245: Pornography, Masturbation, Sex and Marriage in Mormonism

March 10, 2011
By

In this episode Natasha Parker and John Dehlin interview Dr. Stephanie Buehler — a prominent sex therapist from California, founder of the Buehler institute, and author of the book: Sex, Love and Mental Illness: A Couple’s Guide to Staying Connected.

Today we discuss pornography, masturbation, sex and marriage within Mormonism.

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209 Responses to 245: Pornography, Masturbation, Sex and Marriage in Mormonism

  1. aimeeheff
    March 11, 2011 at 4:12 am

    ohhhhh can’t wait to listen!

    • November 9, 2011 at 6:59 pm

      Can’t wait to listen as well. I love to learn and listen to new things. My favorite topic lol

      • July 5, 2012 at 9:40 pm

        Just this month the Vatican condemned an American nun, Sister Margaret Farley, a professor emeritus of Christian ethics at Yale University, for her book Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics.

        All people have sexual feelings and thoughts. If expression of these is not allowed, it can cause frustration, guilt and depression.

  2. Mormonstories
    March 11, 2011 at 5:12 am

    Thanks, Aimee!!!

    • AnAddictsPerspective
      March 24, 2011 at 7:33 pm

      And oh, how educational it was! Thanks for this, I found it very informative.

      I like to offer some words on the subject as one who views myself as a current addict to pornography and masturbation. I became addicted before I was a member of the church, while in my youth, and still struggle 15 years after joining when I was 17. I’ve had my periods of ups and downs. I would say I was very quickly hooked after my first exposure when I was twelve or eleven. It was just playboys at first, but got progressively more hard core. I grew up with the internet becoming the world wide web, so as porn became available online, I gained access to it. I would say that porn served a part in my breaking the law of chastity (having full-on sex) within about a year after I joined. I confessed my sins to my bishop, was honest in my interviews in the time before I served a mission at age 20. I got married in the temple. And, I’m still an active member in the church.

      I’d like to describe my addiction. In my view, addiction is when a person realizes they have some sort of dependency on something, they realize they don’t want that, and then they struggle to get away from it. Another thing about the way I see it is that addiction, like many other things, has degrees of severity. So it doesn’t really matter to me how others, who may be in or outside of church, view my habit- as addiction or not. To me it is. It may also have negative effects on their life, which I found it had for me. Thing is, I began to realize this even before I became a member of the church. Even before I believed in God. When I was learning about the gospel, one day I went out and took my porn stash and burned it in the woods. It felt good and liberating. I was fine for many months, but as I’ve heard from some, in psychological studies it has been shown that when we are young and developing, certain patterns form in our brains, and in mine patterns had formed for how I react to certain things, stressors, hormones, etc. involving porn and masturbation. So I returned to it later, and went through different periods of ups and downs, success and failure. Good periods could last a year or more, or as little as weeks.

      Yet I don’t think I have ever struggled with self-hatred to the degree that many seem to. Why? Well perhaps a couple of things. In my perspective, I don’t feel that I’ve been taught to hate myself by the church. In all my experience I have been taught to love myself, and that God loves me, and that I am of great personal worth. I recall being taught that I was a good man who struggled with sins which are common to man. Maybe I just had better or more inspired leaders. Maybe I took a different focus or saw or heard things that many others did not. I’ve also observed that for many, it is part of the ‘natural man’ to see the negative in things. This could count for us in our focus on learning from leaders or it could count for leaders themselves in how or what they teach. For me, I’ve tended to be a positive person and struggled less with focusing on the negative.

      Another thing though, was that I was not raised in the church. I was not Christian nor was my family. I didn’t believe in Christ or even God at some times. There wasn’t much talk about sex from my parents- I learned what I knew from sex ed in school, from friends, my brother, popular media, etc. After being exposed to the gospel, my perspective came from what I was taught by the missionaries and friends, and what I learned from church and my own personal studies in the scriptures and of prophets and leaders.

      A big thing too, is our acceptance of ourself. So many struggle to accept themselves, and not just in relation to porn/masturbation. Maybe it’s our personal appearance, our hobbies, or the many other ways in which people judge themselves. Thankfully for myself, my mother taught me to accept myself for who I am, and go forward from there. So I accept that this was a part of me, even before the gospel was, and that it wasn’t going to be easy to get to a level of control that I want permanently. I also accept that it is one of my great battles in life. Everyone faces challenges and struggles, and this is one of mine. I embrace it and will fight the good fight. I think a lot of people just want to give up because they come to think they can’t win. But for me, that’s not how I am. To me, part of the acceptance is also the fight. I fight against it and I like that about myself. I won’t give up.

      What about the severity of my problem, from my own religious and self-perspective? Well, I view it as a challenge that I face. However, it is not the ONLY challenge I face. To the best that we are able, in my opinion, we should not let it become the sole focus of our life. We have other things going on. Relationships, learning- both secular and religious-in school and out, jobs, marriages, children. I try to get on with the rest of my life, and I think that helps in not focusing on the negative. Do I feel guilt? Sure. But I try not to let that control me. Guilt to me is like pain. It’s there for a reason. Pain lets us know that something is wrong. To me, so does guilt. It doesn’t mean I’m evil or inherently bad, or that I’m damaged goods. It lets me know something is wrong. For some, their answer to get rid of it is to change how they view what caused it. Perhaps that is to no longer believe what they did is wrong. Perhaps it is to find a way to overcome. To each, his or her own.

      Now I’m afraid I’ve gone on too much. Just one last thing though. As an example of looking for good versus negative. A lot of people like to mention Boyd K. Packer’s talk about ‘little factories’-basically primarily about masturbation – “To Young Men Only”, especially to reference it trying to cause shame or whatnot. While there is definitely language in there that does relate shameful reaction, it also says, “You may already have been guilty of tampering with these powers. You may even have developed a habit. What do you do then? First, I want you to know this. If you are struggling with this temptation and perhaps you have not quite been able to resist, the Lord still loves you. It is not anything so wicked nor is it a transgression so great that the Lord would reject you because of it, but it can quickly lead to that kind of transgression.” It also says by strong implication that it itself is not a ‘major transgression’. So some positive in there too. And regarding sex in marriage: “This power is ordained for the begetting of life and as a binding tie in the marriage covenant.” So not just for procreation, but also for a binding tie.

      There is so much more I could talk about. Effects of my habit on my marriage and family relationships, sex in marriage, communication, mixture of opinion or contemporary views within church teaching, not viewing church leaders as though they’re supposed to be perfect- if we want leeway, we should allow others leeway also, etc. Anyhow, it’s all my personal views. And I’m NOT saying this is how others should view things or do things. I just hope my words might offer some insight to others, and if it’s helpful-great. If not- I’m sorry to have wasted your time.

      • Exwife of an Addict
        May 27, 2011 at 8:32 pm

        If you ever write a book, I would love to read it. 

        Exwife of an addict

        • Anonymous
          December 30, 2011 at 5:39 pm

          Quitter.  Your abandonment equals his.  (provided you filed).

      • another recovering addict
        June 27, 2011 at 8:33 pm

        I also have not experienced the shame and self-loathing as an addict that others have, and I did grow up in the church. I actually have a hard time relating to the church’s 12 step manual because it seems to have been written to people with a negative self-image who don’t think God could possibly love them, and that’s not me.

        I will say that since the day I finally had the courage to confess to my wife and my bishop, my life has improved tremendously in many ways. My marriage is still reeling from it, but that’s my own fault.

        Anyway, just wanted to voice my agreement, and to make it known that not everyone that did grow up in the church has had such negative experiences.

      • james
        September 12, 2011 at 3:00 pm

        Men and women have desires, which is normal (God made us this way).  Do you have sex for pleasure or for baby making only.  I have a mormon friend who has been married for 17 years, but she cannot have children (cancer 10 years ago).  She rarely sleeps with him, and he is sexually frustrated and I know he masturbates.  He is a liar to himself, to her, and to his church, which is sad.  He has had an emotional affair outside of his marriage, but his feeling is if she doesn’t know, nobody is hurt!  VERY SAD…

      • Thank you!
        September 12, 2011 at 4:42 pm

        Thank you!!

      • Iris826
        April 12, 2012 at 10:11 pm

        keep trying to do ur best! and yes god still loves u and always will! i enjoyed reading ur post!

      • Brian
        July 22, 2012 at 4:47 am

        Thank you for that input. I appreciate your words because I too struggle with this in the Church. It is really a helpful reminder that one may have a rewarding life as long as he/she presses forward. Again thanks.

      • Mary
        November 24, 2012 at 12:17 am

        As a married LDS mom I would very much like to chat with this individual if at all possible.

        He may have my email address to contact me if he is willing.

        Thanks

    • Sarah
      September 11, 2012 at 7:27 pm

      First off, I have to say thank you for putting this together! This discussion was very educational and helpful! I have been looking for how porn and masturbation impacts a marriage for the good and bad but have had a hard time finding info that is not either extremely conservative or liberal. I think it’s super important for folks in the church to learn about healthy sex lives and what research shows about these topics.

      I am on my second marriage now. My first marriage ended by no desire of my own. My husband had a pornography and infidelity problem and, in spite of my pleading to stick it out and work on things, was not willing to work with me. He filed for divorce and mailed me the papers. This left me with a lot of sexual insecurities and a very closed-off view to porn, erotica, masturbation, etc. Actually, I was just downri
      ght angry. Being an active member of the church, these feelings didn’t hurt me much going back to being single, but these view points have impacted my second marriage very much. I would be super interested if you ever put together a podcast on this, because I think a lot of divorced/remarried people must go through having a lot of negative assumptions around sexual things that they are working to overcome.

      Anyhow, my husband now has been a huge blessing in my life and I am so fortunate to have someone who has been patient with me as I have tried to learn how to let go of my sexual insecurities and try new things in the bedroom. I like that you encourage respect for your partner, communicating (we are going to work harder on this) and being flexible. We are planning to listen to this together later tonight and let it facilitate an open discussion about sex & such. so thank you again for your efforts to help us LDS people live good lives.

  3. Cynthia
    March 11, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    I had to stop listening at the hour mark because what I was hearing caused me too much pain. I believe that this was not your intention, but the conversation seemed to discount the harm that my husband’s pornography and masturbation use has brought to our marriage. The implication was that if I could just relax and stop being so judgmental, most of our problems would go away. In other words, what I heard was that my reaction to his porn use causes more damage than the porn use itself. I do believe that all sexual experiences should be shared as a married couple, and that separate sex (even with one’s self) is a betrayal and a form of infidelity. I know that my perspective seems extreme but it is squarely in line with the teachings of the Mormon Church, and it reflects what I experience in my marriage relationship. I heard a nearly mocking tone in your voice when you described a wife’s reaction to finding her husband masturbating. The implication was that any objection is an overreaction. I just don’t agree with you on this topic, and I felt hurt by your treatment of it.

    • Anonymous
      March 11, 2011 at 3:46 pm

      Cynthia,

      2 quick things…

      — I believe that we address some of your concerns/feelings in the last 30 minutes. I’d be curious of your reaction to the full podcast if you get a chance to go back and listen to the whole thing.

      — I would love to bring you on the podcast to share your perspective…even anonymously. Please let me know if you are able/willing.

      Thanks for sharing your feelings, Cynthia. Mormon Stories is about open dialogue, and multiple perspectives….so I hope you will help us achieve that goal. Sorry we caused you pain. Help us make it better if you can.

      John Dehlin

    • David
      March 13, 2011 at 8:14 am

      This is a very courageous and important topic to take on. Thank you John for doing this. I appreciated Cynthias comments and I think that they reflect the general view of the church pretty well. Frankly, however I think her view is short sighted and even a bit selfish. I think it is just very difficult for women to understand male sexuality because it greatly differs from that of females. For example, women have a menstruation cycle and of course men do not. Similarly a mans body must release periodically either in the form of sex with his partner, masturbation or in the middle of the night in a wet dream as they call it which by the way can be fairly pornographic. I agree that it is each mans responsibility to control himself sexually, but labeling all men who have looked at pornography or masturbated as sexual addicts is synonymous to labeling all people who have eaten food as food addicts. I think this is what makes the issue so difficult. If the discussion were about drugs or alcohol, it would be simple and correct to simply say that the addict must abstain. But with something that involves the normal functioning of the human body such as eating or sex, the answer is not as simple and perfection is probably not possible for many men. I think that a healthy dose of honesty, understanding and even acceptance can be a very good thing.

      • Agree
        September 12, 2011 at 4:47 pm

        I agree. Thank you!

        I believe, in general, members of the Church do not know how to talk about this. Because we do not know how to talk, we ignore it, push it aside or sweep things under the rug.

        This is a good forum to have. And it’s about time that we do.

        • Ecrh
          September 27, 2011 at 5:37 pm

          I have to disagree with Agree on this comment. People Do know how to talk about this. It is ignored, pushed aside, or swept under the rug because that is what the LDS citizens are programmed and conditioned to do. The first and worst offense at “agency” in my opinion is allowing the religious corporate entity to be nazi’s in thought and deed. Fear is what keeps this church in play. Authority is no replacement for the Love that is who we each are made of. Fear and Love are direct opposites. God is Love and we are his creation. Love is the connective force of the universe. Fear just keeps sheep in their pen because they think they don’t have the right to talk or think for themself. They can merely obey.

          I do agree that this is a good forum to talk and communicate about real issues. However, I bite my lip when ever I ponder the money making business venture it is becoming under the number one goal of activation of those that no longer believe that “the church is true”.

          Not meant to be an attack against you John but as a many generational mormon with a bigger picture I find that we LDS are trained to think in right or wrong. The middle ground isn’t as nice as knowing the absolute truth and the absolute wrong.

          Topics mush around in feel good stuff. A bigger picture does help sooth the gut and soul.

    • Anonymous
      March 14, 2011 at 12:04 pm

      “the harm that my husband’s pornography and masturbation use has brought to our marriage”…. “seems extreme but it is squarely in line with the teachings of the Mormon Church”

      Actually the church is lowering the seriousness of these sins. Sins they are but they aren’t justification for holding a disciplinary council anymore, according the the 2010 general handbook that was recently released.

      One thing’s sure though and that is that no couple should divorce over these minor matters. It isn’t adultery or child abuse. But yes they are sins strictly speaking though.

      • New2podcasts
        March 28, 2011 at 7:13 am

        Please permit me to make a few remarks here with this post commentary topic. After rereading this I have to share my experience with the “handbook of supposed Love”. Back in around 2006 I took a nice vacation to get away and while out carousing in another state I attended a singles dance along with other outdoorsy things. I had a great social evening meeting new people and getting to know others I previously only had internet or name recognition with. A nice visit turned into a super great offer for a massage of which I had never had before. Her profession was as a massuese. Anyway, it felt good and way nice and it didn’t go all the way. However, I was open and we talked and touched. Upon returning home from a few weeks of rest and relaxation I was in a mental quandry. I didn’t feel guilty but knew I had been told repeatedly that being unclothed in the garment is a sin and that there are penalties to such action. The handbook is full of thou shalt nots which include various sexual contact. I did the righteous followers walk to talk with the bishop. He told me to be quiet and didn’t want to hear what I had to say or even ask. All this servant of God did was tell me to be quiet and not say another word as he scheduled my disciplinary council time. When the court was over they heard only facts and gave me a Warning for impure thoughts as they finished quoting the verse about committing adultery by looking and lusting in the heart. Then the Bishop said now if you would like to schedule a time to come in to visit feel free to do so. I did not do so. It was obvious that the Love of Christ could not possibly address the chasm between the told to feel guilt and actual guilt and scourging. Lust was not in my heart yet I was tried by Bishopric jury for assumed thoughts. Masturbation was not involved nothing was sexual other than the feel good and relaxation with natural arousal. So in conclusion to the “church” lowering its stance on seriousness of sins I believe that it is only a reaction to maintain the LDS corporate image. The wolf needs a new sheepskin from time to time.

    • Anonymous
      March 16, 2011 at 8:21 am

      You believe that sex with one’s self is a betrayal and form of infidelity??? Holy mustard seed, no wonder there are so many problems between couples in the church. When you say, “…the harm that my husband’s pornography and masturbation use has brought to our marriage” I think there is no doubt that your reaction to his actions, as well as your view on sexuality, are equally responsible for the “harm” in your marriage.

      I hope you can work it out with your husband. But if not, I would congratulate him to find a new partner who is not so blinded by her own faith that she lets it get in the way of a (potentially) healthy and good marriage.

      Take John’s advice and listen to the last 30 minutes – or at least the last fifteen. John summarizes the points discussed quite well at the end, and one of the major points made was that couples need to have an open dialog and respect each other – which would include your husband respecting your view that the stuff is “a betrayal” as well as you respecting that he doesn’t view it that way and you both meeting each other’s needs.

      • Mr. Ted
        September 10, 2012 at 11:56 am

        My thoughts exactly….

        If the LDS church is true, infallible, etc., and it really is the will of God that we feel shame for masturbation, then fine, I’m happy to feel it because I would have faith that God would some day reward me for my struggles.

        But if it’s not, if Joseph Smith didn’t receive gold plates by an angel, if he created his own religion deriving from a mixture of other religious thoughts, ordinances, ceremonies, etc., if he didn’t really translate Egyptian Papyrus by the power of God, if his prophecies really were divine revelation, if every word coming out of his mouth while by the arbitrary standard of “acting as the prophet” (read: saying something that isn’t verified to be false later or can’t be explained by distorting the truth or throwing a group under the bus for not being faithful)… then the LDS church leaders should not be looked at as having any more moral authority between you and your creator, than you personally have between you and your creator.

        And at that point, it becomes clear: what is causing the contention and the harm? Is it the act, or is the perception of the act, or is it both?

        In my experience, I want to have an orgasm, regularly. If curbs my cravings, makes it MUCH less tempting to lust after other women, and helps keep me mentally regular. I don’t give a d*mn what the church says about how my body works, I know how it works, I know how it doesn’t, and I don’t need some 80 year old who group up 7 decades ago whether or not my body needs a sexual release or not.

        If my partner isn’t up for it, what choice do I have? Adultery? Or masturbation?

        It’s just so unfair for the wife to say, “Boo hoo, you’re pleasing yourself and that makes me feel unloved”, and then in the next breath say, “I don’t want to have sex with you as much as you feel you need it.” So what? You want me to be asexual and let my cravings build up to the point I act out compulsively?

        Who’s acting selfishly? Look, I realize it hurts, and yes, if you need to feel hurt, fine, but can you look past your hurt and see that your views of sex are also hurting your husband? Can you see that perhaps your husband may be emotionally ill? Or maybe some of the things he is doing because it’s the best he can do? That fundamentally he is a conflicted being burdened by unhealthy broken beliefs who is trying to minimize harm, and wants to be faithful to you, and masturbating may be his way of controlling his hormones and getting ahead of his cravings so his brain doesn’t shut off his prefrontal cortex and cause him to act out compulsively?

    • EHS
      March 17, 2011 at 9:19 am

      Cynthia,

      I went through several very difficult years where my husband had similar problems, and I completely agree with you that masturbation and pornography can be very damaging to a marriage when they become something completely separate from marital intimacy or even a substitute for it. For a long time I felt rejected, unattractive and worthless because of this. I could barely keep from crying every time my friends complained about how often their husbands wanted sex, since mine didn’t seem to have any need for me. I hope you will give this podcast another chance, because I actually found some comfort in it, and even some sympathy for my husband. I believe Dr. Buehler did concede that even though these behaviors are not necessarily damaging, they do have the potential to be. Either way, I’m sorry for the pain that you are in and I hope you are able to find solace and a resolution. You will be in my thoughts.

      EHS

    • Anonymous
      May 7, 2011 at 9:20 pm

      I think it depends on your reaction. To react at all is perfectly reasonable–I would certainly consider it a sign that there is a problem in the relationship that needs to be addressed.

      But it’s easy to overreact to such behavior, blowing it all out of proportion. I think it helps empower a pornography addiction to blow it up into some kind of frightening monster that’s difficult to overcome. It’s just a behavior, possibly destructive, that has real life causes and motivations. To express concern and to want to discuss it with your spouse is healthy. To freak out and feel like your spouse has committed adultery on you serves no constructive purpose and is likely to make things worse.

      I do believe an excessive overreaction can be more damaging than the behavior itself. But not a normal, concerned reaction.

      • May 7, 2011 at 11:37 pm

        I love this post. :) I deal with this all the time in my practice and you hit it on the head. This has real life causes and motivations. Those are the culprit, not the person. You have to separate the act from the person. The same goes for a child who uses screaming for attention. If you freak out at the behavior you reinforce to the child that the behavior is what will get the attention. Instead, you ignore the behavior and when they are through with the behavior, you go in and talk with them and find out what the real reason behind the the tantrum was. this reinforces the need to talk and express emotions and feelings, not actions. The same goes for this. It is a form of a internal tantrum and a plea for help.

        In this case, you have a choice. You can either let it ruin your marriage, or allow it to let you talk about the real reasons for the behavior and in that action create a way for your marriage to not only survive, but become what God truly wanted it to be. We are all sexual beings. We were created that way and it is not bad for us to be sexual. No one negates your pain. It is hard if you take it personally. So, you have to understand what the causes are and what emotions he is feelings in order to not take it personal and find peace with that.

        In the Church my beef is that leaders do not separate the act with the person and then create even more problems by creating a belief system that they are unworthy. We are here on earth to find ways to master these things. We should not look at ourselves as ‘unworthy’ beings because we stumble a bit in the process because of how we look at ourselves and feel about who we are. We need to master that as well and learn to love who we are and master all things. It’s a process. It isn’t done all at once.

