Improving LDS Intimacy in Marriage

For those who are LDS, how can we improve intimacy in marriage? Mormon sexuality can be a difficult and fraught subject. But making love is an important part of married life.

When our Father in Heaven looked into the child-like eyes of Adam and Eve and commanded: “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it,” He also commanded them to do so within the bonds of marriage.

Tim LaHaye,  an evangelical Christian minister, suggests in his book, The Act of Marriage, that marital intimacy provides mutual pleasure in marriage, and greater equality between husband and wife, while reducing sexual temptation outside of marriage.

With eternity for Mormons to perfect their sexuality, I have sought out the top advice from Latter-day Saints and other Christians about how to best improve marital intimacy and reap these advantages.

1. Finally Learn How Your Spouse’s Sexuality Works

Understanding the opposite sex
Men and women are equally confusing to their opposite sex. Figuring out their characteristics can open so many doors that lead to sweet love making.

While intercourse is fundamentally physical, many overlook the other aspects of a person that intimacy connects with. For example, successful sexual experiences increase feelings of fulfillment in men and women. Sexually satisfied husbands and wives develop self-confidence in other areas of life.

But developing this satisfaction can be challenging. Men and women’s psychology regarding sexuality operate in very different ways. Here are some general guidelines

The Sexual Differences Between Men & Women
Sex Drive Stimulated By Suggestions
Men
  • Sex Drive is strong and almost immediate
  • Urges: Continuous
  • Visual appeal
  • Lingerie
Women
  • Take between 15-20 minutes to get to the same level of sexual excitement as men
  • Urges: Sporadic
  • Romantic love
  • Compassionate love
  • Affectionate love
  • Bouquets
  • Back rubs
  • Thoughtful words
  • Gifts

Remember, while these guidelines reflect general attitudes, talk to your spouse about their specific needs in these areas, by following recommendation number 5 below.

2. Read the Current Best-Selling Books on LDS Intimacy in Marriage

Married couple becoming more sex educated
Many know the anatomy of their spouse’s reproductive organs, but not know the physiology of them. So, how can you learn more?

For many people, sex education can be very sporadic. For me, it was in the fifth grade, when my school had a sex-education assembly. But I missed because my family took a trip to Disneyland. Not until freshman year of high school did I have another opportunity. And even these sex education classes tend to focus exclusively on the anatomy of the male and female reproductive organs.

Laura Brotherson's
One of the best-selling LDS books on intimacy

LaHaye explains that:

Millions of married couples accept a second-rate experience because they don’t know much about the reproductive organs and sexual functions and are unwilling to learn.

Many people have similar experiences, but never seek out further education until the moment they are faced with first losing their virginity, and some not even then. With the abundance of bad resources, it can seem easier to avoid sex education all together. But with a little bit of education, you can find useful, faithful resources that discuss sex within the context of marriage. These books explain specifics like how to touch, or excite, our spouse.

My husband and I read Brotherson’s And They Were Not Ashamed together before we were married and continue to reference back to it. Each subject matter is discussed deeply and provided with fantastic suggestions for any emotional, spiritual, mental, or physical problems one might face in marital intimacy.

Here are other resources you may consider:

  • Becoming One: Intimacy in Marriage by Robert F. Stahmann, Wayne R. Young, and Julie G. Grover
  • Purity and Passion: Spiritual Truths about Intimacy That Will Strengthen Your Marriage by Wendy L. Watson
  • Between Husband & Wife by Stephen E. Lamb, and Douglas E. Brinley
  • Real Intimacy: A Couple’s Guide to Healthy, Genuine Sexuality  by Kristin B. Hodson, Alisha Worthington, and Thomas G. Harrison
  • Sexual Wholeness in Marriage by Dean M. Busby, Jason S. Carroll, and Chelom Leavitt

Each of these books explains Mormon sexuality within a gospel context appropriate for married couples. For ongoing discussion check out The LDS Marriage Bed.

3. Overcome Embarrassment or Guilt about your Sexuality

Shy wife talking to husband
You’ve seen every part of your spouse that can possibly be seen. Why would they possibly be embarrassed?

No matter how many times a married couple will see each other naked, or try to talk about past events that may currently be interfering with sexual intimacy, there still may be feelings of embarrassment, or guilt, pent up inside.

