Take last week, for instance. Those of you who are on my Facebook Page will know that I was contacted by the National Post, Canada’s largest national newspaper, to comment in an article on religious people on sex toys. Seriously. I suppose it’s because of this post titled “Can Christians Use sex toys?” that I wrote a while back, and because she saw that I had a book coming out, the reporter thought she’d try me. It was a fun interview, and the reporter was very kind, but it’s not like five years ago I lay in bed thinking, “you know what I’d really like to do? Talk about sex toys to virtual strangers.” I also find it difficult because it’s not like my views are absolute. I think she was hoping for a black and white statement, but I don’t have one. I think it’s more nuanced than that. The article’s coming out this week, so it will be interesting to see how I was portrayed.
Then yesterday I had to begin the audio recording for my book, The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex. Zondervan is releasing it in audiobook format as well, and they wanted me to read it. I said, “sure! Why not?” But somehow I never quite pictured what it would be like to read the thing OUT LOUD. In a recording studio. With a man I know socially in my hometown reading along every word, and stopping me if I flub so I can start again. I’m not sure what I thought it would be like–I have done radio, after all–but this was weird. So when you actually do buy the book, and you’re reading it, and you come to an explicit part about how things work or how to make things feel good–picture me having to read it out loud. 🙂
I kept telling myself “I’m a professional, I can do this,” and I did get through the first 70 pages yesterday. I have to go in this afternoon to get through the next 70 pages, and I’ll likely have several more sessions. Page 71 launches into how orgasms work, so this will, again, be an uncomfortable day.
Which leads me back to my question, “how do I get myself into these things?” Turn back the clock a little, and it becomes clearer. My first book on marriage, To Love, Honor and Vacuum, had a chapter on sex. Then I started getting emails about that chapter specifically, so I wrote a whole book on it. Then, whenever 100 Huntley Street wanted to talk about sex, or Faith Today magazine (Canada’s Christian magazine) wanted something on sex, they contacted me, because I’d already written something. Soon PromiseKeepers Canada had me as their sex columnist (and I just finished a series of couple devotionals for them for the bedroom). Then my husband and I started speaking at marriage conferences, and spilling everything in front of audiences of hundreds.
It’s not what I intended to do, but somehow I got myself here. Even when I was brainstorming with my agent a year and a half ago about what book to write next, I never wanted to do a sex one. I still have a general women’s book in my head I want to get down on paper. But I did tell him this idea I had for the Good Girl’s Guide, and he said that was more sellable to publishers.
So here I am. And as I was reading out loud the foreword that Pam Farrell wrote for my book yesterday, I clued into why I do get myself into these situations. I think it’s just because I was willing. She’s in the same position, having written books on sex without really thinking that she was going to. But so many people were asking her about it, and she was willing. Many just aren’t.
Sex is so important to a marriage, and yet we’re often uncomfortable talking about it. But we have to talk about it, because people’s marriages will be so much better if we could just figure out this aspect. And so many people have such deep wounds sexually that we need to have good information out there.
In the beginning, when I began speaking about these things, I had to practice saying certain words in front of a mirror. Now I can do so without flinching (even in a recording studio). I didn’t use to share as much as I do now, but what I’ve found is that the more honest and transparent we are, with integrity, the more we help people. So in the book I do share a lot of my journey, much that I used to keep private. But as I shared it at marriage conferences, I figured I may as well do so in the book.
But it still feels very much like God is pushing me and stretching me, because this is just, plain, well, WEIRD. I know it’s not wrong; God created sex, and it’s meant to beautiful, and we all need someplace we can go to with our questions. And I love being able to help women. I pray that I’m helping lots of marriages. Every now and then, though, I still fall into bed at the end of the day and say, “how do I get myself into these things?” I know the answer, but it still can be awkward!
I guess, on the bright side, by the time the book does come out at the end of February, I’ll be so good at talking about this I won’t have to flinch at all anymore!