Episode 54: Struggles in Mormon Marriage and Sexuality

John Larsen and Tom Perry team up for a discussion with Natasha, a Marriage and Family Therapist, and Wes, a Mental Heath Counselor. They discuss issues in Mormon marriages particularly as related to sexuality.

Natasha’s Website
Wes’ Website

Episode 54

64 comments on “Episode 54: Struggles in Mormon Marriage and Sexuality”

  1. Swearing Elder Reply

    On the podcast itself: I would have liked to have heard more from Wes. There was a point very early in the podcast where John directed a question specifically to him and Natasha jumped in, answered, and talked for a long time. From then on she seemed to dominate a lot of the conversation. She had good things to say, but I would have liked to have heard more directly from Wes.

    On the subject matter: I wish the church would drop the issue of masturbation altogether. It needs to collect copies of Boyd Packer’s “Little Factory” pamphlet and Spencer Kimball’s “Miracle of Forgiveness” and burn them. (Seriously, Spencer, masturbation = homosexuality = bestiality? Seriously?) OK, leave a few copies in some academic libraries so future anthropologists will be able to understand the Mormon Mindset on sex. The church just needs to stop, stop, stop hammering the youth on masturbation. Young people (and not-so-young people) masturbate. It’s how they learn about their sexuality and how many relieve tension. It’s just part of life. Just get over it and move on.

    This was a great episode. I think you touched (ahem) on a lot of topics, each of which could be its own episode. I’ll think of this one as “Mormon Sex 101.” I hope there will be an upper division course and maybe even some graduate courses later.

    • The bedroom philosopher Reply

      I agree, even that Focus On The Family guy takes the “condone not condemn” approach to masturbation.

  2. Swearing Elder Reply

    On the podcast itself: I would have liked to have heard more from Wes. There was a point very early in the podcast where John directed a question specifically to him and Natasha jumped in, answered, and talked for a long time. From then on she seemed to dominate a lot of the conversation. She had good things to say, but I would have liked to have heard more directly from Wes.

    On the subject matter: I wish the church would drop the issue of masturbation altogether. It needs to collect copies of Boyd Packer’s “Little Factory” pamphlet and Spencer Kimball’s “Miracle of Forgiveness” and burn them. (Seriously, Spencer, masturbation = homosexuality = bestiality? Seriously?) OK, leave a few copies in some academic libraries so future anthropologists will be able to understand the Mormon Mindset on sex. The church just needs to stop, stop, stop hammering the youth on masturbation. Young people (and not-so-young people) masturbate. It’s how they learn about their sexuality and how many relieve tension. It’s just part of life. Just get over it and move on.

    This was a great episode. I think you touched (ahem) on a lot of topics, each of which could be its own episode. I’ll think of this one as “Mormon Sex 101.” I hope there will be an upper division course and maybe even some graduate courses later.

    • The bedroom philosopher Reply

      I agree, even that Focus On The Family guy takes the “condone not condemn” approach to masturbation.

  3. Zilpha Reply

    I really enjoyed this discussion. One thing, though. Tom, you seemed to be saying that it was the woman with the chart who was using sex to control her husband, but isn’t it more controlling for the husband to tell his wife that she should have sex with him often because he wants it, even if she really doesn’t want to?

    • Tom Perry Reply

      Zilpha,

      You make a good point. It did appear to me that it was the woman that is trying to control her husband with the sex calendar. I will agree with you that you are right that the husband probably has plenty of blame as well of trying to control the situation.

      Here is a little background on the couple that I was speaking of. The husband was allegedly demanding sex often, while the wife either wasn’t interested in having any or was just less interested. So as he became more pushy she began to resist more and more. Eventually she put her foot down and tried to compromise with him by coming up with a calendar. He started to complain to everyone about how unfair she was treating him.

      To your point Zilpha, yes, I am only going off his side of the story so my position is a bit one sided. But we have the priesthood and you don’t. So there. 🙂

      • Richard of Norway Reply

        Sounds similar to my sex life! 😉

        I’m glad to hear I’m not the only dude with a large hunger and capacity for sex. After my wife learned of my disenchantment with the church the sex went from 3-4 times a week to… less than once a month. :-/

        She has complete control over me in that arena. She can use it as a reward when she thinks I’m extra helpful around the house or with the kids. Or she can use it as punishment when I’ve done something she disapproves of (like take my kids skiing on Sunday).

        It’s a hard life and I confess in the beginning I was extremely bitter. It’s very hard to get used to having sex less often than one would like. Now (two years later) I’m more used to it, but I certainly wouldn’t object to going back to 3-4 times a week! 🙂

        I guess I can always dream…

  4. Zilpha Reply

    I really enjoyed this discussion. One thing, though. Tom, you seemed to be saying that it was the woman with the chart who was using sex to control her husband, but isn’t it more controlling for the husband to tell his wife that she should have sex with him often because he wants it, even if she really doesn’t want to?

    • Tom Perry Reply

      Zilpha,

      You make a good point. It did appear to me that it was the woman that is trying to control her husband with the sex calendar. I will agree with you that you are right that the husband probably has plenty of blame as well of trying to control the situation.

      Here is a little background on the couple that I was speaking of. The husband was allegedly demanding sex often, while the wife either wasn’t interested in having any or was just less interested. So as he became more pushy she began to resist more and more. Eventually she put her foot down and tried to compromise with him by coming up with a calendar. He started to complain to everyone about how unfair she was treating him.

