Confusing Sexual Assault and Sexual Abuse with Consensual Sex and Then Condemning Sexual Purity Teachings – and other, related topics

Confusing Sexual Assault and Sexual Abuse with Consensual Sex and Then Condemning Sexual Purity Teachings – and other, related topics

SUMMARY:

    A lot of Christians (usually theologically and politically liberal or moderate) and Non-Christians think that because Christian sexual purity teachings (which includes the teaching that having pre-marital sex is sinful) causes victims of sexual abuse to feel sad, ashamed, or bad, that Christians should drop biblical sexual teachings altogether, or stop insisting that pre martial sex is sinful. I disagree.

While I am sympathetic to victims of sexual abuse, the Bible none – the – less still teaches that CONSENSUAL sexual activity outside of marriage remains immoral.

I was skimming over the “Stuff Christian Culture Likes” facebook group today, where I saw a link there to this discussion on Reddit:

      (Link):

How Christian Purity Culture Enabled My Father’s Abuse, submitted by J__P (aka King Coupons?)

Here are some excerpts from that page:

    [by JP / King Coupons]

So, as the daughters [of the self professing Christian men] were kept inside, while the sons worked, the fathers pushed the men with the motivation that one day they’d get to have their daughters, as if that was the only proper motivation.

I later learned, in college, after I’d already abandoned my faith in God, that this man had regularly abused his daughters, both physically and sexually.

They were still virgins, though, of course, by the technical standards of the Southern Baptist church.

Even though he abused them, he’d never “taken their virtue.”

I even found out that, on the few occasions I had been to their house, I had managed to visit both just after he’d abused them, and just before. That was the man I was supposed to look up to. He was the godly, masculine influence in my life.

This comes up repeatedly on liberal, emergent, and ex-Christian forums and blogs: throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

That is, because some self-professing Christians do not, have not, or will not live out biblical ethics that they parrot the rest of the week, this is taken to mean by the liberal Christians, ex Christians, and emergents (and amazingly, even some conservatives these days), that those biblical ethics can, or should, be ignored by everyone all the time.

I just recently left a post addressing this topic at Sarah Moon’s blog,

        (Link):

The Answer To Sexual Shame is Not MORE Sexual Shame, Carson T. Clark

In that post, sexual abuse was discussed and mixed in with sexual purity.

Here are some excerpts from the page by Clark at Sarah Moon’s blog, with some of Moon’s comments in the mix:

    [Content Note: Sexual and Spiritual Abuse]

[My understanding is that these are comments by Moon:]

When I was 16, I dated an abuser who was constantly coercing me into having sex with him.

I had been raised in fundamentalist purity culture, so I thought of sex as something gross and scary.

My boyfriend at the time tried to combat those feelings by sending me on guilt trips and by holding me to his manipulative, subjective standards of “responsibility.”

…Yes, I had a lot of hang-ups about sex because the the culture I’d grown up in, and it was liberating and healthy for me to learn later in life that my sexuality could be a good thing.

But the fact that purity culture hindered my acceptance of my sexuality does not excuse the way this person treated me for over a year.

Being in a relationship like this was a horrible process. I constantly felt guilty for not having sex, and then guilty for having sex.

Even when I consented to sexual activity, I felt violated.

I never felt like I really had a choice in the matter. I thought it was my responsibility to have sex with him, or I felt afraid of what might happen if I didn’t. I felt trapped, like I didn’t belong to myself and was no longer a person.

… If you don’t think it is okay to coerce a woman into sex before marriage, but feel that people have the right to coerce married women into having sex with their spouses, I want you to stop and think about why.

…Clark states that “[f]or the longest time…a marital rape culture existed. Just awful.”

I’m sorry to say, that marital rape culture still exists, and Clark’s words serve to reinforce it.

That this person’s boyfriend was an abusive jerk who wrapped his jerk-holery up in “purity” talk does not mean sexual purity teachings themselves are bogus.

This is part and parcel of the (Link): Genetic Fallacy, by the way.

If serial killer Ted Bundy were alive today, and if he were to tell you that murder is morally wrong, would you disagree with him and claim the opposite because of the source?

Would you say, “Nah, murdering people is fine! I’m not going to listen to you, because you have murdered people before, you hypocrite.”

I doubt that this person’s boyfriend was even a Christian to start with.