        Anyway, good post. I loved that you could separate that out. :)

    • Ihygth
      November 6, 2011 at 12:36 am

      cynthia i just cried my eyes out because I felt EXACTLY the same way you did listening to this. I feel like when such a delicate topic is discussed, John shoul refrain from leaning towards one side and therefore taking validation completely away from the other side of the coin, which really hurts to dismiss and even mock the way our husbands make us feel through them being aroused by other women. I have struggled with self image because even though as a therapist I know it is not about me, it affects me every day. Everyone tells me how gorgeous and beautiful I am. I feel like the ugliest and unwanted woman when I find proof my husband has been looking at pornography. I have lost respect for John and will not be listening to him again.

  4. anonymous
    March 11, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Cynthia,

    I understand your pain and have been in the same place. I found out about my husbands porn use 15 years ago. I was devastated. I also felt like it was a betrayal. For the first 10 years I, along with the Church shamed my husband and his porn use worse. For the past 5 years I have looked at it completely different and not taken it so personally. My husband and I have open and frank discussions about it, he knows that when it happens he can come to me and I will be supportive and non judgmental. This approach in the past 5 years has turned this “problem” around. Now that the shame and betrayal are gone my husbands use of pornography is almost nothing. The “white knuckle” approach the LDS church uses to heal these men does NOT work. The more shame and the more you make them feel they are betraying you, the worse they feel and the more hopeless they feel. Once you look at it more rationally and figure out the triggers; fatigue, stress etc… the quicker you’ll find your husband gets control over it. When I educated myself about pornography and took “me” out of the equation it was much easier to find a solution.

    I haven’t finished listening yet, but I hope you go into what defines a pornography addiction. I think men in the church are being labeled porn addicts incorrectly. Looking at porn does NOT make you an addict.

    • Anonymous
      March 16, 2011 at 8:23 am

      Thank God for you. Seriously, thanks for sharing. :)

    • Andy
      August 9, 2011 at 4:17 pm

      Right off my mission I went to my bishop to confess my masterbation habit.  He looked at me with disgust and wondered aloud if maybe a church disiplinary council would help me understand the seriousness of what I was doing.  It just reinforced my feelings of shame and guilt.  I knew I could never be a worthy priestood holder.  The next year still struggling I went in again (different bishop) this one told me the guilt I was feeling was much worse than the act itself.  He explained that most all young men masterbate at some time, and the only time it’s a problem is if we become a slave to it.  What a change that explanation made in my life.  Instead of this constant cycle of masterbation and guilt, I let go of the guilt and the act itself naturally diminished in frequency.  Instead, if it happened, I just tried to shrug it off and understood it didn’t make me a bad person.  The compelling nature of the habit I had been stuck in just seemed to disappear. 

      • Mr. Ted
        September 10, 2012 at 12:12 pm

        This has been my experience, exactly. I tried EVERYTHING. Prayer. Scripture study. Singing hymns. Temple attendance. Fasting. It helped a little, but ultimately none of it worked, none of it addressed the core emotional issues, much of which I attribute to the excessive guilt/shame cycle I experienced growing up in this church. Nobody had prayed harder to be released from this than me.

        Nothing has worked as well as coming to the realization that the LDS church is wrong in it’s treatment of masturbation, or at least for me. I see it as a perfectly natural behavior, a potential good way to release when other methods not available, and one that is not as optimal as sexual intimacy with my partner. And for the first time, I’ll start doing it, and think, “well, I don’t really want to do this right now, because of the strain on my body from too frequent orgasm and the potential to reduce my ability to connect sexually with my wife.” And sometimes I’ll just stop. And I don’t go crazy.

  5. Anonymous
    March 11, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    Cynthia,

    2 quick things…

    — I believe that we address some of your concerns/feelings in the last 30 minutes. I’d be curious of your reaction to the full podcast if you get a chance to go back and listen to the whole thing.

    — I would love to bring you on the podcast to share your perspective…even anonymously. Please let me know if you are able/willing.

    Thanks for sharing your feelings, Cynthia. Mormon Stories is about open dialogue, and multiple perspectives….so I hope you will help us achieve that goal. Sorry we caused you pain. Help us make it better if you can.

    John Dehlin

  6. Cynthia
    March 11, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    John, thank you for the invitation to share my perspective but I can’t come on your program. My anonymity is too important to me.

    Anonymous, I appreciate your effort to offer support and advice. I disagree with you though. The Church is no longer advocating a white knuckle approach nor using shame to discourage the use of porn, if they ever have. At least that has not been our experience. We have been involved in counseling, both in and out of LDS Family Services, we meet with our bishop regularly, and for the past three years we have been involved with the Church’s addiction recovery program. In addition, for the last year, we have been utilizing the resources offered from Sexaholics Anonymous and S-Anon. I am an addiction-educated, supportive wife who does not shame my husband. And yet his pornography use continues to impact and threaten our family, despite his best efforts. When the podcast described harmful impact on ability to function at work or in relationships, that’s the level of problem I am describing. And it’s not a pornography “problem”, as you say. In our family, it’s a problem.

    The harm caused by pornography existed in our marriage before I knew anything about his habits. My reaction is imperfect, but it is not the source of the trouble related to this topic. I guess I’m skirting around my core belief that I feel the podcast discounted: pornography use at any level is harmful to relationships. Compulsive pornography use that disrupts normal functioning is devastating to families. It is devastating my family.

    • March 15, 2011 at 9:17 pm

      What can I say, simply saying that his behaviour threatens your family will cause him to feel immense shame. Its not easy. In general, its good to be aware of consequences, but in this case (paradoxically) the more the consequences are emphasized, the harder it is to change the unwanted behaviour.

    • Anonymous
      March 16, 2011 at 8:45 am

      I am glad you clarified a bit more. It is unfortunate that you value anonymity so much that you wouldn’t consider sharing your experience to potentially help others.

      I wish you wouldn’t blow off anonymous as fast as you do. She has some very good advice. Your apparent stubbornness and (high-horse?) attitude seems to be affecting your better judgment.

      I know it is unfair to judge people based on a couple of posts on the internet so I will be careful. However, I think you are in pretty deep denial and desperately trying to brush your family problems off on your husband rather than take any responsibility yourself. Much of what you write implies a degree of selfishness that I think is all too harmful in many marriages. I only wish you could open your eyes a bit and see things from another perspective. The mere fact that you proclaim “pornography use at any level is harmful to relationships” – even after counseling and 3+ years experience – shows your biases and unhealthy view of sexuality. Why are you invested in vilifying your husband? Surely you can accept some degree of responsibility for the problems in your house?

      I only hope you two can work it out one way or another (even if that includes breaking up) because it sounds like your current attitude and views are incompatible with his. Good luck! :)

    • Mr. Ted
      September 10, 2012 at 12:16 pm

      “I disagree with you though. The Church is no longer advocating a white knuckle approach nor using shame to discourage the use of porn, if they ever have”

      Actions speak louder than words.

  7. Natasha Parker
    March 11, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    Cynthia,
    I want to say that I agree with you about pornography being harmful to relationships, and Dr. Buehler makes this assessment as well in particular when the spouses are either in disagreement about its use and/or it conflicts with their inherent values. At the same time, I have to disagree with you in that shaming statements are not part of the church’s approach (albeit probably unintentionally). I understand that there are many loving and kind and supportive leaders who never intend to shame, but there are many other situations that do not go as well. There have also been many comments made over the pulpit that are incredibly shaming and use highly provocative language. Another part that I believe is important to address that Dr. Buehler brought up is whether or not the “addictions” model in of itself is shaming (without it being intended).
    I do recognize that there are experiences all over the map when it comes to this issue and by no means do I mean for this interview to be all inclusive. I plan to bring other professionals and personal stories to the podcast that touches on this subject.
    I’m sorry that listening to this was painful. I can understand why that would be the case. I want to make it very clear that I in no way minimize the pain that not only the spouse, but that the family as a whole, experience when the father or mother figure in the household are struggling with sexual compulsion in whatever form it takes. It is devastating. Absolutely! And it interferes with all the hopes and dreams of what marriage is supposed to offer and be about – especially within our Mormon construct. I wish both you and your husband the best as you continue to get help and make progress. I’m so pleased to hear that you’ve been able to find resources to do so.
    Natasha

    • Concerned
      September 13, 2011 at 6:09 am

      I want to comment on one thing you said about how “there are many loving and kind and supportive leaders who never intend to shame, but there are many other situations that do not go as well.”  You have to remember that we as people are imperfect.  The people do not define the church.  I’m sad about how many people really do judge the church by it’s members.  The gospel is true no matter what.  I hope I am making sense here.  
      On a different note, I have read all the posts to this point and am bothered greatly by the amount of ignorance I see.  I really empathize with Cynthia and appreciate her comments.  I think they were spot on!!  I know without doubt that pornography in any frequency is damaging to relationships.  It’s one thing to happen upon something on the internet or on TV by accident, but if you seek it out then there is a problem.  If a couple has a healthy intimate relationship there should be no need for pornography and if the man is still drawn to it then there is cause for concern.  I have many friends who have lost their marriages due to pornography and the things that it eventually lead to.  The negative impact that it has families is far reaching and it is truly devastating.  If it wasn’t a huge problem/issue then why would so many people discuss it in great length?!

      • Concerned
        September 13, 2011 at 6:16 am

        I reread my comment to you Natasha and it didn’t come off as I intended.  I wasn’t trying to make a jab at you.  I’m sorry if it sounded like I was. I only meant that I recognize that many people judge our church based on the leaders who don’t necessarily say or do things the right way and they make mistakes because they are imperfect, as we all are.   I didn’t mean that you are judging the church by those negative situations.  I hope that made sense.  This is why I don’t like to comment on things either by email or texting because it’s so easy to misread what people mean and I hope I didn’t offend you by what I said.  You sound like a really good person who really does care.  

      • September 13, 2011 at 1:13 pm

        Hi Concerned.  My wife and I occasionally watch pornography together and it isn’t a problem for our relationship.  Its not a violation of our values.  The problem isn’t porn, its violating your value system.

        • bonez
          September 13, 2011 at 1:36 pm

           Succinct, pertinent, clear! You hit the nail on the head, Michael. It’s about our internal value system. This is very much like those who suffer with Anorexia. They have an internal value system that says they are fat, despite the gaunt ghost staring back from their mirror.

        • kathy
          October 11, 2011 at 8:15 pm

          Are you a member of the church?

          • Michael Closson
            October 12, 2011 at 7:00 pm

            Hi Kathy.  Yes, I am a member of the church.

  8. Flackfamilytherapy
    March 11, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    I think Cynthia’s and anonymous’s comments speak to just how complex an issue this is. The fact that anon.’s approach did seem to help the problem but Cynthia and her husband continue to struggle should teach us not to treat people as if there were a “one shoe fits all” solution to porn use or any behavioral issue that affects couples and families. Individuals are complex, couples’ dynamics are complex, and their reasons for doing things are complex. Cynthia’s husband may not respond to typical interventions and he may have to pay the price for it in the long run, just as many alcoholics lose their families due to their helplessness to their habits. It may not be completely their fault, but the consequences are devastating nonetheless and people sometimes need to protect themselves. It seems wise for us all to apply Christ’s example of examining apparently black/white situations in our lives (i.e. “Woman, neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”-John 8). Acknowledge the problem, but empower people to do better.

  9. Cynthia
    March 11, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    I am listening to the end of the program, and unfortunately I have to say that it falls flat for me. The message I heard was that improved communication about sex and a better sexual relationship in a couple can essentially resolve the problems with pornography in their relationship, and even decrease the incidence of pornography use. That does not describe my experience in any way. My marriage relationship has always been strong with regard to both points, and neither has diminished the harm pornography has brought into our lives. His use of pornography predated me and so did the harm. Neither have decreased since our relationship began.

    You encouraged someone in my situation to be flexible and less rigid, but there is no room for pornography in our marriage. It is my husband’s job to remove it, but its continued presence will continue to harm us no matter how I respond.

    Dr. Buehler’s closing statement was, “The more that you communicate about sex, the more you enjoy it as a couple, the less need you will have to turn to masturbation.” I could not disagree more. It totally discounts the compulsive nature of my husband’s habit.

    I do not mean my comments as an attack at all. I am just dismayed by the level to which I disagree with the paradigm and the advice given in the podcast.

    • Anonymous
      March 11, 2011 at 6:11 pm

      Cynthia,

      1) I value your different experiences and your willingness to share

      2) I will do what I can to find a few folks to represent your views in a subsequent podcast.

      Thanks again for being willing to speak up.

      John

    • Concerned
      September 13, 2011 at 6:24 am

      I am so grateful for your comments.  You are not alone in your situation or the stance that you take on this particular issue.  I am 100% with you.  I have not only had friends who have gone through similar things (and many of their marriages have ended in divorce because of other things that it lead to eventually) but I have first hand experience with it.  I know it ruins trust within a marriage and it can cause a wide emotional gap as well.  I am so sorry for what you have gone through and I hope things are getting better.  *hugs from someone who knows how you feel*

  10. anonymous
    March 11, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    Cynthia,

    It does sound like you have a much more complex problem than I had and that you are doing the right thing. I hope that you will be able to work through this and find some peace.

    Flackfamilytherapy has it right that this is a very complex problem and everyone needs to find what works for them. Education is the first step and that means going outside the church. I know that Bishops are trying to help, but they are not trained to help in this area and I believe and have experienced that they can do more harm than they intend to do.

    There is a lot of shame in the church about porn. Natasha was right about all the strong messages that are sent from the pulpit. Also the misdiagnosis of just looking at porn makes you an addict causes a much bigger problem than need be. I believed for years that my husband was an addict and treated him like one. It wasn’t until I started educating myself about porn addiction that I figured out that he wasn’t even close to being an addict.

    The most disturbing thing for me was to discover just what the church thought of my husband. The leaders of the church placed him in a “support group” with a convicted pedophile! What message do you think that sent my husband? That he was a pervert and a freak. My husband is a very good man and to have him placed in a group with a pedophile was terrible. This sent a strong message to me that I needed to find a better way. I hated seeing what this did to him.

    The best thing I ever did was to stop being a victim and start being an advocate for my husband. I wish all the best for families dealing with this and pray that you will find peace and find yourself in a stronger relationship.

  11. Cynthia
    March 11, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    Thank you to all for responding to my comments in a thoughtful and nondefensive way. I feel both heard and respected by your comments. I hope that you can say the same about mine.

  12. Natasha Parker
    March 11, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    Cynthia,
    I agree wholeheartedly that many compulsions come into the marriage from previous history having nothing to do with the relationship in of itself. And, unfortunately, when it comes to things like pornography the other spouse can feel blamed or somewhat responsible (by self or society) when it really was a pre-existing condition. And you’re right, many couples have a good sex life – and yet, this is happening in a secret compartment off to the side of the marriage. This issue is complex and I appreciate you sharing your experiences with us. My hope is that by doing interviews like these and gathering different perspectives we can all come to a better understanding of how people’s situations don’t fit into a “one size fits all” type of approach and we can increase our empathy and love for one another.
    And yes, I felt your comments were completely respectful. I always admire those who can disagree in a way that ends up being productive to all.
    Kudos to you and to the strength and courage you show in your current struggle.
    Natasha

  13. Anon_
    March 11, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    I also experienced the same type of dilemma Cynthia mentions and the same kind of feelings she is writing about. There was a time in my life when I felt like my husband was a sex addict and we were both desperate to help him control it. We even went so far as to give him an herbal supplement called “chaste tree” to curb his sexual appetite because he felt like he couldn’t control his strong sexual urges and was desperate to conform to what the church told him was the right path.

    From the wifes perspective, sexual appetite is something a man should be able to control, and there is a lot of pressure for the man to conform and believe that his sexual impulses are out of control or wrong, especially when they are reoccurring on a daily basis. The church reinforces the womans attitude because it asks for complete sexual repression and control.

    When we talked to our bishop, he told us that some people are highly sexual and some people aren’t, but those who are highly sexual must control it. He said he had no tools to help us overcome it. It was just a trial to be endured.

    When I read Cynthia’s comment that she believes in the church’s stance that all sexual encounters must be between husband and wife, my heart sank because I feel so sad for her and the horrible position she is in. I’ve been there. I’ve lived it, and its torture. Cynthia, I feel for you deeply. I really do. I want you to know that it was only after we went so far as to possibly damage my husbands endocrine system with herbal supplements to curb his sexual feelings, and left the church because of unrelated reasons that we discovered a happy and freeing sexual balance in our marriage.

    I strongly believe that for those who are highly sexual and have a strong physiological need to release via sexual actions, the church’s insistence on this type of moral code is extremely damaging to marriages and individuals. There is a better way to handle sexuality, and that is to recognize that we are sexual beings, and that normal sexual expression whether it be through masturbation or occasional porn viewing is normal and acceptable. Our biology desires reproduction and perpetuation of the species as well as variation in partners because it is best for the offspring. Men are simply acting on impulse that has evolved over millions of years of evolution.

    Yes, there are those who use porn as an addiction like a drug addict or an alcoholic, but I strongly believe that addictions can only be overcome with complete acceptance of self. The church’s method of telling you that you aren’t okay unless you are strictly adhering to their idea of acceptable sexuality is a fuel that can flame the fires of addiction. It is not the cause, but it is a catalyst. I honestly don’t see how anyone within the church who has a true porn addiction will ever be able to overcome it while believing in the doctrines of the church regarding sexuality. I hope someone can prove me wrong.

    • March 16, 2011 at 9:08 am

      Wow, that was awesome. Thank you for posting what I wish I had the experience and ability to express. I only wish Cynthia would listen but I fear her mindset discards comments like yours. I guess only time will tell. But hopefully somebody can see the reason and love in your words. Cheers! :)

      • Kristine
        May 8, 2011 at 10:52 pm

        My ex was a fan of pornography as well, and while it may not have been the foremost reason that our marriage ended, I can say that it did hurt me. I too believe that guilt and shame never does anyone any good, and can often do more damage. What I would like to say here is that Cynthia’s reaction may or may not be a problem, but it has been discounted enough that I wonder if she were given the same consideration for her feelings that her husband has been given for his affection for pornography, things may be different for her.

        In my own marriage, I had to face demons about myself, my insecurities and my fears that I wasn’t enough so much so that my ex had to turn to porn. Being told that his needs were normal and had nothing to do with me was not helpful, and simply invalidating, regardless of their truth. How often in the “rescue” efforts of the “lost lamb” is the spouse forgotten? I don’t mean that he or she should be justified in errorneous perceptions, if that is the case. I am saying that help for the spouse is also necessary in order to get to a healthy place. It is equally ineffective to shove new beliefs (and shame, as has been done here) down the throat of a hurting spouse, as it is to place shame on the porn addict.

        Above Karen Burton has stated that their are real causes and motivations for Cynthia’s husbands actions. I would say their are just as many causes and motivations for Cynthia’s re-actions. If Cynthia is responsible for helping her husband on this path, perhaps her husband is equally as responsible for helping Cynthia as well.

        • May 9, 2011 at 9:00 am

          Thanks for your comments.

          First off, I don’t necessarily believe Cynthia is responsible for “helping her husband on this path” or even that he needs any help at all – or even which path you mean. Recovery?

          Second, to me (this is just my opinion, I am open to stand corrected) it seems Cynthia’s problems spawn from the unhealthy view the church promotes and encourages members to have about sex (not to mention “porn” and masturbation).

          Third, I don’t like the term “porn addict” and think labeling any person as such does nothing but harm. If there is such a thing as a “porn addict” I am certain 90% or more of the Mormon men with that label would not really qualify as such by experts.

          How often in the “rescue” efforts of the “lost lamb” is the spouse forgotten?

          I’m sure you make a very good point here. I’m just not very comfortable with the whole idea of “rescuing” anybody like Cynthia’s husband. In my view it seems Cynthia is the one in need of rescuing and at the same time the one actively trying to “rescue” her husband. It’s just a very warped and skewed view of marriage and sexuality which the church endorses. I’m not blaming Cynthia. I blame the church. But as long as Cynthia prescribes to the church as a divine source of light, truth and inspiration, she will likely accept their counsel on this topic. Which of course is labeling her husband as an addict who needs help.

          Yes, there are many causes and motivations for Cynthia’s re-actions. I may be wrong (would love to hear a counter-argument on this) but I dare say the church is responsible for most – if not all – of them.

          • Kristine
            May 9, 2011 at 9:56 am

            Let me say first that my response was somewhat inclusive of what others have said, as well as what you have said. I tried to address things generally, but responded to you mostly because of your comments to Cynthia that she is “stubborn”, on a “high-horse”, and that you would “congratulate her husband to find a new partner” if she did not yield to different viewpoints than the ones she has expressed here, or at a minimum, your interpretations of her expressions.

            As for the path I was referring to, it is whatever Cynthia and her husband decide they want their path to be, and I assume that is somewhere other than where they are. Obviously Cynthia wants something else, and I would guess it would mean a path away from pornography (definition up for grabs to Cynthia and her hubby.) My comment spun off of anonymous’ comment that she “stopped being a victim and started being an advocate” for her spouse, and how that was helpful to their marriage. I was arguing that Cynthia’s spouse could be an advocate for her as well, and not just her for him. So often this situation ends up all too one-sided.

            I don’t know where Cynthia’s ideas spawn from. It’s highly likely she has been influenced by the church. When I referred to my experience above, most of what I felt was more related to social pressures on women to adhere to a perfect physical ideal. Not all of us look like porn stars, and if that is what it seems like our husbands want as demonstrated by their affection for porn, then it would be pretty tough for most of us to compete with. I’m not saying this is what it’s all about, I’m saying that it what it can feel like, and that “learned” attitude has nothing to do with the church, and everything to do with the media by which we are innundated. Someone above mentioned that their husband told her he preferred porn and masturbation over her because she was “fat” at 120 lbs. My darling ex made me a list of why I was so unnattractive at 5’4″ and 105 lbs. (He later apologized and accepted the responsibility for trying to make his behavior my fault.) I was trying to make the point that telling Cynthia she is all of those things you have assumed she is, and then blaming her church for teaching her to be like “that”, is shaming her in to changing her behavior. Sound familiar?

