marriage bed symbol

marriage bed symbol

Friday, August 15, 2014

Continue - the - Courtship Night (At Home) -- Frenching

Happy Continue-the-Courtship Night!
 

No excuses, and no combining. Date night deserves its own sacred activity; consecrated for the purpose of strengthening and protecting the eternal marital relationship. Driving to a friend's house, or doing your bills or weekly shopping trip together can be a date night if that is something fun for you and you focus on talking with each other.

 If it is something that generally causes you or your spouse stress, it's important to avoid these activities for date night. Couples should avoid anything that could subconsciously cause them to associate date night with stress.

Set up the children with an activity that they enjoy and will keep them safe and occupied for at least two hours. Playing a video game, watching a movie, board games, all these with snacks...or an early bed time is appropriate as well. Date night should not to be combined with Family Home Evening. Find a way to distract them for at least two hours.

Then, have a French night! Watch a French movie, eat fondue or chicken stuffed crepes with a white sauce and french bread, enjoy some French pastry like chocolate croissants or eclairs, and french kiss all night. Be creative and see what other French flair you can add to the date, like doing your hair up in a French braid and wearing a French manicure. Or dressing like French aristocrats from 1700's. Have fun with it!

Happy Dating! :0)


Friday, August 8, 2014

Continue - The - Courtship Night ( At Home) - Celestial Feast

Happy Continue-the-Courtship Night to all you married lovers out there.

This one is not free or at home. Even on a tight budget, make sure to schedule times to get a sitter and get out of the house for a minimum of 4 hours. Time for just the two of you to reconnect. If you've been sealed in an LDS Temple, renewing your covenants is vital for spiritually protecting your marriage and family.

Do a session at the temple. I found that there are only a few temples left that are a full-service temple. This means they have a cafeteria. The cafeterias are actually in danger of being closed because of lack of use.

Find a temple near you that is full-service and have dinner in the cafeteria. The price is pretty reasonable and the food is always great. Having once served as a sous chef in the Washington DC temple, I can attest to the care, skill and love that goes into preparing the dishes. If the budget is tight, share a plate - the portions are pretty big anyway.

Then, do an endowment session together. See if you can time it just right so you can sit together and hold hands. Then ask each other in the celestial room about any new insights you received. I always come away with something I never thought about before. If you have a few more minutes, renew yourselves to each other by doing a couple of sealings. The temple workers are always appreciative of any help you can offer, and the blessings to your marriage are immeasurable.

Happy Dating!




Friday, August 1, 2014

Continue - The - Courtship Night (At Home) - Really into Her

 I hope all you married lovers out there will take this prescription to making your marriage great!

Dating is a habit like saving for retirement - it will provide you with wonderful memories to look back on later. It will protect you when the hard times come. Don't save money and food, and not invest in your treasure in heaven - your marriage. Start now!

Tonight, it's her turn to choose, and here's a great idea if you find yourself stumped:

Sit and talk.

Remember when you were first dating, and you could talk for hours over everything? or even...nothing?

That gets harder to do as the infatuation state of limerance wears off, but it's a good habit to get into (and stay in) when you're married.

Schedule a set amount of time - at least fifteen minutes of your two-four hour block for a date, if you're new to this. Find a distraction for or reschedule of all of your precious distractions and interruptions. Lock yourselves in a room if you have to.

Brothers, act as if your wife is the center of the universe for that fifteen minutes.

Avoid shifting the topic to your issues, and don't watch the clock - just let her talk. Ask questions that draw her out. "How did you feel about that?" "What else happened?"

If she mentions problems, DO NOT try to solve her problems, unless she asks for your advice. Just...listen. Hold her hand. Give her a hug and a kiss when she's done.

(Hint: Men who listen to women are a major turn-on. Don't go into it to get lucky, but you never know what might happen...)

Friday, July 25, 2014

Continue - The - Courtship Night (At Home) - Hot Girlfriend

 Time for another fantastic Continue-the-Courtship Night. 

Tonight, it's his turn.

Fortunately, most guys are pretty simple and practical in our needs. 


After a hard day at work or school, sometimes we guys just want to get away from the house, go someplace quiet, and have your full attention with no distractions. This is especially true when the children come and they require most of mommy's time. Hubby starts to miss the attention he received when you were in "girlfriend mode".

Getting out of mommy mode is not always easy, but is necessary in order to help him feel that his girlfriend hasn't been permanently replaced with someone's mom.

Your stuck-at-home (because you are on a tight budget and/or have small children) date idea is this:


Take a couple of hours before he gets home to freshen up and put your "girlfriend" on. Take a nap if you need to, and put on some music or do other rituals that get you in the mood. You can be proactive. Don't wait for him to get you in the mood to be a girlfriend.

Set up the children so they have a safe activity to distract them.

Make him a simple meal that he likes. When he comes in, greet him warmly. Take off his shoes and put some slippers on his feet (if he has them).

Put on a film that he enjoys (don't know? ask him before hand), and bring him his meal. Feed it to him if he likes that. Then sit with him and give him your full attention as he talks to you. Focus on saying "yes" to  whatever he suggests or initiates
(within reason).

Next week is your turn, but tonight, let it be all about him. Remind him that his girlfriend is still in there.

Happy Dating!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Continue - The - Courtship Night (At Home) - Hot Poetry

Welcome to a very special Continue-the-Courtship Night!
Well...they're all special actually. :-)

Stuck at home? On a tight budget? Small children and no sitter? Medium children and no sitter? No problem!  Tonight it's her night. 


Most women (not all, but most) are aural and love aural stimulation. This means they respond best when they feel listened to and get sexually aroused most easily when the words you say are right. 


Brethren, if you want her to eagerly make love to you or let you make love to her, you have to be nice to the girl. This means doing things you think are boring and stupid, but are romantic to her. Sisters, don't worry if you think he doesn't like it. He likes you, and he's doing it for you. It's a gift he's giving to you. You can do the same for him at a later date.

Poetry Night:

Consider the old tried-and-true poetry reading. Put the kids to bed or put a movie on for them and then it's just the two of you for 2 hours (minimum) with no interruptions. Snacks can make the evening nice, and a fire in the fireplace or candles can add to the excitement, but they are optional.

