All Posts by Julie Sibert

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Mar 16

When Was the Last Time You Made Love?

By Julie Sibert | Sex & Family Planning

Okay, I admit it.

when-was-last-time-you-made-loveThis is kind of a trick question.

On the surface, it looks like this post is only for people who can’t remember when they last had sex with their spouse.

But really, this post is for all married couples with regard to sex in their marriage.

When was the last time you made love?

Some of you can’t remember because it’s been sooooo long ago, maybe even years.

And some of you can’t remember because sex is woven into the fabric of your marriage in such a way that it really is hard to discern one time from the next.  For you, sex is not a monumental “once-in-awhile” event, but rather a vital and frequent aspect of how you do life with the person you married.

And some of you fall in between those two camps.

Wherever you fall on the spectrum, could you ponder for a moment not on sex itself , but rather what sexual intimacy (or lack thereof) does to your marriage.

Sex is never just about sex.

Despite what the movies and society and the hook-up culture try to tell us, sex is never just about sex.

And interestingly, I think we see this truth most in marriage, where one life is entwined with another.

Day in and day out, this is the person with whom you navigate finances, a busy calendar, work demands, family commitments, mountaintops, valleys, laundry piles, weed-filled lawns, new tires for the car, neighborhood gatherings, holidays, dog puke, empty milk jugs, little league fields, messy garages, whiney toddlers, lying teens, birthday cakes, smiles, slights and clogged drains.

In the midst of all that, sex is never just about sex.

When there is ongoing sexual refusal in a marriage, it is difficult to ignore or escape the pain and disconnection that such refusal causes.

And, on the flip side, when there is ongoing nurtured sexual intimacy, it is difficult to ignore the reassurance and oneness such intimacy causes.

When was the last time you made love?

I’m not overly concerned with whether you can remember the last time. I’m more curious about what sex is doing to your marriage.

Is sex bringing you closer together, better equipping you to do life together and making you feel grateful that this is the person you chose as your spouse?

Or is sex a thorn in your side — a source of frustration and division, either because you are having it so rarely or because you struggle immensely with agreeing on what nurtured sexual intimacy even means?

Don’t become consumed with answering the question, “When was the last time you made love?”

Do, though, get courageous, go to your spouse and get real about what the sexual connection or sexual distance is doing to you and to the marriage.

Don’t assume your spouse knows how grateful you are for sex — or how discouraged you are because of the lack of it.

Yes, it likely feels scary to be so vulnerable. But this is the person to whom you’ve committed your life.

And you both are worth transparency that has the potential to make the marriage stronger — whether that transparency is filled with joy or drenched in a cry for healthier sexual intimacy.

When was the last time you made love?

For a few of my favorite posts along this topic, check out Extraordinary Sex In Your Ordinary Life and 5 Dangers of Regularly Saying No to Sex.

Feb 16

3 Things Sex WILL Do For Your Marriage

By Julie Sibert | Sex & Family Planning

3-things-sex-will-doI met recently with a bride-to-be who wanted some insight on sexual intimacy in marriage.

In a few short months, she’ll be joining her life with the man she loves.

She had a few questions about sex, and she wanted me to shed some light on the realities (good and bad) of sex in marriage.

I was her “go to” gal for this, because obviously I have few inhibitions talking about this sort of thing. (I know. You’re surprised, right?!)

If I were to ask those of you who are married about sex in marriage, what would you say?

I know for some of you, your responses would be drenched in heartache, disappointment, confusion and maybe even anger.

Depending on your circumstances, you envisioned sex in marriage to be amazing, frequent and — dare I say — magical.

But those visions have failed to materialize.

If you are a woman, you probably thought it would be a lot like the sex portrayed in your favorite romantic movies.

Easy. Mesmerizing. Passionate. Tender.

If you are a man, you probably thought it would be mutually-valued, frequent and a smorgasbord of stimulation.

God gave you the green light, and you were all about “full speed ahead” on savoring that blessing.

For some of you reading this right now, sex has been all of those things and more.

As someone who has lived a previous marriage where sex was a huge struggle and now am in a marriage where sex rocks my world in the most fulfilling way, I certainly have spent time in both the camp of sexual disappointment and the camp of sexual “wow!”

I’m no idealist.  Marriage is hard, eh?

