Rebecca Reilly's Blog

January 8, 2016

For a limited time, I’m offering a free digital review copy of Christian Sex and Marriage-It's Complicated. If you are interested, you can get the link to download the book by emailing me at rebeccareilly.author@gmail.com or through Goodreads.

You will not be asked to sign up for a mailing list.

When you finish the book, I would appreciate your honest review posted on Goodreads and Amazon, but it is not obligatory. My hope is that you are blessed by this work.

Thank you,
Rebecca Reilly
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Published on January 08, 2016 13:39 • 23 views • Tags: free-book, self-help-for-marriages

December 24, 2015

Christian Sex and Marriage-It’s Complicated is a book based on years of interviews and research into the practical workings of marriages. Woven through hundreds of interviews and testimonies is this truth: To be fulfilled in your sex life and marriage, you must believe you are both loved and liked by your mate. One of my favorite chapters in the book is Chapter Seven-The Power of Casual Touch, because it offers simple ways to build that much needed belief. Below is the chapter in its entirety. You may find out more about Christian Sex and Marriage-It’s Complicated here: http://bit.ly/sexbookpg. You may purchase the book on Amazon: http://bit.ly/SexMarriagePB.

Christian Sex and Marriage-It’s Complicated

Chapter Seven

The Power of Casual Touch

At the touch of a lover, everyone becomes a poet.

—Plato[i]

Jesus touched people. That is not a euphemism for connecting on an emotional or spiritual level. The God of the universe became a man and physically placed His hands on lepers, on the sick, and on sinners. Power, healing, and love emanated from His touch. But still, actual touch was not necessary; Jesus could have healed without physical contact. He touched because humans need to be touched.

We come out of the womb with touch as our primary language. The culture of our family, our spiritual beliefs, our society, and even our climate stymie that dialect. Americans touch less than the majority of the world. Those in colder climates touch less than those who live in warmer areas, and people of faith are more uncomfortable with touch than agnostics and atheists.[ii]

Fortunately, those are trends we can buck. Personal physical contact is life giving. We may be uncomfortable with it, but with effort our marriages can be made stronger and our intimacy deeper if we learn to practice the art of touch.

Helen’s Story

Sex means nothing to me. I don’t care if we never have sex again, but I’d wither up and die if he didn’t hold me.

Lisette’s Story

I used to hate seeing couples cuddle up in church. It seemed wrong to show so much affection in a worship service. Now, I wish my husband would put his arm around me and pull me close, wherever we are.

Aileen’s Story

Every time he touches me it means sex. Sometimes I wish he’d just hold me because he wants to hold me.

Cecily’s Story

I know he loves me. I’ve never doubted it in thirty plus years of marriage. He holds my hand, rubs my shoulders, just reaches out and touches me when he can. That says more to me than words.

Rhonda’s Story

I don’t want him to touch me in public. It feels like a show, because he doesn’t touch me at home. I cringe when he touches me.

Marci’s Story

I’m way more affectionate than he is. I want to touch and be touched. I’m less likely now, though, to take his hand or lean on him while we watch a movie. I don’t know if he’ll return the affection or pull away. Sometimes, it’s not worth the risk.

What Research Tells Us

Casual Touch is the Language of Love

We are not people who touch each other carelessly; every point of contact between us feels important, a rush of energy and relief.

—Veronica Roth[iii]

Your body responds to touch. God created you that way. He gave you hundreds of thousands of microscopic easily stimulated nerve endings that send messages to your brain. The meaning of a touch translates to pleasure, pain, comfort, fear, anger, relief, love, affection, and a myriad of other emotions. Research studies illustrate a wide range of physical and psychological benefits that come from being touched, even by strangers. Much more valuable is touch from someone you love.

Casual touch is just that—casual. It is touch that can be done in public, in front of your children or your parents. Holding hands, rubbing shoulders, a touch of her face communicates love she can feel and the world can see.

Casual touch communicates affection. It is not surprising that couples that report being very satisfied in their relationship touch each other more often than those who feel unsatisfied. As important as it is to touch your mate with affection, it is more important to positively respond to their touch. Men and women both report a higher degree of emotional intimacy and satisfaction with the relationship when their spouse reciprocates affectionate touch.[iv]

The positive results of making, or bringing back, casual touch as part of your relationship are astounding.

A tender touch, as simple as running the tips of your fingers up his forearm, tells him that you care for him. An extra squeeze when you’re holding hands implies intimacy. Sitting close enough to rub shoulders tells her you like to be with her. A hand on his shoulder tells him your attention is focused on him.

The opposite is true, too. Failure to casually touch communicates desire for distance. It says you want to protect your space. It tells your spouse you are blocking some part of yourself from him.

That may not be your intention, but on some level, touch, lack of touch, or a negative response to touch sends a clear signal ranging between affection to dislike. You can speak romantic words, but if you do not reach out with casual touch or cringe when she does, your spouse may still doubt the depth of your attachment.

Casual Touch Builds Friendship

It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.

—Friedrich Nietzsche[v]

When you enjoy the person you are with, it comes more naturally to touch them. Touch, both giving and receiving, builds trust. Touch invites open communication. Touch celebrates unity.

Do you treat your spouse with the same level of joyful touch as you treat your close friends?

I Don’t Want to Touch or Be Touched

You are ice and fire

the touch of you burns my hands like snow.

