marriage bed symbol

marriage bed symbol

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Mormons Take Pleasure In Sacred Erotica



 WARNING: This post contains a topic of a sacred sexual nature and is intended for married couples only. Viewer discretion is advised.

Why are we still using the term ‘pornography’? What is it? Are there any clear or sufficient definitions for it?

There are none. The term is obsolete, and it’s been obsolete (from an eternal perspective) since the day it was invented in 1857.

There are better terms to use. The Lord never stopped using these terms, but we as a people are beginning to adopt the world’s terms for sexuality instead of using the Lord’s terminology.

It’s to be expected. Our natural tendency as humans is to make things more efficient. We do this to make our communication and learning easier and give us a greater sense of control over our world.

The problem is that simplification can often lead to stereotyping. Stereotyping gives an unfair (and many times an inaccurate) definition of reality when it comes time to make a judgment call. Stereotyping leads to prejudice. Prejudice leads to unnecessary fear, anger, resentment, and frustration.

I believe that’s what’s happening with the word ‘pornography’ – it’s an umbrella term that, for many people, is used to encompass all things sexual under all circumstances. The word itself undermines what is good about sex.

The Lord has already given us what I believe to be the best and clearest definitions of how to judge all things sexual in a righteous way. They are the ‘sacred’ and the ‘profane’, which can also be expressed as ‘sacred erotica’ and ‘profane erotica.”

A Brief History of Pornography

Words, drawings, sculptures and paintings depicting sexuality have been produced since mankind appeared on this earth. Sexuality or the nude figure has been graphically portrayed in secular as well as religious context – including the Bible.[i]

For the ancient Egyptians, as with other pagan societies, sexuality was everywhere and part of everything. It was survival; sex was life itself. It was so much a part of outward cultural and religious life that the Pharaoh would even hold annuals festivals to worship the god Min, who was believed to have created the world through a sexual act. Worship of this god involved open acts of masturbation in the streets. They believed such rituals would ensure a healthy crop for the coming year.[ii]

Representations of the penis were found everywhere in Roman times. They were found on walls, statues, doorstops, wind chimes, neck and wrist charms, as well as in other places. For them, it was not just an object of arousal, but also a pagan religious symbol of strength, power, and even a charm of protection to ward off evil. This may seem strange to us from our paradigm, but for the ancient Romans and many other early cultures it was very real.

The ancient Hebrews were surrounded by these pagan societies. They had to interact with them to do business and trade. That meant going into these towns and cities that were covered with sexual symbols and images, and teeming with sexual religious rituals and prostitution.

They were, however, forbidden to participate in such ceremonies or to worship the gods of the Egyptians, the Canaanites, the Romans and other pagan groups. These idol images and ceremonies were not forbidden by the Lord to look upon (not in the scriptural writings we have, anyway), but the Hebrews were forbidden to worship them or from bringing them into their homes.  The Lord didn’t want them to be tempted to worship the pagan physical representations over Jesus Christ[iii].

In fact, there was no catch-all term for sex like “pornography” before Victorian times.[iv]

In the ruins of Pompeii, the British discovered frescos on the walls of certain buildings in town that graphically depicted sex acts. Some of these buildings may have been houses of prostitution, although there are many historians and anthropologists who interpret the graphic sexual pictures as matter-of-fact sub-cultural means of communication for the people. They may have been created to depict a comic story as a means of keeping the peace, or as instruction to the citizens of the town communicating what was culturally acceptable. In some places, the pictures were simply a menu of sex acts for brothel patrons to select from.

During Victorian times, these relics were thought to be hazardous if they were to be seen by the general population. The aristocracy and scholars of the time hypothesized that the ‘common people’ would lose all sense of morality, if they were exposed to the overt sexuality in these antiquities.

Scholars had to face a board of review to demonstrate that they were able to handle such items without succumbing to their eroticism, and prove that they could view them with a responsible, clinical frame of mind. These members of academia were then given permission to examine, catalog and draw their scholarly conclusions.

