All Posts by Julie Sibert

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May 19

Why Is Sex a Struggle in Your Marriage?

By Julie Sibert | Sex & Family Planning

sexual struggles in marriageRecently, I went to a graduation party where I was able to catch up with some people I have known for decades, but don’t see often.

One person who I hadn’t seen in awhile shared with me that he and his ex-wife were now back together after quite a few years apart.

The ex-wife had even had another marriage (and another divorce) in that time.

Being the curious creature I am, I said, “What are you going to do differently this time to make sure you don’t go down the same path again — you know, the trainwreckish path?”

He had an answer, but I admit I wasn’t overly convinced they had dug to the root of what destroyed them the first go-round. I hope it works, but honestly, I don’t know if they’ve stacked the odds in their favor.

Their struggles weren’t sexual per se, but the conversation with him got me thinking about how many fractured marriages I hear about with regard to sexual intimacy.

More often than not, the two people are still married, but sex is an issue. A big issue.

If sex is a struggle in your marriage, do you and your spouse know why?

It’s a simple question. Kind of.

But if we soak in it a bit, we realize that if we don’t understand the “why” behind something, we are rarely capable to forge any lasting change. Surface healing is a cheap counterfeit for real healing.

And surface healing has a tendency to fake us out and make us believe that “all is now fine,” when really we haven’t gotten to the root of the heartache.

Lest you think I’m horribly naive, I do recognize there are marriages stuck in sexual discord because one spouse or both are steadfast against even beginning the process of digging into the cause. Or because the marriage is embroiled in an ongoing unconfessed sin, such as infidelity or pornography use.

Such marriages are not beyond God’s redemption, but obviously there has to be a willingness on the part of the offending spouse to walk in a healthier direction.

I also know there are plenty — pa-lenty — of marriages dealing with sexual struggles that could get unstuck by asking the hard questions about why sex is a struggle.

Why is sex a struggle in your marriage?  Could you and your spouse explore the below questions together?

While these certainly don’t cover every scenario, they do cover a spectrum of things that tend to trip people up sexually in their marriages.

1.  Is past sexual abuse or sexual violation against you making it difficult for you to see sex in a positive light?

2. Are you self-sabotaging sex in your marriage because you falsely believe you should be punished for past promiscuity (such as when you were single or before you were a Christian)?

3. Are you withholding sex as a way to punish your spouse for a past betrayal or other loss of trust in your marriage?

4. Have you not yet explored what God says about the positive aspects of sex in marriage? Do you see sex only as being dirty or gross (even in the context of your marriage)?

5. Are you and/or your spouse wanting to do things sexually that fall outside God’s boundaries for healthy sexual intimacy in a marriage?  Is this causing guilt, anger and/or confusion?

6. Is your marriage incredibly fragile because of non-sexual struggles (financial pressures, parenting challenges, work stresses, in-law challenges, etc.)?

7. Are you and your spouse unsure how to help each other experience pleasure?  God designed sexual climax for a wife and a husband, but often they need to teach each other what feels good with regard to foreplay, arousal and orgasm.

8. Are you diligent about all other areas of your life (kids, work, volunteer work, ministry), but indifferent about nurturing sex in your marriage?

9. Has sex just become boring, and you and your spouse follow the same sexual routine every single time?

See what I mean about the spectrum of what causes sexual struggle in marriages?

I am not a counselor. Or a doctor.

But I know there is healing to be found from sexual struggles.  Sometimes a married couple can find that healing on their own through honest communication and a genuine exploration of God’s Word.

And other times, it is wise to also involve a professional counselor or ministries that specialize in helping people heal from the pain of sexual trauma, sexual betrayal or other deep discord.

Wherever you find yourself in the struggles, what will it take for you to courageously look at why you are stuck?

And what will it take for you to no longer allow that why to hold captive healthy sexual intimacy in your marriage?

Apr 21

Stuck at a Sexual Crossroads in Your Marriage?

By Julie Sibert | Sex & Family Planning

sexual-crossroadsI didn’t know when I started blogging about sex.

I didn’t know how many people struggle – I mean really struggle – with sex in their marriage.

It all seems ironic now, but when I started writing and speaking about sexual intimacy in marriage, I must have naively underestimated the power of the internet.

And after awhile, as the emails and comments started to pour in from every corner of the world, I started to see some common threads.

Heart-wrenching threads.

Many people, maybe yourself included, are at a sexual crossroads in their marriage.

Sex has been a source of disconnect way more than a source of oneness.  Sometimes for years.  Decades even.

Sure, the specific circumstances may vary, but generally it often comes down to one person valuing and wanting sexual intimacy.  And the other spouse avoiding it at all costs.

I’ve long believed that healthy patterns are intentional.  No one falls into an exercise routine or happens upon some vitamin rich broccoli.  No one haphazardly starts digging into God’s Word on a regular basis. Or drifts into a balanced budget.

