Episode 120a: Female Sexuality in the LDS Culture Part 1

Female perspectives and issues surrounding sexuality within Mormonism. Zilpha is joined by Jessica, Chris, and Robyn.

Episode 120a

54 comments on “Episode 120a: Female Sexuality in the LDS Culture Part 1”

  1. Anonymous Reply

    Gotta say: The “taking one for the team” quote (22 minute mark) almost made me cry. I so sincerely hope my wife never sees sex that way. 🙁

    • FWAnson Reply

      Ditto! That was hilarious – the delivery was as good as the ironic story.

      Very funny.


    • FWAnson Reply

      Speaking as a man I must confess that my wife’s black underwear has strange and unusual powers that are beyond my comprehension!

  2. AutumnRook Reply

    Definitely fascinating to hear. I grew up in an atheist family in Utah. Most of my friends were Mormon and they NEVER talked about sex, whereas I was extremely sexually active. It’s interesting to have an idea of what my friends were going through back then.

  3. Mr. Robyn Reply

    As one of the husbands of these four fabulous women, I think this was a great episode. The four of us who are married to you are lucky. Your desire to educate yourselves and discuss this topic can only benefit you and others. I am certain it will have a positive impact on many. I feel fortunate to have a partner who transcends the negative messages about sex that exist in our society. Excellent podcast, Ladies.

    • Brock Sampson Reply

      Robyn, you have 4 husbands?!?!? Wow, now that’s taking Joseph Smith’s teachings to heart! Wait… oh I see, I read that wrong… 😀

      • Ms. Robyn Reply

        Very cute, Brock. 🙂 I only have one dear husband, but if you’d like to be my second…I can ensure “your eternal salvation & exaltation and that of your father’s household & all of your kindred”. Sounds enticing, doesn’t it? What if I throw in the threat of an angel with a flaming sword? Are you convinced yet? No wonder Helen Mar and 32+ others couldn’t/didn’t refuse Joe’s advances. I wonder what advice those women would give us now if they could speak from “beyond the veil”.

        • FWAnson Reply

          A: “If someone claims to have the truth you should probably first find out if they’re lying to you.”
          (of course they’d have to pay Richard Packham royalties on that one)


  4. Oz Reply

    BRAVO!! BRAVO!! BRAVO LADIES!!! This has to be a very helpful conversation for those who are in or out of the church. I applaud your candor about this topic.

    I hope this DOESN’T mean a “Male Sexuality” podcast from John, Tom, Glenn, Mike, Nyal, and George is coming. I can be spared from their self loving stories.

        • Michael Gonda Reply

          But Oz, did you really mean it about the male sexuality podcast? That could be rather entertaining. I think it is interesting that it generally is easier for women to gather together to talk about intimate subjects, while males seem much more repulsed by the idea of talking seriously about sex. Ironically, men in certain circles have a way of talking about sex with very little caution, but it is usually in a euphemistic, more vulgar way. I wonder if this is some sort of reflection of our cultural expectations. Are there healthy ways for men to explore sexuality together, or is there a reason why it seems uncomfortable for most men to think about doing? Are we fitting the stereotype, or reinforcing it?

          • Oz

            Michael, No, I didn’t really mean it, it was a poor joke. Each of your questions are very interesting to me. Frankly, most discussions that I have heard or participated in, whether it was as a teenager, with a mission companion, in the locker room, water cooler at work, or wherever, it was always discussed using humor and sarcasm. Why is that? Are men less emotional about sex? Maybe that’s how men conduct those types of conversations with each other? I don’t know. I can only say that the only time it was discussed seriously was when I volunteered at a student crisis center where people could anonymously call and talk to someone about their issues. And probably 99.9% of those serious conversations were about some form of sexual abuse that they suffered in the past. A healthy conversation/podcast would be very interesting.

            This episode was outstanding, and I hope encouraging to others. I’ve seen how the church/sex dynamic has negatively affected some of my close friends and family. I liked the way someone said, that sex or whatever “doesn’t make you less smart or less sweet.” I was always erked at the way my we were taught to feel guilty for something that is so normal and natural. I hope this episode can help people cope with that.

    • FWAnson Reply

      Can we assume that Oz is a TBM? The only folks I know of that get this immature, goofy, and silly whenever the topic of human sexuality is openly discussed are TBMs.

