The Mormon Therapist on Appropriate Sexual Intimacy in Marriage

John Dehlin Mormon 275 Comments

Is anal sex wrong? I asked my husband to do it once because I was curious and he was more than willing to oblige. We’ve done it a couple of times and I have enjoyed it about half the time, depending on my mood. We haven’t done it in a long time, but I was wondering if it was wrong to experiment to such an extent. Same with oral sex: I’ve heard two camps with one saying it’s absolutely wrong and not spiritually uplifting and therefore shouldn’t be done, while others say once you’re married anything is game. That would certainly include oral sex. So which is it?

This is such an excellent question and I appreciate your courage to ask it. There are many LDS couples who grapple with similar questions. I, myself, have gone several times to both bishops and stake presidents to gain clarification on what is appropriate sexually within the bounds of marriage. All times I got a very similar answer: as long as you both consent to the behavior in question, as long as no one feels pressured to do something they are uncomfortable with, as long as it is something not harmful to your bodies, and as long as pornography is not involved – then sexual lifestyle should be decided on by husband and wife. So here are some thoughts:

  1. It is a positive sign that you and your husband are comfortable exploring your sexuality together and trying new things. This allows for creativity, excitement and fun. However, just because you have tried something in the past, doesn’t mean it has to happen again, especially if someone has become uncomfortable with the process. You say for instance that you only enjoyed anal sex half of the time. It is important to discuss these feelings openly. And even if you become uncomfortable during the act it is OK to say “honey, I’d rather stop this now and try something else.”
  2. I am obviously very encouraging of couples exploring their sexual palates together. My concerns with anal sex are primarily related to the physical implications that come with it. This sexual act seems to cross into the bounds of behavior that can be harmful to your body. First of all there is no natural lubrication that is provided by the rectum which increases possibility of pain and of rectal damage. Infections due to the high number of infectious microorganisms not found elsewhere on the body can be more likely to occur. Some cases of anal cancer have been linked to the practice of anal sex. Physical damage to the anus and the rectum due to their vulnerability is likely as well as issues such as hemorrhoids, anal fissures, rectal prolapse and loss of control over the bowels. The physical implications are more common the more often anal sex is practiced. It is because of these issues relating to our belief in “care of body as a temple” that I would discourage the practice of anal sex.
  3. I don’t want you or your husband to feel weird or inadequate because you found this act pleasurable. The anus is tighter than the vagina and therefore can yield more tactile pleasure for the penis. The prostate gland for males and the Skene’s glands for females can both be stimulated when there is anal penetration. This stimulation often feels good and can even mimic orgasm for both males and females. Understanding our anatomy can do a lot to relieve us from unecessary guilt or shame.
  4. Oral sex does not fall under the category of “harm to body.” The only problems correlated with oral sex are directly related to STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) which is true of all sexual behavior. My personal opinion is that this can be a special, personal and intimate way for both partners to enjoy each other if they are comfortable doing so.
  5. Individuals and couples can differ dramatically on what they consider to be correct or comfortable sexual behavior. Much of this has to do with the ways that we were raised, whether or not there is a history of sexual trauma, our self-esteem related to our body image, our own sexual histories and the histories of our partners. If partners find themselves in a situation where one is comfortable with certain behaviors but the other is not, it can be a difficult situation for both to maneuver. Pressuring or degrading a spouse should never be an option. If these types of issues become problematic withing a marriage, I encourage couples to seek counseling from a marriage or sex therapist that is experienced in discussing sexual issues and that respects your values.
  6. I think that any sexual experience that is shared between husband and wife, where both are comfortable and enjoying each other, is in of itself spiritually uplifting. This is a large part of what Heavenly Father intends for our sexual relationship to offer us within marriage. The entire sexual act physically bonds us together. What a symbolic ritual to aid our emotional and spiritual bonds as well!
  7. I want to clarify that I do not in any way speak officially for the Church.

MM readers:

What is your take on this question? What is appropriate within marriage and what isn’t?  How can couples handle situations where one is comfortable with something the other isn’t?

Comments

comments

Comments 275

  1. I, myself, have gone several times to both bishops and stake presidents to gain clarification on what is appropriate sexually within the bounds of marriage

    You can just stop right there and not go to the bishop or stake president as they really have no business to what goes on in your bedroom. I mean, really, what will a volunteer religious leader know better than you on what is permissible between a man and a woman sexually? Maybe this is a good question for the prophet, who can get clarification from the Lord, but a local priesthood leader? It’s way out of his league.

    What is appropriate within marriage and what isn’t?

    I think you noted very well what is appropriate and what isn’t.

    How can couples handle situations where one is comfortable with something the other isn’t?

    Communication is the best key. Even if it requires talking about something over several days, weeks, months, or even years.

  2. The entire matter is complicated by the acts of some, err, individuals who decided to send out a letter on the stationary of the first presidency on the topic, when the actual individuals who would have signed or drafted such a letter were not in the office (i.e. hospitalized, etc.). The letter was recalled with instructions to destroy all copies, but you know how that goes.

    However, it has caused some consternation ever since, much like the missive where people concluded that women could not close a sacrament meeting with prayer (that was corrected) or the conclusion later drawn that it was not proper to have a woman open a sacrament meeting (flipping the prior incorrect practice), which was sharply corrected (though some people hold on to it, much like they hold on to other false doctrines).

    There is an official statement, somewhere, that I’ve seen that is pretty much what the Mormon Therapist states: that is, that behavior that draws a couple closer together, that does not make either partner feel uncomfortable and that does not cause physical harm, is appropriate.

    Next thing we will have the old birth control debates revived. They eventually ran some articles in the Ensign in the hopes of clearing that up (sex is important, having the *appropriate* number of children, not too many, not too few, something only you and God will know for your specific circumstances, and something that should take into account mental and financial health, birth control can well fit into that calculus as an appropriate part). Hasn’t worked, of course.

    A little “not work safe” on the very top of the page, btw, but anything else probably would not have been clear enough.

  3. I once attended a seminar where the speaker suggested praying before sex. Otherwise it’s no one’s business but their own.

    In fact, I’ve heard plenty of stories where marriages have fallen apart or at least into disarray BECAUSE of the advice given by the bishop. This is also a problem for unmarried couples because some bishops have asked, “Do you do this-? Or this-?” and goes into details that gives the couple the idea!

    I can’t remember if I’ve said this on MM before, but my ex and I had several talks like this wherein I’d promised to withhold some of my own fantasies because she was uncomfortable with the idea, but was willing to try and ease in after we got married. Of course it’s been a year since we broke up so I’m unable to report on how that went.

  4. What is appropriate is 1) what both members are comfortable with so long as it 2) does not reduce either person to an object in any way or infringe upon either’s divinity.

  5. I had a girl that worked for me and she almost always had what appeared to be cold sores around her mouth. I made the mistake, in a casual conversation, of asking her about the almost ever present sores. She started to cry and then she told me why. Her husband (if you want to call him that), forced her to perform oral sex on him every morning before work. It made me sad and then it made me mad. I wanted to get my hand gun. I told her to talk to her bishop and leave that bastard; and, if she needed financial assistance I would help her through the transition. Why anyone would want to discharge that slimy, snotty substance into their wives (or someone they claim to love) mouth is beyond me. It is selfish and degrading. It is not of God.

    Along these lines, and as a side note, my missionary companion and I were tracting in the suburbs of Calgary, when a small dog latched himself on my companion’s leg and started humping until he eventually squired semen on my companion’s shoe. I was laughing so hard I could barely stand up. It was hilarious. He cleaned it off on the grass, but it permanently stained his shoe.

    My point is that the nucleic acids and other components of semen are not designed to go in the mouth or in the anus; rather, they are designed to go into the vagina. It is designed for penetration. It is designed to neutralize the acids. Put simply, the Penis was designed to go into the Vagina; not, the anus or mouth.

    1. Actually your body contains buffers that maintain acidity I the blood and body. Typically semen is not acidic although vaginal fluids are to keep bacteria and fungus in check.

    2. St1305,
      Actually, the vagina is acidic, not alkaline. Therefore, it cannot neutralize the mildly acidic semen.
      For married couples who want to engage in fellatio (female on male oral sex), just USE A CONDOM. NON-LATEX BEST to avoid latex allergies.
      No brainer!

  6. Short response: I think Dan got it mostly right. Why would you ever go to a Bishop or Stake President with such a question, as though they would have some type of qualifying answer? I would just also extend that notion to the Prophet as well. You ought to be having these discussions with the person you have sex with, and perhaps a qualified counsellor, but not your CPA neighbor/Bishop.

    As for the questions about anal sex – I just don’t get why a person would ever try such a thing.

  7. another fascinating post on a timely topic. Plus it’s generated some fascinating, well reasoned and scientifically and theologically based responses. Top this BCC!!!

  8. Mormon Therapist, I believe you are consistently one of, if not the best regular poster on MM. I also applaud the mature and thoughtful responses to such an important issue.

  9. It is my understanding that our opposition to SSM is based upon the “natural” argument wherein sex is strictly for purposes of pro-creation and not self-satisfaction. If we take the liberal view concerning sex you espouse above then there is no logical basis to deny same sex couples the same respect and privacy concerning their sex lives. Is sex for pro-creation or is it for pleasure? A simple logical answer to this question has yet to be provided by any church authority as far as I am aware.

  10. Dan said: “You can just stop right there and not go to the bishop or stake president as they really have no business to what goes on in your bedroom.”

    I’m perpetually perplexed by this statement. Besides embezzlement, the quickest way of which I am aware to be excommunicated is usually tied to the bedroom–sexual abuse, fornication, adultery, etc. And I’d give you the benefit of the doubt that what you meant was instead that the Church has no business in a marital bedroom between two married and consenting adults, but that was the point you seemed to be trying to disagree with. So I’m confused.

    st1305 said: “Why anyone would want to discharge that slimy, snotty substance into their wives (or someone they claim to love) mouth is beyond me. It is selfish and degrading. It is not of God.”

    I can’t tell if this is a serious comment or not. If it is, I’d suggest you’re conflating what makes you feel icky with what God approves of, which is a dangerous proposition. (I’ve long thought that Thai food was gross and smelled bad, not to mention often “slimy,” and therefore certainly not for the mouth, but it doesn’t follow that I believe that “it is not of God.”) The only problem I see in the story you related was the word “force.” That’s highly problematic. Oral sex qua oral sex? Not so much.

  11. Michael:

    That is a complete straw-man argument. I am unaware of doctrine or teaching related to the Church’s disapproval of SSM, that relegates the objection strictly to a matter of “natural” (or unnatural) sex. The Church’s position, as per The Family, is that marriage between a man and woman is ordained of God. I take this to be a reference of the sacrament of marriage, which is not necessarilly a matter of sex – though that is implied. It is a doctrinal, albeit highly ambiguous and historically inconsistent, position on what constitutes a family in the Eternal order of Mormon cosmology – man and woman, with offspring.

  12. I think it speaks very well of our members that they would even take the time to consider the spiritual standards of their sex life. So many people today think sexual matters and Church are like oil/water.

    1. Only in the idea that the church “bans” certain sexual acts. I haven’t ever seen any documentation about what I can and can’t do with my wife when our bedroom door is closed. If there is such a document, somebody produce it. Once produced, find me ANY scriptural reference to back it up. There’s NONE!

      What happens in my bedroom is nobody’s bidnez but my wife’s and mine. Period!

  13. Cowboy,

    I did not raise the issue as a straw-man. I will give two very specific quotes. The first is from President Hinckley:

    “We want to help these people, to strengthen them, to assist them with their problems and to help them with their difficulties. But we cannot stand idle if they indulge in immoral activity, if they try to uphold and defend and live in a so-called same-sex marriage situation. To permit such would be to make light of the very serious and sacred foundation of God-sanctioned marriage and its very purpose, the rearing of families.”

    As you can see, President Hinckley states that the VERY PURPOSE of marriage is for the rearing of families. As the sexual act is only allowed within marriage for the purpose of rearing families, then its use in any other context or for any other purpose would be contrary it specific purpose.

    The second is from President Benson:

    “We can’t build a happy home, we can’t build a happy married life, on the foundation of immorality. It can’t be done. So I would beseech our young people to reserve for the marriage relationship those sweet and lovely and intimate associations. Not only that, but when those associations come, let them be primarily for the purpose of procreation, for the having of a family, because it is not pleasing in the sight of God to enjoy the pleasures of those associations and refuse to accept the responsibility of parenthood.”

    As you can read quite clearly, he is very specific in defining the purpose of marriage and of sex.

    I am usually not one to rely solely on authority statements to prove my point. I prefer reasoned discussions that give full weight full weight to both intellect and faith. However, given that you are referencing the Proclamation to show some connection between marriage and sex, I felt it appropriate to further clarify through other, less ambiguous pronouncements.

    While the Brethren may not state it publicly anymore, any sex that does not have the potential of pro-creation in its very performance would be pure lust and would constitute a sinful act.

    I hope my comment clarifies why the matter does come down to “natural” sex.

    The frustrating part for me (as a celibate gay Latter-day Saint) is when my straight brothers and sisters try to make the case against SSM but still want to justify straight sex using both the pro-creative AND pleasure within marriage arguments.

    I ask once again, Is sex for pro-creation or is it for pleasure?

    1. Michael, you obviously haven’t read Song of Solomon. If you do, you’ll find a lot of pleasure described with no mention of children.

      My 2 cents: President Benson’s remarks seem to be connecting a “fad” during his time as president of childless marriages. Being that we are commanded to “multiply and replenish”, his words make sense in that context.

    2. Don’t let ANY church limit your married sex life to procreation only or even primarily.
      Men and some women have actual physiological needs for regular sexual release. The LDS, Catholic, and some other conservative Christian evangelical denominations remain in complete denial about this fact. Their views make clear their profound and intrinsic shame and distain for sex, per se, of ANY kind– including married sex other than to procreate.
      THIS view is perverted, disordered, and anti-natural.
      Clergy who accept and advance this pernicious notion are substituting their own personal reactions shaped by upbringing for legitimate, sensible moral thought.

  14. Jimbob,

    Semen is not food; it is the building block of life. It is a potent and powerful combination of chemicals. While prostatic secretion is acidic, seminal vesicle fluid is alkaline and can result in various infections. I think this was the whole point of the story of the girl that worked for me. She was infected by her husband’s semen. Again, it is not designed to go into the mouth or the anus. It can, even in a monogamous oral-sex relationships, result in Herpes, HPV, Gonorrhea, Cllamydia, Syphilis; and, it limited cases Hepatitis B. I don’t think God would have all these possible consequences if he intended this to be a natural behavior.

    I don’t understand the logic. I don’t see why someone would want to insert their penis into the mouth or anus, when you have the vagina that was designed for this type of penetration. I suppose you can stick your penis into a fence post, blow-up doll or muffler pipe; but, I don’t think it was intended for these orifices either.

    1. The woman probably caught herpes from her husband. Genital herpes is very similar to herpes simplex, the common cold sore virus.
      Both herpes can be treated and controlled with drugs like aciclovir.
      And anyone giving oral on a man should have the man use a condom.

  15. st1305,

    I think you may want to check on the science behind your statement. If it is a monogamous oral-sex relationship with no previous cheating going on, there should be a miniscule risk of herpes, HPV, gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis or hepatitis B. I may be wrong but your statement goes against the science I have been taught.

  16. st1305,

    I, too, lack confidence in your scientific assessment on the hazards of semen. It seems to me that your friend’s oral lesions were due less to the face melting acid of her partners semen than to an actual infection by the herpes virus etc. Which for all we know she got when kissing boys on the face on prom night. Semen’s pH level, as a food ;), ranges between 7 & 8.2. Right up there between crab meat and egg whites. Dangerous, I know.

    But like Jimbob said, one person’s oysters are a delicacy and for others – ocean snot. Everyone has there one likes and dislikes.

    For me, the discussion is whether at the Judgement bar of God, the prosecuting Lawyer is going to have the jury turn to the video, Exhibit A, of what I’m doing with my wife behind bedroom doors. Because I know angels are watching us at all times, I shower with my clothes on.

  17. Current Church stances on “marital intimacy”, ie sex, is that it is both for creating children and strengthening marital bonds. This business about strengthening marriage bonds probably closely relates to your notion of “pleasure”, though I am aware of theological arguments that focus on an acute notion of “intimacy” which requires that wholesome sexuality is maintained exclusively through the pairing of physical pleasure with “sacred love” between married couples. The LDS position is that SSM marriage is immoral inspite of whether sex is actually part of the equation, so from their perspective “gay sex” is never an expression of anything other than lustful impulses. I not stating this as an objective fact, but as how I percieve the Church to view homosexual “activity”.

    Your quote from President Hinckley addresses the “rearing of families”, which generally includes procreation in marriage but not necessarilly, but also encompasses much more than basic human reproduction. If we take Hinckley’s quote in context of The Family, a Proclomation to the World, then we must conclude that Hinckly, and implicitly the Church, are asserting that homosexual couples are unfit for the rearing of children.

    Quote: “Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.”

    This statement says nothing of sexual intercourse, but that Children are in fact “entitled” to be raised by heterosexual parents. So while sex is generally accepted part of marriage, from this quote it does not follow that the nature of various forms of sex acts, constitutes the Church’s primary theological objection to SSM. Setting up the equation as though it were however, makes for a very convenient straw-man.

    Your quote on Benson represents a waning perspective on sex within marriage, that it was primarilly intended for the purposes of procreation. Again, this says nothing of the objection to SSM. Your assertion requires a broad logical leap based on this quote as well.

  18. @16

    just because a person was/is monogamous with you doesn’t mean he was/is monogamous in the past and if there have been previous relationships that’s what increases the risk.

    From a female perspective this is why when you go for an exam and a Dr ask how many partners’ you have had you need to answer truthfully, because once you’ve had engaged sexually you need to be tested for certain diseases.

    BTW Anal sex does increase one risk for HIV because it tears the membranes and that is how the virus enters the system.

    And Also women/ men who are in monogamous relationships should still get tested because who knows if there partners are faithful. There has been many a divorce because a woman contracted a sexually transmitted disease from a husband who wasn’t faithful and thought he could get away with it.

  19. “I also applaud the mature and thoughtful responses to such an important issue.”

    You mean like st1305’s #5 & 15.

    “While the Brethren may not state it publicly anymore, any sex that does not have the potential of pro-creation in its very performance would be pure lust and would constitute a sinful act.”

    They don’t say things like this anymore because nobody believes this anymore. As to the question about procreation or pleasure, that was answered in an ENSIGN article in the mid 70s when SWK was president. It’s both and nobody’s business but the couples.

