The Scarlet Virgins Podcast #28 – Why You Shouldn’t Fake it

If you’ve been raised in purity culture, sex can be incredibly frustrating and you may be tempted to fake an orgasm to make your spouse happy…but don’t!

In this episode of The Scarlet Virgins Podcast, Rebecca discusses why it isn’t a good idea to “fake it” in your sexual relationship with your spouse.

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10 Tips For Dealing With A Sexually Frigid Spouse

When you’ve been raised in an environment in which sex is shameful, it isn’t unusual to be sexually frigid or marry someone who is. I must disclose that I am not a huge fan of the term frigid because it can be used as a diss and in a disrespectful manner.

That said, the way I am using is it to describe someone who is having a difficult time embracing their sexuality and being vulnerable and affectionate with their spouse. It is nothing to be ashamed of. I think it is quite common coming out of purity culture and even in general culture where women who enjoy sex are viewed in a derogatory fashion.

While I am operating with the terminology that the woman is the frigid spouse throughout this article, please understand that the man can be as well. I am choosing to convey it this way for the sake of brevity and what I see most commonly.

It can be frustrating to have a spouse that is seemingly not as interested in sex as you are, and that can lead to marital issues and arguments, among other things. Here are my tips for dealing with a frigid spouse!

#1 – Listen to each other

There are very few times in my life that I have been able to intuitively know what my husband is thinking or feeling about something.

We were close early on, in fact we were practically twins in our interests and similar ways of communicating. But as we grew up, things changed. It became harder for me to understand right off the bat what he was trying to say and the reverse was true as well. We’ve both had to learn to listen intentionally to understand the other’s thoughts and feelings on every topic, sex included.

#2 – Be empathic

Don’t just listen to respond, listen to be empathic. Try to put yourself in your spouse’s shoes. It wasn’t until I was being interviewed over at Deeper Waters that some pieces of how men view sex clicked for me.

I didn’t understand that sometimes if women reject men’s sexual advances, they can feel unloved because that is often how they communicate their love. I also didn’t understand that sometimes men don’t realize women can feel used when it comes to sex.

Practice empathizing with what your spouse conveys to you so that it isn’t abstract or unreasonable in your mind.

#3 – Be patient

When you are newly married and your spouse is pushing you away or acting uncomfortable with sex, try to be patient.

Sex is a huge adjustment for those of us raised to believe it was dirty or wrong. We were told to stay pure until marriage, so when you wait to have sex within marriage laboring under those pretenses, there can be not only a physical and emotional adjustment, but also an identity one.

Some wives and husbands feel like they have lost their purity after trying to have sex on the wedding night. They might not even have the words to convey this beyond that they feel deep shame. Finding your worth in your purity or virginity rather than in Jesus and His sacrifice for us is a dangerous thing, but it isn’t something that is impossible to get over.

Try to be understanding and compassionate, even if your spouse can’t tell you exactly what is wrong.

 #4 – Mentally prepare

If you’ve waited to have sex until after you got married, it is understandable​ that one or both spouses might be ready to speed to the main event. Here is the thing: your body and emotions might not be, even if your mind is. There can be vaginal pain, dryness, bleeding, and other problems if you aren’t mentally in the right place and try to rush things.

Take some time to mentally prepare throughout the day or hours leading up to sex. Listen to music that gets you in the mood or thinking about your spouse, write them a love letter. This should make things a lot smoother when you get to spend that time together.

#5 – Set the mood

It can be difficult to focus when you already have the jitters as a newly married couple, but especially if your environment doesn’t exude relaxation.

Try to declutter your space and set up a love nest with candles or roses or warm blankets to help frame the mind for the activity at hand.

#6 – Don’t forget foreplay

Foreplay can be overlooked after you get married. Sex is on the table, so why “waste” time on it when you could just cut to the chase? But foreplay is good for both men and women to relax and enjoy sex more.

I think it also helps to reframe sex as more than trying to achieve an orgasm. It is a bonding experience that is meant to grow spouses closer to each other.

