300-301: LDS Women and Sexual Desire with Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife

November 9, 2011
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This workshop on LDS Women and Sexual Desire was delivered on September 23rd, 2011 by Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife. In this presentation, Jennifer speaks to LDS women about the cultural and psychological barriers to sexual desire, as well as how to shift one’s relationship to sexuality to make it more pleasurable and desirable.

Jennifer offers online courses on sexuality as well, which can be found here.

Sources for SLC Women’s Presentation.

Finlayson-Fife, J. (2002)Sexual Agency in Patriarchal Culture: The Case of Mormon Women.  Boston College.  UMI: Ann Arbor, MI. 

McCarthy, B. & McCarthy, E. (2003).  Rekindling Desire: A Step by Step Guide for No-Sex and Low- Sex Marriages Brunner-Routledge: New York

Perel, E. (2006). Mating In Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence.   Harper Collins Publishers.

Schnarch, D. (2009).  Passionate Marriage:  Keeping Love and Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships.  W.W.Norton & Co.: New York.

Schnarch, D. (2011).  Intimacy and Desire: A waken the Passion In Your Relationship.    Beaufort Books:  New York

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24 Responses to 300-301: LDS Women and Sexual Desire with Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife

  1. Anonymous
    November 9, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    Although this is titled, “LDS Women and Sexual Desire” I would recommend this for all couples.  For men, it is an excellent window into many of what would seem inexplicable.  I suspect all of Jennifer’s recommendations apply equally for men.  …being more open, vulnerable, and embracing our sexual nature is all important for a healthy marriage relationship.  As Mormons, the better we can think about, express, explore our sexual selves, the closer we may be able to build a Celestial marriage.

  2. Anon E. Moose
    November 9, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Holy moly. This was awesome. I’m sad I didn’t have time to make this. It definitely brought up some things for me to consider in my marriage as well as giving insight into a friend’s situation. Love, love, love this.

  3. Sophia
    November 9, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    This was really good. TY Mormon Stories and Dr Finlayson-Fife!!!!!!

  4. A Guy
    November 11, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    This is GREAT.  This subject is SO taboo in the church.  If the chruch really wants to help many marriages be healthy, this needs to be discussed and understood within the church.

    Dr. Finlayson-Fife talks about “I will be talking on that tonight” – like there should be a follow-on.  Leaves me wanting to hear whatever that is.

  5. November 11, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    I have mixed feelings regarding Dr. Finlayson-Fife’s tacit endorsement of Laura Brotherson’s position on sexuality as expressed in her book, “And They Were Not Ashamed.”  We should note that the book is sold in Deseret Book.  As I skimmed through that book years ago, I was impressed by the fact that Brotherson makes room for legitimate masturbation, which I believe she refers to as “self-exploration” or some similar term.  Unfortunately, however, as best as I recall, Brotherson’s argument is that masturbation falls into two categories: (1) legitimate self-exploration designed for the primary purpose of training a woman to know how to have fulfilling sex with her husband; and (2) masturbation for its own sake- to have pleasure through the act of masturbating.  I can appreciate that Brotherson may not feel at liberty to express broader acceptance of masturbation because she may have concerns about not rocking the Brethren’s boats too much.  But at the same time, I don’t see ANY legitimate basis for condemning masturbation engaged in for the sole sake of having an orgasm and relieving stress.  Over the millenia, it has probably saved millions from the horniness which might have otherwise tempted them to engage in actual non-marital intercourse.  Furthermore, we should embrace that it is actually healthy physically and mentally, both for men and women.  Brotherson’s position seems almost to be a back-handed condemnation of male masturbation- as I recall, she posits that for women, the “self-exploration” is justified because their sexual pleasure is not as easily discoverable as for men.  This implies that a man has no entitlement to have an orgasm before he is married, except perhaps once or twice so that he may confirm that he knows how to reach an orgasm and will be able to function.  This kind of an attitude really does not move us far beyond the existing blanket condemnation in the Church today which has induced so much self-loathing and unnecessary guilt. 

    • New2podcasts
      November 12, 2011 at 5:38 pm

      There never has been a specific speech directed to the women that says do not tamper with the egg factory. From what I gather masturbation is only talked about in some instances because the boys got the BKP speech on For Young Men Only. Love is Gods way, Fear is the church corporation policy. For a church that is supposed to be run face to face with a prophet, God doesn’t do a very “Perfect” job of management.

