Guest Post: Sex and the (Not Single) Minister, or Why I’m Not Telling You My Name Today

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February 11, 2015 by rebelwithalabelmaker

Edit:  My mom just called.  I want to clarify… this is an anonymous guest post.  Just to be clear!

Other Edit:  For the record, what is awesome about my mom is that she was not calling to tell me not to post about my sex life on the internet.  She was calling to tell me that it was unkind and insensitive to Maureen to post about my sex life immediately after a post sharing our family’s story.  My mom has got her priorities straight.

This month, The UU Bloggers Workshop is promoting the theme #sexUUality. Blog about sexuality, from any aspect. I think it’s a good idea, and frankly, I don’t talk enough about sex as a minister. I mean that sincerely – there’s a deep need for a healthy, vital, UU sexual ethic that helps people remember or understand the breadth of what sexuality is, and how to reflect on it spiritually. I need to preach on it more, and make sure we have more adult programming that covers this. OWL for Adults is great, and few people know about it or take it.

So I want to begin by joining in this practice – and to blog about my own sexuality. But. I’m a Minister. At the same time I want to be a voice and a rolemodel for healthy sexuality, and for comfort in discussing important things – like sex, and death, and sure, taxes – in an ethical context, I also need to maintain important boundaries. I don’t need my parishioners looking at me and envisioning the details of my personal sex life. The door to my marital bedroom is not one that should be opened to those I serve, in most ways. Discussion of sexual values, yes. Discussion of my sexual acts and practices – no. It’s a bit of a catch-22, because the personal stories are what convey. But there you are. Good boundaries are also an important part of sexual health.

So for now, call me Rev. X. Here’s a piece of my story.

….

Last night, after watching a great video, my husband and I had some wild sex. We snuggled afterward, and talked for a while – quiet conversation flowing between us. Then we made love – slow sensual play rising up into intercourse.

Looking back over the past week, I remember – we didn’t have sex last Saturday. Went to bed at different times. I had to get up early to do morning worship service prep. He was up late, preparing to contribute to the service in the way that he does. It’s memorable, that night of no-sex. It’s the only one in a good while back now. I spend some part of each day, thinking about my husband and the sex we’re likely to have that night.

My husband and I have been married for more than ten years, together longer than that. We have kids. At home. In the next room.

Some days, I’m confused: what happened to all that tired that I used to be at night? What happened to those evenings when I engaged in sex with my husband, but had to pull out lubricant, was struggling just to mentally arrive in the house, forget the bedroom or my body. The nights where I was so focused on me – my weight, my hair, the way I did or didn’t smell, whether my stomach was rumbling or …anything and everything, about me, me, me. The nights when, trapped in self-obsession, I thought my husband didn’t do this right, hadn’t done that right, was only interested in himself, his body. What happened to all that?

Here’s what my husband and I know better every day: the most powerful sexual organ is the brain. The most powerful aphrodisiac is communication: being listened to, being seen, being heard. Our sex life was accidentally jump-started when we hit a wall — when we got to the point where we just couldn’t overlook how emotionally distant we were. Oh, we were great co-workers, fantastic housemates, and with a special bonus – our sex life was solidly decent. The veneer and a couple of the walls of the marital house were well constructed. But the foundation – oh, that was weak. We were very nearly strangers. We avoided real conversation, we claimed exhaustion and watched tv or surfed the internet at night, we worked and when we talked, it was a friendly negotiation over chores or other marital detail. One night, my loneliness overtook me. I really thought that perhaps we’d never have an authentic, deep, meaningful conversation ever again. Weeping and then numb, I shared my fear. And somehow, this time, it got through.

And so now we talk. All the time. Honestly, about everything we can. That’s our commitment. We just agree to…talk to one another. We talk a lot about intimacy, and I want you to understand: sometimes, the sex is how we avoid one another, or avoid a more difficult, deeper conversation. You can hide so easily inside sexual activity. You can perform, check out, just plain pretend or fool yourself into believing that the acts are intimate, when in fact, they are the opposite. But here’s the bigger truth: our touch, our openness in this one area, our enjoyment of our bodies again is also the throughline to the intimacy we are really working on: seeing each other as whole, marvelous, interesting and loving people. We are better parents, more relaxed and on the same page. Nitpicky fights and disagreements seem jarring now, rather than “just how we relate.” We have gentler hands and eyes and hearts for one another. We are looking for ways to communicate that will bring understanding and closeness, rather than just making our point or getting our way or avoiding conversations because – ugh, we’re just so tired and we want to watch Netflix.

Our sex life has been our sustenance and the source of our separation. It has allowed us to feign intimacy and it has nurtured us into the intimacy we really wanted all along. Figuring out new and deeper ways of engaging our brains and hearts was the door. And commitment to the hard work of honesty and trust – that was the key.

So. Wonder what we’ll do tonight? Think I’ll go chat with my husband and brainstorm.

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