CTNAHM: Anticipation (Michael Talks about Sex)

A Guest Post by Aletha

Originally posted on Yllom Mormon

Created To Need A Help Meet, pp. 15—20

In this Chapter, Michael talks about his first love, sex, and his first sex.  Get ready.

[9 year-old Michael walks down the road after Bible school and sees a girl in a pretty dress.  He walks on the other side of the road and tries to walk "with her"]  I never spoke.  She never looked at me, but I studied her profile and her dainty little walk.  It was the most amazing and wonderful thing I had ever seen.  I was in love.  I WANTED ONE [emphasis mine]. But it was all too scary to this skinny, bug-eyed boy.  The thought of even speaking to this splendid apparition made me tremble with a feeling of helplessness.

So we can see, even at 9, to Michael, women are possessions to be claimed.  And “things” and “apparitions”, not fellow humans.  We are off to a great start.

Later that summer, my mother took me along to visit a family that lived about a quarter mile down the road.  I remember entering the strange house and seeing Sharon.  Her name I can remember.  She had the most dazzling red curls hanging all the way down her back, and her nose and cheeks were covered in beautiful freckles.  I fell in love again.  She shyly stood in the background watching the exchange between the ladies, and I fumbled uncomfortably, feeling the intimacy of just being in the same house with this beautiful creature.

Again, this girl is a “creature”.  Does anyone else find it a bit odd that he can remember so many details about these girls from when he was 9?  I mean, I was in 4th grade when I was 9, and still (vaguely) remember my crush’s name.  I think his hair was brown and he lived in the government apartments where I grew up.  But to describe his features in loving detail, after 20 years (let alone 5?)?  I think the Bible calls that “lusting”.

In the coming years, many of those beautiful and intriguing creatures caught my eye and stole my heart.  Some I spoke to.  Most I just looked upon from across the room.  I never declared my affection to any, for such a commitment seemed too deep and out of control for me to manage.  I knew it was an adult thing to do, something I must defer until I was old enough.

If I were a drinking person, I would create a  game where we all take a drink every time he de-humanizes a woman.  I predict it wouldn’t take long until we’re all drunk.  And does anyone else get the feeling Michael was that creepy-stalker kid that lurks in the background giving the popular girls the googly eye?

Puberty

But then I went through puberty.  That was like entering a cool tunnel and coming out the other end in the middle of a fire.  I gave my life to Jesus Christ about the same time, and had been well brought-up and taught the Word of God, so I was quite clear on moral boundaries.  But the fire burned and the only thing I wanted more than god was to have one of those lovelies they call the opposite sex.  After awhile, I began to wonder if maybe the devil-rather than God-hadn’t created sex.  SEX with the big X in it, like “Danger. Don’t touch.”  It seemed like such a consuming indulgence.

I was fasting and praying, studying my Bible, and walking down the road with my blinders on.  I found all TV programs to be designed to create lust.  Every billboard with a woman on it was a doorway to hell.  The Sears and Roebuck catalog was pornography.  Many of the women at church were seductive whores.  Cleavage was an attempt to damn me.  Tight dresses were designed to make me wet my pants.  It was enough to make a monk or a whore monger out of a fourteen-year-old.  The world was on fire and I was trying to keep from burning.

Holy cow.  Where to start? One thing I’ve noticed growing up in a conservative Christian religion is how, ironically, sex obsessed things are.  Billboards and catalogs are created to tempt you!  Heaven forbid they show off the merchandise they are trying to sell you.  It’s kind of scary how violently he reacts to women.  They are whores trying to damn him because they showed a bit of cleavage—and he grew up in the Bible belt in the 50-60s, I’m sure there wasn’t that much cleavage on display.  It’s kind of sad to think that he was full of this much self-hatred and desire at 14.  I’ve watched enough Law and Order to know that this combination can result in a serial killer.

Middle Teens

I was a normal youth, with one exception: I resisted my urges and made a commitment to walk in holiness.  Many of my friends and peers succumbed to their bodily passions and I observed the results of their folly.  I studied the Bible and asked God to deliver me from my lust.  I can’t tell you I stopped lusting in my middle teens, but it was never voluntary.  Lust was my enemy.

In my diligence to walk in holiness, I wrestled with my worldview.  Why were we created thus? What is our purpose? Is there an avenue to victory?  The Word of God enlighten me and I came to see that God had a great plan for the human race and that love, sex, and marriage were at the center of it.  By the time I got to be 16, I had learned how to manage my sexual impulses and maintain equilibrium from one hour to the next.  It never ceased to be a battle, but I began to see that I was like the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace: there was fire all around, trying to consume me, but I could walk in it without getting burnt.  I saw the challenge as part of the training and the victory as preparation for a glorious tomorrow.  By the time I got into my late teens, I knew I could, and always would, have the victory over my flesh!  I awoke every morning to a battle, and sometimes I got slapped around by my own flesh [anyone else see a euphemism for masturbation in that last comment?], but the Devil lost the war.  Thanks to the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit, when I was married at 25, I was still a virgin and had never viewed pornography.

For about 17 years, since I first viewed the delightful girl I loved, I had anticipated the day when I would finally get one of those beautiful, female creatures for myself.  I knew that one day my life would begin.

OK.  So Michael, still obsessed, is bragging how he’s holy.  He wrestled with the Devil!  He was taught by the Word of God!  He was a virgin on his wedding night!  And still, it’s women that are the tempters, not his sex-crazed mind.  Sex and lust don’t have to be a battle.  My shrink would call that a feedback loop.  You have a thought, attribute some emotion to it (like lust), feel guilt or shame, get angry, and blame the cause of the thought.  All this makes the next time you have a similar thought more powerful, because you attribute more emotion to it.  So every time he thought of sex or lust as a battle, he just made it that much harder for himself to have a normal view of what he deems “part of God’s great plan”.

Here’s where it gets really…well…Michael.

Honeymoon

My immediate goal in marriage was to make up for all those sexually frustrated years-the sooner the better.  A friend of mine that married two years before I did had bragged that he was able to “know” his bride five times on their wedding night.  He was a puny fellow, so I had no doubt I would best his brag, but the truth is, three times was all I could muster, and just barely.

What. The. Hell.  We get that Michael is sex-obsessed.  But his main goal for marriage (not to have a happy, healthy, productive union for years to come) was to make up for lost time in the sex department? Then he turns it into a competition between him and one of his friends?  And feels the need to brag to us about his prowess??  Does anyone else feel bad for his poor wife?  If I remember correctly, the first time hurt, was awkward, and I was sore for a day or so afterward-and my dear husband was trying to be nice!  I don’t imagine Michael was big on foreplay, so I’m assuming it was a “wham-bham-thank you, ma’am” kind of experience.  But, oh, it gets better.  Trust me.

[Talking about the actual honeymoon] It was midnight before we got to our room, and we were up at six, headed to the Gulf Coast where we would honeymoon for a few days in a cottage on the beach.

It was a long day’s drive.  We arrived at the cottage well after dark.  We had brought all the gear for fishing and crabbing , as well as the groceries for her to be able to prepare our meals.  That way we could save a lot of money and be able to stay longer in the cabin.  We dug all the gear out of the station wagon and placed it in the cabin.  Deb fixed us a big supper, after which I tried to break my record.  One time and I was asleep.

Notice the subtle “groceries for HER to prepare our meals.”  Michael’s got a wife now, no way in hell he’s cooking anymore!  Also, yet again, we get a glimpse into how the thinks about sex. “Breaking his record.”  Something else I noticed.  It takes 2 paragraphs in the honeymoon section (and none at all in this chapter until now) to say his wife’s name.  It’s always “her” or “she”.

Now we get to learn about what a crab (pun intended) Debi was on her honeymoon.

I awoke in the middle of the night and remembered that crabs sometimes run along the beach, so I woke Deb and excitedly said “Let’s go crabbing.”  My new Mrs complained about me not giving her enough time to unpack her tennis shoes.  They were still packed somewhere and I was raring to go.  Anyway, I had seen her going barefoot many times.  As we scurried along the beach, she complained about not having a flashlight.  I was using it up ahead to scout the way and to chase crabs.  I heard her say something about shells hurting her feet.  For the next our or two, I ran along the seashore and she dragged along behind, carrying my crab-sack.  This was my first time to ever go crabbing and I was having a blast!  What more could a fellow ask for?  A cottage on the beach, a hot bride, plenty of crabs…this was living!  We made it back to the cottage, where we grabbed a couple hours of sleep before I woke hungry and had to make love to a woman half asleep.  She was willing, but not very active.

Wow.  Just wow.  Does he not realize how mean he sounds?  He wants crabs NOW and can’t wait 5 minutes for his brand-new wife to find adequate shoes.  It’s disturbing how easily he dismisses her discomfort of having to walk barefoot on sharp shells in the dark.  Pulling his sack of crabs.  All that matters to him is how good of a time he’s having.  Not to mention the sex.  With a half asleep, non-participatory woman.  Call me crazy, but that really doesn’t sound “willing” to me.

Afterward, she got up and fixed us a fine breakfast.  Great cook.  Her mother taught her well.  She wanted to go back to sleep but I talked her into going back out for more crabs.  By mid-afternoon, we had a sack of crabs and headed back to the cottage.  Wow, I was tired.  I told her I would just take a little nap while she prepared supper.  I don’t know how long I slept, but I awoke to her screaming and jumping about and crabs were crawling all over the cabin.  The silly girl had left the sack open while she was trying to get the first crab into the boiling kettle!  I sat up in bed and offered some constructive advice and she had a personality change right there in front of me, and us not married 48 hours.  Who could have imagined a female could carry on in such a crazy manor?  I tried to calm her down, but she just stomped off, leaving the french fries turning black in the hot smoking oil and the crabs crawling.  I yelled at her retreating form, “I don’t need to hunt crabs, I married one!”  Somehow that one remark has hung around our marriage like a ticked-off ghost.  It seemed appropriate at the time.

