‘The sex-starved marriage” TED talk by Michele Weiner Davis
Excellent reasons why one should not reject their spouse.
Here is a good discussion on teaching children about sex:
There are several video segments and I encourage you to watch them all.
To move on to your second question – “How do you handle yourself and deal with how you feel so that you can make better decisions for your life?” Again, I repeat my first bit of advice to you – it is imperative that you figure out that your sexuality really is a wonderful gift from God. Then you move on to figure out how God wants you to use this gift he has given you – what are the boundaries that He wants you to place around it to help you enjoy this gift to it’s fullest.
Masturbation is a tricky subject in the LDS church. I personally see it as a grey area – something that one should be careful with, but is not always wrong. Many LDS members see it as a black and white area – that it is always wrong. You have to figure out what YOUR own beliefs are concerning this subject.
I personally do not believe that what you did as a child was sinful. I believe it was simple curiosity and a natural occurrence for you as a part of your growing up process – the process of learning about and exploring your own body. I think it happens to many children. Those who are taught and accept it as the natural occurrence it is, those who are not made to feel bad or evil for doing it – seem to be more sexually well adjusted adults. Those who are made to feel guilty and dirty for doing it, often have problems with sex as adults. That says a lot to me. What does that tell you?
I also personally do not believe that your current masturbation to relieve your “stress” now and then is evil and sinful either. I believe it CAN be a problem IF it becomes an obsession and a habit that you can not control and channel and IF it keeps you from living a happy productive life and/or keeps you from doing other things you want to do. For someone who is not married, masturbation can possibly be a problem if it keeps their sexual feelings and desires fueled so much so that it is hard to control themselves when they are tempted to be with others sexually. You say “Sometimes I stress relieve and I don’t feel bad. I don’t feel the spirit any less around me.” So if these issues are not the case for you with masturbation, then I personally would say move on to working on something that IS causing a REAL problem in your life. However, this is MY opinion and is based on MY beliefs of what God’s boundaries are. You need to figure out for yourself what YOU believe is God’s boundaries for YOU.
The best place to seek guidance about the amazing gift of sexuality is from our Creator, Himself – the one who gave us this gift in the first place – through sincere prayer. We can and should also seek to learn from the wise counsel and experiences of others we trust and know have our best interest at heart, so that we can avoid some of life’s painful lessons ourselves. But even with those we trust – we need to be careful to weed out any faulty thinking patterns concerning sex that they may passing on to us!
My advice to you is to study and pray to figure out for yourself what God’s boundaries are concerning sex – or in other words what he has commanded us concerning sexual activity. Read what the prophets have taught – (be sure to keep what they say in context – asking yourself who they are speaking to and why). Read what the current prophet teaches. Can what they teach also be found in the scriptures? Read what the scriptures teach. Identify what God has specifically commanded in regard to sex and sexual activity and then focus on following those commandments. In my opinion, there are many additional limitations on sexual behavior that have been/are taught in the church which suggest stricter and more narrow boundaries for our sexual behavior than the commandments. Some of these teachings have even been addressed with church policy in the past – in what I believe is a lofty effort to help us better live God’s commandments from God. The bottom line for me though – is that we are accountable to God on how we follow and live His commandments – so it His commandments that we should most carefully follow. If other, stricter teachings and limitations are a help in one’s lives – great, use them. But if not – then go back to concentrating on the actual commandments instead.
During your research – Ask yourself questions like – What is the boundary that is being suggested? Does that boundary make sense to me? Does it serve a real purpose to help me in some way? Does the boundary contribute to keeping the actual commandments from God concerning sex? Will I be happier if I implement that boundary? What does my heart tell me is right and wrong (be careful to weed out the false messages you have accumulated before answering this particular question). Then take your conclusions to God and ask Him if your conclusions are right and in line with His will for your life. If you get a feeling they are not – start the process over again.
