The Good Girl Syndrome

What is the Good Girl Syndrome?

The Good Girl Syndrome is the negative or unproductive thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, behaviors and feelings about sex that inhibit one’s responsiveness and enjoyment of the sexual relationship in marriage.

The Good Girl Syndrome is often manifest as feelings of shame, guilt, embarrassment, or discomfort about sex. Misinformation, distorted information, negative information and a lack of positive education about sex and the body result not only in the previously mentioned emotions, but also in an inhibited sexual response.

This negative conditioning, and the lack of sexual knowledge or promotion of marital sexuality may be the great, underlying and oft-ignored source of sexual dissatisfaction in many marriages.

“Good Girl” Must be Redefined

Being a “good girl” is a great thing, but the problem is that the definition of a “good girl” must be changed to include embracing and enjoying the sexual relationship in marriage. This may take a huge cultural shift in order for women to break free of the chains that bind them.

The message has always been that “good girls don’t.” But the message needs to be changed to “in marriage, good girls DO!”

Sources of the Good Girl Syndrome

So, where does this Good Girl Syndrome come from? There are primarily three sources–parents, church and society.

Parents who are embarrassed or uncomfortable with sex, and even their own sexual relationship, have a hard time communicating to their kids about sex in a way that is positive and affirming and even accurate.

Churches put their focus on helping kids avoid sex outside of marriage, which is great, but unfortunately they don’t always couple that with positive and affirming statements about the goodness of sex within marriage.

Society, well, our society is a mess sexually–especially when you consider the effects of our hyper-sexualized culture, pornography, and media portrayals of love and sexuality, etc.–then you can see how it is easy for any of us to develop some messed up views of sex and the sexual relationship in marriage.

Experiencing the Good Girl Syndrome

One woman shared her experience with the Good Girl Syndrome as follows:

The “Good Girl Syndrome” must affect millions of women, even those that don’t consider themselves “good girls.” I was especially happy and relieved to read one simple statement that opened doors for me. GOD APPROVES OF SEX and (here is the crucial point) WANTS YOU TO ENJOY IT!

Logic has always told me that God approves of sex. It’s how we make babies, it’s what draws men and women together. Adam and Eve had sex or no one would be here today to worry about it! But for most of my adult life what I reasoned was that it is ‘OK’ to ‘let’ your husband have intercourse with you. But wanting to be kissed and touched or becoming aroused myself was something I was ashamed to express.

During the times I got turned on and found enjoyment in sex it was barely over when I would begin to wonder if God was disappointed in my behavior. I can’t over emphasize how much that simple statement, WANTS YOU TO ENJOY IT, makes the point of your book come alive for me.

Self-Assessment of The Good Girl Syndrome

On a scale of zero (none) to ten (a lot) rate the effect of each aspect of the Good Girl Syndrome in your life. An honest, indepth assessment can help you become more aware of any negative conditioning you may have internalized about sex, and help you to see areas that need to be addressed in order for you to fully enjoy the godly gift of sexual intimacy in marriage:

“0” None (not true for you) ………. “10” A lot (very true for you)

  1. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Underlying belief that sex is bad, wrong, dirty or sinful
  2. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Inappropriate inhibitions, guilt, shame or awkwardness associated with sexual relations within marriage
  3. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Discomfort, embarrassment or inability to appropriately discuss sexual matters
  4. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Discomfort or distaste with sexual parts of the body and body functioning
  5. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Lack of understanding of the divine purposes of sex—such as that God intended sex for pleasure, as well as for procreation
  6. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Sexual expressions of love are a low priority
  7. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Inability to relax and let go within the sexual experience
  8. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Lack of genuine enjoyment of sexual relations—participation out of duty
  9. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Lack of sexual understanding and “know-how”
  10. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 An inhibited sexual response due to any of the above

The Good Girl Syndrome Assessment scores can range from 0 to 100. Where are you in that range? What areas might you want to work on to improve your intimate relationship?

Steps to Overcome the Good Girl Syndrome

Here are a few helps for overcoming the Good Girl Syndrome. Be sure to also review the information and homework at the end of each chapter (especially chapters 1, 2, and 7) in the book And They Were Not Ashamed for a more thorough discussion of overcoming the Good Girl Syndrome.

  1. Identify the “mental weeds” (thoughts, beliefs) that get in the way of fully responding to and embracing sexuality. It may be easiest to do this in writing.
  2. Plant “mental flowers” (positive thoughts and beliefs) in place of the mental weeds. Feed your mind positive, affirming statements about sex, in general, your sexuality, and the sexual relationship in your marriage.
  3. Spend time praying, pondering or meditating upon positive aspects of your husband, his body, your body and lovemaking itself. Savor and nurture sexual thoughts and feelings toward your spouse.
  4. Relearn the pleasure and enjoyment of touch and affection (with no strings attached).
  5. Get educated sexually (you can start by reading And They Were Not Ashamed : )
  6. Nurture playfulness inside and outside the bedroom.
  7. Learn to discuss sex more openly and honestly with your spouse. Practice until it’s easier.

Positive Affirmations about Sex

It can be helpful to have some suggested affirmations for reprogramming one’s mind regarding sex. It’s especially valuable if you can create some of your own, but here’s a few to get you started:

  • Sex is good.
  • Sex is healthy and wholesome within marriage.
  • I thoroughly enjoy the whole experience of lovemaking.
  • I feel whole and more alive when I am sexually intimate with my spouse.
  • I am grateful for my body–all parts of it. I love my spouse’s body–all parts of it.
  • Fully engaging myself sexually is an empowering experience for me.
  • I thoroughly embrace my sexuality and enjoy its full expression with my spouse.
  • Lovemaking is a natural and healthy part of a strong and intimate marital relationship.
  • It is easy and natural for my spouse and me to discuss our sexual desires and preferences. We comfortably and confidently talk with our children about this important subject as well.
  • Sexual interactions are some of my favorite ways to express my love to my mate.
  • Our sexual/intimate relationship is mutually satisfying.
  • Our sexual relationship is a high priority to me.
  • I can feel my desire for my sweetheart increase in between our lovemaking opportunities.
  • Sex is a wonderful means of nurturing and healing each other.
  • I bask in the ecstasy of orgasm during our lovemaking.

For a more thorough discussion of the Good Girl Syndrome read Chapter 1 of the book And They Were Not Ashamed–Strengthening Marriage through Sexual Fulfillment.



