Club Unicorn: How a marriage subverted modern sexual thought

By: Andrew S
June 13, 2012
Josh and Lolly Weed, and Children

Josh and Lolly Weed, and their three daughters; Photo taken by A&W Photography

The first time I saw a link to Josh and Lolly Weed’s post “coming out” as a mixed orientation (that is, featuring one straight and one gay person) marriage, I paid it little attention. I’ve seen plenty of posts from individuals — especially gay Mormon men — in (or now out of) mixed orientation marriages, so what could be different about Josh and Lolly’s story?

…But over time, I saw it linked again and again. I realized that this article had become conversation material for people other than Mormons when I saw it linked as a front page post at MetaFilter. In the first four days of the article’s published life, it has attracted over 2,700 comments. Within the comments both at his site, on MetaFilter, and elsewhere, some offer praise and best wishes for Josh and Lolly. Some are skeptical of his statements, pessimistic of the future of his relationship, or cynical about his intentions in writing the post. Regardless of where a person stands, the fervor from each side suggests that the “Club Unicorn” is causing plenty of folks to re-think their basic assumptions about sex, sexuality, and relationships.

The Basics of “Club Unicorn”

I hope it goes without saying that if you don’t read anything else I link in this article, you should read the original post I linked that explains the stories and the details. Here are the basics:

  1. Josh is a gay man. Lolly is straight woman.
  2. They are happily married, and have a healthy and robust sex life.

[pullquote]You mainstream couples are distracted by your chemistry and sexual infatuation. ~MetaFilter commenter[/pullquote] The rest of the post is Josh’s anticipation of and answers to various questions that people may have for his situation. Questions like: how can he be gay? Maybe he’s bi instead? (Answer: Nope. Firstly, sexual orientation is not defined by sexual experience, so his sex life with his wife doesn’t make him bi. As far as attraction, he’s only sexually attracted to men and not to women.

That, of course, leads into the second question: then how can he say he has a healthy and robust sex life? How can he enjoy sex with a woman if he’s gay? Answer? …let me just let Josh speak for himself here:

Here is the basic reality that I actually think many people could use a lesson in: sex is about more than just visual attraction and lust and it is about more than just passion and infatuation. I won’t get into the boring details of the research here, but basically when sex is done right, at its deepest level it is about intimacy…Many people never get to this point in their sex lives because it requires incredible communication, trust, vulnerability, and connection. And Lolly and I have had that from day one, mostly because we weren’t distracted by the powerful chemicals of infatuation and obsession that usually bring a couple together (which dwindle dramatically after the first few years of marriage anyway). So, in a weird way, the circumstances of our marriage allowed us to build a sexual relationship that is based on everything partners should want in their sex-life: intimacy, communication, genuine love and affection. This has resulted in us having a better sex life than most people I personally know. Most of whom are straight. Go fig.

Whoa. As one commenter to the MetaFilter discussion remarked:

Did anyone else do a doubletake when he was all like, “You mainstream couples are distracted by your chemistry and sexual infatuation. You have know idea what real intimacy and sex are like. Seriously I feel bad for you.”

How hipster is that, right?

While I don’t think Josh intends to condescend to anyone, this comment captures the sense that Josh and Lolly are a living criticism of “mainstream” thinking about sex and relationships. No matter what you feel about the prospects for the continued success of the marriage, whether Josh is professional or personally conflicted in counseling any gay or lesbian clients he may have, or how quickly people will hijack his message to advocate that all gay folks should Get Like Josh (despite his explicit statement that this shouldn’t be viewed as the only path for those who are gay and religious), we should consider the underpinnings of  relationships.

Queer Theory and Modern Conceptions of Relationships

[pullquote]…Gay marriage becomes thinkable. Even more; it becomes obvious.[/pullquote]

A while ago on my personal blog, I wrote that (traditional) marriage is dead…and furthermore, we have killed it. I think that the reasons for this are many, but ultimately, as a society, we have shifted our understanding of relationships and marriages to being things about the emotional well-beings of the adults participating in those relationships. This manifests itself in many ways: we marry for love of one another rather than because our parents have arranged it. We take the continued emotional tenor of the relationship into account when deciding whether to end the relationship.
These changes, along with a few others, make certain thoughts thinkable. For example, if we believe marriage is about love, and if we believe some folks are not oriented to fall in love with a member of the opposite sex (but are perfectly capable of expressing love for another member of the same sex just as legitimate as the love one might feel for the opposite sex), then why not let two same-sex individuals marry? Thus, gay marriage becomes thinkable. Even more; it becomes obvious.

But where does this end?, some folks counter. Could this be the slippery slope to accepting pedophilia, bestiality, and other horrorterrors of even modern morality?

The answer is simple: the modern paradigm isn’t one of lawlessness. Rather, it is just a different standard, based on love, consent, and nonexploitation. Challenging other kinds of relationships amounts to showing how one or more of these factors are not secured.

Mixed Orientation Marriage
Those who challenge Josh’s mixed orientation marriage generally come from the “love” angle — either Josh must be misdefining “gay” or perhaps he simply can’t be right about the health of his sex life. (Laurie’s post at Doves and Serpents hints upon the difference between love and being in love.) Others critique mixed orientation marriage on the consent (some gay men withhold their sexuality from their wife, feeling she wouldn’t have agreed if she knew) or non-exploitation (discussions about MOMs from the man’s perspective often discount the woman’s perspective) angles.

…Yet in Josh’s case, both knew about his orientation beforehand. He seems to understand that he is sacrificing one thing to have this opportunity. And so you have those who are praise Josh’s marriage…I’ll post a sample of non-Mormon comments from the Metafilter conversation for example:

First:

…I can’t judge this guy, because what he and his wife are doing is between two consenting adults.

Second:

I do have sort of a dog in this race, since I self-identify not as bi, although I had an ongoing relationship with a pre-op transgirl (which did include some mutual activities that would not be considered straight hetero), but as “non-judgemental.” By that I mean that if you dig someone, go for it! After the digging someone part, it’s only a engineering problem. Not sure if that invalidates my sexual orientation or what, but any relationship is all about digging someone deeply. After that point, sex is only (for me) about bringing them pleasure and receiving pleasure from them. Thus the flippant “engineering problem” comment.

And Third:

This is complicated, but I see it as a positive development. Isn’t the point of today’s queer sensibility “Do consensually what you want to do, and be honest”? This person decided to trade in a fulfilling sex life for some privilege. Not the choice I or most people would make. But millions of people sublimate some part of themselves for privilege every day– let’s blame the dishonest ones, not the transparent ones.

Without getting into the complications of queer theory (for that, see this earlier post I wrote), the point is that from this framework, one should be able to commend Josh and Lolly’s choices. But this seems counterintuitive to many, and so in this way, Josh and Lolly’s relationship subverts modern attitudes about relationships and sex.

Where do we go from here?

This post has gotten a bit long-winded, so I’d like to wrap things up with something Alan Jacobs wrote at More than 95 Theses:

What this story is pointing to is the possibility of personally chosen, not arranged, marriages built around a kind of regard for one another that is not primarily erotic, in the narrower sense. Here the key word is “intimacy.” These people married each other because they loved each other and wanted to share deep intimacy, but that intimacy was not characterized primarily by sexual passion. And yet the couple insists that they have a strong sexual relationship. The really interesting thing about the story has nothing to do with homosexuality, but with the possibility that our society has the logic of attraction all backwards: we start with sexual desire and hope to generate other forms of intimacy from that, but this model suggests that it could make more sense to start with the kind of intimacy that is more like friendship than anything else, and to trust that sexual satisfaction will arise from that.

I don’t think this is a new idea, but it feels new. When we read Jane Austen novels we think that the attraction between the protagonist and her beau had to have been primarily sexual but the topic just couldn’t be broached in those prudish days, but what if that’s just our narrowly sexual cultural formation talking? Maybe we need to think more seriously about the Weed family as a model for others — and not just for people who, as we Christians often say, “struggle with same-sex attraction.”

Let’s discuss this. The questions for today are as follows:

  1. What is the role of sexual orientation in relationships? What even is sexual orientation? Is it just “passion” and “visual attraction,” or is it something more? Do you agree with Josh’s mindset?
  2. If you agree with Josh’s viewpoint, do you think the church does a good job of encouraging this kind of thinking? Does it cultivate intimacy beyond sexual attraction, even for straight members?

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63 Responses to Club Unicorn: How a marriage subverted modern sexual thought

  1. brandt on June 13, 2012 at 7:02 AM

    Interesting blog post. I, like you, have been actively following this trend since like you mentioned, this isn’t the first, nor the last time.

    And while your thoughts on marriage and queer theory are quite fascinating, I’ve been more intrigued as to the “WHY” behind this message going viral among Mormons. I mean, Ty Mansfield had a cover story on LDS Living a few weeks back that didn’t get passed around as much as this story, and LDS Living is a more “LDS Friendly” publication than a personal blog.

    I think it’s two-fold. First, I think the way that Josh writes is a very big factor. He’s funny. He’s got a way of describing things that go straight to the core (for example, his description of intimacy in marriage and sex). For me, he seemed to answer my questions that I was going to have while I was reading. I think that’s a big thing.

    Second, I think he didn’t shy away from the questions like others have. Being a straight male, I’m not sure how things work being homosexual and married to a woman, having multiple children, etc. I just can’t fathom it, because I don’t think any analogies could do it justice. However, for him to be open and honest about exactly what he’s thinking, not shying away from sex, I think that was huge, and it helped to give a bit more depth to these stories (which I think will be more and more forthcoming).

    Third, I think we might be hitting a breaking point. It’s no secret that the current generation of Millennials, the ones graduating high school, really don’t care about gay marriage. At least, not the way that the baby boomers do. They’re much more open about it. And I wonder if, within the church, you’re seeing that. The Millennials own Facebook – it was made for them (kinda). And we’re seeing them pass this story along. Couple this with the marches in SLC and DC (and other places), as well as the LDS Church opening more discourse about homosexuality, and it seems the winds of change are coming….kinda.

