Tag Archives: sex

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.


nsfw nsfw nsfw

Highlights from Evangelical Christian sex manuals, taken from Lewis and Brissett’s article:

  • Christians Have More Sex
  • Christians Have Better Sex
  • Christian Women Have More Orgasms
  • Having Sex is a Way of Worshiping God
  • The Bible Says Thou Shalt Use Foreplay
  • For Best Results, Pray Before Sex
  • Please Be Hygienic
  • Have You Considered Buying Your Pastor and His Wife a Vibrator?
  • Try Curing Impotence with Prayer
  • Remember to Have Fun!

cw: heterosexism, cissexism, fundamentalism

Contrary to popular misperceptions of fundamentalists, then, [James] Dobson does not see sex as a necessary evil.  For Dobson, sexuality is our most primary energy.  Whereas in Dare to Discipline, he castigates the “scientific experts” whose theories of child rearing led the nation to lose confidence in its heritage of biblical wisdom… Dobson idealizes and fights to preserve the modern family created by those scientific experts he loves to hate. But the point of his nostalgia was never historical accuracy. The point was discipline.

In large measure… this discipline is about maintaining middle-class status.  Historian George Mosse has argued that the emergence of nationalism in the nineteenth century was intimately connected with white middle-class norms regarding respectable sexuality. Dobson cites Joseph Daniel Unwin… who frames the issues as quasi-mathematical law: a civilizations level of cultural attainment is inversely proportional to the openness of its sexual regulations regarding extramarital and premarital sex.

Drawing on Unwin, Dobson identifies sexuality as our deepest truth. It is the heart of personality: “Self-awareness begins with an understanding of our sexual identity… Everything we do is influenced by our gender assignment.” […] Whereas Freud presented the discipline that civilization exacts as a source of discontent, Dobson presents this discipline as true contentment. For the mechanism by which society effects sexual discipline (according to Dobson) is private property: having a mate, a family, and a home of one’s own.

Ann Burlein, Lift High the Cross, p.155-156


Sex is just one planet out of galaxies.

The problem with outer space is that I have trouble wrapping my head around that kind of scale. I can barely fathom the depth of this planet’s oceans, let alone the size of our sun, and yet people tell me there are stars many times larger than that ours, that there are black holes many times larger than those, and that a single galaxy can encompass millions of each.  My sense of scale fizzles out into meaninglessness when I really try to wrap my head around that.  It is all too vast for me.

If it’s an overstatement, then, to compare that scale to our possibilities for intimacy, happiness, and affirmation of worth, then let it be an overstatement.  I need more people to say it like this.  I need that message out there, more ardent and more often, that there are galaxies full of star systems of ways to relate, interact, and bond with other people.  Sex? Is just one planet, maybe two or three.

I’ve often been frustrated with sci-fi’s limited biodiversity and its tendency toward monobiome planets, when a biologist could tell you that our one small earth is a home to a staggaring number and range of forms of life and there are so many, so many, so many things here alone.

And that’s what I mean about our sense of scale, that something can be enormous in variety yet still be dwarfed.  I am not minimizing sex and what it can be by describing it as less than a solar system.  I am not minimizing how much there is to the world of sexuality that can be explored.  It’s a lot.  And yet a galaxy is bigger.

I want more insistence to that effect, in every way.  I want to hear that more and know it’s sincere.  I want everyone to hear that on the regular and to know they are not limited.  I want a culture that welcomes exploration of the full breadth available to us, that does not prescribe where we visit and where we settle.  I want to grasp that sense of scale and I want my friends to, too, and I want no one to go to sleep without a scrap of it.  When someone goes out at night, someplace far from the light pollution of the city, out on the dark of the remote wilderness, and looks up and sees a sky full of stars — that sight reflects only a pinprick of the why and the how of it all.  Just because a person cannot name them all, and does not know each and every one, does not mean those stars are not out there.  Just because most of us will never leave this physical planet in our lives does not mean that we were only meant to see one solar system in the galaxies of hearts.