Related Posts

Comments
  • Xenon July 30, 2009 at 7:07 am

    Thank you for this article, as I believe that this is the core problem in our marriage, and that it has been from day 1.

    The problem, as I see it, is getting those who are suffering from the Good Girl Syndrome to see it. My dear wife doesn’t recognize it. She’s say something like “I’m not suffering from the Good Girl Syndrome, I’m enjoying every minute of it!”

    Unfortunately, I think it would be helpful to be even more explicit than this list … especially where you have qualifiers like “inappropriate” or “inhibited”

    Let me give one example … My DW has expressed on multiple occasions that she thinks of the sexual parts of my body as “dirty” and thinks of the fluids that come out of me as “gross”. Now, *I* would say that is an example of “inappropriate” discomfort or distaste of sexual body parts and functions. She counters with “no, it’s not inappropriate at all. It is dirty … it’s where you pee … and the fluids are gross … they are sticky and smell bad. It’s not inappropriate at all, it’s just the truth.”

    Perhaps another example … Reading your book or other books, reading on this website and related websites (The Marriage Bed for example that is referenced in your book). There was a little while when she was reading about this subject, and it was great for our marriage. But she stopped. She stopped because she decided your book and these sites were pornographic. They made her think sexual thoughts and got her excited for me to come home from work. That is porn does in her mind … make you think sexual thoughts and manipulate your emotions to make you excited.

    I appreciate all you do to help people like my wife. Like I said, the month or two when she was re-reading your book and reading articles here and on other related websites was the best two months of our marriage in the last 10 to 15 years. But, it is my experience that the Good Girl Syndrome is SOOOO strong and has such a powerful grip, that even recognizing that one has the condition is prevented by the syndrome itself. Only “Bad Girls” would even consider that they have the “Good Girl Syndrome”.

    I hope this article can help some other women overcome the good girl syndrome. But I fear that something much more explicit and powerful and direct to the point is needed to help people with “advanced stage” Good Girl Syndrome.

    • HappyLDSWifeMom July 31, 2009 at 3:33 pm

      I can relate with what your wife is going through as the same thing has happened to me over and over again. It has taken me a number of years and serious commitment to want to see the Lord’s designs for sex that has helped me break free of the chains that literally kept me from being able to learn.

      Almost all churches teach their members to be virtuous, pure and chaste, and that is good. However, when you read the definitions in the dictionary, you find the following:

      1. Chastity: “Abstaining from sexual relations; virginity; celibacy”

      2. Virtue: “Chastity; virginity: to lose one’s virtue”

      3. Purity: “Physically chaste; virgin”

      I can see how they fit for a single person, but where do those definitions fit into marriage?

      The best thing you can do for you and her is pray with faith and do NOT push her, but teach though love and patience.

    • Laura M. Brotherson August 25, 2009 at 11:03 pm

      Dear Xenon,

      I think your comments beautifully illustrate how difficult the Good Girl Syndrome can be. It is very difficult for people to identify it in themselves, but it sounds like your wife is at least aware of the issues, but doesn’t sound terribly interested in addressing them — especially if she can say, “I’m not suffering from the Good Girl Syndrome, I’m enjoying every minute of it!”

      I hope people can also see the difficulty of getting overly explicit in identifying all the specifics of the Good Girl Syndrome. It’s kind of like trying to identify “what’s okay and what isn’t” for ALL couples in ALL scenarios. There are just too many complicating factors (past experiences, sexual conditioning, personality, in-tune-ness to the Spirit, etc.) Defining “inappropriate” or “inhibited” is pretty difficult, not to mention the fact that “black and white” definitions are more likely to be used by the other spouse to beat them over the head.

      Certainly disgust with body parts is not real helpful for a healthy sexual relationship. But as the spouse, the objective is not to beat them up about it, but to try to be understanding and lovingly help them work to overcome those issues if one’s spouse is willing.

      The other issue you mention about women having trouble with things that arouse intimate feelings…that’s another tricky situation. The counsel is pretty consistent about not “reading” or doing things that might arouse intimate feelings. The difficulty is that I personally think that counsel is generally directed at men, and single men, to be more specific. Given the way men are generally wired, that makes sense. But given the way women are wired, there is some nurturing of intimate thoughts and feelings that is needed for a full sexual relationship. But you or I will do little good to tell someone directly that they need to do, or that they ought to fix this or that until they come to that understanding on their own.

      I can certainly understand your wife’s reaction to reading books that may arouse sexual feelings. Given my own experience and the messages women readily digest about sex, it’s not that surprising that she would back away from something that seems like it fits into a “wrong” category. I’ve witnessed many women struggle to overcome the Good Girl Syndrome, so I see the conflict that many experience going back and forth between what they’ve heard all their life (messages better suited for men) and what they actually need to do to embrace and develop their God-given sexuality in their marriages.

      I might have to disagree with you about those in the “advanced stages” of the Good Girl Syndrome. I think most women respond better to small steps toward the sexual mentality and marital relationship God intended rather than them being force-fed more explicit proof of something that needs to be addressed. I think the Light of Christ is strong enough in most of us that little nudges in the right direction can help them move toward God’s designs for marital sexuality.

      As more and more women “get it” it will be easier for others to “get it” as well…even those in the “advanced” stages of the Good Girl Syndrome. Unfortunately for spouses like you, it usually means that you have yet more opportunities to practice patience and charity! : )

  • bdonovan.mft July 31, 2009 at 12:02 am

    Thank you for this post Laura. I wonder if there is a similar syndrome for guys, except that instead of thinking of sex as dirty, they think that it is the only way in which they can show their love to their wife. I must say that I have seen this “syndrome” numerous times in my practice as a marriage and family therapist. If fact, I can admit that I have been guilty myself of falling into this “Guys Only Show Love Through Sex” syndrome.

    I strongly believe that husbands can show their love for their wives by making love to her AND doing the dishes AND writing her love notes AND hugging her AND etc. Sex should be a strong complement to the numerous other ways we can show our love.

    In regards to the Good Girl Syndrome, it is possible that if my wife is feeling shame, guilt, embarrassment, or discomfort regarding sex—I may also be a contributor to those feelings. For example, if the only time my wife feels I love her is in the bedroom, she may think that she is unlovable outside of the bedroom. She may think that the only time I love her is when she has her clothes off. She may think that I love certain body parts more than her entire self (including her body). For the men that read this post, please look at how you might possibly contribute to your wife’s “good girl syndrome,” and evaluate yourself to see if you have the “guys only love through sex syndrome.”

