Anger

7 Jul

This blog was started, in part, by a bunch of women who were/are angry about some aspect of our sex lives. Since we hooked up and have been able to blow off some steam in the back room here with people who are simpatico, we (okay, I) have felt much better about things.

What I perceive from some comments is that people are not only hurting, but they’re angry. It may be seething under the surface. It may have blown. It may be way, way, way down deep and seeping upward through a few hairline cracks.

This post is for you. Vent. Scream. Rage. Cry.

Please feel free to do it anonymously.

We will delete any and all comments that express derision, scorn, mockery, Pharisaical posturing, Puritanism, Victorianism, and any other -ism that makes anybody feel bad about feeling guilty. We might delete advice, good, bad, or indifferent, if it seems harmful.

We will welcome comfort and succor.

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34 Responses to “Anger”

  1. Anon July 7, 2011 at 11:39 pm #

    Ooh! Ooh! Me first! I am angry that P-in-V penetration is defined as so central to sex, as the “only real” sex. I am angry that women’s experience of pain during sex is ignored, denied, normalized, made invisible, and belittled, and that the women who experience that pain are called prudish, abused, damaged, uptight, and maladjusted. I am angry that more men do not take women’s desire and pleasure more seriously, and assume that women don’t really care about sex that much so it doesn’t matter if they have orgasms or enjoy themselves. I am angry that many non-LDS young men (and probably a few LDS young men, too) think they’re entitled to receive sexual pleasure from young women, but are not too considerate of what the young women want.

    I am sad that in so many marriages, sex is a source of conflict, not a source of joy. I am sad that many women feel they always have to fulfill men’s sexual desires and cannot draw boundaries or say no. I am sad that so many LDS (and non-LDS) folks find it so difficult to communicate about sex with their own spouses.

    I am happy that there are many men and women who are considerate of their partners. I am happy that my own struggle with some of these issues has forced me to educate myself. I am happy that there are people who are writing books and starting blogs to help couples address their problems.

  2. Also Anon July 8, 2011 at 5:54 pm #

    I’m angry that my life is so busy and the church seems determined to take what little time I get to spend with my husband. Sunday is the only day we get off together – when the kid naps on Sunday afternoon, sometimes that is the only time we get to have sex. Hell no, i don’t want my home teachers to come over on Sunday afternoon. but I can’t exactly say, “no sorry, that time doesn’t work for us, THAT’S WHEN WE HAVE SEX”

    But if they keep pushing me, I might….

  3. Kevin Barney July 8, 2011 at 7:40 pm #

    I’m not angry about anything, but I just wanted to tell y’all that you’re doing a great job with this blog. I can’t think of anything we need more than a forum for the propagation of sound information about sex, without all the traditional guilt or shame that drips from this subject. You are seriously performing a much needed and essential service for the Saints, for which I thank you.

  4. Moriah Jovan July 8, 2011 at 7:44 pm #

    but I can’t exactly say, “no sorry, that time doesn’t work for us, THAT’S WHEN WE HAVE SEX”

    But if they keep pushing me, I might….

    If it makes you feel any better, I did that when they knocked on our door unannounced (a week after we were married) and I ended up dashing to the door with my robe on, as DH was in no condition to do so.

    I told them to go away, and call and make an appointment next time. Went to close the door and they said (remember, I’m in my bathrobe), “Well, what are you doing right now?”

    “Fucking! Don’t come by without an appointment again!”

  5. Fanny A July 8, 2011 at 8:15 pm #

    Thank you, Kevin Barney. Submit a guest post!

  6. Patty B July 8, 2011 at 10:49 pm #

    Moriah, that’s just awesome. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall to see their expression when you told them you were fucking and not to come again without an appointment. 😛

    Kevin, do submit a guest post! It would be good to have some posts from a male perspective. And if you don’t feel comfortable attaching your name to it, it could certainly be posted anonymously.

