marriage bed symbol

marriage bed symbol

Friday, November 29, 2013

How "Vanilla Sex" is Affecting You and Your Marriage



I was listening to some of the people writing into a recent Mark Gungor podcast, and it was heartbreaking to hear that some people were bored with “regular sex”, meaning penis-vagina intercourse. I’m amazed at how many people feel the need to constantly push the boundaries and venture into stranger and weirder sexual things with the belief system that  ‘vanilla sex’ is boring

The varieties of sexual experience mentioned on the show were extreme in nature, and were unlikely to give any pleasure to a person’s spouse. Imagine how exciting having sex with a person’s armpit would be, or many of the S&M practices such as piercing your spouse’s body with needles or giving each other electric shocks.

Some were downright dangerous, such as having sex with household appliances. There was an account of one man who had to be rescued by firefighters when he got his penis stuck in a toaster. How true this account is, I couldn’t say. But, if you interested, the article can be found at Huffington Post here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/08/penis-stuck-in-toaster-firefighters_n_4064927.html 

Between a husband and wife, sex moves away from the Law-of-Chastity rules for singles (no sexual activity with anyone except your spouse) and takes on guidelines that are more in line with the Word of Wisdom and Doctrine & Covenant 121:36-45. Even in marriage, we still have a responsibility to protect our body and the body and mind of our spouse.

As I mentioned, some of these paraphilia and sexual boundary pushing activities are dangerous. Some get injuries or infections from engaging in them.

The thing that disturbs me most is that many of the folks who feel a need to push these sexual boundaries are saying that “regular sex” is boring. I can’t imagine missionary- style sex ever getting boring.

A study run by Stuart Brody of the University of Paisley, UK, and Tillmann Krüger of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich[i] set out to prove the hypothesis that all forms of sexual activity (including penile-vaginal intercourse, masturbation, and all other forms of non-coital sex) would give equal sexual satisfaction, as well as improve satisfaction in all areas of life.

The results of the study showed that penile-vaginal intercourse corresponded with the highest levels of satisfaction and highest level of reward chemical releases in the body, not only sexually, but in all other areas of life. Regular ‘vanilla sex’ made everything in life better.

Masturbation resulted in less satisfaction, both sexually and in all other areas of life, as reported by the people in the study. It made everything in life worse.

All other forms of non-coital sex showed some correlation with greater satisfaction, both sexually and otherwise, but did not compare to standard penile-vaginal ‘vanilla sex’.

Sometimes a desire for something other than intercourse comes from imprinting on something viewed or experimented with while single. Pornography (or what I refer to as ‘profane erotica’) creates this effect as a natural consequence. It leads to harder and harder practices of sexuality, because when we view it, it requires greater and greater quantities of stimulus to create the same chemical release in our brains.

If we find ourselves so bored by “regular sex” that we feel the need to do wilder and crazier things with our spouse, or want to try something our spouse is hesitant to try, it may be time to back off sex for a while. Give your body a rest.

The Hebrews of the Old Testament had a remedy for this – and I wrote an article about it.[ii]

If you’ve been eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for a while and it’s getting boring, try denying yourself food entirely for a time. That sandwich is going to taste pretty good again when you get back to it.

Our sexual desires work the same. Interestingly enough, our food appetites and sexual appetites originate from the same part of the brain.[iii]

I’m not saying that it’s not okay to experiment and try new things once in awhile. It certainly is okay.

However, I get concerned when a couple reports dissatisfaction with the act of regular intercourse itself. This is an especial concern when they begin practices that cause harm to their bodies to intensify the sensations and make sex more “exciting”.

Sexual intercourse can be the reliable base from which you can venture out into new territory from time to time to add spice and variety, but good old fashioned marital intercourse shouldn’t be replaced with other practices exclusively.

Just because you can have sex, doesn’t mean you have to all the time. Establish a reasonable, healthy schedule that works for both of you, and ‘run with patience the race set before us’[iv].

There’s no need to feel ashamed if you enjoy ‘vanilla sex’, or to feel inadequate in some way if you find yourself going back to it or preferring it. Scientifically speaking, and spiritually speaking, it’s the flavor you’re both going to get the most out of.



[i]Stuart Brody of the University of Paisley, UK, and Tillmann Krüger of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (Biological Psychology, vol 71, p 312) , http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg18925405.900-sex-with-a-partner-is-400-better.html

[iii] Gary Wilson and Marnia Robinson, Adjunct anatomy and physiology  faculty at Southern Oregon University  http://youtu.be/fxrG6QZ-G0M

[iv] Hebrews 12:1