Monday, July 12, 2010



Brian Cordell said...

Gemma, the difference is that your comment contained a value statement. The comment on written prayers does not. A dialogue on the possible reasons that Protestants struggle in the marriage bed my be useful in a forum setting, rather than a blog. Not all protestants are caught in a legalistic trap, however, many are, and not just in marital life. Many Christians struggle in the balance of obedience, grace, and freedom. We all need help and patience in our transformational walk.

eammon said...

I have always thought religion has played a great deal into how we feel about sex. For ages, mankind has used guilt to control sexual urges and make it seem like sex is for animals. Thankfully, today we live in an enlightened world. we talk about these things and we are not perverts for talking about it

eammon said...

Please allow me to expand a bit regarding my prior comment. I am also in my 50's and was raised Catholic. I still am although I dont go to church. I know that sounds hypocritical but it is the way I am. While I was in school and going to CCD classes, I was convinced I was going to hell no matter how good I tried to be. The priest told me so. I am not going to say I was physically or sexually abused by a priest but he sure did play a head game with my impressional mind. It took a while to eventually grow up and get over it. To this day, I have become more faithful in the power of God and turned off by organized religion. It seems to me that organized religion is the same as politics. They both can be full of personal agendas and the desire to push it hard onto others. I do believe that people can practice whatever faith or religion they wish. The same goes in the bedroom. If they are in a committed marriage, they can determine what is allowed in the bedroom and what is not. Thanks Gemma for this site and discussion. It is great time be a live with this technology available.

Gemma said...

Brian said: "Gemma, the difference is that your comment contained a value statement. The comment on written prayers does not."

Can you explain what you mean?

so blessed said...

I can understand Brian's reference to a "value statement." The implication in what you said was that Protestantism is not good for marriages, but RC and Corth are. That's where the rub comes in.

Your statement about prayer is vastly different in that it doesn't draw any conclusions but is more a statement of fact. If you had said "Protestants seem to struggle with their prayer life. They do not read written prayers like the RC and Corth do," then you would have a value statement, and a similar comparison. (Our way is better than the Protestants.)

I get what you were saying; I just think you made a broad statement based on a small personal sampling and it was easy for folks to generalize and become offended.

Now - out of religion and back to the task of making marriage beds better! :-)

Gemma said...

OK, I can see how my words were interpreted that way. Maybe I worded my thoughts wrongly because that is not at all what I was thinking. I was only speaking about an observation that I noticed about Christians my dh and I know.... people in my world. I know that not all Protestant Churches are legalistic. And I know churches don't cause marriage bed issues in and of themselves but they certainly can greatly influence marriage beds because they did and still do for me. Maybe part of my observation stems from having been in legalistic churches and from people we know who are still comfortable in them and who struggle in their MB.

My bad. My apologies.

Ancient Mariner said...

But I have a little bit more to say about religion!

I want to expand on my understanding of what Gemma said.

First, a defense: I think she was just making a personal observation, not value judgements about the worth of Protestantism versus Orthodoxy and Catholicism. She has a blunt way of stating things which may put some people off, but it is never mean.

Let me first state that I was born and raised an Anglican, and only later in life explored catholicism, for reasons which were not initially theological, but became so. Even though I know many protestants and catholics, I cannot say how they relate to their spouses in their marriage beds. I can say, however, that as much as catholics are derided for blindly follow an arcane, unending and arbitrary set of rules laid down by the pope, other faiths also have their deeply-held beliefs, rules, and values. One trait I have observed is the absolute certainty, bordering on intolerance, with which certain beliefs and attitudes are held. The particular attitude which comes to mind is this; I was talking to a friend some years ago, and he told me that he did not drink. He used to when he was catholic, but since becoming a fundamentalist, not a drop of liquor had passed his lips. When they had communion, they passed around a tray with little paper cups filled with grape juice. Because alcohol was “bad.“ He said this with obvious pride, and I believed him. In my mind, I was thinking, “this is the sort of person who would have labelled Jesus a wine-bibber.” People with this mindset (I think) regard enjoyment of things of the flesh with distrust. Anything other than straight baroque music in 4/4 time is to be avoided. Likewise dancing, unless it is square dancing in a barn--with 4/4 music--and one must be in total control of oneself at all times, and not be seen to be enjoying anything too much, because that way lies sin.

And that brings me to my point. If you have such a stultified attitude towards carnal enjoyment, to the point of rejecting the good things God made, it is going to carry over into your sexual life. It does not matter whether this attitude was acquired in a protestant church or a catholic one; the result will be essentially the same, even if varying by degree.

I honestly cannot say that protestants are more afflicted with this malady than catholics: when I was young, we had an English country squire as our Anglican priest in my boarding school. After we received first communion, we schoolboys derived endless amusement in secretly placing bets on how much of the wine the priest would hold back for himself and gulp down, whether his nose would turn red, and whether we could see him stumbling down the altar steps after the service. (The priest was actually very reserved and always dignified, but we were 12-year old boys away from home, and our minds were busily spinning out of control.) Anyway, I was not exposed to those attitudes growing up, but I cannot speak for other faiths. I truly believe that the way one regards non-sexual things of the flesh of necessity greatly influences the sexual part.

I hope I have not offended anyone.

Anonymous said...

"Most Protestants I know are greatly struggling in their marriage bed and most Roman Catholics and Orthodox I know, have healthier views on this topic."