Those who supported the scholars (the royalty and gentry) could do what they liked. Viewing these items then became the ‘right’ of the scholars, gentlemen, and aristocracy. It became a secret symbol of privilege reserved for this class, a privilege that turned into something women and the poorer classes must never have access to, either due to their ‘delicate nature’ or ‘ignorance’.

Prof. Simon Goldhill, Ph.D. of the University of Cambridge said, 
“Pornography was invented by the Victorians as a term – at least in the sense that we think of pornography today. It’s a way in which culture was trying to police itself.”[v]

It was during the Victorian era when the word ‘pornography’ appeared in an English medical dictionary in 1857. The first written definition was:

“Pornography, Porograph’ia, A description of prostitutes or of prostitution, as a matter of public hygiene."

Five years later, it appears in Webster’s dictionary as

“Pornography [Gr. A Harlot]
1. Licentious [1: lacking legal or moral restraints; especially : disregarding sexual restraints
2: marked by disregard for strict rules of correctness]
3: painting or literature; especially, the painting anciently employed to decorate the wall of rooms devoted to bacchanalian orgies.
4. [ Med] A treatise on prostitutes or prostitution."

Problems from the Beginning

Alison Smith, who is the head of British Art to 1900 at the Tate Gallery in Britain said:
“Once you start trying to define what pornography is (ie. putting it into words), that’s going to lead to re-interpretation, re-revision, re-definition and so the debate perpetuates itself, and so it spreads and becomes more prolific. So a big paradox of pornography is that, in trying to define and contain it, it actually has the reverse effect. It actually disseminates it.”

These first definitions created in the 1800s have problems:
  • ‘Lacking restraint’ is a subjective judgment; Victorian rules of ‘civilization’ could become Pharisaical at their worst, especially in the case of Victorian discrimination of women.
  • Since the time this definition was given, modern historians disagree on the purposes for these paintings and the rooms they were found in. Many were found in what were average household living spaces.
  • The first definition was in regards to prostitutes affecting the health of the community. The second definition minimizes this aspect, and broadens the definition to include any writing about prostitution. Were prostitutes paid professionals to the Victorians? What about women who were not paid for sex? Does this mean that writings about sex and sexuality, as long as prostitutes were not involved, were not pornography?
  • This definition included ancient depictions, but not modern ones. It also includes a behavioral aspect, which began to disappear in later definitions.
  • By this definition there is no allowance made for incorporating sexuality in a marital context. It completely excludes any spiritual context. This either was a result of, or led to, the dichotomy of sex in Victorian home life. In a Victorian society, wives and ladies were not for sex, but girls, mistresses and concubines were allowed to be used sexually as long as they were kept discreetly on the side. This was the origin of the modern Madonna/whore dichotomy so often found in our inherited Victorian belief systems today. There was a great chasm between Victorian/Puritan society (on which modern American cultural beliefs are based) and the paganism of broader European, Native American, Asian and Oriental society, all of which are extremes of sexual thought and expression.

We can see the first definitions don’t incorporate or support gospel principles. Surely modern definitions could improve upon this, but this has largely not turned out to be the case.

Modern Merriam Webster Dictionary

Merriam Webster later updated their definition to read: 

“1: the depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause sexual excitement
2: material (as books or a photograph) that depicts erotic behavior and is intended to cause sexual excitement
3: the depiction of acts in a sensational manner so as to arouse a quick intense emotional reaction <the pornography of violence>

Does this definition work better?
  • There is no separation between inside or outside of marriage. Any depiction of erotic behavior is now defined as pornography.
  • The live behavioral aspect has been minimized, and depiction in pictures and writing has been emphasized.
  • Intent becomes important, and intent cannot be measured, and is subjective to each individual’s belief about intent.
  • ‘Sensational manner’ is also too subjective to measure, and would be different for different individuals’ sensitivity to such materials, as well as belief systems and libido.

