SWM 044 – Anonymous Questions from February and March 2019
I realized a week or two ago that I completely forgot to post the responses to the question for February and March. I think this was due to a mix of January having so many I had to split it into three posts, and then my sermon which took a lot of extra time. So, while I had written responses quite a while ago, I never got around to recording a podcast, or posting them.
So, here they are, a few months late. Today I’m addressing the follow questions from our Have A Question page:
- Is doggy style demeaning?
- Does anal sex always cause bleeding?
- How to start talking about sex with a sensitive wife?
- Can you have sex with an unsaved spouse?
- How to handle a wife orgasming too quickly
- Mutual Masturbation
- Swallowing your own semen
- Can you be married to the wrong person?
- Is sexlessness being unfaithful?
- Ethical porn
Question 1: Is doggy style demeaning?
My wife and I have been married for 9 years. My wife refuses to have sex in the doggy style position. I think the position is really sexy and I would love to make it part of our love making, but she is adamant about not wanting to do anything with it. I tried talking to her about it and she said she thinks that doggy style is inherently sexist and demeaning towards women and she told me that she does not want to be objectified like that. I am not sure what I can do, but I would really like to change her mind.
I completely understand wanting to explore new things, and I get it’s frustrating when the one person you can explore them with isn’t interested in that exploration.
I’d suggest trying to find something else that she’s not quite so adamantly against. It’s possible that when you explore some other things that aren’t so far outside of her comfort zone that she may open up to others. My wife was dead-set against some things we do fairly regularly now. But, it didn’t happen by me harping on those activities. Rather, it was me accepting it and letting it go and trying something else that seemed to lead back around to them.
The activities I bring up too often, well, they’re still on the shelf, and if I was a wiser man, I would leave them on the shelf for the next decade before trying to dust them off again.
Something you can try is going through something like Our Sexploration List, which might help point out some activities you both find mutually interesting.
Question 2: Does anal sex always cause bleeding?
Someone recently told me that the reason anal sex is so risky for STD transmission is because the person receiving usually bleeds– a little or a lot– and that it’s uncommon for there not to be some blood/injury to tissues. If this is true, and there is almost always some injury during anal sex, then I don’t understand how a Christian marriage educator could recommend it as an acceptable activity, even in the context of Christian marriage. If injury often or usually results, anal sex then becomes akin to BDSM or coprophagia, and as far as I know you believe those are unwise/sinful activities. How can something that so often causes injury/pain ever be considered uplifting?
For those who don’t know (because I didn’t):
Coprophagia or coprophagy is the consumption of feces.Wikipedia
So, first off, the base assumption is patently False. If anal sex causes bleeding, something is wrong. Not using enough lube, not relaxed enough, not going slow enough, there’s a pre-existing fissure, not hydrated enough, or something else.
So, that sort of negates the rest of the question. However, I want to also address two other things:
The first is a myth buried in here: The one of STD/STI transmission. We often get told through scare tactics that if you have sex with someone with an STI, then you will almost certainly get that disease/infection. This is not quite true. I learned this week that contracting HIV through anal sex (on the receivers end) has only a 1.4% chance.
By contrast, using condoms properly has about a 2% chance to result in pregnancy. In short, you have a higher chance of getting pregnant using a condom than you do getting HIV from someone with HIV while receiving anal sex. Oh, and most people don’t use condoms correctly (I still have to write a post on that), so that number is generally more like a 15% chance to get pregnant. I wonder how many people know that…
Now, of course, I still advocate for waiting until marriage to have sex to mostly negate these issues altogether, but let’s not use false numbers to scare people into not having sex. It doesn’t work.
The second is that you say I’m against BDSM. I want to make a small correction there.
For those who don’t know, BDSM is an overlapping acronym. It stands for Bondage & Discipline, Dominance & Submission, Sadism & Masochism.
I’m against the “SM” part of BDSM, aka sadomasicism, but even that with caveats. I don’t think inflicting pain for pain’s sake during sex, or using humiliation in any situation is good. But, there are people who really like a good spanking, because that involves a lot of other nerves in the process.
