I must sing my joy

T.W.O. works hard to provide a roof and food for us, for our livestock and poultry, and for our household employees.  He even finds the time to lift big and post gains, when not indulging in other bagatelles.

I often feel frustrated, but it’s only because I have to complete the progression from planning 36 hours per day of work to planning merely ten.

I write about problems online because I have the resources, support and love to talk about them and occasionally make it to discussing possible solutions and strategies for coping when solutions aren’t possible or feasible.

I do what women have always done when they have that privilege.  And I rejoice in the fact that I get to be one of those women when my ancestors (of both Nordic and Negro sides, quiet as that’s kept) were often the women providing the means for other women to do so.

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The Pornographic Missing Stair Shaped Elephant in the Marital Bed

I have a half-finished post briefly outlining that men bringing pornography consumption into their marriages has been part of American married life since World War II.  This of course goes against the narrative that men are “driven” to seek out pornography because mean mean wives are withholding sex as a tool of control and dominance.  But the historical evidence is on the side of the man bringing the habit into the marriage and retroactively blaming the wife when the sex life goes awry.

“Missing Stair” is a reference from a promoter of deviant sexuality discussing the shocking fact that when you devote your free time to obsessively pursuing a sexual fetish, the subculture you create attracts predators and abusers like flies to fresh manure.  The missing stair is the way that the subculture coalesces around the abusers to work around their abusive tendencies and still keep pursuing the other forms of deviance as a group.

This working around a bad actor can occur outside the world of sexually deviant subcultures, and it does occur in settings that are not themselves “missing stairs” to the culture at large.

Which brings me to this post.  Pornography is a huge elephant in the room regarding sexual marriage dynamics and pretending it’s harmless or trivial because “it’s just pictures/video” illustrates just how deep the corruption and protection of evil to feed unrepentant depravity goes.

One of the issues with 2016 marriages is that they involve men and women who came of age just as pre-teen pornography exposure became something that was easy to do accidentally and very easy to do intentionally.

From the male side, when men are exposed from age 9 or 10 to frequent graphic sexual imagery of women, it’s disorienting at best for them to step outside and go to a shop.  The female store clerk isn’t…behaving correctly.  Neither are the women chatting to each other by the cereal aisle wearing the…right clothing.  Or…behaving correctly.  And forget talking to a girl, it’s almost offputting because she just isn’t behaving according to what you are used to women doing constantly for hours per day in multiple browser windows and screens.

And this is at best.  Many men respond to this disorientation by resenting or even hating regular women for not acting like erotic automata.

Christian ministries around pornography are trying to grapple with something that is in some ways more serious than regular brothel visits or having a mistress.  The ladies in the brothel and the mistresses are, after all, actual women who will slip up and act normally sometimes in the course of things.

The missing stair here is of course the idea that the plastic unreality of the porn women is safer, less sinful, perhaps even not a sin within a marriage.  I certainly hope one might see the problem with this reasoning.  Women doing that sort of thing are at best having natural feminine impulses distorted all out of human recognition and reduced to strange and increasingly perverse transactional assaults on the senses.  And at worst they’re being drugged and physically coerced into participation.

Any Christian man saying that some women should exist in this plastic evil world so some men can pretend their wives are the obstacle to an ordered and chaste married sex life is promoting sin and evil and maneuvering around an entire missing staircase of sin.

About “women delaying marriage”.

Recently the Christian manosphere has decided to blame women for the very high ages for first marriage.  They do this every few months, here’s a roundup of the latest with commentary afterwards.

Shorter Dalrock: Doug Wilson thinks lazy manbabies are keeping sweet Christian women from getting married at 22!  Joke’s on him, there are no Godly Christian women!  Churchian Carousel Bandits are keeping SUPER NICE TOTALLY MATURE AND GREAT CHRISTIAN GUYS WHO TOTALLY ARE MATURE AND STUFF from getting married at 22!  Additional Dalrock supplement to above, same premise.

Shorter Donalgraeme: I’m going to assert that later marriage is all womens’ fault and I assure you I will back it up with data at some unspecified point in the future.  But in the meantime, since most of my commenters agree with me, IT MUST BE TROOOOOOOO.

Shorter Moosenorseman: If women would just act more like dogs (amiriteboyz), there wouldn’t be a marriage crisis!

Anyway, the marriage issue is not solely the fault of naughty women and their hypergamy.  The evangelicals marrying young delay childbearing 5-10 years.  So they nominally marry early but then have kids late just like the people who delay marriage into their late 20s and early 30s.  This masks a lot of the manbaby stuff as well as the carousel issue.  Men are being more immature on average, and also in addition, women behave poorly and are immature and unrealistic as well.  Both pieces are true, not just one side of it.

And because childbearing happens at the same late 20s and early 30s point in time for most births these days, a lot of women figure that there’s no point in marrying young since they couldn’t have the kids right away anyhow.

We’re back to real vs. imaginary status again.  You get nothing marrying young and having kids right away except a lot of hassle and headache from people around you for being foolish with your childrens’ futures.  Marry young but hold off a few years, and suddenly things are fine, you were prepared.   Suddenly you might be worthy of a tuition check or ten from one set of grandparents.