With their religious upbringing, Mormon sexuality can be awkward or embarrassing at first. For example, if someone were struggling with the temptation of pornography or premarital sex before or during marriage, they might have to train themselves that any sexual excitement is wrong, in order for them to resist that temptation. Thus, when the time comes to actually make love in an acceptable and sacred manner with their spouse, they may have conflicting feelings.

“It often takes from one-third to one-half of a lifetime for people to accept themselves,” LaHaye notes to couples that may feel insecure about their body image. Thus, taking time to participate in bonding activities is extremely helpful to overcome feelings of discomfort or shame.

Two ideas from And They Were Not Ashamed include:

  1. Writing down the things you love about your spouse’s body and sharing it with them
  2. Telling your spouse specifically what you love about exercising marital intimacy with them

Similar activities will boost your spouse’s confidence in themselves as well as reassure that Mormons and sex do not need to be strangers.

4. Encourage Making Love in Times of Hardship by Following Our Plan

Mormon Sexuality throughout life
Sex shouldn’t be reserved for only ideal occasions.

Obviously, when you and your spouse are in the middle of a predicament, you can’t just freeze time, dream away all your issues, and go make love. But, you can plan for it.

When you’ve had a rough week, and you and your spouse have just worked through an argument, or you’ve noticed that your spouse is going through a long-term struggle, plan a getaway.

 

Sexuality not only creates a stronger bond between husband and wife, but has the power to heal previous wounds or stress–inside or outside of marriage.

Sexual activity has been proven to reduce friction in men and relax women’s nerves. LaHaye testifies that “the world looks better…and difficulties shrink to life size when sexual harmony prevails.”

5. Communicate Often by Listening to This Mormon Sexuality Therapist’s Advice

Couple talking in bed
A couple may feel like they’ve talked about everything that there is to talk about. What else could there possible be?

Unfortunately, we were not blessed with the ability to read one another’s minds. Thus, we are forced to communicate our feelings through body language or verbal expression.

Tim LaHayes was appalled to learn:

Even well-educated people find it difficult to discuss their love lives frankly…[Some couples] have never been able to communicate with one another on the subject [of sex].

Trying to play the guessing game during marital intimacy, is like being blindfolded and trying to find a needle in a haystack. Finding the answer only takes longer, and you or your spouse may get pricked–or emotionally hurt–in the process. Taking the time to communicate is much easier and becomes more comfortable over time.

Laura Brotherson, LDS sex therapist, highly suggests talking to your spouse about what you like or don’t like during marital intimacy; even going as far as discussing your ideal fantasy of sex with your spouse. This way, each couple will have a better understanding of what their spouse enjoys, and also what is unappealing to them during intercourse.

While it can be difficult for Mormon sexuality to be healthy and fulfilling, the sublime, intimate moments shared between husband and wife are worth the time and work.

Do you agree? Let us know in the comments below.

Nicole is a Technical Writer from BYU-Idaho, working as a content writer for LDS.net. A California girl married to a native Italian, Nicole has become quite cultured in the last few years. She has hiked to the top of Half Dome once, traveled to Italy and Switzerland twice, loves to run, and believes in the power of lavender-salt baths and yoga.

  • Michael Furman

    I liked this article. We were both raised in the church but she much more strictly than I. We both messed around before marriage so we aren’t saints, but after 20 years she is still very loath to discuss anything about “that”. She is the one who sent me the link to this article so I am very hopeful that she is willing to engage in talking about this. We have two small kids so as anyone who has or has had them …. you know what happens after you manage to get them to bed. Thanks again for the post. And I can’t close this without asking those that love to find chinks in every thing and then love to point them out; just don’t for once. The Lord does not want a bunch of squeamish frigid saints. You are married. It’s OK. You can get wild and enjoy each other. It’s really OK.

  • Darla Gaylor

    We need many, many more of these articles. Sexual satisfaction is not the end all be all of a good marriage, but it sure helps. Too many of us are truly clueless or hamstrung in that arena, but we need positive, not degrading and worldly, sources from which to learn. There are some wonderful people out there writing and blogging, some are LDS, many are mainstream Christians, seeing how damaging our ineptitude the bedroom is to healthy, happy, long term marriages.

    It is possible to be virtuous going into our wedding nights, but we needn’t be clueless, or probably in the case of many reading, our children don’t need to be as clueless as we were. And we can be better than we have been.

    I have come to believe there is a whole lot more satisfaction to be had out there that is well within the bounds the Lord had in mind when he created us as he did. Often, I believe, we let this foggy sense of propriety keep us from enjoying all He wants us to enjoy…or in other words, I’ve got a Victoria’s Secret run to make!

