If This is What Christian Sex Is Like, No Thank You

In case you were looking for the worst review of 50 Shades of Grey ever written, I would read Jared Wilson‘s at The Gospel Coalition. All he does is reference a passage from a Christian book by Douglas Wilson about how “perverted” the whole idea of dominance and submission is:

… however we try, the sexual act cannot be made into an egalitarian pleasuring party. A man penetrates, conquers, colonizes, plants. A woman receives, surrenders, accepts. This is of course offensive to all egalitarians, and so our culture has rebelled against the concept of authority and submission in marriage. This means that we have sought to suppress the concepts of authority and submission as they relate to the marriage bed.

Rachel Held Evans‘s jaw just dropped to the ground. She can’t believe how anyone could possibly write that:

That Wilson blames egaliatarianism for the presence of rape and sexual violence in the world is ludicrous and unsubstantiated. His characterization of sex as an act of conquering and colonization is disturbing, and his notion that women are little more than the passive recipients of this colonization, who simply “accept” penetration, is as ignorant as it is degrading.

According to this post, sex is just another avenue through which a man must exert his authority over woman. As with everything else, the man is the boss and the woman is the subordinate. Wilson contrasts this “God-ordained” relationship of authority and submission to that of an “egalitarian pleasure party,” which I can only assume refers to a sexual relationship characterized by mutual pleasure, mutual authority, mutual submission, and mutual respect — which sounds a lot more desirable to me than being conquered and colonized.

We have plenty of problems in the atheist community but at least dictating what other peoples’ sex lives should be like isn’t one of them.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=813165390 Annika Raaen

    Wow. Well…as disgusting as that is, at least someone from that camp is being honest about most Christian attitudes towards sex. I guess?

    • Dan

      And what scientific survey have you found that confirms your presumptions about “most Christian attitudes towards sex”? 

      I’m a happily married 59 year old baby boomer who’s been an evangelical Christian for 40 years and I’ve never known a single believer from even the most rigid traditions to harbor the attitude about women or sex that you and most who are posting here are gleefully assigning to all Christians in a knee-jerk reflex to the Wilsons’ tragic choice of words and poorly advised writings. 

      Yes, there are some like Doug Wilson who hold that the garden mandate of a husbands rulership and a wife’s submission is universally sustained. I don’t share that view. But even in those cases I’ve never personally observed behavior in a home or a marriage relationship that even slightly appeared to be a husband dominating his wife into submission.  In fact I’ve most consistently heard it preached in these camps that a wife’s submission to her husband is obedience to God, not obedience to her husband. 

      Maybe I’m just lucky to have known hundreds of decent loving people. I’ve heard stories of wife abuse, of course, but none that can be blamed on a man’s honest attempt to obey God. Psychopaths can be found anywhere if you look but I’d appreciate it if people who abhor Christianity in general and all Christians in particular would at least point fingers accurately and specifically instead of painting with broad strokes and perpetuating convenient caricatures.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=813165390 Annika Raaen

        Hello Dan!  
         
        First of all, your comment comes off as rather silly. You chide me for being presumptuous and unscientific, yet go on to base your assertions on presumptions and personal anecdotes. Was that intentional…or…?
         
        Neither one of us has the inside tract on who is more right about this subject. Like you, I can only go on personal experiences of my own and of those who have chosen to share theirs with me in person or to a general audience online or in books. Obviously there are plenty of god fearin’ couples who are progressive and egalitarian in their relationships and have sex because it’s fun rather than just to make offspring. I know some, myself. But. On the flipside, there are plenty who are taught that men are the head of the household and that women are to defer to their husbands for all things. It can express itself in degrees of severity, but it’s taught and reinforced by the church and the laypeople. I was a member of two Christian traditions in my short 35 years. Born and raised in the evangelical tradition, converted to Russian Orthodoxy in my early 20′s. (confirmed atheist since February 2011) Each tradition varies in outward rigidity, but I can tell you that they both teach the same EXACT thing when it comes to sex and relationships. It’s a softer version of what Wilson said, but the sentiment is the same. Maybe the “most” in my first comment refers to the more conservative of Christian traditions, which is in my sphere of experience and observation. The progressive Christians I personally know (a tidy handful of people in real life and online), however, still seem to defer to this same teaching, but it’s come about as more of a choice than a mandate. A trend? Random? Not sure, but that’s what I’ve observed.

        You say that in *all* of your 59 years you haven’t met one *single* person from the most rigid traditions that believe this stuff? I call shenanigans. Either you don’t get out much, or you keep extremely insular circles of friends.
          
        Also, as a recently deconverted Christian, I reserve the right to make gleeful knee jerk responses (on *atheist* websites), to asshats like Wilson and whatever ilk might agree with him. I’d appreciate it if people like you wouldn’t pretend to be victimized by statements that are obviously not about YOU. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/shanilly Princess-Empress Shanna

    That’s disgusting.

  • P2

    There’s a man who has never read the works of D.H Lawrence. 

  • Sue Blue

    “Fifty Shades of Gray” is, from a literary standpoint, one of the most poorly-written books I’ve had the misfortune to read lately.  I could only make it about halfway through before I had to give up in irritation.  It’s not the sex – it’s the shitty writing.  That being said, I find this Christian perversion of sex to be much more disturbing….and confusing.  Jared Wilson apparently has a problem with S&M…but only if it’s heathen S&M.  If you’re handcuffing your wife to the bed bed in the name of Christ, it’s okay.

