58: The Epic Sex Series Part 4 – A Conversation about Pornography

Heather interviews Kim and Jeremy, two professionals in the arena of sex education, regarding pornography and masturbation as well as LDS attitudes about sexuality in general.

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References:
Watch Your Step!
What’s the Big Deal With Pornography? A Sex-Positive Persepective
Rewrite of For Strength of Youth Pamphlet

Resources:
Our Whole Lives Lifespan Sexuality Education Curricula
FLASH Lesson Plans
Advocates for Youth
Planned Parenthood Manuals and Curricula

10 Comments

  1. Jordan

    I think you guys discussed the biggest issue and that is how much sex is discussed, especially between partners. I love the line, “If you are not comfortable talking about sex, then you are probably not ready to have a sexual experience.” I will say though, that this is not unique to the LDS faith. It is something that our culture as a whole needs to do better on.

    My girlfriend and I have a diverse group of friends. A few of us were raised mormon (I was, but am now an atheist), but only a couple of our friends are Christians. My girlfriend and I are very open with each other and have always discussed our sexuality, because of this we are somewhat viewed as these sexually crazy, kinky people amongst our friends. We sometimes watch porn together and know our boundaries when watching porn or masturbating alone. I don’t think that this makes us kinky, we simply talk about what other people avoid.

    Being raised in the LDS faith, my sexuality was something that was very hard for me. In my adolescent years I often felt guilty and dirty. There were points that I hated myself and questioned why I couldn’t be normal. Now that I am older and realize that my behaviors were very normal, I have a much more healthy sex life.

    If we start discussing sex and spreading proper information, parents can better talk to their children, as was discussed. But most importantly, people can understand themselves as sexual beings.

    Reply Dec 18, 2013 @ 10:58:04
  2. Orlando

    Great podcast. Thanks for posting that. Looking back, the church’s views on sexuality definitely hurt my self-esteem growing up. I felt unworthy and failed to participate fully in social activities because of these views. The negative influence probably carried over into my adult life and influenced dating and marriage.

    Once again, it is clear that for real, honest, fact-based discussions we need to turn to secular experts and not so-called inspired LDS Leaders. From the Hinkley quote you read we get one-sided judgment and shaming. A nuanced pro and con discussion is so much more healthy!

    Will the church ever change on these issues? Only if it gets enough push back from members and negative press from outsiders. Just like with polygamy and racism, the church is not a moral leader but a reluctant moral follower.

    Reply Dec 18, 2013 @ 12:38:53
  3. Craig

    Great episode. I really loved the proposed rewrite to the FTSOY pamphlet, and I wish I had had guidance like that when I was a teenager! Heck, it’s nice to have guidance like that now.

    Reply Dec 18, 2013 @ 21:17:38
  4. Steve In Millcreek

    Thanks to Kim and Jeremy. I heard you live at Sunstone; and this podcast is a valued continuation. As active LDS, I interpret General Conference in a much more nuanced way than I did during my own teen years; and wish I had felt liberty to do so younger.

    I am still conflicted over the best way for any large organization to spread clear and accurate advice to a mass audience; and good advice becomes more difficult when that advice is graduated by age and distributed through mass media. For example, you spoke of the “Watch Your Step” video, (podcast time 18:00), and the producer’s stereotyping of the father in the dark side of the split-screen (i.e., dark shadowing, hooded sweat shirt, facial hair, cynical imaging,..) yet I accept that any short film must simplify in our world of sound-bite audience attention. Rather than lampoon the video, I feel it invites viewers to own the video’s core message if it fits their own story; as the saying goes, “if the shoe fits, wear it”. On the other hand, I also agree that some spouses will use the video’s over-simplicity as their own measure of the extreme simplicity that they expect in their own marriages, using the video to club their spouse into compliance instead of using it to introduce a long and meaningful discussion and grow their marriage.

    You mentioned that the church does not define pornography; I suspect that omission is planned, not oversight. Again, defining firmly gives one spouse a club to use on the other. It is best for spouses to discuss, love, and harmonize; relative understanding and agreement is more important than an absolute one.

    Comments welcome.

    Reply Dec 23, 2013 @ 01:41:20
  5. matt snell

    The only people negatively impacted by the church’s “one size fits all” approach to human sexuality are those who have a biological mandate to reproduce.

    Huge topic of epic importance. I consider it the one topic where the church is not only wrong, they’re egregiously destructive. With an unrelenting assumption of inadequacy (..are we all not beggars…), how does a kid NOT feel that satan is in control of his/her thoughts? Kids grow to be adults and without adequate understanding of sexuality, they act like kids. So many ways to be confused. So many easy and dehumanizing buckets to throw our brothers and sisters in.

    Does knowing that BKP probably never enjoyed oral sex bring a sense of satisfaction or empathy? It’s taken years, but I’m finally beginning to view them as confused little children….in powerful positions.

    keep up the good work. This compliment will come with a contribution.

    thanks

    Reply Dec 23, 2013 @ 11:13:02
  6. Matt snell

    View them = view the Mormon leadership

    Reply Dec 26, 2013 @ 05:28:06
  7. kaylayale

    Girls or boys in the Mormon church aren’t educated about their sexuality. They don’t know about masturbation, about boundaries, about things like shaving the private parts,or porn. Since these things are not talked about before marriage, the couple doesn’t know how to talk about them after marriage. There is so much shame, guilt and misinformation that surrounds sexuality, it is difficult to overcome.

