I’ve been answering these in email, but I’m moving it to the website for multiple reasons. For one, then people who are nervous about joining the newsletter can still read the questions and answers. Secondly, it’s just easier for me to write on the website, add links, etc..
So, without further ado, here are this week’s anonymous questions:
Question 1 – Getting out of a rut
My wife and I have been married for almost 22 years! We are raising 2 boys while she is a clothing store manager and I am in full-time church ministry. Over the last couple of months our sex life has become somewhat routine. She has not worn lingerie in a couple of years and and the frequency of our times together is less than I want. I know that deep down it is not just due to one of us. I try to do as much at home so that she doesn’t have too and so that we can spend time together when we are home. I know that it is not just one of us but what can I do to encourage more intimate times together and for her to wear something “sexy” every once in a while? I think that part of the reason is because of her weight but I still find her attractive!
Note: This one I actually got contact info for, and wrote him back. I didn’t get a response though, so I thought I’d post my answer (without any personal info) in case someone else is in the same boat:
You mentioned she hasn’t worn lingerie in a while, but have you asked her to? Does she have lingerie that fits? If she’s gained some weight, she might not. A while ago, I gave my wife gift cards to a lingerie store and told her she wasn’t allowed to buy anything that wasn’t sexy. She hadn’t bought lingerie since we started having kids years ago (besides functional underwear). So, of course, nothing fit right anymore. Too many body changes.
As for getting out of a rut, I have two resources that might help:
- Spice Jar – This is a resource I created to help with just make sex a bit more random and fun again.
- Sexploration List – This one is a bit more involved. It will help you both explore what your boundaries are and find some thing that you both might like to try but haven’t yet. It takes a while to get through, and it’s a serious communication and growth tool. However, it’s likely to have a larger impact on your marriage.
Question 2 – How do you know if you’ve had an orgasm?
How do I know if I’m having an orgasm? I really enjoy the sex my husband and I have but the only time I know for sure I had one was before we were married and he fingered me. It felt amazing but I felt so guilty after.
Could I be having them without realizing it? I’ve been married for over 5 years and we have a really good sex life. My husband is very attentive and asks most times if I enjoyed it after we are done.
The typical answer is “if you don’t know … then you haven’t”. Actually my wife said that when this question came in, and funnily enough, a day or so later, we were playing, and she was having difficulty having an orgasm, or a second one, actually, I think. Anyways, at one point (when it seemed to me she had gotten one, maybe) I asked if she’d had one, and she says “…. I don’t actually know”. It was kind of funny. But other than that one time, I can’t think of any others where she didn’t know. I can tell most of the time as well.
That said, there are some things to look out for:
- A buildup of tension that suddenly releases – that’s the basic feeling of an orgasm
- Many women feel an explosion of sensation
- Change in sensitivity – most find sensitivity, particular with their clitoris, changes – for some this makes a second orgasm easier, for others, they can’t stand it to be touched at all
- Pulsing sensation afterwards in the vulva – these can be faint or quite strong and may last seconds or minutes
- Often there’s a holding in of breath as well just prior to the orgasm
There are other signs such as change in skin pigment – lips (both sets) and nipples in particular, and some get a chest flush. But that can be hard to see. There’s also more scientific methods like oxygen levels and flow, but that’s not something you can test at home easily either.
The short answer is generally that you feel a buildup and a release. If you aren’t achieving orgasm and would like you, I’d suggest checking out this post: Wives and their orgasm experiences
As well, I have an ebook designed to help you achieve orgasm: Making it easier to orgasm: A guide for Christian Wives. It’s not erotic and doesn’t have “techniques” so much as things like diet, exercise and mindset that make it easier to achieve orgasm.
Question 3 – Lack of sex and what is romance anyways?
So… we are a married Christian couple, married 20 years and I still struggle with our sex life together. For a long time it was very hit and miss, with one time being about 6 months in between intercourse. This really bothers me, and we talked about it and so we got to a point of having sex at least once every 2 weeks and she tried really hard to make it happen every week. But it went back to about once a month. Then, one night, we were “grinding” up against each other and she turned over to go to sleep, I kept grinding up against her butt (I love her butt) but she made it very clear that sex was not an option that night. After some time, I got to a point where I was almost in pain and so I rolled over in bed and started to masturbate. She woke up and found me masturbating; this made her very angry!
We discussed it in depth a few days later and I explained that I had been doing it for quite some time ever since our sex life started to slow down after having kids. This made her even angrier. She told me that she felt like I wanted sex every night, I explained that it felt that way to her because I was asking every night because we weren’t having it. In other words, I really might be wanting it every night, but that’s only because we weren’t having it at all. When we had sex, I would not say anything for a week ( I made a point not to say anything for at least a week). She explained that she didn’t have the energy to have intercourse 2 to 3 times a week (which is what I told her would make me a very happy man). So I explained that it didn’t always have to be intercourse and that worked for about a month, where we were having some sort of sexual encounter about 3 times a week (usually a handjob, a blowjob and then intercourse). I was extremely happy, and I told her how thankful I was. But now things are going back to the once a month thing again.
What can I do so that we are not always slipping back to this? I would love your advice on what I could do to help out with this. I am also curious about what a woman considers to be romance? My wife is always telling me when I am asking to have sex, “Well that’s romantic!” But when I ask her what she means by romance she, of course, doesn’t have an answer. I’ve tried going at things slowly, by kissing her neck and gently rubbing her back and shoulders, etc. and she told me one night that none of that sort of stuff turns her on. So what’s a guy supposed to do?!