      Just consider this recent comment from a TBM on Answerbag over the widely and historically acknowledged fact that in Biblical Theology “Marriage Covenant” (i.e. “becoming one flesh” to use Biblical terminology) occurs at first coitus and NOT in ANY human (be it LdS Temple or not) initiated ceremony:

      “I am not very tolerant of people making a mockery of my God and His laws. Disagree with me all you want, but do not continue to spread these lies concerning our faithful parents. They deserve our love and respect. I have said nothing in this thread that is anything but upholding the standard of truth. The wicked take the truth to be hard, and are offended by it. As a priesthood holder, I must defend truth. Thank you for all of your other points. You are well versed and you stick to your guns. Just please pray and find the error in what you say concerning the sacred institution of marriage.”

      And the references to “our faithful parents” was due to the fact that I pointed out that the Bible was clear that Isaac “married” Rebekah like this:

      “Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah, and he married Rebekah. So she became his wife, and he loved her…”
      – Genesis 24:67

      That obvious FACT had generated this angry response earlier in the discussion thread:

      “You should honestly be ashamed with your views concerning marriage. I doubt very much that the patriarch known as Isaac, the son of Abraham, whose lineage would bless the entire world, would take a woman he just met and bang her in his mother’s tent. You can sleep with as many girls as you want in your mother’s bed, just don’t spread lies concerning those ancient faithful servants of Christ. Satan has manipulated the world’s view concerning everything in the Bible. No one gets it anymore. You can rely upon the letter of the law, as you see it, and I will rely on both the letter and the spirit of it. You honestly disgust me and you need to repent of speaking evil concerning the Lord’s annointed.”

      (all citations from http://www.answerbag.com/a_view/10224631#ixzz1G4Fx63OO )

      And, yes, he really believed that what REALLY happened in that temple was a Mormon Temple Marriage and NOT sex – believe it or not!
      (read the discussion thread if you doubt me)

      From what this NeverMo has observed over the years, many TBMs seem to have the intellectual and emotional sexual maturity of about a 12-year old prepubescent. To me this is one the most obvious examples of how the LdS Church’s repressive and unhealthy views and doctrine regarding human sexuality damages the psyche of many of it’s members.

      Thank you for letting me share.

      • Oz Reply

        Not a TBM, and have never shied away from this topic, ever. I only think that this podcast was a GREAT example of people being honest and open and I applaud them for it. I only hope others will pass this on as I have. But, I guess you missed that part.

        • FWAnson Reply

          I apologize, your post sounded more like sarcasm than praise to me – I obviously misinterpreted it and I’m sorry.

          However, my comments about some TBMs, TBM Mormon culture, and the LdS Church in regard to their unhealthy and repressive attitudes toward human sexuality stand.

          • Oz

            No need to apologize to me, I can see my feeble attempt at humor was not well received. And by the way, I agree with your comments about “unhealthy and repressive attitudes.” In terms of helping people find comfort from hearing others stories/experiences, I feel this particular podcast episode may have the largest impact for those listeners who have lived their lives in the repressive attitudes you speak of. Thanks anyway.

          • FWAnson

            Was that really necessary?
            I DID apologize to him for misunderstanding mate.

    • Dgostlund Reply

      Funny you should mention that, Oz. I think we inadvertantly recorded a self loving podcast just the other night (with apologies to Elder Petersen). You could have listened to it live if you wanted. But didn’t Jesus tell us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves? What exactly is the problem here???

    • Dgostlund Reply

      Funny you should mention that, Oz. I think we inadvertantly recorded a self loving podcast just the other night (with apologies to Elder Petersen). You could have listened to it live if you wanted. But didn’t Jesus tell us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves? What exactly is the problem here???

  5. orange Reply

    Love this one! Zilpha is always great in her unassuming, casual, but very direct way of engaging people. The balance of voices was great.

    My anecdotal contribution from LDS youth: At my wedding shower, my future MIL gave me her secret to a successful marriage…. “Never say NO… Never, ever say NO. period.”

    • Froggie Reply

      “Never say NO… Never, ever say NO. period.”

      Well, that is certainly empowering is it not? *rolls eyes. Your comment instantly reminded me of the book Infidel, a story about a woman who was raised in orthodox muslim environment. They never said no to the man either. For any reason. I would hope that most men would realize that the more willing the woman is, the more enjoyable it is for everyone.

