Instructional sex advice is wonderful in Christian books.
But sometimes explicit crosses the line.
In last week’s podcast, we read The Act of Marriage so you didn’t have to! And in this week’s podcast, we want to look at a broader theme about why sometimes you can be reading a book, and think, “eeeewwwww.” We’re going to be reading some passages from Sheet Music by Kevin Leman, and look at how explicit can become too explicit when you start using weird euphemisms and emotionally-laden language.
For our upcoming book The Great Sex Rescue, we read all the best selling Christian books about sex and marriage, and rated them on 12 different aspects of healthy sexuality teaching. Sheet Music scored middle of the pack. It wasn’t a terrible book, by any means at all (The Gift of Sex scored really, really well, by the way!). But there were some disturbing elements that we talk about today:
By the way, we recorded THIS one before we recorded the one on the Act of Marriage, and I originally intended that to be a 2-week podcast with both Becca & Connor, but it didn’t work out that way. So my intro is a little off! But you know what I mean. 🙂
WARNING: We’re going to be reading REALLY explicit passages on the podcast so that Rebecca can react to them. Please don’t listen with children near, or if you find this difficult, maybe skip this one!
Main Segment: When Does Explicitness Cross a Line?
Here’s what we decided. Explicit, in and of itself, isn’t bad. It’s actually good! When you talk about different body parts, and how to stimulate them, etc., all is peachy keen.
The problem comes when you add in emotionally laden words. Kevin Leman in Sheet Music gives very explicit, detailed instructions on sex, which sound voyeuristic. Ideas about what works well, or different things you can try, are all great. Treating sex like a paint-by-number, where you do A,B,C, and then D happens, cross a line. It’s hard to define that, so I read it to Rebecca and just got her emotional reaction.
Christians have a difficult time talking about sex. I know–I’ve had to do it from the stage for years when I give my Girl Talk. But we have to find the right balance between not making something sound shameful, but also not making others uncomfortable. Keeping things explicit without verging into the personal seems a good balance. (and seriously–we had to give examples in this podcast to show what we were talking about, but it was super awkward. This is REALLY too explicit).
Because it’s mostly men who write about sex for couples, too, I think it’s important that men listen to what women find uncomfortable, and honour women when they’re writing. We conducted three different focus groups about this topic yesterday, and had some great feedback that we’ll be including in our book.
But listen in and tell us what you think, too!
Reader Question: Is it wrong for me to imagine our wedding night?
A woman writes in with a two-part question about her upcoming wedding–whether it’s okay to delay it; and whether it’s okay to think about the wedding night. She asks:
I am engaged to an amazing godly man. I can’t wait to marry him! But also, we were trying for a short engagement but I asked to make it longer because I just feel emotionally unready. I have moved a lot lately, finished studies, am looking for a job, and with so many changes and money being tight I didn’t want to get married just yet. I like to feel settled. But i also just don’t feel ready to make this massive jump! How can I emotionally prepare for marriage? We are going to start some premarital counselling with a pastor and his wife soon which I hope will help.
Second of all is really personal. I am so keen to have sex, I feel like I have a really high sex drive which is great! Except we’re not able to express it yet. Which I’m okay with, but I find myself imagining our wedding night. Is that wrong? And how can I stop? I feel like it’s lusting but I don’t know how to prepare physically for marriage without thinking through what I’m looking forward to / what will he like / what to wear etc. I don’t want to justify my actions though.”
Okay, first part: how do you feel emotionally ready for marriage?
If you feel like you should delay, you likely should. And then take this time to really work on how to connect emotionally and how to make sure you really know each other. I’ve got some posts that can help here:
- How to Prepare for Marriage–not Just the Wedding
- Don’t Marry Him Just Because He Says He’s a Christian (plus a round-up of my best posts on dating)
Now, the second part about imagining your wedding night.
I don’t think you should obsess over it or deliberately daydream, but I do think that it’s natural. Don’t beat yourself up over it, but don’t feed it.
But there are benefits to thinking about how things will go and knowing what to expect, which is why I do advise reading The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, and also taking a look at our Honeymoon Prep Course It’s got some great videos you can watch together (or separately if you’d prefer) and then discussion questions to talk about together.
Are you ready for the honeymoon you always dreamed of?
The Honeymoon Course is here to help you plan the perfect honeymoon and start your marriage (and your sex life!) off with laughter, joy and fun!
Don’t make the same mistakes other couples have–get it right from the beginning!
Finally, some other posts on this:
Reader Question: We can’t reach orgasm without me touching myself
Okay, here’s another reader question about newlyweds! And this one shows I don’t mind getting explicit. Seriously. There’s just no reason to call a clitoris a “tender little friend.”
But this woman asks:
I’m reaching out with a “problem” that my husband and I have been trying to navigate. I got married in the fall and had a lovely wedding/wedding night. Our sex life has been great and we’re enjoying learning as we go. There’s one thing, however, we can’t quite figure out. For the first couple of months, my husband wasn’t able to get me to orgasm at all. We decided to try me touching myself on the honeymoon with him there and working up from there. That worked just fine but our goal of getting him physically involved wasn’t successful. About a month ago, we found out him rubbing my g-spot while I rub my clitoris works like a charm and gets me there a lot faster than I was used to. The problem is that I still can’t reach my point unless my hand is somehow involved. We’ve seemingly tried it all and while oral is nice, it doesn’t get me to orgasm. Is there any way that my husband can stimulate my g-spot and clitoris simultaneously so that’s we can get over this hurdle? We’re both getting a little discouraged. Thanks in advance! (Ps: Before marriage, I rarely, if ever, touched myself. It was only when I was engaged and reading up on stuff that I started trying to figure myself out)
Okay, such a common issue!
My quick take: First, don’t feel like a failure. You’re able to orgasm; that’s wonderful! If you’re both feeling good, enjoy that. We don’t have to live up to an ideal.
I’ve got some specific advice on the podcast about how to give him feedback about how you need to be touched, and also how to silence the voices inside of our heads that are telling us, “it’s taking too long and he must be getting bored.”
Also, pay attention to your body yourself when you’re stimulating yourself, because some women, right before orgasm, tense up and stop breathing. Some keep breathing and relax. Everyone’s different. But know what you naturally do, because often we’re not as natural when someone else is stimulating us, and that impedes it, too.
Listen in to some more advice! And here are some more posts that can help:
Okay, that’s it for today. Let me know in the comments: What do you think of a book that gives these sort of explicit, prescriptive instructions? Or what would you say to the young woman wondering about imagining her wedding night? Let’s talk in the comments!