Break out her favorite poetry books and take turns reading them to each other. Poetry doesn't have to be dry. Humorous poetry is perfectly acceptable, and making her laugh can be very sexy. Best of all, they are free at your local library.

Here are some suggestions:

Romantic:
Thomas Wyatt
William Shakespeare
Oscar Wilde
Elizabeth Browning
A collection of Romantic Poems
100 Best Love Poems of all time

Humorous:
Where The Sidewalk Ends - Shel Silverstein
A Light In The Attic - Shel Silverstein
Funny Love Poems
Limericks are okay too (yes, there are non-offensive limericks)

Happy Dating!



Friday, July 11, 2014

Continue - The - Courtship Night (At Home) --- Happy Feet

SALUTATIONS ON THIS GLORIOUS CONTINUE-THE-COURTSHIP NIGHT! 

For all you married lovers out there, here is your free (or inexpensive) stuck-at-home date idea.

Tonight, IT'S HER TURN! :0)

HOME PEDICURE

I don't know of many women who wouldn't consider having their feet pampered as romantic. Below is a video of how to do one at home. You may have to buy a few things, but your wife may already have these things in your bath.

Be sure to put the kids to bed early, or put a movie on for them, or utilize any of their favorite distractions. For the next two hours - it's just the two of you. 


Candles are optional, but can help with the relaxed mood. You could do her feet first, or she could do yours to show you what she likes, or both. Brethren, you don't have to have your nails painted (sisters, please respect him on this) unless you want them painted.

Who knows, it could boost his ego. " Honey, wait 'til the guys at work get a load of these." Happy dating!


Monday, July 7, 2014

Reader Question: Do We “Need” Sex?



Coach Sam:

This post came across your Facebook feed the other day, and it intrigued me. I am reminded of an article I read a few months ago: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/maybe-its-just-me/201404/does-sexless-relationship-justify-infidelity I brought this topic up to a conservative LDS community on the internet to discuss the relationship between sexual "needs" (if sex is a need) and sexual "obligation" (if sex can even be considered an obligation). It was interesting how many comments from conservative LDS denied that sex was any kind of need and did not want to accept that a spouse had any kind of sexual obligations (other than not committing adultery, obviously).

From your concluding statement here, and other statements you make (your sexless marriage and the sacrament post, for example), It seems that you believe that spouses have at least some level of obligation to engage and reach out to each other sexually. You tend to use these kind of "Sex is allowed in marriage" statements to support that position. My question is, -- do you really think that the LDS Church (institution) and/or our general authorities believe this? Is it really correct to extrapolate "sex is allowed in marriage" to "you should have sex in marriage"? It seems to me that, as a church and community, we are rather uncomfortable with that extrapolation.

~ Mr. Shorty


Dear Mr. Shorty:

Thanks for your comment – I read the article you included, which was, I believe, closer to the question you really wanted to ask me.

Please let me know if I’m wrong, but it seems your question goes beyond the surface question of ‘Is sex a need or a want?’ and into the realm of what we should be free to do, or not do, in marriage.

This is certainly a very sensitive issue, touching on whether or not a spouse can refuse to have sex with their spouse, or even has the right to do so. We work very hard to keep coercion and abuse out of our relationships, yet we very seldom look at the idea that a spouse should be held responsible for equal and opposite inaction or sexual rejection.

The article discusses the ethics of whether or not we should be allowed to refuse our spouses sexual contact when we are angry/tired/overwhelmed/upset, when we have married them and made a commitment to build that relationship, yet they are not allowed to seek sexual satisfaction elsewhere if we are unwilling or unable to provide it.

Am I going too far to say that sex is any kind of an obligation for each spouse in a marriage? What would be the purpose of getting married to be celibate? And, from an eternal perspective, in what way would a sexless marriage prepare a couple to live a celestial life?[i]

When I write and speak, it is not to a secular or worldly audience. Also, it is only in the context of developing a relationship that not only fulfills the covenants made in LDS ordinances, but also building a relationship where the couple wants to be together for eternity. So when I look at sex and its role, I look at how it benefits the relationship as a whole.

Let’s look at what the gospel tells us.

In the first chapter of Genesis, after Adam and Eve were married by the Lord, the very first commandment given to them was to ‘multiply and replenish the earth’ – the commandment to procreate.[ii] This commandment remains in force for every couple married today. This commandment cannot be easily accomplished without sex then or now.

Beyond the requirement given to man to procreate, sex is also a valuable tool for building a good-quality relationship – one that, in our faith, is expected to be happy, and one where the couple wants to be together for eternity.[iii]

But is sex a need in marriage?

In worldly pagan cultures, it is often spoken of or treated as a physical need, like eating or bodily elimination, in order to emphasize the importance of this most basic desire to their minds. In reality, this is not true. Without either eating or eliminating, the physical body will die. As most people have had some kind of sexual activity in their lifetime, I have not found a report of anyone who chooses a celibate life not being able to survive or even thrive.

Sexual release cannot prove itself to be a physical need. As Mark Gungor likes to say, “no one has ever died from a failure to ejaculate.”[iv] But does that mean sex is also not a need in order to protect the life of a relationship? Is it going too far to say that sex is required when we are married?

That depends upon what each person in the relationship values.[v]

There is no one who believes in maintaining agency as much as the Lord does.[vi] If a person in a marriage chooses to neglect or even shut down the physical aspect of the relationship, they are free to make that choice.

However, they are not free to choose the consequences of that choice.  The consequence of this choice is often that the feelings of love and closeness in that relationship will suffer, and if the problem is not addressed and resolved, most likely the relationship will wither and die over time.

Is this what the Lord desires for us? I believe not.[vii]

Can a sexless marriage last eternally? Section 130 of the Doctrine and Covenants stirs my doubts on that.[viii]

I’d like to additionally make a distinction between the physical act of sex (intercourse) and intimacy here. You mentioned that in your comments on the forum, you asked if they thought sex was a need or not, and most people answered you in the negative. If I can make a suggestion, as an experiment, you may wish to return to that same forum and ask them if they feel that intimacy is a need, and if they would make a distinction between intimacy and intercourse. I think you may get different answers.

