Archive | July 2012

Libido Enhancing Supplements

I struggle with an extremely low sex drive.  My husband saw “Provestra” in an article or something.  Any of you familiar with this or have a better suggestion for a natural remedy?  I also think I have a hormonal imbalance so need that to improve to.

I want to preface this blog entry by saying that if there are spiritual or emotional issues that are causing your libido to be low, using supplements to “boost” your libido will not help or make things better.   Also, if you feel that you have hormonal imbalances, it is best to get your hormones checked by your PCP or your OBGYN before self diagnosing and self medicating.  If you are pregnant, you will want to do further research on which herbs are not recommended for you to take while pregnant and discuss any changes with your doctor.

I received this email from a reader who has a low sex drive.  I have had this problem in the past, and still do at times, so I thought it would be appropriate to do some research into the product that she spoke of, as well as doing some research at “The Vitamin Shoppe” and asking some questions to a friend who is very knowledgeable with herbs and what helps what when you take them.  This will be a culmination of the research I have done.  I HAVE NOT tried any of these products that I will discuss.  I WILL comment on things I am currently using.

First thing I did after reading the email was to Google Provestra and navigate around the website.  Provestra is a daily supplement designed to increase desire in women.   The site suggests that it will help enhance sensations, increase self lubrication, speed up arousal, and help a woman to have regular orgasms.   As I checked through the list of ingredients in the supplement, it looked like what you would find in a regular multivitamin (Vitamin A, C, E, B complex, Folic acid, calcium, iron and zinc) with supplemental herbs.  On their site, they have a money back guarantee if you feel that the product isn’t working for you, but you have to use it for 30 days and also consult their Customer Satisfaction Team before getting a full refund on your money when you return the unused product, but you do pay the return shipping cost.  ($15)

The list of ingredients was very long, so I emailed my friend about herbs that are aphrodisiacs.   I asked her to look at the Provestra list and tell me what she thought.  She told me that the ingredients in the product were pretty standard for women’s sexual health, but she was concerned about the use of red dye #3 and other additives that were listed on the bottom of the ingredient page.    She suggested the use of the following herbs …

Damiana is used to increase circulation to all parts of the body, especially the sexual organs.

Dong Quai helps with vaginal dryness and it relaxes the uterus.  It also helps cramping and symptoms of menopause.

Milk Thistle cleanses liver cells and controls endometritus.

She told me not to go cheap on these either, to make sure they were fresh, high quality herbs.

So after talking to my friend, I went on a fact finding mission to our local vitamin store, thus the trip to Vitamin Shoppe.   My husband had been there before and told me there was a whole section on Women’s Health.  Wow, that shop was overwhelming!  I did find the section on women’s health, and found a few other products there that also were also advertised as libido enhancers.  I found Natural Passion and Cleopatra there, and these both claim to help low sex drive, but ingredients were different in these as well.   The Dong Quai was the same in these as my friend recommended and the Cleopatra had both the Damiana and Dong Quai, along with other herbs as well.   Again, I haven’t tried ANY of these products, so I cannot say whether they work or not.

While doing the research on these drive boosting supplements, there were also pages on the internet that evaluated Provestra.   Women’s Health Weekly ranked Provestra #2 in its recommendations for women’s libido enhancers, 2nd place only to a product called HerSolution.   Provestra-reviews.com had this quote on the product “Relying completely on herbal extracts, it has been reviewed as not only one of the safest, but most effective supplements of its kind on the market today.”   But I went to my hubby’s trusty source for product satisfaction…amazon.com … and found some personal reviews from people who actually bought and used the products for at least 2 months.   “I  see now, 2 people, and now, add me as the 3rd, have rated this 1 star. It deserves ZERO stars.”; “If it worked, I couldn’t tell.”; “After taking this product for a month, I absolutely had no difference in drive or sensitivity. For the price this is not a good product at all. “; “Don’t waste your time or money on this product.”.  There was one positive comment on the Amazon page from a user. “I can’t say the effects have been as dramatic as the Provestra website claims, but my sex drive has definitely improved.”

What’s in my medicine cabinet?  I take a gummy multivitamin daily.  I take extra supplements of calcium, iron, B complex, B12, vitamin E, vitamin K (not in my multivitamin), zinc, Korean Ginseng, Gingko Biloba, and Horny Goat Weed.  I don’t know why, can’t explain it, but I always thought of Horny Goat Weed as a product for men, but it is working for me!   I take it in the morning to help me think about sex during the day, and I take it at night as well.  In about 20 minutes, it gets the circulation going in my clitoris and that gets me in the mood to make love.  Much to my hubby’s liking…   Hubby found me some articles online that say Horny Goat Weed is not just for men and erectile dysfunction, but also helps with circulation in the genitals for women as well.  It works for me!  Just a note that I did try the Dong Quai for a little over a month, and it didn’t really work well for me.  I am premenopausal, and I was really hopeful that it would help with my dryness.   It may work for you, but it didn’t really work for me.