  • Xenon August 1, 2009 at 9:52 am

    At the risk of taking over all the “recent comment” section, I have one other observation about the power of the “Good Girl Syndrome”…..

    I think it is interesting that the Good Girl Syndrome can be sooooo strong as to make it’s victims do things and act ways that they would certainly consider to the “Bad Girls” in other contexts.

    A lady in our ward who my wife visit teaches recently had a baby. She is also a vegetarian. As is customary, my wife arranged dinners for several nights. As she talked to the other women making dinners, she emphasized several times that the meals needed to be vegetarian. The night our family provided the meal, we had vegetarian lasagna as well, even though that is not tradition in our family.

    My wife would never have considered treating that woman with the new baby any differently. She never would have said “Look, I have made this meal with meat in it for many other families after they have had babies. I am comfortable with this meal, I know it works. I am not comfortable with trying anything so very different from what I have always done in the past.” Nor would she ever say something like “Perhaps you are living your life wrong and are bad for wanting vegetarian meals. The way I read the scriptures, meat is good for you. You should rethink you desires for vegetarian meals, because I know that I don’t desire vegetarian meals.” And she would absolutely be mortified if she or someone else had showed up with hamburgers and hot dogs and said “Look, this is what I have to offer to you … take it or leave it. This was good enough for me, it should be good enough for you, and if you don’t want it, you are bad and maybe I should go talk to the bishop about you.”

    BUT, those responses and that mistreatment of another person and their needs/wants/desires is EXACTLY the response that women who are suffering from the Good Girl Syndrome give to their husbands. Those are exactly the kind of things the Good Girl Syndrome has driven my wife to say.

    The analogy is not perfect – no analogy ever is – but I think it is interesting how the Good Girl Syndrome makes otherwise wonderful women do things they would never do in other contexts.

    • Laura M. Brotherson August 25, 2009 at 11:11 pm

      Hi Xenon,

      I think your analogy is an excellent one, and one that women can probably relate to especially well. That is very much what we women do to our husbands sometimes when we assume our opinions and preferences (especially about sex) are the only right ones, or only those that are rooted in “morality.”

      Given the overall negative conditioning out there about sex and the huge void of positive affirming messages about one’s sexuality and the sexual relationship in marriage it is understandable why women (and men) struggle so much with a more Godly view of sex. Satan has really consumed the airwaves on this subject, so it will take some time for all of us to get it right…the way God intended!

  • getoutofyourmind August 4, 2009 at 5:51 am

    Unfortunately, I need to bring up an age old question: what is okay for married couples to do in the bedroom?

    The reason that I bring that question up is in the context of Laura’s “Good Girl Syndrome”. I think it is relevant because Laura addressed these questions (what is okay or not okay) in the Meridian Magazine articles that are linked from this site, but did not mention the good girl syndrome.

    Is it possible that if a wife (or husband for that matter) is uncomfortable with a particular act, she (or he) has good girl syndrome?

    Think of an act that is generally accepted as a “no no” in marriage. Why do you have that aversion or boundary? Is it due to good girl syndrome (or good boy sydrome)?

    • Morguerat August 4, 2009 at 6:07 am

      That’s a good question, and is worth looking at. The Bishop in the ward I went to before moving said, “no solo masturbation, no porn, and no sodomy.” However, I made the point that the definition of sodomy is very fluid based on location, timeframe, and puritanical outlook. It has been used to refer to non-missionary position sex, any act that isn’t vaginal intercourse (still the UCMJ (military legal) definition, penetration of a male, by a male, male on male rape, and most points in between. I also pointed out the classical Jewish outlook on the crimes of Sodom and Gomorrah, the most severe being cruelty and inhospitality, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodom_and_Gomorrah#Jewish_views But I think a better litmus test is, what do you feel comfortable, or uncomfortable with? (bearing the above guidance in mind) Do you feel adding “toys” crosses a line? and why? Does the idea of breaking out a rope, ball gag, and a box of clothes pins make you squeamish? Is it because it’s against the Gospel, or because of an inhibition from somewhere else? Do you like to talk dirty or be called names? Is that against the Gospel? Or is it OK, as long as it’s understood by both parties that it belongs strictly to a specific context and location, and is not taken outside of it’s proper context. (ie retain love and respect for each other regardless of what occurs behind closed doors)

      • getoutofyourmind August 4, 2009 at 10:08 am

        “But I think a better litmus test is, what do you feel comfortable, or uncomfortable with?”

        What is any discomfort is a by-product of good girl syndrome? Are you saying that some amount of good girl syndrome is okay?

        Just like “sodomy”, sex is a broad and context-specific term. You mention “solo masturbation” but what about if a couple is doing it solo but lying next to each other, is it masturbation? Oral sex has been said by some to be a no no. So I think in some ways we do need guidance on what is ok and what is not given that good girl syndrome is likely a contributer to what we see as okay and what we don’t.

        I happen to like the concept of good girl syndrome. I think in many ways it is a very real thing. However, I think it needs to be defined in terms of what is okay and what is not for a couple to engage in.

        I know Laura doesn’t want to be the bedroom police or legislator. I think that those of us who are LDS would agree, however, that scripture, prophets, and others have attempted to legislate what is okay and what is not – even in marriage.

        I love the freedom of this message board, it is needed in LDS culture. Thanks for any feedback!!!

    • Xenon August 4, 2009 at 6:41 am

      GetOutOfYourMind,

      Yes, that is an age-old question, and one we are trying to deal with. I can give you my personal line — I think a good way to tell the line is if there rational reasoning and discussion to justify the act.

      Let me give an example of what I mean. Two days before we got married, my DW said to me “We we get married and make love, I really really need to be under a sheet or something, because I really just can’t imagine myself just lying there completely naked”. Over the time of our honeymoon and the first couple of months, we worked on that, and overcame that “good girl syndrome” issue.

      NOW, if on the other hand she had said “Since we are going to Antarctica on our Honeymoon and the bedroom is at most 50 degrees, I can’t imagine just lying there naked, so I really need to have a blanket over me” I would not consider that “Good Girl Syndrome”. Does that make sense?

      We have this discussion alot … There are lots of things that I would like to try that she says are “Icky” or “Gross”. Sorry, to me “Icky” and “Gross” are more likely “good girl syndrome” issue then over the line issues. On the other hand, if I asked for something, and she said “No, that is something we shouldn’t do because the sugar in the whipped cream will get me a very bad yeast infection”, that is probably a real line.