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  2. Andrew S on June 13, 2012 at 7:25 AM

    re 1

    Brandt,

    I definitely think that the way that Josh anticipated and addressed the “frequently asked questions,” so to speak, was a big deal. It’s pretty much as if he’s been reviewing the questions people have had in these kinds of situations in the past…thinking about what his and Lolly’s answers are for them, and then presenting those answers in an easy-to-understand way.

    I agree that he didn’t shy away from the questions he did answer, but I think there are definitely more questions people would have (although I’ve seen them more on the non-Mormon side than on the Mormon side.)

    As far as your comment about a breaking point, I wonder about this. What would this be a breaking point for? …More people entering mixed orientation marriages? Interestingly enough, but whenever I’ve seen this article shared on Facebook, it hasn’t been from Millennials (maybe that’s because my Mormon facebook friendset trentds on the older side.)

    Personally, I think that if we get to a breaking point, it won’t be about gay marriage. The reason I (briefly) mentioned queer theory is because I think that what Josh’s post really encourages is a discussion reconsidering gender, sexual orientation, etc., within relationships and marriage. Some people suggested that with gay marriage, people were saying that “gender is unimportant” — but in a way, gender was made quite important; what mattered was the gender one was sexually attracted to.

    But with mixed orientation marriages like Josh, we rethink that. Gender doesn’t matter; it doesn’t matter who you’re sexually attracted to, because (maybe) you can have intimacy without sexual attraction. And maybe that will be an even stronger, closer, albeit different bond.

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  3. Jon on June 13, 2012 at 7:44 AM

    I don’t think I’m qualified to answer your questions. I do think it is interesting to learn about the different struggles and solutions people come to though. I’ll have to read the original article. I heard (maybe on mormon stories?) that a gay man having sex with a woman makes the urge stronger to have sex with another man. Is this not so with this person? I guess I’ll find out when I read his article. Either way, in context of religion and current (or soon not to be current) social norms, this is a tough situation.

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  4. An Imperfect Saint on June 13, 2012 at 7:47 AM

    Andrew, thank you for this post and the thought provoking viewpoints shared in the links and the your writing and perspective on this situation.

    This post, and Josh’s original post, both bring up several things for me personally. I think a complete answer to question #2 would take up three or four pages, so I will simply say that I have found the church to be inconsistent in how it cultivates a deeper understand of sexuality, intimacy and the roles it can/should play in our relationships and lives. Some members have leaders who are better equipped to deal with people whose experiences are different than their own and some members do not.

    With so many different, and imperfect people, being the lay ministry in the LDS church, I think it would be surprising if everyone had the same experience of leaders being loving or judgmental. On the other hand I certainly hope that his experience is such a fringe experience that most people can’t relate to it.

    This inconsistency of practice and sympathy in church leaders is just as easy to see in how rape victims, incest survivors, people who have addiction issues that are deeply rooted in past abuse, and a variety of other situations. I wish everyone had as loving a reception as Josh did, but with imperfect people, who come with their own baggage and history, I am realistic enough to realize that some people will have responsive loving leaders who will be supportive, and some will not. Within my own life I have run into both extremes of support and judgment, and a lot of leaders who fell somewhere in the middle.

    The other thought that came out of reading Josh’s post is the idea of when to “come out” under your real name, and when to use a moniker instead. While I publish my own blogs under my own name, most of comments I make on larger sites like this one, I use “An Imperfect Saint” as my signature. I also use a different name, than my legal one, on almost all of the essays and poems I have published. I started publishing under a different name because I didn’t want to use my maiden name, since my last name was a particularly difficult thing for me to accept, even in high school. Since a lot of my work isn’t particularly sensitive to anyone it may seem strange that as a high schooler I wouldn’t want to sign my “real name.” Some of it was that I am proud of those poems and essays, and I had no desire to attach my maiden name to them.

    So while reading this post and links I was pushed to thinking, when will be the right time to for me to “come out?” I don’t know, but it is not now, for several reasons.

    Oftentimes I am posting comments on websites that I know my siblings read, at least occasionally, and I know talking about incest in our family, my subsequent rape and my stuggles in defining myself as a “survivor” are extremely uncomfortable for them. That process over the last ten to fifteen years has already created a rift in our family, and I haven’t wanted to push my siblings farther than they are ready to go. I haven’t felt the right to “out” my siblings.

    The other side of my unwilingness to post, comment,or publish, under my own name, about those topics, comes from a desire to protect myself, but even more importantly, my children. My abuser has repeatedly said that he will take me to court for slander, if I make public his name in relationship to any of the abuse I suffered. I believe him, and I believe he would turn it into the biggest media circus he was possible of creating.

    Middle school is hard enough on any child, and since I have one child in middle school and two who are almost there, I feel that I need to take their needs into account. I don’t want them to be harrassed or asked questions about their mother and grandfather that are hard for me, as an adult, to talk about. I think that the additional distractions of a very public court case would only be hurtful to them, at least while they are children or teenagers.

    I do believe that there will be some point in my life where “coming out” is the right thing to do. For now, I am taking the first step in talking more openly, in larger forums, about my experiences. I hope that helping to create a larger conversation, around some if the issues that have effected my life will give hope to other men and women, both LDS and non-members alike.

    For now I feel lucky to have the chance to do some guest blog posts here, and on another LDS website that is more narrowly focused on incest survivors. My therapist has told me that talking with her is important, but having a conversation with the world will give me a chance to take back some of the power that is stolen from every victim of abuse.

    Having had the internal stuggle myself with how and when to disclose information, under my own name, I have even greater respect for Josh and Lolly for sharing their lives and perspectives, under their real names, with pictures of their family. I hadn’t really considered how I might someday “come out,” but I hope that when I do, I can do it with the same grace that Josh and Lolly did.

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  5. Andrew S on June 13, 2012 at 8:14 AM

    re 3

    Jon,

    Definitely, if you get some time, read through the original article. As for answering the question, try to put yourself in Josh’s shoes (except on the opposite). So, if you’re straight, imagine…would it ever be conceivable for you to be in relationship with another man (perhaps in a hypothetical world where opposite-sex relationships are somehow frowned upon)? And do you think that relationship could become stronger because it was *not* based on sexual attraction?

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  6. Will on June 13, 2012 at 8:26 AM

    Andrew,

    Good post.

    I think the message is that we as God’s children put way to much emphasis on sex. This was Paul’s point in the epistle to the saints in Corinth. Marriage is about creating a relationship of trust, which started with Josh when he was 16 when he was honest with Lolly about his feelings. They have successfully created a relationship of trust, just as Ty Mansfield has with his wife. Both stories show the right course of action – they are born with an inherent weakness (like all of us in some fashion) and turn to God to reconcile that weakness and turn to God for strength.

    This is no different than the super-male that has an overpowering desire to look at every naked woman he can. The solution is the same, turn to God and have faith in him and he will make weak things become strong (Ether 12:27).

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  7. Andrew S on June 13, 2012 at 9:12 AM

    re 4,

    An Imperfect Saint,

    I definitely thing a remarkable thing about Josh’s story is how compassionate various people in his life — especially his parents — were…and I agree that in many cases, this level of compassion simply isn’t there. It’s especially different and more difficult when family members are the closest source of pain.

    I think the issue of Josh coming out with his real name also has some issues (issues that people have pointed out). Part of what inspired his post, as he writes, was that he was already coming out in a professional context as a marriage and family therapist.

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  8. Andrew S on June 13, 2012 at 9:23 AM

    re 6:

    Will,

    Wait, can you clarify the “super-male who has an overpowering desire to look at every naked woman he can” analogy just a bit? Is the solution for him to marry a woman he does not have an overpowering desire to look at naked?

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  9. Bonnie on June 13, 2012 at 9:24 AM

    I was really intrigued by Josh’s post. Excellent writing. I think, as others have mentioned all over the place, that his FAQ format was perfect, the level of straight talk was perfect, and his tone was perfect. Perfect to do what? To convey his message that it’s all about choices. None of us get everything we want and although society screams that we should and the church teaches that we will, it’s a fact that we don’t.

    My porthole on our culture is definitely that everything is oversexed. The Dove commercial “Onslaught” does a lovely job of pointing out the savage sexualization of our young women (and our young straight men) in how it portrays women. The assumption that marriage is based on sexual satisfaction is a fairly modern evolution.

    I love that Josh and Lolly make the point that the the choices they made are based on what is most important to them and were made possible because of the extraordinary support of others around them who haven’t demonized them. With the heat turned down on our relationships, the expectations of world and church culture, and a firm desire to ignore what everyone inside and outside their faith tells them about what is most important, they chose what is most important for THEM. A traditional family unit.

    I think it’s inevitable that people will take their powerful story and try to cookie cutter fit it onto others, and that’s a sad human tendency. But it’s a neat story, and that’s why people do that kind of thing.

    I would have made the same choice. I would have chosen family in the face of the “onslaught” of voices out there. Would I ask anyone else to make that choice? Nope. Kids should know they were brought here because they were valued above anything else. Not too much is more important than the moral agency to choose.

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  10. MD on June 13, 2012 at 9:26 AM

    #4 I really admire and respect you. I think your decision to protect your children first is admirable. And you also show remarkable compassion towards your siblings as well. God bless you.

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  11. Andrew S on June 13, 2012 at 9:48 AM

    re 9,

    Bonnie,

    I think there’s one thing for certain that we all should be able to agree on — we are best able to make choices when we have the support of others and are not demonized. This reminds me of John Gustav-Wrathall’s post on moral agency and same-sex relationships.

