What’s Okay and What Isn’t Sexually?

Right up at the top of the list of things I get asked about the most are all of the what’s okay and what isn’t types of questions. I have addressed this topic fairly extensively in the writings mentioned below, but I do have a few additional thoughts for people to consider as they work together as husband and wife to determine what is right for them and what is in keeping with God’s plan for sexual relations in marriage.

Needing Approval

First of all I have some concerns about those of us who feel the need to get approval for a certain behavior or confirmation of “something we’ve heard” that’s okay or not okay in the bedroom. I guess I can understand where people are coming from though. Many of us just want to do what’s right and proper in God’s eyes and would rather err on the side of being extra cautious than not. I can certainly relate. I too always want to do what’s right.

Spiritual Confidence

My concern comes in when I see how many of us are not well versed in the language of the spirit of God and/or are not confident in our ability to receive divine guidance on this delicate subject. Some of us simply don’t want to put in the extra effort required to study it out and gain insight directly from the Lord on the matter. I do hope we will all strive to be better connected to the Source of divine guidance and less dependent on human validation.

Questions to Consider

In the meantime, I’ve identified a few questions and a quote that may help each of us in our marriages as we sort out the many what’s okay and what isn’t questions that abound.

Let’s say you want to add such-and-such to your lovemaking and really wonder if it’s appropriate or not. Here are some questions to ask yourself and to discuss with your spouse:

  • What is the purpose or intent of the behavior, etc. that you are wondering about?
  • What are the short-term and long-term outcomes of adding this to your intimate relationship?
  • Is the marriage relationship more likely to be strengthened or might it be weakened?

Yardstick for Appropriate Sexual Behavior

This quote by Susannah Wesley (mother of John Wesley) is an excellent yardstick by which we can measure anything we are wondering about regarding sex in marriage:

“Whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or takes off your relish for spiritual things, whatever increases the authority of the body over the mind, that thing is sin to you, however innocent it may seem in itself.”

I love that statement. What an wonderful measure for us to use to determine for ourselves the goodly or not-so-goodly behaviors we may want to consider in our intimate relationship. What might be okay for some couples might not be for others, and these questions can help us identify our uniquely individual answers.

Additional Information on What’s Okay and What Isn’t

  • You can find additional information about “What’s Okay and What Isn’t” in our book “And They Were Not Ashamed” (pg 135 – pg 142).
  • You can also listen to The Marital Intimacy Show episode #056 “Healthy Sex” where I share some key information to help couples understand the difference between healthy sex and unhealthy or pornography-related sex
  • In our Straight Talk Q&A I also address the the issue of oral sex.

Some of the issues I address in these various resources are:

  • Couples should feel free to express and develop their lovemaking within the intimate sanctuary of marriage.
  • Teaching correct principles — Not needing a laundry list of do’s and don’ts.
  • Common beliefs that can be detrimental to a healthy relationship.
  • The idea that once you’re married anything goes.
  • The suggestion that if you’re concerned about any particular behavior you should discontinue it.
  • Principles and teachings to help couples determine what’s okay and what isn’t.
  • We do not need to be commanded in all things.
  • We cannot possibly address all the ways to sin.
  • We need to follow the spirit of the law.
  • Couples can learn line upon line.
  • The Savior used parables and symbols to teach, allowing for individual understanding.
  • Dealing with sexual differences in marriage.
  • How to distinguish between godly and sinful behavior in the sexual relationship of marriage.
  • Understanding negative sexual conditioning.
  • Understanding divine guidance.
  • Identifying negative beliefs and developing spiritual sensitivity.
  • Why couples need to determine their answers for themselves.
  • Using someone’s opinions about what’s okay to badger one’s spouse.

I hope this information helps couples answer some of the many questions they have!

Related Posts

  • JJ September 24, 2007 at 3:13 pm

    I find myself often in the category of those that want approval from others for these matters. I think it is largely a case of laziness- that many people do not want to make the effort to get their own answers of what is right or wrong. Often it seems easier for others to tell us what is right/wrong, but where is the growth and exercise of agency in this approach? In addition, I think we often are not confident enough in our ability to discern the promptings of the spirit to know that our prayers and questions will be clearly answered.

    You make very good points that we should not expect to be commanded in all things and that we should seek heavenly guidance in matters where no specific counsel has been given.

    • UnderTheSun October 20, 2007 at 11:03 pm

      It’s intriguing to listen to people talk about what kind of sex they like and don’t like. Some declare religious rules of right and wrong, such as the classic “missionary position”. For most, it’s just a matter of strong personal preference what types of positions are used, where sex is done, and what goes on during sex.

      I’m definitely not a sexpert, but I have made a few observations. Other than banning homosexuality, bestiality, and extra-marital sex and probably polygamy, I don’t know anything that the Bible forbids when it comes to sex. Other than that, only the general Christian principles of kindness, selflessness, gentleness, and the like apply.

      In any close relationship, there are many ways to say “I love you”. Sometimes you listen empathetically; sometimes you do a favor; sometimes you just enjoy each others’ presence. Sometimes, based on the current emotional state of your friend, one is more needed or appropriate than another.

      So, too, in love making. Every little twist on how you have sex changes the way you are saying “I love you” to your spouse. And sex isn’t a “point in time” event; it expresses itself over time, and as a particular love making act unfolds, the physical activity reflects what you’re saying to each other emotionally. And so you may start the act “saying” one thing to each other both physically and emotionally, and then evolve and transition into something else.

      So there’s what might be called a “sex language”. And I think part of the key is to keep in mind not so much what you’re doing physically with your spouse as what you’re saying emotionally to them.

      At this point, it would be ideal to lay out a “lexicon” of just what what each type of physical act translates to in the emotional language of love. Unfortunately, I haven’t dissected that much detail. But here are a few general interpretations I see:

      – The person on top: it seems to be that being on top indicates not so much dominance but aggression (in a good sense, hopefully). This person is the pursuer, going after the beloved, hopefully for both their pleasure.

      – The person on the bottom: the willing participant. “I like being loved by you, and I want you to love me”.

      Similarly, you say something different whether you are facing your spouse vs. front to back. Kissing their lips is different than kissing their cheeks, or neck, or chest. Scratching backs, rubbing feet, stroking hair all have a message. And having intercourse, giving “hand jobs”, and giving oral sex are each very different and very special ways of saying “I love you”. And then there are all the places to have sex, and different times and situations, and so on. They all say something different about your love for each other. And so it’s not that one way is best as much as the greater the variety, the more multi-faceted your love for each other.