Nope. Healthy patterns are intentional.

You have to walk in the direction of health, whether it’s physical, spiritual, emotional, financial – or sexual.

Unhealthy patterns, though, usually sneak up on us much more casually.  They are unintentional.   No one stands at the altar and thinks, “Someday I’m just going to stop having sex with this person to whom I have just pledged my life… my future” or “I can easily see the moment down the road when his touch will mean nothing to me.”

Nope.  Unhealthy patterns are hazy.  We’re in them before we really know it.  And once there, they become our normal.

Regular mutually satisfying sex drifts into occasional token sex.  Babies come. Life gets complicated.  Jobs get demanding.  Lawns need to be mowed. Sexual distance begins to seem less awkward.

Fill in the details however you may, but I see common denominators among many married couples who are rarely having sex.

They never envisioned sex in their marriage would ever look like that.

It just happened.

Thus the crossroads, where one person in the marriage is ready for a healthier normal that includes sex with the person they love — sex as God designed it.   And the other person isn’t quite sure if they are ready to give up the comfortable unhealthy pattern.  (Actually, sometimes they are quite sure they don’t want to give it up).

I don’t know if any of that describes you, but if it does, I encourage you to read this post with your spouse.

Does that take courage?  Without a doubt.  Whether you are the one desiring nurtured intimacy or you are the one who has been refusing it, it takes courage to address such deep woundedness in your relationship.

Sometimes, though, those baby steps in the direction of health – as painful as they may be to take – are the first steps toward something changing for the better.

No, there are no guarantees.

But staying stuck at a crossroads seems equally or more painful as well.  Better to at least try to shed light on the matter. Better to give hope, love and sexual renewal a fighting chance.

Are you stuck at a sexual crossroads in your marriage?

Could you do something to move your marriage in a healthier direction?

When I started blogging, I had no idea how often I would be asking that question.  But now I ask it all the time.

Mar 17

Why Everything You Thought About Hot Sex May Be Wrong

By Julie Sibert | Sex & Family Planning

what-makes-sex-hotHave you seen some of those video segments that show the extent that professional photographs are digitally manipulated?

To help people (particularly women and teen girls) grasp a more accurate picture of beauty, these documentaries visually show, step by step, how an original photo is tweaked to look more striking or more beautiful.

What we end up seeing is rarely what a person looks like in real life.

Technology has made the process seamless, allowing virtually anyone with the right software to not only remove all “flaws” from a photographed person, but also to enhance other features.

Bigger breasts. Whiter teeth. Smoother skin.

There are no limits.

A few magazine editors and photographers have willingly admitted that there is not one photograph that appears in advertising or print that has not in some way been altered.

Not. One.

What in the world does this have to do with hot sex?

Quite a bit, actually.  But not only for the obvious reasons.

Sure, our perception of body image has taken quite a hit because of all this digital manipulation.

And poor body image no doubt affects sexual intimacy in marriage — even if we landed at that “poor body image” on the rather shaky facade of fabricated visuals blaring from magazine covers, billboards and internet ads.

But the body image struggle isn’t the only thing tripping us up in bed.

The hottest most passionate sex in a marriage bed likely doesn’t look like we think it looks.

Media and Hollywood  regularly portray lovemaking, and they’ve become so skilled at portraying it that we are made to believe what we are seeing is accurate.  (That’s why they call it make believe).

It’s no wonder that when we think of “hot sex,” we aren’t just thinking of two perfect bodies.  We also are believing that those two people sexually move and engage in perfect rhythm.

Every kiss well-timed.

Every touch graceful.

Every shift in position flawless.

Every climax easily achieved.

Not even a pillow is out of place.  The room is perfectly lit.  Her make-up looks… well… like it was just touched up by an expert.  And his body is just the right shade of tan.

Hot sex.  If what you think it is seems to mirror the fabricated version, then everything you think may be wrong.

Real passion — real sex — is much messier. Much more awkward.

Honestly, this is one reason I’m not a big fan of a husband and wife videotaping themselves having sex.

Obviously, videotaping poses a huge risk that such video could fall into the wrong hands, even mistakenly.  But you also risk changing your perception on something that truly is amazing — even if it doesn’t look amazing.

Do you know what makes sex hot?

Love. Commitment. Vulnerability. Communication. Trust. Emotional transparency. Privacy. Authentic playfulness. A covenant.  Friendship. Agreement with the Lord that marital sexual pleasure and connection is right and holy and worthy of pursuit. Letting go of inhibitions.

Did you notice I did not name anything that is an outward physical attribute of the wife or husband — or even of the act itself?

Anything physically that happens during hot sex in marriage is merely a reflection of what is happening within the hearts, minds and souls of the two people there.