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  12. Howard on June 13, 2012 at 11:14 AM

    Andrew,
    Your imagine the opposite exercise was reveling for me. I found myself repeatedly blocking the concept until I consciously intervened to allow the thoughts through. Then yes I could see it working, but for me not nearly as satisfying as if I were sexually attracted to them. I think the exercise is useful to begin parsing out the components of a relationship; liking someone, being mentally connected to them, being emotionally connected to them, being sexually attracted to them, having sex with them, having non-sexual intimacy with them, etc. In a subconscious way it seems to point out not only our homo or hetero phobia but our intimacy phobia as well.

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  13. Sherpa on June 13, 2012 at 11:24 AM

    When I read this post, my worries were that other Mormons would read this post by the Weeds and judge other homosexual Mormons by it, even if Josh Weed asked people not to.

    I’ve known Mormons in the past who have had relatives in the past who are in the same situation as Josh and have outright said that if “so and so” can live a straight life, then other gay men can too.

    Most of the people who have shared this post on Facebook or by e-mail are more “orthodox” LDS and I honestly think they are reposting this because it confirms their hopes for LDS homosexuals.

    Hats off to the Weeds for coming out, making their relationship work (so far) and for the support of their family.

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  14. aerin on June 13, 2012 at 11:25 AM

    To answer your questions, while orientation may be fluid, I don’t think that means everyone is capable of a long term monogamous male female relationship. And I believe it is harmful to imply that is a possibility for everyone. While there
    may be a percentage this is possible for, it is a low percentage. Otherwise, how many GLBT people have entered traditional marriages that have or haven’t worked out? What does a marriage working out mean? Two people are buried next to one another?

    GLBT youth are at a greater risk (significantly greater) to contemplate or attempt suicide (in society overall). Why is that? It’s not that they are weak, but that they realize where the power is. The path of least resistence is still straight marriage with kids. Going against that is very difficult.

    Some months ago someone on MSP accused former mormons of often divorcing (which does happen pretty frequently for various reasons). I suspect that the divorce rate for MOM couples is equally as high. Modern marriage is about much more than a business partnership and ownership.

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  15. Jason on June 13, 2012 at 11:26 AM

    I don’t see what is subversive or revolutionary about claiming to have great sex with someone you aren’t naturally, physically attracted to. People have been doing that for years, and those statements are almost always proved false. This man has never been in love with a man, never had sex with a man he is in love with, and yet he has no problem claiming that his sexual happiness is somehow equivalent or better than the bliss that comes from following one’s natural attractions. How can he make that statement without having a basis for comparison?

    I appreciate his honesty, I admire his dedication to his faith, and I am glad that he has achieved as much happiness as he has. I don’t think any of us will be able to judge his relationship, much less comprehend it. I am happy for him, and I wish him all the best. I only wish that people would see this for what it is–a fortunate anomaly. Those who attempt to recreate it face tremendously bad odds and risk years of devastating pain.

    The popularity of this story brings very serious danger. No caveats or explanations or admonitions will change how this story will be misinterpreted and misapplied. People will follow his example, and they will suffer for it… greatly. I would not want to be responsible for putting this message out into the universe.

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  16. Andrew S on June 13, 2012 at 11:27 AM

    re 12,

    Howard,

    Thanks for doing the exercise! Great insights here.

    If I could answer the first question I asked at the end of the post, I would say that one thing I think about sexual orientation is that it’s more than just about sex. So when Josh says:

    sex is about more than just visual attraction and lust and it is about more than just passion and infatuation. I won’t get into the boring details of the research here, but basically when sex is done right, at its deepest level it is about intimacy…Many people never get to this point in their sex lives because it requires incredible communication, trust, vulnerability, and connection.

    I find myself nodding with him…but then, I feel like sexual orientation is also about those things. Sexual *orientation* is more than just visual attraction and lust; it is about more than just passion and infatuation. When we understand orientation correctly, at the deepest level it is about intimacy as well. I think that people are certainly more complex than we tend to think, so our set, fixed terms are limited, but I definitely think that the exercise is tough to do precisely because sexual orientation is about more than sex.

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  17. Andrew S on June 13, 2012 at 12:12 PM

    re 13,

    Sherpa,

    That was one of my main worries in reading Josh’s original post and seeing it shared so many times across Facebook and other venues — especially by more conservative/orthodox members of the church.

    Reading some of the (over 2000, yikes) comments on the post makes me feel that those fears aren’t unwarranted…however, it also seems true that there are many people who are really starting to rethink things because of this post.

    re 14,

    aerin,

    Great thoughts, on all points. In an earlier draft of this post, I had a section about many mixed orientation marriages that have ended in heartbreak — it’s not an uncommon thing for gay folks to enter into marriages with straight folks, and so there are certainly plenty of stories of heartbreak.

    I was trying to get this post to a manageable length, but I think I’ll make a supplementary post addressing these issues and others.

    I think a big deal is how supportive Josh says his parents were…but my question is…I wonder if they would have been just as supportive if he had decided to pursue a relationship with a man? I understand his reasoning about choosing to date and marry Lolly (and the sacrifice that comes with it), but I wonder to what extent other possibilities truly seemed viable to him.

    Even now, I’m struggling not to write a new post in a comment box…

    re 15,

    Jason,

    Obviously, it’s not revolutionary to claim such things. And obviously, Josh and Lolly’s story is still a work in process (e.g., there are mixed orientation marriages that lasted longer than Josh and Lolly’s, but still ultimately ended)…but the “revolutionary” claim would be if it is actually working. In other words, most of your challenge is that these statements are nearly always proven false; Josh has no basis for comparison, so how can he know; etc.,

    But what if?

    If things are as he says, then what I’m saying is that, from a modern foundation of what we privilege in sex, sexuality, and relationships, then this both complies and defies…we privilege relationships of love, consent, and non-exploitation…so if Josh’s relationship fits this, then it seems we must commend it. But that’s where the relationship defies our modern understandings…how can he love Lolly as much as he says or thinks he does if he’s gay (not bisexual)? And so on.

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  18. Howard on June 13, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    I’m not sure what sexual orientation is, but I’m pretty sure at least some of it is instinctual. I was lucky to be raised in an environment free of obvious prejudice. I attended church with two gay guys during my teens, people didn’t seem too concerned about it back then. But the first time I saw two men embrace I briefly felt revulsion it was a visceral not a judgmental response. My attitudes about it changed from thinking of it as odd to acceptance when I got to know some same sex male and female couples and began to see them as loving couples. I’m stimulated by watching two attractive women getting busy but disinterested when two good looking guys getting involved.

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  19. Sherpa on June 13, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    Andrew-I hope so. I haven’t had a chance to read the comments on Josh’s blog, but I’ve seen a small sample of reactions and they worried me somewhat.

    I’m hopeful though that the attitude towards homosexuals will continue to soften. I’m not advocating Same-Sex Temple sealings per se, just a little more love and understanding.

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  20. LDS Anarchist on June 13, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    I’m still working my way through this post, but I had to stop reading and comment on this statement by Josh:

    This has resulted in us having a better sex life than most people I personally know.

    How could anybody actually judge how good another person’s sex life is? If you have two people conversing and one says, “I’m satisfied with my sex life,” while the other one says, “I’m dissatisfied with my sex life,” it is still impossible to positively state that the satisfied individual has the better sex life. Sex is a completely subjective activity. If it were possible that the two individuals could be, somehow, transported into the other person’s body and experience their sex life subjectively and then come back out into their own bodies, then they could compare sex lives, each one giving his or her opinion on which sex life is “better.” But such opinions would still be useless to gauge “better” or “worse,” because everybody has different preferences for what is considered better or worse sex. So, Josh’s statement just struck me as profoundly ignorant and he lost credibility with me, but I will attempt to finish reading the post…

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  21. Andrew S on June 13, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    re 20,

    LDS Anarchist,

    This is a REALLY good point, LDSA, and cannot be overstated…not only that, but on the controversial side, it’s difficult for an individual like Josh to judge his own sex life, given that he has only had sex with one person. (So, although he talks about sacrificing to have a family with Lolly…and speaks about the intimacy of their relationship being better than relationships based on lust, visual attraction, and passion…he hasn’t experienced a same-sex relationship.)

    I’m guessing that what Josh means is that in his conversations with friends, it seems that — even though his friends and he can’t switch consciousnesses for a moment to check — they feel something of a difference in opinion about their relationships.

    (but do please try to finish reading his post, in case you have other thoughts or reservations to share…)

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  22. Nick Literski on June 13, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    The Joshua Weed piece is certainly getting a great deal of promotion around the Internet. It’s going viral, and sometimes, one should stop to ask why. There’s some context to this piece, that I think deserves attention:

    (1) Joshua Weed is employed as a “therapist,” primarily with young people, specializing in gender issues and “unwanted sexual attractions.” That’s polite wording for so-called “ex-gay therapists,” who use prayer and/or “therapy” in order to either “change” sexual orientation or encourage a homosexual person to be (a) celibate, or (b) married to an opposite-sex partner in accordance with values they’ve been taught. In short, Joshua Weed makes his living by engaging in a form of “therapy” that has been denounced by every legitimate psychological/medical organization in the country as both ineffective and potentially harmful. Joshua Weed has a pecuniary interest in convincing gay men and lesbians that it’s “possible” for them to “succeed” in opposite-sex relationships.

    (2) Joshua Weed lives in Seattle, Washington. Interestingly, his piece was released to the public almost immediately after anti-gay religious activists filed petition signatures to force a referendum on Washington State’s new marriage equality law. We already know that LDS church officials have met with the strategists organizing the campaign to defeat the law and block marriage equality. One of the typical arguments used against marriage equality is that gay men and lesbians can choose to be celibate or to marry “as god intended” to an opposite-sex partner with help from Jesus. Notwithstanding his P.C. statements about “not everyone” being able to live as he does, the precise timing of his piece (not to mention its inordinate level of rapid “market penetration”) makes it highly suspicious as an orchestrated propaganda piece.

