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09.2007 And They Were Not Ashamed: Strengthening Marriage Through Sexual Fulfillment

And They Were Not Ashamed: Strengthening Marriage Through Sexual Fulfillment

By Laura M. Brotherson

Finally! a book about physical intimacy and marital oneness that is comprehensive, in-depth and frank, yet respectfully reverent while shining a light into the mysteries of the female heart and mind. And They Were Not Ashamed—Strengthening Marriage through Sexual Fulfillment is the ultimate how-to handbook–power-packed with hope and help for creating a mutually fulfilling intimate relationship.

As three books in one, this “marriage book,” “sex book,” and “parenting book”:

  • Shines light and truth on the intimate marital relationship
  • Effectively addresses, with solutions, the emotional, spiritual and physical intimacy issues that plague many marriages
  • Provides principles to help parents teach and prepare their children for lasting fulfillment in marriage and intimacy.
{ 55 comments… add one }
  • agardner September 2, 2007, 1:46 pm

    Is this the book club selection for September? If so, yay!! A book I already have and have started reading! For once I’ll be on track with everyone else. :bigsmile:

  • Alison Moore Smith September 2, 2007, 1:50 pm

    Sorry, agardner, I fixed the category now. Yes, it’s the September selection at Michelle’s request, wasn’t it?

    I still have to get mine. I’ll order it tomorrow and it should be here by Wednesday. Go ahead and get us going on the discussion!

  • ChanJo September 2, 2007, 9:50 pm

    What do you all think of the good girl syndrome talked about in the book?

    I don’t get it. I was taught not to have sex before marriage but I don’t know how anyone thinks that means sex is bad before and after marriage. My mom also made me wait until after dinner to have dessert, but I didn’t get all weirded out when the chocolate cake came around and refuse to have any because having it before was bad.

    And as long as we’re reading a sex book ha ha I’m glad you chose this instead of Purity and Passion. I really don’t want advice on sex in marriage from someone who had never been married or had sex when she wrote it.

    I wonder what kinds of google ads we’re going to get on this post?

  • agardner September 2, 2007, 10:01 pm

    lol on the google ads!

    Good girl syndrome…I do think it exists for some people, but I also think Brotherson overdoes it a little bit. I think more than anything Mormon girls may lack knowledge of sexual technique, or the belief that they can and should enjoy it – but not necessarily that they are “bad” for wanting or enjoying sex.

    I do have a friend that I think is pretty classic good girl syndrome – she pretty much thinks that sex is just for when you want a baby, and at that it doesn’t necessarily need to be an enjoyable experience. This is the way she was taught and pretty much the way her mom was too! I do like how Brotherson gives scriptural/doctrinal backup that this should be something that is pleasurable and enjoyable as well as fulfilling a purpose.

    I haven’t picked up the book in a couple of weeks – I started it and then my integrity book finally came so I got into that, and then I started another book and got into that…I’m too fickle that way! But I’ll get back into it and give more thought to it now that it is a book club selection.

  • mlinford September 2, 2007, 11:21 pm

    I agree that Brotherson overdoes it, although I do think it does happen to more people than we might suspect.

  • momof2 September 3, 2007, 7:45 am

    When I got married, women came out of the woodwork to warn me that I should be prepared, because “women don’t like sex, but men have to have it, so we have to put up with it.” I only had one married friend who admitted she liked it, but then she told me her husband didn’t and she was in despair over it. Even my sister-in-law saw fit to set me down and explain how yucky the whole process was, but that a shower afterward to get the yuck off you really helped a lot. :shocked: (That was so weird – sooooo TMI. *shudder* My poor brother.)

    The ironic thing, to me, was that I was in my 30’s when I got married, so I’m not sure why so many people seemed to think I still needed a helpful talk about the birds and the bees. Being faithful to my covenants didn’t mean I had to be completely ignorant, after all. I had a pretty clear idea of what was involved and I was absolutely positive that I wasn’t going to be someone who had to “put up with it”.

  • Alison Moore Smith September 11, 2007, 5:55 pm

    I LOVE this book. I just got it today and spent about an hour scanning through. Kind of got bogged down in the early pages, seemingly trying to convince me that good sex was a good thing. Uh, duh! But what I learned so far is (1) an appreciation of the mindset of some of those who just aren’t into sex–something that has just seemed almost nutty to me and (2) a great resource to help others–it’s hard to give good advice when all you can think of is, “Are you kidding???”

  • Alison Moore Smith September 15, 2007, 12:51 am

    So, you’re all too ashamed to speak up???

    I did not pick this book, so you all need to come in here and talk about it! :bigsmile:

  • SilverRain September 15, 2007, 8:48 am

    I’m afraid I’m not reading the book this month. I would like to, but haven’t found it and I don’t have the cash to buy. Otherwise, I’d be talking about it. Sorry.

  • Alison Moore Smith September 16, 2007, 9:29 pm

    So, Silver, the guilt trip didn’t work? 😉

    Just wanted to post a quick thought. I really like the chapter on sexual differences. Here’s the one I’d love to hear a discussion about, for two reasons: (1) because it reminds me of some of things that we discussed in the Proper Care book, (2) I think this is generally true and can really lead to a vicious cycle in marriage.

    Men need sex to feel love; women need love to desire sex

    What do you think?

