CTBHHM: “Sexual Perversions”

by Libby Anne cross posted from her blog Love, Joy, Feminism

Created To Be His Help Meet, p. 174

This brief section—only one page—is titled “Exceptions: Sexual Perversions.” This is the very end of Debi’s chapter on loving your husband (which is, of course, all about sex), and it’s what you’ve all been waiting for. Let’s take a look.

Anal sex is a homosexual act, and no normal man or woman desires this. The use of pornography has increased this abomination. It is a filthy practice and medically dangerous.

Oh, well, that didn’t take long.

For the record, Debi appears to be aware that there are heterosexual couples that have anal sex. Of course, it rather sounds like she argues that the men in those couples aren’t heterosexual at all, but rather secretly homosexual (and apparently the women too, though how that makes sense I have no idea). And not how fast she brought in that she finds it disgusting! Move right along, no homophobia here . . . as for anal sex being dangerous, a large part of that depends on whether you practice safe sex or not.

God, the master creator, made a “natural use” of the woman for sexual expression.

Oh, great, now I feel like an object. Lovely.

Any man who practices anal sex is automatically suspect for other deviant activity.

Your husband wants to try anal sex? He may well be a pedophile, or into bestiality!

If your husband has been perverted in this manner, you must respectfully decline to participate. Explain to him why, and then give him a good time in all that is natural.

And that’s it. Because apparently it’s that easy. Just say no, have happy times vaginal sex with him, and he’ll be a-okay. And if he’s a decent man who respects women and consent, he will be okay. But if he’s a man born and bred to believe his wife is to submit and do what he says—or if he’s an abusive man—he may not take this so well, and he might not let it go, either. And no, offering lots of happy times vaginal sex isn’t going to fix it. Also, this reminds me when the author of a bestselling comparatively mainstream book about large families and the natural family planning admitted that her husband anally raped her when they were abstaining from vaginal sex during her fertile periods. This is just . . . Debi doesn’t give women any tools. She’s mentioned calling the authorities in cases of physical abuse (but only if the woman is sure she’s not accidentally causing it by being a bad help meet), but she’s never addressed things like marital rape.

Next Debi quotes this Bible verse:

“For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust toward one another; men wiht men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient” (Romans 1:26-28).

Now Debi closes the door on anal sex and turns to a new topic:

If your husband ever sexually handles your children, call the authorities. Testify against him in court, and pray that he gets at least twenty years in prison, so that the children will be grown when he gets out.

Good for Debi! Unfortunately, the next bit of advice is . . . weird.

Visit him there, and be an encouragement to him.

See, if your husband is a pedophile who abused your children, you’re not allowed to leave him. You have to stay with him, as a good faithful wife. Lock him up, yes. But leave him? No. You have to sit on your hands and wait for him, doing what you can to minister to him as a good wife should in the meantime.

Get him books and tapes on good Bible teaching, and let him see the children three or four times a year in the prison visiting area. Children heal better from sexual assaults when they know the perpetrators (even their fathers) are punished for it. They’re also less likely to follow in his steps.

See, this part just seems . . . icky. I’m not a child psychologist and I’d be really interested in hearing an educated opinion, but I don’t think it’s necessarily true that children heal better from sexual abuse if they’re made to face their molester three or four times a year. In fact, I would guess that, depending on the child, that could be extremely traumatizing.

Also, just so we’re clear, I’m having trouble finding the reference but I know I’ve read elsewhere that wives are to accept their child molesting husbands back after they get out of jail, but that they are to ensure that he never has a chance to be alone with a child again. So once again, women aren’t allowed to leave a child molesting husband.

But there’s also something else here. What is a wife to do while her husband is in jail? How is she to support herself, given that Debi believes women should not hold jobs outside the home? Debi centers every bit of a woman’s life around her husband, and then tells a woman with a child molesting husband to send him to jail without giving that woman any practical advice on what to do then, how to support her children, etc. On the No Greater Joy website, Debi’s husband Michael gave this advice to women with husbands into pornography or child molesting:

You must be willing to endure humiliation and to remain patient indefinitely. You must be willing for God to terminate your husband’s job and destroy him financially. You must be willing for him to go to jail. You must be willing to see him – the whole family – suffer humiliation. You must be willing to see your husband come down with a terrible disease.

In other words, when you put your husband away for child molesting, you must be willing to see yourself destroyed as well. I really wish Debi had told women that in this situation it would be okay for the wife to get a job, or to divorce and remarry, but she doesn’t. Women really do get the short end of the stick in this book.

Debi finishes with this verse:

“It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he be cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones” (Luke 17:2).

Because this section was so short, I went looking through No Greater Joy’s database of articles for more addressing topics like homosexuality, pornography, and child molesting (putting these three together in the same list feels icky, but that’s what Michael does). Let me share some of what I found.

First, this, from Michael and Debi’s daughter Rebekah regarding pornography:

Many times as a child I remember standing at Dad’s side when he would go into a gas station to prepay fuel. If the station carried pornography, Dad would scrape his money back off of the counter and tell the cashier that he could not buy gas there because he just noticed they promoted rape and child molestation. The cashier would look shocked, and Dad would point at the porn magazines behind him. The cashier ALWAYS looked guilty and ashamed. He would glance at us kids; we would all be looking at him with suspicious shock (are you a child molester???) before we turned and walked out.

