YOU ASKED…THEY ANSWERED!
Sex Within Marriage responded to LOTS of Momsanity’s questions about marital intimacy.
Jay Dee writes, with his wife, Christina, at www.SexWithinMarriage.com, a blog dedicated to discussing married sexuality within the Christian life. Jay also is a Christian marriage coach, practicing at www.anonymousmarriagecoaching.com, catering to couples who are struggling to get to the next level in their marriage. Jay and Christina have been married for 13 years and have 5 children, whom they home-school. Their mission in life is to help others improve their lives by implementing biblical guidance into daily living.
Be sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2 of Q&A!
* This is a LONG article–be sure to have the time to get through it to have your marriage transformed!*
Hello to the Project MomSanity community! It’s been a pleasure to see your questions come in. So many good, honest questions, and I’m going to do my best to answer them, based on what I see in my own marriage, in the marriages of couples I’ve dealt with in my coaching practice, what little I know of psychology, and what I know of the Bible. I feel I should have a bit of a disclaimer though. I’m not a pastor, doctor, therapist or counselor. My studies are all the studies of a lay person who happens to spend a lot of time researching and talking to people about marriage and sex. As such, everything should be taken as my opinion on the subject, and you will have to form, and be responsible for your own opinions. I believe my role is to try and give you as much information as I can, so that you can make informed decisions and plans.
As well, these are answers given without a lot of context and without being able to ask for more information. I’ve done my best to infer and guess to fill in the blanks, but if you want to ask any follow up questions, feel free to email me.
Also, if you sent in a question, I urge you to read all the answers. There was a lot of overlap and someone elses answer might help you. If you didn’t submit a question, I still think reading them all through can be helpful and eye opening. It might give you some ideas for your own marriage.
Finally, some of these answers might bring more questions. If you are interested in some marriage coaching, to help work out some step by step plans for how to implement changes in yourself, or your marriage, with the same anonymity you have enjoyed in this exchange, feel free to visit AnonymousMarriageCoaching.com. If you’re interested in signing up, I’m offering the MomSanity community a 25% discount by using the coupon code MOMSANITY if you sign up before the end of February. For those in the MomSanity Sisterhood, check there for an even bigger discount.
We’ve had to break the answers into three post due to the number of questions and the length of the answers, so if you don’t see yours, check the other posts, if they’ve already been posted, or wait for them them to be, it shouldn’t be long. Now, on with the your questions, and my answers!
When your husband has some newly encountered health issues that limit duration of intimacy leaving you unable to reach your “peak”, which you are ok with, but bothers him leaving him feeling less fulfilling to you, how do you encourage him not to feel disappointed?
First, I want to make sure you understand why he feels disappointed. For most men (I find in my talks with them anyways), they sense of … accomplishment, I guess, that we feel from bringing our wife to the “peak” is…well, it’s awesome. It’s almost better than our own “peak”. It might be better in fact, or maybe just different but of equal value (of course, that assessment depends on the man). To me, there is nothing better in the world than watching my wife … “peak” (we all know I mean orgasm, right?). So, when it doesn’t happen, there can be this sense of failure, like trying to scale a mountain and failing to get to the top (using your “peak” analogy). It’s childish and immature…but it’s reality for many men. I’ve been there. I’ve grown out of it, but I still understand it. To be honest, I’m not sure I’ve 100% outgrown it. I can be pretty stubborn about pushing my wife over that “peak”…even if she’s ready to head back down the mountain (I think I’m stretching this metaphor).
So, how do you encourage him not to feel disappointed? First off, good for you for saying encourage. You can’t make your spouse do anything, but you can encourage them. I think you need to help him realize that you still think he’s a man, that he can still arouse you, that you still desire him sexually. Also, there’s no reason that sex needs to stop just because he’s had an orgasm. He’s still got fingers that work just fine. He can still get that sense of accomplishment without having to bring you to orgasm during sex (sorry, I dropped the metaphor somewhere and can’t find it back).
Or, if you are feeling really brave, you can say something like “You got me too worked up, I can’t stop now”, and then get yourself to … “peak” (I found the metaphor back). This could go well, or not. Many men will just be enthralled at watching their wife … climb the mountain (? this metaphor is getting ridiculous). But, there are a few that might feel emasculated. Might be a good idea to ask your husband if that’s something he’d enjoy seeing first…assuming he’s into mountain vistas (I think I just killed the metaphor).
