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Peter T Chattaway

how-to books on sex

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This may not be "literature", but it's certainly "books" related ...

So, like, as y'all know, I'm getting married in just under 7 weeks, and this Christmas, each of my sisters -- unbeknownst to each other -- decided to give me one of those illustrated manuals on "great sex", filled with photos of couples adopting various positions. I was a bit surprised to see that they had put both of these presents in the pile under my parents' Christmas tree, which meant I unwrapped them both in the presence of my parents and siblings, but anyhoo.

The thing is, I do have a few friends -- good, churchgoing, evangelical Christian friends -- who have books of this sort, and D and I had discussed whether we would ever get one of these ourselves, and we had both agreed NOT to get books with photos in 'em. Drawings, maybe, but nothing involving the actual positioning of two actual people in actual sexual poses. (I know, I know, the models in these photos probably aren't really DOING it, but still...) So now I've got to figure out what to do with these two books. I'd be quite happy to stick to my all-text, non-illustrated, unexpurgated edition of the Kama Sutra, personally ...

In the meantime, I'm wondering what other people here think about these kinds of things. Is this just the beginning of the slippery slope to Kinsey-style decadence? Do these books serve a valuable purpose? What does a responsible married Christian couple do?


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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What do I think of those sorts of books? Well, I think highly of them, Peter.

Seriously, we haven


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Christian wrote:

: I guess some folks get bored more quickly than others, but after two kids, we're

: doing fine.

Oh dear, this brings to mind all those rumours about how people stop having sex after they have kids, because they just don't have the energy any more ... smile.gif

: As for you newlyweds, well, you gotta crawl before you can walk, if ya know

: what I mean.

Heh.

Something else that occurs to me is that the models in these books are all rather fit, whereas D and I are, oh, a wee bit pudgier than we probably ought to be. I find myself idly wondering how many of the positions in these books are even physically plausible right now ... smile.gif


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I believe we have such a book somewhere, albeit with illustrations, not photos (and published by a Christian publishing house, so it presumably doesn't have some of THOSE illustrations). I have never given it more than a quick glance.

{Edit: Thanks, Alan, it was Intended for Pleasure. I wouldn't know whether reading it was pleasurable.}

I think the important thing is to find what is comfortable and what reinforces the spiritual bond that you share. That will be enough of a challenge to start with, and it is more important than exploring every possible permutation of two bodies.


Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

Do you know the deep dark secret of the avatars?

It's big. It's fat. It's Greek.

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Having kids does lower the energy level, particularly for the full-time caretaker. And before the child-rearing sets in, there


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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I don't know if the book is still in print, as this is going back 13+ years ago (and our book was a used copy even then), but the pastor who married my wife and me had each of the couples he counselled read Sexual Happiness in Marriage. As I recall, it contained a useful blend of theology and practical information.


To be an artist is never to avert one's eyes.
- Akira Kurosawa

http://secularcinephile.blogspot.com

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Christian wrote:

: As for plausibility, let's just say that some of those things they do in the movies

: just don't work in real life -- at least not the way they do in the movies.

A local TV station once sent a limo to pick me up when I did a guest spot on one of their shows, so D tagged along and, uh, suffice to say, those rides are too bumpy for romance. smile.gif


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I think the instructional manuals are great for young married couples and can make for an enjoyable and goofy read together on your honeymoon... although I must admit the "Christian" one I purchased over ten years ago, when we first got married, was incredibly bland. I say to couples, gather as much technique info and knowledge of the sexual anatomy as possible before you go into the wedding chambers. While there isan undeniable joy in learning together-- fumbling around on your honeymoon is an unecessary frustration.


"The things we enjoy are channels through which the divine glory strikes us, and those who love and delight in any good thing may yet learn to love God." --Gilbert Meilaender

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Unless you're advocating premarital sex, there's no practical way to do this. You can be well informed about anatomy in a general sense and still not be prepared to fit two specific puzzle pieces together.


Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

Do you know the deep dark secret of the avatars?

It's big. It's fat. It's Greek.

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Beyond the obvious interaction of the "puzzle pieces" (trying my darndest to keep this thread PG-rated)... How many christian young men know before their honeymoon that their spouse almost certainly will not experience sexual climax through 'ol M.P.-style coitus? The plethora of options (and glorious options they are) that are available to remedy this anatomical challenge, should be studied thoroughly. This is just one issue. There are also tried-and-true techniques to heighten sensations and ...ahem... experiences-- which can be especially helpful info for nervous newlyweds.

What advantage would there to be to not knowing these things before your honeymoon?


"The things we enjoy are channels through which the divine glory strikes us, and those who love and delight in any good thing may yet learn to love God." --Gilbert Meilaender

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Sorry to interrupt this exchange, but following up on my posts from yesterday, I wanted to add that I talked with Sarah last night and she reminded me that we did have one of those Christian sex manuals


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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What advantage would there to be to not knowing these things before your honeymoon?