—Amy Lowell[vi]

An infant who does not receive ample loving touch is at a higher risk of behavioral, emotional, and social problems as he grows.[vii] A marriage that does not foster ample loving touch is also at higher risk of behavioral and emotional problems. Touch deprivation is an issue that marriage counselors see on a regular basis.

Touch is necessary. God designed us with an innate need to give and receive touch. Our emotional and physical health suffers without it. For that reason, God often brings people together with a variance of perceived need; one partner has a high comfort level and acknowledged need for affectionate touch, and the other has a resistance to it. Beautiful healing and deeper intimacy can result for the spouse who is touch deprived, but without understanding, serious problems in the relationship can develop. Both partners suffer.

If you are the spouse who does not want to be touched, determining why casual touch is objectionable to you is the first step to enable change. In this area, a little change can vastly deepen your emotional intimacy and the quality of your marriage.

It Is Not My Nature to be Touchy-Feely

Our comfort level with casual touch is most affected by our childhood. Those who do not grow up viewing and participating in casual touch can have both a physical intimacy deficit and/or a skewed perception of the value of affectionate contact.[viii]

For others, boundaries of culture, past rejection, shyness, fear of overstepping your spouse’s boundaries, or dread of doing something wrong can be internalized and result in a distaste for casual touch.

In all of these cases, the resistance to affectionate touch is a learned behavior. You are designed by God to touch and be touched. With effort, a great deal of effort in some situations, learning to give and accept touch can also be learned. The key is to recognize the value of touch and take intentional steps to bring that to your marriage.

Begin with communication. Make a date to talk about your feelings. Tell your spouse that you are not comfortable with a lot of affectionate touching. Give the reasons, if you can. Assure him you desire to grow in this area. Ask him to initiate personal touch that does not lead to sex once a day. You commit to initiate one casual touch a day as well. Talk a lot and add to the frequency of your touches until it becomes natural to you. Revisit why you are uncomfortable and why touch is valuable as often as you need.

Be patient. Enjoy the success.

Casual Touch Always Leads to Sex

By far, the number one reason women give for resisting personal touch is their belief that their husbands use casual touch to maneuver them into bed. They believe sex, rather than affection, is the motivation. It is an accusation many husbands deny.

Selected Comments From the Wives

“I don’t want to be touched because I can’t afford to give up an hour to satisfy him when I’m trying to get dinner on the table.”

“He just wants sex. That’s why he does it.”

“I’m tired. I’d like to feel him hug me more, but I don’t have the energy for what comes next.”

To reject personal touch because the timing is not right for sexual intercourse does damage to both partners. One feels rejected, and the other feels used. Casual touch and foreplay touch differ, and both are vital for a healthy marital relationship.

Casual touch can be public. A hug in front of the kids, hand holding on a walk, a scalp massage during television watching, or giving your partner a gentle forearm squeeze at the dinner table are casual touches that show affection.

But casual touch can also be private, and foreplay touch can feel the same even though one partner’s intent is not sexual. Because the touches are similar, cues can be missed resulting in anger or frustration. How does one partner know what the other is thinking?

The only solution to this problem is communication.

First, and most importantly, agree with your spouse that casual touch is valuable, and you want to share that with each other. Next, acknowledge the significance of foreplay touch. Discuss the differences between the two types of touch in your relationship. Ask your partner to share his or her cues. How can you know what her touch means? How can you know if he is saying he loves you or he wants you? For example, “A hug means, I love you, but when I add a kiss on your neck it means, I want you.”

Cues will change—you want them to change as your relationship grows. When you learn to watch for them, and your intimacy deepens, they become easier to read. At first, it may feel like spontaneity is lost when things are discussed in such detail. You are two people on a journey to become intimate in mind, body, spirit, and emotions. Talking and planning gets things going in the right direction. It keeps you from getting lost, or it gets you back on the right path. It doesn’t mean you can’t veer off later when you’re steady and on course.

Finally, share with each other how you want your partner to accept affectionate touch when they are not ready for sexual intimacy. Communicate your love and your desire, but acknowledge that sex cannot always happen. Learn how to be graceful and loving as you enjoy casual touch even if it can’t become more intimate at that time.

Trust builds when each of you takes an active role in initiating casual touch. Each partner needs to be touched. Each partner needs to touch.

I Have No Affection for My Spouse

Kaila’s Story

Married 28 years

We’ve been married a long time. I’m not attracted to him anymore. He’s hurt me too much. I don’t want to touch him, much less have sex with him.

Mia’s Story

Married 13 years

It’s not his fault. We’ve just grown apart. I don’t know what to do. I know I don’t want a divorce, but I don’t want him to touch me either.

Anne’s Story

Married 4 years

Everything he does drives me crazy. I don’t know why I married him.

Melina’s Story

Married 21 years

There’s too much resentment. Too much neglect. He’s a good man to other people, but he doesn’t pay attention to me. I don’t think of him fondly.

My heart breaks as I read and listen to stories of marriages on the brink of destruction. Sometimes, intense counseling is necessary to aid healing. Check with your church and with people you trust to find a counselor who understands and supports your faith and is trained to help you in your situation.

When affection for your spouse disappears, it does not need to be lost forever. You have a powerful God who fills you with powerful love. “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7). You have the almighty God of the universe to fill you, sustain you, and love you as you are.

The focus here is on you. What can you do to rekindle your love and affection for your spouse? How committed are you to allow God to change your heart? Can you do the work needed without expectation that your partner will ever return your love? Because if you focus on changing your mate into something you want, nothing but frustration, anger, and pain awaits.