    Two nights ago, I received a telephone call from an old LDS friend who about a year ago learned that his son is gay. In the short time since this article was published, he has received copies of it from no less than four LDS members who felt it might “be helpful” for his gay son. These people aren’t reading the P.C. escape clauses in the article—they’re seeing it as proof that gay men can/should follow the LDS church’s teachings by marrying women and breeding children. This LDS father was very upset about the attitude shown by those who wrote to him. He felt that none of them understood his relationship with his son, let alone the challenges his son actually faces.

    In relation to the OP above, I can contribute my own first-hand experience. I managed to remain married 18 years, before reaching a point where either (a) I divorced and came out of the closet, or (b) I put a gun to my head and pulled the trigger. When you’re young, it’s relatively easy to deny yourself the sort of “passion” and “visual attraction” Joshua refers to. You can pat yourself on the back about how you “resist” the “temptation” of sexual attraction to members of your same sex. As you mature, however, you realize that relationships and sexuality are about more than sex. Homosexuality isn’t just about who you’re sexually attracted to; it’s about who you’re emotionally and romantically attracted to. It’s about the kind of genuine intimacy that nearly every person wants to experience in their primary relationship. For a gay man, that kind of relationship is ultimately going to be found with another gay man, not with a woman. As one matures, the need for that intimate relationship becomes more important than the sex—and the fact that it’s missing is much more painful than just missing out on the sex you want. If Joshua Weed genuinely thinks homosexuality is just about “passion” and “visual attraction,” then I’d suggest that tells us about where he is in his own sexual/emotional maturity. It’s certainly not a prescription for the masses—even though the opponents of marriage equality will certainly treat it as such.

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  23. Andrew S on June 13, 2012 at 4:48 PM

    re 22,

    Nick

    I’m probably just naive, since I didn’t take things anywhere near as pessimistically. For example, I saw that his work as a marriage and family therapist was troubling because of the conflict of interest angle, but I didn’t think that it was a dogwhistle/code word for ex-gay therapy. (That being said, if in the next year or so he releases a book to all of his new subscribers of “club unicorn” that he’s attracted with this blog post, then I will eat my hat.)

    Similarly, seeing the church’s political tactics, I don’t feel like this fits their MO for astroturfing — unless they’ve gotten a whole lot more sophisticated and subtle after Prop 8. I probably should not underestimate people…

    However, I completely agree with this part from your last paragraph:
    “Homosexuality isn’t just about who you’re sexually attracted to; it’s about who you’re emotionally and romantically attracted to. It’s about the kind of genuine intimacy that nearly every person wants to experience in their primary relationship. For a gay man, that kind of relationship is ultimately going to be found with another gay man, not with a woman. As one matures, the need for that intimate relationship becomes more important than the sex—and the fact that it’s missing is much more painful than just missing out on the sex you want. If Joshua Weed genuinely thinks homosexuality is just about “passion” and “visual attraction,” then I’d suggest that tells us about where he is in his own sexual/emotional maturity. It’s certainly not a prescription for the masses—even though the opponents of marriage equality will certainly treat it as such.”

    So, that part of the story doesn’t really check out, for me.

    However, I still feel like there’s something to entertain from this story…disregarding the many warning lights and signs…so, Josh’s story doesn’t check out from his as a gay man (with no asterisks or anything.

    But the story does offer something, IMO, from a queerer-than-gay point of view. I mean, it’s easy to say, “Well, Josh must be (at least a little) bi” or “This won’t work” — but at some point, suppose that what would accurately describe’s Josh’s POV is “exclusively sexual attracted to men; completely sexually unattracted to women. Emotionally/romantically attracted on an individual, not sex basis, but it just has happened to work for someone who is a woman.”

    It seems like all three terms: gay, straight, and bi are inadequate to describe this. If homosexuality is the “package deal” combination of sexual, emotional, and romantic attraction to the same sex (and if heterosexuality is the same package deal but for the opposite sex, and bisexuality is the same package deal, but potentially for members of either sex), then how do we describe people who don’t even fit these three categories because they don’t have the “package deal”?

    That’s what I thought we could discuss. But I guess this is still really too difficult to discuss. The situation isn’t neutral, as you point out…and plus, the terms are all loaded.

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  24. Nick Literski on June 13, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    I can tell you that the description given for Joshua’s occupation is precisely what Exodus, Evergreen, NARTH, and Marcus Bachmann are all using these days to describe their “ex-gay therapy.” It’s pretty much universal in that industry now.

    As for the LDS church’s political methods, we’ve seen documents come forth from their past anti-gay activism, and yes, they’re sophisticated planners. They’ve also learned from the backlash against their involvement from Prop 8, however, and are doing things through surrogates these days, such as the so-called “National Organization for Marriage.” I’ll grant that I tend to be suspect of their actions and motives in this arena, but I do believe we have plenty of evidence that they’re still very much involved. In fact, the recent federal court decisions declaring DOMA unconstitutional happen to identify 3 lawyers from Kirton & McConkie among the counsel defending the statute. K&M, of course, is the firm primarily dedicated to representing and advising the LDS church. These lawyers have been quite active against gays in litigation, always with the LDS church identified as an amicus curiae.

    I appreciate your questions about the confusion that can arise in terms of the emotional/romantic/physical factors. It’s not my intent to say everyone fits into certain perfect little boxes. Even the Kinsey scale recognizes that some are “more straight than others” or “more gay than others.” Joshua may identify as “100% gay,” but I think he’s speaking from a false belief that “being gay” is only about physical sexual response. If we take his description of his relationship at face value, I have to conclude he’s a lot closer to the center (bisexual) of the Kinsey scale than I am, even if he doesn’t consider himself fully bisexual.

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  25. alice on June 13, 2012 at 5:34 PM

    There’s so much to try to understand. I tried to put some of it in a note but it was just more than I could be coherent about. So I’ve distilled it down to congratulations to them and continued happiness for them and their children.

    But how can Lolly be happy to be in a relationship with someone who has publicly stated that he’s not attracted to her? Clearly, she doesn’t need my permission or endorsement but I can’t help wondering where self respect comes from when you choose to spend not just a lifetime but all of the eternities with a person who can never want you in that powerful way.

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  26. Bradley on June 13, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    Hopefully this improves the Church’s approach to sexuality. Thanks to the incessant chastity message, I was led to believe that marriage was all about sex. In case you’re wondering, it’s not.

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  27. Stephen Marsh on June 13, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    Some rambling thoughts, wherein I kind of agree and disagree with Nick, and agree with Andrew S by the end.

    Joshua Weed is employed as a “therapist,” primarily with young people, specializing in gender issues and “unwanted sexual attractions.” That’s polite wording for so-called “ex-gay therapists,”

    That is too bad. BTW, there is a huge difference between working with someone as they sort everything out and …

    I should note, though, that I’ve an ex-brother-in-law whose break-up with my wife’s sister relates (as he explained it once) to his finding someone more visually attractive — larger breasts, made a better fake blond, looked younger.

    I’ve dealt with a number of men who have claimed that they just did not feel the intimacy they needed with their wife after she had children and got older. They needed to dump her and get someone younger, it was that or life had no meaning.

    That colors every discussion I get into when people start asserting the primacy of physical attraction (which Nick did not do) or “needs.”

    However, I think much of this draws away from the point that it is extremely bad advice to generally encourage homosexuals to marry into mixed orientation marriages. A number of apostles have spoken out against it, having seen the results.

    I know, I know, some mixed orientation marriages work. I’ve read the FMH posts (e.g. the transexual guy who feels he is really a woman and his lesbian wife who finds him the only man she has ever found attractive). But I have significant issues with anyone who makes blithe assumptions, and Joshua seems to be counseling against making any assumptions or applications of his experience to anyone else.

    Otherwise, Kaimi was recently accused of being an LDS shill for the cover group Mormons for Marriage Equality. There is a point where people need to just pull away from the tin foil in the cupboard.

    All of that said, Nick has a number of important points he has made. Andrew S I find myself agreeing with more and of course I’m grateful for Bonnie’s additions to this conversation.

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  28. Andrew S on June 13, 2012 at 7:35 PM

    re 25,

    alice,

    This is a really great question. In several stories I’ve read of mixed orientation marriages that have ended in divorce/separation that are told from the woman’s perspective, one of the things that most haunted them was the sense that they were not attractive. Even when they knew their husbands were gay, this was something that bothered them.

    re 26:

    Bradley,

    In what ways would the church change its message on sexuality as a result of this?

    re 27

    Stephen,

    I was doing some more research on Josh’s counseling center, his employer, etc., and I found some stuff that even has me quite concerned. But I’m going to have a post on my personal blog about that.

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  29. Bonnie on June 13, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    Nick, I can see why you would suspect Josh of orchestrating a propaganda piece, but even with the background you provide I can’t feel that. I’m sure that’s no shock to you considering where I fall on the belief spectrum, just as it makes sense to me that you would read different intentions based on where you fall.

    I think it’s okay for one to speak out of the context of one’s work and perspective. He does the kind of counseling he does because he believes in it, and his life aligns with his beliefs, just as your does with your beliefs.

    You can say that you see hurt caused by his perspective, and I would have to say, in some egregious instances, applied by the self-righteous and ignorant, you’re certainly right.

    But I see hurt coming from other perspectives that brand those who seek to align their sexuality with their faith instead of the other way around as Uncle Toms. We are each – you, me, and Josh – speaking from our perspectives. There will be those who align with us each differently simply because we are alike in our thinking. Those who do not are going to be hurt.

    Obviously if we are humane, or Christian, or faithful saints, we want to minimize hurt cause to anyone. But we do have the right to speak from our own perspective. That someone is hurt by that isn’t always because we were wrong.

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  30. Howard on June 13, 2012 at 8:51 PM

    I’m sorry but this conflict of interest contaminates everything on this topic especially since Josh seems to be the only poster boy claiming glowing success with this approach!