  • Christian Folau

    drink the kava

  • Roger

    To those who are squeamish and uptight with the topic of sexual relationships within marriage and constantly saying “What would the brethren say”; The brethren are desperate for strong health marriages and our reluctance to discuss or address these matters is perpetuating a culture of weak and failing marriages. Our burying these issues under a rock and hiding them because of personal shame is not helping us. The feelings of shame, about anything, is a tool introduced by the advisary to restrict our growth.

  • Roger

    I agree the chart was far too simplistic. There are always high desire and low desire situations in a marriage or even any relationship. I’ve read several of the books the author listed and I appreciate the time and effort put into each book. Many good points. I think intimacy, eroticism and sexual relations with in marriage is essential for a successful marriage and needs to be more openly discussed.

    However, without hesitation, the single best book we as a couple have ever read, is a book called “Intimacy and Desire” by Dr. David Schnarch. He outlines the crucible of marriage, the vital importance of personal development and reinforces the importance of monogamy and intimacy with in marriage. All principles taught with in the gospel of Christ. I would strongly encourage everyone to read it.

  • Another book I feel does a good job from a Mormon sexologist is Good loving by Dr. Melissa Jones, look her up and read her story, from girls camp.

  • SSG

    Wonderful to see this information coming out for members of the church wish it had been talked about when I was first married, I bought the book… And They Were Not Ashamed and having been married 30 years 8 kids it was wonderful to use, read and apply will make the next 30 plus years even funner! As we learned things we did not know before crazy I know! It also made it easier to talk about this part of life with each other. I ended up buying 6 books total and give them to newly married couples the first couple responded by saying “At first I was what the heck did she give us this? but we took it on our Honeymoon its been our most favorite gift.” The Lord gave us in marriage to enjoy each other completely and by doing so it brings us closer together. Its our most fav. time together 31 years into marriage.

  • MrShorty

    I decent article, thanks for sharing. If nothing else, I am pleased to see this article in a conservative LDS community like LDS.net (even though there are obviously some in this conservative community who were not pleased to see the article here).

    Point 1: I will agree with those bemoaning the stereotyping that goes into the table, but I think the basic premise of point 1 is solid — get to know and understand (as best you can) how your spouse experiences sex, libido, and sexuality. Often, I think the challenge here is our tendency to be judgmental. We might be tempted to describe a “high drive wife” a “disgusting nymphomaniac” or a sexually frustrated husband as “an oversexed pig”, but we need to try to see beyond these labels to try to understand what is going on behind those labels (and, perhaps, what is going on in our own heads that makes us demonize and vilify normal, healthy sexual desires). Or perhaps judging a spouse as “frigid” or “boring” or “a cold fish”. Sexuality is not a “one size fits all” experience, and understanding (and accepting) the individuality of our spouse’s experience can be important.

    Point 2: Sex ed is important. As you note, most of our “formal” sex ed is about mechanics and often a lot of “be very afraid of sex because of pregnancy or disease”. Learning about pleasure and desire and sexual response and negotiation in the marriage bed are also important parts of learning, that do not get a lot of air time (if any) in formal sex ed. I find it interesting (and positive) that you studied Brotherson’s book with your husband before marriage, because many church leaders have discouraged such education as a couple before marriage — worried that it might lead to more than study.

    Thoughts on your book list:

    I have not read or heard anything about Becoming One or Sexual Wholeness.
    I have not read Real Intimacy, but I have read other things by the authors, and have generally liked what they say. I sometimes find it interesting to see it recommended in a conservative LDS community, having reviewed the “extra chapter” that they held out of the book, but make available elsewhere.
    I have read Between Husband and Wife and thought it was fairly well done (except for some of the same stereotyping that is criticized in point 1).
    I have read Purity and Passion and did not like it. Sister Watson, whose practice seems to focus on sex and porn addictions, lets the “sex as addiction” model show through more than I would like in this book. It still gave me the impression that sex is something to fear rather than embrace.
    I have read And They Were Not Ashamed , and thought it was well done.
    I have not read The Act of Marriage, but have heard mixed reviews of it. I suspect that, with discernment, it is a decent book.

    Point 3: Body image is often a challenge to overcome. I don’t have any real answers, but I hope we find ways to learn to appreciate our own bodies and our spouses’ bodies as they are, without need for physical perfection as dictated by the media.

