The following are quotes from various resources on the subject of Sexual Issues within marriage. We pray they will help to enhance your marital sexual relationship.

Key for quote - business concept Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. (Hebrews 13:4)

Some people have the mistaken notion that God is anti-sex. In fact, He’s outspokenly pro-sex! He invented it. What an incredible thought! Passionate sex was God’s idea. He isn’t embarrassed by it. Song of Songs is an entire book in the Bible dedicated to celebrating pure sex in marriage. Part of the challenge Christians face in a lust-filled world is remembering that neither sex nor sexuality is our enemy. Sex is not the problem —lust is the problem. It’s the enemy and has hijacked sexuality. We need to keep reminding ourselves that our goal is to rescue our sexuality from lust so we can experience it the way God intended. (Joshua Harris, Sex is Not the Problem)

I enthusiastically agree that God wants us to enjoy sex, but godly sex is so much more than just fun. And many followers of Christ are once again poised to be left behind while nonbelievers dabble in this truth. Many people outside the church are discovering that sex is much more than merely a physical act; it has a spiritual component. They are realizing that the deeper connection of sex goes far beyond simply understanding how to overcome sexual dysfunction. It goes way beyond technique and physique. This deeper dimension is experienced when we move past pleasure as a goal and instead seek intimate connection —not just with our bodies but also with our souls.

Some are finding that when sex has a clear spiritual and emotional component, the sexual union holds a deeper meaning and therefore offers deeper pleasure. But without a relationship with the Creator through Christ and full understanding of His purposes for sex, these people fall short of the encounter of oneness that God intended for us. They miss the core truth from which all other sexual truths flow. And that truth is that sex is holy. (Tim Alan Gardner, “Sacred Sex”)

Sex is about physical touch, to be sure, but it is about far more than physical touch. It is about what is going on inside us. Developing a fulfilling sex life means I concern myself more with bringing generosity and service to bed than bringing washboard abdomens. It means I see my wife as a holy temple of God, not just as a tantalizing human body. It means that sex becomes a form of physical prayer —a picture of a heavenly intimacy that rivals the shekinah glory of old. (Gary Thomas, “Sacred Marriage,” pg. 226)

Some would say, having sex” and “making love” are one and the same, but there’s an important distinction between the two. The physical act of intercourse can be accomplished by any appropriately matched mammals, as well as most other members of the animal kingdom. But the art of making love, as designed by God, is a much more meaningful and complex experience —it’s physical, emotional, and spiritual. In marriage we should settle for nothing less than a sexual relationship that is expressed not only body to body, but heart to heart and soul to soul. (Dr James Dobson, “Night Light”)

Question: You talk about worshiping God through sex. How can couples embrace that idea? Christopher: Connect it to the scriptural principle of feasts. In the Old Testament God ordained feasts to celebrate his glory. What’s a feast? It’s eating sumptuous foods, drinking fine wines. If you do that without the right spirit, you get gluttony and drunkenness, and God is certainly not going to be worshiped. But if you worship in a feast while still having discipline, still having boundaries, God says he’s greatly glorified.

Marital union is meant to be a feast —look at the Song of Songs. There’s so much metaphor that is about feasting and fine wines and good rich foods. See it as another type of bodily feast as the two “consume” each other. It’s the consummation of their oneness. They offer themselves for consummation, and God is glorified. (Christopher McCluskey, from the Todays Christian Woman article, “Spirituality and Sex”)

If you ask the average person to identify the primary purpose of sex he or she will most likely say either procreation or recreation. Of course, both are rich blessings of sex. But the essence of sexual intimacy can never be enjoyed, nor can true and lasting sexual fulfillment occur, until a wife and a husband grasp the truth that the number-one purpose of sex is neither procreation not recreation, but UNIFICATION. And I don’t mean just the unification that is inherent in physical oneness, but also the relational unity that is celebrated, created, and re-created throughout a couple’s married life.

This unification is the celebration of the soul-deep bond that is present when a couple knows and experiences the certainty that are together, permanently, for a divine purpose. They know their expression of love is meant to represent the loving relationship of Jesus and His church. They know that their life together has meaning that is far greater than simply sharing a house or bearing children. (Tim Alan Gardner, “Sacred Sex”)

• You need to understand that God created intimacy as His plan to build oneness in marriage. The way which men and women respond to intimacy is vastly different. Sometimes those differences can complement each other, and sometimes it complicates the experience. Those differences can tear apart the very fabric of your mutual fulfillment. Satisfying intimacy is much more than focusing on the physical aspect. There are four levels of intimacy, and they all need to be playing a part for the experience to be successful for both husband and wife. Those four levels are mental, emotional, spiritual, and then physical. All of these areas are vital in establishing intimacy, and when used together they’ll enrich and deepen your oneness as a couple. (Dr Gary Smalley)

• The actual act of sexual intercourse consummates a marriage. It is the only act in the marriage that belongs exclusively to the husband and wife; that shuts out all other family members. It is that mystical union that defies mathematics, taking two separate individuals and melding them into one entity. Just as the Christian becomes one in Christ and merges totally into Him at the moment of salvation, a husband and wife become one when they engage in sexual intercourse and merge totally into each other.

