Rings Rings

Romantic Marriage Stories

Story 15
Marriage, Desire, and the Finnish Sauna

by Bill Quinn

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What goes through a man's mind as he watches his wife in everyday situations? Sometimes, of course, nothing remarkable. Other times, in a happy marriage, he looks at her and just gets that warm feeling of appreciation and wonder that he is married to such a wonderful girl who loves him. But many times, the most innocent activity or movement on the part of his wife can trigger thoughts of, well, not to put too fine a point on it, thoughts of sex.

Tonight was a case in point.

Laurie and I were preparing for bed. I had already crawled in, but she was puttering around in her nightshirt attending to last minute details. I was not actually ogling her, just aware of her movements in my peripheral vision. But then she began to bend over to pick up a pair of slippers. The movement attracted my eye and all of a sudden an electrifying scene unfolded before me. Her nightshirt was rather short, and as she bent over with her back to me, its hem was pulled up to her waist. The result was a spectacular, panoramic view of a curvaceous feminine derriere cradled snuggly in white panties: full-cut, cotton, white panties, with just a touch of spandex, enabling them to define her figure.

Ordinary panties? Not very sexy? A case of "been there, seen that" for a husband? On the contrary, in my opinion those panties were incredibly sexy. The expanse of white, the delicate, elastic leg bands curving downward and inward--a stunning view of what I have always considered the sexiest item of lingerie. The vision took my breath away. But there was more to the overall effect of this "brief" encounter than just seeing her panties, exciting as that was. The effect was in this case magnified by several factors: the maneuver was unconsciously casual, the event was sudden and totally unexpected, and her panties should not have been visible in her present attire but became accidentally exposed by a rising hemline. All of these aspects conspired to make a highly erotic vision.

Now Laurie enjoys making love with me, and she knows I have a pretty healthy libido. She also likes being playful and sometimes does little tantalizing things on purpose. She likes to be sexy, and she likes me to desire her. However, in picking up these slippers, I'm sure Laurie had no seductive intent. It just happened. But thoughts of sex nevertheless flooded my mind.

All men are visually stimulated; it is the way we are constructed. However, some men are more susceptible to such stimulation. How often does something like this happen for me? Generally, something about Laurie looks sexy to me or makes me think of sex multiple times every day. Not all are quite as spectacular as this one tonight, but they are sexy and regularly excite my desire for her. Is this a burden or a blessing? Well, to someone like me, it really does keep the marital electricity snapping and crackling.

Of course, I do not act every time I think of sex, but given the number of times my desire is aroused, I do make rather frequent advances. Laurie is not in the mood quite that often. Her solution is simple: she fields them all with playful skill but decides when the time and mood are right and when to say no.

Tonight, even though I had been quite energized, I decided against acting on my impulse as Laurie got into bed. However, when she snuggled up close to me and I put my arm around her, the tingling sensation as I touched her was orders of magnitude higher than the warm affection I normally feel. Under these circumstances, I could not resist sliding my hand down to her hips and resting it there so that I could feel the panties whose image was still flooding my mind. It was in this position that we fell asleep.

Over the years, Laurie has learned that I am easily and quickly stimulated, but she did not know how really often it actually occurs nor how often she unintentionally arouses such desires in me. I venture to say that many wives underestimate the effect they have on their husbands.

But Laurie was about to find out.

The next evening, Laurie and I were in the living room reading. I was in my favorite recliner reading a biography of James Clerk Maxwell, one of the greatest scientists ever, right up there with Newton and Einstein. Laurie was sitting on the sofa reading one of those women's magazines. All of a sudden she started giggling.

I looked up. "Pretty funny article?"

"Yeah. It's a survey about how husbands and wives can differ in their sex drives. Some of these interviews are hilarious."

It was time for me to be playful.

"Oh, so you're trying to figure out how to deal with our problem where your sex drive is a lot stronger than mine?"

Laurie got that cute scowl on her face, but before she could come up with a witty retort, I continued.

"You know, I've been thinking about that. I think if I try harder, we can make love more often. I'll do my best to keep you satisfied." I had that tongue-in-cheek smile.

"No, Terry, we do not have that problem."

Then she shifted her position and got excited about the article again.

"You've got to hear some of these quotes. This one guy evidently has a good sense of humor. Listen: the question is, 'How often do you have sex?' Here's what he said: 'My wife and I have sex whenever she wants!'"

I laughed. "Yeah, clever response!"

"I think that pretty much sums up the way it should be," Laurie said matter-of-factly." Then she looked up at me, her eyes sparkling with mischief.

"Oh, is that so!"

But then Laurie started looking over the article again.