The Question of Art and Aesthetics

The New Oxford American Dictionary gives this definition that makes a foundational change – but, no improvement:

“(n.) printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity, intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings.”[vi]

Dictionary.com says the following about pornography:

noun - obscene writings, drawings, photographs, or the like, especially those having little or no artistic merit.

There are new aspects introduced for clarity’s sake, but these new adjustments to the definition still create more questions than it answers:

  • All live sexual acts have been removed from these definitions. Only printed or visual materials count as pornography.
  • An attempt has been made to differentiate between art and pornography – but again, what is considered beautiful, aesthetic, artistic, or evokes the right kind of emotional feeling is subjective from individual to individual. No clear line exists where all, or even most, would be able to agree.
      If it is beautiful to me, then it’s okay, and not pornography?  For a colloquial      example, in the musical, “The Music Man”, what Marion the librarian considers   to be ‘beautiful Persian poetry’, the mayor’s wife Mrs. Shinn calls ‘a smutty       book’ and protests its inclusion in the town library.
  • Emphasis is placed on separating out art, without separating out those images depicting the human body that are intended for medical or educational use.
  • No one can measure a person’s belief about intent when materials depicting writings about sexuality or sexual images are illustrated. We are left with how the individual wants to define it. If the creator says their intent is ‘artistic’ or ‘educational’, then it’s not pornography? I've reviewed interviews with professional pornographers who will tell you just that and will even tell you, "what we produce we would not consider pornography because it's not produced from a man's perspective etc..."
Who decides for us what does or doesn’t have “artistic merit” and therefore is or is not pornography?  The government? The prophet? Your bishop? Your mom? The art institutes or critics? The person who created the sexually explicit material? Yourself? But isn’t your sensibility different from others? Who decides?

Legal Definitions

In the Supreme Court case of Roth vs. United States, where a bookstore in California was charged with breaking indecency laws by selling a magazine with nude pictures of women, this definition of ‘obscenity’ was given:

“…material, utterly without redeeming social importance, whose "dominant theme taken as a whole appeals to the prurient interest" to the "average person, applying contemporary community standards."[vii]

This Supreme Court definition given in 1957, which was later overturned by another decision, is even more slippery:
  • Who decides what material has redeeming social importance, and who doesn’t? Presumably it would be whomever is in power to make such a decision, which disempowers all others.
  • There is more to obscenity than simply the dominant theme of a piece of ‘art’. Other, less-prominent aspects could also be considered pornographic, yet the entire work taken ‘as a whole’ would not under this definition. This would also be subjective from one person to another. Everyone knows of a great movie, or great book, with a graphic sex scene right in the middle, that can spoil the entire piece for us as Saints.
  • Who is the ‘average person’? This definition subjects us to whatever the current cultural beliefs are at the time.  Do these standards vary? Consider that this decision was given in 1957. Have our ‘contemporary community standards’ changed since then?

Elder Robert D. Hales said at the Spring 2013 General Conference,

“In January of 1982, I spoke in a devotional on the BYU campus in Provo, Utah. I invited the students to imagine that the Church was on one side of the podium, right here, and the world was just a foot or two away on the other side. This represented the “very short distance between where the world was and where the Church standards were” when I was in college.

Then, standing before the students 30 years later, I held up my hands in the same manner and explained, “The world has gone far afield; [it has traveled; it is nowhere to be seen;] it has proceeded way, way out, all the way out of this [building and around the world]. …

What we and our children and our grandchildren have to remember is that the Church will remain constant, [it’s still right here; yet] the world will keep moving—that gap is [becoming] wider and wider. … Therefore, be very careful. If you judge your actions and the standards of the Church on the basis of where the world is and where it’s going, you will find that you are not where you should be.”[viii]

The Wider Christian World

In the fight to find a definition that clarifies the issue, Christian counselors and anti-pornography crusaders also struggle. This definition comes from Dr. Shelley Lubben, a former porn actress and current Evangelical minister who works to eradicate the porn industry:

She defines pornography as this:

“Printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity, intended to stimulate sexual excitement.