Sexual intercourse is not a life-saving need. Humans do not perish if they do not receive sexual release. Intimacy is as important to life as eating healthy food. We cannot thrive physically, mentally, socially or spiritually without some kind of intimacy.[ix]

Sex (meaning intercourse and other forms of physical contact) and intimacy are not synonymous with each other. You can have sex without being intimate. You can have intimacy without sex. Sex is a tool to increase intimacy, and ideally this will happen in a marriage context. God ordains sexuality to be used in marriage, so that our full potential for intimacy can be realized.

More often, in a sexless relationship, there is a lack of intimacy as well. The withholding spouse may withhold intimacy for many reasons. If there is no intimacy, the temptation to stray outside the marriage relationship becomes much stronger.[x]

In rare cases where a couple is happy without intercourse or other forms of sexual release, they are usually happy because they have found other ways to have intimacy.[xi] More often though, one spouse is satisfied, while the other is deeply dissatisfied, and this is the relationship that suffers.

We take the sacrament to renew our baptismal covenant. There are many parallels to sexual intimacy being the ‘sacrament’ that renews the covenant of marriage. We renew our baptismal covenant once a week. It’s my recommendation (as well as the recommendations of other marriage counselors and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland) that we regularly do the same with our marriage covenant (see Sexless Marriage and the Sacrament article)

Going outside the marriage to find sexual satisfaction is clearly inappropriate, according to the Lord.[xii] Adultery and fornication is just not an option – if you want to maintain the Lord’s trust and be worthy of his inheritance.

Forcing or guilting our spouse to have sex with us, just because we’re married, is also inappropriate. Intimacy can only be achieved through the Lord’s prescribed means.[xiii]

Withholding all intimacy and sex from a marriage for one month or more is a sin of omission, and should be repented for and dealt with if the marriage is to last into the eternities. If sins of omission and/or commission destroy a marriage relationship, both parties will be held responsible before the Lord in the time of judgment. Persistent withholding of intimacy can also be a form of abuse and unrighteous dominion according to 1 Corinthians 7:4 and D&C 121.

We in the LDS church believe in covenants. We have many commandments given to us in many areas of our lives, and sexuality is no exception. Commandments are given to afflict the comfortable, and often involve moving out of our comfort zone in some way, in order to develop our bodies, hearts and minds in eternal directions.

Our differences as men and women are carefully designed to force us to become selfless in order to develop our Christ like attributes[xiv], When each spouse cooperatively sacrifices their selfish desires to arouse the other spouse and meet their emotional needs, this can lead to the most intense form of intimacy and the best possible sex.

If having sex with our spouse is uncomfortable or unpleasant, I believe that’s a critical issue that should be openly explored and resolved in appropriate ways by both spouses.

What if we are momentarily upset/tired/overwhelmed/out of town and unable to have sex? Do we have the right to refuse our spouse?

It may be better to say we have the right to delay sexual contact until a more convenient time. It’s entirely appropriate to say to your spouse, “I’ll be happy to be with you in the morning/next weekend, etc…”  Pin down a time that happens soon, and treat such an agreement as an important appointment that should not be pushed back indefinitely.

If sex cannot happen, intimacy should. Remember – intimacy doesn’t necessarily require sexual intercourse, and there are multiple ways to have sex that does not involve intercourse.

Spouses who neglect the gift of sex are losing a great opportunity to renew and strengthen their relationship. Marriage, like a testimony of the gospel, requires frequent attention and renewal if it is to stay strong. If members come to a true understanding of sex vs. intimacy within a gospel perspective, I think you’ll find most are much more comfortable with this concept.

I hope this helps answer your question. If not, let me know what questions you still have that you would like help getting better clarification on.

What about my readers here? What are your views on the necessity or non-necessity of having regular intimate sex in marriage? What could a couple do to increase intimacy if they physically can’t have sex or their desire for sex is lower than their spouse?





[i] “Marriage, properly contracted, is therefore holy and pure, and its relations, unabused, are sacred and chaste. The notion that celibacy is purer than matrimony, that either man or woman is holier in the sight of heaven because of non-intercourse with the other sex, is a gross error, unwarranted by reason or revelation. There is no attribute of the mind or function of the body that is in itself, or in its legitimate exercise, impure or degrading. It is only the wrong use of any of our powers that is sinful.” – President Charles W. Penrose, Second Counselor to President Heber J. Grant, “Mormon” Doctrine Plain and Simple, p. 48-49. Also quoted in Achieving a Celestial Marriage, Student Manual, p. 78.
[ii] Genesis 1:28
[iii] Clayton, Whitney L., Marriage: Watch and Learn, April 2013 General Conference, https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/04/marriage-watch-and-learn?lang=eng

[iv] Crown Comedy (producer), January 12, 2009, Gungor, Mark. Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage [DVD]
[v] Oakes, Dallin H. The Desires of Our Hearts, Ensign June 1986, https://www.lds.org/ensign/1986/06/the-desires-of-our-hearts?lang=eng
[vi] 2 Nephi 2:27; 2 Nephi 2: 15-16
[vii] “…This sacred temple ordinance is more, much more, than a wedding, for this marriage is sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise, and the scriptures promise that the participants, if they remain worthy, ‘shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions’ (D&C 132:19). I think of the words of the sealing ordinance, which cannot be written here. I understand, in a small measure at least, the sacred nature of the fountain of life which is in us. And I see the joy that awaits those who accept this supernal gift [of physical intimacy] and use it worthily.” – Packer, Boyd K. The Fountain of Life, from the Eternal Marriage Handbook, Intimacy in Marriage, p. 139-146; https://www.lds.org/manual/eternal-marriage-student-manual/intimacy-in-marriage?lang=eng
[viii] Doctrine and Covenants 130:2
[xi] Goldsmith, Dr. Barton, PhD, Psychology Today, The Difference Between Sex and Intimacy, http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/emotional-fitness/201309/the-difference-between-sex-and-intimacy
[xii] Doctrine and Covenants 42
[xiv] Zwick, Elder W. Craig, What Are You Thinking, Apr,2014 Gen. Conf., https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/04/what-are-you-thinking?lang=eng

Friday, July 4, 2014

Continue - The -Courtship Night (At Home) - Making Splitz

HOORAY FOR CONTINUE-THE-COURTSHIP NIGHT! and for all you married lovers out there, here is your lucky-to-be-stuck-at- home date idea.