If you think the hottest sex comes from technique or physical beauty, I encourage you to fix your eyes on the Author of sex.

He reveals to us that sexual intimacy rooted in a godly understanding of authentic marital love and oneness will always be more profound — even hotter — than anything the world can offer up in the latest romantic movie.

Are you settling for mediocre sex in your marriage bed because you have convinced yourself you cannot have hot sex?

Feb 17

Great Sex and Your Marriage: What You Must Know…

By Julie Sibert | Sex & Family Planning

great sex and your marriageI’m a Christian wife who blogs about sex, so as you can imagine, that makes for interesting conversations at social gatherings.

My husband and I were at a wedding reception once, sitting with a friend of mine and her husband.

With a mischievous laugh, my friend looked at my husband and jokingly said her husband wanted his picture with him.  “You’re his hero!  He thinks you get sex all the time!”

We laughed.  Sure, her exclamation was in jest, but honestly, it reflects a more somber tone that weaves through many comments and emails I receive from readers of my blog.

Many people think that because my husband and I enjoy sex often — and that it is quite good — that our marriage is somehow a walk in the park, free of many of the struggles that they face in their own marriages.

Sex for us, they think, must be a panacea for any strains on our marriage.

Here is what I want you to know about great sex and marriage…

A huge part of what makes sex great in my marriage is that we work hard at the rest of our marriage.

All the time.

And it’s work.  Hard work.

We stumble. We get short with each other.  We’ve said things we regret.  We’ve misunderstood each other’s hearts.

But we also have learned to get back up.  To forgive quickly.  To talk.  To extend grace. To remember our commitment.  To pray for each other.  To laugh and savor all the extraordinary joys that show up in ordinary ways.

Great sex in our marriage — the kind of sex that is profound and indescribable on so many levels — does not exist in a vacuum.

I think if you met me or my husband or were to glimpse into our life on any given day you would be surprised to see how our marriage looks like a lot of marriages.

Messy. Chaotic. Boring at times.

Wrought with tiredness and stress.  Our dirty dishes pile up.  Our dog destroys things she shouldn’t.  Our calendar is often a bully.

So when we make love — when we crawl into that sacred space literally and figuratively — we show up having already poured ourselves out in the other crevices of our relationship.

Truth be told, each phenomenal orgasm is tender reminder of what it took for us to get there.

What I want you to know about great sex and your marriage is that you both have to be willing to give and re-give yourselves, often when you really want to do the exact opposite.

You have to resolve to tackle the hard issues, one baby step at a time.

You have to be able to train your eyes to spot speckles of goodness and love and warmth amidst so much noise.

That’s not easy.

I know.

But that’s where the great sex is found.

And if you were to stop by my house on any given day, that’s exactly what I would tell you.

(After, of course, I tried to keep the dog from jumping on you. And then asked you to look past the laundry baskets, overflowing bookshelves, messy desk and worn-out kitchen floor that should have been replaced in 1991).

Jan 20

5 Secrets of Sexually Confident Wives

By Julie Sibert | Sex & Family Planning

sexually-confident-wivesI love to make cheesecake.

It wasn’t always this way, though.  Despite my deep love for cheesecake (I mean, it borders on obsessive), I was always hesitant to actually make one.

I had heard that it was difficult, wrought with several things that could go wrong.

Then I started thinking how ridiculous it was to be paralyzed by that kind of fear.  About cheesecake, nonetheless.

Instead of wallowing in my paralysis, I took action.

I set out to learn all the secrets of making scrumptiously awesome cheesecake.   And because of that, I can now make rock star cheesecake.

If you were my neighbor or a close friend who wanted a cheesecake for her baby shower, I would be your gal.  You’d be coming back for more.  I guarantee it.

Along the way, not only did I learn how to master homemade cheesecake, I also discovered something else — the secrets in making remarkable cheesecake are strikingly similar to the secrets of sexually confident wives.

(See how I did that.  I managed to put “cheesecake” and “sex” in the same conversation. Sounds like a little slice of Heaven, if I don’t say so myself).

5 Secrets of Sexually Confident Wives

1. Don’t wait for perfection.

Do you think everything has to be “just right” in order for you and your husband to have sex?

You have to be well rested.  The house has to be picked up. The kids have to have spent the evening quietly reading books before putting themselves to bed early. There can’t be any dishes in the sink.

Well, sexually confident wives don’t operate that way.

They embrace that life is messy. And they know it is possible to weave sexual intimacy into all the chaos that is inherent with everyday life.

I think one of the reasons I was so paralyzed in making cheesecake is that I really thought I needed all these fancy kitchen tools and the perfect oven and gourmet chocolate shavings and so on and so forth.

That’s just not true.  Waiting for perfection will leave you… well… waiting.

