Note: If you arrived at this page without coming through my home page, I should point out that this article somewhat overlaps with a much newer article I have written and posted called, How to Say No In a Sex Way. If THIS is the specific tip for a more romantic marriage that interests you, I recommend switching pages to that article by clicking its title in the previous sentence. It is shorter, newer, and probably better. It is also written in a much lighter and more interesting way. My comments on that subject which follow below are longer and a bit more pedantic. Since I quote a number of authors, it's more like a research paper. On the other hand, if you are interested in reading my OTHER tips for a more romantic marriage, then keep reading here.
I hope you have enjoyed reading these stories as much as I have enjoyed writing them (if you have not read my stories yet, or at least some of them, it would perhaps be better to do that before continuing to read this article). I wanted to write sexy, romantic stories about a happy marriage and share them with others. When I reread them, they continue to make me happy. I hope they have had this effect on you.
Perhaps some readers would be interested in the background to these stories. Maybe these stories might even have influenced your own marriage, or perhaps you have questions about some of the ideas in them. For these reasons, I have put together the following brief notes. As usual, I would encourage anyone with comments or questions to contact me. I would love to hear from you.
A number of incidents described in these stories originated in my own marriage, as well as some of the humorous or romantic quips and dialogue between Terry and Laurie. I tried to pick funny and romantic things that have occurred between my wife and me and develop a story around them. However, these stories are fictional and not biographical sketches.
My stories also present many of our ideas, observations, and opinions. However, they did not originate in a vacuum. The number of articles and books on marriage, and specifically on sex in marriage, are astonishingly voluminous. I have a number of books on the subject and a rather large file with magazine articles that I have saved. Many of these have influenced my thinking. More to the point, some of them have either planted the germ of an idea in my mind or confirmed something that I had previously thought. I would like now to cite a few articles that relate specifically to themes in my stories.
Of course, the theme that probably piqued your interest the most was Laurie's idea of saying no. However,I reserve discussion of this issue for last. First, consider some of the other themes in these stories.
One critically important theme is the importance of nonsexual, physical affection in marriage. I consider this a key and indispensable pleasure in a happy and healthy marriage. Touching each other, holding each other, snuggling up close--these represent the absolute sine qua non of romance. Many books and articles have emphasized this point. For example, an article in Ladies' Home Journal, June, 1995, is entitled, "Do It Every Night," by Pamela Redman Satran. She begins the article with, "No, not the 'it' you're thinking." Here is what she means:
"It is important, however, to stay connected by talking, listening, and touching constantly, say the experts. Talking every day, even if for only ten or fifteen minutes, helps keep resentments and misunderstandings from building up. Active listening promotes trust and closeness. And touching--innocent, nonsexual but tender touching--morning and night may ultimately make us feel more sexy, more valued."
One particularly good article is devoted entirely to this subject: "The 20-Second Hug: Ways to Put More Affection in Your Life," by Ellen Kreidman, Family Circle, June, 1998. She writes,
"Unfortunately, many couples experience 'skin hunger.' They stop touching...They may be sexual with each other, but I'm talking about nonsexual touching, such as hugging, stroking, and caressing...Touch is one of the most important human needs there is. Without it, infants die. So do relationships. Keep yours alive and special by making sure you touch each other every day."
A second theme in the stories is seen in my male protagonist's enthusiasm for women's intimate apparel and the role it can play in a healthy and happy marriage. This theme is not as universal as the previous one, so these views might raise a question as to whether or not I am alone in this perspective. Do not most men want to get their wives naked as soon as possible? Well, my attitudes and opinions on this subject predate my notice of similar views in the literature. Moreover, my ideas on how lingerie can be used for "teasing" are my own. However, just to point out that I am not alone in my appreciation of intimate apparel and the role it can play in romance and sex, I cite an article by Laurence Shames, "Why I Love Women's Lingerie," Glamour, October, 1995:
"Whether cotton, nylon, or silk, a woman's underthings hold endless intrigue. They conceal yet reveal, are meant to be pretty but usually unseen. As the closest thing to a woman's skin, they convey a sense of how a woman feels about her sexuality. When a woman undresses (or is undressed), lingerie gives promise of mystery to be unveiled. When she dresses, it becomes the private woman beneath the public image. In first encounters, it offers the thrill of discovery; in long-term relationships, it casts familiar skin in a new light."