      To your point Zilpha, yes, I am only going off his side of the story so my position is a bit one sided. But we have the priesthood and you don’t. So there. 🙂

      • Richard of Norway Reply

        Sounds similar to my sex life! 😉

        I’m glad to hear I’m not the only dude with a large hunger and capacity for sex. After my wife learned of my disenchantment with the church the sex went from 3-4 times a week to… less than once a month. :-/

        She has complete control over me in that arena. She can use it as a reward when she thinks I’m extra helpful around the house or with the kids. Or she can use it as punishment when I’ve done something she disapproves of (like take my kids skiing on Sunday).

        It’s a hard life and I confess in the beginning I was extremely bitter. It’s very hard to get used to having sex less often than one would like. Now (two years later) I’m more used to it, but I certainly wouldn’t object to going back to 3-4 times a week! 🙂

        I guess I can always dream…

  5. The bedroom philosopher Reply

    In the podcast Wes said:

    “Sex is a normal, good healthy part of being a human being, and any time it’s characterized in a way other than that I think it’s going to lead to problems.”

    This is precisely the reason why I leave pornography out of my bedroom philosophy. It often mis-characterizes human sexuality in a way that is unhealthy, unreal, or extreme / bizarre / grotesque.

    There are many other compelling secular reasons why I do not support it:

    The pornography industry is run almost entirely by men and almost entirely for men so it portrays, often in extreme ways, what is exciting to men instead of portraying how sex can be a mutually satisfying and intimate experience.

    Selling sex has all sorts of ethical concerns to consider. We’re using people, mostly women, as a means to an end. Is that the kind idea we want to promote in our society? Some of the things women have to endure in making these films are seriously abusive. Are there similarities between pornography, and say prostitution, or human trafficking that we should be concerned about?

  6. The bedroom philosopher Reply

    In the podcast Wes said:

    “Sex is a normal, good healthy part of being a human being, and any time it’s characterized in a way other than that I think it’s going to lead to problems.”

    This is precisely the reason why I leave pornography out of my bedroom philosophy. It often mis-characterizes human sexuality in a way that is unhealthy, unreal, or extreme / bizarre / grotesque.

    There are many other compelling secular reasons why I do not support it:

    The pornography industry is run almost entirely by men and almost entirely for men so it portrays, often in extreme ways, what is exciting to men instead of portraying how sex can be a mutually satisfying and intimate experience.

    Selling sex has all sorts of ethical concerns to consider. We’re using people, mostly women, as a means to an end. Is that the kind idea we want to promote in our society? Some of the things women have to endure in making these films are seriously abusive. Are there similarities between pornography, and say prostitution, or human trafficking that we should be concerned about?

  7. The bedroom philosopher Reply

    I really liked Natashia’s last point at the close. She’s right that prayer, fasting, reading scriptures, etc. are not always helpful. I think many times members of the church neglect seeking professional help because they think all the answers to life’s problems are found in the gospel.

  8. The bedroom philosopher Reply

    I really liked Natashia’s last point at the close. She’s right that prayer, fasting, reading scriptures, etc. are not always helpful. I think many times members of the church neglect seeking professional help because they think all the answers to life’s problems are found in the gospel.

  9. Erico Reply

    This podcast touched the surface of many issues, but I have some more in-depth questions for Natasha, as follows:

    1. You mentioned that you are a fan of “erotica” but not so much a fan of “pornography”. What is erotica and what is pornography? Specific examples please. Are they mutually exclusive in all cases? I agree with you about the harmful aspects of porn in general, but do you think you are also possibly bringing some of your own biases to the table as a woman? I think we’d all agree that most men are more visually-oriented whereas most women are stimulated in a variety of ways…

    2. How helpful is it for the church to always stress the “worthiness” factor? Certainly, there is a certain level of conduct to strive for, but when “worthiness” as judged by an ecclesiastical leader, aka bishop or Stake President, comes into play, I think it leads to a culture obsessed with perfection and shame – elements that contribute so heavily to neurosis among the LDS population. Would it be better if the church focused on compassion rather than worthiness?

    3. Hypothetically, if you had the power, what changes would you make to policy/procedure/doctrine regarding how the ecclesiastical leaders deal with sexual issues, specifically, teens and masturbation, worthiness interviews, church discipline, pre-marital sexual issues, and adultery. For the record, I do think the church has made great strides in the past 25 years as far as getting out of married couples’ bedrooms… In answering this question, it would not be helpful to say something to the effect of “I can’t put myself in the place of the brethren, or those decisions are obviously not for me to make, etc.” because you probably have an opinion on the matter. Thanks in advance.

    • Erico Reply

      Uhhh… mkay… I guess she’s not reading the responses. Nevermind.

  10. Erico Reply

    This podcast touched the surface of many issues, but I have some more in-depth questions for Natasha, as follows:

    1. You mentioned that you are a fan of “erotica” but not so much a fan of “pornography”. What is erotica and what is pornography? Specific examples please. Are they mutually exclusive in all cases? I agree with you about the harmful aspects of porn in general, but do you think you are also possibly bringing some of your own biases to the table as a woman? I think we’d all agree that most men are more visually-oriented whereas most women are stimulated in a variety of ways…

    2. How helpful is it for the church to always stress the “worthiness” factor? Certainly, there is a certain level of conduct to strive for, but when “worthiness” as judged by an ecclesiastical leader, aka bishop or Stake President, comes into play, I think it leads to a culture obsessed with perfection and shame – elements that contribute so heavily to neurosis among the LDS population. Would it be better if the church focused on compassion rather than worthiness?

