the language of sex.

29 Aug
(warning. this post contains two instances of the *f* word.  They occur in the last half of the post.)

A little fact about me and my partner:  He and I really don’t have much in common.   Our interests, our styles, our work, the things we talk about, the things we like to do in our spare time….  we’re pretty different.

“Dating” as two sexually frustrated singles at BYU involved mostly making out in the car till 5am.

“Dating” as a married couple, well, it’s always a bit of a compromise as given our personal preferences, we wouldn’t  chose the same restaurants, movies, events, activities, topics to discuss, etc.

We have a few overlapping things: For example; we are both athletic, like to run/hike/bike etc…   But, ironically, the main thing we have in common: our offspring, tends to get in the way of us doing such things together.

Earlier in our marriage we went through a couple of rough spots, and in moments of rage/despair/loneliness I used to think “the only thing we have in common are a kid, and a sub-prime mortgage.”

I no longer have that same rage/despair/loneliness.  (And, we no longer have that sub-prime mortgage.)  We still have very little in common.  But, perhaps, we do have a better appreciation of each other’s space, separate interests and different needs.  Mostly, we are content to have our own lives with small areas that over lap, like doing the dishes, taking care of the kid, walking the dog, paying bills.

Also, we have a lot of sex.

At night we lay in bed together after a day of balancing our own lives with taking care of the joint stuff.  We lay together, with maybe a  bit of small talk about the kid, the bills, stuff coming up that we need to plan for.  We lay together, which inevitably leads to his hand on my abdomen, then stroking up to my breast, and then fucking.   This happens almost every night.

I think our relationship is an odd mix of Marriage of Convenience and Fuck Buddies.

Sometimes I wonder if our separate-sphere union will eventually become unsatisfactory, or unsustainable….

I just had a heart-breaking conversation with a friend.  Her and her husband of many many years, her husband who is also her business partner, who shares so many of the same interests…  their marriage is falling apart and they have not touched each other in many many months.

I do not know exactly where I am going with this post… just been thinking a lot, lately,  about the nature of love, of partnership, of the weird social construct we call marriage.

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53 Responses to “the language of sex.”

  1. Strong Man August 29, 2011 at 12:58 pm #

    This is an interesting personal tidbit that I think is very helpful.

    The fact that you are sexually intimate almost every night is a pretty strong positive indicator about the rest of your relationship, and I suspect will strengthen the understanding among your other differences. Maybe this will fade but you have some good momentum going.

    Fascinating comparison with your friend who is breaking up and doesn’t get sex. President Kimball put it this way:

    “Divorces often occur over sex, money, and child discipline. If you study the divorces, as we have had to do in these past years, you will find there are one, two, three, four reasons. Generally sex is the first. They did not get along sexually. They may not say that in the court. They may not even tell that to their attorneys, but that is the reason. (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.312-314)”

    I’ve regularly said, “No one files for divorce on the day they have great sex.”

    In a recent post, I generated some praise and some criticism for suggesting sex is a key motive for marriage.

    I suspect the intimacy you have going will spill out into other discussions, the way your kids perceive you, and your desire to spend time together and learn from each other.

    If you didn’t have the sex, would you have ever been married? Would you be still? I doubt it.

  2. Ingrid August 29, 2011 at 2:00 pm #

    I think this is a great blog with alot of useful information, but I think that a lot of LDS readers (myself included) aren’t going to like your use of the f-word.

  3. Lucinda M. August 29, 2011 at 2:37 pm #

    Ingrid, I thought that at first but after about a second, I thought the word was appropriate for what she’s describing.

    Sometimes, some words are just right for the message you want to convey.

  4. KaralynZ August 29, 2011 at 2:43 pm #

    Which makes me wonder if people who are offended by it are opposed to the idea of fucking (rather than tenderly making love) or just the word?

  5. Eliza R. August 29, 2011 at 2:56 pm #

    ingrid, thanks for the input. I just put up a warning at the top of the post, so that those offended by the term will have some warning.

    but otherwise… while we do sometimes “make tender love”“fuck” much better sums up those late-night spontaneous sexual encounters (and it is the word that my partner and I use between ourselves when we discuss it.)

