PODCAST EXTRAS: Sometimes a Vagina is Just a Vagina

by | Jul 9, 2020 | Podcasts | 21 comments

Awkward Sex Questions Podcast--Vagina, Fantasies, and More

Have more sex questions you can’t ask your pastor?

It’s podcast day–and in the month of July I’m tackling all kinds of awkward sex questions!

(And don’t forget my webinar TONIGHT at 9 pm EST! Your ticket to the webinar covers not just me answering a ton of questions, but also a FREE copy of 31 Days to Great Sex and my 24 Sexy Dares! Check it out).

Today I tackled a number on fantasies, dissociation, and even whether sex toys could have medical application. And, of course, we’ve got our podcast on YouTube now, too, so you can watch and not just listen!

And here it is if you’d rather watch!

Okay, so let’s look at some of the questions that were asked:

What if you “check out” during sex and fantasize instead?

We had two questions along these lines–one where a husband was doing it and one where a wife was, and wanted to stop.

We have been married over several decades. He started using porn as a teenager and through our first decade of marriage (when I found out). We went through a recovery program and I believe he hasn’t used porn since. He is a wonderful husband and father and I know he loves me. The issue is this – when we are intimate, sometimes I can tell when he’s “checked out” and is imagining something different. The last time this happened, I said “Are you somewhere else?” His response was “Yes, I was outside in the back yard with you”. So basically I pulled him back to reality with me in our bedroom. And then he couldn’t orgasm. It makes me feel like I’m not enough. Even if he’s not fantasizing about someone else, he’s still not with me in the moment. I’m lying there naked, with him, having sex, and I still feel like he’s not there. Am I wrong to feel upset by this?

My struggle with sex in my marriage is that 90% of the pleasure from it is cognitive in nature: fantasy, recalling things from romance novels, or porn. As a woman that is incredibly isolating. My husband is very generous in bed and is frustrated that I’m often not in the mood. We are both Christians, and I am often not in the mood because I am trying to keep my mind pure.

I just am not aroused by thinking of my husband in various scenarios but am far more drawn to fantasy and fiction. He in turn wants to encourage me to read romance novels, imagine anything I want fantasy wise, and even view porn together. I feel caught between my flesh and my spirit. Like my options are puritanical, boring, unfulfilled sex with a pure mind, or hot and dirty sex where my mind is engaged, but I feel awful when I go to church.

I love my husband dearly, but it is a huge struggle because I just don’t feel turned on unless there is something “naughty or wrong” about it and thinking of my husband that way is not only not wrong, it’s expected.

Is it wrong to engage in some of these “extra-curricular activities”, if it makes the sex better between the husband and wife, or is it just always wrong? If it’s always wrong, then what do you do when only thinking of your husband doesn’t cut it for your and you have an overactive mind?

Okay, Rebecca and I went back and forth on this a lot in the podcast, but very quickly, here we go: sex is supposed to be intimate by joining the two of you. If you’re fantasizing about someone else to get aroused (or remembering porn, novels, etc) then you’re using something else to get aroused, focusing on that, and using your spouse more like a sex toy. It’s not an experience WITH your spouse if your brain is somewhere else.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t fantasize about your spouse while you’re having sex, or that sexy thoughts or wrong. And everyone has fantasies to a certain extent, and these can actually reveal quite a bit about our sexuality (maybe more on that a different day). It’s just that we shouldn’t be needing to get different scenarios in our heads involving different people to get aroused.

Here are some other posts that can help:

31 Days to Great Sex also has a day when we specifically talk about how to stay mentally present when you make love, and how to talk to your spouse about it if you’re fighting having to fantasize to get aroused, so that you can learn how to listen to your body instead. If this is a conversation you need to have, 31 Days to Great Sex can help you have it so it’s not as awkward!


My Husband Prefers Oral Sex to Intercourse

A woman writes:

Wondering what your advice would be for my situation- I’ve been married to my husband for well over a decade. I was fairly young when we got married and it took me a few years before my first orgasm. My husband struggles with premature ejaculation but we seem to have found ways to work around it (delay sprays/ condoms) which has definitely helped . However, my husband , given the choice, would always pick oral sex over intercourse. He “compromises” with sex and says if we are being sexual together then that is sex. He feels because he takes time with foreplay for me that he should get the same amount of time on foreplay for him. I didn’t realize guys need foreplay as they always seem ready lol. I don’t mind doing it occasionally if it makes him happy but I just feel that it’s not the same as intercourse (or what God intended) I just don’t feel the same connection. Are we both being selfish? Really not sure how to move forward from this.

