Sex & Family Planning Archives | Page 2 of 14 | Engaged Marriage

Category Archives for "Sex & Family Planning"

Sexual PDA: Better to Give AND Receive!

By Julie Sibert | General , Sex & Family Planning

public display of affectionIt’s that time of year when you’re making the rounds of parties for Christmas and the New Year.

Maybe you’re even hosting a few of these shindigs. (If that’s the case, then you’ll definitely need a way to relieve some stress!)

I want to lay down a challenge for you and your spouse.  Be super intentional about communicating your sexual desire for each other at these gatherings — without being obvious about it.

There’s something beyond sexy about public display of affection (PDA).

I think this is particularly arousing if PDA isn’t really your thing.  After courageously venturing into this arena, you may discover it is your thing!

Let those crowded chaotic boisterous parties be your opportunity to give AND receive PDA. It will make sexual connection even hotter when you crawl beneath the sheets after the party lights go down.

You may even be inspired to leave the party early!

Want some ideas? (Of course you do!)

Here are 5 public displays of affection worthy of your heart and time:

Use Those Fingernails

Gals, you more than likely have an advantage in this department.  There’s just something about fingernails and light caresses.  Some great areas to run your fingernails?  Back of the neck, just under the shirt cuff, along the arm, along the hand and fingers.

Get creative and make the most of those tingling touches with your fingernails.  Your lover will totally get what you’re saying.  And you won’t have to say a word.

Find the Small of the Back

What is it about that waistline area right in the center of the back?  Husbands and wives can both make the most of affectionate touch in this area.

To make it especially sensuous, move your finger tips in a subtle, yet firm, circular motion, drifting along the waistline toward either hip or up the spine.

Get Sneaky

Okay, this might not count as true public display of affection, because it’s all about sneaking out of sight.  Obviously, you have to be wise about this, especially if you are in someone else’s house.

But if you discern it’s appropriate and easy to sneak into the pantry, den or a hallway out of sight, then take the chance to have a passionate kiss or some less-than-subtle caressing.

Whisper Your Intentions

Sure, you don’t want to announce in the presence of partygoers what you’re going to do later when you get naked.

But there’s no reason why you can’t whisper those things quietly to your lover.  You know, while you’re going through the buffet line or making your way to the kitchen for a refill on your refreshment or cuddled up on the couch in the family room.

BONUS TIP

You don’t have to wait for a party to put your PDA plan into action.  All of the above work well in other atmospheres as well — shopping at the mall, traveling in the car, waiting at the airport, going out to dinner,  seeing a movie, running errands and so forth.

Make the most of your public display of affection!  It will pay big dividends later! (And by later, I mean a few hours later.  Literally. Just. A. Few. Hours. Later.)

When You Crave Sex More Than He Does

By Julie Sibert | Sex & Family Planning

When You Crave Sex More - Dustin Riechmann.001I am a wife with a high sex drive.

Some people would say that trait puts me in an incredibly small minority.

But word to the wise, there are more of us out there than you may realize.

I do hear from women who would love more sex with their husband — and they are baffled as to why he isn’t on board with that.

Each marriage is unique and the circumstances behind mismatched sex drives certainly vary.  I get that.

Some of the below questions, though, might spur some opportunities to either better understand what’s going on or to initiate some dialogue with your husband.

If you want sex more than he does, ask yourself:

Does he really know I want more sex?

Sometimes subtlety works in making sexual desires known, but I wouldn’t rely too heavily on this approach.

If you are “hinting” at wanting more sex or if you are simply waiting for him to always be the one to pursue you, such an approach is probably leaving you frustrated.

Somewhere along the way, I think women (particularly Christian women) got the idea that it is more appropriate to wait for him to do all the initiating. The problem is there is nothing biblical to such a thought.

If you want more sex, don’t assume he knows.  And if he is not receiving your attempts to initiate, talk to him (preferably in a non-sexual setting).

Express to him that you hunger to be with him more sexually.

Could there be a physical reason he’s not interested in sex?

