5 Ways That Physical Fitness Increases Marital Fitness

5 Ways That Physical Fitness Increases Marital Fitness- blogspot

Earlier in the week XXXchurch posted a video on Facebook entitled “Can overweight people have great sex?” This was a video outtake from our new video series Best Sex Life Now.

When we posted it, I thought nothing of it. In fact,
I think it’s a legitimate question.

However, within minutes of posting the comments started pouring in. And let’s just say most of them weren’t good. In fact, many were super-angry accusing the speakers in the video (Craig Gross and his wife Jeanette) of being superficial and poking fun at “fat people.”

This completely blew me away.

And let me be clear, one of the great things about this organization is that we all don’t have to agree on everything.

We understand the importance of talking about difficult topics and we realize that, in doing so, we will stir up conflicting opinions. In fact, there have been things we’ve posted before that I personally wouldn’t have posted.

BUT this video ain’t one of them.

Why? Because there is a lot of legitimacy in asking this question!

However, let’s clear something up:
Weight is not the issue.
Fitness is the issue.

And yes, I believe that better fitness will improve your sex life. (Tweet This!)

And before you accuse me of “fat-shaming,” know this about me:

I’ve been super-skinny and in terrible shape.
I’ve been in single digit body fat % and been in great shape.
I’ve also been about 30lb over what I weigh now (which was considered obese) and in even worse shape.

And today I’m 43, I work out daily, am in very good shape, and I love it. I don’t even let up when I’m nursing an injury.


Because I realize now that, for me, a better fitness level equals a better lifestyle level.

So, I thought I would share with you five fitness benefits that will impact your marriage in a positive way. These aren’t for the purposes of shaming anyone who’s out of shape or overweight: these are just real benefits. Take ‘em or leave ‘em. Regardless, these are things I’ve seen in my own life; I can attest to their validity firsthand.

1. Better Sex – I thought I’d get this one out of the way first since many of you may already be pissed at me.

When I was 30 pounds overweight, I did not like the way I looked, but one thing I thought about a lot at that time was, “If I don’t like what I see, what does my wife think?

Now the truth is, my wife has always loved me for me and will continue to do so. She still swears that I was “sexy” to her back then, and I believe her now. But back then I saw what I saw, and that robbed me of my self-confidence. And self-confidence is very sexy (ask anyone); lack of self-confidence is not.

Better self-confidence equals better sex. (Tweet This!) Maybe your fitness level doesn’t matter to your spouse, but I assure you: if you get into better shape, you will feel better about yourself, and that will translate to a more confident bedroom performance.

2. Longevity – Straight up: poor fitness hurts your life span. Sure, people in great shape die all the time, but statistics don’t lie. The better shape you are in, the better chance you will live a longer life.

Why is this great for your marriage? Well, unless your marriage is terrible, hopefully your spouse is in no hurry to see you cash out (and most likely neither are your kids). No one wants to sit around wondering if their partner is going to make it another five years because of their obesity problem. If you love your spouse, then give them some security. Give them the gift of a marriage that’s not marred by an untimely and early death.

3. Performance – Hey, when you are in you 20s, you can usually hang with most physical activities (even if you aren’t in good shape). But once you hit your mid-30s, that all changes. All of sudden you are huffing and puffing from walking up a flight of stairs or from chasing your kids around the house… and that sucks.

Better fitness means you will be in a better place to take on the word’s challenges.

Want to take a long walk with your spouse without needing an oxygen tank at the end of it?
Want to climb a scenic trail on vacation without needing an elevator for the trip down?
Want to be able to wrestle your kids without feeling like your chest is about to explode?

Get in better shape and open up a world of possibilities that you couldn’t fully enjoy when you weren’t.

4. Discipline – One thing fitness requires is discipline.

You need to be disciplined enough to say no to that second Krispy Kreme donut.
You need to be disciplined to drag yourself to the gym when it’s cold out and you’d rather stay in bed.
You need to be disciplined to push yourself on workouts so you can reach new fitness levels.

Fitness breeds discipline, and that discipline WILL spill over into other areas of your life.

Trust me, no one enjoys a spouse that lacks discipline. You already had a mother and a father. Your partner doesn’t want that responsibility.

Lack of discipline is a marriage stressor (Tweet This!), whether it is how you parent, how you budget, or how you eat. Better fitness instills a better sense of discipline, and that will appeal to your spouse.

5. Reduced Stress – One thing that we can agree on is that marriage brings stress. Add kids into the picture and holy crap… talk about a lot of stress.

Stress is linked to (not necessarily the cause of) almost every ailment or disease you can think of, whether it be cancer, high blood pressure, heart problems, stroke, cholesterol, and so on. Stress is BAD. Period.