The word pornography, derived from the Greek por’ne meaning “prostitute” and graphein (to write), was originally defined as any work of art or literature depicting the life of prostitutes”.[ix]

I admire Dr. Lubben’s work, and she did her homework. She reached back to the original and modern Merriam Webster definition, and she also includes the intent of the creator of the material, which isolates out art that contains adult themes, as well as materials intended for educational purposes. She uses this definition to bring across her point that watching pornography bonds us spiritually to prostitutes. Still, it comes across as insufficient for a few reasons:

  • It includes only printed and visual material and not behaviors. We know that obscenity can branch out to attitudes and behaviors, as well as our own personal standards of dress and the standards of those around us.
  • This definition gives no standard to differentiate the proper use of sexuality within a married context, thus it could be misinterpreted that all sexual expression intended for sexual stimulation is wrong.
  • There’s no acknowledgement that there is a sacred nature to sexuality. Although she does insinuate spirituality in her presentations, it’s not included in the definition.
  • It also suggests that as long as it was un-intended for sexual stimulation, but sexually stimulates anyway, it is not pornography and therefore not wrong.

What about the Church’s definition?

A recent talk by Dallin H. Oakes in General Conference gives yet another definition for pornography:

…”erotic stories and pictures...images and words intended to arouse sexual desires…promotional literature of illicit sexual relations…”[x]

Here Elder Oakes still leans upon this insufficient term. Maybe he uses it because it’s a term we all recognize. However, no one can agree on what it means.

His definition is short and to the point, and similar to the Victorian definition. So far, his is the only definition that indicates there is an illicit (meaning illegal or illegitimate) aspect, which possibly could presume the existence of a legitimate aspect.While his talk addresses the unholy aspect, the talk avoids where and what is a holy way of becoming aroused sexually.

The problem is, he stays focused solely on the unholy aspect of sexual images throughout his remarks, and even suggests that anything that arouses you sexually (a breath of wind, a bird flying through the air, vibrations at a concert, etc. that happens to arouse an individual sexually) is pornography for everyone by this definition. The question of “intent” is again spoken of, but still unanswered fully. ‘Pornography’ may be a term in common use, but again, it’s insufficient for full clarity.

The rest of this talk goes on to address those who find themselves ensnared in pornography addiction, and the importance of not doing things that would drive away the spirit, but there is an additional aspect missing for me, as is missing in all of these definitions. Where is the counterbalance showing the good aspects of sexual expression? If profane sexual expression is pornography, is that all there is?

I get questions from many members, especially those who have a spouse with a social focus instead of a gospel focus, who misinterpret the scriptures and lean on this definition to the point of squeezing it to death.

They try to remove themselves from sexuality entirely in any context. They struggle with the feeling that sexuality in all its forms, inside OR outside of marriage, needs to be eradicated, in order to be in favor with God. Not only is this impossible if you want a healthy marriage, it is counter to what God intended for his children.

Another example is the video the church released to teach kids about pornography. It's titled " What Should I Do When I See Pornography."[xvi]. Here the church educational system give another definition (taken from educator Kristen A Jensen M.A.) as "bad pictures of people with little or no clothes on."

The confusion created here is this definition includes any family photos of children in their diapers, people or children in their bathing suits, etc... The video itself shows images of people with little clothes on. How little is too little?

Since it was intended as a tool to help parents teach, perhaps their hope is that we as parents will relay that message to our children and teach them how to recognize the Holy Ghost. However, what if the parents are new to the church and can't tell the difference themselves. So what term could possibly give a clearer definition to help all families in the church know what is appropriate and what is not?

Divide the Sacred from the Profane

I strongly believe that we as members need to move beyond the baffling term ‘pornography’.  The Lord does have better terms to use, and his chosen leaders have used them since the days of Adam and Eve.

