I felt like writing, and I have a stack of topics, but I didn’t feel like doing any research, so that leaves me with one option: writing something about myself. And so, that’s what I’m doing. You know what the problem with being a Christian sex blogger is? Well, there are many. Some of these have nothing to do, specifically, with the topic of sex, but this is my post, so I’ll say them anyways. This is largely a vent, and I wasn’t sure I was going to post it, but it might prove insightful to someone, and I want to vent, so, here goes. Note: You have been forewarned.
Transparency can be a problem. I don’t think transparency itself is the issue, in fact, I think transparency is almost always (maybe always) a good thing. However, I don’t think the most people are ready for transparency. I mean, the vast majority aren’t prepared to read a post about how you tie your wife up and have sex, then meet with you the next day and discuss budget concerns in a church board meeting. So, you get stuck into one of two options (at least in my view). You can censor yourself or you can be anonymous, or, I suppose, be prepared to lose some relationships is an option as well. Now, I don’t think either choice is right or wrong. I know being transparent about my identity was wrong for me and my wife at this time. We’re not ready for that, and we know the people we associate with aren’t ready for that.
But this brings up a philosophical question. Are you really being transparent when you aren’t even sharing your real name? Jay Dee is a pseudonym for those who don’t know, and no, that picture up at the top of my website is not my wife and I. So, how do you teach about communicating, being open with people about marriage and sexuality, about disciplining other marriages when you aren’t willing to step out and say this is your ministry?
It also comes with some frustration. This blog is one of the most exciting things happening in my life. I love writing, I love learning about sex and marriage, I love sharing it with whomever will listen, and this blog gives me a platform where I can do so. It also connects me with like-minded people, other bloggers who share my passion, and share the same, or overlapping, ministries. I’ve had some amazing conversations with people over message boards, Facebook, Twitter and email. I’ve shared people’s sorrows, frustrations and joys in their marriage. I’ve even been blessed enough, and I say this with all humility, to have written posts that have been an impetus of large improvements in a few marriages, and a few have contacted me to let me know the joy their marriage now is. When I get those emails and comments that say this ministry is changing marriages and lives for the better, they make my week, I feel amazing, I get the privilege of seeing God move in this world! And you know, when you feel like that, you just want to tell everyone, so of course, I tell my wife, who shares my joy, and then I turn … and there is no one else to tell. I go to church, I see my closest friends, a couple who know I have a blog, but not the details, and they ask “how are you?”, and how can I answer in any other manner but to say “Amazing! It’s been a great week!”, of course the follow up question is “What happened?” and then I’m stuck. No matter what you answer next, it either leads to more questions, or you are obviously deflecting to avoid more questions.
And so, somehow, joy in silence has a reminiscent feel of suffering in silence. They could not be more different, and yet, something is the same. There is a feeling of wanting to share, and not being able to. That incredible joy, tinged by a sort of loneliness.
Blogging about sex makes you think about sex
It’s true. In fact, I recently read a female blogger (I’m sorry, I can’t remember which), who wrote that her sex drive had increased since she started her blog about sex and marriage, probably because of all the time she spends thinking about posts and interacting with the sex-positive Christian community. My wife says that her drive has increased as well, probably because we are constantly talking about sex and marriage, because I bounce a lot of ideas off of her. We probably talk about sex (or at least marriage) at minimum, once a day. It also has had the added benefit of my wife understanding my point of view. I mean, every week I put out probably an average of 1500+ words detailing what’s in my brain. In the last year and a half, she has read the equivalent of a book (average novel size) on what I think about sex and marriage. In turn, we’ve spent a huge sum total of hours discussing the topics and so I get to see her point of view. This has helped our marriage immensely.
So, what’s the problem? Well, it keeps sex in the fore-front of my mind as well, and I’m already high-drive. I’m not actually sure if it has increased my drive at all. The ratio may to too small to be measurable. But, I think the bigger issue that my wife worries that I spend all this time reading about sex and marriage, and sometimes worries that I’m comparing our marriage to others. For example, I bought the book 365 Nights: A Memoir of Intimacy which is a book about a wife who decided to give her husband 365 days of sex for his 40th birthday, and though I haven’t read it yet, when I bought it, my wife was worried I would be expecting this for my next birthday (or maybe my 40th, which is still a long ways down the road). When I posted my Father’s Day post, she was a bit apprehensive that I was expecting the same gift (which incidentally ruins the gift-giving experience in her mind). We spend so much of our childhood being compared to other kids (test scores, picked first for sports, competitions, etc. Not that I think all those things are bad, but they do have side-effects), that it’s hard to not expect to be compared to other people. For me, I only compare us now to who we were before, and, in that light, we’re doing pretty darn good, amazing even. While I do hope for an even better tomorrow, and will continue to strive for it, for both of us, I am very content with where we are. But, still, whenever I share a story of someones marriage turning around from sexless or sex every night, or share statistics about how many wives have matched drives with their spouse, or similar bits of information, I worry that she’s going to think I’m comparing and not think she measures up.