Being in shape (i.e. exercising) greatly reduces stress levels. In fact, exercise releases “feel good” endorphins, has been referred to as meditation in motion, improves your mood, disrupts anxiety, and improves sleep. All of these things help reduce stress.

Who doesn’t want less stress?
What marriage can’t benefit from reduced stress?

Get in better shape and you will lower stress—and improve your marriage quality at the same time.

Bottom line is this. Being in shape will improve your life. And yes, that will have, at minimum, a trickle-down effect on your marriage and your sex life.

No one is saying if you aren’t in shape then you are no good.
No one is “fat bashing.”
No one is saying you can’t have a great marriage and a great sex life if you are out of shape.

But, fitness will improve these things even more… sometimes dramatically.


By the way, here’s that video that caused all the “fuss.”


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5 Ways That Physical Fitness Increases Marital Fitness by Carl Thomas is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at http://XXXchurch.com.

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50 Shades of Grey – Red Flags No Romance

red flag and no romance-blogpost

Before I watched the trailer for the 50 Shades of Grey movie, I expected it not to be too overt about what the film’s really about. And you know what? It’s not. In fact, if you watch it on mute, it seems more like a Nicolas Sparks production more than anything else.

Lots of kissing.
Lots of gazing in the eyes.
There’s even some helicopter riding.

And perhaps, it’s all of the opulent fantasy that has roped (no pun intended) women into the story.

However, as a 40-year-old woman who used to be notorious for only hearing what I wanted to hear with men, there were also red flags in dialogue.

Anastasia Steele: “He was polite. Intense. Smart. Really intimidating.”

Christian Grey: “I had a rough start in life. You should steer clear of me.

Christian Grey: “I don’t do romance. My tastes are very singular. You wouldn’t understand.

It’s the kind of story that keeps counselors’ and therapists’ mortgages paid. (Tweet This!) Someone tells you who they are, oftentimes before the relationship even begins… but do you really listen?

And you know what’s really a trip? As I thought about Mr. Grey, he actually sounded a lot like the second guy I had a sexual relationship with back when I was in college. He was uber-attractive, charming and witty, and a grad student (I was a freshman at the time). I’ll keep it PG and just say that I learned a lot. And he used to create these “fantasy theme rooms” in his two-bedroom apartment.

He was also really intimidating.

He also warned me that it wouldn’t be what I expected.

He also wasn’t big on romance. He told me that the exchange was going to be a series of physical encounters with maybe some snacks and jokes in between. No more, no less.

And just like Anastasia, I signed up. For more than I bargained for. (Tweet This!)

There were times when I stood in the closet when his girlfriend (at the time) came by unexpectedly.

There were times when he would have sex with me and then leave me in his room as he went to watch a game on television with some of his friends.

Oh, and don’t get me on the time when I called to tell him I was pregnant. He hung up on me, avoided me, and then called me months later from another country to tell me that I better not tell his girlfriend what went down between us.

It took years of healing (and also several conversations with him about a decade later) to make peace with that time in my life. Oh, it had its thrills. It had its moments of sexual pleasure. It was also very overwhelming, emotionally debilitating, and when it comes to my second aborted child, something that in some ways, I’m still dealing with. (The death of a child, no matter how it happens, is something that the mother always deals with. One way or another.)

Yeah, I have no idea how 50 Shades the movie ends, but if you want to know the “reality cut” of similar stories, I just gave you one.

I John 2:16 tells us that all that is in the world is lust and pride. And honestly, this movie is just one indicator that the world is doing its job. It’s working overtime to try and make us believe that, so long as sex is physically pleasurable (or at least highly intriguing), then that’s all that really matters.

And yet, all throughout Scripture, the Bible speaks to sex making two people one (Genesis 2:24-25, Matthew 19:4-6). Even if you do research on oxytocin, the hormone that kicks in during orgasm, it’s been proven to help two people to feel closer. (This is why a lot of people confuse “good sex” with a healthy relationship. It also helps us to understand why God frowns on fornication. It tends to cloud our judgment.-Hebrews 13:4, I Corinthians 6:9-10)

One of my favorite quotes of all-time is the one up top by author Eric Jerome Dickey: “Sex without love is violence.” Yeah, a lot of us may not want to look at it that way, but one definition of violence is “injurious treatment” and Romans 13:10 tells us that “Love does no harm to a neighbor.”

Aside from the spankings and whippings that seem to be a part of Christian and Anastasia’s experiences in “the Red Room,” something we must also keep in mind is the fact that Christian was Anastasia’s first. She was a virgin before being introduced to his world. And in the real world, there are many studies which indicate that our first time tends to set the tone for what we expect in the future. (Tweet This!)

During the time when so many women were ranting and raving about the book, it got categorized as being “Mommy Porn” (a term that always makes me feel a bit icky) and also a favorite read for college gals.

