It’s time for our men’s edition of our podcast!
Women are more than welcome to listen, too (and, honestly, this one is pretty much great for both genders), but on the last Thursday of every month I like to focus on some specific topics that may be of interest to our male readers/listeners, too.
So today we covered two things: How to tell if the sex advice you’re reading/hearing is seriously off, and how to understand women’s hormonal cycles.
I’ve got some extras below, but first, listen in:
Main Segment: Is this Advice, Well, Dumb?
Usually my husband joins me for these podcasts, but after getting back from our trip Keith is swamped with work, so I had Connor and Rebecca jump on for the main segment, because this one was actually Rebecca’s idea, after doing some research for our upcoming book The Great Sex Rescue.
What she found in reading a lot of marriage/sex books and marriage/sex advice online is that a lot of it is, well, kind of weird.
Take Love & Respect, where one of the ways that Emerson Eggerichs tries to convince women to have sex is with this line:
Why would you deprive him of something that takes such a short amount of time and makes him sooooooooo happy? (p. 252)
(he’s quoting a woman saying that.)
Now, given that in order for sex to feel good for women, women tend to need a lot of foreplay, and that quick sex is generally not good for women, why would you talk about sex in these terms? Why is sex being SHORT supposed to be a selling point? And should we be telling people that sex isn’t supposed to take that much time–that quick sex is normal? This completely misunderstands what women need to feel good–and most men on this blog genuinely want their wives to feel good! I find it really difficult to understand why a man would want to spread the message that sex doesn’t take very long (unless, of course, you’re talking about quickies. But in context, he wasn’t). When I read things like that, to be honest, I do wonder what people think sex is supposed to be like.
Or here’s another example, from Desiring God:
There aren’t any ideal sexual experiences in the world, I don’t think. Every woman probably has a picture in her mind of what she would or wouldn’t like. And every man has a picture in his mind. And they’re never identical. Maybe once in a thousand you would say, “This marriage represents her receiving and giving exactly she wants, and him receiving and giving exactly what he wants. They’re always in total harmony all the time.” That just never happens virtually, which means that marriage is a test case for sanctification and for self-denial. And it works both ways.
This isn’t bad–it’s just odd. What would an “ideal sexual experience” look like? It sounds like he’s talking about fantasies or something. All of us on the podcast agreed that we just don’t think in these terms. You make love, you feel close afterwards, and you don’t say, “was that ideal?” You just enjoy each other. So it’s just an odd way of looking at things that makes it seem as if we’re focusing on the physical of WHAT we’re doing, rather than just being together and making each other feel good and feel intimate.
Then there’s the problem that some ideas go so far in Christian circles that they’re taken as gospel–like like the idea that all men lust. I think it’s because we often confirm our own biases, and since most advice is given by men, we often overlook women’s experience.
Additionally, we tend to think that because someone has an M.Div, it means that they can talk authoritatively on anything. But having an M.Div does not mean that you’re a sexual expert. The Bible actually doesn’t talk about sex in specifics that much, and people do need to know more than just the Bible.
So here are our five points to help us be more discerning when it comes to choosing what advice to heed:
- If I don’t like this advice, is it because it’s challenging me appropriately, and I’m resisting that?
- If I like this advice, is it because it’s confirming my biases, and is laying the responsibility for change at someone else’s feet or justifying me staying the same?
- Is this advice backed up by genuine research?
- Does the person saying this actually have credentials or experience to know what they’re talking about?
- Does this advice fit with a holistic view of sex, which includes mutual pleasure, passion, and a mutual “knowing” of each other?
Some other posts you may like on this subject:
- Why We Need a New Definition of Sex
- Godly Sex is Mutual Sex
- Does the way we talk about women’s libidos make women have no libido?
Reader Question: How Does a Woman’s Hormonal Cycle Affect Sex?
I asked on my Facebook Page this week for ideas to tackle on this podcast, and this was a great question:
One thing that I see men needing understanding on is dealing with hormonal changes in there wives. One week anything gets her in the mood. The next you pull out all the stops and nothing. Guys need to understand women’s cycles and that it’s not that they are not doing thing right it’s just that she is not hormonally into it.
Rebecca and I explained the nitty-gritty of how a woman’s hormones affect libido, sexual response, and mood over the course of the month, similar to what’s explained in this post on hormones. Seriously, if you don’t know this stuff, listen! And I think women will really appreciate this, too.
We also talked about how our Sexy Dares could be used:
Does your marriage need some spicing up–and some fun?
And then we threw in some stuff about menopause and the birth control pill, too! Plus how hormones are natural, not something to be defeated, but are also not an excuse for terrible behaviour. But having periods of melancholy and introspection may be something that God actually intended for us. (and we’ll be talking about that tomorrow on the blog!).
Hope that helps husbands understand their wives (and women understand themselves, too).
What do you think? Do you ever read advice that sounds, well, odd? Did you know about how hormonal fluctuations affect libido? Let’s talk in the comments!