I'm not sure Punch ever said that, so I would like to see you either show us where he did or stop putting words into his mouth. Hint: The key to my inquiry is your emphasis on confessors and spiritual fathers, while, at least on this thread, Punch spoke only of monastics with whom he has no such confessional relationship.
I am Orthodox, and have been married for 31 years. I know of nearly no one who fasts from relations 40 days unless they have erectile disfunction.
For all of your insistence that confessors and spiritual fathers should “stay out of your bedroom”,
Why would monastics instruct married people regarding the rules of fasting if that monastic is not their confessor or spiritual father? If you follow the thread, I think it is clear that the subject being discussed is the giving of advice by a monk to married people in the context of confession regarding fasting from sexual relations. To this, Punch
said “As for me and my household - stay out of our bedrooms.” Though he specifically refers to “monastics”, his other comments suggest that nobody has the right to advise a married couple regarding such things as sexual relations during fasting periods.
If the Church has specific guidelines for abstention from sexual relations within marriage during fasting periods, a monk who is a spiritual father to a married couple has every obligation before God to inform the married couple regarding the teachings of the Church on this subject. One should always be discerning when choosing a spiritual father, and one should not take a man for his spiritual father merely because the man is a priest or a monk. Having one’s parish priest as their spiritual father is more common in Slavic tradition, perhaps, whereas it is less common in the Greek tradition for parish priests to have this role and more common for monastics to serve as spiritual fathers to the laity. If you read the lives of any of the great monastic spiritual fathers of recent times (the Elders of Optina from the Slavic tradition or the Elders of Greece and Mt. Athos such as Porphyrios, Paisios, Iakovos, Philotheos, etc.) you will find many stories of contemporary monastic saints who served as spiritual fathers to the laity and advised them on every aspect of their lives including issues that may arise in marriage. Within the context of Orthodox tradition, this is all very normal.
I disagree that a gifted spiritual father should not be sought out for advice regarding marriage under the guise that only those who are married understand marriage. Such a principle would cause us to reject also the words of the Lord, of St. Paul, St. John Chrysostom, and practically every saint and Church Father who has written on the subject (there are certainly saints who were married, but not many who have written concerning marriage). I think that in our times, when family life and man’s relation to his sexual impulses has become unbelievably dysfunctional and distorted, we are in even greater need of advice and help from those who do daily and life-long battle against the sexual passions. Those in the grips of these passions, including married clergy, may not be able to see as clearly regarding the proper and God-pleasing role of sexual relations within marriage compared to an experienced monastic who is immersed in the Scriptures and patristic writings as well as the focused and daily combat against the passions.
Married couples and monastics are both susceptible to a full range of sinful sexual desires and passions. The only difference is that for the married couple, there is a context in which it is not sinful for the couple to engage in sexual activity. For the one lawful context, there are many more sinful and soul-destroying contexts wherein the married couple may be tempted to engage in sexual activity. If a monastic spiritual father is actually experienced in battling against and overcoming all sexual urges (and not all monks are), he may be a great source of help to the married couple who is struggling to keep the marriage bed undefiled.