  • jennycherie September 16, 2007, 10:54 pm

    Okay, I don’t have this book BUT I think this is a stereotype. Okay, I admit it, everything looks like a stereotype to me right now. I had to grade 42 compositions about stereotypes this weekend. Just the same, I really do think this is a stereotype. It goes hand in hand with “men want it all the time” and ‘women want to cuddle after sex”. I do think that sex in a marriage increases the feelings of love. . . but then again, so does doing the dishes and folding the laundry!

  • mlinford September 16, 2007, 11:10 pm

    I think there is danger in holding to differences to solve problems, although I think it can be helpful as part of the process of really learning to come together as one. I admit; I’m an idealist in a big way about this topic, but I don’t believe we are meant to stay defined by our differences. I believe there are differences for a reason, but they exist to help us come together. If knowledge of the differences helps us come together, great. But too often, I think it can end up being a competition of needs, and that is bad.

    It’s why I really hate Dr. Laura’s approach to solving sexual problems in a marriage. “Give your hubby 15 minutes a day and then he will be nice to you.” While I think it’s important for women not to use sex as a manipulative tool (“I won’t give it until you show love”), on the other hand, I don’t think it’s right for men to be absolved of their responsibility to be good and kind husbands because their needs aren’t met. I really, really, really don’t believe that this is the ultimate way a marriage is supposed to be. It’s supposed to eventually transcend individual needs and exist as a unit.

    See? I told you I am an idealist. So now that you know that, I realize that each couple has to figure out the process to get from where they are now to the ideal of a Christlike marriage, regardless of needs. But I believe love, sex and whatever else will flow from a marriage that is centered on Christlike living much better than being centered on whose needs aren’t being met or whose needs need to be met first.

    Ahem. Stepping off my soapbox now….

  • momof2 September 17, 2007, 6:36 am

    I hold to the 100/100 view of marriage. I try to meet my husband’s needs without keeping track of how many times he’s met my needs. I try to catch myself if I’m feeling resentful and wanting to “short” him in some area because I feel neglected in another area. I have found that doing good to him, regardless of how I might feel at the time, does help me to love him more – and I’ll often look back later and see just how petty an incident my anger was based on.

    Looking just at the area of physical intimacy – honestly, I can’t help feeling that it’s my job to get myself “in the mood.” Not as a matter of duty, but as a way of using my agency. It feels to me that being passive about intimacy – saying, “Make me feel loved, do this or that, and then I’ll be in the mood,” – is a form of forfeiting my agency. That would be taking a wonderful gift and placing all responsibility for it in my husband’s hands, when it’s mine – my feelings, my body. Of course, it’s not like there are any problems in our marriage that would keep me from feeling loving toward him and I don’t have any reasons to want to keep an emotional barrier between us. He’s a good man and works hard to be a good husband and a good father. I know he loves me and that our marriage is one of his highest priorities. Physical intimacy is just one more way for both of us to express all that – the love, the commitment, the priority to our relationship. If all that I am dealing with is a feeling of not being particularly interested – well, then, I can do something about that, can’t I? And being willing to make the effort to get in the mood is just one more way of being loving toward him.

  • Alison Moore Smith September 17, 2007, 10:09 am

    I’m rather confused about these responses. I don’t have any problem with them, I just don’t understand them much in context of what I posted. Unless you’re all just responding generally and not specifically to my post?

    jennycherie, I would disagree that they are stereotypes. They are generalizations that sometimes don’t fit, but there is NO WAY to describe a “gender difference” or ANY kind of general group differentiation without using a generality. I don’t think this is a stereotype because I don’t think it’s really oversimplified or overemphasized. I think it’s almost always true and so it is helpful to understand that general difference. Of course, if it doesn’t really apply to YOU, then ignore it. But I think it’s something that applies to so very many that it can be very helpful.

    Michelle, I didn’t see anything about “holding to gender differences” in the book. To me it’s about understanding gender differences and accommodating your spouses reasonable differences. Although I haven’t read it, I think this goes along with the huge popularity of Men are from Mars; Women are from Venus. I believe there are some typical gender differences and that often we just don’t understand “the other side.” Sometimes just having it explained is a serious lightbulb moment. “THAT’s what she thinks?!!!”

    Look at the Proclamation, for instance. Gender differences are pointed out. We aren’t expected to get rid of those that are appropriate or reasonable. I agree that it shouldn’t be a competition. Did you think the book was saying that or just giving some insight on that issue?

    momof2, I agree that women should not be passive about intimacy and, extending that thought, that neither spouse should have some scorecard or base their own giving based on their perceived giving from the other.

    The book does, however, talk in depth about how men’s PHYSICAL needs are generally more easily met than women’s and, so, that might require some extra care on the man’s part. I think this is extremely important.

    Some of you are too young to remember the more rigid statements in regard to married sex that our church, and pretty much every other Christian church, used to impose or imply. Hopefully you won’t find this too graphic (it’s not nearly as graphic as the book), the Bible commands married people to have sex (for procreation). Since men always reach orgasm in the act of procreation, it’s obvious that it’s religiously acceptable for the men to be sexually satisfied. But since, according to the book, most women need more than just straight sex to have an orgasm–and since many past direct and indirect comments and implications have seemed to look down on anything except straight sex–it’s often been seen as extraneous or unnecessary to make sure the woman has an orgasm. So being very direct in saying that, generally speaking, it’s important for BOTH the woman and the man to be satisfied. And, again, since the man is generally satisfied just as a matter of course, the woman’s needs might require greater consideration, or time, or thought, or stimulation, or whatever. That’s a difference that is important to understand and is almost always true.

