Being a Christian Sex Blogger comes with a unique challenge: How do you educate about sex while keeping it informative, interesting, accessible, yet not crossing a line into being erotic?
I received an email this week from a single male who seemed to be chastising me, although it wasn’t entirely clear. He said that even my post titles such as clitoral slapping and my post on female ejaculation were pushing the line and that I was causing him to have impure thoughts. He quoted two passages: Romans 13:11-14 and Ephesians 5:3, which both speak against sexual immorality. In short, it seemed (though it was a little unclear) that he was saying that my posts were bordering on, or in his mind had crossed into, sexual immorality. He claimed I was flirting with sin and that he felt violated by reading these articles.
Of course, being a single male who is attempting to remain pure until his wedding day, he is not my target audience, not by a long shot. In fact, I would highly suggest single males and females NOT read this blog. Why? Because I believe the Bible warns against awakening desire before it’s time (Song of Solomon 8:4). This is difficult to do in our culture, because we are inundated with sexuality on TV, in movies, in books, billboards (in some countries more than others). But even though it is everywhere, it is not my intention to contribute to this awakening.
When Jay first told me about the email I was a little shocked. Why would he put himself in the position about finding out about these things you do when married when he is still single? How did he even find our site? The title is very clear too, I think, even the tagline. Wouldn’t you say is pretty clear what this blog is about?
That said, this reader brought up a valid question that I thought I’d write about to help clear my head. Is my writing informative without being erotic? Is it my responsibility to ensure my work is not titillating or arousing to others? How far does this responsibility extend? Should we have a pop up that asks, “Are you in a marriage?” and give warning of the content of the blog? I’m not the only one dealing with this question. One of our regular readers and commentator has a blog and recently wrote a post answering a similar comment on his blog.
This post is my attempt to address the same topic, though in a different way.
What is my intention?
There are a couple ways of looking at this problem. One is to ask: what is my intention when writing these posts? My intention is always the same, and I have attempted to clarify it (thanks to some amazing advice from Chris at ForgivenWife.com) with my mission statement which has been posted on my About the Blog page for many many months:
The goal at SexWithinMarriage.com is to help Christian spouses in two ways:
1) to dispel the stigma often associated with talking about sex within the Christian context
2) to use that new freedom to discuss sex within marriage, facilitating positive change in their Christian marriage in order to further glorify God.
In short, my goal is to start conversations about sex. Sometimes these are tame things like Is sex a need or a want which is a question that many couples deal with at one time or another. Sometimes they’re a little more taboo like Why do married men masturbate, which is easily my most controversial post. Occasionally it involves some … edgier topics, like bondage. Each of these posts were written to answer questions I was seeing. Either they came up in surveys, or in the questions people ask when they search Google and find this blog, or in emails asking me directly about them.
My intent is always to educate, in order that I can foster more conversations between spouses, in order that they have a more fulfilling sex life, and ultimately a stronger marriage. I never write a post and think “wow, this is going to turn some people on”, or “this article is hot!”. My goal is not to write erotica or to arouse my audience.
But still the question remains, because this reader raised some valid questions. We (my wife and I) do talk about sex, openly at home and here on this blog. We talk about activities we have done. We describe activities, the way we do them. We do this, because, we don’t have experience having sex with anyone else (thank God!). We have our marriage bed to draw upon, and so every thing we write, we draw from our own experiences (and occasionally from other people’s experiences from surveys and the like). Is this lewd? Is this inviting others into our marriage bed? Are we flirting with sin?
I never thought about others perhaps getting aroused because of what I wrote, I mean to the point of impure thoughts. I love seeing that others are going to try new things cause they read about something we did and enjoyed and they thought they might enjoy that activity as well. Is sharing our experiences like this flirting with sin?
I don’t think so. After all, I never, in the midst of sex think “oh, I have to write a post about this”. I don’t sit down and think “what can I share about my sex life with these people”. I don’t either for the record. Actually, I usually don’t sit down and think up a topic. When I try to do that, a post never arises. Instead, an email will come in, or a thought will raise to the surface of my brain, and as soon as I can (which occasionally means abandoning my amazing wife to make supper on her own), I run upstairs and start typing out a post. And yes, sometimes we do share the intimate details of our sex life, but again, always with the intention of teaching, of answering questions. So, I think what we are doing is okay, but my thoughts do not dictate reality.
My intent when sharing my perspective is to add an angle that Jay can’t experience or add a little more personal touchy feely-ness to it. I also want to share a woman’s perspective as we have about a 50/50 gender split in our community of readers.
What is the outcome?
The other way to look at this problem is to measure the outcome. What have our posts been doing? What affect are they having. We’ve been very blessed to get feedback, from time to time, on the positive impact marriages are having because of this blog, to see the work that God is doing through us. These comments lift me up on days when I don’t want to write (usually just because I’m being lazy). Also, since we write anonymously, no one in our regular life knows about our writing, so we have no one to encourage us in this ministry day to day. So, the comments we get in surveys, in emails, from our Have a Question page really provide that encouragement for us. Thank you to all who have shared how you or your marriage has been impacted.