Once you have a strong conviction on what you truly believe is right and wrong and you believe God has confirmed your beliefs, then live your life with moral integrity by choosing to stay within those boundaries. Not out of fear or guilt – but instead choose to implement those boundaries in your life because YOU know in YOUR heart it is the right thing for you to do or not do and is what will help you to be a happier and more productive person, while still embracing the gift God has given you. If/when you slip up – repent – and move forward. Don’t beat yourself up – it serves no purpose. We Mormons have perfected the practice of holding on to guilt and beating ourselves up over and over. This practice needs to be eradicated in my opinion.
I believe it is also important for you to read about God’s gift of sex and seek knowledge about your body. There are many good books and other media available to you. The above book mentioned – “Women’s Anatomy of Arousal” by Sheri Winston – is a good one to learn about the amazing creation of God that your body truly is – but be careful with some “anything goes” thinking that sometimes crops up in it. Take a look at my resource section. I especially recommend that you get Dr. Laura Brotherson’s book – “And they were not ashamed” if you don’t already have it. Dr.Jennifer Finlayson-Fife has written some excellent articles and podcasts addressing Mormon issues with sex . There are also many excellent Christian books about sex on the market. I believe that the more you understand your body and how everything works – the more you know about your sexuality – the easier it is to figure out how to control and channel your sexual feelings and desires – and to keep them within the appropriate bounds.
Along with studying and learning about your sexuality and your body – continue to also work on your spiritual side. Study and learn about God – and Jesus Christ. At this time, I think it is extremely important for you to work hard on seeing yourself as They see you – love yourself as They love you. Forgive yourself because They forgive you. Make changes in your life when necessary. Accept the beautiful daughter of God that you are! Remember, God wants you to be happy and to have joy! Stop beating yourself up and try to embrace the happiness you are meant to have.
Life is a process of learning. Learning is a life long process full of making mistakes. Mistakes can be good experiences, if we learn from them and make appropriate changes so we don’t make the same mistakes again. Understanding ourselves, understanding and learning about our sexuality is all a part of the life long process. WE can choose to make it a joyful process. I know – simple in theory, hard in application – but, I promise you – it is doable. Just keep trying! I am here if you ever want or need to talk more.
I know, I know – it’s been a while! You could say I am in a sort of sex slump! Time to pull myself up and get out of it!
Here is an article on some ideals on how to do that! I’ll let you know if any of them work! lol
At least I have a holiday weekend to do some mojo work!!
I recently started reading the book “Women’s Anatomy of Arousal” by Sheri Winston. While I have not finished it yet, I have read enough to conclude this is a must read for all women and men. Here is part of the Amazon description of this book:
“WINNER, 2010 BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD! THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF SEX EDUCATORS, COUNSELORS & THERAPISTS (AASECT). Find out why Dr. Christiane Northrup has called Women’s Anatomy of Arousal “the most comprehensive, user-friendly, practical and uplifting book on women’s sexuality I’ve ever read. It’s the gold standard!” Women have a largely unknown network of structures responsible for arousal and orgasm that their owners and even most medical professionals don’t know about. We’re not just talking about Ye Olde G-Spot here. Women have an entire erectile network that, if properly stimulated, can elevate their erotic experience from “Oh!” to “Oh! Oh! Oh!” Join celebrated sexuality teacher Sheri Winston as she integrates ancient wisdom, lost knowledge and modern sexuality information in a sexy, fun, empowering guidebook that illuminates every woman’s secret paths to fabulous, orgasmically abundant sex. Whether you’re a woman or a man who loves women, this book is for you! There’s great information here, but that’s not why Winston wrote the book. She wrote it to transform people’s lives and support them to reclaim their erotic birthright. And what she shares works! When people apply the information and techniques she provides, the result is often a whole new level of sexual pleasure.”
Sexual anatomy of women is seldom taught in our society, and when it is, it’s often taught incorrectly. As I read through this book, I was surprised that I often felt like I was reading about parts of my body for the very first time, although I know I have read other books that contained some of the same info.