I AM NOT PROPOSING THAT YOU BUY ANY OF THESE PRODUCTS.  I am trying to give some balanced information on the products.  Remember that any website that sells products wants them to sell, so they are going to put them in their best light.   Do the research before you purchase any products.   Some of these products DO have side effects even though the website says they don’t.  Every woman is different, so you want to be sure that you consult your doctor before you start adding things to your daily regime.  Remember, too, if you are suffering from low sex drive, it is not necessarily hormonal.  It may be hormonal, but it also may have emotional and spiritual ramifications as well, which any supplement will not help.  Take your issues to the Lord in prayer.  I did when I had these problems.   It took some time for me to get God’s answer…he was waiting on me to be ready for the truth.  God opened my eyes to the truth, and my awakening occurred.  My problems were not hormonal at that time.   Be sure you include God in all of your plans.  He knows your heart and when you open your heart to Him, he’ll open your eyes to the truth.

If my church offered a class on sex and marriage, I would be more than likely to….

Lord, Change Me Into the Likeness of Christ

Change is a hard thing.  We always think “I don’t need changing.  Change him!”  I was taking notes in a journal on the way to dinner this past weekend, and I noted that the journal I grabbed was an old prayer journal I started 2 years ago.   It only had 5 prayer entries in it.  Prayer for my mom (who had Non Hodgkins Lymphoma at the time), prayer for my FIL’s health, prayer for my MIL’s health, prayer for my Dad that God would protect his heart from Satan while helping Mom undergo her chemo, and finally prayer for my husband…. and that prayer entry went like this…. “Help me to accept DH the way he is and not try to change him.  I realize in some ways he may never change, but at the same time, I release him to change in ways I never thought he could.  I leave any changing that needs to be done in Your hands, fully accepting that neither of us is perfect, and never will be.   Only you, Lord, are perfect and I look to you to perfect us. “  Looks like I was reading Power of a Praying Wife at the time!

Changing ourselves is hard.  Really hard.   But if we look at it as changing us to be more like Christ, it can be easier.  I mean, as Christians, we should all strive to be more like Christ every day of our lives.  Living out the greatest commandment, to love one another.  Stormie listed seven ways to be more like Christ.   We can all learn something from these as well.

1.  Jesus was loving.  Jesus wants us to lay down out lives for others.  His love worked miracles and it can work miracles in our lives and those who we show love to.   My biggest problem?  showing love to my family when I come home from work.  I word so hard to show love for others at work that I don’t have a full “love tank” when I get home.  I need to work on that.

2.  Jesus was humble.  Humility is a rare commodity in our world today.  Look at Tim Tebow.   What a humble man, who gives all the glory to God in public for everything he does.  And he gets made fun of.  People are so into themselves in the world, that seeing someone who does act humbly makes them feel awkward, so they have to ridicule him.    Jesus was Lord of the Universe, yet he chose to come to earth as a mere mortal.  It takes someone really humble to give up everything Christ had in heaven.   Pray for a humble heart like our Lord’s.

3.  Jesus was faithful.  He was faithful all the way to the cross.   He never stumbled.   He knew why he was here.  We need to know all about his faithfulness, so that we can learn ourselves how to be faithful.

4.  Jesus was giving.   He gave his power to heal people.  He gave his time to anyone who would listen.  He gave his life to save the people he loved…all of us.   When we don’t feel that we have anything to give, God shows us what we have that we can give to others.    Pray for God to bestow upon you gifts in which you can share with others.

5.  Jesus was separate.   I like the way she put it… He was in the world, but not part of the world.   He came to touch the world, but never became like the world.  He was separate from the world, but he changed the world.   While we are in the world, we cannot lose sight of our goal.  This world is temporary.  We cannot become like the world because it won’t last.   Don’t lose sight of where you are going.  Keep eternity in your perspective.

6.  Jesus was obedient.  Jesus never did anything on his own.  He always prayed to the Father and waited on His Word.   We must be like that too.  We can be so impatient.  The world has made us that way.  If we wait on the Lord, we can be truly blessed.   We must be obedient to the Lord when he does give us instruction.   Jonas learned the hard way what happens when you aren’t obedient to the Lord.  He spent some time in the belly of a whale!   We need God’s help to learn to die to ourselves, so we can live for him.

