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.

Soul Ties

I’ve had 90 people fill in my sex survey this year and one of the 21 questions I asked was: “Do you believe in soul ties?” I had a varied response.
Just less than 1 in 5 people said “no” &
Just over 1 in 5 said “yes”
So combining these, 40% of the answers were definite yes/no answers.
Another 33.3% (or 1/3) of the answers were a little less dogmatic:
1 in 15 said “probably”
1 in 18 said “probably not”
Just over 1 in 15 said “maybe” or “I don’t know”
And 2 in 15 said “sometimes”
A lot of the people who said “sometimes” indicated that sex creates a soul tie if there is a pre-existing relationship–particularly one of love–with the person. They generally agreed that a one-night stand does not create a soul tie.

So just over 75% of the answers were a mixture of yes, no, “yes & no” (2%), probably, probably not, I don’t know, maybe, and some of the time.

The other almost 25% gave these sorts of responses:
Nearly 8% said that if you believe sex creates a soul tie then it creates one in your mind
Almost 4.5% talked about vulnerability, giving part of yourself away, and sex changing you as a person.
2% did not answer.
The other 10% either replaced the word “soul tie” with the word “connection” or said that having sex creates a bond.

Truthfully, I don’t know if sex creates a soul tie. I also can’t really describe what a soul tie is. I was taught about soul ties in church and told that every sexual partner creates a soul tie, including rapists or abusers, one night stands and ex-spouses. I was told that all of these kinds of soul ties need to be broken by prayer so that we can create healthy soul ties with our spouse without being hindered by other soul ties. It was said that soul ties are like pieces of person’s soul that unite with your soul or vice versa. It was also, therefore, indicated that the more people a person has sex with, the more their soul is spread thin because they keep giving pieces of themselves away.

However, as one survey said, the words soul & tie do not appear together in the Bible. What the Bible does say is “the two become one flesh” and “what God has joined let no man separate.” Let’s be honest: both of these verses sound more like they are talking about the body than the soul.

One of the survey answers that stood out to me, said that every soul is tied with every other soul. This idea suggests that we do not create or sever soul ties with anyone. It is only that when we engage in sexual activities or blood rituals or vows / promises / covenants etc., that bonds perhaps become even stronger. I like this idea because if I were to truly believe in soul ties, I would say that at the very least I have soul ties with all the members of my family. The experience of grieving my mother’s death was like the temporary (until the afterlife) severing of a deep bond or soul tie with her that took a long time for me to re-contextualise.

As a Universalist-Christian I believe that all human beings are family and even though I may not grieve over every death the way I grieved for my mother, I have this expectancy in my soul that I will only ever be truly happy, when every human being who ever existed is united in love eternally in the afterlife. I guess you could say that I agree with the opinion that all souls are tied.

So then it makes sense to me that when we have sex we are not so much creating a soul tie, as deepening a pre-existing bond. It also makes sense that this would only happen some of the time. A one night stand would be more easily forgotten than someone you are married to for 15-30 years.

I think that sex is meant to nurture the relational bond between partners. I also think it is difficult to let go of previous sexual partners and even sexual abuse without a period of proper grief and detachment. Relational bonds grow stronger or weaker with different people all the time. There are lost friendships I still grieve over even more than I grieve for men I’ve engaged in sexual activities with. Perhaps in that sense I agree that the bond really is in the mind. We attach meaning to our relationships all the time, and so we can grieve differently for one than for another.

I enjoyed reading the varied responses I received to this question. I would still love to have at least 10 more people complete the survey before I publish my book–hopefully by the end of February 2016. And I would love to hear your opinion on soul ties so that we can learn and grow from each other. Contact me at:


Perfectly Imperfect

Planning a wedding can be stressful. Sometimes the bride doesn’t think of every little thing she is going to need until a couple of weeks before the ceremony and she ends up running around frantically trying to find wedding bonbonnieres / favours, and organising to have her leg hairs waxed, hair dyed and nails done before flying out of the country for a destination wedding ceremony. Or, at least, that’s my experience. I’ve been rather anxious the last couple of weeks preparing for my celebration wedding this month.

My perfectionism got the best of me a few nights ago and I cried because I realised that my wedding is not going to be “perfect.” In fact nothing in life is truly “perfect” in my mind. I’ve ordered flowers, makeup and cake, from a distance and will not see them until the big day. My shoes make me at least 2 inches taller than my husband–not exactly ideal. The photo slide show has photos of photos–they look less than perfect. The wedding music will be playing from an iPhone speaker. My mother (RIP) will miss our wedding by 4 years and 6 months…

My husband held me and said that our celebration wedding will be “Perfectly imperfect.” He loves that phrase and I’m starting to love it too.