      That is just my opinion … which by the way my DW does not agree with and which we are struggling with on a lot of issues. There are several things I would really really like to try, which her only response is “no, I can’t imagine doing that, because it is gross and icky”, and those are so hard for me to accept because I think that is the good girl syndrome. I keep trying to point that many many things she really enjoys NOW, are things that one point in our marriage she said she couldn’t do, but we worked them out, and she can now see them as good girl syndrome issues.

    • SirJohn August 4, 2009 at 12:04 pm

      Getoutofyourmind,

      I have several thoughts regarding “good girl” vs. “what’s ok”.

      “That’s evil” can sometimes be a tool that the “good girl” uses to manipulate her husband. But “You’ve got the good girl syndrome” or “don’t be a prude” could also be a tool that the bully husband uses to coerce his wife.

      For me, when it has been a particularly long time since we have made love, I find that my focus shifts from a desire for intimacy, to a desire to experience specific sex acts. I start to fanaticize. “Wow, wouldn’t it be great if she … Oh, that would feel so good!”

      If it has not been so long, my desires are not often for some specific sex act, but simply for the intimate connection with my wife that sex brings. I want to hold her close. I want to feel the comfort that comes from knowing that she is comfortable in my arms. I want to feel her cares and troubles melt away and see her relax. I want to make her happy. I want to please her. I want to feel her thrill.

      When it has been a long time, it takes a conscious effort to remind myself that my physical sex drive is running away with me. I must remind myself that my real goal is (or should be) an intimate connection with my wife. If I push too strongly for things she doesn’t like, it hampers the deep emotional component which is the truly fulfilling part of sex.

      I do believe that those who struggle with the good girl syndrome should stretch and reach beyond their artificial social or psychological limits. But I struggle tremendously with how to encourage this kind of stretching. At the first hint of aversion from her, I leave the new idea completely and fall back to the same known routine. I don’t want to do anything to hamper her joy and pleasure. I don’t want her to be self conscious or apprehensive. She struggles enough with the “letting go” that is required in sex without adding new stresses to the situation.

      I also feel that her pleasure would increase if she let herself experience sex more freely, experiment, try new things. These two competing thoughts add up to a catch 22.

      Personally, I feel that only things that involve other people, or that cause pain are evil in and of themselves. But at the same time, there is no requirement to experience everything that is not evil. There is a requirement, however, to be kind and loving to your spouse. For me that means not pushing things that make her feel uncomfortable. Either physical or emotional discomfort during sex or resulting from sex impedes the intimacy and should be avoided.

      The biggest question for me, is not whether some specific sex act is right or wrong (we’re way inside my personal beliefs to worry about that), but how to encourage a touch more variety and playfulness in sex? I don’t think that I should make new suggestions during sex. That would kill the moment and only cause frustration. First we need to be able to talk about sex on a regular basis. If we can get to the point where we are comfortable talking periodically about sex, then I could say during one of these conversations, “I think it would be fun if we ____! What do you think?” If her reaction is negative, I don’t think that I would bring that thing up again for a long, long time.

      More than anything else, I would like to get to the point where I know how to pleasure her consistently and well. I believe that would do more than anything else to increase her drive and motivation. You would think after so many years I would have at least some idea where to begin! Either I am a dolt, or Gordias himself tied the knot of female sexuality. I like to think the latter, but I can’t rule out the former. I need an Alexander to bisect the thing for me. Laura has cut deeper into the issue than anyone else. Thanks for all you do, Laura.

      Sir John

  • woman at the well August 10, 2009 at 11:30 am

    I found this site and forum this morning and am curious about this “good girl” theory. I believe my husband would say that this is me spot-on but I disagree. I am frustrated and hurt by his continuous comments about how I am uptight and in his words “vanilla” in bed. He says things like “You are a perfectionist in every other thing … why not in bed?” His words hurt me and make me pull away more than they spur me on to be more of what he wants.

    I do not consider myself a prude and try to be adventurous in bed. I don’t have hang-ups about trying new things, adding toys, being spontanious, etc. but I don’t like a few things. I try to tell him what I like and don’t but he just says I need to loosen up. When is it enough to just not like something without being a prude?? I feel as if he always wants kinky sex … not lovemaking.

    I feel like a failure in this area and I am ready to leave him. I just need some advice to clear my mind. I don’t want to lose my family but I hate feeling so inadequate in such an important area.

    Thanks in advance for any input.

    • Xenon August 11, 2009 at 7:11 am

      Well, I’m going to take a different approach than many other here, partly to play devil’s advocate and partly to explore another side of the issue. Let’s say you DO have the Good Girl Syndrome, and explore what you could or would do about it …

      So, your husband thinks things are too vanilla in your intimate relations. Can you look at the things he wants to spice up your relationship and find one new thing to try this month? Or perhaps think of the wildest and craziest and sexiest thing to can imagine yourself doing, and do that? Or better yet, imagine the wild and crazy line, walk up to it, and take one small step over the line into the unknown beyond.

      Laura has advocated many times writing letters, and I completely agree, because face-to-face can blow up emotionally very fast. Try writing a letter to your husband and explain rationally and reasonably why this or that thing he wants to try is not something you can do. If you can come up with real reasons, other than “I just don’t like it” your husband is likely to respond better. Imagine your kids and the first time you served something “strange” for dinner, and they said “I don’t like it” and you pointed out “You’ve never even had it, how can you know you don’t like it”.

      Perhaps have your husband, in a moment when you are comfortable and feeling passionate, explain to you what he really wants in a particular act or something. Do it when you are in the mood, and see if maybe there isn’t something there that you could enjoy. Maybe you are picturing something different than him.

      Anyway, I don’t know if you have Good Girl Syndrome or not … as others have said, you are the only one that knows that. But you do have a problem in your marriage, and you do need to do something different to help fix that. Exploring what you can change about yourself is one option, and it can’t hurt to think in your mind what you would do if it is Good Girl Syndrome that is hurting your husband and destroying your marriage.

    • UnderTheSun August 13, 2009 at 11:24 pm

      Dear “woman at the well”,

      I like your nickname, by the way.

      Your husband thinks you’re boring in bed. Yes, that hurts to hear. Yes, he may be avoiding intimacy in favor of fantasy. And all the other comments here have been so helpful to hear.

