Broken Daughters

Picking up the shattered glass of fundamentalism

Is Sex good or bad?!

16 Comments

I want to talk about a major problem I’ve always had ever since my parents put strong emphasis on the purity teachings – when I was old enough to understand that I had to “protect” my purity.

All of the purity teachings have a potential to make sex look really bad. It is something that will break your entire being, body, mind and soul. If you give it away, you will lose a large portion of everything you are to a person who eventually does not value it. Sex and everything around it becomes an enemy you have to fight.

Now, of course none of the P/QF folks, neither adults nor teens, have a supernatural power that allows them to block all their sexual desires at all times unless they’re appropriate. That’s because they’re just people (Who would’ve known?). As you probably already guesses, I had those desires too!

While you mostly dream of a faceless Prince Charming, a completely asexual one, as a young girl, these images change in your teens. Just like every other teen, I dreamed of kissing my Prince Charming and holding hands and getting flowers and so on. And further in my teens, I started wondering what it would feel like to get more kissing than just a peck on the lips. And even further, I started to wonder what having sex with him would be like. For certain periods, this Prince had the face of a boy I knew, other times he just looked like how I imagined a really attractive man (tall, dark, slightly curly hair, brown eyes…. I’m a walking stereotype!).

And all of this was a sin. I was mentally cheating on my future husband. I think it’s partially to stop young girls from these dreams that makes people teach negative things about sex. How it’s disgusting, humiliating and cheap.

And then, there were these two specific teachings which I could never manage to make sense of. Each individual teaching makes sense on its own, but combined they stop making sense to make.

First off, while sex outside of marriage is dirty, cheap, humiliating and dangerous, within the boundaries of marriage it’s sacred, beautiful, holy and good. God made sex, so it’s good. It’s the most beautiful thing about marriage. So far so good.

Second, a wife must understand that her husband’s need for sex is much larger than her own. Refusing him is a sin. If a woman does not enjoy it, she must overcome that and do it anyway. She must act like it’s fun to satisfy her husband. She is supposed to say yes whenever he asks because her body belongs to him. It’s a “fact” that women don’t crave sex as much and that it’s not as enjoyable for them as it’s simply not a part of their design. Men on the other hand see sex as the most important thing in a relationship, so since he’s your head, you’re to submit to him, support him and fulfill his desires.

So wait a minute, on one hand it’s awesome in marriage, on the other hand you still have to force yourself?

I love spaghetti and, no joke, I could it eat literally every single day. Twice! I do not like pork and if someone put it in front of me, I’d have a hard time swallowing each bite.

It’s either awesome, or it’s not. It can’t be both a blessing and a burden at the same time. I fully understand that you might not want sex every single day, but there’s a fundamental difference between something that’s enjoyable and something that is done out of obligation.

Until this day I do not know how to categorize “sex”. Good or bad? Fun or burden? Enjoyable or obligation? I always felt like these teachers were only trying to force people into abstinence first by telling them how terrible sex before marriage is and how awesome it is in marriage, but once the women get married, you have to make clear to them that this might not be true for everyone, but now it’s too late and you have to do it any way. If you’ve been taught to view sex as something terrible for your entire life, chances are you won’t enjoy it that much. This image will stay in your head for the rest of your life, if you’re unlucky.

The “in marriage it’s great” blabber just doesn’t cut it! People are supposed to suppress all off their sexual desires, to feel ashamed for having them in the first place, until they say “I do”, which is exactly the moment where the girls are supposed to throw their clothes away, put a hot strip-show on and act like sex-maniacs. And men are likewise supposed to be able to perform at any time of the day. Going from beating themselves up over looking at a pretty girl’s butt to lusting after their wife as much as they please. Can you give me a sexual dysfunction?

I really wish I’ll be able to figure this one out in this life, because I certainly don’t want to end up like one of those wives who deny themselves every form of joy because that’s how they’re supposed to act.

16 thoughts on “Is Sex good or bad?!

  1. “God made sex”? Forget it! Sex, solo or couples, or rarely more, is an expression of being a mammal. First off, accept that you have your own sexuality. Then accept that your partner(s) also have their own sexuality(ies). Try to find common ground. And good luck to all involved.🙂

  2. “a wife must understand that her husband’s need for sex is much larger than her own. ”

    BS!! The Bible teaches this absolutely nowhere. In fact, it is assumed that a wife’s needs are equal to that of her husband.
    1 Corinthians 7:1-5 “Now for the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer.”

