Recently I got the wind knocked out of my sails. Life is not always as it seems – especially on the internet or on the blog. Ministry has been going well with speaking engagements, Awaken Love classes, opportunities at a large church and a few podcasts. But I felt really excited about the traffic and comments on my blog. After years of writing, engagement finally increased as I tried to write posts geared towards questions and comments on the blog.
Engagement on the Blog
With lots of comments from wives asking questions about a wife giving oral sex, I did not shy away from the topic. After all, God did create oral sex, and it can act as a very intimate way to connect in marriage. Respectful information might empower women to make the best choices based on their situation.
But last week, comments on the blog really took off. Women started sharing how they had tried swallowing for the first time and it felt amazing. Soon others women piped in with congratulations, encouragement, or their own experience. By the end of the weekend, at least 4 women commented about their first time. It all felt a little surreal, and maybe a little off, but it wasn’t something I hadn’t heard before.
Just a few weeks ago, a woman from an Awaken Love class had emailed me. After years of thinking things were good, her husband had expressed a desire that challenged her ideas. Though the situation required hard conversations, and courage to move outside her norm, she had finally done it and felt excited. Class had provided the impetus to consider new possibilities. Women from class often thank me and the comments from the blog didn’t feel that different.
Everything changed when I received an email about the blog from a friend. He said, “have you noticed the similarity in writing styles from the women commenting recently. I have a feeling it is the same person writing under different names…”
Distorting the Blog
I suddenly felt sick. Was it possible that someone had been toying with me? Using the blog to manipulate women by sharing made up stories.
I’ve never paid much attention to who commented, because I tend to give others the benefit of the doubt. I usually focus on moderating content that feels negative or too graphic. Suddenly I knew I needed to investigate about who was commenting.
As I started scrolling through the comments, evidence quickly piled up. One particular IP number attached to comments from Audrey, Julie, Michelle, Stephanie, Thomas, Laurie, Kim, Brittany, Erica, Audrey, Janelle, Crystal….. 124 comments, all connected to one IP address. And this doesn’t touch on other IP addresses this person may have used. For months, someone had been pretending to be other people in order to manipulate, coerce and create the narrative they wanted.
It felt icky.
I felt angry, sad, violated.
I thought the blog provided a safe place for people to share. Instead someone had created the conversation they wanted to hear from women. They had taken my calling to help others find freedom in their marriage bed and distorted it for their own gratification.
Though the blog is not the main part of my ministry, this abuse shook me to the core.
I am sorry that comments on my blog were misrepresented.
I want my website to be a safe place. Moving forward I will require emails connected to comments. I will also keep better track of IP addresses and block questionable ones to try and avoid a similar situation. And to the best of my ability, the blog comments from the suspect IP address will be deleted. But the reality is, I have little control of truth telling with comments on the blog.
People that comment, can say whatever they want. Nobody really knows the dynamics of their marriage. People can comment and ask questions to gather artillery to convince their spouse to do what they want. They can steer discussion by sharing what supposedly is their personal experience.
Should people be given the benefit of the doubt? Should you listen to their advice? Someone might even pretend to be hundreds of different people. Though the anonymity of blogs might provide a first step in looking for the truth about sex, they also provide plenty of opportunities to distort the truth. For me, blogs cannot compare to the transformation and growth that happens when people talk face to face.
Face to Face
There is a reason that I love Awaken Love classes. Sitting in a room of women, I don’t just interpret words on a screen, I hear from their heart. They are real people, with real challenges and struggles, but with the integrity to be honest and know. They have the courage to show up face to face to talk about sex. Unraveling the lies they’ve believed and talking about their baggage provides healing. Recognizing the many ways that silence informed their ideas about sex stirs them to change the world for others.
Though I will continue to write on the blog, hopefully with a greater awareness, my main focus has, and always will be encouraging people to take Awaken Love classes. When we open up the conversation of sex in healthy ways, then we begin to change the culture of sex. If my writing has meant anything to you, will you take the next step and host and Awaken Love class with some friends. God does His best work in community.
Have a Merry Christmas.
I plan on enjoying some time away from my computer. See you in January.