SWM 039 – Anonymous Questions from January 2019 – Part 3
This is the third and final part of our January anonymous questions from our Have A Question page. I meant to get this out sooner, but I was asked to preach in my home church last week, and it takes me a couple of weeks to prepare a sermon. I hope to have it up on the podcast soon as I was discussing Jesus’ answer to the question “Can I divorce my wife for any (and every) reason?” (Matthew 19:1-2).
If you heard the previous two parts of these questions, I was trying to sort the questions by topic. Today we’re tackling some questions about sex drive and then a bunch that didn’t fit into any nice categories.
So, on with the questions.
Question 19: Sex drive and pregnancy
A little over a year ago I became pregnant, and by the end of the pregnancy I’d gone from having almost no sex drive (birth control pills had killed it previously) to being very high drive. In fact it was OCD high– 2-3 times per day high– WAY higher than my husband’s.
Before that I would have been happy with having sex about 1-2 times a month. My husband and I attributed this change to the extra testosterone in my system (it was a boy baby). However it was our second son (fourth pregnancy) and nothing like this had happened when I became pregnant with our first son (eight years before–right after I’d quit using birth control pills).
Well now that I’m five months postpartum, I’m wondering if the change might be permanent, because there’s been almost no decrease at all in my drive since having our baby. Fortunately my husband has been super understanding and tries the best he can to keep up, but for me it’s frustrating feeling like having sex so ridiculously often! It has given me a glimpse of what my husband must have gone through when I was gatekeeping early on in our marriage.
So I guess my questions are, first, have you ever heard of anything like this?? Do you think it was the pregnancy that caused it, and any thoughts on whether it might have permanently “reset” my hormones? I mean, it’s fun having sex more often, but sometimes the best sex is after waiting a few… days, not hours… if you know what I mean??? Also it takes a lot of time to have sex so often, and with a new baby we’re sacrificing sleep for more sex.
All that said, I will say that through this experience, God has answered every prayer I ever said for our marriage and then some! It has in many ways been like a second honeymoon for us. We went from having a difficult marriage with lots of unhealthy conflict to a marriage where we honor, respect and serve one another. Any conflict is a healthy discussion now, and if it does get heated at all it’s just for a moment until we realize what’s happening. We’ve even started praying together about our sex life. Never, ever in a million years did I think that that would happen! We’re also reading every book on marriage we can get our hands on. I feel like we’re living proof that God really can use a vibrant sex life to totally transform a marriage.
Anyway, glad to have come across your blog, thanks for any wisdom you can share!
First off, every pregnancy is different, even so much that some pregnancies are the same, if that makes any sense (I mean, if they’re all different, sometimes the difference must be that they’re the same, right?).
So, yes, I’ve definitely heard of women’s sex drives changing during and after pregnancy. Some go up in the first term, some second, some third, some go down during different ones, some drop at the end, some jump at the end, some stay up, or stay down, or reverse. It’s all over the map and there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to it. The short and simple answer is: hormones change drastically and that can have unpredictable effects.
As for sex being better when it’s less frequent – one option is to simply have less sex. Our brains tend to want sex the more we have sex – especially for women. So, if you’re having sex daily, or even more frequently, your brain gets used to that and wants to keep it up. If you slow down a bit, you may find you have better sex, can be more rested, and that your brain eventually will settle down and you won’t feel this insatiable drive. But, it may take a bit for it to adjust. How long depends on too many factors to estimate.
Now, you may find a new balance that you want to stick with, or maybe just one to get you through the young children years. That’s up to you!
Other than that, I’d say enjoy your new marriage!
Question 20: Can medications cause permanent sexual issues?
Is it true that birth control pills and SSRIs can have permanent effects on a woman’s ability to orgasm? Any other medications to avoid?
Yes, it’s definitely possible SSRI’s have almost a 100% rate for negative sexual side effects, and unfortunately for many they don’t stop when ends. In fact, there’s a medical term for it: PSSD (post-SSRI sexual dysfunction).
