I mean, heaven forbid I've run out of Mormon culture to bitch about! So much of my life has evolved around loathing my own, I'd probably cease to exist if I didn't continue to see the ironic horror of being an actively miserable Mormon. Or an A.M.M as I like to call it.
So in the spirit of getting things going again I'm going to attempt to put something out there. Muse or no muse, it's time.
So, without further adieu let's talk about Sex.
Last Sunday was Ward* Conference. Ward Conference is like the Parent Teacher Conference of religion. All of the Stake* leaders come to visit the ward during Ward Conference. The Stake Presidency*, the Stake Relief Society Presidency*, and a bunch of other stake leaders. They get to sit on the stand during Sacrament Meeting * and hijack the rest of the meetings (a.k.a. there is usually a really bad presentation by LDS Family Services about adoption).
Well, I was lucky because I missed Ward Conference because I was on a plane. Unfortunately, I was not lucky enough to be on that plane all day, which meant I had plenty of time to meet up with a member of the Stake Presidency for a special 1:1 convo.
See, in Minnesota the Stake Presidency likes to meet with random people from each major demographic in the ward to discuss the ward and church and whatever else happens to come up. Being the never-married spinster sister I get asked to partake in these things regularly. I really thought that after the last tirade I went on (I'll let you reconstruct that one yourself) that I wouldn't be invited back. But, some people are slow learners...thus I was called in again.
I was prepped to walk in, give my usual single Mormon girl spiel, suffer through the Sherry Dew* clause and leave with a hefty does of suicidal ideation. I was pretty much right on target except for the convo we had for the first 20 minutes. It went something like this:
Stake Guy (SG): "So Sister Hanson, what is it you do?"
Me: "Oh, other than church service and gardening? I'm working on my PhD."
SC: "Oh really? What are you studying?"
Me: I'm a Marriage and Family Therapist. I study grief and dying. I really love trauma."
SC: "Oh, that's interesting." (no one really knows what to say when you say you 'love' trauma) "So, as a Marriage and Family Therapist what do you think would be important for the Stake Presidency to know?"
Me: (my inner demon jumped...an open invitation to say whatever I wanted...) "We seriously have to get realistic about pornography, and sex, and healthy relationships."
SC: (looking as stunned as a Harvard Lawyer can)
Me: "Yep, do you know the statistics? (I threw out all sorts of numbers).
SC: "Wow, well what do you think the percentage is of women who have pornography issues."
Me: (laughing), "I can't give you a percentage, no one knows. Any number you see is going to be biased by self-report. There's so much shame around sex and sexuality in our culture that being normal feels like a sin to most women."
SC: (still looking at me)
Me: (taking his silence as a green light to keep going). "I mean, how can we discuss the really damaging stuff if we can't discuss the normal healthy stuff? We as a culture need to be able to talk about sex without blanketing it in shame and secrecy...."
Twenty awesome minutes of talking about the need for cultivating healthy sexual attitudes. It. Was. Glorious...although not likely to lead to a Ward Conference on Sexuality (which is a bummer...I bet we'd get oodles of Mormons and non Mormons to join is on that Sabbath).
So let's take a step back. Sure, I may not be at the top of the experienced list, but I do have plenty of female LDS friends who are. You don't have to be a therapist to know that what I'm about to tell you is proof of how messed up sex has become in the LDS female's mind:
A friend once called to discuss "getting in the mood" for sex. I asked her what her typical approach was.
She started off by saying, "Well, I put on some music".
"What music?" I asked.
"Air Supply" she answered.
"Were you wearing a flannel nightgown and his mom's perfume?" I asked
"What, what's wrong with Air Supply?"
...to be continued