Over The Edge:

We often receive questions about what orgasm feels like or why someone can’t achieve orgasm regularly.  People often want to know if there is a magic secret that will push them over the edge every time they have sex.  We always answer, “Not that we can find.” There is no certain technique that will work every time nor is there some magic equation that guarantees that your toes are going to curl and your voice will wake the neighbors when your spouse does such and such.  Sex is far more complicated than just having a few good moves.  Great sex is a combination of mental, emotional, spiritual and physical factors and learning to appropriately prepare in all of those areas may just be the push to help you fall over the edge. Today we will take a look at some of the factors that may be keeping you from going over the edge.

1. Mental – Just where is you mind going?  If there are business meetings, household repairs, parenting concerns crossing your mind before or during sex, they can prove to be a distraction. Taking time to clear your mind of these distractions, as best as you can, is an important step to take.  If you need to make sure you and your spouse are on the same page about a parenting issue, a bill payment or a scheduling conflict then by all means talk about it.  It may deflate the mood for a moment but that can be recaptured.  What you don’t want to happen is to be only half-present during your time of intimacy because your mind is filled with thoughts of things other than how good it feels to be together.  If you struggle to remain present while making love because you feel that it takes too long, recognize that being half-present will make it take longer with less satisfaction.  Being mentally prepared for sex has far greater rewards than just presenting your body to your spouse for their benefit. *

2. Emotional – Being angry, frustrated, discontent or annoyed with your spouse will affect your sex life and your ability to orgasm.  Unlike the things that distract our mind from being ready for sex, when our emotions are not ready for sex it takes more effort than just a few minutes of talking before sex.  Being emotionally prepared for sex takes effort because it means not letting things build up, continually clearing the air.  There are some offenses that need to be released without discussion and there are some that need to be brought into the light.  Openly communicating about the things that hurt you, upset you or frustrate you is the only way to live in freedom in this area.  While it is impossible for you to change your spouse and how they respond to your openness, you can know that you have done your part by not holding bitterness and resentment toward them.

3. Spiritual – Yep, you read that right, spiritual. Some may be reading this and thinking, “I don’t need somebody telling me about God and how I respond to Him matters in my sex life.  Sure, my intimate life isn’t great but I’m sure I can figure this out on my own.”  Well, if you haven’t fully figured it out on your own, perhaps turning to God isn’t such a bad idea now is it?

Sex IS a spiritual affair and when there are problems on a spiritual level they can and will show up in the bedroom.  Holding onto hurt, unforgiveness, anger and pain will lead to problems with intimacy.  Husbands and wives are meant to be one and sex is the greatest example of this oneness that exists.  When either the husband or the wife is unwilling to accept the spiritual side of sex there is a great void in intimacy. Dealing with the spiritual depths in life is time consuming and often uncomfortable.  In this area you’re often confronting yourself, not your spouse.  You’re realizing some of your inadequacies, which are often judgmental thoughts toward your spouse or others.  Once you release this hurt, unforgiveness and anger over to God, you’re free to experience what He created, naked and unashamed.  Make no mistake, it is the most crucial aspect of sexual intercourse.

4. Physical – When there are physical insecurities or embarrassment in marriage they can prevent the over the edge feeling of sex. If you don’t know how to enjoy sex because you feel you “don’t know how to do it right” then take the time to figure it out. Reacquaint yourself with your body through your senses.  Invite your spouse to explore your body and explore theirs as well.  Allow them to touch, feel, tickly, kiss, blow, etc. various parts of your flesh and let them know what you enjoy and what turns you off.  Enough practice will get them reading your body language as to how they can please you the best.  Just be sure to keep your head clear of the emotional/mental stuff, and enjoy the wonders of oneness with your mate.

*If part of your mental struggle with sex is that sex is dirty, not good or unimportant we recommend you check out what we have written about that.

Sex: Over, Under and Around

Sex: Understanding

Sex is..Not a Dirty Word

After The Act:

People often talk about how important the moments are that lead up to sex.  But what about afterwards?  If sex is the main event then what happens after doesn’t really make any difference, right?  Maybe, maybe not.  We believe the time a couple spends together after sex is an important part of a healthy sexual relationship.  Strong relationships are built on respect, love and good communication.  A lack of communication in this area of your life can cause more trouble than you may think or be aware of.

Let’s begin the discussion by evaluating what your current post-sex routine is. Are you most likely to: lay in each others arms? Take a shower? Get up and continue with whatever, immediately? etc… And then there is the issue of how you handle “clean up”?  What happens when one person wants one thing post-coitus and the other person wants something else? Does time of day, emotional or physical exhaustion, or time constraints affect how you spend your time after sex?  There are no “rules” about what to do after sex but having open and honest dialogue about what you want and why you may want it is essential to making it work for both you and your spouse.