Every paragraph, I think his arrogance and condensing attitude can’t get any worse.  And every paragraph, he proves me wrong.  There is so much wrong with this paragraph, my brain is having time computing it all.  After her unresponsive sex, he decides she should cook.  First compliment to Debi in the book!  She’s a great cook!  Her mother taught…oh dear.  I don’t know why I’m surprised.  Conservative Christians (and conservative any religion) think that women are for cooking and baby-making.  Guess it was too soon for her to prove her prowess on that front.  I’m imagining poor Debi (which I never thought I’d say) being forced to go crabbing, cooking, and sexing rather against her will.  Everything is on her “godly” husband’s time frame.  Then, she has the audacity to scream and wake him up!  That “silly girl”!  I’m imagining she’s freaking out because there are pinchy crabs everywhere, and he just sits up in bed saying “Do this, you dumbhead!”  Then looking surprised that she goes off on him.  And then he yells a snarky comment at her.  That’s what she deserves for burning his dinner!

To her credit, she did come back and finish cooking.  After we ate I was ready for some more sex, but she just wanted to sleep.  I had read in a marriage book how women always have excuses like being sleepy, having a headache, etc.  I felt a sense of satisfaction when I was able to so completely change her mind; it wasn’t that difficult.  She is wired right.

What a good bride he has.  Even after she gets emotional, she finishes cooking his dinner.  His description is starting to sound a bit rapey.  He talked her into sex?  It was easy because she was “wired right?”  I’m getting the creeps.

It made me sleepy, so I dozed off again.  I was just dropping off when I heard the crash.  It came from the bathroom.  She looked dead lying there all twisted up in a weird position, half in and half out of the shower.  The curtain and rod lay flung out on the floor around her and water was spraying everywhere.  It was one scary moment-my new bride dead on our honeymoon.  I quickly turned off the water and bent to cradle her in my arms.  I gently shook her while examining her injured forehead, which was quickly swelling and turning blue.  “What’s wrong, honey?  Are you sick?”

OK. He’s been married to Debi (I’ll use her name, since Michael won’t) for what, 2-3 days?  This seems to be the first time he has been gentle with her.  All it took was for her to pass out in the shower and have a swelling, blue forehead.  What a gem of a husband!  Also note, his first reaction was “How terrible for me it would be if my wife died on our honeymoon!”  Not “Holy cow, my wife seems to be hurt!” Ugh. Just ugh.

After she opened her eyes, it took her a minute to focus and then her expression changed.  It was a mixture of pity and anger, although her voice was like a deep sigh as she whispered, “You really don’t know, do you?”  Man, it sounded like she was accusing me or something!  Since she was hurt, I let her have her say, and boy, she laid it on.

Really, Michael?  It takes an injury for you to let your brand new bride have a say?

She sat up, pulling herself away from me, turning where she could look me square in the face.  “In the last 48 hours I haven’t sleep more than two hours undisturbed.  My feet have 20 or more tiny holes in them because you wouldn’t let me take an extra five minutes to unpack my tennis shoes.  My shoulder is sore from trying to carry 30 pounds of crabs for hours [Michael's note "they didn't weight that much] My hand is burned from trying to stuff a fighting crab in ta kettle of boiling water, which seems very much like torturing the poor thing, AND, all the while you lay in a state of repose.  Due to lack of sleep and sun, my eyes feel like they are full of sand.  I have had little to eat.  I’m a female, for crying out loud.  I just want to sleep without you pawing on me.  Besides, I have body parts I didn’t know existed until now and they are killing me…so what’s wrong with me? I’m the weaker vessel, remember?  It’s in the Bible!”

Good for you, Debi! Way to stand up for yourself!  She makes great points. Though I felt she was being a bit dramatic with the weaker vessel part.  He’s been insensitive and cruel.  Depriving her of sleep and food, just so he can get more crabs and sex.  So after this outburst, does he say “Oh, you’re right, I’ve been insensitive.  I’m sorry.”  Hahahaha.  We all know better.

Strange creatures, these females.  My brother never acted like that when we traveled together holding evangelistic services!  “Well, she will get adjusted,” I thought.  I won’t even tell you about the next day, when we went deep-sea fishing and she got seasick.  This was just 3 days into our marriage.  I would have to chase her down that hot gravel road a long way before it dawned on me that I was the one that needed to make most of the adjustments.

I’m just going to put this out there.  No wonder his brother never acted like that!   Michael probably didn’t treat him the way he treated Debi.  And if he did, I don’t think I can stand to hear about it.  Also, Michael, by telling us “I won’t even tell you…”, you tell us. Nice try.  At least he acknowledges that he needs to change.  We’ll see what he actually means.

Grudging Admission

Okay, I am the first to admit I didn’t start out the perfect husband (actually the second one to admit it), and haven’t gotten there yet, but I have experienced the reality that two imperfect spouses can have a perfect marriage.  She even agrees.  She really does; she even says so publicly. For 10 years now my wife has been telling me I should pass on some of this hard-earned wisdom to you.  But I keep telling her that after all these years I still don’t  understand women.  I have come to know one woman, inside and out, all the way, but I would hate to start over again married to your wife.  It took me about 2 years to get mine conditioned to tolerate my selfishness, and another 10 before I understood her needs.

Why does Michael feel the need to keep saying “My wife thinks I’m great.  Honest!”?  Who is he trying to convince? Himself?  Certainly not us.  All anyone has to do is read “Created to Be a Help Meet” and you can see how she thinks of her husband!  Notice the phrase “to get mine conditioned to tolerate my selfishness”.  We condition dogs and other animals.  Not people.  It’s sickening.  And 10 more years bore he understood her needs?  10 years her needs were going unmet?  Good gracious.  I flipped out a few weeks into dating because my needs weren’t being met.  I can’t imagine going 10 years.  The more I read, the more I feel sorry for Debi.

He finishes the chapter saying how they’ve counseled hundreds of couples, and if we follow the formula he’s laid out in the book, we, too, can have a perfect marriage.

I still experience the wonder and mystery of a love that transcends all other relationships and passions.  Together we have come to a quiet place, a noisy place, a beautiful place, and we merge into one, experiencing what God intended when he made the first bride and brought her to the first groom, saying, “And the two shall be one flesh.  Be fruitful and multiply.”  We can’t bear fruit anymore, but we still practice!

This book is written to help you create your own perfect marriage.  Something every person should enjoy this side of heaven.

I would like to conclude by saying, Thank you Michael, for letting us know you still got it.  I was so deeply concerned that since you are older and can’t “bear fruit” anymore, that your sex life had dwindled.  I should have known better, you dog you.  Thanks for putting my mind at ease.  And for placing such a lovely mental picture in there as well.

About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • ako

    Okay, I get that he’s actually trying for “Look how accidentally insensitive I was”, but that is utterly awful. Forcing her to go without sleep until she collapses? Keeping her too busy to eat enough? Making her run over sharp shells in the dark? Expecting her to kill and cook live animals fully capable of hurting her without any actual experience, and then getting condescending when she quite naturally struggles? Constantly pressuring her to lie back and take it so he can use her sexually? (And the most generous interpretation of his actions is that he pressured her and she consented so he could use her to relieve his urges without regards to whether or not she enjoyed it.) That’s staggeringly cruel behavior, even if it was unintentional (and again, that’s being generous to Michael).

    It doesn’t help that he’s presenting all of this as “Oops, I was silly and made some totally understandable mistakes.” That just makes it sound like he’s accepted the desire to eat, sleep, and not deal with a sack full of fighting animals as some silly female quirk he’s had to get used to.

    • Jolie

      Well, didn’t Debi say in her book something along the lines of “If you don’t enjoy marital sex/if it hurts- who cares? You absolutely have to do it for your husband, you’re not the first woman who feels pain or displeasure!”

      Now reading this- it takes that from merely really bad advice to horrifyingly sad.

      • Things1to3

        I remember as a teenage girl in a very conservative church that feeling good was one of the clues that what you were doing was a sin. Serving Christ was a denial of all things of the flesh and that the goal was true Joy (happiness even when there wasn’t anything to be happy about.) Add that to the victorian ideas of “suffer and be still” and yeah, it becomes the wife’s duty to satisfy her husband no matter how much it hurts. Even then, you’re “warned” that sex will hurt because you’re a virgin and your hymen will break, and there’s an implication that if it doesn’t hurt, then you’ve done something wrong.

        I spent the first two years of my marrage teaching myself how to find pleasure in sex with no foreplay, that ended in under two minutes, and that left me sore because that was part of my “duty” to my husband. I guess I have more balls (bigger boobs, is that the female equivilent?) than Debi because I started to object to my husbands treatment of me and we’ve learned how to work together over the years. I can’t imagine being ten years into a marriage and never having worked that out.

      • Saraquill

        I use massive ovaries as the female equivalent to balls.

      • Things1to3

        Love it! Thanks! :-D

      • Jackie C.

        Really men just have ovaries that dropped.

      • Monika Jankun-Kelly

        The women are taught that sex is their duty, and they shouldn’t expect pleasure. The men are taught to bottle up their urges, not even think sexual thoughts, then go crazy and screw like randy goats once married. The men are allowed to enjoy it, expected to. Even give the sickening double standards and gender roles taught by fundamentalists, I still don’t get how the women swallow this “fun for the guy but not for you” stuff. They can’t be totally unaware that egalitarian women enjoy sex? Do they not know egalitarian men take pride in being good lovers, giving too, and not just taking? Is mutuality a completely foreign, incomprehensible concept to these people? Their mindset is just so… alien.

      • Things1to3

        It’s not so much a “it’s fun for the guy but not for you,” but more a “your opinion on this doesn’t really matter.” If you husband enjoys himself then well done, and if you enjoy yourself, then you’re doubly blessed.

    • Karleanne Matthews

      Yeah, I get the vibe that while he’s purposefully trying to make himself look bad for the sake of the book, he’s also bragging the whole time.

      • Alix

        I don’t think he even gets why how he acted was bad. Look at his snide comments about how the sack didn’t weigh that much and his brother never complained, etc.

        He is purposefully trying to make himself look bad, but without any real understanding that what he did is bad, and it shows.

      • Lunch Meat

        It comes across like “Here is how I learned to take care of my pet; I’m telling you this because there’s not an owner’s manual for wives, although there really should be because look how WEIRD they are! Not wanting literally as much sex as possible every moment! Not having the physical abilities and the muscles that manly men do! Having other desires than to do whatever I say the moment I say it! What’s wrong with them? Are they broken?”

        At least if he was saying “Silly me, haha, I didn’t know you had to feed a dog every day and it almost died” he would be talking about an animal (not that I wouldn’t be horrified by someone who thought of animals that way).

      • CarysBirch

        Wanting to sleep at night, when she knows she won’t be allowed to nap in the daytime because she’ll be too busy cooking while I catch up on my beauty sleep!