    Point 4: After years in a sexless marriage, I look back and wish we had devised some kind of “what will we do if/when sexual frequency drops below x” contingency plan. Figured out how to make sex a priority that extends beyond “are both of us in the mood or not” or “stresses of life” or tiredness or busyness or “is our relationship perfect so that sex will come naturally (if it really does)”. We don’t often talk about “prioritizing” sex in marriage, and I think that hurts some marriages.

    Point 5: Communication, verbal and non-verbal, are important parts of growing and developing a mutually enjoyable sexual relationship. When we grow up in an environment that makes sex a “taboo” subject (or “too sacred to talk about” which is one way the LDS community sometimes treats it), it can be difficult to develop practical skill in talking about sexuality. Again, part of this, I think, is not judging our spouse’s very real feelings and experiences, while still accepting our own experience as valid.

    Thanks for the article and the ensuing discussion.

  • Lewis Craig

    I would add have fun. If that means lingerie, that’s fine. Be discrete. If it doesn’t always work out, talk and look forward to next time.

  • Jules

    The importance of foreplay should make the list. Seems to be often overlooked in anxious, eager newlyweds.

  • Buddy10mm

    Going on 26 years of marriage. Four kids. Finances. Jobs. Health. Exhaustion. Intimacy? Wow, what a dull life this would be at times without it!
    Thanks for a great article!
    The chart doesn’t describe us exactly – but, hey, it’s an analytical tool, it’s not a revelation.
    There are a surprising number of negative comments here. Wow.
    Can this be doctrinally supported? Well… you do know how kids get here, right? If we’re going to do something to further the Plan, we may as well do it well. Elder Holland has also written on the subject.
    Lingere promotes the world’s view? So what happens if I bring a bouquet of flowers? Am I paying my wife for intimacy? It’s a shared experience – it requires the giving of self, which means doing things for your partner. Have a little fun with it.
    And look up the meaning of “cleave.”
    Does intimacy go beyond the bounds of physical? It does – of course. But you’ve got to start somewhere.
    Can you put the name of the Church on this? Well everyone knows this isn’t an official “Church” site, but I’m pretty sure “Mormons” are ok with intimacy – even Church officials.
    Let’s face it, sometimes life is hard, and you need the comfort of your partner’s touch. Sometimes life is good, and you need the joy of your partner’s touch. Always, life is life, and you need your partner, and her (or his) touch.
    If this article bugged you, go cuddle up by your spouse, and see what happens…

  • I think it is important for people to study “out of the best books words of wisdom” so I think it’s great that you have some book recommendations. The Act of Marriage is one that my friend gave to me before marriage and it was very valuable for us as ignorant virgins to understand some basic biology around sex.

    The Church’s “A Parent’s Guide” is a really underused resource as well for some great doctrinal and practical teachings about sex. There are chapters that are relevant to young adults preparing for and in the early years of marriage. I wish more people knew about and used this resource!

    As someone mentioned, though, I didn’t love the table insert.

    Related to that…I also think it’s worth noting that Wendy Watson Nelson and Laura Brotherson (and others, perhaps) have different opinions on lingerie. Over time, I have come to prefer Sister Nelson (then Watson)’s view on it (that perhaps lingerie brings too much of the world’s view of sex into a relationship). This ends up being a personal choice, obviously, but I think reading different opinions on it is worthwhile.

    I think this article is a worthwhile read re: differences between men and women. I think they do exist, but perhaps sometimes some elements are overused. I like the nuance of this couple’s point of view — as therapists and religious people.
    https://www.faithfulandtrue.com/Resources/Myths-about-Men-s-Sexuality.aspx

    And no offense to the author, but I think it would be valuable to have the insights of a mature couple, too. Intimacy in early years is different than as time goes on, when children come and health or other issues come and life happens and love and intimacy matures through working through it all.

    Lastly, I would encourage young adults to be very educated on lust/pornography addiction before marriage. This happens more often than we would like to consider, and although there is much hope in the face of it, there is less hope when ignorance abounds as it currently does. Learning to recognize signs and attitudes related to sexual addiction and even just addressing the false beliefs that come in a sexualized culture can help make a marriage stronger. The women at the Hope and Healing forum will be sharing some of their personal experience and advice soon on the Hope and Healing LDS website, FWIW.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you, Nicole, for addressing this important subject.

    It seems hard to get the balance right for some people in our church, with this issue: intimacy is a wonderful and important thing, but ONLY in marriage.