I’m not sexually cynical. Therefore, I’d like to think that at least some girls in college are virgins. When you think of them being introduced to sex via 50 Shades, what kind of message does that send as to what they should expect in the real world? When it comes to relationships? And yes, sex?

Don’t they deserve romance?

Don’t they deserve to be held and cuddled? Or do they have to settle for no more than tied up and spanked?

Don’t they deserve love without harm rather than sex without commitment? (Tweet This!)

The thing about characters in books and movies is that they only tell a part of the story.

I think we have a responsibility to think about what happens to a person—once the “Red Room Experience” is over.

For more discussion on 50 Shades of Grey and other “romance novels” watch this:


best-sex-life-nowAre you looking to spice up your marriage but in a way that’s healthy and helpful? Need a boost to your romance levels? Learn some ways you can increase the romance and start having the best sex ever with the Best Sex Life Now video workshop.  From now until Valentine’s Day get it for 50% off!

Signup today.


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50 Shades of Grey – Red Flags No Romance by Shellie R. Warren is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at http://xxxchurch.com.

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50 Shades of Grey – Why Sex Is A Spiritual Experience

Why Sex is a Spiritual Experience-blogpost“Sex is the closest that many people will ever come to a spiritual experience. Indeed, it is because it is a spiritual experience of sorts that so many chase after it with a repetitive, desperate kind of abandon. Often, whether they know it or not, they are searching for God.”—M. Scott Peck

A Scripture that I have quoted many times over the years is I Corinthians 6:16-20, the Message version:

“There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, ‘The two become one.’ Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever—the kind of sex that can never ‘become one.’

There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for ‘becoming one’ with another. Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit?

Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.”

Sex is not just about two (or more) bodies getting a sexual release from/with one another. (Read my last post on how 50 Shades of Grey relates to the body.)

Sex brings about spiritual mysteries as well as physical facts.

And when sex avoids commitment and intimacy, it tends to leave us lonely. (Tweet This!)

It keeps us from fully knowing what “becoming one” is really all about.

That’s not what the world says. Of course not.

That is what the Bible says, though.

Maybe I missed it in the middle of skimming articles about 50 Shades of Grey, but I don’t recall a Bible being inside of Christian Grey’s Red Room (or outside of it, for that matter). However, there’s no way I can address this topic without talking about the spiritual side of it. Or the lack thereof.

I find it quite poetic that the leading male character’s name is “Christian Grey” and that one of the quotes used in the trailer is “Love is not black and white.”

Um, yes it is. Biblically speaking, anyway.

I Corinthians 13:4-8, the Love Chapter, tells us exact what and how love is. Kind is the second adjective. Some definitions of kind are gentle, considerate and tender. How many people are able to say that their relationship is filled to the brim with kindness—both in and out of the bedroom.

I John 1:5 tells us exactly how God is as well: “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.”

He’s crystal clear. There’s no darkness, no “shadiness.”

And yet, aren’t a lot of us like Christian Grey? One way or another? (Tweet This!)

Christians, yet “grey” on so many issues that we shouldn’t be?

There are going to be a lot (and I mean, a lot) of people who will be flocking to see 50 Shades. Personally, I can’t help but wonder what they’ll be looking for on the screen. You can just peep the trailer and know that Mr. Grey has some, let’s just say “deep issues.” And as I said in the previous installment, I find it pretty tragic that Anastasia gives him her virginity. More than anything because of what the Bible says about the purpose of sex (celebrating the love between a husband and wife) and how we are to see our bodies (sacred).

I get that many individuals will simply say, “Shellie, what’s the big deal? It’s just a movie.” But I don’t know. Is it? When you think of the fact that we are not only physical beings, but spiritual ones too and you look at the word “spirit” from the angle of being our “life,” our “essence,” and our “nature,” then when we decide to invest our money and two hours (give or take) of our time to watch the R-rated version of BDSM porn, what good is that doing for our life, our essence and our very nature? How is it helping us spiritually? And if spiritually it’s not good, what is it ultimately doing for/to us sexually?

For the married people who may get down like that: am I saying it’s wrong?

Eh. Life has taught me that you can get to the bottom line of a lot of things in life if you’re honest about your motives (Proverbs 17:20, 21:2,8-Message). Only you know what those are.

But what I am saying is that John 4:24 tells us that “God is Spirit” and so there’s no way that he was going to invent something like sex and want it to be void of spirituality. Therefore whatever we decide to do with our mates – our lives and their lives, our essence and their essence, our nature and their nature – should ever remain on the forefront of our minds.

Based on what I’ve read and researched about 50 Shades of Grey, spirituality in the story is an afterthought at best. But again, if y’all have some other perspectives, I’d certainly like to hear them.

In the meantime, you know, I have always liked M. Scott Peck’s quote on sex. That in his mind, sex is the epitome of a spiritual experience while at the same time, a lot of people do not realize that chasing after sex is really about longing to be in a closer relationship with the Creator of it.