That’s not good if you really want cheesecake.  And it’s not good if you want tender sexual connection with the man you married.

2. Plan ahead.

Don’t confuse “plan ahead” with “things need to be perfect.”  As I said above, waiting for perfection isn’t going to pan out very well.

However, with regard to planning ahead, cheesecake bakers know the secret of setting their ingredients out ahead of time so they are at room temperature.  In other words, the cheesecake will turn out better if you plan ahead.

Same is true of sex.

Planning ahead simply means that sexually confident wives have mastered the art of all-day foreplay and preparing themselves for sex.

Do you wait to get in the mood for sex or do you spend the day getting in the mood?

I encourage you to become more intentional about setting the mood for sex — a tone that you begin early in the day with your husband that sends the message that sex is on the menu tonight.

Sure, a sexual quickie now and then is nice, but some of the richest sexual encounters happen after the groundwork has been laid throughout the day.

3. Find pleasure in it.

When I make cheesecake, it brings me tremendous joy to know that not only will others partake in the outcome, but I will as well!

When it comes to sex, your pleasure matters.

If you view sexual pleasure as just something for your husband, then you will quickly grow weary of sex.  But if you learn that those intimate moments between just you and your husband are meant to be pleasurable for both of you, then you will see sex as a blessing.

Not a burden.

I’ve written extensively about orgasm and you can find those posts on this page on my site.  I also wrote a post here on Engaged Marriage titled “Wives, Do You Know Why Your Orgasm Matters?”

4. Add variety.

Some Christian wives hear the words “sexual variety” and immediately feel anxious, thinking that such variety means sexual acts that are outside God’s guidelines for the marriage bed.

Not so! Sexual variety is definitely possible without sinning.

God after all is creative!  I believe He gives a husband and wife tremendous freedom within the exclusivity of their marriage to explore sexual pleasure.

Try different positions, various types of touch and other aspects that engage all the senses (guys tend to be very visual, so your husband would likely enjoy seeing your body more!)

When I’m making a cheesecake, I rarely make plain cheesecake.  I branch out and make turtle cheesecake. Or white chocolate raspberry cheesecake. Or Irish Cream cheesecake.

You get the picture.  Sexually confident wives love adding variety — and embracing it — during sex.

5.  Learn new skills.

I was reading the paper one day and saw a review of a book titled “125 Best Cheesecake Recipes.” I couldn’t sign on to Amazon quick enough!

As Christians, we now have ample access to books and resources on sexual intimacy in marriage. I literally have three bookshelves full of Christian sex books.

If you want to better understand the gift of sexual intimacy as God sees it, as well as learn new techniques, you can do that!  For example, I just co-authored an eBook titled Pursuit of Passion: Discovering True Intimacy in Your Marriage.

I’m not trying to plug my book (well, maybe I am a little).  I’m just saying that you can learn more about sex from trusted Christian authors and bloggers.

Whether you are making cheesecake — or making love — follow the secrets that will leave your husband coming back for more!

Any other secrets you would add to the mix?

Dec 16

The Sex Tragedy the Church Could Fix

By Julie Sibert | General , Sex & Family Planning

sex-tragedyA friend emailed me the other day, asking if I would be willing to meet with her friend who is engaged.

This young lady has kept herself pure as she prepares for marriage and she wants to talk to a Christian wife about sex.

Believe it or not, I pray for opportunities like this.  Who better than Christian women to encourage other women in healthy sexual intimacy in their marriages?

Sadly, I don’t know too many Christian wives who would agree with me.

If anything, I hear from more wives who loathe sex rather than love it.

They don’t want to look closely at their own intimacy, let alone encourage other Christians in embracing a healthy attitude about it.

And I hear from spouses who are sexually refused, treading through marriage under crushing pain and discouragement that often grows into resentment. They wonder if sex is indeed marriage’s biggest lie.

The sex tragedy the church could fix?

We could turn the tide on the negative perception of marital sex.

We could take back ground Satan has camped upon in countless marriages where sex is tolerated at best and outright avoided at worse — usually by one spouse, which further fuels division in the marriage covenant. (Insert Satan’s happy dance here. Division is his wheelhouse. His sweet spot. His forte).

By the “church” I do not mean only the priests and pastors and lay leaders (although they certainly carry responsibility in sharing God’s truth about sex).

More so what I mean by “church” is the body of Christ… the people. You and me.

We could better equip engaged and newly-married couples to see that sex in marriage is sacred, holy and fun — but that it won’t take care of itself.

It has to be nurtured. Pursued. Drenched in open and vulnerable communication.

We could better help those who have been married awhile to not let their intimacy fade.

And we could speak hope into marriages where sex has been a place of discouragement, distance, betrayal, indifference and confusion.

How do we do this?