Gotcha. Yes, knowing all these things will be quite helpful, but knowledge alone won't guarantee that there won't be a certain amount of fumbling around at first. That's all I was trying to say.


Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

Do you know the deep dark secret of the avatars?

It's big. It's fat. It's Greek.

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For us, sex was (and is) a tricky area, and Intended for Pleasure REALLY helped us out.


In case you were wondering, my name is spelled "Denes House," but it's pronounced "Throatwobbler Mangrove."

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It was something we talked about getting but thought we'd leave it until we felt the need, and as yet (3 years 4 months) we haven't felt the need, but its still early days. Two of our best friends were also getting married at about the same time, and they had an "Intended for pleasure" type book,which they were kind of discussing, during engagement, but they actually called the wedding off. I've occasionally thought about asking said friend for said book, but never really felt the need. But it is a consideration worth thinking about.

But then we had a marriage day over the summer that about 15 of the 16 married couples in church went to, specifically on sex with a trained Cousellor in the area, who is also a church leader. It was very useful, handledexcellently so that it felt more real than reading a book, but not embarrasingly personal, and it meant that those couples who were struggling then had some private discussion time scheduled afterwards

The thing is, that just as all couples are different, they experience sex differently as well, and their literary needs in that area will very too. So my advice would be see how you go, but don't feel any need to hold back from looking at books if they will help. Photos isn't a problem per se IMHO, but I wouldn't look at those books if you weren't in her presence, or if you thought that they rather than the thought of her turned you on.

General advice would be

1 - get some decent pre-marriage counselling. A couple of hours with a celibate priests is generally not going to be good enough. We have a 7 evenings course. If nothing better is available to you, I can email you our course.

2 - Sex-wise I'm an advocate of getting a little more familiar with each other's bodies during engagement, although not doing the jigsaw, or even looking at the pieces so to speak, but I think something beyond just kissing is actually advisable towards the end of engagement

3 - Know that sex is a craft, no-one is good at it straight away, and for most people it takes a while. It amazes me that people have one night stands and can even claim to find that fulfilling. Its also team work, and communication and enjoying learning the craft is as important as the thing itself

4 - Don't be afraid to talk to people if it's difficult. We also have some married couples "let's talk

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yeah I'm aware of that approach, and have also heard tales of couples that performed superhero acts of self-disicipline before mariage, but I also know couples that did similar things and had a really ard time sex wise when they got married cos they were so uncomfortable with the whole thing.

For me, as a couple grows they develop in spiritual intimacy, and emotional intimacy, is physical intimacy really so different that its completely undesireable before marriage? I don't think so. There are boundaries, obviously, but I'm genuinely not sure that the "super pure" approach is either helpful or justifiable, and wonder if its more to do with the church's historic uncomfortableness with sex than a spiritual approach.

Matt

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yeah - I'd never be into saying only one approach is valid, other than to say it should always be done with accounability (no matter which approach is taken).

point taken about rationalisation - again this is where accountability is required.

Matt

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FWIW, I have long been haunted (I exaggerate, but still...) by that casual reference in Lauren Winner's 'Sex and the Single Evangelical' to a friend of hers who was as abstinent as could be until he got married ... and then he found he couldn't flip the switch from 'off' to 'on'. So I would side with MattPage here. In fact, shortly before I started dating D, I interviewed a sex-and-spirituality prof at Trinity Western University for an article I wrote on sexuality for a Canadian newspaper, and he made the point that we are Christians, not Gnostics, and therefore it is good and perhaps even preferable to express ourselves physically within whatever limits are appropriate at different stages in relationships; the whole we're-not-even-kissing-until-we-are-married thing didn't seem to make sense to him, though I'm sure he wouldn't begrudge anyone who DID go that route.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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FWIW, I have long been haunted (I exaggerate, but still...) by that casual reference in Lauren Winner's 'Sex and the Single Evangelical' to a friend of hers who was as abstinent as could be until he got married ... and then he found he couldn't flip the switch from 'off' to 'on'.

Right on. This is scary. And two of my close friends experienced this type of challenge with their guilt-ridden McDowellite brides on their honeymoons and throughout the early stages of their marriage. Apparently, it was a year of sheer hell... Almost everything was "off limits".


"The things we enjoy are channels through which the divine glory strikes us, and those who love and delight in any good thing may yet learn to love God." --Gilbert Meilaender

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I looked through the thread titles in "Food & Health" before launching one about caffeine (I'll do that in a minute), and I stumbled onto this thread. I opened it, laughing, and planned to quote Peter's first post, with a follow-up along the lines of, "So, Peter, how's this going?"

I was amusing myself greatly until I began to scroll through the thread and realized I was one of its chief participants! :)

Anyway, these guides were mentioned in the Tom Perotta/The Abstinence Teacher thread over in "Literature," although I got the sense from those posts (some of which are from me) that these sex manuals have become more explicit in recent years.

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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