    I like the difference I quoted above because I think realizing that this might well be true in your own marriage can really open your eyes. It’s almost as if God designed both of us in a way that requires us to GIVE to the other person before we can GET what we need. I think women very often wait around for their husbands to be adoring and doting, so that they feel like giving them sex. Men, on the other hand, often want sex, knowing that that sexy wife will lead them to falling all over themselves for her. So each holds their own position–often not even understanding what the other is waiting for–and they go nowhere at all. Usually, it just takes ONE of them to “get it” to break that log jam free. Who cares who gets it first? :bigsmile:

  • mlinford September 17, 2007, 1:13 pm

    Men need sex to feel love; women need love to desire sex
    I didn’t see anything about “holding to gender differences” in the book.

    The line is a gender difference that is often emphasized (in general) to a fault, IMO. I think she has some good insights in the book. I like the leap of faith element for women, and I agree that it can be helpful for couples who don’t get the differences to be aware of them.

    But I was responding more to the general ideas like this and how they become popuar, sometimes to a fault, and become excuses for patterns of behavior rather than facilitators that help improve a marriage and get couples beyond their differences. I’m not a fan of the Mars-Venus thing in the ideal; although it can indeed lead to a light-bulb moment, but to what end? I think that sometimes in our culture there is too much emphasis on the differences. You have talked about this yourself — women sitting around making fun of their husbands and how ‘different’ or ‘male’ they are.

    As to comments about church teachings: I suppose I can see how people could take the older comments about sex = procreation as minimizing female pleasure. But I’d never really thought about it in that way before. That’s probably because we had a friend who pointed us to The Act of Marriage that helped us have a good perspective from the get-go that this experience was about both of us. I think books like these are good for that reason. But I really don’t think that there are many people around who think that sex is supposed to only be pleasurable for the man.

    I like the difference I quoted above because I think realizing that this might well be true in your own marriage can really open your eyes. It’s almost as if God designed both of us in a way that requires us to GIVE to the other person before we can GET what we need.

    THIS I agree with and was actually sort of what I was trying to get at. You just said it a lot better than I! And while it’s true that it only takes one to break the cycle of waiting, my point is that the ideal would be that both would be striving toward this at the same time. In that sense, though, Dr. Laura has a point. She is usually talking to women and basically tells them that they have the ability to change negative cycles. I just prefer it when it’s recognized that sex isn’t a right for a man, and a man doesn’t NEED sex to be a good, nice guy…just as a woman can realize that she doesn’t need to have everything rosey and lovey before engaging in intimacy. There is a leap of faith involved for both partners in a truly equal relationship. 100%-100% is a good way to sum it up.

  • Alison Moore Smith September 17, 2007, 2:33 pm

    Posted By: mlinfordI think that sometimes in our culture there is too much emphasis on the differences. You have talked about this yourself — women sitting around making fun of their husbands and how ‘different’ or ‘male’ they are.

    I haven’t read Mars/Venus, btw. I don’t really know that we put too much emphasis on the differences though. I think our culture often won’t even acknowledge them, as if doing so means one is superior to the other. I don’t think that’s really related to my complaint about women gossiping really. I just think it’s ratty to rag on your spouse to other people, even if it’s about your husband being too sensitive. :bigsmile:

    As to comments about church teachings: I suppose I can see how people could take the older comments about sex = procreation as minimizing female pleasure. But I’d never really thought about it in that way before.

    The older comments did talk about sex = procreation, but they also talked a lot about appropriate/inappropriate behaviors, positions, etc. For example, this book talks specifically about clitoral stimulation, which, being unessential to procreation used to be (by many) lumped into the family of masturbation and/or digital/oral stimulation which are/were proscribed specifically by lots of leaders.

    This used to be much more noticeable. There was an official letter in the 80’s about it. Anyone have a reference?

    But I really don’t think that there are many people around who think that sex is supposed to only be pleasurable for the man.

    I agree if you mean that the most men don’t say, “I should be the only one enjoying it.” I disagree if you mean that most men say, “Whatever it takes to make my woman happy.”

    Brotherson discusses this in a way, when she says that the idea that men want more sex than women is a myth. She says that it SEEMS that way because the complexity of female sexual satisfaction (vs. male) is enough of a barrier that women often simply end up unsatisfied and, so, not as likely to be interested. She said if women were satisfied more often, they would likely be proven to be the MORE sexual gender.

    I’m not paraphrasing that well, but it’s in the first item listed in the differences chapter, I think.

    Frankly, I think if most men took great care to find out what their wives needed, there would be lots more women who are more like me in that department. :bigsmile:

  • Oregonian September 17, 2007, 2:52 pm

    I got the book. I worry that what I will say is going to get me in trouble. Sorry if it’s not a good thing for Mormon Momma.

    Before I joined the church (when I was in college) I had some sexual experience. I didn’t sleep around a LOT or anything, but I had sex with my boyfriends and stuff. It was expected. What I found (and my friends and roommates also said) was that LOTS of men don’t want to take the time or figure out a way to give a woman an orgasm because it makes them feel like they aren’t good enough lovers. They feel like if a woman doesn’t have one just from regular sex that he must not be big enough or have done it the right way or something. So its like a threat to his manhood if he has to talk to her or experiment or find out anything. Maybe its like the “stereotype” for asking for directions. They just won’t do it.

    Sorry if that bothers you but that’s what almost all of us found with multiple guys. It was embarassing to them to not be able to just create the fireworks or whatever with the same thing that gave it to them, so they just didn’t discuss it at all and once they were satisfied it was over. They didn’t have a clue what else to do. Even since I got married it seems not much different with most women.

