Episode 120b: Female Sexuality in the LDS Culture Part 2

46 comments on “Episode 120b: Female Sexuality in the LDS Culture Part 2”

  1. Kay Too30 Reply

    My husband blames our divorce on us not having a family prayer on the night we got married.

    • mono Reply

      Be thankful you are divorced from the idiot.

      What a self absorbed ass! Gee whiz, it could be because of him. Let’s blame something, but not take any responsibility for our own actions.

      If you haven’t already, leave Mormonism. It is tough sledding at first, but oh so wonderful not to be judged by everyone and not to carry around all the guilt, shame and erroneous beliefs.

      Life is the longest thing you will ever do, fill it with love, honesty, and wonderful relationships.

  2. Anonymous Reply

    Thank you, ladies. This discussion has been interesting. You all did a fantastic job.

  3. A.B. Reply

    My only request is please get this group back together for another topic. Just wonderful.

  4. Deb Reply

    Wonderful conversation, So many lovely moments and great thoughts from you all. Here’s to you!

  5. Michael Gonda Reply

    I think this was a very entertaining and informative podcast. Thanks to all involved. I have a couple honest questions that I wish would have been explored a little in the discussion. One is related to the idea that as people start to inch away from mormonism, they seem to feel quite a bit more liberated in their sexual expression. This came across several times kind of as the idea, “if it feels all right to you, then it’s fine.” I think I understand the thinking, but one reaction I think people will have is that you still have to draw the line somewhere, right? If your spouse wants to go so far as to include other people in the sexual circle, I would think most people would say, okay, that’s far enough. I know this is going to border on some line of thinking, but I think this is a fear some people have – and I know of one situation right now where a person has separated from his wife shortly after leaving the church. Apparently he felt the church really limited him as a human being, and he is finally getting the freedom he has missed out on. They haven’t divorced, and I guess he has another woman in his life. But I think he would be happy to go back with his wife if she were willing to accept the third party into the group. I don’t know if these things are very common, but I think it is a legitimate, and tough question to contemplate.

    The other thought I had that might be useful for another podcast is how to educate your kids about sexuality in a more healthy way than what we see happening in the LDS church right now. How open are people about their sex lives around their kids? I think sometimes not talking about sex can have lots of negative outcomes, but sort of ‘hiding’ the sexual relationship that married couples naturally have from kids may have negative unintended outcomes as well.

    Would anyone care to post links to studies that were referenced that say that masturbation is not an unhealthy practice?

    Anyway, I really enjoyed the discussion. I would get into deeper questions about Zilpha’s fantasies, but I better just leave it here.

    • Chris Reply

      Hi Michael,

      We did not delve into this too much on the podcast. I too have noticed a certain sexual liberation that seems to come with an exit from the church. For many, simply even talking about sex in a more open manner is invigorating. For many, removing sexual barriers feels like a top has been removed and there is a fear you will never be able to put that genie back in the bottle and before long there will be rampant, irresponsible orgy sex, an image further enforced by the stigma attached to apostate behavior.

      I know hundreds of couples who have left the church, some leaving at the same, others with one spouse departing before the other in various stages. I have encountered a few couples who give themselves permission to sow their previously untouched wild oats. Generally speaking, however, as long as open communication is going on between a married couple and there are not other significant mitigating factors in the marriage, the transition out of the church does not include a sexual experimentation roller coaster ride.

      I believe I mentioned on the podcast about the LDS Guide for parents where, in all age brackets for children, parents are encouraged not to personalize their own sexual experience while teaching about sex and issues related to it. For the record, I think it would be much healthy and natural to teach your children about sex if you are open, and keep an open dialogue with your children about your experiences with it.

      Here is one quick link having to do with masturbation as a natural, healthy activity.

      http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/masturbation?open

      Chris

  6. G Reiersen Reply

    Very good and useful discussion. Too many people (not just Mormons) in today’s society (especially in America) have the idea that there is something inherently perverse about studying about and learning the facts about human sexuality–even about their own bodies’ sexual parts. It is tragic how many women (especially, apparently, LDS women) who are deliberately kept so much in the dark about these matters that they don’t even know that they have a clitoris and/or what it is or what it is for. Why should anyone be made to feel guilty about even merely asking questions about sex? Certainly, one of the worst things that organized religions tend to do to people is make them feel unnecessarily guilty and ashamed about something so harmless and nearly inevitable as masturbation, or even having sexual thoughts, feelings and curiousity that no healthy human being can possibly avoid having. When I was in college many years ago, I was having a discussion the music listening room of the school library with one of my friends about some of the published research about human sexuality such as the Kinsey Report and Masters & Johnson, and one very uptight, middle-aged matron overhearing our conversation indignantly expressed the opinion that anyone who writes anything about sex ought to be castrated!

    • Froggie Reply

      When one realizes that our entire perception of the world comes through our bodies and our mind, one would hope they would want to make sure these perception tools are honed to achieve optimal sensory experience, which in turn leads to optimal spiritual and emotional experience.

      I, of course, completely agree with your premise that shaming the very vehicle we use as a lens for life inhibits and hampers our ability to feel and live life to its greatest.

