you aren’t just aroused, you’re Down to Pound. Or DTF, as the young people say. You’ve got high sexual energy and want to do something special. When you’re at Level 3 you want to invest time and create an exciting sexual experience with your spouse. This is the time to try out a sex game, sexual role-playing, a new position, a new location, or whatever else is on your sexual bucket list. It might seem like the stars need to align just right for you both to be at Level 3, but we recommend that you aim for this at least once a month.

Now that we’ve described the four levels of sexual interest, he’s a table that shows how these levels generally impact the sexual activities in our marriage.

The Four Levels of Sexual Interest 2

This table shows how our sex life works in general — yours may be different. You can use this table as a tool to have a conversation with your spouse about how the two of you will act when you’re at each of these levels of sexual interest. There are a few features of our table that are worth pointing out.

  • Sexy Corte’s arousal turns me on. If Sexy Corte is turned on then it’s almost inevitable that my arousal will rise to meet her.
  • When we have sex, I always have an orgasm. This may not be true in every marriage, but it’s true for us. The way we think of it is that each of us should have as many orgasms as he or she wants. I want to have an orgasm every time we have sex, but Sexy Corte doesn’t. As long as we both get an orgasm when we want one the system is working well.
  • If we’re both willing, we lean towards having sex. When we’re both at Level 1 we make an effort to have sex. This usually means that I’ll initiate and we’ll have a fairly vanilla encounter; we believe that setting the expectation for sex is very healthy for our marriage. We’ve created a habit of daily sex, and not having sex is the exception.
  • When Sexy Corte has high energy, we do something special! These are the days when we try all the crazy or weird activities that you read about here on our blog. Hopefully we can hit this level once or twice a month, and it’s awesome when we do.

How do you and your spouse make decisions about sexual activities? Have you talked about it explicitly? Leave a comment and share your experiences.

Autumn Time-Change Sex 3

I suppose we should have posted this last week for maximum impact, but the return to Standard Time each Autumn is a great opportunity to plan some morning sex! Since you gain an hour of sleep Saturday night you’re likely to wake up early Sunday morning anyway. Prepare yourselves for the morning by sleeping naked and locking your door to prevent early-rising children from spoiling your fun.

When I Want an Orgasm 4

Desire for a woman ebbs and flows in tune with her cycle. It can be hard enough for a woman to know what sort of “mood” she is in, let alone for her husband to be able to determine if she wants an orgasm or not. Here are some ways that I figure it out:

  1. During ovulation I am ready to go. I know I want an orgasm and I can feel that desire all day long. There is usually not a lot of guess-work on these days. Husbands and wives, pay attention to her cycle so you can capitalize on these days. Plan ahead and reserve time to devote to having sex.
  2. It’s amazing that one week later PMS can hit. Again, not a lot of guess-work: I most definitely do not want an orgasm. Usually I want extra space and minimal touching.
  3. Then there are the times in between. When we start to have sex El Fury often asks me “what are you in the mood for?” and I’m not sure how to answer. Many nights I don’t know how my body is going to respond. We have learned to give it a little time to let my body tell me what I want. If I don’t feel aroused after a little foreplay, we have sex and I don’t have an orgasm. Other times, a few minutes of foreplay can get me turned on and I’ll have a great orgasm. It can take some cuddling, kissing, and touching to get in the mood. If you jump right into sex you may be missing some opportunities.

Pay attention to yourself. It’s helpful to know how often you need to orgasm to feel sexually satisfied. For me it’s two or three times a week. For El Fury, it’s more frequent. Don’t deny yourself orgasms just because you aren’t immediately aroused and haven’t taken the time to let yourself get in the mood. Our bodies are complicated!

Tonight, don’t be rushed, take some time and make out for a little while!

The 7 (Sex) Habits: #3 Put First Things First 5

It’s time for habit number three in our series, The 7 (Sex) Habits of Highly Successful People.

Habit 3: Put first things first. Execute on most important priorities. To live a more balanced existence, you have to recognize that not doing everything that comes along is okay. There’s no need to overextend yourself. All it takes is realizing that it’s all right to say no when necessary and then focus on your highest priorities.

Habit 1 says, “You’re in charge. You’re the creator.” Being proactive is about choice. Habit 2 is the first, or mental, creation. Beginning with the End in Mind is about vision. Habit 3 is the second creation, the physical creation. This habit is where Habits 1 and 2 come together. It happens day in and day out, moment-by-moment. It deals with many of the questions addressed in the field of time management. But that’s not all it’s about. Habit 3 is about life management as well–your purpose, values, roles, and priorities. What are “first things?” First things are those things you, personally, find of most worth. If you put first things first, you are organizing and managing time and events according to the personal priorities you established in Habit 2.