    I think that’s why its in this book. Maybe if guys know that most women need more than just the act, then they will get over it and start wokring with their wives to help them out or stop feeling like they aren’t good enough. Its just part of the way women work and if they will take the time and effort it will be worth it.

  • jennycherie September 17, 2007, 5:19 pm

    Posted By: Alison Moore Smithjennycherie, I would disagree that they are stereotypes. They are generalizations that sometimes don’t fit, but there is NO WAY to describe a “gender difference” or ANY kind of general group differentiation without using a generality. I don’t think this is a stereotype because I don’t think it’s really oversimplified or overemphasized. I think it’s almost always true and so it is helpful to understand that general difference. Of course, if it doesn’t really apply to YOU, then ignore it. But I think it’s something that applies to so very many that it can be very helpful.

    Okay, generalization might be a better word than stereotype. . . but only if it really applies to most people. I think believing that women need love to desire sex is not true. I think that the misconception that men always want sex more than love and women want love more than sex is harmful. There are MANY men who have a low desire for sex (even before they are over the hill!) and they feel abnormal or emasculated for their lack of desire. Likewise, women with high desire (especially if it is higher than their spouses) feel abnormal for having such a high desire. Aren’t we supposed to just want a little love? I don’t feel that this concept “men need sex to feel love, women need love to desire sex” is widespread enough or true enough to have general application for everyone (which would make it a generalization). I think it is commonly accepted as true, but is false. I also think that the general accepted notion that men want sex more than women feeds this in that sometimes we, as human beings, just fall into a pattern of doing what is expected. For example, I am a woman, I’m not supposed to be as interested in sex so I don’t allow myself to think about how much I enjoy looking at my hubby’s muscle-y arms and I don’t allow myself to think about “you-know-what” because I am a virtuous woman and I must think of virtuous things and not be one of those trashy women. Okay, now I’m exaggerating, but the point is, the more widespread or accepted the notion is, the more it perpetuates itself.

  • Alison Moore Smith September 17, 2007, 10:45 pm

    It seems like we are mixing two of the points, so maybe you can clarify what your disagreement is.

    Brotherson thinks that the idea that men want sex more then women is a myth and that it may actually be the other way.

    She also thinks the men DO generally want sex in their relationships in order to feel loving and women want loving in order to desire sex. I do agree that this is a true generalization. In my experience, it’s almost always true. (OK, so I do talk about sex a lot…) I think that women who are loved and adored and helped and romanced and sweet-talked all day long are about 4,000 times more likely to be “in the mood” when he is than a guy who spits, passes gas, calls his wife the “old lady,” and sits on the couch demanding dinner each night. AND I think a guy who has a great sex life all the time is more likely to love, adore, help, romance, and sweet-talk his wife. And I think the converse is true only rarely–or not causally, or something.

    One of the reasons I’m so opinionated about it is that I’ve had SOOOOO many friend who could simply pass on sex for the rest of their lives. They just want nothing to do with it. In fact, I’d say that I’m talking about at least 80% of the women who talk about it feel that way.

    Once (stop me if I’ve told this story before…) I was in a stake RS homemaking fair, where they had lots of classes. One was on Keeping the Romance Alive or something. Of course, I was there. The teacher talked about various and sundry (mostly very girly) romantic ideas and then she said, “How do you let your husband know you’re ‘in the mood’?” A woman behind me (whose name I will not mention!) said, “Why would you WANT to?” She laughed. Most of the class laughed. And there were about 14 echoes of, “No kidding!” or “Seriously!”

    Before someone makes some smart comment about prudish Utah Mormons, this was in Florida, where most of the women were converts. 🙂

    Anyway, there were a few ideas like “light a candle” or “sprinkle rosebuds on the sheets.” All I could think of was, “how can you afford that many candles?” But then it became apparent that this mood was pretty darn rare for most of them. I said, “Don’t any of you just say, ‘Hey, baby, let’s go!'”

    I felt like Charley in her first RS meeting. (If you never read that book, never mind.)

    Just as you said, jennycherie, I went home feeling like a freak. I explained it all to Sam and and asked him if he would prefer that I do something elaborate instead of just grabbing him. He said, “Are you kidding? You are every man’s dream.” (OK, so that has stuck with me for more than a decade!)

    But I guess the thing that stayed with me was that the women all had these romantic notions, when that was really (mostly, probably) what THEY wanted, not what their HUSBAND’s wanted. Does that make sense or do I just sound like a raving nymphomaniac?

    OK, well, Sam’s calling. I guess I need to go get some rose petals or something. 😉

  • mlinford September 17, 2007, 11:34 pm

    Oregonian,
    I just had a sort of possible aha while reading your comment. I think this could be yet another example of why sex is supposed to be in marriage — because it’s a ‘PROCESS’ to figure it all out so that it can work and be pleasurable for both partners. And then things happen like you have kids (or that happens first and complicates the process 🙂 🙂 ), or you have hormonal issues, or health issues, or whatever. This is something that is not meant to just come naturally; I believe it’s a type for what a marriage is – not only coming together as one, but also because it is something that requires care, love, sensitivity, unselfishness, communication, and revisiting the topic more than once in a lifetime.

    And Alison, I really agree with what you are saying, mostly. I guess I have run into the flip side on the stereotypes thing, though. I think sometimes people get STUCK there, rather than using that information as something that can help them get past their differences so that sex and love are balanced and all part of a whole relationship. Does that make sense?

