Thursday, October 13, 2011

My general rule for what's okay/what's not

In our church, we become pretty familiar with the word stewardship. It means you have a right to receive revelation for whatever it is you have stewardship over. In my opinion, which is based off of what I have read from conference talks, church publications, etc. is that husband and wife, together, have stewardship over their sex life - and no one else, really. Others can give advice, but God gives revelation, where needed and asked for, to the husband and the wife - not to others.

In thinking about what's okay and what's not for married sex, my rule of thumb is: revelation. There's a quote that floats around almost as much as the 25-year-old menace to society, that is, "if a person is engaged in a practice which troubles him enough to ask about it, he should discontinue it." I don't think that's a great thing to live by for a lot of people. Personally, I ask a lot of questions and do a lot of research because it is in my nature to want to know things. Consider this: someone of another faith is thinking about joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They act on this line of though by attending the church and taking the missionary discussions. They decide to ask about whether or not this is the right thing to do. They ask Heavenly Father. Does the fact that they want to ask mean they should discontinue those things? NO! Clearly, this is not a universal truth, and I think a better way to say it might be something along the lines of, "if it makes you feel guilty and want to repent, you should probably not do it." Because that's probably revelation (unless you have a personality that feels guilt for no reason, which can sometimes be the case).

So, for example, when my husband and I were engaged, the topic of oral sex came up. I had wondered about whether it was okay, and the quotation I showed above struck me hard as "maybe that means I shouldn't even think about this." Because I was curious and wanted to know more about it and what other LDS people though - okay or not? I did like the idea of it and wanted to try it. I didn't feel particularly bad about it, only worried that that quotation would condemn me. In the end, we decided that since we both felt comfortable with the idea, we should pray about it, and see what Heavenly Father thought. After praying, I felt a lot better, and the idea came to me that we could try it once, and if either of us felt guilty or dirty afterwards, we should not do it again. But if we both felt good and loved and happy, it would be fine. Guess what? It was the second thing in our case.

On the other hand, we will probably never try anal sex, because I am uncomfortable with the idea. I don't need to pray about it, I know I don't want to do it. And if either husband or wife feels uncomfortable with a certain practice, it might be best to not do it. This is, of course, not a universal truth either - but I believe it applies in many circumstances regarding sex. As long as it isn't taken to the extreme, like "sex makes me uncomfortable, so let's never have it." That probably means you need therapy.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Oral sex/stimulation

Something that I've wanted to share since I started this blog is my view on oral stimulation or oral sex.

Perhaps some of you have seen or heard about the letter from the First Presidency stating that they (the First Presidency) interpreted oral sex as "an unnatural, impure, or unholy practice." That letter was written in January of 1982. My understanding (insofar as I have read) is that in response to this letter, many bishops began asking married members if they engaged in oral sex and told them not to. Probably in response to members letters, the First Presidency then issued another letter to bishops, essentially telling them not to inquire about the private matters of the bedroom. I have found a copy of the first letter and have even had a bishop show it to me almost 30 years after it was sent out. That bishop had been a bishop at the time that letter was written, but was released before the second letter came out in October of the same year, so he didn't know that the next letter basically said "don't inquire into married members bedrooms!" Granted, we were not quite yet married at the time, but he was referring to the time (a month later) when we would be married.

So here's what I think:

If a man demands that his wife give him oral sex, and she does not feel good about it, it's definitely wrong. Same this vice versa, if the wife demands it and the husband is uncomfortable with it. However, in general, I read that a spiritually in-tune couple can pray about their sex life and find out for themselves what is okay and what's not. Having prayed about it with my husband, I feel it's okay for us to do. That being said, I don't think it should take the place of regular sex, at least not often. I also think it's something that should be given, not taken. My husband doesn't request it, but I occasionally orally stimulate him, when I'm feeling like it. The reverse is also true. When he wants to turn me on, really turn me on, and if I have recently washed that area (like right after a shower), he sometimes will orally stimulate me and then we have sex afterwards. I can't tell you how much it makes me know he loves me. It's about love for us, not lust. It's about making the person we love the very most feel so incredibly amazing. I will say though that I generally will not orally stimulate him to orgasm because I prefer to have sex afterwards, and it doesn't work so well if he's already climaxed. On the other hand, he will frequently orally stimulate me to orgasm, because that really doesn't get in the way of us having sex. It usually just makes me want it more.

So, in summary, I think oral sex only makes sense if both husband and wife are comfortable with it, and if it's given as a gift to say I love you, and doesn't completely replace intercourse. Along with being commanded to be one flesh and cleave unto each other (which I think oral sex can help accomplish), we were also commanded to multiply and replenish the earth (which it certainly can't) - but also, it's just super nice to end up with our bodies entwined and enjoying, together, the experience of afterglow.

