Improving Intimacy in Latter-day Saint Relationships
Sarah Chapman's Journey of Self-Realization | Learning to Enjoy Sexuality
My name is Sarah Chapman. I’ve been married for almost 20 years to my husband, Trent, together we have 5 children and live in Lehi, Utah.
I am an author of two books, “MindStrength for Women” and “Underneath it all.....You’re Naked” Both of these books were written after a very hard period of time in life. One was about my physical journey to coming back to myself and the other is my sexuality journey of overcoming my judgment about sex to becoming more curious.
I went about teaching women about sexual health for 2 years and mainly surrounding the female sexual response cycle. I taught women that you can’t find freedom in your understanding of your sexuality until you have overcome the deep rooted beliefs about sex. I found my own freedom from it that is why I wrote a book about it.
Now my focus is on creating a community of women where we come together weekly to share the physical, mental and sexual aspects of our lives and have meaningful discussions with a workbook followed by an exercise class. Because movement creates emotion.
You can find me:
Instagram : @mindstrength.for.women
MindStrength for Women Facebook Group
00:00 Narrator: Welcome to Improving Intimacy, a podcast to help single and married, Latter-Day Saints strengthen their family connections and marriages. Daniel A. Burgess is the host of Improving Intimacy, Daniel is a Marriage and Family Therapist, father, husband, and author. Here's Daniel on this episode of Improving Intimacy.
00:28 Daniel: Welcome to another episode of Improving Intimacy. On today’s episode we have Sarah Chapman, who is an author; and we’re excited to review her book with her today and kinda learn her journey to getting to this book. Sarah, welcome to the show.
00:44 Sarah: Thank you for having me, Daniel. I appreciate this, it’s really exciting.
00:48 Daniel: I’m very excited. As someone who’s writing a book, I also 1) kinda selfishly learn your journey, (mine’s been a very difficult one). And, so I may get a little selfish in my inquiries here--but more importantly, I’m curious to hear more about you. Who are you as a wife, as a person, as a mother? Tell us a little about yourself and what got you to this point.
01:12 Sarah: Sure, love to. So, I (we), Trent and I, my husband and I, will be going on 19 years of marriage this September. I have 5 children, I currently live in Utah. We lived in California for a time, actually, in San Diego area actually. Miss that place, for sure. But, yeah, I first basically grew up in an LDS home and I grew up in a family with 8 children, and I’m 6th of the 8. [...] In our home we didn’t talk about anything remotely close to our bodies. We were very surface type of family. We didn’t really talk about hard things. I wouldn’t say that we were an authentic family. But, at the same time, I did feel loved by my parents and I felt that they were providing me with a really great education, secularly as well as spiritually. And so, I didn’t feel like I was necessarily neglected in the way I was thinking.
02:29 Sarah: However, growing up as a teenager in the 90s, I’d run around with some friends who were sexually active and seeing the naive young teenager that I was, I kinda looked at them and viewed them as people who were naughty girls, right? And so, I remember church lessons here and there. It wasn’t very often, but I do remember those specific metaphors that were shared. I actually did get the “chewed up piece of gum” kind of analogy, which maybe a lot of your audience here might have gotten.
03:10 Daniel: Oh…(sarcastically) excellent. Yeah.
03:13 Sarah: You know? And then I also just really created a lot of...I would just look at the word sex and just immediately think that it was just this dirty thing. However, there was also this other part of me that was being told
Is Masturbation a Sin? Mike Frazier Asks the Hard Questions.
0:00:00.0 Narrator: Welcome to Improving Intimacy, a podcast to help single and married, Latter-Day Saints strengthen their family connections and marriages. Daniel A. Burgess is the host of Improving Intimacy, Daniel is a Marriage and Family Therapist, father, husband, and author. Here's Daniel on this episode of Improving Intimacy.
0:00:26.3 Mike Frasier: Alright men, welcome to today's episode. I've got a special guest for us today. This is Daniel Burgess. So he is a family therapist that runs a family therapy, and helps couples and individuals with their marriages, and I met him in his Facebook group, Improving Intimacy, and used to be called Mormon marriages. Now it's called In Latter Day Saint marriages.
0:00:52.7 MF: I complied.
0:00:55.3 MF: So yeah, anything else you want the audience know about you Daniel?