And that’s hard to trust, on its own.  It’s more natural for my own brain and others like it to only accommodate a sense of scale for the amount that we can see around us.  I think for a lot of sighted people it’s that way.  Beyond that, beyond these immediate surroundings, it’s hard to keep holding onto, as the imagination recedes further and further in scale.  Which is why it matters so much what we put before us — and what is put before us.  You don’t need an astronomer, just an artist, to tell you that some things will seem larger depending on where you’re standing.  Sometimes, because of that, the smaller things can seem to block out the larger things, to the point that you can’t see the larger things at all.  An eclipse is merely a matter of perspective.


AA: Desire, Dating, and Size

[cw: sex talk, sex as a site of conflict, insecurity over weight]

Breanne wrote in:

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AA: 25 Years

[cw: sex as a site of conflict in a relationship, antigay/homophobic analogy, atrocious rape analogy]

This one isn’t very long, but I’m going to address this one piece by piece instead of in block form.

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the “you’re wrong because you trust me” gambit

Saw this comic on sex & consent, had things to say, deleted the draft, then several months later, saw it again.  So here we go.  Take two.

The comic there expresses a nice idea, mostly, good examples and advice etc. etc. but the part that caught my attention was this: the green-haired person in the third panel who says, “Wait a minute!  I’ve been with my wife for 15 years.  There’s no way we cover all of this [checklist] every time we have sex!  We usually don’t even explicitly ask each other!  Are you saying that we’re not having consensual sex??” to which the blue-haired narrator says, “Of course not!”

At which point in my mind I hear the sound of screeching brakes.

I’ve seen this kind of objection play out before, sure, in contexts where someone has dared talk explicitly about consent — it’s happened often enough that I can’t even remember specifics of when or where.  What gets me is not the confusion over implicit communication, or even how readily someone jumps to assure them, “No, not at all!  You’ve merely misunderstood the message.  I wouldn’t dare impugn your honor, my 100% ethical friend who has never done anything wrong!”

What gets me is how consistently there’s always someone, even a complete stranger, ready to interject this way in the first place and essentially say, “You trust me, right?  You have faith in me, right?  You believe I’m not a rapist, right?”

And I’m like… the heck?  I don’t even know you.  I probably wouldn’t be rock-solid certain of those things even if I did know you.  Why are you expecting anyone, let alone strangers on the internet, to assure you how much they’re sure you’ve never raped?

Note that this is different from the anxious uncertainty of “oh man, I’m scared I may have hurt someone.”  This is something else.  This is “Excuse me, are you suggesting that I, Me, a Good Person, am somehow not flawless?  For I, Me, a Good Person, have in fact done the-things-that-I’m-interpreting-you-as-saying-are-unethical, so clearly you ought to be ashamed of yourself, or at least explain in a way that clears my name.”

I shouldn’t even have a dog in this hunt, since I don’t group communication and consent as the same thing anyway.  But geez, it bothers me, people thinking they’re entitled to automatic couldn’t-possibly-be-a-rapist trust, or even couldn’t-possibly-need-to-improve-on-the-communication-front trust.  I try to mentally give everyone a null value there.  And from the consistency with which I see “No I’m sure you’re fiiiiiine”-type answers, it almost sounds like not-automatically-placing-unwarranted-trust-in-people is some kind of taboo, if not simply unconsidered as an option.

I guess I just don’t understand going through life without a little paranoia.


AA: Questioning a Change

[cw: relationship conflict, explicit sex talk]

Mary wrote in:

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js

The moment your character meta analysis goes “We all know that American culture sees sex as bad” and calls my culture “sex-phobic,” you’ve lost all credibility with me and I can’t trust you enough to even keep reading at that point.


a shift in perspective

Fun fact, when I was first exposed to consent seminars and deliberate education on that kind of thing, I was a little wary of it at first but also quickly impressed with it as a good idea, because prior to that point in my life (college), people just didn’t talk about this stuff.  So I remember having a tentative positive impression of the whole thing.  Because I believed “people in my culture just don’t know how to communicate about this, or that it’s okay and good to communicate about it explicitly.”  That’s what I believed.  And maybe that still is partially true.

But the more I’ve grown and the more I’ve developed my thoughts on the subject, the more I’ve become dissatisfied with their surface approach toward basic communication templates instead of underlying values, because the actual larger problem at hand is that American masculinity is a cult of violation.