      Now, some people have inhibitions about some parts of the “sex repertoire”, and that is natural. What I want to emphasize is that good love-making isn’t always natural and intuitive; often it’s a process that is learned by experience over time. Think about how children think: when children see their teenage sibling kissing a friend, they say “yuck!!” And depending on the situation, young children who learn about sexual intercourse think it’s disgusting. But as we learn to reprogram our minds alongside the message from our hormones, not to mention a growing understanding of relevant anatomy and physiology, the result (when everything works right) is a healthy heterosexual hunger. And that mental “training” about sex isn’t a one time event; it’s a learning process that grows over a lifetime in a healthy marriage. And when this learning process goes awry in one way or another, that’s how you end up with developmental disorders like low libido, overactive libido, homosexual attraction, and so on.

      Now, having hopefully made it clear that sex is a physical language of an emotional relationship, it should follow that an unhealthy emotional relationship can be indicated by dysfunctional sex practices. Sado-massochistic sex, bondage, rape are examples, although I can’t decide whether or not the first two are dysfunctional even when both partners participate willingly. I’ll leave this for a more experienced mind to comment on.

      So in conclusion, if we observe that God has declared very few sex practices as forbidden but has instead instructed us on how to love one another; and we further observe that sex doesn’t necessarily come “naturally” but requires mental training to learn how to please our partner as well as ourself, we are then freed up to enjoy sex as a venue for synergizing love rather than being held back by guilt or disgust.

      Having said this, no one should be forced to do something which they feel guilty or disgusted about. Not only would they not be able to enjoy it, but their partner would be at fault for not being sensitive to their inhibitions. But it’s important to distinguish between an inhibition based on what could be called sexual immaturity and simply “personal preference”. Preferences should give deference to fuller expressions of love. In other words, if you are “turned off” by a particular act, you should be willing to explore the possibility that your response may stem from poor conditioning and that, given some rethinking, the act holds the potential for great love making. This is a maturation step that you can’t force, but which each spouse should strive towards.

      And there’s something else to consider when the conflict of sexual preferences is between the two partners. You have each taken a vow of fidelity to one another. Looking to other people or pornography is off limits and only serves to drive you away from each other emotionally. There is no fair response to that type of binding loyalty from your spouse but to do everything within your power to make sure that they are not tempted to violate that committment. You are the only person on the face of the earth who is “fair game” now; you need to step up to the plate. (see 1 Cor. 7)

      But this shouldn’t be seen as a chore! Please your spouse and, unless they callously take you for granted, they will do everything in their power to return the favor. Secondly, once your spouse learns that you are committed to meeting their needs, their anxiety will relax and its associated level of “need” will diminish. Thirdly, there’s a deep satisfaction to be found in knowing how vital you are to the well-being of that other person and how dependent they are on you, not unlike the feeling of a mother nursing their newborn.

      So get up and have sex! Throw off your guilt and disgust and take sex out of Satan’s realm and back into God’s glory where it was created and where it belongs. And in the process, you’ll not only be personally exhilarated but your spouse will be ecstatic and your marriage will find a strength that it could never know otherwise. Sex done right really is “making love”.

    • letsbefriends January 21, 2008 at 5:42 pm

      When it comes to what’s ok and what’s not, the whole focus changes once you get married. It’s not about what body parts you touch or how you stimulate your spouse. You are now in a covenant marriage and are commanded to be one. The focus is now on showing love in the way your spouse can feel love. The focus is now on becoming selfless and less concerned about what is comfortable to your but what is desirable to your spouse.

      Inhibitions have very little place in the husband wife sexual relationship. Honesty, patience, love giving, oneness, those are the operative words. They apply to both spouses. However, in the intimate sexual relationship they seam to be harder to demonstrate for the less interested spouse.

      For some reason, the “don’t touch that” mentality carries over into marriage. Spouses need to be free to explore, without any feeling of guilt. If it is done in the spirit of love, giving and understanding, then there is nothing to feel guilty of.

  • Lamar50 November 17, 2007 at 9:29 am

    I have a couple of mixed Feelings about Laura’s book. I very much agree with most of her book but have some minor reservations. (Let the Spirit guide)

    We are so inundated with all sorts of media with sex. I believe that my ancestors who were married 200 or even 100 years ago only had sex once in a great while. It was not on their mind like it is today. They were so concerned with the needs of their families, working hard every day to provide and put food on the table. They were not bombarded with images and suggestions of the glory of sex. Sex was not worn out like an old pair of socks that needs mending like it seems to be today with special techniques.

    It is natural that because it is in our face every day we think about it more often and the chemistry sets our natural instincts to peruse it.

    James E. Faust said in 2005

    Secularism does not accept many things as absolutes. Its principal objectives are pleasure and self-interest. Often those who embrace secularism have a different look about them. As Isaiah observed, “The show of their countenance doth witness against them.”

    Yet with all the secularism in the world, many people hunger and yearn for the things of the Spirit and hearing the word of the Lord. As Amos prophesied: “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord:

    “And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.”

    I believe it is possible to end the famine by turning to the Lord for that water springing up into everlasting life and never thirst again.

    This next scriptural example is of a woman who had many husbands over time and by the time of this incident was living with a man, I think pointing out, that she had a physical thirst that could not be satisfied.

    John 4

    9 Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.

    10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.

    11 The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?

    12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?

    13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:

    14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

    15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.

    Here are a list of scriptures one should keep in mind when reading and considering books and discussion as found on this site.

    Romans 8

    5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

    6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

    7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

    8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

    Mosiah 16:5

    5 But remember that he that persists in his own carnal nature, and goes on in the ways of sin and rebellion against God, remaineth in his fallen state and the devil hath all power over him. Therefore he is as though there was no redemption made, being an enemy to God; and also is the devil an enemy to God.

    James Chapter 1

    21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

    22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

    23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:

    24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.

    25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

    26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue […and body], but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.

    27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

    When one is overcome with thoughts and temptations to wrongly fulfill the appetites of the flesh, serving others and taking care of those in need quickly can remove these thoughts and temptations as James indicates in the last verse.

    • JustMe November 27, 2007 at 3:53 pm

      ctrstandards: interesting comments. I wish that there were more traffic and participation here. I believe this site and the blog here could become a tremendous resource to dispell false notions about intimacy and to improve marriages. Hopefully more will find the site and contribute in the future.

      When I first heard of Laura’s book, I was skeptical. Like you said, the media bombards us with sexual messages. I thought, how difficult could it be to sell a book about sex?

      But, there is a vast difference between just “sex” and true marital intimacy. What I enjoy about Laura’s efforts is that she isn’t just promoting sex- she’s promoting all aspects of marital intimacy. In my opinion, the world is in serious need of stronger families, and it begins with marriage, so I applaud Laura’s work.

      The quote you reference from President Faust and the scriptures you cite are good reminders, but I don’t think they apply to honest marital intimacy. For example, secularism, as I understand it, is the absence of religious ideals. There is nothing wrong with sexuality itself, but the world has taken something pure and good and has polluted it. I agree that the worldly view of sex is something to be avoided, but again, the worldly view is not what Laura is promoting. Similarly, we should not be carnally minded, but a couple can and should be intimate without either party being carnally minded.