  7. Moriah Jovan July 8, 2011 at 11:03 pm #

    I was pissed off because they kept knocking and ringing the doorbell. We tried to ignore it, but where we lived at that time, our bed wasn’t that far from the door or the doorbell. They knew we were home and they weren’t going to go away.

    I find it best sometimes, with church members, to nuke ’em the first shot out of the gate.

  8. Sylvia L July 8, 2011 at 11:47 pm #

    Oh my! That is awesome! That’s what I need to tell the church people when they stop by again! Wow.

  9. demon July 9, 2011 at 3:36 am #

    Here are a few of my suggestions that have worked in the past to keep people from coming over on Sunday afternoons.
    Ask them to bring chips for the football party. Tell them you lost your ensign, and your new one won’t be in until Wednesday. Be sure to tell them to walk to your house because the car needs a break once a week also.

    The best one I have found that works is to say you have to work that night and you need your beauty sleep. Not lying I work seven days a week and it is always the grave yard shift.

  10. VirginAskingQuestions July 9, 2011 at 4:10 am #

    Why were they even coming over only 1 week after you got married? Jerks. Good for you for standing up for yourself in a completely awesome way. How long did it take them to make an appointment to come back? Did they come back?

  11. Moriah Jovan July 9, 2011 at 7:51 am #

    @VAQ

    Why were they? Because they had numbers to crunch and we were one of those and they were trying to get us marked off their list and didn’t actually think about the fact that we’d only been married one week.

    Most of the people in the wards I live in come to find out really fast that I will bite heads off. But I also go to church and smile and laugh and talk, and do my callings and participate in classes with good comments. So after a while, they get a clue that my snappishness is about my personal space and my time away from church. But then they forget…

    Every time we get a new set of sister missionaries, they will drop by in the middle of the day and want to stay or they’ll call and want a ride somewhere. I have to get nasty every single time because they always, without fail, feel entitled to my time because I am home. I make it a point to say, “I’m busy making money right now. You wouldn’t drop by my office and expect my time or my gas, would you?” They don’t quite grasp that concept. Ever. Invariably, I end up calling the mission president and telling him to tell THEM we are off limits.

    That was kind of off topic, but it’s actually quite NORMAL for people from church to drop by unannounced at inconvenient moments. It didn’t surprise me that they’d show up while we were having sex, and continue to pound on the door because the cars were in the driveway.

  12. anon July 9, 2011 at 5:17 pm #

    i am angry about how all the rhetoric and all the discourse about sex, both in the church and in our culture at large, seems to fall within an entirely male perspective. all our talk on chastity, modesty, and healthy marriage has to do with male biology. female biology is never talked about, less understood, and exploration of it (in terms of masturbation, but also in terms of research and literature) is culturally discouraged. heavenly mother is off limits, and so is my vagina, apparently. and then everyone gets down on women who aren’t always rarin’ to go in their marriage, or who hold out on their husbands. well, my guess is that they just aren’t having any FUN. and maybe that isn’t strictly THEIR FAULT. so basically i get mad at a culture that shapes women a certain way and then blames them for being that way.

  13. Lucy W. July 9, 2011 at 5:27 pm #

    everyone gets down on women who aren’t always rarin’ to go in their marriage, or who hold out on their husbands. well, my guess is that they just aren’t having any FUN. and maybe that isn’t strictly THEIR FAULT. so basically i get mad at a culture that shapes women a certain way and then blames them for being that way.

    That is an awesome point and has caused me to think in a different way.

  14. Amelia July 9, 2011 at 5:54 pm #

    Anon, you make such an important point when you note that women are trained to be one way and then faulted for actually being that way. This is one of the oldest tools of patriarchy–setting double standards for women and then deploying it in useful ways to control women through guilt, failure to be a “good” woman, etc.