  6. Dave Sonntag Reply

    Zilpha–magnificent job. One of ME’s best. I’ve got a thirty second dead spot in the middle of the first episode, from an iTunes DL, but it seems to pick up right where it should.

    Chris–VaJedi Mind Tricks, figure out a way to sell those, and you’re rich. But we already know they don’t work on Boydarians.

  7. Dave Sonntag Reply

    Zilpha–magnificent job. One of ME’s best. I’ve got a thirty second dead spot in the middle of the first episode, from an iTunes DL, but it seems to pick up right where it should.

    Chris–VaJedi Mind Tricks, figure out a way to sell those, and you’re rich. But we already know they don’t work on Boydarians.

  8. Gilderoy Lockhart Reply

    This was a great podcast. As a husband that has had to deal with the fallout of backward teachings of the Church I can agree that the Church’s teachings are damaging towards women.

    One thing that really dawned on me what sexual liberation is, at least for a women. I used to think it meant that women could just have sex with anyone. But what I didn’t realize was that it was a choice for women to choose the terms of engagement of sexual behavior. Listening to Robyn and Zilpha share there stories of liberation was liberating to me — even as a guy.

    I must say that it was inspiring and I think I understand female sexuality a little better. As a husband I take care to make sure that sex is as fulfilling as I can for my wife. But I hope that I am better husband for it.

    I would to hear a follow up the husbands involved. Hearing the guys take on the process would be illuminating as well.

  9. Anonymous Reply

    Kimball tends to be quoted most often out of context. Note this from his speech in BYU in 1973 when he stated those words quoted here:

    “Billy Graham gave us this statement:

    One thing the Bible does not teach is that sex in itself is sin. Far from being prudish, the Bible celebrates sex and its proper use, presenting it as God-created, God-ordained, God-blessed. It makes plain that God himself implanted the physical magnetism between the sexes for two reasons: for the propagation of the human race, and for the expression of that kind of love between man and wife that makes for true oneness. His command to the first man and woman to be “one flesh” was as important as his command to be “fruitful and multiply”.

    The Bible makes plain that evil, when related to sex, means not the use of something inherently corrupt, but the misuse of something pure and good. It teaches that sex can be a wonderful servant, but a terrible master. It can be a creative force more powerful than any other in fostering of love, companionship, happiness, or can be the most destructive of all life’s forces. [Reader’s Digest, May 1970, p. 118]

    Notice that president Kimball was quoting directly from Billy Graham, saying that sex isn’t a sin in and of itself but ‘celebrates sex’. Sure procreation is important however its not the only reason for sex, as it seems the panelists here implies that the church teaches.

    [from http://speeches.byu.edu/reader/reader.php?id=6056%5D

    • Ms. Robyn Reply

      Great clarification. Context is important. However, I don’t understand how we implied that sex was only for procreation. We even spent a few minutes discussing the expectations of Godly sex, which I think would more closely imply earth-shaking orgasms. 😉 Well, at least that’s how I like to think of it. Anyway, I’m not a scriptorian or expert of any type and I freely admit that sometimes my thinking is a bit twisted, but I’m diligently trying to untwist. And that’s good enough for me. Again, thanks for the added context and the clarification.

      • Anonymous Reply

        Did you read a quote from a mormon prophet (I thought was Kimball) saying that procreation only talk?

    • oswit Reply

      dm20: NOT ALL the church teaches is written & endorsed by the FP…
      LOTS of stuff reaches members informally; comments by instructors, even just what comments a teacher/instructor approves/allows. There’s ALWAYS ‘the Unwritten Order of Things’ in Morland.

      As far as the Kimball-Graham connection: Well, that’s why we NEED A LIVING PROPHET, Correct? /cynicism

  10. Dove Reply

    2 hours of women whining about sex……just what I needed

    But in all seriousness this podcast needs some diversity, some of the rhetoric is over the top (the stats on masturbation) and obviously one sided. This is where it suffers and it grates on me by the end of the podcasts

    • Chris Reply

      Whining about sex, eh? 🙂 I feel like my approach to sexuality is pretty healthy and don’t think I spent much time whining about it. I do think, though, that open whining amongst the women might lead to an overall improvement in areas of intimacy.