It’s kind of surreal when we get the comments from people that say they look at their marriage in a whole new way, or that things have really turned around. Since no one around us has read our blog articles it’s a strange feeling that somewhere out there what we have shared has really helped them. It feels kinda like we are living a double life. I never ever thought I would be one to talk about my sex life to others and it actually help them rather then me needing the help myself, although I do love reading other blogs and getting new perspectives and reminders on marriage and sex.
But, then there is this email I got from this single man. He felt violated. Even skimming the posts was too much for him. Now, granted, he’s not my target audience, and, if you ask me, shouldn’t have been reading. But, how many people in my target audience feel the same way? How many glance at a page, decide it’s too much and leave without offering feedback? And are those because of their hangups, or because of my writing? I don’t know, and unfortunately, I cannot come up with a way to find out.
I always wonder too, how many leave feeling good or that what they’ve read can help them somehow?
Yet, there are these verses in Bible that speak of leading others astray (Mark 9:42), or to stumble (Romans 14:13-23), and many about sexual immorality. Does my intention cover the outcomes?
So, what is my responsibility in all of this? I believe my responsibility is to do my best. To serve God the best that I can. At the moment, I believe that my posts are okay, that we aren’t crossing any lines, that we are serving God honestly. But, I think we also need to be open to rebuke. While not all rebuke is valid or good, we should be conscious of it, we should weigh it, test it, ask the questions that need to be asked, because there may be something to learn, something God wants us to know. We always need to be open to the Spirit’s leading.
So, I’m going to give you a chance to offer us some real feedback. Completely anonymous. I want you to feel free to share what’s on your heart so that we can learn. Thank you for your feedback. Can’t wait to read what your thoughts on our blog are.
18 thoughts on “Informative or Erotic?”
I can see how some people could become aroused reading your posts, but I’ve never read anything you’ve written that seemed to be written for the express purpose of arousing your audience. Would it be fair to say you believe it would be wrong for you to write posts with the intent of creating erotic art? Why or why not? This could be a very interesting discussion. Thanks 🙂
I believe there are two distinct questions in there:
1) Do I believe it’s wrong to write with the intent of arousing my audience?
2) Do I believe it’s wrong to create erotic art?
To answer those:
Do I believe it’s wrong to write with the intent of arousing my audience? Yes, I believe I do. It’s not my … place/right/role/responsibility/privilege to arouse someone who is not my spouse. I think, and this is just my opinion, that if I were consciously attempting to arouse someone other than my spouse, that could possibly be akin to adultery/fornication, or bordering on that. In the same vein as Christ said that anyone who looks at a women lustfully has already sinned, the flip side of the coin in a sense. Is not attempting to get them to look at you, or something you wrote lustfully attempting to cause them to sin? That’s not quite right, but sometimes it’s hard for me to translate the concepts in my head into words on a screen.
Do I believe it’s wrong to create erotic art? Not necessarily. Art is created for different purposes. One could argue that Song of Solomon is erotic art. It is a poem and/or song, thus it falls under art. It’s core topic is sexual play between a husband and wife, and thus you could call it erotic. It certainly has erotic imagery and descriptions, particularly in Hebrew and in the culture it was written. But, was it intended to arouse. I don’t know. As I said, art is created for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it is to evoke a feeling in someone else. In the case of erotic art, this would be to evoke sexual arousal. But some artists create art, not to evoke a response, but to express what they are already feeling. Is that a sin? I don’t think so. Still others create art, not to invoke a feeling, but to convey a concept. What was Solomon’s intent? I can’t say for certain, but I can say that reading Song of Solomon doesn’t evoke arousal in me, though I can appreciate the arousal of the author, and can learn from the concepts he conveys. So, in some cases, erotic art can be okay, I think. But, it’s a difficult thing to judge.
I hope that is clear…
That was a pretty good answer. I may be wrong of course, but it seems that creating erotic art would be something we do for and/or with our spouse. Seems like sharing it with others would not be consistent with keeping all ones sexual energy within one’s own covenantal relationship.
I love it that we can talk about sex and learn from the discussion. So I’ll keep reading. 🙂
I just noticed my reply to your comment came in as anonymous. Not sure why, but thanks for the reply JayDee.
This single guy had very little reason to read a blog about sex within marriage. What was he looking for? What did he expect?
Your articles are informative and creative. I see your talents in your writing. You think like a man and write like a man. That’s perfectly okay. That’s why your wife’s soft touch is important to your blog. You guys compliment each other. It works well together.
My husband and I honestly do try new things from your blog (hair pulling for one). My main purpose while visiting your blog and similar websites was to glean, and use some new ideas. We are in our 50’s and have been married for more than a quarter of a century. Spice keeps things alive. Thanks for all your help from a Christian perspective.
I do believe I have read all of what you wrote. I started from the oldest posting and now get all the current ones. It was truly enjoyable.
Let these words encourage you to carry on.
Like FarAboveRubies, we have tried different ideas written about on this blog. And like her marriage, we are also in our fifties and have been married for nearly four decades! One is never too old to learn and variety is the spice of life (for me, anyway. Like Christina, I get bored easily)!