I certainly can’t cover every physical possibility, but there are a few worth mentioning.

For example, some guys experience erectile dysfunction and they find this embarrassing and/or discouraging.  They simply don’t want to either initiate sex or respond to your pursuit, because they question whether they will be able to get and/or maintain an erection.

They don’t want to disappoint you or themselves, so their logic is to avoid the situation altogether.  But that approach is not doing either of you any good.

A variety of things can cause erectile dysfunction.  Sometimes age and/or alcohol consumption can play a factor. Sometimes it can be the result of medications (such as for high blood pressure) or various medical conditions.

Certainly you and your husband shouldn’t navigate this on your own or make sudden changes in medications.

If you think your husband is struggling with erectile dysfunction, talk to him.  Be his champion and partner and safe person.

Remind him that it is not a reflection of him as a man and that erectile dysfunction is increasingly a more treatable experience.

It is worth a trip to the doctor and any specialists to talk openly.  This is true not only for erectile dysfunction, but also such things as weight gain, depression, diabetes and so forth.

Doctors, nutritionists and counselors exist to help individuals and couples build healthy lives, including healthy sexual intimacy.

And it is important to remember that even if actual intercourse is no longer possible, sexual contact that is affirming to both of you is still possible.  Throughout marriage, whether we are talking about sex or anything else, we have to find ways to adapt and still nurture our oneness.

Is he stressed about something?

Stress can take a toll on any person’s sex drive.  No surprise there, but we tend to think it is women who struggle with this, not men.

As much as we like to joke around about men being able to forget about everything when they crawl beneath the sheets, this is just not always the case.

I can point to a few occasions when my husband and I tried to make love, but he admitted that his mind was preoccupied with something else.

It wasn’t that his heart wasn’t in it.  His mind wasn’t.  And he couldn’t get past that barrier in that moment.

If you think your husband might be worried or stressed about something (finances, work, family matters, other responsibilities), shed light on this. Express to him you are concerned and you want him to be able to talk to you about everything, even the stuff he maybe is trying to protect you from.

Ultimately, what makes for an intimate bond (sexual and otherwise) is a deep abiding friendship.  If he is overwhelmed or stressed, you as his wife need to know.

Dealing With Unbalanced Sex Drives...
or Other Intimacy Issues?

Intimacy Reignited was created to help you rekindle the intimacy in your marriage and create a lifestyle that encourages more and better sex. Intimacy Reignited
From differing libidos to building anticipation outside the bedroom and scheduling sex, get the practical help you need in the comfort of your home.

 

Does sex always mean mutual sexual pleasure?

This question might surprise you, but hang in there with me, okay?  If the pattern in your sexual intimacy has always meant intercourse, then that is how you as a couple have come to define “sex.”

As life moved along, you found you wanted sex more than he did, and you both still saw it as always including intercourse.

But a husband and wife can experience sexual connection without intercourse every time.  Are you willing to experience nakedness with each other and closeness and sexual touch without it always concluding in an orgasm?

Are there deeper issues going on?

Sometimes a man’s sex drive with his wife decreases because of deeper (maybe even tragic) circumstances in the marriage.  These could include (but not be limited to) such things as deep communication problems, pornography use, and infidelity.

Obviously, if a husband and wife are struggling in their relationship (or if one of the spouses is struggling in the relationship), then this is going to take a huge toll on sexual intimacy in the marriage.

I think counseling can benefit a couple any time in marriage, but I think it is a necessity if the marriage is facing a crisis.  Don’t hesitate to say to your husband that you want the two of you to go to a marriage counselor.

If he won’t go, then go on your own.  Not only will this give you the insights of a professional counselor, it also will demonstrate to your husband that the status quo situation of your marriage is not okay with you.

You are going to do whatever you can to strengthen the marriage.  (If you can’t afford counseling, check out these three ideas).

Lastly, with regard to sex drive, I want to encourage you as a woman to remember that it is not wrong that your sex drive is higher than your husband’s.