In our post on Habit #2, “begin with the end in mind”, we walked through a process for creating Individual Sex Life Visions and then combining the individual visions from both spouses into a Marital Sex Life Vision. Habit #3 is about making that vision a reality. The purpose of a vision is to drive your behavior — your Marital Sex Life Vision is the guiding star that leads the decisions in your sex life. When you have a choice to make, you evaluate your options in the light of your vision and move in the direction that brings your vision closer to reality.

Assuming that your vision is in line with God’s will, you will also move closer to him as you pursue your vision. This passage from the Old Testament is an example of how badly things can go when your priorities aren’t right. The Israelites were focused on building their own wealth and neglected rebuilding God’s temple.

Then the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house [God’s temple] remains a ruin?”

Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”

This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the Lord.

Haggai 1:1-15

Even when your vision is lined up with God pursuing it can be easier said than done. For the purpose of this blog post we’re going to assume that you and your spouse were able to create a Marital Sex Life Vision that is in line with God’s Word and also satisfying and agreeable to you both. If that’s not the case, then you’ve got more work to do. This blog post doesn’t talk about how to negotiate your vision. Don’t skip creating your vision together — go back to the previous post if necessary. Creating your Marital Sex Life Vision is fun and rewarding.

But just because you and your spouse agree on your vision doesn’t mean that it’s going to be easy to implement. Sometimes it may even seem like circumstances are conspiring against your sex life: kids, jobs, health, church, anxieties of life, friends, hobbies, electronics… the list is never-ending. When you have more things to do than you have time, that’s where prioritization comes in: putting first things first. We’ve written about How to Have Time and Energy for Great Sex, and some concepts from that post will be helpful here as we talk about Habit #3. As we wrote previously:

You can’t have everything, but you can have what you want most if you prioritize it.

Your time and energy are finite resources, and everyone around you will drain them dry if you let them. Your boss will let you work as many hours for free as you want. Your kids will spend two hours eating dinner and stay up until midnight if you let them. Your church will let you serve every day of the week. Your friends will let you help them with every project. People on the internet will argue with you 24/7. Netflix will create more shows than you can possibly consume.

No-one will stop you from exhausting yourself for their benefit — except your spouse, if you’re blessed. The only one who can protect your time and energy is you.

Here’s an exhortation: if you don’t have time and energy for a great sex life with your spouse, that’s because it isn’t as important to you as all the other things you spend your time and energy on.

Is that exhortation convicting to you? It convicted us when we wrote it!

Steven Covey created the Importance-Urgency Matrix to help people understand how they’re prioritizing, and we’ve found it to be an extremely valuable tool.

The 7 (Sex) Habits: #3 Put First Things First 6
Importance-Urgency Matrix

Everything we do falls into one of these four quadrants.

  • Quadrant 1, Necessity: Activities that are both important and urgent. These are emergencies that you need to handle right now. Most people have no problem prioritizing these things.
  • Quadrant 2, Effectiveness: Activities that are important, but not urgent — this generally includes your sex life, unless you’re super-horny right now. It also includes all kinds of long-term personal growth: learning, planning, relationship-building, serving. Quadrant 2 is what usually suffers when we mistakenly focus on…
  • Quadrant 3, Distraction: Activities that are urgent, but not important. It’s all-too-easy to get sucked into these. Distracting tasks are often important to someone else who has made them urgent for you, but they aren’t important to your life. Just because something is urgent doesn’t mean it’s important! Say it out loud. This quadrant is tricky and deceptive. You can fill your entire day with distracting activities if you aren’t extremely diligent.
  • Quadrant 4, Waste: Activities that are neither urgent nor important. Some people can get trapped in these lazy, pointless activities, but most adults recognize this garbage. Checking your email every five minutes. Surfing Facebook. Worrying. Pouting. Substance abuse. It’s important to know that not all relaxation or hobbies are wasteful — the waste happens when these non-productive activities become excessive.

So where’s your sex life in this matrix? Your sex life should be in Quadrant 2 — it’s of critical importance, but hopefully not too urgent! Don’t sacrifice your sex life for junk that belongs in Quadrant 3 or 4.

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—
for your love is more delightful than wine.
Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes;
your name is like perfume poured out.
No wonder the young women love you!
Take me away with you—let us hurry!
Let the king bring me into his chambers.

Song of Songs 1:2-4

Identify the Quadrant 3 stuff in your life and stop doing it. This can be hard to do because many Quadrant 3 activities come from your commitments to other people. You may not be able to quit immediately because you gave your word, but you can immediately begin to unwind your commitments. Be warned: people will try to make you feel guilty — this is a trap! You don’t need to feel guilty for quitting unimportant activities.

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:38-42

May your fountain be blessed,
and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.
A loving doe, a graceful deer—
may her breasts satisfy you always,
may you ever be intoxicated with her love.