It's his turn: Banana Splitz

Get two cans of whipped cream (they can be low-fat if you're watching your weight), marshmallow cream, caramel sauce, fudge sauce, Nutella, a jar of maraschino cherries, or any of your favorite topping. Put a movie on for the kids or put them to bed early. 


Take all of your clothes off, he's a banana, she's a banana, Bob's your uncle, and Betty is your aunt. :0)


Be sure to put down some towels, and for an added bonus, shower together after.

Happy Date Night!


Friday, June 27, 2014

Continue - The - Courtship Night (At Home) --- Mini Golf!

ARE YOU READY FOR ANOTHER GREAT CONTINUE - THE -COURTSHIP NIGHT!?

 It is SO cool being part of an exclusive club of married folks!

I know you don't want to waste a moment with those precious little ones, but remember that your marriage is the foundation those children are sitting on. If the marriage isn't healthy happy and strong, so go the children. 

Time needs to be taken to care for and nurture the love and relationship you have for each other. 

Broke? Can't find a sitter? Give the kids some of their favorite distractions, put on a baby monitor and try this one out - alone - together. 

Make your own mini-golf course out of common household items.YouTube had a few  really clever ones, but here are a couple to get your creative juices flowing:




HAPPY DATING!


Monday, June 23, 2014

On the Holy Ground of Sex



Unspeakable, or Hallowed?

I was attending a class this weekend in which the topic was how missionaries should teach the law of chastity.

I took the time to note the feelings, emotions and energies exchanged in the room as we discussed teaching investigators about sex outside of marriage, pornography, and the procreation of children.

As soon as these topics were mentioned, there was a strong feeling, emotionally and spiritually, that swept through the room. A feeling I knew all to well from my youth.

I, and I’m sure many others who have felt this feeling, could easily interpret that feeling as “I may be doing something wrong and I’d better shut my mouth.”

I know there are many parents who feel this way when it comes to talking to their children about sex and sexual matters. Sometimes, spouses feel this even with each other.

What I’ve come to realize is that the feeling we are experiencing is not a warning that we are doing something wrong, but rather a prompting that we are treading on holy ground and it’s time to take off the proverbial shoes.[i] As we would be entering into a discussion about a sacred topic, it would be appropriate to remove the shoes of worldly, lustful, or irreverent thought.  

The World Has a Sense of This, But May Struggle to Accept

So why then do members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints consider the use of the powers of procreation to be so sacred and holy when the rest of the world seems to disregard it so easily as meaning…..nothing?

The answer is, they really don’t. Very few are immune from those same promptings.

A few years ago I was having a discussion with a co-worker about the Church. He was not religious. In fact, he was vocally pretty anti-religion, and talked about how comfortable he was drinking his alcohol and living his lifestyle choices.

Then he related to me a story about a trip he took to Las Vegas. He told me that he and his friends always go to the late night adult shows, and that every time he did, he always left feeling dark, dirty, and gross.

If that feeling of defiling the sacred is only something we’re brainwashed into as Latter-Day Saints, then why would a non-member, who has made no covenants and didn’t intend to, feel a similar prompting in a place that openly profanes the procreative powers?

In my studies about human sexuality in our culture, one thing that I’ve observed is that there are many groups of people who engage in ‘swinging’ or other forms of adultery and fornication. What I’ve also observed is that many of these people take special classes, and go to special camps to help them learn how to “overcome their inhibitions” so they can feel ‘more free’ about engaging in these activities.

If sexuality is not sacred and those feelings are only reserved for LDS members, then why do those who don’t belong to any religion, or never attended any religion feel a need to pay hundreds and even thousands of dollars to take courses to help them overcome their inhibitions about their body and sexuality in order to engage in profane activities? Something that the teachers of those courses say should come freely and naturally?

The answer is that the Spirit of Christ, given to every man, tells us those procreative powers are sacred. We can ignore or disregard or push past that feeling, but that sense of the sacred is nevertheless still there.[ii]

What is Sacred? What is Profane?

To illustrate just how sacred it is, we members of the church are taught that the Lord considers the use of those procreative powers to be so sacred, he restricts us from using them until we have entered into the covenants reserved for the highest ordinance in the temple…the covenant of marriage.[iii]

The powers of procreation are that sacred to us. That means that our bodies are that sacred too.

This means that the visual portrayals, either on stage, television, or film, of the use of these procreative powers are often a profaning of something we hold sacred.

This means that open disrespectful displays of the human body are a defiling of something we hold so very sacred.

This also means that writing or speaking that discusses or makes light about the use of our bodies and or procreative powers in an irreverent manner is a defiling of what we hold so very sacred.

Conversely, we can profane the sacred by avoiding or neglecting the powers of procreation for what they were intended to be used for…a sin of omission, if you will.

Rejoicing in (Not Ignoring) the Sacred

There are many who have taken that first feeling that I discussed in the beginning to be just that. Something, that if we come across, we should just avoid and keep our mouth shut about. Some will take this belief even into their marriages.

I believe this is because they may not have been educated on how to speak of sexuality in a reverent manner. It is something that has to be learned.

To illustrate, imagine you and your spouse receive your temple recommends. You personally look forward to attending the temple as often as you can. You enjoy the sweet peaceful spirit that is there. You enjoy serving, listening and learning from the instruction that is taught there. You look forward to sitting in the celestial room, so you can feel the calm peace and obtain knowledge that only the Holy Ghost can teach you there. It’s a very precious and sacred time for you.

Now imagine your spouse telling you “I need to get my temple recommend, but I will never attend ‘that place. It’s far too sacred for me to even talk about. I went through my first time, but I just plugged my ears during the session because the things taught there are far too sacred, and when we went into the celestial room I quickly hurried myself out because it was far too sacred a place to even look at. I find it obscene to hear other talk about how they love to discuss with each other in the temple the things they’ve learned.”