Hmph. Based on the numbers that 50 Shades is projected to have its opening weekend, perhaps that’s the silver lining to all of this. It shows those of us devote our lives to working in the field of helping people with sexual challenges/struggles/strongholds that we really are on to something. That millions and millions of people need to be reminded of the fact that they don’t have to chase after erotica or porn or sexual fetishes to make themselves feel complete.

They just need to put the Spirit and their spirit first; everything else will work itself out.

For their good. The good of their mind, body and spirit.

Yes, in and out of the bedroom.

That kind of truth really is black and white.

No grey.

Check out the latest episode of Craig’s Car Ride when Craig speak to Shellie in depth about her thoughts and views regarding the book and movie 50 Shades of Grey.

Best Sex 

Are you looking to spice up your marriage but in a way that’s healthy and helpful? In a way that’s spiritual? Want to boost to your romance levels? Learn some ways you can increase the romance and start having the best sex ever with the Best Sex Life Now video workshop.  From now until Valentine’s Day get it for 50% off!

Signup today.

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50 Shades of Grey – Discover The Most Powerful Sexual Organ

Discover the most powerful Sexual Organ Blogpost

“So really it happens that the more sexual a person is, the more inventive he can be. The more sexual a person is, the more intelligent. With less sex energy, less intelligence exists; with more sexual energy, more intelligence, because sex is a deep search to uncover, not only bodies, not only the opposite sex body, but everything that is hidden.”—Osho


Let me just put it right on out there. It wasn’t until Craig approached me to pen a miniseries on 50 Shades of Grey that I planned on saying anything about it at all. Even during its peaks of popularity, I only checked out excerpts of the book.

Even during my own wild moments of engaging porn back in the day, erotic fiction could only hold so much of my attention, and dominants and dominatrix were never my thing.

So for me, when February 13 rolls around, I plan on giving the film about as much attention as the day that follows it (that would be not much at all). Yet because I know that there are going to be a lot of people—those who don’t come to our site and those who do; those who go to church and those who don’t—who will go to check out the movie, so I decided to break the series up into three parts.

The book/movie as it relates to the mind.

The book/movie as it relates to the spirit.

The book/movie as it relates to the body.

It’s my hope that it can spark some honest dialogue, because if there’s one thing that the phenomenon known as 50 Shades has proven, it’s that sexual fantasy never has and never will be just a man’s world. (Tweet This!)

So for the “mind portion”, let’s start there.

I actually just skimmed a piece last night featuring actress and documentary director Rashida Jones, who has a film on the amateur porn industry coming out soon entitled Hot Girls Wanted. Basically it addresses how more and more 18-19 year-olds are getting into the field and how it affects them. According to Rashida “It’s performative, women aren’t feeling joy from it…This would be a whole different conversation if women were like ‘we were having sex, we love it so much. We want more of it. We feel so good about our bodies and ourselves…’ It’s fulfilling a male fantasy.”

Based on the millions of women who ate up 50 Shades like it was a hot fudge sundae, I’m not so sure I can 100% agree with Rashida. Even if I wanted to.

Does that mean that I think porn is a beautiful, special and holistically fulfilling experience for everyone involved?

Absolutely not.
It’s not even close.
But every day, even here on this site, we speak to women who watch porn.
And a large majority of them got their start by reading erotica.

And many of them don’t want to stop.

So there goes another theory. Apparently sex is not about “men being visual” and “women being emotional” when it comes to their needs and how to meet them. It would appear that the book (well, the trilogy) was not enough for the ladies. There had to be some kind of visual to feed into the fantasy. It would seem that the book could only “scratch the itch” but so far. (Which is why I see erotica more as a “gateway drug to porn” more than anything else.)

And yet, as I was reading one of the interviews from the actors about the film, I found something that Jamie Dornan, the guy who is portraying Christian Grey, said to be fascinating. When talking about shooting scenes in the sex dungeon with his co-star Dakota Johnson (who portrays Anastasia Steele), he said this:

Some of the Red Room stuff was uncomfortable,” Dornan admitted. “There were times when Dakota was not wearing much, and I had to do stuff to her that I’d never choose to do to a woman.

Things in the room made him uncomfortable.

Some of the things that he had to do, “the real him” would never do to a woman.

Hmph. Doctors, scientists, and therapists alike will agree on two facts:

1) Sex can be a complex topic

2) The most powerful sexual organ is not our genitalia, but our minds. (Tweet This!)

Therefore, I have to ask. What is going on with so many of us that our minds are stimulated by what the BDSM world brings? Whether we choose to actually participate or simply watch Christian and Anastasia do it, why do so many of us find that it drives our senses rather than disgusts us?