    Notice all that is being said here. It is not just the wife who fulfills sexual “duties” but the husband is to fulfill his wife also. He is to yield his body to her. This flies in the face of pretty much everything the CP/QF movement teaches.
    It’s also really important to understand why Paul says this. He was writing to a culture (namely, the ancient Greeks) who had an extremely low view of women. Wives were for breeding with; that is all. They didn’t get to enjoy sex at all. Unless their husband wanted a legitimate heir, they were pretty much ignored. Prostitutes and “hetairai” (kind of like the Greek version of a geisha) were for different types of “enjoyment.”
    Sex is not supposed to be about taking and ensuring one’s own pleasure at the expense of the other. It is a mutual act, expressing love that can’t be expressed any more by mere words. The Bible does teach that it is wrong outside of marriage. (In fact, if you go through the rest of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, you will see that he explains what is acceptable in sexual relationships.) The reason it is wrong is the same reason the CP/QF version of sex is wrong: it’s about taking, it’s about ensuring one’s own pleasure at the (often brutal) expense of another.

    Here is a link to the blog “To Love, Honour and Vacuum.” Sheila Wray Gregoire is a Christian speaker and author. One of her books is “Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex.” Basically, it’s about the fact that good Christian women can, do, and SHOULD enjoy sex.
    http://tolovehonorandvacuum.com/
    Now, you may not agree with everything. You may even find what she says a bit graphic.
    BUT
    since you have been raised on such a strict diet of “Christian women should not enjoy sex” I just want you to see what the reality is for most of us.

    -Ruth
    rootles at gmail.com

  3. I grew up hearing all of this as well. Pretty much to the T. And I believe it really does cause sexual dysfunction. The relationship beceomes all about sex, whether you are having it or not! If you are not married, all of your interaction with your partner becomes this tense standoff where you evaluate each others intentions and obsess about staying pure, and after you are married you obsess over whether you are having sex enough and pleasing your husband enough to keep him happy in the relationship. I believed it all, and when we first got married sex pretty much sucked. Both of us were tense and insecure about our bodies, and both of us were trying our best to fill the roles we thought we were supposed to. (Males are super sexual and physical, females are passive and want emotional connection.) I firmly believed that it was wrong for a wife to ever say no to her husband, and I was very tense about letting him see or touch me in certain ways or certain places. It was difficult for me to orgasm because of all that, and sex was mostly very routine and sometimes good. We enjoyed being together and wanted to have sex, but we were horrible about communicating what we liked and just being ourselves. In the last 2 years, things have improved substantially. We both pushed ourselves out of the roles we were told we had to fill and tried to do what we wanted to do and talked about what we enjoyed having done to us for the first time, and let me tell you it was pretty surprising in many cases and was no where close to how the christian world had described sex and sex roles. People are so varied, and so is sexual function and hence what turns one on. I think my biggest advice, is to think of all of it as sexual interaction, forget about the whole penis-in-vagina-lose-your-hymen-and-your-virginity-big-moment crap. Touching, cuddling, kissing, talking about what you might enjoy, and all the more intimate things a couple can do together, all of them are part of a sexual relationship. Taking it slow and experiencing each new thing and forcing yourself to be completely honest about how you feel and what you like makes a huge difference.

  4. For me, the short answer is “Sex is powerful.” Far beyond its reproductive aspect, It’s a powerful tool (for humans) for creating and maintaining relationships. If done right, it’s some of the most intense and pleasurable feelings you can experience (if done wrong, it’ll really really really suck). I’m pretty sure I would not have been nearly so into my first boyfriend (or for so long) if we hadn’t been having sex. I’m pretty sure my husband and I would not have been able to make it thirteen years together without sex. It’s not the primary focus of our relationship, but it’s an important part of maintaining the bond between us. (And incidentally, my sex drive is quite a bit higher than his.)

    And all that’s without looking at the physical consequences of sex, the main one (for most of human history) being children. Until the creation of reliable artificial birth control in the past century, out of wedlock sex could have pretty profound consequences—at best rushing a young (and perhaps ill-suited or unprepared) couple into marriage, at worst creating a child in a situation where it was completely unwanted and unwelcome. Controlling premarital sex in those situations makes sense (even if I still don’t agree with the methods of guilt and shame used to do it). The availability of reliable birth control, especially condoms which also reduce STI transmission, pretty much wipes out most of these reasons, but of course religions are not equipt to re-consider their underlying principles, so they end up distorting information, if not outright lying, to create new reasons for sex to be “bad”.

