The Secret Sex Lives of Conservative Christian Women
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“I have a huge sex drive – it’s how God made me.”
All the women I talked to readily admitted that the evangelical church doesn’t handle sexuality well. From the woman who’d waited until marriage: “It's a big institutional and doctrinal flaw, this idea that sex is bad, sex is wrong. When you're told that your whole life, how are you supposed to just flip that switch when you finally get around to doing it?"
I asked her how long it took to hit her stride with her husband, to feel comfortable having sex. “A while!” she said. “Two or three months, because he was studying for the bar nonstop and we could only really try on weekends. We laughed about it, like, thank goodness we didn’t have anyone else to compare this to.” She added, “But now it’s wonderful. And you know, sex is all over the Bible. God commands us to have communion with each other.”
They all told me that they hoped there would be a generational change in the church, a shifting of priorities. “It’s not our job to grade,” one woman said forcefully. “The emphasis we put on sin is out of proportion. That’s the biggest problem I have with the church.”
Another said, “We should change the conversation. It should be understood that sex is beautiful. It should be more about what you might want to protect yourself against, and how. It should be more about not doing things that could harm you.”
“If I’m truly a Christian, I should be able to understand what grace is. And feeling terrible is not grace,” said another woman, who’d described herself as having “a huge sex drive — it’s how God made me.”
She added, “I went to a bachelorette party where they were asking all the married girls for sex advice for the bride-to-be. I just sat there, listening to them talk about fussy lingerie and complicated games and weird sex menus, and I didn’t say anything, even though I wanted to be like, ‘Girl, just buy a vibrator.’ You know, I have a lot of friends that are waiting, or have waited, and it was great for them. But that’s just not how it’s going to be for me.”
Previously: Interviews With Virgins.
Jia Tolentino is a writer in Michigan.