Also while reading the book I was reminded that not only did God create the perfect body parts for the pro-creation process, but He also created the perfect body parts that all work together to allow women to feel amazing sexual pleasure, as much, if not more than men feel. In reflecting on this process necessary for these body parts to work their magic, I could more clearly see how the sexual process, when allowed to all work together properly, has the potential to contribute to building a strong and binding connection between spouses, if they learn to use their sexuality and bodies together wisely and often.
Here is a small sample of just how wondrous and amazing women’s sexual organs are and how they work. Always remember the fact that this very intriguing and intricate system, including the pleasure aspect, was created by God.
Women have erectile tissues just like men. Men’s erectile tissues in the penis work as a single unit and the action of these valves are coordinated – which allows the penis to become erect, stay erect. and then release in the refractory period. Women’s erectile valves don’t require coordinated effort and it’s not one functional unit. Instead they have different compartments that can work together or independently. Which is why women don’t have refractory periods and can have prolonged and multiple orgasms. The book describes all the areas that erectile tissue is located, but let’s only touch on two of the areas for now.
The Vestibular Bulbs are two big tear drop shaped wads of erectile tissue that are located beneath the labial lips, on both sides of the vaginal orifice and are connected to the shaft of the clitoris. (The book describes them as surrounding the vagina entrance as “a pair of plump parentheses”) When they become erect, they help intercourse to feel more pleasurable to women. Sheri Winston suggests that if women are having vaginal penetrations without puffy (erect) bulbs – they are doing it before their body is ready and is why it may not feel that good. Just like a man’s erection is needed for his enjoyment of intercourse – a woman’s erection of the bulbs is needed in order for the women to get the most enjoyment out of sexual penetration. She writes “I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s so important it bears repeating. Never let anything enter your pussy before you’re ready. Don’t accept penetration of any sort unless it’s feeling fabulous. It’s your job to take care of yourself by being very attuned to your own readiness and response. Just because he’s hard and ready doesn’t mean it’s time to let him in. Always pay attention to your own arousal and readiness and base what your do on that, not on your assessment of what he wants.” During most of my marriage, intercourse always occurred and often still occurs when I am not fully aroused. This is not my husband’s fault, as I have most of the control of when he enters me. I often encourage him to enter me when I am not aroused. I did not understand what arousal did to my vaginal area, to these bulbs. Is it any wonder that sexual intercourse has been the least enjoyable part of sex for me? I now know better!
The “G spot” is another area of erectile tissue found in the vaginal area that can also contribute to a women’s pleasurable feelings during intercourse. It is often described on many sites as a “dime-sized spot” on the top side of the vagina wall. Sheri says that description isn’t really correct, instead It’s a cylinder – a tube of erectile tissue that surrounds the urethral canal. The “spot” that is always referred to as the “G spot” is actually the underside of the cylinder that can be felt through the front part of the top wall of the vagina. Because it is made up of erectile tissue and usually only feels good when engorged, if a women is not aroused, there is not much there for her to feel. So again, we see the importance of arousal before intercourse.
An interesting tidbit on the “G spot” is that not only can this area feel pleasurable when erect – it also serves an important purpose during the sexual act. It cushions the sensitive urethra from the mechanics of intercourse and when erect the spongy cylinder narrows the urethral opening, decreasing the chances of bacteria entering that causes painful UT infections to develop. While there is no scientific proof, Sheri believes the fluid often expressed when squirting, may contain an antibacterial component too.
In a society where a great deal of our education about sex comes from books, movies, TV, porn, etc. which mostly focuses on the act of sexual intercourse as the main and most important event, it’s easy to see from the above how not knowing and understanding women’s anatomy and how to arouse them, especially before intercourse, can keep many women from realizing sexual enjoyment and reaching their true sexual potential. This is even more true in the LDS culture where almost all sexual education seems to be shied away from. In marriages where sexual encounters consist of very little foreplay (especially the right kind of foreplay), and usually consists of only intercourse, and some stimulation to the clitoris (if the women is lucky), is it a wonder that women are not all that interested in sex much of the time. This is not the fault of most men, women also are as equally uneducated about their own bodies. The sad reality is many women and men just don’t know better. But with this book and all the good info and tips in it – we now have no excuse for not knowing better! Now all we need to do is get this book into the hands of others. This post serves as my effort to do just that!