  6. Lucy W. August 29, 2011 at 3:27 pm #

    I think this is a great blog with alot of useful information, but I think that a lot of LDS readers (myself included) aren’t going to like your use of the f-word.

    Ingrid, I understand your point, but, quite frankly, some people find the word useful as an actual descriptor. “Fucking” invokes an entirely different mood than “making love” or even “having sex.”

    This is a no-holds-barred blog. The use of “fuck” is fair game because it’s useful, it belongs in the overall conversation we’re attempting to start, and the mission of the blog. I think Sister Eliza was generous in her warning label, as I wouldn’t have been.

    If one word scares someone away from getting good information, then we have a big problem.

  7. KaralynZ August 29, 2011 at 6:07 pm #

    Getting away from the language issue, Eliza, I would be interested to hear more from you about how you make your relationship work. But I’m having trouble framing my question in such a way that it doesn’t sound like I’m judging you and/or being really rude.

    So I’m going to re-write this for the 15th time and try really hard, and if it comes across wrong, I apologize in advance.

    While my husband and I do have quite a few interests in common, I’ve found that as we’ve gone on the ones we have in common are not the same level that they were. While we both like things A, B, C, and D, it was different pre-parenthood when we had more free time. Now when we have a rare hour or two without a kid to constantly watch, I would ALWAYS rather engage in thing A or B and he would ALWAYS rather do thing C or D. We have such limited free time that doing something we “kind of” enjoy to relax seems like one of us is being cheated of relaxation time. So we have sex or we recreate separately. We almost always agree on politics and religion, so conversation is still a good option, but I know my husband misses doing thing D together and I really miss doing thing A together. So sometimes we compromise, because we know it’s important to the other person that we do the specified thing as a couple.

    From hearing about my husband’s past relationships and other friends who have had similar issues, it seems common enough for people who are very sexually compatible to let that override other issues that might otherwise necessitate a breakup. This applies to both LDS and non LDS couples, though obviously the LDS couples are more likely to find themselves in a marriage when the realization hits.

    I guess what I’m curious to hear about, if you’re willing, are the problems this has caused for you and how you have resolved those problems. (i.e. emotional needs that are not being met.) How have you learned to communicate effectively about these issues?

  8. VirginAskingQuestions August 29, 2011 at 6:08 pm #

    Eliza R.,
    Can I ask this question – are you happy in your relationship as it is now? The tone of your piece (at least how I’m hearing it in my head) is slightly … well… not quite maudlin, but edging that way. Although, that could just be because your good friend is divorcing. You do say at the beginning that you are content. Would you say contentment is happiness?

    I don’t necessarily think people need to do everything together to be happy. And if you’re happy now, there’s no reason why you wouldn’t necessarily be as happy or content later… and eventually (when the kids grow up) you’ll be able to do the outside things together that you enjoy – and maybe that will make you even closer.

    I think… what do I know, really – I’ve never had a relationship last longer than 3 months.

    Do you maybe feel that there is a lack of intimacy? OR are you feeling just fine, but worry that OTHERS would judge your relationship as lacking intimacy (obviously not physical intimacy, but emotional)

    Or do you just kind of worry about the future – since you have a friend who’s life is in transition?

    One thing that kind of struck me was that you described yourself as having a marriage of convenience and being fuck buddies – both of those phrases tend to preclude the emotion of romantic love. Does this mean you don’t love your DH? Or do you mean that of COURSE you love your DH, but whilst trying to describe it, that seemed like the best way? Because, it might be important to point out that marrying for “romantic love” is a relatively new concept. …

    And now I”M rambling…
    What a thought provoking post.

  9. VirginAskingQuestions August 29, 2011 at 6:13 pm #

    KaralynZ and I were writing at the EXACT SAME TIME and after reading her post, I’d like to REPOST what she wrote – and say PLEASE apply it to my section too:

    I’m having trouble framing my question in such a way that it doesn’t sound like I’m judging you and/or being really rude….if it comes across wrong, I apologize in advance.

    I really am hear to learn about relationships and sex and things, and none of my questions are ever meant to be rude or horribly intrusive (although… admittedly as an incredibly curious person, they are intended to be SOMEWHAT intrusive, if everything were apparent why would I be asking questions at all?)

