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.