A podcast for new atheists, lifetime atheists, ex-evangelicals, truth-seekers, and free-thinkers
There are differing views about sex and what is “allowed” among evangelicals
Focus on the Family manages to endorse freedom of sexual expression in one sentence, insert a very conspicuous caveat, then negate what they just said entirely in the next thought. They start out with:
I was impressed right up to the last three words. They then turn around and tell us that oral is OK and anal isn't because anal has a homosexual context. Well... no, it really doesn't. Just because it's presented that way in the Bible doesn't make it so.
And the crazy part is that there are LOADS of evangelicals out there who like pegging. To give the reader's digest version of this for those not in the know, pegging involves anal penetration of a man using a vibrator or dildo. If those terms are fuzzy for you, Google is your friend. I fully expect that there could be evangelicals listening who are trying to decide to get out who have no clue what any of this actually means.
I'll also refer to to an article on Huffpost titled, “What I Learned From Conservative Evangelical Sex Message Boards” by Kelsy Burke wherein the author chronicles her research on this very subject. To be honest, I was once again surprised.
I'm just going to stop saying that nothing about these people surprises me. I mean, what's the point? This just keeps happening...
There are some kinky Christians out there. And despite admonitions by organizations like Focus on The Family, there are, apparently, plenty of people out there who like to explore various kinks, with the running caveat that these things occur between married, heterosexual people.
And again, I have to defer to what I was taught about sex within marriage. [Ad lib]
This was a Catholic thing too
Anything goes when you're married
Oral was OK
“Switching gender roles” was OK with full consent
BDSM was ok
Pleasure is pleasure – if you both like it, it's all good
“The marriage bed is undefiled” [Heb. 13:4] – As long as it happens between married people, what they do is their business and no one else's.
We were more “don't ask, don't tell” - translation, “If you're into things like pegging, that's cool, but it's also your business. We don't really wanna know.”
The more I think about it, the more progressive the church I went to actually seemed... even though it wasn't. Does that make sense? They seemed OK with an “anything goes” stance (I almost said 'position') on sex within marriage, but still badmouthed most ideas they considered “liberal.”
The Baptist General Convention of Texas “encourages all persons to uphold a lifestyle of biblical sexual values”
You have to know I can't just let this go.
You have to know this.
In our episode about what Christians are taught about sex, I went through a litany of ways the bible outs itself on the subject of “biblical sexuality.” Right now, I want to zero in on just a couple, beginning with how the Bible in no way, shape, or form mandates monogamy as the only model of sexuality. As a general rule, the Bible dictates that sex be heterosexual in nature but there are exceptions to this rule, too. Read the stories of David and Jonathan and Ruth and Naomi and there is much to be read between the lines in both about same-sex romance. Ruth “loved Naomi as Adam” and Jonathan's love was to David “more wonderful than the love of women.” Come on, now...
But on the monogamy front, the Bible never endorses it as the only relationship model.
According to NPR:
"If you're reading the Hebrew Bible, we might have polygamy again. We might have not only polygamy with wives, we might have polygamy with concubines and slaves. And if we're reading the New Testament, we would avoid marriage. The overwhelming opinion of New Testament writers is that marriage is a waste of time and that we shouldn't be doing it because we should be spreading the Gospel. ... If you're married, you're totally distracted and not focusing on God. If we took the New Testament seriously, we would all stop being married." Source: https://www.npr.org/2011/03/10/133245874/unprotected-texts-the-bible-on-sex-and-marriage
It's true – polygamy (even polyamory) seem to play into a number of biblical sexual models. Jacob, Rachel, and Leah is a prime example. Jacob loved Rachel. He gets tricked into marrying Leah and waits a total of 14 years to marry Rachel – the first 7 years of service her father demanded Jacob only to pull a MAJOR bait and switch and marry him to his other daughter Leah, and another 7 once his little ruse worked.
Show of hands... who thinks Jacob and Rachel WEREN'T fucking that whole time?