      And with mormonism and its focus on procreation (and by necessary extension, reproduction), you’d think they would want to elevate sex rather than hang such shaming curtains around it.

  7. Licked Cupcake Reply

    I’m almost done with the first segment of this podcast and have had to stop because it has made me come to some painful realizations. First, it is a complete miracle that my husband ever married me. I’m the licked cupcake! In fact I’m a licked and dropped cupcake.

    My husband grew up in a very active, orthodox Mormon family. His Dad even wrote a book on morality and spent his whole career in CES. When I met my husband he had barely kissed a girl (a quick peck) and he was 23. I, on the other hand, was a convert to the church. The community we grew up in has a highly dense Mormon population. I always wondered why no one would ask me out when I was a teenager. I felt I was ugly and less than those pretty and smart Mormon girls that everyone dated. After 20 years in the church and a year and a half out, I’m finally realizing the reason no one ever asked me out was because I wasn’t LDS. I was a normal girl; I wanted to have those dates and first kisses. I think by my senior year I was tired of waiting and found that sex could get me the attention I wanted. I don’t remember ever enjoying it and I’m one of those girls that never discovered masturbation and that sex could be enjoyable (not until I had been married for several years).

    By the time I was 19, I found myself pregnant and completely lost. My Dad talked me into having an abortion. After, I found myself completely heartbroken and searching for healing and perhaps forgiveness and that is when I found both in the LDS Church.

    I don’t know how, but they did allow me to go on a mission 3 years later. After my mission I met an incredible guy. I told him everything before we were engaged and miraculously he still wanted me. With his upbringing I honestly don’t know how. His Mom even warned him about marrying a convert and having non members as in-laws, but he married me regardless.

    Another realization I came to today is that I know why just about every calling I had while I was a member of the church was in YW. They wanted me to hear those lessons I missed in my youth. I remember teaching some of those lessons and feeling like scum and like a big hypocrite. How was I supposed to digest these teachings when there was nothing I could do to change my past? I think I became very subservient to my husband. I think I thought that I was below him and that I owed him a great deal for stooping so low to marry that dropped and licked cupcake.

    If I wasn’t mad at the church before, I am now.

    • G Reiersen Reply

      I don’t blame you for being mad! It is often taught in Sunday School and other church meetings that when one has repented of one’s sins and received forgiveness, the sins are washed away completely, and one is then as clean and pure as if the sins had never been committed. The “licked cupcake analogy” that at least some Church leaders seem so fond of, seems to imply that they regard sexual sin as an exception to that. Why should that be? I can think of no good reason for that.

      Even worse is characterizing forcible rape as being “robbed of virtue.” The only one that loses any virtue in a rape situation is the rapist–not the rapist’s victim! More outrageous still is the often repeated admonition that it is better to die “protecting one’s virtue” than to save one’s own life (or even the life of a loved one) by yielding to the demands of a rapist! The last thing a rape victim needs is the additional trauma of being made to feel guilty and ashamed merely for having survived the rape! Personally, I would 1000 times rather be married to a rape survivor than lose the love of my life because she foolishly chose to sacrifice her life to avoid being raped!

      It has long been my considered opinion that doctrinaire religious organizations, like the LDS Church, rely very heavily on inducing guilt to retain and control their membership. By making people feel there is something essentially evil or nasty about having the sexual desires and curiosity that no healthy, fully functioning human can possibly avoid having, they create an endless source of guilt that they can misuse for controlling them and limiting dissent.

      • Ms. Robyn Reply

        We can be redeemed through the atonement. Or not. One of my last visits to the ward, I heard a crazy-ass analogy. It may sound familiar because it falls right in line with the pretty stories, smoke and mirrors, and stark-raving crazy. In a Sunday School class of adults we were discussing the atonement. One of the wiser, older sisters stood to say that sin was like driving a nail into a 2×4. Through repentance, the nail can be pulled out, but the hole will always remain. Wow. Thanks for sharing, Sister. By the way, not a high priest brother around willing to share God’s opinion.

        • G Reiersen Reply

          Yes, I have often heard the analogy of the 2×4 and the nail, but it is seldom used anymore, because Church authorities have strongly repudiated that analogy. The last few times I heard someone use that analogy in a Gospel Doctrine class, they were immediately corrected by someone quoting General authorities pointing out the falsity of that analogy and saying that even the “hole” no longer remains after true repentance and forgiveness.

          • orange

            I was also subject to the “doctrine of the 2×4″… it is good they are stepping back from that.

            However, I think the “former sins return” from D&C 82:7 is close to being just as effective in marking the imperfect among us. Basically the past sins are still not really gone since they are just put in a holding bin waiting for you to mess up one.more.time… and they ALL come back on your guilty heart.

          • G Reiersen

            Yes, I realize that is part of the doctrine. That’s why I said “TRUE repentance.” It could always be argued that when one repeats a sin after repenting, it was not true repentance.

          • Chris

            Hi Gunnar! I have missed you! I ‘m so glad to hear you listened to the podcast.

            I am also glad to hear there is a vocal repudiation of the 2×4 analogy. I never heard it while I was in the church.