Married people trying something new is one thing. But whether married or single, when we are stimulated by the thought or sight of people totally overpowering another (sometimes to the point of complete humiliation) or physically harming each other, then what does that say about us?

About our views of sex?

Deeper yet, about our views of the purpose of sex?

The Osho quote at the beginning of this post says that more sex can make a person more intelligent. Some may agree and some may not. I’ll say this: even Scripture says that husbands and wives need to engage one another regularly (I Corinthians 7:5) and being that God came up with sex. I get that it, within his boundaries, should only make a person better.

And I guess that’s my bottom line point.

Since the mind is the greatest sex organ and sex, in its original design, was created to make us better people, even mentally…

How is 50 Shades doing that exactly?


best-sex-life-nowAre you looking to spice up your marriage but in a way that’s healthy and helpful? Need a boost to your romance levels? Learn some ways you can increase the romance and start having the best sex ever with the Best Sex Life Now video workshop.  From now until Valentine’s Day get it for 50% off!

Signup today.


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50 Shades of Grey – Discover The Most Powerful Sexual Organ by Shellie R. Warren is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at http://xxxchurch.com.

The post 50 Shades of Grey – Discover The Most Powerful Sexual Organ appeared first on XXXchurch.com.

Do You Need A Coach?

Recently I’ve talked and written a bit about the last few years I had. For those of you who don’t know, I endured a series of health concerns that led me to try to find some very needed answers. My journey took me all over the U.S and to many different doctor’s offices. At the end of it, I was weaker than I had ever been and decided I needed to go to the gym.

I was scared.
I was new to that world.
I didn’t know what to do, so I hired a coach.

One on One.

A lot of you are reading this and you are falling apart.

You know you need to change. (Tweet This!)
You’ve made the decision to change.
You know accountability is what you need, but even the thought of admitting your struggles to a group is almost more than you can bear.
So what happens then?

You can get a coach.

Our exclusive coaching program offers one-on-one mentorship to help you during the most difficult time of your sobriety: the beginning.

You’ll work with just one person, a seasoned pro who has walked the exact same road that you’re walking now, someone who has been exactly where you are and can help can help guide you to the life you want for yourself. Our coaches aren’t speaking theoretically – they’ve been there.

Just like you.

They know what they’re talking about, so you know you can trust them.

In addition to the security of building a relationship with your coach, you’ll also receive X3watch Premium (our accountability and filtering software), as well as access to all our online resources and ebooks as long as you are working with a coach.

Because of the intensely relational nature of X3coaching, space is very limited, so sign up now to secure your spot.

You’ve taken your first step out of porn just by visiting us.
Now it’s time to keep going.

X3coaching may be just the relational resource you need.

Sign Up Today



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5 Myths About Women, Sex and Porn

webinar january 5myts about women sex and porn-blogpostWhen I started this website back in 2002 I knew one thing. People were hurting because they struggled with sex and porn.

What I didn’t know was that women were struggling with this a lot too. Seems kind of stupid now when I think about it, but 13 years ago the idea of women struggling with things like masturbation, sex and porn just wasn’t on my radar.

Well, one thing that 13 years has taught me is that women deal with these issues just like men. In fact, in many ways, it’s worse because since they are women and “shouldn’t struggle with these types of things” they deal with a unique type of shame.

Sure, men feel a lot of shame about porn use and masturbation too but it’s different because in many ways society expects guys to want sex. To look at porn when given the opportunity. To visit a strip club on their bachelor party.

But women? Who knew?

Our friends from Bad Christian decided to tackle this misconception a couple months ago when they put out a great book called The M Word. You can read my thoughts on it in this post. They also interviewed a woman on the topic in this podcast who just happened to be a gal from one of our X3groups. They did this because these guys think a lot like me.

They believe it’s time to start talking about all those things that the church often avoids. (Tweet This!)

I really love what these guys are doing so we decided to put together a webinar with them called 5 Myths About Women, Sex, and Porn. It will air January 29th and is completely FREE to watch. It will be hosted by our friend and XXXchurch blogger Shellie Warren.

I want to encourage you to check this out. If you are a woman, a man, a parent, a pastor, or a teenager – this webinar is going to open up the door on some difficult topics and will help you come to grips with the reality that we all (men and women alike) struggle with matters of sex and porn. (Tweet This!)

Here are a few questions you might be asking:

1. What will I learn from the webinar?
Shellie will be talking about these things and more:

  • Do women struggle with sex like men?
  • Are women actually into porn?
  • How big an issue is masturbation for women?
  • Do women feel safe to share about these things with other women?
  • And more

2. Is this webinar only for women?
Definitely not! Shellie will be talking about things that are NOT just of interest to women, but anyone.

3. When do I watch?
The webinar is on Thursday, January 29th at 8PM ET (that’s 7PM CT and 5PM PT).  If you can’t make it that’s ok, register anyway and we will send you the full recording after it’s done.