Proverbs 5:18-19

As for Quadrant 4 activities, you and your spouse will need to use discernment to determine if they’re excessive or not. Are Q4 activities preventing you from achieving your Marital Sex Life Vision? Facebook and television seem to be especially pernicious. You need to be ruthless in cutting back or eliminating Q4 activities until you have plenty of time and energy for Q2, including your sex life. Try finding some relaxing hobbies that you and your spouse can do together!

How long will you lie there, you sluggard?
When will you get up from your sleep?
A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest—
and poverty will come on you like a thief
and scarcity like an armed man.

Proverbs 6:9-11

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

Ephesians 5:15-17

Putting first things first in your sex life means that you say no to activities that aren’t important, and you say yes to activities that move you towards your Marital Sex Life Vision. Your vision should include elements like frequency of sex, how you will communicate, how often you’ll try something new, how you’ll feel before and after sex — all of these things take time and energy to pursue! Throw away the Q3 and Q4 activities that are weighing you down and preventing you from running the race with your spouse.

What are the things you plan to put first in your life so that you can make your Marital Sex Life Vision a reality? Share in the comments!

Sleep Naked and Wake up Early 7

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

Sleep and sex really seem to complement each other, and not just because you’re likely to do them in the same place. If you want to sleep better and have more and better sex, try sleeping naked and waking up early.

First, the health benefits of sleeping naked. We’ve written about why you should sleep naked (and almost naked) before, and this article has some science that might convince you.

1. You’ll fall asleep faster.

2. You’ll sleep better.

3. You’ll improve your relationship.

4. You’ll reduce stress and anxiety.

5. You’ll have more sex.

6. You’ll improve your vaginal health.

7. You may lose weight.

8. You’ll look younger.

9. You’ll boost your self-esteem.

Second, we recently wrote about setting your alarm for morning sex, so we’re not at all surprised to read that early-risers have more sex than people who sleep in.

The survey of 2,000 Americans, split evenly between self-identified early birds and night owls, found that early birds have more sex per week, on average, than their late-night counterparts.

The survey shows early-risers have sex an average of three times per week, compared to twice per week for late-risers — an impressive 50% advantage for early-risers. That’s more than 50 additional sexy times per year — maybe 2500 over the course of your married life. Seems worth it to me.

How do you and your spouse sleep? Are you intentional about what you wear, when you sleep, and when you wake up? Share your ideas and experience in the comments.

(Side note: I couldn’t find an image of a man and woman together waking up early and happy. Go figure.)

Set Your Alarm for Morning Sex 8

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

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

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

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

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

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

Improve Your Sex Life By Tracking Your Monthly Cycle 9

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

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

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

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

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

Finally, the Perfect Gift for That Time of Month 10

Not chocolate?

Would You Have Sex With Your Time-Traveling Spouse? 11

You’re on your honeymoon having a great time, and your spouse decides to go for a run on the beach for an hour or so.

You hear a knock at the door. When you crack it open, you see your spouse standing there, wearing different clothes and looking slightly off.

Your spouse says, “Hello! I know this is hard to believe, but the reason I look a little strange is that I’m 10 years older and I traveled back in time. I’ve got important time traveler business to take care of, but I wanted to drop in and see you. I knew that present-me would be out on a run right now. In the future our marriage is awesome and everything turns out great for us. I really shouldn’t tell you too many details — you understand.”

You aren’t sure how to respond, but you know your spouse is telling the truth.

Your spouse continues: “Well, we’ve got almost an hour. You look great. You can’t tell present-me about any of this when I come back from my run, but don’t worry… I’ll be thrilled about this encounter in 10 years when I come up with the idea… and I’ve learned a few techniques that present-me won’t figure out for a while. Want to have sex?”

Have Sex Before Your Date Instead of After 12

Date nights are essential for intimacy and connection, especially after you have kids. It’s fun to go out to dinner, see a movie, go for a hike, or do an escape room — and it can be just as fun (and even more relaxing) to have a stay-date at home after the kids are in bed. However you do it, date nights are great!

One of the things we’ve realized over the past several years is that we really don’t like staying up late. No matter how late we’re out, those darn kids wake up at the same time every day! In fact, by the time we get home from a date at 10 or 11 we’re pretty wiped out. Sex takes energy, even after a romantic, intimate evening together. But after a date with your spouse you’re supposed to have sex, right? It feels anticlimactic to just crawl into bed and go to sleep.

Fortunately there’s a simple solution: have sex before you go on your date. It can be right before you leave, during nap time in the afternoon, or in the morning before the kids come knocking —  give each other an orgasm to kick-off your date right! Here are some advantages to having sex before your date:

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

The downside of having sex before your date is that you lose some of the angsty build-up, but hey, there’s no rule that you can’t have sex again after! (Or during.)

So when do you have sex on date night? I’m sure we’re not the only ones who are tired when we get home!