Where do I go for help if sex is painful and my obgyn is out of ideas? I experience tiny tears in the perineal area very easily so my husband and I haven’t had actual intercourse on 10 years. HELP!
When I was reading this question to my wife I said “I have no idea what to say to this woman”…then I started talking and all these ideas fell out. So, here’s my thoughts, keeping in mind I’m not a doctor.
It basically sounds like you have an issue with elasticity. That’s the only thing that came to mind, but then spawned a bunch of other thoughts (some mine and some my wife’s).
Make sure you are drinking enough water. Water is an amazing liquid, among a vast array of benefits, it also increases blood flow and skin elasticity. If your skin has more elasticity, it’s less likely to tear.
Sexual arousal also increases blood flow, particularly in the genitals, which again increases elasticity. If you are attempting sex without arousal, that could definitely increase your chance of tearing.
So, assuming you are well hydrated and sexually aroused, you might also want to look into lubricant. I’d suggest something that the skin can absorb (which will again increase elasticity), like coconut oil, which is my favorite lube, by far. It’s natural, you can buy it in the grocery store, and it melts at skin temperature. Great for sex, massages and dry lips (no pun intended) as well as cooking (get a separate jar for cooking).
And then, to top it all off, I don’t know what sexual activities you include in your marriage bed (of if the whole thing has been dead for 10 years), but start … small … like finger small … like maybe use a finger. Then, when that’s okay (which may take more than one session), then try two … then, when that’s okay … well, maybe try three, maybe check your husbands … girth. Stretching also increases elasticity.
Of course, all this is assuming you don’t have scar tissue, which doesn’t stretch … I’d hope your obgyn would have checked that … but if not, you may want to try another doctor. It’s my understand that this can be repaired with very minor surgery (but again, I am not a doctor).
I hope that helps, and I hope you have found ways to keep your physical relationship alive during this decade, despite this major obstacle. If not, I would suggest considering finding some ways.
What can I do to help my husband last longer?? Having more sex doesn’t seem to help much.
I’d be curious to know how much longer you mean. I’ve read that the median length of sexual intercourse is 5.4 minutes. Some men think they have premature ejaculation if they can’t hold out for 20 minutes, others last 1 minute and think they’re fine. So, it’s a very relative thing. I only ask, because if he’s lasting 20 minutes and you want longer…you may need to shift your expectations. If he’s lasting 30 seconds … then that’s a very different scenario.
Plus, you killed the easiest answer: have more sex. So, what’s left.
PC muscle exercises have been shown to increase control. To exercise them, basically use the same muscles you use to stop urinating. Find that muscle and flex and release many times during the day. While sitting in traffic, in the office, wherever. Nice thing is that it’s an exercise you can do and no one notices. Some people mistakenly flex their buttocks … if you’re doing that, it’s the wrong muscle.
Another method is to train yourself to stop before ejaculation. That involves having sex, and just prior to the “point of no return”, you stop, until you’ve calmed down. This can be a very frustrating experience (for both of you). But, it’s an exercise in self-control, so it’s meant to be frustration, I guess.
While you said more sex doesn’t help … what about multiple orgasms in a session? Have him orgasm, then, during his refractory period, he can pleasure you in other ways. When he’s ready, he can resume / restart sex. It’s unlikely he will orgasm as quickly the second time in a session, though it is possible.
Lastly, what about you achieving your orgasm first through foreplay. Then he can have sex, with you already being sated. I know, it’s not ideal, but it might be worth it to mix it up sometimes.
Hope I offered something helpful. Good luck! Honestly, I’d love to know if any worked as I intend to write a post on this at some point.