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  31. KT on June 13, 2012 at 10:24 PM

    This is a blog post response to the Club Unicorn post that paints quite a different picture of a mixed orientation marriage: http://cedarpocket.wordpress.com/2012/06/13/in-which-i-feel-compelled-to-start-a-blog-because-of-a-club-and-a-unicorn/.

    Great if this is working for him, but I feel bad for his wife and I feel bad for other homosexual members of the Church who can’t commit to something like this because now this is the standard they will be held to.

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  32. LovelyLauren on June 13, 2012 at 11:07 PM

    For me,the most fascinating part of Josh’s story was where he talked about how part of what he was gaining by sacrificing a homosexual relationship was biological children. I have never seen anything similar suggested, but he does make an excellent point: only a heterosexual relationship between biologically born men and women can produce that.

    It really surprised me that he would even consider that a positive and purposeful aspect of his relationship rather than something that was the natural product of ten years of marriage. The idea that marriage is for children/family rather than the romantic/sexual/whatever gratification of the parents is also a much older reason for marriage.

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  33. Geoff-A on June 14, 2012 at 5:35 AM

    I struggle to understand how a marriage like this can work. Everything can work except the sex. How can a gay man have sex with a woman in order to satisfy outside pressures (the church’s view)? It somehow feels to be lacking in integrity. I can not imagine being in the situation where I had to have sex with someone I felt no sexual attraction for.

    I’m afraid my cynical thought, while reading his post, was that he will be doing the talk show circuit as a promotin for his counceling, before reading Nicks cautions about what his counceling might involve.

    I wish them well, and hope that the Church will soon be able to look back upon its oppsition to homosexual happiness, like its P’hood ban and say “we dont know how or where this startd but it has ended”. They might even apologise

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  34. Bonnie on June 14, 2012 at 7:42 AM

    #20/#21

    I REALLY struggle with this idea that we need to shop around to be sexually happy, as if it’s some kind of product that we can compare features on before we buy. From a faithful standpoint, that is NOT what we are about. Truly, sex is a gift, a wonderful gift, and we are encouraged to nurture our sex life for the purpose of drawing committed, covenant-making couples together. But God never said that marriage was for sex.

    We have a lot of references to marriage as the most important covenant, comparing Christ and the church as spouses. The covenant takes precedence over other factors, like sex, and money, and whether children can be born, health, the structure of their separation of duties, ANYTHING. Covenant is everything. The parable of the 10 virgins is about people who are patient for the covenant, not people who are shopping around. I can understand that the attitudes represented in the comments are possible because one has rejected the salvatory nature of the covenant, but Mormonism is about covenants and a fair number of people around here, including Josh and Lolly, are Mormons. I totally do not get taking them on about living for their covenants when that is the essence of being Mormon.

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  35. [...] latest post, Club Unicorn: How a Marriage Subverted Modern Sexual Thought, is up at Wheat & Tares. It is my reaction to the viral post from Josh and Lolly Weed coming out about their mixed [...]

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  36. Andrew S on June 14, 2012 at 9:12 AM

    re 30,

    Howard,

    In queer discussions, in asexual forums, in so many forums, there are things as “weird” and “strange” as Josh’s story, and yet are successes. That these things don’t get as much press doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Human sexuality is complex.

    re 31,

    KT,

    Thanks for linking that…I’ve seen that post a few times since writing this article…I linked and quoted it in my response post at my personal blog (that has a trackback link in comment 35).

    re 32,

    LovelyLauren,

    This actually ties in to my earlier post on how traditional marriage is dead. I think that in the past, children were more tied to many marriages (at least, more so than things like love and romance)…but of course, in modern times, that’s not really the same.

    re 33

    Geoff A,

    I guess the issue is that “if everything can work except for the sex,” then everything can work. If you can have emotional attraction, intimacy, romantic attraction, etc., but not sexual attraction, then the former can make up for the latter.

    I’d say the bigger issue is that sexual attraction isn’t just sex. It includes the emotional and romantic attraction aspects as well. So, there’s definitely much to consider about how Josh is defining “gay” as opposed to how someone else might…

    re 34,

    Bonnie,

    I don’t think it’s necessary to shop around to be sexually happy…but in a paradigm where we aren’t, we shouldn’t try to compare and contrast our sexual happiness against each other. In other words, maybe argue that marriage isn’t about sex or isn’t for sex…OR argue that your sex life is “healthy and robust,” but don’t argue both.

    But this goes beyond sex. Rather, Josh also can’t fully compare/contrast on emotional fulfillment, romantic fulfillment, etc., Not saying he should “shop around” on those things either (although maybe at this point, we should start asking what things like “dating” and “courtship” are for…), but the whole aspect of comparison is kinda suspect.

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  37. alice on June 14, 2012 at 11:03 AM

    I don’t think shopping around for sexual attraction is necessary either. When it’s there you KNOW it. The challenge is to resist it not to discover it!

    I can remember the first time my husband (then just someone I had dated once or twice) touched my hand to hold it. The rush of electricity was palpable and remains a sense memory 45 years later.

    I can also remember some rougher times in our relationship when he seemed as strange to me (after several years of marriage and at least one of the kids) as if I had just encountered him in a shopping mall. That special attraction that characterizes a marriage over all the other important and close relationships we have in our lives got us past the adjustment struggles. It’s part of what makes it possible to say that nothing on the earth is as affirming when I’m 65 and have lost what might be called “attractiveness” to everyone else on the planet. It sustains us both that we still have the memories and history and spark that make aging and sagging and having to repeat things a couple times at escalating volumes insignificant to the accumulated memory that incorporates all of our lives together, not the least the excitement and life- and intimacy-affirming dimension of sexual attraction.

    Kudos to anyone to can get through life without it but I don’t get it. And my fingers are crossed for those beautiful girls that the Weeds are capable of something that I’m sure I’m not.

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  38. Bonnie on June 14, 2012 at 12:02 PM

    Andrew, I agree that the issue of comparison is distracting. That one sentence of his post should probably have been left out.

    Stepping away from his faux pas, however, and staying with his point: it is possible to argue that intimacy creates powerful bonds even when it is not about hormone surges (and I just don’t know what else to call a physical response.) The connections that he describes having with Lolly, and I have no reason to discount them, are the kinds of connections that make for powerful, fulfilling marriages. Hormone response wanes, and it isn’t enough to sustain people.

    I am in the age group to have several friends who have already or are presently dealing with prostate cancer. In many cases that radically alters a couple’s intimate life, permanently. I’m not just talking about sex; I’m talking about shifting the balance between all those traits that make up intimacy when sex can’t substitute for them anymore. It has radically changed the way they connect.

    I’m also an avid amateur family researcher (in boom and bust cycles) and I have a lot of stories from just 100-150 years ago of family members whose lives were so challenged on so many fronts that marriage had to be about practical things. As a curious reader, I look at past eras and see wonderful trends of multi-generational stability created by arranged marriages. We recoil at that, but just as I noted in my first comment, everything’s a trade-off.

    What if we considered unions that were less about sex and physical response and more about connection? It’s an intriguing idea. If someone found a compatible (Freudian, I initially typed combatible) companion for me, I think I would actually consider remarriage. Being meet companions on the more important intimacies is very appealing, and I’m with Josh and Lolly that sexual compatibility follows when people are really interested in their covenant companion’s happiness.

    I thought about your exercise, and I think the “ew” factor fades in the face of larger realities (covenants). How could Sarah give her handmaid to Abraham? Bigger realities.

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  39. Andrew S on June 14, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    re 38,

    Bonnie,

    I agree. In fact, I was hoping that more people could at least try to address and answer the two questions I had asked at the end of my post (I tried to avoid some of the controversial aspects — at least in this post — so that we could focus on other issues.)

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  40. Howard on June 15, 2012 at 7:28 AM

    Andrew,
    It doesn’t surprise me that those forums discuss many “weird” and “strange” things but do they testify to Josh’s basic concepts actually working? If so how long have they worked?

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  41. Andrew S on June 15, 2012 at 8:54 AM

    re 40,

    Howard,

    Many of these relationships have lasted so far longer than Josh’s. It depends on the story.

    In the asexual community, the term “demisexual” may be a good analogy…the many stories I have read seem to fit Josh’s story…the main difference I see is that these are people who would normally identify as asexual who then experience these person-by-person attractions, rather than gay experiencing person-by-person attraction for opposite sex, etc.,

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  42. Howard on June 15, 2012 at 10:24 AM

    You seem to be saying Josh may have some demisexual traits. If so I doubt his approach could easily be scaled up to gays in general, could it?

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  43. Andrew S on June 15, 2012 at 10:28 AM

    re 42,

    Howard,

    Right, that’s exactly what I’m saying. That’s why I made this statement in my first response (comment #2):

    The reason I (briefly) mentioned queer theory is because I think that what Josh’s post really encourages is a discussion reconsidering gender, sexual orientation, etc., within relationships and marriage. Some people suggested that with gay marriage, people were saying that “gender is unimportant” — but in a way, gender was made quite important; what mattered was the gender one was sexually attracted to.

    But with mixed orientation marriages like Josh, we rethink that. Gender doesn’t matter; it doesn’t matter who you’re sexually attracted to, because (maybe) you can have intimacy without sexual attraction. And maybe that will be an even stronger, closer, albeit different bond.

    It seems to me that there are enough examples of people who don’t cleanly fit into categories like “asexual, bisexual, homosexual, and heterosexual,” that we should really be having conversations on what sexual orientation entails, and what we think about the people who don’t seem to fit the categories.

    I think queer theory says a lot about these things.

