When you have questions about sex, or you want to improve your sex life, where’s the best place to go?
This month, as 31 Days to Great Sex launches again, our series will be on Sex Questions You Can’t Ask Your Pastor. I want to tackle a bunch of reader questions that have come in, and give people a chance to ask me some at my webinar on Thursday! (And if you sign up, you’ll also get a FREE copy of 31 Days to Great Sex AND my 24 Sexy Dares).
But a funny thing happened last week on Facebook. I announced my webinar and referenced the name–Sex Questions You Can’t Ask Your Pastor. Many commenters took to defending pastors, worrying I was maligning them.
In truth, I was just trying to be funny, but maybe I missed the boat somehow!
But I think it speaks to a bigger issue in the Christian community: where do we go when we need help? Is the pastor the best resource? So let’s start our series with where I think you SHOULDN’T go for help–and then talk about the best sex expert you have!
So let’s start: Who is the best sex expert you have?
All of us have questions about sex, and we certainly need safe places to ask questions!
But a lot of us don’t have those places. And when we don’t have a place to ask a question, the pastor is often framed as the go-to person (which is why I targeted pastors in my series title!).
When it comes to sex–is that really what we want? Do we want to be in a pastor’s office asking about orgasms or erectile dysfunction or vaginismus or female ejaculation?
I think most of us would say no–indeed I hope most of us would say no! And I think most pastors would actually agree.
We need to stop assuming that pastors should be the go-to for everything
We’re part of the body of Christ, and different parts are useful for different things. Pastors should be there to shepherd you spiritually, absolutely (although I’d argue that pastors can’t carry the whole congregation). But in other areas of our lives we may need extra help.
It is not appropriate to expect pastors to be experts in areas where they don’t have extensive experience or expertise
Most pastors have a four year undergraduate degree and then a two year Master’s degree, if that. Most take one course on counseling, and it isn’t extensive. To assume that your pastor can guide you when it comes to finances or marriage or parenting your special needs child or dealing with a terminal ill mother or dealing with sexual abuse in your past isn’t really fair to either you or your pastor–unless your pastor actually is an expert in one of those things. Chances are for all of those things, someone else in your congregation is better equipped.
Just because someone has a Masters of Divinity doesn’t mean that they know a ton about marriage or finance or business or abuse. When it comes to marriage and sex, most pastors only have their own marriage to judge from, and pastors often assume “everyone is like me.” (I think that’s one reason why higher drive wives often feel so left out!)
Before we accept help for complex problems like sex, make sure that they have expertise either through extensive education; working specifically in the field of sexuality; or conducting research in it and staying abreast of current research. Most pastors just haven’t done this (and nor should they. That’s not their main job). And so we should stop expecting them to be experts.
It is not appropriate for male pastors to speak one on one to congregants (especially women) about sex
I would hope this would go without saying, but women should not be speaking one-on-one with a male pastor about intimate details of her sex life–and most pastors would prefer not to be put in this situation. And if the pastor wants to do so, honestly, that’s a huge red flag!
It is not appropriate to expect pastors to be able to address sex in its entirety from the pulpit.
I actually get quite upset when people blame pastors for the fact that the church doesn’t teach well on sex, because how is the pastor supposed to do that? I don’t think it’s appropriate to preach in the kind of detail that would be required because teens and children are in the audience (as a very sex-positive mom, I still would have been incensed if my pastor had said the sort of thing I do in this blog). What churches need to do instead is offer book studies, resources, or extra events that fill in these gaps!
So where do you go for help when it comes to sex?
Well, first and foremost, I’m glad you’re here! And this month, in our series and in our podcasts, we’re going to tackle a ton of different sex questions! And, of course, this blog has so much information about how to make sex feel good or how to spice things up.
Need more help? Try these!
Who is ultimately the biggest expert about sex in your marriage?
That’s right. You.
You can read all the books you want, all the blog posts you want, work through all the courses. But ultimately only YOU know what advice is applicable to your situation. Only YOU know what you’re really feeling, and what needs to change. Only YOU know what feels good, or what you want.
Other resources can help you uncover deep rooted issues, or put you on the journey to healing and discovery. But only YOU have the answers, because sex is deeply personal and unique to each of us.
And that’s why I believe that the key to improving your sex life is learning how to communicate openly with your spouse about sex.
Now, communication alone isn’t what you need, because many of us have shame that we need to deal with, or we have misperceptions that we need to correct, or we have a lack of information in general. And we do need help (and that’s why I’m here!).
But once you do have that information; once you do have an inkling what the problem might be; once you do have an idea of what can help–then you have to talk to your spouse about it.
All the advice and information in the world doesn’t do much if you don’t put it into practice or don’t figure out how to apply it.
This month, as we talk about sex questions you can’t ask your pastor (and please sign up for the webinar!), I’ll try to give you very practical help so that you can put what I suggest into practice. I’ll try to give you ways to talk to your spouse about it.
And honestly, talking to your spouse about sex is really what 31 Days to Great Sex is all about.
The new, super improved 31 Days to Great Sex launches on July 14, and that’s why I’m dedicating this month to answering your sex questions and trying to get practical about helping!
But what people who have worked through 31 Days to Great Sex have told me is that the most helpful part of it was not learning how to make her feel good; it wasn’t getting more comfortable with body image issues or spicing things up or trying new positions. It wasn’t even dealing with past baggage (although all of this was helpful).
It was simply having an easy way to talk about sex.
The breakthroughs came when they were finally about to talk about their sex lives.
Often he has the higher libido, and he doesn’t understand that it’s not that she doesn’t want sex; it’s that she has so many things going on in her head it’s hard for her to get in the mood! Or she thinks he only wants sexual release, where what he really wants is to feel connected.
We just don’t understand each other, and it can lead to so much hurt. I hope this month, we can get over some of those misunderstandings, and bridge some gaps. And I do believe that 31 Days to Great Sex can help you do that!
So sign up for the webinar this Thursday, and you’ll get a free copy of the book!
And remember: YOU really are the expert about your sex life. You know more than you think. You know what makes you tick. You know what information will work for you, and what isn’t right. Trust yourself. You’re not broken. And then let’s practice talking to our spouses about this, too!
Other Posts in the Sex Questions Series:
SEX QUESTIONS SERIES: Who’s the REAL Sex Expert for Your Questions
The Sex Questions You Can’t Ask Your Pastor Podcast!
10 Quick Newlywed Sex Questions You Can’t Ask Your Pastor
PODCAST: Newlywed Sex Questions Edition
PODCAST EXTRAS: Sometimes a Vagina is Just a Vagina
Sheila Wray Gregoire
Founder of To Love, Honor and Vacuum
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