Going to try to make this short and sweet…My husband and I have been married just over 5 years. We have two young children and we are both Christians. For the most part, we see eye to eye on the most important spiritual beliefs. Throughout our marriage, we have had several conversations pertaining to porn use within a marriage. He understood I felt it was wrong and any sexual acts should be done between a husband and wife. We are open about our sex life and discuss what is pleasing to one another every now and then. It should also be said that, out of the two of us, I (wife) have a higher sex drive than him. Some time after such a discussion, I accidentally caught my husband using porn. After seeing a Christian therapist together, I learned that he had been using on a regular basis for our entire marriage. I was absolutely crushed. I felt like he committed adultery against our marriage and I felt upset that he went to the computer instead of me especially since he knew I would love to be more sexually active. He apologized for hurting me so deeply, pledged to try to stay away from it, but never admitted to his porn use being wrong. I know this is not over. I know he continues to use. I know him well enough to know approximately when he’s used. Since the beginning of this problem, I feel my self esteem has taken a huge punch. I worry about how I compare in the bedroom. I wonder if he’s mentally present in the bedroom. I worry that he will have an affair. I feel like a crazy woman at times and I have no idea how to fix it for good. Advice?
Unfortunately, the struggle with porn use is very common in Christianity. Best estimates I’ve seen are that 50% of church members (and pastors) are watching porn, are struggling with it, or have struggled with it in the past. That’s half! I’ve heard of people talking to teenagers, and they say all the guys watch porn, the only difference between Christians and non-Christians is that the Christians feel guilty about it. This is a huge issue, and it’s going to get worse before it gets better I’m afraid.
And I’ve written on it a couple times on my blog:
And a few that are tangential to this topic are:
So, the biggest problem I see here is that your husband may not think it’s wrong. If he thought it was wrong, it would be much easier to help him to fight the addiction. But, if he doesn’t think it’s an issue … you can’t make him stop. You can only decide on your response.
Luckily in this case, we have some biblical guidance on how to deal with this. So often, I have to infer and extrapolate on issues of sexuality, because the Bible wasn’t written in a time that dealt with a lot of the questions I get. But, I think we have some strong verses in this case. I believe indulging in pornography (whether it’s visual or literary) is a sin, and so, first off we have Matthew 18:15-17.
In short the biblical counsel is to go to him and tell him you believe he’s sinning in this behavior. You can, and should, do this respectfully.
If he continues, then grab an elder in your church, or the pastor, someone you know he respects. Again, together, respectfully rebuke him. Tell him that he’s sinning, it’s damaging his relationship with you and God.
If he still won’t…well, to be honest, I’ve never seen anyone take this to the church for church disciplinary measures, but I think that would be quite the wake up call. Most churches wouldn’t even have a protocol in place for this. I know mine does, because we’ve had one case where the church needed to discipline someone (for another reason). It’s not fun, but it was done, in love, with the hope of reconciliation and repentance for those involved. We’re still awaiting the outcome (it was quite recent).
Personally, I feel watching porn is akin to adultery. So, I would take the same stance as I would if my spouse was having an affair. While I am strongly against divorce, I think there are times when separation can be beneficial, if done right. I’m not telling you to separate, it’s not my place. I’m saying … it’s a lamentable option, if you have gone through the Matthew 18 process, and if it’s done with the hope of repentance and full intention of reconciliation.
So, if you were a coaching client, a step 1 we might create together would be to talk to your husband, explain that you know he’s been watching porn, explain that it’s hurting you, ask him what his thoughts are on it, and then ask him if he will make a commitment to stop, and that you are willing to help and support him any way you can.
OK here goes nothing … I feel like my heart has hardened toward my husband. I am not sure why or how this happened but everything he does and says drives me absolutely crazy. He seems to always be on my nerves. The last thing I want to do is have sex with him. We do have sex because I feel like it is part of marriage and I need to but there is nothing in me that wants to. I have gotten to the point that I loathe going to bed at night because I know he will ask to have sex. We have been to counseling more times than I can count and we always seem to end up back at this point. I know there are many things that I do that drive my spouse crazy as well and I have no doubt that his heart has hardened toward me. Is there any hope for us? Where in the world to I start to mend this marriage. My relationship with God is strong, as is my husbands. I pray for this marriage to work but sometimes I wonder if I am praying for nothing short of a miracle.
I would love to know more about what the counseling entailed, but I’ll do my best without that context.
Marriage takes work. That’s what I heard growing up. No one explained what that meant or how to do the work. But, I knew it was hard work. When we got married, it was a disaster. I was hiding a porn addiction, my wife was refusing sex and dealing with depression that she didn’t even know about, and we were mad at each other all the time.