I think it is one of the hardest endeavors we ever choose to enter, and this may surprise you, but that’s why I think nurtured sexual intimacy is soooo important.

There are benefits to sex in marriage beyond the orgasm.  As great as pleasure is, it is pleasure and connection with the person with whom you do life that affords you marvelous realities that you just can’t find anyplace else.

Here are 3 things sex will do for your marriage:

1.  Help you extend grace.

This is big, and at the beginning of marriage, we can’t fathom how much we are going to need it.

Early in marriage, we are still riding the wave of the fairytale and believing our marriage will be spared the struggles other marriages regularly encounter.

Then we come face-to-face with the truth that doing life with another person who is sinful like us is oftentimes excruciatingly hard.

We have to learn how to extend grace, over and over again.  Sex helps you do that.

There is something about frequently giving yourself sexually to the person you married that softens you to each other.

As I have often said, I like my husband better after we have sex.

Are You Ready to Bring Back the Passion & Intimacy in Your Sex Life?

Use these proven techniques to enjoy more sex and deeper intimacy...so you can feel like newlyweds again:

Click here to learn more about Intimacy Reignited

2. Relieve stress.

This piggybacks a little on point #1.  Life in general is stressful, and marriage is not immune to that.

In fact, in some regards, married life (and the little tykes that eventually show up) can be incredibly draining.

Yes, orgasm from a physiological standpoint has been proven to relieve stress, but more importantly, I think pleasure with the person you are doing life with is what really has power to reduce stress.

Instead of waiting for stress to subside before you have sex, why not reverse that train of thinking?  Be more intentional about having sex regardless of the circumstances in your life.

Convey with your body and heart that your sexual desire for your spouse is not contingent on everything else in life moving along smoothly.

My guess is that deep down, you both want to know without a doubt this tender reassurance: I’m in this with you. I’m right here.

3.  Equip you to be a better witness for Christ.

I’m not going to go all Jesus freak on you, because most people hate that sort of thing.  But I will say this…

Sexual connection with the person you married is one of the best ways you can worship God and serve in His name.

I know.  Sounds completely ludicrous that I so closely tie these two things — sexual intimacy in your marriage AND your Christian witness.

Sadly, I hear from many people whose spouse is completely careless with sex in the marriage, yet steadfast bent on serving at the church.

If you are spending countless hours leading Bible studies, making food for funeral luncheons, organizing Vacation Bible School or singing in the choir — yet you are purposely negligent at nurturing intimacy in your marriage — then I humbly encourage you to pause for a moment.

Take a good look at God’s heart for your marriage.

We are better equipped to serve the Lord if we are diligent about the intimacy — and sometimes sexual healing — that needs to happen in our own home.

When you read the above 3 things sex will do for your marriage, I pray you feel encouraged and inspired.

I pray you will bravely start desiring greater possibilities for sex in your marriage.

You’re worth it. Your spouse is worth it. Your marriage is worth it.

Are You Ready to Bring Back the Passion & Intimacy in Your Sex Life?

Use these proven techniques to enjoy more sex and deeper intimacy...so you can feel like newlyweds again:

Click here to learn more about Intimacy Reignited

Jan 19

Do You Want Better Sexual Intimacy in 2015?

By Julie Sibert | Sex & Family Planning

 

better sex in 2015I used to be a New Year’s Resolution junkie.

I mean, I was hard core. I loved the idea of fresh starts and new beginnings and embracing optimism to its fullest.

Honestly, I’m still a little bit that way.

But I’m less enthralled with the “thinking” about resolutions and much more focused on the actual “doing.”

And the older I get, I am most conscientious of healthy “doing” in my relationships, particularly my marriage and with other people who are closest to me.

My husband and I had dinner the other night with a friend whose husband recently died rather suddenly of cancer at the age of 53.  It was devastating for all of us, but obviously most for her and their children.

She and her husband were deeply in love, living a strong healthy marriage.  They envisioned many years ahead together.

Our conversation drifted to “life being short” and “you just never know” and the importance of relationship.  It is true that we build a rich life by building strong and compassionate relationships, and at no time does that become clearer than when we lose someone we love.

It is easy to be enamored with the concept of New Year’s Resolutions, but I am convinced a better approach is to simply “do” something — even baby steps, as I have often said.

Do something.

