Takeaways from conservative Christian sex manuals

[cw: sex-normativity, misogyny, rape culture]

It is through sexual union that people feel closest to Christ. Not only does God reveal himself in sexual love, but, as one book poetically argues, the only way mortals can find Christ is in the marital act, which is the holiest of acts. In this sense, the marital union is seen as a profound prayer, as “no human activity gives more glory to man’s creator than the act by which man is permitted to share in creation.” […]

Husbands and wives are obligated to honor each other’s sexual needs for “it is God’s will that married people enjoy sexual relations.” Abstinence from sex is allowed only under specific conditions, by mutual agreement, and temporarily. […]

The two principal types of sexual maladjustment cited in the manuals are frigidity on the part of the wife and premature ejaculation on the part of the husband. According to one book, “sexual frigidity is without doubt the greatest sexual problem threatening contemporary marriages. It is not an exaggeration to say that the majority of modern wives are, in some degree, frigid!” These authors are pessimistic regarding the transformation of cold into passionate wives. “There are frigid women, many of them, and the most skilled lovers would be powerless to ‘cure’ them.”

Lionel S. Lewis and Dennis D. Brissett, “Sex as God’s Work”

Nothing to say here that I haven’t said already.

Thanks again to Kristiny for the link.

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5 responses to “Takeaways from conservative Christian sex manuals

  • Rachel

    *almost spits out my tea*

    This is so 1950s in its moralistic hand-wringing that it borders on cartoonish. Gotta love fear-mongering about “modern” things, grumbling about “kids thees days.”

    • Coyote

      I don’t know if they were explicitly linking the “issue” to modernity as a cause here… and I don’t think they were thinking of “kids” here… hopefully… but I think I see how you got there. Anyway, moralistic hand-wringing is very much a thing of all time periods.

      • Rachel

        I’ll concede that they might not be blaming “modernity” itself, but the framing “the majority of modern wives are, in some degree, frigid!” carries the implication that women were less frigid in the past and thus that it’s a more “new” problem. And yeah, moralistic hand-wringing goes well with all time periods, but the style and presentation of this particular instance kinda reminds me of Chick Tracts, Reefer Madness, and Seduction of the Innocent. The kind that looks “dated” rather than “edgy.”

  • Eliza

    [Splutters incoherently.] Okay, paragraphs 2 and 3 are depressing, but not actually all that surprising to me. But paragraph 1? [Splutters incoherently some more.] I really want to write to Lewis and Brissett and just say,

    “Sirs? I generally try not to judge other people’s spiritual habits, because God works in mysterious ways and all that, but I’m pretty confident that if the statement ‘the only way mortals can find Christ is in the marital act’ rings true to your experience … you are doing Christianity wrong. Might I suggest you acquaint yourselves with the concept of prayer? I’m not saying that will completely dispel your obvious and genuinely tragic confusion about the fundamental nature of your own religion, but it’s a start.”

    I consider myself well-versed in most of the North American church’s unfortunate sex-related talking points, but I’ve never seen someone drag Christology through the mud like that just to get to one of them. I feel like I need bleach for my brain … and possibly my soul.

    • Coyote

      Huh? Oh — it’s not Lewis and Brissett who were saying those things. Or, well, the quote is from them, but it’s from an article analyzing a bunch of sex manuals, so those quotes were summarizing some of the things they found in the books. But, yeah, it’s an alarming idea that is out there.

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