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sexual vows? (think promises or commitment)

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DoveGrey
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Re: sexual vows?

Post by DoveGrey »

I started a new thread in the Sexual Abuse (engaged) section because yes, abuse can easily trump the best of intentions, through no fault of the survivor. The clean slate that some of us hope we get with marriage will rarely be as clean as we wish, vows or not. It's a terribly complicated issue involving neurology as well as psychology.

That being said, I'd like to answer the questions in the OP.

1.
What would it be like if we had & made sexual vows to each other?
I wish we had. I seem to remember the sex discussions being something like, "Yes, please!" And then we just assumed everything would go to plan. Of course, I also think that vows made in your early 20s aren't going to be appropriate once life gets tough. But setting expectations and refining them as needed is a good idea.

2) What would you want to include and why is that important?
Frequency. Because my husband doesn't like to state his own opinions, so I'm left guessing. He thinks this makes it easier. It doesn't.

Open communication about what we each want. Same reason as above. I never know what feels the best to him because he doesn't say.

3) Could it be possible to make a vow for yourself if your spouse wasn’t on board?
It's always possible, but as mine involve communication, it's tough. I should probably start us on the Ultimate Intimacy app again. That got him to open up more.

BONUS QUESTION:
3) If, IF your marriage is in a good place, what would it be like to sit down and discuss this?

Right now, we aren't there. But my answers to the above questions have given me a starting point.
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Lightbulb
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Re: sexual vows?

Post by Lightbulb »

David wrote: Sat Aug 14, 2021 2:28 pm Actually, I don't think that the content of the original vows is immaterial.
If the question is "what would it be like if we had made sexual vows to each other"? Then my answer is "exactly the same because we *did* make sexual vows to each other".

To the question "what should be included" my answer is "I'm not sure that I can improve upon the content of the original vows".
I agree - to have and to hold means to give physical affection and sexual intimacy. I don't think it would be appropriate to make specific targets in a marriage vow like 4 times per week. I think the vow is explicit enough to say this relationship includes physical intimacy.

Furthermore, I took these vows in a Christian church as administered by an ordained minister as part of a sacrament of the Christian faith. The significance of that is that those circumstances imply that our marriage will be governed by Christian principals, which clearly requires submitting to the other's needs and not denying physical intimacy other than by mutual consent for a period of prayer and fasting.

With that in mind, it really wouldn't have made any difference to us if we had made more defined promises to each other regarding sexuality.

If engaged people ask me for advice on married sexuality, I advise them to discuss what happens when one party isn't interested at all in sex - what is their obligation, what is the obligation of the other party, and what can both parties expect in that situation. You have to pretend about that because engaged people generally have no idea that not wanting sex is a possiblity over a long term period. How a couple responds to that challenge may make or break their marriage.
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newwifenewlife
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Re: sexual vows?

Post by newwifenewlife »

Lightbulb wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 9:35 am
David wrote: Sat Aug 14, 2021 2:28 pm Actually, I don't think that the content of the original vows is immaterial.
If the question is "what would it be like if we had made sexual vows to each other"? Then my answer is "exactly the same because we *did* make sexual vows to each other".

To the question "what should be included" my answer is "I'm not sure that I can improve upon the content of the original vows".
I agree - to have and to hold means to give physical affection and sexual intimacy. I don't think it would be appropriate to make specific targets in a marriage vow like 4 times per week. I think the vow is explicit enough to say this relationship includes physical intimacy.

Furthermore, I took these vows in a Christian church as administered by an ordained minister as part of a sacrament of the Christian faith. The significance of that is that those circumstances imply that our marriage will be governed by Christian principals, which clearly requires submitting to the other's needs and not denying physical intimacy other than by mutual consent for a period of prayer and fasting.

With that in mind, it really wouldn't have made any difference to us if we had made more defined promises to each other regarding sexuality.
....
If what you and David said were true, then part of these boards really shouldn't be necessary because couples should be honoring their vows physically and having sex. Sadly, if you'll stick around long enough and read enough posts you'll see that many people don't consider what you've suggested to be anywhere near the truth, let alone the concept. To have and to hold? What does that really mean? (I'm asking that rhetorically because that's not what this post is supposed to answer.) Sadly, some couples I personally know and some that I've read here on TMB would define that literally by their behavior & attitude as figuratively speaking or as only to mean a hug.

I'll say it again, this post was an exercise to get people to think about what kind of commitment they made, should make, and are continuing to make to each other and if written or spoken out, what would it look like? The question and original post was never about were things covered in one's marriage vows. We make commitments (vows) to each other and business transactions regularly (I'm not equating sex to a transaction or emotionally-connected relationship) so what would be things that should be included? Another way to ask the question is, what kind of discussion and commitment should be talked about for pre-engagement or premarital counseling about sex? If we supposedly are talking about marriage vows, then what should be included, discussed, and explained (in detail) if need be so that there is a complete understanding about the LIFETIME commitment one is making to their spouse?
Irnmyk
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Re: sexual vows?

