How to Spice Things Up without Fifty Shades of Grey

Spice Things Up without Fifty Shades of Grey!

Yesterday I wrote about why reading 50 Shades of Grey can be harmful to your marriage: basically, it causes you to fantasize, so that it’s harder to stay “present” with your spouse.

But in reading some of the comments here and on Facebook, I think that the book is filling a need (albeit in a harmful way). Women are saying:

Sex is boring! I’m not excited by my husband. I’ve lost my libido. And I need to find a way to get in touch with the sexual side of myself again.

Ladies, I totally understand. And I want to help you do that in a PURE way!

You see, as I said in a whole section in The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, “pure” and “hot” should really go together. Why? Because pure sex is when we feel deeply and intimately connected. And when you feel deeply and intimately connected, you’re going to lose control. You’re going to be vulnerable. Your walls will come down. You’re going to feel like you want to be “taken”. Those are all “hot” things!

And you can have hot without needing erotica. In fact, the more you read erotica, the less able you’ll be to experience real “pure and hot” intimacy because you’ll be living more and more in a fantasy life. Just like some people need a drink or two before they can be comfortable in public, many people need to look at porn or read erotica before they can become aroused. And that’s not good.

So how can we find that route to arousal again without erotica, if our sex lives have become boring? Here are a few thoughts:

1. Dream About It

Fantasy in and of itself isn’t bad. Fantasy about weird things or about other people can be dangerous, but fantasies about what you’d like to do with your husband, or what you’ve done in the past, are quite fine. In fact, I think we’re supposed to think about these things! So during the day, let yourself think about sex. Get in the right frame of mind. If you want to feel sexy, you don’t need to pick up a book to do it. Just start thinking of some scenarios you’d like to do with your husband, too.

Then take some control and bring them to pass! Tell him about them, or better still, just initiate them yourself at night. When you become more energetic and take the initiative in bed, you’re more likely to feel sexy. And for many women it’s also more likely to be pleasurable, because you angle things so they work for you.

Now, if you try these things and he isn’t receptive because his sex drive is much lower than yours, then please read this series. But let me also say that in your case, in particular, these kinds of books can be very dangerous, because you already have reason to be dissatisfied. Don’t make it worse!

2. Have Sex More Frequently

Want to turn up the libido? You may just need to make love more often. Libido is a “use it or lose it” phenomenon. If you want to get in touch with sexy, try making love every night for a week. But don’t do it the same way every night. Have a rule that no two times can be in the same position, or done the same way.

And if you take this challenge, you’ll find another habit change is probably coming, too: you’ll start going to bed at a decent time, so that you can actually have some fun. When we start going to bed on time more regularly, that, in and of itself, can make you feel sexier!

3. Reawaken Your Body

Speaking of “use it or lose it”, yesterday commenter Doris said this:

I understand the lure of erotica but to “recharge your libido” or enhance your love making or focus your mind, I found the solution. Yoga. Why? First of all, it made me more aware of my body and helped me focus my mind. I learned to be happy with my body and it became stronger. When you feel good about your body, you feel sexy. This makes you less self conscious. I also was more in tune with how my body felt which applies directly to sex. Forget kegel exercises, yoga even replaces these. It also increases your stamina. All this and add a husband who loves you and if you’re really lucky like me, also started doing yoga…well, you won’t need the erotica. He also won’t need the porn. Instead you’ll have a very loving, and intimate relationship that will strengthen your marriage.

I know that some people steer clear of yoga because of the eastern mysticism associated with it, but honestly, I haven’t had any of that in the classes I’ve taken at the Y. Just be on the lookout for it. Yoga is mostly learning how to stretch, relax, and pay attention to your breathing, if that’s all you do, it doesn’t go against Christianity at all (and if your teacher brings it around to eastern mysticism and meditation, find a new teacher!).

And Doris is right! When we start doing yoga (or any exercise that stretches you and helps you pay attention to breathing), you’ll start to feel sexy, too!