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  44. Howard on June 15, 2012 at 10:59 AM

    Andrew,
    Thanks for explaining that. I’ve had intimacy without sexual attraction many times in opposite gender relationships, the women were attractive but no chemistry for one or both of us. The intimacy was achieved because we liked each other and both parties were largely free from psychological dysfunction and open minded or at least like minded so that the dysfunctional overhead of the relationship was very low and both parties listened intently and shared as equals with little ego involvement. Many of these relationships are now friendships. So I tend to see intimacy as something separate from sexual attraction. I have also had intimacy with mutual sexual attraction and of course it’s the best! These are the relationships I would consider for marriage. Sexual attraction without intimacy and intimacy without sexual attraction are both inferior.

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  45. Jaramiah on June 15, 2012 at 11:00 AM

    “What even is sexual orientation?”

    I read this description on Josh’s post, which I will call A.

    A: “so, if everyone in this room took off their clothes, would you be turned on by the girls or the guys?” My answer, which I didn’t say out loud, was unquestionably the guys.

    And I read Nick’s definition in his comment on this post, which I will call B.

    B: Homosexuality isn’t just about who you’re sexually attracted to; it’s about who you’re emotionally and romantically attracted to. It’s about the kind of genuine intimacy that nearly every person wants to experience in their primary relationship.

    It’s clear that you don’t really have “B” without “A”, but I’m not positive that “B” must follow “A” to ‘define’ orientation. (And to be fair, Nick didn’t use the word’orientation’, he used ‘homosexuality’ in his word selection).

    I’m pretty sure that most straight guys would say that their awakening to sexuality involved the test to “A” rather than the seasoned test of “B”. The awakening arrives at an immature point of life and is the first of some data points that would place the individual on the Kinsey Scale.

    While those with the “A” type homosexual awakening have been dealing with that awakening for a few millenia, those with the “B” type expression have only been able to see that ‘added’ definition to orientation by degrees as societies have shaped where that expression could be pursued, unencumbered. If you were in ancient Japanese culture–duty bound, a homosexually oriented male would do what his culture expected–marrying women for union of families and establishing economic and social status–and would seek male intimacy only in fleeting corridors of the culture where fantasies were provided.

    No need to say that the way Josh Weed is expressing his orientation is a by-product of his (LDS) culture, but I’m less confident in Nick’s conclusion: “As one matures, the need for that (homosexual)intimate relationship becomes more important than the sex—and the fact that it’s missing is much more painful than just missing out on the sex you want.” The degree that it is “missing” is perceived within the context of the culture or subculture in which you are immersed. Nick found it impossible to carry on beyond 18 years, but Josh–by very confident sounding accounts–is making it work well at 10 years. Time will tell.

    I worry that the Weed’s relationship will be tested further as they become ‘media celebrities’ (or media ‘pawns’ as objects of news stories often become), and will suffer the loss of their privacy with which they have been able to nurture their unique relationship over the past 10 years.

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  46. Andrew S on June 15, 2012 at 6:24 PM

    re 45,

    Jaramiah,

    You say “And to be fair, Nick didn’t use the word ‘orientation’, he used ‘homosexuality’ in his word selection”

    What is “homosexuality”? If you were to list orientations, what would you list?

    Good thoughts, though.

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  47. Michelle on June 16, 2012 at 1:03 AM

    “It seems to me that there are enough examples of people who don’t cleanly fit into categories like “asexual, bisexual, homosexual, and heterosexual,” that we should really be having conversations on what sexual orientation entails, and what we think about the people who don’t seem to fit the categories.”

    Or maybe we need to stop having sexual orientation be such a focus at all. I feel like the more we talk about all the variation and sub-categories, the more fragmented we become as people…the more opportunities we have for people to feel more and more divided, different, lonely. On the other hand, the Atonement is there for any of us, no matter what our trials, differences, life experiences, may be.

    Josh Weed’s post may not have been perfect. I think he makes orientation out to be less messy than it really is, for example. But in my view, it does capture pretty well the doctrine of agency and the plan of God, and aligning one’s self to that doctrine rather than waiting for the doctrine to change to align with one’s ‘different’ness. To me, that is what makes his post powerful.

    I think he also hits a nail on the head with the difference between personal sexual fulfillment (more about orientation and personal ‘needs’) vs. marital intimacy (more about a relationship and something deeper that isn’t dependent on sexuality alone)…which is something I think a lot of heterosexuals could understand better as well. Lust can happen in marriage, too. And does far too often. Like Bonnie pointed out, there are many marriages that for one reason or another don’t have the sexual element anymore. We’re not here to be driven by our desires/orientation/sexuality, but to bridle our passions according to God’s laws and also to humbly submit to the trials and difficulties that may come, whether through biology/birth or life’s experiences.

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  48. lessonnumberone on June 16, 2012 at 6:05 AM

    I’ve been fascinated by this blog post since I first saw the link a little while ago.

    I love what it says about marriage in general. Having gone through quite a few pregnancies and two miscarriages and all the attendant hormone rollar coasters involved in that I really relate to the distinction between attraction and intimacy. I’m not always physically attracted to my husband. Sometimes illness, stress or hormones get in the way. The things that attract me now are more intimacy based: seeing how he takes care of our children, watching him work hard for us, a great conversation with him, or seeing how he cares for me… that sort of thing. Yes I do still find his body attractive but it’s more that what attracts me is seeing him do the dishes or laundry or wrestling with the children, or just thinking about the kind of man that he is now.

    I think we WAY over estimate the importance of physical attraction. I have had sex with my husband many times when not feeling that physical attraction. I haven’t had sex without feeling that intimacy. physiology and intimacy take over for any lack of physical attraction every time. I also know that I find it easier to feel more loving when there isn’t quite as much physical attraction–I’m feeling more patient, selfless, tender, kind…that kind of love…instead of the passionate can’t resist you kind of love teenagers make so much of. In a long lasting relationship it’s clear to see what kind of love I want. I wonder if some people who wish their spouse found the physically attractive would still feel that way if the intimacy was there?

    I’m glad Josh makes it clear in his post that this isn’t for everyone. I am a little afraid that some people may assume it is anyone and demand it of others…which is sad. This is a personal decision. It cannot and should not be made by any outside pressures. I don’t feel Josh felt pressured to marry..he had so internalized the gospel that the pressure and choice was coming from himself. That would HAVE to be the way to go.

    It does muddy the waters as to exactly what same gender attraction is…I have wondered if it is purely physical attraction…yet it doesn’t totally make sense to identify it any other way. We ALL have close friendships with different genders..intimacy if you will. I don’t know. It is also interesting that some conservatives have wanted to define homosexuality by behavior instead of attraction…and there has been back lash to that–the implication that it’s just behavioral…a lifestyle choice. Yet here when Josh defines his homosexuality as attraction, but NOT behavioral..there is lash back there…if he isn’t acting on it, it must not exist. If he is having straight sex, he must be straight. I don’t know how you tell a person who they are really attracted to or how strong that attraction is…

    Some people do want to live this way. Some people would seek this sort of counseling…not to become ungay…because Josh makes it clear that attraction is still there…but to “bridle your passions” so to speak. To be willing to make this particular sacrifice.

    I also love the concept of defining marriage to include children-their wants and needs.

    It is true that every marriage involves sacrifice. Some sacrifices are easier to make, some we make without knowing it at the time…but every marriage involves sacrifice.

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  49. Andrew S on June 16, 2012 at 12:41 PM

    re 47,

    Michelle,

    You wrote:

    I think he also hits a nail on the head with the difference between personal sexual fulfillment (more about orientation and personal ‘needs’) vs. marital intimacy (more about a relationship and something deeper that isn’t dependent on sexuality alone)…which is something I think a lot of heterosexuals could understand better as well. Lust can happen in marriage, too. And does far too often.

    There are two points that stuck out to me here…when talking about martial intimacy, you say that is about something deeper “that isn’t dependent on sexuality alone.”

    But doesn’t that suggest that sexuality has some role to play in it? Earlier, in your comment, you say that maybe we need to stop having sexual orientation be such a focus at all? It just seems to me that these comments taken in conjunction with one another would be a pretty radical shift — and as you allude, I don’t think most *straight* people would necessarily be willing to go with that, because their sexuality isn’t taken to be a bad thing in and of itself.

    The second thing that struck me from your comment was your pronouncement that “lust can happen in marriage, too.” What is lust, and why would it be bad in marriage? Is it bad to desire your spouse sexually, and to find your spouse sexually desirable?

    It is one thing to point out that there are marriages where, at some point in time, the dynamics of sexual attraction change…but that’s different than saying that marriages should *never* include that dimension at all.

    re 48,

    lessonnumberone,

    It does muddy the waters as to exactly what same gender attraction is…I have wondered if it is purely physical attraction…yet it doesn’t totally make sense to identify it any other way. We ALL have close friendships with different genders..intimacy if you will. I don’t know. It is also interesting that some conservatives have wanted to define homosexuality by behavior instead of attraction…and there has been back lash to that–the implication that it’s just behavioral…a lifestyle choice. Yet here when Josh defines his homosexuality as attraction, but NOT behavioral..there is lash back there…if he isn’t acting on it, it must not exist. If he is having straight sex, he must be straight. I don’t know how you tell a person who they are really attracted to or how strong that attraction is…

    Lots of interesting thoughts here. Do you think you are as intimate with a best friend who is female as you are with your husband? Do you think that the difference between the relationship you have with your husband and the relationship you would have with a really close friend is just that you feel (sometimes) physically attracted to your husband, but you don’t for your female friends?

    In other words, do you think that “intimacy” as would be found in an ideal marital relationship is something that you can have with anyone of either sex?

    For whatever it’s worth, I think that the people who are incredulous about Josh’s sexuality are incredulous because, for them, sexual orientation includes orientation for intimacy, for emotional and romantic attraction. So, their significant other isn’t **just** a best friend that they feel physically attracted to as well. Rather, there is a different kind of intimacy only possible with those of one gender or another, so “physical attraction” ignores this distinction.