Sound ridiculous? Yet you may be surprised to learn that there are many who feel that same way about their sexual relationship with their spouse. By neglecting the use of that procreative power as valuable tools to not only create children, but to build a relationship with our spouse, we are neglecting that sacred gift out of a mistaken assumption that it’s ‘too sacred to discuss under any circumstances.’

Just like when we’re worthy to attend the temple, in the bonds of marriage we are free to bask in the joy that our procreative powers give us. We are free to discuss and learn with our spouse about the use of those procreative powers.

Just like the temple, we defile those procreative powers when we discuss with others who will not treat the sexuality of our marriage with reverence and respect. It would be the equivalent of casting our pearls before swine. They will take something precious and trample it in the mud under their feet. We should always use wisdom and caution when deciding where and with whom you enter into a discussion about sexuality – especially your own.

Look to the Temple

I believe the temple is our best model when wondering how to discuss or learn about sexual things. Look to the temple. Remember how we learn to reverence it. Let this be your guide in matters of sexuality as well.[iv]

When we teach others about chastity, including our children, a better thing we can do than focus on “sex outside of marriage”, “what exactly counts as pornography”, and “the scriptural evidences of masturbation” is to help them understand the difference between what is sacred and what is profane. I believe this can have a much more profound ability to guide them in their choices than to just focus on the “thou shalt not’s’ of the law of chastity.

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints know they should only exercise and use our procreative powers in marriage. We do this because we believe that power is a sacred trust. We keep it sacred by regularly using it to nurture our marriage relationship and build our eternal families. Telling people only what they shouldn’t do invites ‘why’ questions that can easily be satisfied by teaching and exemplifying the concepts of what is sacred and what is profane.[v]


[i] Exodus 3:5
[ii] Packer, Boyd K., The Light Of Christ, Apr. 2005 Gen. Conf., https://www.lds.org/ensign/2005/04/the-light-of-christ?lang=eng
[iii] Packer, Boyd K. Things of the Soul, 105–17
[v] Lev. 10: 10-11

Friday, June 20, 2014

CONTINUE - THE - COURTSHIP NIGHT (At Home) - Sunset Romance

I hope you married lovers are feeling extra romantic tonight.

How about this totally free at home date night idea?

Sit on your roof and watch the sunset together. To add some extra fun, bring some snacks, your portable music player, and play your favorite songs from high school.


Be sure to set up the kids with some snacks and entertainment. A baby monitor comes in real handy in these situations. 

Happy Dating!

 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Continue-The-Courtship Night (At Home) - With The Lights Out

HAPPY CONTINUE - THE - COURTSHIP NIGHT all you married lovers out there!

The origin of the cultural concept of candles being a part of romance is very difficult to pin down, but it works!

Treat your lovely date to a special dinner she’ll never forget. Have the house set up when she arrives with candlelight, soft music and sparkling cider. Break out the games for the kids, put on a movie, or help them settle down to sleep for the night. You have to keep them nearby, but there is nothing wrong with distracting them for the next two hours.


Seat your sweet wife at the table made for two (tablecloth and silverware is mandatory) and serve her a full three-course meal made exclusively by you. Can't cook? Try some YouTube videos if you can follow directions, or go to the deli (but put the food on real plates). She'll appreciate your efforts, no matter what you do.

Lace the menu with delicious aphrodisiac ingredients if you can -- think oysters with a red wine vinegar dressing, crisp asparagus with a squeeze of lemon, a gooey chocolate dessert, and her favorite beverage -- and enjoy a decadent night together at home. Tonight, let it be about her. Make sure there are candles and when you serve, let them be the only lights.


Let her talk and unload what is weighing on her mind. This will allow her to channel her busy thoughts toward thoughts of you and the sexual part of her brain. For many women, the best aphrodisiac - is talking.

Later, you can move those candles to the bedroom.

Happy Dating!



Friday, June 6, 2014

Continue-The-Courtship Night (At Home) - Play List

Are you ready for another exciting CONTINUE-THE-COURTSHIP NIGHT? 

Specially designed for married couples with a tight budget and small children. 

A strong marriage = happy and spiritually strong children = strong eternal families.

A strong marital relationship is the foundation of an eternal family, but it requires constant maintenance. As the marital relationship goes, so goes the family unit. To keep it strong, regular sex (Yes, sex! No one gets married to be celibate) and regular weekly dates are a minimum requirement. Good thing they're both fun and get better with knowledge and time.

Here's a great date idea:

1. put the kids to bed 
2. go to YouTube and make a playlist together of all your favorite songs from high school. 
3. Try to remember where you were when you heard these songs. 
4. Share with your spouse what these songs meant to you, who you were with, and (good or bad) what emotions they evoke.  How did those events shape your life? How did they affect your perspective of life, friendship, love and sex? 

Practice your listening skills, and be sure to share. This is not a time to vent all that is in your head. This is a time to share, so be careful not to hog the conversation. Keep it light and have fun. 

If some of the songs were a stake dance staple for you, dance to the music together. Remembering keeps us young.

Happy Dating! 


Friday, May 30, 2014

Continue - The - Courtship Night (At Home) - THE ART OF CUDDLING

Welcome to another wholesome continue-the-courtship night!

The longer I'm married, the more I realize just what an art form cuddling with your spouse can actually be. Just where do you put that extra arm? And, no matter where you put it, it always seems to manage to fall asleep - ruining the whole experience.

This is a great one for when you have small children, are on a tight budget, and/or feeling stuck at home. For tonight's date night, practice cuddling. Break out some of those 365 questions, practice synchronizing your breathing, and/or try kissing with your eyes open. When the giggling stops, you may find an  intense intimate connection.

Here is a couple of  fantastic "how to" videos I found. They have some great cuddling tips on what to do with that arm that always seems to be getting in the way.

HAPPY DATING!


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Continue-The-Courtship Night (At Home) - Sacred Massage

Happy Continue-The-Courtship Night all you married lovers out there! 

Here's your weekend stuck-at-home date idea:

Sacred massage? Sure! Anything we do intimately in our eternal marriages is sacred. Massage is a good way to get in touch with each other's bodies, as well as improving each other's emotional well-being, physical health and sexual health. 


Give each other a full-body massage, towels and oils and all. If exposing your body to your spouse fills you with anxiety, maybe you could talk about your feelings, or start with a massage of non-sexual areas, working your way towards something more intimate later. 