      I would like to chime in with a couple thoughts, however, that I hope will help. First, check out my post under http://strengtheningmarriage.com/blog/misc/open-forum-2-discussions/ where I talk about how a thoughtful wife can address the inevitable forces of “competition” that make husbands desire things they don’t or shouldn’t have.

      But the topic opens up a whole area that I’ve thought a lot about. (I’d like you guys to let me know what you think). Years ago, I remember observing something in my own heart and apparently universal with men (witness Solomon and even Brad Pitt): it doesn’t seem to matter how beautiful the woman you have is; you will still find other women attractive. There is no one, perfect beauty. In fact, ironically, so much of the beauty of women is in its variety. But that stinks, because we’re supposed to be monogamous. So what’s a couple to do? How can you remain content with one women while there’s a sea of competition surrounding you at all times?

      Well, the husband should certainly work to focus on his wife; that should go without saying. But the attitude of so many wives, fixated on their husband’s “need to put on blinders” is, I think, highly unproductive. They view it as strictly their husband’s “fault”, and a problem their husband needs to fix. I’d guess that this attitude problem may affect 99% of marriages, and it’s sad because those wives are only shooting themselves in the foot by maintaining this posture. Not to mention all their husbands that range either from dissatisfied, frustrated, and guilt-ridden to adulterers.

      If I had to give advice to a woman about how to deal with this, I’d say this: God loves you as though you’re the only person in the world, and your husband should too. But he’s not wired that way, and that’s by God’s design. And so you need to be creative. You need to somehow be “every woman in the world” to him. That doesn’t mean “being someone you’re not”, per se. But it does mean getting out of your little world, talking to him constantly to learn what’s fascinating his senses, and entering that world to be a part of it. If you’re a “trekkie”, it’s like your husband is living in the “holodeck” (alternate reality world), and you need to go into that world to meet him (by communicating with him about how he’s feeling). This wouldn’t be a one time thing, but an ongoing thing. But by maintaining this crucial “connection” with him, you’ll gradually coax him out of “fantasy land” into a real love life with you. If you neglect him or criticize his feelings, you’ll find that he gradually retreats back into a fantasy world that excludes you. So it takes effort on your part; not an exceeding amount, but a regular amount. But you’ll find that the reward of “feeding” your relationship with him will make him so in love with you that he’ll do anything to please you, more than compensating you for the effort invested.

      As I’ve said elsewhere, a similar burden of responsibility exists for the husband to nurture his wife. And frankly, if any of the women here would like to offer corresponding advice for how to awaken a wife’s apparently dead sexuality, I’d value it greatly. But I can only offer my side of advice.

      “woman at the well”, thanks for loving him, and I hope this helps!

  • JustMe August 10, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    woman at the well,

    Perhaps others will offer their insight, but here’s mine….

    From the little you have said, I would not consider you to have trouble with “good girl” syndrome. It sounds to me like you make a very reasonable effort in this area.

    It is easy to take offense to any comments on a topic as personal as sexuality. Try to not take your husband’s comments personally. Let him know that his negative comments decrease your desire and interest in physical intimacy. Let him know that you sometimes feel he is more interested in having sex a certain way than he is about you and really loving you.

    Finally, let him know that you really try to please him but that there are a few things that you are not comfortable with. Your husband should respect that, and if the situation doesn’t seem to improve soon I would suggest that you consider marital counseling.

    • woman at the well August 10, 2009 at 1:22 pm

      Thanks JustMe for the comment. I am not blowing you off, but I have done all of these things and still we find ourselves here. I have told him that I need him to support my efforts, that his comments hurt me and make me pull away, that I enjoy sex but these are the things I do not enjoy …, and we have been to counseling. He really sees this as an area that I am just not trying in. He dismisses me when I tell him that his comments are counterproductive by saying that he is “just being brutally honest with his needs”. If, after all of my efforts, he is still this dissatisfied there must be more to this. Right?

      • Morguerat August 10, 2009 at 1:39 pm

        There are many men here legitimately living through a sexual and emotional desert. Your husband has far less to complain about from the sound of it. Perhaps you could copy some of the heartfelt, heart rending pleas for affection so many of the men here suffer through, as well as the advice towards increasing love towards an unresponsive spouse.

        Do it in love, not a feeling of superiority towards those women, or “you don’t have it so bad, look at this.” and it might help to start the discussion with prayer, and a little humility on both parts. 🙂

        Good Luck.

    • Morguerat August 10, 2009 at 1:32 pm

      Well, and this is just me, I’d rather say that is seems like you feel like you are making reasonable concessions, and reasonable effort. What is reasonable is up for debate, but ultimately can only be decided by you. Others can offer input, and the consensus might change your views, but it ultimately comes down to what you feel is appropriate.

      For instance, I have always been uncomfortable with things that seem to degrade one (or both) partners. My ex-wife had a rape fetish for instance (among other things), but it was never something I felt comfortable with. Ditto with talking dirty, and name-calling. I understand that the words used in a specific context do not reflect the way we felt about each other, but I still didn’t like it.

      Was it “reasonable”? She thought it was, and I didn’t. When she learned that some of our neighbors were swingers, she tried to arrange a “rape.” Apparently she thought that was reasonable.

      Do I suffer from the “good girl/boy syndrome” or was it simply reasonable for me to have drawn a line that I didn’t care to approach, let alone cross.

      I don’t recommend leaving him over this, get some help, and discuss it with a therapist. President Faust once wrote about what he considered to be justification for divorce, and I agree (and feel my own divorce fell into the description): Divorce can be justified only in the rarest of circumstances. In my opinion, “just cause” for divorce should be nothing less serious than a prolonged and apparently irredeemable relationship that destroys a person’s dignity as a human being. Divorce often tears people’s lives apart and shears family happiness. Frequently in a divorce the parties lose much more than they gain. ~~ April 07 Ensign.

  • JustMe August 10, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    woman at the well,

    Ideally marriage is not just one person that dictates the relationship. It’s two people that work together for the good of the family- each giving what they can and both recognizing and appreciating each other’s efforts.

    The trouble is that many marriages are far from this ideal. The question then is what level of dysfunction is tolerable. Although things may not be perfect, are you ok with the way things are, and is he? How long has this been an issue, and does there seem to be any progress?

    Besides this issue, is your relationship strong? Or would you say that this area seriously strains the rest of your relationship?