 #7 – Go slow

I know that the general expectation is to have wild crazy sex on the honeymoon night. However, having that expectation can sometimes make or break your honeymoon. There is absolutely nothing wrong with recognizing the fact that it is difficult to go from 0 to 60 in the words “I do.”

Don’t feel bad about going slow and taking some time to chill and focus on a movie or read together or take an adventure instead of making sex the biggest part of your honeymoon.

#8 – Replace the narrative

If you or your spouse grew up hearing that sex was bad or dirty, those words could have very easily engrained themselves in your minds. You might be surprised how much dysfunction they can cause.

Those thoughts and feelings can be replaced by healthy ones though. One of my favorite things to recommend is reading Song of Solomon, because not only is it a beautiful and positive take on sex, but it is in the bible!

#9 – Pray

I recommend prayer a lot when it comes to sexual dysfunction because I truly believe it helps. Prayer is an intimate thing and I think it can bring individuals and couples closer to each other and to God. Talking about a situation can often take the pressure off of it, and who better to talk to about broken sexuality with than the One who created it to be whole?

#10 – Get professional help

Counseling, seeing a doctor, or going to sex therapy are great options for couples struggling with these kinds of problems. I firmly believe that prayer heals, but God has also given us trained individuals who are studied in medicine and psychology to help us heal and take care of our health in this life.

Dealing with sexual issues can pit couples against one another and damage marriages, which is why I feel it is important to talk about these kinds of things. I hope that these tips are helpful for you and your spouse.

I don’t feel safe

"I don't feel safe."

Those were the words that I told my husband last night on the living room floor, in tears.

The past few weeks, months really, have been difficult.

I continue to receive sexually charged messages, videos, and photos from men who are strangers to me. On YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. And usually, we have a mutual friend. They are part of a community, have a good job, have a family, and children. I block one, and two more pop up, like a hydra.

It is maddening to deal with, quite frequently these days, but it isn’t solely what caused my breakdown last night.

When I was younger, I grew up in a community in which men held the power, but it was okay, because they were supposed to protect us. And I believed that.

Until a friend was raped and held by the point of a sharp kitchen utensil by her brother, and the community blamed her. In the blink of an eye, she went from being an object (yes, object) to be cherished and most importantly protected, to a whoring woman who tempted her helpless, pitiable older brother. She wasn’t the last.

As the years rolled by, more assaults happened in the spiritually abusive community, but also in the small town we lived in. The local school had a certain man within it who thought it was his god given right to take whatever young girl he saw and have her. It wasn’t until one got deathly sick and was sent to the hospital multiple times from reproductive and urinary tract infections that the truth came out. He got a slap on the wrist. Because you know how teenage girls are, jailbait.

But, I thought it was just the little abusive corner of the community that I had been raised in that this kind of thing happened, and maybe small towns too. And more recently, creeps online.

And for years now, I have operated under being okay. My husband is safe, he is honorable, he would never allow anyone to hurt me and if someone managed to, well, pity the fool. Over time, I forgot my fear of men that developed during that time, and the hatred of myself for being a stumbling block to them, no matter what I wore.

Then the sexual abuse scandals started rolling out. At first, I didn’t pay much attention, probably for self-preservation and the fact that I wasn’t familiar with many of the accused.

But Matt Lauer? He was on the TV every morning when I woke up as a child. He wasn’t a political abstraction to me. And from what I’ve read, many people knew what he was doing, and chose to do nothing. The exact same thing that had happened in the tiny community I grew up in, and the school down the road.

Allegation, after allegation, after allegation. There is no discrimination, it is pervasive across secular and religious culture.

Just last night, I was reading a book and it had recent statistics on the number of pastors who watch pornography. I’m not speaking towards any moral argument here, just my own deep-seated, vulnerable thoughts. It was terrifying to me. The very men in charge of our spiritual wellbeing are using our kind, women, as objects for sexual gratification, then getting back up in the pulpit as if there is nothing at all wrong.