If you have read this book already or if you get it to read, please come back and share what you learned from it and some of your thoughts.
I posted a new link in the Resources area – Making Marriages More Passionate: Courses Taught By LDS Therapist Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife
Dr Fife is a psychotherapist and is a member of the LDS church. She has put together some video courses that you can purchase and work through at home to strengthen your marriage. Right now she is having a sale on them. I do not have any experience with these courses, but I have read some of her articles and listened to some of her podcasts and so far have been impressed by what I have read and heard.
Here is an interview with her printed in “The Mormon Women Project”.
A friend shared this link on Facebook, “Abstinence is unrealistic and old-fashioned”. It was nice to see young people speaking up for what they believe, even when it flies against the perceived “norm”. I was bothered by the comments attributed to the health teacher and loved some of the sarcastic remarks from Matt concerning her views – like this one “So, Mrs. Health Teacher has singlehandedly declared sexual morality dead, has she? With one scoff and wave of her wand she’s buried thousands of years of insight into the topic? Anyone who advocates such things must be “old” and “out dated”?
And then Matt goes on to say “God forgive me, I’m not old-fashioned at all. I don’t think you are, either. Truth only seems old-fashioned nowadays because we’ve grown so accustomed to deceit and manipulation. But Truth is eternal, so it can never be old or new. It never ‘was’ or ‘will be.’ It just ‘is.’ It always ‘is.’ Truth never grows old, and if you believe in it and try to live by it, you will always be, in some ways — the only ways that matter — the youngest, freshest, most energetic rebel on the block.
So here’s the point, Jeremy:
Our culture tells a lot of lies about sex. Your teacher is one of the liars.”
What are your thoughts on this post? Did you like Matt’s response to Jeremy? Do you agree with Matt? Is it weird for young people to want to wait until marriage before they have sex? Is it unrealistic and old-fashioned to think sex belongs in marriage and should not be a “casual” activity? Is this health teacher’s lessons on sex an example of what is being taught to our youth these days? How can we counter these kinds of messages and teachings, yet at the same time teach our youth a positive perspective about sex within the proper bounds of marriage?
In the early part of my marriage, I listened to a talk given by our Stake President’s wife at a women’s conference. Her talk was about marital relationships and she touched briefly upon physical intimacy. While I remember very little about most of her talk, this brief part stuck in my mind. I still remember it vividly. Basically, she said that most young couples embarking on marriage do not need to seek outside education concerning sex. It was not necessary to read “how to” books or talk to others to figure out how it works. Instead most couples living the gospel would develop close physical intimacy over time by coming together in their innocence, learning and opening up emotionally with each other through their own exploration and communication with each other, discovering sex together by experiencing it, and praying for God’s help when necessary. I remember being a little uncomfortable with her message that learning about sex, including reading “how to” books was not only unnecessary but also was not really a good ideal. I think in her generation there were many who believed the same misguided philosophy – including my parents.
Before my wedding, I received very little sexual instruction from my parents, possibly because I was already pregnant (oops) and they figured I knew enough already. They had opted me out of school sex education, so the only formal education I had on the subject was presented in a very clinical and limited form in biology class by a cranky old spinster high school teacher. I also managed to pick up a few bits and pieces of titillating facts from my friends, TV, and movies (we did not have personal computers in those days). My husband was raised with a similar lack of sex education. Our attraction and hormones helped us figure out how to accomplish “the deed” and we thought we knew all we needed to know about sex at the time. Actually, we were quite ignorant about it.
