I’ve heard that Toronto is a wonderful city. Unfortunately, its current mayor just crossed a line.
When accused of engaging with prostitutes, specifically an oral sex act, he answered by proclaiming, “I . . . — well, I can’t use his words here. I’m too classy for that. But he intimated that he performs said act plenty with his wife at home.
And later, he apologized for his lewd remarks.
In the video of this apology, his wife stands off to the side, and her expression is heartbreaking. Not only is her husband the subject of attacks on his character (and I’m not commenting about which ones are true and which aren’t), but her personal sex life was laid bare before the public, a detail was recorded and widely shared, and the infraction came from the person who is charged most with protecting her — her husband.
This incident brought to mind the question: How much should you share about your sex life?
I’m sure some think I share quite a lot here at Hot, Holy, and Humorous. But honestly, my readers don’t know all that much. I don’t describe specific moments of my marital intimacy in detail, and everything I say here is cleared with the hubs (aka “Spock”). If I have any concern that a post could make him uncomfortable, we go over it and discuss the wording together.
It’s fine to discuss sex publicly in general (God certainly never shies away from the subject in scripture), but our personal sex lives need to remain private. How private? Here are a few things to consider:
What you’ve learned vs. what you did. I provide a lot of how-to posts here, and specific advice is the subject of my upcoming book (Sex Savvy: A Lovemaking Guide for Christian Wives). Helping others discover all that God intends for their marital intimacy may include talking about the sexual responses of our bodies, options for increasing pleasure, and/or how to navigate a specific act. Indeed, I’m in favor of some outside coaching.
But that’s rather different from “Let me describe our lovemaking last night. First, he ripped off my blouse with his teeth, and then we stumbled onto the elevator floor, and then . . . ” Yeah, you get the point. (And no, this isn’t anything that happened to me. Just an example!)
There’s a difference between sharing with someone what you’ve learned about sex and describing the specific act with your own spouse like you’re writing an erotic scene in a romance novel. The latter potentially invites others to visualize you two going at it and may violate the privacy of your marital bedroom. Keep that stuff to yourself.
Speak respectfully about your spouse and his/her body. One of the most disturbing things about what the Toronto mayor said is that he used rather crass language in referring to a sex act with his wife. We need to watch how we speak about our spouse and his/her body when it comes to the sexual arena.
Don’t talk about your spouse as if he is or she is a porn star. Even if you as a couple choose to “talk dirty” in the bedroom (though I don’t condone that), it’s not an appropriate way to refer to your spouse with others. You should be building up, not tearing down, your spouse. So don’t speak about her the way you would if she’d been a drunken one-night stand from your premarital bad-boy days.
Also, don’t share extensive personal information about his body or sexual problems with anyone you’re not consulting for help. Sure, you can tell a doctor about your husband’s erectile dysfunction, ask a mentor about a conflict you’re having in the bedroom, share with a friend your hurt about rejection, or ask a question here to address a specific issue — because you’re seeking help for what ails you. But sharing widely with your friends that “he can’t get it up”? No, no, no, no, no. (Is that enough nos?) Just check to whom you’re talking and what your motives are before getting personal about your spouse.
Know what your spouse is comfortable revealing. One of the few reasons I’ve rejected comments on my blog is a spouse oversharing. Usually it’s a husband who describes his wife’s sexual parts or responses in graphic detail. I read it and think, I wonder if the wife has any idea he’s sharing this publicly. Of course, my decision whether to approve or disapprove is subjective, but I’d call it the shudder-up-my-spine test. If the comment seriously creeps me out (and thankfully, this has only applied a few times), it simply doesn’t make the cut.
There’s a line past which most sane people could agree is a “bridge too far.” However, the most important thing is knowing what makes your own spouse uncomfortable. How much is too much for him or her? Some spouses are very private and would be horrified for anyone to even know that you got “lucky” last night. Others are fine with everything up to the most revealing details. Most spouses are somewhere in between.
Consider whether your bride blushes easily or whether your husband is naturally private before revealing information about your sex life to others. I guarantee there are Christian couples with fabulous sexual wisdom who would never ever have a blog like this one . . . because that’s simply not who they are. It would be too uncomfortable for one or both of them. And even if you don’t think it’s a big deal, if your words could injure your spouse, why go there? The honoring thing to do is to simply shut your mouth.
What boundaries or guidelines do you use in knowing how much you should share about your sex life? Do you and your spouse see eye-to-eye, or does one of you need to defer to the other?