Monday, May 31, 2010

S.E.X. 2.0

In my first S.E.X. post I dealt with the unsolicited advice my Bishop gave to me and DH as a young married couple. In this post I shall deal with the advice that my teacher, an old married, female, Cherokee professor of one of this nation's earliest Native American Studies progams at the university, gave me. I took her class becuase it was the only thing I could work into my schedule. We became friends and because of her I have from time to time been able to bless people in and from Indian Country in my community and in my profession because of the understanding she gave me of a culture not my own.

Her name was Sarah.

One day Sarah explained to me, entirely unsolicited, that it is important for women to take care of business at home. And, that sometimes women can fall into the trap of not taking care of their man's needs. She explained that she felt this was an area her own mother had failed at, but that she personally had succeeded at in her marriage. So, I have tried to be true to that underlying message which is to attempt to satisfy your partner's sexual needs.

Now that I've entered the minefield, I'll try to get through it without getting blown up!

While this is not a uniquely LDS phenomenon, I think there are large numbers of sisters who don't take care of business at home. Drama Mama was not taking care of her business at home, although I can hardly blame her for not wanting wicked stepfather, he was a mistake and icky in so many ways. I suspect however there is another part of the story.

I also remember having this conversation with another sister about how she herself and many other LDS women just don't like sex. She explained that her husband was very tender and patient with her and she was progressing in that area. Which isn't to say that there aren't LDS sisters who really enjoy sex. This same sister's aunt is also a friend and related the story of her sex life.

When she and her husband were very young and had a house full of children they established a secret code. If her husband wanted sex that night, he would leave the lid to his lunchbox open, if not the lunchbox would be closed. This gave her lots of time to organize the rest of the evening and get prepared. Guess what?

This couple had sex nearly every night of their marriage. And not because she didn't want to or didn't enjoy it. Yes, there were times after childbirth or in fatique she didn't want to, but my impression was that she also believed in "taking care of business." This couple has always had modest financial means, had some difficult to raise children in their home and other challenges, but they had a million dollar sex life and marital relationship full of very sweet intimacy.

One day after decades of marriage a group of her coworkers were comparing notes about sexual activity in their marriages and although she was not participating in the conversation she was directly questioned. Yes, she did like sex. Then they asked how often. When she told them they were astounded. One man jumped up and said, I knew you were a "real woman!" whatever that means.

Now my point is not that couples should have sex every night. Nor is my point that anyone should be forced to have sex when they don't want to. Nor do I mean to belittle or blame persons who find their partners unattractive or conversely to blame spouses who have done everything they could to be physically attractive to their spouse and that there are underlying gulfs which cannot be crossed such as profound same sex attraction. My point IS that sometimes we do or don't do things to please our spouses. And there is a benefit to that.

There is a sexual/social contract when we intimately partner in marital and marital like relationships. I fear that in an era when we as a church spend a lot of time decrying the effects of pornography, adultery and other sexual sin, we do not fill intimacy vacuums created by not taking care of business in our marital relationships. I intend no offense and do not wish to be insensitive, but if the shoe fits wear it and consider leaving the lunchbox open tonight.

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