Before you trot out the “No True Scotsman” fallacy, bear this in mind:

Jesus Christ and Apostle Paul warn in the Bible that not all who claim Christ are actual followers, but are in fact, wolves in sheeps’ clothing who you need to either steer clear of or rebuke

      (see for example

this link (Matthew 7:21)

      ,

this link (John 14:15)

      ,

this link (John 14:23)

      ,

this link (1 Corinthians 5:11)

      ,

this link (1 Corinthians 5:1-5)

      ,

this link (Matthew 7:15)

      ,

this link (Matthew 7:15-18)

    – I could list several other verses, but you get the idea).

Quoting Christ (from Matthew 7:21-23):

    “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.

Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’

And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

I am semi-agnostic these days myself, after having been a Christian since my childhood, which makes it a little easier for me to stand apart from Christianity now and assess some of its flaws, or rather, how self-professing Christians are mishandling the faith.

But then, I can also call Christian-critics on the carpet a bit easier, too.

Sometimes the people who criticize particular Christians, or how certain teachings are presented by Christians, are absolutely “right on the money,” but sometimes, their criticisms are a huge crock or are inaccurate.

And in this group I include all of them; full blown agnostics, hard core atheists, luke warm atheists, feminist Christians, liberal Christians, and emergents.

When you’re not in any one, particular camp any longer, it becomes ten times easier to spot all the fallacies and biases from all sides.

Returning to Moon’s view that a rape culture exists – I guess she means in Christian marriages, and she mentions this because Clark raised this point first?

I am unaware of mainstream, every day, Baptist or other conservative Christians, who believe a man has the right to rape his wife or that he should. The Bible certainly does not contain such a teaching, that’s for sure.

I do think a lot of churches handle spousal abuse improperly, but I don’t think it’s a baseline view of most Christians that men have a right to rape their spouse if the spouse has not been putting out as much as the husband would like.

Just so there is no confusion: I am a biblical gender egalitarian.

I used to be a gender complementarian. I totally disagree with GC (gender complementarianism) now.

GC teaches that married, Christian men are the “head of the household” and have authority over their wives (though the Bible does not actually teach this).

I think some men who are already prone or predisposed to spousal rape and abuse are drawn to churches that teach and support gender complementarianism.

There are enough male, self-professing Christian gender complementarians out there who do not rape or physically abuse their wives for me to believe it is gender complementarianism in and of itself that causes men to rape or abuse.

(To put it another way, I do not believe that gender complementarianism necessarily causes a man to become a spousal abuser or rapist, but that men who are already prone to such abuse use the teaching as an excuse.)

I do feel that gender complementarian views make it easier for a man who is already predisposed to spousal abuse to justify and rationalize in his own mind his mistreatment of his wife and to get away with such behavior longer.

By and large, I do not see the majority of Christians in mega churches, conservative evangelical churches, Reformed or Southern Baptist churches, advocating that husbands have a right to sexually assault their wives.

You might be able to find a few bad apples in that bunch, but I’ve not seen it as a pattern. And I somewhat regularly visit blogs for Christian women in, or who have left, abusive Christian marriages.

As a matter of fact, as I have blogged on a few times before (see (Link): this post for example), most Christians assume that married women are frigid, ergo, the typical marital sex sermon will find the preacher cajoling, pleading with, asking, and begging the married ladies in the audience to “put out” for their husband.

I’ve yet to hear a Southern Baptist preacher (or Reformed, fundamentalist, conservative non denominational, or evangelical preacher) advise in a book, blog, or sermon, “Men of the audience: are you married and your wife refuses to have sex? Easy: take her by force.”

Now, where one might expect to find such views are among odd-ball Reconstructionist, Quivering, or Patriarchal families and teachers, like this guy,

      (Link – off site):

Doug Wilson and his sexist, weird views that women want to be dominated, and husbands should conquer and penetrate them

    .

Early in the post, Moon write’s of Clark’s friend’s sexless Christian marriage,

      I bring up my story because I recently read this post by Carson T. Clark [(Link):

Livid at the Evangelical Sub-Culture & Its Epidemic of Sexless Marriages

    ] that has been making the rounds on the Christian internets for the past couple of weeks.

In this post, Clark tells the story of a male friend of his who is in a sexless marriage. This friend’s wife grew up in purity culture and now “cannot shake the deeply held belief that sex is gross, men are pigs, and restraint (i.e. abstinence) is more holy,” so now they don’t have sex.