My not-so-sister site

I was having a discussion with my husband the other day and he had been talking with one of his friends about this blog and my purpose in creating it. His friend shared another blog with him which he then shared with me - I was pretty excited at first because it was another Mormon sex blog, the very thing I had been lamenting for its nonexistence. However, when I read it, I realized it was not really what I was looking for. The kindest way I could put it is that it was a lot more liberal than my blog.

Because of this blog run-in, which was almost similar to mine but really not, it got me thinking about how potentially narrow my audience is, not least because I have no idea how to advertise an anonymous blog. But if a blog like that is attracting visitors, it reminded me that I am possibly on the more conservative side of the LDS religion. Here are some reasons:

-The other blog promoted masturbation as a healthy and good thing - even for singles/teens. I disagree with this stance. I intend to write a whole post on it in the future, but for now I will say that my husband and I don't do it, and I can see it possibly being okay in some marital relationships as part of foreplay, but I don't view it as okay as a solo endeavor.

Okay, so most of the rest of it was littler than that. Like, the bloggers (there are several) chose as pennames, names of Joseph Smith's wives. Seemed kind of like a little satirical nod to polygamy, which I don't think of as very funny. It's a pretty serious thing and I don't really understand it, so I don't laugh at it. Also, they had linked to a satirical blog from the point of view of an unrealistically strict stake president, which bordered on anti-Mormon. At first I found it slightly funny until I realized that it was making fun of some things I really believe are God's laws. Like don't watch pornography. The more I read from the blog, the more negative my attitude became and I finally collapsed into bed with overwhelming feelings of anger, sadness, guilt, confusion, etc. I told my husband I would not be reading that blog again, and he held me and agreed that that would be a good idea.

So while at first it seemed like "oh! I don't have to write this blog, it's been written already!" I realized that narrow as my audience may be, this is still an important project. And that I'd like to keep it respectful and doctrine-based, not worldly-view based. Of course everything will be based on my interpretations, but I won't make fun of you for your views even if they don't match up with mine. I might try to back mine up with scriptures and/or conference talks, though, because I have a thing about being right when I think I'm right...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad

One of the reasons I started this blog is because sex was on my mind. I felt like we were somehow missing out on something because I felt that sex should be more enjoyable than it was. And I didn't have any idea who to talk to about that. So of course, I talked to Craig.

He recommended Kama Sutra, which is the ancient Indian (from India) art of love making. So I bought a book, The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Kama Sutra. I sort of glanced through it, but I haven't thoroughly read it yet. Only one section of it is about sex positions, while the rest is about other aspects of love making mostly. The sex position section is illustrated with diagrams, which I think is helpful and tasteful, not pornographic. But this isn't a review of the book.

I wanted my husband to read a little of it with me every day because I have been having a hard time getting aroused lately. I'm not sure why. The problem is, he really only reads comic books and it was pretty hard to convince him that this was a comic book...since it's not. So we haven't read it. But I think the fact that I purchased it gave him an idea that I needed more effort. We tried some new things (like starting fully clothed, for example, and not in the bedroom) to start out with and it seemed to work. I was properly aroused, and we tried a different position and had the best sex we've ever had. I think it wasn't any one aspect that made it so good, but the whole shebang. He romanced me into sex, rather than going "hey, we're both naked from the shower and now we're in the bedroom, how about it?" Everything about it was non-routine and thoughtful and caring, and it was awesome. I'd like to do that again some time.

But then more recently, it was pretty lame again. I could kind of tell he wanted to have sex, and since I'm usually the one asking I had no problem saying yes, but it really just didn't feel very good. There was hardly any foreplay (or forethought) and it ended in him feeling relatively good until I started crying because I felt selfish for wishing it had been more like the previous time. Then he didn't feel so good either.

We haven't had sex since, yet. That was Monday and now it's Thursday, and for us that's actually quite a long time to go in between (we're newlyweds). I'm just confused about how to make sex good when we're both so tired all the time. Sex requires so much effort for me to really enjoy it, so it sucks if it's rather quick but it also sucks if we just stop having it because it takes too long.

I don't actually have a solution to this problem. Just a problem.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

About Craig (my not-so-secret sex informant)

Craig is not Mormon. He's had a lot more experience with sex than I have. Also, his name is not really Craig.

I thought I'd write a post about Craig just so you kind of understand about one of my sources of information on sex. Besides my husband, he is really the only person I talk to about sexual matters. I have had a few frantic crying sessions with Mormon girlfriends just before marriage, but other than that, mostly I don't really talk about sex to people in real life. It's just basically taboo for Mormons, which is why I made this blog.

As a side note, my other sources of information are books, the internet, and personal experience. Back to Craig, though.

