What is the biggest difference in the marriage bed now compared to 100 years ago and how different will it be a 100 years from now?
Do you think the changes have been good? Are there changes that are necessary?
A hundred years ago…. I do think that @NWNL threw in some great points that I never would have considered. But I do think, “there’s nothing new under the sun.” We are created in the same image as those from a century ago, and those who will be around a century from now… and in that creation, we all have the same basic needs within us. So at the heart of what was, and is, and is to come, it will be the same.
When I think back to 100 years ago, my grandfather would have been a toddler and my grandmother would be born a few years later. 80 years ago, they snuck off and got married trying to keep it hidden from their parents for as long as possible, my grandmother 17 and my grandfather 22. I once found letters tucked away in a dresser drawer at my grandmother’s, and being the snoopy young teen I was…. I read them. They were from my grandfather, written to my grandmother during WWII. There was some heat…. and so, I know that things haven’t changed that much between a man and a woman.
I think there is:
– more understanding & knowledge about bodies and responses, especially women.
– more women are involved and vocal about their desire for sex and the marriage bed
– a getter understanding about the importance of emotional intimacy and the pursuit of a women
– more resources available and more Christians speaking out about it
Sadly, we are heading down a track of less emotional and physical intimacy between people due to a decline in culture, ability to interact relationally, an increase in the pursuit of sex without intimacy & solo sex, and the involvement of technology in place of another person. Technology and AI is leading the charge and when coupled with porn and the difficulty of honest and vulnerable conversation and it’s gonna be a lot more lonely and dissatisfied people…which at the same time, gives Christians and the Church a HUGE opportunity to share a God’s design for marriage and relationships if we’re willing to care enough to love unconditionally, ask questions and listen without judgment and then speak the Truth.
As others have noted, I believe procreation was a bigger factor in the “why?” than it is today… America was still basically an agrarian society and children were needed on the farm, plus, many more (and their mothers) died in childbirth, from illnesses like the flu, etc. at an early age. Anecdotally from my family: my late grandfather was born in 1912, the firstborn of 9 children on a hard-scrabble farm. Only 7 made it to adulthood and 1 was killed in WW2 and another incapacitated with a serious head wound. Kind of a numbers game, although only 2 of the siblings chose to work the farm with their parents as adults and take over in their old age.
And when a wife/mother’s health was endangered by “having another child” options for birth control were primitive… mainly abstinence. My great aunt died in childbirth leaving her husband and 5 young children behind and my mother told me that her uncle “felt like he’d killed her.” Then he married a spinster to raise their children and help on the farm after losing “the wife of his youth.” So… while there were the Roaring 20’s, flappers, bathtub gin etc., for the most part the emphasis was mainly on survival for most of that generation, at least in my family.
The invention of the birth control pill in the 60’s probably did a lot to improve the recreational aspects of the MB for married Christians.
Having recently been to Greece and Italy – traveled to places like Rome, Athens, Corinth, Pompeii, Crete – I would say two things have been stated that are certainly true 100 years ago and 1000 years ago – there is nothing new under the sun when it comes to basic human proclivities to and for sex in all the forms known today. When you see penis sculptures on the walls of common homes of 1000 years ago, it makes you go “hmmmm.” So in many ways, America is only evolving as a society towards what those were back then. It seems cyclical as far as society is concerned. 100 years ago, America was reeling from the effects of WW1 and in the first throws of the depression era that was about to hammer the country. The prohibition struggle was beginning. Speak-easies and “flappers” were about to be the rage of those who could afford to be so. Sex among that crowd was free and easy. Sex in the country was still reserved publicly, but all manner of things went on – you just didn’t have social media or much any other way to know about it. People still had the same problems they have now, just different avenues for relief.
100 years from now, I do see the US further going down the road to a “sexually enlightened” society – which is no enlightenment at all IMO. Just further acceptance of anything anyone wants. I figure we will go further toward sexual idolatry, though in modern forms. We won’t have plaster penis statues on our door frame, but whatever the modern equivalent is will decorate our homes and be accepted as proper. Homosexuality will be commonplace and bi-sexuality will almost be an expectation if you are truly “enlightened.” Those of us who choose to be monogamous heterosexuals will be looked upon as freaks and marginalized.
I agree with @NWNL and @LBD; there is nothing new under the sun. Sexual immorality was prevalent in Sodom and Gomorrah, the Greek and Roman empires, and will still be prevalent 100 years from now. Maybe the way society views it ebbs and flows through different time periods, like the puritanical view of sex solely for procreation, but both extremes are not what God has designed. Humans have within our nature a desire for sex and pleasure that God has given us as a gift to enjoy in marriage, and also to propagate the species. When the pendulum swings to omit either of these chief goals of human sexuality, negative consequences emerge as a result. If sex is only for procreation, then the connecting intimacy and bond between spouses is lacking. If only for pleasure to be performed with whoever and whenever, the exclusive nature of that bonding intimacy is lost and children are born into broken relationships. There’s also the continued spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
All truth is God’s truth and I think the more relational psychology delves into how family dynamics affect emotional development the biblical model of the family unit will continually be validated.
One huge difference . . . there was no The Marriage Bed forum 100 years ago! 🙂
It’s been pointed out that there is ‘nothing new under the sun’ regarding sexual acts and ideas in the marriage bed. For that matter, men and women, since the Garden have engaged in God honoring vanilla and creative sexuality. Likewise, man/womankind are no more or less depraved, sexually, today or in any yesteryear. That’s because of the awesomeness of God’s design and the evil of sin.