If you are willing to risk rejection, to give more than you thought possible, and to try day after day after day, casual touch is a powerful tool to spark a dying love.

Research studies across the board demonstrate that affectionate touching is essential for emotional development; it also eases physical pain, slows the heart rate, drops blood pressure, and speeds up recovery from illness. In other words, touch has the power to heal.[ix]

Affectionate touch heals physically. It heals emotionally. And it heals relationally. Casual touch says I love you, and you are important to me. Most importantly in this case, casual affectionate touch begins to build a love bridge that reaches from you to your spouse.

When you make the conscious and deliberate step to act out an emotion you once felt, your heart begins to feel again. Not the first time, not the second, and maybe not the third. But if you desire to love your spouse, and you demonstrate that love before you feel it, amazing things can happen. There is power in demonstrating love without feeling the emotional tie. By choosing to love, by using your mind to consciously decide to demonstrate affection, affection grows. Love grows.

If possible, ask your spouse to hold you every morning and every night—just a thirty-second hug. Asking brings your spouse onto the love bridge. It helps build the affection for him or her, too. If you cannot ask, you must step forward and do. Hug. Hold. Be physically close for thirty seconds.

Reach for his hand whenever you can. Put your arm around her as you walk or sit. Two, three, four times a day initiate affectionate touch. Come back and try again later if your partner pulls away. Let him or her know you need to touch and be touched. You will not give up on your relationship.

What do you have to lose? It does not compare to what you have to gain.

I Get Busy and Forget to Touch

Everyone gets wrapped up in life. Work, kids, chores, errands, church, and friends pull us into a crazy business we can only handle by complete focus. If casual touch doesn’t come naturally, or if it isn’t part of the routine, it gets forgotten.

So make it part of your routine.

Sure, it means more when it’s spontaneous. The goal is that when he sees you he’s so motivated by love and affection that he can’t keep from giving you a hug. Sometimes it takes work to reach your goals.

Set a reminder on your phone. It beeps, you find him, and you hug him.

Send an email: “I forgot to hug you this morning. I owe you two hugs tonight. Love you!”

Experiment with different types of casual massage. Write it in your day planner as you would for a professional massage.

Challenge each other in competitions with the winner receiving a ten-minute massage. If you are sports fans, bet a foot massage on the game you are watching. If you cheer for the same team, bet on how many points will be made, or strikeouts, or whatever seems fun. If you are into movies, bet a massage on how many cars will crash, or how long it will take before you laugh. Anything! Betting massages insures you will be touching each other. It adds intimacy to whatever you do. Have fun with it!

Prayer, patience, commitment, and love work together to build affection. Choose to love your mate. Choose to demonstrate your love with casual touch.

How Do I Touch You? Let Me Count the Ways

When it comes to casual touch, it is best to trust your instincts. If you think about touching your spouse, do it. Catch his or her eye and smile; just a second adds power to your message of love.

Hold hands whenever possible.

Hug each other. Hold on a few seconds too long.

Play footsies under your dinner table.

Put your head in his lap as you watch a movie or the news.

Pull her head to your lap and give her a scalp massage. Cup her head with both hands and slowly move your fingers in circles. Ask her how it feels. Does she want it softer or harder? You can also gently pull strands of hair. Move across her scalp as you pull.

Use your fingernails as you stroke up his forearm.

Give her a hand massage. Use lotion and your thumb to give steady pressure.

Use his electric razor to shave his face. Have him lie down in bed. Use gentle strokes to put him to sleep.

Massage her feet. Use lotion. Press your thumbs in circles across her arch. Run your fingertips along the base of her toes. Rub her heal across the palm of your hand. Just touch, smooth, and pamper her.

Giving your spouse a full body massage does a lot of wonderful things for your relationship. If you make this a regular part of your life, you might want to purchase a fairly cheap portable massage table. If not, the sofa or bed works, but can be hard on the body of the giver. Start with gentle pressure. You are giving and receiving touch, not trying to release knots. Smooth, long, confident strokes feel good. Use lotion, and try to avoid jerky movements. Women tend to carry tension in the muscles around their neck. Do not squeeze too tightly. Ask how the pressure feels and adjust. Men tend to carry their tension in their lower back. Use your thumbs and push up and down along the spine (one thumb on each side), then use the heel of your hand to press from the spine toward the hip in the lower back.

The buttocks hold large muscles. You can roll your fist across them, or use the palm of your hand to go deeper. Again, ask how your pressure feels and adjust.

When massaging the legs and arms, begin at the extremities (feet or hands) and move toward the heart. Long, firm, gentle strokes feel good and are comforting.

One of the most relaxing massages is one done on the face. Begin with your fingertips at the center of your spouse’s forehead. Bring your hands down to his or her temples, one hand on each side. Move your fingertips in circular motions over the temples. Repeat several times. Press one finger on each side of the bridge of the nose. Move your fingers, pressing over the sinus area. Use your fingertips to rub circles over the joint of the jaw, and then gently massage the outer part of the ears. Finish with a scalp massage.

On Your Own

Look in the mirror and remind yourself of these facts every day:

God knows my every fault, and He loves me deeply.

I am worthy to be loved.

I am a masterpiece created by the God who invented beauty.

God blessed me with talents, some of which I have not yet discovered.

God has forgiven me. I must forgive myself.

It is right to love myself. I see value in who I am.

I am a work in progress. I like where I am going.

