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10 Most Absurd Sex Tips from the Christian Right

Modern conservatives can't stop talking about sex. And what they say opens a window into the strange, sexist worldview of patriarchal religion.

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 husband’s infidelities, suggesting that male infidelity in nigh-inevitable. He did, however, make some suggestions on how to minimize the straying: “What you want to do is make a home so wonderful that he doesn’t want to wander.” 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 “captured” by their sexual desires and it’s up to women to “get him free”. 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 wife’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 “submission” is just a bit of Biblical-language goofiness isn’t to be meant in the secular sense, but in practice “submit to your husbands” means exactly what it sounds like. Richard Strauss from made it clear that women are to obey their husbands at all times, even when he’s being cruel. “Obedience 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!” 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, “Love is killed by self-sufficiency.” Sheryl Sandberg’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, you’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. “Wake up each day, look in the mirror and ask Jesus to tell you what is beautiful about you,” they advise. Despite the winking permission to let yourself have some fun now that you’re married, Christian Nymphos can’t quite let go of the constant sex policing, either, particularly coming down hard on sexual fantasy, because it’s rarely “about a married couple enjoying each other exclusively, in a loving manner”.

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