What is different is the speed, conveyance, and ubiquitous communication in today’s world. Do we think that we Christians are more open-minded, less stilted, etc. about sex in general and particularly in the marriage bed? Doubtful! The chief difference is the change in the velocity of idea sharing, learning with and from others that they are quite alike us in thinking and learning. Years ago, 100 or more, husbands and wives were also creative and sex-positive!
For example, my mother, who would be well over 100 years old, used a Sears massager. As a little boy I saw it on her bedside table. Sure they used it for sore muscles, but I recall an older sister’s embarrassment when her little brother asked mom, ‘What’s that for?’ Mom never missed a beat in saying, ‘It helps mommy and daddy relax!’ 😳 She also shared with me that my dad liked to take her on a stroll in our woods behind our home. Her eye twinkled as she added that he could be quite the romantic. How grateful I am that my mother was so sex-positive.
A few months ago, during one of our COVID down-sizing efforts, Mrs. Oldbear came across a letter written by her mother to her father in 1944. He was on active state-side duty and she was longing for him in their marriage bed. She wrote (paraphrase), “Darling, I long to be with you. I ache for you! Take care of yourself – I will, as well – until we can be together! 😁😁 ‘ Written in her beautiful handwriting with two smiley faces! There was NO question what she meant!
One hundred years ago in the US, there was more of a traditional culture when it came to virginity, not sleeping around before marriage. But in the roaring 20’s, some of the women in the cities would fornicate, which was still considered scandalous. There was more of an emphasis on female virginity. Many of the schools were probably still religious schools or the adults who were formally educated had gone to them.
Oral sex and other sexual activities were not as widely accepted as they are today. Birth control hadn’t been invented, and people wanted babies to work their farms. So attitudes toward having children were different. The current form of the feminist movement hadn’t been developed yet, though there had been a movement toward women getting the vote.
It is hard to predict what the marriage bed will be like in 100 years. I hope there is a revival, should Jesus tarry, that would result in a swing toward better marriage morals. Nowadays, a lot of beds are occupied by people who have been divorced. I hope the marriage situation gets better in the future so there is not as much of a culture of divorce, that adultery is more stigmatized than it is now, like it used to be, and people are more faithful.
One of the negative things that has happened in the past few decades is that porn has become normalized. Several years ago, I saw a commedian on TV who was talking about themes in porn. The audience was carrying on as if they knew what he was talking about. I don’t think that would have happened even when I was a child. When Sarah Palin was VP nominee, I heard celebrities talking about her as resembling librarian characters in porn. I was unfamiliar with their references. Some of the things I see on this forum, like getting ‘facials’ was apparently influenced by porn. I looked that up, and apparently Japanese porn invented ending movies by a man or men ejaculating on a woman’s face. I don’t get the thrill to that at all, but I think some men eroticize that because they saw that in porn, and so we see that on the forum. I am not saying it is wrong to have OS in the MB, but I suspect the emphasis on oral sex comes partly from men seeing it in porn. I hope we don’t see a move toward other unusual stuff in the marriage bed. What’s left? Nasal sex?
If society continues going the way it is, the next debate will probably be over whether pedophilia is okay. Already, there are those speaking out in defense of pedophilia as an ‘orientation’ and not an activity. The legal framework which treats sexual preference as a minority status is set up, and it is only logical to accept those who are attracted to children and protect them from job discrimination at the preschool if you think that way. I don’t know that this will affect the marriage bed that much, except if trends continue as they are in the direction of perversion, there may be posts about men or women ‘discovering’ that their orientation is pedophile rather than gay, and joining the LGBTP movement.
I don’t think we will see an acceptance of more swinging in the marriage bed that much. People who do that sort of thing can just not married. There is a lot of shacking up, now, and I suspect marriage will probably be more for religious types with other people shacking up unless things change. if the legal system is overhauled to be less difficult for men when it comes to divorce, then there could be an uptick in marriage, though. There could also be a backlash against the libertinism of today.
100 years ago, I am sure women’s sexual pleasure and satisfaction were much lower priorities than today. I am sure at least some wives were really enjoying sex, but I suspect it was a lot more about the husband and pleasing his needs. I don’t think we really know much for sure, since sexuality was not talked about much in healthy ways, particularly in Christian circles. Couples would not have had much information or ways to address problems. So I suspect a lot of married sex lives were pretty miserable, especially for wives.. Not all – I’m sure many of our grandparents and great-grandparents were getting it on! – but I think things are better today.
I have no idea about 100 years from now, but I hope it will be a time where Christians can talk as openly in person about sex as they do here anonymously on TMB.
Lingerie and toys! 🙂
I like what NWNL said and I’ll add that I think, though I wasn’t around 100 years ago, but I’m not sure the view of TMB included sex for the fun of it. My sense was it being more for procreation than enjoyment, although I’m sure there was some of the latter, but by and large it was more an ends to means. I’d like to hear from any of the ladies who might also think that it was more focused on benefitting the man than having it be a mutual experience. It’s what wives did for their husbands. Am I off base there or is that a fair statement?
I’m also not sure it incorporated or included a combination of the physical, the emotional and the spiritual. I think (although this is only an assumption) that for Christians anyways, they separated the physical from the spiritual and didn’t necessarily see it as all inclusive. I tend to think it was an obligation to be fulfilled, not an act to be enjoyed. Could a person really be committed fully to Christ and have an active marriage bed at the same time that also included Christ? Thinking out loud here since we are surmising what it was like 100 years ago.
Can’t say what it will be like in another 100 years.
In hundred years same sex attraction would be considered mainstream and there would be less discrimination for homosexual sex. Society would accept Same sex marriage and gay sex. It would be easy for anyone to declare same sex attraction, no fear of getting ostracized.
I think role of religion would be less in society.
Virtual Sex would also be on the rise.