We learn from the Bible that the Hebrews were very open about sexuality, but their sex was largely expressed in terms of what was sanctioned by the Lord, as well as what was not appropriate. Rules regarding sexuality encompassed birth and death, nudity, hygiene, menstruation, prostitution, the sexual treatment of wives and concubines, as well as husbands, daughters and sons and others. These instructions fill the scriptures.

The terms the Lord has given us, that are seldom used in this respect today are the terms “sacred” and “profane.”

In order to simplify and appeal to all belief systems, the writers of the term ‘pornography’ have eliminated the most important aspect of all things sexual. That – it – is – sacred.

Why? I believe that it is because you cannot measure and therefore cannot create a law for spiritual things. But, for us members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the spiritual, the sacred and the holy are very much a reality. It is a reality that extends beyond this earth life.

By ignoring these definitions and using the world’s term “pornography”, we neglect the spiritual and give power to the secular.

Elder Dennis B. Neuenschwander  taught,

“The glory of God encompasses all that is holy and sacred. Our ability to seek, recognize, and reverence the holy above the profane, and the sacred above the secular, defines our spirituality. Indeed, without the holy and sacred, we are left with only the profane and secular.”[xi]

Ezekiel shows how the Lord stressed the sacred and the profane anciently and the importance of understanding the difference between the two,

“Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my Sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.”[xii]

What’s the difference between sacred erotica and profane erotica?

It’s my belief that the Lord never expected us to abandon sexuality entirely. He only ever meant it to be expressed in a way that would strengthen us and our relationships, rather than tear us down and debilitate our relationships. This is the context for sexuality that he provides - in marriage.

Sacred erotica would be sexual expression in the context of marriage, and in trying our best to keep the Lord’s commandments and the covenants we’ve made with him.

In marriage, we are licensed to look at and get pleasure and arousal from the sacred nakedness of our spouse. Like a recommend to the temple, the Lord entrusts us to keep the sexuality between a husband and wife sacred, by keeping it between each other.

When a husband and wife are speaking together about sex, or sharing fantasies, verbally or in writing, for the purpose of arousing each other sexually, they are expressing sacred erotica.

Sexually arousing drawings, pictures, paintings or video of your spouse can be considered sacred erotica if they are not displayed for others. Music can be used for arousal, and between a husband and wife. Songs that are used to prepare for and share physical lovemaking, that build and strengthen our desire to be together for eternity, are sacred erotica.

The erotic words we use in marriage, referring to our bodies or each other – words we don’t use with any other person – are sacred erotica. They might be something that another couple would never use – but that doesn’t matter, as long as the words are positive and meaningful to each other, and don’t offend the Spirit.

When a wife dresses seductively for her husband, or a husband flirts with or seduces his wife, this is also sacred erotica.

Taking the time to learn about the body and its functions will enhance our ability to utilize sacred erotica, but only in the laboratory of the marriage. We have the responsibility to learn about the erogenous zones such as the clitoris, the G-spot, or the prostate, and how to stimulate them in a way that is pleasing specifically to the person we are currently married to.

We may seek out the help of medical and educational literature that will help us to improve in this area, and seek to communicate with our spouse sexually. Keeping ourselves ignorant of our own and our spouse’s sexuality can eliminate the wholesome things the Lord is trying to provide for us in our marriages.

Exploration within marriage of what kinds of sex acts we like and what we don’t like is a journey every married couple must take, and should include the guidance of the Spirit as well as loving consideration of each other.

Sexuality is also kept sacred by keeping our covenants to engage in sexual expression and activity as a married couple. For more information on this aspect, read “Sexless Marriage and the Sacrament” http://ldsmarriagebed.blogspot.com/2010/12/sexless-marriage-and-sacrament.html?zx=3ccffa0fbc660d3e

There are some who are hesitant to speak with their spouse about sexuality. There is nothing in the gospel that says we cannot speak of sexual things, because they may feel it’s ‘too sacred’ a topic. Like anything sacred, it should be spoken of in a reverent manner - but it’s not intended to be avoided or eliminated.