  20. Cowboy,

    Thanks for the response. However, “waning perspective” seems to be discounting the importance of a clear affirmation by a Prophet. So it brings up the question – are the current statements (including the Proclamation)on sex, pro-creation and marriage merely “perspectives” of the Brethren or do they represent the will of our Lord and Saviour? If they represent His will then did President Benson lie or mis-speak when he stated it was not pleasing in the sight of God that sex be used for pleasure? This is where my frustration comes in. No one will give a clear answer to very fundamental questions concerning sexuality, marriage and pro-creation. We play these word games that dance around the subject and try to have it both ways. Let’s cut out the ambiguity and keep it real.

    1) Is sex for pleasure (or, in other words, “strengthening marital bonds”) or is it for pro-creation?
    2) If you are pursuing sex solely for pleasure (i.e. to “strengthen marital bonds”) are you committing sin by doing something displeasing to the Lord.
    3) If you are incapable of having children, should you be having sex at all?
    4) If you are incapable of having children, is it right to create them through artificial insemination?
    5) If same sex couples are not capable of being parents, what about single mothers or single fathers. Should polygamy be re-instated to make sure all children are raised by a mother and a father?
    6) If older couples cannot pro-create, should they be allowed to marry for companionship?
    7) If other couples can marry for companionship, why not gays and lesbians?

    These are very serious questions that we sweep under the rug. And I haven’t even brought adultery, divorce, or fornication into the picture yet.

    Natasha, I am sorry about my rant. I just get frustrated when this subject of sex within marriage comes up and I hear so many wishy-washy comments about the purpose of sex, marriage and pro-creation.

    Keep it real people.

    Why don’t we get straight answers to straight questions? The Restored Gospel is not a complicated thing. It is meant for all to understand and obey in clear, simple laws.

    1. Michael,
      Thank you, thank you, thank you!
      You have effectively cut through the hipocracy and chirades engaged in by the LDS and other conservative religions.
      Please send your list of questions plus a cover letter explaining your purposes to the Church’s Council of the Twelve and the Prophet.
      Emphasize the logical flow of your last few questions concerning couples who cannot have children but want to marry or are married. I doubt that the Church would tell them not to marry or prohibit them from having marital sex.
      So, you’re right, to a degree– LGBTQ couples are being singled out and treated differently.
      But then again, there is Leviticus…

  21. Michael/Species

    I think you are just rationalizing your behavior, or the behavior of those you are trying to defend. You both know basic anatomy and you both know the penis and vagina were designed to work together. God designed them to work together for a reason, so use them as they were designed. He did not intended for the penis to be inserted into the mouth or anus – not male to female or male to male. Along these lines, the brethren aren’t opposed to the same sex attraction; they are opposed to the activities associated with homosexual relations. If they are unnatural and unholy for two men, then they are unnatural and unholy for a man and a woman.

    As for the “scientific evidence” suggesting you can avoid these diseases by proper protection or monogamous oral sex partners, you believe whatever you want. I tend to think it is perverted by people trying to rationalize thier behavior. I will continue to use these tools the way God intended them and I am certain I won’t have a problem.

    1. St1305,
      What’s with all this naturalistic doubletalk you use to try to justify your and others’ personal revulsion and pet prejudices against so-called “unnatural” sex acts and sexual contexts?
      Do you believe manual (by hand or a vibrator on her external erogenous spot) foreplay before intercourse, performed either by the husband on his wife or by the wife on herself is permissible?
      FYI: This above-mentioned female spot is a naturally occurring organ whose only physiological purpose is to give pleasure.
      Likewise, the male prostate produces semen but is also very sensitive to pleasurable stimulation– something which doesn’t take place during P-V intercourse. Now, why would that be the case if it were not meant to be stimulated…?

  22. Thank you for all the positive comments on such a sensitive issue.
    I want to clarify that the main reason I have approached priesthood leaders was to find out what the official stance is of the church.
    I have read in several places that the two official reasons for sex are procreation and the emotional bonding between spouses.
    As far as semen, it is made of God and we are made in his likeness. If someone isn’t comfortable with oral sex, that’s fine. But we shouldn’t look at out bodily fluids as gross or demeaning. They are part of the miracle of our bodies.
    Of course force should never ever be used. That is an entirely different topic.

  23. Micheal,

    The argument is getting old. The counsel of the church is clear and has been for a long time. Procreation = very important ; bonding that comes with sexual intimacy = very important. Really no reason to bring SSM into it. It’s not very complicated.

    st1305,

    I’ve decided you can’t be serious. If you are, I’m not sure what else to add, except that it sounds like you may be missing out … believe me.

  24. Michael –

    Let’s not mistake one another. I am only debating your claim that the sole objection to SSM is that homosexual intercourse is unnatural, ie oral/anal, and because homosexual couples are incapable of birthing children naturally as a genetic creation of both parents.

    I believe most things that Prophets have said regarding Gods perspective are contrived and arrogant. I would argue that you have always been getting clear answers. President Benson seemed pretty clear. Read Joseph Fielding Smith, he suggests that the grandeur of an individuals Exalation is directly proportionate to the amount of their Mortal offspring. By practicing birth control we are literally limiting our own exaltation. Modern leaders are now saying that sex has multiple purposes in marriage, and are giving greater weight to our “strengthing marriage bonds” concept. Again, clear messages. The problem you are having is that these clear messages seem to conveniently vary according to time space and culture, almost in the same linear fashion as social attitudes and perspectives outside the Mormon domain. So you would ask, how hard is it to get some concensus on God’s opinion from Prophets, Seers, and Revelators, so we can finally have some peace of mind. After all, don’t we habitually stand up in Fast-and-Testimony meeting to express gratitude for the fact that, unlike the rest of the world, we have access to a Prophet who can help us get a qualified opinion from God on the broad array of issues. It is all very confusing, until you figure out that the emperor has no clothes. Then suddenly it all makes sense. Oh, President Bensons was just a 1950’s / 1960’s ultra-conservative holdover who was granted social and theological validation of his whims. That makes sense.

    How is that for cutting the ambiguity and just making sense?

  25. Two Cents:

    Respond to the following: If anal or oral sex is not appropiate between a man and a man, why is it appropiate between a man and a woman?

  26. GBSmith, I thought the dog story was pretty funny.

    st1305, in light of your apparent stance that the penis and vagina constitute the only appropriate genital sexual contact, I’m curious to know your thoughts on manual stimulation. If oral stimulation is inappropriate, then I don’t see how manual stimulation can be ok since a hand is clearly not a vagina and the penis was not made for it. That said, I think you’d be hard pressed to find any church authority, on any level, who would agree with such a strict position, which would almost completely foreclose the idea that sex is in any way meant for pleasure. If you allow for such things as manual stimulation, though, your position on oral and anal sex loses consistency.

  27. st1305;

    Um, because intimate relationships are not appropriate between two men and they are between a married man and woman. Is that a serious question?

    1. Well, it’s the end goal that makes it not appropriate. To receive the gift of eternal life one needs to know how to use the gift to make it a true gift. A man and a woman in a relationship have the possibility to give life or use the gift normally. Any other combination negates giving life and if perpetuated makes the gift of eternal life mute.

  28. Cowboy,

    You are the best! I can see much clearer now from the mountain top. Oh, wait, I live in Florida where are no hills or mountains. Maybe I need to go hang gliding to get that same perspective!

    Best wishes! LOL

  29. Michael, if President Benson is properly quoted (you don’t cite a source, so we can’t check), we can still note that he says, “let them be primarily for the purpose of procreation, for the having of a family, because it is not pleasing in the sight of God to enjoy the pleasures of those associations and refuse to accept the responsibility of parenthood.” I think you read him incorrectly if you see this as an either-or proposition. Instead, he says that the primary purpose is for the creation of families, and not soley for the “pleasure of those associations,” but this statement does not proscribe strenthening the marriage bond through sexual activity in a healthy marriage.

    I don’t see the conflict between President Benson’s quotation and the present stance, except perhaps that it seems in today’s language there appears to be equal weight given to both reasons for sex in marriage. I don’t believe that means that President Benson’s counsel is wrong or out of place.

    It is also true that over time official statements about birth control have softened, suggesting that couples ought to make those decisions for themselves, prayerfully. I see consistency and clarity, not the tempest in the teapot you’ve created.

    st1305, it would seem you’re just trying to use the words penis and vagina as often as you can. You seem quite literate for a seventh grader.

  30. I was in a meeting about 7 years ago where Elder Christianson of the area presidency was presiding and he made the comment to married couples saying that the church keeps out of the bedroom. Now as I said, it was to the married couples, not single or same sex. That’s good enough for me in this matter. I agree that as long as both agree and no one is pressured/forced then it’s OK. The whole idea of intimacy is to bring the couple together besides for procreation.

    #10 Michael

    In an old Priesthood handbook Brigham Young is quoted as saying that sex is there for both procreation and recreation between husband and wife to bring them closer together and to bring out the better qualities of the human emotions. I would have to delve through a number of boxes if you want me to find and write the exact quote for you.

    #15 st1305

    “It can, even in a monogamous oral-sex relationships, result in Herpes, HPV, Gonorrhea, Cllamydia, Syphilis”

    As far as I know, the only STDs that can be transmitted without sex are thrush (Candidiaisis), hepatitis and HIV. So if any of the others are in a married relationship, then it was not monogamous. Genital herpes is a different virus to oral herpes, but in some rare cases, either can be transmitted to the other area. We had a good lunchtime discussion over this at the Heart Research Institute one day.

  31. I like this thread!

    @Cowboy:

    1) Sex is for procreation and pleasure for man and wife.
    2) Sex for pleasure only in marriage is great, not sin.
    3) If you can’t have sex but are married, yes, you should have lots of sex for pleasure.
    4) If you can’t have kids and are married, artificial insemination is fine if the wife and husband prayerfully consider it and feel good about it.
    5) Not a question of whether gay couples are capable of being parents, its a question of doing the best one can for the kids. Ideally home with mom and dad. If circumstances force single parenthood, Lord’s still gonna help everyone along. Note this doesn’t say anything about whether gay marriage and gay couples having kids is ok, that’s a different can of worms. As for bringing polygamy back, only God could do that, and all signs point to no for now.
    6) Yes, old people who wish should get married for the companionship and sex if they want it.
    7) Couldn’t tell you why God’s saying gays shouldn’t get married, you’ll have to ask him. And actually we should all say we’ll do what we’re asked now, but then ask why over and over until God gives a revelation explaining it all. Who knows, maybe even changing the rules as per 1978. Not that I feel any certainty that would happen or not, but we need to insistently ask God the whys rather than proclaiming we know the answers and demanding God tell us we’re right.

    I don’t think any of that is swept under the rug frankly. And yes, counsel from church leaders has changed with the times. Big whoop. My rule of thumb is if it ain’t canonized, then I’ll take it as one viewpoint and get on with trying to work things out between me and God. And even when it is canonized, the interpretations can often be numerous, and exceptions to the rule can exist. That’s up to God. That’s why he gave us the Holy Ghost to try and figure this stuff out.

  32. I agree with Michael. It seems clear that gays are born that way and thus should be able to have sex with their spouse for the purpose of unity and love. Its ok that we admit ancient scriptures were unaware of the causes of homosexuality and were simply biased against them. Why would God create gays and deny them happiness and love? Or should we just admit that either God is either spiteful or nonexistent? Or that we are wrong about what God wants for gays? It can’t be that God creates gays just to test them, for there are gay animals that God has no reason to test.

  33. anon4this1:

    Does God relate his will to the Prophet via the Holy Ghost? I believe many would answer that yes he does. What does it mean then if the Prophet emphatically declares something, and our Holy Ghost impressions don’t jive with his? Furthermore, who would win if it became a matter of debate? As for canonization, nothing has been canonized since 1978, and before that it was 1918 (Section 138), and before that it was the 1890’s, if by canonization we are referring to new revelations which are approved and added to the Standard Works. Even so, modern Church leaders pontificate on everything from what clothes to wear, how many earings, what soda we can drink, which movie ratings are acceptable, etc. Based on that way of thinking we haven’t had a Prophet since Spencer W. Kimball, and before that it was Joseph F. Smith. Everyone else has just been a man with a viewpoint.

  34. “Put simply, the Penis was designed to go into the Vagina; not, the anus or mouth.”

    1. What if a woman was born without a vagina due to some congenital abnormality and falls in love with a man with a penis and gets married? Would the person who made the above statement find a rationale to make an exception to this statement in this circumstance, or would they take an absolute approach to their statement?

    2. What if a woman is not physically able to achieve climax with penile penetration alone and needs oral stimulation in order to do so? Exception or absolute?

    3. And if a woman can reach a climax with penile penetration but has a much better experience with oral stimulation first? Exception or absolute?

    Well, if exceptions are justifiable for some, then it opens the door for others to question why they cannot enjoy the same exception. This leads to the wisdom SilverRain described in #4, which is basically the position that Natasha received from church leadership in her query.

  35. Zack,

    Just because gays are born with the propensity for same sex attraction doesn’t make it right to engage in homosexual activity. Likewise, people are born with the tendency for violence, but that doesn’t mean they should engage in violence. Additionally, people that are born with the tendency for chemical dependency doesn’t justify engaging in this behavior. It is wrong.
    As for you animal analogy, they are not spirit children of God and are not subject to the plan of salvation. They are animals and man has dominion over them.

  36. Rigel,

    I realize I have a different view on this issue. Also, I am looking at it from a Male perspective. I just see no need for anal sex; and have no desire to ejaculate in my wife’s mouth. Call me weird or different for this view, but it is my view.

    I see no issue with oral stimulation of a female.

  37. St1305,

    Fair point: not every tendency should be sanctioned.

    But seriously, if God is in charge, why would he create gays just to test them? Doesn’t it make more sense that either God isn’t controlling sexuality and gender as closely as we might think (he just set evolution in motion) or that there is no God and we are simply evolved animals with some of the same sexual deviations as animals (homosexuality, promiscuity)? If either one of those two things are the case, Mormons should be totally OK with gays committing to each other in love so they can be happy and fulfilled in this life.

    On the other hand, if God continually afflicts 5-10% of the population throughout history with homosexuality just to test them, what kind of God is that?

  38. As regards sexual behavior in marriage, I’m glad we’re having this discussion. My feeling is that any sexual activity that promotes love, unity and bonding in both partners should be accepted and embraced. When one person is suffering just to gratify the other, that can’t be right. If my wife even somewhat enjoys oral sex and I do too, it should be acceptable. If my wife really doesn’t like it and I do, it should be unacceptable.

    However, it gets more complicated when we consider that perhaps we do things we dislike just to benefit our partner. I may hate giving oral sex to my wife, but to be honest, I’d still do it if she really really liked it. There is always some level of willingness to self-sacrifice that we need to seek in marriage and intimacy. The line should be drawn at the extremes or when one partner is suffering more than simple discomfort.

  39. #5,#15, and #40 (st1305) – I hope that you, if a brother, never serve(d) in a bishopric or Stake Presidency. It’s fanatics like yourself that give the Church a bad name and drive perfectly good people away with your nitwitted ideas. As for your counsel to the female employee about the reason for her chronic cold sores, assuming she was even being truthful (I would be wary of any so-called “lady” that would divulge such info to her boss), I say you ought to have in the best interests of one of your subordinates not only demurred any recommemdations (including your self-righteous judgments about her husband) about her marriage but merely to have referred her to a doctor! Let the professionals do their work in ferreting out abuse and mind yer own business! If she truly was chroncially sufferring painful mouth sores because her “bastard” of a husband was demanding oral sex against her will, then there’s much more afoot than her intimate relations with a purported SOB.
    Yes, I thought that as long as the married couple were mutally consenting, whatever went on in the bedroom was entirely their own affair. At least until not too long ago SOMEHOW it came to the attention of my bishop what my wife and I had been up to. When he questioned me about it, I told him that it was none of his ($#@%!) business and I didn’t wish to discuss it. He then immediately demanded my temple recommend. Unfortunately, my SP did not overrule him, and, for this, amongst a few other disagreements with the pontificating knucklehead, I remain w/o a recommend.

    1. Doug,
      Hate to tell you, but it might have been your wife who told the Bishop.
      Please don’t take it out on her. Instead, learn how to listen peaceably and courteously to her on all matters, including sex.
      Good luck.

  40. Zach,

    You answered the question in your response. Only a small portion of the population has same sex attraction. Promiscuity, on the other hand has a larger impact on the population as a whole. Pornography, for instance, is a huge problem in the church. These are temptations for most males; and, are as problematic to resist as homosexual behavior is to gays. It is not problematic to have the feelings; it is only problematic to engage in the activity.

    Gays make it sound like they are the only ones facing temptation to engage in something that feels right, normal or natural. Fantasies, adultery, pornography are very real with men in and outside of the church. They need to overcome their strong feelings and desires, just as gays do with thier ungodly desires.

  41. st1305,

    I’m glad you commented because you’ve made this discussion so much more fun.

    On a serious note, do you agree with the Doug’s Bishop and Stake President? Do you think sexual acts between two married, consenting, and otherwise worthy adults are immoral enough to have your recommend taken away? Or do you put this along the lines of those naughty diet Coke drinkers who should know better?

  42. Zach & Michael,

    I look forward to the mental gymnastics that will be performed when Same Sex Marriage is legal everywhere, civilization doesn’t collapse and families still quibble and love each other like they always have.

  43. Species,

    I would have taken his recommed away largery due to his attitude. The only question that is asked is “do you live the law of chasity?. The response is up to the person asked the question.

    Yes, diet Coke is evil, must drink Pepsi.

  44. (#46 and #49, st1305) – Attitude? Darned right I’d be sorely “miffed” if I were ever asked a question about marital intimacy that is NOT the bishop’s business! Being respectful of a bishop’s (or other priesthood leader) does NOT mean that you allow him to intrude where he doesn’t belong.
    Had I merely been asked if I was living the law of chastity I would have answered “yes” w/o reservation or qualification. What I was asked was more than that, and, frankly, at the time I was severely shocked that it was ever brought up. Only respect out of habit for Priesthood authority prevented me from engaging in the “laying on of hands” (e.g., a left cross followed by an uppercut to the jaw).
    The issue comes to imposing one’s private values (e.g. to engage in what SOME deem “inappropriate” sex acts in the marital context) when exercising discretion as a “Common Judge in Israel”. If you don’t find anal or oral sex to your liking, or your spouse doesn’t care for it, fine, then you don’t engage in it! You should never allow your spouse to cajole you into doing something that you’re not comfortable with, especially in the context of intimacy! However, whatever went on in my bedroom strictly was mutally consented and therefore was not fit for discussion as to my personal worthniness, ever!
    I’ll say this also for the pontificating nitwits like st1305: The insistence on the “anything goes in the bedroom” stance is not simply for purposes of personal gratification, but also for being able to give same to my spouse in whatever manner we deem fit. IMO, communication and giving, especially in the bedroom, are the epitome of marital health and living the Gospel.