Let’s face it, most of us sex bloggers in the Christian sphere don’t have a lot of experience with sex or partners, because, well, we believe that more experience (partners wise) is not a good thing. So, we have only out own marriage to draw on. We supplement that with things we read, people we talk to, other perspectives we come across in various means and forms. We are not experts at having sex with a wide range of partners. Some of us are experts at having sex with our spouse, and what works for our spouse will definitely not work for everything, but there’s a good chance it will work with many. I’ve only been married 12 years, and we’ve only been having frequent sex for half of that. Many of us bloggers have gone from “very bad marriage” to “really good marriage” and blog because we want others to experience the same transformation and revival. Not because we think we’re better, but because we want your marriage to work for you, and it would be wrong for us to hoard what may help you in achieving that. I truly believe that my fellow bloggers have servants hearts instead of being braggarts telling everyone about how good their marriage is and how you should follow their lead.
I have had a few spouses and couples contact me by email and ask for advice, and I always preface my advice by saying I am not a expert, doctor, psychiatrist or pastor. I have no format training what-so-ever in this field. What I have is 12 years of marriage (which is often less than the people who contact me) and a deep interest in marriage and sex. That said, my wife, and others, claim I have a gift of discernment, I am wary of making claims about my own gifts, but my brain does seem particularly suited to pulling cogent facts out of a situation and seeing, in black and white, what the issues might be. And so, I do my best to offer what may be a new perspective or insight, and to be honest, I’m always amazed when hey come back and say they tried it and it improved. I don’t know if it’s because of what I said, or because they’re actually working on their marriage, and I really don’t care what the cause was, I’m just happy it improved. I’d be just as happy if they came back and said “well, your advice was a disaster, but it started an argument where a lot of stuff came out, and now we’re better than ever.” If God can work through me, I’ll let Him do it in whatever way He wants.
There is also sometimes the danger of thinking that “well, it works for me, so it should work for others”, and often that’s just not the case. For example: I don’t know how many times I’ve heard/read that doing dishes will lead to more sex. Maybe that’s true, please, someone let me know if that works in your marriage, because I’ve yet to come across a husband, in person, where this is the case (though I have come across wives who say it is true…). But it must be for some people, because or else there wouldn’t be a thousand blog posts saying it will, from men and women. What I do know is that I could clean every dish in the house, and it will not affect the frequency of sexual relations in my marriage by the smallest degree.
I also write from my perspective, because, well, it’s my perspective, and it’s the only one I’ve experienced. So yeah, I’m generally going to write from the white, middle income, western, life-long Christian, high drive husband with lower drive wife, multiple kids, single income, stay at home wife, church going, male viewpoint, because that’s where I’m at. I can’t be something I am not, and it’s very hard to write from a perspective I haven’t experienced. I tried with I want my husband to want me, and did the best I could, and many people appreciated it, but I can tell it is definitely not the best post I’ve written, I wasn’t terribly happy with the writing itself and wished I could do better, but had no way to improve it. It felt awkward, like running in someone else’s shoes, or driving someone else’s car.
So if I say something that doesn’t match your situation, your culture, your lifestyle, your religious views, your marriage, your spouse, you, whatever, tell me. Write it in the comments so other people with your viewpoint can know they aren’t alone, and gain some insight, and then so can I, because I will never be able to live your viewpoint, but I can learn from yours.
It takes a lot of time to run a blog, or, I’d imagine, any ministry you are trying to grow. In my case, there’s the obvious writing of the posts, which, believe me, take me much longer to write than it does for you to read. I think I spend probably, on average, about 2-3 hours per post. There is research to be done, there are bible verses to be found, read, context checked, Greek and Hebrew to look into, commentaries to read. There are charts to make, images to find, modify, design and create, text to layout, links to insert. Oh, and I have to actually write the content too. By contrast, the average reader, who actually reads an article to the end, spends just over 3 minutes on each post.
In addition to that, I respond to emails, I try to reply to each and every comment or thread (I’m sorry if I miss some), I participate in message boards, I try to read my fellow blogger’s contributions to the blog-o-sphere, and comment when I can (right now that’s difficult, because TheOldReader.com, my RSS feed reader keeps crashing).