  • jennycherie September 18, 2007, 5:20 am

    Posted By: Alison Moore SmithBrotherson thinks that the idea that men want sex more then women is a myth and that it may actually be the other way.

    I totally agree!

    Posted By: Alison Moore SmithShe also thinks the men DO generally want sex in their relationships in order to feel loving and women want loving in order to desire sex. I do agree that this is a true generalization. In my experience, it’s almost always true. (OK, so I do talk about sex a lot…) I think that women who are loved and adored and helped and romanced and sweet-talked all day long are about 4,000 times more likely to be “in the mood” when he is than a guy who spits, passes gas, calls his wife the “old lady,” and sits on the couch demanding dinner each night. AND I think a guy who has a great sex life all the time is more likely to love, adore, help, romance, and sweet-talk his wife. And I think the converse is true only rarely–or not causally, or something.

    Okay, I suppose that is generally true. I don’t want to jump my husband’s bones to get over a fight. . . I want to get over a fight first, whereas he tends to think that having sex will help us get over a fight (hmmmm, now that I think about it. . . maybe not such a bad idea)

    Posted By: Alison Moore SmithBut I guess the thing that stayed with me was that the women all had these romantic notions, when that was really (mostly, probably) what THEY wanted, not what their HUSBAND’s wanted. Does that make sense or do I just sound like a raving nymphomaniac?

    no, that does NOT sound like a raving nymphomaniac. I guess it all comes down to experience! I can’t say that I talk about sex with all of my friends (as a matter of fact, very rarely!) but when I have, it has seemed far more common that the women have a higher need for sex than their husband rather than the other way around. That also seemed to be the case (from a child’s perspective) in my parent’s home as well. So to me, when I hear “men need sex to feel love and women need love to want sex”, I just automatically lump that with the old stereotype of “men want it and women put up with it” and think “that’s a crock of hooey!”

  • Lewis_Family September 19, 2007, 10:11 pm

    I don’t do the book club, so never read the comments, but it seems to be the only place anyone is posting latley so I took a glance and dang, it must be quite the interesting read this month. I guess the title should have tipped me off, but I blame being pregnant for my being slow 😉

  • kiar September 20, 2007, 10:15 am

    I call it preggo brain, and I have it too!
    Being married is supposed to be joyful. Sex should be a part of that joy. Being passionate and intimate should not be viewed as dirty or boring or disgusting! Could it be that the poor women who find it “yucky” just aren’t doing it right? (jk)

  • SilverRain September 20, 2007, 4:14 pm

    First, we tell everyone how wonderful and glorious and beautiful sex is. Then we forbid anyone to talk about it and/or say that any reference to it is dirty or naughty. Then we set a person’s net worth by whether or not they are sexually attractive enough. We follow that with manufacturing clothes for babies on up that accentuate sexual aspects, and further flood the market with sexual innuendo. Next, we say you can’t do it until you’re married. AND we say once you’re married, you have to stay that way. OR we say that you can do it all you like, so long as you avoid the consequences for it. After that, we tell people not to talk about details of it with anyone but the person you’re married to, and the only one you can go to for information is your doctor. Either that or we talk about it so much it loses its meaning.

    And we wonder why people are dysfunctional and wonder why they’re not doing it “right”?

    Good heavens.

  • marijessup September 20, 2007, 6:06 pm

    You know, that show “Sex and the City” hit a huge nerve with american women. I have seen a couple of them and they are downright talkin’ it straight out. But they are okay with it and don’t make such a big deal of sexual things they have questions about or are concerned about and their girlfriends talk them thru. Interesting but I absolutely agree 110% with Silver Rain about the hush hush, don’t flaunt it, work it just a bit, don’t be in your face – it is a very fine line and totally double edge sword. I have not read the book, but this post title caught my eye! 😉

  • marathonermom September 21, 2007, 2:34 pm

    I’m venturing out of lurkdom to join the discussion. I’ve read this whole thread and now I’m the one feeling like a freak! Am I the only one here who fits the generalization, in that I actually DO have a lower desire level than my husband?

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in the “ew, sex is yucky!” camp, nor am I in the “meh, I could do without it the rest of my life” camp. I think it’s great, and we have an active and–umm, mutually satisfying, let’s call it (that isn’t too graphic, is it?)–sex life. BUT. . . sexual desire doesn’t force its way to the forefront of my mind, like it does with my husband. It’s something I have to choose to experience. I can go quite a while without thinking about it, and then realize–either on my own or because poor deprived hubby brings it up–that hmm, it’s been a little while, I really need to work up some desire here! I like the way Brotherson talks about that “leap of faith,” that sometimes you just have to jump in and trust that if you start the action, the desire will come.

    My husband started leafing through the book after I brought it home from the library, and I think that was a big “aha!” moment for him, to see the “women have to choose to be in the mood” concept in black and white. We’ve been married nearly 15 years, and I KNOW I’ve told him this over and over, but he still thinks that if he were more skilled, or better-looking, or were to do something different, he’d be able to ignite my passion at will. For him to see it in print and realize that neither he nor I is doing anything wrong, we’re just wired differently, sparked a really great discussion between the two of us. So thanks to whoever suggested this book!

    And also, this?

    It’s almost as if God designed both of us in a way that requires us to GIVE to the other person before we can GET what we need.

    and this?

    I hold to the 100/100 view of marriage. I try to meet my husband’s needs without keeping track of how many times he’s met my needs.