You don’t have to write it down.

You don’t have to first buy elaborate marriage courses or sign up for marriage retreats.  Those things have their place and are among many great marriage resources available.

BUT — and this is vitally important — there’s a lot to be said for being intentional on what you are already equipped to do.

More affection. More kindness. More affirmation. More touch.

I write and speak about sexual intimacy in marriage, so that’s my wheelhouse.  That’s the topic that floods my email inbox and comment stream on my blog.  That’s where I get a glimpse of deep pain and miscommunication in the marriage beds of so many people.

Possibly your marriage bed and relationship are starving for sexual intimacy.

Can you do something about that?  Will you do something?

Will 2015 be a year of better sexual intimacy in your marriage?

I obviously don’t know your particular situation or circumstances, but I do know there are a lot of marriages where the two people in it need to take a humble and honest look at their sexual intimacy. (Or lack thereof, as the case often is).

And that’s hard.  I’m not going to sugar coat it.  It’s hard, even painful, to take accountability for where we’ve played a part in weakening our relationship.

But it’s worth it — and it’s wise — to take that accountability.  To be brave. To do something.

Anyone can give lip service to “wanting to change.”  (Go to any gym in January and see how crowded it is, and then go back in April and see how less crowded it is).

Don’t let “thinking about change” or “resolving to change” be your stumbling block to actually doing something.

The mental gymnastics will kill you if you think you need a solid plan or all the details figured out before you start.

Will 2015 be a year of better sexual intimacy in your marriage?

Not long ago, I spoke about sex to a women’s group.  It was a group to which I had spoke on the same topic before, so they were well familiar with my passion about authentic sexual intimacy in a marriage.

One woman shared how my talk a year previously had challenged her to make some changes and to nurture the sexual intimacy that was lacking in her marriage.   She shared that it was her wake-up call and that she knew she had to do something.

And she smiled when she said that because of what she had done, her marriage was stronger.  She and her husband were more connected, sexually and otherwise.

Will 2015 be a year of better sexual intimacy in your marriage?

I hope and pray it will be.  I hope and pray you will do something in that direction.

Any time is really the right time to do something to strengthen your marriage. Will you do something?

Dec 16

Does Sex Increase or Decrease Your Stress?

By Julie Sibert | Sex & Family Planning

 

sex-and-stressWhen “benefits” of sex are listed, “stress reduction” is usually somewhere in the mix.

It may be phrased a number of different ways, alluding to both physical and emotional side benefits.  No matter how we label it, the people who study this sort of thing often hold up “feeling less stressed” as a big plus of nurtured sexual intimacy in marriage.

And certainly scientists and doctors could explain this reality physiologically. From a scientific standpoint, they would confirm that something good indeed does physically happen within a husband’s body and wife’s body when they enjoy making love.

And I’m not just talking about orgasm.  There’s a lot more going on than just that powerful response, right?  If ever there was a masterpiece of tremendous complexity, it is the human body.

BUT, I imagine it comes as no surprise that for quite a few married people, sex is a source of stress, not a pathway toward relieving it.

And I’m not just referring to stress in the actual act of intercourse, but also stress in discussing it, navigating difficulties with it and so forth.

What is your experience? Does sex increase or decrease your stress?

I’m personally in the camp of loving — even craving — sex for all the positive things it does to my body and my marriage.  But I’m sensitive to the reality that for some people, sex is a source of tremendous discord in their heart and home.

Whatever camp we are in regarding sex — loving it or dreading it or discouraged about it — I think we owe it to our spouse and marriage to unpack that camp a bit.

Sure, if you love it, seems like there’s nothing to unpack, right?  But I’m a firm believer that good areas of our marriage can continually be made better.  Nothing really is as compartmentalized as we would like to believe.

If sex is a mutually valued part of your marriage, pay close attention to building upon the positive impact it has on your relationship beyond the lovemaking.  Don’t become complacent in showing each other affection out of bed as much as you do in bed.  Don’t assume your spouse knows what sexual intimacy means to you.  Tell them. Affirm them.

If you are in the camp of dreading sex, have you gotten to the root of the reason?

I make it sound so easy, don’t I?  Well, trust me — I’ve written, spoken and read about sex for long enough to know that the reasons can be profoundly difficult, complex and painful. Rarely do I ever think it’s easy to dig into those.

