kink-vs.-church talk?

I have a question for y’all while I work on some other posts.  I’ve seen multiple iterations of this thing where… kinky stuff and Christian churchiness are treated like two opposing poles on a spectrum (???), on par with hot and cold.

Example: the copilot once told me about how, at the public munches she used to go to, the way you would make sure a new person was in the right place was by asking, “Here for Bible study?”  Cue laughter.  Silly one-off joke, right?

But I’ve also seen a lot of this style of tumblr post where the first person says something like “imagine [kinky or unusual sexual situation]” and the second person responds “imagine finding Jesus and going to church.”

Presumably, not everyone who reblogs those posts is an evangelical Christian who makes a practice of telling someone, in all sincerity, to go to church and find Jesus.  It doesn’t seem to be used as a general response to anything the speaker disapproves of, either (people don’t get told to go to church in response to, say, being transmisogynist).  It’s something I’ve only seen in the context of kinky and weird sexual posts.

And I’m just… really confused.  Because… how does that even make sense?

I mean, I know it’s because kink is coded as “naughty” and church is coded as “good,” even for sex-positive nonChristians, but… um… y’all.


Traditional Christianity is chock full of dominance/submission talk.  I remember finding this “C-Rock or 50SoG?” quiz making fun of it for that over a year ago.  And even if Christianity weren’t drenched in D/s vibes to begin with, there’s really nothing to mandate that they’d be mutually exclusive.  Not to mention the weirdness, to me, of atheists and other nonChristians selectively endorsing church just to take a swipe at something else they don’t affiliate themselves with.

Anyway, somebody come talk to me about this.

11 responses to “kink-vs.-church talk?

  • Arrela

    Isn’t this just the WEIRDEST phenomenon? I don’t understand. I just. Don’t.

    I don’t know about the people who originally make those comments, but the posts are then reblogged, with the comment, by a lot of people, most of whom are only losely Christian at most, would never seriously tell anyone to find Jesus and are, for the most part, “against” Christian conservatism. It is so???

    My impression, and this is only an impression, is that this is mostly an American phenomenon? Christianity and religion works weirdly in America and I don’t understand it and up to this point I have always just put this thing down to “Americans are weird about religion” the same way I do with American politicians ending speeches with “God bless America”.

    • Coyote

      Proooobably. But since I’m an American, I can’t dismiss it as just an American thing.

      • Arrela

        Oh, I don’t mean to dismiss it! I just wanted to place it a bit, maybe. Cultural context might help explain this very weird thing? I don’t know.

        Okay, if I’m going to make guesses:

        Church, Jesus, Chrstianity, etc.are words that, if we remove them completely from like, our actual religious understanding of them, still come with a lot of connotations and a lot of cultural baggage. A part of that is definitely an association with properness (propriety? Sorry, English is leaving me rn). You shouldn’t swear in Church, You should dress appropriately for church. You should lower your voice when you’re in a church. This is cultural knowledge that we have, as members of the specific societies we inhabit, regardless of how much we actually know or care about about Christianity. Church represents, in a way, I think, respectability.

        And while society is definitely full of compulsory sexuality it is also influnced by purity culture, the two entering a complex and annoying (but not really contradictary) relationship. So while sexuality is compulsory, explicit sexuality is not respectable except in very specific contexts. Meaning it doesn’t mesh with church, which is almost The Symbol of propriety and respectability.

        Meaning, I guess, that when people cross that impossible invisible line between not sexual enough and too sexual, or wrongly sexual, it is seen as a lack of respectability and they are told to go to church and find Jesus because that is the most respectable thing there is.

        I don’t know. Maybe? This definitely works subtly differently here and I have never even been to America so I am just making wild guesses.

        • Coyote

          It’s fine, you’re fine.

          Hmm, yes. Propriety. Respectability. That sounds about right.

        • Arrela

          (Thanks for the reassurance! I’m sorry if I’m jumpy and weird. WordPress is scary and commenting here is kind of really outside my usual comfort zone.)

        • Coyote

          We’re birds of a feather, then, because I, too, am jumpy and weird. It’s just not as obvious here because… well, this is my own blog. But anyway, I want you to feel welcome to comment here. :3

  • epochryphal

    huh, you’re right — i had thought it was about sex in general. and there’s a little overlap (people who talk about wanting hard sex, or about specifics that aren’t quiiiite vanilla, get the “go to church” response too) but it’s totally. about aberrant, too-much, too-weird, basically kink.

    (i’ve been having some good dialogue w people about hypersexuality, and genital-repulsed or sex-repulsed hypersexuality or hyperkinkiness [fuckin. flux shit. waves] and my God ppl are shit about it and really Righteous about calling out aberrance as…harmful? how dare you be into a nonhuman character, a taboo, etc)

    and yeah it’s. hm i wonder if it’s part of the christendom thing, the cultural not-that-resistant thing. so complicated.

    but yeah all this is. weird and sometimes funny when used by kinksters themselves?? but often so awful bc no, they really mean it, even if they don’t mean church they mean “go fix yourself, what a shameful display”

    one million strong kink feels happening

  • Elizabeth

    Okay, so this is probably not an experience you’ve had because you tend to hang out with a very different type of Christian… but there are a significant number of Christians whose response to kink is pretty much to push Jesus and proselytize as much as possible. I’m pretty sure that is the reason why kinksters often make that joke.

    I have a friend who is super super into kink, especially rope bondage, to the point that he’s the go-to guy in the kink scene that he’s part of for rope suspension. His parents are very religious Christians and for a long time he was, too (I think he eventually deconverted but I’m not sure?). I don’t know exactly what denomination his family is, but they are absolutely the type who stigmatize all forms of BDSM as somehow sinful, so for a very long time this friend had a hard time dealing with it—his first marriage was to someone he met at church, and a major part of its end was due to kink. He’s still not out to his parents, and it’s been well over a decade since he started out with kink.

    This friend makes tons of jokes about church and religion, as a way of sarcastically letting out his feelings about the situation with his parents. Some of them also involve pointing out how much sadomasochism there is in Christianity, so I think he’d definitely agree with you on that point.

    So yeah… while it’s definitely not the case that kink and Christianity are polar opposites, there are some Christians who do treat it like they are (and they tend to be pretty vocal about it), so that’s what people are making jokes about.

  • Calum P Cameron

    It’s not always JUST about sexual kink. Similar jokes get made sometimes about other things that the cultural zeitgeist thinks of as, like, “harmless transgressions”. You wouldn’t get it about transmisogyny because that’s more codified as (depending on the culture) either not a moral/ethical/ettiquette transgression at all or far too serious a transgression to joke about. I have, however, seen similar “y’all need Jesus” responses given to, like, discussions of people’s favourite swear word. And of course there’s the famous “someone makes very bad pun; someone else informs them they are going to Hell” set-up. I suspect in some of these examples (probably not the pun one) some of the people responding may actually be serious, but most of the time I assume it’s a variant on the ancient portrayal-of-harmless-minor-transgression-as-big-moral-failing joke (a la “why is there no law against wearing popped collars?” or, even moreso, Firefly’s “the special Hell for people who talk at the theatre”), with an additional appeal because it’s also at least semi-mockingly pastiching the “church is the answer to all the world’s problems” attitude of certain white Christians (hence, I presume, why it is often used by atheists or other people who don’t take Christian church as a personal serious thing).

    As for WHY sexual kink is viewed as a transgression – and why specifically a harmless, minor one – by so many corners of the internet… well, that’s a much larger and messier issue which you probably have more expertise on than I do.

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