    So thanks for helping me out.

  10. Moriah Jovan August 29, 2011 at 6:15 pm #

    @VirginAskingQuestions

    I kinda read it like that “being in love” high is gone. I think it goes away for everybody eventually, doesn’t it?

    On a sorta kinda not really related topic, more higher-end houses are being built that have two master bedrooms. They don’t SAY “his” and “hers,” but the gist is there and architects have been asked for it enough to become a fashion of sorts, like tray ceilings. 😀

  11. Whitney August 29, 2011 at 6:27 pm #

    I’m thinking that more people have a marriage like this than would openly admit it. And I’m thinking that most of them are content in it. Call me cynical, but I think this is just how marriage goes when you have children, especially small children that need constant care.

    You worry that one day, this arrangement won’t be sustainable, that you’ll no longer be satisfied by the kind of relationship you currently have. My brother once told me, “don’t borrow worry.” Maybe this arrangement won’t work so well for you in the future, but you’ll figure out a way to deal with it at that point, given the specifics of your situation then. Or maybe it won’t ever be a problem and you’ll still be perfectly content. Or maybe it’ll just resolve itself, once your kids are a bit older. So unless it’s really causing you stress or resentment or unhappiness right now, I don’t think you need to worry

  12. VirginAskingQuestions August 29, 2011 at 6:37 pm #

    In one of my Sociology classes … FOREVER AGO – so I don’t actually know the study, it just stuck with me. We discussed a study that tracked happiness over time in married relationships. And the low point of everyone’s marriage was when they had teenagers. BUT the HIGH point of the marriage was when the couple was empty-nesters. Like, the chart gradually went down and the BOOM – SHOT up way faster. So… if you can make it through the statistically shown less happy years, picture all the good years that await! … I’m gonna see if I can find the study…

    Moriah – I’ve read about that too. Sometimes people will differentiate by saying “in love” versus “loving”. “In love” is the romantic high, as it were… and “loving” is the rest of it. The day to day stuff. Which is why it’s probably a good thing to be friends with and love the person you’re also IN love with.

  13. YoungFox August 29, 2011 at 6:56 pm #

    I would have to agree with Whitney, I think this is pretty common with little kids. When my wife and I got married, our relationship consisted of a lot of making out, mixed with some conversation. Currently it consists of a lot of sex, mixed with some conversation. As far as common interests or hobbies, we really don’t have much in common. The one major thing my wife and I have in common, besides the kids, is our personalties. We are both very laid back and easy going. I bring this up because I feel it is this connection that has helped our marriage grow. We have realized over the years that we really work well together. So at this point in our lives we do not need those common interests and activities to keep us together. But we do need sex, at least I do, my wife needs sex and some good nighttime venting, which I of course accommodate. I realize everybody has different needs, but what my wife and I have seems to work for us. We do look forward to the day when the kids are grown up and we will have more time to develop some common interests. We think it would be fun to play some golf together, something that is just not possible right now, at least not important enough to make possible.

  14. VirginAskingQuestions August 29, 2011 at 7:13 pm #

    Okay – so this ISN”T the study that I remember talking about in my Sociology class… it does sound SIMILAR to the study we talked about in my Sociology class. Here’s a news article about it:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/20/health/20well.html

  15. Eliza R. August 29, 2011 at 7:18 pm #

    very much appreciating everyone’s comments and questions!! Thank YOU!

    (and I am absolutely glad for the questions, do not hold back or be timid 🙂 )

    was trying to figure out the best way to respond to some of the questions when I read YoungFox’s comment.. Yes, that about sums us up to. (esp about the laid back personalities)

    I have more to say on the subject… but DH is home and I gotta get this family fed.
    🙂

  16. Amber August 29, 2011 at 9:14 pm #

    Might I add something that might be controversial? Many times, in Mormon culture, marriage comes from passion but not really love. The raging hormones from a very non-sexual culture leads to quick courtships, engagements, and marriage. After life settles in, and sex becomes less exciting, the passion dies and a sense of tolerance sets in. I remember listening to a podcast by the lovely Sybil at Daughters of Mormonism that discussed this same thing. She, in her journey, was very disillusioned by marriage because the marriages she observed were not couples in love. They were couples living in tolerance.