An article on QueerTheology.com points out that “Exodus 21:10 sets out some guidelines for how to treat your wives if you have more than one. Deuteronomy 21:15–17 governs inheritance amongst children in polygamous marriages.” Source: https://www.queertheology.com/bible-polyamory/
Incidentally, the Exodus verse is from an infamous chapter about how to own slaves. The prerequisite there is a female slave whose MASTER decides to marry her. Apparently, it was just ducky for a married slave owner to also marry his female slaves as long as he made sure that all his “wives” are fed, clothed, and adequately fucked. And in this model, everybody seems to know they're sharing a husband. It's right there, man... there's a whole other conversation about consent going on here that we will table for later.
So the message I'm sending here is not that we should all be trying to marry multiple partners or turning polyamorous, only that this notion of only ever sleeping with one person forever isn't even presented as a universal moral mandate in the bible. For that reason, we really should only be thinking this way if we want to. Some want it that way. Others do not. Adultery is a huge problem in relationships. Nearly a third of men engage in sex outside their committed relationships and more than a quarter of women do, too.
As a society, we still cling far too hard to a relationship model that is structured for a single partner dynamic. Marriage is a good idea from a number of legal standpoints, but legal contracts and gold bands don't make a relationship healthy or give it longevity.
Saving Sex for Marriage
So let me just come out and say it: saving sex for marriage is silly. The only thing anyone should be saving sex for is their own preparedness to manage the responsibility and deal with the possible consequences of it. What are you doing to avoid unwanted pregnancies and STDs and what about when those efforts fail? It's way more about exercising personal responsibility, using protection, and being proactive when things go wrong than it is who you decide to do these things with (or how MANY somebodies). The real question is: what can you personally handle?
Most people out there are going to opt for one of two relationship dynamics: A single monogamous relationship (typically a marriage, but not always), and multiple monogamous relationships over their lifetime. Most people have a few monogamous relationships before getting married. In this context we're defining monogamy less as “a single partner” and more as “one partner at a time.” The latter group is much larger.
Ethical Non-Monogamy and Polyamory
Then there are those who don't find all their emotional, sexual, and personal needs being met by just one person and this leads people in a number of directions, most of which are non-monogamous. And non-monogamy usually falls under one of two categories: ethical and non-ethical or adulterous.
In an ethically non-monogamous relationship, one or both partners have romantic relationships outside the confines of the marriage or whatever the structure their relationship might be. ENM and Polyamory are used as interchangeable terms by many, while others see clear differences between the two. Some see ENM as being more casual. You date and fuck a lot but don't have long-term relationships with your partners. Polyamory, then, is more relationship-based with romantic “partners” at the center more than “dates.”
People will always use the terms that make them most comfortable and while some listening might disagree with me, I wouldn't argue with anyone about how they define their sexual and relationship preferences any more than I would argue with someone about their gender. It's all very personal and open for personal interpretation. For the record, the above description is the one I hold to. I see clear differences between the two. Still, each are valid relationship and lifestyle dynamics no matter what you call them.
It appears lots of Christians like booty calls and d-appointments too. Go figure.
According to a new survey by Pew Research, half of self-identified Christians in America say casual sex is sometimes or always acceptable. The survey defined casual sex as sex between consenting adults who are not in a committed romantic relationship.
Catholics were the most likely to take this view (62 percent), though Protestants in the historically black tradition (56 percent) and mainline Protestants (54 percent) were close behind. More than one in three evangelicals (36 percent) also hold this view.
More than one in three HONEST evangelicals like to let their freak flags fly. Who knew? Oh wait... I did. I always have. I remember saying to Shelle how it felt like we were the only ones following the rules. So this really isn't news. It's just on the Internet now. But there's more...
A majority of self-identified Christians (57 percent) say sex between unmarried adults in a committed relationship is sometimes or always acceptable. That includes 67 percent of mainline Protestants, 64 percent of Catholics, 57 percent of Protestants in the historically black tradition, and 46 percent of evangelical Protestants.
Nearly HALF of all evangelicals say it's OK to fuck someone you aren't married to... because most of them have.
