You Don’t Write Your Kids’ Lives (They Do)


Good gracious, I just came upon a Babble article titled Jessa Duggar Will Have a Chaste Courtship—And My Kids Will, Too. With all due respect, author Kacy Faulconer has no idea whether or not her children will have “chaste courtships.” My parents said their children would have chaste courtships too, and guess what? I didn’t! Kacy can give her children whatever advice she chooses, but ultimately, once they’re adults, she cannot control their choices. [Read more...]

Testosterone: Biblical Patriarchy’s Kryptonite


Doug Wilson himself blamed Doug Phillips’ affair on Phillips’ “testosterone”—combined, of course, with references to Delilah and “a stripper with a stage name of Foxy Bubbles” (offered as a “hypothetical” of course). I fail to understand how these individuals can uphold so strongly the rightness and naturalness of male dominance and authority while at the same time holding this idea that men’s testosterone naturally and of course means they have a fatal blindspot. [Read more...]

It depends upon what the meaning of the word “know” is


Doug Phillips has released a “clarification.” [Read more...]

Pulling the Victoria’s Secret Dance


Fundamentalist and conservative evangelical Christianity is weird. Women are taught to dress modestly in public, to stay away from pornography or premarital sex, etc. Prostitutes and strippers are derided, along with everyone who dresses “like a whore” (i.e. less modestly than they’re supposed to). But in private, within marriage? Women are expected to perform. They have to somehow go from reserved modesty to being, well, a man’s personal supermodel. [Read more...]

The Homosexual Deathstyle; or, A Fixation on Gay Sex

title page

While I don’t think it has wide circulation today, Homosexuality: Legitimate, Alternative Deathstyle was pretty popular among fundamentalist Christians when it was published in 1986, at the height of the AIDS epidemic. What I want to do here is to highlight two contrasting page spreads, one on the heterosexual life and one on the homosexual life. I find this contrast fascinating, because I’ve never seen heterosexuals’ obsession with homosexual sex outlined so clearly before. [Read more...]

Dear Sister: On Your Thirteenth Birthday

sister 2

I can’t believe you are almost thirteen. I remember holding you in my arms when you were a baby. I remember rocking you, smiling at you, cooing to you. I remember your tiny fingers and your dark, soft hair. I remember dressing you, bathing you, cuddling you close. I was always the first to jump up and volunteer to get you up when that sweet plaintive wail came from your cradle. [Read more...]

“Displayed in a Partially Unwrapped Condition”

candy bar

In which Michael Pearl uses the candy bar analogy. [Read more...]

The Lesson of the 2013 MTV VMAs: Being Sexual While Female Is Worse Than Being Rapey or Racist


So. Miley Cyrus. It seems she sang a song at the 2013 MTV VMAs. Mostly I’ve just been watching the multiple conversations going on about Miley’s performance. But since the discussion hasn’t shown any signs of letting up yet, I thought I’d dip my toe in. But since so much has been said already, I want to do so by highlighting some of the work of others, and also by opening the floor for commenters to post additional articles they thought were particularly thought-provoking—or particularly bad. [Read more...]

My Brothers Too: Purity Culture and Double Standards


Every time purity culture issues come up—purity rings, purity balls, saving your first kiss for the wedding—someone inevitably makes an argument about double standards. Sometimes these commenters are absolutely right—modesty discussions almost without fail involve a double standard—but other times, well, it’s not so simple. In the conservative evangelical homeschool circles I ran in as a teen and young adult, boys didn’t get a pass on not having sex before marriage. [Read more...]

Rachel Held Evans: Missing the Mark on Sexual Ethics


I honestly don’t feel like Rachel’s post was clear at all, and perhaps that’s because Rachel herself hasn’t reached a point of complete clarity on the subject. Why would a “path of holiness” require not having sex? I don’t think it’s possible to answer that question can be answered without invoking at least some of the shame-based purity teachings Rachel so adamantly rejects. And so Rachel’s trying to get around that by invoking self control and even monasticism. [Read more...]

Dear Little Girl: Jesus Doesn’t Want Your Sex Life


The O2 Experience is an organization that goes around the country giving talks on “Life, Death, Sex, and Romance”—which of course is code for “how to avoid both hell and sex before marriage.” On their webpage they describe their conferences as “an opportunity for young people to hear the life-changing message of the gospel and understand God’s plan for their sex lives.” [Read more...]

In Which Sally Grasps Contraception


“Mommy, what’s this?” In her hand Sally held a condom, still in its wrapper. Sean had cleaned out his desk earlier in the day, and it had somehow ended up on the floor, a leftover from last summer between when Bobby was born and when I had my IUD put in. I could have just brushed the question off with a non-answer—Sally’s only in preschool, by the way—but I decided against that. Instead, I pulled out my copy of Our Bodies Ourselves. [Read more...]