    My husband and I have a very different story from traditional Mormon couples. Sure we are no longer practicing Mormons (but would still consider ourselves Mormons), we were very religious when we were dating. We dated for 2 years, he went on a mission, and then married a month after he returned. We had babies quickly and, yes, it was difficult. However, we had a foundation of love and mutual interests that we clung to. After working out issues last year (that came from mental illness), we returned to these interests and have re-ignited our passion. Our sex lives went from fucking (a very appropriate term to describe sex for pleasure) into love making.

    Our interests aren’t similar hobbies, per se. I enjoy blogging, writing, reading, and listening to podcasts while my husband enjoys out door things like fishing, hiking, etc. But what we have in common is a future vision. We are both passionate about social issues, feminism, and caring for others. It is those interests that keep us absolutely enthralled with each other.

    I guess I feel that you and your husband might have more in common than you think. You may not like the same movies, restaurants, etc but do you have similar visions of the future? Do you work on projects together (which can include brain storming) outside of parenting? Now these are rhetorical questions but may re-wire the way your relationship is viewed.

    I do hope my comment does not come across patronizing. I clicked over to this blog from some other place (can’t remember now) and have been stunned by the real portrayals of serious problems in Mormon marriages. It is refreshing to have open discussions about sex without the stigma often attached. I hope you were able to get your kids fed. : )

  17. YoungFoxwife August 29, 2011 at 9:36 pm #

    I completely agree with my hubby. I find that the more sex that we have the more we are wanting to give in all the other areas in our marriage. I am not as physical as he is but I have so much fun giving that to him that it is making me more that way. The areas in our marriage that could be aggravating aren’t as much because we are having our intimate needs met with each other.

  18. Moriah Jovan August 29, 2011 at 9:57 pm #

    Many times, in Mormon culture, marriage comes from passion but not really love. The raging hormones from a very non-sexual culture leads to quick courtships, engagements, and marriage.

    I’ve believed that for a long time, so I don’t think that’s a controversial statement, but then my definition of controversial and everyone else’s…

    Oh, but let me say this:

    Our sex lives went from fucking (a very appropriate term to describe sex for pleasure) into love making.

    I don’t think fucking is any worse or better than lovemaking. They’re just different. They’re for different moods, different times of one’s life, different circumstances and opportunities. Sometimes someone wants a steak and other times they want a chef’s salad. In other words, I wouldn’t give up one for the other.

  19. Amber August 29, 2011 at 10:07 pm #

    Good point, Moriah. I completely agree with you.

  20. YoungFox August 29, 2011 at 10:37 pm #

    Amber, my wife and I are a perfect example of the “Quick Mormon Courtship”. We were basically engaged after two weeks and married 5 months later(would have been married sooner, but we had to get in line behind another marriage and the first grandchild). Luckily for us, it has worked out wonderfully. But I remember a few times during our engagement, my wife having to remind me that we were not getting married just for the sex. At that time in my life, fresh off my mission, all I wanted to do was move on, and that meant get married. I am sure that at the time, I had no idea what real love was and I know I did not feel the way I feel about my wife now. I even got a little cold feet during the engagement but my wife let me know that she knew this was right and that all would fine. I am not sure where I was going with this, but I feel so blessed that our quick courtship has worked out. I have to imagine though, that that is not always the case, but I suppose that with any type of courtship the marriage might not work out.

  21. Moriah Jovan August 29, 2011 at 10:47 pm #

    At that time in my life, fresh off my mission, all I wanted to do was move on, and that meant get married. I am sure that at the time,

    So…it was on your to-do list and you wanted to get it crossed off. I bet you’re not the only one.

  22. KaralynZ August 30, 2011 at 4:47 am #

    Well my husband and I had the more unusual experience of dating long-distance for over a year. (We met on a summer break and were headed to schools on opposite ends of the country.) So while we had plenty of chemistry in person, we had lots of phone calls and emails to fall in love over. Now with the parenthood phase we’re kind of more in survival mode and I rather expect that if/when life ever gets less insane we’ll fall back in love all over again. But if it doesn’t happen that way, I suppose that’s ok too.