I mention this because I don’t think the problem begins with a few random assholes sexually assaulting women. The men who sexually assault women are obviously sick, but they walk among us. There is no sign tattooed on their forehead to warn of the monstrous crimes they commit. Their assaults often come out of benign situations. These men are often thought of as trustworthy.

They are, for lack of a better way to phrase it, human. And I think that the stepping stone, at least one, that got them to the point of sexual assault, is seeing women as a means to an end. Not human, not sister, not someone’s daughter or wife… a commodity.

Nothing more than a living, breathing sex doll. One that might even go “make me a sammich” after it is all said and done, because you know, that’s all women are really good or valued for, being used for sex and making food.

That’s only part of it. The community that stays silent, made up of men and women, are guilty as well. They terrify me too. They see, they know, and they stay silent. And the ones that don’t stay silent are punished BY THESE PEOPLE.

Even if they don’t punish, they downplay the impact that sexual harassment and assault have. Without mincing words here, I am disgusted by something I recently saw on Twitter.

It was a conservative woman claiming anyone worried about Trump’s words about grabbing women by their genitals was overly sensitive. I think if anything, the fact that the President can say such a thing and still get elected and adored without denouncing and repenting of what was said shows the sickening state of our current society.

The most difficult thing for me is that, contrary to what I believed upon escaping legalism, sexual assault is allowed in every part of society. It isn’t just cults and isolated communities. It is our churches, our schools, our small towns, our big cities, our workplaces, our streets, our media, our politics, and yes, our homes.

Apart from our trip to California, sort of an eye of the hurricane for me, I haven’t felt safe. I’ve been increasingly on edge as the stories come out and the hashtags fly across my social media accounts.

Going to the grocery store is difficult, walking to my car (especially with a toddler in tow) is anxiety-inducing, and going to church is the worst of all. Because I know, statistically speaking, there are men there that I should otherwise trust who view me not as a sister in Christ or child of God, but as my husband’s property or a body to be used and mentally recorded for a “spank bank.”

I’ve seen the depths of depravity of sexual assault and the people who cover it up, who would rather the victim kill themselves than talk about it. I’ve lived in terror of the question, “What if I am next? Will anyone believe me? Even if I am not, how can I trust men who talk about honor and respect of women and then turn around and use pixels of us when they are bored and lonely?”

I don’t want to be back in this place. I never wanted to come back here. All I wanted, then and now, is to be respected and loved, not used and abused. But I cannot assume that of anyone except my husband.

I don’t feel safe. And I’m scared.

I don't feel safe

Podcast: 10 Tips for Dealing With A Sexually Frigid Spouse

#27 – 10 Tips for Dealing With A Sexually Frigid Spouse

Purity culture often reinforces frigid behaviors that already are impressed upon women when it comes to sex. This leads many spouses to confusion and sexual frustration.

In this podcast episode of The Scarlet Virgins, Rebecca offers 10 Tips for Dealing with a Sexually Frigid Spouse.

I did not have the energy to write out a post to accompany this like I mentioned in the podcast but all the content is within the podcast. I am still looking for a Christian sex therapist to recommend, when I find one I will update this. 🙂

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Missed Flights and Bili Lights

My little family and I were supposed to board a plane to California awhile back, but we missed the flight. We did end up making it to California in December though, for a podcast recording or two and live show.

I don’t want to get into details but we were all pretty broken up about it. Part of the issue was that we had to double back to try to find my son’s birth certificate. Between missing the flight, the season change, and the stress of digging through medical papers from birth, that day was pretty dark for me.

I’m sure other mothers are way more organized than I am, but my son’s birth certificate is stored with his medical records from pregnancy (ultrasounds, measurements, etc) to now. They are rather disorganized, but they are all together and most certainly extensive.