    • Evolving Church
      November 15, 2011 at 5:20 pm

      Guest,

      If you check the new LDS Book of Instruction Manuals, there is not one mention of masterbation.  ITs gone!

      • New2podcasts
        November 17, 2011 at 3:01 pm

        Gone as in gone from the Bishops handbook and the stake presidents codebook too? If so will BKP be soon editted out of church written repertoire upon his delayed passing? Will Paul Dunn have a new companion on the shelf of the “has been that never were”?

  6. November 12, 2011 at 3:29 am

    Dr. Finlayson-Fife, amazing as always!

  7. Straight Talk
    November 15, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    The fault of shame lies not with the institutional church, rather it is an excuse used by folks who are attempting to “escape goat” their own self accepted “socialization process”. Insisting on having “the church” promote your “world view” is spiritual immaturity. These “feelings” we have about everything, don’t belong to the institution, they are OURS. Trying to “blackmail” every one else into agreeing with our own “pity party” is so “responsibility avoiding” in every way. All the advice given above works and is exterior to any institution of any kind. We each have made the determinations that got us to where we are in life. If we don’t like the consequences of those choices, then proceed to make new determinations. This is why “agency” is our responsibility. 

  8. Justin Carlson
    November 17, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Another top notch production from the Dehlin gang!  Podcasts like these are the reason why I’m proud to be a PAYING suscriber.  By way of critique, I do have three suggestions to offer:

    (1) I would NOT describe Jennifer Finlayson-Fife as a man-hater.  However, I might be inclined to think she’s a nude-man-wearing-only-socks-hater. So I would suggest that Dr Finlayson-Fife look to the broader cultural markers (like Flight of the Conchords) and realize that socks-only is widely seen as a totem of male virility. http://bit.ly/vLCkoK (rated TV-14 for some pixelated bedroom shenanigans).

    (2) Yes, Mormon Stories is a great resource for frank discussion of important sexual topics, but I grow a little contextually uneasy at the choice of the bumper music (Come, Come Ye Saints).”  I suggest “Business Time” by Flight of the Conchords as a more apropo selection…see link above.
     
    (3) Actually, why not use “Come, Come Ye Saints”  as a book title for a possible fund-raising/co-branding opportunity for the podcast?!?  Subtitled “Tantric Modalities for LDS couples,” co-authored by Natasha Helfer Parker and Jenniefer Finlayson-Fife (with an introduction by Elna Baker), published by the Mormon Stories Foundation.

    Keep up the good work, guys ;)

    • Anonymous
      November 17, 2011 at 2:42 pm

      ROTFLMAO. :)

      Thanks for brightening my day, Justin. :)

      It’s business time!

    • Jennifer Finlayson-Fife
      November 20, 2011 at 12:00 am

      Thanks for the book title idea, Justin!  You are hillarious! 

  9. Chyla
    November 17, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Lots of good listening lately! I think it’s interesting to have both this podcast at almost the same time as the Good Girl Syndrome podcast on Daughters of Mormonism (http://daughtersofmormonism.blogspot.com/). I was talking with a friend the other day about how much women have been talked out of their sexual desire in the Mormon culture. It’s so good to see awareness and hope for change!

    • Anonymous
      November 17, 2011 at 2:43 pm

      Agreed. Thanks, Chyla. And much love to DOM podcast!!!

  10. Guest
    November 22, 2011 at 1:19 am

    What a great podcast! 

  11. Wandering
    November 22, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    I liked the podcast, so thank you for it.  But I am still a bit lost.  I feel like I might be the only woman who has this problem because I have never heard it discussed.  But when I started to study church history, and learned more about polygamy, it started to affect my sexual relationship with my husband.  Prior to that I felt happy and secure and uninhibited in my marriage.  But church history seemed to suggest that in God’s eyes, male fidelity is optional.  The most precious thing I had ever experienced – my relationship with my husband and the depth of our monogamous bond with each other – was apparently not as certain or guaranteed as I had thought when we were sealed.    Even if he died, I knew my husband was my only eternal companion, but it became unclear if I held that same level of specialness to him in the eternal scheme of things.  I felt lost and devalued – and sex is when my sense of loss and vulnerability and uncertainty is most acutely triggered. 

