Things to know

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Friday, September 25, 2015

Questions About Sex

[Dear Readers,

I received the following as an anonymous comment on on of our most popular posts:

Bro Jo's "List of Stuff You Need to Know Before You Get Engaged"

I told the writer that I would respond in a special post today.

- Bro Jo]

Dear Bro Jo,

A couple of questions that stem from the last section...

1) As a young woman who grew up living the principles of the gospel and being chaste, how am I really supposed to know what my expectations are regarding sex? Or how "adventurous" I'd want to be when I am not even quite sure what that means?

2) Can you suggest any good LDS-based resources that may help me understand the true purpose of sexual intimacy better?

I feel like growing up we were often just told the "don'ts" and about remaining pure, which is great. But I was not really ever talked to frankly about sex and its benefits to a couple.

Now that I'm in a position where I may soon be engaged, I just want to educate myself on these things.


- Anon

Dear Anon,

I'm glad you asked.

1. Even the “most sheltered” person is going to have expectations. Only you can really know what those are, but they might include thoughts, feelings and opinions about: duration, frequency, what happens and how, when, setting . . . and just what the whole experience will be like.

“Adventurous” in relationship to sex is about how comfortable you are. Or how nervous. Are you willing and eager to “try new things”, or are you more of the thinking “all of this is new enough; no need to push any boundaries”?

If you have no clue . . . that’s OKAY!

My general recommendation is to take things slow. Don’t set unrealistic expectations.

In fact, I’d say that in the beginning you should try to avoid having any expectations at all.

Good sex is about being selfless. We live in a culture where we’re often told we need to focus on what we want . . . on our needs. Good sex is about the needs of the other person. And, if they’re focused on your needs (and hopes and wishes and stuff) and you’re focused on theirs . . . well . . . that’s Great Sex.

While it’s a very natural thing to do, no one is naturally “awesome” at sex. It’s messy and awkward . . . and extremely personal.

That’s why sharing it with someone you trust is important. You get better with experience.

Neither person should ever be made to feel guilty or not valuable . . . or made to feel like they need to do anything they don’t want to do.

When it comes to sex, it’s nice to have it if you’re not in the perfect mood and the other person is. That’s part of being unselfish. But the other part of being unselfish is realizing that there is a line between being giving and feeling used, and that means not pressuring your partner for sex.

It’s okay to tell your partner what you like and don’t like (even during sex), what you’re interested in and not interested in, but it’s best not to expect, Or Demand, that they do or say what you want if they’re uncomfortable.

Like so many other things: Communication is the Key. Before. During. And after.

2. I don’t know of any LDS-based resources (and while I’m sure there are some – no doubt readers may try to suggest some in the comments below – my policy is generally not to give out specifics on resources that I haven’t vetted – and, NO, I’m not going to run out and read every book suggested – Too Busy! – so if you don’t see this post followed by a list of suggestions it’s likely I just didn’t approve the comments lest they seem like advertising or an unqualified endorsement) . . .

BUT . . . I can offer you my opinion.

I believe sexual intimacy (including, but not limited to, intercourse) has two purposes: to bring a couple closer together and to create children. I believe that both purposes are why Heavenly Father wants us to reserve sex for marriage.

So one thing you and your fiancé (I suggest waiting until that’s official) will need to talk about (in addition to all of the above – which I recommend talking about with the lights on and in a situation where you’re not tempted above that which you’re able) is having children.

Not every couple has the same ability to make babies as anyone else, but it is wise to think that every time you have sex you may be making a baby (unless you’re already pregnant).

So, while sex isn’t only for baby making, that’s one of the big intended results, which means you need to be talking about when you want to have children and how you will have sex and not make a baby if the timing isn’t yet right.

Lastly, remember this:  as great as sex is, or Can Be (it never "always is"), as important as it May Be to one or both of you, it is Not the Most Important thing in your relationship.

Trust.  Respect.  Communication.  Patience.  Understanding.  Caring.  Love.

I hope that helps.

Should you have any other questions, I will give honest answers and opinions about sex and intimacy to you and any of our other readers.