I second faraboverubies well said!! Thankyou for your ministry
I have never read anything on your blog which I consider erotica or arousing. You offer information in a way which is informative and as you said, meant for an audience of married couples. I also enjoying reading Christina’s perspectivie too.
And yes, I have seen some Christian marriage/sex blogs which I feel cross that line from being informational to being erotic and arousing, but I don’t get that from your blog.
Perhaps as you said, this single man should not be reading blogs meant for married people until he fits into that category.
Let me submit to you that there’s one other group of people whom this blog causes similar troubles and should not be here either. Those of us whose partner, be it husband or wife, does not share nor participate in your generous view of Christian sexuality. While I find your candid discourse on all things sexual between husband and wife refreshing and much needed, my own wife does not share your point of view. In fact she has accused you of going into areas that simply ought not be talked about. That sexual conversations should ONLY be conducted between husband and wife. That frankly, what you are doing is none of our business and is unbiblical. That communicating what you do only serves to increase my own discontent. That you are stirring up issues to be discussed between husband and wife alone. That you are putting ideas into my head that shouldnt be there. That just because you talk about it doesnt make it right. That you are borderline if not pornographic in the detail you give. etc. etc. (her words not mine).
And so I find myself in a quandary that you provide all these tools and ideas to work with but I have a wife who is not the least interested if not contrary to the effort. So, yeah, I get upset that my prudish wife wants nothing to do with your blog nor the information it contains. And thus all I have to look forward to is NO c*** slapping. NO oral. NO anal. NO doggie. NO toys. NO shaving. NO standing. NO mb. NO other than on the bed. NO lights. NO this. NO that. NOt here. NOt there. Contrary to your generous view, I’m continually frustrated by my own restrictive, limited, inhibited situation such that following your blog does cause problems. She has even told me to stop coming here, so really, this post is one last vent before signing off forever.
Are your posts graphic? Sometimes, though tastefully done. Porno-graphic? not in the sinful sense. Erotic. Sure, for those who are blessed by a marriage that enjoys this, being able to look forward to trying something new based on your information can prove to be arousing in anticipating a future encounter. I personally think you are on target. Though sadly, I’m forced to sit on the sidelines, and so I should follow the singles out the door and leave this place to you lucky ones.
“If you don’t have the money, you should stop window shopping at Nordstroms” (what she said). And so I’m done and need to live within my means so it’s back to the “dollar store” for me. You got a BMW for a marriage. I’m in a Ford Pinto…
Thanks for all you do. Best wishes.
It is an unfortunate fact that we always struggle. Either, we struggle with ourselves in order that we might grow…or we struggle against God and His representatives, because we resent that they remind us we need to grow. I believe your wife has declared that she would rather struggle against you and I (and God), than against herself.
Which then brings up a difficult decision.
Do you accept her judgment that your sexual relationship together is not worth trying to improve? Or do you continue to work towards having a more holistic marriage, with the understanding that it may never materialize?
That is the hardest thing in Christian marriages: we work towards improvement, knowing it will never be perfect, yet unwilling to end it, in the hopes that it will be perfect one day. We need to learn to “be content in all situations”, despite it not being the ideal (or sometimes even close to it) situation. I know. We had a sexless marriage for the first half a decade or more. I never gave up hope, though I despaired that it might never improve. I thank God, and my wife, often, that we were both able to grow and move past that very flawed relationship. It’s not that my marriage is a BMW and you have a Pinto. We both have Ferrari’s, yours is just in need of some repair.
I sense from your comments that you have a lot of resentment that you need to deal with as well. I don’t believe this is a one sided issue.
It is my hope, whether you continue to visit here or not, that you and your wife can work together to help grow your marriage.
That really breaks my heart to read that. Your wife is in bondage to stinkin-thinkin. I’m going to be posting for God to free her from her chains and help her into His glorious freedom.
I think this blog is for married people, not for the single people out there. I think that you have to write your convictions and those that find your site have to make a decision as to whether the topics will violate their mind. Keep up the good work on writing about these topics. I have enjoyed what you write and have learned a lot.
Regardless of where you draw the line you will have some who think you have gone too far, and some who think you are holding back. Figure out what you feel is right, stick to it, and you will develop an audience comfortable with you (and a few who are not who should leave but will stay to complain.)
Choice of images and words are two big issues. What we discuss is often fine, but our words or images can push it too far for many who are okay with the topic.
The other difficult area is sharing from your own marriage bed. This can easily feel exhibitionist, even if you have no such desire. Lori and I talk about people we have talked to when we discuss specific examples. While most of these are from others, we occasionally sneak in something which if from our sex life. It is all presented second-hand, and no one knows which few are us. Seems to make it easier all around.
That’s an interesting approach. Thanks Paul. I’ll consider that.
This person sounds like the type who’d walk into a wall and blame the wall.
I was just wondering, would it be beneficial to participate in these old surveys? I come across a lot of them and sometimes want to fill them out but wonder if it’s a waist of time. Thanks
Yeah, definitely. I use data from old surveys in new posts. Lots of people continue to fill them out.