0:01:00.0 DB: That's great, I love that. Yeah, come check it out.
0:01:03.2 MF: Yeah, yeah he does great work. And I've really enjoyed his...
0:01:07.6 DB: Thank you.
0:01:08.6 MF: Yeah, his group and the stuff he's doing. So yeah, so today we're talking about a more sensitive topic, at least in the LDS Community, which is masturbation, and Daniel has done a lot of study about this, a lot of work on it, it was coming into our group, actually, Daniel, that kinda got me thinking about it in a different way. And was really a good journey for me.
0:01:35.9 DB: Wonderful.
0:01:36.8 MF: Actually, so I appreciate your work on that, so I guess what I wanted to start with, and I think this is really the big question on most LDS people's minds, is whether masturbation is actually a sin or not, and when I asked that question, I wanted to look up what sin actually was. And so I think this is a good definition an immoral act that's considered to be a transgression against divine law, meaning there's a law that says, no masturbation. And then when you break that, you are breaking that law. So, yeah. Thoughts on that.
0:02:14.0 DB: That's a great question. It's one that I get quite frequently and to kinda set up the answer here, I just did an interview for my podcast Improving Intimacy for Latter-Day Saint relationships with Kari Ferguson, who wrote the book, The OCD Mormon. And the reason why I bring that up is a big part of our discussion is something that I've seen, definitely in clients who tend to ask this question is rigidity in their thinking around spirituality and sin, and how that negatively affects ironically, maybe even paradoxically, our spirituality, a fabulous book a wonderful person, and we explore those thoughts in deep and I'll reference you to that for further discussion. But in short, I love that definition that I learned at least on my mission was, Anything acting against the will of God is sin, and sin is essentially a guide for us to draw closer to Him, not to sin, to draw closer to Him, but to avoid sin or things that separate us from God, and when we can think about in that context, we can now see self-mastery in a different view. We even talked about transgression, Joseph Fielding Smith says there's a big difference between transgression and sin, transgression is one of the things that we as humans learn to be better at that heavenly Father expects us to make mistakes, that's why the atone is there.
0:03:42.4 DB: Now, to answer that question, is masturbation a sin? I don't wanna sound avoidant of the answer, but it really depends. It really depends on the person. Is this drawing you closer to God? Is this helping you understand your body, is this creating better self-awareness, self-mastery, is it creating peace in your life? If it isn't, then that needs to be explored and understood better, that's the whole purpose of this life is to master our minds and our bodies, and what does that look like? Especially when we're dealing with different biology, and sometimes people say you should never m********e. Well, that may be true for that pers
What is Scrupulosity? Author Kari Ferguson Goes Behind The Scenes of "The OCD Mormon."
Kari Ferguson is the author of "The OCD Mormon" and "For and In Behalf Of" and creator of the blog, "Of Faith and Great Anxiety." She is a current member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
and has served as Primary and Relief Society President. Kari runs the bookstore Oh Hello Again (ohhelloagain.com) in Seattle. She received her MA in Communication, Culture and Society from Goldsmiths College, University of London, and her BS from Brigham Young University. Kari lives in Seattle, WA with her husband, two children, two bunnies, and giant puppy.
Kari's book https://amzn.to/30N5iF6,
Vice Article https://www.vice.com/en/article/k7qjzm/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-dirt-cleanliness-how-i-have-sex,
0:00:00.3 Narrator: Welcome to Improving Intimacy, a podcast to help single and married Latter-day Saints strengthen their family connections and marriages. Daniel A. Burgess is the host of Improving Intimacy. Daniel's a marriage and family therapist, father, husband, and author. Here's Daniel on this episode of Improving Intimacy.
0:00:28.6 Daniel A. Burgess: Welcome to another episode of Improving Intimacy. Today I'm excited to have a special guest with us, Kari Ferguson, who is the author of OCD Mormon. Oh, did I get the title right? The OCD Mormon. I'm curious, have you even been interested or wanting to change the title now with the whole name change? Or have you felt like, "No, I'm gonna accept this."? I'm curious about that title. What has been your thoughts?