Evaluate yourself:

In 2 Thessalonians 1:3, Paul says, “We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing.” Do you believe your love for your spouse can increase? What can you do to help your love grow?

Affectionate love and sexual love go together in good marriages. Which type of love is strongest in you? Which type of love is strongest in your marriage? Do you see the value in working on each type of love? Why or why not? What strategies do you have for working on affectionate love? On sexual love?

What keeps you from casually touching your spouse more often? Can you change that?

Count how many times you casually touch your spouse in one day. Add to it the next day.

Sometime this week, say these things to your spouse:

You are worthy to be loved.

I am worthy to be loved.

I need to touch you. I need you to touch me.

Can I give you a massage?

I think about you when you are gone.

I’m glad we’re friends as well as lovers.

I need your affection.

You make me happy.

I love you. I’m glad I married you. I’d marry you again tomorrow.

Open Communication

Conversation Starters

What is the most sensitive part of your body to touch?

What do I do that that tells you I love you?

If we were in a room full of people and couldn’t have sex, what five things could I do to show you I want you, I need you, and I love you?

Did you see/feel a lot of affection when you were growing up?

How can we model affection for our children?

Just an Idea

Take a walk. Hold hands the entire time.

While watching television, exchange scalp and neck massages. One partner sits on the floor in front of the other. Switch half way through the show.

Do a mundane chore together (washing dishes, folding laundry, etc). Casually touch often throughout the time you work.

Bet a fifteen-minute back massage on the next sporting event you watch together.

Footnotes

[i] Plato. BrainyQuote.com, Xplore Inc, 2014. http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quo..., retrieved 11/5/14.

[ii] Rick Chillot, The Power of Touch, Psychology Today,

http://www.psychologytoday.com/articl..., retrieved 11/2/14.

[iii] Veronica Roth, Allegiant, Katherine Tegen Books, October, 2013.

[iv] Rick Chillot, The Power of Touch, Psychology Today,

http://www.psychologytoday.com/articl..., retrieved 11/2/14.

[v] Friedrich Nietzsche. BrainyQuote.com, Xplore Inc, 2014. http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quo..., retrieved 11/14/14.

[vi] Amy Lowell, Opal, Selected Poems of Amy Lowell, by Amy Lowell, Melissa Bradshaw, ‪Rutgers University Press, 2002.

[vii] Katherine Harmon, How Important Is Physical Contact with Your Infant? Scientific American, http://www.scientificamerican.com/art..., retrieved 11/13/14.

[viii] Doug Weiss, Don’t Allow Touch Deprivation to Creep Into Your Marriage, Charisma Magazine: New man

http://www.charismamag.com/life/men/6..., retrieved 11/13/14.

[ix] The Healing Power of Touch Delivers both Emotional and Physical Recovery, Insiders Health,

http://www.insidershealth.com/article..., retrieved 11/14/14.
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Published on December 24, 2015 14:17 • 26 views • Tags: christian-sex-and-marriage, how-to-feel-loved, love-your-spouse, marriage-self-help

September 9, 2015

I thought it would be fun to take a peek at the early lives of some of my book’s leading ladies to see how they would have faced their first day of high school.

Phoebe as a freshman (from Diary of a Christian Woman: How I Used 50 Shades of Grey To Spice Up My Marriage)

I bought a neon pink sweat suit to wear on my first day of high school. How was I to know the pretty girls had declared pink was out that year? I felt like a stick of cotton candy toddling around campus. If only it’d rained. I could have melted away instead of shining like a beacon of nerdiness.

Of course, I got lost and walked into boys’ locker room instead of the girls’. The tuna fish in my sandwich soured and stunk up the cafeteria. I tripped up the stairs, split my new pants up the crack, and squirted blood all over myself when my nose smacked against the sidewalk. At least wearing neon pink wasn’t my biggest problem anymore.

On a brighter note—I raised my hand in class and answered every question asked. I think my teachers loved me. That will make me popular!

Diary of a Christian Woman: How I Used 50 Shades of Grey To Spice Up My Marriage-Synopsis

Food is not a great substitute for sex, but it’s all I’ve got.

It’s not that I’m not happy in my marriage. I am. George is a good man, and I love him. I love our two children. I love our home. I love our church. And I love my job. I love everything I have.

And I’m bored out of my mind.

I know God created sex for marriage. And not just for beautiful people, either. Sex is supposed to bind a man and wife; to give them an intimacy they share with no one else. Sex is supposed to be fulfilling. And fun! I think we’re supposed to want to have sex with our spouse.

Julie as a senior (from Into Dark Waters)

Julie slid her damp palms across her thighs. The tight fit of her new jeans made her uncomfortable, and she felt fat rather than the sexy she’d hoped for. She buttoned the crisp, pink collared shirt and hesitated only a few seconds before deciding to leave the top one undone. Joel will notice me today, she told herself. She left the room quickly before her reflection scared her into changing into the old, conservative style clothes she’d always worn.

For Julie, stepping onto the school bus was like entering a different world—comfortably familiar and sparkling with promise. Old friends, new friends not-yet-met, and the prospects of the year ahead took her mind off her embarrassing attempt at look-at-me fashion. How could her impossible dream of romance compete with the reality of laughter and the social whirl of high school?

When the bus pulled into the lot, Julie’s smile died. She stayed seated until only she and the driver remained. She looked down and sighed. Julie quickly buttoned her shirt to the top, picked up her book bag, and stepped onto the campus.