  45. Has there ever been a retraction of the following First Presidency from 1982?

    “The First Presidency has interpreted oral sex as constituting an unnatural, impure or unholy practice.”

    The new counsel is that bedroom matters are between husband and wife, but what, then, is the more inspired interpretation of “unnatural, impure or unholy practice(s)”?

  46. “no natural lubrication that is provided by the rectum which increases possibility of pain and of rectal damage. Infections due to the high number of infectious microorganisms not found elsewhere on the body can be more likely to occur. Some cases of anal cancer have been linked to the practice of anal sex. Physical damage to the anus and the rectum due to their vulnerability is likely as well as issues such as hemorrhoids, anal fissures, rectal prolapse and loss of control over the bowels”

    ….Also half the reason why gay sex and gay marriage is considered unnatural and fundamentally wrong for Mormons, would it not?

    I recall a husband (this was back in 1979 or 1980 odd) who was excommunicated for annal sex imposed on his wife. She had gone to the SP asking if a- it was ok and b- what to do because her husband said he needed it but she felt only pain from that. The husband was spoken to (apparently as SP claimed) but answered that it was between his wife and him etc, so SP called a disciplinary council which resulted in husband excommunicated for annal sex. Thing is that I don’t think it did anyone any good because neither the husband or wife ever returned to church, he was angry at being ex’d and she was embarrassed because everyone knew (gossip gets around).

    So for me the saying that the church doesn’t get into members bedroom is a very wise thought. Better to avoid these messy problems and that also goes for oral sex situation because couples will know if it is wrong or ‘feel’ that something is wrong if indeed it is wrong to do.

  47. “Put simply, the Penis was designed to go into the Vagina; not, the anus or mouth.”

    🙂

    Questions is: are Asians designed the same, since their eyes are…..well you know.

    My home teaching companion recons that Asian women have it horizontal instead of vertical; could it be true?????

  48. 15… “I don’t see why someone would want to insert their penis into the mouth or anus, when you have the vagina that was designed for this type of penetration.”

    Yeah, and she’s nice and (usually) hot and moist and welcoming….. 🙂

    Interesting debate here!

  49. Doug 44 & 51,

    Dude, how would the Bishop have found out about what you and your wife did in a bedroom? hidden cameras? doubt it.

    Obviously your wife isn’t all that comfortable with whatever it is you are doing (oral or anal) with her and mentioned it to someone who passed it on to the Bishop who then asked you about it. And your angry response could only confirm the gossiping and result in at least your recommend being taken away. I would have done the same, and I was a bishop for several years too.

    Only other possibility is that she spoke directly to Bishop but I’d say that’s not the most likely scenario. For me,it she mentioned it to a friend or relief society president who then went to ask the Bishop, who in turn brought you in to ask you directly. Think about that, can it be legal and right to do if she isn’t sure about it??? no it can’t .

  50. jimbob,

    I’m perpetually perplexed by this statement. Besides embezzlement, the quickest way of which I am aware to be excommunicated is usually tied to the bedroom–sexual abuse, fornication, adultery, etc. And I’d give you the benefit of the doubt that what you meant was instead that the Church has no business in a marital bedroom between two married and consenting adults, but that was the point you seemed to be trying to disagree with. So I’m confused

    thanks for giving me the benefit of the doubt, because, yes, that’s what I meant.

  51. Doug,

    A couple of terms you left out while describing me: ‘radical, extremist, Nazi and terrorist’. You always know you have the upper hand when the opposition resorts to personal attacks. I would agree with Nephi on this one: “the guilty take the truth to be hard”. I can see why your Bishop pulled the worthiness plug.

    Carlos,

    Your comments are disgusting and degrading towards Asian women.

  52. Carlos #56:

    This conversation may be good for you, because you are certainly have not participated in very many sex conversations, nor do you appear to had much experience with women. Let me be the first to clue you in, that many women just like to talk about sex. That’s right, and some can be far more open and frank than most men I know. Sometimes when they get together they just gossip about their sex lives. When they go to the salon (my wife is a stylist) they talk about sex, sometimes complaining, and sometimes just gossip. When their heads are under those big machines, or they are just sitting their letting a color process, they read those magazines which are nothing more than corporate celebrity sex gossip. The point is, you are probably right. Between Doug and his wife, somebody talked. However, the inference that it was because she was uncomfortable with his requests, or more directly an attempt to recieve help from a Bishop, is far from warranted when we consider that it is easily more likely to have been just “sex talk”. You can debate whether this cultural reality is appropriate, but it is really naive to so easily jump to exclusive conclusion that you came to.

  53. I can only assume that this discussion will NOT be referenced in the Deseret News/Mormon Times “Today in the Bloggernacle” column.

  54. Has there ever been a retraction of the following First Presidency from 1982? — that is the letter I discussed above that was sent out when the first presidency were all hospitalized/etc. by some overzealous individuals, that was retracted and people were told to destroy the copies as it was not written or signed by anything other than the autostencil machine.

  55. I’ve been traveling all day in a “no service” zone so I’m sorry I haven’t been responding. So many great comments!

    A few comments of my own:
    -Ejaculation into the mouth does not need to occur as part of oral sex. There are some that don’t mind this, and some that do – but it is not necessary for oral sex to still be part of a couple’s sexual repertoire. There are many that use oral sex as just part of foreplay towards intercourse.
    -#5: Sounds like this woman had Herpes Simplex Type 1, which is quite common. It can be caused by oral sex, but it is more likely to be spread through kissing and/or touching. Brief skin-to-skin contact is all that is needed. Most people with oral herpes were infected as children. Planned Parenthood offers more information: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/stds-hiv-safer-sex/herpes-4271.htm.
    -#15: Most STDs are passed along through normal “penis inserted into vagina” type of sex. So, this is not a good argument against oral or anal sex per se. I guess it would be an argument against all sex – which, is obviously not what God intended.
    -#6 & 15: We may not always “get” why people act differently than we choose to. However, comments like these leave people feeling shamed and conversation is shut down. Rather than judging others I think we are all better off when we choose to empathize and understand, rather than criticize. The fact remains, that many choose to act in many different sexual ways.
    Also, whether appropriate or not, members are going to bishops all the time with these types of questions. They frequent my blog often as well. I believe members are concerned and want to make sure that they are behaving appropriately. Unfortunately, myth added with past statements made by prominent leaders have added to the legitimate confusion of many.
    -#9: Wow! Thank you!
    -#14: Wow! The position you have chosen (that of celibacy due to your religious values) is one that I’m sure most of us on this forum will never be able to understand. This is an extremely difficult, confusing and frustrating situation you are in. I plan to post in the future regarding homosexuality. I will look forward to your comments at that time.

  56. Couple of items gathered from internet, for what they are worth. Followups to 1982 statement mentioned briefly above. Loved Cowboy’s characterization (#25) of such statements.

    Letter from President Harold B. Lee marked confidential:

    May 17, 1973

    Dear Sister:

    I am directed by President Harold B. Lee to acknowledge your letter of May 10, 1973. Normally, your letter would be referred to your Bishop who would counsel with you and give you answers to your questions. In this instance, however, in view of the intimately personal nature of your inquiry, a reply is being sent to you direct. In answer to a similar inquiry which President Lee recently received, he responded as follows:

    I was shocked to have you raise the question about ‘oral lovemaking in the genital area among married couples.’ Heaven forbid any such degrading activities which would be abhorrent in the sight of the Lord. For any Latter-day Saint, and particularly those who have been taught in the sacred ordinances of the temple, to engage in any kind of perversions of this sacred God-given gift of procreation, would be sure to bring down the condemnation of the Lord whom we would offend were we to engage in any such practice.

    Trusting that this information will be helpful to you, I am

    Sincerely,
    (Signature)
    D. Arthur Haycock
    Secretary to President Harold B. Lee

    Letter to all Priesthood Leaders, January 5, 1982.

    Married persons should understand that if in their marital relations they are guilty of unnatural, impure, or unholy practices, they should not enter the temple unless and until they repent and discontinue any such practices. Husbands and wives who are aware of these requirements can determine by themselves their standing before the Lord. All of this should be conveyed without having priesthood leaders focus upon intimate matters which are a part of husband and wife relationships. Skillful interviewing and counseling can occur without discussion of clinical details by placing firm responsibility on individual members of the Church to put their lives in order before exercising the privilege of entering a house of the Lord. The First Presidency has interpreted oral sex as constituting an unnatural, impure, or unholy practice. If a person is engaged in a practice which troubles him enough to ask about it, he should discontinue it.

    Anyone guilty of verbal or physical child or spouse abuse should not enter the temple. . .

    (Signatures)
    Spencer Kimball
    N. Eldon Tanner
    Marion G. Romney
    Gordon B. Hinckley

  57. #21: 1-Yes, 2-No, 3-Yes, 4-Yes, 5-No, 6-Yes, 7-? There’s my attempt at straight answers. 🙂 I don’t mind ranting.
    #43: Great comment!
    #50: For the most part, yes, absolutely. We need to be talking about these types of issues more often. I see way too much dysfunction that could have been avoided if we were all better educated and willing to have a conversation.
    #52: The problem is that many define these terms in completely different ways. It is especially problematic when a couple is trying to make sexual decisions with this type of vague guidance. Both then are stuck primarily on how they define certain terms.
    #53: It is a misnomer to assume that all gay sex includes anal sex. First of all, lesbians are not having anal sex unless using a dildo. And anal sex is not the preferred method of many homosexual men.
    Whether we agree or not, the bishop may be the only person a wife or husband may feel comfortable speaking with regarding certain sexual issues. Hopefully bishops will refer further (i.e. counseling, doctor, etc.) but they are still a resource for many as a first step in getting help.
    #54: I’m having a hard time understanding what you mean by your comments? I’m not sure if you meant to be offensive – maybe, just trying to show how ridiculous some statements people make are? I hope so anyway.
    #59: I agree that this was more than likely the case. Yet the tone you used was a bit condescending. I think that to be truly successful in altering opinions and in becoming educators, we all need to watch our tone.
    #60: Sigh…

  58. From the 1982 letter: “The First Presidency has interpreted oral sex as constituting an unnatural, impure, or unholy practice. If a person is engaged in a practice which troubles him enough to ask about it, he should discontinue it.”

    Well, I don’t interpret oral sex to be unnatural, impure, or unholy. Therefore, it doesn’t trouble me, and thus I don’t have to discontinue it. Other people will disagree with me, but that is one thing I really like about Mormonism — nearly everything can be disagreed upon because we aren’t a creedal religion. Highly traditional, yes, but that can be overcome when necessary. As a previous poster pointed out, there have been remarkably few canonizations in the past 140 years. I think that’s a good thing.

    And about whether or not various sexual acts are good/bad — my only comment is don’t knock it till you try it.

  59. that is the letter I discussed above that was sent out when the first presidency were all hospitalized/etc. by some overzealous individuals, that was retracted and people were told to destroy the copies as it was not written or signed by anything other than the autostencil machine.”

    Stephen Marsh, CFR. Are you really claiming that this letter was a prank, sent and signed without the knowledge of the entire First Presidency? And on what basis do you make that claim? Wishful thinking?

  60. Carlos – the Bishop (mine) found out during a period of time that my wife and I were separated. The issue came up when estranged wife went to the doctor who took it upon himself to phone her bishop (violation of medical confidentiality even in UT) who phoned mine. Now we’re back together. Wife has never agreed that it should have been brought up (rather embarrassing). Cowboy, though your explanation would otherwise be plausible (yes, the girlz do talk about sex, especially when it constitutes good juicy gossip!), it’s just not the case. However, it was rather difficult to get confronted by my sister-in-law on the subject; whom I had to rebuff to mind her own business. Needless to say, though invited when visiting (my son was transferring to BYU and he was seeking housing), I just got a hotel to have some peace and quiet and work out some other issues with estranged wife (refi of house, separation agreement, etc.).

    St1305, “Nazi” in your case would be a compliment rather than an epithet. You don’t seem to have the necessary brain matter to be a “radical” or a “terrorist” – AlQueda probably wouldn’t have you. Likewise the “truth” for yourself is “hard” – that you’re a judgmental, self-righteous prick. As I’ve said previously, I hope with your unconventional views and quickness to judge harshly that you never serve in a bishopric or on a Stake High Council, for the sake of your fellow members. Even my current bishop, whom I don’t see eye-to-eye with, is far more agreeable and possible to work with (and I do work quite well with him in my callings otherwise).

    The TR issue is actually much more complicated than a disagreement about the appropriateness of non-vaginal intercourse for a married couple. Suffice it that it’s come down to a battle of wills over the past year and now the SP (unfortunately for him, he’s a decent guy and doesn’t need this crap!) is involved.

  61. Here’s a question: why have “prophets” if we only accept what we agree with? Why are (multiple) earrings, wine, and underwear easier to eschew or comply with than proscriptions on sexual behavior? Why are some things in the church’s purview and not others?

  62. chris anthem ‘s mum – not a prank, but an action more like “steadying the ark” referred to in earlier posts.

    The letter was recalled with express instructions not to keep copies or use it. It was repudiated.

    Other than having talked with people with contacts in that area (some friends at what became FARMS who were involved with the Church office building at the time — not Jack Welch btw), which is how I learned the back story, and of course being aware of the recall, which is a rather unusual event, I don’t have any other knowledge.

    You’ve got to admit, the times anyone goes off the reservation and does something like that are pretty few. Which made this particular act so dramatic and attention getting.

    In 1982 I wasn’t married and was celibate and my only thoughts on the subject were that the practice was definitely something I could do without. When I learned more, it was the sort of thing that makes you either laugh or cry at the audacity involved.

    To some extent, it is really an example of why correlation is important, since it reflects something that happened when it was not engaged in.

    It also helps illustrate President Kimball’s time as prophet. The number of times the rumor mill would start up that he was finally going to die … from sources that really should not have been talking (i.e. medical doctors involved in his care, etc.) and then he would return to consciousness and do something with great vigor — those were a large number. This is exactly what one might have expected him to do, except he did not.

    There is a third story that really needs to be written about him.

  63. Doug, 67 “the Bishop (mine) found out during a period of time that my wife and I were separated”

    Makes sense that way. Please be adviced that most Bishops outside Utah, or maybe outside US, would not work that way. Its a way of the past and there really is not justification for getting involved in these issues. But in Utah they are sure to disagree. And I agree too that the sister in law should not get involved but, as before, Utah is a different world to the rest of the normal world.

    glad you are back together and I hope it works out for you two

  64. Cowboy #59 “because you are certainly have not participated in very many sex conversations, nor do you appear to had much experience with women”

    Haa; i’m going to have to get one of them sex test for my misses -to make sure she’s a woman!!!! No, j/k, actually I did marry a man when this SSM business started, so yes, you are 100% correct 🙂

  65. Natasha #64

    “maybe, just trying to show how ridiculous some statements people make are? I hope so anyway”

    Exactly. I mean, was I the only one laughing out load while reading some of the comments here? I mean “the Penis was designed….? anyways

    But seriously you do have a good point there in “#53: It is a misnomer to assume that all gay sex includes anal sex”. But since you mentioned all those points about anal sex in the original post, I’d ask you (who is the professional after all): wouldn’t they all be true and legit for either type of couple? a man on man or a man on woman? Maybe there are active gay couples who don’t engage in anal sex but surly most would? I admit though that I’m not an expert on the issue (note that someone who claims to be gay but doesn’t have sex wouldn’t normally be subjected to church discipline)

    About “the bishop may be the only person a wife or husband may feel comfortable speaking with regarding certain sexual issues” That has been the case for many decades but there is an ongoing effort by the church in training up Bishops to avoid giving out their own advice on these issues but rather to teach members on how the Spirit can help them find their own answers to these personal questions (Use of garments is another good example showing this principal; remember that we use to read out the first presidency letter stating that members should find their own answers to questions on how to use garments)

    In other words when asked, a Bishop should ideally teach the member about prayer, fasting and seeking answers from God instead of answering ‘yes’ or ‘no’ or even refering to the letter quoted here in #63. But in practice this still doesn’t seem to happen too much it seems.

    By the way, I’d like to say that I enjoy your other blog and read it often. And last year I printed out one entry you wrote on masturbation and used it in my HP class (first sunday one) and it was well recieved, so you never know how far your writings go over the internet! I mention it here because its difficult to add comments there anonymously.

  66. #71 carlos,

    Your comment there reminded me of something that came to mind that I told a co-worker yesterday, “The further you live away from Utah, the more enjoyable it is to be a member of the church.”

  67. Dave P.

    I totally agree with that statement! It is great and it should become a classic. “The further you live away from Utah, the more enjoyable it is to be a member of the church.” That would make for a great blog post!

  68. @73

    I would have to disagree with you on that, I live on the east coast, the church is not any easier here. The church is the way it is because of the people running it period.

  69. The 1982 First Presidency statement does not need retraction. It is accurate and currently reflects the stand of the church. Just because they say “we are going to stay out of the bedroom”, doesn’t mean anything goes. Does that mean sadism is acceptable? Does that mean you can choke your wife to the point where she passes out? As long as it’s consensual, right?

    What the statement “we are going to stay of the bedroom” means they won’t ask you about it unless we feel there is a problem. The question is “do you live the law of chastity” unless we feel something else is wrong. Likewise, the question is “Do you live the Word of Wisdom?” there is no prying about coffee or abuse of non-prescription drugs or the like unless the Bishop senses a problem.

    It is my observation that most of the problems couples face stem from decisions by consenting adults who have fallen victim to the deadly sins of lust, greed and pride. Most of the problems leading to separation or divorce stem from money or sex. Consenting adults, out of greed, who have spent too much money and saved too little; or, consenting adults who give in to lust rather than love.

    The prophet Alma counseled his son “bridle your passions, that you might be filled with love”. Most couples don’t fall out of love; they fall out of lust, at least with each other. Love and lust are mutually exclusive events. Along these lines, I would consider oral or anal sex acts of lust. On the other hand, successful couples find meaningful relationships outside of the bedroom. So when the wrinkles and extra pounds come, which they usually do, they have a lasting relationship.

    1. St2305,
      Lust, or libido, or sexual desire, is necessary for a man to become aroused and then have intercourse and reach climax and inseminate his wife. Basic physiology 101.
      Women need lust for their vagina to enlarge and lubricate, becoming ready for penetration. Women also need to be experiencing lust, or intense sexual desire, to be able to reach climax upon genital stimulation (internal, external, or both).
      THIS is how people’s bodies work sexually.