            I intended to put “porn addict” in quotes to portray it as a non-definitive term. My mistake. Also the reason I put “rescue” in quotes.

            I believe I have made my counter-argument for who or what could be “responsible” for Cynthia’s re-actions. I’m not seeking agreement or trying to convince. My main effort is to point out that Cynthia has been somewhat under seige here, which is what seems to be exactly what not to do in terms of the porn viewer/masurbator. Seems to me if porn isn’t the problem and shame is, shame would be a problem wherever it ended up. Shaming her into not believing the things she may have been taught in church about porn, or “educating” her on her husbands true motivation for viewing porn does precious little to remove the hurt until the true motivations and causes for her re-actions are addressed. Something about turnabout being fairplay…

          • May 9, 2011 at 10:12 am

            Absolutely. Very good points!

            I was trying to make the point that telling Cynthia she is all of those things you have assumed she is, and then blaming her church for teaching her to be like “that”, is shaming her in to changing her behavior. Sound familiar?

            I think you and I have different definitions of the word “shame” but from your description I can see where you’re coming from and agree with you. I just wouldn’t call it “shaming her” but rather encouraging her. I would be surprised if she feels shame by what I wrote, but if she does and it has the affect you suggest, then it certainly is against my purpose.

            I may be wrong but I don’t see how patting somebody on their back and congratulating them will help them realize they are in complete denial of reality. I guess my tactics are in serious need of review. ;)

            I believe I have made my counter-argument for who or what could be “responsible” for Cynthia’s re-actions.

            Ok, sorry if I missed that. So do you mean her husband could be responsible? Or that we in this forum? I’m sorry but I don’t follow you.

            As far as C being “under siege”, you may be right but when I posted my comments (“stubborn”, “high horse”, etc) pretty much all the comments prior were congratulatory and supportive towards her. I was the only one who “called her out” so-to-speak.

          • Kristine
            May 9, 2011 at 10:55 am

            Maybe we could differentiate positive encouragement vs negative encouragement toward change, with shame under the umbrella of the negative variety. I would think it is never helpful to congratulate harmful behavior. ;) I’m just sayin’ there are a variety of approaches – some better than others.

            My counter argument was related to media and social pressure feuling a “selfish” reaction to a spouse’s porn use. Most if not all negative reactions stem from a place of pain. My personal experience was similar to Natalie’s comment later in this thread. I’m fairly liberal sexually, I don’t believe in guilt or shame, I thought I was supportive of my husband and his “trials”, but I eventually became more and more insecure, couldn’t understand why he didn’t want me, and tried everything to look perfect and be perfect in a worldly sensual way as well as every other way possible, despite my inner feminist. I would not classify my beliefs about sex or my sexual desire as unhealthy in the least. Didn’t matter. And I got hurt. It ate away at me. Coming to an understanding of the true motivations behind his behaviors has helped, but my own personal healing had to accompany the “clinical” understanding. I suppose it’s similar to a woman who experiences a miscarriage. We can be told all day that it was nature taking care of itself, but we still feel a loss. Doesn’t really matter that it’s the blasted hormones messing with us. It’s all very real.

            As for C’s husband’s responsibility, I would guess it would be more on matters of deception. No matter the reason, lying is not good for a relationship. Even those few days before a surprise party ;). As you mentioned earlier, communication is paramount.

            I can appreciate your desire to help C by calling her out. Denial never is the friend we believe it to be. I appreciate your willingess to talk this through with me, too.

    • G Reiersen
      April 10, 2011 at 1:44 am

      I agree with Richard about your comments. It appears to me (and the podcast touched on this somewhat) that a big source of our sexual woes and problems is the pervasive attitude of many fundamental religious types that sex is something that is inherently filthy and sinful, and, at best, a necessary evil that truly righteous people don’t enjoy or talk about or look forward to. I don’t think it is quite as pervasive as it used to be, but I can’t help getting the impression that past leaders of the church had the attitude that even within marriage, it was inherently sinful (especially for a woman) to engage in sex if the primary motivation for it was sexual pleasure. I understand that some devout Mormon leaders made it a point to avoid even seeing their own spouses naked! Would pornography be such a big issue or be so pervasive if we universally recognized that sex is a normal, healthy and fulfilling part of life? I very seriously doubt it!

  14. Nur
    March 11, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    I believe that there is a light within each of us that is a true compass to our greatest potential if we will follow it with integrity. I’m a leader in the LDS Church and have overcome a pornography struggle by learning to acknowledge my God-given sexuality and refusing to let anyone in our out of the church suggest that I should feel any kind of shame for my sexual interests, wants, and feelings. Once I shook of those fetters (and it wasn’t easy, it took a LOT of reflection and hundreds of pages of journal writing to do it), I was free to walk away from porn. Healing came when I saw through the shame that I was taught about my own body and its sexual feelings and learned that it isn’t inherently evil to feel sexual and to be sexual. What IS out of line is to use sex in any way that harms or uses other people in selfish ways. We are children of God, and sex is a part of his plan for us. It is implanted within us for glorious purposes, and experiencing one’s own sexuality through virtuous self-exploration and sharing sexuality with a covenant partner will lead us to a fulness of joy. That is the light I have come to see, and I cherish it as the truth.

  15. March 12, 2011 at 12:15 am

    Thanks Natasha, Dr. Stephanie and Soon-to-be Dr. John. I found this interview very stimulating…..Er, I mean penetrating. No that’s not right, aw, enlightening. That’s it enlightening! (Well all three, but I won’t admit it, except to my spouse!) ;-)

  16. John Smith
    March 12, 2011 at 12:42 am

    Cynthia, I am a recovering porn addict. I have been addicted to porn since I was about 13 years old. (8years old if you count reading books). I am 37 years old now. There are so many correlations to what you have said and how my wife and I almost lost our marriage over it. You said in one of your postings that it is your husbands responsibility to fix it and remove it from the marriage. With all due respect, I could NOT disagree with you more. Wives have more of a role in this than they think. For instance, my wife was always so worried that I was going to treat her like an object when we made love, that she would withhold often times. It was a leverage device for her. However, after years of therapy and US changing our attitude that it is US against pornography, then my burden was exponentially lifted. I would be curious to hear what your husbands perspective is… not just a repeating of your thoughts in a deeper voice, but his TRUE feelings about how he feels. Does he feel that you support him, love him, even if he messes up again, will give him a helping hand up if he is having a bad day and needs some strength. Please understand, I am not in any way trying to incriminate or make you feel bad. I truly hurt for your position right now, because it was just a few short years ago that that was us. If I could offer one bit of advice, it would be to drop all of the “LDS church says this, and LDS church says that” and go to your husband with a renewed vigor on how WE can overcome this. Prove to him, as he proves to you, that your marriage is more important than what ABC General Authority says on the subject and you are right to feel that way because of that example. I can tell you that the more de-masculated I felt, the more I wanted to turn to porn because they would never tell me no, or make me feel bad about myself. Cynthia, I truly hope that you will read my opinion (and that is all it is) with an open heart. Either way, I will be praying for your marriage to make it through this.

    • March 14, 2011 at 2:12 am

      With respect, Cynthia may not have the energy to give her husband a helping hand, loving support or whatever. It is quite horrible to realize that this has been going on — and I think it does need to be the husband’s responsibility to explain what he needs and what is going on. Only then can he be helped in removing it from the marriage by his wife.

      • John Smith
        March 15, 2011 at 12:21 am

        Fair enough… my point in saying that is they are still together for a reason. If she doesn’t have the energy to help him, support him, etc, maybe that should be the end of the marriage. I don’t know, it is not my place to say end it or not. I can only give examples from my own life, and all the research I have done on it since then. I have become a facilitator for a pornography addiction recovery group, and have done my fair share of research. I apologize if I offended anyone. That was not my intent. I just wanted to make my experience known so she may have a different idea of help.
        I will refrain from making any more posts. Again, my apologies.

        • March 15, 2011 at 12:52 am

          No worries John – this is a pretty open forum. I think you were right in the sense that this issue is one for the couple, not just the husband (or wife). Treatment needs to address the couple and what happens between them, the bond, etc. and all the damage that has been done to the relationship. The porn user is responsible for his/her actions, but blaming one person or the other does not help, and only makes things worse.

        • March 16, 2011 at 9:14 am

          No need to apologize and don’t refrain from posting. This community needs more like you!

          Be bold, confident and generous with your love and willingness to help others by sharing your experiences. You are on the right track here and I think your contributions can help more than you know. Lots of people read the comments but don’t post. If a post or two offends you, let it slide off your back like water off a duck. Stick around please. :)

          • Jessica
            July 2, 2012 at 9:25 am

            I was in a relationship with a guy who told me that he had been addicted to pornography since he 13…it took about a week for me to think about it and realize that I had absolutely no interest in marrying him and “helping” him to control his addiction so we split amicably. I should add that we’re both LDS so this is something that we would consider a problem in our marriage. If there is another woman out there who is willing to help take on his issue then fair enough (and boy is she brave) but I was not that woman and frankly that’s OK. I think the important thing is honesty. A gal deserves to know what she’s getting into and I think the travesty is when a woman finds herself 20 years into a marriage only to find that “oh by the way I’m addicted to pornography”. Her husband should have been upfront from the very beginning.

    • Concerned
      September 13, 2011 at 6:55 am

      I couldn’t agree with you more!!  Thank you for that John!  My husband can honestly tell you that I have supported him through many years of this struggle.  It has been our struggle and I have stuck by him.  Yes I was hurt in the beginning.  What new bride wouldn’t be.  I felt like I wasn’t enough for him.  I wondered why he married me if he already had what he needed elsewhere.  And I began to doubt him and wonder if he really loved me.  I fell into a deep depression.  The situation was equally devastating for both of us.  He felt horrible for hurting me.  Since then many years have passed…  Although my husband knows he will probably always need to be on his guard, he feels so much stronger.  And, he knows that I am behind him 110% and that I’m not going anywhere.  We are one another’s “help meet”.  I am here for the long haul.  I feel truly blessed that I have gone through this trial along side him and been there to help him when he felt trapped and discouraged.  He knows I think the world of him and have full confidence in him that he is stronger than the challenge.  We are happier than ever before and I can honestly say that our relationship has been strengthened beyond anything I ever imagined because of this.  I know without doubt that it does take both parties to help heal these kinds of wounds and it requires that we support and help strengthen one another.  I am so grateful for the Lord’s tender mercies and the strength that He gives to us each and every day. 

  17. Di
    March 12, 2011 at 6:40 am

    I absolutely loved this podcast.

    I am a highly sexual female who was raised LDS. I cannot remember an age when I did not masturbate. It was only after my mom caught me, and told me it was wrong, that I began a many-years-long struggle with guilt over masturbation. In my early teen years I also looked at pornography. I would go through near daily struggles of masturbating and/or looking at pornography, feeling horrible and unworthy over it, and compulsively going back to it. I stopped completely during high school (and omg, can I just say how INCREDIBLY embarrassing and creepy I find confessing that to my bishop, who was a good friend’s father?), but began again when I went to college.

    It was only a year or so after leaving the church at age 19, that I really began to let go of the shame and guilt I felt over masturbation or pornography. Once I began to let that go and studied more about how healthy masturbation can be that I allowed myself to feel okay about it. It is interesting to me that the more okay I became with it, the less I actually viewed pornography. I went from a couple times a day to once a week or so. It still boggles me to think about the amount of mental energy I used to expend feeling crappy about myself, almost entirely because I liked to masturbate. And I felt like a freak because most (almost all) church talks about masturbation and porn are directed at men, but there I was, a 12-year-old girl doing and thinking about those things so what did that mean?

    Now I’m happily married. My husband and I both look at porn and we both masturbate, sometimes together, but more frequently separately. Our work schedules are such that we both recognize a need to release sexual energy when we’re not together and neither of us is threatened by porn use. I think, in reference to John’s comment, porn isn’t NECESSARY in our marriage, but it can be a nice tool.

    Thanks again for the awesome podcast.

    • Doug
      March 14, 2011 at 1:20 am

      Dang why couldn’t I have married you!?

      • Di
        March 14, 2011 at 4:46 am

        Ha. I admit that I am an… anomaly, even among my female nonmember friends, in regards to my attitudes toward pornography. Although I know attitudes toward masturbation are way more permissive among nonmember friends. I certainly think the antipathy toward porn is greater among the LDS people I know, but I think a lot of people view it as a threat or a replacement. Maybe it’s because I also had interest in it that I view mine and my husband’s (and ex-boyfriends’) use not as an insult or judgment on the other partner, but as a tool and supplement to sexual relations together and separately.

        I also realized I wanted to add that of course there is porn that isn’t produced ethically, but it’s not hard to find plenty that is. I don’t think John would appreciate me linking to them here, :) but many prominent sex blogs will only link to ethically produced porn. While as (I think it was Natasha) someone on the blog said, it might not be something you or whoever is willing to do for money, I don’t see that as a reason to pass judgment on the industry as a whole. As long as the actors are well informed of what will happen, paid and not coerced into doing it, why should I have an issue viewing something even if it’s not something I personally would do for money? I went to school, but there’s no way I would EVER be a teacher. (Of course, some may find fault with the analogy, but to me it works.)

        • Anon_
          March 15, 2011 at 9:32 am

          Di – I was also a highly sexual young teenage girl that viewed porn on occasion and masturbated regularly. Thank you for sharing your story. I left the church more than ten years later than you did in life, but now that I have, I am finally guilt free about my sexuality. My husband and I both view porn on occasion when we aren’t together and the tension gets to be too much. When I was at BYU, I went to the counseling center to talk about my masturbation/porn problem and I felt like I was the only woman they had ever talked to with that “problem.” I felt a little stigmatized. I suppose I might have been the only girl at BYU who admitted to it. So glad to hear I’m not the only woman in the world who has been highly sexual her whole life. :D

  18. Jake
    March 12, 2011 at 9:05 am

    My wife and me watch porn, but it does not control our lives, we have a open marrige and we still love and have fun everyday. We tell our kids masturbation is ok and is very healthy and you should not feel guilty about it. My family left the church about 6 years ago, and our family is very close even closer when we left. We are so happy to leave the church, we our free forever, and we will never go back. Please ask yourself; we need sexual simtlation in our lives, and it’s ok, do not feel guilty about it,there is nothing wrong with masturbation and porn.

  19. ???
    March 12, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    My Story: Besides a few Sports Illustrated swimsuit magazines and the Sears catalog, I was first introduced to pornography when I was 18 years old, 6 months prior to my mission plans. My father, who was also my bishop, subscribed to satellite TV and we received a free 3 month subscription to HBO, Cinemax and the Movie Channel (we lived in the middle of nowhere and never had more than 3 TV channels before). One night after everyone went to bed, I discovered late night cable programming and subsequently and accidently discovered masturbation. I was a pretty naive young man, never had sex education or the sex talk with my parents. I knew the term masturbation from church. Masturbation was the BIG EVIL and something that I should never do. I thought that masturbation was worse than pornography. Before that night I didn’t know what masturbation was (I was a slow developer and had not yet had a nocturnal emission). This experience opened a door and over the next few months I exercised my little factory quite frequently.

    The memories of my stake president’s interview prior to my mission are still very vivid. He asked me if I masturbated and I said no. I knew that he knew that I was lying. I had learned that stake presidents have “magic decrement”. He asked me again and I confessed. At the time I thought no one had this problem but me. I felt so ashamed and dirty. There was a seminary video in the 90s about confession and godly sorrow. From this video and from all my LDS church lessons, I learned to equate godly sorrow with hating myself. In order to repent, I had to hate myself. Before this experience I had never felt depression or despair. I felt it then. The stake president held back my mission papers and told me that I needed to tell my family that I wasn’t worthy to serve a mission (I had 5 younger siblings).

    Eventually, I was able to go on my mission. I had an outstanding mission experience. I never masturbated. As I left my mission I felt so clean and so proud that I had overcome my previous addiction to porn and masturbation.

    Within a year after my return I discovered internet porn (although I didn’t masturbate). I was so disappointed in myself. I quickly developed a cycle of shame (looking at porn, hating myself, confession and repenting, 6 months free from porn and then falling into it again). It was only soft porn, sometimes just a Maxim magazine. I understood that porn was any image that caused feelings of lust and arousal.

    I begged in my prayers to be healed. I had been taught that Jesus can heal anything, and at times I thought I was healed, but I always and eventually fail. I hated myself. I was such an evil and weak person for not being able to overcome this.

    One night, about three years after my mission, I missed up again with porn, but this time I masturbated. Afterward I felt so much despair. I had not masturbated since prior to my mission. This was the first time I ever thought of suicide.

    I cleaned myself up again with confession and went a year without porn. I joined the military. I meet my wife and was married in the temple. I stayed away from porn for years. I was very satisfied in my marriage.

    When Iraq & Afghanistan got busy I started deploying frequently. On deployment I missed up and again starting looking at porn and masturbating. I felt horrible. This time I could not confess. I did not want to hurt my wife like all those men in the letters that President Hinckley would read during priesthood sessions. I held everything in and over the next few years I became completely addicted to porn (I sought it out every free opportunity). Before this time it was always soft core, but I started looking at harder material. I would fail, try to clean myself up and then fail again. Deployments were stressful and porn became a stress relief. But after looking at porn and masturbating, I would become even more stressed and depressed. Then I would want relieve so I would seek porn out again. I hated myself and became very depressed. It got to the point that I had daily thoughts of suicide.

    I eventually selected the day and planned the manner of my suicide. I felt like I had lost everything. I wasn’t worthy of my eternal marriage. I would only cause my wife pain. I entirely believed that it would be better if I was dead so my wife could find someone else (my plans were to have my suicide appear as an accident). I would never be free from porn.

    A few days before my planned suicide date I had a thought, “what if I just stopped caring about church and its requirements”. I had spent years of my life trying to repent, multiple confessions, blessings, begging in my prayers for healing, and nothing ever happened. I always fell. I made the decision to stop feeling guilty about porn and masturbation.

    I indulged in porn in a very addictive manner for a few months. Afterward, I kind of lost interest in porn. I didn’t feel shame anymore so I guess the cycle was broken. Today, four years later, I am free from porn. I don’t feel depression. No suicide thoughts. I didn’t even realize that this transformation had happened until I started listening to your podcast and your conversations on the subject about six months ago.

    Thank you for the work that you are doing. When I was in the middle of my porn addiction, the more porn was preached at church, the more shame I felt and the more I sought porn. I’m afraid that a lot of lives and families are being destroyed by the way that the church attacks issues. I hope by having these conversations, the church might change its approach. Especially now, I have a son and I don’t want him to experience what I did.

    • March 13, 2011 at 12:17 am

      Thanks for sharing your story here ???. It just goes to show you how complex we humans are, with such a wide range of experiences… yet many of us suffer in ways that are related to porn, whether it’s you, Cynthia, etc. or the myriad others. One thing that stood out to me, and I think you were implying that needs to change, is this feeling that many church members get – they feel like as soon as they’ve looked at porn and had an orgasm (or some other break in the viewing) there’s this incredible sense of despair or need to repent. What people don’t realize at the time, is this huge sense of shame/guilt/need to urgently repent is actually PART of the compulsive cycle, only making it much worse. If I can teach my own kids anything, it will be–on top of sex ed–being observant of their bodies, emotions, and learning to sit with discomfort without medicating everything with food, video games, pornography, etc.

    • March 15, 2011 at 5:05 pm

      ???, your story is amazing! Thanks for sharing. Did you have to fully leave the church (both mentally/spiritually as well as physically) before the shame (and later your interest in porn) decreased?

    • March 16, 2011 at 9:34 am

      I am so grateful to you for sharing your story. I know others (including myself to a degree) with similar stories – the cycle of guilt, addiction, depression, etc, and then having things automatically heal once the church is taken out of the equation. No more guilt, no more depression, and finally, no more desire or need or even interest in porn. THIS is I think an essential key to so many members’ problems. The problem is, to fix it they would have to become more liberal in their attitude towards the church (and sex) and unfortunately too many people are unwilling to let that happen. Hopefully the future is brighter. :)

    • guilt free
      March 22, 2011 at 9:31 pm

      reminds me of the scripture Matt 16:25 whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. Not of course in the literal since, but I think that losing the guilt, shame, and caring more about yourself than the church and its requirements was the key to overcoming this. It sounds totally backwards I know, but to save yourself you have to loose the guilt. Better to loose the guilt than yourself. The church teaches that guilt is good, but in some cases it is destructive. As long as the church continues to preach guilt and shame and that we are all just “one click away from porn addition” (pres monson actually said this) members will never overcome porn problems.

      • New2podcasts
        March 23, 2011 at 3:20 am

        I liked your comment and this reference, “”As long as the church continues to preach guilt and shame and that we are all just “one click away from porn addition” (pres monson actually said this) members will never overcome porn problems. “”

        Makes me think that the church knows that it needs that one click away to maintain control and manipulation to keep the tithe revenue incoming.

        • G Reiersen
          April 10, 2011 at 3:45 am

          Exactly! I should have read your response before I posted my own above.

      • G Reiersen
        April 10, 2011 at 3:43 am

        I have long been convinced that organized religion thrives on guilt. Inducing guilt is one of their most powerful tools for controlling and manipulating their members into doing what the Church leaders want them to do. By convincing people that there is something inherently sinful about something as harmless and nearly inevitable as masturbation, they create a bottomless well of guilt by which they can manipulate people.

    • jetsNstuff
      May 4, 2011 at 3:01 am

      Very curious….but I must ask: Are you still an active member of the church?