      Desiring the joy that comes from physical, emotional, and spiritual oneness with one’s spouse is 100% compatible with living the gospel to its fullness. The fact that the world’s view of sex is one of selfish gratification does not mean that that is what God intended or that we all have to adopt that view.

      • Lamar50 November 29, 2007 at 7:04 am

        Justme, Thank you for responding to my Post.

        “Desiring the joy that comes from physical, emotional, and spiritual oneness with one’s spouse is 100% compatible with living the gospel to its fullness. The fact that the world’s view of sex is one of selfish gratification does not mean that that is what God intended or that we all have to adopt that view.”

        I agree. I also believe that it is as much and perhaps more 100% compatible with the gospel to bridal those desires, deny oneself and daily pick up the Christian Cross. I think some if not most men need this council more than women. There is power; strength and blessing that come from picking up the cross daily. It requires faith, just as much faith as the women at the well who could not see the cup that Christ had to dip and give her the living water.

        I did not mention what troubles me with some of Laura’s book, I said “let the Spirit guide” 1) I am a bit troubled by the techniques mentioned to assist in the women during sex. I would not rule it out, that a very few may benefit with these techniques because of other factors that are not common among most. But I wonder if these techniques for some seem needed or required only because expectations of fulfillment have increased with frequency and media bombardment. 2) I would find more value to the book if more were mentioned about the goodness that can come by putting more effort into bridling desires and appetites of the flesh, yet, if Laura’s book does not cover that part of it, we have plenty of other resources in the gospel, conference talks, (Read Neal A. Maxwell April CR. 1987) and the scriptures that do.

        I do value Laura’s work and book. The Good Girl Syndrome is very real and has been especially in my marriage. Children certainly have to be taught a lot sooner and differently than generations ago and there are many, many more good things she writes and talks about.

        • JustMe November 29, 2007 at 2:16 pm

          ctrstandards: Thank you for your comments. This discussion has been beneficial to me, and I hope that you will add additional feedback. I have thought much about these issues, and it is this type of dialogue that helps me to understand truth about a topic that I feel is widely misunderstood.

          I think we agree then that sex itself is not inherently “bad” or evil, and that it is in fact “good” and wholesome and even divinely appointed within the bonds of marriage.

          I admit though that in my opinion, it is a complex issue because the keys seem to be our motives and maintaining a proper balance, and both of these are very difficult to keep in check. For example, at even given time, we might have various motives for desiring physical intimacy. Some of these motives are “pure” and selfless, such as the desire to strengthen the bond with our spouse, to express love, or even to give pleasure. Some of these motives are less “pure” and more selfish, such as the desire to receive pleasure and to satisfy one’s own needs. Because of its physical nature and appeal to the body, I believe it is very difficult to “parse” out our motives to determine if our interest in physical intimacy is “pure” or not.

          With one person, the issue of “motives” is complicated enough, but add the spouse’s motives to the equation and things can become even more complicated. Then add to that the fact that rarely will both spouses have the same interest in or desire for intimacy. So, it really does become a balancing act.

          You indicate that denying oneself and bridling desires and appetites is as important if not more so than seeking intimacy with one’s spouse. To take that to its normal conclusion, the couple would end up celibate, would they not? I understand that there are limits and that it is unhealthy and unproductive to dwell continually on sex. But it seems confusing to me to say on one hand that sex is good and on the other hand that we should deny ourselves of this goodness. How does one determine whether sexual expression is “ok” or whether one should bridle their desire?

    • Laura M. Brotherson December 7, 2007 at 1:14 am

      Hello ctrstandards,

      I’m finally taking a moment to try to respond to some of the posts. This is in reply to your first post dated: 2007-11-17 09:29:57

      I’m not sure that I’m clear on exactly what your concern is, or what the message is you want to send. At first glance it seems to be that you are wanting to make sure people don’t get too focused on sex or worldly teachings about it. Is that correct?

      I’m not sure if your perception is that our book or the teachings contained therein are too worldly or what? I guess the one concern that comes to my mind in reading your post is that all the scriptures and such seem to imply a disconnect between seeking sexual fulfillment in marriage and godliness, or more simply I’m not sure if you acknowledge sex as a good thing.

      Remember that one of my primary injunctions is to help people take sex out of the darkness–out of Satan’s territory–and restore it to God’s light where it was originally created and should remain (or return).

      Maybe your words are meant more for those who find themselves consumed with thoughts about sex and/or the lack thereof in their marriages. I just want to note that there are loads of spouses (often the wife) that don’t need any extra encouragement in seeing sex as something “less-than” or unworthy of one’s time and attention.

      So many people still have an underlying notion of sex as carnal, sensual, devilish and NOT something to spend any time or effort “pondering.” For many people the reverse is true.

      I would suggest that in nearly every marriage one spouse has a “spontaneous” desire for sexual intimacy, and the other has a “cultivated” (or not-yet-cultivated) desire for sexual intimacy. It’s true that some of our spontaneous-desire spouses really need to work on the “bridling” aspect of their sexuality, but it’s equally true that others need to really work on the awakening and cultivating aspect of their sexuality.

      If it’s just that you disagree with what I teach or what I’m trying to do to help strengthen marriages sexually, that’s okay too. We all have our different perceptions from which we live our lives.

      I do appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts. I’m sure others benefit from the exchanges here.

      • Lamar50 December 8, 2007 at 1:21 am

        I am the spouse that has a “spontaneous” desire for sexual intimacy; it’s true that I have to work on the “bridling” aspect. Both my wife and I have come a long ways in overcoming the “good girl” syndrome and perhaps I am not completely there yet. My wife has pretty well overcome any these types of feelings although she is still very private and would rather not initiate, flirt and rarely puts on intimate apparel. Her desire for sexual intercourse is only once or twice a month, her desire to be held, hugged and cuddled is every night and I like that too. My desire for sex can be almost every day. I am still somewhat challenged by some of the suggested activities or methods to fully arouse my wife, but find that these methods are not required if I wait until she is truly in the mood and has a need for intercourse. The scriptures I have stated above help me when I feel rejected or know my sexual drive will not be met for some time. The “Woman at the Well” scripture in John is one of the best and most helpful scriptures in a time of need. There are also many scripture that make reference to picking up the Christian Cross daily. I believe there is great spiritual power that comes to those who do and can pick up the cross especially without complaint or feeling sorry. I am glad my marriage is as it is. It is a perfect marriage in that we have these perfect challenges. These are perfect challenges that are helping me come to know Christ and come to know that he knows me. I would not have it any other way.