Into Dark Waters-Synopsis

A cruise ship is an easy place to commit murder. Body disposal’s a cinch, and suicide’s the likely verdict. The only problem is determining how to choose the next victim.

Sad and sexy, women find Detective Jim Tanger attractive. He doesn’t care. His wife’s suicide three years ago froze his soul. When Jim hears that Sunburst Cruises has lost another young female passenger to an assumed suicide, Jim’s passions erupt. He pushes the department and the cruise line into letting him investigate. Battling seasickness and overwhelming shyness, Jim must protect the women and find the killer only he believes exists.

Julie Cooper loves her husband Joel. She hopes their anniversary cruise to Hawaii will be a new beginning for them. Before her suitcases are unpacked, someone unleashes a campaign of terror against her. Anonymous threats, cryptic messages in her cabin, and an attempt on her life force Julie to look at the one person who might want her dead; the one person she trusted with her life.

Megan as a sophomore (from Haunting Megan)

It’s tough to go unnoticed when your grandfather forgets to buy you new jeans, and the only ones you have are two sizes too big in the waist and three inches too short. Too tall. Too skinny. Too gawky. Too weird.

That’s the girl who sees ghosts, someone will say.

She looks like a ghost herself, they’ll laugh.

They’ll look me over then look away.

You know her mother’s in jail for murder, they’ll whisper.

You know she discovered the bloody body, they’ll giggle in sick delight.

Maybe it’s her fault her sister’s dead, each one will think.

But I will know.

She doesn’t belong at school with normal people, they’ll shout.

I don’t belong anywhere.

Haunting Megan-Synopsis

After suffering years of abuse at the hands of her alcoholic mother, Megan wakes to screams, cries of murder, and the room splattered with blood. Sent to the mountains to live with the grandfather who’d once abandoned them, Megan must learn to care for her young sisters and manage Wind Hollow Lodge. Fighting to live a normal life, Megan ignores the haunting memories of her past. But she can’t ignore the ghosts that terrorize her. Believing her sanity is slipping away, Megan is unable to keep her visions a secret from the town. When murdered men are discovered on Wind Hollow land, people start to wonder just how crazy Megan Wilson really is.
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Published on September 09, 2015 15:46 • 22 views • Tags: back-to-school, backstory, book-synopsis, recommended-reads

August 1, 2015

Is there such a thing as spicy in "Christian" sex??

What is the difference between Christian sex and non-Christian sex?

It made me very happy to find these questions on a post about my new book, Christian Sex and Marriage—It’s Complicated.

The short answers are simple:
Yes—there is a difference between Christian sex and non-Christian sex.
Yes—Christian sex can (and should) be very spicy.


Difference Number 1—Many Christians Suffer from Shame, Guilt, Fear, and Failure in the bedroom (I realize living in other subcultures that repress sexuality have these problems, too)

If you were brought up in the church, chances are you heard hundreds of teachings about the evils of premarital sex. You also learned that if you abstain from having sex before marriage, you’d be blessed with amazing sex from your wedding night on. The combination of these and other Christian culture norms puts so much pressure on couples that sex drives can be repressed. Shame, guilt, and fear block the joy that God desires for us in our married sex lives.

Here’s an excerpt from Diary of a Christian Woman: How I Used 50 Shades of Grey To Spice Up My Marriage to illustrate how many Christians feel:

We both wore white at our wedding and considered it a badge of honor. We had done it God’s way, and we were arrogantly sure our coupling would be blessed.
Instead, the wedding night was a bust.
It’s not that we couldn’t figure out what to put where (we weren’t completely stupid), but our expectations were so high, that when fireworks didn’t explode in our room, we went to sleep disappointed.
That didn’t mean we stopped trying, of course--we’d waited decades to experience sexual fever in the flesh! We knew we’d get fireworks eventually, so we kept pounding away.
By the third day of our marriage, I couldn’t walk and George’s manhood was covered with friction blisters.
I came home from our honeymoon thinking we’d never have sex again.
I was wrong. After giving ourselves a few more days to heal, George whipped out his Bible and got my juices going again.
We even got creative; I got on top.
We found our rhythm and have kept at it for nineteen years.
But I think there’s supposed to be more.


The first few chapters of Christian Sex and Marriage: It’s Complicated address the mindset of believers. To be intimate and free in the bedroom, Christians need to understand that God created our bodies to enjoy sex. Intercourse is a tool to deepen physical, emotional, and spiritual intimacy. Guilt has no place. Shame needs to disappear. Intimacy must release fear.

Difference Number Two—Christians Have the Power to Invite God Into Their Marriage and Bedroom

Though that puts a weird picture in your head, God desires complete unity for His children, and a great sex life is one way to help accomplish that. God designed all the hormones and nerve endings that make our bodies tingle and burn with desire. It is ridiculous to repress what God gave us to enjoy. Furthermore, we enjoy it most when we follow His instruction manual. When God takes part in all aspects of marriage, making love takes on a new and deeper meaning.

Is there such a thing as spicy in "Christian" sex??

Christian Sex and Marriage: It's ComplicatedThe very nature of this question illustrates the complete lack of understanding Christians and non-Christians have about sex. We are free to enjoy, free to express, and free to experiment within the bounds of our marriage. Christians, more than any other culture, should have the most exciting, vital, and spicy sex because God is a part of our marriages. Our intimacy should be deeper. Our trust should be stronger. Our sex lives more fulfilling because we know the character of the One who created it.

