Sex Reader Questions: Lightning Round Edition

by | Jun 25, 2019 | Sex | 4 comments

Sheila answers questions about sex from readers--porn, how to initiate, wet dreams, and more!

Here at Bare Marriage we get a LOT of reader questions–especially about sex!

We can’t answer anything personally, but Tammy (who goes through them all) does set aside ones that are particularly interesting, crop up a lot, or I haven’t answered before.

And we’ve got a huge backlog.

So this summer I thought I’d do some “lightning round” reader question posts, where I post a bunch of reader questions, with some quick thoughts and then links for more information. I figure that if someone writes in with a problem, likely a lot of you have that same problem! So here we go:

1. My husband is a selfish lover

A woman writes:

Reader Question

Sheila recommended the good girls guide to great sex, I got it yesterday and read it all in one day. I just have one question. What do I do when my husband is a selfish lover? I try to voice to my husband that women need foreplay but he will not cooperate. Same with kissing. I don’t think we’ve kissed in over 4 years. I even try initiating kissing and get turned down. We also don’t sleep in the same bed. Which was his decision says he can’t move around or be comfortable. I give him sex when he wants it, with no kissing or foreplay for me, and after he goes to sleep in another room instead of cuddling. So I feel resentment and that sex is dirty because I’m bring treated more like something disposable than a wife. So I’m not sure what to do…..

My quick answer: The reason you feel that you’re being treated as something that’s disposable instead of like a wife is because he IS treating you like something that’s disposable, instead of like a wife. He’s doing nothing to make sex about you, and that’s not what sex is supposed to be. Unlike what many books tragically say (like Love & Respect), sex is not only about a husband’s physical release. As I talked about in The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, God designed sex to be so much more. It’s for BOTH of you, and it’s supposed to help you feel spiritually and emotionally intimate, too. If it’s not–if it’s become only about him–that’s wrong. It’s going to ruin sex for you, it’s going to enable him to be selfish, and it’s going to drive you apart.

I wrote a series in March about how the “Do Not Deprive” verses are better applied to women, because studies show that it’s women who are more sexually deprived. I’d encourage you to read the whole series, especially the one on changing the definition of sex!

And then I’d say that you may also need to look at trying to build some emotional connection in your marriage to help you talk about this stuff. I’ve got a free 5-email course to help you do that right here:

2. My husband isn’t aroused by me

Another woman writes in:

Reader Question

My husband and I have been married almost 4 years and sex has only been good for me the last two times (this past week). I wasn’t a Christian before my husband and so I didn’t wait for marriage. My previous serious relationship, we enjoyed an amazing sex life so I know how great it can be. He found me sexy and made me feel that way – even in sweats eating chocolate icing. So I imagined I’d go into my marriage and would experience something similar. However, it was the total opposite. He only cared about his climax. He didn’t want me to take off my clothes. He didn’t want to see me naked and constantly commented how I could take better care of my body. We’ve been working through a lot of his past baggage and we’ve been reclaiming a lot of ground and then this week was great. We had sex twice (which has never happened before where I actually wanted it!). I decided to leave him little notes today and get dressed up and wait for him in the bedroom. When he came in, he looked upset. He kissed me for awhile, but I could tell he wasn’t really into it. That’s when I realized he wasn’t aroused by me. I’m trying so hard to not let him affect my self esteem but I’m really struggling. I’ve never been made to feel so unattractive since I got braces in 5th grade. What am I doing wrong? I thought it would be great, but instead he started crying and ran out of the room when I asked him about it.

This is so sad. My heart breaks for both of them. I need more info to be able to properly answer this question–I’d love to know what baggage they’ve been working through on his end–but I do see some real red flags here. It seems as if he can only sexually respond when he can distance himself from her, which to me usually signals either a porn addiction or a problem with sexual identity. The fact that he left the room crying makes me think it’s less likely to be a porn addiction, because this is obviously something that bothers him a great deal and that he feels great shame about, and usually when porn users lose attraction, they direct their anger outward, not inward. However, the fact that he’s been telling her she needs to take better care of her body makes me wonder as well.

In short, I can’t tell what the issue is here, but I would say that there is a real problem. This isn’t normal. And you need to get to the bottom of it, because he’s not healthy. So I would insist that you see a licensed counselor to talk these things through. And women–more encouragement that when you sense that something is off, you trust your instincts!

Posts that may help: 

3. How do I get my husband to transition from dinner to sex without being awkward?

Here’s a more upbeat question:

Reader Question

My husband seems to have no idea on how to move from talking sweet over dinner to moving to sex. It happens all the time, and I’m quite frankly getting very frustrated. We’ve talked about it, I’ve brought it up, suggested things, etc. Help!! Advice for men on how to segue or shift without it being awkward.

For sure! I’ve got a couple of posts that can help, because that can be an awkward transition to make, and many men just tend to go “straight for the kill”, so to speak, instead of taking time to woo you.

For big picture things, I’d start with an after-dinner ritual of sharing about your day, with your “highs” and “lows”. Over cup of tea or coffee, share what the best part of your day or the worst. That way you know that you’ve emotionally connected.