  20. Aaron
    March 12, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    I enjoyed this talk. I think that often sexual health is not discussed openly in a normal religious context (unless, we are talking about what not to do) and so people either develop misconceptions or false guilt. There needs to be a balance between less shame towards people who may masturbate or view pornographic images and also living morally good sexual lives (which I heard John bringing into the discussion several times). Like for example, is pornography cheating? Depends on the situation. If you are hiding it from your spouse and lying about it, then you pretty much are cheating through the use of porn. However, if you or your spouse uses it when you are apart for long periods of time (like on business) or you use it together and both parties are aware of and fine with each other’s porn use, then it isn’t cheating. However, and I especially appreciated this being brought up, there is a lot of ethical questions about the production of pornographic material. These actors and actresses must do many things on a regular basis that even I would be ethically uncomfortable with doing. Overall, a real good discussion which has given me some food for thought. The questions don’t have black and white answers, but it does let me know what I should be concerned with and what types of sexual behavior I feel is appropriate for me.

  21. LDSDude
    March 13, 2011 at 2:10 am

    I think there is a place for erotica in a marriage, but only if both agree. The hard part for most men I know, myself included, is that their wives are victims of ‘Good Girl Syndrome,’ as in ‘good girls don’t take about, think about, care about or participate in anything in the sexual realm prior to marriage. Then, as soon as the honeymoon night arrives, they’re expected to become ultra sexual to please their man (since most of us have been that way since puberty, whether in thought or deed.) It just doesn’t work. there needs to be more indications from church leaders that sex is good, fulfilling, important, necessary, and up to the couple for the most part in terms of what goes and what doesn’t. Just had a friend get divorced. 9 years married, wife had never had an orgasm, yet told him that masturbating was sick, wrong, a perversion, etc., whether he did it, they did it together, or whatever. ladies of the church need to be coached that all forms of consensual sex can be a benefit, enjoyable, fun! The idea that only missionary style or girl on top is the only ‘approved’ method for LDS folks-where does that come from?! anyway, way too much puritanical rigidity on this subject.

    Cynthia, what is your take? While we’re being anonymous I figured it’d be ok to ask?

  22. March 13, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    I feel like the elephant in the room during this podcast is a reality much larger than attitudes toward masturbation or images of the naked human body. Ethics is fundamentally about self-constructed ideals: you inherit building-blocks from the community (parents, teachers, friends, and neighbors: religious leaders are certainly included) but then take what you learn and apply it in unique, constructive ways. To illustrate with a not irrelevant example: I began courting my wife with generic gifts and gestures (everyone in Happy Valley knows the meaning of flowers and chocolate); after I knew her, the courting methods I employed became more specific (e.g. a special kind of back rub, time spent talking about things or doing whatever she finds meaningful, which need not be your stereotypical “impress the girl” date). Now that we have been married a few years, our courtship involves countless cues and seemingly “innocent” (not to say ridiculous) activities whose meaning is inscrutable to all outsiders but perfectly clear to us: it is not that the ethic of “impress the girl with a stereotypical date” is wrong; but it is just the beginning, the jumping-off point from which a couple starts (for lack of something better) to build their own unique lovemaking rituals.

    The real problem with masturbation, pornography, and a host of other things in LDS Mormon culture is that we insist on approaching them generically as monolithic unities, as though the concrete realities that we are referring to when we use words like “pornography” were not specific and diverse (distinct images shown to a unique person or persons with special needs). Masturbation is not inherently good or bad: it just is. In some situations, it is bad. (Think of food and drink here: you can die of ingesting too much water at a sitting. Does that make water bad?) Pornography is barely a coherent term: as most LDS use it, it seems to be “pictures of human beings that cause an unfavorable reaction in the viewer.” Under this definition, defining pornography is a task for the individual, who responds poorly or positively or indifferently to different images than her neighbor does for different reasons. There is no guidebook written or writable that will tell you “what is safe to look at” and what isn’t for you personally, just as there is no diet book that will tell you precisely what you have to eat for dinner tonight to feel good and be healthy. You have to get your feet wet, do some self-experimentation, and build your own ethic. Too many LDS Mormons have bought into the (false) idea that the best ethic comes from doing what somebody in authority said with no regard for its effects on the individual. They deliberately set about whittling man down to fit the Sabbath and never reach the point of owning their own ethic and changing it when it causes them unnecessary pain and suffering.

    As someone who suffered too long from trying too hard to make my life work forever on a starter-ethic, I have real empathy for the folks whose lives fall apart because things don’t work for them the way the rule book said. The only way out is to recognize the reality that no one knows you better than you know yourself: you are the final authority on all ethical decisions you make. Others may give advice, good advice even, but until that advice serves you in good stead outside the classroom (where chanting affirmations with the group gives you warm fuzzies), it is not really helpful. No other authority can compensate for the authority between your ears. Peace.

    • March 14, 2011 at 3:05 pm

      Superb comment, Hermes. Love your insights.

      • March 16, 2011 at 10:07 pm

        Thanks, Jared!

  23. March 14, 2011 at 2:04 am

    Listened to the podcast today… (on the way home from Las Vegas to see the Aggies, win!) and I can relate to Cynthia’s observances. I know there was efforts to make it NOT have a Mormon bias — but I think the bias is important.

    I am fairly liberal, I don’t think I would mind porn in my relationship if my husband and I had talked about it. I think Mormons are a unique case. It is my husband’s sexual experience with me versus the porn. So while porn doesn’t really depict reality, he has more of a basis of that than of real sex — because he ever-so-faithfully saved himself for marriage. Had he had various sexual experiences with other women, and had the porn — I think he would not have this problem. Instead, the porn is more exciting.

    My husband recently revealed his addiction/compulsion, whatever you want to call it — I would classify it as an addiction simply because he can not willingly stop even if he says he wants to — to masturbate and look at pornography. It was only revealed after I confessed to being very frustrated that he did not want to be intimate with me. I am ready and willing for anything (thought that was a man’s dream!) but he doesn’t often want to have sex with me — and often when he will have sex… he “cannot perform” — I hate that word, “perform” but it seems to best explain the situation. For the past few months, he’s told me it is because I was fat or no longer exciting. I weigh 120 by the way.

    Instead, he has eventually revealed that he would rather look at these images — or just masturbate without them instead of having sex with a human. He uses it as a substitute for emotions and to deal with his problems. This was touched briefly on in the podcast — but really only for a few seconds in the masterbation problem. I think it is a bigger deal.

    And the church does have a liberal stance nowadays apparently… because we have a fairly conservative bishop, but even though he’s confessed these problems, he is keeping his temple reccommend and calling in the EQpresidency.

    As it stands now, we start the Lifestar program in April, but I’m not too hopeful of staying married. It would be my second divorce to a supposed straight-laced BYU grad returned missionary — that has only led to revelations of dishonesty and mistrust. So I am thinking a non-Mormon who knows the ways of respect and conversation without shame and guilt might just be the route for me. And next time, I am living with the man for several years before I say anything over any altar!

  24. March 14, 2011 at 5:19 am

    I am going to write my thoughts and then go back and see if this has been addressed in previous comments. My wife and I found this podcast episode helpful and thought-provoking, thank you so much for doing it! It was wonderful that Dr. Buehler contributed her time.

    At the same time, treatment of these issues seemed incomplete, detached from its Mormon context. I think it would be helpful to have another podcast on these issues where you explore the intersection of the healthy, balanced, progressive approach you advocate on this episode (allowing for personal differences to be sure) with the overall culture of Mormonism. So for example, in John’s fantastic summaries he talks about the young man or woman who explores his or her sexuality in a healthy, moderate way, perhaps looks at pornography sometimes, and grow and mature along their happy way. But what happens in a bishop’s interview? How does this healthy moderate approach clash with the Mormon norms that forbids all masturbation and pornography? Jennifer Fife’s podcast dealt with these issues some, but I think there is more to be said about encouraging healthy sexuality in Mormon culture. Another issue to address would be LDS sexuality before marriage, the nothing to all overnight experience that is the ideal in Mormonism.

    Thanks for bringing these issues up, you provide a much needed forum for discussion.

    • Realistic Mama
      March 15, 2011 at 5:20 am

      My children are in the pre-teen stage. I look at masturbation and porn as totally SEPARATE things. While I could never condone porn (involving and exploiting others) I don’t feel the same way about masturbation. Others can feel about it as they may.

      I will say that I have been specifically training my children NEVER to answer questions about masterbation that may be posed to them by any Church authority. If they are asked as teens about masterbation-they are instructed not to answer (either way- positive or negative) and to tell the Bishop to talk to me. Rest assurred the Bishop will get an earful. It’s none of his business. I will not allow my children to suffer what I did at the hands of a guy who was likely sitting there as a big ‘ole hypocrite himself anyway! I won’t allow them to be humiliated and belittled and feel ‘less than’ over something this trivial- too many more important things to focus on in their personal development.

      My Husband fully supports my position on this. I want my children to be chaste to a point but I honestly don’t agree that masterbation is the ‘gateway drug’ to sex. I think it is MUCH worse to destroy their self-worth and ability to enjoy normal, sexual relationships than to indulge in occassional masterbation.

      • Di
        March 19, 2011 at 6:22 am

        Love this. I agree that masturbation isn’t a gateway drug. Particularly for more sexual people, I think masturbation made it so I wasn’t looking for another way to get that release. I could be more thoughtful about who I was with and what situations I put myself in. Hell, I didn’t even have my first kiss until I was 18

      • MICHAEL
        May 25, 2012 at 2:05 pm

        I agree. Bringing up children is or can be differcult. The last thing you need is some one destroying their self worth or self esteem. Ironically the church is meant to be helping people not degrading them

    • Marty
      March 30, 2011 at 8:03 pm

      I would like to second what Jared says here. I had the same reaction, and I look forward to more specific discussions of masturbation, pornography, erotica, in marriage, and for singles from within the framework of Mormon culture. There is so much more that I think could be said and explored thoughtfully.

      Here’s an interesting academic article that might be good info on masturbation issues:
      Historical development of new masturbation attitudes in Mormon culture: Silence, secular conformity, counterrevolution, and emerging reform.
      Mark Kim Malan and Vern Bullough
      http://www.springerlink.com/content/5p211f5b48gpdglv/
      It is my sense that there has been significant devleopment of these issues in the Church since 2005 when this was published.

      I look forward to more great sexuality topics in Mormon Stories. Thanks John and Natasha.

  25. Natalie
    March 14, 2011 at 5:46 am

    Listened to the podcast today… (on the way home from Las Vegas to see the Aggies, win!) and I can relate to Cynthia’s observances. I know there was efforts to make it NOT have a Mormon bias — but I think the bias is important.

    I am fairly liberal, I don’t think I would mind porn in my relationship if my husband and I had talked about it. I think Mormons are a unique case. It is my husband’s sexual experience with me versus the porn. So while porn doesn’t really depict reality, he has more of a basis of that than of real sex — because he ever-so-faithfully saved himself for marriage. Had he had various sexual experiences with other women, and had the porn — I think he would not have this problem. Instead, the porn is more exciting.

    My husband recently revealed his addiction/compulsion, whatever you want to call it — I would classify it as an addiction simply because he can not willingly stop even if he says he wants to — to masturbate and look at pornography. It was only revealed after I confessed to being very frustrated that he did not want to be intimate with me. I am ready and willing for anything (thought that was a man’s dream!) but he doesn’t often want to have sex with me — and often when he will have sex… he “cannot perform” — I hate that word, “perform” but it seems to best explain the situation. For the past few months, he’s told me it is because I was fat or no longer exciting. I weigh 120 by the way.

    Instead, he has eventually revealed that he would rather look at these images — or just masturbate without them instead of having sex with a human. He uses it as a substitute for emotions and to deal with his problems. This was touched briefly on in the podcast — but really only for a few seconds in the masterbation problem. I think it is a bigger deal.

    And the church does have a liberal stance nowadays apparently… because we have a fairly conservative bishop, but even though he’s confessed these problems, he is keeping his temple reccommend and calling in the EQpresidency.

    As it stands now, we start the Lifestar program in April, but I’m not too hopeful of staying married. It would be my second divorce to a supposed straight-laced BYU grad returned missionary — that has only led to revelations of dishonesty and mistrust. So I am thinking a non-Mormon who knows the ways of respect and conversation without shame and guilt might just be the route for me. And next time, I am living with the man for several years before I say anything over any altar!..

    • March 14, 2011 at 3:07 pm

      I just have to say Natalie that your comment breaks my heart, as well as firing up some indignation. I am so, so sorry this has been your experience. Your description sounds like your marriage has collided with some of the worst consequences of pornography. I sincerely hope things work out for the best, and sorrow for the pain it has and will cause you to work things out, whatever the final solution may be.

    • March 14, 2011 at 3:15 pm

      This is awful Natalie. I understand a small amount – I had a good friend recently get divorced in a situation that sounds very similar. Does the Lifestar program involve couple therapy as well? Treating the individual can be crucial in these cases, but couple therapy is VERY important to really heal all the damage in the relationship. Here’s a great article that was published a few years back: http://rory.net/Pubs/EFT%20Couples%20and%20HD.pdf

      • Natalie
        March 14, 2011 at 8:15 pm

        My understanding is that it involves individual and couples therapy… I am meeting with someone on my own and he is meeting with someone on his own, and then we come together in group and couples therapy.

        • March 14, 2011 at 11:28 pm

          Good to know. I hope the couple therapy is effective! Whatever happens, I wish you the best.

    • March 15, 2011 at 4:24 pm

      This is very sad, Natalie. To me, your husband seems like a victim of the overly abstract LDS approach to relationships, codified in texts like the Family Proclamation, which values people as generic stereotypes rather than as unique individuals. He has taken and internalized the dogma that people are just images, a dogma actively propagated by the modern LDS approach to humanity (and human sexuality). One of life’s great ironies is that the abstract attitude toward human relationships that the church leadership works hard to inculcate among the youth makes those who adopt and believe it incredibly susceptible to porn addiction (as your husband experiences it, Natalie). The church actively teaches the objectification of people (strict gender roles for everyone), then reacts with horror (and incomprehension) when some of their most faithful acolytes carry that principle into the bedroom. Your husband is what happens when well-meaning folks make a habit of consistently, insistently divorcing theory from practice, assuming that the theory they have must work even when its track record in practice is (frankly) terrible.

      I really hope you find a happy solution to this problem. Whatever happens, I hope your husband learns at some point to relate to real people rather than empty images. One can masturbate to the Venus de Milo, certainly, but one cannot really make love to it. In the same vein, one can be inspired by stories about legendary figures like Jesus (or the cardboard LDS version of Joseph Smith), but one cannot live with them. One can wax eloquent about imaginary “mothers who know”, but one must live with the mothers one knows. I could blather on, but you get the point. Best wishes.

      • March 16, 2011 at 9:44 am

        Damn Hermes, you’re so freaking smart. I may be a course, vulgar dude but I can really appreciate people like you who so eloquently inspire others with your words. Thanks for sharing! :)

        • March 16, 2011 at 8:31 pm

          Thanks, Richard. I do try.

  26. Lstevekimball
    March 14, 2011 at 6:19 am

    Cynthia,
    Men look at porn welcome to reality. Don’t take it personal. No other human being can make you happy or sad, especially by looking at a picture. When people or groups like the church call something harmless a disorder or addiction and call it abnormal, they do the harm. No, actually I seldom look at porn, but the hype here in Utah on porn and the billboards for treatment make it bigger than life and it harms people just like Cynthia. Why pretend. I’m guessing Cynthia has let her mind wander to other lovers while engaging in reproductive activities. Don’t take it personal, your husband probably loves you and it only belittles you with the crazy church teachings…people are dying in Tsunami’s and Mormons are worried about masturbation. C’mon

  27. aj
    March 14, 2011 at 6:42 am

    I highly disagree with the idea that we have the ability to have “moderation” in sexuality as you have defined it here. Given that premise, members of the church should drink alcohol too, but only moderately. You can’t drink too much nor drink too little, just the right amount and you’ll be fine. Just like alcoholism can rear its ugly head with just one drink, porn addiction can happen with one photo. I’ve seen both. It is why we are asked to stay as far away from both soul destroying substances as possible. Both inhibit our ability to make good choices (they stun our ability to feel the spirit) and both can lead down paths that would wouldn’t of our own choosing. Since there is no way to know if you will become an alcoholic before you drink, we stay away from alcohol. Same with pornography.
    And yes, we have been created to be sexual but that isn’t the whole or even the focus of who we are as people. And if it is, then we should probably look a little deeper at who we are and our relationship with God. That is the bottom line for many of the comments I read above. I’m saddened that it was more about talking to a bishop or stake president than it was about sorrowing God and hurting our relationship with Him.

    • March 16, 2011 at 10:40 am

      “Just like alcoholism can rear its ugly head with just one drink..”
      Sorry, but what you write about alcoholism is just plain wrong. Claiming you have seen it is misleading and only your half of the story. It is much more complex than you pretend. Drinking moderately is not the evil monster the church makes it out to be. Neither are a great many “evils” including masturbation and erotica (called “porn” by some). Your simple and naive view on morality is hurting the world around you.

    • Jonnie Doh
      March 24, 2011 at 12:12 am

      Having read aj’s comment and a few of the responses below, I would regret it if I didn’t respond. Being an ‘addict’ myself (and realizing that there are varying levels of addiction – I classify myself as an addict only because I find myself returning to behavior that I personally would wish to stop, and experience some of the negative sides of addiction mentioned in the podcast and comments below)- anyhow, I can sympathize with some of what aj says here. In my personal experience, it really was the first exposure that led to addiction. The key to realize is that not everyone is that way. It could be the same with anything. I would venture I came quite close to becoming addicted to smoking with my first cigarette too. It took me days to shake of the craving to have more.

      I just thought I’d mention what I think of as the principle behind the ‘sensitivity’ issue. Some people are more sensitive or susceptible to certain things than others. The principle behind the Mormon ‘word of wisdom’ illustrates this. As it says, it is ‘given for a principle with promise, adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints…’. At first the word of wisdom wasn’t church law – ‘not by commandment or constraint’- which I think was to give the people time to get used to the idea, and then to abstain, not because using these substances was necessarily inherently so horrible, but it could be to the ‘weak and weakest’. I.E. the stance exists for all to abstain because of the damage that could be caused to the weak and the weakest. If the church were to say it’s ok for some people to engage in pornography and masturbation, because it could be healthy for them, but for others it could easily form habitually harmful behaviors, so if that’s you stay away from it- well, that would just be an impossibility from a moral perspective.

      So while it may be true that drinking or whatever in moderation could be perfectly fine for some, for others it would just not be possible. Same for other habitual behaviors, I think. Perhaps pornography (which I think there would be a hard way to produce it in a moral way – maybe by married couples with an exhibitionist streak?) and masturbation could be ‘alright’ for some, but for me at least, I see a problem with the way it affects my life.

  28. Adam
    March 14, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    aj, you need to check out the movie “The Peaceful Warrior”. You asked, “members of the church should drink alcohol too, but only moderately”. Yes, exactly. Are you not an adult? Are you not able to explore issues for yourself? How you feel about alcohol consumption may differ from how someone else feels about it just as your tolerance may differ. You can do whatever you want to do, you just are not free from consequence. The LDS church preaches this, it is just rarely practiced. Freedom to act yet not free to avoid consequence. That is the key, that is what mormons and many other faith’s followers struggle with, and that is, freedom has a price: responsibility. Maybe it is too great a price to pay for many?

  29. Anonymous
    March 14, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    My problem with AJ’s comment is that it is very “in the box” thinking. The majority of people who drink alcohol in the world are good, responsible and even spiritual people. Out of all the people who drink in the world very few are addicts. Out of all the “porn addicts” in the church I am sure they would not be labeled “addicts” outside the church.

    Please be careful of what you say. I come from a family of non members who drink occasionally and are some of the most incredible human beings. Careful with your “soul destroying substances” statement unless you want to offend people outside and inside the church. Even if someone is addicted to a substance or porn does not mean they have lost their soul. This kind of thinking enrages me. I have personally had addicts in my life and they are far from soul-less.

    And of course, to top it all off, the classic Mormon guilt trip in the last sentence.

  30. Martin
    March 14, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    I haven’t read the comments, but it seems to me the church is claiming pornography causes problems, whereas from the therapist’s perspective pornography is (or can be) a symptom of problems (if used “in excess”, whatever that is). That’s a pretty big difference between the two sides, if you ask me, and I don’t really feel the podcast addressed that. I feel like the church’s claim was pretty much glossed over or dismissed, rather than challenged or supported.

    • Anonymous
      March 15, 2011 at 4:27 pm

      “I think that for every lesson in elders quorum about how looking at porn is a violation of your marriage, and will rip apart your marriage, there should be a lesson in relief society about how gaining a ton of weight is a violation of your marriage and will rip apart your marriage.”

      “For every lesson in EQ about porn there needs to be a lesson in RS about how spending every dime your husband makes and more ‘for the kids’ is a violation of your marriage”

      If bad behaviors of both genders had the spotlight of contempt to the degree that porn is in the church, you’d have a lot more disaffected people.

      • Julie Echols
        March 16, 2011 at 12:30 pm

        Let’s face it…we are in desperate need of support for married couples….there needs to be a greater emphasis on skill building and how to develop and maintain a strong marriage and less emphasis on outward “behaviors”….whether it is porn for the men or having a picture perfect home and children for the women….I think it is time to give both men and women what they both need. #1 Acceptance and #2 Tools for successful relationship-building. I have been amazed at how other churches do a much better job at providing support and real-life, in the trenches training for all types of families. If family is so important to us, why are we so behind in this???

        • Julie Echols
          March 16, 2011 at 12:35 pm

          My point being that there is real pressure applied to both men AND women…just in different areas of focus.

  31. wants to be anonymous
    March 16, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    Natasha Parker,

    One thing that I listened for but didn’t hear in that podcast is from my own experience working through compulsive viewing of internet pornography. If I go one month without viewing and masturbating (has to be both) then I feel _dramatically_ different. It feels kind of like a burden has been lifted. I feel less grumpy, happier. I am more likely to help out around the house, put the kids to bed, clean the kitchen, change diapers, that kind of stuff. Have you seen that movie 28 days? I wonder if my experience involves similar biological mechanisms.