    It makes me incredibly angry that our society (and Mormons are no exception to this) sends the message that if women are too loose, too interested in sex and pleasure, they’re sluts, but if they’re not sexy enough and not interested enough in sex then they’re frigid. And all the while our society does a piss poor job of teaching anyone, female or male, about women’s sexuality. It’s really no surprise that inside of Mormonism, where these messages get heightened and distorted even more, there is a lot of ignorance and dysfunction when it comes to sex. And I have to say that what I hear from women tells me that there is quite a bit of sexual dysfunction in Mormon marriages. It may be a matter of the squeaky wheel that I have this impression, but based on the number of people I’ve heard this stuff from I’d say there’s more than one wheel that’s squeaking.

  15. Fanny A July 9, 2011 at 6:15 pm #

    Amelia, this is what we are hearing too- and weren’t quite prepared for the volume of when we started this project.

  16. ohkj July 9, 2011 at 7:44 pm #

    What makes me angry is that as a nearly 30 year old single woman in the church, I am living, essentially a sexless existence. I struggle with finding the balance between keeping my covenants, and wanting to fulfill the measure of my femininity. While I don’t wish to go out and fool around with every John that I meet, I struggle at the end of the day because I, essentially, live my life to the same standards as a Mia Maid.

    I don’t think the world wide Church knows how to deal with sex. The recent Ensign had an article about marriage, and while I’m not sure that a church publication is the place to address the subject, it never once mentioned being intimate with the person you are sealed to for time and all eternity (which is a damn long time!). I’ve known too many girls who have gotten married only to freak out on their wedding nights because they are completely and totally unprepared. They didn’t know how to use their parts, and they had never seen male parts. It was awkward, it was painful, and it wasn’t a pleasant experience. All because they had no preparation. We stress the importance of being virtuous and chaste, and then expect all of that to be thrown out the window on Wedding Night. [And books like Twilight don’t do anything to help that misconception. Yes, Bella waited until her wedding night, but it was totally orgasmic and the best thing ever the first time, which our girls will expect. Poor things]

    I once brought up this issue (of our leaders being out of touch on the subject) to a group of LDS friends, some married, some not, all of us on the upper 20, early 30 range. One friend was so horrified that I thought that church leaders should address these issues. She didn’t see how or where it would be appropriate to bring such things up; however, I can’t imaging that 30 years ago church leaders thought that they would be speaking from the pulpit about pornography. I think it’s only a matter of time, and for our sakes, I hope it’s sooner rather than later.

    [As a side note: Great blog! What a wonderful, real, refreshing place to go and talk about such subjects and not feel guilt or judgement. Keep up the great work!]

  17. Sylvia L. July 9, 2011 at 7:58 pm #

    I totally hear you ohkj! You’re at the same point I was about three years ago. It was the most difficult decision I have ever made, but I finally realized the church just didn’t have the means to help me with my questions about my sexuality. I finally had to deal with them myself and come to my own answers since I wasn’t getting any from the church.

  18. Randi July 9, 2011 at 8:25 pm #

    I thought at first I didn’t have anything to share; I didn’t think I had a lot of anger. But then I was re-reading my blog and I saw a post I made during General Conference, that there was a talk from Elder Richard G. Scott that said, “I feel sorry for any man who hasn’t yet made the choice to seek an eternal companion and my heart weeps for the sisters who haven’t had the opportunity to marry.”

    And I was so angry when I heard that. That a single man hasn’t made the choice yet, but a single woman must not have had the opportunity? Just removing all agency from the woman.

    Then I remembered thinking about polygamy, and again, there was no agency. All a woman could do was pray to be able to accept the Lord’s will. She couldn’t even say, “Yeah, we’re not going to be doing that. I’m taking my chances with my salvation and saying that’s not going to work for me.”

    I just–my understanding that the whole point of Plan of Salvation was that we get to make choices, that agency was so important. But women are blocked from choices–or seen as not able to make them (“opportunity to marry”–my blood is still boiling when I think of that phrase) just pisses me off. Marriage and sex are obviously a huge part of the our eternal experience if we’re going to be populating our own planets and all, so how can women be cut off from that?