I guess what I’m saying is, this can take a fair bit of time, and that can be hard. I’m very blessed to have employment that allows me the opportunity to do this throughout the day, around my day time job.
But, I’ve also been purposefully not getting too heavily involved in ministries/programs at my church, because, well, I already have a ministry that take a lot of my time, but no one knows about it. So I’m sure there are some who are thinking “why is this guy not doing anything?” To be honest though, that one doesn’t bother me much, but some days I wish I didn’t need sleep and could do more, but then, don’t we all?
Blog posts stick around
I mean, they stick around by choice, I don’t want to delete any, in the hopes they’ll help someone, but I have posts near the beginning where we’re having sex 2 times a week, then posts where we’re having sex 6-7 times a week, then posts where we haven’t had sex in 6 weeks, and now we’re sitting at around 3 times a week I think. Our marriage, like everyone else’s, is always in flux. But a single blog post isn’t. It’s a snapshot in time, and I worry sometimes that can be misinterpreted. I sometimes worry that someone might read a post when we were having sex almost every night and think “I’m nowhere close to that, what I am going to learn?”, likewise, someone could read the post I wrote during our post-par-tum sexual hiatus and think “Why is this guy writing about sex? He’s not having any. What am I going to learn from that?” And while I get about 60 people a month who read 20+ posts in a sitting (which is astounding, I’m extremely flattered and humbled), that’s really only 2% of my readers.
The vast majority of readers never offer any feedback, and I understand: Life is busy. Plus, my site is called SexWithinMarriage.com. Not everyone wants that showing up on their Facebook page that they “like sex within marriage”. I get it. I knew when I chose the name that I would gain search engine hits, but lose Facebook status, and I made that choice. BUT, there ARE people sharing posts on Facebook. I know because Facebook tells me, however, it doesn’t tell me what they are saying about it or who they are! That is so incredibly frustrating! I would love to see what the comments were like, what people said about it. I would LOVE to be a part of that discussion! But, Facebook privacy being what it is (which is full of holes, except in this case it seems), I can’t. So, I mostly gauge response by how many likes/new twitter followers I get vs lose after a post, and that’s more of a proxy than a true barometer. So, if you want to friend me on Facebook so I can see what you are writing about me, that would be amazing!
But, thank you to all who actually tell me what you think in the comments. I appreciate the “Loved this!” comment are much as the “I think you’re misrepresenting the facts” or “I think you took that Bible verse out of context” responses. You know why? Because they both are feedback, and in this highly disconnected medium, feedback is a precious thing. So, please, tell me I’m crazy, or that I’m wrong, or that I don’t know what I’m talking about. I would love to hear your perspective.
What do I tell my kids?
OK, my kids are still pretty young, but my eldest is starting to ask questions. She knows I work on the computer a lot. She knows some of the time I’m working, and some of the time I’m trying to help people. But she doesn’t know with what, or why. But, the time is coming soon where the questions will be more pointed, and that she’ll be able to read words on the screen faster than I can switch windows. And I’m pretty techie (maybe extremely techie), but I have no doubt that they will surpass me before they enter college, guaranteed before they are married. And then, there won’t be any way to stop them from finding out about this blog, and then they might know more about what those bedroom noises are at night than they care to. And that might be awkward. Maybe I’ll just tell them “If you don’t want to know, don’t read it, and if you do read it, don’t say I didn’t warn you, but you can always ask me questions.”
I have thoughts about other things too!
When you launch a site called SexWithinMarriage.com, you sort of restrict what you can discuss. I push the boundaries a bit by discussion gender roles, communication, things like that, which some like that I expand into these areas, and some don’t, but it’s always connected to sex and/or marriage in some way. But, I have other interests, which I can’t really discuss here without “muddying the waters” so to speak. For example, in one of my posts, we got into a theological discussion about the nature of hell. I didn’t want to have a big discussion there about it, because it’s off topic, but at the time I was stuck. Where could we move it so that it was still public (I didn’t want anyone to think I was burying the issue)? So, I’ve decided to start another blog at JayDeeBlogs.com where I can discuss anything I want to without worrying about topic boundaries. At the moment I’m tackling the topic of prophecy in the Bible, specifically the books of Daniel and Revelation, because I think that’s a big issue that many churches ignore and many Christians don’t know what to do with. So, if you’re interested in that topic, you can join me there. I’m working on about the same schedule as this blog, which is to say I have no schedule, but generally one post a week. I’ll warn you now, some of the things that will come out are in direct opposition to a lot of what is being taught in today’s churches, but if you have an interest in the topic, please stick around and discuss them instead of just dismissing it out of hand.
Wow, that gets a lot of stuff of my chest. If you made it this far, thanks for letting me vent. I needed that.