4. Give Up Some Control

Part of the allure of 50 Shades of Grey is the BDSM nature of it (bondage, sadomasochism, etc.) For many women this touches a cord, because the idea of being completely helpless and at someone’s disposal can be attractive (often it’s more attractive in fantasy than in real life, but still). I think sex is supposed to be mutual, and so the idea that someone is hurt so that someone can get pleasure, or that only one person gets pleasure and the other always gives it, isn’t biblical to my mind. But I don’t think there’s anything wrong with giving up some control. You could say to your husband, “for tonight, I’m yours.” And let him decide what you do (within limits, of course. Read here for more).

And I’ve written before about how letting him touch you, without you moving, can help you figure out how you actually like to be touched. It can be quite arousing.

I’m not one who believes that sex has to always be done the same way, or that each episode has to be one in which we’re having sex simply to say “I love you”. It’s wonderful to express tenderness and love while we’re making love, but let’s face it: sex is supposed to mirror our relationship with God. And that is not always tender. He loves us fiercely. He loves us possessively. And I believe He created sexuality to be the same way.

So sometimes you may want things to be a little more about being “taken”, and a little less about making love while you kiss gently. That’s okay. All of those things are part of a great marriage. So if this is something you want, tell your husband!

5. Play Some Games

Finally, I’ve written a post as part of my 29 Days to Great Sex series about how to spice things up! Lots of ideas there, including things to do with dice, how to create “his” and “hers” nights, and more.

A lot of women are using 50 Shades of Grey to help them get aroused. May I suggest instead that you simply use your husband? That’s what he’s there for! So fantasize about him. Tell him what you’re thinking. Flirt with him. Play some games. Get more active. When you turn to erotica, you take the easy way out. You become aroused from a story, not from actually making an effort in your relationship. Our society gravitates towards quick fixes and short cuts, but in the end it’s not fulfilling. Try to make that effort and make sex stupendous between you. That, in the end, is much hotter!

My book, The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, has “Good Girl Dares” throughout it that will help you jumpstart your libido WITH your husband, rather than WITHOUT him!

Have you ever had trouble with erotica? Or do you understand the lure for many women? Tell us your story about how to get over these ruts in your marriage!

Comments

  1. Sheila,

    Excellent post as usual!! You bring up many, many good points. I was single for much of my adult life and found even then that any sort of sexy book was not a good idea. It only made me miss what I didn’t have. As a happily married 50 year old I can tell you and your other readers that I agree completely with your words of sexual wisdom. We’ve only been married 4 years, but both agree we’re having the best sex of our lives! Why? Because we have complete trust in one another and we’ve learned to talk about it. What de we want? How can we make it better? What are each others preferences and needs? When we learned to talk that openly, our sex life really came alive! Neither of us wants anything to do with sexual aids other than each other. He has never watched porn and I do not read eroctica. Why would we when what we have in real life is so much better! ?
    I want to simply encourage each reader that if your sex life is not what you’d like it to be, make it what you’d like it to be! Girls: I promise, your husbands WANT you to tell them your sexual disires! Guys: I promise, your wives WANT you to take control and have your way with them in such a way that makes them want you all the more. Talk about it! Make a sex talk part of four play! Have fun! And lastly, thank God for the gift of love making and please do not be afraid to ask God for a better sex life. He gave it to us on purpose, for our pleasure, so why wouldn’t He want us to go to Him to make it better?
    God bless you and your sex lives! ?
    Toni Ryan recently posted…My God is Bigger Than…My Profile

    • Toni,
      I’m sorry, but you just don’t know my wife….
      Talking’s out. Touching’s out. Kissing’s out.
      And whatever you do, don’t talk about it.

      • I’m sorry to hear that Hoss. I would suggest some sort of counceling and lots of prayer. This is the kind of thing a woman needs to talk to a woman about. I’m sure Sheila will agree, what ever is in your wife’s sexual past needs to be addressed in order for her to come alive with you. I will ask other readers of this post to agree with me to pray for you and your wife to be able to talk openly and honestly about your sex life. God bless you Hoss! Hang in there.
        Toni Ryan recently posted…My God is Bigger Than…My Profile

  2. It’s a great post indeed!

    But I disagree STRONGLY with the yoga in point 3. I think reawakening your body is a great idea. The endorphins that get released during exercise can greatly benefit your sex life. But yoga is part of another religion, and finding a teacher that doesn’t mention that part is just naive. I don’t think you can just do yoga and ignore where it came from. Even if your teacher doesn’t mention it, it is all about eastern mysticism and meditation. Disconnecting the two is impossible, you can’t take only the exercise part and not be part of the religion part.