This is not only a physical happening. Body, soul, and spirit permanently interfuse. Two become a single unit that cannot be divided. There is no separation. Christ said a husband and wife have been joined together by God and that no human force should be allowed to penetrate their oneness. They have been cemented and molded to each other. And this one flesh relationship is God’s standard for marriage —all marriage —regardless of the spiritual standing of either party. Because this is the most intimate portion of any marriage relationship, God has demanded that it not be invaded by any other person. Adultery is forbidden. Because Satan knows how important this particular form of oneness is, he tries to intrude upon it; to demean and degrade it and create guilt about it. (Jo Berry, “Beloved Unbeliever”)

• What’s Okay? In marriage a couple may do anything in their sexual play that meets five specific criteria: (1) It’s just the two of you. (2) You allow mutual respect and agreement to guide your choices of sexual play. (3) It causes no pain physically, emotionally, or spiritually. (4) You keep the focus on your relationship. When having sexual release becomes an addiction driven to levels of compulsive behavior, replacing the connection to your spouse with various stimuli that are essentially fantasy based, you rob your marriage of the most crucial part of intimacy-the blend of relational and sexual connectedness. (5) It doesn’t always take the place of genital union. (Louis and Melissa McBurney, Spring 2001 issue of Marriage Partnership Magazine)

The great “sex”pectations of our society constantly flash the message that being connected body-to-body with another is all about the pleasure that can be gained through the encounter. What if we viewed it as something much more meaningful? For your wife, making love is not an encounter; it is an experience. It’s not something that is turned on for thirty minutes and off for the other twenty-three and a half hours of the day. For her “experience” to be complete, she needs YOU to set the stage for making love by connecting with her heart-to-heart and soul-to-soul throughout the day.

Before you start rolling your eyes and shaking your head, think back to the days before you were married, before you connected body-to-body. Remember the thrill of discovery? The days when you laid the foundation of your relationship by favorite foods, connecting heart-to-heart? Finding out what makes her happy, her dreams for her future, and hopes for her tomorrows, She still wants you to share these things with her, only now on a deeper level. No longer are they just her dreams, she wants her desires to be your dreams too. And she wants YOU to share goals and aspirations that are tucked away in your heart, as well. (Lysa TerKeurst, “Capture Her Heart”)

• We must make a choice regarding sexual expression. We will either utilize it as a deviant, destructive power or we will harness its potential to keep love alive and vibrant in our marriage relationships. In a marriage, sex is the spice that rescues our relationships from becoming mundane pursuits of chores. Adult life is filled with responsibilities. We have mortgages to pay, yard work to maintain, laundry to clean, cars to service, and so on. But none of us got married so we could load up on chores. We got married out of hope. We got married because we believed there was some kind of magic between us. We got married because we believed we could have great sex together.

A satisfying sex life can add dignity to all other pursuits of life. It is the thing to look forward to after a dull or miserable day at work. Sex is the moment of connection that creates a deep bond, even when sprinkled weeks or months apart. Sexual union adds an underlying deposit of strength that can help hold couples together when life threatens to pull them apart. (Bill and Pam Farrel, “Red Hot Monogamy”)

A mutually rewarding sexual relationship demands that both husband and wife deny “self” and meet their mate’s needs. (Dennis Rainey, “Staying Close”)

A meaningful sex life in your marriage is one hill worth dying on. This is not optional in God’s eyes. Satan tempts and destroys many marriages by extreme inhibitions, extramarital affairs, and other sexual distortions. Often it is a subtle drifting apart and a lack of warm, connecting companionship. God has given spouses something precious in the ability as husband and wife to share a physical intimacy that cannot be matched in any other relationship.

There is no replacement for what God intended sex to be for intimate marriages. It is the framework for expressing many powerful and exciting emotions, like joy, love, trust, and playfulness. Making love also helps dissipate and defuse negative emotions and behaviors, such as hostility, nit-picking, and defensive distancing. Spouses who frequently play together sexually stay together in warm, bonded ways and keep at bay many of the dragons that can haunt intimate companionship. (Dr Douglas Rosenau, “A Celebration of Sex”)

The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and like-wise the wife to her husband. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. (1 Corinthians 7:3-5)

• A lot of couples fall into the habit of playing manipulative, selfish games with each other. Instead of mutually giving to one another and being willing to not deprive one another sexually, as 1 Corinthians 7 clearly states, they manipulate their mate to get what they want. And instead of being honest in their communication about sex with each other, they play games that hurt their relationship. We play these games because we don’t understand our differences sexually. Women are wired: “No love, no sex.” Men are wired: “No sex, no love.” This is hard wiring, so we need to give ourselves to truly understand the way God made our mate.

Female wiring declares, “Value me, love me, make your love obvious to me, then I’ll want to have sex with you.” Male wiring says, “Have sex with me, then I’ll know you love me.” Generally speaking, that’s the way we’re wired. And guess what? God made us different sexually on purpose. He wants us to learn how to adjust to each other. You’ve got to learn how to understand each other and adjust to each other sexually, or you and your mate are going to be in a standoff that will harm your marriage. … 1 Corinthians 7 makes it clear that the devil wants to get a foothold in your love life. And it also makes it clear that one way to kick him out of your bedroom is to be sure you are mutually giving to and willingly not depriving your spouse. (From the article: Kick ’em Out of Your Bedroom – by Harold and Bette Gillogly)

• As a couple, you must learn to save some of the time and energy allotted to you as a couple for the sexual part of your relationship. And this goes double for women! Why? Because men are naturally better at conserving energy for sex; when they say they’re exhausted, they really mean they have no energy for anything —except sex. On the other hand, a woman is much more likely to use up every spare ounce of energy she has before saying she’s exhausted, and when she says it, she really means she has no energy for anything. Period! So, women, listen up! Make a conscious effort to reserve some of your energy for special times with your husband. (Dr Debbie L. Cherry, “Child-Proofing Your Marriage”)