I’m also against the discipline part when it’s serious. I’m not even in favor of parents using physical means to discipline their children – yes, I have children (5 of them) – , let alone their spouses. If you want to jokingly say “you naughty wife, you deserve a spanking” when it’s all in fun and she actually wants it, then I don’t see any issues there.
The rest of the overlapping acronym I don’t see issues with so long as they don’t overlap with those I do see issues with. Bondage can be an excellent tool, especially for wives who like to give up control. Many don’t like being burdened with being responsible for sex, and so they actually like being tied up so they literally can’t do anything except enjoy it. That way it’s sort of guilt-free sex. Dominance and submission play can yield the same results for the same reasons.
Question 3: How to start talking about sex with a sensitive wife?
My significant other has a very delicate sensibility when it comes to her sexuality. Part of it is due to a conservative upbringing—being homeschooled, she missed out on the middle school locker room conversations that desensitized me to some extent. We’re trying to get better at having conversations about sex—what it means to us, what our expectations are, etc. It’s revealing to me how much she just hasn’t heard about and isn’t interested in. While I’m interested in exploring and getting creative, I’m inexperienced, having saved sex for my spouse. Is there a resource you can recommend that can ease us into those kinds of “non-vanilla” sex situations? Additionally, do you have any tips on how to approach those conversations with her? I want to lead us into them cautiously but clearly.
Yes, I have a few resources for you.
The first is our 37 Questions for spouses to ask each other about sex, it’s free if you join the mailing list, or $1 in our store. It’s a 2 page PDF with a bunch of questions to help start these sort of conversations. Most of it tends to be pretty vanilla, but it’s a good start.
If you want a non-vanilla lead-in, I’d suggest Our Sexploration List. It’s far more extensive, and instead of questions, it’s more of a checklist for each of your preferences and boundaries. It’s far more involved and can take a while to get through, but if you’re looking for a way to figure out what you each are willing to try, then I’d give that a shot. That will give you a lot of topics to discuss and also you can know which to avoid completely if neither of you are interested in it (though it might be good to share why).
As well, it has an introduction with tips on how to have these sorts of discussions which you both should read before starting into it.
Question 4: Can you have sex with an unsaved spouse?
I am a Christian (child of God). My husband is unsaved man. I want to know if it’s okay or not okay to have or not to have sex. We’re not on the same page for Christ. I go one way with Jesus and he’s on the sinner side of the world. Does it matter if one is a child of God and the other spouse isn’t to have sex still.
All I want to know should I allow my unsaved husband to have me or Not? I want to do right and go by the bible (The word).
Does it matter? Yes. That’s why Christians are actively encouraged / commanded to marry believers. However, it doesn’t always work out that way. I have many siblings who chose to disregard this advice. It’s a difficult path to walk. Some have left the church, some have become “lukewarm”, and one ended in divorce.
Sometimes two people marry as non-Christians and one converts while the other doesn’t. Sometimes they marry as Christians and one leaves the faith.
So, whatever the situation here, the Biblical response is the same:
But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace. 16 For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?1 Corinthians 7:12-16
You committed to marrying them.
Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.1 Corinthians 7:3-5
Marriage includes sex.
In fact, I’d argue that if you are married and you are withholding sex from them (be they a believer or not), then you are the one acting like an unbeliever, and are teaching them that believers are hypocrites, are sex-negative and unloving.
So, I say, yes, go have sex with your unbelieving spouse. Have really good, caring, loving, exciting, adventurous sex between just the two of you, as God intended. Maybe by your loving sexual relationship, you can show them that God, who created sex, is really an amazing being, worthy of our worship. In fact, say a prayer of thanks out loud after sex thanking God for creating sex and orgasms.
Human minds are incredibly susceptible to suggestion after sex and he will feel a lot of bonding with you, so your influence will be even stronger and we accept ideas from people whom we know, love and trust. It’s a great time to introduce some sex-positive theology into the relationship simply by being open and honest in praising God. Who knows what might sink in.