    So, for Josh to claim that he is both fully gay and that he is fully satisfied in his marriage doesn’t make a lot of sense to them…either one or the other must give.

    Personally, I think that sexuality is a lot more complicated, so it’s possible there is a misunderstanding of the diversity of situations people can be in.

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  50. Just me in DC on June 16, 2012 at 1:00 PM

    #4 AIS – I think your point about when, if and how to disclose personal details to a wide (sometimes global) audience is a tricky thing to figure out. I wonder if Josh and Lolly thought much about the effects on their daughters about making this disclose, complete with a picture of them with their children, twice.

    I think it is smart to keep some things private, or at least not super-public, when there are children involved, especially if they are young. Josh says he wrote this to make sure his family and friends heard it from him and not from someone else, I think there are better ways he might have chosen. I probably would have sent out a mass email to everyone in my address book, and encourage them to pass the information on to anyone they thought would be interested. While the email might have become something people forwarded a lot, I don’t think it would have become such a viral sensation. I think that the spotlight that the family will receive, and the focus that may come to their children, may get out of hand, and there won’t be anything they can do about it. Some cats not only get out of the bag, but the start driving your life.

    I think is it always hard to figure out how much and when, to share details about your life that are difficult or unusual. I don’t know what I would do in your position, but I think your concerns about your children or other family members makes you a good mom and sibling.

    I am not sure that Josh’s post makes him a bad dad, only his kids will be able to give those answers, as adults. It is a long road between cute little girls, and the women they become. I will pray for all of them that their lives will be as uncomplicated as they can be, but I suspect there are too many people, from all sides, who will want to use this family as a propaganda tool, on both the left and right.

    Thanks for making me think about the implications for a whole family when one person goes this public with their intimate family life. I haven’t had to deal with your struggles or the choices Josh and Lolly made. If I ever have something like that when I finally have kids, I will think of your comment.

    I hope that your comment means you will doing OPs as a guest blogger on wheat and tares. I want more things that will make me think a little farther outside the box than most things here. Since I am a convert and going to be married in a month, it is good to start thinking about how my actions might bring unintended, or unconsidered consequences.

    I don’t get over to read wheat and Tares very often since I am not big on questions that you are supposed to answer in responses instead of letting me think of what might be relevant to my life. You are kind of my hero, today at least, for mostly ignoring Andrews questions and answering the question you thought was more important. (It isn’t that I don’t like Andrew, it is just frustrating that most OPs choose a narrow set of questions that I don’t want to answer because that wasn’t what is important, at least to me. Heck I could live without another poll on a blog and never miss them.)

    I guess being a raised in the South, going to school in NYC, and working in the DC area makes me look at things way differently than my fiancé who was raised in Idaho, lived in Utah through college and only came to DC for a job. He thinks I am the odd duck for wanting more possibilities than just the ones the questions give, which is why he is the one who has always been the commentor. I usually just get a link from him on something he thinks I will like. If you can’t tell, I write legislative proposals, which hardly anyone ever reads. Maybe I could guest post on all the dumb things Mormons think about the constitution, when they have never read it and only cherry pick the parts they like.

    Okay, don’t throw tomatoes, I won’t comment again for months, unless AIS makes me think again.

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  51. Andrew S on June 16, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    re 50,

    Just me in DC,

    I appreciated your comment. To address this part:

    (It isn’t that I don’t like Andrew, it is just frustrating that most OPs choose a narrow set of questions that I don’t want to answer because that wasn’t what is important, at least to me. Heck I could live without another poll on a blog and never miss them.)

    We’re just trying to generate discussion here. Having suggested questions at the end of articles is a good way, we have found, to generate discussion. That doesn’t mean that that is the only discussion that we should be having, or that people can’t comment with other thoughts, but we can’t know what kind of things people like unless they speak up and comment.

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  52. lessonnumberone on June 16, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    Andrew…about intimacy and gender. It is interesting. My two closest friends in my life are my hsuband and my sister. I have had other very close female friends who have lasted from High school to now (20 ish years out). A part of intimacy for me is shared experience, and the quantity of experiences you can share. I really love reading. I really love sports. I love camping. Religion is very important to me. Family is really important to me. Women’s health and childbirth are really important to me. I’ve had some friends who share some interests and some who don’t. Intimacy is helped by shared experience. A really close friend need not be in every interest…but is so interested in me that they care about what *I* care about. I guess I’ve never seen gender as a factor in that.

    A part of intimacy for me is how able you are to talk with people and they with you. How open you both are and how you can listen to each other.

    Both myself and my husband have had very close friends of both genders.

    AS far as SGA including intimacy, I have wondered about that. I think it is dificult to describe homosexuality and what it really is. I do think attraction is a spectrum. Is intimacy also a spectrum? I worry slightly about that because altough I’m fine with people only being attracted to one gender (no matter the gender), for some reason I feel worried that someone could be unable to form an intimate relationship with just one gender. Part of that is what I have seen with attachment disorder children and their struggles with intimacy. I guess I see attraction as biological…with no choice in the matter of who you are attracted to. Intimacy I see as psychological. It’s possible that is chemical, but I consider a large part of intimacy as experience related. IOW if a person were incapable of forming intimate relationships with one gender I would worry that relates to past abuse or other experience. I don’t know for sure that that is a fair assessment.

    I wonder if some cases of false homosexuality would really involved psychological damage with intimacy. With false homosexuality I would place ALL cases of “cured” homosexuality. I don’t know that they were ever strongly SGA. Even as I say that though…if you consider attraction a spectrum. ugh it is just more complex. I don’t think the biological attraction can be changed. Attraction of either direction is really only to be healthily managed. I don’t know if that makes sense.

    I remember reading a book called Born that Way about a LDS woman who was molested by men…turned to women and lived a homosexual lifestyle for a while, changed and is now married in the temple. I guess I see that as false homoseuxality like I was talking about…a case where abuse lead to one gender intimacy which encouraged physical attraction. Perhaps she’s bi. don’t know. I do know that intimacy can affect attraction and attraction can affect intimacy.

    I have an idea? Why don’t I stir in a bit of confusion and muddle everything?

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  53. Just me in DC on June 16, 2012 at 3:18 PM

    Andrew,

    Maybe the website could include your comment #51 at the top of each question session, or somewhere else on the blog that is prominent enough to be meaningful?

    I don’t remember exactly when (5-6 months?) I was reading this blog fairly often because my boyfriend (now my fiancé) loved the posts here. I never commented though because so many people called other people thread-jackers if they weren’t answering the specific question(s).

    It is why I thought AIS was cool because she was able to write a response that didn’t put a target on her back, even though she wasn’t debating the specific questions that seem to the start nitpicking debates.

    Just my opinion, but it seems like all the back and forth of people saying the same things over and over, comes from the narrow way the questions are framed. I think the most recent agregious example is the post that asks why women want the priesthood. I mean, come on, even as a woman who has a few reasons I might someday want the priesthood, I was offended by the poll and how it framed the OP debate.

    I saw there were several people who commented that they thought the poll didn’t have a choice that fit them. I bet there are even more people like me who left the post in disgust, as demeaning to the wide variety of possible experiences that an LDS woman could think. Leaving out any possibility that a woman could have a thoughtful or well reasoned thought that wasn’t worthy of being condescended to. That was not a post that was inclusive, it essentially called all any woman who didn’t want the priesthood as an idiot without the ability to think. The question at the end of the OP wasn’t as bad as the poll, but after the poll and links, I can’t see how Stephen thought he was asking for honest responses.

    So, if you really want real discussions instead of people taking sides in an either/or debate, (note that I did NOT say discussion) then you should make it clear that the narrow questions in the OP are simply something you thought of, and that you want other people to add their questions too.

    Okay, I will take my indignation out to dinner, and have my fiancé tell me that the debating is important, and that if I am frustrated to go back to working on my Sunday school lesson. To which I will respond, then stop sending me links to posts that have a narrow focus and an agenda. Sigh.

    I really do think that adding something that either encourages people to think and comment on things other than the questions or maybe just forget questions that are narrow in their focus.
    Maybe posts could end up with, “Here is a thought, what experiences or thoughts do you have about what you just read?”

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  54. Andrew S on June 16, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    re 53,

    Just me in DC,

    I’ve definitely been thinking about having a comment policy on its own site that should clarify the sorts of things we are looking for — that’s something that’s still in discussion behind the scenes.

    As far as thread-jacking goes, it depends on the discussion, the poster, etc., So I’m not going to say that there aren’t ways to thread-jack discussions — and we usually only have to worry about it from one or two folks who are almost predictable about trying to relate *any discussion* — no matter what the topic — to whatever political conclusions they want to take it to. So, maybe you don’t see it that way, but it sometimes gets annoying from the perspective of a blogger trying to have a conversation.

    I don’t see An Imperfect Saint’s comment @ 4 as being off-topic. It takes into consideration what I was writing in the original post, and addresses several concerns — even some that were above and beyond the questions I asked at the end.

    But for that matter, I don’t see this discussion as being people “saying the same things over and over” either. In fact, for such a sensitive topic, I think that the discussion has gone over pretty well.

    To defend my co-blogger, there has been discussion about Stephen’s post. We understood the potential for controversy, but we agreed that it could be worth a shot to use a controversial approach precisely to draw people to respond to deliberately flawed poll options. Notice that you are now definitely talking about Stephen’s post. It is something that is definitely on your — and others’ — minds. It is something that many people wrote about the day that he posted it. That is a far better outcome, I think, than having a post that is so measured, so unambitious as to offend no one, that consequently goes by without drawing any comments. I don’t know if you blog, but as a blogger, I feel that a post with no comments is the worst thing in the world. I’d rather have a post where people are engaging what I have to say — even and ESPECIALLY if they disagree with me and think I got stuff wrong — than one where people aren’t motivated to say much at all.