    3. Hypothetically, if you had the power, what changes would you make to policy/procedure/doctrine regarding how the ecclesiastical leaders deal with sexual issues, specifically, teens and masturbation, worthiness interviews, church discipline, pre-marital sexual issues, and adultery. For the record, I do think the church has made great strides in the past 25 years as far as getting out of married couples’ bedrooms… In answering this question, it would not be helpful to say something to the effect of “I can’t put myself in the place of the brethren, or those decisions are obviously not for me to make, etc.” because you probably have an opinion on the matter. Thanks in advance.

    • Erico Reply

      Uhhh… mkay… I guess she’s not reading the responses. Nevermind.

  11. scott Reply

    My favorite point that everyone stressed equally was that anxiety and sex do not mix well. Putting the two of them together in a room has to be a recipe for depression. For Wes and Natasha: no one said this straight out, but would the anxiety people put on themselves/Church puts on people be a primary factor in initiating or aggravating an prediliction for or even addiction to porn? Or another way to put it… Is the anxiety that stressing the terrible effects of porn produces worth the benefits?

  12. scott Reply

    My favorite point that everyone stressed equally was that anxiety and sex do not mix well. Putting the two of them together in a room has to be a recipe for depression. For Wes and Natasha: no one said this straight out, but would the anxiety people put on themselves/Church puts on people be a primary factor in initiating or aggravating an prediliction for or even addiction to porn? Or another way to put it… Is the anxiety that stressing the terrible effects of porn produces worth the benefits?

  13. james Reply

    Thanks, guys, for producing this one. Tough subject and I would like to suggest follow-ups on this topic. I liked the subjects that were touched on like pre-martial sex and how couples coming from that situation differ from those who abstained until after sex. I know that pornography is a huge issue in the Church and otherwise right now, but I think the subject of intimacy is so broad that I would like a focused conversation of intimacy issues ASIDE from porn related problems.

    Really good stuff, though. Much appreciated!

  14. james Reply

    Thanks, guys, for producing this one. Tough subject and I would like to suggest follow-ups on this topic. I liked the subjects that were touched on like pre-martial sex and how couples coming from that situation differ from those who abstained until after sex. I know that pornography is a huge issue in the Church and otherwise right now, but I think the subject of intimacy is so broad that I would like a focused conversation of intimacy issues ASIDE from porn related problems.

    Really good stuff, though. Much appreciated!

  15. DDR Reply

    This was an interesting call. I would have one question for Wes. I think he got cut off everytime this question came up or John was alluding to this.

    Is the use of porn as big of an issue in marriage’s outside of the mormon church?

    I would be curious to hear his opinion. Seems like the LDS obession with it has caused more problems that it has helped. To me it seems stupid to divorce of even consider divorce over something like porn. My wife and I have discussed this alot and she feels the same way. Just seems like such a silly reason to consider leaving a spouse. But we know and have seen this very thing happen. Sometimes leaders in the church encouraging this. I had a close friend who almost got divorced over this and his bishop was the primary wedge in the middle. Once they removed the bishop and addressed the issues themselves things improved and they are happy in doing well now.

    I did think natasha did a nice job and appreciated her opinions etc. Good job all.

  16. DDR Reply

    This was an interesting call. I would have one question for Wes. I think he got cut off everytime this question came up or John was alluding to this.

    Is the use of porn as big of an issue in marriage’s outside of the mormon church?

    I would be curious to hear his opinion. Seems like the LDS obession with it has caused more problems that it has helped. To me it seems stupid to divorce of even consider divorce over something like porn. My wife and I have discussed this alot and she feels the same way. Just seems like such a silly reason to consider leaving a spouse. But we know and have seen this very thing happen. Sometimes leaders in the church encouraging this. I had a close friend who almost got divorced over this and his bishop was the primary wedge in the middle. Once they removed the bishop and addressed the issues themselves things improved and they are happy in doing well now.

    I did think natasha did a nice job and appreciated her opinions etc. Good job all.

  17. cinepro Reply

    From the Sugar Beet:

    Testimony Equals Sex in Orem Marriage
    By Paul Browning

    OREM, UT

    Local couple Nathan and Brittney McAllister have found an unlikely factor in their marital intimacy: Nathan’s testimony. After nine years of happy marriage, it was discovered that the church was playing a larger role in their lives than anyone previously knew.

    Last year, Nathan sat down and had a serious talk with his wife, admitting he didn’t think he believed a lot of LDS doctrine to be factual. “Ever since I told my wife I was unsure about the church, she’s been pretty cold,” said McAllister. The couple had been copulating weekly, on average, with both of them “generally satisfied” with the other’s performance. Now, McAllister says the two are intimate “about once a month, and even then the sex has a sick tension.”

    His wife Brittney said, “It affected me deeply to have the priesthood holder in my home question the church. His study of alternative beliefs and worldly trash is like a personal attack on me.”

    Nathan’s belief in the church of his upbringing began to shake after his mission, when he attended BYU. “I saw a lot of weird teachings there,” reports Nathan. “Each teacher had his own doctrine, and when I asked questions that weren’t in the manual, the teacher would tell me to pray about it.” Nathan’s doubts included blacks and the priesthood, Brigham Young’s teachings, and “blatantly racist” remarks made by the prophet Ezra Taft Benson. The deeper into the scriptures and conference talks he would go, the more confused he would get. He would even ask old seminary teachers, friends, and coworkers for answers, to no avail. With the arrival of the Internet, Nathan took his search for truth online. Now Nathan feels that many of the basic beliefs he held true for so many years are based on inconsistencies and lies.

