Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Episode 30: Good Girl Syndrome Part I

Right click here to download the mp3.

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Join Sybil, Amelia, Sara, Heather, and Jenni for the first part of their discussion about their experiences with and the causes and effects of Good Girl Syndrome.



  1. I just downloaded both parts and I'm excited to go listen to them.

  2. My husband was in Young Mens, and told me that he heard one of the other leaders give the YM a chastity lesson as follows...

    Imagine you are grown up and married. You've been gone all day at work, and when you get home in the evening you find your wife on the couch, making out with some other guy.
    The point of the story was something about should you make out with another man's in, thou shalt not even kiss a girl if you're not planning to marry her.

    So the boys get it too.

  3. In response to your comment, Jenni: Well, isn't that lovely. Having your identity and definition wrapped up in wifehood before you even decide to get married. Yuck. Hey, I'm all for having personal standards about whom you'll kiss and when you'll kiss them. I had standards of my own and am really happy with how my dating relationships worked out. So if a young man/woman decides not to kiss anyone that they aren't strongly committed to marrying, that's wonderfully noble and valid (in my opinion, of course). But making that goal because you think of the person you're dating as someone else's spouse? Not okay by me.

    (I just had a thought that struck me as disturbed and also funny: maybe the sort of mentality that YM leader was talking about would lead to unmarried men going after unmarried women who they think have no chance of getting married -- just so they can kiss/make out with someone, commitment-free, and not worry about her being another man's wife. Call it a technicality or a loophole. =)

  4. By the way (as a little addendum to what I said in the podcast) concerning vibrators: if you want one (or several!) I strongly recommend asking around or checking reviews ( is a nice discreet easy way to look at reviews about things like that). You tend to get what you pay for. We have gotten a couple of things because they were cheaper, and they were not good...we ended up going back and buying something more expensive anyway.

  5. Love this episode. I enjoy hearing about a variety of opinions and perspectives.

    Something that really struck me was the idea that virginity is the most important trait used to determine desirability. Not intelligence, the strength of your character, kindness, courage, or a variety of other traits. Maybe this is a product of history in that marriage was often not based on love or personality. Instead, maybe what men were really looking for was someone who would not sleep around. There also seems to be this weird idea that virgins are more sexually desirable because you are taking something that nobody else has touched before. I really wish that lessons focused on the development of the individual (how does choices about sexuality affect YOU, your journey, and your relationship with God), instead of focusing on how your sexual choices affect how others perceive you.

  6. Enter the long-winded opiner!

    I don't think the graphic virtue object lessons were physically demonstrated in my home ward--except maybe something like the cake one--but I do remember hearing about several of them over the years. I can't remember which earlier episode it was or if it was even this podcast--Episode 1 or 2? Or it might've been a blog a few months ago when the whole modesty controversy was sparked by that article in The Friend--but I've been thinking lately and trying to figure out what would be better demonstrations, less "if you screw up, you're done, ESPECIALLY IF YOU'RE A GIRL OH NOES" and more "You're human, male and female are sexual delineations with sexual feelings and attributes, you most likely have these desires, please keep them between these lines, but if you screw up, THAT'S WHY THERE'S AN ATONEMENT." If someone's going to put a hole in a board with a nail (Yes, very phallic--notice again that the nail isn't the one to blame and is afterwards still whole and useful once it has been pulled out... ahh, patriarchy) shouldn't they also bring some sort of filling compound? Is the board the same? No. NONE of use are the same, we're all scarred, but the Atonement can fill in the holes. Or put a new top on the cupcake. Or wash off the flower by the roadside. Isn't that the point? Shouldn't we teach nuance as they get older?

    I think a part of why we get the heavy-handed "DON'T SCREW UP, EVER" message is based in is the idea that Christ had to suffer for our sins, so the fewer sins we commit, the easier the Atonement would have been for him. I'm not sure if this stands up, really. In theory, yes, and it somewhat follows that the lower we keep our "bill", the less he has/had to pay. I think, though, that somewhat diminishes the gift of the Atonement and it goes back to the "we don't like nuances, we like absolutes". I mean, where's the line between "Christ paid for my sins, so I get a free ride to do whatever I want" and "I want to cost him the least pain possible, so I will never, ever, ever step out of line because I love him so much so I don't even need the Atonement!"? I think the latter leads to a type of Good Girl/Boy neurosis. There isn't a line, it's a gradient and life happens within it.

    Something that has bothered me about this thinking for the past several years is how we're told "You can't go into sinning with the attitude that you'll just repent later and it'll be fine." Why not? If it's true, heart-changing repentance, does it really matter afterward whether you went into a sin saying "I'll change later" or "Oh crap, I'm a terrible person for doing this!"? If both are later made clean... are not they both made clean? Does the attitude beforehand make someone off-white rather than pure white after? I know there's the whole "sinned against the greater light" aspect, but... repented is repented. Clean is clean. Right?

  7. I just want to add my thoughts on masturbation--I have had a strong sex drive since puberty, and was masturbating LONG before I even knew what it was, or that it was a 'sin'. So then it got addicting because it was a self-comfort thing in fairly unhappy childhood. It became an issue for me later because I was trying so hard to QUIT that I started to obsess. It actually led to me doing more things with boys than I ought to have done while I was still single. (And I mean beyond the normal 'sins' of french kissing or some 'reclining together'). Fast forward to my marriage. Both of my first (ex) fiances (two ex-fiances. one year. whole 'nother topic) confessed to me a problem with masturbation. I felt like I couldn't get away from it. Fortunately I married a man who was not raised in the church and had no problem with someone finding pleasure in her own body. It took me four and a half years to stop apologizing to him for 'finishing off' myself when I couldn't orgasm when we were together. He never cared, but I always felt like I had taken liberties with something that we were supposed to share. That guilt was a strong factor in the years and years of depression and suicidal thoughts I had as a teenager and young single adult. If someone had just described it as "this makes you feel good, but let's try to focus on other things that also make you feel good, like exercise" or something similar, I know I would not have had the issues I do today. I still struggle with my sexuality, and I know it's from my own special brand of GGS. One of my ex-fiance's almost committed suicide over his addiction to masturbation as a teenager. It scares me enough that I don't even know if it's safe to raise my son in the church anymore.

  8. I hope you don't mind a guy posting here, but I wanted to comment on this much needed conversation. It certainly made me think of what messages I may have sent to young women (and young men). Parts of it made me cry at what some good LDS girls have had to struggle with messages they get. This has made me think really hard about what I say to my kids and the youth. Thanks so much!

  9. I certainly don't mind a male chiming in. I think this issue may be more prevalent with women, but it's important for men too--men who have "good boy syndrome" or men who are in leadership positions or men who are parents!

  10. As a man, I just wanted to say thank you for acknowledging that men suffer a similar thing, even though you were specifically discussing it as it affects women. :)

  11. As someone with vaginismus, I related to the problems expressed by the speaker with vulvitis. More openness is needed on the topic because I think many women with these problems feel alone and like they're the only ones.


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