10 Most Absurd Sex Tips from the Christian Right
Modern conservative Christianity is obsessed with marriage, relationships, and sexuality to the point where these concerns crowd pretty much everything else out. Much of their obsession is directed towards trying to get the government to force you to live by their rules, but they also spend a great deal of time offering advice on these issues to each other. Unfortunately, most of their advice is utter garbage that puts prudery, unfair expectations, and strict gender policing over actual advice that can make your life better. Here are ten examples of evangelical advice that show how far adrift the Christian right advice industry is from the real world:
1) Be a better housekeeper to prevent cheating. Recently, Pat Robertson addressed a question that haunts many a woman who has a husband with a wandering eye: How to get past his cheating? Robertson all but told women not to worry their pretty little heads about their husbandâ€™s infidelities, suggesting that male infidelity in nigh-inevitable. He did, however, make some suggestions on how to minimize the straying: â€śWhat you want to do is make a home so wonderful that he doesnâ€™t want to wander.â€ť On top of implying that clean floors and the smell of baking bread can prevent men from looking for strange women, Robertson asked women to sympathize with how hard it is for men, saying that they are â€ścapturedâ€ť by their sexual desires and itâ€™s up to women to â€śget him freeâ€ť. In general, Robertson takes the line that all problems in marriage are the fault of wives and never husbands. While most Christian advice-givers rarely go that far, most do adhere generally to the belief that keeping a marriage together is mostly a wifeâ€™s job.
2) Women need to submit to their husbands. Throughout fundamentalist Christianity, one piece of advice rings out above all others, which is that marriage only works if wives submit to their husbands. When speaking to outsiders, they often play it off like â€śsubmissionâ€ť is just a bit of Biblical-language goofiness isnâ€™t to be meant in the secular sense, but in practice â€śsubmit to your husbandsâ€ť means exactly what it sounds like. Richard Strauss from Bible.org made it clear that women are to obey their husbands at all times, even when heâ€™s being cruel. â€śObedience is not to be practiced only when you feel like it, or when you wholeheartedly agree with your husband, or when he is treating you with Christ-like love, but in everything!â€ť Michelle Duggar, right wing Christian icon and reality TV star, summarized some of the points of practicing wifely submission. She specifically singled out financial independence as something women should never have, saying, â€śLove is killed by self-sufficiency.â€ť Sheryl Sandbergâ€™s loving husband would be surprised to hear that!
3) How to make sex interesting in a Christian marriage. Conservative Christians are expected to abstain from sex until marriage, but for evangelicals, at least, as soon as you get married, youâ€™re supposed to immediately drop years of prudish sexual avoidance and throw yourself completely into your intimate relationship. (Indeed, many proponents of wifely submission come down hard on women who are reluctant to have sex as often as their husbands want to.) In an attempt to overcome the obvious problems with these expectations, some Christians have created sex advice websites like Christian Nymphos, to get their readers in touch with those sexual desires they spent years repressing. Sadly, despite their best intentions, their advice is often the opposite of erotic. â€śWake up each day, look in the mirror and ask Jesus to tell you what is beautiful about you,â€ť they advise. Despite the winking permission to let yourself have some fun now that youâ€™re married, Christian Nymphos canâ€™t quite let go of the constant sex policing, either, particularly coming down hard on sexual fantasy, because itâ€™s rarely â€śabout a married couple enjoying each other exclusively, in a loving mannerâ€ť.
4) If youâ€™re gay, marry someone of the opposite sex and try not to think about it too much. While most people are familiar with the â€śex-gayâ€ť movement that encourages people to try to turn straight, the new strategy is a bit more subtle: Encourage gay Christians to just live like theyâ€™re straight and ignore their real desires. Josh Weed, a gay Mormon married to a woman, is one of the most straightforward examples. He claims his marriage is better than ones where thereâ€™s sexual attraction, claiming that their sex life is â€śabout more than just visual attraction and lustâ€ť, insinuating that a marriage without lust in it might even be better. Even the head of the infamous ex-gay organization Exodus International has embraced the â€śgay but not acting on itâ€ť line, having his wife write on their website that she doesnâ€™t even want a heterosexual husband, because his lack of attraction to other women means â€śI am the only person he chooses to direct his attraction toward.â€ť Marry a gay man and rest assured he wonâ€™t sleep with other women! Itâ€™s more foolproof than Pat Robertsonâ€™s advice to keep him at home with good housekeeping.
5) Men, do not masturbate. Women, either, I suppose, but most anti-masturbation materials on the Christian right focus on men and casually assume women donâ€™t have the same urge towards hearty self-loving. To prevent themselves from masturbating, young men are encouraged to start â€śaccountability groupsâ€ť where they try to de-lust themselves, mostly by telling each other to think of Jesus when theyâ€™d rather think of boobs. (Unlike the Christian Nymphos, these groups understand that thinking of Jesus is not sexy.) But while thereâ€™s some small attempt to make men responsible for their own behavior, most of the attention on preventing male lust is given to young women, who are mostly told to wear more clothes.