Clark’s appraisal of the situation–which he bases only on his friend’s side of the story, never sharing his friend’s wife’s perspective–however, uses language that mirrors the coercive tactics my abuser used on me.

Let’s look at some of the things Clark says about people (mostly women, according to Clark, even though I know plenty of women in heterosexual marriages where their husband is the one who is much less interested in sex):

1. He calls the wife’s dislike of oral sex, lingerie, and sex toys “self-righteous.”

Where purity culture manipulates women into pre-marital abstinence using stereotypes of “The Whore,” and telling women, “You don’t want to be that girl,” Clark utilizes the stereotype of “The Prude.”

This woman, whose story from her own words is not important enough to Clark to make it into his blog post, gets called “self-righteous” because she won’t consent to some of the things her husband wants to try in the bedroom.

Rather than tackle the purity culture teachings that tell women certain sexual acts are sinful, he goes after a woman affected by these teachings.

First of all, why would a grown Christian man go blabbing to another man that his marriage is sexless? That seems inappropriate and tacky to me. Better to ask your wife to accompany you to a marital counselor to resolve the differences rather than spilling your dirty laundry to some chump from your church.

At any rate, Moon does make a fair point there.

Clark is being off-base by criticizing the woman brought up hearing purity culture teachings, rather than critiquing the teachings themselves, or how they are taught.

I’m afraid, though, that in many of these discussions, rather than discuss how purity can be conveyed, the usual emergent, feminist Christian, or liberal response is to say, “Christians should stop teaching these values at all,” or to make absurd and false claims, such as, “the Bible does not teach that a woman should stay a virgin until marriage.”

By the way: if you will notice: both pro- and- anti- sides only address the woman’s virginity.

Neither side, those both for or against virginity, mention that the Bible expects males to remain virgins until marriage (which it in fact does do), or, if mentioned at all, male virginity is glossed over, and the lion’s share of the post will harp on the woman’s virginity or sexual dysfunction.

All attention is usually “laser focused” on the woman’s sex drive, her virginity, etc.

Moon again:

2. Echoing the teachings of Mark Driscoll on this topic (as described in this post), Clark insinuates that the wife is being selfish for not having sex with her husband, and flat-out accuses her of sinning against her spouse.

He states that, in order to get out of having “regular sex” with one’s spouse, one needs a “valid medical or psychological reason.” I hate that he thinks he gets to determine what a “valid” reason is, and I hate that he doesn’t see years of brainwashing from spiritually abusive purity culture leaders as “valid.”

I would have to say Clark needs to wise up.

Marital sex, contrary to what evangelical, Reformed, Southern Baptist, and Fundamentalist churches and pastors teach you, does not guarantee hot, regular, or kinky sex. Nope.

I’ve blogged on that many times before, here is just a small sampling:

      (Link):

Getting Married Does Not Necessarily Guarantee Frequent Hot Satisfying Sexy Sex / (also discussed): Gender and Sex Stereotypes (article)

(Link): Problems Created by Conservative Christian Teachings About Virginity, Sex, and Marriage: Christian Couple Who Were Virgins At Marriage Are Experiencing Sexual Problems – Re: UnVeiled Wife (Marriage does not guarantee great sex)

(Link): AARP post: How to Handle a Sexless Married Life – But Christians Promise You Great Hot Regular Married Sex

(Link): Getting Married Does Not Necessarily Guarantee Frequent Hot Satisfying Sexy Sex – Husband is Sexless for Eight Years (article)

I also have links to news stories on this blog of married Christian men who turn to porn, mistresses, and prostitutes for more sex (and sometimes Christian wives use porn and have affairs, too).

Obviously, married Christian sex is not that hot if a person is not satisfied with their spouse alone but seeks out other sex partners.

So I don’t think ol’ Clark needs to be blaming a woman raised in purity culture for not being keen on having sex.

I do think this is one area where purity culture is mis-taught to kids and young adults: Christian adults frequently make promises in their books or sermons about dating and such, that if one just stays a virgin until marriage, that the sex will be super great and daily. The reality is, according to many testimonies I’ve read, sometimes married, Christian sex is awful and only happens once every ten years.

But I do not think those problems suffice to hold the attitude that Christians should not teach about what the Bible says about sex.