            Chris

      • Itscats Reply

        lots of good points.

        Sex is precious and should be part of a committed monogamous relationship.

        Yet, in the church sex is used to get couples married quickly and young.

        They get married before they can spend all the time it takes to really get to know their future partner.
        (meaning, longer that a couple or few months)

        This is a sin- to marry someone you don’t really know just so you can have sex.

  8. Bird Reply

    Thank you Zilpha, Jessica, Chris and Robyn. This discussion has helped me so much, more than I can say. It is so nice to know I’m not alone.

  9. Nonny Reply

    I really enjoyed your podcast. It felt like sitting around chatting with my girlfriends, although I just got to listen. I’ll bet there are many listeners who have similar stories and experiences to tell. It would have been interesting to have a TBM on the panel as well. How about a female Mike?

  10. tama Reply

    when i first read the title of this podcast, i immediately blurted out, “what sexuality?!” haha… i thought, perhaps they should exclude sexuality or add “lack of” at the beginning.

    seriously though… as a man who has left the church, it is strange to hear these teachings now knowing that i once believed them. how did sex merely for procreation and breasts only for feeding the infant ever make sense to me? how could i ever have thought that a bishop was justified in questioning everything we do? also, how did i ever manage to get out of all this despite the indoctrination? but, one thing i do remember hitting me like a ton of bricks on my “road to apostasy” was this… if you believe in what this church has taught you, then you do not believe that women are your equals.

    while listening to all of this, my mind was blown away and my heart was broken. i just want to thank these women for being so strong through all they endured and for sharing their stories.

  11. Helaman's Wife Reply

    Thank you for this wonderful podcast! Zilpha, thank you for bringing up fantasies and the role they play in female sexuality. I spent the first several years of marriage unable to orgasm… at all… until I began to fantasize. I was horrified by myself and assumed I wasn’t feminine enough. I thought fantasy was a male thing. Of course, I thought it was wrong for men to do… I just felt even worse that I was doing it as a woman. Just to clarify, although I know this is TMI, I only fantasized during foreplay, not intercourse…if that matters.

    After being married for 12 or 13 years and after having excruciating guilt for at least 10 of those years, I actually went into therapy to try to reform myself. My (nonMormon) therapist was a little amused by my attempt to stop fantasizing but tried to help and support. I invented all sorts of techniques and methods I thought would cure me but never did. After a year or so of trying to just be in the moment and become aroused naturally and without fantasy (it does work sometimes… but really rare for me) I gave up. I decided that I would never be able to separate my sexuality from fantasy. Unfortunately, I couldn’t separate my sexuality from guilt either. It had been such a burden to feel so bad about myself on that level. I dreaded having sex, because of the massive guilt I would have to live with over fantasizing. It was so bad that I couldn’t have sex at all on Sunday’s. Church made me feel redeemed and good (maybe asexual?), and I couldn’t have sex and be/feel good. If I fantasized, sex was great, but I felt bad… evil even. If I was “strong enough” to not fantasize, then I wasn’t prepared physically for sex and if it didn’t hurt, it didn’t feel good either.

    Now, after almost 25 years of marriage and a year after leaving the church, I am completely cured. I still fantasize and we have a lot of fun with that together (we always did)… but I no longer feel any guilt at all. I would say one of the best things about leaving the church for me was learning to truly embrace my sexuality, accept myself, and boy, the sex is so freaking much better.

    My husband was exposed to porn, as one of the 100% of RM’s that are, and I was devastated. I felt bad because, I think, the church told me I would. The church told me I was screwed and I thought I was the only unfortunate woman who had a man with a history of some (pretty mild) porn exposure. We always had internet servers that limited our ability to see porn at all until we moved and couldn’t get a server that filtered it out automatically. After that, my husband did look at porn, but always without my knowledge and also with great shame. I will say that while I was in the church, my husband’s involvement in porn meant that he didn’t love me because he wasn’t honoring his priesthood and wouldn’t get to be with me eternally. For me, in the church, porn was REALLY personal. It wasn’t just that my husband was lusting after other women I couldn’t compete with. It was that his desire to look at porn… ever… meant that he was choosing porn over me, eternally. I thought I was the only woman with such a carnal husband and such a bleak outlook on her eternal future. Now that we are out of the church, I am not threatened at all if he looks at it.. and sometimes I look at it too. I would have to say that the obsession or interest in it has diminished now that it isn’t forbidden.

    I wonder how many TBM’s feel the same level of guilt and devastation that comes with fantasy, porn, or even just sex that I felt. I know leaving the church was the only effective cure for me. And boy, what a difference. We are happier and have a much more fulfilled and strong marriage.

    Like other commenters, I cannot believe I allowed my sexuality to be a commodity the church and priesthood leaders could control in any way. I really appreciated the woman in the podcast (sorry I can’t remember which one) who said to her bishop when he asked about oral sex (not an exact quote), “If I want you in my bedroom, I’ll invite you myself.” Good for you!

    • Itscats Reply

      well said,
      Once the Taboo is taken away, so often goes the obsession.