        • Laura M. Brotherson January 14, 2008 at 6:21 pm

          Hi ctrstandards,

          I think I better understand that your comments (and concerns with our book) may be because the focus of the book is more about awakening and developing one’s sexuality than about “bridling” it. (That’s another book to write at some point!) From your perspective as the spouse who struggles with the bridling side of things I can see that your focus on “taking up your cross,” and “denying yourself of all ungodliness,” etc. is a good one. Any challenges we face ultimately encourage us to turn to Christ for help, which is good and, I believe, as God intended. It is certainly a real challenge for most couples to work through their sexual “incompatibility” issues in marriage. But I think most couples must tackle this. I do hope that at some point you and your wife’s sexuality will come together more satisfactorily.

  • Lamar50 November 30, 2007 at 8:30 am

    “How does one determine whether sexual expression is “ok” or whether one should bridle their desire?” You asked.

    At least for me and my wife, I feel that our sexual relationship and time together works best when we both are equally drawn together at the same time. That can be once or twice a month. It has taken 16 years of marriage to learn to give her her space, accept that the timing is not right. It has also taken 16 years and reading good books like Laura’s book for her to appreciate my needs and desires and thus help increase the number of times.

    Restating what I said above…”bridal those desires, deny oneself and daily pick up the Christian Cross. I think some if not most men need this council more than women. There is power; strength and blessing that come from picking up the cross daily. It requires faith, just as much faith as the women at the well who could not see the cup that Christ had to dip and give her the living water.”

    I think many men, would if they could desire to have sex every day. My wife is very private, very shy and has never really ever felt comfortable even wearing intimate apparel. She does not like getting undressed in front of me. As a loving husband, I can and should be respectful of that. It has not been easy. But it has proven to be the right thing to be loving and respectful.

    • JustMe November 30, 2007 at 1:56 pm

      I guess the hard part is accepting the fact that it is often the husband that does the bridling while the wife, for various reasons, often seems to care very little about this aspect of the relationship. (Obviously there are many exceptions and variations.)

      It seems that marriage partners should be equally yoked, not just in chores, raising the children, etc., but also in intimacy. But, one spouse cannot really change another. If a spouse has little interest in intimacy, the other spouse can’t do too much about it except to continue to love and respect (as you said) their spouse. In my opinion, this is much easier said than done though. This type of unconditional love, in my opinion, is very difficult to have. While I can go days, weeks, months, or years if necessary without any physical intimacy, it devestates me that my wife knows that intimacy is important to me but doesn’t seem to care. So, bridling passion is not the issue for me, but trying to love unconditionally while feeling rejected and ignored almost seems like an impossible challenge for me and definitely has a negative impact on all aspects of our relationship.

  • Lamar50 November 30, 2007 at 4:28 pm

    I know the feeling. Here is another good book you and your wife should read togehter. But don’t set any expectations on your end.

    This to is by a Laura, Dr. Laura Schlessinger


    I can recommend others that may help after you read this one if you haven’t already.

    • JustMe November 30, 2007 at 11:53 pm

      Thanks for the recommendation. I’ve seen this book but have not read it. I would love to read this (or anything, for that matter) with my wife, but I honestly feel that she’s not interested. In fact, she becomes defensive at the mere mention of such things. In many ways my wife is amazing. Over the years though, I feel as though our relationship has been derailed, mostly from neglect.

      Perhaps one of my problems is having too high expectations. To me, progress is important, but as I look at our relationship, rather than growing and maturing together and developing a closer and deeper love for each other, I feel as though we have grown apart. This distance bothers me, and I am axious to try to restore the closeness that we enjoyed during courtship and early marriage. I am not sure if my wife either feels closer to me than I do to her or if the distance between us just doesn’t bother her. Either way, I feel as though she is very happy with status quo, so I don’t know what more I can do except to try to lower my expectations, be grateful for her, and to try develop completely unconditional love. I always seem to feel some disappointment though, which she obviously detects, then becomes defensive or indifferent, and we remain in this negative, downward cycle that seems very difficult to break….

  • Lamar50 December 1, 2007 at 5:28 pm

    I might suggest the following:

    1. See if you and your wife could get in to see a marriage counselor. You can get a referral from your bishop to see LDS Family Services and usually if finances are not there on your end, it may be taken care of by ward funds.

    2. Start now with a commitment to forget yourself and your needs. You could be in Iraq right now and not even be enjoying the comforts of your own home, needless to say the companionship of your wife. Keeping that type of perspective can help.

    3. Do everything you can to serve your wife with absolutely no strings attached in your mind. Don’t make it too obvious but gradually increase your service to her. Pray for her happiness and well being.

    4. Continue to study the scriptures and conference reports. You will find greater power to have a more meaningful and happier relationship.

    5. Try just holding your wife and hugging her at night with no ententions to do anything more but just to love her and hold her. Continue to tell her she is beautiful, gorgeous, and the sweetest women you know. If you are not sure you feel that way about her, then pray for inspiration for the right and truthful compliments that will uplift her and feel loved and needed by you.

    6. If you can afford it, talk to Laura Brotherson, line up an appointment.

    7. Spend money on your wife. Put as much faith into wining and dinning her as you would paying tithing. I recently spent $400 on concert tickets to take my wife to a Josh Groban concert in Salt Lake. She had the time of her life. Don’t fail to date each week.

    7. Don’t give up.

  • Lamar50 December 1, 2007 at 9:29 pm

    I need to add one more. This should be number 9.

    Take every opportunity you have when you are with others and your wife is not around, to tell them the positive things you see in your wife. A lot of couples see their spouse either with the cup half full or half empty. When I start telling others the positive things of my wife, it does not take long and then all of a sudden, her cup of positives is over flowing and the negative things don’t matter anymore.

  • kristyluc December 4, 2007 at 11:17 pm

    I couldn’t help but feel extremely touched when reading these comments. To know that you men are that concerned for your wives, loving them unconditionally, is a very amazing thing. I have recently finished Laura’s book myself and I was very skeptical at first. After reading it daily, I started to realize that it was going to be a very good thing for my relationship with my husband. I have always struggled in the sex department and I have been very frustrated for years. After reading this wonderful book, my relationship with my husband has been more that I could have ever hoped for. I have felt closer to him this past little while than I have ever been in my life.


    you mentioned above that you were a little disturbed at the fact that Laura mentioned certain techniques regarding women. I just have to say that I truly am GRATEFUL for these techniques mentioned. I didn’t know where to go or who to turn to for information about that. It was extremely comforting to know that I could get information from a member of the church who understood exactly what I was going through. I had little hope for ever having an intimate bond with my husband or ever enjoying sex. If I ever meet Laura, I will give her a big hug and thank her from the bottom of my heart for the happiness she has brought into my marriage. I just want to ask this question.. Has either of your wives read this book?

