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"He Wants to Try New Things"

Also: "Too Dry for Sex"

Q. My husband wants me to do things when we're making love that I don't want to do. When I tell him it makes me uncomfortable, he tells me I'm being a prude. What should I do?

A. It's difficult to answer your question, since we're unsure what practice you and your husband are disagreeing about. Your husband could be asking for things that are obviously unbiblical, such as bringing another person into the bedroom, either through pornography or an actual person. Or he may be asking for a change in position or location.

If the situation isn't unbiblical but simply something you're uncomfortable with, ask yourself why you don't want to try what your husband is suggesting. Some sexual behaviors may always be crude, gross, or offensive to you, and he'll need to accept that graciously. But you might be able to explore and experiment playfully with other behaviors.

The apostle Paul wrote, "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" (1 Corinthians 7:3-4, The Message).

As you apply this Scripture, the tension becomes: how do you serve your husband (and he, you) in bed? How do you listen to your spouse's desires and how do you listen to yourself—your emotions, values, and understanding of God's intention for your sexuality?

God's intention in giving you and your husband

the gift of sharing your sexuality with each other is to bring oneness, joy, love, nurture, and fun to your relationship.

Talk about this impasse when you're not going to make love, are making love, or have just made love. Share your feelings about doing with him the things he's suggested. Is that how he wants you to feel during sex? Be specific about what makes you uncomfortable.

Make sure you also explore why he wants to try these behaviors. He may have unhealthy motivations (seeking a bigger buzz or playing out something he saw in pornography) that should not be a part of your sex life. But he may have healthy motivations (playfulness, exploration, creativity) that can be met through behaviors you're more comfortable with.

Too dry for sex

Q.I'm always so dry during sex—even when I feel aroused. Why is that and is there anything I can do about it?

A. Vaginal dryness is a common problem. It occurs in women of all ages, although it's most common during perimenopause and after menopause.

There are many reasons for a lack of lubrication during sex, including smoking, diabetes, some autoimmune diseases, breast-feeding, and side effects from allergy meds, cold medications, and antidepressants. But the main cause is reduced estrogen levels. When estrogen levels decrease, the vaginal lining becomes thinner, less elastic, and more fragile.

The first step is to talk with your physician. Is she aware of anything in your medical history that might contribute to your vaginal dryness? She can help you sort through these causes and find a treatment.

Next, try using an artificial lubricant, which may take some experimentation. Start with your doctor's recommendation, as there are some newer artificial lubricants that work much better than what you'd find over the counter. Some lubricants contain ingredients that are toxic to sperm (important to know if you're trying to get pregnant); some contain ingredients that may be irritating to your vaginal tissues. Vitamin E may be a good alternative, but some women develop an allergy to topical vitamin E.

One lubricant that's been used since ancient Rome is olive oil. It's pure and has no added ingredients or preservatives—but may stain clothing and sheets.

Finally, make sure you're allowing your body the time and necessary

stimulation to be fully aroused. Arousal can take ten times longer in a woman than in a man. And for women it involves both a physical component (blood flow, tissue swelling, muscle tension, lubrication) and a mental/emotional component (the sense that you're aroused). Just "feeling aroused" may not mean your body is.

When a couple is trying to "fit sex in" to their busy lives and aren't making the time to enjoy the ride, it may be impossible for the body and mind to "mesh" so that sex is comfortable and enjoyable. Making more time to share your bodies is the best approach to take.

Michael Sytsma, Ph.D., is a minister and founder of Building Intimate Marriages (www.intimatemarriage.org). Debra Taylor, MFT, is co-author of Secrets of Eve (Thomas Nelson). Both are certified Christian sex therapists and co-founders of Sexual Wholeness, Inc. (www.sexualwholeness.com).

Read more articles that highlight writing by Christian women at ChristianityToday.com/Women

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