0:00:57.7 Kari Ferguson: We published it and then... 'Cause that's what my blog was called before, and then they had the whole, "Don't call yourselves Mormons," and... I don't know. We were just like, "Oh, whatever," I guess. That was who I was known as, is that at that point I thought it was just... I don't know. [chuckle]
0:01:14.7 DB: In the...
0:01:15.6 KF: Yeah, it's good for my scrupulosity as well, in a weird way.
0:01:18.7 DB: That's what I was wondering.
0:01:19.6 KF: Yeah, because of... Yeah, I have to keep it that. I'm bucking against what the church tells me to do.
0:01:28.1 DB: Yeah, this is your form of exposure therapy.
0:01:31.5 KF: Exactly.
0:01:32.2 DB: Okay, I gotta accept it.
0:01:34.0 KF: I can't change it, yeah. It's out there.
0:01:35.6 DB: Well, I'm excited. I've been thinking about this a lot, and you and I were talking offline just a minute ago about why didn't I find you until now? In fact, when did you publish the book? How long ago?
0:01:47.1 KF: It came out in September of 2017.
0:01:50.6 DB: Okay, so not too long ago.
0:01:52.6 KF: Yeah, it's about three, four years ago now, yeah.
0:01:55.4 DB: A friend of mine who... So for my audience who doesn't know, I actually deal with a large amount of anxiety, something I've actually been coming to terms with it, or rather discovering more over the most recent years here, and have been reaching out to some friends and family.
0:02:13.1 DB: I have made a good friend with someone and we were talking about this this morning about, "Let's write our story about this," and he's like, "Yeah, this is so triggering for us." And I don't know if I can, I've got myself into a good place. I'm curious, so let's start off there. We'll get into some of the meat here and I have some quotes from your book that I really, really valued. I wanna start off that way, what motivated you to write this book, especially as somebody who struggles with anxiety and putting your story out there.
0:02:47.5 KF: For sure.
0:02:50.2 DB: What made you decide to do that?
0:02:51.8 KF: Yeah, well, I've always been a writer, so that's how I emotionally process things, I guess. So just for me, that was the logical step I would say. But I went through, like I wrote in the book, I
Brett and Shendi Share Life Lessons | The Impact of Pornography on Marriage.
0:00:00.7 Narrator: Welcome to Improving Intimacy, a podcast to help single and married Latter Day Saints strengthen their family connections and marriages. Daniel A. Burgess is the host of Improving Intimacy. Daniel's a marriage and family therapist, father, husband and author. Here's Daniel on this episode of Improving Intimacy.
0:00:27.0 Daniel A. Burgess: Welcome to another episode of Improving Intimacy. And today we're gonna be continuing the discussion about how to navigate and discuss pornography within the family, between your spouse and your children. On today's episode we have Brett and Shendi, and I look forward to exploring their adventure with this topic. And so, let's turn it over to you guys. Introduce yourself, let us know about some details of your family. What's your status in the church and what your goal is.
0:01:00.9 Brett: I'm Brett Pingel, me and Shendi have been married, twelve years?
0:01:06.5 Shendi: Yeah.
0:01:07.0 Brett: Twelve years now. Just hit 12 years in April. We have four kids, ages from almost 11 to just turned a year.
0:01:18.9 Shendi: Both mostly from Utah, and we're active in church.
0:01:22.6 DB: Good. How old are your children?
0:01:27.8 Brett: Ten, nine, seven, one.
0:01:31.7 DB: Ooh, got them tight together and then you've got the... How many boys, how many girls?
0:01:39.1 Brett: Two and two.
0:01:39.8 DB: Two and two. Two older, two younger?
0:01:42.9 Brett: Boy... Girl, boy, boy, girl.
0:01:46.6 DB: Oh, got it. Alright, great. So they're getting ready to get into their teenage years, are you excited about that?
0:01:52.3 Shendi: Don't remind me.
0:01:57.2 Brett: Not sure I'm ready for a teenager.
0:02:00.5 DB: Yeah, it's, I don't think we could prepare for that. Perfectly, at least. I put out on our Facebook group, Improving Intimacy, a request to find couples who are willing to talk about their journey in discussing pornography and and a few other related topics. You reached out and said that you've had this discussion between each other and you're learning how to navigate that with your children.
0:02:28.0 DB: You've been married for 12 years, and... Tell us a little about that journey. What was it like for you guys? Was it a difficult topic? Did it come naturally? What was your experience?