    Has anyone else noticed this?

    • Anonymous
      March 16, 2011 at 7:07 pm

      Dr. Buehler addressed this I think, indirectly, in talking about the unhealthy cycle that shame can cause in relation to pornography and masturbation (i.e., you view it > you feel terrible > you view it again to get rid of the terrible feelings, etc.). In fact, Dr. Buehler makes a good case that the “compulsion” that you developed may have been somewhat caused by the shame you feel–not the pornography. The grumpiness and unhappiness that you feel after viewing pornography was social conditioning from how you were raised. Thus, when you abstain from it, you feel good that you are living by the moral code (i.e., the conditioning) that you were raised by. Now, that said, I do think that pornography addiction exists in and out of the Church; however, I do wonder as to how much “shame” really does play in precipitating the unhealthy cycle mentioned above, particularly in the Church.

    • Anonymous
      March 16, 2011 at 7:07 pm

      Dr. Buehler addressed this I think, indirectly, in talking about the unhealthy cycle that shame can cause in relation to pornography and masturbation (i.e., you view it > you feel terrible > you view it again to get rid of the terrible feelings, etc.). In fact, Dr. Buehler makes a good case that the “compulsion” that you developed may have been somewhat caused by the shame you feel–not the pornography. The grumpiness and unhappiness that you feel after viewing pornography was social conditioning from how you were raised. Thus, when you abstain from it, you feel good that you are living by the moral code (i.e., the conditioning) that you were raised by. Now, that said, I do think that pornography addiction exists in and out of the Church; however, I do wonder as to how much “shame” really does play in precipitating the unhealthy cycle mentioned above, particularly in the Church.

  32. Anonymous
    March 16, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    First off, I want to acknowledge those in this forum that have suffered as a result of their partners’ pornography use–particularly Cynthia and Natalie (your stories broke my heart). However, I do want to thank John and Natasha for doing such an awesome interview. The Church needs to do a better job of lifting the unhealthy cloud of shame that hovers over the church members who have struggled (or struggle) with pornography and masturbation (especially our youth). By that, I don’t want to say that we should not teach that pornography and masturbation are bad, but there are definitely some prevailing attitudes and cultural mores that are very unhealthy in the church. For instance, I find it fascinating that if a ward member were to get up in Fast and Testimony meeting and talk about their past struggles with alcohol or drug abuse, we as members would, for the most part, think nothing of it. However, if a member were to talk about their past struggles with pornography, they would, largely I think, be labeled and judged by ward members for the rest of their lives. When I was in high school, I remember my seminary teacher showing us James Dobson’s interview with Ted Bundy where Ted Bundy talked about his pornography use. After watching the movie, our seminary teacher told us that if we viewed pornography, we would end up like Ted Bundy. Lessons like this are not healthy folks. What I’m saying is, I think it is good to talk to non-mormons like Dr. Buehler who can give us an outside perspective on these issues. Particularly how common, normal, and even healthy it is for humans to have strong inclinations toward pornography and masturbation. I think interviews like this will help to break through the unhealthy bubble that we have a tendency to live under as Mormons. Natasha’s interview with Dr. Finlayson-Fife also was another example of a healthy way to address these delicate topics.

  33. Bomcara
    March 16, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    Amen to Julie’s comment!!!! After having nearly lost our marriage (I won’t get into details), we found that with counseling we lacked the basic skills needed to maintain a healthy, functional relationship. The LDS framework taught us that if you went to church and tried to do your best, that God would somehow bless your life and everything would fall into place. HA! Upon reflection, my wife recalls that her YW lessons never spoke of practical solutions to basic marital challenges – ie sex, money, arguments, etc. I don’t recall my YM discussions ever approaching these subjects either.

    Our church leadership demonstrated that it can rally its membership together and raise millions of dollars to campaign for “Protecting Marriage” by defining what they feel marriage “ISN’T.” Why can’t they see that we are in desperate need of protecting the marriages we already have?!! How about using LDS power and resources to put together sponsored programs or classes that teach real life solutions to building successful, healthy marriages? I would gladly put my tithing money towards that.

  34. March 16, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    Bomcara (and others) – Having worked with Family Services, as well as a few bishops, I can say that the Church IS making an effort in the marriage-improvement/education department. NOT nearly enough yet, but they have been trying. The church needs to do a lot more from the top-down on this (making resources available AND effective, encouraging participation, etc.) AND members need to get over themselves and take advantage of services that are/would be offered. Fact is, there are a ton of people who balk at ANY kind of education or – gasp – counseling for marriages unless it’s a near-divorce situation.

    • Bomcara
      March 16, 2011 at 9:07 pm

      Thanks Shenpa Warrior! Having gone through LDS services myself, you’re right in pointing out that the church is making an effort in this area. I feel like the top down hierarchy still conveys the perception that the Gospel is an all encompassing fix to any problems that may arise in life. Perhaps this is why I too once scoffed at the idea of seeking any help/ideas outside of the church until that major crisis arrives.

      Looking back on my situation, the most valuable lesson I’ve learned is not to be solely dependent on the church to teach me (or my children) everything we need to know about life – go figure huh? :) With that said, I can’t place too much blame on the church. I hope to see the church make a more focused effort in this area.

  35. March 16, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    Bomcara (and others) – Having worked with Family Services, as well as a few bishops, I can say that the Church IS making an effort in the marriage-improvement/education department. NOT nearly enough yet, but they have been trying. The church needs to do a lot more from the top-down on this (making resources available AND effective, encouraging participation, etc.) AND members need to get over themselves and take advantage of services that are/would be offered. Fact is, there are a ton of people who balk at ANY kind of education or – gasp – counseling for marriages unless it’s a near-divorce situation.

  36. ???
    March 16, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    When I confessed to viewing pornography and masturbating prior to my mission, my Stake President’s first admonition to me was to read “The Miracle of Forgiveness”. I still remember reading things like the following, “There is one crucial test of repentance. This is abandonment of the sin. Desire is not sufficient. In other words, it is not real repentance until one has abandoned the error of his ways and started on a new path… the saving power does not extend to him who merely wants to change his life. Trying is not sufficient (p. 163).” Additionally, “Even though forgiveness is so abundantly promised, there is no promise nor indication of forgiveness to any soul who does not totally repent. . . . We can hardly be too forceful in reminding people that they cannot sin and be forgiven and then sin again and again and expect forgiveness (p. 353 & 360).”

    A few months later my when my Stake President pronounced me clean and worthy to submit my mission papers, he quoted to me D&C 82:7 “And now, verily I say unto you, I, the Lord, will not lay any sin to your charge; go your ways and sin no more; but unto that soul who sinneth shall the former sins return, saith the Lord your God.”

    As a faithful member, I took these pronouncements from the LDS prophets very literally. Consequently, when I masturbated again around 5 years later, I thought I had just given up my chance for salvation.

    The best word I have found to describe the physical and mental depression, pain, and despair that I felt is “suffocation”.

    I want to be clear. I am not prone to depression. Before this event, the thought of suicide had never crossed my mind. Between my lapses into porn and masturbation, I would go 6 months and I would be very good. I would not let myself have even the slightest lustful thought or sexual feeling. I was perfectly proper with anyone I ever dated. Just as the church encouraged, I sought for perfect obedience in everything I did.

    After months of keeping myself locked up tight, I would wake up one morning and the desire for a sexual release would be overwhelming. I would try but fail at keeping unclean thoughts out of my mind. At times I would struggle with this for days. Eventually, I would let myself be driven to relief via porn. From this 2-3 per year event, I thought I was a porn addict. Shame and depression would follow.

    Again, it was not until after I was married and on military deployment that I started using porn as a stress relief and the cycle of shame became regular and incapacitating.

    A few more observations (hopefully this makes sense): My emotional and sexual desire for my wife is not associated with any desire for pornography. I feel and always have felt a deep attraction towards my wife. I never looked at her differently because of porn. I never preferred porn over my wife. Sex with my wife and porn/masturbation are not comparable and are two completely separate things. There is nothing greater to me than the time I spend with my wife sexually and emotionally. However, since having children our interest in sex has changed. I would still prefer sex 3-5 times a week. When I attempt to push this onto my wife past, it creates tension in my marriage. Occasion masturbation (5-10 minutes and afterward, not feeling shame about it) on my part removes tension in our relationship and when we do have sex, I last longer and her experience is better (I’m probably being too honest). Shame and depression hurt my relationship with my wife much more than porn and masturbation ever did.

    Once I let go of the guilt and shame, it was if I could breathe again. The quotes above from the D&C and Miracle of Forgiveness are horrendous and unfortunately still very alive in the church today. Is it true that the teenage suicide rate in Utah is the highest in the country? My understanding of LDS theology is: In order to obtain forgiveness, one must strictly follow the 5 step of repentance for every sin that you ever commit. What an impossible task. Additionally, D&C 130:21 states, “And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.” Thus, God will only bless his children if they earn it? Should I, as a father, follow this same logic? What a despicable doctrine! This completely contradicts everything in the New Testament and Book of Mormon (which is said to be the “fullness of the gospel”). Just a few examples: 2 Nephi chapter 2 states that”salvation is free” and chapter 31 states that we are to “wholly” rely upon the merits of him who is mighty to save (100% on Christ and 0% on ourselves). I believe that Mormonism has so much potential. It could to be a good and even a true religion. But first, there is so much crap that needs to be publicly disavowed and buried. If only our leaders would “do what is right” instead of doing what maintains their authority.

    I am physically but not emotionally in the church. I’m still trying to figure this one out. Spiritually, I’ve learned that I can look to Christ, who loves me unconditionally, and live with full satisfaction. The Cooperation of the LDS Church does not hold a monopoly on salvation and peace.

    • Anonymous
      March 16, 2011 at 8:35 pm

      Thanks for your comments, ???. I think your story, especially how it led you to a better understanding of the atonement, is very powerful. I remember a college professor at BYU telling our class that “the one doctrine that we largely fail to understand in the Church is the doctrine of grace.” He went on to say that we will probably all be very pleasantly suprised at how much grace will play a part in our judgment by God. I tend to agree with him. The problem is that, as humans, we tend to think at the opposite ends of the spectrum (i.e., we must follow the five steps of repentence for every sin vs. eat, drink, and be merry because Christ has saved us all). I think it is possible to find balance between the two–even in the LDS Church.

      • ???
        March 16, 2011 at 9:47 pm

        I like how our Evangelical brother and sisters put it: There is a continuum with 2 extremes. On one side is Legalism. One the other side is License (i.e. eat, drink and be merry). The Gospel of Jesus Christ is perfectly balanced in the center.

        Eph 2:8-9 teaches that by grace we are saved through faith in Christ, and not of works, lest we should boast. Embracing the grace of Christ allows us to focus outward and to love others as Christ loved us. Not to focus inward trying to perfect ourselves.

        “And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment (1 John 3:23).”

        • ???
          March 16, 2011 at 11:20 pm

          As we look outward and focus on loving others, Christ will change us. Christ will give us a new heart.

    • ???
      March 16, 2011 at 9:51 pm

      “Corporation of the LDS Church” not “Cooperation”.

  37. George
    March 17, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    I have reached three score and ten. I was about eighteen when my dad decided to have his discussion on masturbation. Basically it was, it’s a private thing, and always clean up afterwards. He concluded with a wink and a smile.

    A few months later I joined the Mormon church. Two weeks in, I was interviewed to receive the priesthood. I left the bishop’s meeting in tears, because of the “evil” I practiced, I masturbated!

    My dad was always the brightest man I knew. I came close to destroying my life because of a bishop’s lack of boundaries. I loath the church.

  38. Levi Peterson
    March 18, 2011 at 5:31 am

    Thanks to John Dehlin, Stephanie Parker, and Dr. Beuhler for their candid discussion. I am charmed by the view the father of George (quoted just above) took on masturbation: “It’s a private thing, and always clean up afterward.” In contrast to that, my father wrote my eldest brother a long typed letter back in 1915 warning him against the “solitary vice,” as he called it.

    As for my own attitude on the subject at age 77, I can’t imagine an omnipotent, omiscient, and omnipresent deity having the slightest concern as to whether human beings relieve their sexual tension in solitude.

  39. HonestlyWondering
    March 18, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    In regards to this topic, something that has come up in our stake has me really confused. In my last two recommend interviews, the bishop’s counselor asked, “do you view pornography?”. Then in my most recent interview, the dialogue went like this….(Stk prez. counselor)”Before I ask this next question, you need to know that viewing pornography is against the law of chastity. Now, do you view pornography?” WHAT? When did THAT become part of the law of chastity? It is something that the stake prez added on his own! It is NOT part of the printed questions from the church for the recommend, and the handbook says that only the questions from Salt Lake are to be asked. So, if it is now a question, and there is an exact definition of what pornography is, then there would only be a small handful of men attending the temple, IMHO. I mean, I can get excited at times looking at an lingerie ad in the sunday paper (making it pornography to me), as much as when I occasionally look at more “softcore” stuff. Is the swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated porn? By some definitions, yes!

    You can flame me all you want for “lying”, but I don’t agree that viewing pornography should be a recommend question, and I do realize that we make covenants in the temple to avoid “….every other unholy and impure practice.” But if I don’t do everything perfectly, or engage in loud laughter, etc., does that mean I’m unworthy to enter the temple? Once the bar gets raised too high, there are going to be precious few men in the church, or of those who are, become mostly liars.

    Anyway, I would like to know others thoughts on this. Is this happening all over the church, or is it just a few stakes or what?

    • Matthew73
      March 20, 2011 at 6:26 am

      I lived in a fairly affluent stake in North Salt Lake from 1997 through 2002. Sometime within that time period, our stake presidency began asking questions along those lines in the temple recommend interviews. The questions went something like “Have you ever viewed pornography on the internet” or “do you view pornography on the internet,” or something along those lines. It’s obviously been a few years, but as I recall now the practice (of asking these questions during the TR interviews) lasted for several months, perhaps as much as a year, but no more than that. Then the stake presidency went back to simply asking the printed questions. Speculations was that they had been told to adhere to the specific questions, but I don’t know any more than that.

  40. mmmmam
    March 18, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    In response to “HonestlyWondering” ……….Politely ask the priesthood leader if this is a new question and if he is following handbook protocol. To ask a clarifying question to a church leader is totally appropriate. If they take offense when no offense was intended so be it. The handbook specifically directs leaders to stick to the questions. It seems most people have a hot button or areas of interest or concern. Leaders are no different and sometimes because of those concerns they can get caught up in trying to be the conscience of the world. We forget these leaders are just ordinary men trying to do do a very difficult task. Sometimes they do well and other times fall flat…… sort of like the rest of us.
    A final thought……….a councilor in a Bishopric or Stake Presidency do not have keys nor are they a common judge. They should not be privy to an individuals moral conduct as they do not have the mantle of authority to council and provide all of the resources available. Thus the direction to stick to the questions. For if during an interview a person feels the need to confess something they are to be referred to the Bishop or Stake President immediately.

    Overall, I would have to say this was a great discussion/podcast. We need greater understanding and more openness on these topics. It was great to hear an outside voice and realize once again how many wonderful people
    there are in and out of the LDS church. Thanks to all three of you for your time and energy and kindness.

  41. Jason
    March 19, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    The comments at the hour mark were partly relevent to my marriage, but missed one aspect. I watch pornography occasionally (using the definition here–I do look at Playboy type content more often, which my wife has defined as pornography) and it is related to a lack of bonding with my wife, an inability to express myself and so forth. However, whatever my emotional problems are, my wife is worse. One counselor diagnosed her with borderline personality disorder, but our current marriage counselor isn’t willing to go that far.

    This has created a problem where I do use pornography to find intimacy that is missing in our marriage. During my wife’s highs, where she is more intimate, sexually and emotionally, (though even then, my libido is higher than hers) I don’t look at pornography alone. (We sometimes do together. My wife enjoys it, but then feels guilty for not feeling guilty.) Unfortunately, during my wife’s lows, she pushes me away and treats me in a matter that borders on emotional abuse. My attempts to bond and relate are shunned, sometimes in very hurtful ways and I turn back to pornography.

    A second aspect of this is that during our counseling it has become clear that my wife had been accusing me of being a porn addict a) out of a need to control the entire sexual relationship and b) to demonize me and lay the groundwork for divorce. (This annoys our very LDS marriage counselor, especially since she’s ended up defending me when my wife starts getting carried away. Though I should add that my wife’s refusal to accept her part in our marriage problems and her evasive answers to many direct questions annoys our counselor even more.)

    I believe this latter issue is a big problem in the LDS culture. It allows you to stigmatize someone and deflect blame entirely onto them. When I read some of the above comments, I see far deeper problems than just the porn and the refusal to see that is causing far more problems than whatever the pornography itself is causing.

  42. Sunshine7bc
    March 20, 2011 at 12:25 am

    I haven’t even heard the podcast yet, but do have a few things to say. I am an energy coach and do deal with couple therapy in regards to sex. I do psychological acupressure and teach others on how to empower themselves. My ex-husband (both of them) did use porn and did masturbate at different times throughout our marriage. They both had affairs and have left the Church, but this was not because of the masturbation, but could be linked to the porn. However, neither are to ‘blame.’ The true problem is how my ex husbands felt about themselves. That in essence is the biggest reason why anyone does anything. If someone does not see themselves of worth, there will always be an addiction or a vice to fill its place. I never connected on a deep level with either of them. It was always the ‘ideal’ Mormon marriage that was the catalyst for the marriages. The perfect wife who stays home and has dinner on the table for her man who comes home and then cuddles with her on the couch as they eat and watch TV. This is not me. Never was. I take part responsibility in the divorces because of that. But the divorces were never about the porn or the masturbation either. It was all about how we related.

    So, I am now single, again, something I hate. :) I have a HUGE sexual appetite and feel that sex is a very normal healthy thing. I am still a member of the Church and I’m okay with how I believe. The members of the Church do overreact to this. It needs to be taught differently. People need to be treated individually and only in relation to how they feel about themselves. Once they feel loved and truly accepted by them, and empowered with the ideals of being true to whom they choose to be and pray and feel comfortable with how their relationship with their Father in Heaven, no matter what that is, then any addiction can be overcome. Sex is divine. It always has been. It is a way to bond and become ‘as one’. What you do to make that connection is up to you. Every individual is different and should be treated individually.

  43. Ozpoof
    March 20, 2011 at 3:42 am

    When you listen to a podcast like this, you start to understand why Mormon women are the most heavily medicated for depression on the planet (where meds are available of course). Sex in Mormonism is a dirty, nasty thing to be avoided at all costs and never spoken about. Then after marriage, the virgin couple who are clueless about their own pleasure let alone their partner’s start having sex for the primary purpose of having children. Once children arrive within 9 months, the learning process for both is delayed or halted. The sexual life of male humans, who are aroused visually like other higher primates, is suppressed from the start with garments that cover his spouse, and the shame she has been taught to feel about her body. She is ashamed of her needs, feeling dirty for fantasizing or focusing on pleasure centers that do nothing towards procreation. She is unable to express her needs to him, and he feels dirty when he wants to have sex more often than her (I assume).

    Mormonism stunts sexual understanding and knowledge to the level of ignorant high school kids. It also mixes in heavy doses of shame and guilt. You can bet there are some Mormon teen boys who feel as bad about a wet dream as if they had soiled their bed. That’s CRUEL and sick. I can’t imagine how young women feel being taught that her physical body is something that is dirty and there for breeding alone.

    The fact the old men running the church have such an obvious track record of poor advice, uninspired rhetoric and fear-mongering should be a red flag to anyone who may believe these men are inspired of the God who may have created humans to be highly sexual beings. If God inspires the leaders of this church, why is he telling them to fight against the biological processes and physical needs of the humans he created?

    • Buffalo
      April 4, 2011 at 8:34 pm

      Couldn’t agree more. These men have proved over and over that they are not equipped to give good council on this issue and many others. Simply put, they’re old men who are simply parroting the values they learned growing up and parroting each other. They’re not inspired.

  44. Sophia
    March 20, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    My husband and I are both products of ended eternal families due to our fathers being “porn addicts.” Too many women in the church, for whatever reason have misunderstood the men to the extent of breaking up the family over and I think it is a complex issue but all signs point to a complete bias against the men and their behavior to the extent of demonizing and speculating at what they maaay do to their daughters if they are allowed to stay married. There needs to be more talk of moderation in all things, communication, and more frank sex talk in young womens. In the mid to late 90s when I was a young women there was always sugar coated discussions that was almost code that we didn’t understand and left to the parents who obviously had no clue.
    Today, I am so glad these discussions are taking place and feelings are being hurt as a result because ALL GROWTH OCCURS OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE!!! I will be encouraging masturbation in my home when it comes up and teaching moderation in all things. Humans have an awesome ability to self regulate when they are fostered in an open environment with lot’s of dialogue. ALL topics should be allowed on the table when raising children/teens or having a relationship and parents should try to be more understanding, with less fear, more loving, and more forgiving. It’s way too easy to catch your eternal companion with porn or masturbating and shame him, drag him to the bishop, and cut him off sexually in the process ruining lives needlessly.
    On the other hand, it is always the freaks that come across all Peter Priesthood who molesting their kiddos, hiring prostitutes, and banging sheep! Something is wrong.
    Women, PUT OUT, Men, HELP OUT. It could be that simple.

    • Sophia
      March 20, 2011 at 4:41 pm

      “Porn in marriage takes away from the couple activity” Yes, but why is the man NEEDING to resort to Porn in the first place? If he/or she is looking at it once in a while because he hasn’t been laid in months because the kids, house, and headaches wedge the intimacy in marriage then it is understandable. It is sad. Such a typical situation that I feel is easily avoidable. Communication, communication, communication. Women who think ALL alternatives to them putting out, such as sexting, porn, and masturbation is cheating is a dead end street. So sad.