    • Tainda

      I so totally agree!  I like my erotic fiction written above a 5th grade level

    • ro

      youve never read twilight then… all this stupid shit i could have written when i was 12. 

      • YuriNalarm

        The reason these books are popular is because they are poorly written. “Twilight” and “the Hunger Games” are books for teens but since the majority of the population finds them easy to read they become popular.

        • CelticWhisper

          In defence of THG, I’ve read worse and it’s at least a cut (or 80) above Twilight.

          Don’t get me wrong, it’s no “Cryptonomicon” but it’s nice to see kids reading something that at least plants seeds of defiance and independence in their minds.  The protagonist’s slight “Fuck you, make me” attitude is vastly preferable to the poorly-shrouded allegory for eschewing premarital sex and the “do everything the Right Way(TM)” mentality in Twilight.   “Mormon vampire abstinence porn” indeed.

          Haven’t read 50 Shades yet (though my girlfriend is looking forward to it), as I’ve just started The Baroque Cycle, but I’ve heard…very mixed things.  Luckily I have some very kinky friends who are able to recommend good alternatives in case it turns out to be a letdown.

    • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

      Wasn’t it originally a Twilight fan-fic? Or is that an urban legend?

      • Stev84

         No, that’s true

      • 3lemenope

        [Removed: Duplicated Effort]

    • Stev84

      You’d think BDSM would be the dream for Christian patriarchs (as long as the men are in the dominant role). Except for the fact that BDSM is always consensual and has safe words, it’s what they preach all the time. That the men are always in charge. That women have no sexual desire of their own and must do everything to please their men or they will look elsewhere.

      Of course they have this silly buzzword about “mutual submission”, but that’s just window dressing and doesn’t really mean anything.

      • CelticWhisper

        I’d always thought the same thing, and there’s at least some sliver of the christian population who agrees.  Google for “christian domestic discipline romance fiction” to see what I mean.  Yep, it’s spanking-fetish stories for Jesus freaks.

        I think the christian aversion to BDSM is another of those conflations of religious doctrine with cultural norms.  BDSM is seen as “fringe” sexuality and involves creativity and expanding and exploring the dynamic between partners.  Of course, this detracts from both the (hypothetical) focus on sex as an act for married couples who were joined in the church of Lordy McJesusGod, by taking focus off of “we’re fucking for Jehovah!” and putting it on “holy crap my body needs to synthesize more orgasms, I’ve run out!”; and the cultural desire of christianity to be seen as the de-facto and exclusive image of normal, wholesome, morally-upright mainstream family life, by associating it with those evil, deviant, unwholesome goths/metalheads/atheists/TEH GHEYZ/swingers/insert(heh heh you said insert)-kinkster-stereotype-here.

        Personally, I can’t imagine a world where D/s is uniformly divided along gender lines.  In sexuality, as in anything and everything else, gender should be a non-entity and it’s way too much fun being a switch to relegate myself solely to topping as religionists would have me do.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=687121933 Carrie Looney

        That’s the problem – BDSM is consentual.  You can’t do it right unless the players communicate clearly about needs and wants, respecting each other as equals, giving and recieving power voluntarily in an agreed-upon framework.  It’s actually quite egalitarian at its heart, and therefore un-Christian.

        • Guest

          and of course… everybody follows the rules… BDSM is so safe cause there are safe words and it only resembles the stuff that if we talk about we must put a “trigger alert” or not joke about it in games or online… How can you defend an article talking about not taking rape and domination lightly then turn around and embrace rape and domination? Oh, I forgot, it’s consensual. People ALWAYS follow the rules. duh

  • Randomfactor

    “at least dictating what other peoples’ sex lives should be like isn’t one of them.”

    Que the anti-harassment-policy trolls in five…four…

    • http://twitter.com/arensb arensb

      ¿Que?

      • CelticWhisper

         s/que/cue

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=687121933 Carrie Looney

    I guess that if that shitty book will not die a well-deserved death, the least it can do is piss off the fundies.  It’s no surprise to me that’s how they see sex.  It’s how they see life in general.  Men (not just any men, a select few white rich men) on top, women and ‘others’ below, serving passively - and that dominance and authority is all a loving kindness (see: white man’s burden). 

    It bothers me greatly when people can’t see the difference between fantasy/BDSM and real-deal rape, which seems to be the case for this nutty Christian reviewer.  Hell, wading into the comments, I’m not sure he can see the difference between what he considers ‘normal’ sex and rape.  That dude has some serious issues. 

  • http://twitter.com/LeftsideAnnie Kate

    Heh. “God” never said that. A bunch of men with tiny little dicks said that. 

  • Tainda

    The whole stereotype of women not liking sex comes from Christians.  Of course your women don’t like to have sex!  You’re boring!

    “Unf, unf, unf!  Ok honey, I’m done.  Was it good for you?  Now go make me a chicken pot pie!”

    • Pascale Laviolette

      HAHA, legit LOL from the “chicken pot pie” bit…

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Aaron-Scoggin/100000044792747 Aaron Scoggin

      “Unf, unf, AHHH. That was so good! Honey?”

      “Did you say something, dear?”

      O.O;

    • Craig

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1216621/German-men-worlds-worst-lovers-lazy-English-come-second-battle-sheets.html

      BEst lovers in the world all from Catholic countries. Worst ones all from Protestant/atheist countries full of homosexual media.