After about 5 or 6 years of this, we realized it was unsustainable. We both don’t believe in divorce, so we realized something needed to change. So, we started working on the things we fought about the most. We learned how to communicate better. How to ask questions properly, which behaviours are not conducive to good communication, about active listening, and all that stuff. We worked on our finances, since we argued about that a lot. Finally, we tackled sex. It took a lot of talking and difficult conversations. It was a slow progression over years. When we started, I believe Christina, my wife, was where you are now, more or less. She refused so often, I had mostly given up asking for sex.
But, with hard work, which I’ve learned involves communicating and being intentional, we’re at a place that she actually wants to have sex, and fairly often. And yeah, I think it’s nothing short of a miracle.
I honestly believe if your relationship with God is strong, and your husbands is strong, then you should be able to use biblical principles quite effectively in your marriage. Deal with conflict directly as in Matthew 18. Read the proverbs, learn from them. There is a wealth of information about when to speak and when you shouldn’t, also about how to really annoy people (and thus how not to).
Read together, study together, pray together. If you are both focused on God and moving towards Him, you cannot help but move towards each other as well. It’s simple geometry. To objects moving towards a single point must move towards each other. If you aren’t … well, then maybe you both have to check what you’re really following, maybe you need to drop some anger, some guilt, or some pride. Because if you hold onto those things, well, let’s just say the Bible is clear about the fruit of those who follow God. Not trying to be harsh, but one of the things I say over and over again on my blog is that you can’t change your spouse, you can only change yourself. So, look at yourself, see what you can do to make the marriage better. Even if your husband doesn’t change his behaviours at all … I think you’ll find you can handle them better and thus improve the marriage. Of course, ideally, he’ll see what you’re doing and be inspired to change himself. That’s where the miracle comes in.
Is it normal to cry after an intense orgasm? Sometimes my orgasm is so strong that I cry when it’s over. My husband thinks since I’m crying he must have hurt me.
I have been utterly unable to find a statistic on this, so I can’t tell you what percentage of the population this occurs in, but it’s enough to be well documented and blogged about. So, in that sense, yes it’s normal. Most of the time, the women don’t even know why they are crying, it just happens.
The theory that I think is most likely to be true is that sex can be an incredibly emotional experience, and when it’s too much, we need some sort of release. Crying is very effective in releasing emotional tension. So, if that’s true, then crying after sex is merely a way of releasing emotional tension.
Your husband is worried, because we, as men, are taught that crying is a bad thing. Crying happens when people are hurt, when something bad has happened. Most of us have never cried out of joy, and so the concept of crying to release emotional buildup is foreign to us.
To your husband: don’t worry, she’s okay. Hug her anyways.
I’m really struggling with ” liking” my husband right now. I feel like we’re in the lull of our marriage and bicker a lot. We have been married for 5 years, together for 8.5. We unfortunately were intimate from the very beginning of our relationship. So, my question is: How do you get into intimacy and away from the routine of sex ( which I really could care less about at the moment) and back into the sporadic, hot sex God intended married couples to have and truly just get back to liking my husband?
Alright, so being intimate from the beginning of the relationship skews the numbers a bit, but basically looks like you’re in that “Seven year itch” stage. I always thought it was a myth, an excuse for people to have an affair or something, but then I did a survey and lo and behold, right around the 4-7 year mark, sexual frequency drops off.
The honeymoon period is done well before that, but there seems to be some middle stage where everything is still pretty good…right until that 4-7 year range. Then something changes. I think that’s when reality really starts to set in. Sex isn’t enough to hold the marriage up anymore. Marriages need to grow, or else they stagnate…and then they start to die.
So, I think what you might be experiencing is your marriage stagnating. It’s in a rut. So, the options are to grow…or die. Couples like you are exactly why I started Marriage Coaching: For couples that are stable, but have a need to grow. The good news is, it’s definitely possible to grow. So, how do we do it.
Well, there are two ways.