Symptoms include (blantantly stolen from https://rxisk.org/post-ssri-sexual-dysfunction-pssd/):
- Reduced genital sensation / genital anesthesia
- Erectile dysfunction / decreased vaginal lubrication
- Delayed or inability to orgasm (anorgasmia)
- Pleasureless, weak or “muted” orgasms
- Decreased or loss of libido (sex drive)
- Reduced response to sexual stimuli
- Decreased or lack of nocturnal erections
- Premature ejaculation
- Reduced nipple sensitivity
- Soft glans
I couldn’t find anything on birth control pills, however, turns out one of the side-effects of almost all birth control pills is depression, and then when you take meds for that, you’re back in the same place, so the data gets a little messy, because we don’t know if it’s the depression, the SSRI’s or the birth control pills.
The short answer is: there is always a cost of medication. You should never take it thinking it’s only going to fix something. It’s usually a balance of fixing one thing while breaking another, and deciding which is more important. Personally, we do our best to opt for natural options when we can, but my 6 year old has asthma pretty bad – has to take an inhaler typically multiple times a day. It rots her teeth, so she gets a ton of cavities – but she needs to breath. Until we figure out what’s causing the asthma and mitigate it, then that’s the price one has to pay.
Oh, and for those who are going to say “quit dairy to fix the asthma” (I know you’re out there, because I’m one of you) – she’s been dairy free most of her life. It helped with my asthma, but doesn’t seem to be helping hers much.
Question 21: Low-Drive Husband’s Affair
My husband and I are devout Christians. However, I found out that he had an emotional affair that lasted 18 months.
In the course of the affair, he sent a “masturbation video” to the other woman. We are trying to heal our marriage, but finding the video he sent her was incredibly painful for me. Not just because of the obvious content, but because my husband has always had a low sex drive. Our love-making was always initiated by me – and we were married 33 years at the time of the affair. It was the only thing he and I really struggled with – but one I came accept because he was always so very loving and wonderful to me. I just finally accepted that it wouldn’t matter who was laying next to him, his drive would be the same.
But then, I saw the video. It has destroyed me in ways I can’t even express. My self-esteem is at an all time low. I feel like it’s not that he didn’t like sex, he just didn’t like it with me. The thing is, I need him to discuss this issue. I don’t want details (those were clear enough) but I want to know where he was, where I was. His feelings afterwards. He continues to say he cannot remember…but I find this impossible to accept. Is that even possible? It has become a stumbling-block I cannot overcome. I am so broken. I don’t want to give my heart to him again if he can do something like that, and not remember.
Am I being unreasonable?
Alright, so the first thing to realize is that sexual affairs are often not about sex. They’re usually about intimacy, closeness, security, or something like that. It’s not uncommon for “low-drive” spouses to get caught in sexual affairs. It doesn’t make it okay, but maybe that helps lessen the blow.
Secondly, affairs usually aren’t one-sided. If an affair happened, it’s generally because both spouses have damaged the relationship so far that it happened. I’m not interested in whose “fault” it was, but I am going to say you both probably have some responsibility here. I know no one wants to hear that, but I think it has to be said.
Lastly, memory is a weird thing. It’s actually incredible how it works. From what I understand when short-term memory moves to long-term memory, it needs to “compress” a bit, because, well, we have to fit a lot of stuff in our brains. So, we lose a lot of the context of our memories. That means you may not remember who you were with, or what day it was, or if it was morning or night for a specific memory, but maybe you remember a smell, because for whatever reason, your brain decide THAT was the important piece to remember.
For example, I remember the first time I heard the song “Zombie” from the Cranberries. I know I was in a parking garage at the airport waiting for my parents who were waiting for someone’s (probably family) plane to land. I know what station I was listening to, but not what vehicle we were in. I know what airport, but not if anyone else was in the vehicle. I have no idea who we were picking up, but I definitely remember the song. Why? Who knows.
Point is, I find it believable that he doesn’t remember the context of when he did something. I’d also find it equally believable that he doesn’t want to tell you because something about it will hurt you, or embarrass him.
At the end of the day though, are those details more important than the marriage you’ve decided to fight for? I doubt it.
I’d rather see you spend that energy rebuilding the marriage, and part of that will be figuring out why the affair happened and each of you working on what parts you were responsible for in that breakdown.
So, are you being unreasonable for wanting this info? Maybe, maybe not. What you are being by holding out for it is unproductive, and that’s unfortunate, because enough time has been spent not moving forward in the last few years.
