When I started blogging in December 2010, I’d already learned quite a bit about sex, but I’ve gained far more knowledge since. I’ve read books and articles, done deep-dive Bible study, discovered interesting research, gained information and insight from fellow authors and speakers, and heard from many spouses through the years who shared their stories and struggles.
So when I pulled up a post from 2013 and read it recently, I winced a few times at my wording. While I stand behind the principles of what I said, I’d say it differently now.
Could my words be harmful?
At times I wonder whether I should take old posts down altogether…except that I still get messages from a spouse now and then who gained something important and helpful from an older post.
Someday soon, I hope to go back through all my posts, re-read them, and correct what I’d say differently now. But I’ve been blogging for 10 years and have published over 950 posts. How long will that project take? And I don’t want to spend all my time revisiting old posts but also writing new ones based on current issues.
It’s a conundrum. Something I said way back might be harmful if read by someone without the context of all I’ve written around or since then. Or it could be used by an ill-willed spouse to pressure or demand sex they feel owed in their marriage.
The weight hangs over me, wondering if and when something I said could hurt a marriage rather than help it. That would obviously be the opposite of my intention, my hope, my prayer!
Will I be mischaracterized?
It doesn’t help that we live in a culture currently in which some will take a snippet of text out of what someone wrote, share and criticize the excerpt, and mischaracterize the author’s intent.
Now that’s just a hazard of being a writer, so I’m not asking for some special sympathy. If I can’t take that heat, I need to leave the kitchen. But I would prefer our society to operate more __ like Hell’s Kitchen.
Just as an example, I finally got a one-star review for my book, Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design. Not from someone who read the book, but felt it necessary to share her opinion of me on Amazon anyway.
I’m fine with having a bad review, but I wondered what made her say “her behavior and beliefs are crazy and abusive towards women.” What exactly made her believe that I was such a hazard? Hey, I could accept I’m a little crazy at times, but “abusive towards women” is a definite mischaracterization of me and my ministry. After some background research, I concluded the reviewer saw a single Facebook post from me she disagreed with and decided I was bad news. (Oh, and my book is based on blog posts, but expanded and edited. Just so you know.)
It’s possible to lift out something I said, reframe it, and mischaracterize who I am and what I stand for.
What would I say differently?
When I started blogging, I was mostly trying to encourage wives to prioritize physical intimacy, increase their sexual knowledge and confidence, and enjoy the experience. My personal conversations had largely been with lower desire wives who had either liked sex before but let it fall by the wayside or who had struggled with embracing sexual delights due to “good girl syndrome.”
Among the things I was off about:
- I emphasized the need to keep sex going in marriage without always addressing some good reasons for it not happening.
- I focused on sex tips and techniques at times in a way that perhaps minimized theology and relationship.
- I used lighthearted terminology when more serious and compassionate language might have been better.
And I’m sure there’s plenty else.
May I have some mercy?
It’s easy to read or see something and become outraged. I do it too! But most of the time, I try to step back and ask why I’m getting so riled up. Is what I saw really that bad, or am I blowing it out of proportion? Did I read it accurately or add something based on my own experience or biases? Does the person have bad motives or did they just get something wrong?
Also, what if everyone treated my wrong, bad, or oops stuff the same way I treat theirs? Would I survive the same kind of scrutiny I give others?
Sometimes I have to remind myself that Jesus said, “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Matthew 7:2). And later, He shared a parable with the moral being: “Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?” (Matthew 18:33).
May I simply ask for your mercy too? And for you to help me out? If you read something here or elsewhere that seems uncharacteristic of my ministry or that seems harmful to you, reach out and ask me about it. Give me a chance to clarify or reword.
In fact, extend that mercy to others when and where you can. Ask bloggers privately and/or directly rather than lambasting them publicly.
With so many words written, we’re bound to get some wrong. Please help us improve our message and ministry.
39 thoughts on “Blogging About Sex: I’d Say It Differently Now”
Maybe, for old articles you could do like Disney and just add a disclaimer. “I, like most people, have grown and learned since this post. I encourage you to read my more recent articles to take advantage of that growth and wisdom. (Insert link here)”
I wince at some of my old stuff too. It’s the nature of writing. I have several blogging friends who write one post and review/edit one old post a week (if the post doesn’t need editing, move on to another). It takes a while to get through everything, but it’s a way to pace yourself.