    • John12345678910

       Actually it has been shown that married educated religious women are more orgasmic

    • Montwhitson

      Your not a Christian. How in Gods world can you know anything about “Christians and sex”?

  • Bill Haines

    If either of these guys ever has been laid, I pity their partners.  Oops, I mean, their “conquests”. o.O

    • Tainda

      Their depositories

  • snoozn

    The amusing thing is that the Christian fundies, the literary elites and the BDSM community all hate this book! Strange bedfellows indeed.

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke, orphan

      /thinks about party theme

  • http://profiles.google.com/julielada Julie Lada

    An egalitarian pleasure party sounds fun. How do I get my name on the guest list?

    • http://www.facebook.com/gwydionfrost Daniel Parker

      Me, too. Sign me up.

      In fact, I want to create a political party named that: “Egalitarian Pleasure Party”.

      • Tainda

        I would join that party

      • Xeon2000

        I know how I’m voting now. Woohoo!

        • CelticWhisper

          I’m envisioning a partnership between EPP and the Pirate Party.  There are eyepatches involved.  And large pasta dinners after all is said and done.

          Ahh, what a wonderful world it could be.

          • http://profiles.google.com/julielada Julie Lada

            Aw, see now I’m picturing dirty things involving a peg leg.

            • CelticWhisper

              Aye, right there, lad – that be the spot.  Roger me harder, ye scurvy swab.  Arrrr.

  • advancedatheist

    This comment from a conservative christian shouldn’t surprise anyone who has read George Lakoff’s unified theory of conservatism based on the Strict Father metaphor. 

    Of course, it violates PZ Correctness to bring up the fact that patriarchy has an empirical basis lacking in theism: People can’t observe gods, but men can observe women. You can dispute patriarchal beliefs, but you can’t dispute that patriarchs have evidence in their favor.  

    • Kristeva1985

       I’m not sure what you mean. Societies and cultures are largely what people have made of them, and people tend to be bound by social conventions. Men can observe women and draw conclusions about what’s typical for men or women, but not only is the way men and women are shaped by social pressures, but people’s own observations are shaped by what they expect. It’s tough to get outside of those biases – men who believe women *are* a certain way are probably noticing evidence that confirms their biases and filtering out evidence that goes against it. I read shoddy studies all the time which pretend to ‘prove’ that men and women are ‘totally different’ but which aren’t particularly rigorous.

    • Onamission5

      Feel free to enlighten us as to the nature of this patriarchial evidence.

    • CelticWhisper

       What.

  • Mirrors2eyes

    His inability to accept basic biological understanding as it relates to sex, which (not sure if he knows this) IS a biological act. Humans have this mentality based on millions of years of evolution of a pack mentality. Such behavior can easily be found in many primates and other mammals. Just not as poetically.

  • smrnda

    I can’t see any reason to believe that ‘egalitarianism’ has increased violence against women or rape – in fact, I doubt that rape and violence against women has actually increased given how backwards, patriarchal societies treat women. Unless his argument is that men need to view sex as violence and aggression and that, when denied this, they’ll become sex criminals.

    The problem with that is he’s assuming that’s part of men’s essential natures, and I doubt that the view of sex as ‘conquest’ is one that all men hold to. It’s the standard, stereotypical patriarchal way to view sex, and I doubt men like that care that while they claim to speak for all men, they are really just speaking for themselves. Plenty of men don’t view sex as consuest and domination, and what about men who enjoy submissive sexual encounters with women?

    Also, there are people who make egalitarian relationships work, and they sound far more profound, mature, meaningful and satisfying than this guy’s take on marriage and relationships. It seems like he’s doing the usual “I’m a savage and a cave man and I don’t want anyone to pretend men can be anything else, because that would raise the bar too high for me.”

  • Chris Kilroy

    This is sickening. According to these people, rape is the result of people not following god’s laws for sex? The only acceptable form of sex to them is one in which the woman submits to a man’s dominance in a marital bed. I am sure that my Catholic wife would love that idea. The interesting thing that I did take away is that on Wilson’s blog, the comments I saw were all calling him and the other Wilson out for being misogynistic d-bags. He seems to not understand how anyone can disagree with him on this argument though. It would be amusing if it weren’t so horrifying.  

  • Michael

    Is this relating to the hotel chain that dropped the Gideon Bible for it?

  • Onamission5

    Don’t you know, rape wouldn’t exist if women would just submit to men’s dominance and accept it as their lot in life, and stop thinking that they get to have say in their own sex lives.

    *retch*

    • Sue Blue

      Yep, it’s those bitchy, uppity broads who think they’re entitled to college degrees, careers that pay as much as a man’s, birth control, and their own bodies who are cock-blocking all those poor, beleagured men until their lil ol’ egos and genitals just can’t stand it anymore!   Whatever is a Christian penis-bearer to do?

      I wonder how they explain away prison rape of males.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

    That’s just disgusting. So the woman just lies there submissively while she gets humped, conquered, colonized, and planted. WTF. Are we talking about dogs or humans?
    “however we try, the sexual act cannot be made into an egalitarian pleasuring party.” I’m guessing he’s never tried, because it’s rather easy. 

  • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

    I think there’s some truth in what Wilson says. By that I mean that an anthropologist might find a connection between the nature of human sex, dominant and submissive roles in humans, and many aspects of human culture (historical and contemporary).

    Personally, I don’t find the words themselves disturbing, but rather, the fact that Wilson is apparently satisfied with allowing human society to take all its direction from certain ways that our brains happen to operate… as if we didn’t also have a rational brain capable of improving on our most base natural motivations.