Christian Sex and Marriage—It’s Complicated answers both these questions with the added bonus of activity suggestions, testimonies, self-evaluation, and more. Pre-order today! http://rebeccareilly.net/?page_id=530

Diary of A Christian—How I Used 50 Shades of Grey To Spice Up My Marriage is a fiction humor novella that shares one woman’s struggle to spice up her sex life. http://bit.ly/amazondiary
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Published on August 01, 2015 12:52 • 38 views • Tags: christian-marriage, christian-sex, sex-and-marriage

November 12, 2014

To my brothers and sisters in Christ,
I am delving into issues of sex, marriage, intimacy, and faith for my current nonfiction book, Christian Sex and Marriage—It’s Complicated. Each section begins with interviews and/or testimonies of Jesus followers. I am looking for real life stories that illustrate difficult issues believers face. Happy endings are not necessary—truth is. Even if you are living your struggle today, you have a valid story to tell. Your story may help someone else heal, or make a better choice in his or her marriage.
Some testimonies are a single paragraph. Some are pages long. All names and enough details will be changed to protect anonymity—you may make these changes yourself.
I need the following:
• Christian men and women who have had extra-marital affairs or whose spouse had an affair.
My goal is to provide a tool to help others work through pain and move forward in healing, and/or learn to recognize signs in their hearts and lives that might prevent them from stepping out of their vows.
I am most interested in emotions and thoughts before, during, and after an affair. The why’s are important. Advice to others who may be in your situation will help.
• Men and women in the later half of life—How does aging change your sex-life? Any advice on how to keep active and new after decades of marriage? What about the physical limitations? How do you compensate for those?

• Your story as it relates to sex and marriage—whatever it is. The scope of this book has grown as I’ve received testimonies. We deal with many issues. Hearing what you have gone through may be just what someone else needs.
Several people who have shared their stories have reported personal breakthroughs and healing during the process of writing their testimonies.
There are two ways to share your testimony. You can write your testimony, change your name and identifying factors, and mail it anonymously to:
Rebecca Reilly
c/o Lakehills Church
7000 Rossmore Lane
El Dorado Hills, CA 95762

Or, you can message me on facebook (https://www.facebook.com/RebeccaLynnR...) or email me (rebeccareilly.author@gmail.com).

By sending your stories to me, you grant me permission to use your words without acknowledgement of source, and you grant me permission to shorten, edit, or not use your words.

My prayer for you is abundant peace, joy, and health!

Rebecca Reilly
Rebeccareilly.net
http://bit.ly/RReillyAmazonAuthor
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Published on November 12, 2014 11:28 • 33 views • Tags: christian, marriage, sex, testimony

August 26, 2014

It used to be that cops were considered the good guys, the honorable, the men and women you automatically respect. But today, if you follow social media, or even the news, you’d believe one of the most despised groups of people in our country are police officers.

Cops are portrayed as unremorseful killers of children, corrupt bullies who prey on the weak, or unfeeling dispensers of their brand of subjective justice.

Yes, there are bad cops in the world, but 99+% of the men and women who wear the badge walk the line with the right motives and a dedication that affects their health, their relationships, and their wallet.

Why are cops the favored romantic hero in my writing? First and foremost, a police officer represents honor and integrity to me. He has taken an oath to stand between the lawful and the lawless. The officers I have known will choose right over easy, truth over lies, and sacrifice their personal needs for the good of others.

Second, they make attractive heroes because the job wears him down for all the right reasons. A cop, in fiction, can be broken, disillusioned, and seem unfeeling because his honor clashes with the dishonor of the people with whom he has to deal. A man of justice must live in the world of injustice. A man of integrity must walk among men of villainy. The life he chooses to live, by its very nature, is the one most opposed to his character.

Dr. Gary L. Patton conducted a study in 2011 on the desacralization of police officers (http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/pub...).

“In the experience of desacralization, people lose contact with the aspects of their lives that they previously had considered sacred and special.” Patton says.

Police officers become cops because they believe in the value of the law and the importance of justice. Desacralization means that those beliefs are questioned, mocked, and seen as parody on the streets he tries to protect.

Patton explains, “Given the sense of disappointment and disillusionment that law enforcement officers frequently encounter in their work, it is reasonable to conclude that they seem to experience a loss of some of the special reasons and motivations that they had set out to fulfill and experience. Certainly, officers encounter times of high drama and intense excitement, yet they do not spend a shift racing from one call to another as some people assume. When this repeated experience of waiting and watching is linked with the times of heightened adrenaline, officers feel like they ride an emotional roller coaster. While they can get excited and dismayed, they frequently deal with the events they encounter with a sense of apathy. The officers in the author’s research indicated that they would not be able to cope if they let themselves feel too much.”

Third, it is the nature of a cop to rescue those in need. He doesn’t consider it heroic, he just does what needs to be done.

Put it all together, and you have a good man who’s encased himself in an emotional shell, wanting to rescue others, but in need of being rescued himself. Seeing him come alive again, with the help of his heroine, of course, is a beautiful (and sexy) thing. It makes for good reading, too!

Curl up with Sherriff Deputy Jason Belt, one of the characters in Rebecca Reilly’s new novel, Haunting Megan. Available on iBooks (http://bit.ly/HauntingMeganiBooks), Kindle (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MQA5YSU), Amazon (http://bit.ly/RReillyAmazonAuthor), and at other fine retailers.
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Published on August 26, 2014 15:23 • 48 views • Tags: cops, haunting-megan, police-officers, romance

August 15, 2014

I have to say, that question broadsided me. Not the question itself, but the tone in which my friend delivered it. I got the sense that by delving into fiction, by touching on a topic that may imply a spiritual realm surrounds us and influences us, she thought I’d cast my theology and my salvation out the window.