I brought stacks of them to his first year’s worth of pediatrician’s appointments and was a walking encyclopedia of weights, heights, number of wet diapers, and bilirubin records. We were digging through the papers on the way back to the airport and I had to keep it together, but when we returned home and began digging through the stack on the floor, I broke down. Originally I had stayed next to my computer, working fervently on anything to keep me busy.

My son walked up to my husband and began pointing through things as he organized them. I tried to tune them out, but then my son picked up a small sign that the NICU nurses had placed on his bed during our stay. It was to inform the nurses that he would not be given any formula or donor milk because he was exclusively getting my milk, but it is written from the perspective of the baby. It says something like, “Mommy is making milk just for me” or something like that. My son asked my husband what it was and my husband explained that to him that he was very, very sick as a baby and we had to take him to the hospital.

The floodgates opened as he kept going. He told our son that I saved his life by fighting for him after the doctors brushed us aside only to frantically call hours later to say they’d make a mistake. He told our son that my milk kept him safe and healthy even though he was sick. I was crying and my son came up and gave me a kiss. He said “I love you mama” and put his head on mine.

Our pregnancy was hellish. We had more issues and acronyms going on then should have been humanly possible. We were both lucky to survive it. One day we were told we would deliver at 35 weeks because our son wouldn’t survive beyond that, the next we are delivering at 38 weeks as an emergency induction.

On the day we were discharged after giving birth, we finally thought we were in the clear. We had all managed to stay alive, if only barely. We were going home, we never had to come back. We’d escaped the possibility of a NICU stay and any serious complications during labor.

We had one day at home.

One day.

One day as parents of a healthy baby boy.

One day without watching our son die every time we closed our eyes (a part of NICU PTSD).

One day of not knowing the horrors of sterile white hallways and eerie blue bili lights.

One day of parenthood where we were blissfully unaware of what it is like to have to hold down your six-pound baby as the doctors and nurses cut gashes into his feet and milked blood out of them.

One day of not despairing as a few hours in the hospital turned to days with no release date in sight.

One day of being able to hold our child whenever we wanted.

One day of not being forced to pump instead of breastfeeding.

One day of not being told that it was my fault because I wasn’t producing enough milk (they ate those words – I pumped in front of a male doctor to prove I had an oversupply).

One day of not having to sleep in chairs that weren’t meant for sleeping.

One day of not knowing what it was like to be handed a Bible to read while watching another woman’s infant struggle to breathe and wanting to break the window to throw the book as far as possible.

One day of not being told that I should go home and could pick up my newborn when he was better.

One day of not having to watch as my child was placed in a clear glass box with air holes cut in the top like a captured bug.

One day of not knowing what it feels like to lose your mind as the world starts spinning out in an elevator as the nurse tells you that you’re going to the NICU.

One day of parenthood that wasn’t haunted by the image of a 26 week gestational age baby coding in the bed next to our son’s.

One day in the eye of the storm.

One. Day.

I remember the day they let us go, they handed us a paper detailing symptoms of NICU PTSD and I glared at them. I didn’t need to read them, I already knew. Occasionally, I still have a nightmare from it, though they have lessened now that he is older.

Our son is two and a half now and we still don’t talk about or look back on his first four months. Even after we were discharged, we had home health care for him. He had to be in a bed, literally strapped down, at home. At two months old, he used to scream for hours on end as we held his hand and cried while we got just a few minutes of therapy for him. There were frantic trips to the pediatrician for issues surrounding what he had gone through.

I didn’t sleep. I ate only to keep up my milk supply. I dealt with issues from pregnancy (still do).

I don’t know if it’ll ever be easier to look back on. I somehow doubt it, highly.

What happened was not okay. It’ll never be okay. I’ll never be able to walk into a hospital and not have anxiety running through my veins. I’ll never forget that there are places in this world where infants ride the line between life and death.

But today, my toddler wants cuddles and kisses.

Today, every time an ambulance passes, we stop and he tells me, “Mama, they will be okay” and we pray.

Today, he is happy and healthy.

Today, everything is going to be okay. 

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