Then here are two posts specifically to help men transition to sex:

Those posts would also likely help this woman, who has a similar problem:

What to do when your husband never initiates sex? He is more than willing if I do but a girl does like to be pursued once in a while. I thought if I stopped that he would pick up where I left off but it didn’t happen. I truly believe he doesn’t know how to initiate. I know for a fact that he is not the only Male out there like this.

Nope! He’s not the only guy out there like this. I think a lot of guys feel awkward, and they don’t know how to make that transition, so hopefully these posts can help, or can at least start the discussion!

And for both of you–check out the Sexy Dares, too! They can help guys feel more comfortable, especially because there are 8 where they have to be the ones to take the lead (in a very non-creepy way, of course!).

Does your marriage need some spicing up–and some fun?

Try these 24 dares–plus one bonus–to take your marriage to the next level!

4. My husband has wet dreams at night. Is that normal?

A newlywed asks:

Reader Question

We have been married 4 years in June. We both grew up in homes where sex was not really discussed. I had no idea what to expect on our wedding night. I have read your book The Good Girls Guide to great sex and it helped me tremendously. But I have one question. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and he has ejaculated or is turned on. I don’t know if this is normal for guys to get wet in the middle of the night. I worry a lot about him getting back into porn and my fears are just really really strong when that’s what I wake up to. My heart wants to trust but it seems like it happens frequently and I don’t know what to do… do we need to have sex more often or is this normal?

Wet dreams, or nocturnal emissions, are actually pretty normal during early adulthood for many men. This is because men tend to have higher testosterone levels in their early twenties as they are exiting puberty. They do tend to happen less frequently as they get older, so depending on how old this couple is it may be something to ask about at the next doctor’s appointment.

Wet dreams do not necessarily mean that a man is watching pornography. It can simply be because his hormone levels are high. In fact, nocturnal emissions tend to happen more when a man is not sexually active or engaging in masturbation. So if a man is having nocturnal emissions, that is not necessarily a sign that he has been watching pornography since pornography use is commonly paired with masturbation, which makes nocturnal emission less likely.  However, if these are happening quite frequently, it may be a good thing to bring up with your doctor just to make sure that everything is normal, especially depending on your husband’s age.

When it comes to erections, men just wake up with them. It is not a sign that they are lusting or watching porn at all–if anything, it just signals that he has to pee. Yup. That’s actually the best theory that science has for why “morning wood” happens: he’s got a full bladder and that helps keep him from wetting the bed. In fact, women wake up with higher levels of physical arousal in the morning, too–it’s just not quite as obvious.

In general, if there is a health issue you are worried about, never be too embarrassed or scared to ask your doctor. But if you’re truly worried that your husband may be using porn, that’s an important conversation to have. Either (a) you have a reason to be anxious and you need to work together to get him help, or else (b) he’s not doing anything wrong and you need to work on being able to let go and trust him. But being worried and reading into every little thing that happens is not a good recipe for intimacy. So if you’re scared, talk to him. And figure out what the core problem is: him breaking a promise, or you having to work to rebuild your ability to trust.

And, hey, if you wake up in the middle of the night and he’s aroused–you can always take advantage of it! 🙂

So there you have it! A reader question lightning round! What is some of the BEST advice or information you have gotten when it comes to sex? Share it in the comments and maybe it can help someone else, too! 

Written by

Sheila Wray Gregoire


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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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  1. Arwen

    The first time i learned what morning wood was when an older church couple invited me to their house and we were watching The Proposal with Sandra Bullock. I asked the couple what on earth is morning wood? I though it had to do with woods in the morning like morning dew, etc. The wife explained but the husband sat there frozen, didn’t utter a word, his face turning beet red! Hahahahah…..I’m always learning things at the most awkward places. I was 25. Yes it took me that long to learn. Even though i was addicted to porn i still didn’t know 99% of sex terminologies.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      YES!!!! We always laugh at that Proposal scene and Rebecca and I were even talking about it yesterday when we were writing this!

      “Ummmm…. It’s MORNING!” I love the look on Ryan Reynolds’ face when he says that.

  2. Eliza

    To the second situation–my husband had a deep sense of shame attached to sex thanks to extreme purity culture and anti-male teachings by his mother, as well as some of his own failures. We managed a fairly normal sex life for most of 15 years because he also was constantly dissociated; however, once he resolved the chronic dissociation and had to be present, he would have panic attacks associated with sex. We did work through this and he is amazed at what is on the other side, but it definitely was some tough stuff to work through. Just putting that out as another possibility. Whatever is going on, it is definitely a case for professional counseling.

  3. Ann

    Is it normal for a thirty year old man to need physical stimulation to get an erection not even two years into marriage?? As in the sight of his wife is no longer new and thus a “Wow” exciting (per him), though he says he loves it, treasures it, and finds it very beautiful; and thus her body is no longer a sufficient stimulus in itself? I have been searching and searching the internet, and he is searching; but what we find is on ED, which doesn’t seem to be the problem (except maybe sometimes the anxiety form, starting after the physical problem began). He said maybe living me deeper leads to different arousal triggers, but would that really make his body require MORE than sight now?


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