    Reasoning that you can sounds exactly the people who are reading the books you are warning against. They read the books for the great love story and it’s helping their sex life. They also take it apart and are willing to accept the ‘bad’, cause there is so much ‘good’ to gain.

    With all the different exercise programs out there, you could easily pick something that has noting to do with any religion and avoid yoga all together. I think that that would be a much better choice for believers.

    • I have done yoga in the past, but am no longer comfortable with it for similar reasons, and while searching the internet found PraiseMoves: http://praisemoves.com/ It’s a great alternative for anyone wanting that type of physical workout but isn’t sure about yoga.
      Melissa recently posted…I think…My Profile

    • Christy S. Lube says:

      I agree. The poses themselves are poses of worship, and not of God, so even if the teacher doesn’t “mention” that part, by your very position you’re worshiping something else.

      • worship is within your heart. I can’t “accidently” worship another god. If I am doing something that stengthens my marriage (of God) and deepen my sense of self worth then how am I displeasing God? Sin is within us not within the Yoga poses.

    • Have you heard of Christian yoga? A local church here does it once a week. We focus on the name of Jesus! It give your the benefit of the stretching, relaxing and time to focus on Our Lord Jesus. If you can’t find a class like that, try getting a book of poses, play some worship music and go for it.

    • Without jumping into the yoga conversation, I will add this. Pilates, while not the exact same moves as yoga, does have a lot of the same good physical qualities that were referred to. And it is NOT based upon any religion. Just a thought!
      Bernice @ The Stressed Mom recently posted…10 ways to raise kids who love to readMy Profile

    • I love yoga and personally don’t see anything wrong with it. If others feel convicted not to do it, then so be it. I don’t think that is a black & white clear-cut thing, but a personal decision that we have freedom to choose in our own personal walk.

  3. Sorry ladies, but I’m with Sheila on this one. There are many different types of yoga. The spiritual type is not practiced in the US much. I am ever so thankful for yoga as it’s helped me in many ways. When I’ve gone to yoga classes, there has never been any sort of spiritual theme, only for exercise, strength and health. I personally know Christan yoga instructors who would be offended if told they were somehow teaching something that goes against Christian principles. For those who have experienced the negative side of yoga, look further for a much better experience.
    To God be the glory!
    Toni Ryan recently posted…My God is Bigger Than…My Profile

  4. learning is fun! says:

    “Yoga” is one of those things that gives me the willies. I’ve never practiced it, and am not particularly interested in doing so. Upon seeing the debate going on here, I did a quick google search using the words ‘yoga’ and ‘bible,’ and one of the results can be found here: http://www.bible.com/bibleanswers_result.php?id=239 . In particular, I found this paragraph interesting:
    “A Spiritual Counterfeits Project (Berkeley, California) publication on “Yoga” states: “For while it may suit the secular fancy to espouse only that selected aspect (the physical) of yoga which fits the bourgeois notion of what yoga is supposed to do (i.e. make a beautiful body), the fact still remains that even physical yoga is inextricably bound up in the whole of Eastern religious metaphysics. In fact, it is quite accurate to say that physical yoga and Indian metaphysics are mutually interdependent; you really can’t have one without the other.”

    From here, a few questions develop:

    - are you actually doing Yoga, or a bunch of stretching exercises that someone is labelling as ‘yoga?’

    - if it’s the latter, why do those leading the class feel the need to misrepresent what it is that they’re doing?

    - the Bible teaches us to guard our hearts and minds; so why would we intentionally put ourselves into a place where we are spiritually vulnerable?