Again, where Moon says,

2. Echoing the teachings of Mark Driscoll on this topic (as described in this post), Clark insinuates that the wife is being selfish for not having sex with her husband, and flat-out accuses her of sinning against her spouse.

Am I the only person in America who’s heard of the concept of masturbation?

You really do not need another human being to bang off to. Having another human being around for that is a luxury, not an absolute necessity.

If your spouse is not doing it to the amount of your satisfaction, or not getting you off, say hello to your hand.

Which some married women do anyway, because standard penis- in- the- vagina- motions do not bring many women to orgasm, and they either end up masturbating, or have their husbands stimulate them with their hand.

For example (from (Link): Female Orgasm May Be Tied to ‘Rule of Thumb’, by S. D. James):

    About 75 percent of all women never reach orgasm from intercourse alone — that is without the extra help of sex toys, hands or tongue.

And 10 to 15 percent never climax under any circumstances.

The Internet is rife with non-orgasmic women who say they are missing out, and statistics suggest that they are a significant group.

There is nothing preventing a sexually frustrated married man, whose wife is not putting out at a rate he’d prefer, from masturbating.

Then again, I may not be the only one who has heard of it, LOL:

      (Link):

Letter to Advice Columnist: Husband Upset That Wife Masturbates

(Link): Grandma Gives Teen Granddaughter a Vibrator (letter to advice columnist)

I do agree with Moon here:

3. He [Clark] accuses people who marry without informing their spouse if they have a low sex of trying to “trap” (yes, he uses this word) a spouse into marriage. He tells people to make commitments about the frequency of sex before marriage, and calls a person who cannot keep these commitments “a horrible person.”

He never stops to think that maybe people who grew up in purity culture often have no idea what their sex drive is like because they’ve never been allowed to explore it.

That is true. I’m not sure how Clark completely and realistically expects a person to gauge his or her sex drive if he or she is attempting to stay a virgin until marriage.

However, I cannot agree with the standard liberal Christian or the emergent idea or “solution” that one should have sex prior to marriage with multiple people to see if one is sexually compatible with whomever.

See this post,

      (Link):

Weak Argument Against Celibacy / Virginity / Sexual Purity by the Anti Sexual Purity Gestapo – Sexual Compatibility or Incompatibility – (ie, Taking Human Beings For Test Spins – Humans As Sexual Commodities) (Part 2)

Moon goes on to say something I pointed out in one of my previous posts: that sex drives change over time.

Even if both husband and wife are insatiable sex fiends who do the nasty every single night, who is to say if ten years down the road if one or both tire of sex?

Maybe they eventually fall under job stress or their parent dies – they will no longer be “in the mood” or may be too tired to perform. If you read up on the topic, people’s sex drives do not remain constant over time.

Moon:

4. He [Clark] thinks more evangelicals should tell women, “It’s not OK to not fulfill your sexual responsibilities.”

Newsflash, Carson T. Clark: They tell us this ALL THE F-CKING TIME.

Yeah, I think she’s right about that one, in regards to married women.

I often hear married pastors shaming, begging, or brow-beating married Christian women to “put out more” for their spouse. They like to tell women putting out is their wifely duty.

Moon continues,

    But Clark’s solution to the Evangelical Subculture’s shaming tactics is to heap more shame on women who are already drowning in it. As I pointed out before, this isn’t much different from Mark Driscoll’s take on the subject. Or Emerson Eggerichs’. Or Focus on the Family’s.

Sorry, Carson T. Clark. But your view on marital sex is the Evangelical Subculture’s view and it is both spiritually and sexually abusive.

This, and the portion above about sexual abuse, is where I part ways somewhat.

Many churches, Christian leaders, preachers and groups are now embracing pre-marital sexual sin and trying to avoid shaming fornicators.

Christians are now attacking virginity, celibacy, and sexual purity; they are not shaming women for having sex prior to marriage.

I’ve written about that before, such as (there are many posts on this blog about it, here are only a few):

      (Link):

Joshua Rogers of Boundless / Focus on the Family Attacks Biblical Teaching of Virginity Until Marriage

(Link): Anti Virginity Editorial by Christian Blogger Tim Challies – Do Hurt / Shame Feelings or Sexual Abuse Mean Christians Should Cease Supporting Virginity or Teaching About Sexual Purity

(Link): I thought Christians “worshipped” virginity? Guess not: TLW (True Love Waits) Spokesman Says TLW Will NOT “Elevate Virginity” – Life Way to Relaunch “True Love Waits” Campaign

I leave you with a copy of my post I left on her blog:

My post on that blog (Sarah Over the Moon blog, in the post “The Answer To Sexual Shame is Not MORE Sexual Shame, Carson T. Clark”):

    I disagree to a point. I do not think abuse of a belief set necessarily entails that the entire belief set should be ignored or tossed out.