    For whatever it’s worth, directed questioned and polls have been a way that we have found to generate discussion. Many of our posts used to just have “What do you think?” or…kinda like you mentioned: “Here is a thought; what experiences or thoughts do you have about what you just read?” and other more open-ended questions like you suggest, but that was overwhelmingly not conducive to generating much discussion.

    So, I think there is definitely still work to do on a blogger-by-blogger basis to get where we want. There is still work to do to have an environment where people feel comfortable with commenting. If we are not communicating well enough that you “can’t see how Stephen [or any of us bloggers here, for that matter] thought he was asking for honest responses,” then we are failing spectacularly at our job at communicating.

    …it might be that we just have different goals in communication…different goals in reading (and in writing) at blogs like these. But it’s definitely something for us to consider and to evaluate…

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  55. An Imperfect Saint on June 16, 2012 at 6:21 PM

    Just Me in DC,

    Thanks for the props. :-) I understand the frustration when it seems like the questions don’t relate to you. Personally, I answer the questions if they seem relevant, skip questions or posts that don’t seem relevant, and if I have something to say that doesn’t match the questions, I usually do.

    Maybe I have an unusually thick skin, or hard head, but I try to share things in a way that brings in my own experiences, but doesn’t dismiss other view points.

    I do think your idea of having some way to encourage people to see beyond the OP questions, is a great idea!

    If nothing else, I doubt that your fiance (and almsot husband – congrats!) will stop sending you links he likes. My husband sends me emails all the time that I send to the trash, but I also find that some of them interest me. So, keep the guy, and ignore the posts that annoy you too much!

    I hope that you keep coming back, even if it is frustrating sometimes!

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  56. Just me in DC on June 16, 2012 at 6:46 PM

    I have to admit that the only blog I write posts for is part of my job. So, I haven’t tried to deal with those pressures to drive comments.

    I do think something explicit that talks about the blog’s theory on comments, as well as some specific Dos and Don’ts, would help a lot.

    I didn’t see AIS’s post as off topic either, I was just glad that it brought something that made me think of a side of the situation that wouldn’t have occurred to me.

    I didn’t mean that the comments in every string were only nitpicking, but some people who keep saying the same things, like they are trying to change someone’s mind instead of sharing the way they think. I guess that is my own preference is for discussion instead of persuasion when it comes to matters of faith. I joined the church because the Spirit persuaded me, not because anyone argued me into agreeing with them. Maybe it is me just not understanding how and why Mormons would need to argue about someone else’s faith or experience. Maybe when I have been a member for 18 years, instead of 18 months, it will make more sense to me.

    Thanks for listening and responding to my comments. It actually gives me a better view of the blog that the writers care enough to write back if someone makes a comment.

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  57. Andrew S on June 16, 2012 at 9:51 PM

    I’m also going to just throw out here that we can check IP addresses.

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  58. Michelle on June 17, 2012 at 12:15 AM

    Andrew, thanks for the response. You wrote:

    There are two points that stuck out to me here…when talking about martial [marital, I'm assuming ;)] intimacy, you say that is about something deeper “that isn’t dependent on sexuality alone.”

    But doesn’t that suggest that sexuality has some role to play in it? Earlier, in your comment, you say that maybe we need to stop having sexual orientation be such a focus at all? It just seems to me that these comments taken in conjunction with one another would be a pretty radical shift — and as you allude, I don’t think most *straight* people would necessarily be willing to go with that, because their sexuality isn’t taken to be a bad thing in and of itself.

    I guess I see it not as a something that is designed to be a “thing in and of itself.” I see it as a part of a whole, part of a plan. Again, I think Josh’s post is catching attention because he made his choices around the plan, not around his sexual orientation. Of course, my comment presupposes a belief in such a plan, but that is where I’m coming from there.

    Don’t misunderstand me as saying that getting married is what I think all those with SSA should do. But by the same token, I don’t think his choice should either be minimized or dramatized as though it’s so strange or impossible. I think their focus on the friendship/relationship first, with sex coming as an outgrowth of a healthy relationship is a model for healthy marriage.

    The second thing that struck me from your comment was your pronouncement that “lust can happen in marriage, too.” What is lust, and why would it be bad in marriage? Is it bad to desire your spouse sexually, and to find your spouse sexually desirable?

    Piggybacking off of what I just said, here are some ways I see the difference between lust and love in a marriage.

    -I see lust as being selfish pursuit of personal satisfaction, where love is about building a relationship.
    -Lust includes fantasy; love plugs into reality.
    -Lust is primarily physical and short-term focused; love brings in a wholeness and health that includes all facets of life (which can include the physical but is not dependent on it) and a commitment to the long term.
    -Lust is demanding and controlling and urgent; love is compassionate and caring and empathetic.
    -Lust leaves everything hinging on its successful fulfillment (e.g., “I need this or else I can’t live!”); love embraces life and the relationship come what may.
    -Lust is a biological drive; love is a way of being, a choice, a character trait.
    -Lust treats the other like an object; love treats the other like a person.

    Considering a difference between lust and love to me is different than saying that marriage should never or never does include sexual arousal/attraction. (I would hope that would be obvious.) But I think Josh challenges ‘modern’ approaches to sexual satisfaction by putting the relationship first and showing that satisfying sex lives in a marriage can (and I would say, should) spring out of a healthy relationship, rather than making a relationship dependent on or driven by or determined by sex.

    And now I’m repeating myself….

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  59. Stephen Marsh on June 17, 2012 at 2:24 AM

    Checking IP addresses lets us know when people have posted under different IDs and is filtered into the system that prevents you from “liking” your own posts and comments.

    If you’ve wondered why your spouse can’t “like” something you’ve said it is probably because the same IP address probably registers for all the computers at your house. That affects our attitudes.

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  60. Stephen Marsh on June 17, 2012 at 2:25 AM

    That is, multiple posts with different names and e-mails from the same IP address over a short period of time affects our attitudes.

    Not that our spouses and children when they use their own computers can’t “like” what we’ve had to say.

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  61. An Imperfect Saint on June 17, 2012 at 5:47 AM

    Okay, first to everyone who didn’t know why this thread had comments about ISPs, I (and to a lesser extent my husband) take full responsibility. My husband likes to play practical jokes, on me, and usually I catch on pretty quickly, and call bulls$@t before it goes on very long. I am sorry that my idiocy caused the problems that it did.

    So, first off “Just me in DC” was my husband. He thought his first post would reveal enough of himself that I would see it right off. He has lived in all the places mentioned in the post, even if he doesn’t live in DC now. I am the constantly sending him links to blog posts I think are interesting, and he wishes I would cut it out. He also is pretty ambivalent about me sharing some of my trials in the bloggernaccle, since we are attempting to have my temple blessing restored sometime within the next year so we can be sealed. He has some worries that since there are a variety of voices that wouldn’t be considered “uplifting” by our current bishop, it might put that in danger.

    Since he has pranked me on my own blogs, in comment threads on family or friend’s blogs, I really should have caught it without needing the moderaters to point out that it was a little too convenient to have someone agree with me that much. (Although he hasn’t ever agreed with me before, so that was a new twist in the pranking. Back to what I should have been smart enough to catch on to.)

    The fact that I had told him the name I was using when in the bloggernaccle, that we had discussed some of my thoughts and discomfort over using specific questions in my blog posts and thinking about how to do that in a way that felt authentic to me, in the last few days. The fact that anyone would go back to comment #4, long after it had been posted, should have made me suspicious no matter what. I certainly knew while it was happening that I felt like I had found a kindred soul who was reflectin several things I have been talking about, especially several very specific things mentioned in the first post. And the number of things keep building, that I should have caught.

    I AM grateful that the moderators clued me in, because I was still duped when I fell asleep, feeling kind of wonderful that I had made an impact on someone. I had liked all of Just Me in DC’s posts and was congratulating myself on possibly helping the site be a little easier to use for other people. Yes, pride goeth before the humbling blog comment, when you have been an idiot all afternoon.

    After a 2:00 am wake up from a deep sleep, it wasn’t hard to get him to admit he was Just Me in DC. He used his iPhone while he was outside working on several projects, he thought it was hilarious to make himself a woman who was younger than we were, although he still thought I would pick up that it was him, after the first or second post. He thought I would remember asking him if he really understood what a thread jack was, several months ago, and we when we thought we knew, but weren’t sure, we ended up googling it.

    He isn’t apologizing to me, since I have given him tacit approval in always calling him on it when I catch him, but never implicitly saying, “Stop.” I don’t know if he will post an apology here when he wakes up in the morning. Probably not, but that doesn’t make mine any less sincere.

    As each post back and forth went on, I really SHOULD have caught that he was both baiting me and teasing me at the same time. I do stand by my basic ideas, in my own posts. I do think a well stated policy on comments would be helpful, but I should have stated that a long time ago when I first got links to Wheat and Tares emailed from friends, instead of just gravitating to other places, if I wanted to feel comfortable commenting. I also should not have let my pride cloud my ability to think with an open, but critical mind.

    Moderators, if you decide to ban our ISP, I won’t blame you, since I can’t 100% guarantee he won’t try to get me again, but I have at least set the boundary that I expect him the leave me alone in blogs that I don’t own, since I can’t remove our posts once I figure out the prank. I do truly apologize for what was, in the end, a massive threadjack.

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  62. An Imperfect Saint on June 17, 2012 at 6:02 AM

    Two things: I meant IP, not ISP, I would hate to have my whole ward banned.

    Moderators, If you want to email me about this, at least a few of you have my email. You are certainly welcome to share your decision(s) from this with all of Wheat and Tares, but I think a more in depth discussion, or lashing, should probably happen off the blog. I only made my apology public because I am not trying to hide what happened, and I thought that the public statements about IP addresses made it most appropriate to apologize to the entire community.

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  63. [...] has written a couple of good link roundup and analysis posts, and Dad’s Primal Scream has taken it as an opportunity to [...]

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