    Yup.

  • marijessup September 21, 2007, 2:41 pm

    I am with you marathonermom, my desire of sex is probably less than half of my husbands, much to his great feeling of deprivement. He, too, does not understand this and so maybe I should get the book! It takes throwing myself into the first few minutes to even get the desire – that is if the kids are in bed and dishes are put away and yadda, yadda, yadda, if I can clear my mind. Is it some kind of reaffirmation for them to want/need it every day? Can a backrub not automatically lead to something more? Could I get a backrub without feeling obligated that it should lead to something more? Maybe I should just get the book…. 🙂

  • marathonermom September 21, 2007, 2:54 pm

    marijessup: Get the book! And then leave it out in a prominent place, opened to the relevant page, with your favorite passages highlighted. 🙂

    Something my hubby and I have been paying more attention to since we’ve talked about this: making sure we have lots of non-sexual touching throughout the day/week. (We’ve taken to calling it NST, as in “Honey, do you have time for some NST right now?” so the kids don’t know what we’re talking about.) There’s a whole section in the book about the biological need for touch.

  • marijessup September 23, 2007, 4:22 pm

    Good idea – might try that! Thanks!

  • Alison Moore Smith September 26, 2007, 1:27 am

    marathonermom and marijessup, thanks for posting. You are not freakish at all. 🙂 Really I think you’re more typical than any of the rest of us touting our insatiable desire. Perhaps this isn’t a good sampling at all, because maybe those who were willing to BUY the book are already predisposed to certain tendencies!

    I’m so glad that it has bee useful to you!

  • momof2 September 28, 2007, 7:54 am

    A few weeks ago, when we had the RS lesson about the Law of Chastity, the teacher started out by pulling out several apples. Some were bruised and going bad, the rest were perfect. I’ll give you three guesses what her object lesson was, and the first two don’t count.

    The comments made about the apples were horrible, very cruel and unfeeling I thought. “Spoiled,” “garbage,” “unwanted,” ,”gross,” “yucky,” etc. I couldn’t take anymore and raised my hand to point out that this is an analogy that can be very hurtful (and then shamed myself by bursting into tears. I hate it when I do things like that.) I remember when I was a Merrie Miss, having my first law of chastity lesson. The teacher pulled out a cookie and broke it apart, then made the point that once it is broken you can squish it back together, but it’s never as nice and who would want to eat a cookie like that when a perfect cookie is sitting right next to it? Well, I had been molested, so you can imagine how I felt. I felt bad enough about myself and thought I had sinned and was evil – that only confirmed that I was a worthless piece of garbage.

    Why do we insist on using analogies like this in teaching about the law of chastity? How many woman were there in that RS room who were later-in-life converts, or who had simply made mistakes when they were young? How many other girls (or boys) like me heard those analogies (another one we got was the flower growing by the side of the road, vs the flower growing high up on the mountain slopes) and just crumbled inside?

    On another topic, but, I feel, closely related, is that at one point, as she’s talking about teaching our children, Sis. Brotherson quotes Elder Holland about the ability of young men to control themselves (pg 308). He said, “I have heard all my life that it is the young woman who has to assume the responsibility for controlling the limits of intimacy in courtship because a young man cannot. Seldom have I heard any point made about this subject that makes me want to throw up more than that.”

    Hooray for Elder Holland! That reminds me of a letter/story I read once, long ago, in which a young man writes a letter to his fiance in which he reprimands her for letting him go to far the night before, expressing how he will always love her and will still marry her, but will never respect her as much, or ever really trust her again. Which was supposed to be an admonishment to young women to preserve their chastity, but even at a young age made me livid, and still makes me want to find the person who wrote that piece and shake them until their eyes are spinning. Where was his self-control? So, he’s willing to forgive her, in spite of not respecting her? What about her respect for him? Does she want to marry him anymore? *snarl*

    So, why do we get compared to white flowers? Or white dresses, or unblemished apples, or anything else? What analogies do the men get? I’d love to know! My husband’s a convert, so he’s not too familiar with what the YM get taught on this subject.

    No wonder there are women out there with hang ups about sex, when they’re told a woman who has lost her virginity is spoiled, broken and dirty! I can understand a rationale for speaking rather harshly with the youth (although I might not agree with it), but why handle it that way with adults? Why don’t we ever talk about repentance and being made whole and clean again when we’re talking about chastity?

  • Alison Moore Smith September 28, 2007, 12:18 pm

    Posted By: momof2Why do we insist on using analogies like this in teaching about the law of chastity?

    I’ve seen the nails in the board analogy and, more recently, the one with a frosted cake. It sat on the table, enticing everyone, until the teacher stuck his hand in the middle and squished it around, then he asked, “Who wants to eat this now?”

    I was in the YW presidency at the time and denounced it to all the kids who heard it.

    Seriously, I don’t dislike tough analogies–AS LONG AS THEY ARE ACCURATE.

    I have a problem, for example, that the scriptures tell us certain things about sin, about covenants, about the necessity of temple marriage–the prophet gives us very specific counsel about movies and music and child care. Sometimes I think we’re way too squish and wishy washy about what is really said.

    But this is a case of teaching false doctrine. The SCRIPTURES say, “though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” They don’t say, well, you can repent and then you’ll only have a slight cast of pink. Any analogy that doesn’t accurately represent the complete cleansing of the atonement is simply wrong.

