The Warm-up Phase

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**Excerpts from And They Were Not Ashamed, Laura M. Brotherson, CFLE is used by permission. Permission to use these excerpts was given exclusively to Simply Sweet Marriage, LLC. and are for the purpose of providing more information about this wonderful resource to help marriages to sparkle!

Page 44-49: The Symphony of the Sexual Response

The ultimate sexual experience occurs when sexual fulfillment is harmoniously created and shared by both husband and wife. Though the sexual response varies from person to person and from male to female, attaining feelings of sexual pleasure, emotional and physical buildup, and complete sexual release is like a marital symphony. Typically for men, the creation of “sexual music” might be likened to pressing “play” on a CD player. But for women, sexual music is more like that of an instrument that must be tuned, warmed up and played masterfully—as in a symphony of sexual interludes. The female body is capable of extraordinary sexual ecstasy. The body is our greatest earthly “instrument.”

New Insights on the Female Sexual Response:
Four phases are frequently identified regarding the human sexual response. They generally follow some variation of: (1) Desire; (2) Excitement / arousal / plateau / foreplay; (3) Intercourse / orgasm / climax; and (4) Recovery / resolution / afterglow. To more accurately reflect the sexual response of women and to place needed emphasis I have added a phase, Phase 1: Warm-up / Preparation, and have also reversed the order of two phases, Arousal before Desire. My description of the sexual response is as follows:

  1. Warm-up / Preparation
  2. Foreplay / Arousal
  3. Desire
  4. Orgasm / Climax / Intercourse
  5. Afterglow
This re-ordering of the sexual response phases and the addition of the Warm-up /Preparation phase reflects a unique approach and adds significant insight to the female sexual response. Understanding this pattern can be a key for both husbands and wives in comprehending how to improve their lovemaking.

Phase 1—warm-up / preparation
“I’m just not in the mood” is a frequent response to sexual advances in marriage. Since men are like light switches and women are like slow-warming irons, it is understandable that the “Warm-up / Preparation” phase is often overlooked or completely ignored, particularly by men. Because of their physiology, “for the most part, men are in a constant state of sexual readiness.”7 Women are not. Men may wish they could skip this nonsense of a “warm-up phase” and get to the “good part.” But their wives need preparation before they can get to the good part. As couples learn how women prepare mentally and physically for lovemaking with talk, touch and time (the three “T’s”) they are empowered to create the mood rather than waiting for the mood. Waiting for that magical mood to strike will no longer be necessary.

Purpose of the Warm-up Phase
The Warm-up / Preparation phase is needed before some women can even begin to participate sexually. The Warm-up / Preparation phase allows women to mentally transition from mommy mode to wife and intimate-companion mode. She may still be thinking about the kids’ homework and what she has to do tomorrow, when her husband is ready to go. For a wife to start on equal footing with her husband sexually she must be given sufficient time, touch and attention, otherwise he may be off and running, scoring a homerun before she even gets up to bat. The Warm-up phase allows both husband and wife to focus mentally and connect emotionally before connecting physically. The talk, touch and time devoted to this phase provide the opportunity for her to get in the mood and be an active participant in lovemaking.

Page 49-50: How Husbands Can Help Prepare for the Warm-up Phase

Women may not have the time, energy or interest to even allow themselves to enter the Warm-up phase without their husband’s willing and loving assistance with household responsibilities. Continuing to court and woo their wife also helps provide an atmosphere conducive to intimate relations.

Share Household Responsibilities. Husbands play a pivotal part in providing their wives sexual warm-up and preparation time by sharing household responsibilities. With endless household demands on women’s time and attention, a husband’s active participation in the home makes it easier for his wife to decide to engage in sexual relations. In fact, one woman wanted me to be sure to list housework as a powerful aphrodisiac. As men learn to view their active interest and participation in the home and family as an integral part of their wives’ ability to engage sexually, both spouses’ needs will be better fulfilled. To help his wife with this important phase of sexual preparation the husband might consider regularly taking on some of the evening responsibilities, such as cleaning the kitchen, helping with homework, preparing the next day’s lunches or doing the children’s bedtime routine. ….Men often under estimate the power of their participation in the home and family as an aphrodisiac. A word of advice to husbands: Your willingness to be a partner in the household responsibilities must be constant and genuine to be effective. It won’t work if you only give your wife your undivided attention and extra help with household responsibilities when you are hoping for sexual favors in return.