  70. I can’t believe I am going to say this but I think that finally st1305 has made a logical, intelligent, non-condescending post!

    Our little boy is growing up. We are so proud of you.

  71. So let me ask this question then to st1305 – Are two men or two women able to “love” each other the same as a man and a woman? Or, because of their same sex, can they only “lust” each other? Is there a difference between their “lust” and that of pure, righteous LDS teenagers who “lust” after each other believing it is “love”? Should we counsel our young people that what they consider romantic love is really the lustful phase of their attraction to the opposite sex? Maybe arranged marriages are the best route to make sure our straight youth do not mistake lust for love.

  72. I understand that in all things Mormon, Utah just by virtue of the concentration of LDS, can suffer from group-think. It also struggles with the majority issues, rather than minority status of life lived by Mormons most elsewhere. Even so, how is, “The further you live away from Utah, the more enjoyable it is to be a member of the church”, an endorsement for the Church? The closer you get to Church headquarters and the “saints”, the worse Mormon life becomes? I don’t get it. Assuming that the LDS Church is “true”, as we say, how would you folks cope in the Celestial Kingdom?

  73. @ 76

    The real problem I have with living in Utah isn’t so much different than what happened to Doug. I feel like I’m under surveillance by a Mormon KGB and if I do anything wrong, intentional or not, my bishop will find out well long before I confess to him, even if it isn’t necessary to do so. I have an injured right arm and some days I can barely lift it above my shoulder, so some Sundays I take the sacrament with my left hand. I’ve heard audible gasps on more than one occasion.

  74. I went to see Eclipse with my two nieces the weekend it came out. It was my first exposure to the now famous books by Sister Myers (a fellow BYU Alumus). Now, this book series is incredibly popular in Utah and is supported by mountain west LDS parents up and down the Wasatch Front.

    I must tell you that I have never in my entire life (even in my inactive period when I did not listen to Alma and bridle my passions)seen a more tortuous, twisted, psychotic, idiotic, obsessive, immoral movie. I can’t believe such a story was written by a Latter-day Saint graduate of BYU. It was pornography for females – pure and simple. There is no other way to describe it.

    Now, please understand, I am by no means a prude. But I cannot fathom how such a storyline was sold in Deseret Book and how the females are not called to repentance for becoming infatuated with such a story. If the shoe were on the other foot, the men would have been called on the carpet in General Conference, Stake Conference, Ward Conference, and in every quorum meeting. It is a story of pure lust.

    Is that what passes for romantic love in the current generation? Are I that out of it?

  75. Cowboy,

    I was raised in Philly and now live in Florida. I have spent six years in Utah (primarily BYU but not entirely). The challenge for me in such an environment was the lack of respect proffered by members concerning those that did not fit a very traditional mold. There is a mixing of the Restored Gospel (which I love immensely) with lifestyle wherein choices are proscribed in every facet of your life and if you deviate from those rote choices, your testimony is questioned.

    If can be very frustrating and off-putting. Especially when it is mixed with a work environment that mimics that culture.

    I have often wondered how we will be able to establish Zion given the mixture of such items. Are we really seeking to build the Kingdom or just create a more censored version of Babylon. The late Brother Nibley wrote wonderful essays on that topic.

  76. “The 1982 First Presidency statement does not need retraction. It is accurate and currently reflects the stand of the church.”

    You’ve got some circular logic problems here. How do we know what constitutes the current “stand of the church” if the statement the stand is based on has been retracted? Do you have access to the Manual of Super-Secret Church Positions on Controversial Issues that the rest of us aren’t aware of?

    1. jimbob,
      That’s the problem, isn’t it.
      The Church leadership are so afraid that people MIGHT ACTUALLY ENJOY THEIR OWN BODIES AND, PERISH THE THOUGHT, MORTAL LIFE ITSELF!
      THAT’S what’s wrong with organized religion. They TRAFFIC in fear, shame, guilt, blind faith, and superstition, taken to the extreme, far beyond the exigent moral demands of human societies. Call it, “Chasing the impossible and trying to do it by any means necessary!

  77. “I have often wondered how we will be able to establish Zion given the mixture of such items. Are we really seeking to build the Kingdom or just create a more censored version of Babylon. The late Brother Nibley wrote wonderful essays on that topic.”

    That’s the problem I see with the whole argument. I often hear this line of thinking from Mormons who generally weren’t raised in Utah. I don’t want to be misunderstood as suggesting that “Utah Mormons” are more superior, but Utah sort of represents collective Mormon culture. It’s a bit odd to me to say one hand, “I love the Church” and on the Other say “I hate the Church’s society”.

    As for a Mormon KGB, there wouldn’t be this business of “member spying” if there wasn’t a Central Intelligence Agency to report to, that was willing and desirous to act. So, at the end of the day it’s a product of the institution, and frankly one not at all reserved strictly for Utah. It doesn’t help that institutionally we have already created a culture of interrogation, where even our private married sexual activity can be subject to the Agencies approval. Or where there used to be a culture of spot check interrogation protocols called PPI’s. Certainly there are greater liberal regions of the country/world where Church members are less like this, but there are also places where it can be worse. The mid-west for example I think is much more “KGB” like than the east-coast. Just my thoughts. Having lived in Utah most of my life, I’m a bit surprised that people reacted to using a left-hand for the Sacrament. I didn’t experience that until my mission in the mid-west.

  78. #77, St1305: One thumb down, and (suprise!) three thumbs up (I give credit where it’s due, or even a broken clock tells correct time twice daily).
    One needn’t be my fave alter-ego (the 7-foot asthmatic Sith dressed in black) in regards to how he treats his wife. And no, saying that “anything goes” (more specifically, anything mutually agreed to, which one must use good judgement and common sense as to an “agreement” existing) is not an excuse to risk injury, EVEN if the spouse accepts the risk. I myself have refrained from certain things simply due to the potential for injury or further aggravation of existing conditions. I didn’t need a letter from the First Presidency, 28 years ago or today, to tell me to be considerate of my wife! (thumb down)
    Or, has anyone considered that the 1982 letter is no longer in effect, else, it wouldn’t be commonplace for bishops and SPs to not ever want to delve into the subject! It should be obvious why the Brethren quietly backed off and gave simple counsel “Don’t do it if it troubles you”…else, there’d be a proverbial firestorm of “he said, she said”, etc. etc etc and there IS a Kingdom of God to build on this here rock! (thumb up#1).
    Would whole-heartedly agree that “consenting” adults that consent(ed) to greed, lust, etc bring problems in their lives which inevitable threaten their respective marriages. And far more money than sex, as if the (illict) sex wasn’t bad enough! It’s troubling that so many couples that proverbially make music in the bedroom can wreak a screaming cacophony outside of it. (thumb up#2).
    Regardless of appearance, a marriage that is founded on physical attraction is like a house build on sand. Or, as I often see on some biker’s T-shirt, “No matter how good looking she is, some guy out there is tired of her s***!” (thumb up#3).
    As for #82 (Michael) – in case you haven’t noticed, there IS a double standard. The sisters can just about get away with murder. The brethren, should one of them break wind at an inopportune moment (guilty as charged), would face a disciplinary council. So, yes, the sisters can write, read, and or watch a production like “Eclipse” and nothing will be done about it. I once wrote a rather racy piece of SW Fan fiction and elected not to post it (it was good catharsis at the time, but felt that it needed serious rework and toning down before being posted) and caught flak when a copy got out of my hands.

  79. Cowboy,

    There are now close to 14 million Latter-day Saints. Only 2 million of them live in Utah. More than half live outside the US. Mexico and Brasil have more than 1 million. Chile and Philippines have over 500,000. The most common language in the Church is now Spanish. The days of Utah representing the majority culture have passed. Unfortunately, Utah Saints still have not recognized the world outside their borders.

  80. Michael:

    Those figures say nothing of activity rates, or self-identified Mormons – oddly figures the Church doesn’t report. Nevertheless,while you are correct, the dispersion of members outside of Utah is sparse in most regions. Utah still represents the highest Mormon concentration, especially per-capita, than any other region in the world.

  81. Michael,

    Who is the condescending one?

    You ask: “Are two men or two women able to “love” each other the same as a man and a woman? “ No, absolutely and definitely, no. They can love each other as brothers and sisters; or, as friends, but not as a couple. No copulation can exist; at least not properly; at least not to the extent of procreation. Same sex couples are not eternal, can’t be, and never will be. This type of relationship is not of God and never will be.

    Jimbob,

    I don’t know anything about the retraction, but I do know what President Kimball has said in the Miracle of Forgiveness about the issue. Along these lines he did say as a Prophet (although it does not mention oral or anal sex, it does provide clear guidelines) the following:
    “Beware of the devil’s trick of making evil seem good by giving it a label that conceals its character. Just such a device is the rationalization that lust is love. Even though sex can be an important and satisfactory part of married life, we must remember that life is not designed just for sex. The union of the sexes, husband and wife (and only husband and wife), was for the principal purpose of bringing children into the world. Sexual experiences were never intended by the Lord to be a mere plaything or merely to satisfy passions and lusts. We know of no directive from the Lord that proper sexual experience between husbands and wives need be limited totally to the procreation of children, but we find much evidence from Adam until now that no provision was ever made by the Lord for indiscriminate sex.”

    1. st1305,
      What did Pres. Spencer W. Kimball mean by “indiscriminate sex” within marriage?
      MOST marital intercourse and other climax-producing sexual activity takes place to relieve male and, for some wives, female physiological symptoms which occur for men due to the filling of the prostate gland and testes with the fluids that make up semen. There is also vasocongestion and often pain within these glands and annoyingly frequent, sometimes long-lasting, vasocongestive arousal of the male organ.
      These bodily urges and symptoms are what prompt a man to seek sexual release– hopefully, with his wife or if she’s unavailable, by himself.
      Pres. Kimball and other LFS prophets and General Authorities want married male church members to have their physiological needs for sexual relief to chronically go unmet? Same questions apply to these men’s wives?
      And exactly where do the scriptures say that “indiscriminate,” have-it-as-needed” sex within marriage is unchaste, immoral, and evil?
      DON’T WE HAVE ANY RIGHTS AS HUMAN BEINGS?

  82. “Beware of the devil’s trick of making evil seem good by giving it a label that conceals its character”

    I would agree with this. However, I might frame the problem as: what God hath joined together, let not mand divide asunder. Adam was commanded to cleave unto Eve and none else. To me, that means no one, and no institution, should come between me and my wife. That means then, that no one has the right to define our relationship except ourselves, under the guidance of the Spirit. As in: not the bishop, stake president, or prophet, unless their counsel corresponds to what we have received through the Spirit. Making the evil of dividing apart spouses seem like a good idea for the Church seems like a good trick to me.

    And, “Are two men or two women able to “love” each other the same as a man and a woman?” Clearly you haven’t actually had a strong relationship with anyone in a strong committed homosexual relationship. They are quite able to love each other as strongly as I love my wife. Now, whether they should is a different question, which you gave your opinion on. But realize that for many (most/all) of them, the love is fully there, not just lust.

  83. From Mormonwiki:

    “While LDS activity rates in the United States are among the highest of any country in the world, less than half of members on the rolls are active. The Encyclopedia of Mormonism reports: ‘Canada, the South Pacific, and the United States average between 40 percent and 50 percent [attendance at sacrament meeting].’ (Source: Encyclopedia of Mormonism, edited by Daniel H. Ludlow, 1992, 4:1527.)

    “Marginal retention of new converts, and especially potential priesthood holders, remains a serious challenge:
    “‘For the U.S. as a whole, only 59% of baptized males ever receive the Melchizedek Priesthood. In the South Pacific, the figure drops to 35%; in Great Britain, 29%. In Mexico (with almost 850,000 members) the figure is 19%; and in Japan, only 17% of the male members ever make it past the Aaronic Priesthood.’ (source: Lowell C. Bennion and Lawrence Young, Dialogue, Spring 1996, p.19.) ” [4]

    Michael:

    For the lack of wanting to engage a serious study to try and understand actual activity rates, I am going to throw out some real sloppy figures to just try and get an idea:

    Estimated U.S. Mormon population – 5 million
    Less: Utah Membership of 2 million – 3 million

  84. Sorr that last one shouldn’t have posted.

    From Mormonwiki:

    “While LDS activity rates in the United States are among the highest of any country in the world, less than half of members on the rolls are active. The Encyclopedia of Mormonism reports: ‘Canada, the South Pacific, and the United States average between 40 percent and 50 percent [attendance at sacrament meeting].’ (Source: Encyclopedia of Mormonism, edited by Daniel H. Ludlow, 1992, 4:1527.)

    “Marginal retention of new converts, and especially potential priesthood holders, remains a serious challenge:
    “‘For the U.S. as a whole, only 59% of baptized males ever receive the Melchizedek Priesthood. In the South Pacific, the figure drops to 35%; in Great Britain, 29%. In Mexico (with almost 850,000 members) the figure is 19%; and in Japan, only 17% of the male members ever make it past the Aaronic Priesthood.’ (source: Lowell C. Bennion and Lawrence Young, Dialogue, Spring 1996, p.19.) ” [4]

    Michael:

    For the lack of wanting to engage a serious study to try and understand actual activity rates, I am going to throw out some real sloppy figures to just try and get an idea:

    Estimated U.S. Mormon population – 5 million
    Less: Utah Membership of 2 million – 3 million
    50% activity in Utah – 1 million
    50% activity in U.S. excluding Utah – 1.5 million

    Taking an average of the stated activity rates in the mid 1990’s of foreign regions – 35 + 29 + 19 + 17 = 100, 100/4 = 25% foreign activty rates

    Estimated global Mormon population, per you – 14 million
    Less U.S. Mormon population – 9 million
    Estimated Foreign activity rate 9 million * 25% = 2.25 million

    U.S. Moromon activity less Utah – 1.5 million
    plus Foreign Mormon activity – 2.25 million
    total non-utah activity – 3.75 million
    Utah activity – 1 million

    Not nearly as staggering 1/7. I am no doubt aware that this method has problems, but I think it is much better than the grossly exaggerated 14 million member strong (with only 2 million in Utah) pitch.

  85. Can we please get back to the topic at hand. otherwise can the boys please take this fight outside. Seriously, this is an awesome topic. And we to continue with relevant content as it relates to the OP

  86. sorry the post should have reas

    Seriously this is an awesome topic and it should continue with relevant content as realated.

  87. Sorry dblock:

    I got carried away in my fight. Back to the highly insightful, “Mormon Policy on Anal Sex Within Marriage”.

  88. Back to the OP-why would I not do something to give my beloved pleasure,and surely that is an act of love rather than lust?

    It’s a tough life,and I consider it part of my stewardship to make it as good as I can for those I love.I would not take risks with my health,but neither would my beloved.

    To those who feel that sex and love should be separated,I would say that by bridling our instincts to act within the bounds the Lord has set has enabled me to make greater spiritual progress than any other experience in my life,and this has come particularly since we have left off child bearing.Devoting ourselves to each other’s sexual pleasure has been a great journey,not possible without access to birth control in our case and I suspect many others.When a woman bears the anxiety of the possibility of another physically arduous pregnancy,the act can carry a lot less pleasure.That’s not rocket science.For the guy,I guess it’s always a pleasure.To please a woman is an art we have to learn.Gently does it.Mostly.

    So,yay for more loving,and finding more ways to love.

    And Natasha,you’re a star for posting this,and for the clear health facts.I am so telling my adult kids to get on here.As a loving parent,I want them to get more and better loving.

  89. From the original post:
    My concerns with anal sex are primarily related to the physical implications that come with it. This sexual act seems to cross into the bounds of behavior that can be harmful to your body. First of all there is no natural lubrication that is provided by the rectum which increases possibility of pain and of rectal damage. . . . Physical damage to the anus and the rectum due to their vulnerability is likely as well as issues such as hemorrhoids, anal fissures, rectal prolapse and loss of control over the bowels. The physical implications are more common the more often anal sex is practiced.

    Two thoughts come to mind. First, there is a vast array of safe, healthy, effective lubrication products which are recommended for use in anal intercourse. Use of a reliable lubricant will prevent the vast majority of the alleged dangers claimed above. The dangers you cite appply primarily to situations of forcible rape, as opposed to consensual sexual activity. Sadly, certain activists are well known for brandishing such threats with regard to all anal intercourse, but most particularly anal intercourse between male partners. The anal sphincter is a muscle which has a remarkable capacity for expansion and contraction. Exercise of that capability will enhance muscle control, not destroy it.

    #62:
    I plan to post in the future regarding homosexuality.

    Assuming you plan to write beyond matters of ecclesiastical doctrine, I hope that your post will be grounded in legitimate science, rather than quasi-medical-sounding fearmongering.

  90. Nick,

    Yea, you wouldn’t want those pesky Prophets to get in the way of your science. I mean, what do they know?

    As I said before, you gays want a special class. You want to justify your actions by claiming God make me this way, so it must be ok. The fact is we all have challenges and ungodly desires. Like the rest of us, you have to learn to overcome these desires.

  91. st1305,

    Would your reasoning also apply to overweight people? They have challenges in eating and ungodly desires of gluttony. Should they be banned from full participation in the Church until they overcome their desires for excess food consumption? Wouldn’t the same logic apply?

    1. Yeah, it does, and my oldest daughter, age 37, has paid dearly for being overweight. NEVER any church friends, and she has NEVER been asked out on a date in her life by any guy– LDS or non-member!
      How demeaning!

  92. Doug,

    By the way, with my last response to Nick, you can add homophobic to the list.

    Good article, but I dont’ see this as in any way resinding what was said. In fact, it adds to my argument presented eariler that we should just ask “do you live the law of chasity?” and the response is up to the individual. That is all “stay out of the bedroom” means, but it does not change the context of what President Kimball said. Here is the verbage from the web-site you referenced

    “As you know, the subject set out in your letter is of a highly personal nature and one for which the First Presidency has not provided detailed response. The Brethren have counseled those who conduct worthiness interviews to avoid explicit questioning beyond the scope of what is contained in the temple recommend book. Persons who have been through the temple are aware of the responsibility to keep their thoughts and actions pure and, furthermore, have been counseled to avoid any unholy, unnatural, or impure practice. If a person is engaged in a practice which troubles him or her enough to ask about it, he or she should discontinue it. With this in mind you can, through your personal supplication to our Father in Heaven, receive the guidance you may feel you need”

  93. Michael

    you really need to stop this, People who are overweight are not gluttons, they have medical problems light slow thyroids, like taking steroids which all lead to weight gain.