    Some people don’t appear comfortable with a frank discussion about it, which I think is unfortunate. Not talking about it will not help anyone. But it should also be addressed appropriately. I think you’ve done a good job here.

  • William George Dunbar

    I would like to learn when the First Presidency have to say about this.
    Looking at the images in this article, there is one that shows the legs of a woman who is obviously not wearing temple garments and with an engagement ring and being alone with a male and reading erotic material could lead to fornication.

    This subject is not mentioned in the Strengthening Marriage or Marriage and Family Relations guides.

    What next? a course using the Kama Sutra?

    • Roger Gardiner

      What’s the Karma Sutra, a curry?

    • Brian P

      WGD – There is one thing you should consider – matters such as this are between you and the Lord. Seek the Spirit – there you will find the correct answer.
      That is what the Brethren have to say.

    • Rip

      A course on the Kama Sutra is probably not a bad idea

    • Love being LDS

      My wife wears similar skirts and garments are worn just fine with them, so I did not see the picture as suggesting she is not endowed and married. Even then, Reading a book about sex would be a good way to start preparing for the big day.

    • Backroads

      What’s wrong with the Kama Sutra?

      • Jules

        Should be required reading!

    • EarlJibbs

      @WGD – “erotic material” ? Education about sex doesn’t have the be erotic. And if that is all you got out of the article, then maybe read it again. Did you also have a problem with them quoting non LDS clergy?

      I am not sure why the “Brethren” would need to weigh in on this article.

    • Buddy10mm

      Good grief! How to properly eat a hamburger isn’t mentioned in the Word of Wisdom – but we can talk about that topic.
      Intimacy is awesome – and more. The better the both of you are at it, the better it is. Maybe a little Kama Sutra between a married couple isn’t such a bad thing.

    • Jesús pereyra

      Brother seems to me that you are judging the book by its cover, with respect to the first presidency, remember that they are human too, this compact article is good and is geared to help new marriages and those who have spent years perhaps like yours , members do not address these issues not to be labeled and judged, but double check this issue is essential for good marital cohabitation, not be aware of the large number of divorces where the man is the main offender? Why? because it ignores the needs of his wife because he embarrassed to ask and say it costs their own needs and ways, then easy solution is to find a lover who has no obligation to renew agreements or take the sacrament. In the best my dear brother the other output is a farce, in meetings they look great at home but hell, dissatisfaction, misunderstanding, miscommunication, but nobody says anything to save face.

  • Janet

    Can this all be substantiated doctrinally?

    • Buddy10mm

      This, uh, IS how children get here. You may also want to see Elder Holland’s writings on the subject. He’s normally pretty accurate when it comes to doctrine.

  • Katie

    I have vulvodynia, and just wanted to cry reading this. I agree sexual intimacy in marriage is so important. It’s so hard that I can’t engage in it. I really can’t describe the grief I feel.

  • Hannah

    This is a great article. I chose to giggle at the offended and embarrassed commenters here. Sex is a subject that is amazingly (forgive my phrasing) touchy with members of our faith and it’s difficult to come across any kind of open dialogue on the subject. I known women who were told their whole life that sex was wrong, wrong wrong and then wondered why they struggled with intimacy in their marriage. No one talked to them about in a positive manner so they grew up with a negative or terrified outlook on sex which is just sad. And unfortunate.

    That being said, suggesting to people that they read books about understanding intimacy written by experts, understanding and knowing your body and that of your spouse, being open with your spouse and tossing aside embarrassment or shame on being naked and intimate with your spouse is not a bad start. For many it is more advice and help than they have ever been given. I’m glad someone is saying something!

    I totally recommend Mark Gungor’s, “Laugh Your Way To A Better Marriage” seminar. He isn’t LDS but he is a funny and brilliant man and everything he says is spot on when it comes to the differences in men and women, how we can better communicate and connect on a deeper level. 

    I hope that we will move into a more open (but not graphic) dialogue about sexual intimacy so everyone can truly understand its power and importance in marriage. 

    And the men being visual thing is totally true! You can complain about stereotypes all you want but that is one that no man will deny. And they don’t need lingerie to be excited. Bed head (messy morning hair) will do it too.