Woo Your Wife. Romantic gestures such as roses and candlelight dinners can be important to a wife, but a husband’s understanding that foreplay occurs throughout the day is even more vital. The wooing, courting, and emotional intimacy men are willing to share help provide an atmosphere conducive to thrilling intimate relations. The importance of husbands wooing and romancing their wives and winning them over cannot be overstated.

Page 52-55: The Warm-Up Phase

  1. Prepare the Environment. Preparing the environment for romance and relaxation is instrumental in creating a sexually fulfilling experience. Experiment until you find the right ambience to assist you in transitioning and “letting go.” Ambience can be enriched with soft music, scented candles, special silky bedding, dimmed lights, or sexy lingerie. Don’t forget to lock the door. Attention to personal hygiene can make a huge difference between a subdued response and passionate participation. If it matters to you, let your husband know you prefer clean-shaven softness or the rough and rugged look, and he will likely oblige you. Suggest lotion to smooth his skin (offer to apply it), reducing any discomfort or distraction from his caresses. Freshly brushed teeth rinsed with mouthwash can also reduce sexual reservations and increase intimate enjoyment. His willingness to please you can be great foreplay.

  2. Relax. The need to relax prior to making love may seem foreign to men. One man remarked, “Interestingly enough, most men use sex for de-stressing, whereas most women have to be relaxed before engaging! Some cosmic joke!” In the evening (or whenever lovemaking occurs), take a few minutes to slow down. Breathing deeply and being loving and gentle with yourself can pay rich dividends. Relaxation can help you let go of your day so you can BE in the moment.

    Relaxation Breathing. Close your eyes and focus inside yourself. You might try imagining you are standing inside your heart. Breathe normally for a few breaths, then inhale deeply (filling your diaphragm) to the count of four; hold for four; then exhale to the count of eight. Continue these cleansing breaths for a few minutes. Use this relaxation breathing any time.

    Nurturing Touch. Another helpful way to slow down and relax is to give yourself the gift of nonsexual physical touch. This can be done by gently stroking the back or inside of your hands, arms, face and neck or individually caressing each finger as if affirming love and tenderness to the self. Like the gentle touch you receive from those you love, you can provide loving touch to yourself. You may want to express your love and unconditional acceptance toward yourself during this time. This may be new to you but can be valuable preparation for sexual intimacy with your spouse.

  3. Prepare Mentally. To get in the mood and to transition into lovemaking mode, clear your mind of everything but the lovemaking experience. ..Shifting the mind from kids, kitchen and kitty litter to romantic overtures doesn’t happen quickly or easily. But with concerted effort you can learn to choose what you think and feel. One way to quiet the mind and train it to stay focused on sexual sensations is to pay attention to the rise and fall of your breathing. Breathe slowly and deeply as you let yourself slip into the world of arousal. In time, less effort will be needed as you naturally melt into the moment…. With practice you can eliminate negative or unproductive thoughts. For example if the thought comes to mind, “I don’t have time for this,” or, “I don’t like sex,” you can challenge your thoughts by talking back to them and replacing them with something positive. You can say, “I DO have time to share love and experience ecstasy with my husband”; or, “I want to enjoy sex. I do enjoy sex.” During lovemaking, rehearse the thought, “Touch is the dessert of life.”

