Study on Male, Christian Sexual Abstinence Reveals Many Christians Still Clinging to Gendered Sexual Stereotypes – Churches do not provide accountability classes for single women, for instance, because they don’t perceive women as wanting or needing sex
I blogged about this story a few days ago, please see this link:
- After Evangelical Virgins Marry, Then What? (New Study Discusses Problems Male Christians Have After Marriage With Sex)
But a new article I saw about this same study today made me want to point out something else about it. Here’s an except with comments by me below the excerpts:
Excerpts (emphasis added by me):
- AR: Are there similar support groups for abstinent women in the church?
SD: Not that I found. The church, and the men that I interviewed, don’t believe that women would need a space to talk through these issues.
They believe that men are highly sexual beings and they have “natural urges” that need to be controlled, but they don’t believe that women have that natural desire to be sexually active. Women are the providers of sexual activity for their husbands.
One of the men shared a revealing story. He was dating a woman from outside the church and she wanted to have sex with him. I asked him why they broke up, and he said that was the main reason. Not only did having premarital sex go against his beliefs—for him, it also indicated that she was in love with him, and he wasn’t yet in love with her. It couldn’t be that she just wanted to have sex with her boyfriend.
As I’ve said before on this blog, conservative Christians, every one from the Southern Baptists to the Reformed to Fundamentalists and Evangelicals – have some very mistaken ideas about women and sex.
Many women like sex every bit as much as many men do, and women can be prone to engaging in casual sex, having affairs, using porn, etc, as men do.
I’ve blogged on this issue before, such as (I have several blog pages about it, these are just two):
- (Link): When Women Wanted Sex Much More Than Men – and how the stereotype flipped
- (Link): Christian Stereotypes About Female Sexuality : All Unmarried Women Are Supposedly Hyper Sexed Harlots – But All Married Ones are Supposedly Frigid or Totally Uninterested in Sex
I also just posted this story the other day that shows that there are a lot of Christian women who admit to using pornography on a regular basis.
The story is mainly about men, but it also discusses porn use among women:
- (Link): Shocking Porn ‘Epidemic’ Stats Reveal Details About Christian Consumption (2014 Study) / Nearly Two-Thirds of Christian Men View Porn Monthly; They Are Watching It at Same Rate as Secular Men, Says Study – Christian Single Women: More Proof “Be Equally Yoked” Teachings Are Pointless
I feel that a lot of the church is so opposed to things such as homosexuality and transgenderism, that they think the “cure” for what they perceive to be these rampant sexual sins in culture is to make up ever more tighter, and stricter gender roles, where they insist “men are from Mars, women are from Venus, and God designed it that way” type of thinking. And it’s not biblical.
As a result of socially conservative Christians thinking one avenue of winning the sexual culture wars is to enact very strict gender roles, you will see Christians doing things like maintaining the assumption that all women want to marry and want to have children, or that all women should want those things. Christians will assume and teach and promote the idea that God designed all women to like the color pink, enjoy sewing tea pot cozies, be quiet and submissive, and sighing at pretty rainbows.
And if you are a woman who does not like pink, you tend to be outspoken, you do not marry, you do not have children, or do not meet their other criteria, they don’t believe you are filling your God given gender role.
Note again, this is their opinion only; God does not set up, in the Bible, requirements for men and women to fill in regards to gender roles that are to be true of all women for all time, or for all men for all time.
These sorts of Christians will teach that ALL men are, or should be, tough, stoic he-men who should want to watch football and NASCAR, and any man who does not do these things and other random criteria they come up with, is failing his role of “biblical manhood.”
The Bible does not teach such strict gender roles, nor does it have a bullet list of what a woman must or must not do to be a “biblical woman.”
Even the few general admonishments about a woman “being quiet in spirit” and so forth is not a universally applicable requirement, as some Christians try to make it be, but a comment to a particular issue facing a particular church 2,000 years ago in the Middle East, in regards to one or more women in that church who were problematic.
I am sympathetic to Christians who are concerned about the widescale acceptance of pre-marital sex (not that there are many left; most Christians seem blase’ about it now), abortion, and homosexuality, but the fact remains that God did not design all men to be one way and all women to be another.
There will always be Bible-believing men and women, sincere followers of Jesus Christ, who do not fall into expected, Christian views of what and how a woman or man “should” behave, or what their hobbies, employment, or personalities “should” be like.