But if sex causes you stress and you know the issues are yours to own, what will it take for you to seek healing for those sexual struggles?  Baby steps count.  Do something, because doing nothing may feel like it’s keeping stress at bay, but it’s more likely just masking the stress.

And if you are in the camp of feeling discouraged about sex in your marriage and tired of feeling rejected sexually by your spouse, I am sensitive to your pain as well.

If you haven’t already, get real with your spouse about what the lack of sexual intimacy is doing to you and to the marriage.  Express to your spouse that you want the two of you to do whatever it takes to work together toward better intimacy (sexual and otherwise).

If they have no interest in your request, then at least you know you did your part in trying to address and heal the matter.  And if they do show interest? Well praise God for wake up calls that help us make our marriages stronger!

All things considered, does sex increase or decrease your stress?

I’m humbly asking you to give that question more than a mere passing glance.  Sit down with it for awhile.  Let it comfort you — or make you uncomfortable.  Marriage begs us to unpack that question with our whole heart.

Will you?

Nov 17

Is There “Plenty of Time Later” to Fix Sexual Struggles in Your Marriage?

By Julie Sibert | Sex & Family Planning

The phone rang at 4 a.m.

No surprise that my husband and I both startled out of our groggy slumber.

It was my mother-in-law, who lives in her own home, but cannot drive. She was in pain. A lot of pain.

My husband and I decided I would take her to the hospital while he stayed with our 9-year-old, who was fast asleep and unaware of the phone call.

Hospital emergency rooms are clarifying places, aren’t they?

As we waited for tests, I listened to the drone of hospital noise.

Footsteps on cold tile floor. Beeps and flashes from medical machines.  The rhythmic opening and closing of doors.  The distant chatter of nurses and doctors, rambling through their own lingo of acronyms and medical-ese.

Unless you truly are dying or show up with a gaping chest wound, emergency rooms ironically feel anything but urgent. This is no reflection on the staff, who more often than not are compassionate and professional.

But even they can move the process along only so fast.

So there is waiting. And more waiting.  The drone of hospital noise your constant companion.

Fortunately, my mother-in-law will be okay. For now.  She is elderly, though, wrought with health issues.

Six hours in an emergency room in the wee hours of a sleepy Sunday morn gives a person time to think, my mind drifting to the fragility of life.  And the shortness of it, really.

I have met plenty of people who live comfortably, yet naively, in the mantra “plenty of time later.”

And because I blog about sex and marriage, I am keenly perceptive of how “plenty of time later” shows up when some married people talk about sex.

For the record, when a married couple struggles sexually, usually one person is indifferently camping in “plenty of time later,” while the other spouse is desperately wondering, “When will that time ever come?!!”

Are you aware of the mantra “plenty of time later?”

Plenty of time later to fix what is wrong with our marriage and our sexual intimacy.

Plenty of time later after the kids are grown.  After money isn’t so tight.  After a climb up the career ladder.

Plenty of time later to stop believing the lies about sex.

Plenty of time later to fix our miscommunication.  To forgive.  And to genuinely humble ourselves and heal the pain in our sexual disconnection.

Do you think there is plenty of time later?

Even if you do bank on there being plenty of time later (a risky roll of the dice for sure), possibly a more important question is, “How do you want to spend it?”

It sounds so cliche to say life is short and time is fleeting.  Behind every cliche is a sliver of truth, though; an epiphany of sorts.  You don’t have to wait for 4 a.m. phone calls or endless hours in an emergency room or divorce ultimatums or a host of other “a-ha” moments to start taking care of what matters in your life.

My hope is that your marriage — and sex in your marriage — matter in your life.   (Yes, I realize some of you right now are saying, “Yes my marriage matters. But sex?  Not so much.”

If you say your marriage matters to you — and there really is no reason you and your spouse couldn’t be having sex on a regular basis, yet you still don’t — then I wonder how much your marriage really matters to you.

Harsh words? Maybe. But they are real words. Humble words.

Is there plenty of time later to fix the sexual struggles in your marriage?  Maybe. Maybe not.

Either way, don’t you think it’s worth exploring the question now?

Oct 19

Is Sex in Your Marriage Inconvenient?