  • woman at the well August 10, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    Thank you both. I do NOT want to divorce … I just can’t see a resolution that would satisfy him and allow me to stay genuine in my relationship with him. This area has become a hot-spot over the past few months but has festered in him for a while (so he says). We are good together for the most part but this has caused a rift.

    I appreciate the recentering of perspective on “reasonable” and yes, I guess we all have different expectations. I don’t like to force things (like talking dirty) that aren’t comfortable for me or even something I want to do or be done to me. It just seems fake and I don’t want to be that.

    My attempts at opening conversation get him defensive and go nowhere. He doesn’t care what anyone else thinks/does … he just likes what he likes and can’t understand why I don’t or won’t to please him. To him, I am simply not trying hard enough.

    • Xenon August 20, 2009 at 10:29 pm

      Woman at the Well,

      Let me make a couple of suggestions which I hope can help you and your husband …. I freely admit these are from a husband’s perspective so take them with a grain of salt.

      1) You said that opening the conversion makes him defensive. Absolutely! Remember that this has probably hurt him more deeply than anything else in his life, and his response to that will be very defensive. So, don’t try to “talk” about it at first, “write” about it. Write him a letter with your side of the issue, and ask him to write you a letter back, with his side of the issue. You won’t like his letter, I can almost promise, but it’s important. Get him to write a bunch of suggestions that he would like that would make your relationship less vanilla. Then you look at that list, and pick one, and think about it, read about it, study about it until you are comfortable and ready to try it. You’re first response will be “no way”, but after you read and study and ponder about it, you’ll find a way to show your husband you love him in a way that is deeply meaningful to him.

      2) I suggest BLISS. Bliss is a computer game for lovers, (no, I don’t have stock or anything) that many have found enjoyable. Playing BLISS has a few great advantages in trying to find a balance between two spouses who have different tastes. Bliss will tell you to try something for 30 seconds or a minute or maybe two minutes, and it will tell you try a wide range of things. I think this is great for trying to find a balance. Chances are Bliss will touch briefly on some of those things that your husband wants to try but you don’t. So now, it isn’t your “husband” asking, but the computer, so you are both more comfortable. And you only are asked to try for 30 or 60 seconds, so if it is too uncomfortable, you can stop quickly. But, if it isn’t all that bad after all, you can always ignore the timer.

      3) Read (or Re-read) Laura’s book, especially the sections on differences, BUT try to read it from your husbands perspective. When the book talks about a difference, try to think about what your husband’s thoughts were or would be as he read about that difference. It was an amazing eye-opener for me to re-read Laura’s book after my wife and see what she underlined, and what she put a star by in the margin, etc. Thinking about why she would underline that section helped me a lot to understand her. As you read about the differences, think deeply about how your husband sees those differences, not about how you see those differences.

      I’m sorry if I came off as too aggressive earlier. What I was trying to say earlier, and here now, is most simply this … You can’t change him, you can only change you. So the most effective thing to do is focus on what you can change about yourself. I’m sure you have a list of things that you wish he would change too. Well, he has given you a hint (or maybe not so subtle at all) at the list of things he would like you to change about yourself. You can work on that list, and hopefully he will work on your list for him as well. The lists will be drastically different, but both important in their own ways.

      Good luck. Sorry I was so long winded tonight!

  • Xenon August 19, 2009 at 5:48 am

    I’m wondering if Laura or others might have experience with the Church’s new “12 Steps” Program and it’s application to the Good Girl Syndrome?

    It’s a modification of the Alcoholic Anonymous 12 step program, designed to help overcome any number of addictions. As a local facilitator pointed out when giving local leaders here an overview of the process, in many ways it is “the repentance process”, and can be applied to a wide wide range of issues or problems that you want to change.

    http://www.providentliving.org/familyservices/AddicitonRecoveryManual_36764000.pdf

    Do you (Laura in particular, but anyone else too) think that this kind of program would be helpful to people suffering from the Good Girl Syndrome, as a series of steps to take to try to conquer false mental constructs?

    I was just wondering ….

    • HappyLDSWifeMom August 20, 2009 at 4:17 pm

      I used to think the Good Girl Symptoms where the sign of a virtuous and chaste woman. As a single person they are, but as a married woman, they can destroy marriages and cause the wife to become VERY confused and frustrated with no matter how hard she tries, she cannot figure out how to find peace and happiness that are promised to a righteous person.

      It took me finding Laura’s book over 4 years ago for me to finally break free of the horrible chains of the Good Girl Syndrome. It was not my husband, it was me who made the struggle to overcome it. There are many layers to it, which makes it a painfully long journey. Just when I have thought I was finally free of it I would read something that was directed at sexual sins and would equate it to mean all sexual relations and would be in a tail spin. It took a LOT of prayer and fasting and discussing this with my wonderful husband to finally pay close attention to what I was reading that was written by Church leaders. My husband helped me see that I taking things out of context. I will admit it is hard when the Church leaders are not more clear about what is okay, but that is where the Lord has trusted husbands and wives to study, discuss and then take it to Him if they are not sure about something. I can promise, if the couple is sincere in their efforts, He WILL answer their prayers in an unmistakable way. It has happened to me and my husband on a number of occasions.

      I am not completely free of the Good Girl Syndrome, but the chains are not strings that I keep whitling away at one strand at a time. It helps to write down the answers and impressions you get that are from the Lord and through your studies and when clouds of doubt start to creep in, go back and prayerfully reread what you wrote.

      Something that helps the spouse that suffers from the GGS is to ask themself if they feel at peace when they are thinking those thoughts associated with it. If it is a struggle, then make the effort to reread chapters in Laura’s book that deal with it, and pray for insight from the Lord. I promise, if the spouse who suffers from the GGS will force that thinking out and allow for insight and enlightenment, they will find peace and JOY filling their heart and mind.

      Once they gain that peace and light, they will know that it is from the Lord and should never doubt those answers, NO MATTER HOW hard the pull is to go back to the old way of thinking.

      If they will hold on to the iron rod of truth of the Lord’s designs, NOT the Good Girl Syndrome, they will find great joy in ALL areas of their marriage relationship, even those that seem to be broken.

      I write with conviction because I have gone through the depths of pain and suffering that has come from overcoming the ravages of the GGS. I agree with Xenon where he suggested the Church social services have a department for helping couples who suffer from the GGS, as I think the damage it does to marriages is just as serious as when one of them suffers from sexual addictions. It is a healing process that I believe the 12 Step Program for overcoming addictions could help, as it is just as hard to break free of as an addiction.