Post by Irnmyk »

So, to further the thought process, I'll postulate a parallel question: If we added a specific vow never to divorce to the "standard" wedding vows, would the divorce rate go to zero?

If what @Lightbulb and @David said were true, there also would never be the need for divorce lawyers in such a world.

The answer to my question above is 'I doubt it', and as to the disappearance of divorce lawyers any time soon, I doubt that too.
David
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Re: sexual vows?

Post by David »

There already is a vow never to divorce.
It's contained in the lines "as long as you both shall live" and "until death parts us".

Also, you're misrepresenting what I said. What I said was that I didn't think an additional sexual vow was necessary, because it's already there in the existing vows. It's true that people break those vows, but that's not because they never made them in the first place.

What's needed is not an additional vow, but better understanding of, and fidelity to, the existing vows.
Irnmyk
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Re: sexual vows?

Post by Irnmyk »

Ultimately, all parsing and wordsmithing aside, we are saying the same thing. That the basic vows that we took are sufficient and stacking individual, specific, categorized vows on top of them has no value if the couple doesn't keep the basic vows.

My current view of the vows I took four decades plus ago are definitely different than whatever it was that I thought that they might have meant at the time back so long ago - other than the fact that I did understand that it meant for life.

But, that's because the four decades are in the rear view mirror, and what I might say now that should have been added then would have been meaningless to me then, not knowing exactly what I was getting myself into.
Tracker
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Re: sexual vows?

Post by Tracker »

I still hold strongly to my Aug 14 post here and nothing said here since changes that! Agree to disagree still! At least drivers licenses usually based on a written test. Marriage vows merely meet your church and state requirements. That is boxes checked off nothing else! And I read here now vows work if we mean it. Bottom line is vows the best we have but are not sufficient to cull or manage the herd. And doubt if David and I could ride in the same vechicle more than a block without one leaving the vehicle! Happens in marriages too how about that apple vows or not! T
Last edited by Tracker on Thu Sep 16, 2021 9:16 am, edited 2 times in total.
MrEden
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Re: sexual vows?

Post by MrEden »

Your post of Aug/14 is addressed to me in part, so I am responding.

First of all, thank you for your response to me. Things have been hectic lately and I have not had the time I wish I had to participate here. Hopefully that will be changing.

I don't see that we disagree on anything. I simply stated that wedding vows DO include sexual vows. You point out that not all wedding vows include them. These are facts.

I would be in favor of married sexuality receiving a more prominent mention in the wedding ceremony. People tend to push the real reason we marry -- sex -- into the background and focus on the housemates part of marriage. Weddings and funerals are more for the audience than the participants, and having more emphasis on sex in the ceremony would be a reminder to everyone who attends.

However, I do not believe that there is much that could be done to the vows to prevent gatekeeping or sexless marriages. I doubt that anyone gets married without knowing there is an expectation of sex. They know, they just don't want to do it, and there is no consequence if they don't. Everyone knows we are expected to love, honor, and cherish. But if we don't do it, there is no consequence. There are no consequences for violating ANY marriage vow except for possibly "forsaking all others (no adultery)." And some churches do not allow divorce even for that. Everyone knows we are expected to love, honor, and cherish our spouse. But if we don't do it, there is no consequence.

Until the church stops ignoring marriage vows, it doesn't matter how good they are. Tweaking them won't solve anything.

Jesus allowed divorce for "pornea," which is a catchall term for sexual sin. Certainly it could be argued that this includes unrepentant withholding of sex.
David
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Re: sexual vows?

Post by David »

Surely the whole premise of the original post is that vows "work" if we mean them!

My point is, and always has been, that additional sexual vows are unnecessary because the vows I made (which are the standard vows from the Church of Scotland Book of Common Order, which are substantially the same as those used by the Church of England, and essentially unchanged since the reformation in the 16th Century) already include sexual vows which are, I think, sufficient.

As far as I can see, the problem is that people don't understand and/or keep the vows that they already make. Maybe there is a weakness in how we prepare couples for marriage, in what we in the church teach about marriage, and in how we support couples in their marriages. However, none of those things would be fixed by changing the vows, because it's not the vows themselves that are the problem.
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newwifenewlife
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Re: sexual vows? (think promises or commitment)

Post by newwifenewlife »

Since people seem to ignore the OP and going off on a tangent about wedding vows, I'm gonna restate the OP below. (I'll say it again, if you'd like to talk about what the wedding vows mean, please create your own post!)

So three questions:

1) What would it be like if we had & made sexual vows to each other? I'm not talking necessarily "?x per week" vows. BUT what about intent, attitudes, channeling all our sexual energy to our spouse, studying them & their needs, committing to explore, grow & learn about our bodies and our spouse's, seeking creative solutions together, etc.?

2) What would you want to include and why is that important?

3) Could it be possible to make a vow for yourself if your spouse wasn’t on board?

BONUS QUESTION:
3) If, IF your marriage is in a good place, what would it be like to sit down and discuss this? (If it isn't, there are probably more important conversations OR actions you need to take first.) Could you create your own vows? Would you be willing to share them later?
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