Here are 4 ideas:

1. Speak positively about sex.

As a married person, if you value and enjoy sex, don’t be afraid to appropriately speak about sex.  No, I’m not saying divulge specific details about your own intimacy.  Just have a heart tuned to the opportunities to paint sex in a positive light.

Don’t be the gal who goes along with the sarcastic commentary at girls’ night about husbands being “animals for wanting it so much.”

Don’t be the guy who turns a blind eye to the crude and explicit sexual jokes made by your buddies or in your workplace.

Let’s do our part to move the conversation in a healthier direction.  Baby steps count.

2. Face your own intimacy struggles.

There are so many Christian resources on this topic of sex.  Whether a marriage has felt the brutal aftershocks of porn addiction, past sexual abuse and infidelity — or has suffered from lack of pleasure and poor communication — there are resources available.  Christian resources.

We are without excuse if we individually haven’t done our part to heal sexual apathy and division in our marriage.

3. Carve out time for more sex.

I know how crazy life gets.  I live it too.

The grocery shopping, work demands, homework projects, church meetings. There are lawns to mow, bills to pay, social gatherings to attend, family commitments to keep.

It. Never. Ends.

I get it.

But if you want to be a Christian who loves sex, you need to find a way to have more sex — not just quantity sex, but quality sex.  Because quality sex does wonders to put the chaos of life into perspective.

4. Ask your church to talk about sex in marriage.

Suggest to your church leadership that they authentically and thoroughly address the importance of nurtured sexual intimacy in marriage.

We as the church have spent way too much time emphasizing the sin of sex outside of marriage — and not near enough time singing the praises of sex inside of marriage.

Where is the balance?

Where is the equal air time?

Yes, we need to tell teenagers and single adults to not have sex.  But we also need to tell them God’s beautiful and passionate design for sex in marriage.

We’ve failed young people in this regard.  It’s no wonder so many marriages start out on the wrong foot sexually — and get perpetually stuck there.

We’ve done brides (and by default, their husbands) a disservice by speaking of sex in hushed tones of being nothing more than mere “wifely duty.”

Get courageous and ask your church leaders to start speaking about the importance of sex in marriage from the pulpit — not in a superficial way, but with some genuine effort into exploring what God actually says about sex.

It is the Lord, after all, who wants a man to delight in his wife’s breasts. It is the Lord who wants a husband and wife to love and honor each other and to not withhold their bodies from each other.

It is the Lord who designed orgasm — for both a husband and a wife.  How generous of Him.  Kudos to you on that one, God.

I know that some of you may be thinking, “Well Julie, it’s easy for you! You blog about sex. You speak about it.  You just co-authored a book about sex. Not all of us are you.”

You’re right. But when all is said and done, I’m just one wife trying to do my part.  And there are others out there like me (bloggers, authors, speakers), but we still can’t reach everyone.

We can’t fix the tragedy on our own, because we don’t know your neighbors, your friends, and your family members. We likely will never get the opportunity to share personally with them a positive message about sex in marriage.

But you can.

Will you?  Will you be a part of fixing this sex tragedy?  I’m in if you’re in.

(Well, I’m in regardless of what you do, but I would just assume you be there too).

Nov 18

3 Sex Lies (Some) Christian Wives Believe

By Julie Sibert | Sex & Family Planning

3 Sex Lies (Some) Christian Wives BelieveHave you been lied to about sex?

Worse, have other Christians been behind those lies?

Maybe! The good news, though, is that once you recognize these lies, you can set the record straight in your marriage and make sex a sacred, nurtured and mutually-valued aspect of your relationship.

Here are 3 sex lies (some) Christian wives believe:

Lie #1:  Sex is just for him.

This is a sneaky little lie that usually shows up subtly, much to the detriment of your sexual pleasure as a wife and the profound effect sex could be having on your marriage.

Nowhere — I mean, nowhere — in the Bible do we see that sex is just for the husband.  God wants a husband and wife to mutually honor and nurture sexual intimacy in marriage.

I think some Christian wives start to believe sex is just for a husband because his drive may be higher or because it is easier for him to reach orgasm.  If that describes your situation — if you drifted into believing sex is just for him — I’m here to say that your sexual pleasure matters.

If you struggle with not enjoying sex, try to figure out why.  Talk openly with your spouse and commit together to making intimacy enriching for both of you.

Sex isn’t just good for your marriage, it is good for you personally.  And if your husband is like most husbands, he wants you to enjoy sex.  He wants you to want it.

Lie #2:  Sex is just for making babies.

A good friend of mine was talking with her early-teen daughter about intimacy, and the daughter said, “Well, I only want two kids, so I think I’ll just have sex twice when I’m married.”

My friend laughed and said, “Well, I don’t think your husband is going to be too happy about that!”

My friend could have easily gone on to say to her daughter, “You as a wife aren’t going to be too happy about it either! If you really grasp how God designed sexual pleasure and bonding, you’ll discover how much you like it too!”