        That part annoyed me so much! He mocked Debi for being tired after his midnight escapades, but then he was a little tired so he decided to take a nap while she cooked for him. What an asshole!

      • Don Gwinn

        No, I think those comments show that he realizes he’s saying bad things. He’s trying to make it lovably outrageous. You know how you’d see a character on a sitcom and they’ll say something terrible, someone calls them on it, and then they simply double down with no self-awareness at all? It’s funny when the fictional characters do it, and a lot of people emulate that style. He’s winking at the reader, saying “Ain’t I a stinker?”

        That’s the problem; he thinks what he did was silly, just sort of what guys do before they get older and wiser. It’s a man thing. The equivalent of a teenager who threw a big party in his parents’ house while they were away or dropped the transmission doing burnouts in his Camaro. He had a really nice thing, and he didn’t take good care of it, so the nice thing got torn up and dirty.

        And then the nice thing yelled at him and cooked his dinner wrong.

      • Alix

        I think he realizes what he did was bad, in the sense that other people see it as bad. I am not sure he believes what he did was wrong, or really understands why others think that of his actions.

        He’s trying to make it lovably outrageous.

        I agree with your whole analysis here, which is why I think he doesn’t get the wrongness of his actions.

      • AnotherOne

        Me too. Actually, I hear this kind of thing a lot, not just from people like the Pearls, but in broader society, especially among middle aged men. I think it’s a way of “proving” your manhood without overtly bragging. You tell these outrageous stories that are ostensibly self-deprecating, when what you’re really doing is emphasizing how much of a man you are (and what a pretty little quaint woman your wife is). It’s all part of how we as a society enforce stereotypes of masculinity and femininity, and how we feel like we have to prove that we fit those stereotypes, so that we are acceptable to ourselves and everyone else. Michael’s just a little more overt/outrageous/egregious about it.

    • Conuly

      And years – decades! – later he still isn’t the least apologetic. The mind boggles. I expect more sympathy from one of those crabs than we get from him.

  • Ymfon

    Well, if you were wondering how to succinctly sum up the problems with this book, seek no longer: This is the story of a man who always wanted to marry — not a woman, and certainly not Debi-from-across-the-street-with-her-cute-nose-and-lovely-sense-of-humour, but “ONE OF THOSE FEMALE CREATURES”.

    • Jolie

      British suffragist and journalist Rebecca West famously said, “Feminism is the radical notion that women are people.” On a very obvious level, you’d think that means women aren’t dumb animals/ property/ objects with no other purpose but to offer men sexual gratification and domestic services. When you look a bit deeper into it, you’ll see, however, that it does not stop there: “women are people” *also* means that they are not magical fairies who need to be worshipped and put on a pedestal, and they are not different, inscrutable, mystically unintelligible “creatures”. If you think about it, “women are wonderful fairies” is much closer to “women are domestic animals” than “women are human beings with qualities and flaws just like anyone else”.

  • sylvia_rachel

    Dear Michael: You are a certified weapons-grade plutonium jerk-ass. Srsly.

    For 10 years now my wife has been telling me I should pass on some of
    this hard-earned wisdom to you. But I keep telling her that after all
    these years I still don’t understand women. I have come to know one
    woman, inside and out, all the way, but I would hate to start over again
    married to your wife.

    Anyone else find this interestingly ironic, given that he then tells us all we have to do is follow his formula … ?

    Also: I am never going to be able to unsee that bathing-suit photo. OMG. What are those pointy things sticking out in the wrong place for nipples and the wrong place for ribs?!

    • Jolie

      Was that a bathing suit? :)) Looks more like PJ’s to me; or like clothing to wear around the house. But yes, it does look awkwaaaaaaaard.

      (Troll Jolie would recommend them the nudist beach.)

      • sylvia_rachel

        Full disclosure: My DH and I both own “Doctor Moo” t-shirts from Cows Ice Cream in Charlottetown.

        However, when we bought them, we made a pact never to wear them at the same time. Photos like this remind me why we did that.

      • Christine

        Unfortunately my husband and I have a lot of identical shirts. (We’re t-shirt wearers, and we both like to buy one every year from the juggling festival, and we have our ceili shirts, etc). If I notice before we go out I might change (especially if we’re wearing similar trousers), but you’d be amazed how often I don’t realise. (If he goes to work before I get up, or is wearing a sweatshirt I have no chance).

      • Jurgan

        Wait, is that actually a real photo of them? I thought it was a stock photo the author of this post inserted as a joke.

      • sylvia_rachel

        Well, the faces look like them. And the height ratio is about right. But I suppose those could be their faces photoshopped onto someone else’s embarrassingly-bathing-suited bodies.

      • sam

        it’s them! I was looking at the pearl website today and the picture was there too.

      • Anat

        Nudity – it’s the national costume everywhere! (Pratchett paraphrase).

    • AnotherOne

      I may be wrong, but I’m pretty sure the dude in the picture has a condition called Pectus Excavatum, which is why his torso looks so odd.

      • AnotherOne

        And yes, after a quick google, it does seem to be Michael and Debi (or at least it’s on their website).

      • sylvia_rachel

        Interesting! I did not know that existed.

    • ILoveJellybeans

      When I first saw that picture I questioned that as well-skeleton ribcage or saggy weird nipples?

  • jjramsey

    What Michael Pearl recounts looks like a live-action version of the song “Put Another Log on the Fire,” except that Debi Pearl unfortunately doesn’t leave Michael. Ugh.

  • Mira

    I genuinely feel sorry for Debi. It feels like she’s developed some sort of Stockholm Syndrome from his genuinely abusive actions. If he was like this on his HONEYMOON, how much worse was he during normal and stressful times? My gosh. What a horrible human being Michael is.

  • Jayn

    Debi’s account of their marriage sounds bad enough, but I’m starting to wonder if hearing about it from Michael’s POV is going to be even worse. If he can’t take two moments to care about her comfort unless she’s falling down in the shower…

    Note also that he talks about how long it took him to get her to ‘tolerate his selfishness’, not about how he learned to be less selfish. Not a promising statement leading into the main text.

    • CarysBirch

      Are the Pearls Calvinists? I know a fair number of them who think that “total depravity” is so totally depraved that there’s no point in even trying to be less selfish, after all, a dunghill covered in snow can’t be less dungy…

      • Headless Unicorn Guy

        And God Willed them to be so, so being less selfish/less abusive rebels against God’s Predestined Omnipotent Will. In’shal’lah…

  • Saraquill

    Why do people follow him again? He just keeps proving how much of a turd he is.

    • Baby_Raptor

      Because some men want an excuse to have a personal slave.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy

        With Benefits(TM)…

  • Jurgan

    What a complete ass. I particularly liked when he made her get up early to go crabbing when she was still sleepy, but when they got back he was exhausted and took a nap while she cooked.

  • Sarah

    Just, ugh. Each sentence was more awful than the last. And people follow this guy as a spiritual leader? Really!?

    “Hey, look at how much of an abusive fuckwad I was/am, good thing I trained my female to get used to it eventually!” <gag, gag, gag, *barf*

  • Karleanne Matthews

    Not in any way, even a little bit, defending the Pearls’ views, but this whole idea that men and women are *different* and you can learn to train or condition the opposite sex is just as pervasive in pop culture as it is in evanglical/fundie culture. The latter just adds “and it’s God-designed!” on top so that being different doesn’t mean “there’s something a little off about you and you’re not a real man/woman, you weirdo” (which is damaging enough), it means “you’re a sinner and you better fix this if you don’t want to go to hell/live alone in a duplex.”

    Also, I’ve probably made this comment before, but you’re absolutely right–*no one* is as obsessed with sex as the evangelical church. I was always told growing up that one of the main upsides to not having sex in high school was that it would free up my time and energy for better things, like building deep friendships and getting into good colleges. But when you’re praying for purity and doing your purity bible study and reading your purity self-help books and talking to your “accountability partners” about purity and going to purity conferences and writing in your purity journal (god I wish I were joking and those weren’t all real things), seems to me you should probably just have a little sex or masturbate or something and then move on to homework and friends. I’m not saying that celibacy can’t be a good exercise in discipline–if that’s a commitment you want to make–just as fasting can be. But when your tummy is rumbling and distracting you from work, you make a sandwich; you don’t shout “behind me, sinful desires!”

    • sylvia_rachel

      I had some friends in high school (not very many — mine was a nerdy, serious crowd very focused on academics and arts — but some) whose sex lives threatened to become a full-time job. But I’ve never seen any evidence that fighting a desperate battle to not have a sex life even though you really really want one is any less time-consuming. In fact, from your description, it sounds like the opposite can be true.

      The thing is, I think, adolescence is not a time when most people do things in a moderate, considered way…

      • Karleanne Matthews

        I experienced several sides of it in different relationships–sometimes sex (and/or concentrating on not having sex and/or feeling super guilty and getting super religious-y because of my guilt) really took over the relationship, and sometimes it didn’t. I think if I had a teenager, I’d probably go the route of “here are good ways to manage your sex life, should you choose to have one, and set up boundaries to make sure you develop your life in other ways too.” It’s silly to deny that teen sex can get unbelievably complicated and emotionally messy–honestly, if I were a parent, I’d be thrilled to have one of those rare teenagers not super interested in having sex until later in life–but I definitely wouldn’t encourage my kid toward abstinence if it meant, as you so perfectly put it, abstinence threatening to become a full-time job. Or, as was apparently the case for Michael, viewing everything and everyone as temptation and whores trying to steal your soul. Yikes.

      • Lunch Meat

        Seriously, he doesn’t even say “I felt like Many of the women at church were seductive whores.” Nope. All of Michael’s perceptions are accurate. Why should he have to reconsider them and make an effort to see people as people? That would make him less of a man.

      • sylvia_rachel

        I’m going to have a teen in a couple of years, and some of the things I know are coming just freak me right out. By which I don’t mean I’m freaked out by the idea that she will at some point want to have sex, but that the vast number of ways in which relationships among teenagers can become a chaotic mess is really daunting, and as a parent I’m really feeling the burden of figuring out how to prepare her to deal with those possibilities so that the experience doesn’t flatten her.

        I was one of those teenagers not super interested in sex (I was pretty interested in kissing, though, I’ll admit), but I still managed to spend a considerable amount of mental and emotional energy on Relationship Woes.* But I think I was at least better off than the people who were having sex with their boy/girlfriends and meticulously hiding it from their parents lest they be kicked out of the house. I wasn’t having sex in high school, but I knew that if I had been, I could have told my mom and she would have been, if not jumping for joy, at least okay with it, provided she was convinced it was my own choice and I was using protection.