    Can the two of you st1305 please post things relating to the topic otherwise, you two are sounding like complete idiots. Sorry, you two are degrading the entire topic that Natasha has worked hard on presented, Please stop being denigrating with one another, and also to those who are reading the post.

  94. @cowboy

    The op was not just about anal sex, this op was about what is acceptable in marriage, You and a few other of the brethren have tried to debase the op that didn’t need to be debased. You tried to bate me and I didn’t appreciate it.

    Its really quite clear who is intimidated and uncomfortable with this topic as you have continuously tried to derail and debase this entire Op and to that I say shame on you, because we are suppose be adults, not high school kids in a locker room

    There is something about this op that is bringing this out in a few of you and its’ really making me wonder if all mormon men are like the ones that I see posting on this op today. Its a shame that you can’t discuss something on here in a civil tone, especially since I have enjoyed many of the oP, especially those from Natasha, BIV, and Hawkgirrl.

  95. dblock

    Sorry. I thought it was an appropriate question that followed the logic he (st1305) was employing. I apologize to Natasha and will stick to the topic.

    When I was leading a non-celibate life, I thought anal sex was great! But, alas, those things are now forbidden and only reserved for those who are legally and lawfully wedded.

  96. Micheal,

    In my experience, worthiness interviews and repentance are closely tied to attitude. There are those who are defiant and those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit – those that are generally sorry about what they have done and have a desire to change. As a general rule, Bishops will work with those that are struggling to change. They will be champions of those you are trying to change. It is my further observation that a high percentage of gays tend to be the most vocal and defiant. They tend to be in your face. They tend to be the least tolerant in society, but at the same time demand tolerance.

    There are also variations in the seriousness of sin – some are deemed to be more destructive than others. President Kimball ranked sexual sins next to Murder in severity. This is chiefly due to the impact it has on the family. In short, the seriousness of a sin can be gauged in large part by how difficult it is to make restitution, or how difficult it is to undo the damage.

    Over consumption of food is problematic and can constitute gluttony; and, at some point is a violation of the Word of Wisdom. Again, the question is asked “Do you live the Word of Wisdom? The response is up to the individual. Again, if the Bishop feels there is a problem, it is up to him to press the issue.

  97. #103:
    Yea, you wouldn’t want those pesky Prophets to get in the way of your science. I mean, what do they know?

    Assuming that by “prophets,” you refer to the successive presidents of your church, my comment wasn’t addressing their opinions regarding same-sex relations. Rather (and obviously for the less comprehension-impaired), my comment addressed the alleged health threats noted in the original post of this thread. It’s quite alright for an ecclesiastical leader to teach the doctrine of his or her church. It’s quite another thing to go on about supposed loss of bowel control, etc. Fortunately, LDS presidents tend to be cautious these days, when it comes to making scientific allegations. They’d rather not be embarassed later by declaring that humans would never, ever, step foot on the Moon.

  98. dblock,

    A serious question. What have I said to debase the OP as you put it? Except when Michael and others asked other questions, I have kept it to the topic. Please explain?

  99. dblock:

    No one has debased or derailed the conversation. As with many posts, there are a number of conversations taking place here, and at 100+ comments the topic can maneuver into different paths. Health implications aside, the specifics of what types of sex practices that God approves of is hardly knowable. So we are left with what do Church authorities say, an issue with little concensus, particularly over time. The best advice is of course respect. If both partners have a genuine concern for the longterm well being of the other, and pursue their sexual relationships in such a way that is both enjoyable and safe for each other, then really they should figure it out together. What works for some, will not work for others, but in the spirit of Hawkgrrrl – whatevs. Where would you like to go from here, back to methods perhaps?

  100. Cowboy,

    #113 Good comment.

    dblock,

    I would add, when you have a subject that discusses anal and oral sex, what are you expecting?

  101. Natasha,

    This might be late in the game, but how about one of those cool vote-o-meters. I think a poll would be interesting.

  102. Pingback: A comment on modern era romantic love (via Eclipse) « Irresistible (Dis)Grace

  103. Oh, I don’t know how about a male dog humping on my missionary companions leg and excreting semen That really had no place in this conversation at all and doesn’t apply with anything in the topic, there is no way any of you men are going to justify that to me.

    lets see #72,54,55 response a little sleazy in my view point, but then again, I am a woman

    I could go on but they way you guys are coming across in your responses is really sad, and so totally not necessary.

    And to answer what I expected, is that as adults one would be able to have an intelligent conversation with out the locker room mentality,BTW, I’m am so not conservative in the least

    Conversations can take place with out going in the gutter, even with this kind of a topic

    2

  104. Give credit where credit is due dblock – those are all Carlos comments. Don’t paint us all with the same brushstrokes.

    Let’s have an “adult conversation” then. Would you like to theorize on Church policy, or discuss marital intimacy from a more general theological standpoint? You pick a good starting point, and we will have a respectful and thoughtful discussion. What say you?

  105. Not all of the comments were from carlos, some of you responded to them and i’m not going to do this game that you boys have going on because I know from some of the comments that not what any one wants, While some of the comments are very valid, particularly from Doug’s standpoint, that what goes on between an man/woman in a marriage/bedroom is their business, there are others’ that just seem to be about one upmanship

  106. Dblock,

    If my dog story offends you I am genuinely sorry. It was not intended to be vulgar or crude, but to illustrate a point. If semen is potent enough to stain a shoe, then it is probably not good in the mouth or anus. Please accept my apology if you were offended.

    As for the other comments, as pointed out by Cowboy, they were made by carlos; and, I called him out on these comments and referred to them as degrading and disgusting. As Cowboy said, don’t paint us all with the same brush.

  107. Cowboy

    I’m resting my case, your last comment just proved my point and your being insulting, Which in my comment, I wasn’t so watch your tone, which doesn’t seem likely because it seems as if you just can’t help yourself, I’m not playing your game. If your trying to persuade me that your not trying to degrade anyone, your not impressing me.

  108. dblock:

    I have tried starting three responses to this – but too be honest I’m just speechless. Unfortunately not because I feel “one upped” but I find myself just without words. I think this conversation has run its course.

  109. #05 – Naw, I’ll stick with “self-righteous, pompous, arrogant prick.” We’d actually agree about the disdain for homosexuality, and if not condoning the gay lifestyle makes me “homophobic”, then I’ll wear the label proudly.
    You seem to forget that whatever might have been construed as “unholy,unnatural, or impure practice” is a matter of personal interpretation. As was also pointed out in the guidance, IF it troubles someone enough that they wonder if it’s a chastity issue, then the “out” to avoid a graphic, invasive discussion of a married couple’s sex life is on target. Whatever I’ve ever done with the missus never troubled either of us from a chastity viewpoint. The only issues have been health-related. As I’ve said before, some things that some may considerable questionable are left alone for that very reason (above all else, do no harm) and even some things that are otherwise not questionable are not “partaken” of for the very same reason. But it for US to decide, and if SOMEHOW (In this case, a doctor that didn’t honor his patient’s confidentiality) a bishop or SP learns of “strange doins a-goin-on”, their only business is to ensure that no one is being abused. Other than that, they should politely let it pass in one ear and out the other, and NOT use such information as an excuse to judge either of the couple adversely.
    As (poorly) illustrated by your opening anecdote, likely what the Brethren were targeting was women being compelled or cajoled by their husbands into anal or oral sex or other non-vaginal sex acts that they objected to participating in. Although your description of the effects of taking semen into the mouth were patently ridiculous, you seemed to miss the larger picture. Either the poor girl’s husband was an incredible clod that needs some marriage counseling, OR, he’s a real, selfish, uncaring, heartless bastard that knowingly disregarded his wife’s feelings and demanded selfish gratification as he saw fit anyway. IMO, that’s downright evil, mostly due to the severe emotional damage thereby inflicted. I’ve known, for example, of even a bishop that had a strange fetish – he got his rocks off by urinating into his wife’s mouth! (You may excuse yourself to retch now, I know I did when I heard this one). This in spite of how it degraded and humiliated her! Supposedly she even went to the SP and asked if she had to submit to her husband’s every whim (dunno if she gave details) and the answer was essentially, yes, with seven kids, you need to keep the father around. Well, fortunately, once the kids were grown and gone, so was the wife! (Whew!). This, IMO, is more the scenario (a rather extreme example, I hope) the Brethren intend to circumvent, NOT what a married couple freely do w/o ill effect or resentment.

  110. “I think this conversation has run its course.”

    Let the church say amen.

    “If my dog story offends you I am genuinely sorry. It was not intended to be vulgar or crude, but to illustrate a point. If semen is potent enough to stain a shoe, then it is probably not good in the mouth or anus. Please accept my apology if you were offended.”

    A bit late apology wise, don’t you think? Not that our sensibilities are all that tender but as a follow on to the last post on the atonement this was a bit much.

    “I would add, when you have a subject that discusses anal and oral sex, what are you expecting?”

    About what we got.

  111. Like I stated earlier, I’m not in any way conservative in my thought. But some of the ways you guys express yourselves just wasn’t necessary and could have very easily been stated in a different way without being colorful.

    And quite honestly as a woman who is 46 years old and who has been in the workforce since I was 14. I can’t imagine anyone’s boss/ female or male asking a subordinate about their cold sores, I would have brought them up on harassment charges. So, I don’t know if that story was true or just made up to illustrate a point or to just get a conversation going as has been done on previous talks on other OP pieces and quite honestly, I wish you fellas would stop doing it.

  112. Cowboy #99 “69 Ways to Joy in Marriage”

    Brilliant! another comment to laugh out loud. You ought to write a post on it.

    Nick #102

    you talking about your sphincter again? ….since you are, one question: what is the scientific consequence of mixing poo with lubricant? or does the one you buy have anti-bacterial properties? just curious 🙂

  113. Its’ pretty clear how you like to denigrate people by your comments, do us all a favor and grow up, if you don’t have anything intelligent to add then don’t, you’ve been quite rude and nasty and at this point please shut up

  114. Doug,

    Would you please get it right, I was not asking you to replace homophobic with “self-righteous, arrogant, pompous, prick” I said add it to the list. Also, I question prick, as I think I’m a pretty nice guy. Maybe this should be the poll question. Also, you probably need to add know-it-all and include an adjective that describes someone who tries to shove ideas down someone’s throat. Personally, I have adopted P.J. O’Rourke’s “a right-wing, religious nut with a gun.”

    In all seriousness, we are going to have to agree to disagree. I do think these activities are inappropriate and are a priesthood leaders business.

    Dblock,

    The stories are true. I make no apologies for the content of what I said, but do acknowledge I was wrong in how I made some of my statements. Again, I apologize if you took it as vulgar and inappropriate, I am very direct tell it how it is kinda guy. It is not the first time it has got me in trouble and won’t be the last. The reality is when you have a sex topic with men who can speak freely and relatively anonymously the conversation will deteriorate quickly. This is what I meant by my statement “what were you expecting?” Next sex topic, I 100 percent guarantee it will go pretty much the same way.

    Carlos,

    Although I think your previous comments were inappropriate, that was funny.

    I’m done, brethren and sisters, adieu

  115. St

    No, the conversation did not need to go that way, it went that way because you fellas chose to have it that way because you need to feel superior about your experiences with one another and nothing else. Period.

  116. Dblock,

    I stand by what I said. I don’t know what you mean by “you need to feel superior about your experiences with one another and nothing else”. You are like the woman that dresses provocatively and then complains when she gets gawked at by men. Again, it is a conversation about oral and anal sex, what do you expect?

  117. I expect that I have less invested in this conversation than most anyone else here. That said, dblock, I’m a little shocked to hear that you’re 46 years old. I was about 6 when I learned the principle that if you respond to a tease, you’re just giving them what they want. If you don’t appreciate the tone of the comments, perhaps you should stop reading them. Otherwise, a single comment voicing your disapproval would also be appropriate. However, in case you haven’t noticed, your repeated comments reiterating your outrage and offense have done nothing more than engender indifference in some and disdain in others. So some of “the fellas” are being irreverent or juvenile. That’s bound to happen. I hate to say it, but no one’s comments have moved the conversation away from the OP more than yours.

  118. I’m just glad to see that we are still having this little debate.

    dblock: Either because I’m persuaded by your requests to keep the topics relevant to the OP, or I’m just baffled at a recent comment, I’m going to try and turn this around – again.

    st1305 said: “I do think these activities are inappropriate and are a priesthood leaders business.”

    Help me understand this, I just don’t get it. Particularly given that as far as I am aware, Church leaders have been encouraged to distance themselves from this line of discussion. Why do feel that Priesthood leaders should be meddling in the sexual aspects of a couples marriage, if abuse or infidelity are not in question? Having a personal opinion is of course fine, but how would you even know where to draw the line, seeing that specifics really aren’t outlined in the Church Handbook of Instructions? What type of punishment (for lack of a better word) would you impose, and for how long? You have me stumped.

  119. dblock #129

    ” if you don’t have anything intelligent to add then don’t”

    I never have anything intelligent to add….that’s why I’m commenting here in this thready.

    “you’ve been quite rude and nasty and at this point please shut up”

    Yeap, I have outdone myself today…… but how does one ‘shut up’ ones fingers?

  120. This made me a little sad.We had a good thing going,and we blew it.I guess we still can’t maintain a conversation about this stuff that is respectful and boundaried.

    Sacred ground would have been better trodden over softly.

    Just sayin.

  121. Given the responses from a few of the brethren its not surprising that the church is the mess that it is today.. YOu Men are so right on everything all the time.

    That my response to the idiot who said, I’m like the woman who dresses provocatively and then doesn’t want the attention.

    Pure stupidity

    wayfarer,

    I’m with you, then men blew it and they don’t want to take responsibility for it. This could have been a great OP piece, but brethren have decided to lace the conversation with language that didn’t need to be. I’m done.

  122. st1305:

    Fair enough, and likewise.

    brjones:

    I enjoy good company, so that’s just fine by me.

    dblock:

    I wouldn’t argue that you don’t have point in some respect. At the same time, it may be good for you to come back to this post in a few days, after you have had time to cool off, and try and see how your participation may have been improved. I am a bit surprised that you can’t see the inherent sexism in your comments – which ironically are intended to point out sexism. But more to the point, attempting assert your will on blog where even the strongest among us have no power, is far from productive and generally incites the types of response you recieved. You have insisted that others “shut-up” or “watch their tone” etc, even at one point trying rouse emotion by pricking at what you percieved to be the sexual insecurities of us “men”. Really, given the topic coupled with your interaction, what would you expect? Lastly, I have now three times attempted to turn the conversation around for your benefit, but you have only chosen to respond to the controversy, which I have to admit, makes me wonder how truly offended you are.

  123. Carlos:

    I almost forgot

    “but how does one ‘shut up’ ones fingers?”

    I must be childish, because I must say this had me laughing so hard I almost peed my pants. As we have learned on this blog, bowels can be different from person to person.

  124. Nick, too bad we didn’t get more non-scientific fearmongering. Usually that sort of commenting makes me sad, but having read some of the other posts, it would have been an improvement.

    I still think we need an analysis of the theologic basis for ssm, the same as we allow widows and widowers to marry each other.

    You were still part of the panel when I ran a rough draft of that article by, never got any feedback on it, but I think I will wait a bit longer until the dust from this post settles.

  125. #119:
    If semen is potent enough to stain a shoe, then it is probably not good in the mouth or anus.

    By the same logic, st1305, semen is “probably not good” in the vagina, yet you seem quite comfortable with that idea. Are you suggesting that sensitive vaginal tissue is somehow immune to the massively-destructive properties of semen, or does your deity simply endorse aiming that potential devastation toward a female victim?

    #126:
    what is the scientific consequence of mixing poo with lubricant? or does the one you buy have anti-bacterial properties?

    carlos, we can now see clearly that your many comments on this thread were ultimately just a personal plea for education and advice on the subject of anal intercourse. While I’d be happy to advise you regarding appropriate products and practices, that discussion would be a bit much for the tender eyeballs of some readers. Feel free to contact me offlist, and I’ll do my best to provide you with the guidance you desire.

  126. #9

    “Mormon Therapist, I believe you are consistently one of, if not the best regular poster on MM. I also applaud the mature and thoughtful responses to such an important issue.”

    Yes, indeed, it has been interesting, entertaining and, how shall I say, hmmm, educational. It will be interesting to see what the next offering is. Maybe something on the line of… Better not. Wouldn’t want to provoke disgust, rage, indignation, curiosity, condemnation or guilt unneccesarily. Always good to see what burbles to the surface when people are given permission to discuss bodily functions and fluids anonymously.

  127. Well you know what That’s exactly what I’ve attempted to do, only to be ridiculed and called a sexist, which coming from you and the way you and the other men have responded I think is a joke. Pure immaturity. How I dress has nothing at all to do with how I respond, or for that matter don’t respond on a post.

    Maybe I’m telling certain people to watch their tone because its’ usually the same people on these post who are the first to throw stones and then in order to get the conversation to go the way they want give false information, just to prove a point.

    It really doesn’t seem as if one can have any kind of intelligent discussion on this or any other post

  128. And I ‘ve told carlos to shut up because he has continually debased and dehumanized not only women, but women of Asian descent, so that in my book is what makes him a racist and a sexist and a pig, But none of you guys seem to get that.

  129. there have been several crude and combative comments in this discussion. the admins are not pleased with some of the comments. we appreciate natasha’s willingness to tackle a sensitive issue, but are disappointed that some of you have offered crude jokes or stories, or have not kept civility in your comments. I ask all to refrain from hostile comments and crude references to the subject matter. the admins are discussing how to handle the situation. we don’t like to censor comments, but some of you have clearly crossed some lines of good taste. please refrain from derailing the conversation.

  130. I’ve only now had the opportunity to revisit this thread and I’m so saddened and disappointed by the amount of name-calling, belittlement and inappropriate language that developed. Here are my main three points:
    1. By resorting to this type of crude discourse, great points and credibility are lost. Without pointing out anyone in particular, all who resorted to this type of behavior had earlier made valid and interesting points. However, the attention gets drawn to the negative instead of the positive when we choose a less mature stance.
    2. Several people stated that we should expect this type of commentary because of the subject matter. I would expect it with a high school or junior high school audience, but I honestly did not expect it in this forum. I thought this venue attracted intellectually stimulating discussions. I knew there might be differences of opinion, but I expected more maturity and frankly, the Christlike attributes we discuss in so many of the other posts.
    3. This has also reminded me of something I talk a lot with adolescents about – cyberbullying. It is so much easier to be mean spirited and call each other names on this type of format than it would be face-to-face. I would hope that at our age, we wouldn’t need a discussion on this common problem. But maybe we do?