    Please understand that my point here isn’t to judge, but to warn fellow believers of dangers in disguise. Another poster commented that she knew Christian yoga teachers who would be offended by some of the comments submitted about yoga – but given the information in the article mentioned above, I’d be interested in any rebuttal comments they might have to it.

    • my question to you is this: have you or the articial writer ever actually studied Eastern Mysticism? Because to say that they are “bound” together is false. Yoga is only part of one branch of Buddhism, being used only to relax the body and mind. The fact that Yoga is only used as a way to get one ready for meditation means, or at least seems to mean, that it is not religious in and of itself.

    • I am a fully devoted follower of Christ. One can find negative in anything if they want to. The web is full of both good and bad information. When I workout in any shape or form, it is to strengthen my body, help me sleep better, look more attractive to my husband and just plain feel healthier. That’s it, nothing more. My faith In Christ is solid. He knows my heart and mind belong to Him and that truly is all that matters.

      I appreciate the spiritual concern, but I think this is one of those things that fits in the realm of personal choice. If something gives me the willies, I stay away from it.

      I’d also like to add how odd this is to me. Hmm.. I just wonder if we are getting off track from the true meaning of Sheila’s post. This is not about yoga, rather it’s about our sexuality and our marriages. How we keep the spice and romance alive without porn and erotica which in my opinion is far more damaging than a yoga class.
      Toni Ryan recently posted…My God is Bigger Than…My Profile

  5. Meghan Amm says:

    Great post, Sheila! I just shared this on my FB – don’t know what people will say (if anything). I have been reading so much about this book on friend’s FB pages – and a few of my friends were given the book by their husbands or their husbands recommended it after hearing about it from their friends! It seems like it’s some sort of female empowerment exercise – while there may be some people for whom this book enhances a great sex life, I think that there will be more women for whom this becomes a sort of gateway book into reading more and more unrealistic erotic/romance fiction and becoming dissatisfied with their own sex lives as a result. Kind of like the effect erotic/pornographic pictures have on men. Anyway, well said and the tips you give today are great!

  6. In regards to yoga, the biggest issue I have with it is that classes I took a while back were big on focusing on breathing and “emptying your mind”. I don’t know that doing so is something that a follower of Christ should be aiming for. It’s one thing to meditate on God’s word, or on who He is, but to specifically aim to remove all thoughts from your mind can be detrimental.

    Great post, as usual, Sheila! :)

    • Why is it detrimental? Men routinely retreat to our “nothing box” to unwind or deal with stress after a long day. There is nothing immoral or sinful about clearing your mind of mental clutter. Learning to shut down the brain for a while can be very therapeutic.

  7. I think it is so funny how comments can take on a life of their own…The post is about having a great sex life without reading erotica books yet the conversation is all about yoga. I guess that is to be expected when many readers with different opinions are reading.
    Lori recently posted…Women Raised In Legalistic HomesMy Profile

  8. So disappointed to see yoga treated as something so harmless. I have been excited to read your blog and the things that you are so bold to tackle is so needed. But seeing this take on yoga has really deflated my excitement. I have to agree with Muriel 100% and a few others that posted here. Yoga is indeed wholly connected with another religion and to accept it is, in my conviction, compromise. This idea that “if it is just stretching to you, then it’s ok” is just tolerance where we (believers) should be standing tall against something that is indeed bringing another religion into your heart and life. Just because you don’t want or believe it to be harmful, does not mean it is not so. You cannot ignore where it is from/what it is based on and the poses are indeed opening yourself up to different spirits. I’m sorry for those who feel they have benefited from yoga, but i feel there is no other stance but to say “no way! not in my life!” “Christian yoga?!?!” How did we get so grey area about something that is so unGodly? Why do we pretend it’s not a big deal? It is a hold that Satan has on America, for sure, and Christians going along with it and not condemning it is just not ok.

    • “Just because you don’t want it to be harmful, does not mean it is not so.”

      Ok… Can’t that be said for the Internet, language, science, tv, clothes, work, Christmas, basically ANYTHING? If you’re eliminating things based on humans not using them the way God intended or the way God designed it, you’re going to have to move into a vacuum somewhere.