The first is to make sex exciting again…but that’s really a stop-gap. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about making sex exciting…but it won’t save a marriage in the long run. Though, it can be a catalyst for further growth. So, let’s look at it, because it does have some value, and it’s the easier of the two. So, to make sex exciting again…you need to have adventure, which involves some risk. The risk that’s involved is trying new things, being vulnerable and opening up. You can start simple with my list of 37 Questions for spouses to ask each other about sex that I keep mentioning in these answers (sorry, I feel like a broken record with them, but that’s why I put it in a PDF, because I felt it would help a lot). It will help you talk about sex, which can be risky, because it involves putting yourself out there and being real about who you are and what you want. If you want to get a bit more adventurous, you can check out my post How to spice up your sex life. Then, if you are feeling very brave…I have some posts on some…edgier topics on my blog and will continue to explore them…because people ask, I like doing research, and my wife is an awesome research partner. Of course, I only explore those I deem acceptable within Biblical principles. Those, I don’t agree with I write a biblical response rather than trying it.
The second way is more permanent, but less exciting, more uncomfortable. Again, I’m going to feel like a broken record here, but the answer lies in really knowing each other. In the Old Testament, the euphemism for sex is יָדַע (yaw-dah’), it is the verb “to know”. Sex is the consummation of this principle, of knowing and being known by your spouse. Unfortunately, this rarely happens: both spouses really being honest with each other. My coaching clients all fill out a marriage self-assessment, just to help them benchmark their own marriage, to help them think about it, and it also helps me get up to speed with the context of their marriage quickly. The majority of them admit that they don’t share everything with their spouse, that there is some part of themselves that is too personal to share. It’s normal…but it’s not ideal. Want to learn how to like your husband again? Get to know him. Know him so well, you have to love him. When you feel that love, for who he is, it won’t matter what he’s done. You’ll still love him, still want what’s best for him. Does it mean you won’t argue…no. We’re human, our love isn’t perfect. But, it will be a whole new type of marriage for you. One many will never experience.
One more thought, on the topic of bickering. In the mean time (while you’re trying to know each other), there are some behaviours you can stop to help keep the bickering down. I have a post How to resolve conflict more effectively that you might find helpful.
I’m a 39 year old in full blown menopause due to a hysterectomy. Sex is almost obsolete for me. I went from a very sensual and sexual person to I could care less if I engage in it at all now. It feels different- almost painful. Is this pain just in my head? I don’t like being touch at all now. Will these symptoms fade with time?
Hysterectomy induced menopause tends to have more severe and sudden onset of symptoms, from my understanding. It’s also my understanding though that these symptoms are not necessary and can be resolved. I would strongly encourage you to seek out a Naturopath Doctor who can help you rebalance your hormone levels and find natural ways to relieve the symptoms. Some doctors may have knowledge, but what I’m hearing is that most just say “yep, that’s menopause”, which is not helpful, and I’m told, incorrect.
Also, some of my reading on the subject seems to indicate that attitude does play a large role in symptoms. For example, I have read that there is an African culture that looks on menopause as an increase in status. Women who go through “the change” are more respected, revered, their opinions more valued. Because of this, it is approached, not with anxiety, but with excitement and anticipation. Apparently, the term “hot flash”, or it’s equivalent, doesn’t exist in their language as a result. It’s theorized that it’s because the symptoms worsen due to stress or trepidation about menopause. Apparently your mental state has a lot to do with how you deal with the changes. So, in that sense, part of it may be in your head.
So, I don’t know if the symptoms will fade with time. I think it’s up to you. I’d encourage you to seek a Naturopath Doctor, and try to change your mindset a bit. See if it helps. The research on how mood can alter things like brain chemistry and even blood acidity is pretty amazing.
After I wrote this, I spoke with a good friend of mine about her experiences with menopause. She’s in the same boat as you, I believe. For her, the Naturopath route didn’t work (which doesn’t mean it won’t for you), so she’s currently looking into Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), which helps to re-level your hormones. This could be particularly helpful, I believe, in your situations since a hysterectomy is sort of an “unnatural” way of starting menopause, so it’s quite possible a lot of hormones are out of sorts. So, asking your Doctor about HRT might be a good place to start as well.
Thank you all for your questions and giving me the opportunity to answer them. I feel blessed to be a part of your growth, even if in a small way. Again, should you need more answers, feel free to contact me through my blog (www.sexwithinmarriage.com) or my coaching practice (www.anonymousmarriagecoaching.com
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