    If there isn’t a framework of open communication, then communicating about sexuality is going to be a problem. So many Mormon families do not teach assertive and honest communication in general, rather they teach passive-aggressive communication.

    Couples then rely on fantasy rather than reality, they get stuck in roles rather than intimacy. It is easier to expect the husband to become the knight in shining armour rather than talk to him about wanting oral sex. It is easier to expect the wife to be dressed in sexy clothes each night rather than do the dishes for he or ask her if she would like a weekend alone.

    Reply Dec 29, 2013 @ 15:03:21
  8. Heather Taylor

    my bf and i went steady in hs for 3 years in a small mormon town… and never got past first base. we necked for hours.. kept all our clothes on .. but i still had some orgasms.. and now i find i need to keep my clothes on to enjoy sex.. got all those lectures about how i had to save myself for marriage.. and then.. honey moon was.. well… disaster..

    Reply Dec 29, 2013 @ 23:33:05
  9. Jeff

    Wow finally in the last 10 minutes you mention issues with porn production. I feel you need to spend much more time talking about the issues of the whole industry from production to end user.

    To say that there is “feminist” porn out there that is made by women for women is not enough. No matter how careful we are, someone will be hurt by it. Be it actor, editor, store owner, end user, those digging thru end user’s drawers.

    No matter how much we educate about healthy sexuality, a torn up magazine is still going to end up blowing across the elementary school playground. Men and women are still going to obsess about the size of certain body parts, body hair.

    How can we say pornography is ok when the actors involved can’t even have normal healthy sex lives? They don’t see that down the road they are going to have performance issues. They just see how much cash is rolling in right now.

    If there was no demand for young people to be exposing themselves to us, they would be able to have normal lives after they get too old and tired to be in porn or strip onstage.

    Reply Jan 15, 2014 @ 16:52:25
  10. Rob

    Well…I really wish I had listened to this years ago. I’ve found it VERY interesting, and would have liked to have helped spark a dialog in this comments section.

    I disagree with the pod-casters in one specific area I want to mention: I don’t believe the LDS church teaches sex between married people for “pleasure”. Let me explain.

    Please think of the following types of love:

    AGAPE — this is another name for charity, as in selfless giving, even sacrificial love.
    STORGE — parental love for children or relatives.
    PHILIA — brotherly love
    EROS — romantic sexual love.

    We hear about the top 3 ALL the time in conference, in the ensign, and so forth. However, with regards to the final one, it is virtually missing from the vernacular.

    The type of love drummed into the heads of virtually everyone, over and over and throughout their life is AGAPE,..or Charity. This love, by definition is:
    –> sacrificial
    –> selfless
    –> seeks no reward
    –>….etc.
    It is the type of love that doesn’t do something for pleasure or gain–it does something for the other person, and as the other person benefits, it is supposed to be sufficient because it “seeketh not its own”.

    Now….I recall hearing Elder Nelson say in Conference that sex was also for an expression of love. However, with the idea of EROS missing from the dialog and AGAPE receiving all the air time, what type of love is Nelson referring to?….

    I say it is AGAPE. But this love is selfless, non-romantic or self focused, but giving and even sacrificial.

    The closest type of sexual connection I can link to what Elder Nelson is referring to is “duty sex”…someone who does it for the other person, but not because they enjoy or want to have “pleasure” themselves.

    IN the LDS faith, it is cliche to hear the latest story of “Oh, I have to have sex with him [or her] because they want it. I will do my duty.” My parents generation, in my entire childhood experience (and most of my friends), was like this.

    The podcast authors did say that church culture ignores the female gender, who are treated as a-sexual beings until they automagically become sexual in 24 hours on their wedding day. And here is the problem….

    I think there are a lot of people, but steriotypically women, who do NOT make that transition. They engage in sex to express love as Elder Nelson indicates, but not romantic love–it is AGAPE and sacrificial love, which ends up being duty sex.

    I believe the LDS faith has a “pleasure problem.” Doing something because it feels good (and orgasms are supposed to feel good), is considered immoral. If the church doesn’t say it right out,…they do make a point of enforcing and pushing the idea of “you better be careful…or else.” Pleasure perhaps may be good,…but don’t let it overrule you. Charity must always govern is the message….and it contaminates.

    Some authors out there have coined the phrase: “The Good Girl Syndrome”. This also applies to boys,…but typically it is that sexual things are in opposition to goodness. Erotic feelings and spirituality are in competition. This is a message I hear couched in so many talks and discussions in the church, and the implications destroy marriages.

    Spencer Kimball once said the #1 cause of divorce was people not getting along in the bedroom. Rather than address that topic and the influence the church has had to cause or at least exacerbate that problem in the first place, we have now shifted the focus on pornography.

    I have heard over and over the evils of pornography. We are to teach our children about this “evil”. However, I have never heard a single GA say we should also teach our children about the goodness of positive sex in marriage. We are, however, to teach AGAPE.

    Sex for pleasure, even between married people, is something the church does NOT teach, nor condone from what I can see.

    I would really love some examples where I am wrong on this….

    Reply Aug 07, 2016 @ 16:10:49

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