      The State of Utah is the #1 subscriber to online porn. (I believe that is thanks to the Mormon men.) 🙂

    • mono Reply

      WONDERFUL!

      A candid frank discussion about sex, sexuality and being alive. Things you would NEVER hear at any fireside, talk, lesson et al. Women can and do enjoy sex, and they should. I did not find this out until way late in life.

      Sex is not “dirty” only those who are obsessed with all the details to make you “clean” again are the ones who are dirty, as in dirty-old-men. Joseph Smith is bedding down 14 year old’s (jeez doesn’t that make him a pedophile?) sending people on missions so he can wed, then bed their wives, and that is OK? “I need your daughter, and your wife or you will loose your eternal salvation.” (Hello!) Good grief can you spell aberrant sexual activity?? Or is it abhorrent? Both. Betcha Joe didn’t ask Helen Mar or Fanny what color their undies where, only that they were off.

      I graduated from HS in 1966. I had never heard the cupcake analogy (read bullshit) before. Guilt with frosting and sprinkles! What if the teacher of this object lesson would have dropped the cupcake in lap and smeared it around? As I recall it was unwritten, but understood, that the guys had the green light to get “all-you-can” so we were in charge of the gas pedal and the girls were responsible for the brake. And if you were lucky enough to score a really good feel-up or a hand down the bra, you were the man, and the girl was “easy or kinda-slutty”. What a double standard. Or when I was in Seminary and ol’ Bro. May was rocking back and forth at the front of the class in his well-worn wing-tips and declared that Elizabeth Taylor was nothing more than a whore because she had just divorced, again. I wasn’t sure what a whore was, but I thought Liz was incredibly beautiful. And I thought to myself: Who appointed you to judge her?

      The interviews back then, seemed to be really broad and vague, when the question ever surfaced “do you have any problem with masturbation?”, I replied, in total honesty: “No, I did not.” Hell no I didn’t have any problem, I was damned good at it and probably could have shown the Old Coot interviewing me a few tricks he could have used to squeeze a little more joy out of his lil’ soldier.

      The current preoccupation with sexual related activity, activities, seems to be an issue that has grown (pun intended) and moved to the front of the Hierarchies obsession. I first learned the basic’s of arousal in the back of a station wagon as our Scout Troop was on the way to a swimming party. I was getting prepared. To bad they didn’t offer a merit badge.

      I left Mo-dom over ten years ago, my only regret is that I did not leave 50 years ago. I even hawked their stuff for two years door-to-door, we used to say we were representatives of Deseret Book and had a wonderful book they would enjoy reading and we were offering it for today only at the ridiculously low-price of .45 cents. Gotta drive those mission stats as high as you could.

      A friend of wife (first wife couldn’t handle my realization that the church was NOT true) has a good friend that is a marriage counselor, she has a thriving practice within walking distance of one of the BYU campuses. She is not LDS but has had so many LDS couples with dysfunctional relationships, that in the first meeting she has with the couple one of the first questions she asks is, “who was the Church President when you were growing up and when you were married?”. Yes, she has found that by knowing this she has a much clearer understanding of what course of therapy to pursue, because the emphasis placed on sex and all the shame and guilt that was heaped on them is directly correlated to who was in charge. The worst: guess who… yup, Good of Spence.

      My daughter, a year ago, divorced her husband. She told me once they were “making love” and she broke down in tears. She was suffering from a serious case of par-tum depression and he was such a dumb shit his only solution was that they needed to pray, so they took a five minute “break in the action” and knelt next to the bed. Oh puke! How about just holding her, close and just listen…even if she doesn’t speak she is still telling him a lot. All he was interested in was “doing it”. She told me later that his foreplay was pretty much “come-on, lets do it”. “But I have to get the kids ready for school.” “Aw, come-on, lets just hurry and do-it.” Yea, mormon men ARE shitty lovers. (They remind me of 3 stroke motorcycles.) If you are that horny and in that short of time, take care of it yourself. But she being REALLY TBM, thought that was sick and wrong (sinful) and then he would have an addiction. How is his hand and your vagina (under the circumstances) any different?

      Religion and Government have no business in your crotch.

      After my divorce and exit from the shackles of The Church of Lies Deciept & Spin, I finally learned what it was like to really experience love. To be close to someone and share a level of intimacy that I never knew could exist. Guilt free! Passion-Full.

      Thank you ladies for your honesty. I am in awe at your healthy, candid attitudes. It is no small wonder that I am a self-confessed lesbian and feminist, I love women and am constantly amazed at how incredible you are.

      Thank you for putting up with men. The only credible argument that I can think of for the existence of god is that there are women. I cherish my companion, my lover, my best friend, this gift who is my wife and an incredible women.

      BTW, Helamon is a lucky man.

  12. sinclaire Reply

    one of the greatest podcasts on ME. wonderfully thorough, thoughtful, honest, funny, touching, sad, validating and uplifting. it will be on my iPod and i will listen more than once or 3 times…. this panel was PERFECT. thank you so much!