    “If Nathan would only read the scriptures and pray, the Holy Ghost would answer him,” Brittney says. She claims that while he is a good husband and father, he would be a more attractive man if he continued to share her beliefs in Mormonism.

    Strangely enough, his disbelief in the church has not prevented him from continuing to be a model member. His home teaching remains at a solid 90 percent, and he has held several callings, including Sunday school teacher. “You can always count on Brother McAllister to be there if we need volunteers,” stated his bishop, Lloyd Rivera. “He participates in priesthood class and is a fully active member of our ward.”

    Nathan says, “I wish my own member were as active. Once, after a fast and testimony meeting, we were in bed, and I started rubbing her shoulder. She said, “Is Joseph Smith a true prophet?” and I didn’t have the right answer. She rolled over and made light snoring sounds.”

    Brittney confirms her loss of interest that night. “I have borne my testimony to him that the church is true and that he will get his crazy bumpin’ nasty freak on once he testifies of the same truth.” In fact, Brittney has allowed Nathan to briefly see some lingerie she recently purchased. She calls them her “faith-promoters” and says he will see them again when he throws away The Essence of Zen, a book of Buddhist teachings.

    Dr. Bruce P. Alexander, a marriage and sex therapist, maintains that testimony and sex are closely related in Mormon marriages. He recommends that men, especially, make sure they have a strong testimony if they want to please their wives. “A study completed last year shows that women who are married to men with strong testimonies report 67 percent more pleasure in bed. The link between spirituality and staying power is surprisingly strong.”

    Nathan says he doesn’t doubt those numbers. He reports that, at times, their intimacy will improve after Nathan attends a priesthood service activity or reads scriptures with his three kids. However, “until Nathan feels he is sufficiently confident to baptize his daughter, their level of sexual activity will continue to drop,” claims LDS family therapist R. Gene Duncan. “The trust level is no longer there with Nathan and Brittney.”

    Nathan has three years until his daughter turns eight. Until then, he says he will continue to serve his wife’s church and try to find a resolution to his doubts.

    • NightAvatar Reply

      Holy crap, that article was just so disturbing!

      He will get his crazy bumpin’ nasty freak on once he testifies of the same truth.

      What a controlling b****!

      I guess that helps me at least understand why my wife is having problems. She’s not attracted to me the way she used to be. I am having a hard time accepting that, but what can I do? I do my best.

    • Mister IT Reply

      Well of course “The Sugar Beet” is the LdS equivalent of “The Onion” so this is most likely a satirical piece of fiction and nothing more.

      See http://sugar-beet.blogspot.com

      And I couldn’t find this particular article on the website – a little help? A URL (aka “weblink” to the source article would great!

      Thanks.

    • Itscats Reply

      It is not unusual that after someone actually finds the truth about Joseph Smith(had sex with 14 year old girls,15,16,17,18,19 years olds and many friends wives, not really taking care of little old widows like we were lied to and told about)

      Brigham Young(preached Blood Atonement, BY said in a conference talk that he would stab a knife in his wife’s heart if it meant she could spill her blood and be atoned of her sins and YOU should do the same thing too-this lead to the Meadow Mountain Massacre. The Church no longer prints these conference talks, because the Journal of Discourses contains damning information about the true nature of it so called prophets and leaders.) We are fed lies and not allowed to think for ourselves and get answers to our questions.

      I believe God gave us our spirit so that we can have a direct connection to Him.
      We should not give that gift away to someone else and have them tell us we must follow their dogmas, directives and dictates and be fearful and in danger of losing our salvation, if we don’t do exactly what they say. This is not free will These tactics shut down our spirit. What you feed grows and if you can’t nurture and honor your spirit then it shrinks and dies.

      Free will is the ability to have flexibility in our thinking and freely ask questions and make life choices without fear and judgement. Free will enables us to listen to our God given spirit and make choices that are different from our parents and friends, and have these choices honored and respected because they love us not because they become scared and we have disagreed with their beliefs.

      To shut down our questions and our choices shuts down our spirit and that is exactly what the Church does. It does this in order to keep the truth buried and the members ignorant of the FACT* that the Church is not true.

      *There is so much damning evidence that once you honestly want the truth and look for it, it is like the flood gates are finally opened and the truth doesn’t stop rushing forth until you literally can’t stomach all of the knowledge.

  18. cinepro Reply

    From the Sugar Beet:

    Testimony Equals Sex in Orem Marriage
    By Paul Browning

    OREM, UT

    Local couple Nathan and Brittney McAllister have found an unlikely factor in their marital intimacy: Nathan’s testimony. After nine years of happy marriage, it was discovered that the church was playing a larger role in their lives than anyone previously knew.

    Last year, Nathan sat down and had a serious talk with his wife, admitting he didn’t think he believed a lot of LDS doctrine to be factual. “Ever since I told my wife I was unsure about the church, she’s been pretty cold,” said McAllister. The couple had been copulating weekly, on average, with both of them “generally satisfied” with the other’s performance. Now, McAllister says the two are intimate “about once a month, and even then the sex has a sick tension.”

    His wife Brittney said, “It affected me deeply to have the priesthood holder in my home question the church. His study of alternative beliefs and worldly trash is like a personal attack on me.”