By Julie Sibert | Sex & Family Planning

marriage-sex-inconvenientRecently on my own blog, I wrote a post about the 5 Worst Excuses for Not Having Sex.

Someone commented on that post inferring that husbands need to let go of this “woe is me” attitude about not getting more sex.

The woman went on to imply that if the husband had to walk in the wife’s shoes for a week, he would see why she isn’t enthused about sex.

Her tone was adversarial, almost as if the husband is one big inconvenience that happens to live in the house (and sex was obviously one big inconvenience that went along with him living there).

Such commentary stirs in me the desire to ask a humble question. If you see yourself in this scenario, I pray you will reflect upon your honest answer.

Is sex in your marriage inconvenient?

Maybe you’re not bitter about sex per se, but at the minimum it is, as the cliche goes,”one more thing on your to-do list.”  It is a chore you avoid as long as possible — until the tension is enough that you give in to tide him over till next time.

This is an important conversation I’m trying to delve into, because disagreements about “frequency” of sex are common in marriage.

One spouse wants sex more than the other spouse, and they are too paralyzed (maybe even too angry) to find a solution that leaves them both feeling satisfied and happy.

I’m not gonna lie.  Marriage is hard (as anyone who is married knows).  But this perspective of viewing sex as a negotiable that you and your spouse will “get around to someday” — or will never get around to — is not working.

It just isn’t.

If that describes your marriage, and you know with everything in you that this is causing horrendous division with the person you love, then I encourage you to take a breath.

Resolve to make some changes.

There are countless marriages that are less than they could be — and less than what the two people who stood at the altar ever envisioned they would be — because of complacency.  And resentment.

And an unwillingness to address real struggles in a way that leads to viable solutions.

I don’t know your particular struggles with sex.  I don’t know if they are because of marital tension or exhaustion or misconceptions about sex, lack of pleasure or deeper issues of having not healed from past sexual trauma, past promiscuity, etc.

I do know this, though.

If you are married, then you can’t ignore this matter of sex.  You owe it not only to your spouse, but also to yourself, to nurture sexual intimacy in your marriage.

Here are 10 questions to ask yourself to get started:

1. Have I been careless with this area of sex in our marriage?

2. If I have been careless, will I be courageous and humble and ask for forgiveness?

3. What do I see are the core issues of our sexual struggles?

4. What can I do to work on those issues?

5. Have I really explored what the Bible says about sexual intimacy in marriage?

6. Do I appreciate not only experiencing sexual pleasure, but also helping my spouse experience it?

7. What Christian resources could I explore specifically on sexual intimacy in marriage? (counseling, books, websites, retreats, etc.)

8. What does sex have to do with strengthening my marriage?

9. Do I love my spouse?

10. How can sex help them experience that love?

Your marriage is worth this kind of reflection and action.  It is.

I and so many other marriage advocates wouldn’t be so passionate about encouraging marriages if we didn’t believe with everything in us that your marriage is worth it.

Sep 22

Why You Shouldn’t Wait to Have More (and Better) Sex

By Julie Sibert | Sex & Family Planning

more sexDo you think there will be plenty of time down the road to nurture sex in your marriage?

Maybe. Maybe not.

When my husband and I married, we were 37 and 33, respectively.  And though we had each had sex in previous relationships, we did not have sex with each other until our wedding night.

We had been engaged just under a year and had been together for nearly two years, so to say the sexual tension between us was intense is an understatement of the greatest magnitude.  We wanted each other — in the worst (best?) way.

During our first few years of marriage, we enjoyed an incredible amount of sexual intimacy.  And even now 11 years after we said “I do,” we certainly still enjoy and savor our sexual connection.

But — and here’s the caveat you can’t see at the altar — life has a way of moving along and sabotaging sexual connection.

We started marriage with my 5-year-old son, and then we added another little guy to the picture about a year and half after our vows.  I couldn’t have seen then what I’m living now.

For those of you doing littles, brace yourself.  If you think the newborn, toddler and preschool years are busy, the grade-school, middle school and high school years will push your calendar to a new level of insanity.

And I’m not even talking about those folks who over-schedule their kids in a bazillion activities.

I’m talking about painfully average folks like me and my man, keeping the ship afloat and making sure everyone gets where they need to be with what they need when they need it.

There are things you can’t see at the beginning of marriage (thank God) that then become your reality the more years you log.