  19. KaralynZ July 9, 2011 at 8:36 pm #

    Randi – I know there were some Exponent posts about that very thing in the past and I honestly had not thought of it before. But yes, the young men are given a class on “how to find your eternal companion” and young women are given a class on “how to BECOME the perfect eternal companion.” We’re not offered a choice on finding a man who is right for us, we’re just supposed to accept it when he comes along.

    Fabulous! Let’s shape them into what we want and then pass them out like candy. Each worthy young priesthood holder gets one. Step right up! Don’t be shy.

  20. Amelia July 9, 2011 at 8:44 pm #

    ohkj, I totally understand your frustrations. Part of me wants the church to have absolutely nothing to do with teachings about sex. But when I say that, I really, really mean nothing. No dictates about what’s off limits, what can happen when, who can do what, etc., etc. I think part of the problem is that the church wants to dictate some details but then fails to engage with the whole picture. It’s my opinion that if the church is going to be in the business of dictating sexual behavior, it needs to get all the way into that picture. It’s not enough to draw lines on our bodies that set what needs to be covered and what can be touched, tell us that if we violate the guidelines we’re doing the second worst thing ever (second only to murder–I call bullshit on that one [and I do it here and I do it any time I’m in a SS or RS class where that line gets trotted out]), threaten us with excommunication or exclusion form the temple when we’re planning to marry there–This is not enough. They have to be more proactive about creating more balance and facilitating healthy sex lives inside of appropriate relationships, too.

    Personally I don’t want them to teach about sex in a detailed fashion at church. But I do think they could do so much better. They could provide printed materials that actually educate parents about how to help educate their children–materials that are very open, direct, and honest about our bodies as sexual bodies and about sexual behaviors. They could make sure every lesson about chastity is balanced so that lessons make it clear that the point is appropriate context for sexual relationships, not that sex is somehow in itself wrong. They could turn standards nights into opportunities to define and nurture healthy understanding of our bodies and sexuality. They do not do this. Church rhetoric about our bodies and about sex is very negative, very focused on sin, and does very little to make it clear that sex can be a wonderful part of life. And approaches like this one from Wendy Watson Nelson really don’t help much; in fact I think they do a hell of a lot more harm than good.

    Personally, I’d prefer the church just get out of the business of teaching anything about sex. Go ahead and set the standard that sex is best kept within the bounds of marriage, but then let parents teach their own children the best way to deal with their own sexuality. And I think the church should give its leaders real training about how to help members cope with questions and issues to do with sex, foremost that people should seek professional therapeutic help when appropriate rather than expecting bishops to give that guidance.

  21. anon July 9, 2011 at 9:13 pm #

    ick that wendy watson article is difficult for me to deal with. so black and white, and yet incredibly vague at the same time. you could feel awful on either side. god forbid you have premarital sex, which one would assume MUST have all the awful qualities of “wordly sex” (patently untrue of course, i know plenty of couples who have been incredibly happy having sex outside of marriage, and comparatively few who regret it). but even if you wait until marriage, the God Ordained Marital Intimacy seems incredibly difficult to attain. even the name is intimidating…you can’t just call it sex? what if i’m married, but i feel LUSTFUL sometimes? what if my partner and i like to explore? what if it isn’t a grand and glorious experience embedded in truths every time? how exquisite does the care need to be that we take to include the spirit? is the spirit watching RIGHT NOW?

    that list scares the pants off me, and i consider myself pretty sexual confident. can’t imagine what it could do to others.

  22. anon July 9, 2011 at 9:14 pm #

    ps maybe i should say that list scares the pants ON me…can’t imagine wanting to take them off after reading it

  23. Amelia July 9, 2011 at 9:24 pm #

    I agree, anon. Watson’s lists are just ridiculous. She purports to define “good” sex and “bad” sex and just ends up making such vague statements as to cause more confusion and guilt and sexual paralysis. bleh.

  24. Sylvia L. July 9, 2011 at 9:56 pm #

    Anon, I’m totally laughing…”is the spirit watching RIGHT NOW?”

    YIKES!!!