    • JustMe December 5, 2007 at 12:29 pm

      ctrstandards: thanks for the suggestions. I especially appreciate the focus on those things that I can do myself- serving, studying, spending money on her, etc. It is easy to end up feeling like a victim, trapped, without any way to change my situation, but obviously that is not the case. There is much that I need to do to be a better husband, so those suggestions are good.

      kristyluc: to answer your question, my wife hasn’t read Laura’s book. I would love for her to read it but realistically don’t think that will happen. For one, she rarely reads at all. For two, if she does read, it would never be about marriage or intimacy.

      It is always such a thrill to read about husbands and/or wives that have had a breakthrough in their relationship. I can only hope that something similar will happen with me and my wife. As I mentioned above, there is much that I can do on my own to improve as a husband, and perhaps my faith is lacking, but at the same time I feel that the true oneness that I yearn for can only come from a joint effort between the two of us.

  • Lamar50 December 5, 2007 at 9:08 pm


    Thank you for your comments, I also appreciated your comments on the other post as well.

    My wife and I have read several books on intimacy. I took a religion class at MCC’s institute when I first go off my mission. One of the books I thought was exceptional that was used as a text was titled something like Human Intimacy: Allusion vs. Reality. That was a good one to start with. From there we have read four or five others together, the latest being this one from Laura Brotherson. What is considered OK and not OK in the bedroom I think a lot depends on the meaning of the action. For me, the closer we can love and caress one another and both reach ecstasy and fulfillment and/or orgasm without having to manually stimulate genitals with fingers the more right it feels.

    I have found that with increased frequency, more of these manual types of techniques seem to be needed to have fulfillment. When some time has passed without having had sex, it seems to all come together in sync with simple caressing and kissing then intercourse timing is just right. The Good Girl Syndrome is real for many couples. It has been for both of us. It is so easy to feel guilty about certain activities that sometimes happen when letting go of inhibitions, but, sometimes letting loose of these inhibitions may drive actions that seem to be or are more ungodly. Staying in tune with the Holy Ghost is very important and when you feel you have strayed too far, make changes in heart and mind and avoid that activity again.

    Laura makes mention of the G spot and is pretty descriptive in techniques used. On a practical note, it is pretty difficult to perform such techniques without introducing unhealthy bacteria or yeast into the vagina. One would have to scrub up like a doctor or where sterile gloves to be sure that a yeast infection or a malodorous condition does not get introduced. Hands are very difficult to keep clean and are in contact with many contaminated objects throughout the day. A simple hand wash I do not think can cut it.

    This earth life is full of pain, but when the pain is gone, how much more we appreciate feeling good. No pain, no gain I think applies to a degree in marriage. And the more incompatible we are with each other, the greater the reward when it all finally comes together after 60 years of marriage and by the time we are 80 or 90 we will think why did we worry so much about it anyway.

  • kristyluc December 6, 2007 at 12:41 pm


    I have to say that I don’t like the “G” spot thing either.. but I’ve never heard it being unhealthy.. or there being a chance for infection. I’m sure there is a slight chance, but if it were a serious concern, I would have heard about it.

    I struggled with the “good girl syndrome” for years. It has taken me a long time to realize that sex is good and that manuel stimulation is ok and totally necessary for our relationship. I know that you said you struggle in this area. I, like you, felt very uncomfortalbe with manuel stimulation. I have had to gain a personal testimony of this and it has taken a LONG time. Now, I KNOW that God approves of our actions and I feel His spirit continually.

    Just a side note.. I attended MCC institute as well!

  • Lamar50 December 14, 2007 at 8:08 am

    Earlier I made reference to one particular talk that relates to the points I have tried to make in this forum. I have not read it recently and read it again this morning and find it very fitting for this topic and I wanted to post the link to it: http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/EmailArticleProcess?action=view&cmlId=151546&locale=0&emId=977199601

    Although most of us who find or need and or value Laura’s book are not adulterers, Elder Maxwell makes some pretty strong statements to those in that catagory. Yet, the point I am trying to make with his talk is for those of us who are daily tempted, who whine and complain about their challenges with the appitites of the flesh. There are many, many excellent statements directed to me and to the rest of us. Here are just a couple of examples:

    He has borne the sins, griefs, sorrows, and, declared Jacob, the pains of every man, woman, and child (see 2 Ne. 9:21). Having been perfected in His empathy, Jesus thus knows how to succor us.

    We can, therefore, actually do as Peter urged and cast our cares upon the Lord (see 1 Pet. 5:7); He is familiar with them, including even the feeling of being forsaken (see Mark 14:50, Mark 15:34). Nothing is beyond His redeeming reach or His encircling empathy. Therefore, we should not complain about our own life’s not being a rose garden when we remember who wore the crown of thorns!

    And another few good examples:

    The Church would grow much faster now, numerically and spiritually, if it were not for the wickedness of the world (see 1 Ne. 14:12). It would also grow much faster if you and I were better by taking up the Christian cross daily (see Luke 9:23). Part of taking up the cross is denying ourselves the lusts and appetites of the flesh. “For it is better,” the resurrected Jesus said, “that ye should deny yourselves of these things, wherein ye will take up your cross” (3 Ne. 12:30).

    Thus, the daily taking up of the cross means daily denying ourselves the appetites of the flesh.

    By emulating the Master, who endured temptations but “gave no heed unto them,” we, too, can live in a world filled with temptations “such as [are] common to man” (1 Cor. 10:13). Of course Jesus noticed the tremendous temptations that came to him, but He did not process and reprocess them. Instead, He rejected them promptly. If we entertain temptations, soon they begin entertaining us! Turning these unwanted lodgers away at the doorstep of the mind is one way of giving “no heed.” Besides, these would-be lodgers are actually barbarians who, if admitted, can be evicted only with great trauma.

    In a decaying environment, the mind is the last redoubt of righteousness, and it must be preserved even amid bombardment by evil stimuli. Christ is competent to see us through, “for in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted” (Heb. 2:18).

    As promised, He will make either “a way to escape” or a way “to bear it” (1 Cor. 10:13).

  • JustMe December 14, 2007 at 1:24 pm

    ctrstandards: The quotes you reference are good; however, I should read the whole talk to understand the context before commenting.

    To me and my understanding, the problem is not the topic itself (proper, God ordained intimacy between husband and wife) but the degree to which we allow this to consume our lives. There are bounds that the Lord has set, and as long as we are within those bounds, intimacy is something to be embraced, not shuned. However, if we aren’t careful, we can easily cross into the worldly view of sexuality, where our primary concern becomes our own need/desire instead of concern for our spouse, or we can allow thoughts and desires for sex consume an inordinate amount of our time and attention.

    For some, it may require a certain amount of bridling one’s passions to maintain the proper perspective and balance, and for others, it may require that they actually try harder to think about sexuality and to develop this aspect of the relationship.