      • Anonymous
        March 20, 2011 at 5:36 pm

        Sophia,

        What if the church taught that regular (weekly) sexual activity in a
        marriage is a “commandment” — and spent as much time encouraging couples to
        have lots of sex as they did encouraging them to go to the temple, read
        their scriptures, or to avoid pornography. Wouldn’t that be awesome….to
        have our daily gospel worthiness checklists to INCLUDE lots of sex?!?!?!?!
        Or would it make them do it less because they were commanded to do so?

        It’s interesting to think about it….anyway.

        John

        • Sophia
          March 20, 2011 at 7:30 pm

          As is the case in all organized religion, for some it would work beautifully and others would botch it up! Silly mortals!! I like to liken it all to the Pirate code… commandments are more like guidelines than actual rules and should be treated as such. I do think in these matters too much energy is being placed in the wrong areas. “Don’t be anti-war, be pro-peace!” comes to mind! “Don’t be anti-porn, be pro intimacy” That’s how I feel about it anyway.
          On a completely off topic, your reply to my comment reminds me of my current project. For pure recreational purposes I am rewriting ‘Gospel Principals’ so that it is aligned to my beliefs.

          • Billsmith0808
            May 17, 2011 at 5:47 pm

              I LOVE it!  Lets see how many women like to experience the shame and self loathing of not being able to comply with this commandment.   Husbands will be on these forums talking about the “damage” that their disobedient wives are doing to their marriage.  their secret shame as they try to endure their wives great depravity.  Oh only if….LOL.

        • Gina Colvin
          May 6, 2011 at 4:17 am

          Whatever!! That’s a passion killer if I ever heard one!

      • bonez
        May 6, 2011 at 6:50 am

        Men are more graphical by nature, women not so much. It’s my experience that women are more inclined when the stress is lifted, when everything is secure and safe. Yes, communication, in sex as well in everything, is vital. It’s a two way street always.

  45. Surprised.
    March 21, 2011 at 12:00 am

    Best podcast on LDS sexual issues I have ever heard, anywhere!

    I wonder, if you take the church’s focus on masturbation and pornography out of the equation, if any of this would even be as much of an issue.
    |
    I highly doubt it.

    Funny thing about human sexuality, when you add guilt and shame to it, it truly gets screwed up, both for men, and for women.

    Take that away, and I would strongly contest that it would no longer be a problem. That does not mean that masterbation and pornorgraphy go away completely, but the urges and compulsions and guilt and anger, simply vanish.

    I know this from personal experience.

    The absolute best thing I ever did to overcome pornography was simply to leave the LDS church.

    It is simply no longer an issue or need in my life.

    Maybe a balanced life, one without strict religious boudaries is the best way to overcome this so-called “addiction”.

    Here is what I know, before we left the LDS church, if I ever viewed pornography it would cause pain and hurt. I hid any compulsion. I lied I decieved, I prayed I tried so hard to be good, eventually I would lose the battle and risk my relationship with my spouse.

    Contrast this with our departure from the LDS church where control and patriarchy and guilt and shame and unatractive underwhere are no longer part of the dynamic in our home.

    Porn is simply no longer an issue. If I wanted to watch it, I could with no consequence or deception necessary. And guess what……….I simply no longer need to.

    The thing that was by far more damaging to our marriage……..our relationship with the LDS church, not my relationship with pornography or masturbation.

    Our home now has far, far more peace, love and harmony then ever before while trying so hard to appear perfect and going here there and everywhere for the LDS organization.

    Is it possible, that this effort to be perfect, actually adds to the compulsion relating to these so harmful activities?

    I realize that for the LDS faithful that this line of thinking may sound completely oposite to your belief system, however, what if it is actually true?

  46. Bigskyllc
    March 22, 2011 at 1:08 am

    Sexual relations in marriage are not unrestrained.

    Even though sex can be an important and satisfactory part of married life, we must remember that life is not designed just for sex. Even marriage does not make proper certain extremes in sexual indulgence. To the Ephesian saints Paul begged for propriety in marriage: “So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.” (Ephesians 5:28.) And perhaps the Lord’s condemnation included secret sexual sins in marriage, when he said: “And those who are not pure, and have said they were pure, shall be destroyed, saith the Lord God.” (D&C 132:52.)
    Many thanks for taking the time to discuss this. / Church Construction

    • Jason
      March 22, 2011 at 6:40 pm

      This attitude infuriates me. You throw it out there without any definition. If God really believed there were restrained in married sex, he would have laid it out. (He did in the old testament; you can’t even sleep with your wife during her period.) Yet, you self-righeously proclaim what a couple may or may not do and leave it at that. Is it any wonder, Mormons have such stress about sex?

    • G Reiersen
      April 10, 2011 at 4:30 am

      I agree with Jason. What a married couple find mutually pleasurable and satisfying in the privacy of their bedroom is not the proper concern of the Church as long as there is no coercion or physical harm done. On a recent Mormon Expressions podcast, one of the participants told how when her Bishop asked her probing questions about their sex practices (for example: did she participate in oral sex with her husband), she glared at him and said “If I want you in my bedroom, I will give you a personal invitation!” He turned several shades of red, ended the interview, and signed her temple recommend. That was the last time he ever asked her intimate questions like that! Good for her!

  47. Mart
    March 22, 2011 at 12:25 pm
    • Annonymous
      March 22, 2011 at 3:54 pm

      An opinion with no fact. I found it terrible.

  48. Spider
    March 22, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    Reading about people leaving the church, considering suicide, finishing their marriages etc. has made me extremely sad. I firmly believe this is not how the gospel of Jesus Christ is meant to make people feel. It is meant to lift us up, to give us hope and knowledge that we can become better as we progress through life.

    The brethren have often said that the biggest threats to the church are gays and intellectuals – I believe there is another ‘threat’ that has resulted in more people leaving the church than either of those two, that is the ‘over-zealous’. Sure, we are meant to live the gospel to the best of our ability, and seek to constantly improve, but the over-zealous are judgmental and seek to impose their views on others as though they were doctrine. This leads to the guilt that many have described here.

    In his book Covenant Hearts, Elder Bruce Hafen of the Seventy spoke to that group when he said ‘Some of these wedges (in the church) come from rigid women, who are too narrow in the degree of personal choice and diversity they will allow in other LDS women (and I’m sure that applies to men too!)

    Examples of over-zealousness –
    1. In this blog someone writes of a Bishopric member who asked about pornography in the Temple Recommend interview – absolutely strictly against the guidelines.
    2. I came across another blog today about someone making modest clothes for their daughters Barbie dolls. Now of course if that is what she feels is right then she is free to do that, but to write a blog about it is (in my view anyway) an attempt to impose this as ‘the right thing to do’.
    3. Recently a discussion was recounted to me where a public affairs person spoke to a sister who sold modest wedding dresses and said she would like to write an article to about her to show that you didn’t have to ‘dress like a prostitute to look attractive’. Now, I’m all for modest clothing, but to suggest that people who wear the current wedding fashions by default look like prostitutes was completely outrageous.
    4. When it comes to sexuality, the ‘over-zealous’ are in their element. As a priesthood leader I still get people ask if they can have sex, other than to have children, because their mother or sister or someone else has told them they can’t. In my experience, masturbation has some negative effects, but it still is not the biggest sin. And the example cited in the comment by Mart gives a good balanced view on pornography.

    Really, we have to learn to live the gospel, faithfully, quietly and most of all, non-judgmentally. By saying ‘quietly’, I don’t mean we don’t share it, just that we don’t shout about our personal views as though they were doctrine. If we have personal views (eg. oral sex, anal sex, erotica, etc.) , we just live in our own lives in the way that we believe is right.

  49. DC
    March 22, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Thank you for the open discussion on this thread. It has caused me to reflect on my own experience and ideas about the subject. In that spirit of openness I’ve taken the liberty to note some of those reflections in a a free-flowing manner.

    I am a 40-year old male. I confine my sexual feelings and behavior to my spouse. I of course experienced most everything others have mentioned on the thread–masturbation, pornography, etc.–from adolescence into adulthood. However, I’ve held to the idea that sexual impulse should be disciplined and should be focused on the relationship and body of my spouse.

    It seems to me that the moral/spiritual framework allows or makes possible the pleasure that comes from discipline or self-denial, in addition to pleasure derived from satisfying an appetite. In yielding my sexual impulse to the authority of the relationship I am sometimes required to deny myself an appetitive pleasure (which normally I would enjoy), but this denial also has its own kind of legitimate pleasure based not no some maladaptive masochism but on an array of self-understandings including the nature of my relationship with my spouse, commitments to a religious community, and ideas about how the world (including me and my body) works and how I fit into the larger scheme of things.

    Self-denial plays a critical role in self/other awareness by reminding me that I am more than the sum of my appetites.

    I would argue that skillful love-making is a product of and an allegory of one’s disciplined mastery of impulse and appetite generally. It is disciplined, achieved performance.

  50. New2podcasts
    March 24, 2011 at 6:30 am

    Thank you very much for this enlightening and excellant information through this podcast interview. I know that many things over the years have been hammered on as bad and sinful. At this moment I recall the feelings I had as a teenager with absolutely no (zero) knowledge or info about sex and sitting in a sacrament meeting when the letter was read over the pulpit decreeing that oral sexual relations were wrong and not to be done even by married couples. All I remember was the blank inner feeling with being told what to or not to do. It definitely makes sense to me that that was not Gods word or revelation and since has opened my eyes to the many ways God has been psycho instead of consistent. No wait it is the church corporation that has been waffling and pretending to speak for God. The undertoe of the leadership of narcisizm opened the door for me to not just leave activity but pushed me out by way of need to be true to myself. The events that led me to escape were all power and control related. Regimented sex is just one of the reasons. The last thing any of us need is SLC to add yet another commandment of praying over the honeymoon victuals that we are about to recieve that they may be nourishing and strengthening. In the name of…. Amen.

    • New2podcasts
      May 29, 2011 at 8:35 pm

      My My My!!!  I recieved a text in a conversation on this topic from a lady that just makes me shake head in the reality that this praying over sex has come to be. It reads in part : … “I have a tape by an LDS sex therapist that says that we shud kneel naked 2gether as couples and ask HF to bless our intimacy and then all is fine as long as it doesnt include satanic idealic type things and if both partners r consenting.”…

      The more I find out about the evil darkness this organization uses to try to control people the more disgusted I get at those claiming to be the pure oracles of the Lord. Everyday I rethink the scriptures to be descriptive of the abominable church is the LDS church but then I come to my senses and realize that the abominable church is any being that does not have true Charity in their being.

  51. Gmon
    March 27, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    Yeah, read all the comments. I’ve been there, done that and, to a much lesser degree, still do. All the while, in significant leadership callings… The most peace and relief I’ve found is since I started practicing Eckhart Tolle’s “Presence”, absorbing the Bagavad Gita, and doing a meditation practice (thanks to a soul-mate brother, and my new friend Phil McLemore). And taking all Church leader pronouncements with a jaundiced eye:.. I deeply regret the harm I no doubt did in counseling members of the flock over the years with traditional hard-line words, and am very grateful to be out of the position of having to be (as it seemed) a full-time hypocrite. (typing this on an iPhone, so it’s fairly truncated, but then none of you really want to hear another painful story :-)). Thanks for the great interview…

  52. Guest
    March 28, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    My husband and I listened to this podcast, and I have two comments. First, just a minor comment that I hope nobody takes too seriously. I think the podcasts flow better when there is one person who is clearly the moderator. I think it was great that Natasha and John interviewed Dr. Buehler together, and I’d never change that. However, it wasn’t clear to me who was managing the overall flow of the podcast. Again, nothing major, just some feedback.

    My next comment is I wish the podcast would have spent more time discussing something that Natasha brought up. She mentioned that a lot of porn may be considered to be in bad taste. I know John joked about how you’re not going to have a nice Christian couple putting the kids to bed, but I think this is something that is worth some real discussion. From what I understand, a lot of porn stretches far beyond the bounds of having sex and primarily focuses more on humiliating the woman (sometimes nearing her threshold of pain and degradation). I know there are matters of opinion on what is in bad taste, but a lot of what’s out there is far from a “typical” portrayal of sex.

  53. Buffalo
    April 4, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    It seems to me that instead of wives blaming husbands for having a stronger sex drive than them, or husbands blaming wives for being frigid, the blame should really be placed on the church, for burdening its members with such wrong-headed, puritanical views about sex. How many LDS couples come into the marriage feeling guilty about having plain old vanilla sex? A lot, because they’ve had it pounded into their heads from day one that sex is filty and dirty and close to murder.

    The severity of most of these problems would be much lessened without the disinformation put out by the church about sex, masturbation and pornography. In conclusion – more Dan Savage, less Boyd Packer.

  54. Buffalo
    April 4, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    It seems to me that instead of wives blaming husbands for having a stronger sex drive than them, or husbands blaming wives for being frigid, the blame should really be placed on the church, for burdening its members with such wrong-headed, puritanical views about sex. How many LDS couples come into the marriage feeling guilty about having plain old vanilla sex? A lot, because they’ve had it pounded into their heads from day one that sex is filty and dirty and close to murder.

    The severity of most of these problems would be much lessened without the disinformation put out by the church about sex, masturbation and pornography. In conclusion – more Dan Savage, less Boyd Packer.

  55. Anon Again
    April 5, 2011 at 6:04 am

    Buffalo-

    You make a lot of inflamatory statements as though they are the truth when they are but your opinion based on either your own experiences or whatever. You have a right to that opinion but you proclaim it’s absolute truth the same way you complain about the zealots across the aisle proclaim theirs. Two sides of the same coin- and neither is particularly productive. Close to murder? That’s a really melodramatic, over-the-top statement that is a personal opinion presented as fact. It’s not a fact- it is your belief.

    I might also point out that MANY marriages outside the Church suffer from similar issues- differing sex drives in partners, differing comfort levels with various potential components of sexual relationships etc. As easy as it would be to lay it all at the feet of the Church, it’s really not that simple. At the same time, I agree with you that there are some serious issues for many who are taught little at home to balance out the hushed and largely non-helpful lessons at Church (it’s really the parent’s responsibility to teach sexual perimeters anyway), especially for the hard line othodox Mormons.

    I agree wholeheartedly with the posters who said more emphasis on ‘how’ is needed- how to build good skills and communication, HOW to build intimacy with the marital partner and less decrees and expectations. I believe this is happening- slowly. The older generation had a way of dealing with problems that is typical of that generation- the whole ‘stiff upper lip’ thing which has less to do with the Church and more with just the general social norms of that generation. I did note in the last Conference a change in tone that was far less hardline and absolute than I have previously seen- and I welcome that!

    • Buffalo
      April 5, 2011 at 2:31 pm

      Anon Again,

      You said: “Close to murder? That’s a really melodramatic, over-the-top statement that is a personal opinion presented as fact. It’s not a fact- it is your belief.”

      Are you familiar with LDS teachings on this subject? Have you read The Miracle of Forgiveness? Did Did you hear BK Packer’s conference talk last weekend, where he reiterated that sexual sin is only a step down in severity from murder? That’s not my opinion, that’s the twisted teachings of the LDS church. It’s also not my opinion that LDS teachings on sexuality are completely at odds with experts on sexuality and human reproduction. That’s a fact.

      I’m not saying the church is responsible for all marital sexual problems, but it CLEARLY exacerbates them.

  56. Buffalo
    April 5, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    I will also add my own experience that pornography ceased to be a temptation for me not long after I stopped believing that the church was true.

  57. G Reiersen
    April 10, 2011 at 4:45 am

    I think it has been said before, but I will say it again. Excessively puritanical attitudes about sex and pornography are two sides of the same coin. The former is what makes the latter inevitable. I don’t think it likely that you can have one without the other.

  58. Gin
    April 12, 2011 at 7:03 am

    OK so hear goes my comments, I have been married for 30 years and have been through the struggles of have pornography and masturbation as a part of my marriage since the beginning. I married a man who professed a love for God and his life focused on the values in life and was in those teachings. The beginning sex would be with me and having a playboy magazine laying above my head and the paging being turned. Coming home and finding him watching porn and masturbating while he locked the children outside. Now tell me this is healthy and I should feel great that this is what a proper relationship is between a man and woman. I have felt betrayed, like it is my fault, I find it hard to feel like a Daughter of God with this type of sexual life in my home.

    • April 13, 2011 at 2:14 pm

      Gin, thanks for sharing! Does your husband know how you feel?

      • Gin
        April 14, 2011 at 12:52 am

        Yes,for years I prayed and felt it would get better and that he would love me enough, and want an eternal marriage and family with me, for year when I would say I needed to know he loved me, he would say he was committed to me. But after all these years with a stressful beginning it has been a life full of no trust, no companionship and just getting through, I alway said I never wanted my children to have to deal with divorced parents and now my youngest has one more year of high school this has become my life the one I know and that is just what was dealt to me. I was told years ago by a bishop to never with hold sex from him and I have not, for years it was when ever he wanted sex now it is only when I have to it is hard to have sex when you feel that is all your here for.

    • Buffalo
      April 25, 2011 at 9:27 pm

      No, that’s clearly unhealthy, Gin

    • bonez
      April 29, 2011 at 4:46 am

      Clearly, Gin, your husband’s fixation on porn over his relating to you points to his lack of understanding how to relate to not only you, but likely to everyone.
      As has been reviewed elsewhere in the comments here, there are so many facets to this. Will your husband talk to you, can you sit him down and talk with him, get him to open up and share what he thinks about you, about himself? I reckon he doesn’t like to open up with you.

  59. Gabriel
    April 16, 2011 at 6:33 am

    I was somewhat disappointed with the podcast. The sad fact is that generalizing problems and solutions to porn/masturbation within marriage is no easier than defining pornography. (I accept a simple definition: any material that a person can use to facilitate sexual arousal and climax is pornographic per se. Young kids can masturbate to pictures of beautiful clothed models with provocative smiles. After years of masturbation, the demands of the serial masturbator become greater and varied.) One issue that was not adequately discussed by the panel was that the difference in typical male/female libidos makes male masturbation natural and even logical. When a man in his 30’s or 40’s desires sex daily and/or more sexual variety (e.g., oral sex, role play) to make it stimulating while his frazzled Mormon wife who spends her day chasing young children around thinks that, no matter how wonderful, conventional love-making once a week should be more than adequate, tension is inevitable. I suspect that masturbation has saved many a frustrated husband from seeking solace in another’s bed. I do believe the most important thing the panel emphasized was the need to communicate. If the husband does his deed in secret until found out by his shocked wife (who has been taught that masturbation is perverse), tears and acrimony will result. In a rational world, partners should discuss and seek to understand each other’s needs and fears and find common ground or compromise. Sadly, however, communication is not enough in a marriage where one partner believes that her position is God’s position and compromise would allow Satan into her home. Many Mormon men realize that discussing their sexual needs with their wives in this context would be to negotiate with a brick wall. They ultimately act in secret and hope for the best.

    I recognize that this is not a universal scenario–attitudes, libidos, and sexual practices are vastly varied and included both husbands and wives who use sex to manipulate their partners in unfair and even dehumanizing ways. I’m not even suggesting that all marriages can or should be saved. However, I suspect that for every wife who claims her husband’s “porn addiction” destroyed her marriage, there is a husband who will claim his wife’s dismissal of his sexual needs was the culprit.

  60. Jason
    June 3, 2011 at 5:24 am

    I wanted to suggest a few links that may help in assisting people that are looking for help with Pornography / Sexual addiction.www.lifestar.com  –  Pornography / Sexual Addiction Counseling based in SLC, UT. www.rowboatsandmarbles.org  –  LDS man in recovery that provides wonderful insights into addiction.www.salifeline.org  –  LDS couple in recovery who started a foundation to educate those that struggle with this addiction.www.outinthelight.com  –  Media driven, effort to assist women in the fight against pornography.  Many if not all of the site contributors are LDS.www.combatingpornography.com  – LDS churches site on Pornography.www.ldshopeandrecovery.com –  Online Counseling for LDS members to recieve qualified Pornography / Sexual Addiction counseling.

  61. Me
    July 13, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    I know I’m coming late to the party, but I just wanted to express my disappointment at this podcast. But then again, I am an active, believing LDS that is struggling to overcome these problems, so I was probably not your intended audience.

    And how could you possibly follow up this discussion with “Teach Me to Walk in the Light”??

  62. July 17, 2011 at 1:45 am

    Gratuate of BYU.  PhD. in psych.  Years of experience—not only with masturbation, but also the behavioral area.  LOL.  Both masturbation and porno are natural and normal, very normal.  The church approach to sex is wrong.  The church should accept human bodies and human sexuality and deal with it with an educational approach rather that the shame and guilt approach.    Youngsters should be taught to deal realistically with pandemic sex diseases and unwanted pregnancy, that the human body and sex are beautiful, rather than shameful and sinful.   The shame and guilt approach is sick and counter-productive.  There is a reason why one of the highest rates of teen suicide is in Utah.   The church creates conflict that creates terrific never resolved anxiety and depression over sex, naked body imager and masturbation, which is, of course, natural and normal.   In general, men and women are different when it comes to porn and masturbation.   Women are more verbal and many women would rather get their sexual fantasies from sexy novels, while men are more into visual imagery.   This is the way men and women evolved.  Men need to select a curvy female for procreation.  If men were not visually attracted to the coke bottle shape of a woman, women would not continue to produce female offspring with broad hips and large pelvic opening and therefore could not reproduce the larger-headed, larger-brained, more intelligent human.  In other world human females must have an intelligent rear end in order to give birth to humans with a larger brain and more intelligence.  And it is men
    through sexual selection, who makes sure females continue to have this essential intelligent rear end.  I could write a book on this.  In fact I have.   But one very small value of porn or imagery of the female body is a poweful counter-conditioning influence and in the absence of
    disease and anxiety can be used to counter-condition anxiety.  It can actually be used to counter-condition anxiety.   

