Praying as I write this post that my words will be carefully chosen and full of grace. I don’t want to hurt or offend. And I desperately want God to be glorified.
Deep breath. And dive.
So I’m writing another book about sex. And this one’s for the husbands. I’m going to tell you what I originally envisioned and explain what’s putting a kink in those plans.
I like funny. And I’m semi-gifted at making people laugh. My humor is a large part of what sells my books, brings people to my blog, and motivates people to invite me to speaking engagements. I’m sure I’d still be fairly likable without it, but it would really change the core of who I am.
There are a lot of books out there about sex. Is That All He Thinks About? is just one of them. What “sets mine apart,” if you will, is the humor (and perhaps my transparency). And I wanted that same thing for the Guys’ Book. Funny, light-hearted, candid, poking a little fun at both sexes, using humor in a sneaky way to convict husbands to love their wives a little better than they’re doing now.
And then I conducted a Husband Survey. And asked a question about porn. Specifically, “What is your relationship with pornography, and how has this affected your marriage?”
And the floodgates opened.
I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that the Survey-Takers were in no way whatsoever an accurate cross-section of American Husbands. For one thing, they’re probably mostly Christians (or at least married to one). For another, any guy who takes 5-10 minutes to fill out a survey like that is pretty swell (or is at least trying to appease his nagging wife).
And still. STILL. 42% of the 125 guys who took the survey said they either a.) view porn occasionally (26%), b.) are working with their wife and/or others to overcome an addiction (10%), or c.) are addicted to porn right now (7%).
An additional 40% viewed it in the past (10 of those 50 guys said they were addicted).
Only 18 of 125 guys said, “I don’t mess with it (and never really have).”
And while a couple guys’ responses made my blood boil, for the most part, I could hear a lot of discouragement and hurt and a longing to be free in their words. And in many cases, the hope shone through. Hope for recovery and restoration and beautiful intimacy with their wives.
Nearly all of the men recognized that porn has a negative effect on their marriages, and they were very good at pinpointing what those effects are.
For a little while there, I was feeling really good about the section of my book that deals with porn. Where I had originally laid the smack down with very little mercy, I felt a nudge to shower my words with more grace, to put myself in the shoes of some of these really good guys who were in the middle of a struggle they desperately wished was not a part of their lives.
E-mails and facebook messages started coming in from women whose marriages (or friends’ marriages) have been devastated by porn. A couple of them specifically asked me if I was going to go easy on guys or if I had any idea that some men out there are arrogant and prideful and refuse to admit that they’ve destroyed their families’ lives.
Here’s the thing. There are lots and lots of books out there specifically for men and sexual addiction. I have no desire (or the knowledge/experience) to reinvent that wheel.
And here’s another thing. I learned this with Is That All? I can’t write a book that will appeal/apply to everyone. I had women ask me why I didn’t write more about what happens to your sex life as you age. And women who were angry that I suggested making love to your husband happily (“You have no idea how bad my husband has hurt me!”).
I can’t write a book that’s going to work for all husbands either.
So here’s the one I’m going for:
A good guy who loves his wife and wants an intimate relationship with her. He struggles with lust, sure, but he wants his wife to be enough for him, and he reeeeally wants her to want him in bed. He loves Jesus (or if he doesn’t, he’s got him on his radar) and wants to live a life pleasing to God. He’s often discouraged and frustrated by his wife’s lack of desire for sex, and he wishes she knew how much her rejection hurts him. He’s willing to go the extra mile to make their sex life better. He just needs someone to tell him what that entails. And preferably using short paragraphs and small words. And possibly pictures.
But I really, really don’t want to make light of something that has hurt so many women (and men) so deeply. And I don’t want to write with such a happy-go-lucky tone that completely ignores the complicated, complex issues that plague so many marriages.
Maybe I’m just asking for permission to write a funny (and God-honoring) book about sex without any dear soul getting her feelings hurt.
I would really love your prayers for wisdom and insight. I’ve had some really amazing discussions with some of you (in real life and online), and Gabe and I have talked more about it in the past week than we have our whole marriage.
And if you have another take on this thing (or something that really concerns you), please feel free to leave a comment (or e-mail me if it’s private).
Thank you. For real. Thank you.