What About Romance Novels?

Recently when I was speaking to a group, one of the women asked,

“Are there Christian romance novels that you would recommend?”

I knew exactly what she was asking and so did most of the women in the room. Romance novels help women to get in the mood.

I remember as a teenager just beginning to read real books and stumbling upon the scenes that began to wake up my body. Romances where the guy said all the right things, whisked her off her feet, knew how to take her to the moon and back, and that honestly, stirred warm places in my body.

I remember as a young mom, tired and hoping for temporary escape, sinking into a good book that would make me feel alive again. Once done I scoured over and over the scenes that would wake my sleepy body. My husband was probably thrilled when I picked up a romance novel because he knew it might actually lead to something.

It is not unusual to hear women in class share that a good romance novel gets them in the mood.

Words and stories are powerful and can transport women to a different place in a hurry. They captivate us as love comes to life in magical ways. It really is not all that different then the way pictures, whether an actual person or a screen,  captivate our husband’s eyes and arouse them. But somehow we have a double standard. Women are hurt and angry if their husband looks elsewhere, but it is considered a good thing if women read novels to get in the mood.

Women can lust using words, just like men can lust using their eyes. We begin comparing our husband to some man that does not exist. I remember being disgruntled with my husband for not being a better lover. Why couldn’t he say things that would just make me swoon? How come he stop time when he looked in my eyes? Why didn’t he know how to confidently make love to me so that all I could do was surrender to his touch and of course orgasm during intercourse?

Why wasn’t he like those men in the books?

At that point in history, my husband and I didn’t really talk about sex. We might awkwardly ask for something or direct a hand, but it was usually out of frustration not connection. What we did in bed was private and not discussed. There was no connection with God or the holiness of becoming one – we just enjoyed the physical pleasure.

Now I am a strong believer that God’s creation is good. God created most women to be aroused by words. I mean really aroused. Like as powerful as a guy looking at a photograph aroused. He also created most women to be very good with their words. We talk a lot, we write, we spin stories.

Now here’s where the rubber hits the road.

I believe God also created women to be creative when it comes to enjoying sex. A lot of people might argue with that, but I believe many women have stifled their creativity. They may think it is wrong for Christians to think about sex, or they may have bought into the cultural expectation that the man is in charge in the bedroom. I mean, what would he think if I let him in on my ideas for sex? So instead we settle for safe, boring sex lives and once in a while escape into a novel to stoke our fire.

So, what if instead of creating arousal by reading about sex in romance novels, we created arousal by tapping into our own words and creativity. In essence share a part of ourselves –  by disclosing what is in our mind,  speaking it into life, and stepping into God’s design of knowing each other through sex.

Now don’t think for a second that I am implying any of this is easy.

We must first gain confidence in ourselves and our own sexuality.  God created sex and He wants us to enjoy it and to express ourselves through it. We must allow time and space for our minds to dream of scenarios that excite us, and have the nerve to speak it into life.

We must also build trust with our spouse to feel accepted, loved and treasured. It’s like dipping a toe into the shallow water, ready to pull back at a moments notice. We search for secure ground and wade in slowly until we can play freely. Gradually we gain confidence to take another step and go a little deeper.

We must also stay within God’s boundaries – by controlling our thoughts. I believe God gave us a huge playground to enjoy each other as husband and wife. His boundaries are his provision for our good. Don’t feed your mind junk or allow it to dwell on junk.

Sex for me is completely different that what it was. Instead of reading about it, we are creating it. It has been hard work, and it will continue to be hard work. But I am not in the least bit interested in what is out there. I am totally immersed in what my husband and I can create together, but it is a journey.

So what are some practical steps to get there…

  1. Start talking about sex period – One of things that really helped my husband and I start talking about sex was reading the book Sheet Music by Kevin Leman to each other out loud. Reading got us comfortable saying the words and since no one was bringing up issues, we could simply ask, “Is that how it is for you?”or share, “That is totally how it is for me.” For more tips, read  Talk about What?
  2. Share your dreams – if your dreams are within God’s boundaries, sharing your dreams help you test the waters for what your spouse finds exciting.
  3. Take the pressure off by making it a game. Yy husband and I made huge progress in using our words to express ourselves by turning it into a game. Read The Pleasure of Words  to learn about 2 minute Poker, Play by Play, and Story Starter to get you started with some ideas.
  4. Write a story and share it.  Sometimes writing is easier than speaking, whether it is Instant Messaging, texting, writing letters  or short stories. What if you sat down and wrote the sexiest scenario you could imagine taking place between you and  your husband –  then you read it to him. What if you actually started dreaming about how you might make it come to life? How fun would that be.
  5. Ideas for men to get on board – Visit my article called Words Transport Women and give it a try. Don’t make the mistake of trying to say something sexy in order to get your wife hot. She wants to know YOU. Intimately share some memories of one of your sweetest times connecting just to share yourself and see what happens.

Ladies take a small step today to create the sex life you always dreamed about.

Comments 6

  1. Hi Ruth,

    Great post!

    Can you give some examples of words that typically arouses women? Or if that’s too difficult to figure out, how about words that your husband successfully arouses you with?

    • Ed,
      Thanks for bringing this up. I meant to include a link to my article “Words Transport Women”. It is a great place for men to start.
      Here’s the deal – your wife does not want to hear you say something because you think it will get her hot. She will be on to you in a second. She wants you to be intimate and vulnerable in sharing who you are. Read the article and share from your heart an amazing memory of the two of you and see what happens.
      Ruth

  2. You know, he could ask why his wife isn’t like the woman in the novel. She married him–she knew what he was like. Was she so foolish as to think that she could transform into the hero of her dreams? Long ago I realized that men are looking for a sexual fantasy land and women are looking for a romantic one. Maybe a little maturity might be in order here. I enjoy your blog!

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