One of the ones I get variations of quite frequently goes something like this:
My husband doesn’t really get that sex itself doesn’t do much for me. I need a lot of warming up. He seems to think there’s something wrong with me; like why should we have to spend so much time on this “other stuff” instead of sex. How can I get him to understand that women need foreplay?
Excellent question! So here are some quick thoughts:
1. God made men and women physiologically differently
Quite frankly, women don’t receive as much stimulation from intercourse as men do, and so for most women, intercourse, in and of itself, is not enough to bring women to orgasm. If, on the other hand, we get aroused first, that means that the clitoris and the area around the clitoris get enlarged, and they then feel much better during intercourse. We need to be warmed up!
And I really can’t explain it better than Amanda Gore, in this hilarious video. If you’ve had difficulty helping your husband understand that you need foreplay, have him watch this (I think it’s tasteful, but very informative! The foreplay stuff comes about halfway through):
Got it? So there is nothing wrong with women if they want to be touched BEFORE intercourse!
2. Sex is More than Intercourse
The problem is that we tend to believe there’s sex, and then there’s the optional bits.
Let’s stop seeing those “bits” as optional! Sex is more than intercourse. It’s touching. It’s playing. It’s feeling wonderful! It’s being even more intimate.
Being “sexual” is doing anything that can cause someone else to get aroused–it isn’t just intercourse. Touching someone you’re dating below the clothing is dangerous and wrong, not just because it can get them aroused and you may go further, but because that’s sexual in and of itself. And we shouldn’t do sexual stuff until we’re married.
We all agree that touching each other is sexual BEFORE we’re married, so that means it’s sexual AFTER we’re married, too! It’s all part of the complete package. So why not enjoy it? It makes intercourse feel better for both of you anyway, because it helps drag out the whole thing and make it even more intimate.
3. Be More Active During Foreplay
Nevertheless, foreplay can be awfully tedious, and kind of off-putting, if we think of foreplay as something that HE does to ME. And I think that’s the problem with it: we’re passive, and we expect him to arouse us. But then you start to worry, “is he getting bored? Am I taking too long?” And it’s all just so stressful. I have a longer article on how to overcome some of these issues and make foreplay great.
But one of the ways around this is to stop being passive and actually be active! Make foreplay something that you do together, not something that he does to you.
If you want some specific help with this, here are two resources:
31 Days to Great Sex–a book with a series of challenges that build on each other that help you make sex feel great physically, spiritually, and emotionally. And there’s lots in there about foreplay, and how to have more fun and make sex better one every level.
Deck of Dares–Dr. Jennifer Degler has written this awesome collection of 40 “Dares” that you and your husband can do together. Each one has a short explanation and challenge for you to do to add some heat to the bedroom. They’re really fun! But here’s what these things that “spice up your sex life” all have in common–they tend to help you drag out the foreplay, not really enhance the sex itself. By dragging out the foreplay, after all, you DO enhance the sex. But it’s all that fun and play at the beginning that can make it more fun. And Dr. Degler is a Christian, so I so appreciate this super-fun resource for couples!
4. What About Those Whose Husbands are Really Selfish?
Most of the time, the reason that men don’t always “get” foreplay is that they have such a different physiology it’s hard for them to understand what does arouse a woman. Once a man understands this, he usually is more giving in the foreplay department.
But I received an email recently that said this:
I have explained to my husband about how men and women are different. He does understand. But he says sex is all we’re required to do, and if sex doesn’t cut it for me, then I should just take care of things myself. If I ask him to help me get aroused, he tells me that’s my business and my responsibility. If I nag him into touching him, he sighs loudly and groans and is always checking the clock. I’ve explained to him that I need more, but he really just doesn’t care. I don’t know what to do. Am I required to keep having sex with him if I tells me that my pleasure is totally irrelevant to him? I’m so frustrated and so hurt.
Wow. That’s awful. And honestly, it’s not that uncommon.
Here’s my theory about why: Porn does not depict foreplay. In pornography, sex is always about intercourse or something else done to the guy. And the intercourse is usually very aggressive and often violent and degrading. So the thought of foreplay as being “sexy” has virtually been eliminated in pornography. Women now seem like sexual freaks if they want something other than intercourse, because all these other women on the screen don’t need it at all.
Even if your husband doesn’t view porn now, if he grew up with it, chances are that is still the image of sex that he has.
So let me be frank, and speak to these guys for a moment: Sex is supposed to be something that you experience together, not something where you use your wife for your own pleasure without giving anything back. She is not a sex toy; she is a person. To expect her to have sex with you while you make no effort whatsoever to make it feel good for her is completely selfish and rather disgusting. When Paul said, in 1 Corinthians 7:5, “Do not deprive each other”, he wasn’t saying “just have intercourse.” He was saying, “don’t deprive each other of what will give sexual pleasure.” We know this because he also says that “it is better to marry than to burn with passion”–meaning that marriage should take care of our pent up sexual feelings. If you are not giving your wife any release, then you are sinning. You are leaving her frustrated and causing her to “burn”. You are being selfish, mean, and wrong.
And to the women, let me say: if your husband has refused to do anything that makes you feel good, if he is doing so deliberately and not out of ignorance of women’s bodies, then you need to continue to talk to him frankly about this, and maybe even insist that you see a counselor or talk to a mentor couple. I know it can be difficult to talk to other people about sex, but I think this is really serious, and shows a real lack of Christlike behaviour, and, I’m afraid, likely the residues of porn use which have to be dealt with.
Okay. That was difficult to have to say all that. So let me try to end on a high note.
Most of the time this problem is simply that you both don’t understand how each other works. That’s easily fixable! Just think of this as a fun research project you’re going to do together–figuring out how to make her feel great, which makes sex so much more intense for both of you! So check out 31 Days to Great Sex or the Deck of Dares, or just watch that hilarious video and talk about it. Then go have fun–and, as Amanda Gore says, don’t touch those bits too fast!
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