    Nathan’s belief in the church of his upbringing began to shake after his mission, when he attended BYU. “I saw a lot of weird teachings there,” reports Nathan. “Each teacher had his own doctrine, and when I asked questions that weren’t in the manual, the teacher would tell me to pray about it.” Nathan’s doubts included blacks and the priesthood, Brigham Young’s teachings, and “blatantly racist” remarks made by the prophet Ezra Taft Benson. The deeper into the scriptures and conference talks he would go, the more confused he would get. He would even ask old seminary teachers, friends, and coworkers for answers, to no avail. With the arrival of the Internet, Nathan took his search for truth online. Now Nathan feels that many of the basic beliefs he held true for so many years are based on inconsistencies and lies.

    “If Nathan would only read the scriptures and pray, the Holy Ghost would answer him,” Brittney says. She claims that while he is a good husband and father, he would be a more attractive man if he continued to share her beliefs in Mormonism.

    Strangely enough, his disbelief in the church has not prevented him from continuing to be a model member. His home teaching remains at a solid 90 percent, and he has held several callings, including Sunday school teacher. “You can always count on Brother McAllister to be there if we need volunteers,” stated his bishop, Lloyd Rivera. “He participates in priesthood class and is a fully active member of our ward.”

    Nathan says, “I wish my own member were as active. Once, after a fast and testimony meeting, we were in bed, and I started rubbing her shoulder. She said, “Is Joseph Smith a true prophet?” and I didn’t have the right answer. She rolled over and made light snoring sounds.”

    Brittney confirms her loss of interest that night. “I have borne my testimony to him that the church is true and that he will get his crazy bumpin’ nasty freak on once he testifies of the same truth.” In fact, Brittney has allowed Nathan to briefly see some lingerie she recently purchased. She calls them her “faith-promoters” and says he will see them again when he throws away The Essence of Zen, a book of Buddhist teachings.

    Dr. Bruce P. Alexander, a marriage and sex therapist, maintains that testimony and sex are closely related in Mormon marriages. He recommends that men, especially, make sure they have a strong testimony if they want to please their wives. “A study completed last year shows that women who are married to men with strong testimonies report 67 percent more pleasure in bed. The link between spirituality and staying power is surprisingly strong.”

    Nathan says he doesn’t doubt those numbers. He reports that, at times, their intimacy will improve after Nathan attends a priesthood service activity or reads scriptures with his three kids. However, “until Nathan feels he is sufficiently confident to baptize his daughter, their level of sexual activity will continue to drop,” claims LDS family therapist R. Gene Duncan. “The trust level is no longer there with Nathan and Brittney.”

    Nathan has three years until his daughter turns eight. Until then, he says he will continue to serve his wife’s church and try to find a resolution to his doubts.

    • NightAvatar Reply

      Holy crap, that article was just so disturbing!

      He will get his crazy bumpin’ nasty freak on once he testifies of the same truth.

      What a controlling b****!

      I guess that helps me at least understand why my wife is having problems. She’s not attracted to me the way she used to be. I am having a hard time accepting that, but what can I do? I do my best.

    • Mister IT Reply

      Well of course “The Sugar Beet” is the LdS equivalent of “The Onion” so this is most likely a satirical piece of fiction and nothing more.

      See http://sugar-beet.blogspot.com

      And I couldn’t find this particular article on the website – a little help? A URL (aka “weblink” to the source article would great!

      Thanks.

  19. Gail F. Bartholomew Reply

    I would like to ask the counselors a question about morality before marriage. I agree with the point that just because you try sex before marriage does not mean you will not have trouble in your sex life after marriage, but does not sexual morally before marriage put a time limit on courtship? How does this time limit effect marriages. Also, does the energy spent on staying morally take away any focus from more important areas of courtship.

    As a divorced 41 year old man with four children the process of remarriage and the combining of families seem extremely donting. It seems like courtship should take many times more than what would be recommended for those in their early twenties with no kids. I am thinking many years. Am I wrong?

    • Itscats Reply

      great point! I am a married mom of four children who left the church and has always had a difficult time being married to a mormon man that I barely had time to get to know before we were married 22 years ago in the Salt Lake Temple. If I had had time to date him , hang out with his family and friends and engage in a year long or more courtship I would have never married him. We are incompatible and this has been deleterious to our marriage. Many times I have become resentful, angry and depressed because he has abandoned his family and wife to dedicate time to the church. Family First is a lie, it is church first and that is why Utah has the highest rate of women on anti-depressants. We were sold a lie and yet if we object we are not seen as honorable women of zion. The more self-effacing, unassertive and invisible a women becomes the more she is praised. She is supposed to sacrifice her needs, wants and desires and never complain. This leads to depression and unfulfilled and unhappy marriages. Sex is precious and should be part of a committed monogamous relationship, yet in the church it is used to get couples married quickly before having time to really know their partner.
      This is a sin, to marry someone you have don’t really know just so you can have sex.

  20. Gail F. Bartholomew Reply

    I would like to ask the counselors a question about morality before marriage. I agree with the point that just because you try sex before marriage does not mean you will not have trouble in your sex life after marriage, but does not sexual morally before marriage put a time limit on courtship? How does this time limit effect marriages. Also, does the energy spent on staying morally take away any focus from more important areas of courtship.

    As a divorced 41 year old man with four children the process of remarriage and the combining of families seem extremely donting. It seems like courtship should take many times more than what would be recommended for those in their early twenties with no kids. I am thinking many years. Am I wrong?

  21. anon for this Reply

    I’m sure I’ll get flamed for this but in the name of open an discussion ‘here goes.’

    Great podcast. A discussion of these ideas is way past due in Mormonism. I applaud the the frankness of the discussion but think things can even be explored further.