Our kids are going into private school and every single one goes on at length about how you might want to hit up gramma and grandpa for that cash.  But of course, you also can’t have eight kids that way either, maybe not even four or three.

There is a lot of blaming women and parents (by which we mean MOM) for later marriage and childbearing, but basic needs are increasingly impossible to meet for people having kids right now at young ages.  This is why even single mothers overwhelmingly have a kid, not kids plural.

And as I already linked, there are Christians marrying before 25, you just have to admit that this is where the husbands and wives are (for Protestants anyhow). But for some reason, going where the young marriage is happening in America is not something any of these folks want to do….

ETA: commenter “thedeti” is going to spam now (1pm EST), so don’t reply to him if any get through.

Where are the young Christian marriage partners?

Evangelical Christian private schools.  There is a great blog that tracks research and what data exists on homeschooling, and in this link there’s a discussion of some research into whether homeschooled kids marry and have kids differently than kids educated other ways (particularly public school kids).

In a nutshell, evangelical Christian private school attendees end up marrying before 25 and having their first kid a few years later.  Catholic school attendees marry around 28-30 and have their first kid ASAP.  Homeschool and public school kids have higher rates of teen and early 20s pregnancy and marriage (still fairly low in raw numbers) and higher rates of being unmarried at 39.

Without extreme religiosity, which drives most of the homeschool early marriage, homeschool family formation and childbearing is pretty much the same as public school family formation and childbearing, which is useful information for homeschoolers to have now that the extremely religious are a much smaller minority of homeschoolers these days.

I haven’t cross-referenced this with lifetime births per woman, but I suspect based on demographic patterns that this means homeschoolers and public school kids have slightly fewer lifetime children per woman and probably per man than religious private schoolers of either Catholic or Evangelical Christian persuasion.

Anyway my rapscallionate brood is going to evangelical Christian schools, I guess!

Don’t sex cult the marriage bed.

This doesn’t mean avoid married sex, obviously, but there is a strain in Americans and of late conservatives the last generation or so of sex culting the marriage bed.  Christians are prone to this subverted gnosticism, prizing the intimacy of the marriage bed in too earthy and incontinent a fashion, denying that marriage is not really about having lifelong tingles.

The Puritans struggled mightily with seeking balance in this matter, but modern conservative Christians into the whole cult of “freaky sex but we’re married ooooo edgy” can’t even understand the problem.  Some boast of their inability to conduct themselves appropriately in public settings as a sign that their marriage is well ordered.  This could not be further from the truth.

Focusing on marital intimacy to the point that one is spending hours per day in figure maintenance hardly seems a good place for Christian wives to place their excess energies.  Call Trim Healthy idolatry, if you will.  At the very least, it leads to massive misinformation being passed from woman to woman about female health and bodily changes due to time and fertility.  It goes by many different names, but 40 days, six weeks postpartum, a long month, and so forth are quite universal and cross-cultural.  One to three months is the traditional range of “hands off” postpartum, and this is simply not being passed along any more to new wives by experienced married women.  It’s for the good of both husband and wife, to help them stay grounded in the fact that sex isn’t primarily about their mutual gratification, but a vehicle for welcoming new life into the world.

Whenever a subculture kicks this idea to the curb, it doesn’t lead to stronger marriages or healthier wives and children.  In several regional American subcultures prior to birth control and legal abortion, it was not at all unusual for women to resume relations at a couple of weeks postpartum.  This hardly made those marriages stronger and it sure didn’t help the infant and maternal mortality numbers.  And it didn’t matter that plenty of those women wanted to resume and weren’t necessarily being pressured.  It’s not about the immediate wants of the individual.

When Christians sex cult the marriage bed and define it firstly in terms of gratification, they degrade marriage rather than cultivate or enrich it.

It can also lead to unhealthy and improperly ordered parent-child stuff.  I want to put in more about this topic, it’s a big honking problem with far reaching consequences and severe damage to healthy, God-centered sexuality for girls and guys, but I’m pretty tuckered out, so I’ll just have to call this notes enough for now.

A third, not sex-focused way to consider a wife’s body changes due to fertility and age

When it comes to conservative Christian chat about how to approach a wife’s body changes due to fertility and age, there are two common branches that suffer from being too sex-focused.

One is when (usually) women talk about staying slim/skinny/fit (sex focused).

The other is when (usually) men talk about how wifey will be friskier as a result of the hormonal and physical changes (obvs. sex focused).

But it is love in wartime.  The changes are something greater.  Women become completely different women. Their very skeletons change, widening in the shoulders and ribcage.  There is so much more change than just the lowering and widening of hips that most people think of as a result of bearing children. Many women change body type from pear to hourglass, or hourglass to apple, etc. Many times these changes are permanent, which is truly fascinating.

One can see it as one of the ways that two becoming one is revealed.  The wife’s very body changes in response to the challenges of marriage, motherhood and age.  The marriage bond itself remakes her flesh and bones.

It’s just another way to consider and cherish.  Just a thought.