2014 Religious Trends
Sex Advice: Lead Us Not Into Google
Editors' Note: This article is part of the Public Square 2014 Summer Series: Conversations on Religious Trends. Read other perspectives from the Catholic community here.
My finger hovered over the "publish" button. I drew a shaky breath. For months I'd been thinking about publishing this ebook but kept asking myself, "Do you really want to be 'that Catholic woman who published a book about great sex'?"
Three years ago, while we were working on Style, Sex, and Substance, contributing writer Elizabeth Duffy sent a questionnaire to hundreds of Catholic women asking them about their sex lives: Were they satisfied? With what issues did they most struggle? And their husbands? Were they content? Was there tension?
I was taken aback and saddened to see just how many women reported being dissatisfied with the sexual-love aspect of their marriage. Inspired and informed by the feedback she received, Elizabeth wrote an excellent chapter on the topic for our book.
After the book released, I started receiving emails from women about their intimate lives and the struggles they faced. At best, they said, sex wasn't fun. At worst, it was a source of enormous marital tension.
Two years later, the emails are still coming in. What a travesty for Catholic women in an age where John Paul II wrote beautifully about the wonder of marital sex! The Catholic church wants married couples to have fulfilling sex lives, but that information hasn't seemed to trickle down to the faithful.
It occurred to me that maybe some plain language might help the issue along a little—something fun and brief, like a 28-day guide to spicing things up in the bedroom, full of tips that could help couples improve this area of their marriage without leading them into temptation or sin. Resorting to Google for sex advice is like stepping into a virtual adults-only XXX store. That alone convinced me that we need a resource written with faithful Catholic couples in mind. "Lead us not into Google" for sex advice!
We married Catholics know all about the "nos" when it comes to sex. No sex outside of marriage. No pornography. No artificial birth control. No "self love." This is all good and right; we embrace this and thank God (literally) that we have the Church. Freedom is found within framework and true satisfaction within safe boundaries. Absolutely.
But where are all the yeses coming from the church? Where, in ministry, is there communication that yes, sex within marriage is meant to be not just to be "open to life" but a lively celebration?
Jokes abound about "Catholic prudery" and they cause us to throw back our heads and laugh; have people not seen the size of our families, or the ages of our children? Yes, concerned folks at the grocery store, we do know how that happened. And happened. And happened.
But the misconception—the disconnect between the reality of joyful Catholic sex and the prude stereotypes—shouldn't shock us that much. We just don't sing the praises of sex nearly enough. I say this not to criticize, but rather to encourage us all to consider this issue and think about ways that we might enact positive change. Rome needs to think about it, too.
When not corralling her six small children or flirting with her husband, Hallie Lord can be found at MoxieWife.com.