BDSM - Bondage and Discipline, Dominance and Submission, Sadochism and Masochism
gotquestions.org has a great quote about this one: “The more extreme aspects of BDSM reek of Satanism/paganism and are definitively ungodly and perverted.” And after reading that, I've never wanted to explore BDSM more. Source: https://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-BDSM.html
It also says this: “The need to dominate and/or be dominated in a relationship, whether sexual or non-sexual, may reveal a psyche in need of being redeemed by God through Jesus Christ.” All I have to say about that is...
“22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” - Eph. 5:22,23 NIV
Jesus is your daddy dom. Remember that.
In all seriousness, the Bible doesn't have much to say about this, but I assume if it did, it would read like a poorly-written John Norman novel.
There is one verse that I found a lot on the pro/neutral side of the BDSM debate (should Christians be kinky?) and that's 1 Cor. 10:23: “All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable [until you put them on OnlyFans]. All things are lawful, but not all things edify. [NASB]
Edify who? I'm not going to get into a long-winded explanation of this except to say that BDSM relationships edify more often than they degrade. That's in the nature of the kink and the trust and consent involved in it. Doms only have power because their subs give it to them. It is way more balanced than it might seem from the outside.
There is absolutely nothing in the bible about them and there is no way they weren't a thing. Can this mean that God doesn't give a fuck how many people you fuck at once? I don't see why he would. He seemed ok with Lot's daughters going for a ride on daddy (at separate times, though)
To be clear, though, “Sex is best when it's one on one” isn't just a line from a George Michael song, it's also the underlying message in everything the bible says about sex.
Still, the bible flat out neglects to offer an actual opinion on just how many of your wives and concubines should be at the party at once. And I'll be honest... I do sometimes wonder how Jacob, Rachel, and Leah managed their little polycule when everyone was legit married and cohabitating.
There are stronger opinions on this one in the Bible, but instances where it's mentioned are sporadic. It's a kind of a diss in the book of Hosea, suggesting that it's the type of thing only unsavory types engage in (Hos. 4:18). In Galatians, engaging in them will keep you out of heaven (Gal. 5:21), and also a diss in 1 Peter suggesting that only a filthy pagan would have this much fun (1 Pet. 4:3).
Safety and Responsibility [Ad lib]
Condoms, STD testing, etc....
Now, let me just ask you – what are you thinking about all this? When you think about your own sex life, what sorts of images run through your mind? I want you to not think about what your church or pastor have told you is right. I want you to not think in terms of sin. If there was no spiritual consequence to how you manage love and sex, how would you manage them?
What sorts of things would you want to experience? Who (if anyone) would you want to experience them with? Unless those things involve actions that are illegal and cause harm to others, stop judging yourself and let yourself think about and consider the kinds of things you'd like to explore. Literally nothing is off-limits as long as everyone consents (although please be safe with certain kinds of play – it may not be off-limits but is it a good idea?).
As evangelicals, we are taught to fear (or at very least look with distaste upon) our own sexuality. Sex itself is dirty and sinful and we shouldn't be so preoccupied with it. But when we start getting unbound from that kind of thinking, we also need to start looking with a more open mind at the kinds of things there are out there to experience and decide how we want to manage this part of our lives.
If your plan involves finding one person and building a life with them and having only one partner for life, go for it. If you feel like trying to have that kind of relationship will ultimately be difficult for you, don't try to pull it off simply because that's what you've been taught is right. YOU decide what's right – not for the entire world, just for you. Then go out and live and experience things, especially sex, on your terms. And just so we're clear:
Sex does not have to be saved for marriage
The bible does not hold a single or consistent opinion about what a moral sexual relationship actually is
Who gives a fuck what the Bible says anyway – these rules were written by people who are dead now and who have no business telling you how to live your life. Period.
You can have sex with more than one person during the course of your life
You can have sex with more than one person at the same time (threesomes, orgies, etc.)