      To think you can judge the relationship between a person and God by the way they’re moving their body to exercise is downright scary and dangerous to seekers.

    • I agree with you 100% on the Yoga issue. I have done research myself on yoga and the two cannot be separated. Yoga is the Eastern “religion” and you cannot have one without the other. I will not have anything to do with yoga. Our life as Christians is about becoming one with Christ. Letting our minds be renewed with His word and meditating on it daily, all day. Not emptying our minds. We do not need to give Satan any more control over our lives than we already have in these last days. We need to pray for wisdom and remember even the elect will be deceived. All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not. 1 Corinthians 10:23

      • Sandra, I do know what you’re saying, but I can do stretches without emptying my mind. That really is all yoga positions are to me. If you’re going to a class where they’re telling you to empty your mind, sure. But if you’re just stretching–you’re stretching. That’s all. And there really is nothing wrong with stretching!

  9. I would like to hear your take on my experience. I’ve been married almost 23 years. Because of bad in-law relationships our marriage has suffered much through the years. Most of my married life I feel as though I’ve tried to find ways to get out of sex. But I did feel as though the 30′s were better than the 20′s, and the 40′s were better than the 30′s sexually. Then about a year and a half ago things changed for me. I had been reading up on herbs (a past time of mine) and was interested in an anti-aging herb called gotu kola. I had some issues with varicose veins and found an herbal combination that was good for it. I especially wanted to try it because it had gotu kola in it. Now comes the exciting part. I first did not make the connection but I was becoming more and more crazy about my husband. I thought about him all the time, wanted to be with him, and woke him up night after night for a good pounce!! I started reading up more on gotu kola and found out it was an aphrodisiac-a substance that increases sexual appetite or activity. I began enjoying my husband so much and began seeing how negative things/attitudes had affected me. I shoved those bad attitudes out of my life! I love my husband and feel as though I am really being a better wife. I want to cry when I think of all the years I wasted when really I have an awesome husband and am so glad we never separated our ways. My thoughts focus more on him now instead of the selfish life I lived. I thought so much of everything revolved around me. We touch much more, we smile much more, we embarrass our teenagers more. I am so happy. Now let me say, I have backed off on how much I take the gotu kola and I take it on a schedule so as not to diminish its affects. There are other aphrodisiacs out there too but I stick with the gotu. Would you consider this erotica?

    • Dang! She didn’t even answer the question about whether an herb that physically wakes up your libido would be considered the same as erotica, which toys with your mind.
      If Jesus said to judge people by their fruit, than why not judge your experience by the fruit it produced?
      You say you re crazier about your husband. Your negative attitudes have been kicked to the curb. You focus on him instead of your selfish ways. Your vericose veins have even found relief.
      Gina Parris recently posted…Overcoming Grief in Marriage – a Review of Good GriefMy Profile

  10. Hi all! Wow, lots of comments yesterday. I’ve been on the road speaking and haven’t had a chance to get to them until now.

    Here’s my extended take on the yoga thing: Paul ate food that had been sacrificed to idols. That honestly was an act of pagan worship, and yet he did it because he wasn’t worshipping. I don’t think anyone can say that certain stretches are worship if you don’t mean them as worship.

    Most of the yoga I have done is through the Wii Fit. There really is nothing religious about it. It simply is teaching you how to use your muscles better.

    Do some yoga classes become religious? Absolutely. But moving your body in a certain way is not an act of religion; it’s an act of exercise. Even the “sun salutation” move (which is probably what people are referring to because it looks like you’re praying) isn’t worship. When I do it, I AM praying. I’m saying in my mind, “thank you God for this morning. Thank you for my body. Help me today to be able to empty my mind of worries and focus on you.” It’s part of welcoming God into my day.

    I did a tai chi class on a cruise once and I left halfway through because it was way too religious. It was all about the “chi” inside you, which is totally wrong. But simple stretching, I don’t believe, is worship.

    Remember, Paul did eat that meat, which was also seen as participating in an act of pagan worship, but he didn’t see it that way because he knew that he was devoted to God.