American Christians are overcompensating in their fight against the immorality of secular culture.
I really do think a lot of them feel that if only they teach young boys to like football and enjoy watching Chuck Norris karate movies, that this will prevent a young man from “turning homosexual.”
I suspect Christians that promote strict gender roles think if they can just “shoe horn” men and women into these roles (which are not biblical), that this will eradicate homosexuality, secular feminism, and return America to a 1950s golden era of June and Ward Cleaver families. It won’t.
All it does is further alienate people who cannot meet the criteria or who are not interested in doing so. For example:
- (Link): Southern Baptist’s New Sexist “Biblical Woman” Site – Attitudes in Total Face Palm of a Site One Reason Among Many This Unmarried and Childless Woman Is Saying Toodle-Oo to Christianity
Christians have an unsettling tendency to read American cultural views of womanhood and manhood right back into the Bible, cherry pick a few verses that they feel supports their view, and we end up with a lot of Christians passing off their personal convictions, biases, or cultural ideas as being “what God wants for men and women for all times, eras, and cultures.”
There are Christian single WOMEN who’d like to be having sex but are remaining sexually pure, all on their own – ones such as myself (though I’m only partially Christian these days).
Where are the classes and workshops by Christians that support celibate, single Christian women?
Not only are women struggling alone in this while the men get all the attention, but I’m tired of the sexism inherent in these views.
I’m tired of Christians making blanket assumptions that women are not sexual, or conversely, the equally insulting assumption, that most or all single women are over-sexed harlots who sleep around with 435 men per day.
I’ve seen Christian men who blog they are tired of Christian culture assuming that all men are sex obsessed, and that all men are porn addicts or have sex with 432 women per day.
Churches need to stop with the cultural assumptions that only men want sex and struggle with temptation and that women are not sexual, don’t want sex, and only prefer “emotional intimacy” and reading cookbooks. Their stereotypes are causing additional harm, and not getting help to people who are struggling.
A female teenager just wrote Christian host Pat Robertson about a week ago to say she is addicted to porn and she wants advice on how she can stop viewing porn.
Before answering her, Robertson spent the first 1/3 of his reply in sheer amazement that a girl would have a libido, experience sexual desire and seek sexual release, and be using porn.
What are churches doing to help teen girls or women who are porn addicts? It appears they are doing nothing… because they are wrapped up in the old trope that “men are visually stimulated and want sex, women only want to snuggle and talk about their feelings.”
On a spiritual abuse blog, I read a three or four year old guest post by a Christian woman.
She said she was neglected by a mentally ill mother growing up, which led her to turn to masturbation and porn as a teen, as a coping mechanism with stress and turbulent emotions. She later got married.
To her dismay, even after marriage, she was still viewing porn and masturbating, which impacted her married sex life – she was not interested in having sex with her husband.
She went to her church elders and pastor for help in this area. She told them everything.
They simply told her that her husband wants sex, men like sex (her church seemed to assume that women don’t like or want sex), and that if she would just stick to her marriage and pray about things a bit, everything would turn out fine.
In the end, this woman had to leave that church, sought secular counseling to deal with her porn problem, and her marriage is doing better now.
My point is that this woman was a porn addict and her masturbation was a replacement for sex with her spouse. How many Christians consider such as thing is even possible?
Many Christians assume only men deal with porn, lust, or masturbation, so they set up all-male sex accountability groups. There is nothing at churches or in Christian culture for women, most of the time.
I don’t know when Christians are going to join the 21st century, drop the narrow gender role stereotypes and stop advocating them thinking it will put an end to divorce, abortion, homosexuality, etc, and realize that women tend to want and enjoy sex just as much as many men do (not that all men are sex crazed), which does mean some women and teen girls use porn or have other sexual issues.
By the way, if you are a social conservative such as myself, and you are a Christian – the Bible teaches that it’s Jesus Christ who heals people inwardly and helps them conquer problems. Self control and will power can also play a role.
Counseling, medications, psychology and psychiatry can help too, if a person has problems with some types of sexual sin, or with depression, anxiety, or other problems.
Forcing people to meet a rigid list of gender role expectations that your organization dreams up, and that are, in all honesty, based on American culture ideals of the 1950s (rather than the Bible), isn’t going to do the trick, and the assumptions in these beliefs is leading to the neglect some people who need help, such as women who have porn addictions.