  13. EyesWideOpen Reply

    After listening to these women talk about their sexual experiences and the folklore they were raised with it brought up a few questions and some observations ad well.
    It seems these women on the panel are all from Utah. I am LDS and was raised in Utah, though we all believed the same gospel principles. It was sad to hear how much guilt they had toward sex. I never felt guilty about oral sex, sleeping butt-naked, not wearing garments to bed and certainly never praying before sex. I always held church callings, was very active. I also felt like the admonition condeming oral sex as unholy etc. was exactly that, an admonition. It is not a commandment. We in the church have to use the brains in our heads. You all sound like just realize what sex is about. The rest of us have known this for a very long time. I never felt like the Lord needed to be included in my sex life with my husband. It is between a man and a woman. Girls, you give the church too much credit for your sexual hangups. The Lord made our bodies for pleasure. Period! It is not evil or perverted. I do not for a moment believe God told these men how we are to behave with our spouses. Once I moved to Utah 10 years ago, I got looks like I was a sex craved pervert when I openly talked about sex….. I was the normal one it turns out! All the stupid rules about garments, going to the temple after sex, everything sounds so unhealthy and plain odd. Mormon women outside of the Utah bubble are not nearly as hung up as you women seem to be. And now that you have seen the light, you talk as if you are enlightening the rest of us….. but we’ve always known. So, I feel most of the sexual dysfunction in the LDS churchis predominately in Utah and it spreads from these misguided people.
    Don’t blame the church entirely…. Look at yourselves and realize it is your Utah Culture.

    • Ms. Robyn Reply

      First of all, eyeswideopen, I’m glad you have a healthy self image and view of sexuality. And that you are able to “use the brain in your head” to freely reject church “admonitions” as you see fit. From your description, it sounds like being raised outside of the “Mormon bubble” has provided you with some advantages. I would support inviting you to participate in a follow-up panel where you can share your views. Perhaps your contrasting experiences would be helpful for someone.

      Secondly, I fully realize that my opinion is not everyone’s, nor did I claim it was. I spoke with vulnerability from my own experience. Really, that’s all anyone can do. I can’t speak from your experience because I have not lived it. And you have not lived mine. You assume we are trying to enlighten the enlightened. You seem bothered simply because our stories do not reflect your own. We’re all different and that’s okay. My only agenda, which I clearly stated in the beginning, was to use the voice that I kept silent as a child. If my story can help someone, great. If not, oh well.

      Thirdly, where did any of us “blame the church entirely”? It seems obvious to me that we understand it’s the culture. And the culture is strongly influenced by the church. And? I’m not really sure what your point was there.

      Finally, the point you do clearly express is a bias against Utah Mormons who are in the “bubble”. And, for whatever reason, you feel justified lumping us all together and telling “us” how “normal” you actually are. I don’t know enough about you to really know why this is important for you, but from the small bit of information you shared about your own experience, you moved to Utah 10 years ago you believed that “Utah Mormons” looked at you like you were a “sex crazed pervert” when you spoke openly about sex. How ironic that you are now criticizing us for speaking openly about sex.

      Maybe instead of thinking you were sex-crazed pervert, the Utah Mormons wished that they had the advantages you had being raised outside the bubble and wished they had learned it was okay to freely discard what isn’t healthy in the Mormon culture, like you did. Things aren’t always what they seem. I would have loved to have a friend like you 10 years ago! I would not have shamed you and I would have gladly learned from your experiences if you were able to drop your own biases and assumptions long enough to respect me as an individual rather than just one more “dysfunctional” Utah Mormon.

      • Itscats Reply

        I grew up near San Francisco and I remember a Relief Society lesson where the Sister told us it was forbidden to kiss below the navel etc. etc.

        After Church my Mom pulled me aside and said that was “pure Nonsense” and to do whatever you liked.

        Even with this level headed advice, I found it difficult due to the fact that for years and years all I heard was the Sex is Bad message, and then over night or, literally over a morning temple marriage ceremony, I am supposed to be guilt free and love my body and want to fully experience the beauty of Sex.

        How could that be faintly possible?

        For years and years I ignored my husbands suggestions and I thought my husband was crazy for suggestion anything besides the missionary position, and always afterwards I rushed to get my garments back on.

        The Church distorts the beauty and enjoyment of sex no matter where you live.

        Now that I am out of the Church, I guiltlessly follow my mother’s advice. 🙂

    • Jessica Reply

      I didn’t grow up in Utah. When a Bishop, in a temple recommend interview asks you if you wear your garments “day and night” …um…yeah, I think you are suppossed to wear them day and night. Nobody ever told me it was optional. And if I don’t LIKE to wear them…yeah, I feel guilty about that too. I always followed the rules, what can I say?

      You are right about something here…It is SAD. Being a part of the podcast was very eye opening and therapeutic for me. I hope that you can see how it might be helpful for those of us who didn’t have the experience you did growing up. I hope my daughters can feel more like you and less like me. 🙂

    • Chris Reply

      When you are asked about oral sex between you and your spouse in a temple recommend interview it no longer is an admonition. At least it wasn’t to me when I was being asked it.