    I think much of what was addressed in the podcast has it’s roots in the fact that men and women view sex differently. I know…big surprise. But while it’s hard to make complete generalization based on gender there certainly are differences in how males and females think and feel about sex.

    A few examples:
    Generally men have a stronger sex drives— sex for them is more hormonally driven. Because of this for men sex is less naturally tied to relationships and love than women.

    Sex for women often grows out of emotional connection and trust in a relationship.

    Men usually want sex more often than women.

    Men tend to be more visual stimulated when it comes to sex. I think its great when my wife wears some skimpy little piece of lingerie— she would actually prefer to see ‘less of me’ than more.

    I actually think that men are designed to— at least at a biologically level— want to mate with more than one woman. Evolution I think has made the desire to spread the male seed far and wide pretty strong.

    So here’s my issue. While I don’t think that either approach to sex (male or female) is really more correct or right it seems that the LDS Church teaches the male approach specifically is not only inferior but downright evil. God put the desire in men (and women) but it is to be repressed and viewed as dirty until that wonderful day when you are married. It appears that even after marriage LDS prophets and leaders teach that sex is to be restrained and sacred (a la Wendy Watson) and not natural and not, for lack of a better term, hot.

    My questions: Is the male, hormonal driven way of dealing with sex, bad or just different? Is raw sexual desire or lust evil? Is a more emotional relationship based view of sexuality (female) superior to a one that is more desire based? Is the male desire for sex a necessary evil only required so men would breed? Why didn’t God make men’s brains more like women’s if monogamous relationship based sexuality is the ideal?

    Just to be clear here I am not suggesting that women don’t have sex drives. I’m wondering though if they way because of the stronger male sex drive if men in Mormonism aren’t more likely destined for sexual frustration and guilt unless they get really good at repression. I am also not suggesting that men are merely mindless slaves to their sex drives with zero inclination towards emotional connection.

    Any thoughts? Does any of what I’ve said make sense?

    • Anon for this also Reply

      I don’t think any of our natural desires are evil in themselves, I just think when they are pursued in the wrong ways, at the wrong times, in excess, or in a way that harms another person is when things get bad.

      And I also think that if sex is one-sided and not a mutually satisfying experience, then that is not a good thing.

      The bottom line is to get good at sex we should all practice it often 🙂

  22. anon for this Reply

    I’m sure I’ll get flamed for this but in the name of open an discussion ‘here goes.’

    Great podcast. A discussion of these ideas is way past due in Mormonism. I applaud the the frankness of the discussion but think things can even be explored further.

    I think much of what was addressed in the podcast has it’s roots in the fact that men and women view sex differently. I know…big surprise. But while it’s hard to make complete generalization based on gender there certainly are differences in how males and females think and feel about sex.

    A few examples:
    Generally men have a stronger sex drives— sex for them is more hormonally driven. Because of this for men sex is less naturally tied to relationships and love than women.

    Sex for women often grows out of emotional connection and trust in a relationship.

    Men usually want sex more often than women.

    Men tend to be more visual stimulated when it comes to sex. I think its great when my wife wears some skimpy little piece of lingerie— she would actually prefer to see ‘less of me’ than more.

    I actually think that men are designed to— at least at a biologically level— want to mate with more than one woman. Evolution I think has made the desire to spread the male seed far and wide pretty strong.

    So here’s my issue. While I don’t think that either approach to sex (male or female) is really more correct or right it seems that the LDS Church teaches the male approach specifically is not only inferior but downright evil. God put the desire in men (and women) but it is to be repressed and viewed as dirty until that wonderful day when you are married. It appears that even after marriage LDS prophets and leaders teach that sex is to be restrained and sacred (a la Wendy Watson) and not natural and not, for lack of a better term, hot.

    My questions: Is the male, hormonal driven way of dealing with sex, bad or just different? Is raw sexual desire or lust evil? Is a more emotional relationship based view of sexuality (female) superior to a one that is more desire based? Is the male desire for sex a necessary evil only required so men would breed? Why didn’t God make men’s brains more like women’s if monogamous relationship based sexuality is the ideal?

    Just to be clear here I am not suggesting that women don’t have sex drives. I’m wondering though if they way because of the stronger male sex drive if men in Mormonism aren’t more likely destined for sexual frustration and guilt unless they get really good at repression. I am also not suggesting that men are merely mindless slaves to their sex drives with zero inclination towards emotional connection.

    Any thoughts? Does any of what I’ve said make sense?

    • Anon for this also Reply

      I don’t think any of our natural desires are evil in themselves, I just think when they are pursued in the wrong ways, at the wrong times, in excess, or in a way that harms another person is when things get bad.

      And I also think that if sex is one-sided and not a mutually satisfying experience, then that is not a good thing.

      The bottom line is to get good at sex we should all practice it often 🙂

  23. George Reply

    I think my favorite part of the podcast was when John was saying. “Time to go back to the porn, again”. Paraphrasing, but I got it pretty right.

    I thought this was one of our better podcasts. I’ve seen several of the comments and wonder if a good idea would be to have Natasha back on and explore 1 or 2 topics, in depth. It would even be fun to explore it as a “session” and see where real stories take us. Not “our” real stories, but how she handles them.

    Great topic guys. Well done.

  24. George Reply

    I think my favorite part of the podcast was when John was saying. “Time to go back to the porn, again”. Paraphrasing, but I got it pretty right.