Laurie's teasing antics represent a third theme. Sexual teasing might not be for everyone. However, I find it both adorably cute and sexually exciting. If you agree, then these stories present some romantic ways to do it.
But now consider the theme that probably raised the most questions in the minds of readers: What about Laurie's "new strategy" that involves saying no some nights? Why would a male author ever put such a thing in a romantic story?
As I develop in the following paragraphs, if a wife is not quite in the mood as often as her husband, saying no in a romantic and sexy way can turn a problem into an asset. Here's a really heart warming email I received from a wife after she read "Laurie Adds Pizzazz":
Thank you for writing such a wonderfully sensual story without being trashy! I've read many "trashy" romance novels in my days before knowing Christ, but this story was just as sensual (even more so) than any of the explicit stories written by authors that shall remain unnamed. I will certainly be seeking out more of your stories! You have inspired me to be more romantic with my husband. I always tell him he doesn't give me the chance to be "in the mood," he's after me so often, but your story gives me some new ideas! Thank you and God Bless you and your wife.
I likewise believe this strategy has indeed added "pizzazz" to our sex life. I find it both romantic and sexy, a real turn-on. Is it for every couple? No. Can it benefit some couples? Yes. Read the background to this issue, and decide what works for you.
Consider first what one wife has written. An article entitled, "15 Secrets of Sexy Wives," by Susan Crain Bakos, appeared in Redbook, September, 1999. It is a compilation of comments in which 15 "real women reveal their tricks for turning so-so sex into oh-oh-oh!" One of the "sexy wives" revealed this "secret"; Bakos gave it the heading, "'No' Now Means 'Yes, Yes, Yes!' Later":
"I had always agreed to have sex whenever my husband wanted it, even if I wasn't in the mood. I quit doing that. If I've said 'no,' the next day he is dying to have me. He tries harder to seduce me. (Cindy, 33, married five years)."
Cindy's statement highlights two points: sometimes a wife is just not in the mood for sex when her husband wants to make love, and saying no can actually make sex more exciting. In other words, this strategy can turn a problem into an asset. My stories include this fundamental idea but develop the concept much more fully, and, I hope, in a very romantic way.
Of course, such an approach is not for every couple. Some wives just do not believe in saying no and are perfectly happy. In commenting on my stories, one wife has written me that she cannot imagine turning her husband down when he wants to make love to her. As she explains it,
"If I said no to my husband, he would know it was because I didn't feel well and he would be unhappy that he hadn't realized I was unwell. If I said no because I wanted him to wait for whatever reason, he'd be hurt. I would never intentionally hurt this man who is the center of my universe."
This represents a truly beautiful relationship, and there is no reason for a couple like this to change anything. However, based on articles I have read and the posts in various "chat" forums, there are wives out there who would sometimes like to say no but wonder whether they should and, if so, how they should do it. These wives thoroughly enjoy sex with their husbands but are nevertheless not in the mood quite as often. What should they do? In my stories I wanted to share a solution to this problem that for many couples can actually increase the excitement of their sex lives. I was pleased to see that a few years after my wife and I adopted this approach, the article about the "15 sexy wives" in Redbook confirmed that we were not alone.
I must emphasize two "disclaimers," however. First, a significant disinterest in sex is a complex problem in a marriage, regardless of whether it is the husband or wife who has the depressed desire. The strategy in my stories is certainly not intended to solve such problems. In general, these problems require professional marriage counseling. The approach in my stories is applicable only to a happy marriage in which both husband and wife have a healthy interest in sex and enjoy their sexual relationship.