    • Helaman's Wife Reply

      EyesWideOpen, I am grateful you were able to experience sexuality the way we all should have. However, I have had numerous sexual hang ups… and I blame them with complete confidence on the church and its many distorted and wrong teachings. I grew up outside of Utah… where I was always the only Mormon in school, etc. Back then, most Mormons who grew up in “the mission field” had a certain pride in being stronger and even better Mormons (compared to Utah Mormons)… because they were more often called upon to explain the Mormon faith and stand up for the perceived strange beliefs and weird standards. It was because we felt superior somehow that we went even more overboard in following every little last bit of counsel. We used to always muse about how Utah Mormons could relax but Mormons in the mission field had to be ready at all times to share the gospel. Maybe it was just a phenomenon in my own family with me generalizing my parents’ attitudes. Either way, I was raised as an uber Mormon with sexual hang ups to match.

      I used to take a sort of perverse pleasure in being all chaste and everything. One high school nonmember boyfriend tried to take things a bit further once… so I pointed to a picture of a temple on the wall, told him my body was a temple too, he didn’t have a recommend, and so he couldn’t come in. Oh my gosh!!! I’m sure he had no idea what I was talking about. Personally, neither did I. I had no idea about sex, how it all worked and what a stupid (or funny) thing that was to say.

      When I think of my hang ups, I can remember feeling one way (good and healthy) about my sexuality and having each of those ideas and feelings dismantled one by one and replaced with extremely negative and harmful ones… by prophets, apostles, bishops, teachers, and my parents (who were just repeating crappy guidance they’d heard from the church and its esteemed leaders.)

      Seriously, your ability to view religion and your sexuality so freely is refreshing but very uncommon. Unfortunately, you seem naive in thinking that anything can be so easily reduced, defined… and judged. It has less to do with Utah culture and far more to do with Mormon culture and Mormon indoctrination. Still, it would be great if we could determine why some women are more or less likely to see sex (and the dictate to follow the Brethren) the way you have or to put blinders on, belief everything they are taught literally and then incorporate such negativity and harm into every crack and crevice of their personality.

      For me, living outside of the Utah Bubble offered little protection. Leaving the church did.

    • Maria Reply

      I grew up in Oklahoma – way outside the Utah “bubble” and was indoctrinated with all of the unhealthy view about sex and my sexuality that these women talk about. 

  14. Licked Cupcake Reply

    I disagree with EyesWideOpen. I live outside of Utah (on the other side of the country) and see the exact same thing happening here and in other wards as I have lived all over the U.S.

  15. FWAnson Reply

    The thing that struck me in this part of the podcast was how the Mormon Church’s teachings and view of sex ignores the entirely normal and natural process of bonding that occurs between couples.

    The original research grew out of Child Development studies (believe it or not) and was extended to pair bonding once the dynamic was better understood. What follows is an excerpt from “Love For A Lifetime”, by Dr. James Dobson, pp. 32-34:

    “Bonding refers to the emotional covenant that links a man and woman together for life and makes them intensely valuable to one another. It is the specialness that sets those two lovers apart from every other person on the face of the earth. It is God’s gift of companionship to those who have experienced it.

    But how does this bonding occur and why is it missing in so many relationships? According to Drs. Joy and Morris, bonding is most likely to develop among those who have moved systematically and slowly through twelve steps during their courtship and early marriage. These stages, described below, represent a progression of physical intimacy from which a permanent commitment often evolves.

    1. Eye to Body.
    A glance reveals much about a person — sex, size, shape, age, personality, and status. The importance people place on these criteria determines whether or not they will be attracted to each other.

    2. Eye to Eye.
    When the man and woman who are strangers to each other exchange glances, their most natural reaction is to look away, usually with embarrassment. If their eyes meet again, they may smile, which signals that they might like to become better acquainted.

    3. Voice to Voice.
    Their initial conversations are trivial and include questions like “What is your name?” or “What do you do for a living?” During this long stage the two people learn much about each other’s opinions, pastimes, activities, habits, hobbies, likes and dislikes. If they’re compatible, they become friends.

    4. Hand to Hand.
    The first instance of physical contact between the couple is usually a non-romantic occasion such as when the man helps the woman descend a high step or aids her across an obstacle. At this point either of the individuals can withdraw from the relationship without rejecting the other. However, if continued, hand-to-hand contact will eventually become an evidence of the couple’s romantic attachment to each other.

    5. Hand to Shoulder.
    This affectionate embrace is still noncommittal. It is a “buddy” type position in which the man and woman are side by side. They are more concerned with the world in front of them than they are with each other. The hand-to-shoulder contact reveals a relationship that is more than a close friendship, but probably not real love.

    6. Hand to Waist.
    Because this is something two people of the same sex would not ordinarily do, it is clearly romantic. They are close enough to be sharing secrets or intimate language with each other. Yet, as they walk side by side with hand to waist, they are still facing forward.

    7. Face to Face.
    This level of contact involves gazing into one another’s eyes, hugging and kissing. If none of the previous steps were skipped, the man and woman will have developed a special code from experience that enables them to engage in deep communication with very few words. At this point, sexual desire becomes an important factor in the relationship.