Check out this preview of what to expect

This is going to be a great event and we are doing it with some great people.

Don’t miss out.

Register Now!


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Six Keys to Bed-Breaking Sex

Six Keys to Bed Breaking Sex - blogOne of my proudest moments in marriage was the night when my wife, Ashley, and I broke our bed while making love. Yes, you read that right: we had bed-breaking sex!

Now, the bed was really old and pretty fragile. On top of that, the bed was small and I was overweight at the time, so sheer gravity was working against the antique frame below. Still, we broke the bed during sex, and I think we can all agree, that’s pretty awesome!

I strongly believe more couples should be having “Bed-Breaking Sex.”

When you and your spouse improve your sex life, you’ll simultaneously improve your marriage. (Tweet This!) It’s as simple as that. It takes a lot more than a great sex life to build a great marriage, but it’s nearly impossible to build a great marriage without it!

As I’ve interacted with couples from all over, I’ve discovered that there seems to be an epidemic of unfulfilling sex (or sometimes no sex at all) happening in modern marriages. This tragic neglect or misunderstanding of sexuality has the potential to wreck a marriage. Don’t let that happen!

So how can you get bed-breaking sex? Every couple is different and there is rarely a “one-size-fits-all” approach to anything, but I’m convinced that these six basic principles would instantly improve the sexual fulfillment in most marriages. Give them a try! This is the kind of “homework” you’ll actually enjoy. (Tweet This!)

In addition to these six tips below, you should check out our new video series, “Best Sex Life Now,” on strengthening sex, intimacy and communication in marriage. It’s the most comprehensive resource we’ve ever had a hand in creating, and we believe this resource could revolutionize your sex life and other aspects of your marriage as well.

These first three apply BEFORE sex:

  1. Make foreplay an all-day event.

Foreplay shouldn’t start thirty seconds before you plan to have intercourse (I’m talking to my fellow men out there on this one)! Find ways to flirt with each other throughout the day. Send flirtatious and/or thoughtful text messages to let your spouse know they’re on your mind. Those consistent little acts will help set the mood for romance later.

  1. Tell your secrets.

One of the biggest barriers to true intimacy in marriage is a lack of trust. Your spouse needs to feel completely safe and secure with you to fully engage in sexual intimacy. Secrecy is an enemy of intimacy, so make sure you’re communicating consistently, openly, and honestly at all times. Your transparency will create trust and that trust will ultimately create better sex (and a better marriage).

  1. Serve each other.

You should serve each other throughout the day so that your spouse’s mind can be freed up to enjoy the moment. Husband, this might mean washing the dishes or folding laundry. Wives, this might mean giving your husbands a back rub to help him relax. Find ways to serve each other and you’ll be building a bond of intimacy before you even get to bed.

These next three apply DURING sex:

  1. Tell your spouse what you like (and what you don’t like).

Your spouse is not a mind reader. Be open and honest about what feels good and what makes you uncomfortable. Communication is vital to a mutually pleasurable experience.

  1. Have fun!

If you’re not having fun while you’re having sex, then you’re doing something wrong! Bring your sense of humor. Be playful. Be adventurous. If it always feels like work, then talk to your spouse about the issues that might be holding you both back.

  1. Be mentally monogamous. 

Don’t bring outside “fantasy” into your bedroom. Both your body and your mind have to be fully present in the moment, so don’t allow porn or erotic romance novels to put images in your mind that will create fantasies that don’t involve your spouse. True intimacy requires monogamy (both physically and mentally).


best-sex-life-nowFor more ways to enhance your sexual intimacy, check out our newest workshop Best Sex Life Now with Craig and Jeanette Gross and Dave and Ashley Willis. This 10 part video series will help you better understand what great sex is really all about and how you can have that in your marriage. Until Christmas you can “gift” this $99 workshop to your spouse or a friend for only $49.

Get the Best Sex Life Now!


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Six Keys to Bed-Breaking Sex by Dave Willis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at http://xxxchurch.com.

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4 Ways To Respond To Your Spouse’s Porn Problem

4-ways-to-respond-to-your-spouses-problem-blogspotAs an author and speaker about the inner thoughts and feelings of men, including the visual nature of men, I get a lot of questions from my audiences, like this very common one: “I just discovered my spouse is using porn and am devastated. What should I do?

My team and I always want to have answers, but since we are social researchers and not counselors, we interviewed Michael Todd Wilson to get his take on this. Michael Todd (MT) is a licensed professional counselor and a certified sex therapist who we highly respect. He gives counsel and advice to men and women all over the country on these topics, and we wanted to tap into his wisdom for a series of articles based on our interviews with him.

What follows is professional and practical advice for the person who has discovered their spouse using porn. For simplicity, we wrote from the viewpoint of a wife discovering her husband’s porn habit, as that is the majority of cases, but the same advice would apply if the roles are reversed.