Craig's first experience with sex was not very positive. He was raped by his girlfriend. Of course, he didn't know that's what it was, but it was rape. He wasn't a willing participant and felt pretty uneasy with having sex, but since she pushed it on him, and he was a guy, he didn't physically force her to stop. And he learned to enjoy it, over the next two years of their relationship.

Then, after that relationship was over, he started dating one of my best friends. We'll call her Meg (that's not her name). That's when I became friends with him, because she was completely in love with him and so it only made sense that I would be friends with him too. However...uneducated as he was about proper introductions, some time into their relationship, he raped her. When she told me about her experience (which she didn't call rape), I told her that it was rape. To everyone out there: when the sex is non-consensual, it is rape! If your partner says no, and doesn't feel ready to have sex, and you still start things up, it's rape! Even if the other person sort of enjoys it, because physically, that usually happens. We're built that way. But emotionally, it's incredibly destructive. I really, really hated Craig for about two years after that and wouldn't speak to him, except when I told him I hated his guts and he should die in a hole thinking about what he did to Meg. Meg eventually realized that what he did was wrong, completely wrong, and although she also eventually succumbed to being comfortable having sex with him, she eventually admitted it was rape. Now she's a really happy, well-adjusted person, who refuses to have any contact with Craig.

On the other hand, after a while, I don't remember how, I began talking with Craig again. I discovered he'd changed for the better. He felt really sorry for what he'd done, and hadn't known it was wrong at the time. That doesn't make what he did okay, but it made me stop hating him. Several years later, he is also quite well-adjusted, and is a licensed therapist. Pretty ironic, but he actually really, really cares about people now, and wants to help them.

He had various sexual experiences between Meg and now, and has been abstinent for a while, even when he is dating someone. It's not really a moral thing for him, he's just decided to eliminate sex for a while. Maybe for a long while. Still, he's had sex with several girls and learned what they liked and didn't like, and what he liked and didn't like, besides what he learned in college about sex (which I'm sure was fairly significant given that he's a therapist) and what he's learned from clients.

After all these years, I'm still friends with him and occasionally call him up and ask him some things about sex or just discuss things I've discovered, or whatever. Like, I called him when my terror of sex changed into desire for sex, because I was pretty excited about that and knew he would celebrate with me. Since I've been married, I've asked him how it's possible for a woman to reach orgasm without manual (read: by hand, literally) stimulation of the clitoris. I'm still trying to figure that out.

Anyway, that's the story of Craig.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Praying before sex

On our wedding night, my husband and I prayed before we even changed clothes. We knelt by the bed and said our first real prayer together as a married couple. Someone had given that piece of advice to me - to pray before the first time, and I thought it would be a good idea, given that my stomach was trying to turn inside out from nervousness.

Some may ask, why pray? Well, let me ask, why not? If you think it will kill the mood, maybe you should reconsider the mood you'd like to be in. Inviting the Spirit to be with you may kill the mood if the mood is lustful and Godless, but that's probably not what you should be aiming for. Heavenly Father wants husbands and wives to unite sexually and to enjoy it. This is not a time when you should invite the Holy Ghost to leave, but rather you should ensure that you have that companionship.

Strangely, it never occurred to me to pray before sex, still, every time we have sex. Until yesterday. I read it somewhere, and I thought, "that's a good idea," which is exactly what I thought when someone suggested it to me for our wedding night. Since sex involves a lot of feelings, it just makes sense to do all you can to stay uplifted during sex, and inviting the Spirit into your hearts seems to be something that could only help.

Our first night

I thought I'd start you off with our first night. I could call it my first night, but that really doesn't make any sense, since sex involves two people - and it was his first night, too.

I'd read 2 1/2 books on the matter: Between Husband and Wife and The Act of Marriage cover to cover, and parts of And They Were Not Ashamed. I didn't finish that third one because it focused so much on good girl syndrome, or thinking that sex is wrong and being unable to let that idea go even after marriage. I didn't have that problem after reading the first two books. I was convinced God wanted me to have, and enjoy sex with my husband. And not just for procreation. The first two books gave scriptural references and quotes from latter-day prophets that proved that point. I was sold. I was even looking forward to it, immensely. I was a little nervous, though.

I was pretty sure it was going to hurt, and I was pretty sure I felt not good about that. I had seen a doctor two months before our marriage and requested dilators - little plastic graduated cylinders that you're supposed to insert (with lubricant!) about 3 times a day, starting with the smallest, and working your way up. There were 4 of them. About 10 days before our marriage, I could sometimes insert the largest one, but I would hurt for hours afterwards, and the pain was often so bad I would cry. And sometimes, I couldn't even insert it. I was starting to get scared. I found out I could have a procedure done, called a hymenectomy, that would essentially entail clipping my hymen so that it wouldn't hurt so bad, or maybe at all. I went back to the doctor to see if my hymen was even intact, because I'd heard that many girls break it inadvertently during childhood, especially if they're involved in horseback riding (I hadn't been) or gymnastics (I was a gymnast for six years). Ta-da! Totally intact, despite my frequent use of tampons. It was large enough for the tampons, but tampons are tiny compared to dilators. And penises. Yes, I said the word penis. I'm going to call everything by it's proper name, because I don't believe there's anything to be ashamed of with regards to names of the organs God created for us to use. Back to the story. I didn't have the hymenectomy, because I thought I might not heal by my wedding night, and that might be worse. I don't know how it would have been. If you're going to have a hymenectomy, though, do it at least 3 weeks before you get married.