        *I was also sexually assaulted by an older guy (I’m talking slightly older, maybe 19) when I was 16, and I told almost no one the whole story because although my gut was telling me something horrible had happened to me, I was honestly convinced that I had “led him on” by being willing to hang out with him one on one after dark [this was choir camp, in Alberta, in the summer; after dark was pretty late at night] and letting him kiss me, in fact actually participating in said kissing, so it was just as much my fault. After that, I was even less interested in sex for a while, but no less angsty :P.

      • Watry

        I was one of those teens, and let me tell you, that’s freaks out my parents just as much. I’m 23 now and I’ve only had one relationship, that ended on my 17th birthday, and while it lasted a year and a half, we never even held hands. Mom’s terrified I’m going to spend my life alone, even while she’s relieved I’m not having sex.

      • sylvia_rachel

        You can tell her about my 4 good friends who pretty much never even dated in high school and are now all happily married …

      • CarysBirch

        I was not much for dating in high school or even college either, and while I have a couple of exes now in my thirties and am in a relationship, my parents are convinced I’m some kind of unmarriageable freak.

      • LadyCricket

        I have your Mom’s worries about you, about myself.

        I grew up conservative, and after a certain age all my Sunday school lessons went from how to pray, how to act on the sacrament, don’t drink or smoke, etc. to about 75% purity lessons, which struck me as weird even then. (Okay, I get it, can we talk about Christ now?)

        Throughout my middle school and high school years, parents and teachers told me horror stories about how so many kids my age were going out, getting pregnant, open-mouth kissing, humping, using condoms, wearing fishnets, and I felt so proud of myself for being so pure. I was modest, chaste, and school-focused. I would NEVER be a little slut like those OTHER girls. Why, I didn’t think I could find someone to do it with if I tried! Purity was SO easy…

        When I got to the age of 20 without having so much as a casual relationship, I got worried about it being so easy. In fact, I’m still worried, and I still haven’t figured out what my deal is. Am I naturally asexual? Bisexual? A lesbian? Or just very repressed?

      • Karleanne Matthews

        I think it’s odd that people link “not that interested in sex right now” to “forever alone!” I would be distressed if my child showed no interest in forming emotional bonds of any kind with anyone (since that could be a major hindrance in society). But I don’t think those bonds have to be romantic or sexual.

      • Watry

        Truthfully, I’m asexual as far as I can tell, but the one time I brought THAT possibility up, I got the ‘late bloomer’ line. Also, coincidentally, since I posted this I got into a romantic relationship.

        LadyCricket– I’d like to point you to asexuality.org. They have great resources about asexuality, gray-A, aromanticism, and gray-romanticism. It might help you figure yourself out (if you haven’t looked at this stuff already, of course.)

  • AnotherOne

    Michael Pearl makes me nauseated, and I skipped over his writings from the honeymoon on because I couldn’t take them.

    That said, I don’t think making such strongly shaming, speculative comments about his childhood and adolescent sexuality is the answer. We should definitely take issue with the objectification of women that comes through in his adult writings about his childhood experiences, and his very disturbing perspective on his early sexuality.

    But I don’t think it makes you a creep to remember details about your childhood crushes–there are moments in my childhood that my mind has kept a vivid visual record of, and I don’t think that recalling that is lust, or creepy. Also, just looking on your crushes from afar doesn’t make you a creep; I think it’s what most kids do–especially shy ones–in elementary school or junior high. Lastly, I don’t think his 14-year-old obsession with sex is all that uncommon, and I don’t think we need to resort to Law and Order serial sex killer images to take issue with the real problems here, which are that 1) he consistently views women as objects to be possessed, 2) he felt so much shame about normal adolescent sexual desire that it completely warped his ability to view sexuality in a healthy way, or to view women as people, and 3) he views women as the evil causes of the sexual desires he thought were wrong to have. Well, there’s about a billion other problems I could list, but that’s a start.

    Anyway, I feel stupid for defending anything written by a Pearl, but I think it’s important to be fair if we’re actually trying to counter the negative influence they have within certain circles rather than just preaching to the choir of normal people who already know that the Pearls are batshit crazy. So let’s take issue with Michael’s *interpretation* of his early sexuality, not call him a creep or imply that he was a serial killer because he remembers his crushes (normal) and was crazy, crazy horny as a 14-year-old (also normal).

    • Jackie C.

      The impression I had was that the serial killer comment concerned the very things you mention – that women are objects that can be possessed, he feels shame about normal desires that has warped his ability to view sexuality in a healthy way, and that women are to be blamed for his feelings.

      • AnotherOne

        That makes sense, and though I think there was unnecessary hyperbole going on, it is true that strong sexual desire warped by self-loathing and misogyny are a pretty toxic combination that can lead to very bad things.

    • Bobo

      I agree with this, I have vivid memories from childhood, and had similarly painful vicious cycles of shame and obsession. I actually empathized with child Michael. Grown up Michael on his honeymoon.. not so much

      • AnotherOne

        Yeah, I kind of felt sorry for him, because I’ve seen how purity culture beats adolescent boys to death with shame and self-loathing, teaching them to despise their desires (and the women who “cause” them) instead of guiding them toward a healthy, happy sexuality. I have no desire to heap shame on top of the shame he already heaped on himself and others at that time. But adult Michael? He gets no pass for propagating the misogyny and shame and abuse. For reveling in it and glorifying it.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy

        Another aspect of Purity Culture (which may or may not have some bearing on Pearl and his on-demand sex doll) is that Purity Culture often bribes the boys to stay virgins until marriage with exaggerated promises of 24/7/365 barn-burning swinging-from-the-chandeliers dynamite married S*E*X, where their virgin-unto-death bride morphs immediately into their personal porn star fulfilling every pent-up fantasy. IMMEDIATELY. And PERMANENTLY.

        This does not lead to realistic expectations on the wedding night (as in “Five Times!”). Add someone who like Pearl appears to have been a horndog since 9 to 14 with a worse virgin/whore dichotomy than I have and things can get really UGLY really fast.

      • AnotherOne

        Yes. A million times yes. And oh the fallout I’ve seen . . .

  • ArachneS

    That honeymoon sounds like a nightmare.

    And it made me feel that Debi must have some really deep rooted insecurities to stay with this guy for all of those 2 years he says she “gets used to his selfishness”. I’m assuming after those 2 years she just has full blown Stockholm Syndrome.

    • Conuly

      Spousal abuse can happen to anybody, even people who don’t start off with deep-seated insecurities.

    • kisarita

      i believe she came from a “submission” culture herself, which is why it took such extreme lenghts and 24 hours, for her to whisper a word of self defense.

      Note that Mike is even more out of touch with reality than Debi. Debi wrote about her honeymoon, she wrote a much milder incident about buying meat. which was bad enough. but even she had the good sense not to include this horrible stuff here.

  • AnonaMiss

    HOW IS THIS A REAL PERSON. HOW IS THIS A STORY A REAL PERSON WOULD TELL.

    • Fina

      Sadly, it’s not really shocking to me.
      There are plenty of people who don’t consider other peoples needs or desires unless they have to. He didn’t need to because his wife put up with it.

      Factor in decades of the same – him doing as he wants, her being put down with “biblical arguments” and classic abuser tactics. Of course he doesn’t think of himself as a bad person – bad people rarely do.

      It’s really not all that different from other abusers – only with more religion to keep the victim in line, instead of other tactics such as finances, children, victim-blaming etc. (though he uses all of those too).

      I’m already counting withheld affection and victim-blaming. Other abuser tactics are certain to pop up further in the book.

      • Monika Jankun-Kelly

        That monster that kidnapped three women and raped and beat them for years also refuses to admit, even to himself, that he is a monster. He says the sex was consensual and he didn’t beat them. He cried that his house was torn down because he had so many good memories of being with his women there. I think this refusal to see their own evil might sicken me the most about these monsters. I won’t insult men by calling these sickos men.

      • Alix

        I won’t insult men by calling these sickos men.

        I understand the impulse, but it’s important to recognize that, like it or not, they are human. Not some inhuman monsters, human. Like you or me.

        It’s scary, admitting that humans can be that utterly horrible, but it also kind of scares me when we try to eject them from the human race, as if we don’t have our own horrific sides.*

        *Not saying anyone here is doing anything that horrible and cruel to anyone. But it’s important, I think, to recognize that they’re human and ask what caused them to do what they did/believe what they believe to prevent further cruelties, not act like they’re inhuman and thus some weird thing and we don’t have to worry ’cause we’re people, not like them.

        Which isn’t, quite, what you’re saying, but. :/ It’s something I feel is important to state anyway, y’know? I’ve known far too many people who’d say, in earnest, that these folks are monsters and not men, and pat themselves on the back and turn a blind eye to their own dark sides because they’re people, not monsters, don’tcha know. So.

      • onamission5

        Adding on–
        Calling them monsters provides cover for those everyday, normal people we know who are also just like this. It gives *us* cover to fail to recognize/ignore/excuse their abusiveness, and to say we had no idea if it ever becomes to horrible to ignore. Well I know so and so and he’s no monster so there’s no way this is true about him so she/that child/those people must be lying and trying to ruin his life!

        Labeling people as monsters incites us to look for monsters instead of people, and when we find people, when we see their humanity, when we see some part of ourselves, we look away and look for monsters elsewhere (like in the victim). Disbelief, disassociation. It’s the perfect cover.

      • sylvia_rachel

        Yes, exactly this — same thing with rapists who don’t fit the “deranged stalker who drags random women off the sidewalk into the bushes” stereotype. People look at someone who looks just like them, regular clean-cut employed male person, and say “Rapists are monsters, and this guy is clearly not a monster — I mean, come on, he looks just like me! — so obviously these 12 women who claim he raped them must be lying.”

        That’s why the PSA Libby Anne posted a while back, I think it was called “Don’t Be That Guy”, is so unusual and so powerful.