This advice also assumes the spouses in question have a personal faith in God. We know not all readers will share that personal faith, but we unapologetically believe no one can do this on their own. If you find yourself in this situation, reach out to God and see that you can rely on Him for help in all areas of life – starting with your own difficulties right now.

And that is vital because as you will see, it is essential to ask God to give you the ability to respond well before you tackle this topic with your mate, to have not only good, firm boundaries, but also a healthy dose of the grace and compassion that is so important to a good outcome.

How on earth do you do that in such a hurtful situation? Read on.

From Michael Todd Wilson:

The first – and single most important – piece of advice I have for someone who discovers their spouse is struggling with sexual integrity is to avoid the almost irresistible urge to charge towards them with confrontation and aggression.

Yes, you will be angry. But venting anger isn’t going to lead your spouse to be an appropriately broken person (Tweet This!) who’s willing to walk the difficult journey ahead. Instead, it will close them off and trigger a denial response, such as “You’re crazy, I am not looking at porn.” (Or whatever sexual integrity problem he is dealing with.)

While there is a need to grieve the loss of what you thought you had in your marriage before discovering the infidelity, it’s not going to help to believe the worst about your spouse, either. If your husband is a Christ-follower, he knows he is not where God wants him to be. And even if he isn’t, he probably has felt guilty about his porn use; otherwise he wouldn’t have been hiding it. No matter what, it is almost certain that, despite his actions, he deeply cares about you.

There is a very important need and opportunity right now to encourage your spouse out of the shadows of porn or any sexual infidelity, and towards the light. Which is the only way healing will come. Encourage him to get help rather than simply demanding he get help ‘or else.’ (Tweet This!) Sharing the truth that this is unacceptable, and that you need him to seek help for change, and doing it firmly but gently, could be the catalyst God uses to redeem your husband’s behavior and protect your marriage and family.

Here are four initial steps to take:

  1. Under no circumstances should you accept any responsibility for your spouse’s actions. Reject any impulse to feel you have caused your spouse to be unfaithful. However, just as you expect him to examine himself and do some hard work in his life, this is an opportunity for you, the offended spouse, to look inside and “own” whatever difficulties in the marriage may be on your side of the relationship. For example, I see that often (not always, but often), there has been marital conflict on both sides that has led to infrequent sex or sexual problems. Which is sometimes a contributing factor to a spouse’s pain. Again, though: These may be contributing factors, but how your spouse chooses to respond to these difficulties (by hookups or porn) is fully, one hundred percent, his responsibility.
  1. Be gentle in the way you approach your spouse. I know this will be extremely difficult, but at the outset, refrain from expressions of anger and try to see that your partner is hurting on the inside, whether he admits to such pain or not. You can share those feelings of anger with your spouse at some point when it’s more beneficial. Initially though, it’s most helpful to take this anger to God and press into Him. At first, discussions about what’s happening with your husband’s porn use should be limited to your most trusted one or two friends, preferably ones who aren’t family (sharing with family now will likely have unintended, detrimental consequences on that relationship later).
  1. Accept denial as a natural response of the spouse who is caught – i.e. “That porn website in the computer history wasn’t me – that was one of the kids.” Denial goes with the problem, and you may not be able to break it yourself. Pray for God to convict him and break through the denial. I have seen over and over again that the Holy Spirit will convict your spouse much more effectively than you ever could.
  1. Don’t believe the worst in your spouse. Your spouse is actually in pain. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be doing what they are doing in the first place. (Porn use, believe it or not, is often a means of coping.) Offer empathy and encouragement to get help. If your spouse is ready, help him to take the next step to get help (such as finding a local ministry or men’s accountability group.) If not, give him space and pray until he is. It can be so hard to wait, but he truly has to be ready to get help; if he is only “getting help” because you insist, it is not likely you will see the true life change you both need.

If you feel that you have already “messed up” in how you approached your spouse initially, it’s simple enough to go back and confess. After all, this is exactly what you wish your partner would do with regard to his own sexual mess-ups. You can model the same humility in confession that you long to see from him.

So if you spewed your anger initially, you can go back and confess that, and apologize, even months later: “You know, when I first confronted you I did it in a way that caused more harm than good. I was scared, angry, hurt … I turned that into punishment. I’m really sorry.

All these steps will create a gentle but firm approach to make it easier for your spouse to move toward the light instead of running, hiding, denying or downplaying poor sexual choices.