7.  Jesus was light.  As a moth is attracted to the light, so must we be attracted to God’s light.   We should be the light to this dark world.   We need to be the light, so we can attract those out of the darkness to the light, to learn more about Jesus.   Let you light shine.

Pray that God would start a work in you, right now, as you read this.  Ask him to help you learn to be more like his Son.   Ask him to help you separate yourself from the world and be a light to all who would see it.   Pray to learn how to be humble and be a servant to all as Jesus was.  Pray for faithfulness, obedience, and a giving spirit.   Pray that you will be a person that people see and want to learn more about Jesus because of the way you live your life.  Keep your eyes on Jesus and eternity.  We are only here for a short while.

How Do I Know What is Okay?

In discerning what is and is not OK in a husband and wife’s sexual relationship when they have as much of a desire to walk rightly with God as they do to have a passionate marriage bed, I want to give you several guidelines to help you find clarity for your relationship with your spouse. We have spoken of these guidelines generally with certain topics as they have come up, but this article is focused on explaining each of them. Whether you are considering oral sex, anal sex, sex toys, masturbation, role playing, light bondage or simply even a new position, I offer you these questions to consider as you look at whether or not to include it on your shelf of spices.

Does this sexual act include anyone other than your spouse? Whether the person is physically in the room as in the case of threesomes, or if they are on a television screen in the case of pornography, or even if they are mentally in your head in the case of fantasizing about having sex with someone else, we would encourage you not to include these activities in your marriage bed. Although they might seem erotic and sexy, they will be a distraction from God’s plan for your hot and spicy sex life.

Is this sexual act something that both spouses agree they would like to try? If one spouse would like to try an activity in bed and the other feels it is wrong or simply feels really uncomfortable doing it, it should remain off the table until unity is reached. Now, there are situations where a husband or wife wishes to avoid all sex and in this case we are dealing with a sin issue of refusal which you can find information about here. However when I speak of being in agreement, I mean that if, for example, one spouse wants to have sex somewhere semi-public and the other is uncomfortable with it, the one who desires it should present it on occasion and then let the other person choose to try it or not. Strongly pressuring your spouse because you find it highly erotic and know that it would add to your sexual experience will actually make them less likely to try it. Refusing a specific act is not the same as refusing sex. Having said this, let me encourage you to try things you are a bit uncomfortable with if your spouse shows an interest. Sometimes we view something as sin either because we were taught that it is, though it may not actually be so, or because we fear it. Pray about it. If it is sin, avoid it. If it is something you fear or something someone else told you was wrong, consider trying it if you feel peace about that. Ask God to give you truth as you seek out what is and what is not sinful.

Is this sexual act one that God has clearly told us in Scripture is to be avoided? There are some acts which we are told in the Bible are not for us to participate in. Among the list are sex with animals, sex with someone of the same gender, and sex with someone who is married to someone else. Trying to justify our sin by saying that a loving God wouldn’t restrict us in these ways is harmful primarily to our relationship with Him, but also to our spouse. God planned for sex to be the way He did for a reason. When we avoid the things He tells us to avoid, then sex as He planned it to be from the beginning can be restored. Remember that before sin entered the world Adam and Eve walked around naked all the time. Sin, not God, caused them to think there was something wrong with their sexuality.

Does this sexual act move you towards deeper intimacy or further away? There are some things which could be a distraction from where our sexual energy should be focused. Fetishes would fall into this category. Dictionary.com defines a fetish as “any object or non-genital part of the body that causes a habitual erotic response or fixation.” If you love your wife’s sexy feet or your husband’s strong broad shoulders and they are a turn on for you, this is not a harmful fetish unless you require these body parts to be involved in order to become aroused. A harmful fixation on a fetish will result in the item or body part becoming a greater focus than your spouse which will not facilitate deeper intimacy.

Does this sexual act degrade or cause pain to my spouse? There are a number of sexual acts which some people participate in that are degrading to one of the people. Acts involving bodily waste (scat, golden showers, emetophilia…) have no place in a sexual relationship where the husband and wife are also seeking to live a life of devotion to the One who said that husbands should love their wives and wives should respect their husbands. As well, if you and your spouse enjoy the teasing and playfulness and trust involved in light bondage and that builds your intimacy then feel free to incorporate it, but anything in the arena of BDSM which causes pain or is motivated by a desire to intimidate the one God has given you to be your lifelong companion should not be incorporated. Violence is unacceptable.