When we think in terms of sacred erotica, we can think in terms of the temple. The temple is the holiest place we have on earth, but we are not taught never to speak of it or the things we do in it ever. We are taught to speak of them reverently, and in the right places, and with those we know will treat them with respect and reverence.

Within marriage, sex can be indulged in and enjoyed. It can bring great satisfaction to both spouses. It can help set a healthy and happy tone in the home that the children will benefit from in their current and future relationships.

Profane erotica, on the other hand, would be any expression of sexuality that goes beyond the bounds the Lord has set – either to extend out and involve other people for our or their sexual arousal, or if we go beyond the bounds of the commandments and our covenants.

In marriage, we are only licensed to look upon one person (our spouse) in a sexual or erotic way. For us to look upon another person and allow our minds to use them to arouse us sexually makes that other person into profane erotica. This is true, regardless of how the other person regards themselves or how they feel about their actions.

The responsibility remains with us individually. Social acceptance and cultural conditioning does not dissolve the law of what the Lord deemed sacred. No matter how much a culture makes it publicly acceptable, how much financial power the company has or if the government legislates that it’s okay as long as consenting adults are involved. The Lord’s law of what is sacred remains the same – sacred. .[xiii] The term ‘pornography’ does just that – it tries to eliminate any acknowledgement of the sacred.

If we seek out the sexual fantasies of others, or share our own with those we are not married to, this defiles the sacred.  It reduces the Lord’s trust in us to keep something sacred. It makes us unworthy to receive the blessings reserved for those who can demonstrate they are capable of keeping their bodies, thoughts and sexuality (as well as the bodies, thoughts and sexuality of others) sacred. [xiv]

I mentioned before that sexually arousing drawings, pictures, paintings or video of your spouse can be considered sacred erotica so long as it is only shared between you and your spouse. Once you cross the line and allow others to view those materials, you are making profane erotica of your spouse’s body and your sexuality.  I don’t necessarily recommend couples do this, because it is too easy for those images to get out, but I wanted to illustrate this to demonstrate the difference between what is sacred and what is profane. Seeking out drawings, pictures, sounds of people having sex or sexual video of anything we are not married to for our sexual arousal falls under profane erotica.

There is also sacred erotic ways to use music and profane erotic ways to use music. This is determined by context. Do the music and lyrics lead you to think of your spouse in erotic ways, or do they lead your mind and body to think of others?

The words we speak to each other intimately can build our relationship, or damage it. Sexual language has great power to heal or hurt, so care must be taken with the words we use for our bodies, our lovemaking, and each other.

Friendly flirtations outside of marriage venture into the realm of the profane. We can ask ourselves the question, “What is my intent? Am I being friendly, or am I trying to see if my powers to attract others still works? How would it be received? How would my spouse feel if they witnessed this interaction?”[xv]

How do we feel about bodies? How do we feel about sex? Do you believe it’s ‘nasty’, gross,’ or ‘dirty’? Is it ‘a headache’ or ‘a hassle’? This sacred gift from God can be profaned by the beliefs we may carry about bodies and bodily functions.

 How should we care for our bodies? How should we care for our spouse’s body, or the bodies of those to whom we feel attracted? How would the Lord have us act or react about sexual things in or out of marriage?

There are very few sex acts that are in and of themselves profane by their very nature. Many of the sex acts that are portrayed in sexually explicit films or TV would be completely sacred if done by a husband and wife in the privacy of their relationship.

By exhibiting sexuality this way, the world has tried to crash their way into the proverbial temple on a fake recommend. They have profaned what was originally meant to be sacred. Those who do so will never get the sacred experience – they can’t know what it feels like to experience ‘sacred sex’ just by having sex any which way or with anyone or anything. Only those who follow the Lord’s will and do things His way can have that experience, whether in or out of the Church.