    I do not believe that there is any inherit value for everyone to categorically avoid thinking of or desiring a mutually satisfactory fulfilling sexual relationship with one’s spouse. To do this is essentially believing that sex is inherently bad. If, however, you believe that sex is ordained of God, then it is not to be avoided but to be embraced and enjoyed within proper bounds. It is as bad or unwise, in my opinion, to call good something that is evil as it is to call evil something that is good….

  • Lamar50 December 17, 2007 at 2:29 pm


    There are probably more marriages out of balance in the libido arena than those that are in perfect harmony. My stance on daily picking up the cross is for those of us who are married and feeling the need for more intimacy but do not find it. If a couple has an equal drive then that is wonderful and they can certainly enjoy a fulfilling marriage in that department.

    I have stated that I feel I have a perfect marriage because we have been blessed with a perfect challenge of not being equal in the libido area. All of the quotes and scriptures have helped me more than anything with this challenge.

    My wife and I have read many good books like Laura’s and they have helped but the ultimate outcome has not been an equal satisfying sex life. There have been improvements. I believe what has helped me the most is looking at it the way I have stated through these passages. That has been the greatest blessing and source of comfort and strength to my marriage.

    I found this article looking at a new Post Laura put on her site. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/showbiz/showbiznews.html?in_article_id=503025&in_page_id=1773

    I said this before too. When we are 90 years old, we are going to look back and say, why we worried so much about it. The images here make my point very well. Warning though, this site has links to other articles that could be considered PG13, TV14 or R or otherwise spiritually degrading.

    • JustMe December 26, 2007 at 3:07 pm

      ctrstandards: I agree that there are most likely very few couples where the husband and wife share the same interest, need, or desire for physical intimacy. The question then is how does each partner in the marriage handle the discrepancy. The ideal, in my opinion, is an “equal partner” marriage, and in this case, that would mean that both partners reach a compromise that both are happy with. It sounds like your marriage approaches this ideal.

      Regarding your speculation that we will, later in life or perhaps in the next life, wish that we had not worried so much about intimacy, based on my current feelings, I believe the opposite- that I will regret not trying to harder to establish a more intimate relationship with my wife.

  • Lamar50 December 26, 2007 at 7:09 pm

    In my mind a perfect marriage is one that has plenty of room for growth. My wife and I couldn’t be any more different; our beliefs, upbringing and tastes are as extreme as you might imagine a couple to have and still find happiness in marriage. As an example, I come from a long line of pioneer heritage, my paternal line came to the Salt Lake valley in the late summer of 1847, I 9 brothers and sisters and have over 100 first cousins my wife has one brother and 3 cousins. She likes country music and I like classical. I attend my meetings and church obligations religiously. She is fun and likes to relax and take life easy and makes it to church a couple times a month. She has a very large capacity for compassion and love. I fail big time in that area because I miss the mark with being too worried about meeting all my obligations like a check list. She loves her diet coke. If I were to drink one, I would feel like I have committed a sin and need to repent. (I have been working on that one, I ordered a Dr. Pepper one night when we went out to eat. She was worried something was terribly wrong with me to make such a diversion to my deportment. I was fine, I just couldn’t sleep that night, and I went on a binge and ordered 2 more cokes with my meal.)

    My wife is extremely attractive and good looking; I tell her sometimes in jest, I should have married someone not so beautiful or someone with just a sweet spirit because I am always feeling the desire to be more intimate and physical with her because of her beauty and attractiveness. I would have sex 4 times a week if she was in the mood and willing. She is in the mood only once or twice a month. Truly, this has been the most challenging aspect of our marriage; it has required a lot of prayer, scriptures and even some marriage counseling. If you find this is your greatest challenge, then marriage counseling can help. The bottom line is that I have had to change my way of thinking, my expectations, and my attitude. It has so much to do with mind over matter amd a lot of faith that the Savior will be able to quench my thirst with a water that is not well understood by the world, a water that is so fulfilling that no earthly desire can compare and engulfs any temporal desires. That is why it is such a blessing to have such a difference in our marital intimacy, yes, we do have it, and it is frequent enough especially when I am able to turn to the Lord for his well of water springing up into eternity. John 4:7-26

    I hope sharing my situation is not overdoing it. And I hope that you are able to come to a resolution that will ultimately help your marriage. I will be interested in finding out what you conclude over the next few months.

  • Lamar50 January 20, 2008 at 8:05 pm

    Hi Laura,

    You wrote:

    “Hi ctrstandards,

    I think I better understand that your comments (and concerns with our book) may be because the focus of the book is more about awakening and developing one’s sexuality than about “bridling” it. (That’s another book to write at some point!) From your perspective as the spouse who struggles with the bridling side of things I can see that your focus on “taking up your cross,” and “denying yourself of all ungodliness,” etc. is a good one. Any challenges we face ultimately encourage us to turn to Christ for help, which is good and, I believe, as God intended. It is certainly a real challenge for most couples to work through their sexual “incompatibility” issues in marriage. But I think most couples must tackle this. I do hope that at some point you and your wife’s sexuality will come together more satisfactorily.”

    You mention “That’s another book to write at some point.” You know that a book with such a title or thesis would not sell well. I would encourage you to add a new chapter to your next revision regarding the need for one or the other spouse to be more charitable and considerate and consider this plane until that perfect day when it all comes together (which for some may not be until the next life). There could be many examples given putting into perspective those who have very real tangible barriers that prevent sexual intimacy all together in this life or for a time in a person’s life.

    It has been a challenge and a disappointment to me every time I have read books on intimacy with my wife, having great hopes that she internalized the message. Of the 5 or 6 books we read, she may have implemented or applied 1 to 2%. I was hoping for a 98 to 100% implantations. By the time we got your book, recommended by a LDS Family Service Counselor, I did not set any hopes. Again, She did accept and made a 1 to 2% improvement.

    The one who needed the improvement I have finally learned was me. Ever since I have made this discovery and accepted the situation and turned to the Savior, I have been very happy with my marriage. My wife has become even more beautiful and desirable. My love for her has increased. This type of outcome is not what I had expected but it is a very welcoming and acceptable outcome that I would not want any other way.

    I think there is room for this type of dialog in your book as a single chapter at or near the end of the book.

    That is just a suggestion.

    I think your book and work over all has been a great value and asset to many lives and couples. Your book or one like it should be a required text for all Young Men and Women before they turn 18. Perhaps a gift from Mom and Dad on their 17th Birthday.

  • UnderTheSun February 24, 2008 at 11:19 pm

    JustMe: I’m feeling a great deal of pain for you — mainly because I feel the same pain myself. This discussion inspired some thoughts, and I’ll post them here. Now, how do we get our wives to read this?

    A Sign You Should Be Worried About Your Marriage


    Some women neglect their husband’s sexual needs, to their own peril. Women have vital needs, too, and lots of husbands neglect those, too. But let that be the topic of another post.