    So much of the worst that humans do comes from action taken without reflection; so much of the best we do comes from our ability to rise above our instinctual behavior. Perhaps the single greatest harm that religion creates is the environment where people are discouraged from using the reasoning part of their brains to work out basic principles of ethics.

    • nakedanthropologist

      As an anthropologist, I will disagree with you on that one.  The concept of a man as the “conqueror” and a woman as “conquered” as ideally practiced sexual philosophy is actually quite modern and western.  Historically speaking, sex among non-elites was largely uninhibited…up until Calvinism (for Europe and North America).  The Vatican openly owned and operated brothels, for example.  And that’s just Europe/North America.  The idea of sex as an act of submission is quite Abrahamic, and more related to culture than biology and/or brain function.  Just sayin’. ;)

      • Stev84

        It’s really Greek/Roman, which is the culture Christianity grew out of. One striking thing about his obsession with penetration is that this is what Roman sexuality was based on in its entirety. They were big on the active/passive part and also extended that to some other stuff like oral sex.

        The only difference is that the Romans extended the circle of acceptable partners further. It was acceptable to visit prostitutes (which the aristocracy kept for obvious reasons, since their marriages were always pragmatic) and it was acceptable for men to have sex with boy. The only condition was that you had to assume the active role. Being the passive partner automatically assigned someone a lower social status.

      • T B

        Can you site a reference for the Vatican operated brothels? I’ve heard similar claims but have yet to hear a scholarly reference. If you have one please post.

  • Baby_Raptor

    And of course, comments are closed. 

    My body is MINE. Mine only. My fiance has permission to use it, on the rare occasion he’s not halfway across the country. It’s not “conquering” if he has my permission to Fuck me. 

    I bet that drives these idiots absolutely insane. 

  • http://www.queereka.com/ Yessenia

    So, this guy has literally never heard of strap-ons.  Or the gays.  And he’s so uncreative that he can’t imagine a position where the woman is more active even with PIV.
    I really did not know it was possible to go through life that incurious. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1054865351 Brad Thacker

    Not as much a thought on religion but:

    Though I haven’t read it myself, nor do i have the intention to, I’m seeing a trend. With the Twilight series (another literature abortion I am told to avoid and gladly do so) and this book being made into a movie, maybe I should crap something onto a written page can possible cash in on this Hollywood thing.

    Just a thought though.

    • Sue Blue

      I too have pondered this, and considered writing some trash and making some money. I’d feel so dirty, though – and it’d be really, really hard to write that badly….maybe if I just cobbled together some teenager’s drunken text messages and threw in some sex and gore…

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

         I could shit out a better book than Twilight, but seem to have creative constipation. :(

  • JS

    Just wanted to point out that some atheists DO have a problem with this book in regard to some of the issues raised in this post and its comments. Is it really too much to ask that we  think about WHEN and WHERE this sexual  framework originated – what was women’s social status at that time? Why exactly is it considered progressive by some to defend this? Is it really just an issue of a truly free “choice” when some sexual behaviors  (especially for women) are undeniably considered “cooler, more edgy and hot” than others? No one’s trying to ban anything, before anyone tries bring in that tired accusation. Just some critical analysis here. (Unless it’s taboo now to ask for that?)

    • http://twitter.com/Mme_DeFarge Madame DeFarge

       It comes from ancient Roman thought. A man could only call himself a man in ancient Rome as long as he always played the “active” role in sex, any sex, with other males, women or slaves it was all fine as long as the man was the giver, not the taker, so to speak.

      Christianity, which spread through the Roman empire and thus worldwide, took that idea and also ran with the parts of the Old Testament that forbade homosexuality.

      But, I think it would be wise to consider the way ancient Romans viewed sexuality when we think about or discuss child sex scandals within the Catholic Church. The Vatican being basically a two-thousand year old extension of the Empire, I kind of have a feeling that’s at least partly why they look the other way when these things come to light.

  • http://twitter.com/Mme_DeFarge Madame DeFarge

    Funny they consider this a Christian ethos when it actually dates back to pagan times. Ancient Romans were heavy on this active/passive role crap.

  • Gus Snarp

    What I see here is three posts in a row of Christian projection. So many Christians who seem to have such strong urges to do things that they think are morally wrong (or in some cases really are wrong), that they think that if they didn’t have religion to stop them, they’d do them. The radio host who thinks atheist girls are easy and that Christian boys are out to get laid by them – who knows what they’d do if they didn’t have religion’s moral restraint, another radio host who thinks atheists have it easy because without religion they must feel no sense of guilt, responsibility, or doubt about anything – clearly he would just do whatever he wanted without a sense of guilt or ethical deliberation if he had no religions, and finally the reviewer who thinks that without Christian sex rules everyone would descend into rape. Stay away from this guy at all costs.

    Once again, Christians proving that atheists are morally superior – we try to do right because we believe it makes a better world for others and ourselves. They do what they are told is right only because the alternative is eternal torture.

  • Godless_Lawyer

    Now all I can think of is what typically atheist adjectives could be applied to sex.

    Skeptical lovemaking?

    • CelticWhisper

       Faithless fucking.

    • CelticWhisper

      Rational rogering?  Science-oriented screwing.

  • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

    I’d make a lousy Jesus-fearin’ Christian. I’m a big fan of women going cowgirl on me.

    YEEEHAH!