Remember, intimacy is a journey, not a destination, and regular dates must be a conscious decision. The Adversary will play on our desire to slack off and let dates slide. Like the gospel, it may not easy, and requires planning, but it pays off over time. 

There are several videos on YouTube and Howcast that show massage techniques. Brethren, the fastest way to your wife's vagina, is through her heart. The fastest way to touch her heart is through her feet. I know of few wives who wouldn't love a good foot massage, and sadly there are few husbands willing to give them. 


Sexual technique number one: Become a master of the foot massage.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Continue-The-Courtship Night (At Home) - Erotic Reading

Happy Continue-The-Courtship Night all you married lovers out there! 

Here's a great "stuck-at-home-because-of-small-children" date idea.

Read a book together:


Motherhood can be one of the most fatiguing jobs. When the children are little, her job isn't 9 - 5.

She not only takes care of the little ones 24 hrs a day, she usually takes on the additional chores of attending to her husband's needs. 

What she needs - is rest.

Put the kids to bed early, lock yourselves into your room, cuddle on the bed and read a fun book together. Some recommendations would be a good biography of her favorite celebrity, or The Lord of the Rings books or whatever sort of story you both might enjoy. I suggest picking something weird or fun, or something you've never read about before. It makes for great conversation and that's the whole point. Even scripture stories would be a good read, and spark some discussion.


One caveat here - unless she is in the mood for it, try to avoid any books about improving your sex life (or improving anything, for that matter) - this may make her feel pressured to act when she just wants to relax, clear her mind and bond emotionally with you. Ironcially (to us men) this can actually get her in the mood to be sexually intimate. She has to mentally make that decision, and that's an easier decision for a woman to make when she feels emotionally closer to you.

 
So, it's best to avoid topics that would have her associate sex, or time with you, with "chores". Now is the time to relax and enjoy the other's company. If sex happens, that's a plus but shouldn't be the goal here. If it will help you relax, it's okay to request a quickie, but let it be her gift to you. Let emotional intimacy be your gift to her.

Happy dating!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Continue-The-Courtship Night (At Home) - Learn Your Color

HAPPY CONTINUE - THE - COURTSHIP NIGHT EVERYONE! 

 Okay, this date idea is not cheap, but can be done at home and one that I HIGHLY recommend. 

90% of our problems with sexuality in marriage can be resolved by learning the cultural communication style of our spouse. (ex. your definition of "fair" may be different from your spouses definition of "fair"). 

One tool we have to help us understand our spouse's language style is the Jungian personality test. WWW.THECOLORSPEOPLE.COM.

Tonight's date night is to take the test together, discuss, try to understand and accept your spouse's language. 

Then ask each other the question " How do you define 'good in bed'? How do you define 'fun in bed'? Which is more important to you?" 

Then try to give that to each other. If the answers vary greatly, share. Take turns. 

Happy Dating! 






Tuesday, May 6, 2014

LDS Terminology That Shapes Our Sexual Perspective

Some of the words we use in our respective subcultures may seem innocent. They may appear to carry no power or allow for every situation.

When it comes to communication – especially in marriage – understanding the power of words is essential when attempting to understand each other, and what is or is not sexually acceptable to Lord in our lives.

Words have power to shape our perceptions, and by default, our lives.

The word ‘pornography’ is an excellent example of this. If we prejudice all sexuality by wrapping it all up in the word “pornography”, then the human aspiration to simplify or pigeonhole all concepts leads us to view all manifestations of sexuality as ‘bad’ – even in marriage. What’s worse, the definitions of pornography avoid – even deny – the existence of its sacred aspect.[i]

I believe there’s a better way to determine if something is worthy before the Lord when it comes to art, music, humor, movies, books, TV, human anatomy, human interaction, sexuality, and the gospel.

However, in our LDS culture the word pornography has been allowed to warp and blur everything we believe in – from our definitions of modesty to what are appropriate sexual practices in marriage – and it’s causing reason to stare.

When we’re speaking with each other in terms of the gospel, we can abandon the word pornography and use a better term.

Instead of using the word ‘pornography’ as the world uses it, we can substitute the terms ‘profane erotica’ and ‘sacred erotica’, and get a much clearer picture of what the Lord intended for us to know about the proper and right use of sexuality. 

For more background on the general idea, feel free to refer to my previous article, “Mormons Take Pleasure in Sacred Erotica”. Here, I’d like to show you how words can change our perceptions.

For example, I was recently reading the Church’s booklet, “Let Virtue Garnish Thy Thoughts”, a booklet that discusses the law of chastity and how to best keep it – in terms of what entertainment we seek out. It’s a blessing to us as members that the Church puts out such information, and I’m not saying that the Church curriculum department made mistakes in putting this pamphlet out there.

What I want to show is how we might consider using different terms to help us to better communicate the difference between what is acceptable and what is not  when it comes to how we view and handle human anatomy and sexuality, in or out of marriage.

In the pamphlet, “Let Virtue Garnish Thy Thoughts”, we find the following paragraph.

Pornography can be devastating. Indulgence in it will deprive you of the companionship of the Holy Ghost. It will darken your mind. It will weaken and can eventually destroy marriage and family life. Those who indulge in it soon feel alienated, unworthy, and unacceptable to God, to themselves, and to others. They become self-centered and less able to enjoy healthy and righteous interactions with others. They waste valuable time and money, jeopardize their standing in the Church, and diminish their ability to serve others.”

This appears to be a very clear-cut statement on the surface. Instead, it raises additional difficult questions.

What exactly is pornography anyway?

Does pornography mean all sexuality?

Does that mean I should remove all sexual stimuli from my life? Is that even possible?

Does that mean we’re indulging in pornography if I and my spouse want to learn about sex?

How does this relate to the sexually intimate relationship between a husband and wife?

Does that mean that any kind of sexual act or images of the human anatomy that people take pictures of is pornography?

What about medical journals and training? If anyone finds themselves aroused by those images, should they not become a doctor? Are doctors sinning because they are intentionally exposing themselves to images of sexual anatomy?

What about art? Is that pornography? Who defines what art is and what is only “pornography”?