    Here’s a sign to watch out for: Your husband used to ask for sex in one way or another, but doesn’t anymore.

    How much hassle did you give him? Were you EVER in the mood? Was it like pulling teeth for him to get any type of “cooperation” from you? Did he have to do practically everything short of begging or demanding to try to get you to come around, and it usually still failed anyway? Did he make himself vulnerable to you more than once, explaining why it’s important to him and why he’d like to do anything he can to help you feel mutually, but you’ve still maintained a “no looking, no touching” approach to your marriage? Did he tell you once, perhaps with tears, that he struggled with lust for other women and felt bad about it, but you didn’t follow up by making sure you were providing a “haven” in your marriage to help draw in his emotions and keep his heart content in your love? Did he used to try to get you to come to counseling, read a book, or talk about the topic of sexual intimacy, but doesn’t do that anymore? Does he seem to come alive when you see him talking to other women, but he doesn’t get that way around you anymore?

    If any of this sounds familiar, ladies, I’d be concerned. When he struggled with the topic of sex with you, it was painful. But if he’s done struggling, you have a real problem: he’s checked out of the marriage emotionally. He’s given up. He may have reached a certain place of “resolve”; but even so, that resolve will continue to be at odds with his emotional and physiological needs. And he’s going to have to make an almost hour-by-hour decision how to handle himself in light of that internal pressure. And by golly, you’ve made it about as difficult as possible for him.

    I might add something else. How is his career doing? And how are his relationships with his friends and other family members? You have no idea how vital to his internal well-being his bond with you is. It largely shapes his self-confidence, which can impact his entire life.

    Do you remember the agony as a teenager of asking someone out and being turned down? And you thought after you were married, you thankfully never had to worry about that again? Well guess what: every time you turn down his loving advance of intimacy, it’s like cutting out his insides. (Actually, the wise wife can decline her husband, when necessary for a short time, in a way that doesn’t damage his emotions, and the mature husband will not be harmed — though he will be more ready than ever the next evening). It’s the “unrequited love” agony felt by Charlie Brown every time he tried to get close to the Little Red-Haired Girl and she blew him off. And after a few tries, it’s tempting to give up, except that if this is a women he’s made a lifetime vow to, his urgency will keep him trying. But if he tried for years and his results have gone from bad to worse, he will eventually shut down, assuming he hasn’t left you completely.

    And finally, whenever, in the interest of open communication, he brought up the topic of sexual intimacy with you, seeking to appeal to you from the heart, you got defensive or despondent about the topic, do you realize that you have now dammed the flow of communication, removing any hope of the problem being resolved, and leaving him with zero options, hopeless, and a feeling of being trapped?

    My hope is that some woman will read this and hear the pain that her husband can no longer bear to voice, and she’ll discover the love waiting for her that she never could have imagined…

  • Steve June 20, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    [From Comments Page on StrengtheningMarriage.com]

    Subject: “Within the bounds”

    Date: June 16 2008 01:46:22 AM

    I’d like some help and suggestions from others who are working through issues in their marriage with this book. I found it quite interesting and telling about our marriage that we both underlined and marked the same line, but with emphasis on different parts of the statement. We read the section about “pray for an uninhibited sex live within the bounds the Lord has set”. I circled the uninhibited part, she circled the within the bounds part. So we talked about that, and started to make a list: Showering together – outside the bounds Lingerie – maybe ok, but generally outside of the bounds Strip poker/games – outside of the bounds Strip tease – definately way outside of the bounds You probably get the idea. But how do we address this? I love my wife, and honestly, she has come a long way. She told me the night before we got married that she couldn’t imagine being naked with me – she would need to at least have a sheet or blanket over her. We are past that now after 15 years. She can have an orgasm nearly every time we make love, so I think the mechanics are there. But she is “ashamed” of so much that I would like to do in our intimate relationship. But she is convinced, even after reading the book, that all those things are outside of the bounds the at Lord has set. So I am looking for suggestions from other readers on how they worked through the “what is OK and what is not OK” section, and how you actually apply the ideas there. She is completely convinced that I am wrong to ask for any of that, and that I am spiritually out of tune. I am convinced she is suffering horribly from the good girl syndrome and overly inhibited. Any suggestions would be greatly welcomed!

    • Anonymous June 20, 2008 at 12:21 pm

      [From Comments page on StrengtheningMarriage.com]

      Subject: Inbounds out of Bounds

      Date: June 19 2008 12:45:04 AM

      Steve, I could not tell what was inbounds and out of bounds from what you wrote. There are things that my wife likes and dislikes. I think that is really what your wife is saying and using Deity as an excuse. She hasn’t tried something and doesn’t think she will like it for whatever reason. She may not be a brave soul. So, I have learned to take one step at a time and you may have to be the one to take the first step. Example, have you bought your wife a bra and panty set without asking her permission? Buy a sexy set and gift wrap it and get a romantic card and express your love for her, honestly and truly, not to just butter her up, but let her know that you love her. Along with the set get her a nice new shirt that is a bit long with long sleeves, with buttons she can wear over the set. Ask her to put it all on in another room where she can take her time, and get use to it. When she comes out praise the way she looks. After the shirt comes off, and don’t hurry with that, praise her, be honest and let her know how beautiful she is. Remember, one step at a time and take time. Be honest about how pretty she is using the words you know she would like to hear. Have you undressed your wife? That comes before striptease. She may never do one for you, but you take something off her and then let her take something of herself. Make it a game. My wife doesn’t like taking a shower with me, but she likes a tub for two. Adapt to put your wife at a comfortable level in a comfortable situation. One step at a time. Learn what she likes and dislikes. And remember there are things she just might not feel ever comfortable with. Don’t be forceful, but take the first step by talking and you may have to be the one to take the first step to try something to find out if it is something she might like after all. Think there are things in your life you do not like and don’t like to do them. Remember, don’t talk about what is in and out of bounds, but talk about likes and dislikes and talk about trying something to see if it might become something she would actually like. Also, and in all seriousness, there are bounds even when trying to find out what are your likes and dislikes are and don’t go out of bounds with trying different things. Be smart. Be patient. Be loving and neither you or your wife will regret it.

      • Steve June 20, 2008 at 12:23 pm

        [From Comments page on StrengtheningMarriage.com]

        Subject: Understanding boundaries

        Date: June 19 2008 04:00:15 PM

        Hello, Thank you very much for your response. I sorry that the formatting was not clear. Basically, the list was several things that I think are or should be “in bounds” that my wife feels are either “right at the edge” or “outside the bounds”. I appreciate the suggestion about the bra and panty set. We have actually tried something similar, and it worked out well I think. While discussing my “like” of lingerie and my request for her to wear something “sexy” more often, she told me that one major problem for her was buying it. She felt embarrassed to go to that part of the department store, and to pick something out. I asked her if she would be ok with me buying her something, and she said yes that would be OK. I picked out something that I thought was nice but not too much, wrapped it up very nice in a nice box, and gave it too her one night. It took her a couple of weeks to get up the courage to open the box, and then a couple more weeks to get up the courage to wear it, but she did. It was great, and I love her for it. So, I tried again with another piece, and that was ok as well. She has recently mentioned that she doesn’t have a pair of pretty black panties that she likes, so I am taking that on as my next mission! 😉

    • Laura M. Brotherson June 20, 2008 at 12:51 pm


      This is a difficult dilemma for many couples. I agree with the other comments that making it an issue of personal preferences rather than right and wrong can make the discussion a little more manageable.