• How can you rekindle your desire for intimacy, even with a new baby? Put it on the backburner, but don’t forget about it. Having a baby does take a great amount of time, work and energy. Sex may have to go on the backburner when your baby has a need. But just like you wouldn’t leave food sitting on the backburner for weeks, don’t forget about sex completely. When the time isn’t right for you, tell your spouse you’d really like to make love another time, how about on the weekend? Set a real time and keep your commitment. Food left on the backburner will eventually go bad and the same is true about closeness in marriage if you neglect lovemaking too long. (Arlene Pellicane, from the article posted on Shelovesgod.com, “Sex and the New Mom: How to Get in the Mood When You’re Not“)

As my Family Life Conference colleague and friend, Bob Horner, says, “The bedroom is a lousy place for a battle of wills.” For sex to be the fulfilling experience God planned, both partners must submit to the other and commit themselves to a mutually rewarding sex life. (Dennis Rainey, “Staying Close”)

The Christian husband who comes into my office and says, “We’re here because you’re a Christian counselor and my wife is withholding herself from me. I want you to address this from the Scriptures and instruct her that she’s in sin because her body is not her own.” Does he have scriptural basis for every argument he’s making? Yes. Is he right? No. He’s totally missed the spirit of the act, though he could back up every point with Scripture.

I tell him, “Everything you’re saying may be right by the letter of the law, but it’s so far from the spirit of the law that you’re the one who’s in sin, because you’ve totally missed the spirit. And if you force your wife to submit to you in giving you her body, Satan will be glorified through what you do.” (Christopher McCluskey, of Sexual Wholeness, quoted in Marriage Partnership article, “Spirituality and Sex”)

• Whoever wants sex the least has the most power in bed. (Dr James Dobson)

• We have to fight against taking our sexual responsibilities for granted. On the day we marry, we gain a monopoly. Our spouse commits to have sexual relations with no one else. Regardless of whether we act thoughtfully, creatively, or selfishly in bed, they receive only what we provide. Without any competitions, some of us, quite frankly, simply stop making an effort. Do I want to reward my wife’s commitment to me, or do I want to make her regret it? Do I want to bless her, or take her for granted? Do I want to be a generous, enthusiastic lover, or a miser reluctantly doling out occasional “favors”? When the Bible tells us in Hebrews 13:4 to keep the marriage bed “pure,” the application goes far beyond avoiding physical acts of immorality to include inner virtue. (Gary Thomas)

• Both husband and wife need to alternate days as the initiator of intimacy. Relationships tend to fall into a pursuer/distancer dynamic. The longer that each member of the couple remains in the same role, the further the couple tends to grow apart. By reversing roles frequently, the couple grows together. The husband might take odd days with the wife taking the even ones. Being the pursuer means initiating intimacy with touch, kisses, hugs, saying “I love you,” etc. (Chuck Noon, Tailor-Made Marriage)

The marriage bed must be a place of mutuality —the husband seeking to satisfy his wife, the wife seeking to satisfy her husband. Marriage is not a place to “stand up for your rights.” Marriage is a decision to serve the other, whether in bed or out. Abstaining from sex is permissible for a period of time if you both agree to it, and if it’s for the purposes of prayer and fasting —but only for such times. Then come back together again. Satan has an ingenious way of tempting us when we least expect it. I’m not, understand, commanding these periods of abstinence —only providing my best counsel if you should choose them. (Nancy Cobb and Connie Grigsby, “The Best Thing I ever Did for My Marriage”)

MEN: Your wife’s view of sex is much different than yours. Her sexual fulfillment is connected to everything else in her life. When she feels close to you emotionally, she is more responsive. When she is in touch with her children and is proud of how you father them, she is more attracted to you. When her career is moving forward and you are supportive of her pursuits, she finds you irresistible. The more you are a part of her life, the stronger is her desire for you. In addition, her sexual experience revolves around her menstrual period. Every month she is reminded of her reproductive potential.

As a man, you’d probably like to think that her constant interaction with her reproductive process would make her more interested in sex. But much of her menstrual cycle is uncomfortable and inconvenient. She has no choice but to experience this cycle every month. Some days she feels very sexy and interested in intimate contact with you. On other days she is out of sorts, even though she may not try to be. (Bill and Pam Farrel, “Red Hot Monogamy”)

• For women, sex is much like having a nice, rich piece of chocolate cake. It’s one of those little luxuries of life that we allow ourselves to indulge in periodically. It seems to fit best at the end of a full-course meal of conversation, affection, safe touch, and quality time together. It’s a perfect ending to a perfect meal. As a matter of fact, we like to take our time with this experience, to savor every bite and truly enjoy its rich and satisfying nature. And once we have indulged, we’re satisfied for a while. We usually don’t want another piece right away or maybe even for several days. We’re content to savor the memory of the last piece of cake and how wonderful it was. Get the picture?

It’s not that she doesn’t enjoy sex; most women actually do. It’s simply that she doesn’t require it the way you do. For her, the cake is the foreplay with intercourse as the icing (so to speak) of the relationship. Icing isn’t much good without the cake to put it on. On the other hand, even cake without icing is often very enjoyable. So how do you get to the icing? Take time to fix the full-course meal and bake the cake, and I’m sure she will be more happy to ice it for you. (Dr Debbie L. Cherry, Child-Proofing Your Marriage)

• Sexually pursue your wife outside the bedroom. Good sex is an all-day affair. You can’t treat your wife like a servant and expect her to be eager to sleep with you at night. Your wife’s sexual responsiveness will be determined by how willingly you help out with the dishes, the kids’ homework, or that leaky faucet that drips. This is difficult for many men to understand, in large part because we remove sex from every other part of our life.