  23. demon August 30, 2011 at 4:58 am #

    See thing you have to remember is everything changes once you are married. Your goals change your dreams change everything changes. Sometimes for the good and sometimes for the bad.

    However when you start throwing kids in there and work and play and house cleaning. sometimes it is better to take your alone time and just do what you want.

    Here is an example for you I work from 10 pm to 7 am and then go home and get my kids ready for school and then take them to school and I go to school myself until 3 pm and then go home and try to do homework and sleep before I have to start over again. I will be married for twelve years in October. People wonder how we are still together because there is just no time for sex or any other thing we used to do.

    You have to learn to appriciate the little things like the bump in the kitchen or the quick kiss on the way out the door. Never take the smallest thing for granted. But you also have to learn that when you have the time for just a few minutes of sex take it and run with it.

    Another thing to remember is that sooner or later your lives will slow down and you will be able to do all those things that you have missed doing together and you will enjoy it more. So live life to fullest and never look back and never have any regrets.

  24. Eliza R. August 30, 2011 at 10:48 am #

    whew, k, back

    again… MUCH appreciation for everyone’s sharing here… THANK you!

    I’ve been mulling over exactly what else to say here on the topic:

    I am very happy with our situation. That was not always the case… but currently, our arrangement allows me the freedom I need to do the things I want to do, and I try very hard to make sure that my partner feels the same freedom. What we have is a very convenient set up where our offspring is cared for, our financial resources are pooled most efficiently, and we enjoy frequent sexual release.

    or in other words… We could be like any of the successful arranged marriages throughout history (and currently as well).

    We love and care for each other, deeply. I really must stress that point: I *LOVE* my husband

    But it’s not passion. Not head-over-heels in love. This is practical, functional. This is reality. (a reality which includes sexting and chocolate. Thank god.)

    I think the problem is the (VERY NEW) notion that marriage is about passionate love. That is what everyone expects, that is what our fiction, our songs and movies and books etc etc etc hold up as the ideal. Our ancestors (from not even too far back) would look on in stunned amazement at our notions of love in marriage.

    So when I look at our arrangement, I *do* occasionally wonder about what will happen if one or the other of us finds passion in another individual. Another historical trend: to have the ‘spouse’ and to have the ‘lover’ and they were only rarely the same person. (Sadly unfortunate that there was such gender inequity is such arrangements.)

    I wonder about the shortcomings of monogamy.

    Eventually, something I’ll get around to writing about is my lingering obsession with polyamorous living arrangements (hell… we *are* the polygamist wives of Joseph Smith… right?)

    So there you go… a few *more* of my rambling thoughts on the subject. Thanks for bearing with me 🙂

  25. Kevin Barney August 30, 2011 at 11:38 am #

    I could relate to the OP. My wife and I are happily married empty nesters, but we don’t share a lot of common interests. For instance, I love movies and most weeks go to two (Friday and Saturday), but my wife doesn’t care for that so I almost always go alone. I’d prefer to take a date with me, but I’ve gotten used to doing stuff like that by myself. My wife is in many ways a loner, and I’m more of a social person, so there is a bit of a disconnect there.

    But we are happy. We both have laid back personalities and a fulfilling sex life, so maybe those are the magic ingredients…

  26. Moriah Jovan August 30, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

    My husband and I recently came to a head on the clashing interests. Usually, we’re so caught up in the kids we can’t do much, singularly or together. Our overlapping interests aren’t terribly overlapping, either. For instance, he absolutely refuses to step foot into the ballet, opera, or symphony. I’ve been taking my daughter and sometimes my mother. He also won’t go fishing or camping. I’ll probably be doing that stuff with my kids. Likewise, I absolutely refuse to go to baseball games and/or Nascar races or watch his long list of drama series he follows on TV (I’d rather spend time with the people in my head, not the ones in someone else’s head). Those things are trivial.

    For vacation next summer, I want to go to Washington where there is a tall ship you can actually work on as it goes about a voyage. Since it’s for my book, I figured that would be an excellent way to get details right and I hate setting things where I’ve never been. (Tax deductible, natch! I don’t go anywhere but it’s tax deductible.)

    I was surprised at his strong reaction to that, which was to say: “I don’t want to go on vacation to WORK. I want to relax.” Well, I really can’t say much to that because isn’t that what most people want to do? So I pretty much gave up on the idea (but not without a lot of hissing and spitting.)