    8. Hand to Head.
    This is an extension of the previous stage. The man and woman tend to cradle or stroke each other’s head while kissing or talking. Rarely do individuals in our culture touch the head of another person unless they are either romantically involved or are family members. It is a designation of emotional closeness.

    9-12. The Final Steps.
    The last four levels of involvement are distinctly sexual and private. They are:

    (9) Hand to Body,
    (10) Mouth to Breast,
    (11) Touching Below the Waist, and
    (12) Intercourse.

    Obviously, the final acts of physical contact should be reserved for the marital relationship, since they are progressively sexual and intensely personal.”

    ( http://www.lns.cornell.edu/~sjr/bonding.html ; retrieved date of post )

  16. Pingback: Granny Panties: I Hid Myself Because I Was Naked « The Resin Christ

  17. brandt Reply

    Great discussion, and something that I wish more believing-types would listen to in order to help them have a healthier view of even DISCUSSING the concept of sex

    Growing up in Michigan, I was exposed to sex a lot in school. My parents did have discussions with me, but I was extremely uncomfortable talking about it with them. Even into my teenage years, and even now. There’s just something to be said about talking about it with your parents.

    My wife was the same way, and I think that for some reason, we were 2 peas in a pod that were comfortable communicating with each other about sex, not others. Go figure. I asked her one night if, when she was with her girlfriends, the topic of sex came up, what would she do? She told me that she would probably shrink in embarrassment, not because she was embarrassed of sex, but because to her it’s very personal between us.

    That being said, I did know people in college at BYU-Idaho who, once they got married, they figured it was OK to talk about sex with other married couples because we were now in this secret fraternity, compared to all the single students who had to go home with blue balls and take a cold shower (sorry for being derogatory). The dymanic was fascinating for me to watch, because people wanted to talk about it, especially newlyweds, but couldn’t find the right time/place to talk without appearing creepy, or wanting to appear like they were looking for swinging partners.

    Another interesting thing for me to hear was the youth experiences in lessons on sex and moraltiy. I really don’t think it’s a bad thing for the church to stick to a high moral code. I also don’t think it’s right to make your “virtue,” or your virginity, or your sexuality, to be something to be feared and demonoized. I’ve worked with the youth for the past 2-3 years, and the interesting thing is they WANT to know, and not because they’re looking for justification (which, some do), but they are naturally curious. Why not have lessons geared towards Laural-aged young women and priest-aged young men where there are frank discussions about sex? The outcry would be “Well, we’re giving them thoughts that they’re going to act on!” Really? I mean…if they’re going to do it, they’ll do it.

    And don’t even get me started about the bishop I had before we got marreid, who threatened to not give us a temple recommend because he thought we were “practicing sex,” his words, not mine. Or that bishop who used his PROFESSION as a religion teacher to brow-beat us into having children because “If you don’t think you’ll get pressure coming to a family ward to have children, you’re wrong. I’m a religion teacher, and this is a commandment.” Riiight.

  18. Ozpoof Reply

    I found this podcast very refreshing and honest. If only women would actually talk like this around men. Maybe men might have some inkling as to how women feel and what they want. I’m sure women hear men talking frankly about sex all the time.

    The message that should come from this is that honesty is key. People should not be lied to by parents or the church in order to control their behaviour, and partners should be honest with each other. The only reason it seems that Mormons marry so early is that they are horny as hell and can’t even beat off without feeling like they committed the crime of the century. They need to get married as immature people because that’s the only way they can relieve their raging hormones legitimately.

    Masturbation? If anyone will not masturbate on a full mission they are either asexual or need some monitoring by the authorities because all that pent-up human sexuality will burst out somewhere, sometime. I understand rape is quite a problem in UT. After masturbation, me usually feel relaxed and sleep. If you have extreme sexual repression and extreme sexual frustration, the likelihood of a man forcing someone they are attracted to into sex must be higher.

    Youth need to be informed of the potential risks to sexual activity that are real, not manufactured boogymen. They then need to be allowed a degree of freedom, especially when it comes to experimentation with their own bodies!

    • Ozpoof Reply

      Sorry, was supposed to read “after masturbation, MEN…” not “after masturbation, ME…”

  19. Anonymous Reply

    GARMENTS!

    Thank you so much for discussing this from a female perspective. OMG. I’m sure it comes as no surprise to hear that men hate them, but it was great to hear about this from a woman’s point of view.

    • Anonymous Reply

      I have to reply to my own comment. I’ve been thinking about this ever since I listened to the podcast yesterday.

      I think a whole episode on garments could/should be done. What is more spirit (and passion) killing than seeing your spouse in those ridiculous things? And it gets worse. One of the panelists made the point that nothing/very little that is worth wearing (cute, sexy, fits well, etc.) is available that covers your G’s. It’s just one more way of stealing your personality. You’re boxed in. You must wear these special underoos, which then limits what you can wear on the outside. If the only stuff available is frumpalicious, it’s hard to look and feel sexy.

      Even as a TBM I hated, hated, hated G’s. Now I hate them even more. I really think the effect they have on a woman’s sexuality can’t be underestimated.