I actually get this one a lot–where a husband especially would rather forego intercourse and just get oral sex. In this case, it’s likely a multi-faceted issue because intercourse is stressful since he suffers from premature ejaculation.

I’d just say that sex is supposed to be mutual. Having sex where one person gets served and the other doesn’t isn’t right. So spend a ton of time on foreplay. Make sure that she is reaching orgasm in some way. Don’t forsake intercourse but keep trying the techniques. And every now and then, by all means, make sex about him. But this shouldn’t be a regular occurrence.

Other posts that can help:

Can a Vibrator Be Medical?

A woman is prescribed a vibrator, and wonders if this is even okay:

I have been going by pelvic floor physical therapy after giving birth to my second child. I have had trouble having an orgasm and I have sensation issues. When we are having intercourse I can’t feel my husband very well and my orgasms are overall weaker and harder to attain. My PT recommended a vibrator to increase blood flow to the pelvis and to increase sensation. She said it’s no different than a vibrating back massager or vibrator used for other body muscles- it improves sensation and blood flow. My stand on vibrators has always been no because I don’t want to depend on them to have an orgasm. And I want my pleasure to come from my husband not a machine. He would be All for getting one if I need to. I just don’t know in this situation. I want to have great orgasms and a pleasurable sex life. Would it be wrong to get a vibrator for this situation?

My quick answer: if your pelvic floor physiotherapist or doctor thinks something will help, it’s okay to listen. What they’re talking about here is increasing blood flow and sensation, and vibrators can certainly help with that.

I do think that, in general, when you’re having problems reaching orgasm, using a vibrator isn’t always the best answer (though I know it has helped some, and I’m not saying there’s a 100% rule or anything!). But that’s not what we’re talking about here. We’re talking medical.

And here’s where Rebecca and I went on a quick rant about how the vagina isn’t always sexual; sometimes it’s just part of the body and needs to be treated as such! Katie even took that clip out of the podcast and made it its own video if you just want to watch this part. 🙂

You may also enjoy:

How a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist Can Help You

My Husband Likes it When I Moan–But I’m Shy!


My husband recently told me he really enjoys when I moan, or make noises and he would love it if I did it more often . I usually only moan during orgasm (which has to be done orally) I am a very shy gal, and feel so self conscious about how I sound, or what to say. I enjoy sex most of the time just have never really been a “loud” person??

Honestly, a lot of this comes down to our view of sex, and how to see it as a good thing, and see yourself as a sexual person, and not feel so awkward about it. There’s no magic formula for that, but I do recommend reading through The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex (It’s on sale this month!), and then working through 31 Days to Great Sex together. Talk about these things, see how God made sex–and maybe you’ll feel less awkward!

So that’s it for today. Whew. Lots of questions. And lots more coming in our webinar tonight!

What do you think? How do you stay mentally present during sex and stop fantasizing? Are you shy and find it hard to “moan”? Let’s talk in the comments!

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. edl

    Regarding the couple whose husband was imagining making love to his wife in the back yard – – It may be that he is desiring some variety in their love making, specifically a different location other than the marital bed. That seems a legitimate desire, and not out of bounds for a married couple. Such a desire might be easily fulfilled after insuring some visual safety / neighbor precautions. If the wife is shy, perhaps trying … outdoors, under a starry sky, cuddling on a blanket would ease her concerns. She may even find that she feels closer to her husband having experienced something like this together, new special memories to cherish if he will take his time and be sure that she is comfortable.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I would say that i agree….but that may be TMI and my daughters read this. 🙂

      • edl

        You are taking a brave path in your life, Sheila, by being transparent even when the subject discussed may be an uncomfortable one. That’s why so many of us gain invaluably from your blog, books and videos. Your honesty and straightforward (and yet tactful) approach gives the rest of us the courage to ask questions and move forward in our own lives so that our marriages can be all that God intended them to be. I sometimes think about Keith being a physician and how that vocation requires a straightforward approach to the human body. If he were shy about discussing the physical body, he would be of little use to his patients and their families. Your calling should be no different as you always approach these delicate subjects with language clear enough to be helpful but also with tactfulness. We appreciate you, Keith and your family’s work in helping us all have the best chance of creating strong marriages and families.