    And Amelia–Amen, that’s what I would like to see happen in the church as well.

  25. mfranti July 10, 2011 at 2:06 am #

    Randi!

    Did he really say this? “I feel sorry for any man who hasn’t yet made the choice to seek an eternal companion and my heart weeps for the sisters who haven’t had the opportunity to marry.”

    because I wrote a post on that subject last week and so many people have never heard that kind of thinking before.

    here: http://www.nine-moons.com/?p=1555

  26. demon July 10, 2011 at 6:06 am #

    I like to think that me and my wife were searching for each other when we meet. not me just searching for her and her waiting to be found. I think it should always be mutual thing not a stand in line and get some candy.

  27. KaralynZ July 10, 2011 at 8:20 am #

    Despite my sarcastic rant above I don’t really think I ran into a lot of this mindset growing up. I grew up in a very small branch in a rural area. The next nearest ward was a 30 minute drive away and the stake center was over an hour and a half away. Thus, not a lot of members to date. It was generally accepted that if you wanted to marry you’d either 1) Move, ideally out to Utah to find someone or 2) Find someone awesome locally and convert them to the Church. I did the second – while home on summer break from BYU, so I guess I feel that I was very much NOT the passive party in seeking out my spouse.

  28. Randi July 10, 2011 at 9:17 am #

    @Mfranti, yeah, that’s a direct quote from his talk. I found out about it because so many of my single, late 20s/early 30s LDS friends were posting that quote on their Facebooks. I’m glad they took comfort from it (“At least I’m not alone! :)” one posted), but it set me off.

    More generally, I wouldn’t have had an issue if it had been, “I feel sorry for anyone who hasn’t yet made the choice to seek an eternal companion and my heart weeps for the people who haven’t had the opportunity to marry,” removing the idea that men are choosing and women have to wait for the opportunity.

    I don’t know that it was stated so directly when I was growing up, but my friends who posted the quote are all from very different geographic locations and vary in age and they seem to be of the mindset that this is just out of their hands, if a man doesn’t choose them. I remember a few of my friends wouldn’t ask boys to dance at the youth dances, because the boys needed to ask. F that, dancing was fun, I’d ask any guy.

    I was thinking a little more, and one of my friends is single and still living at home. There is absolutely no pressure from her parents to move out or anything because she isn’t in a relationship and isn’t trying to find one (outside of going to the singles ward. I mean she doesn’t ask guys out or anything like that, just hopes they’ll notice her one day). But her brother, when he started to get to his 20s without being married, he started getting pushback to leave the nest, find a girl. I’m absolutely not trying to say that my friend should be punished for not having a relationship, but again, it seems a double standard. “Guy, you need to get on with your life, go find a girl! Girl, you just wait here passively.”

  29. mfranti July 10, 2011 at 9:27 am #

    Her parents continue to see her as a child and have higher expectations from their son.

  30. KaralynZ July 10, 2011 at 9:35 am #

    I think that’s accurate – the standard seems to be that men become officially “adults” when they go on their mission but women don’t reach full adult status until they marry.

  31. E July 10, 2011 at 11:44 pm #

    To ohkj: I’m also a single woman in the church, and at age 44, I have virtually no hope of finding a husband—not in this life, anyway. I’m perpetually looking forward to the Millenium, when I expect to finally find a guy who can deal with my large body, as well as all my other large qualities.

    And being a single, 40-ish woman in the church, I have been soooo angry that I have no “acceptable” outlet for my sex drive. And it has been a prodigious drive. If I’d been married when I was pushing 30, we would have been having sex at least once a day, if not more (until the babies arrived, I’m sure). I still would be very, very interested in sex, although with fibromyalgia and with a herniated disc and pinching on the sciatic nerve, there is a decrease in my actual stamina. And how do I know these things about myself? Because since about age 25, I’ve had a very passionate affair with myself. And the GUILT afterword? You don’t want to know. But it’s been pretty much “chronic” (as one bishop put it). I’d stop just long enough to get my temple recommend renewed, and then I’d be all “I’m a good girl, I’m not doing it,” and then I’d have a night where every part of me was on fire and I NEEDED that release, so I’d do it. For awhile, I even got into some pornography. Mostly books (yes, even some romance novels are like porn for me), but definitely some video. That brought on even more guilt (and for the record, I’m against porn. I don’t need to go there to get off, and I do personally find that it damages me on a spiritual and emotional level. YMMV.)