You can have multiple sex partners who all know about each-other
You can cohabit with more than one intimate partner
All manner of sex is fair game – straight sex, gay sex, monogamous, non-monogamous, every kink and fetish there is. Find your groove and indulge
Resources for Polyamory/Kink subjects and communities:
CBB 69 https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/youtube-reinstates-channel-devoted-exposing-conservative-extremism-rcna1286 https://www.rightwingwatch.org/post/rick-wiles-claims-that-jesus-christ-shut-down-right-wing-watch/ https://friendlyatheist.patheos.com/2021/06/30/rick-wiles-prematurely-claims-jesus-christ-shut-down-right-wing-watch/ If Jesus existed, he’d be continuously facepalming over the words and deeds of some of his followers. Continuously. There is no situation where they would not seize on exactly the wrong thing to say or do. Rick Wiles already doesn’t have a good track record, and he continues to…not have a good track record. People for The American Way is an organization founded by Norman Lear in 1980 as a direct response to the Christian right’s Moral Majority, both religious and political. One of the ways in which they do this is with their group Right Wing Watch. This is a group dedicated to shining a light on the words and deeds of conservatism, both religious and political. One of the ways in which they do this is by posting clips of the preachers and politicians they watch, taken from their own social media and internet/TV shows. Most of the content they cover, of course, can be described as hate speech. Which of course, violates YouTubes guidelines, so YouTube took Right Wing Watch's videos down, and rejected their appeal. (of course, a lot of the conservatives’ own videos were still up on the site, so not sure what that says about youtube’s “guidelines”) [I have an idea...] Cue Rick Wiles, who couldn’t be happier about this turn of events. “I suspect that there will be layoffs very soon inside the organization because there’s no platform for them to spew their lies and propaganda,” Wiles declared, clearly unaware that YouTube is just one of several social media platforms Right Wing Watch uses to share content. “So their writers, their editors, all the people that they had working to smear us and other ministries, what are they gonna do? I suspect they’re gonna lose their jobs this week.”
[Isn't it awesome how these people revel in other people's misfortune? What part of the gospel message covers that? The part about loving your neighbor or turning the other cheek. I'm confused]
“Let me make this very clear today: Jesus Christ shut down Right Wing Watch,” Wiles celebrated. “Not YouTube. Jesus Christ shut down Right Wing Watch today. This is an example of God working through unsaved people at YouTube to carry out his vengeance against those who attack and smear his servants. So I didn’t have to lift a finger against Right Wing Watch. I think they’ll disappear in the coming weeks and months. There’s no purpose for them now.” Also cue: facepalming fictional Jesus. It does make me wonder what his reaction was to the news that, mere hours after his broadcast, YouTube reacted to the outrage and protests on social media, looked at the content again, and reversed their decision. Did Jesus change his mind? Will Rick Wiles apologize? I won’t hold my breath. https://friendlyatheist.patheos.com/2021/06/29/preacher-god-used-covid-to-form-a-new-relationship-with-me/ https://www.rightwingwatch.org/post/prophet-chuck-pierce-god-stopped-the-whole-world-with-covid-19-to-a-deeper-relationship-with-me/ Next, in “how do you get through doors with a head that big?” news, so-called prophet Chuck Pierce says that he knows why the pandemic ________? It was so god could have a closer relationship with him. I didn’t intend for this to be another ‘prophet’ story but they just keep coming up. I guess it’s a new Christian trend. [Nah, they're just getting away with it more within their own niches] Last week he was on Facebook with another prophet Cindy Jacobs, talking about a conversation they had back in January of 2020, in which she said “he would not be traveling this year.” He goes on to say: “My whole life has been traveling—500,000 miles a year.” “I said, ‘I have no idea how God will do this,'” he continued. “How in the world will God do this? And I have watched him, starting in March, do that word. … I believe it has been a year and a half of me being redone. The Spirit of God said it to me this way: ‘Have you ever thought that I stopped the whole world just for you to form a new relationship with me?’ And I really knew right then, this is about me and the Lord and what he is trying to do in me and how we’re forming a new relationship.”
[I don't think the Joker and Harley's relationship is as toxic as this one if that's the case...]
The questions this brings up in my mind are many. -Why does it have to be about him? Why is he so important? -Does this really make the loss of millions of people world-wide worth it? -No, it fucking doesn’t, screw this guy.
As Hemant Mehta says in the article, “Even if we’re assuming this is true, Pierce isn’t making god look good for anyone who might be on the fence about faith. His statement will do far more damage than good.”