What if I’m turned on by things other people are not turned on by? Does it make that thing only pornography to me and not others? And vise versa?

What if my spouse/parents/bishop/other friends and relatives think pornography is one thing, and I think it’s something else? Am I wrong? Is my spouse or other loved ones right? Should I allow others to define what is “pornographic” for me?

If it carries such heavy consequences, I personally would want to know.

These very questions are questions I’m asked by other readers, who read such information in the Church or in the world, and can’t find clear answers to these questions. How would you answer these questions for someone? What if these questions could be answered by substituting one term for another?

Now read the same paragraph, where I substitute the term ‘pornography’ for the term ‘profane erotica’:

Profane erotica can be devastating. Indulgence in it will deprive you of the companionship of the Holy Ghost. It will darken your mind. It will weaken and can eventually destroy marriage and family life. Those who indulge in it soon feel alienated, unworthy, and unacceptable to God, to themselves, and to others. They become self-centered and less able to enjoy healthy and righteous interactions with others. They waste valuable time and money, jeopardize their standing in the Church, and diminish their ability to serve others.”

Were you able to see how one substitution can change everything? It still works, and what’s more, when we understand what the difference is between how to handle things that are sacred and what actions profane the sacred - it starts to make some of the answers to these questions more clear.

What is profane erotica anyway?
Profane erotica is any sexual words (spoken, sung or written), images (art, TV, movies, etc.) created or shared in a context that defiles what should be treated as sacred and holy. It is often created for the purpose of stimulating our minds to sexual thoughts outside of our marital relationship, which is meant to lead us to physically break the law of chastity, whether married or single.

Does profane erotica include all sexuality?
No. All charitably shared and wholesome sexual expression within marriage is sacred. President Spencer W. Kimball reinforced this idea when he said “In the context of lawful marriage, the intimacy of sexual relations is right and divinely approved. There is nothing unholy or degrading about sexuality in itself, for by that means men and women join in the process of creation and in an expression of love.” (President Kimball Speaks Out, 2)

When the human body (including reproductive organs) is viewed and handled in an ethical and reverent way, it is also in keeping with treating it sacred. This spirit of the law is what makes allowance for bathing a child or changing their diaper. It also makes allowance for someone studying, teaching and practicing gynecology, human sexuality, and other professional practices that involve edifying and healing the human body, mind and relationships.

Does it mean I should remove all sexual stimuli from my life (assuming I’m married)?
No. Removing all sexual stimuli is impossible. We should remove all stimuli that come to us in a profane context, and only express sexuality in a sacred way, whether married or single. The Church has provided a helpful list of questions we can ask ourselves to determine if what we are exposed to in our work, hobbies or daily lives is profane and/or affecting our spirituality and well-being, and the health of our marital relationship. It can be found at this link: (https://www.lds.org/topics/pornography/audiences/individuals/do-i-have-a-pornography-problem?lang=eng )
                       
Does that mean we’re indulging in profane erotica if I and my spouse want to learn about sex?
No. Profane erotica is not an accurate source for learning about sexuality anyway.

Susan  M. Johnson a professor of psychology at the University of Ottawa and Director of the Ottawa Couple and Family Institute said 

"Pornography is an instruction kit for being an absolutely appalling lover!"[ii]

Pictures or videos of live people having sex can be misleading on several different levels, and are profaning the act itself. Some videos that proclaim to be “sexual education” are instead gateway profane erotica.

With our current technology, there is no sexual practice or technique that cannot be respectfully demonstrated by way of drawing, mannequin, or computer generated image, instead of using live models. Married couples should seek out sources for sexual education that treat sexuality and the human body in an ethical and respectful manner, and that follow the guidelines for the scientific method.

Does that mean that any kind of sexual act that people take pictures of is profane erotica?
Taking sexual pictures and sharing them with others is profaning our own or someone else’s sexuality – making it common and ordinary instead of holy and sacred.

Sister Susan W. Tanner (a former Young Women’s General President) said:

 “Satan… tries to do everything he can to get us to abuse or misuse this precious gift. He has filled the world with lies and deceptions about the body. He tempts many to defile this great gift of the body through unchastity, immodesty, self-indulgence, and addictions. He seduces some to despise their bodies; others he tempts to worship their bodies.

In either case, he entices the world to regard the body merely as an object. In the face of so many satanic falsehoods about the body, I want to raise my voice today in support of the sanctity of the body. I testify that the body is a gift to be treated with gratitude and respect…

A short while ago as I visited one of the great tourist-filled cities of the world, I felt an overwhelming sadness that so many people in the world had fallen prey to Satan’s deception that our bodies are merely objects to be flaunted and displayed openly… In For the Strength of Youth it says: “Your body is God’s sacred creation. Respect it as a gift from God, and do not defile it in any way.”[iii]

 What about within marriage? A husband taking an erotic picture of his wife (or vise versa) that he does not share is not profane – it is sacred, as long as there is no coercion involved, one or the other spouse does not find the activity lewd, and it is either destroyed or kept sacred between the husband and wife.

Allowing others to see those images would then be violating that sacred trust, and would defile the sacredness of your spouse’s body.[iv]

What about sex or nudity in art? Is that profane erotica?
Sexuality or nudity in art is a powerful thing and can easily be used for profane purposes. The subconscious sexual brain cannot tell the difference between what is real or imagined.[v]  It will invoke a sexual response either way.  If we look at the naked body (or representation thereof) of a person we are not married to for the purpose of becoming aroused, that is profaning something sacred. Even if we are not expressly aroused by viewing such art, it can still subconsciously affect us.

Again, Dr. David Glenn in his book “Beginner to Advanced NLP”, teaches how powerful our subconscious mind is and how it has the power to override our conscious mind. Our subconscious will move us to do that which we associate with pleasure. He explains that putting up images of those things that we want or desire where we can see them regularly has a powerful affect on our subconscious to eventually cause us to act on them when the opportunity arises – because we associate that thing with pleasure.

To illustrate, President Spencer W. Kimball gives these examples in his book “The Miracle of Forgiveness”:

“…In a community in the North, I visited a man occasionally who had above the desk in his printing establishment a huge picture of a nude woman.