    • Tainda

      Or reverse

  • Nicki

    Considering the source of these words, Doug Wilson, is somewhat infamous for his defense of southern slavery, claiming it was a time where black-white relations were at their most positive, I can’t say I’m surprised at his views. The man is despicable.  I am surprised however that The Gospel Coalition has been so embracing of  this up until now completely fringe author. The Gospel Coalition is horrible, but I never thought it was this horrible.

  • http://creativefidelity.wordpress.com/ Dan F.

    not trying to defend him but there is an updated post that attempts to clarify his intentions and meanings:

    http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/gospeldrivenchurch/2012/07/18/shades-of-outrage/ 

    • http://twitter.com/InMyUnbelief TCC

      And unsurprisingly, he missed the point.

  • anon101

    First
    of all what you are dismissing here is standard feminist theory. And
    secondly within a consensual framework vanilla sex contains a lot
    more power elements than people are aware of.

    • Sususubaby

      Not feminist. It’s tied to Andrea Dworkin (who used it in a confusing context as I understand it), but it’s in no way standard. Not now, and not when introduced either.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QPVVPRJ7QKLPU6TF5B4IZTENTI No

    The thing about religious – especially when it’s conservative – thinking in general, is that when they are trying to explain how their world view and moral system is superior and raises humanity up, the logical outcomes actually reduce humanity down to a more animalian state. Not to claim that we aren’t in fact animals, but look at just the tribal aspect of religion; apes can be seen behaving in the same way with respect to territory, group dominance, etc. The focus on heterosexual and prolific reproduction is another example, where they think they are achieving some supernatural goal by following some divine “plan”, when in reality, they’re F’ing like bunnies and using obtuse, easily surmounted arguments as to why everyone needs to F like bunnies and procreate heterosexually.

    The latest sexual furor in Christianity stemming from this 50 Shades book is just another way that this religious thinking reveals itself, and the base and banal ways in which they treat humanity’s nature and progress (especially the men). Sex can’t possibly be a loving act between 2 consenting adults; rather, it is one of fallen man’s many ways in which he expresses power, dominance, and conquest over anything, be it land, or women, enough to spread his seed. Women, for their part, are apparently, little more than fertile soil to follow the man around and  pump out progeny. How else to explain the way they describe the woman’s part in sex as “surrendering”?

    The more they try to act like their religion and moral code puts them above the fray, the more they actually reduce themselves. This is a multifaceted thing, I think, that isn’t relegated to just the ways in which they intentionally limit their critical faculties and intelligence in service of their dogma.

  • Stacy McDonald

    Though I think you’re misrepresenting Wilson’s quote, I’d still like to
    present another reason why reading 50 Shades of Grey is damaging.
    Besides the poor writing and the fact that this book teaches young girls
    to enjoy being humiliated and beaten by rich, good looking, bad-boys,
    it is also a form of pornography that impacts the brain, and a woman’s
    ability to bond with a real person in a healthy way. Also, the
    idea that “as long as it’s consensual, it is acceptable” is ridiculous.
    Many women stay in horribly abusive relationships out of their own free
    will. There is a victim mentality that keeps them there without chains
    or handcuffs. It happens all the time. The most disturbing part of it
    all is that people who should know better are encouraging it…even to
    “enhance” healthy marriages. Please. I’m sure there are a lot
    of slimy men out there who LOVE this book, even though they’ve never
    read it. They just like the results their getting from the naive women
    around them. And many women – women who would freak out over a
    husband’s viewing of pornography – think nothing of engaging in literary
    porn that gives more graphic detail than visual porn. And with literary
    porn you practically experience the act, complete with smell, taste,
    sound, touch, and (mental) sight (our imaginations are far more intense
    and powerful than PhotoShop). I would invite you to read my
    article (yes, it’s written from a Christian perspective, so I dare you)
    that talks about how pornography, and even erotica damage the brain:http://yoursacredcalling.com/blog/2012/07/no-shades-of-grey-a-black-and-white-seduction-of-the-mind/

    • Mike Webster

      “There is a victim mentality that keeps them there without chains 

      or handcuffs. It happens all the time. The most disturbing part of it 
      all is that people who should know better are encouraging it ”  Sounds like religion.

    • 3lemenope


      Many women stay in horribly abusive relationships out of their own free will. 

      If abuse is involved, then free will doesn’t much enter into it. Being able to act freely is to be able to act in the absence of coercion; coercion need not be physical to exist. Describing anything involving abuse as consensual is an error.

      Then again, you go on and confuse a consensual BDSM relationship with abuse, so that kind of undercuts your credibility for the broader criticism. 

      • Stacy McDonald

        Teaching young women that is it desirable to engage in sexual relationships with men who take perverse pleasure in beating them for hours is perverse and dangerous. Regardless of whether or not a woman agrees to abuse (and it’s abuse regardless of what achronym you want to give it), it is a perversion of the beauty and excitement of a healthy, trusting (even playfully aggressive) relationship.

        Pain, humiliation, whippings, torture etc. are evil – even if you convince (brain wash) a woman (or a man) that they enjoy it.

        Abuse (whether it’s consensual or not) has no place in a healthy relationship.

        • 3lemenope

          This has the distinct feel of the ol’ “I don’t like the look of it, it must be wrong!” argument. I’m curious, have you ever actually talked with someone who was into BDSM about their experiences and feelings on the matter, or is that not necessary for you to feel you understand this rather complicated subject and simply pass judgment?