She didn’t say that, of course, but I imagine she will someday.  But right now her daughter is like most girls and young women who intricately associate marriage with having babies.  We don’t grow up associating marriage with tender soul-drenching sexual pleasure and bonding.

It’s not that it’s bad that sex is how we get babies, because God did indeed say go ye forth and multiply (and sex was the means He designed to get there).

BUT, we spend a lot of time in marriage having sex that does not lead to babies.   Even a couple who marries in their early 20s likely will spend less than the first third of their marriage in childbearing years (assuming they are married for upward of 60 years).

And let’s not forget about married couples who face the heart-wrenching struggle of infertility, sometimes without ever getting pregnant.  What about couples who marry later in life, beyond their childbearing years?

Or couples who simply cannot get pregnant because of injury or illness?

Or couples who are already pregnant but still could be having sex during the pregnancy?

Suffice it to say, sex is not just for procreation.  And God’s Word backs this up.  In Proverbs and in Song of Songs, for example, God reminds us about the delight of marital sexual pleasure.  And in 1 Corinthians, He reminds us that having sex regularly protects a marriage against temptation.

Stop believing and living the lie that sex is just for making babies. It really is for so much more.

Lie #3:  Sex is about being inhibited.

It’s hard to grasp that Christian modesty could ever be a bad thing, but I do think it inadvertently has taken quite a toll on some marriages.

Don’t get me wrong.  I get that we as Christian women want to maintain a high standard of discretion in the way we dress and carry ourselves in public settings.  Sadly, though, this approach has seeped into marriage beds everywhere.

Inhibition and modesty have sabotaged what could be profound sexual connection and fun in the exclusive sexual encounters between a husband and a wife.

While I cannot define what being uninhibited means for each married couple, I do wholeheartedly believe that there is freedom to enjoy different sexual positions, techniques and so forth.

As long as there are NO third parties (real, imagined or pornographic) participating in your intimacy AND as long as neither spouse is getting hurt (emotionally, physically or spiritually), then I think a married couple has tremendous freedom.

Discuss as a couple what would make sex more bonding, intimate and enjoyable for you. You can stretch outside your comfort zone without compromising your Christian values.

When you look over the above 3 lies, do you see any that you have believed?

Now is the time to stop believing the lies… and start engaging with your spouse sexually in a way that reflects all God designed sex to be.

Oct 21

Wives: Do You Know Why Your Orgasm Matters?

By Julie Sibert | General , Sex & Family Planning

sexual pleasureHow many husbands would continue to have sex if they rarely or never had an orgasm?

Inconceivable, right?

We snicker at such a scenario because it’s just so… well, crazy!  Who among us can even remotely imagine any husband consistently having sex without the likelihood of climaxing?

Not me. Not you. Not anyone, really.

Yet, many wives experience sex with no pleasure on a regular basis. They rarely or never climax during sexual intimacy.

The reasons for a wife’s lack of sexual pleasure vary.

Some don’t think they deserve it.   Some  have yet to learn enough about their own bodies to understand what it will take for them to climax.  Other wives have husbands who are selfish lovers, devoting not even an ounce of compassion toward their wife’s orgasm.

Of course, there are more than a few wives who entered marriage with distorted theology — that sex is gross or wrong or “just for him” or serves no other purpose beyond baby-making.

For a wife peering through the lens of skewed theology, she remains entrenched in a Christian rhetoric void of the biblical message that her sexual pleasure in marriage is good and sacred — even God-designed.

And then there also are wives who just see no value in having an orgasm. Maybe they’ve had one; maybe they haven’t. For whatever reason, though, they are too tired, too spent, too done to give even a passing glance at sex in general, let alone sex that is soul-drenching and mind-blowing.

Are you in any of the above camps?

If so, here are three reasons why your orgasm matters:

1. God designed it.

He could have left it out, you know.

He is the creator of the universe, after all.  It’s His gig.  He called all the shots.  He spoke and things appeared.  Animals, plants, water, sky, people.  The very design of your body was His idea alone.

Your clitoris was His idea. And it serves no other purpose but sexual pleasure. No. Other. Purpose.

Clearly, sexual pleasure isn’t just for your husband. It is for you too.

If we as married Christians long to have His truths flood our hearts, then why do we stumble in embracing His gift of orgasm?  The Lord has vested interest in your sexual pleasure. Do you?

2. Orgasm will make your marriage better.

I can tell when my husband and I have gone too long without sex.  We just aren’t very nice to each other.

On the other hand, when we are regularly enjoying and nurturing our sexual intimacy, it softens us to each other.  We are able to extend more grace.  We like each other better.  It makes our house run smoother and it sets a good example for our kids.

Yes, you climaxing is good for your marriage.