    • Anonymous

      Well said

  • sara

    I am really concerned about what i just read.
    There is no way that anyone can use the name of the church to publish this type of article .
    I´ve found it because of was translated to spanish and published in losmormones.org as a “great article”.
    In first place, i would like to say that i´m not trying to be mean, or rude, but… don´t you think that if it was necesary some instruccion like that, our leaders wouldn’t have done some publication about it?
    In my opinion, what you have wrote is no more than just one opininon that shouldn’t be here, where the Church´s name is involved.
    I can not imagine, neither of our leaders, giving to us a speech about Marital Intimacy and using the kind of terms that appear on what you wrote, it is gross, and in any way is ” anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy” .
    I can´t imagin either at our leaders giving to us the kind of advices that you provide, especially the one that has to do with “buying a book”. You really think that it is a good advice? I mean… just think about it. can you imagine some of the First Presidency or some of the Twelve Apostles talking as you are doing it?
    I strongly believe and recommend that this kind of personal opinion should be on your personal blog, and no as something related to our church.

    It really bothered me this article.-

    • Christopher D. Cunningham

      I believe the emphasis from our church leaders during the most recent conference on improving marital relationships makes this kind of content exceptionally valuable.

      I’m sorry you found the topic gross.

    • Chelsea

      LDS-approved, aka, in line with what we believe. (It says at the bottom of the website of lds.net that the articles and opinions are not from the Church).
      You’ll find a lot of information everywhere else about this topic that is out of line with our beliefs, like watch porn videos with your significant others, anal sex, masturbation, etc. I thought this was an excellent article and very well and tastefully written. These are all things that have strengthened my intimate relationship with my husband over the years.
      I wonder what in the world you considered “gross” in this article. It sounds like you aren’t open with your spouse (if you are even married??) and probably don’t have a great and open sexual relationship. Sounds like you need to take this article to heart and stop being afraid of discussing intimacy!
      And if you think that the Church is mum on these things, check out the huge number of quotes on it from the Eternal Marriage Student Manual, pages 139-146 (which echo a ton or what was said here!) and the article on how to make feminine lingerie from the August 1971 Ensign!

      • Michelle Fulbright

        Not Sure … But I’m wondering if the article, as written, translated as tastefully into Spanish. No expert here, but perhaps the content was over simplified. Mr. Cunningham has a great grasp of the English language, however, Spanish is a beautiful, uncomplicated language… Perhaps the translator did not offer such depth in his/her word selection. In my experience, one word can have more and varied meanings than English words typically do. I don’t mean to over-analyze this, but we have unique words for the same noun, that give very defined meaning to nearly the same thing. The article may have appeared ‘crude’ or overly intimate if handled poorly.
        Thanks for a well written, practical, and clean article.

      • Steve

        Watching porn and solo masturbation, yes, but what’s wrong with anal sex or mutual masturbation? If the couple is okay with either one, I know of no injuction that says they shouldn’t.

        • Rip

          Nothing at all wrong with either. In fact I’d be surprised if either one is not a part of intimacy for many lds couples.

    • john minton

      I once had a Bishop who told me to by a book !!

    • Roger Gardiner

      Read some of Wendy Nelson’s comments on the subject

    • Lynne Felt

      I too am sorry you found this article offensive. I have been a member of the church for 70 years….. have 16 grandchildren and five children. I would not be at all concerned if any of them were to read this article, in fact I pointed it out to my husband and he said how well the article was written. He has been a Church leader in important callings where he has had to sit in on couples and counselled them on such matters. I am sorry, Sara that life’s experiences has left you with a narrow view. Many such books have been sold through Deseret Books whose CEO is Sheri Dew, a well loved sister of the Church who has represented the Church on many an assignment (world wide). Elder Boyd K Packer gave a very detailed talk to the Brethren at a conference on sexual intimacy (without mentioning the word SEX) and it was as the article above, very direct and to the point. Ignorance in anything is frowned upon by the Church, they encourage us to “study” and “seek” out and sexual intimacy is one such subject. How else are we going to have a harmonious marriage if we are not prepared and open minded about those things that make for a fulfilling marriage. It is ignorance (and prudishness) in such matters that can come between a man and a woman.

    • Fidj

      WOW! Lame response, but I do hope your marriage has been fulfilling for you & your husband, considering your response. Having served in many a leadership position, I think this article is a good STARTING point for engaged couples. Is a book that explains how everything works going to get a couple so hot wired that they break their commitments to their Heavenly Father? Not really. If they are that uncontrollable it would happen anyway, late on a date or some other time when they are alone together.
      I have read a few of the suggested books to help in counseling young adults preparing for marriage & I have never seen anything of a salacious manner.
      My wife & I dated exclusively for 4 years before marrying. I would never recommend that to anyone because the temptations can become pretty difficult. Even with all that time, articles & books such as these would have helped a lot as we struggled to learn about how we each worked prior to “going with what sounds good.” It would have saved a lot of disappointment that occurs during early marriage, disappointment that can, in many instances, doom a marriage.