    I think in a lot of ways you could compare having sex to driving a car. It’s a fairly major undertaking, and doing it wrong or without sufficient knowledge can have serious, even disastrous consequences, although most of us get by with only a few fender-benders. A car is considerably more likely to destroy a teenager’s life than sex is—yet nobody blinks at the idea of a sixteen-year-old behind the wheel, provided they’ve had the appropriate training and testing. I’m not suggesting testing kids on their readiness for sexual activity (which could go all kinds of wrong, not to mention would be pointless since it’s a lot easier to keep kids from driving than to keep them from having sex) but really they need information, support, and an understanding of what “healthy, safer sex” looks like—not shame, guilt, and misinformation.

    /endrant🙂

  5. My husband is not sex crazy. He could be happy to be without sex for a month or more! I on the other hand would like sex every day in some form or another.

    What trips me up the most is that Judaism does NOT see sex like this!!! Yes, they consider it to be something that should be between a man and a woman, but it’s considered the woman’s RIGHT to have pleasurable sex with her husband and that she can divorce him over this!

    “Sex should only be experienced in a time of joy. Sex for selfish personal satisfaction, without regard for the partner’s pleasure, is wrong and evil. A man may never force his wife to have sex. A couple may not have sexual relations while drunk or quarreling. Sex may never be used as a weapon against a spouse, either by depriving the spouse of sex or by compelling it. It is a serious offense to use sex (or lack thereof) to punish or manipulate a spouse.

    Sex is the woman’s right, not the man’s. A man has a duty to give his wife sex regularly and to ensure that sex is pleasurable for her. He is also obligated to watch for signs that his wife wants sex, and to offer it to her without her asking for it. The woman’s right to sexual intercourse is referred to as onah, and it is one of a wife’s three basic rights (the others are food and clothing), which a husband may not reduce. The Talmud specifies both the quantity and quality of sex that a man must give his wife. It specifies the frequency of sexual obligation based on the husband’s occupation, although this obligation can be modified in the ketubah (marriage contract). A man may not take a vow to abstain from sex for an extended period of time, and may not take a journey for an extended period of time, because that would deprive his wife of sexual relations. In addition, a husband’s consistent refusal to engage in sexual relations is grounds for compelling a man to divorce his wife, even if the couple has already fulfilled the halakhic obligation to procreate.

    Although sex is the woman’s right, she does not have absolute discretion to withhold it from her husband. A woman may not withhold sex from her husband as a form of punishment, and if she does, the husband may divorce her without paying the substantial divorce settlement provided for in the ketubah. ”

    http://www.jewfaq.org/sex.htm

  6. Sex is good. When you have sex with someone you are attracted to and who cares about your pleasure, it’s awesome. When you don’t feel like having sex, say, “Not now Honey, I don’t feel like it.” Your partner will say, “Okay.” And you will go on with your lives.

    There is nothing dirty about sex. It just is. Having sex to feel good is just like enjoying a beautiful sunset. There is nothing bad about it, as long as you both want it.
    ;:
    Maybe it’s to early for you, but maybe you should check out this sex advice columnist: http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/SavageLove?archives=all

  7. I’d like to address the “If you love it, why do you have to force yourself?” part… Sex can be a lot of work! Like making spaghetti from scratch instead of out of a box. If you HAD to go through all the work of making the dough, letting it sit, making the pasta AND cooking it, you’d probably still love it, but might not want it as often or under certain circumstances.

    However, your partner may have a different sex drive. And sometimes it’s important to compromise to keep your partner happy!

  8. Although not raised Quiverfull, I bought into all of that Joshua Harris kissing dating goodbye crap, so I think I know where you’re coming from. It was hard for me to transition from the idea that my sexuality was sinful to the idea that it was a good thing. The first time my boyfriend (now my husband!) kissed me, I remember feeling guilty instead of enjoying it as a first kiss. I’m still bitter towards Joshua Harris for ruining that moment for me, and maybe a bit towards myself for having believed the silliness that one should save one’s first kiss for marriage and all that… One thing that really helped me sort out my sexuality was reading the forums on themarriagebed.com. People asked just about every question imaginable, and it was a safe place for me to ease into it. I’m not gonna lie and say I had no problems when I first became sexually active – even though I had left behind most of the very conservative ideas I had believed, they were still affecting me to some extent – but things did get worked out eventually and everything is really great now. So, I guess what I want to say is, I think you will be ok. Yeah, it might take a bit more work on your part to retrain yourself how to view your sexuality the right way, but I know it is possible!🙂