BTW, I’ve always found you to be a caring, funny, lovely writer. Yes, we all need to grow in our writing skills, but I’ve always seen your good heart.
Thank you, Lori! And thanks for the tip about pacing. ♥
I found your blog last year, and have now read the vast majority of your posts. Right from the first one, I’ve found them to we’ll thought out, balanced, and biblically sound. You’ve got nothing to apologize for. In my opinion you’d be better off focusing on new material than rewriting old stuff. Keep up the good work.
Thank you so much! That means a lot.
Same goes for me and commenting on blog posts.
I haven’t commented on your blog before, but if I revisit some of my comments from other places (from years ago), I cringe and want to go back and apologize. In a way though, it serves as one way of looking at how much I’ve grown and how we are always a work in progress no matter how old we get.
Good point. It can show our progress!
I found your blog and enjoyed your writing style so much I went back through and read many of your older posts. I enjoyed them. I never found anything to be offensive or damaging. The fact that I can sometimes see how you have evolved as a Christian marriage blogger made me respect you more. Keep up the good work.
Thank you so much!
I discovered your blog last year, when in a fit of desperation I searched for Christian advice on sex in marriage. Loooonnnnng story short (someday I will type up the story as a thank you note and send it to you), I have now read every single blog post and shared many with my husband as well. Your writing style, your content, your determination to remain focused on Biblical principles have helped us pull our marriage relationship (mostly in the sexual arena but also in communication) back from the brink and propelled us forward to being better than ever. We’ve been married between 20-30 years and your advice has been the clearest and most consistent we’ve ever received.
Please, do not look back and cringe or be tempted to change things. Maybe you think your wording could have been a bit more of this or less of that, but your content is spot on. I have enjoyed ‘getting to know you’ through your writing, growth/change and all. It has made you that much more human and believable.
Well, I wasn’t inviting such encouraging words from people when I wrote this, but I admit they’re lovely to hear! Thank you. Blessings.
I’ve been reading your blog for many years now Probably around 8 years. And it has remained my favourite one till this day. You don’t need to go back and change what you wrote. I’ve enjoyed your post and the blessing they have been for me, If anything go ahead and write new ones for us to continue being blessed, your view on marriage and sex is refreshing, relatable and encouraging. many blessings to you.
Thanks so much, Beth!
Props to you for being honest with yourself, and your readers.
I am so glad my early stuff from Christianity Online Message Boards is nowhere on the web. I was young and brash, and while I mostly had truth there was not nearly enough love in how I said it.
You and I have clashed privately a few times, and I’ve always seen the outcome as a good thing. I’ve never had a big problem with you, and I have greatly enjoyed your humour and your perspective.
Hang in there, the best is yet to be written!
Thanks, Paul! I really appreciate your kind words here. Blessings to you and your ministry!
But…so many of those old posts have special memories. Okay, weird to say that. But I remember reading ooollllldddd posts after I was first engaged- thinking about what foundations were important for healthy intimacy (since my mom didn’t talk to me about sex). When I was going through a resentful time in my marriage I would read a blog post or find encouragement from the HD wives that made me look beyond the struggle I was facing to what our marriage and sex life could become. When I was in the trenches of a year-long battle with postpartum depression, the light-hearted posts reminded me that “I should go have some fun with hubby because J. says it just might help with the depression issue…” and it did…it gave me the comfort to face another day. All of the imperfections just show me that I’m not alone and God can meet me where I’m at and work in me, too.
I think of the verse about the jars of clay….so that way God gets the glory. You’ll never say everything perfectly, there’s always someone who can read it the wrong way or twist words (what happened to Shaunti is a good example of that) or there’s a situation that you would have never even thought of when writing. But it’s ultimately in God’s hands. You’ve been faithful to serve Him where He’s placed you, and sometimes we have to leave the scary “what ifs” to the Lord and trust that He will work in that, too.
Well, I just choked up reading that. Gotta go get a tissue… Thanks! ♥
If you try to please everyone you will end up pleasing no one. Keep up the great work.
Well, one would hope we’re all trying to please God first and foremost! But of course, we all fall short of perfection. Makes me even more grateful for Jesus! Blessings. Thanks, Aaron.