As a pastor, I had to stop, take a step back, and look at what I had written and why I had written it. This story, more than any other I’ve published, is close to my heart. Haunting Megan begins in my teenage home; the opening chapters are autobiographical. Writing them was therapy for me. Reading them provided therapy for my siblings. Much of my heroine's inner doubts and struggles were mine—as were her victories.

Haunting Megan did not begin as a ghost story. At the core, Haunting Megan is about a young girl broken by horrific tragedy, who fights for healing, and whose decisions and character are rooted in the events of her early childhood. Does she see ghosts? Yes. Are the ghosts real, or are they, as her counselor claims, a manifestation of the guilt she feels? That is something the reader has to decide.

Do I believe in ghosts? I believe in a spiritual world that surrounds us and encompasses both good and evil. I believe our spirit lives when our body fails. I believe there is so much more to God than we know, and more to being in His presence after death than we can understand.

Though Haunting Megan is not Christian fiction (it neither mentions nor promotes Christian theology), several themes run through the novel that I believe are consistent with my faith. We are all broken in different ways and need healing. Relationships need to be restored. Our past forms us but does not define us. And most importantly, love has power to heal.

So why should you read Haunting Megan? It’s a fun, entertaining, and yes—spooky read. At the heart, that’s what good fiction should be.

Haunting Megan is available for pre-order at
http://bit.ly/HauntingMeganiBooks
http://bit.ly/HauntingMeganAmazon
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MQA5YSU

Rebecca Reilly is a pastor and has worked in ministry for over thirty years. A passionate reader and writer, Rebecca took on four wildly different genres for her first five books – a murder mystery at sea (Into Dark Waters), a humorous look at sex and marriage (Diary of a Christian Woman: How I Used 50 Shades of Grey to Spice Up My Marriage), a children’s chapter book on bullying (The Geek Club under the pen name Becky Reilly), and two picture books (Jammers and His Flying Bed Adventure and Heart of a Kitty). She returned to the mystery/suspense genre for her sixth book (Haunting Megan).
You can follow Rebecca on Facebook (facebook.com/RebeccaLynnReilly), Twitter (twitter.com/RebeccaReillyL), Goodreads, and at www.rebeccareilly.net.
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Published on August 15, 2014 13:08 • 190 views • Tags: ghost, haunting-megan, novel, theology

August 13, 2014

The following interview was conducted on June 8, 2014 for a Northern California press release:

Tell us about your writing process. Did you map out all the details of your story in advance, or did your story evolve more organically?

I do not generally map out my stories. I love the creative freedom of organic writing. A conversation, a jog through the forest, or stumbling upon a new location triggers an idea. I dream through it, usually while I hike or jog. I want to know my key characters before I begin. But once I start, I am often surprised where my characters take me. Sticking to a map feels too much like writing a term paper.

The scenic mountain setting plays a huge role in your story. Were you inspired by any real-life locations?

Many of my favorite trails are in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. There is strength in the mountains. There are myriads of textures and all types of beauty. You can stand at a trailhead and choose very different journeys. And danger is always lurking. I like to think my characters take on one or two aspects of the environment in which they live.

Haunting Megan has some very dark themes: alcoholism, abuse, insanity, and murder. Is it a difficult or emotional experience to write about these topics?

It is always difficult to write when there is truth in the tragedy. Alcoholism ruins lives. Abuse ruins lives. But writing also heals. Reading can heal, too, or it can at least provide a needed escape from reality.

Are the events in Haunting Megan purely fictional, or did you draw from any real-life situations?

My mother was an abusive alcoholic, and many of the events of the opening chapters came from my childhood. I woke one night to my mother standing above me with a chef’s knife in her hand. Thinking back on those days definitely sparked the beginning ideas for Haunting Megan.

Where do you find inspiration for your characters?

Inspiration for characters bubbles and pops all around me! Sometimes, I see someone do something out of the ordinary at the grocery store and it sparks an idea. Sometimes a quirk in me, or someone I know, can develop into the basis for a character. Fortunately, there is so much good, so much evil, so much insanity in all of us that inspiration is not difficult to find.

Are there any characters in Haunting Megan to whom you particularly relate?

Much of Megan is modeled after me. Her insecurities, her brokenness, her need to protect are qualities that grew from my childhood. The love of a good man helped me see my value, accept my flaws, and grow into the woman I was created to be.

Tell us about your research process. What aspects of Haunting Megan required investigation and study?

Research is a big part of writing! I spent time in several mountain lodges and hiked many trails. I studied police procedures and psychiatric hospitals. But even little details, like what needs to be done to a motorcycle to make riding in winter feasible, and what wild animals do to dead bodies, need to be investigated.

Your books span a variety of genres. What draws you to the genre of romantic suspense? How does the experience of writing for this genre differ from writing comedic or children’s books?

When I have a few minutes to relax and unwind, my first choice is a good romantic suspense novel. When I hike or jog, I often ask myself, “What if…” questions that lead to plots of mystery and suspense.
I love to read and often devour over 1600 pages a week—so I explore a lot of different genres. I think the difference in writing varied genres comes not so much from the genre itself, but from the characters within that genre. The audience for whom I am writing plays a significant role, too. Creating a character for humor takes a sense of the ridiculous and a setting that matches. I’ll sound as crazy as some of my characters when I say this, but what and how I write comes down to the voice I hear in my head. I hear things differently depending on the character I’m writing, and the character depends on the genre. The mood, the tone of voice, and how I look at a setting all depend on how my characters feel. I even sit in a different body position depending on who is speaking in my writing.