  9. The reason that sex is best saved for marriage is because you have both expressed a lifetime commitment and it is safe. You don’t wonder if he will leave and find someone else if and when there is a breakup, because outside of marriage there usually is. Most people who have sex outside of marriage don’t marry the first, second, or even third person they have sex with. Within marriage though, there will be times that either the man or the woman will be too tired, just want to curl up and sleep because of whatever is going on in life. Just like not everyone wants to wake up at the same time, not everyone desires sex at the same time either. It’s normal. Sometimes someone’s not necessarily in the mood but decides to give it a go anyway… ha ha it won’t take them long to get in the mood😉

    • The reason that sex is best saved for marriage is because you have both expressed a lifetime commitment and it is safe. You don’t wonder if he will leave and find someone else if and when there is a breakup, because outside of marriage there usually is.

      When half of all marriages end in divorce I would say that “safe” is an illusion. Even when they don’t end in divorce, sometimes people cheat. They claim to want monogamy, but they don’t practice it and they’re not honest about that.

  10. I’d just like to MTE what Anonymous on May, 4th said.

    Sex is neither good nor bad, it just is.

    You should go easy on yourself and not think about it too much before you’re taking the step to be sexually active with your partner. I don’t know if Daniel still is your boyfriend but he doesn’t seem to be the kind of guy who would even want to have sex with you if you sometimes just don’t feel like it.

  11. I know you’re a fond follower of Libby Anne’s, so you’ve probably read this, but just in case any of your readers haven’t, here is an awesome article about patriarchal culture and its ill effects on its young peoples’ sexuality:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2011/11/the-purity-culture-and-sexual-dysfunction.html

    The comments are also very illuminating, and I would imagine very helpful to someone with questions about coming to terms with their sexuality.

  12. Sex is one of the most beautiful gifts given to human beings when it is between two people who love each other, when it is an act of love and union, when you feel safe and when you know how your body (and your partner’s body) works so you can get physical pleasure from it. =)
    Sex is one of the worst things in the whole wide world when it is rape.
    Sex can be sort of neutral and/or frustrating if you’re not really into the person you’re having sex with and/or you don’t have an orgasm.
    Sex can be a lot of things. It changes as you get more experience too. Better in many ways, but also less intense. Sex is an element of relationship. Asking if it’s bad or good is like asking if friendship or family is bad or good.
    A very brave question! Good luck figuring this all out!

  13. Wow, very honest & right & I think you’re asking the right questions. It’s such a complex thing.

    I would agree with the person who says sex is powerful. Having sex with someone you love deeply and who deeply loves you back can just put you over the moon, and is a deepening of your bond every time (even the times when it’s not amazing, just pretty fun.) Having sex with someone who doesn’t respect or care about you can be an awful experience. I’ve talked to women who’ve been through that and it really sucked for them that the person having sex with them didn’t really “see” them or care about them as a person. I think that’s what the P/QFs were picturing as what *all* sex outside of marriage looks like–what they “forgot” to tell you is that it’s totally possible for that kind of sex to happen within marriage, it happens all the time in abusive marriages. And it’s totally possible for truly loving sex to happen outside of marriage; in spite of the fact that I can’t quite understand why people who love each other deeply enough and are committed enough to each other to have sex (which can in spite of birth control result in children) don’t go ahead and get married, or at least make some type of similar promise–it *does happen*. Or some people who are promiscuous are just really focused on pleasure, and are willing to care about the other person enough so they both have fun, & then will shake hands and say bye. I personally think they lose something by it, some depth. They don’t agree. But it would be stupid of me, and a lie, to say they don’t have fun. But anyway, just to say there’s a whole range out there.

    So the good/bad thing… there’s a bit of truth to it. Like with most lies.

    It’s also true that it’s work. You do need to have enough energy, going in. There’s a reason people do it in the evening and then go to sleep! So, yeah: I really, really love sex, but I don’t want to have it every night. One reason is I work a physical job and sometimes I’m really tired, and see, the more effort you put into it the more pleasure you both get out of it, so–I’d really rather wait till tomorrow when I’m rested and it’ll be better!