We think sex fixes things on its own —but it doesn’t do that for a woman. The context, the history, the current level of emotional closeness—all that directly affects your wife’s desire and enjoyment of sexual relations. A good lover works just as hard outside the bedroom as he does inside it. (Dr Kevin Lehman, from Todayschristianwoman.com article, Married with Passion)

• To get your wife’s body to respond in sexual ecstasy, YOU NEED TO TOUCH HER HEART. God wired her in such a way that she brings everything in her life to bed with her. When you deliver the message that you are about everything in her world, she develops an insatiable desire for you. Your wife has many layers that either hinder or enhance her sexual experience. A great lover is committed to working through these layers. (Bill and Pam Farrel, “Red Hot Monogamy”)

A challenge to unlocking your wife’s passion is listening. She is wired to process life continually. She doesn’t take breaks in the action the way men do. She knows this deluge of thoughts and emotions are complicated, but she has been this way her whole life. She cannot turn the thought process off, and she desperately hopes the complex layers of her experience don’t turn you off. When you take time to listen to her, she has an opportunity to put her inner stirring in order. As she connects all these experiences to you, there is a complete investment of her heart in you. You become a safe place in her life where she can let herself go. (Bill and Pam Farrel, “Red Hot Monogamy”)

God has designed wives with a desire to emotionally connect. We read in Genesis 2:24, For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. Did you know humans, compared to the rest of creation, are the only ones who are sexually intimate face to face? This is a cleaving face to face, and the desire of a wife is to experience that at an emotional level with her husband. (Dr. Emerson Eggerichs)

LADIES: Clearly, just as we want our husbands to love us in the way we need to be loved, our men want the same. And sex is a huge part of making them feel loved. (Shaunti Feldhahn, “For Women Only”)

Isn’t sex just a primal, biological urge that he really should be able to do without? Well… no. For your husband, sex is more than just a physical need. Lack of sex is as emotionally serious to him as, say, his sudden silence would be to you, were he simply to stop communicating with you. It is just as wounding to him, just as much a legitimate grievance —and just as dangerous to your marriage. (Shaunti Feldhahn, “For Women Only”)

So much of who your husband is lies in his sexuality, and when you constantly refuse his advances, you might as well be refusing all of him. God gave you the gift of sex to bring you together. Don’t use it a a leverage against each other. Determine in your heart to make it a blessing and not a weapon. (Julie Anne Fidler, “Adventures in Holy Matrimony”)

• Following ejaculation, semen begins to build up in a man’s body, creating a sense of physical pressure. When a man becomes sexually active, his body adjusts to an anticipated schedule of intercourse. …But no couple ever stays “on schedule,” and that’s where the tension builds. His body still prepares to release the semen even if he knows intellectually it’s unreasonable. For most men, this is where the tyranny of sex shows up. When he’s not able to ejaculate on schedule, he experiences a number of physiological and emotional reactions.

The feeling of pressure in his groin becomes a nagging reminder. He finds himself staring at his wife more as her features intensify in his mind. As time goes by, he then becomes irritable, even unreasonable. He loses sight of much of what’s great about life. The whole time he’s saying to himself, “Get a grip. You’re stronger than this. It won’t hurt to wait.” But no amount of reasoning with himself reduces the tension he feels in his body.

This struggle is intensified even more if stress is high in life. …As stress increases in a man’s life, his awareness of the tension in his body is heightened. The release of semen at ejaculation not only relieves the tension in his body, it also transports him mentally and emotionally into the box of sexual expression. When he enters that box, all cares of his life are put on hold. The fact that good sex is usually followed by sleep only adds to the impact that sexual activity has in relieving stress in his life. I believe that most men would like to have more control over this part of their sex drive. It just will not let up even though he’d love to find the off switch. The tension builds involuntarily and consumes much more of his life than he’s comfortable with.

He also has no idea how to explain this to his wife. He doesn’t want her to think he lacks self-control, or worse, that he has a perverted outlook on sex. Every man longs for his wife to accept the intensity of this compartment because he’s bound to live with it. When she’s sensitive and compassionate about the constant intensity of his sex drive, he’s amazed and grows in his love for her. When she’s critical of it or insensitive, he turns inward and silently fights the struggle alone. (Bill and Pam Farrel, “Red Hot Monogamy”)

Women: sexual intimacy tells a man that you care about him and him only; it’s how he feels special. It is to men what chocolate, diamonds, peaceful homes, and memorable vacations are to you. Our days, like yours, are often arduous; sex is where we feel that all of our sacrifice is worth it, appreciated, and noticed. Sexual intimacy freely given somehow stabilizes our universe. It’s our action to your words, our shelter from the storms of life; you are the safest harbor in which we’ll ever make port. Sex is also the sharpest, most jagged knife in our back when it’s not given or, worse, given without passion, focus, and interest. We can tell. Our pain is far more nuanced than you realize. (Paul Coughlin, from the book, “Married But Not Engaged”)

• For a man, sex is the great problem solver. If he had a bad day at work, sex makes it disappear. If your toilet overflowed and ran down into the laundry room and he had to clean everything up, sex fixes the aggravation of that. If the two of you had a fight before dinner, sex once the kids are in bed is the great fix-all. That’s because when you have sex with your man, his world is righted again. Sex is the cure-all for a man.