Question 22: Birth control options
Is hormonal birth control really abortifacient? If so then what should a couple who can’t use condoms because of ED issues do? Diaphragms aren’t very effective, and the rhythm method is basically depriving one another. We really can’t have more kids because of medical issues.
Is hormonal birth control really abortifacient? Depends on your views. Even in Christianity, there’s no consensus here. It depends on when you believe life starts and it depends on what birth control you’re using.
Now, if you want something that’s definitely not an abortifacient and is pretty effective, I’d look into a vasectomy. Here in Canada they’re a free, low risk simple procedure that takes only a couple hours of time. You can even drive yourself home.
Question 23: Resources
Is there a place where you list all possible sexual activities and resources/blog posts for/about these activities that are within Biblical boundaries?
– new positions (Christian Nymphos, CFSPs.com)
– props – furniture/toys/clothing, etc.
– games (Spice Jar, sexy coupons, strip whatever, etc)
– honor bondage/bondage/hair pulling, etc.
– boudoir photos (husband or wife taking the photos)/videotaping (& deleting)
– clit slapping
– anal sex between husband and wife
I’m sure there are many, many others, this is just off the top of my head
I don’t mind searching the archives of your site, but if you have it somewhere all in one place, I’d appreciate knowing. We’re trying to expand our boundaries as much as we can biblically to keep things new. Thanks!
Question 24: Fisting
I know what fisting is, but can you comment on the technique and whether women generally like this?
For those who don’t know, “fisting” is the practice of inserting your entire hand into a vagina (or anus, but I don’t think that’s what this person was asking about, so I’m going to stick with vaginal fisting).
I’m afraid I don’t have any stats on fisting, so I can’t tell you if women generally like it. I can say I found one sex survey with some 2800 respondents and 72% of people answered that they have no interest in this activity. Assuming the genders answered similarly (which isn’t safe to do, but let’s just say they did), then you can take this one of two ways:
- 72% of women don’t like the activity
- 72% of women are too shocked by the concept to find out if they like it or not
Now, I’m willing to guess about 72% of my readers are thinking “why would you want to do that?!” There are a couple reasons.
Firstly, while tissue like the clitoris and g-spot respond well to rubbing sensations, a lot of the pleasure nerves around the vagina respond to pressure. And entire hand is, well, a lot of pressure, which some women find extremely pleasurable. The “fullness” of it reportedly feels really good
Secondly, some women report that it has a psychological effect they really enjoy.
And lastly, it can take a lot of communication, watching for body language, being in tune with your spouse to get it to work, and some report that the intimacy achieved by this practice is amazing.
So, if those are all the reasons to do it, why are people afraid? There are two basic ones. The first is that women are afraid it will hurt. And it can hurt. Pretty much any sexual activity can hurt if done improperly, and this one appears to be no different. With enough patience, lubricant and enough arousal, there shouldn’t be any pain involved.
The second is that people are afraid that the vagina will stretch and become loose. But, this fear is based on a myth. Vaginal tissue is designed to be stretched and to rebound back into shape. In fact, I’ve heard there are midwives and prenatal (antenatal in the UK and Australia I believe) class teachers who suggest using this practice to help in preparing for birthing for two reasons:
- It helps stretch the tissue, so that it’s not being stretched for the first time by the baby when it comes out. You can go slowly with a hand – babies go at their own pace.
- It helps the woman gain better control over those muscles, which can aid in birthing as well.
Of course, these midwives and teachers typically aren’t using the term “fisting”. Actually, I recall listening to a sex educator once who was having a baby in one of those classes and the teacher recommended this practice and she immediately asked “are you talking about fisting?!” The teacher of course didn’t want to link the name to the practice, but that’s exactly what she was describing.
As for technique, from my understanding, the first is to realize that this is badly named. Do NOT make a fist and try to insert it. Your hand balled into a fist is actually a fairly large configuration. Supposedly the easiest method is to make your hand a “duck” shape. Basically, all your fingers pointed together like you’re going to make a shadow puppet duck. You know the gesture you make when someone is talking incessantly while you’re on the phone while you’re trying to end the conversation?