          • Stacy McDonald

             Actually, yes. I’ve counseled with many women who have been involved in this type, as well as other types, of sexual deviancy. In addition, I have my own background of various forms of consensual abuse – abuse from which Christ freed me (both physically and emotionally).

            Twenty something years later, my “new normal” no longer involve a skewed view of my personal worth. My standard has been raised by a God who loves me.

            Through my own experience, as well as counseling with many other women, I have found that when a person has been damaged (especially during childhood)  self-inflicted (consensual) pain is preferable to pain outside your control. This could be in the form of S&M, abusive romantic relationships, self-destructive life choices, drugs  & alcohol abuse, and the list goes on.

            To promote a lifestyle that caters to abusers (those who ENJOY and get off to inflicting pain), and programs women, often weak women with baggage, to enjoy it, is to be (at least to some degree) culpable for their abuse.

            • 3lemenope


              Actually, yes. I’ve counseled with many women who have been involved in this type, as well as other types, of sexual deviancy. 

              May I ask, in what context does this counseling take place?

              • Stacy McDonald

                 I am a pastor’s wife, so my counseling has been in the context of ministry. My preference is Nouthetic counseling, of which I’m sure, as an atheist you would disagree with. Regardless, I am not the point. Again, my legitimate concerns over the disturbing desire to make violence against women mainstream and fun (even as the culture and poorly written erotica attempts to brainwash her into liking it).

                • 3lemenope

                  I didn’t think “you were the point”. I  just wanted to know where you were coming from so I could better assess your claims. 

                  People’s attitudes towards things tend to be underwritten by the sum of their experiences (which include the reports of those they trust of their experiences). I have no doubt that you have counseled women who were being abused, and regardless of my opinion of the specific type of counseling, undoubtedly that experience has made you more sensitive to the issue of abuse in general. It reminds me a great deal of a AA counselor’s common attitude toward intoxicants. They see what damage can result in some cases, and so can sometimes have a negative view in general informed by what they see and hear but not moderated by the knowledge that what they are seeing is a biased sample of a limited field.

                  Alcohol is actually a good metaphor here. Most people can imbibe alcohol and do so with moderation, and it simply adds to their joie de vivre and aesthetic experience of reality. It is a pleasant accompaniment for a dinner or something to share with a friend at a bar. However, a few people cannot (for whatever reason) moderate their intake of alcohol, and become alcoholics, and the drink wreaks havoc in their lives and the lives of those around them. 

                  The question becomes, given that a small but significant proportion of those who use alcohol will abuse it, does that make alcohol consumption itself bad and/or evil? I’d tend to say it is hard to argue so. Even the Bible backs me up there. 

                  People who are seeking counsel are already in a place where they feel like something is wrong. Hence all you’ll ever see is of things like this going poorly; it’s a bad sample from which to draw definitive conclusions about a practice in general, much like a person would get a distorted picture of what alcohol does if they only ever talked with alcoholics. So, all I’m suggesting is that your judgment about this matter is distorted in light of the fact that you are only seeing BDSM relationships that are dysfunctional, that have already crossed hard lines into abuse that nobody who is involved with the mainstream practice condones.

                • Stacy McDonald

                   I agree with your point here… to an extent. Our past experiences as, well as our presuppositions on any given subject, do indeed influence our opinions. That’s why you and I will probably never agree. Because to go beyond personal and professional experience, and even physiological fact (chemical changes in the brain), I would have to appeal to my foundational and primary reason for believing that reading this book, as well as engaging in this type of activity (specifically outside of the safe place of a loving, trustworthy, healthy marriage) is morally wrong, and that is the Word of God (the Bible), which you reject.

                  As to your other question, I do believe that endorphins and endocannabinoids are gifts from God. We are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Just like any other gift that God gives us, we often pervert and misuse His gifts to our own detriment.

                • 3lemenope


                  Just like any other gift that God gives us, we often pervert and misuse His gifts to our own detriment.

                  What leads you to believe it is a misuse?

                  I’m also not clear on just what in the Bible leads you to believe that BDSM, itself, (much like the use of alcohol, itself) is morally wrong. It doesn’t seem to fit into any of the proscribed categories that are listed (promiscuity, prostitution, homosexuality [arguably], incest, infidelity). While I may not believe that the Bible is the world of God, I am quite familiar with its contents, and something just isn’t adding up here for me.

                • Stacy McDonald

                  Since I’m having trouble figuring out the html to make bold or indent where I’d like, I’ll just link to my reply to you in the comment section of my blog. It’s rather long, and it is filled with Scriptural reasons for my assertions (at your request). But since the  format here only allows me a one inch wide reply section, I’m feeling rather claustrophobic. :-).  I’m sure it has something to do with my lack of technical suave. Here is my assertion that BDSM is morally wrong:

                  http://yoursacredcalling.com/blog/2012/07/no-shades-of-grey-a-black-and-white-seduction-of-the-mind/#comment-42808ent-8082808mment-42808

                • Stacy McDonald

                  Also, for the record, I do not believe that alcohol is a sin. Quite the contrary. However, I do believe the Bible teaches that drunkenness is sin.

                • Stacy McDonald

                  Something weird seems to have happened with my link. And what’s with the replies getting narrower and narrower? LOL

                  Here’s another try. And remember you are the one who asked for Scripture supporting my position, so don’t complain that I’m being preachy. ;-)

                  http://yoursacredcalling.com/blog/2012/07/no-shades-of-grey-a-black-and-white-seduction-of-the-mind/#comment-42808

                • Stev84

                  So I was right in that you have no training or qualification in counseling.  You just project your own prejudices and dislikes on everyone else.