I hope these guidelines are helpful as you honestly look at the options you have for spicing things up. Really, there are far more things that you can enjoy together, than those you can not. And for the things that shouldn’t be included, there are legitimate reasons. Don’t fight God on it, trust Him. If you don’t believe in God, try living sexually this way for awhile and see what comes of it.

Original article

Can One Spouse Save a Marriage?

Type the question into Google and in less than a quarter of a second it returns over two million links. Some lead to articles, others to “sure fire” products that promise to solve all marriage problems, and others to blogs that say one can and blogs that say one cannot.

Employing the slightest logic proves that one spouse cannot save a marriage. If a marriage involved only one person; one person could save it. By its very definition, marriage is a bond between two people. Therefore, if one leaves the bonds, the marriage is over, no matter how much the remaining spouse wants their marriage to continue.

Should the spouse wanting to save a marriage then give up all hope?

Absolutely not.

There are times when one spouse can do certain things that will likely lead the other to working out their marriage problems and salvaging the marriage.

Things That Do Not Work

The key to salvaging a marriage is for the hoping partner to understand that trying to make the abandoning partner stay is the kiss of death. People do not appreciate being forced, manipulated, or controlled. The spouse fighting to save the marriage will be unwise to use sex, money, guilt, cajoling, or anything else to try to keep the other from departing. Actually, the more one tries to force the other to stay, the more the other wants to leave.

Think of it this way: How would you like to be in a marriage where you chain your spouse in the basement so that they will always be there for you? Would you like the way they think about you? Feel about you? What they wish would happen to you? Of course, not. Using means other than chains doesn’t really change the result.

Additionally, when the abandoning spouse knows that the other is there, waiting and longing, they have little motive to consider more carefully what they are doing. It’s almost as if the waiting spouse is a net; if the new course of action doesn’t work well, there’s always going back to the one who is waiting no matter what.

Things That Do Work

There are four things that cause one person to want to be closer to another. They are physical attraction, intellectual attraction, emotional attraction, and spiritual attraction. When one spouse is being abandoned, the best thing they can do is to quit clinging and work on the four areas of attractiveness.

Physical attractiveness has to do with how one looks. It doesn’t mean plastic surgery or pretending to be 20 years younger. It does mean doing what it takes to be as physically attractive as one can be at their age and situation in life. That isn’t competing with the physical appearance of whoever may be alluring the spouse. (Interestingly, many people involved in affairs say that the lover isn’t as physically attractive as their partner.) It is making oneself the best they can be. It says to the abandoning mate, “Leave if you want, but I will survive without you and I will attract the attention of others. I may be in another relationship by the time you come to your senses.”

Making oneself as physically attractive as possible reminds the other of the initial attraction that once existed. It also increases the self-confidence of the spouse being abandoned and gives a way to move on with life if the other spouse doesn’t come back.

Intellectual attraction means that a person is perceived as mentally equal or better when it comes to matters of life. A person who is intellectually attractive is one that can be talked to in meaningful ways, one who understands important matters of life, and who stimulates the mind of the other.

The stereotypical “dumb jock” or “dumb blonde” may be attractive physically, but looks aren’t all there are to a satisfying life. In the long run, people enjoy conversation on a peer or better level. When a spouse is being abandoned, moping doesn’t accomplish anything. Deciding to learn, to grow, and to master matters of life accomplishes two things. First, it affects the person’s self-confidence in very positive ways. Second, it causes the abandoning spouse to see that the person they are leaving is much deeper and more interesting than once thought. It again demonstrates, “You may leave, but my life won’t end. I will continue to grow and new people will come into my life as a result.”

Emotional attraction occurs when a person evokes emotions in another that he or she enjoys feeling. That might range from laughter to feeling important to feeling safe and more. When one evokes emotions the other does NOT enjoy – guilt, shame, rebellion – the result is just the opposite of attraction. It is repulsion. Being strong, having friends, going on with life, laughing, and sincere joy are always attractive in another. The abandoned spouse would do far better for self and for the possibility of reconciliation if they found a way to enjoy life rather than clinging to the hope the other may come back.

Spiritual attraction refers to how one perceives the other’s beliefs and values. Too often a person being left resorts to behavior inconsistent with, or directly contrary to, their beliefs and values. Some start drinking heavily. Others act out sexually. Some become quite mean. Whatever the behavior, if a person lets go of those things that they hold dear, they become a different person. More attractive? Yes, if they abandon unseemly behavior and become a better person. Not if they abandon lofty ideals and move in a downward spiral.