        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Oh, thank you so much! I’ll pass that on to him, too. I do think that’s one reason we starting doing the sex talks at marriage conferences in our mid 30s. He was used to just talking about things in a straightforward way, and I quickly got used to it, too!

    • Lindsey S

      100% agree with this – it’s difficult to keep monogamous from ending up as monotonous. Steps should be taken, where ever they can be mutually agreed on, to try to avoid this. Never underestimate the power and value of dopamine on a sex life!

  2. Anonymous

    The discussion about the vibrator was eye-opening to me. I found out in pelvic floor PT that I have greatly reduced sensation due to pelvic trauma caused by many childbirths. But this was the first time it clicked for me that the reduced sensation is due to the fact that scar tissue doesn’t have nerve endings. Wow. I know exactly which childbirths caused my pelvic trauma, and I know how massive the damage is. The fact that my body has never gotten more than maybe 25 to 30 percent of the way to orgasm without a vibrator is not my fault in any way, shape, or form. I will never again be made to feel guilty for using tools like this to help.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I’m so glad! Yes, scar tissue has little sensation. I’m sorry you didn’t see a pelvic floor physiotherapist after all the births. I’m trying to tell all women I know in real life now to seek one out after childbirth if they experienced any tears at all, or if they find they “leak” a bit. There is help available, but often we don’t know and don’t realize and then things get worse and worse.

      • Laurie B

        Hi! As for vibrators, I personally would say no unless everything else didn’t work. I suggest doing belly dance, which works the pelvic floor muscles. It helps with incontinence as well, and core strength.Better than kegels and way more fun! I don’t know if I am allowed to promote my belly dance teacher on here, so I’m not, but she is doing video classes online. Looks so easy, but wow, can I tell the difference!

        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          That’s really interesting, Laurie! I’ve heard of that helping the pelvic floor, too. I wonder if that’s why Zumba can work so well for some women, because it’s similar movements (though not as intense)?
          I’m with you–I’d rather see if other things can work. But if a medical person says the issue is you need more stimulation, then my only point is that we shouldn’t think of it as a sex toy in that case. I’m going to do some more research on belly dancing and the pelvic floor!

    • Frederick

      We have a typical sexual routine. My wife has higher libido and also a more expansive sexual appetite. I enjoy giving more than receiving but that doesn’t mean I don’t like receiving. What usually happens is lots of Foreplay followed by a long period of focus on her. She likes to and is capable of spending a lot of time in pleasure /ecstasy land! That’s great. I’m glad to be there with her. But the issue for me is she often checks out (and we agree this is OK as it is a desire of hers to fantasize) but then never checks back in. I’ve expressed to her it’s important for her to be present with me when the focus returns to me after all of her Orgasms. I like feeling and knowing she’s with me. But she says that she’s so spent and emotional after (in a positive way) that’s she is essentially “done” kind of like a stereotypical guy. So it turns into me having sex with her body but not +her+. I’ve made the decision recently when I notice this to just dovetail back into cuddling because it bothers me so much. We are pretty set in this routine though. It’s the kind of sex she wants and she has the higher desire. I can’t figure out how to break through on this even just a little bit of the time.

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        I understand what you’re saying here, Frederick, and I do think it’s okay to say, “sometimes, I’d like to focus on me first, because I’m missing out on some joy and intimacy in sex.” It’s not okay if it’s always one way. So just try to keep talking about it!

  3. Lindsey S

    Great podcast! I love the YouTube format. Can I also say – and I hope this isn’t weird – but you are both so beautiful! You have such kind smiles.
    The question regarding the man liking oral was a good one, I have sometimes felt that my husband *always* wanted, or *preferred* oral. But I think what you said about wanting a mutual amount of attention and affection is accurate.
    That being said, I relate to the husband in the last question. If she only “gets there” through oral, I can see why her husband requested that she be more vocal. Preforming oral on someone who lays there silently is boring and demoralizing. It isn’t enough that there be a physical reaction, I need to vocal reaction to help me feel engaged and to help me enjoy it. It makes oral more mutual.
    Just my two cents.