                  BSDM has nothing whatsoever to do with real violence. It’s all consensual. In fact “Shades of Gray” is criticized by the BDSM scene precisely because the unconditional master/slave relationship shown in the book has very little to do with what really happens in the community

            • Stev84

              With your kind of ignorance and judgmental attitude you really have no business counseling anyone. But this is typical for the lack of standards and ethics in the Christian “counseling” industry

              • Stacy McDonald

                You have not replied to any of my concerns. I have no interest in your opinions of my character or the (unfounded) flaws in the Christian counseling industry (of which I am sure there are many).

                I have presented legitimate concerns over the disturbing desire to make violence against women mainstream and fun.

                Rather than come up with any sort of reasonable excuse for abuse (consensual or otherwise), all you’ve come up with so far, Stev84, are a few junior high insults regarding my credibility, which I can only imagine is a poor attempt to distract from the point, since who I am or what I know is NOT the point.

                • 3lemenope


                  I have presented legitimate concerns over the disturbing desire to make violence against women mainstream and fun.

                  I think what most people are reacting to is your characterization of sexual play involving explicitly consented force as “violence”. It makes you sound woefully uninformed about the community you’re opining about.

                  On an entirely different subject, I’m curious why you elevate oxytocin as a gift from God, but look down your nose as endorphins and endocannabinoids (the natural chemicals in the human body that make pain pleasurable under certain circumstances) as not. If it’s part of the human “design” to include both, why is one elevated and the other denigrated? Surely your God must’ve had something in mind to put those in the human mix, no?

            • Hucul

              I see, so a person like me, a well-earning, self-standing, socially successful space engineer, is being brainwashed and victimised if her partner, whom she freely chose, does anything but gentle, careful missionary in bed, despite her consent to be way more playful? How exactly does one come to such conclusion?

        • CelticWhisper

           You are either woefully uninformed or woefully misinformed about the nature of BDSM.

          Crash course (appy-polly-logies to kinksters for the ham-fistedness of this, but I typed it in 5 minutes):

          -The motto of honest BDSM practitioners everywhere is “Safe, Sane, Consensual.”  Nothing is done that can ever cause serious injury, nothing is done when any participant is not of a state of mind to understand it, and nothing is done without the complete informed consent of all involved.

          -What you describe as evil, this “pain, humiliation, whippings, torture etc.”, does have the outward look of hostility.  It’s role-play and nothing more.  BDSM is used as a means of exploring the realm of physical sensations and psychological power exchange to fulfill a sexual or emotional desire.

          -This one seems counterintuitive to an uninitiated observer, but…in BDSM scenarios, the submissive partner is the one who holds the power.  This partner is the one to determine exactly how far the scene goes, exactly what is and is not permissible, and when the scene stops.  No responsible practitioner will engage in any kink play without a safeword.  When the safeword is spoken (or, in the case of a gagged submissive, the safe-signal is given), the scene stops.  Immediately.  The submissive makes a conscious choice to enter a role of powerlessness, but there is always a tether to the “real world” outside the scene that can stop the scene at the submissive’s discretion.  Think of it as playing a computer RPG – by way of your low-level character, you may be a peon inside the game.  But you’re god – nay, you’re CTHULHU – outside the game.  Push one button and the entire universe disappears.  In BDSM, the safeword is that world-ending (scene-ending) magic button.

          Now, if these rules are broken, then yes, that can constitute abuse.  However, at that point, there’s little difference from any other abusive relationship – they all involve the boundaries of the relationship being violated by one or more partners.  Plus, in those cases of abuse stemming from BDSM partnerships gone wrong, I see more emotional or psychological damage arising than physical damage.  Not saying that’s any more acceptable, but if you’re likening BDSM to physical abuse, you’re off base.

          • http://profiles.google.com/julielada Julie Lada

             To say nothing of the importance of aftercare and how thoroughly it is stressed to any newbie entering the lifestyle that any and every scene must involve some degree of it after the scene is over. Doms/Dommes take this very seriously, as the emotional and psychological well being of their sub is of utmost importance in operating within the bounds of safe, sane and consensual.

            Any dominant who engaged in a scene with a sub and then left without ensuring that they were physically and emotionally recovered first would be considered a grade A jackass, never to be played with again, and most likely kicked out of whatever play space the incident occurred in.

        • Kodie

           Sorry, this goes along with blaming the video games for violence. Books like this don’t create insecurity in anyone that’s not already there. I try to understand what you’re saying – that rather than reading this book and being genuinely curious and having a partner to safely explore this curiosity (which I think everyone else is saying it’s about), she feels that she has to mask her own wants in order to be more attractive to a man, i.e. let him beat her because that’s what he wants, never mind what she wants, she doesn’t even know. The problem isn’t the book, then. It seems like you may have gone through something like this, and I’m sorry, but it’s not books that encourage women to enter into relationships in which they get physically beaten. That’s not even.. the right way to think of it. Domestic abuse is serious, physical, emotional, etc. but women don’t enter those relationships on purpose or because they read a book, a book that I understand is about healthy consensual relationships that are just a little weird for you if that’s not what you like. I can also understand if you or someone you know was abused, a healthy consensual sexual partnership like the one described might not sound really fun or safe or healthy to you, in which case, don’t get in one.