When troubles began to surface after we were married, we never considered seeking help or reading books to learn more, and there was no-one that we felt we could talk too. We just ignored the issues. Later on we bought some “safe” marital relationship books that proved to be not very helpful with the sexual relationship part. While I had discovered how to have orgasms from clitoral stimulation during masturbation in my youth, I did not learn what the clitoris was or it’s name until several years after I got married. Hubby figured out that I felt pleasure when he touched me in certain places, but for the most part he thought women felt pleasure and climaxed through intercourse the same as men. I thought I should respond that way too – but I didn’t. I was extremely naïve and had little knowledge about my own sexuality and the role it could and should play in my marriage, and was even more clueless about my husband’s sexuality and his needs. My lack of knowledge left me ripe for the negative attitudes I picked up and bought into which caused a lot of problems within my marriage. But that was not the full extent of the damage!
Lack of sex education not only affected me and my husband, our lack of knowledge and negative conditioning was also passed down to our children. We taught them what we believed and what we knew about sex mostly through our own discomfort and embarrassed attitudes. While we made a shallow attempt to teach them more about sex than our parents did – providing them with some books to read, along with having a few uncomfortable talks – all of it followed the context of don’t, don’t, don’t!! In some ways the current generation of LDS youth and young adults are way more educated about sexual mechanics and behavior than my generation, however for the most part I think as a society, we are still doing a very poor job of giving them a proper education on this subject and they are just as naïve about the complexities of sexuality and have as many hang ups as past generations.
I have come to the conclusion over the years that the advice given by the Stake President’s wife was extremely bad advice, and that kind of attitude is actually destructive to marriages. From my experience and from all the readings that I have done after opening back up sexually, I now believe sex education for young teens and adults is extremely important in helping them to grow and develop into healthy and mature sexual adults. We create an environment of sex being looked upon as “illicit”, “dirty”, and “evil” when we avoid or refuse to discuss it with our youth. Many believe the more you talk about sex with young people, the more they will be tempted to have sex. I have heard many young adults say they were advised not to talk about sex or read about it after they got engaged because it would make them too horny and tempt them to break the law of chastity. I don’t believe proper sex education causes people to be tempted – in fact I think it’s just the opposite. The more we teach about sex and sexuality, especially in the context of true Christian doctrine: how our bodies function and mature, that God created sex for the purposes of procreation AND marital pleasure and bonding, that sex is not illicit, dirty, or evil, but rather is a divine and wonderful gift within the proper limits of marital relationships, that our bodies (both men and women’s) were created by God to desire and feel sexual pleasure, that frequent sex has an extremely important and healthy place in marriage, that there is an important emotional aspect of intimacy and sex, etc. etc. – the more likely youth are to be less curious about it and will understand the reasons for not having sex before marriage and will more likely want to choose that path.
The people that I have come across, both men and women, who have the healthiest sexual attitudes and marriage are ones whose parents were very open in teaching them about their bodies and sex at a very early age. Their parents talked openly and honestly about sex and sexuality. They answered any and all questions their children asked, always providing a clear perspective, including the importance of sex within committed relationships. These parents were not ashamed about the topic of sex, or about their bodies, and were not ashamed to admit they liked sex and had it frequently, while also establishing the proper privacy boundaries concerning it. These parents did not shame their children for their budding curiosity nor did they shame them for their sexual feelings. Guilt was not their form of teaching, rather they taught them with positive messages – about the normalcy of sexual development and the importance of emotional maturity, along with the importance and advantages of making wise choices and understanding responsibility concerning their developing sexuality. These children, now confident adults, are teaching their children in the same manner.
In order for us to teach our children in a healthy way, we as parents have to be educated and have healthy attitudes about sex and sexuality. This is just one more reason for all LDS women and men to learn to embrace their own sexuality and to explore it and learn about it as much as possible (within God’s boundaries) – so that they can help educate and pass down a healthy understanding and appreciation of sex to their children. Just think of the difference we can make, not only in our own marriages, but especially in the future marriages of our children and in the generations to come. It is often said that education can cure many of society’s ills. Perhaps unhealthy marital sexual attitudes is one ill we can do away with through more education – starting with educating ourselves.
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