Question 5: Wife orgasming too quickly
A lot of times we talk about women not having an orgasm quickly, but never address women having them too quickly. Can you touch on how women can not orgasm too quickly or what they should do about it if they do? Thank you!
Alright, we’re missing a lot of context here that our forum members would have loved to have, but I’ll answer as best as I can along with their ideas.
1 – Try a second round
So, first off, for many women orgasming “too quickly” isn’t a big problem, because they can have multiple orgasms. Unlike men, their orgasm doesn’t release prolactin, which is what causes the refractory period and erections to be unattainable in most men (there are some who have no refractory period).
For some women they’re too sensitive after an orgasm, so continuing afterward is uncomfortable. However, for many of those women if they just wait a few minutes, then sensitivity goes down and they can start again. Some aren’t willing to give it a chance.
So, if you haven’t, maybe try taking a break for a bit and starting up again.
2 – Edging
Secondly, you can practice edging. Edging is bringing them close to orgasm, then backing off, letting them cool down a bit, then starting back up until you get close again. Repeat as desired. It has the benefit of slowing down the orgasm, but also building up to a larger orgasm.
This takes paying a lot of attention to your body and to your spouse’s body and communicating well. It can be a fun game to get as close as possible without pushing them over.
3 – Shake things up
Thirdly, you can try slowing things down by shaking them up. One idea I’ve heard is to set a timer for say 20 minutes. Depending on the variation, during those 20 minutes, you aren’t allowed to touch genitals, or you aren’t allowed to do anything that includes penetration. The rules are up to you. The point is to force yourselves to try other foreplay activities beyond what you normally do.
Sometimes couples get stuck in a pattern of doing the same activities in the same sequence every time they have sex, because, well, it’s efficient. We know if we do A, B, C, then orgasms will be had by all in 20 minutes.
One of the reasons I create resources like the Spice Jar is to shake up those routines. So, try switching things up a bit and see if that helps. Sometimes new and exciting things actually speed things up, but if they’re far enough outside of your comfort zone, they can slow things down a bit too.
4 – Desensitizing gels
Lastly, there are desensitizing gels you can use to reduce the sensation. I’m a bit hesitant about these because I’m generally not a huge fan of using medications when you don’t need to, but they do exist. I don’t have any experience with them myself, so I can’t suggest any, and I don’t know which are “body safe”. Do your research and act in accordance with your risk tolerance.
So, there you go, a few ideas to help slow things down a bit.
Question 6: Mutual Masturbation
Is it wrong to mutually maturbate with my spouse since she has a vaginal deformity? We are okay with watching porn together as it satisfies both of us. Is this a sin?
This one surprised me the first time, because my response completely changed between sentences one and two. So, I’m going to treat this like two questions.
Is it wrong to mutually masturbate with my spouse since she has a vaginal deformity?
We are okay with watching porn together as it satisfies both of us. Is this a sin?
Yes, it is! I know some of my readers are going to disagree with me on this, but I still don’t see they have a leg to stand on. For one, you’re allowing someone else to arouse you. Not only allowing, but seeking that. That’s not building intimacy with your spouse, that’s directing attention outside of your marriage.
As well, there are numerous studies on how porn adversely affects your brain.
Please, stop doing this for your own good.
Question 7: Swallowing your own semen
My wife doesn’t like to swallow after giving me oral sex. Sometimes however she tries to spit my semen into my mouth. Is it wrong if I swallow it and enjoy it?
Question 8: Married the wrong person?