If you are intimate with your husband sexually, he knows he’s loved. That act of sex is a release of tension. If you welcome him into your arms, it proves to him that the problem you had —the fight earlier —is solved. Even more, many men get more of a psychological charge from watching their wife experience the joys of sex than from their own paltry little orgasm. By your “oohs” and “ahhs,” what you’re telling your man is, “I want you. I need you. You’re my man. You’re a great lover. You satisfy me.” That’s what makes your man go through life as your champion-even if he does have a little extra inner tube around his tummy. Your man needs to know that he makes a difference in your life. (Kevin Leman, from the Growthtrac article, “How Much is Sex Worth to You?”)

• Men are powerfully driven by the emotional need to feel desired by our wives, and we filter everything through that grid: Do I feel desired and not desired by my wife? If we feel our wife truly wants us sexually, we feel confident, powerful, alive, and loved. If we don’t, we feel depressed, angry, and alone. And this goes way beyond the amount of sex we’re having. (Jeff Feldhahn, “For Men Only”)

• Sexual intercourse, by God’s description, is the way of knowing and experiencing another human being in the most intimate way possible. This “knowing” is what melds two strangers into one. A wonderful example of this is a Dutch slang word for sex, naaien, which literally means “sewing.” Two pieces of material are put on top of each other and then attached in a way that will “keep them secure and fastened to each other long after the sewing is over and the weaver is gone.” This idea of being sewn together in sex is a useful image for picturing the unification that still respects our individuality. Husbands and wives don’t dissolve together into one shapeless blob. However, they are intricately and intimately sewn together by God in such a way that man should “not separate” them (Matthew 19:6). Oneness joins us permanently without destroying our individuality. (Tim Alan Gardner, “Sacred Sex”)

Sex is God’s gift to married couples. He designed it to be a beautiful expression of intimacy between a husband and a wife. However, He designed men and women different in their approach to the marriage bed. I do not want to put all women in a box and say they are alike. However, the majority of women I talk to struggle with some aspect of the sexual relationship with their husband. For most, it’s not that they don’t desire a sexual relationship, it’s just that sex is more mental for a wife than for a husband. A man can be ready to hop into the bed with one look at his wife. He is stimulated visually. Most women are not visually stimulated. How are women stimulated? Jane from Springfield explains, “A husband that does the dishes and vacuums the floor increases his chances of a sexual encounter by 80 percent.” (Lysa TerKeurst, “Capture Her Heart”)

Pssst, guys, here’s a happy little household tip: Helping your wife do chores without being asked can mean better sex. “It can be a turn-on, right up there with chocolates and flowers,” says Scott Haltzman, a psychiatry professor at Brown University. Although there’s nothing inherently sexy about scrubbing floors or toilets, finding harmony in housework can make married life smoother, he says. And women, “if you want a guy to embrace tasks around the house, give him credit for his efforts rather than critiquing. Let good be good enough,” adds Haltzman. (Monica Rogers, from the Chicago Tribune article, “It’s a dirty job, but sorting out housework can bring harmony”)

• You need to know that every day a woman internally asks her husband, Do you really love me? Do you really care? How does she measure that love? How does she know she’s truly cared for? It’s usually not in the bedroom. If anything turns off a woman, it’s the feeling that all her husband cares about is sex. If a wife thinks her main role is to be a willing recipient of her husband’s sexual advances, she feels demeaned and disrespected. Men, if your attitude has become, Well, honey, are you gonna put out tonight or not? you don’t realize how much you’re missing. With that attitude all you’re going to get —at best —is an accommodating wife, but never an eager one. I can give you the best sexual technique in the world, but with that attitude, your sexual life is still going to wind up in the pits.

What warms a woman up is when her husband helps around the house, picks up after himself, helps with the children, makes arrangements for dates, and overall cares for her. If a husband consistently and graciously does this without acting like a martyr, he’s going to find, 6 out of 10, that his wife is ready and eager to enjoy an active and fulfilling love life. It will be a natural response to a lifestyle of sincere affection. (Dr Kevin Leman, Sheet Music)

On a survey, about 60 percent of women interviewed said that simple helpfulness around the house would increase the likelihood that they would want to make love more frequently— if only because they would have more energy! As you’d expect, the margin was significantly higher (up to 70 percent) among women who worked outside the home or had school-age kids. As one stay-at-home mom said, “My husband and I have a little joke between us. I say, ‘Honey, there is nothing more sexy than watching you clean something. And there’s really nothing more sexy than watching you clean the toilet!’ It’s all about feeling that he wants to take care of me.”

This is not just an anecdotal opinion, either. A recent study by famed marriage psychologist John Gottman found that men who do more housework have both happier marriages and better sex lives. Picking up the broom and doing dishes after a hard day on the job isn’t exactly what you were thinking when you were thinking you couldn’t wait to get home! But as Gottman found, this kind of sacrificial support can often be more impressive than a dozen roses. (Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn, “For Men Only”)

• I have learned sex is not an event, it is an environment. It’s not an act for my wife, it’s an atmosphere. This atmosphere doesn’t have to be a weekend away at a bed-and-breakfast, it can be duplicated inside your home. Find out what makes her feel special and pampered and create that for her. Maybe it’s relaxing in a warm bath with her favorite book, while candles are burning and soft music is playing. While your wife is pampered there in your own home, you can cap things off by putting the kids down and finish just in time to be the lucky winner of your wife’s recharged femininity. (Art TerKeurst, “Capture Her Heart”)

• Physical beauty is great while it lasts. However for 99 percent of us at midlife, the purpose of our clothing purchases shifts from emphasis to concealment. We experience a relocation of body parts due to a long association with gravity. Give your wife [or husband] some slack. (Patrick Morley)