    If the position of the church that young men and women growing up are never to glimplse the naked human body of the opposite until they
    marry.  This attitude and indoctrination is not only totally unnatural but totally impossible to attain, as well as destructive to self-esteem,
    feelings of self-worthiness.  Children of nudists grow up very healthy. Self-identification is simply.  Because the youngsters grow up with
    eye and nose level adults.  And can easily associate themselves with their own bodies.  Hummm,  daddy has a penis.  I have a penis just like
    daddy.   I could go on and on.  But the pattern that humans lived for millions of years was the pattern of naked indigenous tribes.   The Mormons have the tribe (very good) but they don’t have the naked tribe, which is the pattern we evolved to live, and is not only the healthiest
    developmental pattern, but is also the healthiest pattern for adults and for marriage.   Well, I am going stop here.   This is only a blog, not a
    book on how the European conquest and ethnic cleansing of the Earth destroyed human identity and the human pattern, leaving us living a
    fake, sick and dysfunctional pattern.   One last comment.  if the founder of Mormonism could seduce a few dozen women, surely, Mormon
    boys and men should be allowed to masturbate.     Forgive the typos.  Don’t have tme to edit. 

    • Me
      July 19, 2011 at 11:40 pm

      It is unfortunate that your were apparently taught that sex and the human body are shameful and sinful. The church actually does teach that the human body and sex are beautiful – but it also teaches what their true purpose is, and why they should not be defiled. If done properly (as taught in the current church curriculum) there should be no shame involved.

      • New2podcasts
        August 14, 2011 at 6:31 pm

        What planet are you on? lol. The church corporation is all about shame , guilt and sin. God is Love. Evil is the opposite and the opposite of Love is Fear. Fear is the primary motivational force used by the church corporation.

  63. Sanchiro12
    August 14, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    Perhaps it’s age and time, but I don’t believe I attend the same church that you attend, New2Podcasts. My church teaches correct principles and allows me and mine to govern ourselves. 

  64. Porn Educator
    September 1, 2011 at 5:23 am

    Wow, I am late to the party, but a Mormon friend of mine forwarded this podcast to me and I have been incensed all day about the ignorance of porn addiction by many commentors. No offense to anyone, but most of you have no idea what you are talking about or what a porn addicts wife experiences, Mormon or otherwise.I left the church years ago because it never fit me, and may be sexually scarred by the Mormon mind f___. However, I married a non mormon with no JudeoChristian background and I have to say that porn addiction and the shame it causes are insidious to all affected human beings seeking intimacy. 

    First of all, I appreciate what Mormon voices is trying to accomplish here, but I think it is evident that Dr. Buehler  may be a wonderful sex therapist for healthy couples, but she is no expert in Porn Addiction.  Therefore, for a wife of a porn addict (Cynthia, myself, and other commentators) to even consider her viewpoint is mute. 

    My first comment then is directed to Cynthia, if by some off chance she would even venture back to this page.  Cynthia, I hope you have sought  expertise outside of the Mormon tribe as well. If you haven’t already please read  Deceived by Claudia Black and The Porn Trap. Regardless or your Mormon plugs these books are insightful and extend beyond the boundaries of Mormondome.  The issue at stake here is not your beliefs about intimacy, although they are tantamount to your well being. The issue is your relational level of truth and your husband has not met you at the table. Read the books and run for your life. Honestly, have you read a blog yet where a woman stayed and was not haunted by her husbands deceit for years? The sickness is insidious to every corner of our lives and paralyzes us from living our life because we spend a lifetime consumed by our spouses sickness. Why should you and your children spend the rest of your lives suffering under his sickness. You didn’t sign up for that. Three years is enough for me, thank you very much.

    For a year I have been researching this matter in secrecy so that my friends and family wouldn’t know of my fate. Afterall, this wasn’t supposed to happen to me.I was smarter than that. I was hot and an incredible catch and waited a long time for the real deal to come into my life. Mormon sexuality issues have nothing to do with my illfated love affair gone bad.  My husband’s deceit from the getgo are the cause. Plain and simple. And any of you who dare to tell me different or lay any of this on me or any other woman for not being sexual enough at any level are ill educated about porn addiction or porn addicts themselves who live the lie. Although, like you I did blame myself for the duration of our time together as I constantly sought answers. I hope there are other wives of porn addicts whohave read this and stayed silent and will listen to me, because you know what I am talking about. For  all of you others who have commented and have little experience in this arena, you should zip it.   

    Let me graphicly educate you on porn addiction.  Porn addicts don’t look at naked women for pleasure. That is so has been.  Porn addicts look at 18 year olds being penetrated by 8 guys at once every way unimaginable. Porn addicts look at women getting f-ed my horses. Porn addicts look at teenagers getting raped. Porn addicts look at men in circles of 10 other men. Porn addicts mentally undress women whenever they are out and about with their families. Porn addicts leave their babies in cribs for hours while they vanish into their porn land or like someone else mentioned lock their kids outside. Porn addicts are overly interested in 13 year old babysitters or their own kids friends. Porn addicts ignore their wives sexually, physically, emotionally, and generally. Porn addicts go to escorts, massage parlors, prostitutes. Porn addicts become easily aggitated and lie and twist and rage at their partner for their mere physical proximity. Porn addicts don’t look their partners in the eyes on a daily basis because of their deceit. Porn addicts lie lie lie until their spouses become likewise liars to themselves.

    Those of you that suggest a woman ‘talk to her husband’ about this issue give me a good laugh.  A wife cannot even speak to her porn addict hubby about the dry cleaning; how in the world is she supposed to talk to him about the affect his pornification is having on her and the family. 

    I have read countless articles and blogs on the issue as well as counseling with old church leaders. The rate of recovery for Porn addiction is a staggering three percent. That is not good odds for keeping a marriage together.  Not to mention how Pornography changes the brain chemistry of a person and completely renders them unable to have intimacy with living beings at almost any level. 

    I realize I am completely ignoring the Mormon issues of shame and masturbation here and this is ‘Mormon Voices’, however I say hallelujah to the church at some level for trying to fight this ugly Monster of pornography. Perhaps that is ignorant of me, but I would venture to guess the Mormon church is not alone in their fight against pornography. There are numerous Christian organizations that are involved in the quest.  To blame the church for the shame of it all (pardon the pun), is a shame.  Parents need to take much more responsibility for educating their children about all sexual matters and if the church is guilty of some level of mind think that is preventing that then yes Mormons need to be deprogrammed. 

    I also realize that I am not addressing human sexuality desires and sexual differences driven by gender, and I choose not to.  I know plenty of men in and out of the Mormon church who are so thoroughly engaged in good activities and pursuits that do not choose to spend their free time pornicating. 

    In summation, what I am really trying to say to those of you ignoramus that think like I once did before I became a victim of this disease,that the woman of a porn addict is homely or nonsexual or somehow brought this on themselves and is somehow a responsible party in this sexual deviance somehow is utterly wrong.   The error of the victim is enabling the addict by staying silent and living the lie.

    I don’t discount the shame the church has allegedly instilled in us regarding shame and masturbation, what really warrants discussing is the subservience and acquiesence of women who are counseled to help and stand by their man and own his problem.(Which is a whole other topic of discussion. Does the church really believe in imperfection?)  Do you know what it takes for an addict to own their problem?  Addicts twist and convince their spouses they are the problem.  Spouses you are not the problem.  Follow Sandy Bullock and gracefully get the fuck out of your husbands twisted dark world. Come into the light…Mormon or not! Which brings me out on a ledge to say the following to the woman who was upset that her husband had to stand in the same room for therapy as the pedofile. Wake up sister. How do you know your husband is not headed there? Perhaps, that was his wake up call. Put spy ware on your computer and see what really lurks in his fantasies.  Your husband is not 2 people: the honorable church man and the pornicator. He is one. Which one is he really? Do you know what forensic psychologists said about the Craig’s List Killer? People wondered how such an upstanding man could toy with such sadomasochism and hide that side of himself so well; when actually he was the guy in hiding fooling everyone into thinking he was an upstanding man.  Scary isn’t it.  I hate to be so extreme, but the Porn Industry is no friend to its clients as misguided as our porn loving female stated. Talk to us in 5 years about how great your marriage was.

    Forgive me for my frankness and lack of eloquenc and if this is the wrong place to share my voice, but this is the brutal truth of a real porn addict’s wife. Perhaps, in my husband’s case (soon to be x) the church would have saved him from himself and given him some other outlets and hobbies to deal with whatever pain that his Porn dabblings masked in the beginning.

  65. September 3, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    I have come a long way in my own self healing as well as the healing in my family. Not just me and my husband but me, my siblings, their children, my mother and father. Many of them suffered from pornography issues, molestation and sexual abuse as well as deep self hatred. Four years ago all seemed lost and with out hope and that I would have no choice but to disconnect from my family’s instense destructive history and tendency. Today we are like a whole new family. The healing that has occured is immeasurable. Let me share with you some food for thought that may help you find healing in your life.
    Shame, guilt, fear, self-hate, blaming, anger, etc…. they are ALL negative that fuels darkness. Love, hope, faith, forgiveness, self-acceptance, joy, etc…. they are ALL positive that fuels light!!!! Can you think of ANYTHING in the world that you can pick up that is literally dark, like the black of night, to throw into a room to make it dark? I can’t either. The point here is this. There are COUNTLESS things in this world that are literally providers of light that you can throw into a room to make them light. When someone is in the depths of despair and sin and pornography addiction they are compltely encompassed in the DARK!! Continuing to badger or be disappointed in them is just like cutting the power off to their already dark house. But loving them and doing something similar to the following you are literally bringing in the flashlights and candles and turning on the breakers in their house so light can shine again.

     The following was extracted from the following link: http://nourishedmagazine.com.au/blog/articles/ho%E2%80%99oponopono-lessons-from-hawaiian-shamanism


    Ho’oponopono: Lessons from Hawaiian Shamanism
    By Joanne Hay
    When my mother-in-law has her intermittent emotional upheavals, or my [tag]children[/tag] insist on fighting with each other it’s very tempting for me to punish them or dismiss them for their bad behaviour and walk away. But does this really help me or them? I could talk to them sensibly about their needs and mine and try to figure out how we can both get them met. I could offer them advice or help or even bribes. I could calmly reason with them until the cows come home. But the probability of these maneuvers working and me getting the peace I yearn for is always hard to determine.A while ago I received an email which changed the way I think about my reality altogether. The email was an excerpt from an book written by Joe Vitali (you can see him in The Secret) about a Hawaiian shamanic practice called Ho’oponopono. This practise, we can all do. Here’s what Joe says about this amazing practice:“Two years ago, I heard about a therapist in Hawaii who catalysed [tag]healing[/tag] in a ward of criminally insane patients without ever seeing any of them. The psychologist would study an inmate’s chart and then look within himself to see how he created that person’s illness. As he improved himself, the patient improved. When I first heard this story, I thought it was an urban legend. How could anyone heal anyone else by healing himself? How could even the best self-improvement master cure the criminally insane? It didn’t make any sense. It wasn’t logical, so I dismissed the story.However, I heard it again a year later. I heard that the therapist had used a Hawaiian healing process called Ho’oponopono. I had never heard of it, yet I couldn’t let it leave my mind. If the story was at all true, I had to know more.I had always understood “total responsibility” to mean that I am responsible for what I think and do. Beyond that, it’s out of my hands. I think that most people think of it that way. We’re responsible for what we do, not what anyone else does, but according to Kahuna philosophy, that is just the beginning.The therapist who helped those mentally ill people taught me an advanced new perspective about total responsibility. His name is Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len. We probably spent an hour talking on our first phone call. I asked him to tell me the complete story of his work as a therapist. He explained that he worked at Hawaii State Hospital for four years. The ward where they kept the criminally insane was dangerous. Psychologists quit on a monthly basis. The staff called in sick a lot or simply quit. People would walk through that ward with their backs against the wall, afraid of being attacked by patients. It was not a pleasant place to live, work, or visit.Dr. Len told me that he never saw these patients. He agreed to have an office and to review their files. While he looked at those files, he would work on himself. As he worked on himself, patients began to heal. After a few months, patients that had to be shackled were being allowed to walk freely. Others who had to be heavily medicated were coming off their medicines. And those who had no chance of ever being released were being freed. I was in awe. Not only that, but the staff began to enjoy coming to work. Absenteeism and turnover disappeared. “We ended up with more staff than we needed because patients were being released, and all the staff were showing up to work.” Today, that ward is closed.This is where I had to ask the million-dollar question: “What was Dr Len doing within himself that catalysed such deep healing?” He said he was simply healing the part of himself that created them. I didn’t understand. Dr. Len explained that total responsibility for your life means that everything in your life, simply because it is in your life, is your responsibility. In a literal sense the entire world is your creation.This is difficult to understand! Being responsible for what I say or do is one thing. Being responsible for what everyone in my life says or does is quite another. Yet, the truth is this: if you take complete responsibility for your life, then everything you see, hear, taste, touch, or in any way experience is your responsibility because it is in your life. This means that terrorist activity; the president, the economy or anything you experience and don’t like is for you to heal. They don’t exist, in a manner of speaking, except as projections from inside you. The problem isn’t with them, it’s with you, and to change them, you have to change yourself. This is a challenge to grasp, let alone accept or actually live.Blame is far easier than responsibility, but as I reflected on what Dr. Len was teaching, I began to realise that healing for him means discovering [tag]love[/tag] as yourself. If you want to improve your life, you have to heal your life. If you want to help someone heal, even a mentally ill criminal, you can do it by healing yourself.I asked Dr. Len how he went about healing himself. What was he doing when he looked at those patients files? He replied: “I just kept saying, “I’m sorry” and “I love you”, over and over again”. That is all he did! Experiencing love within yourself is the greatest way to improve yourself, and as you improve yourself, you improve the world.I decided to practise this method one day when I became upset after reading an email that someone sent me. In the past I would have handled it by working on my emotional hot buttons or by attempting to reason with the person who sent the message. I kept silently saying, “I’m sorry” and “I love you”. I didn’t say it to anyone in particular. I was simply evoking the [tag]spirit[/tag] of love to [tag]heal[/tag] within me what was creating the outer circumstance. Within an hour I got an email from the same person. He apologised for his previous message. Keep in mind that I didn’t take any outward action to get that apology. I didn’t even email him back. Yet, by saying these two simple phrases I somehow healed within me what was creating the separation within him.I later attended a seminar run by Dr. Len. He’s now 70 years old, considered a grandfatherly shaman, and is somewhat reclusive. He praised my book, “The Attractor Factor”. He said that as I improve myself, my book’s vibration will raise, and everyone will feel it when they read it. In short, as I improve, my readers will improve. I asked about the books that have already been sold and in circulation. His reply blew my mind with its simple yet profound, mystic wisdom: “They aren’t out there, they are still within you”. In short, there is no “out there”.It would take a whole book to explain this advanced technique with the depth it deserves. Suffice It to say that whenever you want to improve anything in your life, there’s only one place to look: inside yourself. When you look, do it with love.”No longer is my [tag]success[/tag] linked to the actions or beliefs of others. No more do I need to reason, manipulate, beg or bribe. I just forgive. Now when my mother-in-law is having outburst I say to myself, “I love you, I’m sorry” and I really mean it. This is not always easy but if I just keep in my mind I’m responsible for everything in my reality, I feel so much more free. How about you? Try it out and let us know what happens for you.”Another tid bit of food for thought. Do you know what the traditional Aboriginal form of discipline use to be? When someone in the tribe had comitted a crime the following was the punishiment: They would take the offender and place them in the middle of the tribal circle. Then everyone in the tribe would circle around. Then every SINGLE member of the tribe would tell the offender how much they loved them. The rate for crime reoccurance was almost zero!LOVING them as well as learning to love yourself is what will bring the healing and change!!! Love WAS the teachings of Christ. Even with the adulterous woman, he loved her regardless and did not chastise her for he choices, he just loved her….God bless and may heaven and all of it’s angels bring each you healing and wholeness and hope for a brighter tomorrow and a fulfilling future. Namaste.JoAnna Ashley
    Wife, Daughter, Mother, Daughter of God, Energy Healer and Believer of a Brighter tomorrow for all :) https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Healing-4-Bodies/114305931936528

  66. xi
    September 9, 2011 at 5:47 am

    Too many comments, and many of them too long!  I didn’t even listen to the podcast, but I feel like I have a pretty good idea what it said.  Many of you will probably laugh at what I’m about to reveal, but as I was growing up, I never heard any counsel about masturbation.  Zero.  It was never mentioned.  Especially not by my parents.  I had to look it up in the dictionary when I heard it at school, and realized that it was exactly what I was doing in my room behind locked doors.  I looked up all sorts of church books and never found anything in there about it.  Even the institute manual for marriage prep had nothing.  I’m 22, still single, still active, and still learning how to self regulate, and it is open, frank boards like these that every Mormon should read.  People need to know, but I’m afraid it will never come from the pulpit.  It IS to delicate for EVERYONE’S ears, but not too delicate to pretend it doesn’t exist.  Again, People need to know.

  67. Anonymous this time
    September 13, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    While I thought there were some good aspects to the podcast, overall I was disappointed; I’m not sure how useful it is for church members to have someone as a guest who, even though certainly competent in her field, doesn’t instantly see the moral questions raised by sexual behavior per se. Certainly there might be an evangelical Christian (for example) sex therapist out there who shares LDS values who might have something to say that someone like Dr. Buehler could not. It just isn’t helpful to say that something’s automatically OK if it’s something both spouses agree to.

    All that said, I’m not taking a prudish position here. And I do think it’s better to look at porn and (sometimes) masturbation as a symptom rather than a problem in itself.

    Nor do I think something is wrong simply because the church says its wrong; ideally, the church says something is wrong because it’s harmful to us. One aspect of porn (or even erotica) that was barely touched on during the discussion was how it can set up realistic expectations. Although I am fortunate to be married to a knock-dead gorgeous wife, not all of us are in that position, but much porn/erotica sets up standards of looks that are impossible for many real-world women to meet. Porn/erotica (and I’m including in that definition for now even many mainstream movies at TV shows) can set up the expectation that women are willing to engage in sex anytime, anywhere, and that’s not realistic, even in a healthy marriage. I just think that there is a lot of material out there (and it doesn’t have to meet the standard definition of porn) that can cause men to think that their wives are inadequate (or make women think they’re inadequate because they aren’t as good as the fantasy figures of entertainment). Like I said, one issue I had with the podcast is that this whole general issue of the creation of unrealistic expectations was barely addressed.

    I do appreciate the effort to encourage open discussion on this topic; I just think that this podcast could have been more more helpful than it was.

  68. New2podcasts
    September 25, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    Has anyone ever gone to the Old Testament and read the short verses comments about Onan? The christian world as well as the mormon world falsely claim that Onan masturbated and that was the sin. If you read the verses in the King James version it plainly describes that Onan decided to have sexual intercourse as commanded (by whom – who knows) but to not offer sireship to offspring. He “spilt it on the ground”. In other words he had sexual intercourse for the fun of it and exitted in time to prevent pregnancy. It isn’t about a handy relief of pressure, it is about a free ride.

    Genesis 8:388 And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother’s wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother.
    Genesis 8:399 And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother’s wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother.

  69. Kathy
    October 11, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    I am 21 year old women.I am a member of the church. I started masturbating after I broke the law of chastity. This helped me stay away from committing this sin again. I do not do it as often and it doesn’t control my life. I have been 2 years without doing anything sexually with a guy. Also, I berly found out the church considered this a sin and I have been a member since I was 7. It is kind of sad because I personally believe that as long as you are using it for something good, and it is not urging you to do something bad, then it is ok to do it. You just need to learn  how to use it and how to control it. 

  70. bonez
    October 11, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    Kathy:
    I am glad that you are balanced enough to let yourself play and explore. I agree that masturbation is far better than getting into serious trouble through sex with a partner. It is sad that your perception has changed a bit on this. Rather than feel sad and discouraged, take what works for you (masturbation) and apply to your life. I think you have the right perspective on it and that when used and controlled it can be a blessing in your life and not a hindrance.

  71. Kathy
    October 11, 2011 at 11:48 pm

    I feel like I know how to use it and I can recognize when is harming my mind. But honestly, I heard about this being a sin just yesterday, and I am feeling very sad about it. I want to continue doing things the way I thought where fine, but I also want to please God. I love the gospel, and I want to make sure that god is ok with me. I got an interview so I can get my patriarchal blessing last sunday and I didn’t mention this to the bishop because i didn’t find it necessary since I hardly do it. But I want to make sure I am worthy enought to get the blessing. At this point, im just confused and down.

  72. Anonymous
    October 12, 2011 at 12:15 am

    You are in the right place here, Kathy. We all care about you and want to see you flourish in the Gospel and in your life, in every way. We all have varying opinions on Masturbation and on every other topic explored here.
    Please, share what it is that confuses you and we can then more clearly see how to help you understand where you are and how to be happy, and more importantly at peace with who you are and what you do, how you behave.
    nephi12@hotmail.com

  73. Kathy
    October 12, 2011 at 12:52 am

    Exactly that is what is confusing…the fact that everyone has different opinions about it. I am very excited to be worthy of entering the temple by keeping the law of chastity. I wanted to know if it is ok to see masturbation the way i do. Leaders hardly ever  touch this topic and the scriptures aren’t very clear about it. i understand that it can lead you to bad things when done very often. but honestly, the way i do it..is to encourage me to keep the law of chastity so one day I can enter the temple.

    • me
      October 12, 2011 at 7:52 pm

      If you have questions, the best person to ask would be your bishop, not some random people on a blog. :)

      • HalfMormon
        October 16, 2011 at 7:44 pm

        It’s likely that people who are commenting here (including me) have sincerely been to a bishop multiple times.  The people here are anything but “random bloggers.”  We’re here because we’ve been painfully dealing with issues about our faith for a long time and it’s safe to discuss them here.  