    • 3lemenope

      Leaving the religious stuff in your article aside, oxytocin is a much more complicated neurochemical actor than you seem to think. It is not a straightforward pair-bonding mechanism, but instead the response to increased oxytocin levels varies widely (and paradoxically) across the population. Depending upon genetics, past experiences, and personality, increased oxytocin levels can even decrease the pair-bonding instinct. 

      • Stacy McDonald

         You can’t compare oxytocin that is produced by our bodies with a synthetic oxytocin. Just like Progesterone and other hormones that we try to duplicate in a lab, there are side effects. In addition, I would imagine that having someone using oxytocin in unnatural amounts, would upset the delicate balance of the neurotransmitters in the brain. These can cause drastic effects to mood, behavior, and even our overall physical and mental health.

        • 3lemenope


           You can’t compare oxytocin that is produced by our bodies with a synthetic oxytocin. Just like Progesterone and other hormones that we try to duplicate in a lab, there are side effects. 

          Well, actually, you can. The comparison to progesterone is inapt since the reason we use synthetic progesterone analogues instead of natural progesterone is that the bioavailability and absorption rates from oral administration vary greatly from person to person, whereas the synthetics have much more stable pharmacokinetic profile. The same is not true of oxytocin administered nasally, which has a predictable and fairly universal absorption behavior.

          In addition, I would imagine that having someone using oxytocin in unnatural amounts, would upset the delicate balance of the neurotransmitters in the brain.

          I’m not sure what exactly this has to do with the findings I indicated, since the amounts administered were not outside the normal biological range (were not “unnatural”, if you like).

    • http://profiles.google.com/fader2011 Alex Harman

      Your apparent belief that all relationships that include BDSM practices are inherently abusive and pathological qualifies as a scientific hypothesis, inasmuch as it is amenable to empirical testing.  As your own conclusions are based on a highly biased and therefore misleading sample, you might be interested to know that the hypothesis actually has been tested using the best practices of psychological research to eliminate biases and confounding factors, and the results published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.  The short summary of those results is that you are mistaken.  You can read abstracts and find links to some of the relevant articles at http://www.revisef65.org/psychopathology.html

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Has anyone seen my jaw?

    I seem to have dropped it…

  • Hucul

    Wilson obviously likes it DOM and as all religious nuts, he tries to justify his sexual fancy as the norm given by a deity. :oD Well, no problem with what he does in the sack, but do we really all need to do it the same way just because he and his imaginary friend think so?

  • Sroman

    And the idea of having your son nailed to a tree to atone for someone else’s wrongdoing….

    isn’t that the pinnacle of S&M? 

  • Rcvulpus

     Jared Wilson’s article is fifty kinds of disturbing. Complaining that BDSM porn exists because our society rejects the concept of divinely-ordained gender-based hierarchies is like complaining that professional wrestling exists because society has rejected the concept of forcing slaves to fight one-another to the death as gladiators.

    Conservative Evangelicals, you’re getting morally outraged at all the wrong things.

  • Heather Munn

    No. No it’s not what Christian sex is like. As evidenced by the reaction of Rachel Held Evans, a Christian. And of all the, uh, Christians, on her blog. And the freakin’ Southern Baptists on *Pastor* Wade Burleson’s blog. I could go on, but sheesh. You wanna know about it, Rachel Held Evans has some links.

    C’mon, man. Eschew the cheap shots, would you? If a Christian had written about how sex should be a deep mutual enjoyment, all about serving each other and rejoicing in each other’s pleasure, would you have blogged about it with a headline about Christian sex? No. A dozen posts like that get ignored, but this crackpot Doug Wilson, he hits the big time!

    • Heather Munn

       BTW, I don’t know if you know this, but the Christians popularized this one. What I mean is, it was the CHRISTIAN outrage machine that picked this up and gave it the kind of exposure that caused you to hear about it. So yeah, they’re all totally cool with it and stuff.

    • 3lemenope

      It’s a fair point. 

      Sort of. 

      Yes, Christianity is not a monolith, and lately some Christians have taken it upon themselves to more vocally check the nastier stuff they used to let slide. And that is to their credit, certainly. 

      Only, just as much as a post like this is a criticism of certain Christians’ individual attitudes (who do not necessarily speak for the whole), it is also an implicit criticism of the effect Christian doctrine (biblical text, et al.) has had on conversations just like this. Christianity, institutionally, has done hideous, horrendous, just mind-bogglingly stupendous amounts of damage to social approaches to healthy sexuality, both historically and contemporaneously. It is fairly difficult to talk about those effects meaningfully without finding exemplars of those attitudes spouting off today, or as Mr. Hemant did, make a useful juxtaposition with the atheist (non-)approach to controlling people’s sex lives. So is it “Christian sex” being criticized? Not wholly. But it is a Christian ideological and historical approach to sex that has definitely led to the pricelessly stupid comment that started this whole kerfuffle. On those terms, Christianity gets quite a bit of the blame, and so the adjective is apropos.

  • http://twitter.com/alf1361 Art

    But I think you are missing something big:
    Why is it wrong to have hierarchy? God clearly assumes the existence of hierarchy. I assume it is a good thing to have in marriage as well.

  • Yang Jiansheng

    Please visit minddefensecoach.wordpress.com to understand the reason of all mass murder incidents.

  • http://ChristianBED.COM/ Christian Sex Toys

    Well, not all Christians are uptight about sex…click my name and you’ll see what I mean!


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