    IMO, we also need to acknowledge what can NOT be “fixed.” When we sin, we lose time, we change the future from what it could be, and we cause pain to God, ourselves, and usually others as well. Those costs are eternal. Truth is, discussing those real costs IS painful. But at least it’s doctrinal.

    He said, “I have heard all my life that it is the young woman who has to assume the responsibility for controlling the limits of intimacy in courtship because a young man cannot. Seldom have I heard any point made about this subject that makes me want to throw up more than that.”

    LOL I thought I was the only one who had that quote! Darn! I heard Elder Holland give that talk (when he was BYU pres) and I nearly fell over laughing. The thoughts I have behind that one sentence constitute nearly an entire chapter in one of the books I’m writing.

    Later that talk was made into the book/cd “Of Souls, Symbols, and Sacraments”… but it’s edited and softened and they TOOK OUT the throw up line! I bought the CD JUST to get that quote and I was soooooo sad it was gone. After about a year of emailing BYU I finally got an archive recording of it a few years ago. Love it, love it, love it.

    …still makes me want to find the person who wrote that piece and shake them until their eyes are spinning.

    Can I join you?

  • mlinford September 28, 2007, 12:39 pm

    What analogies do the men get?

    FWIW, Pres. Hinckley just compared breaking the law of chastity to a building that was recently imploded in SLC. It’s a BIG deal. And he certainly wasn’t singling out women. He was making it clear how devastating deliberately breaking this law is for anyone.

    But then he talked about rebuilding and how that can happen too. It was a powerful analogy.

  • SilverRain September 28, 2007, 4:23 pm

    I did an analogy once that worked rather well. It was about sin in general, but it could apply to sexual sin, too. I took a glass jar of water and added liquid food coloring a drop at a time, assigning a sin to each drop. Once the water was black, I took a small vial filled with clear bleach and poured it in, comparing it to the Atonement. You swirl it around a couple of times and the color disappears. It’s a fun analogy, and you get to play with chemicals. You can’t get better than that.

    Just be sure to practice it, first, to ensure you have enough bleach. The analogy falls rather flat if there’s still color in the jar.

  • marijessup September 28, 2007, 9:32 pm

    That is the best analagy I have heard yet. It doesn’t single any particular act or shock you like a hand thrust into the beautifully iced cake or leave an impression of the rotten apple. That should be put into a booklet for teaching the youth, it is perfect!

  • Alison Moore Smith September 30, 2007, 6:04 pm

    My only problem with that analogy (I’ve seen that one, too) is that it doesn’t represent the DIFFICULTY and PAIN of repentance and getting your life back on track. Swirling something around seems pretty benign. Repentance is not easy or simple.

    Michelle, I like that analogy because it represents the devastation as well as the step-by-step, laborious rebuilding. NOT impossible, but not easy either.

    FWIW, part of my statement above didn’t make a lot of sense. I meant to say that I’m bothered, also, by how sometimes we take gospel TRUTHS and water them down so that we don’t “hurt feelings.” Then, at the same time we make FALSE doctrinal claims while attempting to scare people into being good.

  • SilverRain October 1, 2007, 4:23 am

    Well, that’s why it’s an analogy. No analogy is perfect. 😉
    It all depends on what aspect of the Atonement you are trying to illustrate.

  • facethemusic October 2, 2007, 8:10 pm

    momof2, I couldn’t agree with you anymore than I already do. This very subject is actually one of my HUGE pet peeves within the Church–people saying stupid, undoctrinal things, under the impression that they’re giving a great lesson and speaking truth, while really, they’re totally aiding Satan in his attempts to discourage people and make them feel hopeless. I heard similar things when I was in YW– the one that really infuriated me was one I heard at Youth conference– the brother speaking used the “used chewing gum” analogy. He talked about someone chewing a piece of gum, spitting it out onto the sidewalk and people walk all over it with their dirty shoes that have been in the backyard with all the dog mess, in the local gas station restroom, etc and then he said something like “Now who’s going to peel that off the sidewalk and put THAT in their mouth?”
    I was absolutely livid. My friend sitting beside me was right in the middle of the repentence process for having sex with her boyfriend and was in tears. A totally DIFFERENT kind of tears than the ones she cried in the Bishop’s office when she confessed. Those were tears of godly sorrow– the ones she cried during Youth Conference were tears of hopelessness and self-disgust and self-loathing. The Bishop’s telling her she can repent and be made clean, and this guy was making it sound like no one would ever want to marry her– she was just a chewed up, spit out piece of gum. I SO wish that I had stood up and blasted him– I still regret that I didn’t. But I was 16 or so and didn’t have the nerve and self-confidance that I do now– plus, at the time, I would never have thought of speaking against an elder (and Elder). But I wish I did that time.

  • facethemusic October 2, 2007, 8:17 pm

    Oh– the other oft-repeated undoctrinal quip is at a baptism…”now, you’re the cleanest and purest person in the room”.
    Yeah… so I guess all the people in the room who worthily partook of the Sacrament with a repentent heart didn’t really renew their covenants today. The whole “renewing your baptismal covenants when partaking of the Sacrament” thing is a sham.
    So if you want to REALLY be clean and pure, go do something really horrible– so horrible that you get excommunicated. Then repent, get rebaptized and you can be clean again– ’cause heaven knows, you’re only that clean right after baptism.
    …..errrrgh…..

  • steve March 30, 2009, 12:54 pm

    [Poster edited his entire post.]

  • steve March 30, 2009, 1:05 pm

    [Poster edited his entire post.]