Sometimes I hear from women who think there is something “wrong” with them for wanting sex.  But the truth is that sexual desire is a good thing in a marriage and couples will spend their married years navigating the impact that desire has on their relationship.

As I said at the beginning, I am a wife with a high sex drive. And that drive at times has been higher than my husband’s.

Though it can feel uncomfortable to address this in a marriage, we are grateful we have.  The health of our marriage is worth it.

Should You Have to Talk Yourself Into Sex?

By Julie Sibert | Sex & Family Planning

talking-yourself-into-sexSo let’s say you don’t really like sex in your marriage. You maybe even would go so far as viewing it as a “necessary evil” – something you “have” to do to keep the peace.

But you pretty much hate it.

And you find yourself having to “talk” yourself into sex.   Not surprisingly, a vicious cycle of resentment grows in your marriage. You resent having to talk yourself into sex – and if your spouse knows you’re talking yourself into it, they resent you.

After awhile, you may even wonder if you even should keep talking yourself into it. (Tragically, some people eventually arrive at a “no” and decide to withhold sex completely).

I hope you’re not to that point. I encourage you to try a more humble (albeit, harder) approach.

A better question to ask yourself is, “Why am I having to talk myself into sex?” Until you understand the why (and seek to do something about it), then you’ll never get beyond the resentment dance that has come to define all of your sexual encounters.

Each marriage is unique and I obviously can’t cover every scenario, but the below three situations may urge you toward healthier sexual intimacy in your marriage.

Are you talking yourself into sex because you haven’t healed from past pain?

This is a broad area, I know. Past pain can mean anything from abuse to past promiscuity to abortion to adultery to pornography to a host of other sources of sexual pain.

Past pain can skew sex in our hearts and minds so severely that it may seem almost impossible to see sex as good and holy and worthy of pursuit.

But getting stuck in your pain will sabotage not just sexual intimacy, but all intimacy with the person you married.

Resolve to seek God’s heart through prayer, as well as the countless Christian resources available, including counseling, books, websites and conferences.  It is possible to heal from past sexual pain. You and your spouse are worth it.

Are you talking yourself into sex because you don’t experience sexual pleasure?

God designed sex to be pleasurable for a husband and a wife. Orgasm was God’s idea, His gift to both men and women.

It’s no surprise that if you are not experiencing orgasm fairly consistently when you and your spouse have sex, you likely see it more as a chore than a privilege.

Begin having some authentic conversation with your spouse about what turns you on, what turns them on, what it will take to make sex more pleasurable.

Are these conversations awkward at first? Well, sure. But the alternative – status quo of little or no sexual pleasure – isn’t doing your marriage any good.

A married couple arrives at extraordinary sex through lots of trial and error – through a willingness to enjoy foreplay and to show each other what feels good. Don’t limit yourself to missionary position, which for many wives is often one of the worst positions to achieve orgasm.

If you are a wife who struggles reaching orgasm, you might find some ideas from the many posts I have on this resource page on my site.

Are you talking yourself into sex because you don’t see the benefits of sex to your marriage?

We usually have to talk ourselves into something because we’ve yet to grasp what gain we’re really getting out of it

This is true with exercise too – until we start to see the transformation in our body and health, the thought of getting on the treadmill or lifting the weights sounds dreadful, tedious and boring.

When it comes to sex, the benefits to a marriage are countless. When a husband and wife regularly carve out time to make love, to mutually enjoy pleasure and to understand each other sexually, they begin to reap benefits beyond the bedroom.

Sexual intimacy endears a couple to each other, helps them extend grace, better equips them to do life together, and relieves stress.

There’s a boatload of science that explains all this (endorphins, the power of touch, oxytocin, hormones, etc.). But few people need science to tell them what they genuinely feel.

Truth be told, I don’t just love my husband more because of our nurtured sexual intimacy, I also like him more.  I honestly think the “liking” is the “it” factor that propels marriages beyond mediocre to something quite profound.

It’s just easier to be friends with your spouse if you both are attentive to sexual intimacy – the one form of intimacy that you can’t ethically or biblically go find elsewhere.