    Anyway, unbeknownst to me, he took the time to contact them to ask them if he would be required to work on the ship as part of the vacation package, to which they replied no. He could do whatever he wanted, including relaxing on the deck. So we’ll be going, but HE made it possible because he wanted me to be happy and do something together we’d both enjoy. It’d never occur to me to ask (because I’m short-sighted like that).

    He does a lot of little things like that for me, which always makes me ashamed that I take that for granted, and whatever deficiencies *I* feel we have in our marriage are always made up by things like that.

    What we DO have are history (nine years), common goals, and shared resources, and for the most part, those are enough.

  27. Eliza R. August 30, 2011 at 12:45 pm #

    Kevin: “laid back personalities and a fulfilling sex life”

    yup. exactly.

    Moriah~…. wow, can *I* come on your little trip??? (and kudos to your DH. that is so cool 🙂 )

  28. figleaf August 30, 2011 at 4:32 pm #

    What I love about this post, Eliza, is the contrast of you and your partner, who as you say have what could be called a combination of marriage of convenience and FWB, and your friend’s marriage which would seem to be more conventionally combined but is falling apart.

    Even though I’m a nominal sex blogger I’m not inclined to believe that good sex = good relationship. Nor am I at all inclined to use “making love” as a euphemism. Instead, prudish libertine that I am, I believe that you make love by making love. Good sex in long-term relationships tends to come from making love rather than the other way around.

    Incidentally I’m not necessarily endorsing your incompatibilities over those of your friend, but I do think you’ve lucked into a pattern that relationship counselor Esther Perel endorses: limiting what she calls “intimacy” by which she means not interlacing your identities so completely there can be nothing new or unknown to spark each other. When you and your partner come to bed it’s from places so separate you have something to say to each other — if you work and live together there’s no partner to come home to because, basically, you’re already always there.

    Yes, there’s a happy medium. But maybe because as a society we’ve so absorbed the culture of adolescence it’s fairly rare to find people who haven’t tried to homogenize themselves into a single unit the way adolescents tend to do (and who, during individuation from their parents, maybe need to do) let alone write intelligently about having not done so.

    Anyway, I’m so glad I’ve found this blog! Post after post you, your co-authors, and the readers who comment here are just consistently thoughtful, insightful, and inspiring.

    figleaf

  29. Eliza R. August 30, 2011 at 4:45 pm #

    thanks for stopping by, figleaf! and for your insightful comment too.

  30. Bah August 31, 2011 at 6:18 am #

    I have a happy marriage with a dull sex life. Granted, it’s a fairly new marriage (less than two years) but I think it will stay happy and sexually dull. My husband and I connect better on almost every other level than we do through sex. He’s the best roommate and friend I could ask for. We share hobbies, interests, worldviews, philosophies, and life visions. He occasionally teases me by suggesting I get a boyfriend to be my lover because I want more sex and more variety than he does. If the church didn’t look so harshly on extramarital sex, I honestly think we’d end up having something of an open marriage. It does make me question whether monogamy is really the best option for everyone.

  31. Eliza R. August 31, 2011 at 10:19 am #

    Bah~ “It does make me question whether monogamy is really the best option for everyone.”

    yes. exactly.

  32. Rob August 31, 2011 at 10:38 pm #

    While I’m one that has the potential to benefit from an open marriage (much higher drive than the Mrs.), those pesky temple covenants force me to keep working on the relationship I have.

    There’s a chapter in Schnarch’s “Intimacy & Desire” called “Changing Monogamy from Martyrdom to Freedom” that isn’t as cut and dry as the name suggests, but it’s interesting reading on the topic.

  33. nicole September 5, 2011 at 4:53 pm #

    Eliza and Bah, I’m with you.

  34. Gorihor September 6, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

    I think your marriage sounds great.

    Too many of us have been sold on the ‘wedded bliss’ model of marriage and end up feeling let down when ours doesn’t match up to the glossy pictures in the magazine.

    Happy (or unhappy) is the wrong word to describe a marriage. It is not up to a spouse or contract to provide happiness, it is up to ourselves. A spouse can certainly help or hinder that pursuit, but it is not their responsibility.