"Some wives wish their husbands wanted sex more often. But, boy, it seems like for most of the couples in this survey, the husbands want to make love a lot more often than the wives, even when those wives really do have a positive attitude toward sex. Here, listen to what this wife said: 'I enjoy sex, but my husband is after me so often, he doesn't give me a chance to get in the mood.'"

Laurie was smiling, but then her expression became thoughtful.

"Give me your take on this, Terry. Over the years, you've probably heard a lot of things from other guys talking in locker rooms, talking about their dates and marriages...Do you think different men have different levels libido?"

"You mean different levels of sex drive?"

"Well, I was trying to put it a bit more discretely, but yeah, different levels of sex drive."

"Definitely. And this is not only from hearing what a handful of guys have said, but from what I've read in marriage books. Some men are perfectly satisfied making love once or twice a month. Others have such a strong drive that they'd like to do it every day."

"Once or twice a month..." Laurie assumed a rather staged, contemplative expression. "Hmmm..."

"Now don't get any ideas," I inserted. "I have a rather healthy libido, as you may have noticed."

Laurie giggled again. "Yes, I've noticed. Just wanted to tease you a little. But seriously, is there really that much variation?"

"No doubt about it. In one book I read, this counselor tries to quantify a man's drive by asking him how often during a normal day he thinks about sex."

"And what did this counselor say was normal?"

"Well, that's just the point: the 'normal' range is quite large."

"No limits?" Laurie asked.

"Yeah, sure, there are limits of normality, but they're hard to define. Of course, if a married man never wants to have sex, that's clearly not normal, and something is seriously wrong. But if seventy or eighty percent of his thoughts during a day are on sex, well, that's not normal either."

Laurie was looking at me, but I could not quite interpret her expression. Maybe it was a mixture of shyness, hardly one of her usual traits, and, well, hesitation.

"How often do you think about sex?"

I smiled at her and leaned back in the chair. "A good question, really, and actually I've given it some thought over the years. It's high, Laurie, even what that counselor would consider pretty high. Sometimes that worries me just a little."

All of a sudden Laurie smiled. It was a warm smile, and I felt the reassurance she intended it to project.

"Terry, come on over here," she said, indicating the position right next to her on the sofa.

I walked over and sat down close to Laurie. She put her arm around me and kissed me.

"You think of sex pretty often?"

"Yeah, and you probably don't realize how many little things you do every day can set my mind reeling."

Laurie giggled delightedly. "Give me some examples."

"Well, just last night..." and I proceed to describe my "brief" encounter.

Now Laurie really laughed and gave me a shove.

"You really are lecherous!" But then she smiled with what seemed to be a great deal of satisfaction and continued, "But it's OK to desire your wife. That's what God intended for a marriage. Now give me some more examples," Laurie added with real excitement in her voice.

"Well, even when something spectacular like last night doesn't happen, I can hardly not think about sex when I see you in that short nightshirt. That's exciting in itself. To me, it's like seeing you in a micro-miniskirt. But then there are a lot of little, less spectacular things that can happen because it's so short. Sometimes when you're just casually sitting on the side of the bed, the shirt is up just high enough so I can see an inch or so of panties at the leg band."

"Gee, I wouldn't think that would be very exciting."

"But it is. You're not appreciating the dynamic at work here. When you're wearing a nightshirt, panties are not supposed to be visible. That's what heightens the excitement--that feeling of a stolen thrill."

Laurie did not say anything, so I continued.

"The whole process of watching you dress or undress, which I see almost everyday, is a real turn-on. Watching items go on or come off--for someone who is acutely sensitive to visual stimulation, that almost always makes me think about how much I'd like to make love right then and there.

Then there are things that happen during the day. Maybe you have on a baggy T shirt and you stretch out your arm to hand me something. The sleeves are big and loose. I can see right along your arm and there's your bra, plain as day."

"I didn't know guys could do that!" Laurie is surprise.

"Oh, yeah! Guys are devious, especially me when it comes to seeing something sexy on you."

Laurie smiled in that special way that indicates a tongue-in-cheek comment is forthcoming. "Well, yeah, I can see how those voyeur shots would affect you. It's understandable...with a sexy little girl like me for a wife." She paused and then added cautiously, "Anything else?"

"Lot's of things, Laurie," I answered, with a discouraged sigh. "That's what makes me think I might be oversexed."

"Now don't go thinking thoughts like that," she said encouragingly. "I like you just the way you are. So...what else?"