  4. Connect Emotionally. Sexual relations can be more satisfying for both husband and wife when emotional connection is an integral part of lovemaking. “Pillow talk” and “positive flooding” are two ways to connect emotionally and provide emotional arousal prior to lovemaking. Pillow Talk. Regularly taking time for Pillow Talk to share thoughts and feelings can be great foreplay. During pillow talk don’t discuss children, finances or other potentially contentious topics—discuss hopes, dreams, feelings or study and discuss this and other helpful books.

    Positive Flooding. Dr. Harville Hendrix created an exercise called “Positive Flooding,” which is another excellent emotional connector. It is a wonderful beginning to any sexual encounter. Husband and wife take turns expressing the following:

    • Share at least five positive statements about your spouse’s body;
    • Acknowledge at least five positive characteristics in your spouse;
    • Complete the statement, “I love it when you . . . ” identifying at least five positive behaviors your spouse does; then
    • Say “I love you” with all the genuine feeling you can muster.

    Positive flooding can create a strong and secure connection between you and your spouse. If your spouse is currently unwilling to participate in this flooding for any reason, you may ask if he would mind you doing the exercise. Assure him there is no pressure for him to do it in return (and mean it). There are positive benefits even if only one spouse does the flooding.



  5. Give Female Sexual Arousal a Head Start. Since it generally takes a bit longer for women to get their sexual motors running women need a head start. Wives have a chance to catch up as couples focus on building her pleasure before her husband’s. If the husband is quickly aroused and expecting to do something about it, it may be difficult for him to be sufficiently patient and attentive to his wife for her to become aroused enough to experience orgasm; therefore, keep the focus on her until she is fully aroused. Just before or after her orgasm, he too can let go and join her in the ecstasy of orgasm.

    Some couples have the mistaken perception that once the man is aroused they need to move right into intercourse. To remove this perception couples may need to experiment with multiple cycles of male arousal to gain experience and confidence that his arousal can subside and reoccur several times during lovemaking. As the husband gains greater understanding of and mastery over his arousal and the wife provides sufficient stimulation, they can rest assured that their focus on her arousal won’t inhibit mutual sexual fulfillment.

    Stimulation of the clitoris is the key to the feminine sexual response. In the beginning as couples are both learning it may take up to an hour of direct and/or indirect stimulation of the clitoris to reach orgasm. A husband should wait until his sweetheart is very near climax and gives her go ahead before he penetrates.

    To give the wife a head start sexually, one idea may be to go into the bedroom together, prepare for lovemaking, but plan to engage in twenty minutes or so of pillow talk or positive flooding to engage her in emotional arousal. After some foreplay, stimulate the wife’s clitoris to help feelings of sexual arousal begin to flow. For those women who require a fair amount of direct clitoral stimulation, this allows sufficient time to prepare sexually and become aroused before her husband is ready to go. “Kegel” exercises—contracting or tightening the pubococcygeus (P.C.) muscle—can also intensify sexual arousal. Tim and Beverly LaHaye, in their book The Act of Marriage, have a chapter entitled, “The Key to Feminine Response” which is an excellent and thorough explanation of this P.C. muscle and the benefits of strengthening it. Coupled with communication and sufficient clitoral stimulation contracting the P.C. muscle can help increase sexual arousal and intensify orgasms.

Pg 61-61 Chapter 3—“Home” Work (Assigned to most chapters in the book)

  • Get educated sexually. Learn about your sexual anatomy and the importance of the clitoris in female sexual arousal. Read and discuss this and other helpful books with your spouse.
  • Understand that you must consciously decide to enjoy sex if it is to be a fulfilling experience.
  • Allow yourself to focus on your own sexual needs during lovemaking.
  • Discuss with your husband the importance of his active interest and participation in home and family responsibilities to help you have time and energy to willingly engage in lovemaking.
  • Make time for sexual warm-up and preparation by preparing the environment, relaxing, preparing mentally, connecting emotionally and giving your sexual arousal a head start.
  • Commit to communicate your feelings, wants, needs, likes and dislikes during lovemaking.
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**©2004 Laura M. Brotherson. All Rights Reserved. For more information, please contact Laura M. Brotherson.