We have often pondered the seeming incongruity that a man peaks sexually in his late teens and twenties while a woman’s sense of gratification moves toward a peak in the late thirties, the forties, or even the fifties. It seems like sort of an unfair arrangement, doesn’t it? But if we’re wise, we’ll let that dilemma rest with the Creator who planned it all and move on toward a complete husband-wife relationship, which God set in motion and pronounced “very good.” And we believe that phrase is descriptive of sexual happiness in midlife —and beyond. (Floyd Thatcher)

• Addressing wives who say “I am playful, I am aggressive, I am trying to pursue my husband. He isn’t interested.” What’s going on? Dr David Clarke says the following: “I will take a hard look at the wife and many wives think they’re doing the right thing, in fact, they’re not. They’re making some mistakes, they’re not doing their job well enough, and so there is a breakdown. But it could very well be something is going on in his life. He has, unknown to her, become addicted to pornography, other women in his mind, he’s got a performance issue. As men, we’re performance-based. If it doesn’t work one time, ‘I’ve lost it!’ —if it doesn’t work, I’ve lost my confidence. We don’t want to talk about it, and so even though we love the woman, it’s so humiliating, I’m just going to back off. That’s very often the case. Stress issues.”

“So as I work with a man in that situation, I say, ‘Look, sir, we cannot do this alone. You’re married. I’m going to get you ready, I’m going to bring your wife in here the next session, and we’re going to talk about this. She’s got to know. We’re a team on this, and so together there are exercises and understanding and most women, 99 percent, are going to be totally on board with that. So that’s how you work that through, but there is something going on that can be addressed.” (Dr David Clarke, from the Family Life Today radio program titled “Baby Steps to a Better Marriage”)

It could be said that for centuries people have been using sex to get what they want. But to Michelle Weiner-Davis, the story is less agenda-driven than you might think. It’s what she calls “real giving,” or simply, the golden rule: Treat others as you want to be treated. “All good marriages are based on the notion that people who love each other take care of each other. It’s a very simple principle, but when you’re caring about your spouse’s needs and desires, there’s almost always reciprocity,” she said.

“What happened with those women is that, rather than wait for their husbands to be more of the men they were hoping they’d be, they all took responsibility for their own role in the marital stalemate and decided to tip over the first domino. And in this case, that was being more physical, being more sexual.” (From: Smartmarriages Subject: Whetting your Appetite for Sex)

“Our culture teaches us that if you talk, if you go on dates, if you spend time together as a couple, the physical relationship will just fall into place,” Michelle Weiner-Davis said. “I’ve discovered the opposite is true too: When people start to invest more energy into their physical relationship, all of a sudden it triggers feelings of closeness and connection. (From: Smartmarriages, Subject: Whetting your Appetite for Sex)

The more we express our affection physically, the more affectionate we feel. The more we express our love verbally, the more love we feel. I’m convinced that there is nothing you can do to maintain sexual purity that’s more important than loving your wife. Treat her as you did when you were dating, and you’ll discover that some of the old fires are still there —they just need to be stoked. Most men find that when the home fires are burning hot, the warmth of the campfires [in other women’s “homes”] isn’t as appealing. Our job is to keep those home fires burning.” (Bill Perkins, When Good Men Are Tempted)

• Regular exercise, good nutrition, and good hygiene are just as important now that you’re married as they were when you were single. During your dating days you most likely presented your best self to each other —showered, shaved, powdered, and perfumed. Married couples often get lazy about these things. But if you don’t want to be taken for granted —much less avoided —maintain those good grooming habits that contributed to your attraction to one another. (Sandra Lundberg, one of the authors of the book, “The First Five Years of Marriage”)

You don’t have to be thin or young to enjoy red-hot monogamy. Studies say that the hottest sex is experienced among those who have been happily married for some time. We don’t know about you, but as you look around at your middle-aged friends, how many hard bodies do you see? We see very few “specimens,” but there are plenty of love handles in the crowd. You know what? For the most part we could all shed a few pounds and probably live a bit longer.

We also noticed that not one of us looks like a runway model or professional athlete. Actually, most of us are just plain—average! But we experience red-hot monogamy on a regular basis. Why? We have gotten over ourselves. We have (1) accepted our bodies, and (2) taken our eyes off ourselves so we can focus on our spouses. Your most vital sex organ, the most erogenous zone of your body is your brain. (Bill and Pam Farrell, “Red Hot Monogamy”)

Each of you needs to take responsibility for whether or not your sex life is satisfying. Tell your spouse what feels good to you and what you need; don’t assume he or she will “just know.” Your spouse can’t read your mind. As for faking satisfaction —that will only hurt both of you, damaging mutual trust and guaranteeing that you won’t get your needs met. So figure out what you need and go for it. (Sandra Lundberg, an author of the book, “The First Five Years of Marriage”)

If you’re dissatisfied with your sex life, instead of first complaining about the frequency, examine the quality. Ask yourself, “Would I want to be married to me?” Consider how well you meet your spouse’s sexual needs; find out what changes might be in order. Once communication increases and needs are satisfied, increased frequency usually isn’t far behind. (Rob Jackson, an author of the book, “The First Five Years of Marriage”)

In the book, A Celebration of Sex by Dr Douglas E. Rosenau there are several pages dedicated to birth control. He says, “The Genesis passage of being fruitful and multiplying is in the context of God’s giving humankind control of the natural world. We are to be wise stewards of the children God places in our care. To choose to have one or two or five has to be a thoughtful and prayerful decision. You as a couple will have to sort through which method of birth control best fits you as you consider personal sensitivities and values.