    Paul was saying, “just because someone else has called something unholy does not mean that it is unholy for me, because I belong to Christ, and Christ has defeated the enemy so that it does not have any power over me.” That’s how I see this.

    In the same way, if you know that you are devoted to God, and when you stretch you’re doing it to relax and to help you focus on Him, then I can’t see what’s wrong with it.

    Like anything, though, if you’re taking a class and you feel “weird”, like it’s crossing a line, leave. Don’t even wait for the class to be over. But I do most yoga through websites and the Wii, which means there isn’t really a teacher, and it’s simply all about stretching. And I have found it very helpful in a variety of ways!

    I’m glad you all feel free to talk through issues here! I hope we can keep doing that. And let’s all give each other the benefit of the doubt, because the central issue from this post is that we’re working at loving our husbands more, developing more of a drive for our husbands, and doing it all because we love and honour both him and God.

    • MarriedMan says:

      God wants our worship. Wether we are doing Yoga or having sex or naked in the shower. I have worshiped God while cleaning out a stall. If you are focused on the Lord that is all he asks and desires of us.

  11. AHHHHH! I just checked my Amazon associates report, and yesterday someone bought The Fifty Shades of Grey after clicking through to Amazon from my site. That’s why I was afraid to mention the title of the book in the first place, but I thought I had better because of all the emails I was getting. Shoot. I hope I made the right decision.

  12. My husband and I are at a low point in our sexual life. His libido is very low right now, due to blood pressure meds (which he is working to come off of) and stress from a layoff and being underemployed. And he’s close to 50. I am going to click over and read your series Sheila! But about Shades of Gray. I have heard SO much about it and so many of my friends are reading it. I knew it was something I should NOT do, for many of the reasons above, but more so because of our current situation. The last thing I need right now is something to cause me to be frustrated and dissatisfied with my husband because our sex life is nowhere near what would be in the book, or any book of erotica. I believe reading it would be a detriment to our marriage and our intimacy, and cause me to have less than pleasing thoughts about the current situation.
    I am glad to see you standing up against it!
    Bernice @ The Stressed Mom recently posted…10 ways to raise kids who love to readMy Profile

  13. christy says:

    I find that Pilates does the same thing for me as yoga… only it origionated from a physiotherapy perpseptive.. so there is nothing spiritual about it… but I find my mind and body open up and relax and get stronger. It is great! I like it better than yoga and I believe it hits all the same spots.

  14. I am currently traveling and had purchased shades of grey on my nook. I started to read it, but after reading this post OI am havong doubts about my decision and am choosing to find another book. My husband and I have a great marriage and sex life. what you said is so true. when you truely love eachother and trust that is all you need. we are very close and comfortable! I do plan on getting your book and putting down 50 shades.

  15. My hubby and I were listening to the Mark Gungor show and he was also very highly critical of 50 Shades of Grey. However, he did recommend another book about a lady who did this experiment that involved giving him beads to place in a bowl by her bed when he needed sex. Her rule was she had to give him sex within 24 hours of her seeing the bead. She said she was amazed by how well it worked for both of them. Apparently the book has very colorful language so they are encouraging her to write a women of faith version and she’s considering it. Regardless, the idea sounds great to me.

  16. Tony Conrad says:

    Tried the “To Do” game with dice and six instructions each where you throw a dice to get the instruction then another dice to time how long it is to be done.

    Worked a treat. Thank you. It was a rest to do all the thinking in advance. At the end of the game we were both ready for ….

Comment Policy: Please stay positive with your comments. If your comment is rude, it gets deleted. Any comment that espouses an anti-marriage philosophy (eg. porn, adultery, abuse and the like) will be deleted. If it is critical, please make it constructive. If you are replying to another commenter, please be polite and don't assume you know everything about his or her situation. If you are constantly negative or a general troll, you will get banned. The definition of terms is left solely up to us. Sheila Wray Gregoire owns the copyright to all comments and may publish them in whatever form she sees fit. She agrees to keep any publication of comments anonymous, even if you are not anonymous on this board.

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