      • Monika Jankun-Kelly

        I admit the word choice wasn’t great, if that’s how it’s coming across. I do know that people like Michael, and serial rapists, and serial killers, the successful ones, are great at passing for normal and good. They do outwardly look and act like the rest of us in public. They show their true face to the vulnerable who can’t fight back or expose them, or to those whose culture accepts or promotes such horrid behavior. I understand their monstrosity is not due to being some kind of alien or different species, but due to inborn flaws like sociopathy and / or terrible upbringing and culture. I know we all have the potential to turn out similarly if not raised right, and especially if abused. I said “monster” because “unhealthy”, “deviant”, “wrong”, “immature”, “disordered”, and “harmful” just don’t convey my revulsion as well, at least in my mind. Maybe I should try abhorrent and repulsive, while also making it clear their behavior is within the spectrum of human behavior, although at the deviant and harmful end.

      • Monika Jankun-Kelly

        Let me add there was another reason I said “monster”. Those like Michael call themselves good men. They claim their behavior is not only quite natural and excusable, but the masculine ideal. It’s not. I was trying (apparently unsuccessfully) to make a point about what masculinity is and isn’t.

      • Monika Jankun-Kelly

        Fair point, let me rephrase. I don’t know if Micheal was born a sociopath, is a result of his horrid upbringing and toxic culture, or some combination of nature / nurture. Rather than monster, I’ll say emotionally and socially a toddler in a grown man’s body. His level of callousness, selfishness, and lack of remorse is understandable in a toddler because their brains and social skills are still developing. His seem to have never developed properly. That makes him sick, disgusting, and monstrous to me, although he certainly has human DNA. I’m sure many of us would develop similarly if raised as he had been, but it makes him no less repugnant to me. I hope that was clearer.

      • Alix

        It is, and I agree. I’ll go on to add that it deeply scares me that people like Michael exist.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy

        At least “that monster that kidnapped three women etc etc” in Cleveland didn’t justify it all with God-talk and Righteous prayers.

  • Composer 99

    I don’t know if the Pearls read anything that is negatively critical of their writings, but on the off chance that they do:

    Debi – it’s not too late. It’s never too late. Get away from Michael. As soon as you can. You can make a better life for yourself. You don’t owe him anything, certainly not now.

    • kisarita

      she won’t. she’s made her public fame and fortune out of her misery. she’s too invested.

    • Monika Jankun-Kelly

      I don’t think she’s capable of even wanting anything better for herself anymore. I think she’s completely broken. She’s an abuse victim (NOT a survivor) who now enables and promotes abuse. With a support network, and good models of healthy living, she might gradually wake up, but I doubt she has any of that.

  • Fledgeling Feminist

    “Lust was my enemy.”

    Reality- “[sexual attraction] was my enemy.”

  • TLC

    I woke up this morning with a massive sinus headache and nausea, and have spent the past few hours trying to keep fluids in my stomach with little success. So when I saw the headline on today’s blog, I thought I’d better approach with extreme caution, lest I be running for the bathroom again. Fortunately, I had read the excerpt of this chapter on Amazon.com, so I had already built up some immunity to this . . . madness? I made it through the post, but needed some recovery time before I could comment.

    “It took me about 2 years to get mine conditioned to tolerate my selfishness, and another 10 before I understood her needs.”

    I think this just about says it all: Debi is an animal to be conditioned to serve his every whim. But it took him a decade to understand her needs. How much longer did it take for him to start meeting her needs? So much for his Biblical charge as a husband to love his wife as Christ loves the church.

    I would love to have an FBI profiler read this book, then come up with a psychological profile of Michael and Debi. Now THAT would be interesting reading!

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      I would love to have an FBI profiler read this book, then come up with a
      psychological profile of Michael and Debi. Now THAT would be
      interesting reading!

      I second that!

      Does John “Mindhunter” Douglas read this blog?
      I think we have a possible case study!

    • onamission5

      It took him twelve years to understand her needs. Two to break her spirit and *another* ten to figure out she was sort of like a person after she stopped trying to be one.

  • Jackie C.

    Here are some of the requirements to be diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Sound like anyone?

    1. Grandiose sense of self-importance
    2. Believes he is special and should only associate with other special or high-status people
    3. Requires excessive admiration
    4. Has a sense of entitlement
    5. Is interpersonally exploitative
    6. Lacks empathy
    7. Believes others are envious of him
    8. Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes
    Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition, American Psychiatric Association

    • Jolie

      Now could someone also post the symptoms for Stockholm Syndrome?

      • Jackie C.

        They haven’t been able to come up with any matching criteria in the few cases they’ve actually identified so it’s not an official mental disorder. Cultural influences are so strong though they throw everything into chaos – there’s a lot of push to normalize and pretend in Debi’s world. I also think they’ve found a way to make money and they’re playing it up for all it’s worth. Why else would Debi encourage other women to step into bondage?

    • Olive Markus

      I think you nailed it. I dated one of those.

      • Jackie C.

        But obviously you were a little smarter – you got out. People with those characteristics don’t change. I read an article that many CEOs of large companies have this personality disorder – it’s what helps them forge ahead and gets others to follow behind. I really think you could add leaders of large church ministries in there too.

      • Olive Markus

        I read something like that, too, and I totally accept that it may be true more often than not.

        I’d definitely add Politicians to the list. I see it in them very strongly!

        Thank you for the kind words :).

      • Monika Jankun-Kelly

        While true about CEOs, I see this used as a reason why this sort of character flaw is somehow a good thing. (Not that you’re doing that.) Good leaders are not selfish assholes. Good leaders gain followers because their leadership benefits the group, not because they bully, manipulate, or trick people into following. There are plenty of sources of strength that lets you forge ahead that aren’t rooted in being seriously flawed. I think the study said 4% sociopaths among CEOs, 1% in general, but that means 96% of CEOs forge ahead and lead without being sociopaths.

        I’m certain part of the problem, to some extent, not sure how much, but some, is that we reward and praise these assholes. The sociopath CEOs are the Milkens, the exploiters, the remorseless job exporters and polluters that make money by hurting others and not caring. We see them making money and call them great and successful. Let us all take a look at how we define leadership and business success.

    • persephone

      My ex. Totally. Diagnosed with Severe Narcissistic Personality Disorder. But he managed to hide/control it until after we were married.

      Debi was only 18, and with her upbringing she wouldn’t have had a clue.

  • Kathleen Margaret Schwab

    I think Michael gets a kick out of telling us what a jerk he is. Maybe he is bragging that he gets away with it. Maybe he beleives that this is how men are, so why not celebrate it. Maybe he’s just that narcissistic. Who knows? But he is enjoying it, like my gross old grandfather never tired of trying to disgust people.

    • Fina

      Quite simple really: He’s demonstrating his power and dominance (or at least what he thinks those things are).

      • Headless Unicorn Guy

        Then why doesn’t he force Debi to do it doggie-style, i.e. the Animal Forced-Dominance Display with the Penetrated crouching in submission beneath the Penetrator?

      • http://abasketcase.blogspot.com/ Basketcase

        Because the only real sex is missionary? Only dirty whores do doggie-style?

      • Things1to3

        Missionary is every bit as dominating as doggy style, and sometimes even more so. Doggy at least the person on the bottom has some bracing and can attempt to crawl away if necessary. Missionary you’re trapped by someone elses weight. It amazed me after other friends of mine married just how often the topic of how to get over having panic attacks when you new husband was on top of you came up.

      • http://abasketcase.blogspot.com/ Basketcase

        I can well imagine. Missionary is exceedingly dominating. Even when you are having a play-fight in that sort of position it can get a bit scary.
        Perhaps thats why its so popular?

      • Baby_Raptor

        Because the only real sex is sex where the participants can look each other in the eyes.

        No, really.

        http://www.goodasyou.org/good_as_you/2013/08/new-marriage-definition-one-man-one-womanconstant-eye-contact-during-sex.html

      • tsara

        From that site:
        “Marriage should only be considered as those relationships in which the members have sex facing each other, which does not occur between homosexual couples.”

        I’m just like… um… you do not seem to know anything about gay sex.

      • Baby_Raptor

        She really doesn’t. I can’t think of a single way that statement makes any sense.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy

        Did I hear that right?

        Because “doggie style” is the way TEH FAGS(TM) do it?

      • CarysBirch

        Hm. What about woman on top positions? Plenty of eye contact there! But not submissive at all. :D

      • TLC

        Yeah, I’ve heard this before. It’s also used as a reason why oral sex is “sinful,” too.

    • Things1to3

      Or he’s trying, in his own warped way, to demonstrate just how far he’s “progressed.” He has to set up how bad things were in the beginning so he can contrast that with how much “better” things are now. Unfortunately he’s stuck in the mindset that he’s right and any harm he does to his wife is just part of her “growing process.”

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      I think Michael gets a kick out of telling us what a jerk he is. Maybe he is bragging that he gets away with it.

      That would explain the constantly-chuckling-to-himself undertone.

  • Conuly

    I just wish I could go back in time, give Debi a big hug, and take her someplace safe. She’s not a very nice person, and maybe nothing could change that, but nobody deserves this.

    • Jolie

      I’d venture as far as to say this experience and how Michael has treated her over the years DO play a big part in why she’s not a very nice person now…

      • Conuly

        That’s always a possibility.

  • Rilian Sharp

    I remember what friends I had when I was little and haven’t seen in 17 years looked like. Including one I had a “crush” on for 4 years. But I knew all of these people for several years, not just one day like michael knew the people he describes. And I didn’t like them for their appearances, I liked them for their personalities.

  • Monika Jankun-Kelly

    When describing his cruelty and lack of empathy on his honeymoon, he seems to be chuckling to himself, amused by it all. His writing doesn’t seem rapey, it is damn rapey. He refuses to admit to himself she wasn’t willing. Sick, disgusting waste of space. I wasn’t sure Debi has Stockholm syndrome before, but reading Micheal’s account is convincing me.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      When describing his cruelty and lack of empathy on his honeymoon, he seems to be chuckling to himself, amused by it all.

      From what I’ve read on various spiritual abuse blogs, the “chuckling to himself” is VERY common among abusive pastor/dictators. Especially when delivering a sermon from the pulpit; some of these guys chuckle to themselves after every sentence.

  • tsara

    See that section on puberty? That’s the kind of thing that makes trans* people (ftm and other FAAB) scared of HRT, even though HRT can help treat a whole lot of dysphoric symptoms and make people a lot happier with their bodies.

    • Monimonika

      For those wondering what the acronyms stand for (I only recognized one of them at first):
      ftm = Female-to-Male
      FAAB = Female Assigned At Birth
      HRT = Hormone Replacement Therapy

      Not sure why there’s an * on “trans” there…
      If I got something wrong, I apologize for my presumption.

