Why do Mormon sex blogs ignore the reality of lust?
In the “Mormon Moment,” Latter-day Saints are seizing opportunities to share their views with the world. We are definitely proving that in many ways, we are a peculiar people–not necessarily because we’re unique, but more because we really are just a bit odd when compared to “mainstream” American culture. One of the most popular styles of blogging these days is the “Mormon mommy blog.” Even atheist feminists and other decidedly “non-Mormon” types admit to being enraptured with the creativity and generally upbeat attitudes of these writers. Mormon mommies have almost single-handedly made stay-at-home parenting cool again.
There has been, however, another trend that I find very disturbing on many levels: the proliferation of “Mormon sex blogs.” [For obvious reasons, I'm not including links in this piece.] The Mormon sex blogs tend to share some similar characteristics amongst themselves. One is an apparent desire to show the world that at least some Latter-day Saints can have sex and then talk about that sex on par with even the most vulgar members of today’s internet society. They seem determined to demonstrate that at least some Latter-day Saints are “mainstream” when it comes to sex.
Another unifying characteristic of the Mormon sex blogs is the cloned bios of the contributors. The writers often describe themselves as devout, life-long Latter-day Saints who go to worship services on Sunday and hold service and leadership callings in their respective congregations. They read the Church’s monthly magazine, The Ensign, and hold Family Home Evening each Monday night. And they all enjoy frequent, eye-popping, sizzling, mega-hot sex with their loving and devoted spouse to whom they were sealed in marriage in a beautiful and moving ceremony in one of the Church’s temples–before heading out on a honeymoon that could pretty much be described as non-stop sex of a kind that would make even porn stars blush. Those Mormon sex bloggers who are unmarried are not shy about describing their appreciation for the act of masturbation and how sex with themselves is more satisfying now than sex ever was with that inconvenient former spouse who lacked sex drive and imagination and was altogether too uptight about good ol’ uninhibited S-E-X.
The Mormon sex blogs also seem to share the notion that solo masturbation to porn by married individuals is OK as long as the non-participating spouse “gives permission.” If the spouse inexplicably withholds “permission,” however, masturbation is still OK because it is merely a perfectly natural act by a mentally, spiritually and physically healthy Mormon, with that health being evidenced by the nearly insatiable sex drive that he or she enjoys. Favorite sex positions and frequency of engaging in the sex act are common post and discussion topics. If they are to be believed, the more sex Mormons have, the better–and the more Mormons talk about sex, the better.
There is a notable smugness and self-righteous tone in Mormon sex blogs. These folks seem to view themselves as experts in the field of sexual intimacy because they have had lots and lots of sex with spouse and others (pre-endowment, issue resolved with proper priesthood authority, of course), have watched lots and lots of porn (because that’s where you learn about higher forms of nasty sex–and it’s really not that harmful if your enlightened spouse “gives permission”), and have been masturbating regularly–and without any guilt whatsoever–since happening upon this wonderful act of self-discovery at the perfectly proper age of [fill in the blank].
It appears to me, however, that all of these Mormon sex blogs are devoid of any meaningful discussion of the reality and detrimental effect of lust on the spirit, mind and body of those who feed it. It’s as though lust doesn’t exist in the Mormon sex blogger vernacular. With this vacuum in their dialog, Mormon sex blogs are really little more than lurid exposés on the sexual behavior of a few Mormon writers who basically indulge lust just like most of the rest of world. The message I get from them is that pretty much all sexual behavior is fine as long as it’s between consenting adults, and sex with self is also fine if you’re single–whether your singleness is long-term or just for the evening. In fact, they seem to be saying that a single person can do no wrong sexually as long as he doesn’t actually physically touch another person.
If I had to distill Mormon sex blogs down to one idea it would be that they do confirm that many Latter-day Saints are perfectly able to lust with the very strongest, most experienced and compulsive of the lusters “out in the world.” Based on their blogging, lust permeates their existence and taints their relationships in ways that would bring tears of joy to the eyes of Hollywood producers as they realized how successfully they had peddled their product to readily accepting consumers in both Utah and Southern Idaho.