    I would describe myself as being satisfied with my marriage. I am happy, and I do my best to help my spouse pursue her happiness as well.

    @ Eliza & Bah – my wife has -ahem- stepped out on her own. She enjoyed it. She is welcome (and even encouraged) to do so again if she so desires.

  35. Bah September 6, 2011 at 5:31 pm #

    “While I’m one that has the potential to benefit from an open marriage…those pesky temple covenants force me to keep working on the relationship I have.”

    Rob–what if having an open marriage actually benefited your primary relationship? I am not suggesting that you break temple covenants, just suggesting that an open marriage does not have to mean less work on the primary relationship.

  36. Eliza R. September 6, 2011 at 8:20 pm #

    Gorihor, thank you! and I am intrigued. Exactly how one discusses with one’s partner the idea of an open marriage (in a way that does not threaten, hurt or alienate them) is something I have mulled over and not come to any answers about. Is this something you and your wife understood from the beginning, or if it was something you eventually transitioned to?

  37. Rob September 6, 2011 at 10:03 pm #

    “Rob–what if having an open marriage actually benefited your primary relationship? I am not suggesting that you break temple covenants, just suggesting that an open marriage does not have to mean less work on the primary relationship.”

    I think it does, actually. It’s not that pursuing outside relationships takes so much time or some other resource that you can’t work on your eternal partnership. It’s that it harms the incentive to do so. For example, my sex drive is a major motivator in working on our overall relationship. If I could scratch that itch elsewhere, I’d be less engaged in other areas as well.

    Then there’s the high risk of external emotional attachments. If you completely discounted the covenants involved, etc, maybe it’s okay when two consenting adults go into it with eyes wide open, but certainly not when you have kids and the potential is high to pull the family apart. I hear there are several such stories on Talking About Marriage (but can’t confirm – it would hardly surprise me though). Then there is the bit about the marriage also being an agreement with God, so it’s not something the husband and wife can just agree on between themselves.

    Dunno. I think we all see the appeal at some level but it’s pretty clearly wrong from a gospel standpoint and there are some real, practical dangers. Healthy marriage is a lot of work, and that work isn’t meant to be “outsourced”.

  38. Eliza R. September 6, 2011 at 10:21 pm #

    Rob: “but it’s pretty clearly wrong from a gospel standpoint and there are some real, practical dangers”

    Hi, My Name is Eliza R. Snow. In my mid twenties I married Joseph Smith, becoming his 15th wife. Emma didn’t know about this at first, she had a bit of a rough time with the idea of it all. But several of my other sister wives had husbands already when they married Joseph, and from my observations, most of them were able to work it out with their spouses okay.

    {{just to give a little historical insight}}

  39. Eliza R. September 6, 2011 at 10:22 pm #

    (BUT… that was then, this is now. I do understand that.)

  40. Gorihor September 7, 2011 at 3:26 pm #

    @Eliza – Definitely something that we grew into over time. We were Peter and Molly TBM’s when we were married.

    If he reads this blog he knows about it now 😉 but it just requires that safe space of open and direct communication.

    @Rob & Eliza – I think the saints of 100 years ago would laugh at some of our prudishness. It wasn’t until the early 1900’s that the ‘brethren’ started chasing money and political power instead of pussy (pardon moi francais).

    Overall I think humans are not by nature a monogamous species (read Sex at Dawn by Ryan and Jetha). So we might as well be upfront and honest about it.

    You can have honesty or monogamy – not both.

  41. UtahMark September 7, 2011 at 4:09 pm #

    “You can have honesty or monogamy – not both.”

    Gorihor, I think that’s overstating the situation. I think there are many people who are both honest and monogamous.

    But I agree that it’s a struggle for many of us.

  42. KaralynZ September 7, 2011 at 4:54 pm #

    In what way are honestly and monogamy incompatible? Please elaborate.

    You don’t think it’s possible to say to a partner “There are times when I wonder what it would be liked to have an open marriage” but not act on it?

  43. Gorihor September 8, 2011 at 8:43 am #

    @UtahMark – I would be more shocked if you could find me someone who is truly 100% honest with even just one other person than finding someone who was truly monogamous.