      I would recommend you read the original post on this subject here and the additional references mentioned together with your wife. I would also recommend using the Couples Dialog on page 199-200 of my book “And They Were Not Ashamed” wheneven you have any discussions on this sensitive subject. Printing out a copy of the Dialog for both of you to have in hand as you talk can help you both strive to understand where the other is coming from before trying to further your own perspective. If this is not successful for you, you may need to solicit the help as a counselor to be a mediator to resolve these differences.

      In the course of mirroring, validating, and empathizing with each other in your conversation, each of you will have the opportunity to clarify your own motives and see where adjustments can be made on either side. Remember you can only directly change yourself. You can wish your wife would change til the cows come home, but it will be wasted energy that could be put to better use changing your own reactions to her.

      Also, it really does no good for me or anyone else to confirm either of your perceptions of reality, as you each need to come to that on your own. For example, it wouldn’t do much good for me to confirm that your wife has unnecessary inhibitions or to confirm for your wife that you may be spiritually out of tune. You’re got to come to that realization yourselves, and the Couples Dialog is one of the single best ways to do that. It may not even be a matter of right and wrong, but simply a matter of individual preferences.

      Having loving patience with your wife, and working together to increase the meeting of each other’s needs is a better plan of action than anger or resentment.

      You may be correct that your wife is simply grossed out by bodily fluids. Other women are grossed out by certain body parts and can’t even touch them. Working through such inhibitions takes time and loving patience. Your best efforts will include those that make your wife want to love you the way you want to be loved. It’s a pretty big moutain for some women to climb to overcome some of these sexual inhibitions. Positive motivation is always better than negative.

      Keep up your good efforts. For some husbands this situation might be similar to having a teenager who has taken an unfortunate path in life. You must be able to love them anyway and to patiently work towards and wait for their return.

      My efforts with marriages are to help women embrace and develop their sexuality earlier in marriage, so that the sexual relationship doesn’t become an ongoing source of contention for couples. It will take a cultural shift as much as anything. But each woman and each couple that gets it figured out contributes to the overall renewed energy regarding sexuality in marriage. Thanks for your efforts.

  • Steve June 20, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    [From Comments page on StrengtheningMarriage.com]

    Subject: Inappropriate Inhibitions Question

    Date: June 19 2008 04:12:36 PM

    Sorry to dominate this commment page, but I have one more question I’d like to get your opinion on. In this talk about our different lists of appropriate and inappropriate, I noticed what I think is a common thread in her list. While I know you don’t want to be the “bedroom police” or “permission giver”, I think this might be generic enough to be in the “teach correct principles and let them govern themselves” catagory. My dear wife told that she thinks that “everything” that drips or leaks or sqirts out of “me” is gross. So that perception of “gross” dictates many of the things that are different on our lists. Any activity that results in anything “gross” from me ending up anywhere but one place is “inappropriate” and “out of bounds” (or at the very least “very uncomfortable”). I see this as an example of “good girl syndrome” and an inappropriate inhibitation. She sees this as simple common sense and an unfortunate fact of life. Is it too far into the “bedroom police” department to comment on if that perception from her is an inappropriate inhibition or not?

  • Xenon July 5, 2008 at 7:15 am

    Overcoming Inhibitions Together ….

    I am interested in people’s suggestions on overcoming inappropriate inhibitions together in a relationship. Specifically, if a couple together identifies that a particular inhibitition is not appropriate, how do you work together to overcome that? I’m looking for “psychology” answers, and personal experience answers.

    What I’m getting at is this … Take smoking as an example. If you wanted to help someone quit smoking, there are lots of ideas and suggestions. Some advocate a “cold turkey” or “intervention” approach – Go in and talk all the cigarettes and lighters and stuff and throw them away. Some advocate a more “stepwise” approach – reduce the number of cigarettes each day by one over a 2 month or 6 month period or something like that. Some advocate a “replacement” approach – the nicotine gum and/or patch approach.

    Or perhaps another way to look at is phobias. A phobia is a irrational fear that prevents you from being about function normally in your life. If someone has a irrational fear of heights or spiders or the number thirteen, what can you do to help that person? Is a “direct” approach the best way to deal with the phobia? Something like locking the person in a room on the thirteenth floor of a tall building with thirteen big hairy spiders? Or is a stepwise approach better? – going to the first floor of the tall building with just one small spider this week and then the second floor with two spiders the next week?

    And then I guess the key question is … how can we apply what has been learned about helping people overcome smoking or phobias to helping our spouses with inhibitations in the bed room?

    As a specific example … My dear wife as said on a couple of occations that she thinks the “stuff” that leaks out during foreplay and intercourse is “gross”. Let’s say we decided together that that issue is an “inappropriate inhibitation” for her. How do we work through that together? Is an “direct” or “cold turkey” approach the best way? (and what would be a direct approach there)? Or would something like a stepwise approach be best (and again what would be your suggestions)?

  • inhibited October 14, 2008 at 11:17 am

    I have a question about inhibitions. My husband and I have been married about 3 years. We have read several LDS/Christian books on sex and have been experimenting with clitoral stimulation since we were first married. Unfortunately, I have never been able to reach orgasm this way and get close only rarely. Recently we tried using a vibrator and I was finally able to experience orgasm! However, I am not sure how I feel about using the vibrator. My husband is totally fine with it and just thinks of it as a tool, but it feels weird to me to have this….machine involved in our lovemaking. But I am wondering if it is common for some women to be unable to reach orgasm with only their husband’s stimulation. If so, and if this is the only way I can experience orgasm, then I think that it would be fine for us to include this in our lovemaking. Any ideas?

    • letsbefriends October 24, 2008 at 4:19 pm

      Learn together. If you are loving with each other, are seeking each others interests and pleasure, and being understanding, then you’re not going to get too far off course. Enjoy the journey of finding out what works and what doesn’t. You don’t need someone else to tell you if it brings you two closer together and is mutually satisfying – you can figure it out together (and if you have questions or doubts, take them to our Father in prayer). He has answered my questions (my spouse is still waiting for her understanding). But I’m confident, that with time and attention, we’ll both be on the same page. Life and love is much better now that we talk and are open about our interests, inhibitions, and our feelings.

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