"Oh, a hundred things. Watching you walk around in leggings; they hug every curve and display every aspect of your figure. They make me just want to grab you and start fondling your legs and bottom. Seeing pantylines is very exciting; they trigger the imagination. Watching you in a skirt, shifting positions, straightening it out, crossing your legs. And it really drives me wild when we're riding in the car and you need to pull up your pantyhose because it's sagging. You start at mid-calf and slowing work it up all the way to your upper thighs, pushing your skirt up as you go. It's a wonder we haven't had more accidents on the rode!"

Laurie giggled delightedly again.

"Then when we're sitting together watching television and I have my arm around you or you have yours around me, sometimes that's enough to start me wanting to do more. But now don't get me wrong," I added quickly. "I like being affectionate. I like it when you're affectionate--I need that kind of love. I like it for its own sake. But sometimes, touching you and you touching me, well, it just gets me thinking about sex."

Laurie reached out and touched my face gently. "That's all right, Terry. I like the affection we share too. But it's natural that sometimes...well...we start being a little more affectionate, passions get stirred...It happens to me too, you know."

"Yeah, I can remember a few times," I said with a smile on my face. "But other times there isn't anything in particular that you do or that I see. Sometimes sex just pops into my head. When you add up all the times that it happens...it really astonishes me."

Laurie still had her arm around me, and she gently squeezed my shoulder. "But you are who you are, Terry." Then she smiled and shoved me again. "You're a sex-crazed maniac, but that's all right--I can handle you!"

I laughed too, but quickly got serious again. "You're not shocked? You don't think I think about sex too much?"

"No!" Laurie said with emphasis. "Like I said, a husband is supposed to desire his wife, and it makes me feel sexy when you do. It's important for a wife to know she turns on her husband."

"You know, it really helps me a lot hearing you say that. But there's another aspect to this also. I have to be really careful when I'm out in public. The way girls dress nowadays, men are constantly bombarded with sexual images. That's bad enough for any man, but for someone like me, it can be a real problem."

"I know, and my heart goes out to you. I can imagine how difficult it is, knowing you like I do. But you remember what that special speaker at church said a couple years ago?"

"Yes, and that's what I try to do."

That had been one of the most helpful tips I ever heard on the subject. He suggested that when we men see something that attracts us in the wrong way, we first should say a little prayer of thanks that we do indeed have a healthy sex drive and also a wife who loves us. Then we should refocus our thoughts and desires on our wife.

"And like I explained when we first heard his suggestions, it really isn't that hard to do with a wife like you who wants to be sexy for me. When I start thinking along those lines, I usually can't wait to get home to you."

Laurie gave me a warm smile. "That's good. I want to be your sex goddess!"

"And that's just what I need!"

She sat there a few seconds, apparently thinking back over this whole conversation. Then she got that cute expression on her face and a definite twinkle in her eye.

"Wow! I guess you do think about sex a little more often than I thought you did--and I already knew you had a very healthy appetite for it. Well, maybe I'll just have to rev up by own libido a little higher."

Laurie was wearing a skirt this evening. Nothing fancy, really, just something casual with white knee socks. She often puts a skirt on for the evening because she knows I like to see her in them. We were still sitting together on the sofa, and with her last comment, she quite suddenly swung her legs around and put them over my lap, letting her skirt slide up a little. My eyes immediately went to her bare knees.

"Let's see," she mused, "a man like you, would something like this be an example visual stimulation?"

With that, Laurie planted her feet flat on the sofa and pulled them toward me, raising her knees to form a tepee above my legs. The hem of her skirt slid all the way up her legs.

The little vixen! What Laurie was doing was well beyond the kind of visual stimulations we had been discussing. This was overt seduction, using exactly the right method on me to send red-hot, passionate blood instantly coursing through my system.

Her knees were spread just enough, and I looked downward, directly at another pair of white panties, the upskirt view, one of the sexiest. I was now totally at the mercy of an irresistible desire to have her.

I put my arms under her, stood straight up, and carried her into the bedroom. As we walked, Laurie put her one arm around my neck and began a gentle caress.

"Yeah, I guess it is..."

My arm supporting her knees had not caught her skirt, so it was hanging freely while I carried her. As I walked passed the dresser, I got a devious idea. I turned so that her legs were aimed at the mirror.

What an intoxicating view! In the reflection, my eyes followed the undersides of her thighs as they merged into those satiny, white panties. I could see the bottom part of their back side, and I followed the lace-trimmed legs bands as the panties narrowed to a point and then disappeared between her tightly held legs. That white point drew my mind into her most secret place.

Then I turned and placed her carefully on the bed. As she looked up at me, I said, "You're driving me wild, you know."

Laurie smiled and said, "That was my intention. But I really shouldn't be doing this tonight. Tomorrow we're going to a Finnish sauna."