Second, even within the context of a happy marriage as defined in the previous paragraph, the strategy in my stories is applicable only when it is the wife who is not in the mood quite as often as her husband. I simply have not addressed the reverse problem because it has never applied to me.
Now back to my stories: there are happy marriages out there in which the couple thoroughly enjoys sex but where the wife nevertheless is not in the mood quite as often as her husband. She would like to say no on some occasions. How should she do it? My stories show how this can be done in a romantic, sexy, and exciting way. In fact, one reason I have written them is that I have been very dissatisfied with the lack of imagination in published articles that address this question.
For example, an article entitled, "How to Say No to Your Husband," by Harriet La Barre, appeared in Ladies' Home Journal, June, 1975. In the opening paragraphs, La Barre cites a "dilemma" she wishes to solve:
"Another dilemma: Her husband wants to make love...she wants to say 'No' to her husband, but she knows from experience that he'll act so surprised, rebuffed, annoyed...How do you say 'No'...if a situation keeps you from being in the mood for sex?...How can she reject sex yet not make her husband feel that she's rejecting him?"
The article goes on to develop five ideas. First, many wives face this situation: they would like to say no when they are not in the mood for sex. Second, in this situation they often capitulate. Third, this capitulation is not good. The husband senses her reluctance, and the experience is really satisfying for neither party. Fourth, the article definitely encourages a wife say no when she is not in the mood for sex. Fifth, it explores ways this can be done without hurting her husband or making him feel rejected.
However, the trouble with the La Barre article is that its suggestions as to how to do this are singularly unimpressive.
An M.D., Dr. Frank S. Caprio, offers another dull solution in his book, The Sexually Adequate Female (1966):
"Giving in to a husband at all times is not being intelligent. It is not good for either husband or wife and makes sex less desirable. If a husband has been brought up in the old fashioned tradition that a wife should have relations whenever he requires it of her, she should explain to him in a nice way that she cannot give him a good response unless she is ready for him" (pp. 141-142).
An exciting "explanation" indeed! This stuffy doctor has no imagination at all in his suggestion as to how a wife should say no. I also believe that his blanket statement, "it is not good for either husband or wife," is clearly wrong. Some couples are very happy with this approach.
However, this quote does highlight one of the foundation points of the strategy in my stories. If giving a husband sex every time he wants it "makes sex less desirable," perhaps not giving him sex every time he wants can make sex more desirable! This may not be true for all couples, but based on my experience and that of "Cindy," one of Redbook's "15 sexy wives," it has this effect for some couples.
In my stories, Laurie's strategy not only enables a wife to say no when she does not want sex, but actually turns this into an asset that indeed can add fun, romance, and enjoyment to sex in the context of a happy marriage. Another article has noted that the way in which a man responds to his wife's no depends on what he believes are her reasons for refusing as well as the way she says no (Laurence Shames, "When Women Say No to Sex," McCall's, November, 1985). In my stories, Laurie handles both the reason and the method in a most romantic and sexy way--in my opinion.
Laurie's application of this strategy, and how it works itself out in everyday life, is presented throughout the stories. I shall not try to summarize it here in essay form. After all, one goal of this series was to present this solution in the context of very romantic stories. However, two points deserve emphasis.
First, by saying no in a romantic and sexy way, the wife reassures her husband that she indeed enjoys sex with him and wants to make it exciting. With such assurance, he can delight in her antics, his desire for her will build, and sex can take on new excitement for him. And "romantic and sexy" need not always be something elaborate or clever. My stories point out some very simple but loving ways to produce such an aura.
Second, although non-sexual physical affection is important on a daily basis, as I pointed out above, a wise wife will be especially affectionate on the nights she has decided not to have sex. Again, the husband is reassured of her love for him.
Do you have opinions, comments, or questions about this? E-mail me! I would love to hear from you.
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