The truth is, we will have been married for exactly 9 months on our wedding day. We have organised a celebration-wedding in Hawaii so that our families, coming from Australia and America, can meet in person, watch me walk down a sandy aisle in a traditional, white, wedding gown, exchange vows with my husband a second time, take photographs and have our reception dinner on the beach. We called our marriage in February an elopement day although it wasn’t actually a secret. We went to the court house in Parramatta, exchanged vows in front of our parents, two of whom were skyped in, and signed our marriage certificate. We will celebrate our wedding anniversary on February 20th because it’s not only when we legally married, but also the day we “became one flesh,” to use a biblical term, and it just so happens that we first met–through facebook–on February 21st 2013. But no doubt we will remember November 20th as well.

Our elopement day was another perfectly-imperfect day. We forgot our wedding rings and had to drive back home after the signing to get them. We did not have all our family members there to celebrate with us, just as we won’t have a lot of extended family in Hawaii and those were difficult decisions to make and somewhat sad. Definitely not “perfect.”

My husband and I were intercourse-virgins on our wedding night. I was 32 and my husband, 30, when we got married. Most people in general have experienced sex long before age 30-32 and if you think about the body of a teenager or adult in their twenties, they are generally a lot more flexible than adults in their thirties. They can also adapt to different positions and strenuous activities more quickly and easily than older adults. My husband and I have both experienced exhaustion before reaching climax, back pain and even leg muscle spasms during orgasm! Suffice-it to say, our sex life is also perfectly-imperfect.

Abstaining from sex for so many years not only affected our ability to perform sexually, but resulted in both of us placing some unrealistic expectations on our sex-life. When my husband and I had sex for the first time on our elopement night, I expected that I would feel a spiritual bond being solidified between me and my husband, a sense of awe and wonder, of unity and passion, of love and nurture. To my surprise, I didn’t feel any different after sex than I had before sex. I hadn’t changed. I was waiting for something to change, something magical to happen–no, something supernatural–but it didn’t feel supernatural to me.

I broached the subject with my husband a day or two later and he also agreed that sex felt surprisingly natural. It was a relief to know that he felt the same, but I was much more baffled by it than he was. It took me months to accept that sex was not a supernaturally mind-blowing, spiritually climactic, soul-tying experience for the two of us. I have struggled to orgasm (more than I expected to struggle) because of the expectations I placed on sex and how disappointed I felt in those early months of married life.

More recently I’ve let go of my disappointment and come to see sex being natural as a positive thing. As a survivor of sexual abuse, I would have to say that it was, in some respects, a relief that sex felt very natural and normal. If I had felt the supernatural feelings I was expecting, it might have scared me. I may have gone back to feeling insecure about whether what we were doing was wrong or right and I may have felt guilty and dirty. I’m glad it felt natural, I was simply surprised it didn’t feel more bonding, instantaneously.

However, over time (albeit we’ve only been married for 8 and a half months) I have observed that my bond with my husband has deepened, and I do believe this is linked to sex. My experience–and I can only speak for myself–is that when I first married my husband, he was my best friend, we had a lot in common, he ticked all my boxes, so I loved him and I chose him to be my partner in life. Now, I feel more of a family bond. He belongs in my life and nothing can ever replace him. It’s almost as though we’ve always known each other, always been together and will always be together, spiritually if not in body. Perhaps this is a soul-tie or perhaps this is a result of oxytocin, or both, but it’s a beautiful feeling of safety, security, love and family.

Before marriage, I did not feel safe to orgasm in front of any man. For me personally, I wanted to know that I was loved and felt secure before my body would even relax enough to experience an orgasm. For all the fooling around I did for four years leading up to marriage, I never orgasmed in the presence of any man other than my husband. For me, this is one of the beautiful things about sex inside of marriage, or a relationship in which you feel loved and secure. It creates an environment of security in which one can fully express oneself.

Within this context, we are creating a perfectly-imperfect sex-life that works for us. Not every position is going to work. We’ve never made love all night long or even achieved having sex more than four times in twenty-four hours. I read an excellent book before I got married called “Sexual Intelligence,” by Marty Klein. This book talks about re-inventing your sex life at any age or stage in life. It throws out rules like “I have to orgasm in order to enjoy sex,” or “Sex has to be spontaneous not planned” and suggests we have sex without so many rules and expectations. In fact we need to accept the things we can’t do, the expectations or circumstances that aren’t met, and we need to find out what works for us where we are at.

My sex-life is never going to be perfect or ideal in every way. Nor is my celebration-wedding when it happens later this month. But I am determined to love and enjoy them for what they are. There is something freeing about acceptance. Acceptance lets go of judgement, expectation, disappointment, idealism and perfectionism, and creates something realistically beautiful in its place. That’s why my husband and I use the term “perfectly-imperfect.” It may not be ideal or the way you thought you wanted things to be, but it can still be amazing and special and have its own kind of perfection (i.e. perfect for us / perfect in these circumstances) in its reality.