So we got married in the morning in the temple, and on the drive back (we were alone in his car), explored touching each other over clothing. And we bought him boxer shorts, because I'd asked him to buy them weeks ago. I had been taught that you don't remove half of the garment (I don't know if I can call it by it's whole name here, but you know what it is if you've received your endowment in the temple) and leave the other half off. I wasn't sure I wanted all his clothes to come off at once, so I decided boxer shorts would be a good way to go. As for myself, I had about six outfits of lingerie to try throughout our honeymoon. So then, the wedding luncheon, and then over to the reception to make sure all was ready, and then the reception with all its magnificent food (seriously, it was great, I'd tasted it a month prior at a catering tasting). I was determined to eat that food because I'd heard of brides who never get to eat. Only I felt like I was going to throw up. I knew sex was coming, and probably pain, and I couldn't get a grip. So I ate a little watermelon, and then gave up, and danced the night away. Mostly without my husband, because he was eating. Darn him.

We drove an hour to our hotel. I did NOT have my wedding dress on for that drive. There was no way I was going to sit down in that dress for another hour and then need my husband's help to get it off before I changed into my lingerie. Besides, I wanted to take my hairdo out and I couldn't lift my arms above my head. I had a girl friend help me at the reception, in an empty room, and wore a regular dress that was easy for me to remove myself. On that car ride, we talked about sex some, and I reminded him that I thought it would be painful. We had talked about sex prior to marriage as well, and I'm glad we did. Anyway, we got to the hotel and they gave me a cookie. I could actually eat it. Hurray!

So we went into our beautiful honeymoon suite, and we prayed that the Spirit would be with us that night, and we went into separate rooms and changed into our respective outfits. I had made sure his boxers had a button closure (not just a slit) and it was rather good that I did, because their purpose would have been completely defeated if they didn't have that button. He was so excited that before he even saw me, he was erect and ready to go. I was nowhere near ready, but I wanted to try anyway.

The first things I did were to spread two towels on the bed, making a near complete covering for the bed, and to get our bottle of Astroglide lubricant (someone told me it was better than KY jelly, and I have to agree, having now tried both). Then we started kissing and touching and finally removing clothes, and touching more. And I showed him where my clitoris was (it's the little bump that's more to the front of your pelvis than the vagina, at the start (but inside) your outer set of lips, called the labia majora). I knew that was important because I had read that the most guaranteed way (although still not guaranteed) to achieve female orgasm was through the stimulation of the clitoris. And I didn't want to stimulate it. And I saw his penis for the first time. No, I saw a penis for the first time. I kind of wanted to scream. I was thinking, "oh my gosh, what is that? Why does it look like that? It's not the color of all his other skin! And it isn't straight, it's curved! And it looks like an arrowhead on top! And how the heck is that going to fit inside my tiny little vagina?" But I didn't say that. I might have said a few parts of that, but in much calmer language.

And then we laid on the bed, and we stimulated each other with our hands at first, and then we had sex. And it did hurt, and I bled on the towels, and I was really glad we had the towels because of the blood and the semen (which doesn't all stay inside of you, by the way, some leaks out usually). He was glad too, and hadn't known that we would need them. And he was really grossed out by the blood, which he apparently wasn't expecting. So I started crying. Because I was the one bleeding and in pain, and he was just like, yuck. And I was thinking, "YOU DID THIS TO ME!" and although certain aspects of sex had felt good, I mostly was hurting. I explained to him why I was crying, and remained pretty upset for a while. We washed off and tried again a little while later, and it still hurt and I still bled. But he at least pretended not to be grossed out the second time, and was a lot nicer. Then, since I was starving and it was four in the morning, we ate our cheesecake (compliments of the hotel) and went to bed.

There are a lot of things I learned about sex in the coming days and weeks, and by the way, it stops hurting after a while. For me, the pain lessened significantly after about four days, and was completely gone after about a month. I've heard that for some brides it's quicker than that. And of course, for some brides, it may not even hurt at all. But I'm just telling my experience, and now you know it.

Things we did right the first night:
-Pray
-Foreplay
-Towels
-Lubricant
-Going slow
-Communicating what felt good and what didn't
-Not giving up because it wasn't the best thing ever

Sorry this was such a long post, but it was a pretty complicated thing to explain!