6) If husbands want more sex, women should do everything they can to give it to them. Focus on the Familyâ€™s marriage counselor Juli Slattery is blunt about: Married men need sex, and so wives who arenâ€™t providing enough need to step up. While she claims she isnâ€™t trying to guilt trip women into having more sex, she argues that sex is a physical, emotional, spiritual, and relational need men have. (Though apparently not when theyâ€™re single and canâ€™t even fill this need on their own time.) â€śYou cannot love him as a husband but reject him sexually,â€ť she says, suggesting that regardless of the hold-up, women whose husbands want sex more need to find a way to provide it.
7) However, if wives want more sex, they should learn to go without. Slattery has very different advice for wives whose problem is that they want to get laid more, but have unwilling husbands. While you should move heaven and earth to drum up more desire for a husband who wants more sex, if youâ€™re the undersexed one, youâ€™re instructed to tell yourself â€śfriendship, seasoned love, and shared history are often enough to maintain a marriage in which sex is no longer possibleâ€ť. Men who want more sex are entitled to wives who try to provide it, women who arenâ€™t getting any are told to be happy with â€śforms of physical affection that don't involve the pressure of sexual intercourse, such as back rubs, holding hands, playful touching, and huggingâ€ť.
8) Men should not believe their partners who say they want abortions. While the Christian right doesnâ€™t like to talk about it, plenty of Christian women want abortions, at about the same rate as other women. Anti-abortion activists then turn to men in an effort to prevent these abortions. Daybreak Crisis Pregnancy Center encourages men to disbelieve women who tell them they want abortions, instead saying the women were secretly â€śwaiting for their boyfriends/husbands to stop themâ€ť, even if that means â€śrush through the door to rescue me and take me away somewhere safeâ€ť. Luckily for women who, generally, arenâ€™t playing mind games by choosing abortion, most clinics have enough security to stop men who have crazed Christian right-induced white knight fantasies.
9) Handy tips to keep from screwing. The Christian right loves to chastise and scold the unmarried for having sex, but beyond a purity ring and encouragement to just say no, thereâ€™s surprisingly little advice to those who want to be abstinent on how to do it. What little advice there is out there is vague and useless. These ten tips on purity by Ron Hutchcraft at Christianity Today are typical. â€śYou do not own the person you're dating,â€ť he says, as if a feeling of ownership is necessary to feel desire. â€śThat person belongs to God.â€ť Knowing that kind of abstraction may not be that helpful, he also suggests not spending time alone with your dates, and â€śavoid French kissing and pettingâ€”anything that is sure to ignite the fires of passionâ€ť. Wait until youâ€™re married, at what point you are expected to go from 0 to 60 in one night.
10) Be extremely paranoid about your teenagerâ€™s sexuality. Needless to say, parenting advice from conservative Christians is obsessed with the haunting fear that your kids are interested in sex, and no amount of guilt-tripping and shaming them for it will keep them away from it forever. Todayâ€™s Christian Woman recommends a Big Brother approach when teens bring dates home: â€ś[T]here should never be a moment when they are alone without an adult in the house.â€ť Turn your back for one second, and thatâ€™s the second penis slips into vagina! What Christians Want To Know recommends adding some thought policing duties to the pile. â€śWhat are you allowing your teen to watch on the TV or at the movie theatre?â€ť, they ask. â€śAnything that has a rating now-a-days above â€śGâ€ť has sexual content.â€ť History has long demonstrated that rebellion cannot be prevented by telling your teenager they canâ€™t watch anything thatâ€™s not a cartoon produced by Disney. The frequency with which this useless tactic is recommended by Christians, however, suggests that playing censorship cops with your teen is its own reward.
The wide, weird world of Christian advice,
when taken together, paints a grim view of what they expect out of love
and sex. Mainly, itâ€™s a world where men have very little responsibility
in relationships, and women are given the job of doing most of the
sacrificing and emotional work. The wedding ring is given almost magical
qualities that are expected to turn nearly-asexual beings into hump
monsters that nonetheless have no non-monogamous urges at all. One gets
the impression that setting their followers up to fail---and therefore
to turn to the churchâ€™s power for forgiveness and absolution---is the
point behind all these impossible rules.
Pat Robertson is now an elderly man with no filter. It's his show and he can say whatever he wants on it, until somone else steps up. He doesn't represent anyone but his own odd opinions.
This whole thing is just mockery, based on nothing, and not even remotely correct in its interpretations.
May 26, 2013 at 8:10 PMOh my gosh...even my own pastor doesn't even give advice like this. Not even in his sermons! LOL