      • tsara

        Sorry about that. I didn’t think before posting.
        the asterisk on ‘trans*’ is used to denote not-cis rather than just female-to-male or male-to-female (straight across). It covers bigender, genderqueer, genderfluid, agender, and other nonbinary genders and gender combinations.

  • InvertIntrovert

    >I’m the weaker vessel, remember? It’s in the Bible!

    Oh honey, no.

    Listen to yourself. You just described a situation where you were sleep-deprived and forced to cook while your husband napped, forced to perforate your bare feet on a shell-strewn beach while your husband presumably wore shoes, forced to carry a thirty pound bag while your husband ran around chasing crabs. You are not the weaker vessel. You’re suffering through drudgery and pain your husband would never tolerate for himself.

    Which, oddly, puts me in mind of an article the New York Times ran several years ago about the concept of “women’s work” in developing countries, and how it often includes some of the most exhausting, back-breaking work, like hauling water for miles back to the house. “Women work” in this case didn’t mean “work suited for fragile ladybodies,” it just meant “thankless, exhausting drudge work that men don’t want to do, and get to opt out of because Penis.”

    • Christine

      In “Monstrous Regiment” Terry Pratchet makes the comment that doing laundry was women’s work, therefore it was backbreaking and social.

      • Anat

        There’s the Hans Rosling TED talk about how the arrival of the washing machine revolutionized the life of his grandmother (and presumably his mother too), and how she finally had free time – to take him to the library.

        If there is one labor-saving device that improved the lives of women more than any other, it’s the washing machine.

      • j.lup

        Damn-freakin-straight! Other technologies have certainly had a broader impact on how we live and work (plastics, vaccines, computers and telecommunications), but the electric-powered automatic washing machine has to be the greatest labour-saving device invented in the 20th century.

      • NeaDods

        Says the person who has never pumped, hauled, and heated water for a bath. It’s not the clothes part that took all the time.

      • KarenJo12

        And now I foresee Quiverfull patriarchs removing the indoor plumbing from their houses because it makes women’s lives easier and allows them evil free time.

      • NeaDods

        Plus connects them to the evil secular world. Can’t live off the grid until you pump your own water and cut off the electricity!

        Actually, I would not in the least be surprised if some form of this wasn’t happening already, very seriously. I’ve seen articles on how *not* just making your own bread but grinding your own wheat by hand is unBiblical and doesn’t provide proper nutrition for the family.

      • http://www.carpescriptura.com/ MrPopularSentiment

        Well forcing women to bake bread at home for that exact reason certainly seems trending.

      • j.lup

        And baking bread without electric mixers, from some of the Quiverfull-Anonymous blogs I’ve read.

      • Anat

        Well, I experimented with bread baking during a time I was not employed, and I prefer hand-kneaded bread. Bread made in a bread-machine just isn’t it. But now that I’m back to working full time, it’s store-bought (the crusty kind, from the in-house bakery).

      • j.lup

        NeaDods: Which person were you condescendingly assuming has never pumped, hauled, or heated water for a bath? Please note, which you clearly didn’t, that I said that the electric-powered automatic washing machine has to be (which is a colloquial way to say, ‘In my opinion is’) the greatest labour-saving device invented in the 20th century. I didn’t say it was the greatest labour-saving technology ever, and as we all know, indoor plumbing pre-dates the 1900s.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      Which, oddly, puts me in mind of an article the New York Times ran
      several years ago about the concept of “women’s work” in developing
      countries, and how it often includes some of the most exhausting,
      back-breaking work, like hauling water for miles back to the house.

      While the Men sit with other Men doing more important things like talking Politics.

      • j.lup

        Men aren’t just sitting around, you know…they’re supervising. [Seriously, I saw that on a documentary once in which the women were doing the back-breaking labour, and when the men were asked what they themselves did, the answer was 'Supervising.']

      • http://www.carpescriptura.com/ MrPopularSentiment

        Or just waiting to find work that’s “suitable” for their station/gender. That’s not even a developing countries thing – some of my neighbours are like that. The husband worked at some big office while the wife stayed home with the kids and did all the housework, cooking, etc. Then the husband gets laid off and just sits at home waiting for a job to present itself, expecting the wife to continue all the household work and, in one family’s case, even get a part time retail job.

    • LizBert

      This. She was not being weak, she was being abused.

    • http://www.carpescriptura.com/ MrPopularSentiment

      Not only that but, what the hell? How did Michael not approach the situation with a “gee, I’m exhausted. You’ve been doing all the same stuff I’ve been doing, so you must be exhausted too! Why don’t we both take a nap (a real nap, no sex) for an hour and then we can make dinner together”?

      You have to be a sociopath to focus so exclusively on your own needs, and to simply expect those around you to be need-less automatons who can continue to serve you while you do your own thing.

  • Gillianren

    Debi, I am getting more sleep with a five week old infant in the house than you did on your honeymoon, because my infant requires less in the way of being taken care of than your husband. Contrary to what you’ve been taught, that actually isn’t right.

  • Vi

    On the subject of women cooking: Growing up, my dad always cooked dinner. I’m not sure why, but in elementary school I guess we talked about food a lot, and frequently naming a favorite dish was followed by “oh, does your mom make it very often?” Being a quiet, meek person back then, I don’t think I ever corrected them. I’m pretty sure I always said “not really.”

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      Maybe your dad was the better cook. Makes sense to me.

    • Fina

      While my mother used to cook the day-to-day meals because my father was at work at the time, my father always cooked when he was at home. He was better at it too, and often put a lot of effort into it (my mother was better at baking though). For big events, my father always did the cooking on his own, and there were never any issues with saying who cooked it.

      • CarysBirch

        My mother also loves baking (because she loves it, not because it’s “a woman thing) and is an indifferent cook. My dad is quite a good inventive cook, and I think he enjoys it. He occasionally goes for projects like making cheese or something. Their marriage is pretty rigid, gender-wise though, and he only cooks when she’s sick or not at home for some reason. Or when he has a project going.

        I got his side of it. I like to cook but hate to bake.

  • Olive Markus

    I’m so disgusted by this man I find myself unable to reply to comments. He’s hideous. He’s a monstrous, abusive and disgusting excuse for a human being. I have been able to read the reviews of Debi’s book, but this might be too much for me.

  • wanderer

    Debi’s body language in the photo doesn’t scream “I’m in love with my brand new husband”. It looks to me more like, “I don’t want him to be touching me.”

    • Christine

      That makes a bit of sense, given the culture, no matter how well they get along. If you’re told that sex is horrible, and that you shouldn’t touch anyone of the opposite sex, then you’re going to have issues right after you’re married. Libby’s written some really great stuff on that sort of thing I know.

    • LizBert

      I didn’t notice at first, but you’re right. She’s standing very stiffly. When we take pictures together I usually lean into my husband and put my arm around him, it just feels natural to be close.

  • LizBert

    I think it’s interesting that he describes himself as being in love with the attractive girls that he met. To me that doesn’t even come close to being love. I don’t even think that I loved all of the guys I dated before my husband. Some of them I did and others I just enjoyed spending time with. Physical attraction and lust are not the same as love. It doesn’t surprise me that Michael has no idea what real love is like.

    Their honeymoon sounds awful. I can only thank my lucky stars that I married a far kinder man. I smashed my toe the day before our wedding and spent the next few weeks hobbling around in flip flops because shoes were unbearable and he never complained when I needed to take a break, because he loved me and did want me to be in pain. Love is all about compromises and middle ground, not forcing your beloved out of bed to do something you think is fun. Hell, even on your honeymoon it’s ok to do things alone. I don’t see why Michael couldn’t have snuck out of bed that night and surprised his wife with a bag full of crabs the next morning and a fun story about how he caught them.

    • minuteye

      Because then he would have had to carry the bag of crabs himself. Clearly an unacceptable outcome.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      That would mean HE would have to do the work. Isn’t that what a Good Widdle Christianese Wifey is for? “WOMAN, SUBMIT!”

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      I think it’s interesting that he describes himself as being in love with
      the attractive girls that he met. To me that doesn’t even come close to
      being love.

      It’s the same type of Love(TM) you get while jacking off to a nameless porn star. “The attractive girls” — no names, no anything except they are attractive and girls.

      I don’t know why this guy got married in the first place (other than to look respectable). Maybe he couldn’t afford to buy the sex and the cooked meals over the long term?

  • Norm Donnan

    Welcome to the world of men,this is why I described all men as predators. Predators not in an evil,harmful way but “on the prowl”.And guess what,its normal.If a young girl were to describe how she felt about boys growing up,and men were to comment on how she felt,I wonder how that would read?

    • Beroli

      Either you failed to parse either Aletha’s reaction to Michael’s claims, or the comments…or you think, as Michael himself might, that if you ‘splain why everyone recoiling in horror at Michael’s vileness is wrong we’ll all see that you’re right and we’re wrong.

      No. His attitudes are neither normal nor healthy.

    • Bobo

      I’m not sure which part you mean, if you are referring to Michael’s description of the raging desires of his adolescence then I agree with you. I empathized with that part of Michael’s story. Most 14 year olds are a crazy mess of out of control hormones, I certainly was. I did think Althea’s criticism of that part was a bit harsh.
      However, as far as I can tell, most commenters are outraged by Michael’s amazingly inconsiderate behavior on his honeymoon, not his teenage horniness. If you are suggesting that is normal male behavior.. well, I’m glad I don’t know the men you do.

      • tsara

        A lot of it is also the dehumanizing language with which he refers to the girls/women; the attribution of motive (and motive specifically against Michael) to TV shows, billboards, and people; and also the aggressive and possessive language. Those things set off warning bells. It’s one thing to ‘be a walking hard-on’ (which is a phrase I’ve heard used more than once). What Michael says is worlds away from that.

        EDIT: Also, at fourteen I was just stressed and crying all the time; I’m asexual and gender-wtf (with a fairly low libido), so what he describes is just completely outside of my experience and I could be wrong about these things.

      • Bobo

        I can definitely see your point, I just feel that a lot of that is adult Michael rationalizing and explaining away the pain and shame he felt as a highly sexual teenager caught in a culture literally damning of such feelings.
        I could be wrong though, he may have been a narcissist/sociopath from birth.

      • tsara

        If you go back and reread the paragraph Aletha wrote with this in it: “My shrink would call that a feedback loop.”