    I know I have nobody who I can truly be 100% honest with all the time. Don’t get me wrong, I would consider myself (and would be considered by others) an ‘honest’ and trustworthy person, but in every relationship there is a role/persona that is maintained (ie. there are consequences for behavior considered inappropriate for the role).

    As for monogamy – well, there are people who claim they have no sexual desire at all so it is possible that there are indeed people whose sexual feelings are focused solely upon just one individual. I suspect they are a very tiny minority.

    What is ‘monogamous’? Would you consider a closeted gay man married to a women a homosexual even if he had never ‘been’ with another man?

  44. Gorihor September 8, 2011 at 8:59 am #

    @KaralynZ – I have never been physically intimate with a women other than my wife (after the point we started dating) yet I would not consider myself monogamous since I know that I would enjoy having additional sexual partners. I guess it depends if we want to consider monogamy based solely on physical actions or is it based on emotional desires.

    Is it possible to say to a partner “…” indeed it is possible. Is it likely however?

    If there is a common thread throughout this blog (and other secular ones as well) it is that we do not communicate about our sexuality openly with our partners even regarding basic things like masturbation or orgasm (since too many women have never had one). Fewer people communicate their sexual wants and desires regarding their partners (ie. lets try this, or don’t do that but do this) that I can only imagine how rare it is to speak openly about sexual desire outside the marriage.

  45. KaralynZ September 8, 2011 at 5:07 pm #

    Ah, thank you for clarifying that for me. You mean “monogamous by nature” rather than by actions, which clears up a lot about what was confusing me.

    I don’t agree with you but I can understand your viewpoint.

  46. The Franchise September 13, 2011 at 9:24 am #

    I agree with the OP that there’s a big difference between making love and fucking, but there’s nothing wrong with that. One of my problems is that I feel guilty about usually preferring to fuck than to make love, even though my wife is more than okay with that and I rationally understand that I should be, too.

    As a side note, when my ex-wife applied for a sealing cancellation, I included “fucked up” to describe the circumstances which led to our divorce, and included a footnote saying that while I tried to use some other phrase, nothing else I thought of accurately conveyed my thoughts and feelings.

  47. VirginAskingQuestions September 13, 2011 at 11:12 am #

    The Franchise,
    Do you think your guilt over ‘fucking’ is based on the ‘good boy syndrome’?

  48. The Franchise September 13, 2011 at 2:36 pm #

    VAQ-
    I think that’s part of it–the big hurdle is a streak of OCD-driven perfectionism that results in feeling like I don’t deserve what I want.

  49. Whitley October 4, 2011 at 2:52 pm #

    I disagree with you as the writer. I know that it is my choice whether or not I read this blog, but I feel that the F word is definitely not appropriate. I don’t care if it makes it easier to describe actions or what not, but the fact is, is that if this is a so called LDS educational site about sex. let’s keep it as clean as we can and that would include not using this word. Would you feel comfortable using this word in the presence of the Prophet or better yet, Christ? I know I wouldn’t.

  50. Eliza R. October 23, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

    @Whitley ~ Mormons happen to come in all different flavors. (Thank god.) While this post may not be to your particular taste, don’t be dissuaded: you may yet find something on this site that is.

    We are not endorsed by the LDS church. We are just some Mormon ladies talking about sex.

  51. The Franchise October 24, 2011 at 9:17 am #

    Whitley-
    I used the word “fuck” in a letter to President Hinckley, since it was the only way to accurately describe a certain set of circumstances. And yes, I am an active, recommend-holding member. I didn’t use that word lightly then, nor do I use it lightly in my comments here, or IRL. I do respect your point, though; I can understand why someone may not feel that it is an appropriate way to describe sex.

  52. Lucy W. October 24, 2011 at 9:51 am #

    @Whitley

    Let’s keep it as clean as we can and that would include not using this word.

    Please don’t presume to lecture us about what we should and should not say on our blog. As long as we’re talking about the nitty gritty of the act of sex, “fuck” has its place.

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  1. Guest Post: A Marriage of Convenience. With Benefits. | - September 3, 2011

    […] asked Eliza R if she’d let us cross post her most recent Missionary Position essay with a few alterations.  She has most willingly […]

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