Profane erotica can only lead to dissatisfaction and devastation. No one, married or single, should entertain it at any time.

Both of these terms also make allowance for the medical, parental and educational. A doctor may need to learn about or examine the sacred parts of an individual to ensure health. It is then the personal agency of the professional to exercise ethics and respect the sacredness of the person’s body and mind, both in their thoughts and actions.

When the professional abandons those ethics and entertains sexually arousing thoughts about their patient, student or client, they enter into the profane, or the defiling of something that should be handled in a sacred and reverent manner.

Likewise, when a parent looks at or handles their child’s body, they are entrusted with the responsibility to treat that child’s body with reverence and respect as something sacred.

When a parent lusts for that child’s sexuality or treats their body with disrespect, they are entertaining profane erotica. They are then engaging in unholy thoughts or activities.

I doubt we can stop anyone from using the word ‘pornography’ when they teach of moral matters, but I would propose that, in future, when the term ‘pornography’ is used, we mentally substitute the term ‘profane erotica’ instead, and see what sort of clarity the Spirit may give us in making necessary decisions for our situation.





[i]  Genesis 4:1, Moses 5:2, Proverbs 30:20, Leviticus 15:18, Leviticus 18:22, Ezekiel 23:8, Genesis 19:32 – these are just a few examples.
[ii] Ereira, Allen and Grabsky, Phil. “The Nature of Sex”. Discovery Channel.
[iii] Deut. 4:15.19
[iv] “Until the mid-19th century, the modern concept of pornography did not exist. There was no word to describe images based on their sexual content because one had not been needed.” ~ Marilyn Milgrom, Pornography – The Secret History of Society DVD, World of Wonder Productions, 1999
[v] Williams, Kate. “Pornography – The Secret History of Civilization”, World of Wonder Productions, 2000.
[vi] Copyright 2005 by Oxford University Press, Inc eBook Copyright 2008, Kruetzfeldt Electronic Publishing GmbH, Hamburg Germany

[viii] Hales, Robert D. “Stand Strong in Holy Places”. Ensign, May 2013, emphasis added
[ix] Find more of her work at the Pink Cross Foundation:  www.thepinkcross.org. I highly recommend her work to all members of the Church, especially those who struggle with addiction to profane erotica, or pornography. See also her presentation, given to a Christian High School in California:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGdMi-oC9nM

[x] Oakes, Dallin H. “Pornography”. Ensign, April 2005
[xi] Neuenschwander, Dennis B. “Holy Place, Sacred Space”. Ensign, May 2003, emphasis added
[xii] Ezekiel 22:26, emphasis added
[xiii] Holland, Jeffery R, Personal Purity, General Conference, Oct. 1998
[xiv] For The Strength of Youth, Fulfilling Our Duty To God pg. 26-27 and Ezekiel 44:23
[xv] Faust, James E., The Enriching of Marriage, Oct. 1977 General Conference
[xvi] http://overcomingpornography.org/spouses-and-families/what-should-i-do-when-i-see-pornography?lang=eng&cid=HP_TU_9-15-2015_dPTH_fOVP_xLIDyL1-B_

8 comments:

Chris said...

I think that's kind of odd to talk about erotic words that do not offend the Spirit. I just wonder what words would have an erotic meaning and not offending the Spirit?

CoachSam said...

Great question Chris, and thank you for reading.

When speaking or referring to erotic or sexual words, I try to think of it in the same context as the name of God or our savior Jesus Christ.

Their names are sacred. That doesn't mean they can't be spoken ever and if we do it will offend the spirit. If we speak their names in the right context and with reverence, it not only does not offend the spirit, but allows him to testify of them.

I feel the same is true for sexual or erotic words. The spirit is only offended when we use them in an irreverent or defiling (profane) manner.

Using an erotic term to arouse your spouse, or communicate with them what you want or need is a reverent use of those words and shouldn't offend the spirit.

