marriage (with a little sex and a little spice) – part one
WARNING: DUE TO THE ADULT AND MATURE NATURE OF THE SUBJECT MATTER TO BE DISCUSSED BELOW, READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.
“If you start me up, I’ll never stop, never stop, never stop.” – Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones, 1981, from the song “Start me up” (Mr. Jagger turns 69 in a few days. Happy birthday.)
This warning is not a joke. Please consider it carefully before proceeding. We have tried to bear in mind the sensitivities of our readers, but the nature of the serious subject matter requires, at times, for us to be very specific and explicit. And, in all candor, we may be attempting too much in one series of essays. But, as we have no wish to morph this blog into yet another marriage or sex advice site, we try to treat the subject thoroughly and then we can move on to other topics.
Given the many thousands of pages written about marriage in recent years, and the hundreds of online marriage (and sex) counselors and therapists out there, what can we (possibly) add to the discussion that might prove helpful to at least some individuals and married couples? That is the relevant question we considered at some length before deciding to go ahead with this essay. We address sex as it has been a source, certainly not the only source, of serious discord in some marriages. Make no mistake, readers, there are items to be discussed that are sure to irk all of you, or at least most of you. We make no apologies for putting forth our sincerely held positions, most of which are based on a sound rational foundation. (As you know by now, not all of our essays are for everyone.) Feel free to disagree with us, but please do not become angry over this series of essays, or harbor needless animosity towards us. Our intention is to stimulate broader thinking on the issues we will cover.
As you read on, many will think “So much of this is obvious…what’s the big deal?” That is correct, that much of what is discussed is – or should be – obvious or common knowledge to most adults in the world today. But, alas, at least some of these aspects of marriage are either overlooked, glossed over, or even trivialized and ignored by a not insignificant portion of the married couples in our world today. There is still much misinformation in some people’s minds on some aspects or issues mentioned below. (We also strongly recommend reading the essays in the order each is written so as to keep everything in proper context. If you skip around, you may (likely) form incorrect conclusions.)
Lastly, we want to stress that we believe that sex ought to be saved and reserved for serious, committed, monogamous relationships, ideally for marriage. (We know it is a real world, and the ideal is not always achieved, but it is still worth striving for.) We do not wish this essay to give anyone the erroneous impression that we are advocating, or approving of, casual or promiscuous sex. We are not.
Introduction and background
We are attempting to approach this subject primarily from a Christian perspective – not a pagan, nor an atheist, nor an Eastern, nor a hedonist perspective. (There are plenty of essays available online from those perspectives.)
We have, though, heavily relied upon reason, logic and common sense in coming to our conclusions. As well, we have incorporated the greater knowledge available to us in modern times from science and medicine and related fields. The collective experience of mankind (used generically, as we value the experiences of women) has been very important in our research, thinking, and discussions – and ultimately in helping us to reach our conclusions. All these factors were made use of in addition to considering what is written in Scripture (taken in proper context).
We, at larrysmusings, do not live in an ivory tower. Our thinking is not that of those who inhabit a normative, theoretical world (and at times are thus estranged from reality), such as idealist philosophers. We live in the real world, for better or for worse.
Main body – start
The Christian Church was given authority in the area of morals, but the Church was not given license to abuse its authority. Responsibility and authority go hand in hand. One needs adequate authority to be able to properly execute his/her responsibilities. And, with authority goes the responsibility not to overstep and thus abuse that authority.
We do not have any problems with the proper application of authority (whether parental, governmental, or ecclesial). We recognize and respect the need for such proper authority. However, we have big time problems with the abuse of authority. (No surprise to regular readers of this blog!) Regrettably, there have been undeniable abuses of Church authority in the area of married sexual love.
Sadly, we still do not have a fully mature, healthy, and rational appreciation of marriage and heterosexual love in the Western world.
The principal cause of the tremendous injuries done to marriage and to the dignity of married persons over the centuries in the Western world was the conscious adopting (a few centuries into the Christian era) of attitudes that came from ancient pagan schools of thought and these negative attitudes are not authentically Christian. A lengthy discussion of the roots of (St.) Augustine’s (d. 430 a.d.) sexual pessimism and hatred of pleasure are clearly beyond the scope of this series of essays. (The interested reader is referred to Uta Ranke-Heinemann’s research and work in this subject area in the late 1980s. Please note: We do not endorse that author’s attacks on Mary, the mother of Jesus.)
end of the first installment – this is getting way too long for one essay
Here is the link to installment part 2.
Here is a random image to seriously consider.
No, I am not suffering from that kind of a “man’s problem”. (If I were, a little natural supplementation, in moderation, would help out such as ginseng tea.)