by Aletha cross posted from her blog Yllom Mormon
Trigger warnings for sexual discussion and Michael Pearl’s euphemisms
Last post, we learned about premarital sex. Or rather, how, if a couple has premarital sex, than the sensitive, vulnerable woman bears the guilt of it and becomes a cold fish. Today’s sections are..well, I’ll just let you read them. If you’re not into terrible sexual innuendos and cringe-worthy euphemisms, then I’d suggest skipping this section.
Text is in purple
(Still in the section I Need Her to Fulfill My Erotic Desires)
There is another cause for a woman’s lack of enthusiasm for sex. The “weaker vessel” is more sensitive by nature and cannot easily separate erotic pleasure from romantic feelings. A man needs no association to become aroused and seek fulfillment But most women view sex as the fulfillment of deep feelings of love, protection, and commitment. You may marry a virgin and she freezes up on you like dry ice if you fail to draw her close to you emotionally.
Michael has a point. Sometimes women (or people in general) want to make love, not just sex. Though the fact that he genders it is, unsurprising. I really wish he would stop with this weaker vessel stuff. Women’s bodies -and minds- are not physically, emotionally, spiritually, whateverally weaker than men’s. Biologically speaking, at least. I suppose if you’re cultured to think that women are weak, then it becomes kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy. The fix? Stop teaching that! It hurts everyone-women, men, and children.
Also in this paragraph, we see Michael assumes all men are the same. This is one of his favourite tactics. Some men need “association” to become aroused. Not every man is 100% horny all the time. Not every woman is a cold fish. And both are extremes; there is plenty of gray area in between. In a physical relationship, there are naturally peaks and valleys for both parties. A good relationship will be able to whether these without…well, freaking out.
I don’t like how Michael consistently compares women to inanimate objects. Freezing up like dry ice? Why can’t he just say “Failure to draw your wife close, emotionally, will make her feel like you don’t care. Why would she want to share her body with someone she feels doesn’t care about her?” (I tried to phrase it like Michael should-if I had been giving the advice, I would have made it gender-neutral)
Or you may marry a girl pure in body and mind, but you have a history of being a pervert, either through pornography or former immorality. The innocent-of-heart girl comes to marriage expecting gentle love, but she immediately encounters the raw and twisted passion of a man who sees his wife as an extension of his masturbation or as a whore to give him pleasure.
This is actually a valid point. My ex had a sexual addiction (porn, call girls, Craigslist girls), and my first sexual experiene was very much an extension of masturbation. However, I don’t believe that simply viewing pornography will turn one -male or female- into a pervert. Neither will “former immorality”. It is my belief that perversion is in a person’s nature, not so much in what they view. Also, I find it very ironic that “3 times on my wedding night” Michael is calling out men who treat their women as “whores to give pleasure”. I seem to recall Michael’s honeymoon, where his half-asleep new bride was “willing, but not very active”. It’s almost like Michael is not self-aware at all.
She is shocked and feels soiled. Her first experience of sex, though in marriage, are nonetheless dirty, soiled, an sordid. She calls you an animal and crawls into a fetal position emotionally, disillusioned with the frightening world of salacious lust. You didn’t come to marriage caring about her; you just cared about legitimatizing your own erotic self-stimulation.
One thing that confuses me is how in purity culture, sex is: bad, evil, painful, shameful outside of marriage. Once the ring is on, it’s glorious. So if a girl has never had any sexual experience, how would she really know the difference between “salacious lust” and gentle lovemaking? It’s kind of like needing glasses. Until you get an eye exam, you naturally assume that the world is fuzzy for everyone. I might be wrong here, but unless a person has an outside frame of reference for sexual behaviour, wouldn’t they just think however it happened was how it was supposed to?
Another point. In Debi’s book, she says even if it hurts, you should take it. Take it and act like you like it-you don’t want to hurt your poor husband’s fragile ego, after all. Oh, and that bit about not coming into marriage caring about her? Let’s quote Michael’s own words, shall we?
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.
Call me jaded, but this doesn’t really sound like he cares about anything other than sex.
When two inexperienced people come together in marriage, they slowly discover the variety of eroticism at a pace that keeps their relationship expanding and advancing into something more complex and richer in experience. The Bible calls copulation “knowing.” “Adam knew his wife Eve and she brought forth a son.” The innocent couple comes to know more and more of each other at a pace that is not jarringly shocking. When the sexually experienced man brings his highly tuned passions into the bedroom of a naive virgin, he looks like a nasty old man and can scare her into withdrawal.
This might be just me, but when two inexperienced people (who haven’t had proper sex-ed) come together, it’s awkward. Nobody knows how to put what where, or how what makes them happy. Plus, if a wife is told that she has to “fake it” so that her husband won’t feel put down, why would the husband have any motivation to “advance” the relationship into something richer? And I’m failing to see how an experienced man (as long as he’s gentle) would scare a woman into withdrawal. Just because you’ve had sex doesn’t make you a pervert! I would think an experienced spouse could make things easier for the non-experienced one. If nothing else, knowing what turns you on, and being able to tell your partner that, makes sex a heck of a lot better. If you know next to nothing about your body, it will take a heck of a long time for your spouse to magically figure it out.
The Two-Minute Pop
One final situation of which I am familiar that causes marriages to fizzle is a husband who is just hasty and insensitive to his wife’s needs. He is too quick on the trigger and doesn’t take aim. He takes the first shot and the hunting trip is over before she knows it has started, and is left sitting like a kid who missed her ride to the party. I know many innocent and naive young men who came to marriage with no expectations except that which nature suggests, and they have no idea that women are not emotionally and physically furnished like them. Take time to court your wife, to woo her, to give her relaxed pleasure, and she will climb the mountain with you, maybe beat you to the top and want to go again, and again!
Hey, Michael, how are boys from purity culture -especially one where something like holding hands is considered too physical- supposed to have other expectations for sex except what nature suggests? I grew up Mormon, and sex was a dirty word. Masturbation was a sin, so was lustful thoughts. Church leaders would literally send people with masturbation problems to the LDS 12-Step program to help them end their “addiction”. I imagine it’s somewhat similar in evangelical Christiandom. If you’re not taught anything, how can your expectations be anything but basica biology?! How are guys who know very little about sex, supposed to understand what it takes for female orgasms?
Once again (like pretty much every other section), all these issues can be fixed by TALKING TO YOUR SPOUSE. If you’re not happy in the bedroom, for whatever reason, talk to your spouse. If you feel used and soiled, talk to your spouse. If your partner isn’t meeting your needs, whatever they may be, talk to your spouse. If that doesn’t work, talk to a professional. The point, which Michael consistently misses, is marriage or any partnership requires honest communication. Not just one party trying to change the other. Not trying to manipulate your spouse into being what you want them to be. Talk about your needs, wants, and goals. Let your partner speak. Don’t get defensive, or upset. Have a mature, adult conversation and work together to find solutions that work. But I guess in PearlWorld, that just isn’t an option. How sad.