0:02:41.3 Brett: I think for us it came out pretty early, 'cause I've had my own issues and I guess you could say addiction to pornography that I've dealt with for many years since I was a teenager. I don't know or remember at what point it came out. I'm pretty sure it came out even in the dating process before we ever got married. I think Shendi was aware of it.
0:03:07.6 Shendi: I don't think I realized how much he was into it, not that he was viewing it every day.
0:03:15.7 DB: You're talking about during the dating phase, Shendi?
0:03:18.7 Shendi: Yeah, yeah. When we were dating, I know that he said that he wasn't viewing every day, but I knew that had some addiction to looking at it. And then we just never really discussed it while dating, just that we knew that it was there and that it wasn't... Other than that, it wasn't really discussed until I really, I think I really realized until after we were married. I think within our first year was when is when I'd noticed that he was looking at things.
0:03:49.0 DB: So you're aware of it during the dating. What kept... Shendi, what kept you from exploring it more with him? Was it not a concern to you, or did you feel like it was resolved? What kept you from pursuing that concern or potential concern there?
0:04:07.0 Shendi: There's a lot of addiction in my family. And so, for us, I think it was just kinda I know it's there, but I don't think my family ever really deals with their addiction, on my side. And so, for when I was, what? 17 to 20 years old, we were just dating on and off, I just followed my family's steps of not really ever dealin
Developing a Healthy Sexuality | Interview with Hope Orr - Owner of Elevated Boudoir.
Hope Orr is the owner and photographer of Elevated Boudoir in Sandy, Utah. Through her own journey, Hope has been able to work through shame and insecurities around her body and sexuality in order to step more fully into who she is.
Hope is passionate in helping women of all backgrounds embrace and celebrate their body. Her dream is to invite all women to connect with themselves on a deeper level, and show up more fully and unapologetically. Hope offers Boudoir Photography as a way to allow women to see themselves as they really are; brilliant, empowered, sexy, and strong.
You can see more of her work or book a session by visiting
Hope has a private Facebook group for women interested in connecting with others in learning to embrace themselves and their body more fully. You can join by visiting
0:00:00.5 Narrator: Welcome to Improving Intimacy, a podcast to help single and married Latter-day Saints strengthen their family connections and marriages. Daniel A. Burgess is the host of Improving Intimacy. Daniel's a marriage and family therapist, father, husband and author. Here's Daniel on this episode of Improving Intimacy.
0:00:28.5 Daniel A. Burgess: Welcome to another episode of Improving Intimacy. Today, I'm excited to have Hope Orr here, and to hear her story and what she does, and I think everybody in our audience will be curious to learn. And I think what we're gonna do here is we're gonna have this podcast, we're gonna give it an opportunity for people to hear after we publish. And then I would personally like to invite Hope back and maybe do a live question and answer online with everybody. But let's go ahead and kick this off and... Hope, who are you, and what do you do?
0:01:02.4 Hope Orr: I am a boudoir photographer. I work with women who are wanting to celebrate their body, who want to show up more fully and, I guess, whole in the world, and... Yeah, I don't know.
0:01:22.4 DB: That's exciting. This is great. So I'm bringing you in because one of the biggest things I see within my Improved... In the Improving Intimacy group is how frequently both men and women are curious, interested and wanting to find a good photographer, a boudoir photographer. And so there's a lot of questions around that, so I was excited to see somebody of your background, you did serve a mission, and you're now providing this service to women who desire and want it. What got you here? What made you decide? Were you a photographer before? This natural transition? What was it?
0:02:10.1 HO: Yeah, that's a good question. I have been a photographer for 10 years. I grew up... My dad is a producer, a film producer for the church, and so he actually kind of mentored me as I grew up on how to take good photos. And so I've done a lot of different type of photography throughout my life but boudoir photography is really where I find the most meaning and fulfillment, and I'm most passionate about it. And so it's more of a recent, in the last few years, journey that I've been on, offering this to other people, and then also experiencing it for myself.