  • Tinkerbell March 30, 2009, 2:03 pm

    Don’t set your expectations too high for the first few times. Let her know that you love her no matter what, even if each time is not “the best sex ever”. Sometimes the pressure can be great to “perform”, and it can make it hard to relax. Honestly, for us, it got better and better after each kid. I’m glad my husband stuck it out with me. Also, birth control pills can kill sex drive. That happened to me when I first got married, but I didn’t realize it until a couple of kids later when I went back on the same birth control pill. I just wondered what was wrong with me.

  • steve March 30, 2009, 2:26 pm

    Thank you so much for the pointers!! Do you know if there are certain types of birth control that don’t (or the ones that definitely do) kill sex drive? My fiancee has been on birth control (since i guess you’re supposed to have it in your system a couple months to be sure it’s working at full efficiency) and she has experienced no emotional effects so far. Her mother is a nurse and suggested she use the same birth control that has little effect on her.

  • Tinkerbell March 30, 2009, 2:58 pm

    The one I used was called Triphasil 28. Yucky stuff. It’s the one that killed my sex drive. I didn’t have the same reaction with the mini-pill (used when nursing) or with Yasmin or Ortho-tricyclene. However, I did have other reactions, so I don’t use any form of hormonal pill anymore. They make me moody or angry or whatever. I was relieved the day my husband told me, “Let’s just try something else” because I thought I was going crazy. Hopefully your fiance never has emotional effects. That would be great. But, if she does, don’t be afraid to try something else or another pill. It’s just not worth it.

  • steve March 30, 2009, 3:10 pm

    Good to hear! Thanks so much. I wonder why she could be opposed to my using a condom..? I think it’s a fine idea, if used perfectly. That’s the only thing, right? There’s a chance it might not work for whatever reason and the couple didn’t notice, and there needed to be some quick action like the “day-after” pill which didn’t happen? I would think that would be easiest. Sorry, this is my last question and you have been very helpful. Would you recommend condoms, or not?

  • jennycherie March 30, 2009, 3:16 pm

    Posted By: steveGetting married in a couple months. And we ?re open to advice. One of the books we read was so doom and gloom, using what felt like scare tactics about how difficult marriage is, we felt horrible reading it. We don ?t have any problems with each other, quite the opposite! I would like your opinions on how much to talk about sex, as we ?re just starting. Pre-honeymoon, and the first few months.

    I recommend NOT talking at all until you are married and then talking A LOT after you are married.

  • spitfire March 30, 2009, 3:51 pm

    I recommend NOT talking at all until you are married and then talking A LOT after you are married.

    Kinda’ like getting married with you eyes WIDE open & half closing them afterwards!! 😉

  • agardner March 30, 2009, 4:14 pm

    Is this real?

    Anyway, good advice ladies.

  • davidson March 30, 2009, 5:28 pm

    If, indeed, this is real, and if you are LDS, I agree with Jenn. “Let things go naturally” is a great idea–after you’re married. Study and read about sex together and find your way together–when the wedding is over. For now, a great idea would be to concentrate on keeping your thoughts clean in order to be able to offer her the purest version of yourself you can. That would be the greatest wedding gift you could give her. If you spend a lot of time thinking about sex during your engagement period, chances are great that you won’t be able to stay morally clean. Thoughts lead to actions. The temptations will be great enough even if you don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. ( You can over-prepare for these things. :smile:) Truly. I have dealt too often with young people who never really intended to get into trouble, but did, and it’s a heartache worth doing everything you can to avoid.

  • Alison Moore Smith March 30, 2009, 7:49 pm

    steve, welcome to the site. Truly, your post did ring a bit of phoniness, but whatever. I’ll give you a straight-up answer and you can either consider it or get your jollies from it, depending on who you are. 🙂

    I would recommend that you both read the book. It’s great, thoughtful, clinical, and informative. But I definitely suggest that you read it separately. If you need to discuss it, do it with a doctor or a guy friend or your dad if you are comfortable with that. Similarly for her.

    After you are married, I hope you talk about it all the time. OK, not all the time. But every day and lots of times and whenever either of you feel like it. Listen to each other, play with each other, enjoy each other, be kind and complimentary to each other, work with each other, be concerned about the happiness and pleasure of the OTHER person.

    Best in your marriage.

  • Tinkerbell March 30, 2009, 7:56 pm

    It’s a matter of personal preference. We don’t like them but use them when necessary. Good luck! As the others suggested, perhaps you should wait until after the wedding to think too much about it. A box of condoms is always good just in case.

  • steve March 31, 2009, 7:34 am

    🙂

  • steve March 31, 2009, 7:42 am

    And yes I’m LDS 🙂 Did you know the SL temple is closing for several years to earthquake-proof it? Crazy! I’m happy we have the chance to be sealed there before the close.

  • Oregonian March 31, 2009, 2:46 pm

    taht was creepy.

  • facethemusic April 1, 2009, 4:40 pm

    that was creepy

    No kidding. He “whispered” to me that he saw the list of names over to the left, saw that I was online, and asked if I would go read his comments and answer his question. So I went over and read his posts– creeped out a little and ignored his question. I can’t pinpoint exactly what it is, but like Alison said, it just seemed totally phony to me. Besides, how do you end up online at a Mormon women’s group to ask questions like that???
    Do you type in “Mormon women and sex” in your search engine? Too creepy for me!!! We need a Vanillacon that shows a smiley sticking it’s finger down it’s throat.

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