Thursday, July 26, 2007

Sex, Lust, Sin, and Holy Matrimony

From the "trying to figure out how fundamentalist minds function and failing" file.

This one actually surpasses the whole "women as non-sexual beings who don't experience lust themselves, but only cause it in the poor men and are must therefore be kept control" on the "buh? how'd ya figure that?" scale.

From some of the articles/sermon outlines/board discussions I've read, I get the sense that many in the evangelical community are convinced that the slightest hint of sexuality prior to marriage is going to land one in the firey pit of hell for eternity. I mean, I get the whole "he who looks at a woman with lust in his heart..." verse. My snarky response is to come back when they're ready to talk about being a eunuch for the Kingdom of God, and we'll chat about what's up with the hard sayings of Jesus.

But here's what I'm seeing as the evangelical Christian ideal: Christian boy and Christian girl meet, decide to marry with neither one entertaining any sexual or lustful thoughts about the other, marry and magically at you may now kiss the bride, they find the other sexually attractive, but not before that point. And then they produce babies, because, really it's all about the babies.

How does that work? Seriously. I can't wrap my mind around it. And I'm not talking about premarital sex -- I comprehend that. If an individual or a couple what's to wait to have sex, it's their decision, nothing wrong with it. It's not a lack of experience that I think would not work, it's the sheer amount of repression going on that strikes me as dysfunctional.

What I don't understand is this odd expectation that there will be no thoughts of sex before the actual moment of marriage. None. Nada. Nehchevo. At least, nothing specific, as having "the conversation too soon . . . only create opportunities for temptation." Being a pretty well repressed little thing, myself, I understand how it could be done, but I can't see how it works. That much repression seems to be a disaster in the making, not to mention the effects of guilt over thinking the so vaguely erotic thought. I mean, if you're repressing every erotic thought, how on earth are you supposed to know if you're actually sexually attracted to the person you're planning to marry? And given that celibate marriages aren't in style amongst evangelicals -- despite being quite popular among early Christians -- sexual attraction is a bit of an element in the arrangement. Further, how in God's name do these folks expect to people to just click repression on and off? To go from associating any erotic thoughts with dirty to pure in the time it takes a preacher to run through a ritual?

As far as I know, brains don't quite work like that. Perhaps, young evangelicals have specially wired brains that do work like that? Byt mozhet? Maybe? For their own sakes.

And I just got distracted by an article claiming that the Left has a "moral monopoly." Again, wait -- what?

Sigh. I'm now returning to my regularly scheduled contemplation of eunuchs in Early Christianity. They make so much more sense.


Dw3t-Hthr said...

I wouldn't be surprised if it were either, "Sexual attraction is irrelevant, go forth and breed as is your duty to God" or "Sexual attraction is inevitable, because women have no sexuality of their own and men have no discrimination". Possibly both at the same time.

Zan said...

The sexual view of fundies is fucked up. I say that as a Recovering Southern Baptist. I've written a lot on my blog about what that upbringing did to my sexual development. It nearly killed me. I literally was unable to have sex with my ex for ages. Not because I didn't want to, but because I had so internalized that notion that sex is the ultimate evil sin that I just could not do it. Married, not married, it didn't make a difference. Sex was BAD in my brain. Oh, and it was going to HURT and I was going to BLEED and it was going to be AWFUL. At least, the first time. But wait...if we got married, then all those things wouldn't happen. It would be wonderful. But never made any sense to me. It doens't work. That way of thinking. That level of ignorance. I was terrified of sex. I was terrified of the possiblity of pregnancy. ANd I had so very little sex education, I was convinced that it didn't really matter if I was using birth control or not, I would still get pregnant. I still have that nagging fear to this day. I mean, I know in my brain that my being on the Pill as well as using condoms means the likelihood of pregnancy is virtually nil -- or as close as is possible while still having sex. But I still get that little twing of fear until I start bleeding each month.

I've actually read articles from women (and it is always women, it seems. Maybe men just don't talk about it?) raised this way who cannot have sex even AFTER they get married. It really messes up the marriage and they don't know how to deal with it, because they WANT to have sex with thier husbands, but they physically cannot do it. They get close and they get physically ill or mentally freak out. And, because their husbands are decent men, they're not having any sex, despite being married for sometimes years, because for their husbands to insist would be rape.

The contempt fundamentalism breeds for the body and the pleasures it can bring is evil, pure and simple.