I suspect that very few Mormon sex bloggers talk about lust because very few understand it. Most people who give it only half a second’s thought probably confuse it with something else: passion. I was at a meeting of Sexaholics Anonymous a while back where a guy showed up for the first time. This newcomer sat and listened wide-eyed as several men talked about the joy and freedom that comes from achieving progressive victory over lust. When asked if he wanted to share his thoughts, he shook his head vigorously and said, “Man, I don’t know if I want what you guys have! I love lust! It’s what I like about my marriage. I don’t want to give it up!” He didn’t understand that lust and passion are two different things. He thought he was going to be asked to give up passion if he stuck around in SA.
Passion is the excitement that is an important part of sexual intimacy. Passion is not lust. Passion within the bounds the Lord has set is healthy and is actually significantly more exciting, enjoyable and satisfying than lust-driven sex. Did you hear that, Mormon sex bloggers? Lust, in contrast, is using sexual thoughts, feelings and behaviors selfishly. It is “uncontrolled or illicit sexual desire or appetite,” also known as lecherousness (Dictionary.com: lust). Lust is not a good thing. Most people–including apparently Mormon sex bloggers–have never experienced lust-free sex, however, and don’t even know it exists.
Coming from a different perspective, sexaholics, or sex addicts, believe that lust is harmful and causes severe and long-lasting damage to the mind, body and spirit of those who indulge in it. We believe that many of our problems in all aspects of life are connected to our addiction to lust. We don’t think lust is funny or carefree. We are not indifferent to it because we recognize that lust is as dangerous for us as any form of alcohol would be for the alcoholic. If we are not vigilant, we get drunk and impaired by lust. We have come to accept that unless we find recovery from our addiction, lust will eventually kill us. We genuinely believe that lust can be fatal and we all know men or women whose lives were cut short by their addiction to lust.
In one Mormon sex blog I ran across (and even made the mistake of commenting on), a female LDS sex blogger dismissed “pornography addiction” as essentially a harmless vice. She indignantly contrasted it with drug addiction and then stated with obvious intellectual myopia that unlike drug addiction, no one had ever died of “pornography addiction.” According to her, no one had ever sold his or her kids to buy pornography. She clearly saw herself as a liberated thinker, but it was evident to me that she had never done any real study of the issue of sex and pornography addiction and she certainly had never been to a single meeting of Sexaholics Anonymous, Sex Addicts Anonymous, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, S-Anon or CoSA. If she had, she would have quickly come to know that yes, people most assuredly do die of “pornography addiction” just as alcoholics die from their addiction or cocaine addicts die from theirs. People do sell their kids for various forms of pornography and abandon them and forget to feed them for days at time because of their addiction. Sex addiction (which includes the misnamed “porn addiction”) can and often does lead to promiscuity (including serial affairs, anonymous sex with strangers, and “unprotected sex”) which increases the risk of serious–even fatal–diseases for both the addict and his or her spouse.
I think these Mormon sex blogs run amok when they assume and assert that all sex is good sex and conversely that there’s no such thing as bad sex–especially if you’re married–or single and just masturbating to porn. The problem is that when lust invades the intimacy of the couple or the life of the single person, it does damage to minds, spirits and relationships. Lust-driven sex is like having a spiritual and mental hand grenade go off in the luster’s face. It injures not only the luster but also causes collateral damage to the nearby spouse. It would no doubt surprise Mormon sex bloggers to learn that lust impairs the individual’s ability to connect with and relate to other human beings. We’re not just talking about sex here. We’re talking about how lust messes up people’s heads and makes it so they can’t be socially healthy around others. Really.
The Mormon sex blogs ignore the fact that lust is destroying marriages both within and without the LDS church. When these folks talk with pride about their strong libido that often needs to be sated with porn consumption and masturbation, they discount the lust in their lust-driven behavior. Hey, Mormon sex bloggers! Here’s an issue for all of you to debate: Lust is killing Mormon marriages! Hopefully you’ll apply the same enthusiasm to this vital topic as you did when you discussed your favorite sex toys.
Sex is a drug. Lust is the misuse of this drug. Lust harms Latter-day Saints just as much as it harms the rest of the world. I wish the Mormon sex bloggers would talk more about this problem and then talk about the solutions. They are out there, but I guess you have to see a problem before you become interested in a solution. I desperately want the solution.