For us, in our short 11 years together, it has been the thrilling (and exhausting) ride of raising kids, of caring for an elderly parent, of losing jobs and changing jobs and finding jobs, and of facing a myriad of health struggles and financial hurdles.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am grateful for the life I wake up to each day. Grateful.

But I don’t always like the toll it has taken on the sexual connection in my marriage bed.

Do you think there is plenty of time down the road to nurture sex in your marriage?

Maybe. Maybe not.

Do you know why you shouldn’t wait to to have more (better) sex?

Because if you don’t build now the healthy habit of regularly and intentionally connecting with each other sexually, you will find it almost impossible to do when life gets cumbersome and treacherous.

When I think of how my beloved and I now have to seek with eagle eyes the sliver of margin in our life to make love, I think of how much more difficult it would be if we had not invested in our sexual relationship early in our marriage.

There was a time in our life when sex came easy — when we weren’t neck deep in parenting chaos and we weren’t taking care of an elderly parent and we had the advantage of being a bit younger than we are now.

The reason you shouldn’t wait to have more and better sex is because the elusive “tomorrow” that you think will be an easier time to have sex really doesn’t exist.  In fact, depending on your age and season of life you’re in, the “tomorrow” you wake up to might very well be incredibly harder than your life today.

I’ve long believed that when a husband and wife are taking good care of their sexual intimacy — having sex often and making sure they both are enjoying it — they are better equipped to do life.  Better equipped to savor the good moments.  Better equipped to endure together the painful debilitating parts.

Do you think there is plenty of time down the road to nurture sex in your marriage?

Maybe. Maybe not.

Mark my words. Your sexual connection tomorrow will depend on what you are doing about it today.

Aug 18

Wives: Why Being a Little Selfish Will Lead to Better Orgasms

By Julie Sibert | Sex & Family Planning

It seems a bit counterintuitive.

a wife's orgasm

This idea of being selfish in bed.  It even — dare I say — seems to fly in the face of that beloved Christian platitude of being self-sacrificial in marriage.

But ladies I gotta tell you — if you aren’t experiencing and enjoying orgasm in your marriage bed, then your marriage bed (and your marriage) is likely suffering.

Big time.

(For you husbands reading this, pay close attention.  I have gems in here for you too.  And hopefully by the end of the post, you and your wife will both run with abandon toward her orgasmic pleasure).

No surprise to anyone who has ever had sex that a wife having an orgasm (statistically speaking) is not quite as sure of a thing as a husband having an orgasm.

The clitoris just isn’t as predictable as the penis.

Yes, I’m painting things in somewhat broad strokes here. The truth remains, though, that if you asked 100 people who is more likely to have an orgasm in every sexual encounter in a marriage — the husband or the wife — I’d bet my last $1 that all 100 would say “the husband.”

Women sometimes ask me how to have an orgasm.  (You just can’t offer a class on that at the local community college, but hey…if I could, I probably would. Orgasm 101.)

In all seriousness, I believe wives who see the value of sex do indeed want orgasm to be a part of it — they often struggle, though, with knowing how to get there.

This is especially true if they have never had an orgasm, but even for wives who have known sexual pleasure, there still can stumbling blocks that thwart their pleasure.

The solution? Enter selfishness, stage right.

Here are three tips I suggest:

 

1.  Stop thinking that sex is all about him.

This one little lie fuels a wife’s lack of orgasmic pleasure more than anything else.

Somewhere along the way, she bought into the lie that her husband’s need and desire for sex trumps anything the sexual encounter could offer her.  Sadly, this thought seems most pervasive in Christian circles, where wives are subtly or not-so-subtly told “sex is what you have to do.”

But what if you viewed sex instead as something you “get” to do?  Something that is as much about intense pleasure for you as it is for your husband.

When both a husband and a wife are more intentional about pleasure for both of them being a priority, it’s not really selfish.  It’s a true reflection of what God intended sex to be in a marriage.

When God said that a husband and wife should not withhold their bodies from each other, that wasn’t just for a husband’s benefit.

It was for her benefit as well.

2. Stop assuming your husband knows how to help you climax.

In one regard, husbands are at a disadvantage sexually.  A woman’s body is bewildering landscape. What seems to turn her on one night doesn’t really do much for her the next.