I read as many of your posts as you had written, three years ago, as I prepared for marriage at 31. I found an amazing amount of helpful info, packaged with humor. I handle deep or potentially embarrassing info easiest if there is a lot of humor in the presentation. Sometimes it just doesn’t help to take ourselves so seriously, even if it is a serious topic. Yes, I found some things I thought would not be helpful for me, and some things I disagreed with. It really is possible to just “sit it to the side” and keep reading for what is good! So thanks for all you wrote. As someone having to do my own sex ed, this was by far the most helpful resource I found. And the results in my marriage have been increasingly wonderful💕
Wow, thank you! I’m glad I could help some. ♥
I think you are incorrect to apply Matthew 18 in the context of public teaching. I think Galatians 2:11-14 fits better. In this situation Paul corrects Peter in a public setting because other Jewish Christians had wrongly followed his example, and Gentiles Christians had been harmed by this.
I can of course be wrong, but this post seems to be a thinly veiled rebuke of Sheila Gregoire. You should know that she DID reach out to some of the authors she has criticized, and she did not make headway. It is very appropriate for her to cite specific examples of harmful teachings. She’s also stated that she has taught harmful things in the past, and is pulling two of her books out of print because of this.
I don’t know what you’re referring to in this post about Matthew 18, because the verse I quoted wasn’t about teaching, but rather mercy for a servant.
As for this being “a thinly veiled rebuke of Sheila Gregoire,” it’s not. Yes, her approach in the last couple of years challenging other authors is one piece of what made me think about my words throughout the years, but that really is just one small piece. There’s been a LOT else happening in my life that has made me think about my mission, my responsibility, my relationships, my future, etc. This post came out of a long mulling about the history of my ministry.
Moreover, I don’t think it’s my role to rebuke another author whose mission I largely support. I can point out areas of agreement or disagreement, but that’s it.
Thanks for allowing me to explain, Jenn!
I agree that most bloggers I know have said things in the past they cringe at now. It’s important to leave room for growth! At the same time – when they would cringe at those statements now, people who lean into growth actually change their content. My favorite bloggers have all deleted or edited some past posts. They have made statements clarifying or recanting prior ideas. There are some people out there who refuse to do this – even when confronted with clear issues in their teachings and the harm they have created. [Note from J: edited out one sentence here that mention specific examples. Just don’t want to stir that up here.] I’m totally good with giving people the benefit of the doubt and allowing room for growth – I cringe at some of the views I used to hold now, too. But if when confronted with problems and harm their teachings have caused, the authors/teachers just double down, they should continue to be called out for that. Public teaching and statements require public corrections.
J- You have been such an inspiration to me. My wife and I have been married for 46 years and are still growing in our sexual intimacy. She is the love of my life and that is why I want to grow in this area of our life to put her first. So it was a blessing when I discovered your blog. You are such a Godly woman & your heart shows through constantly- perhaps that’s one of the reasons I esteem your suggestions, sex tips, observations and insights so very much. Thank you and please continue to write and make yourself available to our Lord for service in this much needed area.
Esteban el Macho
Thank you! I appreciate your encouragement. Blessings to you and your wife!
Keep up the good work don’t worry to much of what people say.
I don’t want to worry so much as be careful with my words. God says a lot about that in His Word! But you’re right that worrying isn’t going change anything (Matthew 6:25-34). I’m going to breathe, just breathe, and do my best. 🙂
We live in a culture where everything we say or write can be ripped out of context, biased views are assumed, and words are read with a predetermined meaning. I believe we have had so many looking for a problem under every rock that many are starting to lose interest or concern. This is the most important problem, as real problems will be dismissed as just more noise. I appreciate your articles and pray that you will have people around you to stay on focus, not lose heart, and keep Christ first.
Anyone who is that objective and self-analytical is batting well over 500. Don’t get too buried in your introspection though. What you said “back then” was good back then. what you say today is good for today.
Thank you! I appreciate your kindness.
It takes real courage to speak out publically about sensitive topics. It takes even more courage and strength of character to admit that some things should have been said differently.
My wife and I really appreciate you. You are one of the sex blogger “Avengers” in our eyes. Keep up the good work. 🙂
An Avenger?! Wow. I’m so honored. 🙂
Just because our society is in the midst of “cancel culture” does not mean you need to “cancel” yourself. Stand by what you said. If these were books instead of blogs, you wouldn’t be able to go back and edit them. All you could do would be to write a new book explaining your thoughts from the past book. So, your post here is good enough. You don’t need to go back and do revisionist history. Keep up the great work!
Thanks! I don’t think it’s “cancel culture” to correct yourself when you genuinely believe you misspoke, but I appreciate the support and encouragement.
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