Sex

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The Trying Game

I watched my sister (in-law) give birth to a perfect baby girl on Wednesday August 17th 2016. It was a wonderful experience and since I was already hoping to have a baby the following year, I asked my husband if we could start trying a month early. The original plan was to start trying in October because I planned to finish my degree in late June (2017) and could give birth any time after that. I figured a month early wouldn’t hurt, even if we did fall pregnant straight away. I only had 1.3 subjects left to complete (the 0.3 referring to a compulsory subject that extends over the life of the 3 year course). If necessary, I could finish my assignments early or get extensions to finish them a little late. I started taking prenatal vitamins a month or two before my niece was born and stopped drinking alcohol in July (at least temporarily).

So we started trying for a baby in September. All that meant was that we stopped using condoms during sex. I had never taken the pill or other precautions. In fact I monitored my cycle and I knew that there were only two weeks of the month that we needed to use condoms and two weeks that we could have unprotected sex without the likelihood of falling pregnant. That method worked for a year and a half.

I don’t know why I got my hopes up in September. I guess I just never really expected falling pregnant to be difficult. I have a very regular cycle. My mum conceived four children easily and had no known miscarriages. My sister-in-law had just had baby number five and all of her children were conceived within a month or so of trying. But when I took a pregnancy test a week before my next period was due and it was negative, I was disappointed and few days later, I cried.

October came around and I was determined to be positive. I spoke to my body every day. I told my uterus that it was forming a healthy lining for my baby. I told my egg that it was going to meet the sperm and implant in my uterus. I also monitored my basal cell temperature after I ovulated to see if it was high as high temperatures could mean that I was pregnant. I misinterpreted the results and thought that my faith had paid off. But the pregnancy test said negative again. And I cried again.

Some friends told me that it takes about three months to fall pregnant. Others told me that I needed to try for 6-12 months before I started to worry. This goes sorely against my personality. As a child I was a pessimist. Even though I have become less pessimistic as an adult, I still have bouts of anxiety and telling me not to worry is not really helpful.

I had another period at the end of October which began our third cycle of trying. All three months we had sex regularly during the ovulation window. In fact we have always had pretty regular sex. But this third month was when I started to feel concerned that one of the main reasons I hadn’t conceived was because I don’t orgasm every time we have sex. I made sure that I masturbated-to-orgasm a few times after sex when JD had orgasmed and I hadn’t. We even used a pornographic video once or twice to help me orgasm during sex. I also went to see an acupuncturist that month, hoping that acupuncture would stimulate the area.

My Pastor prayed for us to conceive a baby while in America, but I decided to play it cool and not really get my hopes up. My period came a day after Thanksgiving (the week we arrived in America) signalling the end of the 3rd cycle and beginning of the 4th. Sex in America was interrupted a few times by family and I orgasmed very little. I ate crappy food and consumed alcohol a few times (for the first time since July) on occasions that I was certain I was not pregnant. I counted the days of my cycle and I could tell that I had PMS the week leading up to Christmas. I was fairly confident that I was not pregnant. Confident enough not to bother taking a pregnancy test. I got a little excited on Christmas Eve when my period was 3 days late, but then that haughty gift, all wrapped in red, arrived on my vaginal doorstep and announced: “You’re not pregnant: merry Christmas to you!”

Despite not getting my hopes up I still cried to my husband. “I had plans! I wanted to be able to tell my students that I would only be teaching for the next 6 months. Everybody is looking at me, waiting for me to announce that I’m going to have a baby because I’ve told people my plans. This is so embarrassing!”

We flew out of America a week later. My period had recently ended and I was about to ovulate again. The idea occurred to me that if I conceived a baby in January it could be born on my husband’s birthday in early October, or even 55 years to the day after my mother’s birthday in late September. That got me excited. I wondered if God and my deceased Mum had concocted a plan that this would be the month I would conceive.

A friend had advised me to keep my legs elevated for 10 minutes after sex. And we had great sex after arriving home from America. We were still on holidays from work (summer holidays in Australia). So we had sex 8 times in 6 days and I orgasmed 7 of those times—a first for me! I elevated my legs for 10 minutes after sex all 8 times and it was very clearly my ovulation window. I felt a sense of peaceful, spiritual hope.

Nonetheless, my hopes were dashed the other day when a doctor revealed the results of my blood test. NEGATIVE. Five months trying and still not pregnant. Mum isn’t sending me a baby to be born on her birthday and I am angry at God because I feel like this is a repeat of what happened with my desire to get married. I dreamed of getting married and having kids since I was nine years old, yet it took until the age of 30 to find the right man for me. I resented the wait. I cried to God so many times, complaining that I wanted and needed a husband, month after month, year after year. No amount of hysterics on my part brought my husband to me any sooner.

Now I am 34. I am pushing the boundaries of a healthy age to have children. I would have liked to have had them in my twenties. My body feels a lot older and tireder now and I don’t think I could handle as many children at this age as I could have handled if I were younger. Plus, if I’d known it would take so long to fall pregnant I would have started at least six months earlier! To be honest, I am feeling very resentful.