…It is good for all of us to remember that God values family and procreation with the planting of seed and the possibility of contraception. Thinking through birth control requires us to sort through our theology of procreation and life, and the deeper meaning of lovemaking in God’s overall sexual economy.” He then says, “There are nine common methods of birth control. You as a couple will have to sort through which one is most applicable along lines of personal sensitivities, health, and who takes responsibility.” (The book goes into details about the nine methods which are: Rhythm or natural method, Hormonal intervention, Condoms, Female condom, Diaphragm and cervical cap, Spermicidal sponge, Intrauterine devices, Spermicidal foam, jelly, and suppository, Vasectomy or Tubal ligation.)

Kathryn* (not her real name) discovered a physical hurdle to sexual freedom. “After reading about low libido, I decided to get a doctor’s opinion. It turns out I had a testosterone deficiency.” This may come as a surprise to many women who don’t realize they have testosterone, too. “So many women think testosterone is a man’s hormone,” Kathryn says, “but men and women both have it and my body wasn’t producing enough.” After analyzing the results of a blood test, the doctor diagnosed a daily application of testosterone gel. “It’s a simple process. I just rub a measured amount of the gel into my skin as part of my morning routine. And it doesn’t cause any weird side effects. I don’t have a mustache or huge biceps. I’m still feminine.

“Our healing came through both treating my testosterone deficiency and being willing to look at deeper causes.” After eight months of weekly sessions, Kathryn can say, “Counseling gave me freedom. We still have to work through occasional struggles like every couple, but now I’m free. “I just want other women to know, you don’t have to settle. If your sex life isn’t good, don’t be satisfied. Get help.” (Lynn North, from article titled Unhappy In Bed)

• “Research suggests that people who get regular aerobic exercise have more sex, better orgasms …than non-aerobic exercisers, says James White, Ph.D …Possible reasons: Vigorous exercise may increase natural testerone levels (which might fuel desire in women as well as men), and it helps pump blood down to erogenous zones, like the vagina, increasing sensation. Regular workouts also boost your energy (remember, good sex can be hard work!), improve your confidence in your appearance and confer a sense of general well-being, all of which can give your libido a lift.” Seventy-eight sedentary men were studied over nine months as they began to exercise sixty minutes a day, three times a week. Every single man noted increased frequency, performance, and greater level of satisfaction in his sex life. (Bill and Pam Farrel, Red Hot Monogamy)

• Did you know that certain foods can increase your physical desire for one another? No kidding! Through brain imaging and other scientific studies, researchers (such as Dr. Daniel Amen of Amen Clinics) have determined some foods which directly affect physical desire. Here are just a few examples: • Figs increase your libido. • Garlic increases blood flow to the sexual organs. • Chili peppers raise the heart rate. • Celery can turn women on. • Cabbage increases circulation, which increases sexual function. • Almonds, cheese and chocolate (Wow — chocolate, ladies!) alert the brain that something fun is about to happen. • Bananas improve male libido. • Nutmeg increases sexual activities in lab rats, so it stands to reason… Hmmmmmmm! Maybe you should add these to your grocery list, huh? (Christian Counseling Today, Vol. 15, No. 4)

Sex may HELP Release Headache Tension: Lead researcher Dr. Timothy T. Houle of the Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, notes that although it is commonly believed that sex drive is reduced by headaches and sexual intercourse can cause specific types of headaches, more and more research is beginning to show that sexual intercourse may alleviate the pain of migraine in some patients due to increased levels of serotonin to the brain. There goes the excuse of “not tonight honey, I have a headache.”

…Lorna McLaren, an expert in communication, stress and the human factor and a facilitator says exercise is one way to release headache tension. “Absolutely sex has a positive effect,” said McLaren. “It only takes 7 to 10 minutes of cardio to change the chemicals in your brain, release endorphins and physically and emotionally feel better. Sex is exercise, and as humans we intuitively need to connect with others. What better way than in a loving, sexual experience.” (Gabriel LeFrancois, from the Hitchedmag.com article: Migraine Remedy)

• For many couples, sex is a deeply troubling part of their marriage, but they still want to avoid dealing with it. They hide behind excuses: “Talking about sex just isn’t me” or “I’ll be fine without dealing with it.” That is not, however, a choice that we as Christians have. If we desire a marriage that honors God and fulfills His design for oneness, we can’t ignore our sex life. Sexual intimacy wasn’t designed to be something we fight about, it was not designed to be taken for granted or abused, and it wasn’t designed to be disregarded when we become uncomfortable talking about it.

If we are to be obedient to God then we must keep our marriage bed “undefiled” (Hebrews 13:4). And that covers a lot more than simply not having an affair or not lusting after a person other than our mate. Keeping our marriage bed pure is also about keeping our sexual relationship a place of mutually desired celebration. No matter how difficult or unsettling a sexual issue is, we need to deal with it. (Tim Alan Gardner, “Sacred Sex”)

I’m not saying sex is everything. If you have a good sexual relationship, it registers about ten percent on the “important scale” — meaning it makes up about ten percent of what’s important in the relationship. But if you do not have a good sexual relationship, that registers about ninety percent on the “important scale.” A good sexual relationship can make you feel more relaxed, accepted, and more involved with your partner. But if your life together is devoid of sex, the issue becomes a gigantic focus of the relationship.” (Dr Phil McGraw)

Marital therapist Michele Weiner Davis has a book out entitled, The Sex-Starved Marriage. Exciting new “research” reveals that for many people, waiting for the urge to strike is pointless; better to bash ahead and hope for the best. Davis asks, “Have you ever noticed that although you might not have been thinking sexual thoughts or feeling particularly sexy, if you push yourself to ‘get started’ when your spouse approaches you, it feels good, and you find yourself getting into it?” Many of her clients have received this counsel with enthusiasm. “I really wasn’t in the mood for sex at all,” reports one of her advisees after just such a night, “but once we got started, it was fun. I really enjoyed it.” (Smartmarriages Subject: The Wifely Duty – Sex Starved America?)