  20. It'sAlltheWayDownThere? Reply

    I am a little late to the party, but what a great and informative podcast(s). Thanks to the participants for sharing! I hesitate to comment as a male, but I will just say that I (and I suspect many other males) were just as confused and frustrated by sex. I remained relatively “chaste” until marrying at 24 and found (and am still finding) that the female body should really come with a detailed instruction manual.

    I think Zilpha commented about the male equipment/orgasm being a pretty simple thing, rub it enough and you get lift off. Well, after operating the equivalent of a hammer all my life, suddenly I had my hands on an oxyacetaline welder and I had no fricking clue how it all worked. Somehow I was supposed to inherently know how to bring my wife to orgasm. My suggestion to any “sister” out there, give direction! Tell your partner what works and what doesn’t.

    Again, kudos to eveyrone who participated.

    ps. I was told kissing below the neck was oral sex and frowned upon by the Lord. No wonder it took me awhile to make my wife happy.

  21. Midnightshadow06 Reply

    I would also agree that is wrong to get people to marry people before that really know each other. I am a member of the church that loves Christ, the principles of the law of chastity, but I just hate the way too often certain phrases cause sexual repression. Other than that, I know the church is true.

  22. Talchan28_ Reply

    I really needed to hear this series. It has totally changed my outlook on my sexuality- for the better I’m sure. 

    I am a 19 year old woman who is still active in the church, mostly because I still live with my family. I’ve always blamed myself and thought I was alone in the fact I didn’t see what was so wrong about feeling sexual desires. It really felt like I was shaming my family and there was just this huge amount of guilt on my shoulders constantly! Recently, I had a bad run in with an ovarian cyst and had to go to the hospital. I had the choice to deny treatment due to my beliefs, but I decided that I’d rather value my health than being a Mormon and I went for the full female examination, including the pelvic exam.
    Long story short, I’m not a physical virgin anymore and I’ve never felt so in control of my body until now. Thank you so much for this podcast, it’s made me feel so at ease.  

  23. Sammy Holland Reply

    When I was a teenager one of the Quorums of the 70 came to our ward. And they had all the teenagers come into one room so that he could speak to us. The only thing I really remember him saying was that oral sex was damaging to the other person’s soul. He said it would leave stains on it or something along those lines. There was also something said about heavy petting being a serious sin. I could never equate how making out was a bad thing as it was so natural.

    I remember telling another girl in my age group that I had given so and so a blow job. She told me that I needed to go tell the bishop straight away. I remember being dumb founded as to why she would say this or share any of her own sexual experiences with him.

    I started questioning the church from the age of 6 and was a non-believer/trying to be a believer as a teenager and was doing the normal experimenting with sex and drugs. I didn’t think that the church had caused me much damage until now in my early thirties. It’s really difficult to put into words exactly how I feel but something along these following lines. It seems to me it was ground into us as young girls that men only wanted us for sex. There seemed not to be any sort of element of love and mutual respect at all. There was also this serious push to always be attractive and pretty but still had to be dressed modestly and not sexual.

    There was also that whole thing of you will look like in the millennium, the you will look like when you where at your peek.

    It’s as if these things have made a reappearance in my life again and I don’t know how to get rid of them. The whole self loathing, body hating. I want the feelings that men only want you for sex to leave my life and the body hating that the church taught me.

    I also have one of those horrible mormon moms who always put the church before our family and still does today.

    Anyways, thanks for having this pod cast. It helps in my goals in ridding all Mormon crap from my life completely.

    • itscats Reply

      Hi Sammy,

      I am so sorry about your Mom but that is the way she has been programmed/brain washed. Think of her as a little girl in preschool that has to be told what to do, when to do it, how often to do it, why to do it etc. She can’t think for herself ….yet. She is just doing what she is told. You on the other hand have graduated from High School and can move on to making your own decisions.

      My Grandma told my Mom when she left the church that -she wished she were dead. WOW, can you believe how the church corrupts the soul so much that a mother would put the church in front of her daughter. But I see it all the time.

      That’s why the church is a cult. Members can no longer think for themselves. Look it up- the church checks all the boxes.

      When ever you start to think about your Mom or all the terrible things about the church just switch your thoughts to some mantra like I have love, peace and happiness in my life. Just say it over and over. You don’t want the negatively of the church to still effect you so switch your thoughts to something positive as fast as you can.

      And be easy on yourself, and proud of yourself for getting out. Few members are spiritually awake enough to get out.

      They just stay and become zombies and unfortunately loose the whole reason for coming to this Earth….which is to meditate and look within to our spirit for our answers. We are spiritual beings for a reason and our job it to connect back with the divinity that is inside each of us and listen and learn. We are spiritual beings not spiritual doers. The church rates/judges you on what you DO. The Church misses the mark completely because life is not all about doing it is about Being present and being spiritual and being LOVE( hint hint to your MOM) and being an individual.

      You have broken the sick cycle of the Church and that is something to be extremely proud of. You have gotten out and will not pass on the soul destroying teachings of the church.

      Celebrate your accomplishment with lots of love and acceptance to yourself and to those who are still in the church, you can’t ask a preschooler to do algebra so don’t expect them to understand.

      lots of love and I wish you all the best!

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