Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Pastor’s Advice for Better Marriage: More Sex

This is a New York Times article, so it wants registration to view. I used "laugh123" as both username and password to get in, but if that doesn't work for you, might I recommend bugmenot.com?

I don't necessarily think that there's anything wrong with suggesting to your congregation that they try having sex every day for a week. I've probably mentioned the marriage enrichment group I'm leading this year. It's going great and we have certainly assigned wink-wink-nudge-nudge intimacy homework. One big difference is that there was no guilt attached, it was not an ongoing daily requirement, and I was not speaking to a crowd of 20,000+. I was speaking to a small group of people whose issues I know, in a way that was much less . . . prescriptive and more personalized. There are so many things about this situation that just make my hair stand straight up on end.

1) I hate one-size-fits-all prescriptions like this daily sex thing.

2) This part in particular is utterly lacking in compassion: For others grappling with infidelities, addictions to pornography or other bitter hurts, “there’s been some pain; hopefully there’s been some forgiveness, too.”

The way to forgive a spouse for infidelity is required daily sex? Fabulous. If that works for you, great. But to suggest - as this pastor apparently has - that you SHOULD forgive a cheating spouse and have daily sex with him/her anyway - as this article suggests - is dangerous. There is no single right way to work through tough issues like this, and sex might very well not be the first step in the healing process. It might indeed make things quite a bit worse.

3) Keep it going? Daily sex indefinitely? This might work for some couples, but won't for others. So now they get guilt for what feels right for them, or obligatory sex that they don't really want. Yippee, that sounds healthy. "C'mon, honey, I know you're exhausted, but I really wanna and pastor said . . ."

4) "Mr. Young advised the couples to 'keep on doing what you’ve been doing this week. We should try to double up the amount of intimacy we have in marriage. And when I say intimacy, I don’t mean holding hands in the park or a back rub.'"

Fantastic. I hardly know where to start. So let's say one person in a relationship wants more sex. And let's say that the other wants more cuddling and non-sexual touch. Apparently, only one of them is "right" in the eyes of this pastor! Jerk. Both partners need to have their physical intimacy needs met, and there's certainly no one-size-fits-all prescription.

In the end, this whole thing confirms my sense that megachurches are not for me. I don't want a pastor giving marital advice like this to me as one of 20,000 congregants with no individuality. Bleh.

If I were to offer any one-size-fits-all relationship advice, it would be this: Talk to one another. Listen to one another. Care for one another. Respect one another. It's hard to go wrong with all that.


Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

Yep. I'm not fond of one-size-fits-all advice, but I like yours better than the pastor's. And I've actually found that there is just one answer to almost all the problems in my life: keep working on me.

ccw said...

Your post is all I could stomach of that article.

I cannot believe that this advice would be given as the solution to helping every single marriage. There's a lot of it going on in my house and I have yet to notice that it actually fixes anything. IMO sex in a relationship helps more than it will ever hurt but seriously do it every day and the two of you will be skipping through a meadow together?

Sarahlynn said...

MPJ, that's very good advice, indeed.

CCW, yeah, that's pretty much where I stand, too.

Jessica said...

I couldn't agree more with your comments, Sarahlynn - maybe YOU should pastor a church ;)

Sarahlynn said...


Amanda said...

You know, in the way that blogging every day was fun regardless of quality and got me more in the habit of writing again, I can see that it might be an interesting experiment. However, I can't believe he'd suggest it for every couple, regardless of why they might not be having sex. For example, I have little sex drive right now due to some medication I'm on - it'd be interesting to try every day to have sex and see where that led. However, I don't have any issues with my partner and that's a hugely different situation than say a couple experiencing infidelity.

I've had sex when I didn't want to. It sure as fuck never solved anything. (pun unintended)

Sarahlynn said...

Yep yep yep.