Understanding how hormones work in your body is important to understanding why you or your spouse might want something different after the act.  After orgasm the body releases the hormones of oxytocin, prolactin and endorphins.  The levels released and their effects on the body differ from person to person and differ after each sexual experience.  Some will experience feelings of contentment, bonding and yes even sleepiness may overwhelm their senses.  Each party needs to understand that falling asleep does not necessarily indicate lack of interest but rather true satisfaction.  A partner who does not experience orgasm may be left feeling unsatisfied and may be reaching for more through continued need for physical touch and close proximity.  Arousal that is not resolved can cause tension for a partner who did not experience orgasm and they may desire to fulfill their needs through continued physical touch and closeness.

Post sex kissing, hugging and talking is what psychologists call “pair bonding”. Professing your love for your spouse and other intimate behaviors seem appropriate to build further depth in your relationship.  But what about the times when you or your spouse just want to resume normal activity?  Some people may not care very much for the cuddling and pillow talk.  This could be in part due to hormones as well as personality driven.  While the release of oxytocin (also called the “bonding chemical”) draws out feeling of contentment and closeness the release of prolactin causes a decrease in arousal possibly causing a sense of being “over” the need for sex or physical touch.  It is also possible that a person who has a low need for physical touch may have all their physical needs met through the act of sex itself.  While this is not an excuse to never cuddle or touch outside of sex, it may help explain it.

So, what does all of this mean?  You and your spouse should take time to talk about what you want/need after having spent time together and then fulfill those needs. If one really needs additional talk/touch time, do everything in your power to provide that for them.  If one really needs to rest in the fact that they’re over-the-top-satisfied, allow them that moment of rest.  And if you’re both feeling completely satisfied but aren’t yet ready for sleep, we’re pretty sure there’s a re-run of Law & Order on somewhere.  It may not be as invigorating as sex, but it may be just what you need to wind down a bit.

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How have you and your mate worked together to ensure that what you do “After The Act” benefits your relationship?

Sex and Chocolate:

A recent study indicated that 52% percent of women said they would choose chocolate over sex.  While there is certainly a lot of creativity that goes into the process of enjoying the dark, sweet goodness of chocolate, we’re not so sure  it’s fair to compare chocolate with sex.  So, today, rather than offering a choice between sex or chocolate we thought we would share a way to enjoy both.

Including your sense of taste into your times of intimacy can certainly be fun.  Whether it’s a bottle of Hersey’s or some chocolate body paint, you may discover that sex can satisfy more than one of your palettes.  One of the fun facts of this type of foreplay is that it all happens naked. It’s not too complex, just strip your spouse naked and then allow their body to be your artistic canvas.  Use your fingers to swirl the chocolate into their flesh and let them enjoy the massaging feeling it provides.  You can even be sure to brush just a little bit onto the areas of their body that will cause severe erotic jubilation.  And once you’re finished, be sure to give them the pleasure to use your body as a canvas as well. When you’re finished, your sticky bodies pressed against one another will be the perfect reminder that chocolate is really, really good, but gourmet sex with your spouse is even better.

But what about those who can’t each chocolate?  Well, we’re pretty sure you can think of something to sweeten or spice up your taste buds during sex with your spouse.  Still, one suggestion we would like to offer is to have a sexual box of chocolates.  Simply take the opportunity to empty out a box of chocolates and fill those spaces with notes that depict different sexual acts that you each feel comfortable with. If you want to go the extra mile, you could even wrap them up in small pieces of tissue paper so you could unwrap them every time you wish to go “gourmet”.  Keep the box hidden most of the time, but one of you should break it out every few weeks (or days?) and leave it in a place where your spouse will discover it.  Doing so in the morning will give each of you the entire day to emotionally prepare for great sex that evening.

To coin a phrase from Forrest Gump; “Life is like a box of chocolates.  You never know what your gonna get.”  Why not add a bit of fun (or food) to your bedroom and see just what you may come up with. You may not know exactly what you’re gonna get.  But you do know you’re going to get something good.

All About Boobies:

It was a quiet evening around the dinner table when a conversation began on the subject of coffee.  Should we move to becoming a “Fair Trade” only household or not?  In that moment I (Justin) grabbed a calculator and proceeded to run some numbers comparable to 3rd grade math.  Don’t laugh, you know you’ve done it, too.  The decision was made: our next coffee purchase will be from a “Fair Trade Only” supplier.