"But what does that..."

Laurie put her finger over my lips. "Shh, this is a time for action, not talk."

I got on the bed next to her, and with what can only be described as mutual wild abandon, we made mad, passionate love.

During the warm afterglow, I was laying on my back with my arm around Laurie. She was on her side, snuggled close to me, with her head on my shoulder and her hand gently caressing my chest. I was thinking about how wonderful our relationship was. Sex was a very important part of it, and I was so very happy knowing that Laurie really enjoyed that aspect of our marriage as much as I did. And she was so excitingly playful about it!

On top of all that, it brings a truly unique sense of satisfaction to a man when his wife shows her desire for him by occasionally initiating sex herself. That is always very special.

With these thoughts floating in my mind, we soon fell asleep.

The next day was Saturday, and as Laurie had announced last night, we were to go to a Finnish sauna tonight. A few months ago, we had met a new couple in our church, Mike and Judy. I was talking to Mike and found out that they were of Finnish extraction and that they had a sauna in their home. When he described it to me, I knew I really wanted to try it.

But the invitation did not come immediately. Laurie had had several casual conversations with Judy and had dropped a few comments hinting at our interest in the sauna. This morning, Laurie explained that yesterday morning Judy had called and invited us over to use the sauna tonight. I was really looking forward to it.

In Finland, the sauna (pronounced sow-na, as in "cow", not saw-na or sona, as in "Donna") goes back at least a thousand years. Currently, there are about two million saunas in Finland, where the entire population is only about five million. In many modern Finnish houses, the sauna is a key component of the bathroom, and nearly all apartments are built with saunas. Who knows how many are in the United States! The Finnish sauna also has close parallels in a number of other cultures, such as the "sweat lodge" of certain American Indian tribes like the Navajo and Sioux. Some fitness clubs also have saunas in addition to steam rooms. However, the Finnish sauna is a lot more versatile.

It was originally used for bathing as well as mental and physical relaxation. Traditionalists who use the sauna today still do so for the same reasons.

Finnish SaunaIn Finland, saunas were originally separated from the main house. Now, at least here in the States, they are usually part of the house, generally in the garage or basement. About eight feet by ten feet, the walls and ceiling are wood, usually redwood, and there are often one to three tiers of wooden benches. The source of heat is sometimes an electric sauna stove, although many purists prefer a wood-burning stove. The stove itself has a place for water, which often comes to boil, and a place for large rocks. The rocks heat up and throw off a considerable amount of heat in addition to the metal walls of the stove itself. Those who really like it hot, can throw water on the rocks, which instantly vaporizes, releasing a tremendous amount of heat into the room. However, sauna heat is generally fairly dry, compared to a steam room, and temperatures usually range from 130 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit.

The modern sauna often contains a shower. Purists, however, give themselves sponge baths from buckets. One normally takes soap, wash cloth, shampoo, and conditioner into the sauna. A towel and a fresh set of clothes are left in the changing room, an anteroom to the sauna proper. Women also might bring a razor into the sauna to shave their legs.

Now the story really gets interesting when we consider what one wears in a sauna. Of course, one is always free to wear a swim suit, but those in the sauna tradition normally go in naked. After all, in addition to sweating, the main purpose is bathing. When a lot of people have to take a sauna in a short amount of time, the men go in together and the women go in together. However, when time and numbers are not a problem, married couples go in together.

That is what we were going to do tonight.

When we left the house, Laurie was dressed in rather baggy slacks and T-shirt. She thought sweaty legs might make it rather difficult to get leggings on after the sauna, and with a skirt, it might be uncomfortable for bare legs to be rubbing together as she walked.

When we arrived at Mike and Judy's, we sat around and talked for awhile. They basically explained how to use the sauna.

"Now these temperatures are not really dangerous," Mike said. "But when you're not used to saunas, you can start to feel a bit weak--sort of like a limp rag. Just go out for a few minutes and then come back in. You should be fine."

Soon it was time for our first sauna. Laurie and I went down to the changing room. Naturally, this was one of the aspects I was looking forward to. As I undressed, I kept one eye on Laurie as item after item came off. First her slacks, then the T-shirt, followed by socks, panties, and bra. In the context of our discussion the previous night, yes, this was sexy to watch. More so than usual maybe, because we were in a new environment and not at home.

I finished undressing and we both walked into the sauna.

The incredible heat envelops you almost like a heavy weight, and you break out into a sweat almost immediately. As we closed the door behind us, Laurie and I just stood there and looked at each other with astonishment in our eyes. The water in the stove was bubbling just a bit.