    So what I’ve dealt with for the past nearly 20 years is the constant guilt that I was just not good enough because I could not control this sex drive of mine enough to just keep my hands off myself. And because of that, I must be unworthy in Heavenly Father’s eyes, which is why I’ve never found a husband by now, right? (And don’t even get me started about the number of single LDS men who won’t even give me the time of day, let alone a single date, because I am fat. No, best not to go there at all. That way lies true anger, of the incoherent ranting type. Not pretty.)

    Yes, I have been angry that I could not have an “appropriate” channel for these urges and drives. Until about a month ago. I’ve had some personal breakthroughs, and one of them had to do with my worthiness. I AM worthy. And with some personal prayer and thought and inspiration, I feel strongly that, within certain boundaries that I am comfortable with (NO porn being key), it is okay for me to take care of my sexual needs, by myself. It is really, truly okay. So now that I don’t need to feel guilty for “giving myself a hand” (or what have you. :D), it has not been as much of an issue for me.

  32. Mouse July 11, 2011 at 3:29 am #

    I have a lot of anger – anger, despair, sorrow, exhaustion, resignation, some more anger…

    I hate how screwed up my mental processes are, I hate how irrational I am, I hate that I have to deal with mental health issues that make the irrational thoughts worse and that a lifetime of flawed gender dynamics and expectations has seriously injured my self esteem.
    I hate that nearly a decade later I am still having the same issues, and that they never seem to get much better. I am tired of being stuck in a catch-22 situation – what I want is something that can’t be asked for, but can only be got by asking – how do you fix that?

    I hate that childbirth damaged me, that pregnancy has given me pain issues, and opened me up to invasive questioning and nosiness from people around me. I hate that because I am a woman that sex is just another “chore” I perform for my family and that I’m expected to be relieved that I can tell my husband to leave me alone for the next few months. I hate that people feel it is their place to tell me what I’m not “allowed” to do any more, that I get scolded for doing simple things like lifting or household chores, but only when it doesn’t inconvenience them.

  33. Kat July 13, 2011 at 11:31 pm #

    With the time suck the church can be (temple married, recommend carrying, 4 kids in 6 years before early thirties), I find it amazing how large some families are in LDS land.

    I have no shame, guilt or anger with sex. My family left the church when I was fifteen and seven years later I returned and so far I am the only one. During that time I nearly ran the number of partners into the double digits and I don’t have any regret about that. WOW! That is the first time I have really admitted that. Dh was an Eagle Scout, BYU grad, RM, virgin on our wedding night (at the age of nearly 26!). Luckily he has a very healthy attitude towards sex and he rounded up sex toys as soon as we left the temple.

    We hope to teach our children to have healthy attitudes towards sex and not feel shame in what is natural.

  34. Bah August 12, 2011 at 6:27 am #

    Oh I need this.

    I am angry that when I sought help for ongoing sexual abuse, my church leaders made me feel that the bigger issue was that I sometimes masturbated. I am angry that I was repeatedly sexually assaulted by priesthood holding mormon men in good standing who used rhetoric about not being able to stop since I had “made” them get so aroused. I am angry that my husband is so uncomfortable with sex, and angry that the chastity requirements kept me from discovering that before we got married. I am angry that I have only orgasmed once in my life and that my husband doesn’t seem to care whether it ever happens again. I am angry that he’s not comfortable with trying almost anything new. I am angry that he puts so little effort into pleasing me. I am angry at the church for conditioning him to feel this way. I am angry all the time lately, and sex is a huge part of it.

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