I don’t know where to turn to with this question. I think I married the wrong person and I feel guilt over this. When I met my wife I felt confused. She was pushing for a relationship and because we were very physical from the beginning and I guess loneliness I agreed. I tried to break it off butI felt bad every time I tried so we always got back together. Then one day she pushed for marriage. I tried to say no but then complied. I was and am a very weak willed man. It’s been five years and the truth is that I love her. The romantic feelings hay should have been there from the beginning are there. But there is still something bother me. I feel guilty for marrying her. Her dedication to Christ wasn’t as mine and it often feels that I am being dragged away from ministry because of her. It’s not why she wants but it feels like that. And I constantly feel guilty as if God is telling me “you made the wrong choice”. Some people warned me about getting married to her but I didn’t want to listen. I didn’t feel peace either but I was stupid and did it anyways. But we have a good marriage in my opinion . The problem is that it feels like I will reach my God given destiny with her. But what do I do now? Do I feel guilty for the rest of my life? I constantly feel guilty for marrying her. I don’t know what to do. Will God remind me to the end that I made the wrong choice? I love her and treat her as a queen but the guilt eats me up. Do I just get used to the guilt?
The members on our supporters forum were unanimous. They all said in one way or another “Once you’re married, it’s the right person.” I agree with them. There is no biblical basis for the idea that God has one person for you. Soulmates don’t exist.
Rather, we have verses like 1 Corinthians 7:12-14, which I already quoted above, so I’m not going to post it again.
The Bible describes two sorts of “guilt” feelings: One from God, one from Satan.
For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.2 Corinthians 7:10
What you describe sounds like this worldly sorrow from Satan. It’s drawing you away from your wife and God. That’s not from God. It might have originally been to make you recognize your weaknesses and repent, but either you haven’t repented and you’re hardening your heart, or you have, but you haven’t accepted forgiveness.
So, stop focusing on what you did in the past. Repent, accept forgiveness, and then do what God calls you to do: love your wife. That is your first ministry. If you can’t manage to love your wife in your marriage, then you have no business doing God’s work outside of it.
It’s so important that church leaders were forbidden from taking office in the New Testament unless their house was in order.
So, you can continue to wallow in the past and let your past mistakes continue to drag your life down, or you can step up, be a man and lead your family the way God wants you to. It’s up to you. No one else is going to do it for you, and if you give up and leave, you won’t right a wrong. You’ll be compounding it.
Question 9: Is sexlessness being unfaithful?
If my spouse will only have sex with me 3 or 4 times a year is this being unfaithful even though I try to be romantic and make life enjoyable as possible?
Here’s the struggle we had with this question in the forum: Unfaithfulness is not necessarily about behaviours, but about mindset.
For example, having sex with someone other than your spouse is clearly adultery, right? What if they were raped? Is that still adultery? It’s still sex, but most people would say no. What if they were sleepwalking? Some people have sex in their sleep. It happens. Would that be adultery? What if they were both asleep? Questions like that get confusing. Where is the line?
With this question, we are missing a lot of context. We don’t know the why. Is she suffering from a health or mental condition? Is it that she’s simply avoiding sex, or is she unable to bring herself to have sex? Is the husband abusive or has he damaged the relationship in such a way that making herself vulnerable like that would be damaging? We don’t know.
But, let’s make a few assumptions. If those assumptions are wrong, then throw all of the subsequent thoughts out. Let’s assume:
- The marriage is relatively stable with no major emotional or trust issues
- There’s no abuse happening
- There’s no serious mental or physical illness
- There isn’t some recent trauma like a recent death of a loved one or something equally traumatic
There may be some other exceptions, but I think (hope) you’re seeing the point.
In those cases, yes, I’d argue that failing to have sex is being unfaithful. Is it on the same level as adultery? Some will say yes, some will say no. I’d argue sin is sin, and levels are irrelevant in most situations.
The question is: why are you asking?
If you’re asking me to give you permission to divorce, I won’t. Sexless marriages can change. Furthermore, I’d argue if you leave, then you’ve broken your vows, because marriage is a covenant. Exchanging vows when you get marriage isn’t creating a contract. You aren’t saying “I will do X if you do Y and visa-versa”. It’s a promise to continue to love, regardless of what the other person does. In sickness and health, richer or poorer. Well, sexlessness is either sickness or being poor, depending on how you look at it.