However, discuss with your spouse what words are erotic for them. In the culture your spouse grew up in, there may have been sexual words that are designed to be offensive, and will offend the spirit for them.

On the other hand, if there is a term that is offensive to your spouse, but not you. Let them know what it means to you and that it's the only word you can think of to clearly communicate what you want or need in your sexual relationship.

Also let them know that you will use it reverently and in the correct context.

Who knows, your spouse may have a term that communicates better what you are trying to describe.

Hope this helps. If not, let me know and we can discuss.

Chris said...

I have found out that when we use erotic words during our lovemaking, things are getting spiced up. But I have a hard time to understand what words would be appropriate or not for our couple without offending the Spirit. For example, slang words for penis or vulva would it be considering inapropriate if both of us agree with a particular term?

CoachSam said...

Dear Chris,

The short answer is "it all depends on context" or "spirit of the law" if you will, when it comes to what would offend the Spirit.

The "scientific", correct anatomical terms would be the most appropriate terms to use when teaching your children or others about sexuality and trying to keep it sacred.

Between a husband and wife, there are erotic or endearing terms for your body parts and functions that you may choose to use to arouse each other or communicate what you want. When used between a husband and wife, (as long as the other spouse does not feel offended by the term) would not be inappropriate or offend the Spirit.

You are keeping sexuality sacred by keeping your sexual activity and the special sexual communication you create as husband wife between only the two of you

It would therefore defile/profane and offend the Spirit to then use that same language when speaking to your children or others.

For example, the slang terms "pussy" and "cunt"(and I present these terms only in the spirit of an opportunity to teach. I hope that those reading will receive them in the spirit meant). For many women, the word "vagina" is VERY clinical and not necessarily arousing or endearing. The word "cunt" for many women has a violent, angry, harsh, or ugly sound…not one that would invite an arousing, loving or nurturing feeling from your wife. Not every woman feels this way, but some do.

On the other hand, if your wife finds the word "pussy" to be a more loving and nurturing term when initiating sex, then it would not be inappropriate to use it with her. Keeping that sexual communication within your marriage keeps it sacred.

To use those same terms loosely with friends and family, or your children, would cheapen that which should be kept special and sacred in your marriage.

Again, it's the context in which we use it that keeps us within the Spirit of the law the Lord intended.

If you have some terms in particular that you are struggling with, would you feel comfortable emailing me or skyping me privately to discuss? I believe I may have some cultural and scriptural perspectives that may help. Let me know if you’d like to exercise this option.

My email is samzaragoza@sbcglobal.net. There is no charge for consultations.

Chris said...

Thanks for your enlightened information and viewpoint.

Jen said...

I struggled with this for a long time, wanting to express myself to my dh beyond using clinical terms! This was such a great read!

George Zinn said...

Why not just take the moral high ground, and supplant all sexual urges with other things in your life, and suppress them as I did. Sexuality is way overrated, and I prefer celibacy, complete abstinence, and chastity as the best way to stay away from treading on any dangerous or forbidden territory. Staying single, not cohabiting, dating, or marrying. and enjoying the free life of not being burdened by a wife or family is my preferred lifestyle. There should be a special place in heaven for those who have overcome all the worldly lusts, and supplanted these urges for things of a higher, and more celestial realm. It may be difficult, but it is not impossible.

CoachSam said...

Dear George Zinn,

Thank you for reading and your comment. I'm going to assume your question is sincere.

It is a very interesting perspective and one that is shared by many Catholics and Protestants.

Fortunately, the belief you expressed is not shared by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints or supported by the scriptures and teachings of modern day prophets.

Mormons love sex, and we believe God wants us to have and enjoy it - as long as we keep it sacred and only exercise it within the bonds of traditional marriage. We believe He not only wants us to have sex, but wants us to have it for all eternity and feel good about it.

Let me know if your interested in finding out more. :-)