    My challenge to all of you who have participated in some sort of negative fashion would be this:
    -take responsibility for your postings
    -give an appropriate, general apology
    -give a “concluding statement” of your position regarding the OP in the intelligent fashion I know you are all capable of
    -take some time to do some self contemplation on your own comfort levels with topics regarding sexuality so that we can have productive discussions in the future on similar, sensitive topics.

    Thank you so much and I look forward to working with all of you in the future.

  131. Dblock,

    Oh, boy.

    It was an analogy, to help communicate a concept. Let me define for you what an analogy is: an analogy is “a similarity between like features of two things, on which a comparison may be based” it is a communication tool. I was not insulting how you dress or don’t dress, I was making a comparison to communicate the fact when you have a topic about oral and anal sex, don’t be surprised when anal or oral sex is discussed. That is all that was intended by that ANALOGY.

    Again, as I told you the stories are true. If you choose not to believe that; that is your decision.

  132. St

    Again, please refer to Natasha’s last comment, I think she illustrates my point exactly. And BTW as a former English Major, I know what an analogy is, and even if I wasn’t an English Major please don’t be so presumptuous to think I wouldn’t know, recognize or understand what one is, that’s what I call condescending. So back off specifically because you were trying to get me to say something degrading and debasing the same way you fellas have all been doing thru out the post.

    And Natasha’ I know you worked hard on this OP as you have on other post. I apologize to you because I knew and understood completely what message you were trying to convey.

    And To be clear I’m angry because It always seems to be the same people who instigate the behavior, in an albeit passive aggressive fashion which drives me crazy.

  133. And just to be very clear:
    Eclipse is NOT pornographic material. Making this statement minimizes what pornographic material truly is. You may not approve with the genre or the movie itself, but let’s please stay on course with proper definitions.
    It is this type of rigidity that unfortunately leads to issues such as “good-girl syndrome” and shame-based ideas about sexuality that Laura Brotherson talks about in her book “And they were not ashamed.”
    I hope that we can all be tolerant of a story that addresses the powerful feelings of “first love” (or have we forgotten how powerful they are?)and that has two people waiting to have sex until they are married because they truly do care for each other deeply.
    Also, these books were not written for an LDS audience. That was not their purpose. Are we really wanting to censure LDS authors and “call them to repentance” when they break from the LDS genre? This reminds me of the previous post on “the great novel” that Mormon Girl wrote about.

  134. Natasha, you meant well, but it’s a tad late to pull a “Rodney King” (Cant we all just get along?).
    I don’t normally flame people, but someone like st1305 just begs for it.

    The vaunted Priesthood leadership has been ambiguous about what is proscribed in the marital bedroom, if anything. They hoped to “teach correct principles and let the Saints govern themselves”, and it’s a mess. There’s also an assumption that if non-vaginal sexual relations take place it’s due to selfish, perverted demands on the part of the husband overriding his dear bride’s sensibilities. Folks, that does happen, but it not always the case!

    If someone like st1305 has strong objections to anything but “straight” intercourse (persumably done thru the opening in the garments, and ONLY for procreation, NEVER for fulfillment!), then they’re quite welcome to conduct their lives thus! I pity them if they do so. However, I object strenuously to what is strictly our own marital business being subject to any sort of scrutiny. In short, all the way up to Tommy Monson (who presumably has far nobler things to occupy himself with), “MIND YER OWN BIZNESS!!!”

  135. Natasha,

    I feel some of your comments are directed at me, so I ask the following serious question?

    What terms, or language did I use, that you did not in your introduction? You used penis, vagina, anus, rectum, orgasm, semen, tactile pleasure, etc. Again, serioulsy what terms did I use that were any different than what you used? Along these lines, how are my stories any different than your descriptions of the anus being tighter than the vagina. The only term I felt was vulgar was the term prick, which I was responding to someone using this name to describe me.

    With that said, I again ask how can you introduce at topic with these terms, then wave your finger when I use the very terms you used to introduce the subject?

  136. Michael said on Wednesday “While the Brethren may not state it publicly anymore, any sex that does not have the potential of pro-creation in its very performance would be pure lust and would constitute a sinful act.”

    Uh, I don’t think so. My wife had a partial hysterectomy (only uterus removal) a few years back and is no longer capable of reproducing. Your bold statement would indicate that any sex between us at this point constitutes a sinful act? What a laugher.

  137. st

    I wouldn’t think that you would have nerve to challenge Natasha. Natasha used those terms in a clinical manner the way anyone in her profession would have. She didn’t come up with embellished hyperbole or stories to make her point.

    And also Natasha is a Professional in her field, so, I don’t think any of you guys have the right to challenge her on this issue.

  138. I don’t mind being challenged. Challenging each other is part of possible progress. I welcome challenge. I believe we are all more open to being challenged when done so respectfully. That is why if we want our views to be accepted, we each need to take responsibility for the tone and context of our comments.

    I will never take issue with correct anatomical terminology. In fact I encourage all to use it. However, just because one uses proper terminology does not automatically make any comment appropriate. My concern is not with these words. My concern is with name calling, belittling and saying that peoples opinions are laughable. My concern is both with people I agree with and people I disagree with. Making vast generalizations and polarizing each other does nothing towards what I hope would be a common goal: that of healthy sexual norms within our Mormon culture.

  139. Mr Schmuck, I think his point was that if reproduction is not the reason for sex within marriage (as is clearly the case in your marriage), then it becomes less clear why sex between two people of the same gender is wrong. For example, if someone asks, “Why is gay sex wrong?” And the answer is “Because a man’s penis and a woman’s vagina are puzzle pieces that fit and make babies,” then basically, one is saying that making babies is the purpose of sex and therefore you and your wife should not be having sex. If it’s not the point, and non-procreative sex is actually okay, then why not allow non-procreative sex between those of same gender? It really comes down to the question of “gender,” which church leaders have described as “eternal.” But the next question would be how sustainable is the concept of “eternal gender”?

  140. After a carefull re-reading, I will apologize for comment #99.

    “that of healthy sexual norms within our Mormon culture.”

    I think a big part of this is the fact that there is a lot of inconsistency in “official” Church leader statements, followed by local leader enforcement. Natasha I was a bit dissapointed in OP when you mentioned that you had approached both Bishops and Stake Presidents to get clarification. It has been quite some time since I have had a chance to flip through the Handbook of Instructions, but I don’t recall any specifics being detailed in there, outside of rape/incest/etc. So I wouldn’t expect them to be able to offer a valid ecclesiastical opinion on these matters in a general way, regardless of whether we believe these men would be able to offer counsel on a more individual basis. I know that for some time Church HQ has been largely redirecting these types of questions back to local leaders – even so, I would hope that they might be willing to give special attention to the general inquiries of a LCMFT, particularly one who bills herself as a “Mormon Therapist”. Have you tried approaching Church GA’s on this matter, and if so, what was the experience?

  141. Local leaders have the responsibility of special inspired instructions on behalf of members in their congregations (especially when those members may not be able or willing to receive that inspiration.) Everybody seems to assume the bishop who pulled the temple recommend is wrong. Sure, he said something we don’t like or agree with. That doesn’t mean he didn’t pray about the issue or wasn’t inspired in some way in his decision. I find it especially strange that he was backed up by a Stake President, yet we all continue to believe neither were inspired.

    By the way, he may have been completely wrong. My point is just that it seems we all immediately jump to that conclusion instead of concluding that we’re wrong. I find that the vast majority of people who leave the Church do so because of that assumption.

    Second, God’s will for an individual (or a couple) may differ from His will for the whole Church. So, even if the Bishop was correct in taking away the temple recommend in this instance, that doesn’t mean he would or should in another instance. I believe this is part of the reason for the Church’s position of letting couples decide. As Joseph Smith said, “I teach them correct principles and let them govern themselves”. For this reason, the Church teaches the principles of righteousness and expects us to do the legwork of praying and pondering and talking with our spouses to find out what’s right for us. “Prophet” doesn’t mean “lackey who has to find out God’s will for each individual”.

    Oh, and how we’ve gotten this far without mentioning “Of Souls, Symbols and Sacraments”, I have no idea. It is a near-perfect treatise on the nature of sexual relations in marriage.

  142. It’s interesting to me and possibly the topic of a post all by itself as to why LDS people seem to need to be told what is OK. It’s like we’ve lost the ability to decide for ourselves what is or is not sinful and to determine what we need to do or not do to be forgiven. I remember an acquaintance who was Lutheran and a counselor/psychologist that was just insensed at the idea that someone needed to sit as a judge or be an intermediary between us and God. Just what is it that’s made us so insecure about the lives we lead and the things we do? It’s like were issued a brain and then told we don’t know how to use it. That anyone would need to ask the questions posited in the OP is beyond me.

  143. I don’t know if “everyone” feels that the Bishop was “wrong” over pulling my recommend over this issue. IMO, it wasn’t the only reason, though he did say that as far as he was concerned, consenting or not, to engage in what he termed “unholy and unnatural” sexual practices was, by definition, abuse, and was grounds on its own not only to deny a recommend but also to convene a disciplinary council. If he did ask the SP about appropriateness of taking further disciplinary action, events reveal that the SP didn’t agree it warranted that level of attention.
    Though I disagree vehemently with what my bishop did, that doesn’t mean that I don’t acknowledge that he’s doing what he feels is right and in my best interests. I’ll give him that, he’s not a jerk, just, IMO, sadly misinformed. But that’s for us to work out.
    Like Chief Parker of LAPD (in)fame, “we have to recruit from the human race.”

  144. I have no problem apologizing for anything I said that may have offended anyone. I was not trying to be condescending to dblock. It just seems pretty obvious that some people’s comments are intended solely to provoke a reaction, and I think it’s a mistake to continually respond to them.

    However, I genuinely apologize for any offense given.

  145. wow, I guess this was my chance to say crude and hostile things like I normally do and i’m late for the party. Shucks.

  146. I have several thoughts on this post:
    A. Thank you Natasha for your work! I only wish my job could bring hope for a better life like yours does.
    B. For credential’s, I had (Richard Nixon was still President) my TR taken back by a Bishop after a confession that was my attempt at being more than completely honest. He was actually angry with me and I can still feel the reaction and its painful to think about. Later when I ran the situation by a Student Ward Bishop that I had, I got an insight into the patience, love and understanding that we should develop by living the Gospel. From it and pondering it for the last 30-some years I learned to be very careful about what you say, honest but you are dealing with humans who are trying to help you. So I understand where Doug is in this thing. I was fortunate to be able to leave the Ward and get a better perspective on the situation.
    C. When the guidance is given to not delve into the bedroom activities of the saints… Why do we still insist on doing it? Are the General Authorities who say it too bashful to deal with the truth? Are they afraid of telling us what they should? I don’t think so. I think they have the perfect answer to the guidance members need in their intimate relationships. Its pretty simple, don’t have sex with anyone you aren’t married to, period. Back in the day when I first joined the church the word of wisdom was like every 3rd Sacrament meeting talk (oh and 2.5 minute talks in Sunday School.) The same kind of thing happened with that except there was not Natasha-like voice of reason to stop the craziness. So the effect was some people said that eating white bread was against the WOW, others said refined flour, or white sugar. We seem to glory in putting Stakhanovite-like effort into things that do and don’t matter and then want to drag everyone else along with us.
    D. Finally, one of the earlier posting on intimate matters had a link to a (I want to say anti-Mormon but won’t) website that listed all the hangups we LDS have about sex and I found it delightful, because after listing the 8 things that can make you cringe just reading them it said, “Other than that have fun!” When I see the toxic advise we give each other I’m amazed that any of us are married!
    E. God’s will for us could not have been simpler and its everywhere in the scriptures, find joy in this life, find joy in your marriage, find joy in your children. Finding is not easy, it requires learning, communicating, pondering, praying, doing stuff, I know if you do you’ll find joy and peace.

  147. Nick Literski #145,

    Nick, I admit you’re a smarter man than me….I just couldn’t suck you in (no pun intended) to my dumbness… “tender eyeballs of some readers” -excellent 🙂

    Natasha, my apologies. I got carried away and felt like a teenage boy again -and still do- talking about gay things. But it is going to be very difficult to have a fair discussion on these issues here in a public board because a- the majority of mormons see anal sex as both a sin and abomination and just plain dirty while b- gays claim their right to do what they want as they want and for folks to leave them alone and respect their ‘rights’. Seems impossible to find a common denominator there imho.

    By the way you didn’t address the (serious) question of why you would consider man-on-women anal sex as problematic (#2 in OP) but not man-on-man anal sex? I’m still wondering what you think about it, what you think about two men engaging in anal sex?

  148. Carlos – you seem to miss the larger picture! It’s not the MECHANICS of sexual relations that are at issue, it’s the disdain for homosexual relations, period. It’s possible that some feel that oral and/or anal sex are “sinful” precisely because that’s what gays have to do to get it on. Those that are completely hetero (sorry, fella, but I’m glad ya cared) don’t make the connection of oral and/or anal sex to homosexuality. For them, it’s merely another method of intercourse. Now, if I never got either but was getting plenty of the “conventional” stuff, I wouldn’t feel deprived. In my experience, the more one gives in a marriage, and this definitely applies in the bedroom, the more one gets in return. That is, if you focus on pleasing your spouse, you tend to gain more pleasure for yourself as well, far more than if one focuses merely on “getting one’s rocks off”.
    My “problem” is being judged adversely over a matter for which the teachings (and proscription thereof) are vague. The Brethren have NEVER minced words about homosexuality, fornication, adultery, masturbation, etc… . So, if they do so over what some may consider “inappropriate” in the MARITAL bedroom, then there should be no ability to deny blessings and/or take disciplinary action.

  149. I knew we could turn this around.
    Thanks to all who made a sincere effort to do this and who are continuing to make great comments that keep me thinking!
    And a special thanks to all who apologized. I always take into account what a positive impact an apology can have and yet how difficult it can be to swallow our pride enough to offer one up. So, thank you, thank you, thank you! And yes,
    “why can’t we be friends?” 🙂

    168:
    I agree that there are many things many of us will never agree on. But to me, the end result of a good debate is the ability to discuss these types of topics in a way that maybe open our own position slightly (even if it’s just better understanding where others are coming from) – not necessarily to change another person’s position. The seeds that are planted during a debate can be long-lasting and can change attitudes and belief systems in the long run. They often do not change minds in the short run – because we are all pretty attached to our own way of thinking.

    As far as anal sex, the “problems” I discussed on the OP are not problems I’ve come up with. These are documented in medical journals and agreed upon by most of the medical community. Yes, lubricants can help and yes, there are people (whether gay or not) who enjoy and participate in anal sex. However, I am not convinced that in the long run (over an extended period of time) that the medical issues I noted would not affect in some way or fashion those who practice anal sex repetitively. To me, whether we are talking about a female or male anus, or whether we are talking about homosexual or heterosexual relationships – it doesn’t matter to my original point. Which is, the anus is more vulnerable to having physiological problems if used for penile penetration.

    167: I LOVED your closing statement.

  150. The OP suggested that several problems were inherent to anal intercourse. Interestingly, the list is quite similar to those claimed by Paul Cameron, PhD, author of the very anally-fixated pamphlet, “Medical Consequences of what Homosexuals Do,” which is popular among certain religiously-motivated anti-gay groups, such as the so-called “Family Research Institute.” Dr. Cameron is not a medical professional, but he claims to be a sociologist. Due to his ethical lapses and repeated misrepresentation of medical and psychological studies, he has been rebuked in public resolutions of the Nebraska Psychological Association and the American Sociological Association. His “scholarly publications” have resorted, in modern times, to journals which charge the author nearly $30.00 per page to publish their work—in other words, vanity publications, not scholarly journals. Sadly, even many professionals continue to rely on “Dr.” Cameron’s “research,” unaware of his true reputation.

    The OP claimed the following problems were inherent to anal intercourse:

    (1) pain and rectal damage, hemmorhoids, fissures, prolapse

    Pain and physical damage is also sometimes present during vaginal intercourse. As with vaginal intercourse, pain is a potential consequence when engaged in by irresponsible, inconsiderate, and ignorant persons. While the OP author minimizes the helpful role of safe lubricant products, the fact remains that such products are also used by heterosexual couples to promote comfort, particularly when age or other health conditions interfere with natural vaginal lubrication. To put it simply, if it hurts, you’re doing it wrong. This is not the same as saying that pain is somehow a particular consequence of anal inercourse.

    (2) infections

    Yes, there are potential risks, aside from sexually transmitted diseases, of infection. The vast majority of these issues are avoided by safe sex practices, such as condom use. Lubricants, once again, aid in this regard, as studies show that lubrication reduces the risk.

    (3) anal cancer

    The risk of anal cancer is directly related to the transmission of certain strains (a handful out of over 400) of HPV. The same strains can cause cervical cancer in women, largely from vaginal intercourse. The smart answer is for all women under 26, even those who expect to have only one sexual partner through their entire lives, to be vaccinated against HPV. The same is being considered for men, and will likely be formally recommended soon. The fact is that the vast majority of humans who’ve ever been sexually active have been exposed to HPV. Just because you’re a virgin doesn’t mean you’ll marry a virgin, etc.

    (4) loss of control over the bowels

    This one is a huge, huge myth. As mentioned above, the sphincter is a muscle. That muscle has amazing abilities to expand and contract. Think about it, folks. The average penis is only so large in diameter. In all likelihood, you’ve had one or more bowel movements which were larger. Did those make you lose bowel control?

  151. Natasha, did you write the Wikipedia entry on anal sex, or did you just lift from it without attribution?

    From the OP:
    First of all there is no natural lubrication that is provided by the rectum which increases possibility of pain and of rectal damage. Infections due to the high number of infectious microorganisms not found elsewhere on the body can be more likely to occur. Some cases of anal cancer have been linked to the practice of anal sex. Physical damage to the anus and the rectum due to their vulnerability is likely as well as issues such as hemorrhoids, anal fissures, rectal prolapse and loss of control over the bowels. The physical implications are more common the more often anal sex is practiced.

    From the Wikipedia entry on Anal Sex (and we all know Wikipedia is an unquestionable source of medical expertise):
    Anal sex exposes participants to two principal dangers: infections, due to the high number of infectious microorganisms not found elsewhere on the body, and physical damage to the anus and the rectum due to their vulnerability. It is generally understood that penetration can be painful. Frequent anal sex is associated with hemorrhoids, anal prolapse, leakage, ano-rectal pain and ulcers and fissures.