How do you know this? Do you have friends or acquaintances that share info with you about the state of their marriage bed? I am very curious because, for us, when things were bad, we definitely didn't tell anyone. Now that things are good, we don't tell about it (It probably shows in the way we relate to each other though)

Respectfully intrigued about how you are collecting data:-)

Cocotte said...

Just wanted to say that although I don't agree with you about Protestant vs. Roman Catholic vs. Orthodox teachings about sexuality, I totally understand where you are coming from. You and GR have been personally hurt by wrong teachings in the Protestant church. Of course you are going to have a bad taste in your mouth about that faith.

As you probably know, my DH was brought up RC. When he went to tell his family priest that he was going to marry a Protestant, the priest told him that was fine, but that if he didn't raise his future children in the RC faith, they would be going to hell. Well, you can imagine how that made my DH feel and me after hearing about it. Obviously, neither of us want anything to do with the RC church ever again.

Let's face it - our personal experiences shape our beliefs.

Gemma said...

Anon said: "How do you know this?... Now that things are good, we don't tell about it (It probably shows in the way we relate to each other though).... Respectfully intrigued about how you are collecting data:-)


You answered your own question when you said, "It probably shows in the way we relate to each other."

Our friends and family members don't have to share every intimate detail about their marriage bed with us but what they DO share and the way they relate to each is very telling.

Again, OUR personal opinion going on what we see in OUR friends and family members is not "data". It's just what we see in people we know. I don't know how many other ways I can say this--- I'm not speaking about entire Christian Faiths. My original comment was only pertaining to people we know.

Gemma said...


At one time I was bitter about how the Protestant Faith negatively influenced our MB but that is no longer the case. It is way too harmful to walk around in unconfessed bitterness. The only thing I feel for for these legalistic churches and the people we know who are in them is sadness. So many of them will live their entire married lives with a miserable marriage bed.

Try to understand--- Most of the Protestants we know, not all of them, are still attending legalistic churches and the ingrained legalism shows in every area of their lives. That's nothing to be bitter about. It's just sad.

Cocotte said...

Gemma - would you mind telling us what sort of Protestant churches you know where they have legalistic teachings? Is it Baptist and mega/fundamentalist churches?

I only ask because those are the only two where I have come across legalism. The more mainline (methodist, lutheran, presbyterian) churches, I have never witnessed or heard anything legalistic at all. In fact, they lean more the opposite direction.

Gemma said...


The worse legalistic church we were in was pastored by an ex-Southern Baptist man who started this small, nondenomination church in the late 70's and he pastored it well into the 90’s. This was in a small town in the Gulf States area. If I mentioned his name, anyone familiar with the area would probably have heard of him. Everywhere he went he was treated as a mini-pope. GR and I were finally able to walk away from it and put our lives back together but I can't tell you how many families we saw and still see being torn apart from the legalistic lifestyle. I often compare legalism to Hitler and Mafia.

Geek said...

Gemma: As a lifelong protestant who has never felt sexually repressed in any way, I understood exactly what you said and found no offense in it whatsoever. While we can all make observations about friends we know in other denominations those are our anecdotal experience.

I appreciate your posts both here and on TMB.

Anonymous said...

Gemma- This entire site is such and incredible bulls eye. Here is what triggered my search. My wife feels guilty about having sex- Protestant. I do not- Orthodox. At a promise keepers convention they asked how many of these men viewed porn in the previous week and something like 40% said they did. I dare say this is primarily a protestant convention.

job29man said...


I understand your heart in this matter. Your experience is your experience. Your journey is your journey. IMO your heart is above reproach in such things. Thank you for being open and vulnerable. If sometimes you don't word things the perfect way the first time... it's OK Sister.

In my experience I have seen both heartache and joy across almost any lines one could imagine.

IME the RCC that I grew up in contains both joyous and free relationships in marriage, and some of the most repressed and stultified marriages I've ever seen.

IME the "Protestant Church" (which doesn't really exist. There is no "Protestant" church) contains the same.

Personally... we are Anabaptist, and I have heard all the stories about "you know those Mennonites! They dress all conservative and prudish, but underneath the women are wearing Victoria's Secret lingerie and rocking the bed at night! Well guess what? I know plenty of marriages in our Mennonite church that are stultified, and plenty others that I'm sure are passionate and amazing, and the majority (I perceive) fall somewhere in between.

I believe that it is the duty of each of us to embrace the truth of Scripture and reject the heresy of legalism wherever we find it.

Legalism leads to stultified sexual relationships, horrible communications, tyrant husbands, bitchy hen-pecking wives. It matters not the source... Roman Catholic, "Protestant" (sic), Orthodox or just plain bad family traditions and culture handed down over generations (to which I give far greater credence). It matters not...

Let us all take responsibility for our own actions, our own hearts, and man and woman enough to stand up against bad teaching, against bad examples, whatever the source.

No man has any excuse to avoid being an understanding and nurturing husband. No woman has any excuse to avoid being a supportive and passionate wife.

Let us all bear responsibility for our own decisions, for our own actions. Let us all behave as moral free agents, following the principles that the LORD God has given to us.

When we stand before the Great White Throne of Judgment, we will stand alone. There will be no "Priest", no "Pastor", standing beside us. We will not be permitted to say "But the Priest taught me thus...." or "But my Pastor taught me so..." nor "LORD, my parents had a horrible marriage and left me no example."

These are but hollow excuses and will be ignored by the Judge of All.

No my brothers and sisters... let us stand on our own and bear our own consequences for our choices. No one held a gun to our throats to make the decisions we made.

We are our own moral free agents.