    • Backroads

      So you’re saying the Church is against people having sex? This is not directly from the Church, but there is absolutely nothing wrong about faithful LDS people learning more about sex and intimacy in order to improve their marriages.

      • EarlJibbs

        You are right Backroads. Some would have us believe that learning about sex (more than just body parts and where a baby comes from) is a sin. Especially before marriage.

  • Traci

    This is a nice overview on a very complicated topic. Very difficult to sum up physical/sexual intimacy in marriage in 5 steps, with couples & people all being so different. I would think this would be very helpful for the young, newly married couple that may not even realize that men and women can be so different in their needs. In fact, because they may be experiencing these differences in their new marriage, and not privy to the “normalcy” of it, they might be thinking there is something wrong, and they are doomed to failure. This article could be of great benefit to such couples, and there are many wonderful references given for further individual research. Thank you for contributing this fine overview, Nicole!

    • Nicole Modugno

      Traci,
      Thank you so much for your comment and admiration for our article. It is quite difficult to sum up marital intimacy in a few steps. I hope that this article is helpful for newly-married couples, or at least plants the seed, for engaged couples to start thinking about sexual intimacy. However, I also hope that it will remind long-term married couples of the basics. Sometimes, over a period of time, the simple things can be taken for granted.
      Thank you, again, for following us on LDS.net 🙂

  • Cameron

    I very much enjoyed your article. While there are always going to be things that others may agree or disagree with, I thought this was a great summary in sharing some ways a couple can improve their marriage. My favorite part was when you talked about the “healing” power sexual intimacy can have. I had never looked at it that way and think there is much to be studied and learned there. Thank you very much for a good read.

    • Nicole Modugno

      Cameron,
      Thank you so much for your comment and positive feedback. I’m glad this article was somewhat of an enlightening experience for you.
      We look forward to hearing from you again in our future articles.
      Thank you for following LDS.net

  • R Keller

    Marital intimacy should include emotional intimacy, physical intimacy & sexual intimacy. Each of those components are connected in various ways to each other. This article does little to expand beyond sexual activity as primary motivation.

    • Nicole Modugno

      R Keller,

      Thank you for commenting on our article 🙂

      I completely agree with you. Marital intimacy should always include emotional, physical, and sexual bonding and they do connect in various ways to each other. That is why this article focuses on how to work through the emotional sides of guilt or embarrassment in a relationship, which also touches on the physical aspect of one’s insecurities.

      Because this article is limited to a certain length, we also provided further reading “for any emotional, spiritual, mental, or physical problems one might face,” and the encouragement to connect emotionally and physically through communication. We did not feel it wise to provide specific suggestions for physical touch, as this might offend some of our readers, and seems to be one of the more natural instincts when it comes to sexual intimacy.

      I agree that the motivation for physical and emotional intimacy is found in the process towards sexual activity; however, if one cannot get past the struggle of how to connect sexually through communication and education, they may also never be able to fully connect physically or emotionally. Thus, the purpose of this article: how to address those problems.

      We truly appreciate your comment and interest in this article, and are pleased that you continue to follow LDS.net

      Thank you,
      Nicole Modugno

  • Andrew Jorgensen

    This has got to be one of the sadly under informed articles I have read on sexual intimacy in marriage. The reason for this harsh critique is mostly for the “The Sexual Differences Between Men & Women” table. But the other points are rife with cultural and sexual misconceptions about healthy sexual narrative within a marriage.

    The table is simply denegrating towards men and women, and a shallow and very sexist approach towards helping spouses understand the complicated intimate relationship they share. This is deeply disturbing from a healthy sexual narrative in a marriage. The chart essentially denigrates men into being purely physically stimulated, needing a mere glimpse of lingerie or nudity to have us “immediately” turned on with “strong” urges. While women are “sporadic” creatures needing to be lavished with attention.

    This article provides simply too many stereotypes, and misconceptions to reliably help a struggling individual.

    From a personal commentary the table would be essentially flipped. Although of course anyone who falls under the tables male category is in a sad state. To assume men do not have a deep and strong drive for romantic love, physical affection, words of affirmation, etc… is a tragic diagnosis of the inherit general differences between men and women.

