CCEF is giving away my talk last year at their annual conference on sexual addiction. You can listen to it her: http://www.ccef.org/counseling-strategies-individuals-addictions
I’ll be back there this November to talk about another sex topic: when sex in marriage doesn’t work. No, I don’t have it on the brain, it was their request and conference title….well, I guess that doesn’t exonerate me afterall.
I’m doing some prep for a November talk at CCEF‘s annual conference which I am entitling, “When sex in marriage doesn’t work.” I’ll be giving a brief overview of how counselors can be a help to couples facing sexual dysfunction (whether biological, psychological, or relational). But in my prep today I ran across this little telephone survey result from 2002 where callers asked married men and women between the ages of 40 and 80 about their most frequently experienced sexual problem.
Any guesses yet?
For men, 26.2% reported problems with “early” ejaculation. [No definition given for “early.” Usually early or premature means earlier than he wanted.] Another 22% said the problem was ED. It is interesting that we are bombarded with ED commercials but I can’t say that I’ve ever seen PE treatments advertised in mainstream media. This is probably due to the number of baby boomers with cash seeking to turn back the hands of time.
For women? No surprises. 33% report problems with interest/desire and nearly 22% report problems with lubrication.
Did the respondents seek help? 75% had not. Another study of men after prostate surgery reveals that those who do seek help quit soon after. Seems that while there are a number of medical and psychological interventions that can help to a degree, nothing turns back the clock to one’s twenties.
A caveat. The researchers only got a 9% response rate for their random calls. Why didn’t more participate? Did those who participated have more or less problems than those who refused?
Listened this am to NPR’s Morning edition and a story on “hooking up.” Definitely worth your listening for the 8 minute story. Here’s a couple of amazing thoughts (not quotes) from female interviewees:
1. The hook-up is all about the tension, build-up, and the sex.
2. Dating actually costs too much money; hook-ups are much cheaper
3. Talking about being in love is more embarrassing than talking about one’s sex life (hooking up) on the radio.
4. Dating a guy means bringing him into your circle of close friends and the preference is to have the hook-up but do nothing that could harm real friendships
5. It is vulnerable to be needy of love. Not so of sex.
Scary stuff here. Think about it. Taking your clothes off and sharing genital sexual activity with an acquaintance puts you in a less vulnerable position than asking someone out for a formal date? Can someone explain that one to me?
There’s no denying that forbidden love lust generates massive pleasure–even if it leads to equally massive despair, guilt, and/or destruction. If it didn’t, few would allow an affair to develop and continue risking all that is dear to them (respect, trust, family, friends, even job). Like heroin, the pleasure within adultery screams to be experienced again. Often those caught up in this kind of pleasure feel they have found their soul mate, their completion as a person. But let’s take a look at this “love” for a moment and the lies told.
1. “You complete me.” Sounds like it is a compliment to the other, right? Nope. It is all about how the speaker feels. That is the focus. Very self-indulgent.
2. “I can’t wait to be with you again.” Again, the focus is on what you do to me.
3. “You get me.” Ditto #1 and 2.
The funny thing is, if you were to remove the “love” phrases being bantied back and forth in an affair from their context, you see how self-focused the expressions of pleasure and satisfaction are despite the pretense of care for the other. But both parties delude themselves that it is real love as long as the “drug” lasts. As long as both feel that the other exists to bring them pleasure it feels like mutual love.
February 23, 2009
Dear Executives at NBC and P&G (owners of the Gillette Venus Embrace),
I write this letter to express my disappointment regarding your Venus Embrace razor “check please” advertisements during the broadcast of the 2009 Tyson American Cup–a gymnastics meet of the top elite men’s and women’s gymnasts from around the world.
On Saturday afternoon, NBC broadcast live portions of the meet. I watched this meet with great interest with my ten year old son–also an USAG competitive gymnast. We were excited to watch the men’s high-flying tricks and the skills of 13 year old Jordyn Wieber, all around winner. But sadly, we were forced to change the channel solely because of the sexual content of your commercials. These depicted numerous scenes of men caressing women’s legs–even to the point of sliding their hands up under skirts. The final scene of the ad depicts a couple falling in embrace onto a bed in a sexual position.
Your message clearly expresses that men (and therefore boys) can’t resist a woman’s smooth legs. While my son found the ad disgusting, you still “educated” him as to how a man should focus on a woman’s legs.
There is no reasonwhy you cannot successfully promote your product without sexualizing a day-time television audience that includes children. Other advertisers recognized that the audience included teenagers and targeted them with ads (appropriately) for snacks.
I ask you to pull this offensive ad and to cease sexualizing children for your bottom line. If your product is as good as you say, you can sell it without offending your audience.
At church on Sunday I attended a class discussing Lauren Winner’s “Real Sex: The Naked Truth About Chastity” (Brazos, 2005). Her thesis (in the second chapter anyway) is that the church tends to have one of two responses to singles about sex: either be honest and loving (e.g., go ahead) or just don’t do it. She suggests that we look at the larger context of the “say no” passages in order to see God’s larger view of sex as good in the right settings. I won’t go any further here with that thesis but all that to say:
Winner wants us to think about the body as being good. And since the body is a sexual entity, that sex is also good. Got me thinking that most of us don’t see our bodies as something that is good. We focus on the fall and the brokenness we see. We see our lack of health. We see insatiable desire. We see danger. We see something that doesn’t measure up to the image we most want to see.
But here is the challenge. Did God make your body? Is it good? If you only focus on what is not good about your body, what are you missing? How are you marring the true story about your body?
Yesterday we received a catalog for a country store. I’m familiar with this country store catalog as it is well-known in New England. So, I flipped through it for old-times sake. Looks like they are selling the same things as when I was a kid. Muumuus of all kinds. Several pages, in fact. Then there is the udder balm creams farmers swear will solve your cracked hands problem. Comfy slippers, pickled veggies, old-timey candies, and those little plastic bonnets for your serving bowls when you want to place them in the frig.
Then I turned the page and WHOA…two pages entitled, “intimate solutions.” Creams to enhance pleasure, to lift the breast, and even things that need batteries.
I guess they’ve determined that their target audience (boomers interested in ordering things that remind them of their grandparents and life as a kid?) might also want to enhance intimacy and yet only have the delivery person see that they are ordering from a quaint country store.
Times, they are a changin.
Several of the folks at HarvestUSA (see my sidebar for their site) have written pieces for the Philadelphia Daily News. My friend John’s piece was published most recently so click the link and read and rejoice in God’s redemptive power.