    • Ms. Robyn Reply

      Clearly, this isn’t relevant to you. It’s impossible to be everything to everyone. We get that! Do you? Again, specifics are helpful if you’re actually interested in helping us learn and improve. If not, thanks for expressing your intent. 🙂

    • FWAnson Reply

      Complete disagreement. I loved this podcast and was riveted throughout.

      Speaking as a man, I got a feminine perspective on the subject that I’ve never heard with such candor. It was enlightening and helpful. I have a deeper appreciation for my wonderful wife.

      However, if it was a bunch of guys doing this . . . yeah . . . I wouldn’t have made it to Part 2 because, to me, there’s no mystery or intrigue there. So I kinda see your point.

      I guess this may be one of those topics where the gender of the listener is relevant.

  11. oswit Reply

    If ONLY ch. leaders “could” explain why REPRESSION of all discussion/mention of sexuality was the ‘Best’ approach. I think it might be informative to hear some Scandanavain women (church & non) speak to the same issues! Anyone know any Scan. women who might be open to discuss?

    • FWAnson Reply

      Here! Here!

      Only I’m afraid they might just come back with, “Because God told us to repress – so there!”

      sigh . . .

      Of course it doesn’t help matters that Joseph Smith received a “revelation” that the Song of Solomon isn’t inspired.
      (see http://lds.org/scriptures/bd/song-of-solomon?lang=eng )

      Full acceptance of the Song of Solomon would go a long way in remedying this problem IMHO!

      • FWAnson Reply

        And, I thought that this quote from Andrée Seu, columnist for World Magazine, on the Song of Solomon said it well:

        “…the Song [of Solomon] is not only helpful but essential. It gives permission to be as in love as you want to be. It destroys the notion that God grants romance as a concession but holds His nose. It debunks the notion of lovesickness as a brief biological agitation for the prosaic purpose of perpetuation of species. If your marriage passes from intoxication into humdrum cohabitation, it is not God’s idea. Put away from you the fatalists who say: “Romance is a flame that dies but companionship is its consolation.” Put away those who believe that “letting yourself go” after the ring is on is normal. Not from heaven does such counsel come. “At your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).”

        (Andree Seu, “Superlative song”; World Magazine, February 26, 2011; http://www.worldmag.com/articles/17612; retrieved date of post )

  12. Jen Coleman Reply

    I have been waiting 24 years to hear this conversation. Thank you so much for voicing this. I am a happily married woman, raising two children and taking care of an aging mother and preparing for grad school. My husband and I left the church almost a year ago and we have be reconstructing our perceptions of many things. Thank you so much for fearlessly sharing such important and so long hushed thoughts and information.

  13. Ms. Robyn Reply

    Nope. I didn’t. But I’m not sure it’s relevant. You’ve shined a spotlight on something that’s lacking. But really, not that important. IMO. We’re not representing as experts. I don’t think the rank and file are scriptorians. If you don’t like or agree with what we say, oh well. However, thanks. You are a rock star in the the specifics department. And cool as hell in my book 🙂

  14. Anonymous Reply

    Thanks for letting us guys eavesdrop on this. Absolutely fascinating.

    What a mess Mormonism is on female sexuality.

  15. Signal2noise 5 Reply

    Great podcasts!  I only wish I could find a way to convince my TBM sister to listen to them, both for herself and her four daughters.

  16. LocalUtahGirl Reply

    Horrifying First Bishop Interview
    I was taught that the bishop had a stewardship over me and spoke from the spirit.  yet, my first experience of a sexual purity interview around twelve years old,  taught me that he was speaking only for himself.  

    Like you mentioned,  I was taken into his office and was seated directly across from this older man who was asking me extremely private and personal questions.  That were just humiliating.  I was as pure as they came.  And didn’t know half of what he was saying. I asked him what he meant once or twice.  I later found out, through a friend who was staying with the bishop that the bishop had begun talking about me as this dirty,  immoral girl who fooled around with boys.   “How could he be speaking Gods will for me” I thought, “if he can’t see that isn’t true.”  I’d never even kissed a boy.  The only thing that could have led him to any such conclusion was that I had developed quite early and was popular with neighborhood boys who would want to walk me home from the school bus stop.

    My friend said, “I told him that was a lie.  You were one of the few girls I know that actually lives their religion.”   I was grateful that my friend stood up for me.  But, still,  it didn’t take away the feeling of shame and fears that I was being gossiped about wrongly in my own neighborhood and by my bishop…who is supposed to know.

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