Men, of course, are supposed to be tough, so I climbed to the third tier of benches and sat down nearest the sauna stove. I would not say that the bench burned my tender bottom, but it came close. As I sat there, I thought to myself that the word "hot" did not seem quite big enough. The thermometer on the wall read 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

Laurie was going to go the traditional route and give herself a sponge bath, so she started filling up several buckets that were available.

I sat there and watched her. The experience was not quite as erotic as I had expected. Yes, I was seeing Laurie completely naked, and I took note of the various features that adorn the female figure: the delicate shoulders, her firm breasts, the narrowing curve to her slender waist, the gentle swelling at her hips, and her very shapely legs. But it was not like taking a shower together in our own home. At these temperatures, all thoughts of sex faded away into oblivion. We were both sweating quite enough at 145 degrees Fahrenheit, and that was not a comfortable temperature for sexual activity, even mild petting. The old metaphor, "hot," for sexual passion was quite clearly just that: a figure of speech, nothing literal about it at all. As I considered myself in this heat, every appendage was quite limp.

While I continued to sit there, I got the feeling that I was about to reach my limit in some sense. Perhaps not in danger of actually fainting, but something akin to that. So I got off the bench and walked to the shower that was on the wall opposite the stove. Laurie had finished washing herself and her hair, and as soon as I finished my shower, we both made a hasty retreat to the dressing room.

As I sat down on one of the chairs, I thought of the analogy of a limp rag that Mike had used. It was quite accurate. We felt refreshed, and it had been good to sweat out a lot of the impurities that build up in the body, but you really did feel drained of energy.

Laurie and I dried ourselves off and began to dress. Laurie had brought a change of everything except her slacks.

I still sensed a lack of any strong sexual passion as I watched her dress, but those familiar interests were beginning to reassert themselves, albeit gradually.

During the hundreds of times I have watched Laurie dress in the past, I have often wondered what factors determined whether she put on her bra or panties first. I have been able to detect no pattern, no logic. My impression is that the two options are about equally selected. Mathematically, that makes the decision a random act.

This evening it was the bra, then her panties. Both were white and trimmed with delicate, sexy lace. As I saw her standing there in that intermediate state, the old familiar feelings were being stirred more and more.

By the time we arrived home, I was completely back to normal physically. Somewhat curiously, although the sauna had made me feel drained at the time, I now I felt invigorated, with a strong, passionate desire. However, we had made love last night. If I made an advance, it was likely that Laurie would say no tonight. But I was definitely in the mood again; that sauna did something to me. Maybe the Finns know things that we did not.

Laurie had used her hair blower to dry her hair in the changing room, and when we got into the bedroom, she sat down in front of the dresser and began brushing her hair again. I walked up behind her and began gently caressing both sides of her neck and playing with her hair. I could see her smile appreciatively in the mirror.

She got up and took my hand, led me to the bed, and eased me into a sitting position.

"That sauna was a really a unique experience," she said. "I feel so clean and energized."

She pulled off her T-shirt. Through the soft material of her bra I could see that she was aroused.

"For some reason," Laurie continued, "I'm beginning to feel pretty passionate."

She slowly lowered and stepped out of her slacks. Then she just stood there facing me in nothing but her bra, panties, and bobby socks. I was so captivated by this vision before me, that for the moment I just stared, my desires soaring.

But after a few seconds, Laurie pushed me back on the bed and climbed on top of me, straddling me on her knees. Her most erotic area was easily accessible to me.

She started unloosening my belt and undoing my pants, letting her fingers linger unnecessarily long in the general vicinity of my most erotic area. Then she lowered my pants enough for her hand to become quite active.

I guess I did not have to make an advance after all.

"We're going to have sex two nights in a row?" I asked. I was already in the throws of passion and had difficulty enunciating the words properly.

"Well, we can throw reserve to the wind every now and then, can't we?" she purred.

I reached up between her widely spread legs and began stroked her silky, white panties. She started breathing more heavily and sighed audibly as she leaned her head back slightly and closed her eyes.

Indeed, we enjoyed another very passionate night.

As we settled back to go to sleep, I was again in a rather pensive mood. These last three nights had certainly been remarkable in many respects. I thought some teasing might be in order at this point.

"Let's see: two nights in a row and both initiated by you. So with your accelerated libido, I can now expect you will be agreeable every time I want to make love?"

Laurie also had returned to her usual playful self. She leaned up on one elbow to face me, reaching out and cradling my face in her hand.

"Oh, I didn't know you'd already fallen asleep..." Laurie said.

"Fallen asleep?"

"Well, yeah, you obviously were dreaming..."

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