        The church wants members to see bishops as representatives of God who can get revelation to make-up for any lack of knowledge and experience they may have.  But the reality is that most are just nice guys trying to do the best they can.  And the best they can is often very naive and unhelpful, despite the good intent.      

        • Anonymous
          October 19, 2011 at 4:34 am

          Personally, I’ve had very good experiences talking to bishops in several wards throughout my life about these issues. It’s great if masturbation is helping you keep from breaking the law of chastity any further, but I don’t think it’s really in keeping with the law of chastity in itself, and if you examine the current church lesson manuals I think you’ll agree that that’s what’s being taught. If you do see your bishop, which you really should to help clear your conscience if you’re worried about it, he’ll likely just tell you to stop doing it, and he may follow up later to see how things are going if he feels it may have become a habit or addiction. Unfortunately, masturbation is very addictive and it’s better to leave the feelings it creates for marriage, when they can be shared with your spouse.

          • Anonymous
            October 19, 2011 at 4:43 am

            This might be helpful:

             “Before marriage, do not do anything to arouse the powerful emotions that
            must be expressed only in marriage. Do not participate in passionate
            kissing, lie on top of another person, or touch the private, sacred
            parts of another person’s body, with or without clothing. Do not allow
            anyone to do that with you. Do not arouse those emotions in your own
            body.” https://lds.org/youth/for-the-strength-of-youth/sexual-purity?lang=eng

        • Anonymous
          October 19, 2011 at 4:50 am

          Also, I should point out that bishops and other leaders have recently been receiving a lot of training in this area. The church realizes it’s become a huge problem and is taking steps to be much more helpful.

  74. Anonymous
    October 12, 2011 at 1:05 am

    Kathy:

    I understand the confusion. Masturbation is a topic that many find hard to express vocally, i.e., difficulty in even saying the word, for those ‘in the Church’. It’s confusing because there is very little concretely written and dispensed about it. I see masturbation the way you see it, and I reckon that many here see it similarly. If masturbating encourages you to keep the law of chastity, which then will lead you to entering the Temple to be married and sealed, then Play On. If you are OK with what you do, then rule out and tune out the negative voices around you. They don’t know everything. You might want to wander over to this site, to get more ideas on this and many others: http://www.ldssexuality.com  This referenced site isn’t for everyone so your ‘mileage may vary’ but I am betting you’ll learn some new and enlightening things!

  75. kathy
    October 12, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Sanchiro:
    Thank You.
    Another Recovering Addict: I don’t want to take it to the bishop because he is the type of guy who thinks that even a passionate kiss can be considered breaking the law of chastity..so I am scared of what he will say.

    • Anonymous
      October 13, 2011 at 4:04 am

      I wasn’t 100% sure, but had a sneaking suspicion that you would mention this. Instead of acting out of fear and prejudice about what your Bishop might think or say to you, try taking this approach: Take stock of how you feel, the status of your testimony, your self-esteem, how you relate to God and Christ, and then make the decision to act and speak and portray what will benefit you, i.e., be a diplomat. Learn what things must be shared, in brutal honesty, and which things should be jealously guarded, only to be shared with those who understand and appreciate.
      I hope never to be a Bishop, but if I were, I’d do everything I could to lead a Ward with enlightened members, who get the full message with all the details, about every aspect of life. I’d want to lead and have members feel free to talk about any topic, including sexuality and all it entails.

  76. Half Mormon
    October 16, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    To me, this discussion spent too much time on generally accepted counsel and not enough on Mormon-specific counsel.  To a believing Mormon, 90% of what was said would be discounted as “the world’s perspective” that discounts the damage of sin on one’s soul.  It’s not about empirical studies and personal experience.  It’s about what the leaders say in the most updated version of “the manual.”  “The manual” has evolved over the years on sexual issues (birth control, modesty standards, etc…), to the extent I disagree with them, I am heeding the influence of Satan.  

    I used to be a believing Mormon and my wife still is.  So this discussion had merit for me, but I don’t think she would have lasted longer than 15 minutes.   We’ve had many of those “sit on the sofa” discussions and they’re usually very painful because of the chasm in our core beliefs.  It usually comes back to me being willing to adapt to her value system because that was the basis that our marriage was built on.  Little chance of her compromising on anything she perceives as a sin.  That said, we still love each other and our kids and are working at figuring this all out.  

  77. Anonymous
    October 17, 2011 at 1:56 am

    Can I ask, HalfMormon, what concept or notion became untenable for you about Mormonism, to lead to your change in belief?

  78. get over it
    October 20, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    I am mormon and look at porn.  It is fun.  Occassionally, my wife looks at it with me and we really enjoy it.  When I first became a high priest (at too young an age) I felt so ashamed about it.  I talked to my wife and we quickly realized it wasn’t a big deal.  Like oral sex in marriage isn’t a big deal (altho the church says otherwise).  You need to ask yourself, why does the mormon chuch have such a intense interest in the personal sexual life of it’s members?

    If the mormon church spent as much energy on helping the poor and needy as it does on attempting to regulate the behavior of it’s members it would have far more credibility.

    • Anonymous
      October 23, 2011 at 2:18 am

      The church has such an intense interest in the personal lives of its members because families and lives are being destroyed. If you’re really a high priest, and you have these attitudes, you’re right, you did get ordained too young. You’ve got some spiritual maturing to do.

      • Closms
        November 26, 2011 at 9:55 am

        Hey Anonymous, You seem to have some insight into get over it’s life that the rest of don’t have. You must have amazing powers to be able to divine how pornography is destroying his relationship with his wife when the only datapoint that we have is the statement “occasionally, my wife looks at it with me and we really enjoy it.”.

        OK, OK, I’m being sarcastic. Seriously though. Where is the “destruction” that porn has brought to his life and family?

  79. anonymous
    October 27, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Some of you may be interested in this free ebook titled “Understanding Pornography and Sexual Addiction – A Resource for parents and leaders”: http://salifeline.org/understanding_pornography_free_download/

  80. anon also
    November 12, 2011 at 6:53 am

    Sex is as important as eating for the survival of the species, so the urge is strong. When we had a growing family, my need for sex was substantially greater than my wife’s. I had not masturbated for 15 years but for two reasons started. My sexual response was diminishing, no pleasure, because of lack of frequency. Secondly, I disliked imposing my short desire schedule on my wife’s substantially longer schedule. It was a relief all the way around.  I wish I had understood that sooner.

    Now I am on the fringe of old age. The adage is true, use it or loose it. The intimacy and pleasure of sex is so substantial that I do not want to loose it. In order to maintain that competency I have had to maintain sexual exercise to stay in shape. Without that constant exercise I know my sexuality will go away. In this quest for sexual competency mild pornography has helped. (Can I say that I am grateful to the people who make non-abusive porn available? I know, however, that the existence of the non-abusive porn means that there is the abusive porn, and I am contributing, maybe…)

    I know that this point of view is a minority view in the Church. I am sure, for example, that many men welcome the decline of sexuality in older age as a reduction in temptation. I, however, think that my sexual attention to my wife is an honor to her. Those few hours a week in physical intimacy multiply the pleasure of our total relationship.

  81. GuestJ
    November 19, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    I am a wife of a porn addict. No one can truly understand all that it has done to our marriage and relationship. It has eaten into so many aspects of our life. I can see how selfish my husband is because of the hold of this addiction on his behavior. He will ignore me and our children. His priority is himself. I have lived through all his cycles of lies and excuses for his behavior. There are issues in our marriage now with trust, honesty, prioritizing, etc. I never would have guessed that a seemingly small choice of his own would affect me and our children so profoundly. I don’t know that I can even truly express how much it has caused a wedge between our communication and emotional relationship, physical, too, so that another can understand. I can see how things could be better and we can get past this. It isn’t truly so much about the porn itself, (yes that hurts and causes pain), but for me at least, it is about the affects on other aspects of his character that hurt more.

  82. maverick
    November 28, 2011 at 2:11 am

    Just want to post some questions if you will not mind 
    Have we considered the crimes commited against women,teens and children   and to those individuals  in the porn industry itself. I know this is a very complex issue. Recent study also shows that this is not only a problem for men that the porn industry have begun shifting their focus on women who are becoming incline to watch porn as well .I do not want to generalize but sexual crimes and killing because of sexual crimes could be eradicated or lessen if the porn industry is stop being patronized. 

  83. maverick
    November 28, 2011 at 11:04 am

    Check this link  http://www.shelleylubben.com/internet-porn for info  on the danger it pose to our girls and women

  84. maverick
    November 29, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    Just another case to add on the danger of pornography  http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2011/11/27/the-sex-addiction-epidemic.html?obref=obinsite

  85. Rodrigo Bautista
    December 1, 2011 at 9:04 am

    I apologize for posting this  but please see if the  sickness of this man is related to watching  hard core pornography http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/01/us/arizona-serial-killer-mark-goudeau-gets-death-sentence.html?_r=1&ref=us

  86. Rodrigo Bautista
    December 1, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    Sex is part of marriage and needed read the link http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/102927/french-man-ordered-to-pay-wife-10000-euros-for-lack-of-sex

  87. Jonnyboy
    December 8, 2011 at 11:03 am

    I wish I would have had mormon stories during my teenage years.  Like many who have shard on this comment board I “struggled” with masturbation and reading erotic stories.  I never viewed porn (at least not that I really remember).  I preferred reading, but still experienced the same guilt cycle of indulgence and self loathing.  I served a mission, during which time I made mistakes, but never confessed because “it is between me and the Lord and I am trying.”  It wasn’t until after I was home and married in the temple that I realized that that first part of that rationalization was incredibly powerful.   I decided to indulge my sexual self while my wife (prone to the mormon good girl syndrome) adapted to this new part of her experience, sexuality.  We have been married for two years now and she is making great progress in developing that part of her being, but she is still tied down many cultural moors.  In this time I have realized that self indulgence has not impeded my relationship with Deity, nor my relationship with my wife, and I am still active in my ward, serving in nursery.  We are planning on beginning a family in the coming year and I feel that the greatest thing that I can give to my children, especially my daughters (and indirectly future son-in-laws) is a sense of self sexuality.  Masturbation, erotica enjoyment, etc will not be proscribed in my home, but rather prescribed.  Sexuality is a gift that transcends marriage status, and my children will be taught appropriate levels of sexuality, as opposed to being not sexual at all until marriage.  After all the years of guilt and self-loathing, realizing that all along there was nothing to justify that guilt and loathing, I hope that I can raise some of the future generation to have a more healthy view of sexuality and themselves.

  88. Anonymous
    December 30, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    I don’t think God minds if my wife and I give each other oral sex.  I don’t think God minds if there’s “manual” stimulation going on.  I don’t think he minds if I set up a camera and video tape us having sex, I don’t think he minds if I watch it later, provided I keep others from viewing it.  Sorry to disagree with the “establishment” who has the audacity to think that they can sit in judgement about what is or is not sin.

  89. 2cents
    March 13, 2012 at 1:58 am

    I have to say that as someone who struggles with porn and masturbation, I think too many people brush it off as nothing. Accusing the wife of a porn addict of being selfish because it hurts her is hypocritical. The husband is being selfish if he refuses to quit masturbating or viewing porn despite knowing that it hurts her. It doesn’t matter what your religion is, if you’re doing something that hurts the one you love, you should probably do what you can to stop hurting them.

    I am a woman and I have struggled with pornography since I was seventeen. Thirteen, if you count written. I first masturbated when I was seventeen. But it didn’t bother me too much until I met my fiance. I wanted to stop, because I knew it would hurt him if he found out. I kept it secret, despite my telling him that honesty was the most important thing in my life. I didn’t do it because he wasn’t attractive, or that I wanted something better. I just liked the incredible feeling of an orgasm, and it seemed to relieve so much stress. But it made me feel guilty, because I couldn’t seem to wait for him so we could be sexual together.

    We both admitted to masturbating, but I think it really frustrated him. I hear women are supposed to be able to have multiple orgasms and what not, but I guess I’m strange. I have one, and then it just takes a lot of effort for another. I get impatient and turned off, and he’d get frustrated because he couldn’t enjoy pleasing me because I’d already pleased myself. And it went the other way around as well. It was frustrating for both of us.

    Awhile ago we both admitted to watching porn. He told me he didn’t care about it because he didn’t view it as cheating and he didn’t mind me masturbating to it as long as it didn’t interfere with us. But I realized that it really bothered me, and I kept my mouth shut. Suddenly he started texting me in the middle of the night or at odd hours, asking me what he could do better, and what I had liked in porn.  Asking if he should shave, or gain more muscle, or if I thought he was big enough. It obviously affected him to the point where he was wondering if he was good enough. He voiced his concerns where I could not.

    Awhile after this we talked again about it. He told me again that he didn’t care, but this time I said I did. At this point, after being completely honest with him about it, I had not viewed porn for a month, which was a record. I told him I thought our marriage life would be better if we both made an effort to quit. He said he would quit if we talked about it in length. So we discussed it, and after that agreed never to view it again. I know men always get the bad wrap for porn, but ironically he’s the one who has been able to refrain. I’m the one who is struggling. But we are honest with each other, which is the important thing.

    I guess it was different for me since I’m not married yet and have experienced porn unlike most women. I think I would feel more betrayed if I felt that I had been lied to for years. Despite us being open and honest about it, it still made us both insecure. I think it took a degree of selflessness for us to agree upon trying to quit. I know I’m a woman and so I don’t “know how it feels” for a man, but I’m struggling too and I realize it is not something that is unstoppable. It is hard, but you can control yourself. And while I feel it is natural to masturbate, if it hurts your partner, then you shouldn’t be doing it. End of story. You can’t blame someone else for your actions, because the only person you have control over is yourself. I will say that being open and honest always helps, at least it did for me.

    Again, to say that a wife/husband is being selfish because they are upset with their spouse for porn or masturbation is ridiculous. The person who can’t control themselves is the one who is selfish, no matter the reason why they do it. I try to justify it to myself to, but in the end I am dead wrong. My continuing is selfish because it hurts my partner. That is why I want to quit. I am not powerless, I am just weaker than I would like to be, but we help each other become strong together. My views on the matter are influenced by the mormon docrtine, but ultimately decided by how it affects my fiance and I.

    For the record, I did not listen to the podcast. I stumbled upon this website while I was trying to find store hours to dirty jo’s. Also, I am a formally active mormom, and my fiance is athiest.

    I have no idea why I just wasted an hour on my life on here.

    • gbl
      June 20, 2012 at 5:06 pm

      I think many of the comments here are very good from both sides as there is some truth throughout. There seems to be a great deal of pain on both ends of the spectrum. I believe that aspect of it is part of life and very hard to endure.

      It’s difficult for many women to understand the libido of men. It’s difficult for many men to understand the lack of libido in women. I speak in generalities, sometimes it is reversed but this is the norm.

      I loved the quote from the STRENGTH OF YOUTH:

      ”Before marriage, do not do anything to arouse the powerful emotions that must be expressed only in marriage. Do not participate in passionate kissing, lie on top of another person, or touch the private, sacred parts of another person’s body, with or without clothing. Do not allow anyone to do that with you. Do not arouse those emotions in your own body.”

      By the above, the intent is to not get aroused as it leads to “trouble”. What happens when you have a spouse who loves to be cuddled, massaged, hugged to sleep and has no libido? Would you end up looking at the ceiling all night and feeling like a pervert for being aroused? Is that considered trouble? It is for me.

      I remember in the Rainbow Missionary Discussions where it said that sexual desires “…are to persuade men to accept the responsibility of home and family.” If your spouse has no desire, was it a cruel joke?

      What happens when your spouse has a libido and then has a hysterectomy and within a year can’t stand to be touched, let alone engage in lovemaking? Does that sound like rejection?

      Here’s some interesting statistics:
      – 92% of men have masterbated.
      – 62% of men have masterbated.

      – Over 70% of men admit to having viewed porn
      – Over 30% of women admit to having viewed porn
      – About 1/4 of the above of the above are considered addicted (how do they determine such?)

      There have been a number of surveys on this and there are different numbers but this is about the average of them. Now this is in general. We’re all different but these are averages. What does all this mean?

      Since men masterbate and watch porn more than women does this mean they’re more evil?

      Does the fact that so many are engaging in or have engaged in such make it ok?

      On both accounts I’d say no. When I was a young man every other young man I knew had masterbated at some time. This included my Mormon buddies. It wasn’t taught…just happened. Guilt association came later.

      When I had some spiritual experiences and became active I choked when told that I needed to stop masterbating. Big change but ok…..thank goodness for sports….lots of sports! No doubt about it, the libido was still there and it was like holding the ocean back with a sand castle. There were some failures but I kept moving ahead. Went to BYU and subjegated it with studies, work and sports. Went on a mission. Sometimes there were failures but keep moving ahead… Sometimes there were wet dreams and I’d wake up feeling really guilty! One thing that was interesting was all of my roommates at BYU looked forward to getting married and sex had a lot to do with it. I’d also say that all or nearly all were very aware that the temptation to look at pornography was just that….a temptation (if you have no desire there is no temptation). Were they evil, no. I’m absolutely convinced that if there was no libido most men would say there is no reason to get married. I also believe that most men would not get married if they knew there would be no sex. What would be the point, as they could just be good friends with the women/girl.

      OK, enough with the past.

      The present is that I’m married to a women who’s active libido diminished after the birth of our first child. It slowly decreased over time but there was still something that occured say once every week and a half. She had a hysterectomy about 10 years ago. Her libido shot through the roof for about a year (good year!) and then did a nose dive, crashed and died. The first 20 years of marriage I never masterbated and had no interest in porn. None. After about 2 years of no sex I was absolutely climbing a wall. I would plead, beg, do any thing she asked, did all the romantic things, etc. She said I was pressuring her. OK. So no pressure, just love her. Inside I was dying and trapped. After about a year we discussed it and my wife thought I should just get over it. I think the only way I could have done that would to have been death or to be gelded. Both didn’t sound to good. The crazy wet dreams came again. Wow. With another couple of years an interest in porn came and masterbation did, too. I gave up the porn and the reason was simple as the women (girls) were the age of my daughters. Yeech. I also began to feel deeply sorry for them.

      Masterbation has stayed. It sounds disgusting at my age to me. Do I feel bad about it. Yup. Nowadays I’m resigned to it.
      Will I be judged by it? Maybe. I believe in my leaders and know them to be good men doing their best for all their failings. For that matter I am a leader (I have no clue why the Lord would stoop to me).

      I believe it is easy for many who have no libido to judge those who do. Am I making this an excuse? Don’t know.

      I do know there’s a reason we keep stallions from the mares and that if the fence is not insurmountable…they’ll get over it. All the reasoning in the world won’t convince them otherwise. Mares can’t understand the stallions….except when they’re in heat. We geld the stallions and then there is no libido.

      If I have 30 times more testosterone running through my body than my wife does it is clear why she feels the way she does and why I feel like I do. Do I love her? Yes. It is greatly discouraging for me though and the feeling of rejection is enormous. To me the relationship has become more of a roommate kind of thing. I am also a great listener and always work to support her both financially, emotionally and spiritually.

      I do believe with time my testosterone and libido will wane and I’ll be naturally gelded. At that time it will no longer be a temptation (or at least a very low one). Does that mean I will have repented of it then if I don’t do it anymore because I naturally don’t want to. I don’t know.

      I cannot conveniently dispense with my faith due to experiences I have had.

      Am I a pervert and destructive because I have a very high libido?

      Am I addicted to it? I don’t think you can call it that. If I’m addicted to it then so are our stallions.

      I’ll cease the ramblings…anyone listening?

      • Just a few words...
        July 9, 2012 at 4:17 pm

        Hey gbl. I come back to this page every once in a while just to see what else has come into the discussion. I think in your case, perhaps some honest discussion with your wife would be helpful. It sounds like you have already tried that, but perhaps a little further discussion, to the point of asking to go to a therapist or at least to check out some lds therapists’ writings on the matter of sexuality in marriage. It is a vital part of our bond, to ‘become one flesh’. When you have ceased to be one flesh, you lose a vital part of your marriage, so long as one of you still has desire.
        Again, this is all my opinions, just some joe-shmo. It’s good to hear your not into the porn anymore. It sound’s to me like your trying to make the best of your situation, and all else I can say is don’t give up.

  90. outstandingperformer
    August 3, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    It is not the churchs role to make us better lovemakers. The church s role is to bring us to Christ through the teachings, doctrines, and ordinances of Christs Gospel as found in the scriptures, the prophets, and the Temple. These lead us back to the glorious presence of God the Father in this life and in the life to come with our spouses and families united in harmony.
    Because sex is so sacred, like the temple, we do not have public discussions or lectures on it, not because its secret, bad, or forbidden, but because the nature of it is sacred. Some people do not grasp that concept. In the society we live in, they want to explore and exploit everything, including the sacred. But in all of history, there has always been topics that were sacred, to be kept holy and private, only between covenanted parties like a husband, wife, and God. However, if a wonderful organization like mormonstories.org wants to explore it in an educational, mature way, without going into specific couples detailed bedroom experiences, for example John and Natasha talking specifically about what they do with their spouses in the bedroom, that would be crossing the line.

    I listened to this whole podcast and did not find my testimony of the truthfulness of God, Jesus Christ, the Prophets, or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints shaken one bit. These were biased interviewers (Mormonstories) interviewing another biased interviewee (Dr. Buehler). I thought they were fair and honest and open. They did not try to convince us, or each other, of either side, but expressed their viewpoints openly. I cannot see how anyone can listen to this and thus conclude the church is false and wrong and the worlds ways are thus true and good for all of us. That is an entirely different subject and those who do make comments like that cannot logically conclude that the church is false from this podcast. That is their internal problem.
    The Church is true and good and does not suppress us. The church is working hard at dealing with social issues in a positive and proactive way, they only have our best interest at heart. They are not trying to ruin us, but like I said, are trying to lead us to Christ.

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