After the conversation, I started showing my daughters how you can write words on a calculator.  I typed in 0.1134 and turned the calculator upside down.  Our girls giggled that they could read “hello” on the calculator.  This went on for a few minutes.  Then, just for fun, I typed in 5318008 and showed it to Megan.  “Boobies,” she said with a smile.  “We should write a blog post about boobies.”  Since yesterday’s post wasn’t nearly as practical or fun as our normal posts, I figured today should be the day.

What men need to know about breasts:

1. They’re attached!

Men, I know you probably get a kick out of your wife’s body.  It’s OK…you should get a kick out of her!  You ought to love every single square inch of her body and within the marriage relationship, her body is completely yours to enjoy (as is yours for her pleasure).  And I realize that breasts are fascinating.  Touch them or press them in any way and they always comes back to their original shape!  Touch them in just the right way at just the right time, and she will melt in a state of sexual ecstasy.  They’re great!  They’re wonderful!  But they’re also attached!  While they may not look like they would include pain receptors, they certainly do.  Never tug (or dare I say, suck) on the breasts too hard.  Treat her breasts the same way you would want her to treat your penis.  With respect.  Soft, gentle, massaging respect.

2) They’re not the first place you should go!

When making love, rounding the bases may not always seem necessary to you.  You may be thinking, “Lips?  What are those?”  My guess is you probably go straight for the breasts, or maybe you even skip that step altogether!  If you’re wanting to make your sexual experience with your wife better, let HER give you the OK as to where to travel next on her body.  If she wants some lip service, then by all means, don’t reach up and grab her breasts.  If she wants yours hands rubbing her back, don’t bring them around to the front.  But give HER the option to decide how your sexual encounter will go.  But don’t worry, once she gets her satisfaction, she’ll be ready to please you as well.

3) They get jealous of each other!

When having sex, you may be tempted to go after one breast or the other.  Don’t do this.  She (and her breasts) like variety.  Spend all your time and attention on one side and the other may get a bit jealous.  Spend too much time with the breasts, and other parts of her body may get jealous.  Mix things up.  Remember, it’s her pleasure you’re going for.

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Ladies, have another tip you need men to know about boobies?  Let them know in the comments below!

Marriage Challenge: Touch

Physical touch is an important factor in marriage.  The important distinction though is that not all touch needs to be explicitly sexual in nature.  The simple acts holding of hands, hugging or giving a back rub can help boost the overall health of your marriage.  Taking time to regularly connect through sex is important but so is taking time to connect through touch that is non-sexual.

A few months ago we encouraged you with The Normal Challenge, so today we want to challenge you to try The Touch Challenge.  Find a time today (or at least very soon) to touch your spouse in a way they enjoy that doesn’t necessarily imply an invitation to sex.  Scalp massage and foot rubs reign supreme in our house as a connecting touch that is non-sexual in nature.

Marriage is largely about connection and service.  Non-sexual touch is a way to serve your spouse by saying; “I know you are here.  I want you to be here.  I am glad you are around.” Physical touch is a great way to know your spouse and to be known by your spouse.  Give it a try and see what ways non-sexual touch can help your marriage.

 

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Linking with: Women Living Well & To Love Honor and Vacuum

Thermostat Wars:

Megan and I were both band geeks when we were in high school.  The good thing about being in the band is that if rehearsal started at 6pm, you had to be there, have your instrument out, and be ready to rehearse at 6m.  This engrained something into both of us – show up 15 minutes early.  Even after years of marriage, it’s rare that we’re late to anything.  In fact, we’re usually the first one’s to arrive. (We’re often the first one’s to leave, too…but that’s for a different reason.)  *wink*

One area of disagreement we do have, however, is the thermostat.  I mean seriously, is there another married couple anywhere who doesn’t debate about what the inside temperature should be?  This morning it was around 67 degrees in our house.  67.  I won’t say who had the thermostat down that far but I do know that it didn’t last.

Getting on the same page with the thermostat will be a dilemma for marriage counselors to continue to solve for years to come.  But when it comes to the bedroom, this is an area where you both need to be on the same page.  Temperature matters.  Does she prefer to be under the covers?  Does he prefer to be on top of the covers?  Does she want to start out clothed and slowly shred various articles of clothing one by one as she warms up to his sexual advances?  Does he just want to walk around naked without a care in the world? (Note to men: God made the female body sexier than a male.  She’s about as interested in your naked strut as you are in her being fully clothed.  Sorry to break this to you, but it’s true.)

