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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.

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4) If you’re gay, marry someone of the opposite sex and try not to think about it too much. While most people are familiar with the “ex-gay” movement that encourages people to try to turn straight, the new strategy is a bit more subtle: Encourage gay Christians to just live like they’re straight and ignore their real desires. Josh Weed, a gay Mormon married to a woman, is one of the most straightforward examples. He claims his marriage is better than ones where there’s sexual attraction, claiming that their sex life is “about more than just visual attraction and lust”, insinuating that a marriage without lust in it might even be better. Even the head of the infamous ex-gay organization Exodus International has embraced the “gay but not acting on it” line, having his wife write on their website that she doesn’t even want a heterosexual husband, because his lack of attraction to other women means “I am the only person he chooses to direct his attraction toward.” Marry a gay man and rest assured he won’t sleep with other women! It’s more foolproof than Pat Robertson’s advice to keep him at home with good housekeeping.

5) Men, do not masturbate. Women, either, I suppose, but most anti-masturbation materials on the Christian right focus on men and casually assume women don’t have the same urge towards hearty self-loving. To prevent themselves from masturbating, young men are encouraged to start “accountability groups” where they try to de-lust themselves, mostly by telling each other to think of Jesus when they’d rather think of boobs. (Unlike the Christian Nymphos, these groups understand that thinking of Jesus is not sexy.) But while there’s some small attempt to make men responsible for their own behavior, most of the attention on preventing male lust is given to young women, who are mostly told to wear more clothes.

6) If husbands want more sex, women should do everything they can to give it to them. Focus on the Family’s marriage counselor Juli Slattery is blunt about: Married men need sex, and so wives who aren’t providing enough need to step up. While she claims she isn’t trying to guilt trip women into having more sex, she argues that sex is a physical, emotional, spiritual, and relational need men have. (Though apparently not when they’re single and can’t even fill this need on their own time.) “You cannot love him as a husband but reject him sexually,” she says, suggesting that regardless of the hold-up, women whose husbands want sex more need to find a way to provide it.

7) However, if wives want more sex, they should learn to go without. Slattery has very different advice for wives whose problem is that they want to get laid more, but have unwilling husbands. While you should move heaven and earth to drum up more desire for a husband who wants more sex, if you’re the undersexed one, you’re instructed to tell yourself “friendship, seasoned love, and shared history are often enough to maintain a marriage in which sex is no longer possible”. Men who want more sex are entitled to wives who try to provide it, women who aren’t getting any are told to be happy with “forms of physical affection that don't involve the pressure of sexual intercourse, such as back rubs, holding hands, playful touching, and hugging”.

8) Men should not believe their partners who say they want abortions. While the Christian right doesn’t like to talk about it, plenty of Christian women want abortions, at about the same rate as other women.  Anti-abortion activists then turn to men in an effort to prevent these abortions. Daybreak Crisis Pregnancy Center encourages men to disbelieve women who tell them they want abortions, instead saying the women were secretly “waiting for their boyfriends/husbands to stop them”, even if that means “rush through the door to rescue me and take me away somewhere safe”. Luckily for women who, generally, aren’t playing mind games by choosing abortion, most clinics have enough security to stop men who have crazed Christian right-induced white knight fantasies.

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