Each of these areas of attraction work for the benefit of the person focusing on them. At the same time, they may well stop the leaving spouse in their tracks as they see their spouse in a new light. When one knows that the other will move on, succeed, and have a good life without them, that person naturally becomes more attractive. Perhaps more attractive than what the departing spouse was moving toward.

So even if your spouse doesn’t want to work on your marriage there are things you can do to win him/her back. And even in the event that it doesn’t work, you are improving yourself for a better life than you would’ve had otherwise. But I’ve seen the formula described in this article work more times than not.

If your marriage is hurting, please find out more information about our marriage seminar.

Joe Beam is a best-selling Christian author and internationally respected marriage expert.   Joe Beam founded Beam Research Center , an organization that provides marriage help to hurting couples.     Reproduced with permission.

Approaching the Throne of Grace

I get daily devotionals in my email box from Fellowship Church and Ed Young. It helps me to get into the bible on a daily basis when I read the verse he discusses for the day. Here’s the verse that came in.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16)

This is such a wonderful reminder to us all! We all go through times when we are tempted by something or maybe that temptation has already grabbed you and you are trying to get out. That skinny little avatar I have? That’s not nearly me at all! I’ve been tempted through my weight loss by candy bars, potato chips, fried chicken, French fries, pizza…you name it. There is so much food that I have given up to make my life better and healthier. I can’t exercise much with a bum knee that probably needs fluid drained, and  God knows that I am tempted to skip exercise every day. He knows that Satan tempts me by placing a dozen fast food joints within a mile of my house and work that I pass by daily. My libido? Not where it should be by a long shot now a days. Are you surprised by that? And as I am making my way toward premenopause and my hormones are changing and my body is sagging in places I least expected them to, and I get scared by dense tissue that has appeared on a mammogram….all of these things tempt me to try to take care of them my own way.

Jesus is able to sympathize with us though. No, he didn’t experience everything that we did while he was in human form on this earth, but he was tempted by things that we go through….lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, pride….I bet there were some very beautiful girls and women is his time…when he was a teen, he had to go through puberty like the rest of us. During his ministry, he traveled to the homes of sinners to minister to them. I am sure he saw and heard many things, but still he was left sinless. So he didn’t watch a pornographic movie, but I am sure he did see prostitutes on his travels. Knowing he was the Christ, he could have had every opportunity to brag about it, but did you ever notice this….in the Bible, he refers to himself as the son of man. I am sure he could have swelled with pride and screamed on the rooftops, “I am the Son of God!”,but he humbled himself enough to put himself on our level.

Now, dear ones, He sits on the throne of grace. He looks down on us and wants to help us with our problems and afflictions. There is only one problem…He’s waiting for us to come to Him and ask for His help. If we bring our temptations to Him, there is grace and forgiveness. Help in our time of need.

I mentioned earlier that for the  first time ever, I had a spot on my mammogram back in 2009.   I have a story to share about that. Was I scared? Yes. Very much so. All my previous mammograms had been perfect. When I went for my annual exam this year though, I had a wake up call. My doctor spent a little bit more time in one area of one of my breasts, but didn’t say anything. I scheduled my mammogram as usual, had it done, and was called back to have another one done and a sonogram. At my second appointment at the diagnostic center, each step I had to take, I took it to the throne of grace. I told God that whatever this was, if it was something or if it was nothing, I knew that he knew about it already. I relinquished control of it to Him. I told him that I trusted Him and I prayed that He would help me not to doubt His will if it were something to be more concerned about. It was one of the few times that I could audibly hear His response. The song “Be Still and Know That He is God” sang through my head the whole time I was there. Through the mammogram, through the sonogram, while waiting on the radiologist, it just sang through my head. Dear ones, I don’t know all the words to that song, but every word of it was singing through my head. I couldn’t sing that song to you right at this minute. I still don’t know it. But I looked it up. Every word was there that day. God wanted me to be still, listen to Him, and to trust Him. He was in control. I did. I was pleased to find out I only had dense breast tissue in that breast and it was nothing more. I cried while getting dressed, thanking God for His grace and mercy. I let go and let Jesus take the wheel. He got me right where I needed to be.

Jesus is there for you in your time of need. Will you approach the throne of grace with your needs? There is no condemnation at the throne of grace. Jesus is waiting there with open arms. He is there for you. Cast all your cares on Him. He cares for you.

What is your husband’s love language?