Bio for Michael Todd Wilson
As a Licensed Professional Counselor, Certified Sex Therapist and Board Certified Coach, MT leverages professional-grade coaching to help Christian men (especially men in Christian leadership) successfully recover and pursue sexual integrity. His specialized coaching is convenient from anywhere by phone or video conference. You can reach him at intentionalhearts.com.


res-x3-siteIf your spouse is struggling with pornography addiction one of the best things you can do for them is encourage them to plug into a supportive community. X3groups cater to men and women and offer the type of supportive community your spouse needs. These small groups are accessible through any Internet-capable device, meet weekly, and are offered at a variety of times. Talk to your spouse about signing up for an X3group today!




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4 Ways To Respond To Your Spouse’s Porn Problem by Shaunti Feldhahn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at http://xxxchurch.com.

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Touching On The M Word

[Editor’s note: Our friends over at Bad Christian have just released a fantastic e-book called “The M Word,” and they asked Craig Gross to write the foreword for it. We really like what Craig wrote, so we thought we’d share it with you today. If you’d like to order the book, go here.]

When we started working on the very first version of XXXchurch.com back in 2001, we developed a website aimed specifically at men who struggled with porn. Didn’t even think twice about that focus. Then we launched the site in 2002, and one of the first emails we got said this:

What about us girls?

I was blindsided. I’d had no clue.

Women like porn?
Women masturbate?
Women want to have an orgasm during sex every time… just like men?

It seems obvious now, but, you see, I grew up in the church. And I don’t know about your church, but the few times sex ever got talked about at mine, it happened during the youth group meetings when the girls and boys went into two groups. The boys talked about porn and masturbation while the girls talked about all the guys who were jacking off.

Well, that was 1989, when we made a lot of mistakes like feeling humiliation toward sex and giving Grammy awards to Milli Vanilli. Welcome to 2014, where more and more of us are learning that women and men share some of the same struggles when it comes to sex. (Tweet This!)

I will hold to my contention that guys are generally more visual than women, but that doesn’t mean women are not interested in porn or struggling with it. We know that now. We hear from these women all the time.

One of the first things we did after launching XXXchurch.com was start a section on the site specifically for women. We started writing about and addressing this topic for women by women, and we’ve seen a response similar to what the guys at Bad Christian discovered after one of their articles about masturbation.

I now understand that, not only do women deal with this issue, but they also carry around more shame and more guilt than guys do.

Why? Because deep down inside they think they there is something even more wrong with them. They feel the weight of expectation: they are not supposed to be watching this; guys are. Right?

Wrong. This book is a mind-blowing collection of stories that prove it. There are just a few, but I can assure you that for every story you read in this book, thousands and thousands more just like them are being lived out in shame, guilt, and secrecy in the real world.

These stories are real, honest, and unfiltered, and that is how they should be. (Tweet This!) Because that’s life.

I love what the guys at Bad Christian are doing because they’re not afraid of these issues. You shouldn’t be, either. If you’re reading this and you’re a guy, I just want to tell you that the porn you watch in no way should become your sex education or give you ideas to what you should do in bed. Porn isn’t real any more than the Transformers or Batman movies are. (Tweet This!)

My heart breaks as I read some of these stories of women who got into watching porn so they could “learn” how to be the perfect girlfriend. Guys, don’t ask your girlfriend to watch porn or do the things you watch in porn. You might as well ask them to convert themselves into a Trans Am or punch out The Joker.

If you’re a woman, please know this: you are not alone. (Tweet This!) You are loved, and there are others out there who understand exactly what you’re going through. They’ve even been where you are right now. Don’t believe the lie that you are damaged goods, or that you need to do this to be loved. You are already loved, and I would encourage you to find a few people with whom you can be open and honest with about life, porn, sex and everything else. If you don’t know anyone, contact us and we’ll help you out. Stop hiding. Bring this stuff into the light.

If you need help, we have a lot of things to offer at XXXchurch.com; let me just tell you about two of them.

#1. X3groups. These are small groups with 1 leader and 10 participants that meet once a week. As I write this, we have over 40 different groups going, so you can find a time that works for you. We have groups for men, women, pastors, those struggling with SSA, and new groups starting for spouses. Check out X3groups.com to get started today and get connected with other women who are on the same journey as you.

#2. X3watch. If you listen to the Bad Christian podcast then you’ve probably heard about X3watch. (In my opinion, the segment each week they talk about X3watch is way better than their crappy news segment.) Seriously, though, these guys talk about this stuff in an honest and open way because they are not living with the shame and guilt of those who hide. X3watch helps you live a better, more open, and thoroughly honest life. It’s software that monitors where you go online and lets a friend know if you go anywhere you shouldn’t. Head over to X3watch.com and use the code “BADCHRISTIAN” for 50% off.

That’s all I got. I hope you enjoy this e-book, but beyond that, I hope it spurs you to take action. Get help if you need it; be help to someone if you don’t. And if our ministry can help you in any way, feel free to email me at craig@xxxchurch.com.

God Bless,
Craig Gross
Founder XXXchurch.com


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Touching On The M Word by Craig Gross is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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