    • Anonymous
      December 19, 2011 at 10:57 am

      Wandering, A great book to read which exposes the historically-suppressed horror of polygamy in Mormon history  is by Ann Eliza Young entitled, “Wife No. 19 or The Story of a Life in Bondage”. Ann was one of ten wives that divorced Brigham Young. Her book was written in 1875, so her words speak to us from the dust as she became a national advocate for women. Her powerful lectures persuaded Congress to outlaw polygamy. She makes a statement that upholds the purity of the very early church while testifying against polygamy and the corruption that crept into the church due to failure to heed God’s warning to Joseph Smith against following “his own will and CARNAL DESIRES or he would fall” (much like King David).

      Her statement which validates her purity and good intent in telling the truth is that no one should judge the corruption of the church with how pure and good the church was in the early years prior to the infiltration of  Masonory, Blood Atonement (via the Danite Warriors as seen in the Mountain Meadow Massacre), and polygamy.

      Blood Atonement, the fact that polygamy caused severe depression of all the “Mothers in Israel” is seen in sermons by Brigham Young and Jedidiah Grant in the Journal of Discourses.

      The Book of Mormon states that polygamy is “an abomination” unto the Lord and caused the destruction of the Nephites. The Book of Mormon also clearly states the sanctity of marriage of one man and one woman. “Raising up a seed unto God” merely means to teach your children about God as seen in Alma 11:23-40, Ether 3:14, and Mosiah 15:1-5 which requires you to seek truth since it conflicts with the multiple versions of the First Vision.

      D&C 132 was not politically added until 1856 to justify polygamy. A test to determine true revelation is how does it compare to the unaltered Book of Mormon and Book of Commandments? Especially since we know many scriptures prophesy the need for a cleansing of the Lord’s House (D&C 64, 112, 124, 2 Ne 28, 1 Ne 13, Lehi/Nephi’s vision of the LDS Great and Spacious Church/Babylon, etc.)

      Polygamy has never been of God and was the downfall of King David and Solomon and even Abraham (no faith in God and fear man w/ his lies to Prince regarding Sarah) sinned with the consequence of enmity of Hagar and Sarah and Muslims and Christians today.

  12. Martie
    January 2, 2012 at 10:50 am

    So, what happened to the 3rd portion of your presentation, Jennifer?  Is that sealed?  

    • January 11, 2012 at 2:12 pm

      Yes, it’s sealed until a later time when the Saints are ready to hear it…!!   Actually, it wasn’t recorded.  I did a three hour segment on Friday (recorded by MS) and a 6 hour class for couples on Saturday (not recorded).  The content of the six hour class I will be teaching in an online course in March 2012 if you are interested.   The information about that class is at http://www.drjenniferfife.blogspot.com 
       @6aed27ec0a6cf7ef322320b7b79f250b:disqus 

  13. Maxrep12
    February 5, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    During the podcast, I get the distinct feeling that Jennifer is giving guarded commentary with regards to a persons sexual discovery. Perhaps this is due to the audience she is addressing, and that she is compelled to keep her crayons within the bounds the brethren have outlined. This can be seen in podcast 1 at minute 48:00 as an awkward pause is brought about due to an audience members very correlated comment.

    My personal impression is that Dr. Fife would be able to provide a more straightfoward dialogue if it were given outside the LDS framework. Has she offered that anywhere?

    • Maxrep12
      February 5, 2012 at 10:46 pm

      After  re-listening to portions, I think Dr. Fife does a good job with the subject and her audience. I may have to rethink some of what I just posted.

      • February 11, 2012 at 10:55 pm

        Hi Maxrep12,
        Yes, I am always conscious of the reference point of members of the church.  And particularly when it is in a large group setting with many experiences and reference points.  There were some people that night that were shocked and appalled by things I said (regarding masturbation), and others who were eating up every bit and wanted more.  I don’t have any writings or recordings of presentations given to non-LDS groups at this point.  

  14. Hm
    March 15, 2012 at 10:45 am

    Phenomenal, has changed the entire scope of my relationship with my husband. Thank You Jennifer!!! You are God sent: )

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