    I thought this was one of our better podcasts. I’ve seen several of the comments and wonder if a good idea would be to have Natasha back on and explore 1 or 2 topics, in depth. It would even be fun to explore it as a “session” and see where real stories take us. Not “our” real stories, but how she handles them.

    Great topic guys. Well done.

  25. Garrett Reply

    I have to say that I was highly disappointed in this podcast. It is indeed interesting to hear the perspective of a Mormon counselor, but I found the lack of a ‘devil’s advocate’ to leave the podcast quite unbalanced.

    I believe Wes was introduced with the intention of playing devil’s advocate, but he actually agreed with Natasha on most of her points, and was quiet for the rest of the podcast.

    Natasha is endorsing a particular view of human sexuality, and while her beliefs on the subject are certainly viable for discussion and debate, she set them forth as universal truths, and they went unchallenged.

    For example, she often stated or implied the reality and acceptance of the condition of “sexual addiction,” particularly in regards to pornography. She mentions that it’s not in the DSM-V, but it was actually rejected from the DSM-V because it is contrary to the bulk of the body of research. The community of psychologists as well as the body of research data is far from a consensus on whether or not pornography is dangerous or harmful to people or to relationships.

    From my layperson standpoint, it seemed that many of her views come from within and apply to highly sexually oppressed societies, and work with the assumption that pornography is toxic, and masturbation a necessary evil at best. I would have liked to have heard from someone with more of a secular, sex-positive viewpoint as contrast.

  26. Garrett Reply

    I have to say that I was highly disappointed in this podcast. It is indeed interesting to hear the perspective of a Mormon counselor, but I found the lack of a ‘devil’s advocate’ to leave the podcast quite unbalanced.

    I believe Wes was introduced with the intention of playing devil’s advocate, but he actually agreed with Natasha on most of her points, and was quiet for the rest of the podcast.

    Natasha is endorsing a particular view of human sexuality, and while her beliefs on the subject are certainly viable for discussion and debate, she set them forth as universal truths, and they went unchallenged.

    For example, she often stated or implied the reality and acceptance of the condition of “sexual addiction,” particularly in regards to pornography. She mentions that it’s not in the DSM-V, but it was actually rejected from the DSM-V because it is contrary to the bulk of the body of research. The community of psychologists as well as the body of research data is far from a consensus on whether or not pornography is dangerous or harmful to people or to relationships.

    From my layperson standpoint, it seemed that many of her views come from within and apply to highly sexually oppressed societies, and work with the assumption that pornography is toxic, and masturbation a necessary evil at best. I would have liked to have heard from someone with more of a secular, sex-positive viewpoint as contrast.

  27. Natasha H Parker Reply

    I truly enjoyed being a part of this discussion and I’d like to thank everyone for all the positive feedback, comments and questions. Sorry I didn’t look on here earlier to address them. Due to difficult time constraints I’m unable to answer these questions in depth on this venue. However, I welcome any questions/comments/challenges on my blog. I eventually get to all of those – although it may take me a few months.
    Very quickly I would like to explain that when I was approached for this interview, I was told that Mormon Expression was interested in interviewing me as “the guest” due to my blog and its content. It was only as we neared the interview date that I was asked if I would mind having another therapist on the panel acting as what I understood to be a second opinion. I didn’t mind at all and welcomed the addition. However, by no fault of anyone in particular, this was not made clear at the beginning of the podcast. Therefore, I agree that I dominated the conversation. I was acting as “the guest.” I very much appreciated Wes’ comments and felt that we were in agreement regarding what our professions have to offer via research and statistics. I look forward to ongoing opportunities for discussion if Mormon Expression decides to have me back. Thanks again.

  28. Natasha H Parker Reply

    I truly enjoyed being a part of this discussion and I’d like to thank everyone for all the positive feedback, comments and questions. Sorry I didn’t look on here earlier to address them. Due to difficult time constraints I’m unable to answer these questions in depth on this venue. However, I welcome any questions/comments/challenges on my blog. I eventually get to all of those – although it may take me a few months.
    Very quickly I would like to explain that when I was approached for this interview, I was told that Mormon Expression was interested in interviewing me as “the guest” due to my blog and its content. It was only as we neared the interview date that I was asked if I would mind having another therapist on the panel acting as what I understood to be a second opinion. I didn’t mind at all and welcomed the addition. However, by no fault of anyone in particular, this was not made clear at the beginning of the podcast. Therefore, I agree that I dominated the conversation. I was acting as “the guest.” I very much appreciated Wes’ comments and felt that we were in agreement regarding what our professions have to offer via research and statistics. I look forward to ongoing opportunities for discussion if Mormon Expression decides to have me back. Thanks again.

  29. Mister IT Reply

    I thought that overall this was a great podcast. However, I do wish that Mormonism’s inflexible and scripturally unsupportable stance on masturbation in general and the case of Kip Eliason in particular had been discussed more.

    For those who are unfamiliar with the Kip Eliason case:

    ‘KIP ELIASON (1966-1982)
    “On March 2, 1982, Kip Eliason, age 16, distraught and filled with self-hate over his inability to stop masturbating, committed suicide. Before asphyxiating himself, Kip left his father a note:

    “Dear Dad,I love you more than what words can say. If it were possible, I would stay alive for only you, for I really only have you. But it isn’t possible. I must first love myself, and I do not. The strange feeling of darkness and self-hate overpowers all my defenses. I must unfortunately yield to it. This turbulent feeling is only for a few to truly understand. I feel that you do not comprehend the immense feeling of self-hatred I have. This is the only way I feel that I can relieve myself of these feelings now. Carry on with your life and be happy. I love you more than words can say.—Your son, Kip”

    Kip Eliason’s five-year struggle to overcome masturbation started at age 11 when his grandmother persuaded him to join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), whose members are better known as Mormons.