If you are experiencing sexual pleasure, then sex isn’t just something on your “to do” list.  It becomes a priority.

And if your husband is like most husbands, he enjoys sex more when you climax.  (If you are a husband reading this and you are a selfish lover, stop it.  You are robbing your marriage and your wife.  And dishonoring the Lord.)

3. Orgasm is an exclusive privilege.

I could have written that orgasm is a great stress reducer and that all these wonderfully healthy things happen in your body when you climax.  That’s all true, by the way.

BUT, at the core of those benefits (and #1 and #2 mentioned above) is this element of exclusivity.

A husband and wife being able to bring each other sexual pleasure is an experience exclusive to their marriage relationship.  They can’t get it some place else, at least not biblically or morally.

Why does that matter? Because something reserved only for the two of you carries with it profound and tender significance. Climaxing is a spiritual, physical and emotional manifestation of your covenant relationship.

Yes, your orgasm matters.  If you are sexually inhibited or simply want to know the best kept secret to mind-blowing sex, then decide today to right the ship on making sexual pleasure less of an “extra” and more of a “sure thing.”

Sep 16

Is There Hope for Your Sex-Starved Marriage?

By Julie Sibert | General , Sex & Family Planning

Is there hope for a sex-starved marriageThe request seemed rather ludicrous from where I was sitting.

I stared at my computer screen and read the email from a gentleman asking if I could write lyrics to a song that he then was going to have recorded by amateurs and played at his daughter’s wedding.

“Are you crazy?!” is what I wanted to say.

But that seemed slightly rude. And he did want to pay me, so I thought I would let him down gently.

I diplomatically pounded out the sentence, “You know I’m not a songwriter, right?”

“I know!  But you are so talented.  I just know you can do this!” he enthusiastically pleaded.  (He was naively confident in my skills. Obviously.)

He assured me that it wouldn’t be that hard, because it wouldn’t be like starting from scratch.  He wanted me to use the music to an existing song, and simply change the words to be more personalized for his daughter and future son-in-law.

Despite his deep endearment and tender heart motive, I pretty much wanted nothing to do with writing (uh… re-writing) this song. But he pleaded.  He’s a nice guy, who happens to pay well, so I gave in and set to work to tackle this monumental undertaking.

I’m guessing by now, you are wondering, “What does this have to do with hope and my sex-starved marriage?” (Okay, you were probably wondering that eight paragraphs ago, but I’m getting there).

Initially, I thought writing that song — creating this treasured experience for this man and his family — was impossible.  It seemed beyond me.  It seemed painfully unfamiliar and foreign and awkward to even try.

That’s exactly how a lot of people feel about healing what is sexually wrong in their marriage.

They have allowed their intimacy (sexual and otherwise) to get stuck in neutral for a painfully long time — or have haphazardly built sex upon a shaky foundation of skewed theology, brash manipulation and wearisome monotony.

Is there hope for things to look different, though?

As someone who writes and speaks about sex, I have discovered along the way that there is hope for many of the marriages where on the surface it seems like there is none.

A husband and a wife can indeed find their way back to —  or create for the first time — healthier patterns in their intimacy.  This is especially true if the the two people in the marriage are willing to at least take baby steps in that direction — scary and awkward as that may seem.

What helped me write that song is what may help you infuse your sex-starved marriage with hope.  Here are three suggestions:

1. Get out of the camp of “impossible.”

Maybe you have believed for a long time that authentic and profound sexual intimacy is just not possible for your marriage.  “Perhaps for other people,” you think to yourself. “But not for us.”

That sort of thinking has got to take a hike.   2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

The Lord’s Word is clear that sex is His gift for married couples, meant not only to create children, but also to bring a husband and wife pleasure, strengthen their marriage, and allow them to experience mysteriously profound one-flesh connection.  That is truth and it is worth embracing.

2. Break things down into manageable steps.

When I wrote that song, I had to first make sure that the words I was going to write would coordinate with the music. Remember, I was working within the structure of the existing song.

So what did I do?

I took the original words and figured out how many syllables were in each line of the song.  I then could map out my own words that matched the syllable count.

If you want to build healthier sexual intimacy into your marriage, you’d be wise to see it as a journey, rather than a one-time decision.  Every marriage is unique, but here are a few “steps” that you may want to explore in your situation…

Are there past issues you need to address and/or heal from?

How can you make more space in your schedule for connecting as a couple with your clothes on? Great sex is often a natural byproduct of a great emotional friendship with your spouse. (This technique might help).

How can you have more foreplay and communication about what you each like? (If sex is pleasurable for both of you, it’s more likely you will want to have it).

How can you take ownership and ask for forgiveness for ways you’ve been careless with sex?

How can you find ways to better communicate as a couple? 