Did your book change significantly in the rewriting process?

Absolutely! The story itself changes dramatically from dream to first draft (which is the fun of writing organically). My beta readers give me feedback that helps me know what aspects of the story I did not communicate well enough. And I get new ideas that help deepen characters, settings, mystery, humor, and more. My first book, “Into Dark Waters”, went through fourteen rewrites.

You have said that your characters sometimes surprised you and that you did not originally intend for this book to be a ghost story. Can you elaborate on your novel’s tendency to take on a life of its own?

The fact that my characters act and speak in ways I do not intend, surprises and delights me more than anything else in the creative process. I can’t explain it. I’ve tried to rewrite events to fit my idea, and my characters intrude even more forcefully. I rewrote the scene when the girls arrived at the lodge several times, and the ghost showed up in every edition. So I gave up and made Haunting Megan a ghost story…or is it?

What, in your opinion, is the message in Haunting Megan? Is there a lesson you wish to share with your readers?

The Bible says to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:39). “As yourself” means loving yourself comes first—before you can love another with the depth and feeling healthy love should have.
You have the potential to do great things, to love grandly, to live well. You are gifted, talented, and worthy of love. It does not matter how the world has abused you, or what society says about you, you are worthy to be loved. Finding the grace God offers you, finding the wonders He designed in you, those things open up your world. Healthy relationships, whether they are between siblings, friends, or romantic, depend on you knowing your value. Love yourself and live in the confidence of knowing you are worth loving.


About the Author

Rebecca Reilly is a pastor and has been working in ministry for over thirty years. A wife and mother of two and grandmother of one, Rebecca enjoys hiking, jogging, and taking cruises. When she’s in her Northern California home, she works as a pastor of student ministries, a massage therapist, a health coach, and a writer. Rebecca enjoys writing mysteries (Into Dark Waters and Haunting Megan), but has also written humor (Diary of a Christian Woman: How I Used 50 Shades of Grey to Spice Up My Marriage), a children’s chapter book (The Geek Club), and two picture books (Heart of a Kitty and Jammers and His Flying Bed Adventure). Right now, Rebecca is working on follow-up novels in all four genres.
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Published on August 13, 2014 14:03 • 77 views • Tags: author-interview, character-inspiration, writing-as-healing, writing-process

August 2, 2014

Pre-order HAUNTING MEGAN this weekend, email me your receipt, and I'll send you a coupon for a free download of INTO DARK WATERS.
http://bit.ly/HauntingMeganiBooks

After suffering years of abuse at the hands of her alcoholic mother, Megan wakes to screams, cries of murder, and the room splattered with blood. Sent to the mountains to live with the grandfather who’d once abandoned them, Megan must learn to care for her young sisters and manage Wind Hollow Lodge. Megan tries to ignore the haunting memories of her past as she struggles to live a normal life. But she can’t ignore the ghosts who terrorize her, nor can she calm the fear that her sanity is slipping away. When deputies discover the bodies of men murdered on Wind Hollow land, people start to wonder just how crazy Megan Wilson really is.
The investigation at Wind Hollow Lodge is just another case to Deputy Jason Belt—until he sees Megan. Drawn to her beauty and her wounded spirit, his oath to protect and serve takes on new meaning. But why did she lie to him? What does she have to hide?
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Published on August 02, 2014 11:34 • 49 views • Tags: ghost, mystery, new-book, pre-order

July 30, 2014

Just before my seventeenth birthday, I woke to my mother standing above me with a chef's knife raised and ready to plunge. I screamed. She lowered the knife and walked out of my bedroom without saying a word.

It wasn't the first time she'd raised a weapon, or her fists, against me. No, never when she was sober. But sobriety and my mother didn't often meet.

I moved out the next morning and spent the rest of my senior year of high school sleeping on my best friend's floor.

Abuse warps, twists and changes the inner child into something different, not less, than who that child was created to be. Without love, support, healing, and letting go of the pain and bitterness, the twisting can destroy.

But with love, support, healing, and letting go, the twisting spurs growth and strength. I was blessed. My neighbor cared for me, my friend gave me a place to sleep, my drive got me through college, my husband proved to me I was worthy to be loved, and I found a passage of scripture (Psalm 139) that gave me hope.

There were times I had to force myself to take the next step. I transferred colleges because I started drinking too much and realized I was following my mother's path. I wrote my blessings and my strengths down in a journal when I felt humiliated and worthless. I focused on the future when I was tempted to bury myself in the past.

It took people to build me up from the outside, and discipline and faith to build up my soul.

My latest book, Haunting Megan, begins in my teenage home; the opening chapters are autobiographical. Writing them was therapy for me. Reading them provided therapy for my siblings. Much of my heroine's inner doubts and struggles were mine. As were her victories.

The ghosts and murders are just for fun.

Haunting Megan is available for pre-order at iBooks (http://bit.ly/HauntingMeganiBooks) and at Amazon (http://bit.ly/HauntingMeganAmazon)
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Published on July 30, 2014 17:49 • 406 views • Tags: abuse, alcoholism, ghost, haunting-megan, healing