Welcome to Live From Love and to 2021! The podcast today is a great way to begin your year. New thoughts, new ideas and new adventures in your marriage. You were possibly raised with fairly narrow views of your sexuality. . .along with some pretty strict guidelines . . .most of us were. But things should have changed for you by now. With some wisdom and sexual maturity on your side, you get to choose what you want to believe, think and do regarding your sex life. You get to set your own boundaries. . .just you and your spouse together. No one else.
In the conservative Christian culture, many churches took the stance to talk about sex in a very fear-based way. Instead of teaching our children and youth how to integrate a very important part of themselves, we were taught to fear our sexuality. It’s no wonder so many of us have issues. But, rather than be angry and the damage that has been done, we can forgive our parents and leaders, because I don’t think anyone did it maliciously. Everyone was doing their best. Even though their best wasn’t very good.
Because of this fear-based approach, instead of us being mature about how we deal with our sexuality, many of us are immature. We are constantly looking for what is ok and what is not ok to do from people who frankly, have no business being involved with our sex lives at all.
But, as a culture, and a people, it’s time for us to mature. It’s time for us to quit worrying about what is right and wrong and really take the time to figure out what it is that we want for ourselves. What do we want for our children? How do we want to change the way we are doing things so that we, and future generations, can flourish instead of flounder. This is my goal with this podcast. To really help people, especially women, decide for themselves what they want and integrate their sexuality into their whole self. Our sexuality is a divine gift from our Heavenly Parents. And rather than shun this gift, embrace it! Embrace You! All of you!
As I was thinking about this podcast and how I could present this information to you, an analogy came to mind. Now, it’s not a perfect analogy, but I think it will serve its purpose and you will find it useful.
When we are young, we are given certain guidelines to help keep us safe until we can discern for ourselves what is right and wrong and what is best for us. Guidelines to keep us safe until we mature and can decide for ourselves. Now, just because we are given guidelines doesn’t make that thing bad. It’s just not the right time. But when we are older we can decide for ourselves when the right time is, what it is we want, and what we want it to look like for ourselves.
I want you to think back to when you were really little. Now you may not remember this exactly, but maybe you’ve seen it with someone else or you’ve even done it yourself. But when you were little your parents probably told you that you weren’t allowed to go into the street. They probably told you not to even play close to the street because your toy might go into the street and it could be dangerous for you to go there. A little child doesn’t understand the dangers that the street can be, if care isn’t taken to be safe. So we give children rules to keep them safe from something that they don’t understand. And these guidelines or rules are there to protect us until we can mature and make good decisions about the street.
We do the same thing with sex. Children and even teenagers don’t understand all the intricacies of sex. Without understanding how sex can affect them physically, emotionally, and spiritually, children and teenagers aren’t ready for something so important. So we tell them to stay as far away from it as possible. Don’t go near it. Don’t put yourself in a situation where it will be a temptation. Much like our parents told us to stay out of the street.
But, as we got older, and could make better and wiser decisions, and understand things better, the rules around going out in the street loosened up a bit, but there were still guidelines to keep you safe. Don’t play out in the street. If you do go in the street, watch for cars. Look both ways before you cross. This is like when we tell our kids to not have sex, but if they are going to have sex, be safe about it. Use birth control, protect yourselves from STI’s. Make sure it’s with someone you love so that you don’t have your heart broken. Make sure you give or obtain consent. Don’t coerce someone to do something that they aren’t ready to do. Guidelines for those who are more mature.
And then…you learn to drive. You are out in the open road. You are allowed to be there. You are supposed to be there. There are still rules of the road that make things safe for everyone, but you can make mature decisions about what you want to do and where you want to go. The guidelines you do have are what make the road safe for everyone there. With sex, even within the context of marriage we still have rules. We have the Six principles of sexual health (like I talked about in Episode 94). The 5 gears of touch that I talked about in Episode 137.
When you drive, you often have a passenger in your car and it’s your job to make sure you both get to the destination. Maybe one is the navigator and one is the driver. Sometimes you also may want to drive solo. In sex, it’s important that both people get to the destination. But the two of you get to decide what route works for the two of you.
Just like the rules and guidelines that we have for the road and with driving, they are there to keep us safe when we don’t know what we don’t know. And sex is the same way. The rules and guidelines are there to keep us safe. But when we mature and grow then we get to decide what we want for ourselves. We don’t have to stay subject to the rules that we had when we were kids or teenagers and we didn’t know better.
Remember, you get to decide what your sexual relationship looks like. Just you and your spouse. No one else. Not your bishop. Not your stake president. Not apostles or prophets. You don’t need to ask permission from them for anything. You make your own rules.
A friend of mine, who is also a coach, named Ashlee, @thereachableheart posted a very similar discussion on social media earlier this week, that I think it applies directly to what we are talking about here. She said “There is so much irony and contradiction in Adam and Eve’s Story… Adam was fine with obeying exactly what he had been commanded to do. Eve thought deeply. Weighed the decisions. He checked the box. She found meaning. She saw the bigger picture, which is what we are often called to do. She didn’t “obey.” He did. Yet, because of her disobedience, we are here. Purpose is being fulfilled. She made the best choice, which was supposedly the wrong choice. Maybe it wasn’t a commandment as it seems. It was simply to show CHOICE. To give an option. To present the opportunity of agency. And we are shown that we can choose to just do what we are told or we can choose to consider WHY. To look deeper. To question. To test it and experiment. If there is any testing going on, it’s each individual testing and experiment with how it works for them individually. It is apparent that God only said what they needed to hear…not what He expected them to do.“
Could it be that choosing to embrace our sexuality, to integrate it, to express it in a way that bonds the two of us closer together is the BETTER choice? I challenge you to look deeper. To question. To test and experiment. Your results might surprise you.