He laughed at the idea of its being destructive to his morals. But one day years later he came to me with a stained soul – he had committed adultery. His house had fallen in on him.

Certainly the thoughts provoked by the things always before his eyes must have had a deteriorating effect on him. There may have been other factors, but surely this one played its part.

We would all be well advised to avoid the motivation to the evil thought. If persistently resisted it will ‘get the message’ and stay away.

When I was in business in Arizona, the calendar salesman came each year and we always bought calendars and gave them to customers as advertising. The first year the salesman spread out on the desk large, colored pictures of scantily clad girls, glamorous but shocking.

We pushed them all aside and chose scenes, landscapes, and elevating pictures. In all the years following, that salesman never brought me…another suggestive picture.”[vi]
 
I recognize that there is great skill that goes into drawing or sculpting the human form, but determining the difference between what is protecting the sacred or profaning it comes with asking “What was the artist’s intent?”

As President Kimball’s remarks could suggest, the salacious depiction of the human form is only produced when mankind is willing to pay for it. When we stop paying for it, it goes away. The profane erotica industry is so prevalent because it is a billion dollar industry.

There is also a difference between drawing an anatomically correct human form for the purpose to educate, and a drawing or sculpture of the human form skillfully portrayed in a seductive or salacious manner.

Here the phrase “A picture is worth a thousand words,” was never more true. The question we can then ask ourselves is “Is this image profaning the sacred? Is it leading my mind to respectful thoughts, or immoral thoughts?”

What if I’m turned on by people or things other people are not turned on by? Does it make that person or thing profane erotica to me?
Every person is different, and affected by different things. Regardless, we have a responsibility to respect the sacredness of sex and turn away when our feelings go where they should not. If our spouse arouses us sexually, those feelings are sacred, and there are appropriate places for the expression of those feelings within marriage. [vii]

When asked for her definition of pornography, LDS sex therapist Laura M. Brotherson and author of “And They Are Not Ashamed” said to me recently:

“…you might define pornography as anything that's a counterfeit or substitute for sexual intimacy/connection/stimulation within the intimate relationship of a couple. That stimulation which is "received from their spouse" is never considered pornography in my mind.”[viii]

What about books or stories where there’s no pictures? Can that still count as profane erotica?

Sexually explicit books, with or without pictures, can fall under the umbrella of profane erotica.[ix]

If our spouse writes or tells a sexual story that involves our relationship, that story is sacred, as long as it is not shared with outside individuals or parties. Writing stories that are written for the intent to sexually arouse other people we’re not married to is defiling the sacred.

What if my spouse/parents/bishop/other friends and relatives think profane erotica is one thing, and I think it’s something else? Am I wrong? Is my spouse wrong? Are my friends and other loved ones wrong?

What terms are we using? What terms are our family and friends using? Where is the firm guideline but in the terms the Lord originally gave us?

I believe profane erotica is what the prophets and apostles are truly referring to when they call something “pornography” and not sacred erotica. They never meant for us to demonize all sexual experiences – just those that emerge outside the bounds the Lord has set for mankind.[x]

What if, for more clarity, we add the term ‘sacred erotica’ to the same paragraph referenced earlier?

Sacred erotica can be devastating. Indulgence in it will deprive you of the companionship of the Holy Ghost. It will darken your mind. It will weaken and can eventually destroy marriage and family life. Those who indulge in it soon feel alienated, unworthy, and unacceptable to God, to themselves, and to others. They become self-centered and less able to enjoy healthy and righteous interactions with others. They waste valuable time and money, jeopardize their standing in the Church, and diminish their ability to serve others.”

Can you sense how wrong this feels?

Some have told me that there is no such thing as sacred erotica, but I ask you – how can something become profane if it is not first holy? The adversary does not create – he only twists and destroys that which is first good – that which was created by God. What did God create?

He created Adam and Eve. He created marriage. He created our reproductive organs. He created the nerve endings and mechanisms that stir sexual arousal and enable orgasm and sexual release. This is what becomes profaned when the adversary gets his hands on it. When he entices and influences mankind to glorify and worship sexual release and orgasm over worshiping the Lord and following His counsel, people lose the eternal perspective of marriage.[xi]

If we want to keep ourselves firmly on the Lord’s side while still appropriately expressing our sexuality, I highly recommend separating out the ‘sacred’ from the ‘profane’. The world will try lump them all together with their terms, and the Adversary will have his day with those who do not follow the Lord’s guidelines. By eliminating the term “pornography” and instead acknowledging what is sacred and how it becomes profaned, we can set a better example for our brothers and sisters in the world, and not be fooled by words that only confuse, mislead, frustrate, and lead to rationalization.


[i] LDS Marriage Bed, Mormons Take Pleasure In Sacred Erotica http://ldsmarriagebed.blogspot.com/2013/09/mormons-take-pleasure-in-sacred-erotica.html

[ii]  Johnson, Susan M, The Practice of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, Routledge; 2 edition (August 30, 2004)
[iii] Tanner, Susan W. “The Sanctity of the Body.” Ensign October 2005
[iv] There is a spirit of the law inherent in this, however. Should your spouse be in a circumstance where they cannot be moved, and have an infection on their sacred body parts, taking a picture to show their doctor would not be profane. This is true providing you and the doctor view and discusses the body in an ethical and reverent manner.  Turning around and then showing this same picture to your family, friends and neighbors could be construed as a profane use of that picture. Context makes the difference.

[v] Dr. David Glenn, Beginner To Advanced NLP Hypnotherapy Psychology
[vi] Kimball, Spencer W., The Miracle of Forgiveness, p.114-115
[vii] Kimball, Spencer W. The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 226-227; also see Christenson, Joe J., The Savior is Counting on You, October 1996 General Conference
[viii]Personal interview, May 2014
[ix] Sam Zaragoza, My Porn is Okay, Your Porn is Not Okay – Avoiding The Double Standard, http://ldsmarriagebed.blogspot.com/2010/09/my-porn-is-okay-your-porn-is-not-okay.html

[x] Eternal Marriage Student Manual, Intimacy, p. 139-146 and p.264-267
[xi] Eternal Marriage Student Manual, 2003, Intellectual Reserve, Inc., p. 264