So, then you take your duck-hand and, with a lot of good, quality lube (some women produce enough naturally), you start to insert it, with your thumb closest to the clitoris-end of the vaginal opening. So, your knuckles would be pointing down.
Some things to keep in mind:
- If the woman is lying on her back, the tissue “down” (towards the anus) is more stretchy, so you can push “down” a bit. There are also a lot of pressure nerves there which add to the feeling of fullness, which many women find quite pleasurable.
- Don’t just try to put your whole hand in in one session. This may take multiple sessions. Start with one finger, then two, then three, then four, then the thumb. It can take time for the woman to both become comfortable with the idea, and the new sensations, as well as gaining more control over the muscles she needs to relax.
- Understandably, what I hear is that the knuckles are the hardest to get past, but you can angle your hand a bit while going in, so they aren’t all aligned and going into together, they can sort of go in diagonally if that makes sense, which makes the width smaller.
- Go slow – you need to be able to communicate through this. If you can’t talk during sex, I wouldn’t attempt this.
Anyways, from what I gather, that’s the best way to do it. Hope that helps.
Question 25: Banana Question
If a wife brings a banana into her marriage bed and simulates oral sex on it while being pleasured by her husband is it wrong if she puts the banana in her husbands mouth and asks for him to open wide? I know a christian couple where the husband asked the wife to simulate on the banana but afterward the wife asked the husband to do so as well. Is that okay? I have read the rules about not bringing a 3rd person but what about this?
For me, emulation of an activity and the activity itself are equally sinful. I think this is the principle shown when Jesus said things like it’s not enough not to murder, you have to not hate as well. It’s not enough not to have affairs, you shouldn’t lust after other people. That’s why most Christians have an issue with porn – while it’s not physically bringing someone into your sexual relationship, it’s virtually doing so.
So, for me, a scenario like this would be emulating acts like a threesome and homosexuality, and thus not be okay
Question 26: Sex machines, footjobs and fetishes
Is it sinful to want to use a sex machine on your wife as part of foreplay? Also what about footjobs (and really, fetishes in general)?
I don’t know. A “sex machine” is a pretty vague term that could be anything from a vibrator to a sex-bot. I would say at some point along that spectrum, you start running into problems. Actually, at any point on that spectrum you could. If a $5 vibrator begins to replace your spouse in the bedroom that’s a problem. If the toy becomes the focus of your sex session, that’s a problem.
I also got this question at about the same time which ties into it:
What if your spouse wants you to get a sex robot or blowup doll?
There are companies developing robots designed to be artificial sex partners, and that’s going to be a problem too, because at some point it becomes a third-party in the bedroom instead of a “marital aid”.
As well, with VR becoming more advanced and prevalent, and AI advancing, at some time we’re going to reach a point where the “sex machine” is just artificially creating sensations in your mind, bypassing the body entirely and going straight to the brain.
I don’t think there’s a clear line in the sand where you can say “this is a sex machine that’s okay and this is one that’s not”. I think intentions are important, focus is important, and realism is important. They’re difficult questions, not easily answered, and the range of products is so varied that it’s difficult to make classifications.
I just realized I forgot to talk about the second second on the podcast. Short answer is: I don’t see anything wrong with foot-jobs. It’s just another limb. As for fetishes, that gets a bit more difficult, because we have two definitions for fetishes that people work with.
The first is any fixation on something during sex. So, if you really like lingerie, and want your spouse to wear it, or have a thing for their feet, I don’t see that as a being a huge problem.
The second is having a need to include that item or thing in all sexual expression. If you can’t have sex without whatever you’re focused on, then that’s a problem. Likewise if you can’t stop yourself from acting on your temptations when you see it in a context other than with your spouse. For example, if you are at the beach and can’t control yourself because so many people have their shoes off, then there’s an issue there.
Question 27: Sex and being overweight
We have not had sex for 30 years! I am now wishing to start it up again! But Mrs. has become very overweight, and has many related problems. Simple basic kissing is very difficult…she can’t sit on the sofa, and it is very difficult to reach basic areas. Lying on the bed is difficult…she can really only lay on her back, and in doing so, she is unable to reach me and touch me. Her legs have become very heavy and thick, making it difficult to manually attend to her vulva and vagina, and I am unable to give her genitals oral stimulation.
