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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

What is "Sexual Arousal"?

Dear Bro Jo,

I've really valued your advice in the past. I'll try to be short and to the point here. I'm recently engaged and we are currently meeting with Bishop for interviews together. We got a packet from the Stake to go through together about being worthy for the temple and stuff like that. The first page of the packet has this quote:

"Elder Simmons taught in our Stake Conference in March, 2002:
"-We are not authorized nor entitled to have any sexual experience outside of marriage, whether with the opposite sex, the same sex, or ourselves.
"-A sexual experience is defined as "any sexual arousal." Thus when the expression of affection turns to arousal, we have crossed the line.
"If we've had problems with sexual experiences, they need to be confessed to the Bishop."

It's great that they defined sexual experience, but I don't think that "sexual arousal" is that much clearer of a term. Do you have any light to shed on the subject?

I don't know what the difference is between enjoying affection and being aroused. The difference between having sex and enjoying kissing is pretty clear to me, and I know I haven't crossed that line. I just wonder how to know when I'm aroused. Being the Mormon I am, I don't know much about my own sexuality anyway.

Is my fiancé aroused when he has an erection?

Because he and I have talked about that and he says it's not serious. But that happens a lot, just about anytime we kiss for a few minutes. Is that something we need to stop?

Am I aroused when I have vaginal secretion? Because that also happens when we kiss. Is this something that needs to be confessed to our Bishop, as stated above in our packet?

I only ask because I had previously emailed you about this boy having erections when we were dating and whether or not that was bad. Your advice was that as long as we didn't act on that we were fine.

But this advice from the packet seems to tell me it's a bad thing to even experience it, and that we need to avoid even getting to that point. What do you make of this?

Any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated! I just want to have a little something to go off of before I talk to my fiancé and bishop about it.

- Name Withheld

Dear NW,

First of all, congratulations on your engagement!

Okay.  The way I look at it, Sexual Arousal is when we are thinking "I want to have sex!"

Thinking about sex, imagining sex, hoping for sex, planning, wishing . . . all of that is arousal.  Or can lead to it.  Touching parts, having your parts touched . . . other verbal and non-verbal communication can all be arousing.

Yes, physiologically speaking, erections and vaginal secretions are signs that we're aroused.  And, as I said before, there's nothing wrong with them happening, especially with one's fiancé, or (even better) with one's spouse.  And, as before, I think the key is to not . . . ACT upon the feelings of arousal with someone who is not your spouse.

We are Designed to want to have sex and to enjoy it.

The problem you and your fiancé are having is The Timing.

You have the goal of being married for Time and All Eternity in the Temple of the Lord as two worthy people, and that means no sex before marriage.  Satan, whom I believe is very real, doesn't want you to have an Eternal Marriage, so as that possibility becomes more and more likely, you'll be more and more tempted to  . . . do stuff . . . that needs to be saved until after your Sealing.

Which for your sake I hope is very soon.  (This is one of the reasons, by the way, that I believe in Short Engagements.)

So while I think how the two of you feel about each other sexually is a good thing, I think you need to cool your jets until after you’re married.

No more being alone.  No cuddling.  No being in the dark.  And certainly, no parts touching and no touching each other's parts.

Discuss it with your Bishop if you have concerns.  But I think you'll be fine.  Technically speaking, simply having an erection or vaginal secretion is not something one needs to confess.  Not to be . . . weird, or make you uncomfortable . . . but your Bishop is a married man; he knows how things work and what's going on; there's nothing going on here that he isn't familiar with; he's just trying to help you both stay Temple worthy.

(Some couples actually stop seeing each other the week or two before the Temple.  Whatever works, I guess.)

Being excited for sex with one's future spouse is not a bad thing.  It's good!

So don't worry too much.  Just make sure no boundaries are crossed.

- Bro Jo

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