My hope for any marriage is that “talking yourself into sex” is the rare exception — not the rule — in your marriage.

Build an attitude into your heart and marriage that enthusiastically proclaims, “We GET to have sex!” – not “We HAVE to have sex.”

For more reading, check out 5 Ways to Be Sexually Playful While Clothed!

5 Ways to Heal After Your Spouse’s Pornography Addiction

By Dustin | Sex & Family Planning

5 Ways to Heal After Your Spouse’s Pornography AddictionFor some, pornography might not seem like a big deal—who doesn’t look at it?

But the truth is pornography is addictive and can lead to serious problems down the road.

Pornography and sexual addiction can have a devastating impact on your relationship.

Research has shown that 56% of divorce cases involved one partner having an obsessive interest in pornographic websites.

To learn of your spouse’s pornography and sexual addiction can completely blindside you and leave you questioning your relationship and self-worth.

It is not uncommon for a spouse to question if they are “good enough” for their spouse, but the truth is, it has nothing to do with them.

Like any other addiction, people use pornography (or drugs, alcohol, shopping, food, etc.) as a way to self-medicate.

The first thing to remember is that your spouse’s pornography and sexual addiction is not your fault. Their turning away is not a reflection of a lack on your part, but on theirs.

As the spouse of an addict, many emotions may have risen from denial, hurt, anger, and guilt and has left you wondering what to do now.

There are no easy answers.

Take time to allow yourself to heal from the discovery. You cannot rush the healing process and will have to let your emotions out.

Many times a spouse won’t know where to turn, or who to talk to, and will struggle through the situation alone.

Instead seek outside help, either in a trusted friend or therapist, to help you navigate the twists and turns while you deal with the revelation.

As you move down this path, here are 5 things to do to help you move forward.

1. Map your recovery

When dealing with trauma (and yes, discovering your spouse’s pornography and sexual addiction is traumatic), you need to take time to acknowledge your feelings.

During this time, you may experience self-blame, outbursts of anger, depression, feelings of detachment, and many other emotions. Understand that you need to take time for yourself and create your own recovery plan.

2. Don’t isolate

During this time you may find your wanting to retreat into yourself especially when you feel your world is falling apart. Instead, find a trusted friend, spiritual leader, therapist, or support group you can talk openly with.

This experience is too difficult and traumatic to be dealing with all alone.

3. Seek understanding

You’ve probably heard the saying “knowledge is power,” and taking time to learn and understand compulsive and addictive behavior can help you on your path to recovery.

Pornography addiction, like any other addiction, is a disease and is a method of self medicating.

As you learn more about the addiction and the impact on the brain, you will have a better understanding of how their pornography addiction is not from a lack (those lies you tell yourself like, your not sexy enough, not smart enough, and so forth) on your part.

4. Practice self-care

As you move through the recovery process, self-care is vital to your healing.

This can be particularly difficult for women because, by nature, they tend to put their needs second to everyone else. When starting out, choose something to focus on from these 3 categories: personal, physical, and spiritual.

These could include keeping a journal (Julia Cameron has an excellent book, The Artist’s Way, that talks about morning pages), signing up for a zumba class, and meditating daily.

As you begin practicing the art of self-care, it may seem selfish but is essential for your own healing. Eleanor Brownn, inspirational life coach, once said, “Self-care is NOT selfish. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”

Taking time to recharge and take care of yourself will, in the long run, help you take care of those in your life.

5 Ways to Heal After Your Spouse’s Pornography Addiction.001

5. Sense of community

Many great teachers have talked about the importance of “losing yourself in the service of others.”

When you are feeling overwhelmed, with emotions and life in general, take time to go out and perform an act of kindness for someone else. You can also volunteer at your local shelter, library, or community center.

What is wonderful about taking time to help someone else is that you forget about your problems for a while.

During this time it is so important to remember that you also need to take time to heal.

Through journalling new insights, feelings may arise and that can help you in your recovery.