Anyway, when it comes to turning up the heat, you both need to be on the same page as often as possible.

Men: Find out how she likes to physically and emotionally prepare for sex, and make it happen.  If she wants the room to be warm, then turn on a small heater 15-20 minutes prior.  If she wants to be under the covers, then dive under the covers.  In the end, you’re going to get what you want either way.  So work to make the experience as good for her as possible.  Once she has that experience, she’ll be much more open to any suggestion you’d like to present as well.  And remember, if she ever says, “I would prefer it if you would…” she’s not saying she doesn’t enjoy sex with you! She’s saying she enjoys it, and wants to make it that much more memorable.  Listen to her without judgment, and please her in the ways she see’s fit.

Women: It’s vital that you communicate your bedroom preferences to your husband as often as possible.  He needs to know exactly what buttons to push and when to push them to get you mentally turned from daily routines to bedroom play. Be sure to communicate clearly, not judgmentally. Ensure he knows you enjoy sex with him and you just want it to be even better.  If you have specifics for room temperature, clothing, bed covers, scents, clutter or anything else you can think of, then discuss it until you both come to an agreement. Chances are, he’ll be happy to pick up the dirty clothes on the floor if it means you’ll be more likely to sexually engage.

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Do you have another suggestion for bedroom preparation? Feel free to let us know in the comments below.

Sex Drives: Do I make you horny?

“Do I make you horny baby?  Do I?”

As much as we like to quote movies and TV shows around our house, this line from Austin Powers is not one we say with any frequency. On any given day, in any given situation and circumstance, the answer may be a yes or a no.  Feeling “horny” or “turned on” is often relative to what’s going on under the surface in our lives emotionally and circumstantially.  This week we want to take a real look at sex drives in order to  gain better understanding of how they impact our sex lives both positively and negatively.

One’s libido (or sex drive) is simply their overall desire for sexual activity.  Sex drives differ from person to person and are affected by biological, psychological and social components.  Sexual tension builds in both men and women and needs to be released.  When sufficient tension is built up there is a physical and sometimes emotional urge for it to be released.  Marriage is the appropriate boundary God has in place to fulfill these urges, making sexual desire an important part of marriage.

Generally speaking, men have stronger urges and desire for release than women, making their sex drives far more straightforward.  Men have an easier time being “goal oriented” and are not easily distracted. Oftentimes, if a male’s sex drive is not being fulfilled at home, it’s being fulfilled somewhere else (internet pornography or some other form of release). This isn’t always the case, but wives want to be sure they are helping their husband release when necessary so he isn’t prone to temptations elsewhere.

That said, it is possible for a male to have a lower sex drive than his wife.  Whether it’s emotional factors, physical problems, or side effects of medication, men, too, may have a decrease in their libido. Understanding where he is at and why is very important to a healthy sex life.

As for women, their sex drive is often far more complex and is far more likely to be influenced by a wide variety of factors.  Many women enjoy  sex regularly but rarely feel the strong “need” for sex.  Distractions such as a full schedule, household chores, children, etc. all affect women’s perceived desire for sex.  Not feeling a strong emotional connection with their spouse, a strained relationship (marital or other) or just plain not feeling sexy may factor heavily in a woman’s desire for sex.  This still doesn’t take into account hormones, slower physical responses and a plethora of other factors.  Can a woman have a strong sex drive? Of course! In many marriages it is the woman who wants more sex than their husband.  But it is helpful to understand that women’s sex drives are often times more difficult to understand and interpret.

Because sex is such an important part of a marriage, having differences in libido (perceived or actual) may cause serious stress.  When one spouse makes a move and it is met with refusal, it causes pain.  When a spouse rarely if ever feels “horny” or aroused they begin to feel guilty, as if there is something wrong with them.  It takes a lot of self examination and open communication to understand how you respond sexually, and how your spouse can help you learn their responses.

Today, we would like you to focus specifically on your own sex drive.  Understanding how you respond to sexual advances (and even knowing why you respond in these ways) is a very beneficial exercise.

1) Think about the last time you felt aroused.  What, specifically, made you feel aroused?  Was it something that your spouse did or was it an unexpected response to some other stimulus?  Did you act on that arousal with your spouse or not?

2) Have there been times when you felt fully aroused yet something distracted you and you lost that feeling?

3) How long does it take you to go from being unaroused, to fully aroused?

We encourage you to discuss all of your answers from these questions with your spouse.  They need to be fully aware as to what, specifically, brings you to a state of arousal, as well as what distracts you from getting there.

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What do you believe couples need to understand most about sex drives?  Let us know in the comments below!