Add to this that she often doesn’t know what turns her on, and it is no wonder that her likelihood of reaching orgasm starts to feel like climbing Mt. Everest.  Nice in theory, but completely impractical in reality.

There is a better way.

Wives, you need to coach him on pleasing you.  Husbands, you need to invite her to coach you — and then respond accordingly to her direction.

If you as a wife do not know what it will take for you to orgasm, I will give you a little insight.  Your clitoris likely needs more stimulation than you realize.  Whether it be through intercourse, oral sex or use of hands, you likely need to try different techniques to get the rate and firmness of stimulation just right.

And consider various positions, such as the wife being on top, where she usually has more control over angles and rate of movement.   Missionary position is not the only way to have sex.  I’m not ruling it out, of course, but for a wife to achieve orgasm this way, her husband usually needs to be further forward with the shaft of his penis in more direct and firm contact with the clitoris.

Talk to each other and welcome the opportunity to be teachable.  This principle is foundational in marriages where there is amazing sex. (I have a whole page on my site with links about orgasm, if you want to check that out as well).

3.  Start leaning into pleasure.

This is probably the most difficult one for women to embrace.  Like I’ve already mentioned, if she thinks sex is just for him, she has gone to great lengths to downplay the significance of her own orgasm.

Also, she has like a gazillion details running through her mind at any given time. And unlike her husband, she’s not able to put all of them on the back burner when she crawls into bed — and into sex — with her spouse.

Good news is that you can learn to lean into pleasure.

Spend more time on foreplay. Stop telling yourself you don’t deserve sexual pleasure.  You do deserve it with the man you married.  The clitoris was God’s idea and it serves no other purpose but to allow you to experience indescribable orgasmic pleasure.

When you are feeling aroused — and especially when you feel yourself getting close to having an orgasm — focus on the pleasure.  On the surface that may look like pure selfishness, but ultimately it will do your marriage a world of good.

If you’ve made it this far in the post, my guess is you are either a bit nervous. Or a bit aroused.   Or maybe a lot of both.

A little sexual selfishness goes a long way to better sexual intimacy in marriage.   Sex doesn’t have to be a battleground. And it doesn’t have to be a bleak boring tundra.  It can be a playground of sacredness, oneness and pleasure.

What do you want for your marriage?

Jul 21

Sexual Touch and What You Might Be Missing

By Julie Sibert | Sex & Family Planning

sexual touch in your marriageThe way you touch your spouse — what does it say about your sexual desire?

It’s an important question.

Sexual desire — the degree to which we sexually long for the person we married — is a tender vulnerable place.

Rich with possibilities.  And, in some marriages, fraught with discouragement.

My husband and I had not had sex with each other before we were married, so our wedding night set us on an adventure of learning about arousal.  We had much to learn about sexual touch.

Certainly we understood the mechanics of sex, but as far as discovering what we each found arousing with each other — well, that was a blank slate!

And for that we were grateful.

Eleven years in to marriage, and we still love exploring the map, figuring out new ways to turn each other on.  With our touch.

What do you convey when you touch your spouse sexually?  In many regards, words can never measure up to what touch can do.

Yes, therein lies the power. The way we touch can be positive or negative, and the subtleties between the two is more impactful to a sexual connection — and to the entire marriage, really — than many couples care to reflect upon.

Nowhere does our touch speak clearer than in how we use it sexually with the person we married. That is a bold statement. I know.

But think about your own marriage and the way you each express yourselves sexually — with your touch, not your words.  When you look closely at that, what gut feeling are you left with?

One of ravenous gratitude? Or one of disappointment and discouragement?

A common complaint I hear from some people who comment on my blog and who email me is that sex in their marriage has become predictable.  I even had someone tell me once that the way he and his wife had sex was so predictable that he could almost time it down to the second.

He was painfully aware that predictable sexual encounters — especially ones drenched in an obligatory tone of “have to” rather than “get to”fail to take us to the authentic sexual connection we desire.

Just in case you think I’m overly sympathetic to husbands who feel sexually neglected, I do indeed have a heart’s cry for women who find themselves in similar circumstances.  They too hunger for a husband who wants them sexually and clearly expresses that desire in the way he touches her.

If you think sexual touch is an area where you and your spouse can grow, consider these three tips:

Tip #1:  Use your hands to their full potential.