        Obviously the fundamentalist attitude toward sex had a negative influence on him, but he didn’t have to react the way he did. Without a ridiculous amount of misogyny, he probably wouldn’t have.

        EDIT: Also, on the subject of ‘from birth’: he took all of that to an unhealthy and sociopathic extreme, so he probably had some kind of predisposition to that, but it isn’t necessary. Dehumanization is sometimes the default.

      • Hilary

        If you don’t mind me asking, what’s gender-wtf? Asexual I understand, but the other I’m reading as gender-what-the-fuck. That may be an accurate description of how you feel about you gender and sex, but if I’m wrong would you be able to clarify?

        Thanks.

      • tsara

        Yup, I meant gender-what-the-fuck. Genderqueer also works. :)

      • Hilary

        Thanks, I just wanted to be sure I understood what you were getting at. Take care!

      • Jolie

        Just ftr: if we refer to you in future conversations, what’s your pronoun?

      • tsara

        Any gender neutral ones. I use zie/hir, but have no particular preference. :)

      • Norm Donnan

        True he does sound like a bit of a dick on their honeymoon but hey,who carnt say their partner hasnt been selfish and inconsiderate at times,I know my wife would.(she’s wrong of course)

      • AlisonCummins

        Most people are “selfish and inconsiderate at times” but not this inconsiderate. Really not. You and your wife might be, but I’m not and my beloved (who yes, can be a bit of a dick, as can I) is not.

      • Kay

        “A bit of a dick.”
        Really? Just a “bit?”
        Not letting his wife get ANY sleep because HE wants to go crabbing, HE wants sex, HE wants food, HE wants her to cook while HE takes a nice little nap? My husband has aspergers and he’s FAR more aware of my feelings than this dickbag Michael could ever be.
        Seriously. He went into his marriage thinking he could “outdo” his friend who “knew” his wife FIVE TIMES on their wedding night.
        Let me tell you something. Losing your virginity sucks and it hurts. Sex for women usually goes from hurting to pinching to feeling like nothing to feeling like prodding to feeling good. And sometimes it takes weeks, months to get to that sensation of “now I see why everyone likes it”.
        He admits to having sex with Debi when she was barely awake, because he was too much of a horndog to care about her feelings, to care about her pleasure.. Hell, he probably didn’t even put any thought or effort into foreplay which can be absolutely essential to getting a woman wet enough to facilitate having a penis inside of her.
        This goes far beyond being a “bit of a dick.”
        He spent the entire honeymoon getting what he wanted, doing what he wanted, disregarding his wife’s feelings all the way and expecting her to do everything when he wanted to put his feet up. Then, when she finally tells him how she feels, he hand-waves it and thinks “she’ll get used to it.”
        I’m starting to think he may be extremely high on the autism spectrum, or at the very least suffering from a severe case of narcissistic personality disorder.
        He is the worst kind of asshole and I wouldn’t piss on him if he was on fire.

      • Norm Donnan

        He really hit a raw nerve with you didnt he,lol.I think your probably right though in that he might well be in the autism realm.What Ive noticed is a lot of people in leadership positions in all areas of life seem to be a bit extreme in some way and thats probably why they are doing what they do

      • Kay

        Yeah, the rawest nerve for serious!
        I say that more from personal experience in losing my virginity. It took us 2 months of it hurting/feeling like nothing and me having several near-mental breakdowns about hating sex and never wanting to have it again before it started working, and that’s only because my husband and I worked our asses off to figure my body out.
        Long story short, sex for women can be very uncomfortable for a good while due to two things: not knowing their bodies and their men not learning about their bodies. It takes a while for some womens’ bodies to get “broken in” so to speak, and until that happens, it’s a begrudging sensation to endure. So when Deb complains to Michael that she wants a moment without him “pawing her,” I’m sure that’s what she’s talking about since she was a virgin on her wedding night and, despite what girls are led to believe, first-time sex is not this beautiful romantic fireworks display… It is more often than not two minutes of prodding and stretching and wincing and wishing it was over and wondering why in the hell women enjoy sex at all.
        But off the subject of sex, Michael talks about how Deb had to “get used” to his selfishness, i.e. he refused to change it and she was expected to deal with it. What an awful ass. Men like him make me sick, and this whole “honeymoon” story makes me sick, even though it happened probably decades ago.
        He honestly is a product of patriarchal thinking: no consideration of his wife’s needs and feelings, thinking her complaining is just “silly,” doing what he wants and getting what he wants, etc.
        I never thought I’d say this in my life, but I honestly hate this man and believe that Deb has developed Stockholm Syndrome over years of a marriage that told her she was beneath him and that her needs didn’t matter.

      • Norm Donnan

        My wife has had the same experience as you had(though not with me)This isnt old way thinking though,My mother in law is probably the most self centred person ive ever met,all ways has been .Ive met a few older women like her that even before the sexual revelution of the 60s were dominent control freaks.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy

        He admits to having sex with Debi when she was barely awake, because he
        was too much of a horndog to care about her feelings, to care about her
        pleasure.

        I first came across that (forcing yourself on her when she’s asleep or next to it) in National Lampoon in the Seventies, in the article “How to get a BJ off your wife” under the name “The Sleep Job.” The writeup mentioned that “In all 50 states, this is grounds for whatever her lawyers or the local DA want to do to you.”

    • Scott_In_OH

      Michael is not describing me, Norm. Therefore, he is not describing all men.

      As with Debi’s stuff, there are sometimes grains of truth in here–for example, boys can be attracted to and afraid of girls–but every extrapolation he adds is horrifyingly wrong.

      Don’t give me “men are like that.” Michael is like that. And a disturbing number of other men, some probably because people tell them it’s OK because they’re guys. Fuck that. It’s not OK.

    • Gillianren

      How do you rationalize the fact that I had to ask my boyfriend out the first time because he’s not socialized well enough to have understood that I was attracted to him?

      • Norm Donnan

        This is about how men think not what they do.Your boyfriend was,like so many just shy,its most likely just who he is.

      • Petticoat Philosopher

        If this is how you think, I sincerely hope that no woman ever gets within a mile of you. I fear that’s not the case, though. Stop trying to justify and rationalize your disgusting attitudes towards women by imagining that all men are as disgusting.

        Oh, and if you’re about to tell me that I can’t possibly have insight into the Male Mind (TM) and I’m just deceiving myself and being deceived by men who pose as something other than predatory louts, save it. Thinking like this does not stay hidden. It is bound to express itself in word and deed. A man who thinks in this way is going to do things that show it at some point, even if he doesn’t wear his misogyny proudly on his sleeve like Michael.

      • Norm Donnan

        Thats ok,you keep dreaming then.The thing is woman arnt any different,they just do it in a different way thats all.

      • Petticoat Philosopher

        Wait, now I’m a super-entitled, narcissistic rapist who thinks other human beings exist to serve my needs and desires and who just happens to be good at hiding it too? Uh huh, yeah, okay, Norm. I think you’re the one who’s dreaming–you’ve dreamed up an entire world where everyone’s a crypto-psychopath just to justify yourself. It’s quite impressive, really.

      • Norm Donnan

        or just a drama queen

      • Petticoat Philosopher

        Which descriptor of the behavior and thinking you consider to be “normal” do you find to be “dramatic?” Super-entitled? Narcissistic? Rapist? What about Michael Pearl’s apparent pride in his chilling lack of empathy do you find “normal?” Do you actually believe that that is a normal way for human beings to see and relate to each other? I don’t really expect substantive answers because it’s pretty clear that your’e just trolling at this point, but worth a shot.

      • Gillianren

        What’s that I hear? Why, it’s the sound of goalposts’ being moved!

    • sylvia_rachel

      … yeah, no.

      Raging hormones and being confused about sex at 14: perfectly normal (for girls too, note).

      Referring to women as “creatures” and objects instead of people, calling members of your congregation “seductive whores”, becoming convinced that everyone and everything everywhere is expressly designed to tempt you, yes YOU, into sexual sin: not normal.

      • Norm Donnan

        Ill pay you that one,hes a bit over the top.

    • Anat

      Well, at least some of us know men who are apparently not from your world. Michael Pearl reveals himself to be a pathological individual. Are you claiming the majority of men are similarly pathological? Self-centered and lacking in empathy?

      • Norm Donnan

        He sounds quite normal to me,at least as balanced an most women i know.

      • Things1to3

        Yeah, he sound normal for a teenager, possibly a young 20-something. Especially a teenager and young man raised to believe that he has a divine right to dominate and conquer those around him. The part that is disturbing to me isn’t his immaturity at the time of his marriage so much as the fact that he seems to glory in that immaturity. I’d agree that this sounds normal for many young people I’ve met, including my own spouse.

        But Michael’s writing suggests that he hasn’t grown beyond the self-centered narcissism of a teenager, rather he seems to glory in that immaturity. Moreover, he’s moved to define that immaturity as Divinely mandated and is writing a book to try to persuade others that his views are good and right. This kind of dedication to immaturity may be normal in your experience, but it isn’t healthy.

        I’d agree that it isn’t limited to men, and that women can be equally unbalanced. The focus here IS on the men though, per Michale Pearl own philosophy, and the larger fundamentalist perspective of men’s roles of dominance versus women’s roles of submission.

      • AlisonCummins

        No, not at all normal. Not even for a teen. I had a boyfriend when I was twelve and he was thirteen. We were both very immature but we could verbalise and we were interested in what made one another happy. We wrote long letters to eachother daily. He never treated me poorly and always listened. When we eventually started having sex three years later he cared very much about my pleasure.

        If I had a child as lacking in empathy as Michael Pearl I would be working with a child psychologist because something would be wrong.
        It’s possible that he’s somewhere on the autism spectrum and never learned to have a conversation. While autistics generally are more empathetic than neurotypicals when they *know* how other people or animals are feeling, they are bad at what psychologists call “mindreading,” or *guessing* what others are thinking or feeling. If they learn to ask lots of questions (how are you feeling? do you want to do that?) they can compensate for bad mindreading. But it seems that instead of learning to ask questions, Michael learned rules about relationships that relate to hierarchy and obedience.
        I have no idea what’s up with Michael Pearl, but I do know that he is not normal, not even immature.

      • Things1to3

        Can I just say that I envy your reference for normal.

        In a fundameltalist subculture you don’t learn to ask questions, or to guess what others think or feel, especially if you’re male. Feelings and empathy are girl things, not boy things. It’s all about the heirarchy and the rules and obedience. That’s exactly what Michael Pearl is seeking to teach his kids.