Why am I experiencing essentially the same emotions I felt when I was single? Fear that it will never happen. Impatience in the waiting. Feeling robbed of my plans, hopes and dreams. I’m getting exactly the same advice from people: “If you just stop caring it will happen.” “The more you think about it, the less likely it will happen.” “Surrender / relax and if it is meant to be, it will be.” I must not have learned my spiritual lesson the first time because I feel only anger and bitterness when I hear remarks like this.

I am a passionate person! Passionate people don’t give up. Passionate people don’t say “Que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be.” Passionate people don’t just lie back and let life take its course. Passionate people take the bull by the horns and try to make something of their lives. We work hard. We pursue our dreams. Even though I complained about being single, I achieved a heck of a lot in my single years. I wrote and published 3 novels. I took 8th grade and certificate of performance piano examinations which required hours and hours of practise. I recorded songs. I built my own business as a piano teacher. I cared for my sick mother. I did volunteer work and church ministry. I studied. I read. I wrote controversial blogs…

My life is still not where I wanted it to be in terms of a writing career. Nor in terms of becoming a mother. So, do I just throw my hands up in the air and “let it go?” When Elsa let it go, it meant surrendering to who she actually was, not giving up on what she wanted and who she was.

And yet I feel this spiritual pull to relax more. To open my hand and let things come and go with a bit less control and planning on my part. Life is so complicated. I am walking a fine line between holding on to my passion—who I am and what I want out of life—and embracing a more “que sera, sera” attitude.

I feel that this is a battle I must fight on my own. I may be liable to choke the next person who tells me to “just relax” and “let it go,”—even if it’s my husband! If that is what I am meant to do, then it is going to take a concerted effort on God’s part and mine to renew my mind, changing the way that I think and approach life.

So that is where I am at. Frustrated and resentful. Disappointed and sad. Balancing passion and relaxation. Taking my vitamins. Visiting the naturopath. Back to a low sugar diet. Exercising regularly. I’ve already lost 1 kilo / 2 pounds since coming back from America. No alcohol. No coffee. I have a gynaecology appointment at the end of the month: the beginning of cycle 6. Debating whether to have acupuncture or do yoga or something.

Trying to have a baby.

Does God Love Rapists?

It is silly when we think things like:
God doesn’t love the rapist during the act of rape, as though God’s anger and justice and judgement could ever outweigh his love.
God identifies with the rapist as surely as he identifies with the rape-victim.
He understands the thoughts and feelings of the rapist, the circumstances and rational that lead the rapist to committing the act.
And God justifies him!
Just as surely as he justifies you or me.
God justifies sinners in the midst of sin.

He identifies with every lie we tell ourselves.
He understands the hurt that causes us to respond the way we respond.
He knows the reasons as though they were his own reasons –
And he forgives the reasons.
He allows them.
He loves the rapist during the act of rape.

This is not to say he doesn’t love the victim.
He feels every ounce of the victim’s pain and suffering.
He experiences his/her anger and trauma to the nth degree – perhaps even more than the victim him/herself does!
He intimately knows exactly what we go through whenever we are abused.
And he justifies every response, every feeling, every thought:
Completely accepted.

God is within them both: the rapist and the victim.
He loves them to their core and his core entirely.

Does this mean there won’t be a reckoning?
There is always a reckoning – whether in this life or the next.
But the reckoning is not between humanity and God.
God is at peace with the perpetrator and the victim.
There is no separation.
The reckoning is between the offender and the offended.
Both must fully identify with each other, just as God has fully identified with them as individuals.
The victim must enter the mind, will and emotion of the abuser.
The perpetrator must enter the mind, will and emotion of the victim.
They must so entirely understand each other, that no forgiveness can be left unsaid or undone.

Just as surely as Hitler will experience the pain of each and every Jew who suffered in his war, the Jews will also experience the pain that motivated Hitler.
As surely as Ted Bundy will identify with the terror of his rape and murder victims, they will identify with the feelings that drove him to act as he did.
If we think that God doesn’t love Hitler and Bundy, and that he cannot forgive their mistakes, then God can not love you or me or forgive our mistakes.
Because if I lived Hitler’s life, if I were in his mind and reasoned the way he reasoned and experienced all he experienced, I would have done exactly what he did, simply because he did it.
What Bundy was capable of; I am capable of.
Because we are all human.
We all have the same capacity for darkness and light;
Love and hate.

For God to forgive even one offence means he must by nature forgive all offences.
For God to justify one sinner, means he has justified all sinners.
There is no special treatment because one person is more penitent than another, or one resisted the urge to become Hitler while another did not.
We all fail to be sorry and resist evil at some time or another.
This is what makes us equal.

If God truly is love, then everyone is equally loved by God in the midst of any and all evil.
This is the offence of the gospel!
This is the severity of God’s love!
This is hell and heaven and everything in between.
That we would all be as completely unified with one another,
As he is with us!