  152. 173:
    I did use some of the information from Wikepedia (which I note on my original post on my blog – I’m not always sure how to link things on this venue so I’m still learning). But this information is also corroborated on other sites such as Mayo Clinic and several woman’s health sites, which I highly respect.

    Not to get too personal, but I know that when I’ve gone in for a rectal exam myself in which only a finger is used with lubrication I have a hard time having a normal bowel movement for several days afterwards. I realize there is no sexual excitement involved, which in of itself lessens pain in general – so I’m at least taking that into consideration. I also know that after having children, I have to be careful with hemorrhoidal issues in general – of which I know I’m not alone. So I can’t imagine anal sex helping in that department.

    There are always going to be studies and opinions on both sides of any equation: for instance, I’m also dealing with a lot of challenges on pornography being healthy, whether or not divorce is healthy, etc. etc. These discussions happen outside of LDS culture and have different answers at times to different situations. I’m a member of AASECT and AAMFT with well-known and well-researched professionals on both sides of many debates. On some of these issues, we don’t have all the answers. I try as best as I can to provide sound advice that is research, medically, psychologically and gospel based. It is not a perfect process and I am sure I will not be perfect in my approach. This is why I find these discussions so helpful.
    Nick, I may not fully agree with you but at least I am willing to do more looking into this in the future. Thanks for sharing your info.

  153. Nick:
    I also want to clarify that I agree with much of your medical info.
    I’m just not making the leap that this info you share makes anal sex an overall safe practice.
    And, although there are issues with vaginal sex (such as you mention) – that does not in my book equate the two in safety levels, or inherent possible complications. To make such a leap, IMO, is irresponsible.

  154. Natasha Helfer Parker
    I have no problem making the leap.
    I know of women who have been physically damaged from standard missionary position. I know women who avoid gynecological exams because of the physical discomfort. It seems to me safe sex would involve non-penetration.
    It also helps avoid the danger of pregnancy and childbirth.

  155. Doug,

    “It’s possible that some feel that oral and/or anal sex are “sinful” precisely because that’s what gays have to do to get it on”

    I’d say it the the other way around, same thing but different enphasis -people see gays or homosexual people as sinful and ‘discusting’ because of the sex they engage in (anal/oral) and then extrapolate that ‘dislike’ to heterosexual intimacy in mormon couples.

    Remember what elder Holland has repeatedly said that if there isn’t actual sex then homosexuality doesn’t need church discipline (paraphrasing). The problem the church has, or at least the majority of the members is with the type of sexual practice called anal sex. Oral seems to be more of a generational thing, the older the member the more likely they are to disapprove, but this I admit is anecdotal at best.

    Natasha 171

    Yes, I’d agree there mostly. Although I doubt this debate could happen in my HP group unfortunately, because I brought the issue up today and everyone brushed it off as ‘disgusting’ . But my HP group doesn’t have anyone under 35 in it, so maybe my suspicions that its a generational thing aren’t too far off the mark.

  156. Nick #172,

    “This one is a huge, huge myth. As mentioned above, the sphincter is a muscle. That muscle has amazing abilities to expand and contract. Think about it, folks. The average penis is only so large in diameter. In all likelihood, you’ve had one or more bowel movements which were larger. Did those make you lose bowel control?”

    Dude, I don’t believe you! I had several gay workmates in my previous job and a few had big problems with their sphincter, all over 50, needing diapers and one needed a plug because he’d lost control of , umhh, gas retention? (however its said medically).

    See the difference is that the normal penis is a lot harder during sex than any bowel piece and on top of that is a constant throbbing in-out action with isn’t the case in bowel movement. It simply isn’t the same thing. After anal sex it take’s 30sec or so for it to return to normality which just isn’t the case after bowel movement. You have managed to change some of my thinking with regards to gay Mormons, or at least those who are culturally Mormons but I’d say you are plain wrong on this one.

    I agree with what you say about cancer and the pain issues though. I actually asked a colleague once if it ‘hurts’ and he’s answer was “it depends how it’s inserted” (paraphrazing) and then he called me naive and so on. But there is a difference with infections. Normally a typical married couple wouldn’t need a condom for sex (using withdraw, pill,dates or whatever). With a hooker you are wise to use one, but then anal sex would require condoms at all times to avoid infections. That says to me that anal sex isn’t natural or OK in normal monogamous relationships. jmho though.

    “The average penis is only so large in diameter” But since mine’s way over ‘normal’ thickness you’d better stay away from me, hey? …..sorry therapist, sorry, couldn’t help myself, I’m still just a kid!…. 🙂

  157. Carlos @ 179: If anal sex over the years put gay men in diapers, I think there’d be plenty of studies indicating that. And I don’t think it’s an “agenda” that no such studies have manifested.

    In terms of wearing a condom during anal sex, if two men (or a man and a woman) are fully committed to each other (little risk of STDs), a condom is actually not necessary. It’s true that poo passes through our rectums. But pee passes through men’s penises and people rarely have sex when they really need to pee. So, no, a condom isn’t required to prevent infections; good hygiene and common sense is. Now, if a person doesn’t eat enough fiber and does not pass their bowels well, I wouldn’t suggest anal sex. I think one of the ways that gay male sex will stop getting a bad rap and being associated with poop and infections is that straight people who have anal sex will start to speak up.

  158. Natasha

    Is there a way that we can block certain people from posting if they refuse to act appropriate and insist upon acting in a degrading debased manner. How many times are the same people allowed to be vulgar and crude?

  159. brjones:

    I actually started to respond to the comment here, and then I realized – “wait, we’ve been here before”. So I stopped, and just shook my head.

  160. Natasha, I appreciate your open-mindedness. Without going into inappropriate detail, I can only say that like any other muscle, the sphincter can be “trained” through exercise. If a person’s only experience consists of rare digitial rectal exams, then yes, it will be uncomfortable. When the mind and body are more accustomed to this kind of “exercise,” and it’s not seen as a threat, a person learns how to relax that muscle at will—and frankly, there are plenty of nerve endings in the area which can be stimulated pleasurably to reinforce that relaxation. As for hemmhoroids, while I’ve not personally heard of anyone developing hemmhoroids as a result of anal intercourse, I can certainly say that anal intercourse is a bad idea if/when one is having any sort of hemmhoroid flareup. The simple fact is there are many medical professionals who specialize in treatment of gay patients, and they don’t tell their patients not to have anal intercourse. Rather, they tell them how to do so safely and pleasurably.

    Carlos,
    It’s notable that the examples you claim to have known were all over the age of 50. While there are many health problems which can accellerate the problem, fecal incontinence is often part of the natural aging process. The assumption, of course, is that repeated “stretching” of the anal sphincter will eventually cause it to lose the ability to hold back fecal matter. This, however, is simply untrue. Remember, the anal sphincter is a muscle. Repeated stretching and contraction, absent traumatic injury (i.e. force, rape, etc.) enhances the ability of that muscle to perform its function. The fact that a person’s anus is being thus “exercised” actually makes it less likely, all other things being equal, that the person would experience fecal incontinence later in life.

    Also, it would be inaccurate to say that a condom is always necessary during anal intercourse, in order to avoid infections, etc. There are many resources which can provide you with information on proper hygiene in this regard. While I’m no medical expert, I can say that of the hundreds of gay men I know, I’ve never once heard of one getting an infection from anal sex, with the exception of sexually transmitted infections. Those sexually transmitted infections are every bit as likely from vaginal intercourse as anal intercourse, however. Hence the wisdom in using condoms, unless one is in a long-term monogamous relationship.

  161. Alan,

    “But pee passes through men’s penises and people rarely have sex when they really need to pee. So, no, a condom isn’t required to prevent infections; good hygiene… “

    Big difference in the two. Pee doesn’t leave the same bacteria, some people drink it for medicinal purposes (see Urine Therapy) plus we leave some feces around the anus constantly after pooping, unless you use a really powerful ‘vidette’. Problems could happen when you engage in anal sex and then in oral sex.

    Nick,

    “fecal incontinence is often part of the natural aging process.”

    Yes true but at 60 or 70 plus. Those guys were relatively young and fit as many gays tend to be (probably stereotyping but I find that gays do tend to look after their bodies more than hetero couples)

    “the anal sphincter is a muscle. Repeated stretching and contraction, absent traumatic injury”

    Yeah, but the problem is that it is stretched for the duration of the sex, 15min, 45min whatever you fancy, and after that it is relaxed or contracted, but no one poops for 15min at a time. A hardened penis stretching it for 15min three or four times a week will eventually cause that loss of elasticity not strengthen that muscle since no increase in resistance is present and muscles are strengthened via increasing resistance. And remember the old test to determine homosexuality? turn around bend over and spread your cheeks to see how the sphincter stretches.

    STD’s are another issue. Off course vaginal sex can spread STD’s but in anal sex you are dealing with that risk plus with the added risk from different anal bacteria.

    But look, I think we have completely exhausted this conversation and dblock is getting a little upset here so we’d better just agree to disagree on anal sex.

  162. So, this conversation has completely piqued my intellectual curiosity. I have several calls into physicians I know as well as posting a question on AASECTs list serve to see what types of responses I get from a more medical community.

    dblock:
    For the most part, the comments have turned and become much more respectful and based on correct terminology. Whenever sexual matters are broached I’m always expectant of some discomfort, some immaturity and some use of humor. Some of this is ok – we cannot be so rigid on the other side of things that we also become inflexible. I believe that for the most part, most of those who broached this thread disrespectfully offered an apology. I know that the administrators of this site are continually discussing how best to moderate comments without shutting down conversation. In the meantime, I believe you have spoken your piece and made your feelings known. You now have no control on other people’s behaviors. This is true in most relationships. All we can do is express our opinions, try to place appropriate boundaries, and if these are not satisfied to our preferences, remove ourselves from the situation. Thank you for your support.

  163. #116 dblock,

    “I am a woman”

    Oh no. I apologize, I thought you were a dude and most of this was male humour. Its just that I’m coming of a high after Spain’s win last week as well as getting back to routine after a month in south africa. But in my defense the asian women joke was one my home teaching companion, uhmm, ‘shared’ with a vietnamese couple we visited and they thought it was funny. I guess it depends how one tells it.

    My apologies again. No harm intended.

  164. I’ve read the comments to this OP over that past few days with interest. I thought that my voice needed to be added but I hesitate because well my opinion is not popular. I am a 30 something active LDS woman with 4 children. My husband and I enjoy a very fulfilling sex life and find joy in our marital experiences. We do from time to time engage in anal sex. I would say that at first it was a bit uncomfortable and I of course had some reservations as to the sinfulness of it but I have found that this type of sex has brought my marriage closer because of the communication required. It takes great consideration of each others feelings and desires to make anal sex enjoyable and fulfilling. I understand Natasha’s thoughts on the harm that can come to the body but in my experience this has not been an issue and we have been participating in anal sex for over 4 years. Granted it isn’t 3 or 4 times a week but it is a regular part of our time together. Common sense and caring for ones partner is key. We take the advise of the GA’s at face value. As long as my husband and I are comfortable with what goes on in our bedroom God is too. And I have to say that one of the most “celestial” feeling times I have had during sex occured while we were participating in anal sex. It isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but I wanted to be a voice for those who might consider anal sex a positive choice in their marital activities.

  165. @ natasha

    I’m not being rigid. I just don’t think that 99.5% of what carlos had to say was appropriate, nor was he even remotely attempting to be appropriate. And that’s the point of contention that I have, Is when do we have the right to block and censor someone who is in no way attempting to come across with any kind of civility.

  166. dblock:

    I would be interested to compare numbers at some point. When I ran the figures based on relative scale randomly selecting three commenter averages as a basis, repeating the test several times, I could only come to about a 87% inappropriate co-efficient on carlos comments.

  167. dblock, in addition to misusing the word, “ignorant” as a synonym/parallelism to rude, you’re supposed to say that with a heavy Utah accent, as in “ig’nernt.” That way you can demonstrate your superior education and dignity.

  168. Hey, wait a minute – what exactly do you mean by “you people”. Is that some kind of double speak anti-cowboy rhetoric?

  169. I am new to this forum and could really use some help and not sure if this is the best place. Anyway, here goes: I am a married man of 23 years with six children. Sealed in the temple. Problem, sex has never been there. Wife has no desire. Been to counseling and we agreed to a “schedule” or regularity for sex. That did not last. I love my wife but she has no interest in sex and will not do anything to try and work on this. There are no physical issues (hormonal levels, etc). She shows very little interest in me. There is not empathy, affection, No real understanding of heart, no tenderness, no real emotion or passion. No romance, no playfulness, Sex, if we have it, has rarely been fun. I get the feeling from her that it has been something you do to get it over with. Or at least that is how I think she feels by the way she comes across. When I have attempted to talk with her about my feelings on the matter she has pretty much told me that she is who she is and she is not going to change. It has come to the point for many years now where it is easier to do nothing and avoid intimacy than it is to have it. To have intimacy means awkwardness, stress, frustration, and disappointment. To do it means non-fulfilling routine intimacy out of obligation. However, to not be intimate has and is negatively affecting my relationship with her. I have just come to the conclusion that there is nothing that I can do and that this is just the way it is. I hope I am wrong. My marriage and my family and my eternal life depend upon it. I feel like I am suppose to bear this cross quietly without murmuring or without complaining without bitterness but I do not know if I can. I pray and fast to be able to deal with the emotional pain and difficulty of it all. I hope, I think, that I am not being unrealistic in my expectations or desires. I am trying not to think of myself and feel sorry for myself but rather serve and think of others and think of her and her needs. That helps but it is still a huge struggle. I love my wife and do not want a divorce. But I am struggling with the neglect, the disappointment and the alienation. I am craving attention. And that scares me to death because I am what I would call a “At Risk Spouse” and vulnerable and need to watch myself every step. But what I need she either cannot, or will not, provide. I ask myself: what I can do to be a better husband? What can I do that would make her feel better about me? What would it take to make her want to focus on me? I know that a marriage must be in this order spiritual, emotional, and then physical. I try to focus on her and doing things for her that would bring joy and happiness. I have talked with my Bishop and he wants to meet with her but she will not. At what point am I justified, if at all, in ending this? Help???

  170. DH,

    Since Natasha is the real professional here, I hesitate to comment. But you might consider jointly reading a book called “His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage,” by William Harley. He’s not LDS (not that that matters, unless your wife will only take counsel from a “church-approved” book). I won’t try to summarize it here, but Google it or take a look at the reviews on Amazon.com and see if it looks like it might be helpful.

    Of course, if your wife refuses to discuss the issue with you, and you cannot get her to read and discuss a book with you, then you have a very difficult choice to make.

    Best wishes to you.

  171. DH, Gottman’s books on marriage are excellent but as Matt said if she won’t take the step to look into it you’re stuck. Being in a situation where one partner takes the stance that “this is the way I am and I don’t see the problem” means you’ll always be trying to please her and that’s a fools errand if there ever was one. At some point you’re going to have to decide if you’re willing to settle of another 27 years or more of this. The author of this post should be able to give you some valuable guidance. You probably should check out her web site, Mormon Therapist.

    Good luck.

  172. #196

    “At what point am I justified, if at all, in ending this? Help???”

    I sincerely hope you never do end it. Divorce generally doesn’t solve problems but only adds to them unless its an extreme situation of abuse or abandonment.

    But clearly you and your wife are on different fields when it comes to sex. My first thought is that agreeing to “a schedule or regularity for sex” isn’t going to work, its hard to be romantic or passionate when it becomes a chore to get done during the week. Also maybe trying just foreplay and hugging without sex could possibly help her but really you need a professional to look into this. Counseling for LDS is much more common and acceptable these days than it was a decade ago.

    Have a listen to Natasha’s interview over on http://mormonstories.org/?p=1083 to maybe get a general feel for how a counselor, especially a pro-mormon one, can help you in this difficult situation. As to your bishop, maybe he could help but they can’t always. A lot depends on the prayers you offer before you go in to see him because maybe one or two of his words can be the answer to the prayer you offered previously. But remember the bishop isn’t a therapist or sex expert but a judge for church members.

  173. DH–

    No loss that your wife won’t see the bishop re: your marital issues. Generally speaking, I would never go to a bishop to talk about serious marital issues. Bishops are plumbers, attorneys, teachers. They are not marriage counselors. Many on this site disagree will with me as to how good their counsel is.

    There are happy people in second/third/fourth marriages. My sister, after being married to two alcoholics, found a great guy. She is the happiest I have ever seen her.

    You are the only one who can weigh the pros and cons of divorce. If she really “has no interest in you” that would be a bigger concern than not wanting to have sex. I’m sure you have divorced friends and you know of the heartache that dividing families bring. You probably also have friends who are in miserable marriages.

    If there is no happiness on the horizon for you, it’s easy for me to say, let go. Ages of kids and family finances all complicate the decision. Is your wife happy? What does she think about the “d” word?

    All that said, there is happiness out there for you, in this marriage or out of it. I would not feel the need to stay in a loveless marriage for sake of eternity because I don’t think that’s what at stake. Both you and your wife may very possibly be happy married to someone else. However, I certainly would not want to end a marriage without knowing why my wife has the feelings she has (or doesn’t have). You may already know those things.

    If you can’t find the answers after another round of counseling (with a different counselor) and you are unhappy without hope, time to move on. You sound resigned to a miserable life. You don’t need to be. But what do I know. I am an accountant.

  174. oh shoot I almost forgot…. What about the man from Nantuckett? How does he fit into all this…

    There once was a man from Nantuckett, whose….

    you know the rest…

  175. Desperate Husband, there are a lot of books out there. I read the Harley book, but it didn’t resonate with me. If it’s good for you, then great. I did like a book called Marriage Fitness, and blogged about it a few times here and here. If it helps, great, if not, well I tried. I have also heard of a book called “Hold Me Tight” by Sue Johnson. I don’t know if it will help or not, but I wanted to give you a few choices.

    I suspect there is more to your marriage issues than simply intimacy, but I am not a counselor either. Adamf has a new post that you might want to check out here. He doesn’t have so many comments, so you may get an answer from him. Check out http://mormonmatters.org/2010/07/16/date-night-what-is-your-couple-sexual-style/

  176. 196:
    I am so sorry to hear about your situation. I write about “sexless marriage” often on my blog: mormontherapist.blogspot.com
    I encourage you to go there and look up everything I’ve written on this topic and see if any of that helps. I do offer consultations if you’re interested in that route. Ultimately, you can’t force your wife to be present in your marriage. It is disheartening if she refuses to seek help with you – especially professionally which is what I would recommend. At some point, people can’t expect to stay married if they are not willing to participate in the marriage. However, I would want to know a lot more about both of you before making any types of inference towards divorce. If you want further help, please contact me through my blog.