0:02:54.5 DB: So tell me a little bit more about that journey, that experience. As you're talking, the audience obviously can't see, but your face lightens up, it glows, as you're talking about, "This is a great opportunity." And we're gonna get into maybe some of the pushback or the controversies around it. You're shaking your head, "Yes, yes." I personally know that as I've entered into this profession and kind of stretched the boundaries around sexual health and insight... So what am I seeing when I hear you say journey and experience and passion? What's making you glow about it?
0:03:29.9 HO: Yeah. So when I returned from my mission a number of years ago, I remember my mission president inviting me to pray every day to get married
Questions and Answers with Jennifer Finlayson-Fife PhD
In this episode, Jennifer Finlayson-Fife PhD answers questions from our Improving Intimacy community.
Here are the podcast episodes: Ask A Mormon Sex Therapist, Part 16 - THE oft-cited Episode 16 that has positively impacted so many marriages!
Partner Desirability and High/Low Desire Dynamics:
Virtue, Passion, and Owning Your Desire:
Book Club Video Interview
Bookclub Video Transcript:
00:00 Ray: So carry on.
00:03 Jennifer: Okay, so should I just jump in with the...
00:06 Ray: Yeah, please.
00:07 Jennifer: Yeah, sure. The only event, I think, that isn't currently full is just one that we kinda last minute decided to do because we had an opportunity, a venue, which is doing The Art of Desire workshop in Alpine, Utah next week, a week from Thursday and Friday. So it's a two-day women's workshop. It's like my most popular course and workshop because it's a course focused on women's self and sexual development, and kind of rethinking the whole paradigm in which we've been inculturated, and how it really interferes with desire and development.
00:48 Jennifer: And so, it's a good one, it's, you know, it's taking my dissertation research into everything I've kinda learned since then. So that's in Alpine and we just posted the tickets for sale like three or four days ago, and we still have maybe 20 spots left, so if anybody is interested in it, you can get a ticket. On my website actually, on my homepage.
01:15 Ray: Wonderful. At this point, I have to admit that I did exactly what Ellen and I talked about that I wouldn't do, which is forget to mention that our other host tonight is Ellen Hersam, and... [chuckle]
01:32 Ray: So we've been accepting questions for the last 24 hours, and we had several that came in and we have picked three or four that we might get to, I don't know, however many we're able to get to tonight.
01:44 Jennifer: Sure.
01:44 Daniel: And Ellen, why don't you pick up and can you give us a question?
01:48 Ellen: Sure. Happy to jump right in. Yeah, so we've got a few questions tonight. We thought we'd start off with this one. It's, "There's often debate around sex being a need or not, and how neediness isn't sexy, and how sex being a need kills desire. Yet many view sex as a need, not in life-or-death sense, but because they need that healthy sex life, helps them be happier both individually and as a couple. If sex isn't a need," so there's two parts here, "if sex isn't a need, what does this say about David Schnarch's Sexual Crucible?"
02:24 Ellen: "If any marriage would be improved by a healthy, intimate sexual relationship, how can it be said that sex isn't a need? If sex is a need, is... In this sense of being able to achieve personal growth, if I understand how Schnarch views marriage or the corresponding increase in marital satisfaction or individual happiness, how can we talk about its importance without killing desire? Or making one partner feel like it's their duty, instead of something they're doing for themselves, to increase their own happiness? I feel like if the couple isn't working toward a healthy sexual relationship, they're leaving something good and positive on the table, and missing a wonderful opportunity."
03:07 Jennifer: Okay, it's a good question, although I think the questioner is conflating the issue of... Well, I mean they're using the word "Need" in a way that kind of complicates it. I think when I say sex isn't a need, what I... If I have said that, what I mean is it's not a drive, it's not required for survival. Right? So a lot of times, people try to pressure their partner to have sex with them by putting it in the frame that they need it, meaning...
03:38 Jennifer: And my issue w
Daniel’s voice on intimacy issues in our culture is refreshing to say the least. Some of his insights changed my marriage for the better. Listen with an open heart, and you may find something you really need to hear.
This podcast contains brave and vulnerable conversations! I am impressed with the sensitivity and self-awareness that Daniel has as an interviewer, and I am grateful to the guests who are willing to let us as listeners into their personal journey. This podcast is not afraid to take on difficult, messy topics and to examine and talk about them through an open, curious, and non-judgemental lens. This podcast can help each of us not feel alone in our issues!