    And then there’s this sort of rhythm your body has. Mine can go a couple days without caring much, but after four or five it’s going “Hey! Remember how you can have sex whenever you want? What’re you freaking waiting for?” My husband’s rhythm is a little faster than mine so I do sometimes do it when I’m not just raring to–but I do it knowing that once I get into it I’ll love it. Like when you’re too lazy to get off your butt and take a walk in the woods, and someone says “Hey, wanna come walk in the woods with me” and you do and it’s great. I think the whole “once you get into it you love it” thing might be true for a lot of other women out there too–but I don’t think anyone should EVER feel pressure that she “has” to do it when she really just doesn’t want to at all. My husband doesn’t even like it when he thinks I’m doing it “for him”. I mean, that’s not really a compliment when you think about it. It’s like mercy dating.

    I honestly think the reason all the P/QF women get told they’re going to want less sex than their husbands is that they get worn out from taking care of kids all day! And then when they’ve been told that sex is just another job, “taking care of” their husbands, of course they’d rather just go to sleep! Not to mention, there are plenty of men in those circles who don’t know/care how to give a woman a good time.

    ‘Cause that’s another thing worth knowing when you’re first getting into this stuff. There is totally a learning curve. I didn’t realize to what extent, when I got married. Let’s just say, don’t worry that the sex you have the first few times is what it’ll be forever–just accept that you’re beginners, talk to each other about what works or doesn’t, go ahead and read a sex manual, and don’t stress or put pressure on yourselves. My husband has sometimes pointed out the one of those popular conservative notions about sex is that it’s something the man does and the woman just kind of “receives” it, and that following this false notion only the man would study how to do it well–which isn’t going to work b/c it’s only half of the equation! Taking initiative in sex as a woman is wonderful & brings pleasure to yourself and your husband both. Six months into our marriage we were amazed at how good it was. It’s gotten better since.

    I was raised a conservative Christian but not patriarchal–but I was taught some things like “nothing below the neck”, waiting to kiss till you’re engaged, and some really inaccurate things like the notion that if you reach a certain point in making out it will become impossible for the guy in the relationship to keep his pants on. By the time I was dating my husband and *knew* he was the one, well, we just kept pushing the boundaries. Eventually we decided that our new standard was that we both keep our pants on, that’s it. It worked out *really* well. I think it warmed me up to sex in a much better way than if we’d only just been kissing and then got married and OK, time to do everything. And we were perfectly able to stick to our rule. I don’t know, maybe some guys are like how I was taught all guys are; my husband is older and was already in his thirties at the time, so that may have made a difference.

    Anyway, sorry this comment is so long! Your post made me want to share. I’m going to go Anonymous if that’s OK, because (sigh) my parents still don’t know how “far” we went while we were dating. Sometime when the now-nonexistent grandkids are in gradeschool it won’t be a big deal anymore and I’ll tell…. probably….

  14. Heavens, I don’t know where I should start to answer because there so much what comes to mind – and the first is once again feeling incredibly angry about these miserable bigots who think they’re so “godly” and who – at least in my opinion – in the same time are always besmirching God’s gifts to mankind – like love and sex.

    Yes, I do believe that God gave us sexuality as a gift. And no, I don’t believe in a God who is a kind of sick jockster who gives gifts and then says: “Here, have it – but don’t use it! I only want you to have it for proving me that you can forsake it!”

    Sex is wonderful if you have the right partner – and that certainly doesn’t mean only your “lawfully wedded” husband. My father was a preacher and once I asked him why he didn’t have a problem with premartial sex (that he didn’t have one with it was absolutely clear: My parents married at December 29, 1956 and my brother is born in August 1957 two weeks “too late”. So you do the math). My father told me then that he thinks that definition of “married” changed since the bible was written. He believed that sex is okay for people who are committed to each other and who are willing to take up the responsibility which comes with it – meaning not only that the woman can become pregnant, but the emotional responsibility not to play around with someone’s feelings, too.

    There’s a Greek legend which says that man and woman were once one and in this being one happy and complete. Fate separated them and since then we’re always searching for our other half. In having sex we become one again – one flesh, one body, one mind (in the best cases). It completes us – and yes, for me it really often feels like that. There’s nothing “dirty” about it, there’s nothing to be ashamed of, there’s just this wonderful expression of love and coming together, a lot of tenderness, a lot of passion and a lot of fun. Don’t be afraid of it, but enjoy it!

    And for the famous old story about “a man needs it, a woman bears it”: That’s probably true for men who are neither willing nor able to satisfy their partners – in the case of same of these idiotic patriarchs probably because they believe “decent” women shouldn’t enjoy sex. I always wonder about one thing then: They believe that God gave us women wombs for bearing their children. But why, do they think, gave God us a clitoris if not for enjoying sex? Once again: Sex is a gift – and for me it’s one I’m grateful for.

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