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3

Why Write a Book About Sex

I have wanted to write a book about sex for years but it has taken me quite a while to muster the courage–and equally as long to actually engage in sexual practises. I have never considered myself to be sexually normal. Not that there is a normal, but TheObsessed-Webexperiencing sexual abuse definitely has unique effects on a person’s sexual development.

I grew up avoiding all things sexual, while simultaneously craving the thing I lacked. In fact, I spent a considerable amount of time and energy crying–grieving–about my sexuality. Whether I was crying about my singleness, or crying because I felt guilty for masturbating, or crying because I was pushing my own sexual boundaries, or crying because I wanted to have sex but wasn’t married and couldn’t decide whether or not to simply throw caution to the wind, or crying over past sexual trauma; my sexuality, without a doubt, has been and may still be one of the most difficult and painful areas of my personhood.

Part of my inclination to write about sex comes from my desire to heal the wounds of my own past and equally passionate is my desire to influence others who may suffer with similar wounds, difficulties, fears, traumas, sexual secrets and potentially harmful restrictions. I struggled with extreme guilt over masturbation in my twenties and I want to help other people to at least ponder the idea that self-masturbation is a healthy expression of ones sexuality. I’ve experienced disappointments in my married sex-life and want to encourage people to talk about sexual issues honestly and openly. My hope is that through honest conversation, we may begin to heal our collective sexuality sooner rather than later.

I feel strongly that it is time for the church to start preaching grace above abstinence. When statistics tell us that more than 90% of people, Christian and non-Christian alike, have sex before marriage in countries like America and Australia, we are kidding ourselves if we think that vamping up the abstinence message is going to stop people from having premarital sex. We need better sex education about contraception and even about abortion. Also, the church desperately needs to re-think its hate-the-sin-love-the-sinner approach to LGBTIQ people. The church is not capable of loving sinners if it simultaneously shames, judges, criticises, condemns, avoids and slanders their sin. An article of mine was published in the news about this recently.

If I may be so bold: I believe that the Spirit of Love has anointed me to proclaim freedom from condemnation, guilt and shame, to heal broken-hearts, to free people from oppressive social norms, to bestow the halo of God’s grace and cast out the spirit of heaviness, that we may all rejoice in the glorious love of our saviour Jesus Christ. In a nutshell, I feel compelled to preach grace for sexual shame.

This book equates to about 110 A4 pages (58,000 words) exploring and challenging current Christian and religious norms around various sexual topics. It was written over the period of approximately 18 months mostly in 2015-2016. When I began writing it, I was an intercourse-virgin. When I finished writing it, I’d been married more than a year. You will note this progression within the book and I have included some dates or references to when certain sections were written, to try and give the reader a clearer picture of where I was at in this progression. Also, I am Australian and my husband, JD, is American.

It is an explicit book and should only be read by those under age 18 if they have parental permission and guidance. I know that some people will take offence to the explicit nature of the book, and for that I can only say that I had to follow my heart and write the words I have longed to hear but never read from other sources.

I pray that this book particularly transforms and reforms the body of Christ’s approach to sex and that it challenges every reader in healthy ways. It is available here.

I invite your feedback, discussion and confession (if you so desire) at mailto:elissaanne.author@gmail.com and I ask that if you quote me on Facebook, you reference my website. Blogs that have been included in this book can be found and re-shared from here.

Grateful For My Marriage

I just came home from the cinema where I saw, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2.” There was a scene in the movie where three generations of couples were kissing: the grandparents, the parents, and the daughter with her prom date.

I found myself crying because I felt so grateful to be married to a man that I love, who loves me. 5-10 years ago, the exact same scene would have had me in tears for the completely opposite reason. I would have felt a lonely longing for a spouse.

I was single for 30 years before I met JD. I went on my fair share of dates, but no one stuck. I wondered if there was something wrong with me. I was warned about my desire for marriage being the sin of idolatry, told that I wanted it too much and should be content in my singleness. I was also told, “If you can’t be happy without it, you’ll never be happy with it,” and that marriage wouldn’t make me happier.

Well, the (mostly married) people who told me these things were, in my opinion, wrong. I am the happiest and healthiest I have ever been in 33 years of life. Marriage has greatly added to my sense of contentment, and admittedly, to my sanity. I’m not obsessed with figuring out what is wrong with me. I’m not constantly looking around at all the single males and wondering, “Could this be the one?” I no longer feel the same level of loneliness and as though I am missing out. And I finally have a sex life!

I felt so overwhelmed with gratitude walking to my car tonight, that I thought to myself:
“If I cried a river of tears
My heart would still hurt
With the immense gratitude I feel
Being married to you, Joseph Daniel.”

To all my single friends out there, I know what it is like to feel lonely. I know what it’s like to want and wait for a spouse. There is nothing wrong with your desire or your emotions. They are totally valid. Be honest about where you are at and I pray that God will give you the desires of your hearts.

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