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'Sex-Crazed' Evangelicals Talk Spanking and Anal Sex

There is a growing movement of 'sex-positive' evangelicals, who bluntly talk about how to have better (married) sex.

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The Marriage Bed is co-authored by a married couple, and while it's refreshingly positive about things like oral sex and even spanking, it's homophobic and sexist, like pretty much all the sites I visited.  Women are characterized as wanting more snuggles and men as wanting more sex, and it's not even hinted that it might be reversed in some marriages, or even that snuggles might not be a chore for some men. What I found most amusing was their acceptance of fantasy was contingent upon making sure that you only fantasized about sex between married people. Like most of the sites, they demonstrate hostility towards female-controlled hormonal contraception. 

Christian Nymphos had a refreshingly explicit nature, which is what people go to sex advice websites for.  If you don't have details, you haven't learned enough to do it yourself.  Unlike Book 22 or the Marriage Bed, they don't seem to have any problems with dildos or anal sex, so point in their favor.  Like Book 22, they consider their mission mainly to make sex more fun for women, who they assume have strong sexual desires.  They even avoid the fear-mongering about female-controlled hormonal contraception. Despite refreshingly sex-positive views, though, they maintained the same disappointing levels of sexism, telling women to suck it up if they are left unsatisfied by sex or promoting female submission as romance.  

What I discovered was that women's influence on the message made it, if far from perfect and often downright offensive, much more positive than the sex advice and help that came straight from male ministers.  By contrast, look at Paul Wirth of the Relevant Church, who recently made headlines with his 30 day sex challenge.  Unlike the female-run sites that thrived more on suggestions and discussion, the 30 day sex challenge comes across like a dictate.  You're to have sex (if you're married, of course) for 30 days whether you're in the mood or not.  The reason Wirth gives for this is unsurprisingly sexist: "Every man's fantasy: 30 days of sex!" "Every woman's dream: 30 days of intimacy!"  This idea -- that the sex part of sex is for men, and women just want the intimacy--threads through many sites, unsurprisingly showing up more when men are doing more of the writing.  The challenge just struck me as another way to use sex as a tool to control, the flip side of abstinence-only. 

Minister Mark Driscoll of Seattle is positively obsessed with sex, and belongs to this category, even though there's something unnerving about it.  A big proponent of wifely submission, and just generally bagging on women ( Driscoll blamed Ted Haggard's wife Gayle for Ted's infidelities with male prostitutes, claiming that she had let herself go), Driscoll also offers a video series in which he answers people's questions about sex. These videos are pretty hard to take, since he's arrogant and pushy and just a little too interested in what's going on in the bedrooms of his parishioners for comfort. 

I suspect if the pro-sex movement in Christianity starts to really take off, we're going to see more men like Driscoll take over, and the control will be wrested away from the women who are currently out there writing a kinder, gentler form of evangelical sex advice.

Amanda Marcotte co-writes the popular blog Pandagon. She is the author of It's a Jungle Out There: The Feminist Survival Guide to Politically Inhospitable Environments .

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