Sexual difficulties can be a symptom of the onset of illness; therefore a consultation with a primary care physician may be warranted. (Not all physicians are apprised of sexual issues, you may have to shop around) Any activity —such as stress, medication, smoking, hostility —which constricts the blood vessels, can lower libido and cause arousal and sexual desire difficulties. Many sexual difficulties are lifestyle related. Medications are famous for lowering libido. Selected antidepressants, antihistamines, some hormones, and conceivably any across the counter medication that says “may cause drowsiness” can affect your sex life. In addition, since Dr. Barbara Sherwin’s l990 study showing the correlation between female libido and testosterone, we know that the extent to which women (and men) have testosterone, they will have libido, i.e. the physical urge to engage in sex.

There are millions of low-testosterone men and women. For this group it is normal to have little physical drive. However we know that there are two main pathways to sexual desire: psychogenic and autogenic. This means if you just don’t naturally walk around with sexual energy, you can use your mind (the ultimate sex machine) to create sexual desire. Basically all you need is the desire to desire to be a great sex partner. I don’t mean to oversimplify but this study brings out the fact that many of us have to be proactive to create the sex life we long for. (Pat Love, “JAMA Sex Survey Results”)

Don’t forget to nurture your marriage.

Just as many men fail to understand how important it is to become deeply involved in all emotional aspects of his wife’s world, many women fail to understand how deeply sex can be connected to emotional oneness for their husbands. Part of this is due to the fact that many men do a very poor job articulating the incredibly intense and immense sensations that are occurring within them far beyond what is happening on the physiological level. To many men, being one sexually is the place where they feel most one —most naked and unashamed —with their mates.

However, if they are unable to fully communicate that to their wives, their desire for sex can come across as just that: a desire for sex. Therefore, it’s not only important for husbands to attempt to express what they truly feel about their sexual connection with their wives, but it’s equally important for wives to know that, even in the absence of a meticulous exhaustive explanation of the sexual insides of their mates, much of their husband’s desire for sex truly is a desire for oneness, a oneness that brings comfort and security in our harried world and helps them feel loved. (Tim Alan Gardner, “Sacred Sex”)

Sex is a type of worship. Did you know that? Even the heathen know it; that’s why orgies were a part of the worship ceremonies for pagan deities. (Michelle McKinney Hammond, “The Power of Femininity”)

Sexually abused children eventually become adults. Many of them will marry and discover that time didn’t heal the scars. Sexuality is at the heart of our humanity and when it’s distorted in childhood, it poisons the root systems of our relationship skills as adults. By sexual abuse I mean any sexual activity, verbal or physical, which is forced upon another individual without his/her consent, which uses his/her as an object to meet another person’s sexual desires.

Such an act perpetrated upon a child sets in motion a whole series of emotional and physical reactions that have a detrimental effect upon a child’s normal sexual maturation process. This distortion of sexuality follows the child to adulthood and often causes problems in the marital relationship. These victims of sexual abuse will often find it extremely difficult to enjoy healthy sexual interaction with their spouses. Many are filled with shame, guilt, fear, anger, and often revulsion toward sex. (Dr Gary Chapman, “Loving Solutions”)

• The marriage bed is one of the most crowded places on the face of the earth. It is teeming with people, some of whom you’ve never met, but they’re all there —all affecting your sexual intimacy, looking over your shoulder, and shaping the quality of your sexual pleasure. Don’t look behind the pillow, but be aware that your parents are lurking right underneath it! And if you think that’s bad, you also better get used to your in-laws, who are hiding under your spouse’s pillow! At the foot of the bed? Oh, that’s your and your spouse’s siblings. Underneath the bed? Don’t even get me started on that! What am I talking about?

You come into marriage with more baggage than you know. This baggage has formed into what I call your “rule book” —unconscious but very influential beliefs you hold about how things should be done (especially in bed). A big part of my counseling practice is devoted to helping people understand their rule book, because a person’s rule book governs everything about his or her life, especially sexuality. (Dr Kevin Leman, Sheet Music)

Our culture feeds us the notion that love and sex are the same thing. If only our youth could know that sex does not mean love —it is a biological drive. And if they could know that love does not mean required sex, what a different attitude they’d have when going into marriage! Of course, when love grows into dedication and commitment of marriage and THEN is sealed with the union of sexual response then that is the best. That is God’s design. Sex is used to seal the commitment. If catastrophic health, absence (like being called away to armed service) or other issues come up that make sexual response limited or maybe ended, the love, (commitment) is there to keep the love relationship going. (Delores Stone)

Whenever we make orgasm the goal of sex, we fail to experience godly sex. In other words, the “Big O” of sex is not orgasm; it’s oneness. (Tim Alan Gardner, from the book, Sacred Sex)

• The big O is not orgasm. The big O is oneness. It’s not how great the bodies, or how great the orgasm. It’s, was that a loving experience where you shared with each other? Was it contributing to your oneness? (Christopher McClluskey, from the Todays Christian Woman article “Spirituality and Sex?”)

Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the ever lasting way (Psalm 139:23-24).