        It’s possible he might be on the autism spectrum, but he’d never have been diagnosed, nor would he be likely to discover it now. Professions like psychology are shunned. At my old christian highschool, when one of the students committed suicide, the school refused to bring in counselors. The students were given a time to meet and pray together and that was considered more than sufficient.

      • AlisonCummins

        Most of the MKs at the missionary school I attended were nice people with empathy too. They struggled with controlling adults, but most of the adults were more empathetic than Michael Pearl describes himself as.

        I had some classmates who were more attached to their ideas of personal superiority than to any feedback they might get from reality, and yes there were more of them at the MK school than at the public school I had attended before, but they weren’t the majority.
        It’s not normal to not understand that other people can experience discomfort or pain.

      • AlisonCummins

        “Can I just say that I envy your reference for normal.”

        I’m so sorry.

      • Norm Donnan

        Your probably spot on with him being a bit autistic.A lot of people who are very strong in some area in life are a bit OCD

      • http://noadi.etsy.com/ Sheryl Westleigh

        I doubt he’s on the spectrum. People who are autistic are inept at manipulation (because we can’t read social cues) and he is a master of it.

      • Norm Donnan

        The thing is this isnt taught in any church ive been apart of and they are conservative.They may refer to man being the “head of the house”but ultimately it makes men take responsability for some things they would rather avoid especially when they are young.Infact in my experience it is used against you to manipulate you to do what your wife wants.People like Michale Pearl,wether male or female are a personality type who want to dominate,they position themselves in life in business,church or a street gang to lead.Their character flaws are obvious but so are their strenths,they get things done.If his positives out weigh his negatives some will follow his teachings,if not he will be just another dick.From what Ive read his wife is more than capable of standing up to him and will balance each other out,and isnt that what all relationships should do,smooth each others rough spots?

      • Things1to3

        I doubt it’s taught from the pulpit. It wasn’t at my former churches either. It was “taught” through social convention. It’s a type of institutional sexism and it’s fairly endemic.

        At this point I think we’re getting into a nature vs nurture type debate. Yes, there are dominant people (male and female) in every people group and yes, I’d agree that they have both good and bad attributes. Balance in a relationship is a very important factor, but labeling one partner as being “head of household” and another as the “weaker vessel” doesn’t create balance. It forces people into roles that they may not fit. In your experience men with no desire to lead being manipulated by their wives, and in my case, stong willed women forced into submissive roles. Wouldn’t it be better to let each person be themselves and teach our children to approach every relationship as a negotiable interaction between two equals?

      • Norm Donnan

        100% correct

      • Anat

        His thinking of women as ‘creatures’ sounds normal? His total lack of consideration of his wife is normal? Seriously?

      • Conuly

        If he sounds normal to you, that’s because you aren’t normal.

  • AAAtheist

    Here’s my take on “Mikey” in an alternate universe, where he actually talks to the freckled, red-haired, beautiful “creature” called Sharon:

    Sharon (noticing him staring at her): “Hey, what ‘r’ ya doin’?!”

    Mikey (stammering weakly): “I … oh, uh … nuthin’, I guess. …”

    Sharon (forcefully): “Dude, don’t stare at me. It’s seriously creepy.” She holds out her hand. “My name’s Sharon, but my friends call me Shar (pronounced like “car” or “star”). What’s yours?”

    Mikey (nervously): “I … oh, uh … (coughs) my name’s Michael.”

    Sharon (pumping his hand vigorously): “Nice ta meet ya, Michael!”

    Michael: “Uh, Sharon, … I think you’re … beautiful.”

    Sharon: “Thanks! You’re kinda cute yourself!”

    Michael (blushing visibly and whispering shyly): “Thank you. Sharon, would you mind if we … went steady?”

    Sharon (nonplussed, but unfazed): “Gee, thanks but no thanks, Michael. I think I might be into girls.”

    Michael (crushed): “What? Oh …”

    Michael and Shar continue to be platonic friends, and gradually he comes out of his shell thanks to her gentle prodding. He learns how to talk to girls he fancies. During his teenage years, he has the success and failure that most adolescents have in the dating world.

    In college, Michael falls for Shannon, an outgoing, freckled, red-haired woman (obviously). They hit it off almost immediately. After graduation and law school, Shannon becomes a lawyer with the World Wildlife Fund. Michael teaches women’s history at the local community college, with an emphasis on the dangers of rape culture. They have a place down by the lake where they share cooking and cleaning duties in a closed, polyamorous triad with Mitchell, Michael’s best friend. Mitchell’s a biochemical engineer. He’s tall and slender, like Michael. (Tall, skinny, thoughtful guys are Shannon’s type!) They are childless by choice.

    The world is spared CTBHHM, CTNAHM, and TTUAC

    … and we all live happily every after.

    • Liz

      I like this version :-)

      • AAAtheist

        Thanks, Liz! I felt Michael’s life story was (is) in serious need of a reboot!

  • Baby_Raptor

    This guy is a sick, manipulative, idiot, abusive…Just reading his attitude is triggering.

  • http://volunteer11.blogspot.com/ VollyfromtheBlog

    I have no intention of reading this book beyond the excerpts posted here, so I need to ask: Does he say anything about his background or childhood? I’m curious about where his ideas about women came from in the first place.

    His account of things is pretty appalling.

  • ILoveJellybeans

    That is the worst honeymoon story ever. She should have divorced him.
    In the first few days of their marriage, he made her go out barefoot because he was too impatient to wait for her to put shoes on, made her carry his stuff, made her cook live crabs while he slept, and had sex with her three times on the night she lost her virginity, most of which were non consensual-it isnt consent if she was half asleep and didnt fight back, and its not consent if she originally said no and he talked her into it, didnt let her sleep to the point where she passed out from exhaustion…
    He is the most selfish asshole ever.
    There are so many red flags in this story, I cant believe she stayed with this psychopath. Its not like it got any better from there, I wouldnt be surprised if he was beating her, from her comments about abusive relationships and how the woman should stay and try and be a good wife so her husband wouldnt beat her. He is also a child abuser, and his parenting advice caused the deaths of three children that we know ofr, and the abuse of many others. The way he talks about others is just pure evil, he is always saying he is better than anyone else and dehumanizing others, whether it is women, his wife, children or his pets. He rarely says anything nice to other people.

    • Kit

      I would have divorced him based on this honeymoon alone. Of course, he would not recommend anyone marrying me because I’m a woman who walks into court in a suit and no makeup and zealously advocates for her clients… which I imagine is completely contrary to everything a woman, in his mind, should be?

      • kisarita

        i think debbie was probably already indoctrinated by the whole submission cult before her marriage, otherwise she would have walked out. or at least gone to her support system who would have encouraged her to walk out too.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      There are so many red flags in this story, I cant believe she stayed with this psychopath.

      Remember the God-talk. “What GOD Hath Joined Together…” and threat of Eternal Hellfire and Damnation come into play.

      Plus the “Hellish Respectability” of being the CELEBRITY Christian(TM) Couple, Oracles to the Godly and the wannabe-Godly.

  • onamission5

    Yup. That seals that. He’s got every red flag of every abuser I have ever met, all rolled up in one personality.

  • j.lup

    If you think about it backwards, Michael’s degrading and objectifying attitudes and beliefs about women and sex are a direct result of his not having viewed porn and not having had friendships or dating relationships with young women in his peer group while in his teens.

  • https://www.facebook.com/jean.hoehn/info?collection_token=1524166867%3A2327158227%3A35 Phatchick

    What a sorry, useless, miserable excuse for a human being. I would’ve dumped the crabs in bed with him, grabbed his wallet and used the money in it for getting home. and the rest to hire a good lawyer, ’cause that marriage would’ve be OVER.

  • CarysBirch

    Am I alone in being squicked by Michael’s constant use of “females”. It’s as though using “woman” instead would be too close to admitting Debi’s a human too. “Female” could be anything… a dog. A porpoise. I find it dehumanizing.

    I have an ex boyfriend who constantly referred to me as a “female.” I think it was not a coincident that he’s the only one of my exes who is a fundamentalist. Even then I didn’t like it.

  • http://www.carpescriptura.com/ MrPopularSentiment

    Yeaaaah… so this is what marital rape looks like. Just fyi, in case anyone didn’t know.

    Poor Debi, this is incredible. My husband and I started dating when we were 16 and, it’s true, we were both pretty selfish. I was his first and he had all this pent up energy and I wasn’t too good at communicating yet, and it did take us a while to figure out that things tend to work better when we TALK. But I’m talking 2-3 days here, and his reaction was immediately to recoil in horror that he might have been having sex with someone who wasn’t as “into it” as he was.

    But here’s Michael Pearl – not a 16 year old who hasn’t fully developed his forebrain yet and doesn’t quite know how to go about this whole human relationships (sexual or non) yet, but a 25 year old. Here’s Michael Pearl who completely and utterly did not care whether the person he was with was having as much fun as he was (or any at all). Here’s Michael Pearl who is told, straight out, that he has behaved abominably and he still does not care.

    Debi’s book has been bad enough, but I think that this one makes it abundantly clear that Michael Pearl is a psychopath.

  • Theo Darling

    WOW so many triggers. <_<
    I can't get over how insanely oblivious Michael is of human nature, of personality…of emotions and our inner workings. And, to be honest, I'm feelin' like I dodged a pretty goddamn big bullet here, because for most of my life I too was only capable of incredibly superficial relationships (largely, I suspect, a result of not being allowed to form my own opinions). I would just watch friends and couples and wonder what they saw in each other so unique to make them one of a kind, and I went out with this guy from youth group for almost a year, even though he made me feel miserable, and yet I couldn't have told you anything about his personality or his character. All of my attachments were formed on nothing but proximity and, in the case of crushes, pretty faces. And really? Can't say it's uncommon in these circles, when they take pains to teach that potential spouses couldn't possibly be incompatible because everyone's fundamentally interchangeable anyway. It's only been leaving Christianity behind altogether that's enabled me to finally start getting to know myself and others.

    • CarysBirch

      Yeah. I was definitely taught that men are… essentially plugs and women are sockets. Any plug fits in any socket, so it doesn’t so much matter who you wind up with, as long as people aren’t swapping connectors willy nilly.

  • LK

    As a conservative Christian woman, wife and mom, I am appalled by the Pearl’s teachings. They are barbaric extremists!!


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