  4. Catherine

    Thank you so much for your honest and much needed work!
    I very much relate to the need to disassociate and use fantasy to get aroused.
    I‘ve literally just realised that in this way I think I still view sex as sinful, as a way in which I’m not honouring God. Sex was sinful before marriage and is now sinful in marriage since I need to use fantasy and not be in the moment. Hmm feels a bit like a vicious circle as it’s hard to be in the moment if feeling awkward about sex or monitoring and judging one’s thoughts!

  5. Jamie

    RE: My Husband Prefers Oral Sex to Intercourse:
    The comment was made about the husband: “When your entire idea about sex is, “well there’s this one thing where I just kinda get to lie back and take it” and it’s not a mutual experience. Even if he’s given stuff to her too? It’s always that we have to take turns and we don’t do things together. And he actively doesn’t enjoy doing things “together”? That’s what the red flag… He has to “compromise” to have sex with her? Like… That’s a problem.”
    I am disappointed that these comments were made entirely out of context. The letter specifically says, “…given the choice, would always pick oral sex over intercourse. He “compromises” with sex…”
    First off, I assume the writer included the quotes around “compromises”. That looks a lot like personal commentary. We don’t know what the husband is really feeling about this. I feel it’s not responsible to put these words into his mouth.
    Secondly, It is unfortunate that the assumption is that what this husband wants desperately from his wife to feel intimacy with her is being dismissed as selfish. Who are you to determine that? Why is her desire for intercourse “(or what God intended)” more valid than his desire for oral pleasure? Seriously? You’re promoting intercourse as the best form of intimacy? I think you need to re-think this.
    Last of all, you are suggesting that this “compromise” is a demand from the husband. Far from it! Where do you see that? Where is the suggestion he “actively” doesn’t enjoy doing things “together”? It’s not in there. Sex is a together thing by default. Unless there is some obvious selfish behavior here, then you’ve got no right to suggest that.
    I see no real definitive selfishness described here. It may be, but it is not clear to me. I see a man who desperately wants his wife to love him in the way that satisfies him. I feel your discussion of this email was balanced in the woman’s favor. You did present all of the arguments, but you elaborated GREATLY on how the husband is in need of changes in his attitude. You barely discussed the woman needing to figure out how to please her husband in the way he feels loved.
    And no, I am not suggesting that he get’s what he wants the most every time. The key word here is “compromise” which, if you find ways of serving each other the way Christ serves, then it’s really easy and actually that’s what serving one another looks like! Try it. Because compromise is not a dirty word!

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Ummmmm…..because oral sex is not something that gives her climax or pleasure? If someone prefers sex in a way that leaves their spouse without climax, that’s depriving their spouse of sexual intimacy. It’s really quite basic.
      Of course oral sex can be part of foreplay, or something that you give to one another. But if you would rather be “served” than serve or do something together? No, that’s not okay.

      • Jamie

        You replied with, “Ummmmm…..because oral sex is not something that gives her climax or pleasure?”
        I don’t see where that is. I don’t know where you are pulling that from? I have re-read this like 5 times. She does say she doesn’t have the same connection, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t get pleasure, does it? I just don’t see what you are saying in there. Why are you using this argument? Am I missing something?
        What about the argument that he doesn’t get the same connection with intercourse? I feel a lot has been left out of this from the husband’s point of view.
        Yes, you can probably guess this is rather personal situation. I can completely sympathize with this man. My solution is, I pray about it often.

        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Jamie, he prefers to have oral sex than to have sex. He prefers that she give him oral sex than intercourse. A woman does not climax through giving oral sex. Oral sex is not intimate to a woman the way that intercourse is. Oral sex is one person giving sexual favours to another–it is not both people experiencing sexual pleasure together.

          • Jamie

            Sorry, it was not clear to me who was pleasuring who in your comment. I see now that it was clear to you. I see and agree with what you are saying now.
            We are however still ignoring some of my other comments about his connection. I think that has been glossed over, and it’s not appropriate to assume he should feel the same connection she gets with intercourse. And wouldn’t you agree if he doesn’t feel that deep connection, that she should try to figure out how to give it to him?

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            I think that if the only way he feels a deep, intimate connection with her is when she’s NOT experiencing pleasure and when she’s servicing him, that’s a problem and should be discussed.
            Again, nothing wrong with oral sex as a gift. LOTS wrong with preferring a sex life to be your spouse performing oral sex on you rather than having a mutual encounter. Lots.

          • Jamie

            I see your point of view now. I missed this nuance for some reason. Thank you for your time explaining your reasoning.

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