      Thanks for sharing that insight. From one who suffers from the GGS, that is a very insightful explaination.

      It is through the Lord, Laura and a very dedicated husband that I am breaking free of it one strand at a time. But, it takes continual study and prayer not to run back…like overcoming addictions are a daily process to be able to stay free of them. Compare it to the need for daily spiritual nurishment to be able to stay close to the Lord.

      • JustMe August 21, 2009 at 10:07 am

        HappyLDSWifeMom,

        Thank you for sharing your struggle to overcome GGS. I admire you for taking this important topic so seriously. I think you and others that are making a similar effort are perfect examples of the law of the harvest- you reap what you sow. We cannot expect to enjoy celestial blessings with sub-celestial efforts.

        You also highlight what I think is key to this or any other similar issue, and that is that progress is only made when the individual recognizes that there is a problem and them makes the effort to resolve it. In my opinion, in too many cases, instead of even recognizing that there is a problem (whether it is GSS or anything else) we prefer to bury our head in the sand and ignore the issue rather than dealing with it. “And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well- and thus the devil cheateth their souls and leadeth them away carefully down to hell” (or at least keeps us from enjoying the blessings that are readily available).

        • HappyLDSWifeMom August 27, 2009 at 8:11 am

          Prayer and study is what keeps me from sinking back into my Good Girl attitudes. It is so easy to slip back. I can see you are LDS. Have your wife read D & C 84:59, 61. We are told to liken the scriptures to our lives. Those verses helped me see when I am struggling with the Good Girl attitudes, I feel like my mind has become darkened. When I break free of those attitudes and start to put in more effort to enjoy and experience what husbands and wives were meant to enjoy together, the darkness dispells and joy and happiness fill my mind and heart. The added bonus is a husband who is much happier and treats me with more respect and tenderness. However, it is a daily struggle for me to keep from slipping back into the darkness of the Good Girl attitudes again as they were so much a part of my core beliefs. It helps to write down what I have learned from answers to prayer and then go back and read them when I start going downhill again.

          If any of you want to have your wives e-mail me about this they can do so at 2HeartsOneDream@gmail.com. I will be glad to discuss it with them.

          • HappyLDSWifeMom August 27, 2009 at 8:13 am

            Sorry, that is D&C 84:54 & 61. I wrote it from memory in my last post.

          • JustMe August 27, 2009 at 1:40 pm

            HappyLDSWifeMom,

            Thanks for the ideas. The trouble is (at least for my particular case) that I can’t be the one to instigate any change. As you have found, it has to come from within.

  • Krista September 7, 2009 at 10:50 am

    Something that really helped me was to look up the definition of the word “Chastity” in the dictionary… ya know, language has the tendancy to change over time… to not always mean the same thing that it did years ago. HappyLDSWifeMom gave the deffination of Chastity from the dictionary. I’m betting it was from a modern dictionary.

    Here is the definition from the 1913 edition: Chastity:

    1. The state of being chaste; purity of body; freedom from unlawful sexual intercourse.

    The 1828 edition of the dictionary defines Chastity as:

    1. Purity of the body; freedom from all unlawful commerce of sexes. Before marriage, purity from all commerce of sexes; after marriage, fidelity to the marriage bed.

    This really helped me… I have found that it often helps to look up words from a dictionary of the time period in which it (whatever I’m reading) was written. Often times small little words get left out of the current edition of the dictionary that change the whole meaning…

    I hope this helps someone else…

  • HappyLDSWifeMom September 9, 2009 at 8:18 am

    Krista,

    I appreciate you making the effort to look up “Chaste” in older dictionaries. I get really frustrated over lack of information at times and it helps when I put in the indepth study to learn meanings. As frustrating as it is at times, I believe that is the way the Lord intended it to be, so we will stretch and learn.

  • marman September 20, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    Thank you for a great website, and I look forward to reading more of the postings and opinions. I think a lot of women–and men–are torn between viewing women as dependent or the modern-day view that women can be the aggressor too—-creating a lot of confusion without relationships, not only regarding sex, but just about everything else.

    http://www.themarriagemanager.com

  • caehevanras September 21, 2009 at 11:42 am

    great

  • caehevanras September 21, 2009 at 11:49 am

    Hi, I am a married man, active member of the Mormon church. I suppose that the author of this site is an active member of hte church. Well, I would like to ask something. First of all, I hava never been instructed about sexual matters, whether in the church or family. I really have lots of doubts, but can’t find answers.

    Recently I have sought for some informations about the matter and found something the first presidency taught some time ago:

    “The First Presidency has interpreted oral sex as constituting an unnatural, impure, or unholy practice. If a person is engaged in a practice which troubles him enough to ask about it, he should discontinue it.”

    – Official Declaration of the First Presidency of the Church, January 5th, 1982

    I heard that it was unvalidated 9 months later. I would like to know if you can help me to have correct information about it. If you don’t feel like providing answers on this blog, please, email me: caehevanras@yahoo.com.br

    Thanks a lot.

  • JustMe September 21, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    caehevanras,

    The Church gives guidelines but will not specifically tell everyone what is right or wrong. Some of the guidelines in this case are that intimacy between husband and wife is good and is an important part of the relationship, and that interactions between spouses should be uplifting and edifying.

    With those general guidelines, the decision to participate in oral sex is completely between you and your wife. If you and your wife both agree that this practice strengthens your love and does not detract from your relationship, I believe it is acceptable. If either of you are concerned about it, you should refrain. Neither spouse should ever coerce or force the other to do anything that they do not want to do.