Thanks for the help, God Bless!
This is not going to be a very satisfying answer, because I feel I’m writing to the wrong spouse. Ideally I’d love to have his wife come and ask for solutions. But, that’s unlikely to happen. So, we’ll deal with the spouse whose attention we do have.
First off, that’s not nice to start grinding up against each other and then deciding to go to sleep. Frankly, that’s just cruel. I don’t know how to help with that other than to show her this post so she knows, that is not a nice thing to do! That’s like waiving a snack in front of a starving person and then throwing it in the fire so no one can eat it.
That said, while I understand both the emotional and physical pain associated with being abandoned like that (it sucks, and literally hurts), the decision to masturbate while she was sleeping basically sends the message that the physical relief is more important to you than the connection. That’s why she’s angry. Well, probably part of it.
The other part is that she probably feels she’s not able to keep up. I’ve had similar conversations with my wife. When we don’t have sex, I feel like I want it every day. If we have sex every day, that calms down a bit, but it’s still at least every other day. She literally doesn’t have the energy for that, regardless of how much sleep she gets. It’s the mental energy of being intimate that wears her down. I don’t experience that at all, so it’s hard for me, and possibly you, to understand that. But, I know it to be true.
As well, it sounds like your wife has a responsive sex drive. By that I mean, she likely doesn’t often feel spontaneously aroused. This also means she isn’t likely to randomly think about sex, or even be reminded of it often. She can probably go days, weeks, possibly months without thinking about sex unless you remind her, directly or indirectly. I doubt her backsliding into old patterns is intentional. It’s likely just that she didn’t think of it.
The reality is that you will likely always have to initiate the vast majority of the time. With young kids, potentially until they’re older. I’d suggest try massages rather than kisses and rubs. My wife hates to be kissed unless she’s already turned on. Kisses on the neck or shoulders, to her, feel awkward and are unwelcome. But a back massage, that’s just about always welcome. Find out what your wife appreciates. It probably won’t be sexual at all. Foot rubs, scalp massages, some say combing their hair. Once you get her to relax, then you can try to transition.
As for romance, there are two definitions of romance I’ve seen.
The first is the one portrayed in movies, and I hate it. It’s this concept of just “feeling” suddenly “in love” and aroused. Both people spontaneously want sex, spontaneously initiate and orgasm together. No work, no communication, no obstacles or road bumps. Everything is flawless and perfect. This is what our media portrays romance to be: easy, effortless, unrealistic sex. Yeah, it might happen when you are 20 with raging hormones, a lack of responsibilities and a brain that’s not yet fully developed and can’t assess risk or long term costs. Or in a new relationship when dopamine is high and blowing out any possibility that your brain can manage a thought that would impede feeling good. And that’s what we remember generally when we look back at the “good old days” of dating.
The reality of life is different. We have stressors like kids, responsibilities, bills, deadlines, energy levels, etc.. We often don’t have a huge dopamine rush anymore every time we see our spouse. And when we’re younger and more carefree, if something felt uncomfortable, you tended just to power through it. Now you stop and say “ouch, that doesn’t feel good”. We become more hesitant, more aware of inhibitors, more attune to negatives and less excited about positives. Sex takes more work to be good, because now you have to be skilled rather than just in the same room.
The definition of romance I actually like is this: meeting the needs and godly desires of your spouse before they even realize they have them. That takes work. It takes effort. And sometimes it’s not even appreciated, because what they need is sometimes not what they want. Even when you do get it right, often it’s just taken for granted. To me, the romantic part is continuing to do it anyways, because you know it’s what’s best for them. Because you choose to love them, even if you get nothing in return. It’s about the opposite of what the movies say. And occasionally it is recognized and appreciated. When it is, that’s worth more than an individual moment of effortless sex. It’s those moments that they realize you love them without reservation. It’s those moments that will make them want to be a better spouse because they know you are trying to be even if they never do.
That’s how I see it anyways.
Question 4 – Do men get sleepy during sex?
Hi, my marriage has had a lot of ups and downs in the last 10 years. We stopped having sex 4 years ago (last time we conceived our second baby). First, because my husband wasn’t really THAT interested and then I realized I didn’t enjoyed it really (I was never truly satisfied) so when he tried I rejected him.
So last weekend after weeks of internal debate I decided I wanted to have sex again. He had shown interest and the time was perfect (we were alone for the first time in years).
We started having sex, I was getting into it, kind of enjoying it and then he stopped. I asked if he was tired and he said: no, I want to sleep.
Do men get sleepy DURING sex (before orgasm) or is this another sign of trouble between us?
Alright, so you haven’t had sex in four years, and the first time didn’t go very smoothly. Yeah, that sounds about right. Is it another sign of trouble between you? Maybe. It could also be the result of the past trouble. Hard to say. I’d encourage you to have an actual conversation about it. Your husband knows what’s going on with him better than I do.
I do want to say good for you for initiating! I’m sorry it didn’t go so well. I hope that won’t stop you from trying again.
That’s all the questions for this week. Feel free to comment below if you want to discuss them, or if you want to join the conversation during the week, check out our secret Facebook group where we talk about all the questions that come in.
37 Questions for spouses to ask each other about sex
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