She is also grossed out when I suggest that she try oral on me
What can you suggest?
Honestly, I’m more worried about the weight than the lack of sex. I would focus on that, because that level of obesity is a serious health risk. You don’t worry about sex when your body is simply fighting to survive.
Question 28: Sex in heaven
Jesus said there won’t be marriage in heaven, but will there still be sex in heaven? For instance with a spouse who has passed?
The verse referenced here is:
Most of Christianity doesn’t discuss this. The ones that do the most are the Mormons who created the concept of “sealed” marriages as a way to keep marriage and sex in heaven. In short, you can only have one “sealed” marriage, which can only take place in a Mormon temple and is “sealed” for eternity (some exceptions apply – see below).
To them, this solves the idea of not being able to get married in heaven, but still having marriage in heaven. Of course, that gets complicated if you have a spouse who dies while you are “sealed” to them. Now, if you’re a woman, it’s less of an issue, because Mormons hold that polygamy is what God intended. Men can have multiple wives “sealed” to them, and thus have multiple wives in heaven in their theology, but women can’t have multiple husbands. So, a widow can can get “unsealed” and then “sealed” to their new husband, but then that sort of undercuts the idea that marriages sealed in a temple are forever. To me, that sort of proves the system false.
It’s about the same as once-saved-always-saved theology. You have to create this concept of a “real” believer so that if someone lapses from belief, then you can say “Well, I guess they weren’t a true believer”.
For me, working solely from scripture, the short answer is: I don’t think there will be marriage in heaven, and I’d surmise that means there won’t be sex in heaven. Now, I know that disappoints some people, but here’s how I see it.
Marriage seems to be designed to be a metaphor for our (collective) relationship with God (Ephesians 5:25-32, 1 Corinthians 11:2) , and the argument could be made that sex could be a metaphor of that most intimate aspect: prayer.
So, then, when we get to heaven, will we need marriage as a metaphor for our relationship with God when is He is there with us? Will we need prayer to communicate, or will we simply say “Hey Jesus!” when we see Him face-to-face?
My best guess is that there will be something better than marriage awaiting us, and something better than sex. I think we’ll look back and think “wow, we used to think that was something special!”.
Question 29: Tantric Sex
What exactly is tantric sex? I’ve looked it up some online and am still not quite sure what it all entails. Are there any redeemable qualities/best practices that could be applied in Christian marriages, or does it simply revolve too much around pagan religion? I’m specifically wondering about sexual techniques (that could be applied in monogamous Christian marriages).
I am not an expert on Hinduism, but my understanding is that Tantric sex is a part of a larger piece of their religion that focuses on being present in the moment.
And here’s where I get into trouble:
Christianity has a tendency to do one of two things with religions:
- We throw the baby out with the bathwater.
- We adopt it as our own and reject that it came from another religion.
Unfortunately, it tends to be that we throw out the useful stuff, and adopt the useless stuff and rationalize them both later on.
For example, Easter and Christmas are pagan holidays that we adopted and internalized so much that most Christians have no idea why we have eggs and bunnies at Easter or why it happens to land on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox or Christmas trees, mistletoe or carolling at Christmas, which lands close to the winter solstice. (Hint: Those are all pieces we adopted from worship rites of pagan gods).
But, people will look at tantric sex and go “oh, no, tantric, that’s bad, stay away”. Now, I’m not saying it’s a good idea to take a course on tantric sex. I have no idea how much theology will be mixed in. But, I do know that being present is something the Bible is also in favor of.
The basic idea of Tantric sex that I think can be adopted by anyone safely is to slow down, enjoy the experience, enjoy the connection, and stop racing to the orgasm. In fact, have sex some time without trying to get an orgasm, just try to see how long you can extend the pleasure. It doesn’t always have to be about how quickly you can get an orgasm. At least, not all the time. I mean, quickies have their place, it just shouldn’t be every time.
And that’s it’s for January 2019’s questions. I didn’t get quite as many in February and March, so I’m hoping to lump them together to catch up.. If you have a question you’d like answered, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our Have A Question page to ask it anonymously.
As always, if you’d like to be involved in the discussion of the questions as they come in, check out our supporters forum at https://www.uncoveringintimacy.com/donate.