Consider the ways you can use your fingertips and hands — through a variety of light caresses and firm touches — to arouse your spouse.

And don’t forget that sexual arousal is not limited to only certain areas of the body.  Sure, the genitals and breasts are the areas we think of the most, but honestly, the entire body is fair game. You may be surprised at what you discover.

For example, some people find it particularly arousing to have their spouse run their fingers through their hair or along the back of their neck.

Don’t be afraid to ask what they enjoy and also to try new touches and take cues from their feedback (verbal and nonverbal!)

Tip #2:  Don’t be overly anxious to get to the act itself.

I like an intense orgasm as much as the next person, but I think what can be as invigorating is what leads up to that orgasm.  And a lot of that has to do with the time we invest in touching.

Anticipation is powerful, so pay close attention to the way your touch can take your spouse through a delicious cycle of getting close to a sexual edge.  Learn how to take them to that edge, back off it ever so slightly, and then go to the edge again — several times before actually going over.

Couples who figure out that cycle find better sex at the end of it. Amazing.

Tip #3:  Add more sexual touch when you are clothed.

How intentional are you throughout the day to convey to your spouse with your touch, “I want you. I desire you. You’re still the one who turns me on.”

Sadly, too many husbands and wives who couldn’t keep their hands off each other early in the relationship can now go days on end without ever really touching each other, let alone touching each other with passion and playfulness.

It is extraordinary what you can say to your spouse. Without actually saying anything.

Sexual touch — do you know what you are missing?

For more on sex and your marriage, consider the 10 Best Sex Questions to Ask Your Spouse.

Jun 16

Why “Going Through The Motions” is Robbing You of Great Sex

By Julie Sibert | Sex & Family Planning

going-through-the-motions-sexMy husband recently switched from a second shift schedule to a more “normal” day schedule.

Americanized life — and maybe life in other countries too — tends to gravitate toward “work during the day” and “off in the evenings and on weekends.”

While I know that’s not everyone’s reality (it wasn’t ours for years), it is what is most conducive to things like kids’ sporting commitments, evening birthday parties, dinner out with friends and catching a 6 p.m. movie.

So, in many regards, we were thrilled when his schedule went to a shift of 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Thrilled I tell you!

What we didn’t anticipate is the toll that new schedule would take on our sexual intimacy.  

I. Kid. You. Not.

With his previous schedule, we had become accustomed to having sex late at night — and by late, I could really say “early in the morn,” because we were often having sex at 1 a.m.

Sure, with the new schedule he was now coming home from work by 3:30 p.m., but our evenings and nighttime hours became consumed with various life activities and responsibilities.

By the time we made it to bed, it was to sleep, not to have sex — because he had to get up at 5:30 a.m.

We found ourselves drifting toward a lot less sex.

But there was a positive we discovered (which I think is going to get us back on track for more frequent sex as well).

What we discovered is that we had lost touch with what it means to be ravenously desired sexually.  In other words, sex with the old schedule was a lot more frequent, but it was too often characterized by “going through the motions.”  

Don’t get me wrong.  It was still good.

I mean, we both like sex a lot, so it’s not that we didn’t enjoy it.  We were having sex so often, though, that it had become — I hate to admit it — somewhat routine.

Enter “new work schedule” stage right.

When we’ve made love lately, we both have noticed how powerful it is to want to be wanted sexually.

When the person you’ve married can’t wait to get their hands on your body and you mutually can’t wait to get your hands on theirs, it’s an intensity unlike anything else.

And I believe we get a glimpse of God’s kindness in that He gave us sex not only to protect our marriage, but also to infuse it with sexual passion and playfulness.

My point?

Have you become comfortable with simply “going through the motions” in your sexual intimacy? Have you lost a sense of what turns you each on?

Sadly, “going through the motions” too much will rob you of great sex.  What will wake you up from that?

For us it was a work schedule change. For you, it might be this blog or something else you read. It might be that you are at a sexual crossroads

It might even be a comment from your spouse, who realized awhile back that it would be better for both of you if “going through the motions” sex was more of the exception than the rule in your marriage.

There’s a lot to be said for wanting to be wanted sexually — and mutually running toward that feeling with abandon.

If “going through the motions” is robbing you of great sex, what will you do about it?