    You can read other interesting comments at this link, and the internet is full of debate about this….

    http://theboard.byu.edu/?area=viewall&id=6853

  • morpherson September 22, 2009 at 11:23 am

    O.K. Last night was my first night on the couch (self banished.) I have been struggling with GGS and my wife well I guess since we have been married, but I have been actively trying to work on it with her for the last couple of years. I think we entered marriage pretty sexually illiterate and we have struggled. While there are many issues in our life that we are working on, this has been the greatest chasm between us. As for a little background, my beautiful wife is S. American hispanic so if it isn’t in Spanish, I have a hard time getting her to read it or even read it with her. During her time as a missionary her parents passed away. I met her a couple of years after her mission, while serving my own. At any rate, after my mission I returned twice to my area, bringing her home with me on my second trip. We have been married 11 years. I do love her deeply. I have gotten to the point though that I am tired of desiring her. Of the handful of times I try to initiate intimacy with her a month, she may allow it once. If I try to talk with her about it, she gets very defensive and while I am not in her shoes I try to make sure that I am not talking down to her. She feels that if she doesn’t have the desire than I should be able to control myself. Ok, I understand your point but…Your right I can control myself. Regarding her desire, it is all about her. I don’t know if I’m lucky or not but she has never had a problem reaching an orgasm. But she doesn’t really actively participate in the act. She lays there directing traffic. If I ask for a different position or candles or even more sex she basically states that she isn’t a prostitute. How can I argue with that I Guess? There are probably some cultural issues but I can’t see them when visiting with her family. They seem with their respective spouses fairly open amoung them. I am not sure that posting here is the best move but, I could really use some suggestions. Even a starting place would be helpful.

  • mountain1girl September 23, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    I have a question that is less about the GGS and more about how to overcome past bad experiences with sex. Before I was married, a man I deeply cared about was sexually inappropriate with me, more than once. Now, I still have issues about what happened and it affects how I feel about having sex with my husband. Specifically, I don’t like to be touched in ways that are supposed to stimulate a woman’s sex drive. This is partly because I am afraid it will hurt, because when I was first married, my husband and I had a hard time “getting used” to each other (this was resolved after I had a baby and loosened up a bit in that area) and I got a urinary tract & yeast infections that I didn’t know what they were- consequently I didn’t treat them right away so sex was very, very painful. Also, I was completely unprepared for female orgasm and it freaked me out a lot when it happened when we were first married- I was embarrased about the fact that something was happening to my body over which I had no control, and as it was happening, I wanted to cry and make it stop. Consequently, now that I have learned more about it and know that it is ok, and that I am not just being electrocuted, my brain will not allow me to have it again, even though I want it.

    Has anyone else had any experiences like this that they have been able to overcome?

  • Morguerat September 24, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    I would suggest, firstly getting some professional help, despite love, and intellectual understanding about love and appropriate expressions, if you aren’t comfortable with it because of the actions of another, you need to get some help. As the verse in Corinthians says, No man will be tempted above that which he is able to bear, but God will prepare a way for you to escape it. It sucks to find out exactly how much we can bear. It’s incredibly painful and hurts us in ways we can’t imagine. But if we seek His help, we’ll be OK.

    As for the problems with orgasm, I suggest becoming more familiar with your body and your orgasm with your husband. Laura’s book has some great suggestions, and a trip to spencers gifts in most malls can also procure “marital aids” aka a vibrator. I would suggest trying them with your husband, if he’s open to it, and trying to achieve orgasm on a regular basis.

  • ofy53 September 30, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    JustMe:

    Your reference to thebyuboard is not one that I would necessarily recommend. You have students with very little experience in Church leadership/background giving opinions about something that is not easily addressed by quoting obscure letters, which are not intended to be doctrine.

    If the Brethren were truly concerned enough about the issue of oral sex, don’t you think that it would be an issue that they would continue to preach about? I.e. pornography? Either it is an abomination, or it is not. Other than that, it is left up to the couple to decide.

    For what it is worth, Brother Brinley has a strong opinion about oral sex – he has hung his hat on the those letters and tried to pass them off as doctrine. In his book, Between Husband and Wife, the first printings had a reference in the index to oral sex. When you turned to the page mentioned in the index it went to the Chapter on Drawing The Line (or unholy practices), but never mentioned oral sex! Now, if you look at current printings of the book, you will not find any references in the index to oral sex. Why is that?

    I have heard of Stake Presidents who preached to their Stakes that oral sex was a sin, only to come back to their Stake a few weeks later and withdraw their comments – telling them that they were out of line with their comments.

    Furthermore, some of the advice given in some of those letters talks about “if your are uncomfortable enough to ask about a practice then it would be wise to discontinue the practice (paraphrased)”. As Laura, or other professional counselors will tell you, this can cause more problems rather than helping. That is what the whole GGS is about – people who have unhealthy guilt trips, largely due to prior experiences and teachings. Suppose someone were taught by their parents, or a leader, that the missionary position is the only acceptable position for sex? Any other position that their spouse wanted to try would be considered wrong and would cause problems within the marriage bed. By telling this person that because they are troubled with the question of having sex in something other than the missionary position, then they should probably not try them, would be wrong. It would just validate their own wrong conditioning and create more of a wedge in their relationship.

  • Laura M. Brotherson October 3, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    Hi Xenon,

    In reply to your August 19th comment — I’m a big fan of 12-step programs as I believe they help someone get to the spiritual angle of our mortal weaknesses. I certainly think a 12-step program could be helpful to any struggle we might have, but I almost wonder if there would need to be a dedicated 12-step program for sexual inhibition issues such as the Good Girl Syndrome (GGS). (I’m trying to imagine how it would work for someone to attend an Overeater’s Anonymous meeting, for instance, with GGS issues?)

    I think people can overcome the GGS in the same ways they do any other mental reprogramming (cognitive restructuring). Challenging negative and unproductive beliefs can be done verbally through therapy or I encourage people to get a notebook and start identifying the beliefs and replacing them with positive and more productive beliefs.

  • […] the book and in her blog, Laura talks about what she calls “The Good Girl Syndrome” (GGS). Here’s the […]

  • On Waiting | First Flesh to One Flesh June 19, 2013 at 10:49 am

    […] led us into all sorts of problems with sexuality among Mormons and other Christians, such as the good girl syndrome.  As it turns out, however, most of those problems are not cause by naïveté, or even ignorance, […]

  • Patrick April 10, 2016 at 2:35 pm

    The vague, sanitized language sometimes used by LDS therapists almost seems to imply simply replacing an extreme GGS with a slightly less harmful one.

    GGS is about meaning frames. A sustainable, interesting, and satisfying sex life is about comfort with multiple meaning frames.

    Sometimes sex isn’t a rose petals-and-candles-eye-gazing-transcendent experience. Sometimes sex is a passionate quickie on the kitchen cabinet. Sometimes it’s fondling at the drive-in, or dirty talk over the phone. Sometimes it’s even pretending to be a stressed out surgeon and his new nurse.

    Vague assurances that physical pleasure in marriage is a good thing fails to adequately set the stage for the sexual script revision that is necessary for LDS culture. That’s my take anyway.

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