Now, it may be that your spouse isn’t keeping their vows, and that’s on them. If they were asking the question, I’d give a very different response. But they aren’t. You are. So, my response is that regardless of whether or not they are keeping their vows, your vows are made to your wife and God, and cannot be broken lightly. Doing so is an admission that you have failed to love your spouse, failed to forgive.
But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.Matthew 6:15
I’m not saying if you get divorced you won’t go to heaven, but I think the Bible is clear that if you struggle to forgive, struggle to love, then you are going to struggle to accept that same forgiveness and love from God, and that may lead to your refusal of salvation. It’s a dangerous position to be in.
So, what can you do? I find in most situations like this, the spouses aren’t talking about it. Start discussing the lack of sex.
If they won’t, then book an appointment with the pastor to get some spiritual support, and a therapist to get some psychological support. Invite your spouse to come with, but don’t force them (as if you could).
As well, start making it clear to others that the marriage is in crisis. When they ask how things are going, ask them to pray for you both. You don’t need to give details at first, but if your spouse continues to refuse to address the issue, then I’d start opening up more. Why? It’s not to shame your spouse into changing – that would be unwise. Rather, this accomplishes two things:
- You get the support you need to continue to love.
- Sin is brought into the light. It’s easy to sin when no one knows. It’s a lot harder when it’s public. Hopefully, eventually someone will pull your wife aside and say “You know this is wrong, right?” and hopefully she won’t have hardened her heart so much that she won’t listen.
I see this as being in keeping with the Matthew 18 conflict resolution plan. That said, I’ve rarely seen anyone actually follow the biblical model, and never with regards to marriage. We prefer to just suffer or give up, at which point we’ve really failed in our responsibilities as believers to hold each other accountable.
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.Galatians 6:1
If you continue to let your wife be unfaithful in this way without addressing it, then you become an accomplice in it. If you divorce her, then you’ve abandoned her to continue to hold this sinful mindset/heart and potentially condemn another man to suffer as you have.
But, if you address it, there’s a chance she will change, you may get what marriage is intended to be. You may save her.
My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.James 5:19-20
And all it will cost you is some temporal suffering.
Question 10: Ethical porn
Is it wrong for a married couple to watch what is now being described as ‘ethical porn’ to increase sexual knowledge and intimacy?
So, the first question those in our forum asked was “what is ethical porn”. Here was my response:
It depends on the audience.
For most of secular society:
Ethical porn can be defined as that which is made legally, respects the rights of performers, has good working conditions, shows both fantasy and real-world sex and celebrates sexual diversity — just to name a few. It is an accepted belief that abuse against women is a major problem in the porn industryABC.net
For some Christians:
Any porn that only shows real married couples having sex.
It doesn’t exist. It’s an oxymoron.
So, as stated, from my perspective, yeah, it’s wrong. There is no “ethical porn” just like there aren’t any “Christian erotica”, “Christian swingers” or “Christian evolutionists”. Or at least, there shouldn’t be. They’re all oxymorons because they’re all designed to undermine something about God, His creation or His laws.
And I understand the rationalization. I’ve made it myself in the past. We tell ourselves that we’re only doing it to make our marriage better. To learn to please our spouse better. To learn things we can’t otherwise learn because we only have sex within marriage.
We rationalize that there’s no difference between learning it through porn, or learning it through a blog or podcast like this. Some will even argue that it’s better.
But there’s a big difference between clinical words on a page intending to be informative, and a video depicting two people having sex, or even a story about two people having sex.
One is the intent of the creator. Not The Creator, but the author/director of whatever you’re reading or writing. Intent/mindset is important. In this blog, I deliberately do my best to avoid arousing you.
But I don’t think that’s quite enough, because I’m sure someone out there has made some educational videos including naked people having sex (wasn’t there a Monty Python sketch like that?) which I think would still be inappropriate. But I don’t think body parts in textbooks and such are indecent.
So, it’s hard to nail down a hard and fast rule about what is “wrong”, but in the words of Justice Potter Steward of the Supreme Court discussing pornography “I know it when I see it” and I do my best not to see any of it.
37 Questions for spouses to ask each other about sex
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