Use this time to set boundaries, define your limits and write down what makes you feel uncomfortable or stressed. A therapist, spiritual teacher, or trusted friend can help you with this and help you to see things differently.

Remember to take the time to be kind and compassionate with yourself. The journey towards healing does not happen overnight and takes a lot of deep soul work.

It is also strongly recommended that you don’t make any major life decisions for a while about your relationship, unless abuse is involved.

About the Author: Danielle Adams is a freelance writer who works with Lifestar Therapy. She is committed to helping people practice open communication and build healthy relationships.

The Best Kept Secret About Mind-Blowing Sex

By Dustin | Sex & Family Planning

Best Kept Secret About Mind-Blowing Sex - Dustin Riechmann.001Do you know how to have sex?

I’m going to assume the answer is yes.  After all, on the surface, sex is a simple act of “Insert Tab A into Slot B.”

And if you listen to the incessant messages thrown at us by our sex-obsessed culture, there’s not a lot more to it.

Sure, the Internet is full of information about sexual techniques and supposed “secrets” to amazing sex.

There’s certainly no shortage of advice out there on how to get the woman of your dreams into bed and drive your man crazy in the sack.

However, these messages always leave out the real secret to an incredible sex life.

Sure Sex is Fun…

Sex is one of the most physically enjoyable activities that we can experience, and God designed it that way for our benefit.

After all, God wants us to have great sex!

The key though is to not limit your thoughts on sex to the obvious physical pleasure that it provides.  That’s certainly how our society treats sex, and it’s easy to see this limited view all around us.

Just look at any funny movie, popular magazine cover or any mainstream “relationship” website.

Every headline will center around one general idea: Sex is simply an activity and a form of recreation.

It’s all about how many times we have sex, how many different people we can hook up with and how intense we can make our next orgasm.

And this focus is not limited to some free-lovin’ approach to single life.

The vast majority of mainstream sex resources for married couples also approach the topic from the standpoint of making the act happen more often and with better technique.

I think we’d all agree that having sex with our spouse more often and in a physically satisfying way is great, but is that all there is to it?

…But It’s So Much More Than That

So are you ready for the big secret that never makes it into the headlines of Cosmo or the plot lines of a Judd Apatow flick?

Sex is not just an activity, it’s the most intimate form of communication.

Take a moment to read that line again and think about how it applies to your marriage and your sex life.

  • Do you treat your intimate time with your spouse as a time to communicate?
  • Do you feel what your partner is feeling when you make love?
  • Does sex reinforce the deep connection between you and allow you to express your love in a way that only the sexual union between a husband and wife provides?

Embrace The Gift

When you approach sex as the deepest form of communication with your spouse, it takes away the limits that our culture has placed on this Gift from God.

Sex is not reserved for “perfect” days when you are both “in the right mood.”  Instead, sex can be a perfect way to connect and express your feelings, even if they are feelings of stress, uncertainty or even disappointment.

Sex is not just for fun.  When we relegate it to another form of simple recreation, it falls back into the mix with other “fun things” and behind “important duties” such as chores, work, or a good night’s sleep.

Sex is much more important to your marriage than a load of laundry, and it should be treated with the awe and respect that it deserves as an amazing means to unity and closeness in your relationship.

Break free of the limits that our society likes to put on sex.  Tell your spouse how you’re feeling and receive their response openly, gratefully and with passion.

But remember that you don’t have to use words to have an incredible conversation…

Here’s the Next Best Step to Mind-Blowing Sex!

As busy married couples, we know that healthy intimacy is SO important to our relationships. Heck, a great sex life makes our whole family happier.

Intimacy Reignited was created to help you rekindle the intimacy in your marriage and create a lifestyle that encourages more and better sex.

Intimacy ReignitedJoin Dustin and guest expert Alisa DiLorenzo to learn the exact steps you can take starting today to make it happen.

When you invest in this one-of-a-kind resource, you’ll get the practical, action-oriented help you need to enjoy better intimacy and a reinvigorated sex life with your spouse.

Plus, you’ll get several amazing bonus resources to take your marriage to the next level.