I prefer to make love in the dark. But my husband always wants it in broad daylight with his eyes wide open. I'm just not that comfortable with my body. What should I do?
A.Many women are "body modest" while men are "soul modest." Your discomfort about getting naked in broad daylight is normal. Chances are you were taught at an early age to guard your body from exposure. Unfortunately that wise teaching doesn't usually carry the one exception: sharing your secrets with your husband. Add that to the inevitable comparison of your body with the sex goddesses of Hollywood and it can cause a real reluctance to be seen in the nude.
It's important to understand that it's okay to allow your husband to see you naked. So how do you gain that liberation?
There are two steps. The first is to accept your body's fantastic beauty. You are woman, a captivating package of sexual mystery, the crowning glory of God's creation, and the private personal prize of your mate. Find time to be alone, take a warm, perfumed bubble bath, then step in front of a full length mirror and take a look. You're beautifully made, each part purposefully designed for your pleasure and his.
The second step is to realize the immensity of visual stimulation for your man. Yes, he'll be aroused by your touch and sound and fragrance, but not nearly as intensely as by seeing your body. That's the way God designed him. Don't believe it? Read the biblical book Song of Songs. The visual imagery is enticing.
Think of what a compliment your husband is paying you! He wants to see you naked. He's chosen you and wants to enjoy feasting on your beautiful body. That's nothing to be ashamed of!
After several years of marriage and children, my vagina isn't as tight as it used to be. While I understand it won't be the same as our first encounter, is there something I could do to improve the situation?
A.Try Kegel exercises. These are designed specifically to strengthen a woman's pelvic musculature. Basically, this involves contracting the pelvic sling of muscles as you would to stop urination.
Tighten your pelvic muscles and hold for several seconds. Obviously, the more you exercise the tighter those muscles will become. Practice this throughout the day, and try to repeat it 300 times. The great thing about Kegels is that you can do them anywhere and in any position. Some women set aside specific times and do 50 repetitions each time. Just like any other exercise, it takes several weeks to see results, so don't give up after two days!
As strength and control of the muscles increase, you can "squeeze" your husband's penis, which gives the sense of vaginal embrace. We're sure both you and your husband will appreciate and enjoy those embraces.
Q.I read somewhere that women can have multiple orgasms. Is that true? And is there a way I can learn to have them?
A.It's true that women can have multiple orgasms. The normal female sexual response includes arousal, plateau, orgasmic release, and resolution. These are the same phases for men, but men tend to lose their erection once they have a release, thus it's more rare for them to experience multiple orgasms. In women, continuing clitoral stimulation immediately after her climax can produce a second and subsequent orgasms. Some women enjoy this experience and others find the clitoris hypersensitive after an orgasm and too intense to be pleasurable.
Experiment with your husband to find your degree of sensitivity. You may need to allow some time after your first orgasm for further stimulation to bring you to climax again.
A word of caution: Having multiple orgasms is not a measure of your sexual worth as a woman. Nor is it a measure of your husband's prowess as a man or his love for you. Many couples are so spent and satisfied after an orgasm that it's difficult to summon the energy to continue lovemaking. If it does happen and is pleasurable, that's great, but it needn't become a goal of your sexual relationship.
The wild side!
Q.Whenever I try to have sex with my wife in a place other than our bedroom, she says no. She's afraid the kids will wake up and see us. But I think it would be great to try a different location, say the shower, the kitchen, or even on top of the dining room table. How can I bring out her wild side?
A.Many men are a bundle of boundless sexual energy and adventure. In our counseling we frequently hear men express fantasies of sex in the sand dunes, out in the forest, underwater, in front of a glowing fire on the den floor, in the back seat of the car, sky diving, or running the rapids in a canoe. Meanwhile, most wives prefer safer, more securely private places for sex. It just seems to be the way we're wired. Call it the risk factor. It doesn't mean a husband is a "pervert" if he wants to do "risky" sex with his wife in a hot tub or on the kitchen counter. It just may be a little more uncomfortable!
If you want to bring out your wife's wild side, consider creating an atmosphere that could reduce her inhibitions and kindle her desire for passionate abandon. When the kids are gone to Grandma's, the romantic mood just right, and privacy is assured, more of those "risks" can happen. Then, look out. You may be surprised at her voracious appetite for sexual delights. Just don't let her drag you onto the front lawn. You could be arrested!
Melissa and Louis McBurney, M.D., marriage therapists and co—founders of Marble Retreat in Marble, Colorado, are authors of Real Questions, Real Answers About Sex (Zondervan).
Copyright © 2006 by the author or Christianity Today/Marriage Partnership magazine. Click here for reprint information on Marriage Partnership.