I can’t write the steps for you, but if the two of you seek them out, you will move toward more nurtured sexual intimacy.   You have to be willing to walk in that direction, though.

3. Adjust often and build upon what works.

Honestly, it took me awhile to get that song right.  I had to look at it, try different things and revisit it often before I felt like I was on the right track (no pun intended).

The same is true of sex in your marriage. Don’t be quick to give up or get defensive, but instead, walk in humility, grace and conviction that your marriage is worth having tender sexual connection.  Adjust often and build upon what works.

Is there hope for a sex-starved marriage?  More often than not, there is.

Just as I discovered when I wrote that song, you as a couple can replace confusion and disbelief with something quite remarkable.

After reading this, do you believe there is hope for your sex-starved marriage?

Aug 19

Saying “Yes” to Sex? Is that Your Exception or Your Rule?

By Julie Sibert | Sex & Family Planning

saying yes to sexUntil recently, my calendar had been taken hostage by our son’s baseball schedule.

Baseball is over, but football is chomping at the bit to set up camp on all those empty calendar spaces baseball has left behind.

Can you relate?

With children’s activities and other demands, do you ever feel like your life is running you way more than you are running your life?

I get that!  In many regards, I think no other aspect of our life suffers more in this chaotic dynamic than our marriage.

We always believe there is more time “down the road” or “around the bend” or “when the kids are raised.”

Sadly, many married folk arrive at those future rest stops, only to discover they don’t have much of a marriage left. They’ve emptied themselves into every other endeavor — parenting, work, ministry, elder care — only to find their marriage has been damaged or destroyed in the wake.

One of the more common aspects of marriage that is put on the back burner is sexual intimacy.

I often hear from people who talk about weeks, months and even years passing with little or no sex in their marriage bed.  One or both spouses rarely says “yes” to sex.  “Yes” has become the exception, rather than the steadfast rule (to something that God actually tells married couples to do often).

I know there are many ways to strengthen marriage, but I write about sex in marriage, so I have a heart for speaking hope into that particular aspect of intimacy.

If “yes” to sex is your exception, not your rule, consider this…

Doing well in everything else is pale satisfaction if your marriage is in shambles.

I have talked to enough women to know that sometimes their internal dialogue goes something like this:

“I’m a really good mom.  That’s enough. I know I should make time with my husband a greater priority, but these kids need me more right now.”

To be fair to wives, I know that sometimes it is the husband who is denying sex and not making the marriage a priority.  His internal dialogue may go something like this:

“I want to be a good provider.  I have to put in the extra time at work so I can take care of this family.  I’m out of energy at the end of the day, but at least I’ve provided well for my kids.”

Each marriage is unique, so I don’t know what dialogue is ringing in your ears and heart.  And I don’t have easy answers as to how to tame the schedule in your marriage. (Honestly, I don’t think there are easy answers or otherwise more people would do it).

BUT, I do know that by carving out that time for your marriage, including sex, you actually are better equipped to walk in all your other roles.

Sure, the old saying is “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”  I think a better truth is, “If mama and daddy aren’t happy and healthy, no one else is going to be either.”  (Yeah, not as catchy, but you get the point).

It takes effort to make sex a safe and nurtured place in your marriage.  If it is far from being that, humbly look at why.

Are there big issues with which you have not dealt, whether it is past sexual abuse or promiscuity from prior to your marriage or struggles with pornography?  Were you always told sex was dirty or wrong or just your duty?  Do you struggle with experiencing pleasure and being uninhibited in bed with your spouse?

If saying “yes” to sex is your exception, not your rule, figure out why and resolve to bring about healthy change in your marriage.  There are countless couples who have moved sex up the priority scale and been pleasantly surprised at the profound effect it has had not just on their marriage, but on their overall outlook in life.

You can get there!

You’ll have to say “no” to other things in order to have more time and energy to make “yes” to sex your rule.  Initially, this will feel uncomfortable. It may even ruffle a few feathers as those around you get used to you setting healthier boundaries.

Remember this, though:  Saying “no” more frequently to all those extra activities does not mean you are saying “no” all the time.  You’re not saying you will never volunteer for ministry or your kids’ classroom parties; you’ll just not commit as often.   You’re not saying you’ll never drive your kid to practice or help out with elder care demands; you’ll simply find creative ways to share those responsibilities with others.

Honestly, I think you will discover that setting realistic boundaries won’t have quite the negative impact on others as you think it will.  It is humbling and refreshing all at the same time to realize we aren’t quite as indispensable as we would like to believe.

Making sexual intimacy a greater priority endears us to our spouse and fosters healthy attitudes about sex in our home and family.  I’ve long believed there is no sweeter form of godly worship in a marriage than to savor and nurture authentic sexual intimacy with the person we married.

So, how about you?  What will it take for “yes” to sex to become your rule, rather than your exception?