(Edit. I do agree with several of the criticisms by the blogger of Clark, though.)

Outside of some very fringe, kook, too-strict groups, I am not seeing sexual purity and virginity worshipped by Christians, which a lot of groups are claiming the last few years. If anything, more and more Christians today – even conservatives – have started to attack the concepts of virginity and sexual purity and celibacy, or to downplay their importance.

I am seeing more and more Christians embrace sexual sin, excuse it, and water it down, especially in light of the fact that so many liberal Christians, emergents, etc, go on and on in their blogs about how personally hurtful they find sexual purity teachings.

I also see a frequent mixing of issues – when most Christians discuss sexual purity, most of them are doing so in regards to consensual sex, not sexual abuse.

Obviously, sexual abuse victims are not to blame for having been raped or molested. But the fact that some people are sexually abused does not negate the fact that the Bible does not condone *consensual*, pre-marital sex.

I am a virgin in my 40s, as I have not married yet. I sometimes chat with other Christian virgins who are over age 30 – and we all notice virginity and celibacy are under attack *by Christians*.

We older celibates get no support for our celibacy / virginity, but either personally get attacked on some blogs (by conservative Christians), or we get told that our virginity is “no big deal.”

I think part of the problem is many people today do not feel any shame at all over any type of sin (including sexual sin, especially). If you claim to be a Christian and commit a sin, but then say you feel absolutely no remorse or guilt over it, I think something is wrong.

I have seen murder cases in court, on television, where the serial killer sits there and expresses no sorrow, guilt, or remorse for all the lives he took. That creeps me out.

In the same way, if someone tells me he or she is a Christian but doesn’t want to feel any shame at all over sexual sin (again, I am discussing consensual sex), or, has in fact had consensual pre-marital sex, and feels shame but doesn’t think she /he should “have” to, I wonder.

The Bible does say God gave everyone a conscience, so that when you violate God’s moral law, you will feel some shame or guilt. Feeling shame and guilt is not always a bad thing.

——————————–
Related posts this blog

Let’s get real. How much “shaming” is going on by Christians in regards to sex when we see headlines like this one:
(Link): Christians Are Following Secular Trends in Premarital Sex, Cohabitation Outside of Marriage, Says Dating Site Survey (survey/article)

(Link):  Some Researchers Argue that Shame Should Be Used to Treat Sexual Compulsions

(Link): Christian Preacher Admits He Won’t Preach About Sexuality For Fear It May Offend Sexual Sinners

(Link): No Christians and Churches Do Not Idolize Virginity and Sexual Purity – Christians Attack and Criticize Virginity Sexual Purity Celibacy / Virginity Sexual Purity Not An Idol

(Link): Sometimes Shame Guilt and Hurt Feelings Over Sexual Sins Is a Good Thing – but – Emergents, Liberals Who Are Into Virgin and Celibate Shaming

(Link): When Women Wanted Sex Much More Than Men – and how the stereotype flipped

(Link): Resident Christian Marriage Advice Writer at Christian Magazine Admits Some Christian Marriages are Sexless

(Link): Why Christians Need to Uphold Lifelong Celibacy as an Option for All Instead of Merely Pressuring All to Marry – vis a vis Sexless Marriages, Counselors Who Tell Marrieds that Having Affairs Can Help their Marriages

(Link): Perverted Christian Married Couple Wants to “Wife Swap” (For Sex) With Other Christian Couple – Why Christians Need to Uphold Chastity / Celibacy For All People Even Married Couples Not Just Teens

(Link): Christian Early Marriage Position Advocates A Low View of Celibacy and Virginity and Adult Singleness – another example: Justin Deeter Blog about Early Marriage

(Link): Slut-Shaming Is Bad—But The Overreaction Against It Also Hurts Women by J. Doverspike

(Link): Why So Much Fornication – Because Christians Have No Expectation of Sexual Purity

(Link): Christian TV Show Host Pat Robertson Disrespects Virginity – Says Pre-Marital Sex Is “Not A Bad Thing”

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