For Michael, pornography = rape and child molesting. Now I know, there’s a lot of vary bad pornography out there, including child porn and adult porn in female actor the woman is trafficked rather than consenting. I also know that pornography is one of those topics people disagree on a lot, and that feminists are not in complete agreement on. But I still think Michael’s reaction is interesting in how over the top and in your face it is.

This also from Rebekah:

When I was 14 years old, we (my brothers and I) were swimming in the creek with our neighbors. They had three boys the same ages as we were: 14, 12, and 10 years of age. A perverted looking local drove by our swimming hole repeatedly, leering out the window at us. My brother Gabe made a comment about his probably being a queer. The 14-year-old friend looked curious and asked, “What’s a queer?”

My brother replied, “You know – a faggot.” The boy shook his head in confusion. Gabe said, “A homosexual.” Still not understanding, the 14-year-old, homeschooled neighbor boy just shook his head. Gabe laughed, sure that his friend was playing dumb.

“Come on! You got to know what a queer is. You know, guys that mess with other guys or boys. Perverts!”

To this day I can remember the look on the other boy’s face. It was NOT a look of surprise and curiosity. It was a look that said, “There’s a word for it? You know about that? Do other people know about it? Do you know…?” I felt sorry for our friend that day. I wondered what experiences he had run into—unprepared and unwarned.

Again, not sure that any of us are surprised by this. Gay man = predator.

Next, this from Michael’s pamphlet, Pornography: The Road to Hell:

Now I am speaking to you, fathers. If you isolate yourself in a room and indulge in pornography, you are not sick; you are evil. You are having intercourse with a computer, or with the pages of a publication. In effect you are having an erotic experience with the editor—probably another man. While you are fanaticizing with that commercially produced image, know that there are thousands of others engaged in eroticism with the same image, at the same time as you. You are part of a disgusting group of perverts, all piled onto the same image together. And somewhere there is a sexually dysfunctional editor enjoying the extent of his erotic powers.

And then there’s this bit:

I recognize that some wives whose husband’s are porno-addicts will read the above article and feel extremely frustrated, helpless, and perhaps angry. You may be well aware of your duties as a wife, but you are so disgusted with your husband for his despicable behavior that you find it extremely difficult to honor him. How do you reverence someone who is risking the souls of your children? How do you joyfully participate in your nuptial duties when you know that you are simply a receptacle for the eroticism stirred up by his vice? I have to admit that it stretches the limits of my faith to tell you that your duty remains the same. You must honor the office, even when it is commandeered by a wicked man.

Understand that you are part of a chain of command. God is at the top, then Jesus, after that the husband, then the wife, and finally the children. Children are not given the option of deciding if their parents are worthy of their honor. When a child obeys his parents, he is obeying God. Likewise, when a wife obeys and honors her husband, she is obeying and honoring God. If your husband misuses his office, God is the one responsible to discipline him. You can honor God by honoring the scoundrel God has permitted to be your head.

The Bible is clear: If you are married to an unbeliever, you are not to leave him andyou are not to turn down his intimate advances. If circumstances are so intolerable, say in the case of violence toward you or the children, or sexual abuse toward your children, if you must leave your husband, you are commanded to remain unmarried as long as he lives, or be reconciled to him.

Yes, that part is underlined in the original. Anyway, what I find most interesting is what comes a bit later in the article, because it contradicts what Debi says about going to the authorities if your husband messes with your kids.

If your husband is sexually abusing the children, or if he is bone-breaking violent, take it to the church. If he does not immediately repent and come under discipline, call the law and have him arrested. Whining promises followed by promises and broken promises and more promises is not acceptable. After being confronted for sexually abusing the children, if your husband does not repent in sackcloth and ashes, to never do it again, turn him over to the authorities. Testify against him, and when he gets three to twenty years in the pen, go to visit him and faithfully wait for him to get out.

In this section, Michael tells wives to go first to the church if their husbands are sexually abusing their children, and only to the authorities if he does not repent and change. Given that the church does not always handle these things well, and given that it’s unlikely that a person who has once taken up child molesting will so easily and quickly change, this sounds like a colossally bad idea.

Getting back to Debi, I’m glad she says to turn in child molesting husbands, but I’m having two issues here (well, two main issues). First, grouping anal sex and pornography with child molesting is a problem. Anal sex can be completely consensual, and there are times when pornography (and erotica) can be fine too (if you disagree with me on this, just run with me and let’s save that for another time). But child molesting? That’s something different altogether. Putting these things together conflates consensual and nonconsensual activities as similarly wrong, and that is a serious problem. Second, Debi never once addresses marital rape. Never once. I don’t think she thinks it exists. I mean, I get it, I never heard marital rape mentioned growing up but I certainly heard the three “perversions” discussed here condemned up and down. But now that I see it, I’m, to put it nicely, extremely put out.

Next week we start the chapter titled “To Love Their Children.” It will be interesting to read this against To Train Up A Child.

Read everything by Libby Anne!

Spiritual Abuse Survivor Blogs Network member, Libby Anne blogs at Love, Joy, Feminism
Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the religious right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving fundamentalist and evangelical religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the problems with the “purity culture,” the intricacies of conservative and religious right politics, and the importance of feminism. Her blog is Love, Joy, Feminism

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