  177. dblock:
    My only issue with your approach, unfortunately, is that you do the same things you are angry about – generalization, name calling, sexism, and belittlement. Although I think you have excellent points, I fear that you lose credibility when you resort to the same methods you are angry about.

  178. 190:
    Thank you so much for sharing your experience. Again, I believe this points to exactly how important these conversations are.

    Along with this I will post the following email I received from a colleague. I warn that some of the articles she links to may have information that some in the LDS faith will not agree with and even find offensive. I do also want to note that some of my original precautions against anal sex are validated by this professional. However, if proper precautions are taken, if both partners are consensual – then I go back to the basic guideline of “it’s up to the couple.” Therefore, 190: I’m completely in agreement with you that this is between you and your husband. Thank you again for speaking up.

    “I’m glad you asked for information.

    “Generally, if a couple is willing to communicate, take their time, and use a goodly amount of lubricant, anal sex (and I am making a big assumption that you are talking about anal intercourse with a penis and an anus, but any other type of anal play has the same guidelines) is safe and can be quite pleasurable.

    “Here is an article we have written that lays out the general guidelines for anal exploration:

    http://www.a-womans-touch.com/sex_counselor.php?articleID=2910

    and a much more extensive one that you might find useful:

    http://www.a-womans-touch.com/dr_myrtle.php?articleID=3015

    “Anal sex becomes problematic when the muscles surrounding the anus are not fully relaxed first, or become overly stretched by the activities without the person then practicing contracting the muscles to regain their tone. Other risks include using inappropriate objects in the anus, including toys without a flanged base and things with sharp or pointed ends.

    Generally, if the couple is monogamous, there are not risks of disease transmission. If they are wanting to explore oral/anal contact, I do recommend that they do so with a sheet of Saran wrap between the mouth & anus, as there are diseases that can be transmitted that way.

    “Thanks again for posting the question, and good luck with this couple. It’s great that they have you to work with.”

    Regards,

    Ellen Barnard, MSSW
    A Woman’s Touch Sexuality Resource Center
    http://www.sexualityresources.com

  179. This is a whole other issue we can discuss I guess at another time, but I see sexual withdrawal and the unwillingness to address legitimate emotional/physical intimacy issues within marriage as a form of emotional abuse. If this becomes chronic and unrelenting, it can justifiably be grounds for divorce.

  180. #207,

    It may be grounds for divorce in a non-mormon marriage, but is it really in a faithful mormon one? plus there is that eternal ideal of in sickness and in health.

    Although I agree with you that its a form of emotional abuse personally I can’t see it as serious enough to warrant divorce. People do get well over time and marriage is or should have a lifelong time frame. But it does need to be addressed and remedied where possible.

  181. #208 – Agreed, IF in the opinion of professionals (MDs, MFCCs, Psychiatrists, etc.) and COMPETENT Priesthood Authority (due to the seriousness if a divorce is contemplated, the SP should at LEAST be consulted if not directly involved) the situation is irremediable, then divorce should be justified. A modicum of sexual compatibility is essential for happiness in marriage; it’s why Heavenly Father made us to be sexual beings. It does take TWO (but ONLY two!) to “tango”!!
    Met with my own SP regarding the heretofore issue, as far as the Church is concerned, is anything between a married couple in the bedroom proscribed? Thus saith the SP: The Church does NOT get involved in the marriage bedroom. I’m pleased, but downright confused…why, then, does a Bishop seem to be able to interpret these things on his own? Until I myself have sat in that chair, I can’t really judge as to what point a bishop is overstepping his bounds. I guess this is a fit subject for a new post…

  182. The question of anal sex can be solved simply and effectively as follows: Some highways (such as the anus) are made for SOUTHBOUND travel ONLY!

  183. #212 – Is that what Jack Nicholson what thinking in the 1978 film, “Going South?” (LOL)

    The late Morton Downey, Jr., in refuting homosexuals, would, in his typical pugnacious style, shout, “The Anus is an Exit, not an Entrance!”

    Still, this approach, though folksy and simplistic, ignores the fact that some (married) couples find anal sex (sometimes what is known as “rimming” rather than outright penetration) pleasurable. It’s no one’s business but their own should they indulge, provided that it’s truly consensual. Hard to argue that no man ought to cajole or manipulate the one he professes to cherish into this sort of thing (or performing fellatio, or doing bondage, etc. etc. ad nauseum) if she’s reluctant. Nor likewise should a man feel obligated to indulge his wife’s ‘interesting’ tastes if she has any. The key is COMMUNICATION and an attitude to put his/her spouse’s needs above selfish desires.

  184. http://www.i4m.com/think/sexuality/sex_marriage.htm
    What
    To Do if Your Husband Wants Oral Sex?”Married
    persons should understand that if in their marital relations
    they are guilty of unnatural, impure, or unholy practices,
    they should not enter the temple unless and until they
    repent and discontinue any such practices. The
    First Presidency [including Gordon B. Hinckley] has interpreted
    oral sex as constituting an unnatural, impure, or unholy
    practice. If a person is engaged in a practice which
    troubles him enough to ask about it, he should discontinue
    it.”

    – Official Declaration of the First Presidency of the
    Church – Including Gordon B. Hinckley, January 5th, 1982

    1. When Gordon, or any other church official, steps foot into my bedroom, ONLY THEN can he tell me what I can or cannot do with my wife. Until then, it’s between my wife, myself, and the God we pray to.

  185. I Tell my wife to “Get It Greased Up Then Love” , she then scoops a handful of lard we keep in the blue jar on the bedside table, & puts it around her “Toilet Area” We have been doing it for about a year or so now & I can almost get my head inside her. It is sometimes  quite embarrassing in restaurants though, as her flatulence is noticeably loud & people look straight at me. Is there anything  you know,  to stop her doing this as we both enjoy anal ( Beads, Sometimes she straps one on & does me ) 
          Thank You 

  186. to jeff, the i4m site is misleading, as I recall from perusing it a few years back. Not that a statement like that was never made, but it was in a letter to some leaders, not to the whole church, and it was not an official declaration.

  187. If you can have sex with multiple wives, setting restrictions on other sexual behavior with a single wife seems odd.

    1. Ya we only have one wive bro, do some homework before you say something about a religion that you are going off of stereotypes.

  188. It seems to me that if you’re having sexual relations with multiple wives, some of those wives might not find the concept of oral / anal sex with other women to be very savory (i.e. transmission of bodily fluids between wives via the husband). In this case, it really seems to me that it would be most respectful to all the wives for the husband to refrain from such unconventional sexual practices.

    Now if the relationship is strictly monagamous, then I think anything goes as long as it is mutually consensual and builds upon the relationship sanctioned by the Church.

    1. Polygamy is no longer practiced in the LDS church and hasn’t been for over a 100 years. So this would not be an issue.

  189. I think the comment that ” If a person is engaged in a practice which troubles him enough to ask about it, he should discontinue it” is punting the issue. Many of the “unnatural” or “troubling” practices are conditioned purely by Western culture. Most LDS women consider the man on top position to equal sexual intercourse. Rear entry is taboo. However, many African and Asian cultures, as well as most of the animal kingdom, have naturally mated using the rear entry for centuries. Husband and wife should be be creative and explore and have fun. As long as both are living the Gospel and comfortable with the position or practice, it is mostly likely okay. Let the Spirit guide you…but make sure you are worthy of the Spirit…no pornography!

    1. Reading this as an 18 year old that just gave my girl an orgasm, and wanted to make sure oral sex was fine by church standards. This f’ing rocks.

  190. I would like to know what to do when the husband has a lower sex drive than the wife. There are plenty of books and articles addressing sex-starved husbands but what about the sex starved wives? My husband is 40, our marriage is awesome, he’s just not interested in sex like he used to be. It’s extremely frustrating, especially when my girlfriends complain about how their husbands are always trying to “get some.” I’m jealous!! My husband is incredibly loving, attentive, helpful, everything I want….except for the “bedroom issue.” And since my love language is touch, it makes it that much worse. His testosterone is fine, no he’s not gay, our relationship is a happy one, I stay in great shape….so I just don’t understand the low libido and I worry because I’m only in my 30’s!!! I’ve seen his libido go way down in the past five years. Obviously my husband is the only one I can (and want to) be intimate with. He’ll come around if I initiate, but what woman wants to be the initiator 98% of the time?? It’d be nice to feel desired, especially since I’m not one of those wives who lets herself go or nags her husband. GRRR……so frustrated!! So, if there are any guys out there with perfect testosterone levels yet have low libidos, and are happy in their marriage but not very interested in sex….can you explain this to me?? I totally sympathize with all the men out there whose wives have little or no sex drives…

    1. Brenda, A therapist named Michelle Weiner-Davis wrote a book about that kind of problem that addressed that issue from both sides. Your situation is more common than people realize. Realize that it takes real commitment from both partners to fix problems like that. I wish you blessings and luck in working through your problems.

    2. I would strongly suggest seducing him everyday in random locations with lots of oral sex on your knees… Hard to resist for any man.

    3. Hate to compare a wife to a car, but it’s hard for a guy to drive the same car for a long time… Try to be a different “car”. You will be surprised at the results… Next I would suggest surprise him with Viagra or Cialis one night as you start out for a night on the town.

    4. For me the lack of good fats in my diet makes the difference. lose the burnt, old, GMO, oxygenated, and light damaged oils even if they are olive oil. Good fat rots after three days. So, slow cooked animal fat works well. And! Cold pressed, nitrogen sealed, omega 3, 6, 9 fats supplements are a real kicker. Otherwise it is probably a mineral deficiency. We need 60 of them daily. Zinc and boron work in this region with others. Attraction requires more then just testosterone. A low fat diet will also cause problems like this. Dr. Joel Wallach is where I found help.

  191. My Life can be very displeasing especially when we loose the ones we love and cherish so much.My husband abandoned me and my 2 kids for 2 years he said he wanted new adventures.I asked what i had done wrong but he said nothing.He continued paying our bills but moved in with another woman i was so frustrated and a times i will cry all night because i needed my husband by my side. all thanks to ogunspiritualhome@gmail.com , i was nearly loosing hope until i saw an article on how master Ogun cast a love spell to make lovers come back. There is no harm in trying, i said to my self. i contacted him via email and after 24 hrs my story changed. words will not be enough to appreciate what he has done for me. i have promised to share the testimony as long as i live because he brought back happiness and joy into my life.If you having any kind of problem in your relationship and you need your man back i RECOMMEND master Ogun .please do contact him directly on ogunspiritualhome@gmail.com , Email him on; ogunspiritualhome@gmail.com ,Isabela Kuchta from London

  192. I am not married yet I am getting married really soon. I have fears and questions mostly with oral sex. I know it is not something I am going to be comfortable with for a while. But this is what I know to be true! Go to the doctrine. There are endless opinions but opinions are just opinions. They may be helpful and give insight. But the doctrine of God is standing. When I say doctrine and I mean doctrine not mormon culture. We know there’s not a lot of doctrine on the subject. Other than to love and respect each other. But isn’t that enough! Don’t we have agency for a reason? We are told we should not need to be commanded in all things. We are adults learning to become better. We were designed with abilities to express love. If love is not being felt abuse is taking place. Then obviously it’s not of God. But if love is being felt as between husband-and-wife. Commandments are followed me I was in the bounds the Lord is set. Isn’t that what matter?

    1. Jennifer,

      Enjoy every sexual desire you and your husband decide is appropriate. Study “Song of Solomon” and the words of the Apostle Paul. Both are very clear that sex is a powerful tool to create intimacy and closeness to husbands and wives.

      Oral sex is NOT a sin … unless you can find a scripture that says it is. You can’t. Every person that speaks about the evils of oral sex is expressing an opinion that is not founded in scripture.

      Heather and I have been married over 30 years. I have partaken of her fruit too many times to count. She has partaken of mine. It’s INCREDIBLE!!! And we started our marriage off with a heaping portion of oral sex and have made it a staple of our love since.

      Just before our 30th anniversary, Heather and I sat down together and wrote our Wedding Day and Night experiences. It was so wonderful to remember the day … and night. We had never discussed the day in such detail and I was amazed at her memories and feelings of the day. Read it if you wish.

      http://marriedheat.com/wedding-day-night-beautiful-virgin-wife/

  193. 11. Harold B Lee letter 17th May 1973

    Read what he said about it.

    11. I was shocked to have you raise the question about oral lovemaking in the genital area among married couples. Heaven forbid any such degrading activities which would be abhorrent in the sight of the Lord. For any Latter-day Saint … to engage in any kind of perversions of this sacred God-given gift of procreation would be sure to bring down the condemnation of the Lord whom we would offend were we to engage in any such practice.

    Source:http://exmormon.org/phorum/read.php?2,1532859

    1. Your source is irrelevant. It does not say lds.org. That is the only website you can reference with validity to doctrine.

  194. this is in direct opposition of the council given by the prophet and leaders of the church and should be noted as such! Calling this mormon therapy is false advertisement and the plan of the adversary! for one thing, your opinion doesn’t matter and the whole discussion is based on the idea that you can help people… you aren’t and having an idea that people should come to you for advice in a covenant relationship is a lie and false doctrine… grow up, and respect free agency! we all have the right to choose and if any of us lack wisdom we can turn to God! not you!

  195. I know the church states that the garments should be worn day and night. Oh my gosh,..I’ve been married over 10 years and my wife has the cutest outfits to wear to bed that are much more romantically pleasing to my eyes than her wearing a white robe to cover up for bed time. It’s like the biggest chore and task to even try to make sexual moves at her cause she has them tucked in and then when she does take them off or dress sexy its for only those moments to get sexually active. Back on they go. Every time. Ugh…so annoying and s turn off. I get it,..wear them day and night. But seriously, every night!? Even on vacations or trips to warm climates she puts them on at night. I’ve read people saying the church should come out with night garments. No! They won’t compare to what you can get on your own. Is it a sin to want your spouse to dress up or down for that matter since you’re married!? Oh my! Seriously! We are married. It would probably improve relationships sexually to allow taking them off if you want at night and probably bring more children too. Ha! Help somebody.

    1. My thoughts are the church leaders in the temple talk about the garment in the strictest of terms to let members know the seriousness of wearing them, not as an option, but a requirement. When we married over 30 years ago, I knew my wife would take the “advice” as literal commandment so I asked about sexual relationships. His answer was simple, and said with a wink and sly smile; “You have free agency”.

      It still took some time for my wife, her being new to the endowment and wanting to “please God”, to be comfortable sleeping naked after sex. But she did, eventually, lighten up. We now have “Naked Weekends” and “No Underwear” days when we’re roadtripping. She has finally figured out that sex within our marriage is Godly and pure no matter how “impure” it may seem.

      The best advice I can give you is communicate. One exercise I have done with my wife was a simple “Would you do this for me?” but it was done in a way of asking for something that the other may not want to do, but instead of using logic and intelligence to convince the other, appeal to the other’s sense of unselfishness. In other words, let them know how important it is to you and let them choose if it’s important for them to make you happy.

      You have to be careful not to push the boundaries and be manipulative. And you have to be willing to be told no and accept it.

      Something else that helped my wife, a huge Dr. Laura fan, was reading “The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands”. Dr. Laura makes a point of wives pleasing their husbands in ways that may be out of her comfort zones with the idea that, if it’s behind closed doors, and it’s not harmful, why would you NOT do it? I highly recommend she read the book, especially if she’s a Dr. Laura fan.

      Good luck.

  196. God fully intends His children to enjoy the fruits of their passions within the marriage bond. Forget every word said in a sacrament meeting, stake, regional, area, or General Conference about what the purpose of sex in marriage is. It’s meant for pleasure and making babies and neither has a priority over the other. If so, the scriptures would be full of “banned” sexual acts. Amazingly, the only banned sexual acts include sex with the same sex, and animals. There are NO RESTRICTIONS found in the scriptures on sex between a husband and wife. Quite the opposite.

    Sex is like an amusement park. As young, unmarried people, we were too “short”, so to speak, to ride the “big kid” rides. Once married, God gives us the “E” ticket and the entire park, full of every ride imaginable, becomes available. We bought the tickets. It’s time to RIDE THE RIDES! No restrictions. No holding back. The only rule is spousal respect. No means no. Even in marriage.

    RIDE THE RIDES FOLKS! Stop creating rules that don’t exist. Men, take you wife and make passionate love to her. Be the man she wants and needs. Women, treat your man as the man he is. Put on the sexy outfit he bought you. You may think you don’t look good but remember this simple fact; HE BOUGHT IT FOR YOU! Put it on and seduce him. Make sure the neighbors know both your names in the morning.

  197. Lots of ET Benson teachings about sex in marriage mainly for procreation and too much for pleasure is bad (my paraphrase):

    http://emp.byui.edu/SATTERFIELDB/Quotes/Marriage%20and%20Child-Bearing%20ETB.htm

    By Benson’s logic, marriages among widowed seniors should be forbidden. Dallin Oak remarried 2 years after his first wife tragically died of cancer, I thinks that’s wonderful. My wife and I feel free to so do when one survives the other.

    Can the current Sister Oaks bear children? If they have sex, are they selfish and carnal? Are they violating Benson’s teachings? I vote for Bro/Sis Oaks behaviour and repudiate Benson’s teachings?

  198. David O McKay in early career said [birth control] “often tends to put the marriage relationship on a level with the panderer and the courtesan. They befoul the pure fountains of life with the slime of indulgence and sensuality” My wife and I have used birth control many times. Is my wife a “whore”? Maybe she could get a bit role in Les Mis?

    I say “be yet not afraid” and turn these lemons into lemonade, Use President McKay’s teachings to justify kinky role-playing: wife is the “whore” and husband is the “john”. Here’s a great way to start.
    * Week One: The washed, anointed and [well] endowed priesthood holder could slip $20 bills into her garments. Cover charge paid in temple. No brass rail required.
    * Week Two: “gladiator and slave girl”.
    * Week 3: Esther gives husband all the pleasure she was taught in the harem. He always points his staff towards her.
    * Week 4: (female empowerment): She is Potiphar’s wife, but in this story she gets her “toy boy”.
    * Week 5: (female empowerment on steroids): Adam tires of vanilla sex with Eve to have kinky sex with Lilith. “Seek and ye shall find.”

    Final notes:
    Search the scriptures for more fun, avoiding rape and violence. Ruth and Boaz get honorable mention (truly honorable).for warm fuzzy moments.

    Avoid concubines. Against gospel teachings “as presently constituted”. Would wreck finances of all but Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman and company. The “pleasure inequity” would cause resentment against the top 1%.

    “Go and do likewise”

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