    Indeed many men find visual stimulation key in their physical arousal process, of course there are plenty of women who report the same. Like wise while the sexes may feel love, affection differently, and need different words of affirmation for a healthy emotional bond to their spouse. This certainly can hardly be appropriately represented for males by simply stating they need lingerie and naked flesh to create a truly intimate relationship. Where love, and unity draws them together in sexual union.

    Besides the failing of the table itself, why one would even include a table of differences in an article and that is meant to help individual couples. With only a certain number of couples fitting the general notions of this caricature, what good does this do for a large number of couples who’s physical intimacy issues stem more from a lack unselfish love towards each other, and a tendency to over simplify their spouses sexual needs.

    Was this table based on any kind of professional therapeutic manual?

    My wife and I have had our good times, and bad times like many couples regarding sexual intimacy. But to be boiled down a constantly aroused at a moments notice with a exposure of skin or lingerie is a very inappropriate way to help readers understand the complex and very emotional needs of men (although women deserve the same respect and treatment as well. A man may be different emotionally than a women, but their emotions are just as important and strong even though they may not fit the stereotypical view of what it means to be emotional.

    Emotional does not necessarily mean the stereotypical traits associated with femininity.

    And I hope you give sincere thought to the points made here, and hope you can get past the harsh critique.. I am glad you are willing to write about such an important topic. genuinely. But please consider the implications of your words in regards to men. While I can’t speak for men everywhere. I can speak for myself. And my spouse agrees this was a sad instance of grossly negligent over simplification, and rumor driven analysis of intimacy between men and women.

    • Nicole Modugno

      Andrew Jorgensen,

      I cannot express enough appreciation for your comment and the points that you made.

      I am deeply sorry our chart brought up feelings of denigrating towards men and women. While your comment was mostly pointed towards the chart, I hope that the other steps addressed in the article were pleasing and, perhaps even, helpful to you.

      I agree with you, the chart used in this article is a poor expression of all of the necessary aspects of creating stimulation in a man or woman. This chart was constructed as a quick way to express what was previously written in the article (based off of Tim LaHaye’s book, The Act of Marriage.) However, it is a very diluted, generalized version of what we wished we could say. Hence, the sentence under the chart:

      “Remember, while these guidelines reflect general attitudes, talk to your spouse about their specific needs in these areas, by following recommendation number 5 below” (Communicate Often).

      This article is limited in its length and amount of detail because we have found that long articles are discouraging to our readers. If an article is too long, our readers may not have the time or desire to read it in its entirety. Thus, we are forced to keep them brief. In doing so, we sacrifice addressing certain points in a more detailed manner.

      This being said, I am so happy you commented and addressed these points that I was unable to address more fully.

      Thank you for following LDS.net and taking the time to comment in a reflective way 🙂
      — Nicole Modugno

      • Jennifer

        If you’re going to address points in brief, make sure you address them correctly or not at all. You can shorten your article by taking out the incorrect stuff and focusing on the helpful advice.

        I personally had an easy time with intimacy in what was otherwise a horrible marriage. Looking back I remember coming across a page my ex had torn out of a magazine that talked about how to – how do I say this without sounding crass? – satisfy. He generally practiced those things and I attribute our success in that area to his doing that. I certainly was a bit uncomfortable when I saw that he had and had kept that article, but within the bounds of marriage it turned out to be pretty useful.

        That said, I recognize that we also had no psychological issues (that I’m aware of) with having sex. In those cases I think it’s important to pray and be open-minded in seeking guidance.

        • NeedleinA

          This was a brief “article”. Congrats to the author for talking the time to write about a subject that many people are afraid to talk about/ don’t talk about at all/ or have to rely on tearing out magazine articles to try to figure out.

          The author of this article wasn’t writing a book. She referenced a book one could go read instead for more “in-depth” understanding, “And They Were Not Ashamed.” Thank you for the article, not everyone has an easy time with intimacy.

    • Anonymous

      The table is generally accurate for most normal individuals, according to my understanding. I’m sure the author did not intend it as therapy for troubled people. As it says in the paragraph following the table: “Remember, while these guidelines reflect general attitudes, talk to your spouse about their specific needs in these areas, by following recommendation number 5 below.”

    • EarlJibbs

      I thought the chart was right on. At least, I could apply it to my wife and I, even after 15 years of marriage.