I will be specific but not graphic or vulgar or gratuitous.

Just send me an email. (You can click on my name below.)

Anything you want to know.

Ask away.

And don't just ask me.  Talk to trusted friends and relatives.  Do a little research (just be careful to avoid pornography).


And, when it's right, talk to your future partner.

- Bro Jo


LDSNerd said...

My wife and I had premarital counseling at the student health center at BYU-IDAHO. The phycologists recommended "and they were not ashamed" and "the act of marriage". Both were excellent books. If you're a student at a CES school both books can be found at the school bookstore, and the counseling center may have copies for you to borrow.

Anonymous said...

I like the recommendation of "The Act of Marriage". When I was engaged I asked a physician at the student health center how I could prepare for marriage and he recommended that book. My fiancé and I read it separately and talked about what we wanted and hoped for. The book is a simple explanation of how sex works. It is not LDS but is a spiritually based and I appreciated that. Sex is something to people who love one another should learn about together over time. Make sure you do not over schedule yourself on your wedding day because your relationship should be the focus not all the parties, dinners, receptions etc. I hope you have the best of honeymoons!!!

Alexa Thomas said...

A good resource for learning about the positive aspects of sex is Elder Holland's talk "Of Souls, Symbols, and Sacraments." It is very reverent and respectful. You can also watch the Devotional address on YouTube or buy the book.

Amberlie said...

I also recommend "The Act of Marriage." My fiance and I read it when we were engaged, and since being married.

This website helped

a book called "the good girl's guide to great sex."

and "and they were not ashamed." All of these are christian, but this book is specifically LDS.

Moms are great, too. If you have that kind of relationship.

As you can tell, I was really nervous before our wedding night :) and my husband and i weren't fully prepared, but when you're ready to discuss intimacy, it's great to at least be on the same page. But nothing beats learning together through experience! Bro Jo's right--it's awkward and messy and weird, but so fun!

Anonymous said...

I agree with everyone above and I was pretty nervous too. My mom bought me a book called "Between Husband & Wife" at the lds bookstore. It was fantastic in conbining gospel truths with the and any general questions you may have.

Kristin said...


I'm not married, or engaged, or even in a relationship, but there's something else I want to throw out here. Idk how old you are or how long you've been a member of the Church, but I feel the exact same way you do about the whole "we were often just told the "don'ts" and about remaining pure". I was born in the Church and have been active my whole life, so I have sat through many chastity lessons, especially in YW, and that's about all I came away with, too. I love my past young women's leaders, and I know they did the best they could, but my general sense (in talking to other girl friends) has been that we grew up in a culture where sex was subtly shamed just because of the context we got. We always heard 'Be Pure' and a long list of don'ts. Now that we're coming of age and getting married, a lot of girls I know have/do struggle with "good girl syndrome". We've been told all our lives to be chaste and not have sex, but as soon as we get married, everyone's winking at us and wanting us to pop out babies. You can't turn that switch over night.

What I want to add to everyone else's comments is that we are the leaders of the next generation. I think it will be our responsibility to teach chastity in a way that the youth in our stewardships understand how sacred sexual intimacy is. It's not bad or gross or evil, but there is a time and a place for sex. Keep this experience tucked in your mind as you're learning and use it to help the next generation grow into their young adulthood!

Laura said...

Yes to what Kristin said! I taught the chastity lesson to the YW in my ward last year and while I did explain many of the "don'ts" and went into detail as to what specifically those are (I had wished I knew more about those details as a youth), I also told them "It is OKAY to feel sexy. It is okay to want to feel sexy. It is okay to have those feelings towards another person. It is actually GOOD and you are SUPPOSED to have those feelings. Don't feel ashamed for wanting these things. It's in our nature and it's there for a reason. Heavenly Father put it there. All you need to worry about is how, where, when, and with who you share those feelings. Heavenly Father set up these standards for what he gave us." And then we went over details on "When is this okay? Why is this okay?"
It ended up being a really positive discussion. Yeah, there was squirming and giggles (this was all the YW in one lesson, 12-18), but in the end there was a super positive spirit in the room.