    Kip was an intelligent and sensitive young man, perhaps too sensitive. The death of his mother when the boy was six had profoundly affected him. At times he was quiet and reflective, spending hours alone in his room, and yet he was outgoing by nature. He was a born leader. His classmates and teachers admired him for his friendly way and all-American good looks. Kip was truthful and possessed a farm-community naïveté.

    Kip was not the kind of youngster you’d think would commit suicide, but when his church told him that he’d find guilt, depression and self-hate if he masturbated, he believed so. When it said he’d go to hell if he didn’t stop, he believed that too. And when he was told that masturbation was a “building block of suicide,” he took the church at its word.”‘
    http://www.concernedchristians.com/index.php?option=com_fireboard&Itemid=42&func=view&catid=526&id=79979#79979

  30. Mister IT Reply

    I thought that overall this was a great podcast. However, I do wish that Mormonism’s inflexible and scripturally unsupportable stance on masturbation in general and the case of Kip Eliason in particular had been discussed more.

    For those who are unfamiliar with the Kip Eliason case:

    ‘KIP ELIASON (1966-1982)
    “On March 2, 1982, Kip Eliason, age 16, distraught and filled with self-hate over his inability to stop masturbating, committed suicide. Before asphyxiating himself, Kip left his father a note:

    “Dear Dad,I love you more than what words can say. If it were possible, I would stay alive for only you, for I really only have you. But it isn’t possible. I must first love myself, and I do not. The strange feeling of darkness and self-hate overpowers all my defenses. I must unfortunately yield to it. This turbulent feeling is only for a few to truly understand. I feel that you do not comprehend the immense feeling of self-hatred I have. This is the only way I feel that I can relieve myself of these feelings now. Carry on with your life and be happy. I love you more than words can say.—Your son, Kip”

    Kip Eliason’s five-year struggle to overcome masturbation started at age 11 when his grandmother persuaded him to join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), whose members are better known as Mormons.

    Kip was an intelligent and sensitive young man, perhaps too sensitive. The death of his mother when the boy was six had profoundly affected him. At times he was quiet and reflective, spending hours alone in his room, and yet he was outgoing by nature. He was a born leader. His classmates and teachers admired him for his friendly way and all-American good looks. Kip was truthful and possessed a farm-community naïveté.

    Kip was not the kind of youngster you’d think would commit suicide, but when his church told him that he’d find guilt, depression and self-hate if he masturbated, he believed so. When it said he’d go to hell if he didn’t stop, he believed that too. And when he was told that masturbation was a “building block of suicide,” he took the church at its word.”‘
    http://www.concernedchristians.com/index.php?option=com_fireboard&Itemid=42&func=view&catid=526&id=79979#79979

  31. Mike Tannehill Reply

    This was a really great podcast. I’m going to recommend it to a number of people.

    Great job to all involved.

  32. Mike Tannehill Reply

    This was a really great podcast. I’m going to recommend it to a number of people.

    Great job to all involved.

  33. cam Reply

    My beliefs are very similar to your beliefs about death, and I couldn’t have said it any better. My family has experienced a lot of loss recently. It has been very lonely for me. My family is able to put their grief on “lay away” as they talk about seeing the lost loved one again. I seem to feel the full impact like being hit by a train because I know I will never see this person again. This is the down side to fully living in the moment-I get it, this person is really gone. for. good. I have a new understanding for how comforting it is to be in the church and feel like a wiser power is in charge. So while I sometimes feel cheated that I have to feel this level of grief alone, I would never go back.

    • Tierza Reply

      I am sorry for your loss. I know from personal experience how hard it can be to face loosing someone when you know you will never see them again . . . I think, though, that losing our faith cannot take away the comfort of having known and loved in this life and it should not (those sometimes does) take away the comfort of others who love us here and now.

  34. Scott Reply

    Tierza,

    I really enjoy your posts. I primarily listen to the podcast and only lurk here occasionally, but your writings are moving and so well articulated that I just wanted to thank you and let you know I’m a big fan.

  35. Aaron Anderson Reply

    Messages that many mormons receive growing up is that sex is bad. You’re not supposed to want it or think about it and if you do think about it, the thoughts aren’t supposed to be happy thoughts. Then once you’re married you can now do it and you’re supposed to it, but now you’re just not supposed to talk about it. This naturally confuses many married mormons about sex. And just because you’re married in the temple doesn’t bless your marriage that it will be perfect sexually. I think church leaders are doing better at not stigmatizing sex generally and emphasizing more that sex is okay “within the lords bounds”. I wish that mainstream mormonism felt more free to talk about it, now. This would help a lot of marriages.

  36. Aaron Anderson Reply

    Messages that many mormons receive growing up is that sex is bad. You’re not supposed to want it or think about it and if you do think about it, the thoughts aren’t supposed to be happy thoughts. Then once you’re married you can now do it and you’re supposed to it, but now you’re just not supposed to talk about it. This naturally confuses many married mormons about sex. And just because you’re married in the temple doesn’t bless your marriage that it will be perfect sexually. I think church leaders are doing better at not stigmatizing sex generally and emphasizing more that sex is okay “within the lords bounds”. I wish that mainstream mormonism felt more free to talk about it, now. This would help a lot of marriages.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *