Having THE TALK

Several days ago, my son and I were lying in my bed, each of us enjoying our own books. Out of the blue, he asks me, “How long will it be before I have to start carrying a condom?” I stare at him, surprised. He’s ten years old. Jesus. “A condom??” “Yeah.” I think for a moment. “Well, whenever you think there is a chance you’re going to have sex, I suppose.” “Yeah. I don’t want to get someone pregnant... Read more

Vagina Power and the History of Christian Symbols

I saw the symbol for vagina on the back of a car the other day. I also saw one on a business card, a necklace, a church bulletin, and even a Bible. Vaginas are everywhere! People in America must really love female sexuality. Of course I’m talking about the fish symbol. The vulva-shaped ichthys or “Jesus fish” was once a prominent pagan symbol representing almost every pre-Christian fertility goddess: from Atargatis, Aphrodite, and Artemis, to many others who do not follow... Read more

Fit Shaming: The Evil of Loving Your Body Too Much

I will never forget the day my wife and I were sitting in our marriage counselor’s office on the fourth floor of our church’s main building when we started discussing exercise. My wife reached down and took hold of my wrist, pulling my arm forward to show the therapist the underside of my forearm. “Do you see the veins starting to pop out? His calves look the same way. It’s just gross.” Given that our counselor was himself a marathon... Read more

Sexual Consent: The Evangelical Blindspot

The American public is still reeling from the election drama that escalated over the past weekend. One breaking story after another kept blowing up our newsfeeds every half hour or so, straining our collective capacity to process so many outlandish moments, it makes us numb. “Oh, look, now he’s invited all the alleged former mistresses of his opponent’s husband. To a nationally televised debate. To sit on the front row. This, too, is normal for this election cycle.” At this point, virtually... Read more

Can Godless Sex Be a “Spiritual” Experience?

I love sex. And I mean I really, really love it. Not everyone gets as into it as I do, and frankly sex isn’t even for everyone. For some, it holds little appeal at all. For some, in fact, it’s a completely dispensable part of life. Some are asexual, while others only need it once in a blue moon, then they’re content until the next one rolls around. Maybe just enough to make sure all the parts are still in working... Read more

Doing Without: How One Spiritual Discipline Almost Ruined My Life

“Put a knife to your throat if you are given to appetite.” Proverbs 23:2 I grew up in a religious community that some have called a cult. One of our more interesting doctrines involved sanctions against eating certain kinds of foods. We were hardly the first faith tradition to make rules about food, but ours were pretty restrictive. We were told God required us to be like Daniel who refused to eat the king’s food. In our case we had a very... Read more

Women Beyond Belief: Discovering Life without Religion

“The tension in the car that horrible day was as thick as the gray fog outside. It felt as dark as a night with no moon. No one would speak of the purpose of this drive, but, oh, I wanted to. I wanted to shout that she wasn’t a bad child. That she was just acting like the teenager she was. Thirteen, she was only thirteen. I wanted to tell them that they needed to love her unconditionally. I wanted... Read more

Confessions of a Recovering Christian

This article is a general response to the plight of queer Christians who think their same-sex attraction is sinful. There’s a middle place between the hateful and loving versions of Christianity where they treat same-sex attraction as an unfortunate character flaw to overcome (just like we atheists must fight the urge to murder random people because life is meaningless without a genocidal God looming silently over the universe). In such churches, gay people may be accepted but with conditions: they are expected to either... Read more

I Let My Husband Rape Me, and Here’s Why…

I’ve spent the last few weeks wondering if I should own this story or if I’ve said too much, but I think it’s time we have a very open and honest discussion about domestic violence and rape. The repercussions of shame and silence are far too great not to speak up. When we hear stories about domestic abuse, they seem to always be stories of victory—of those who survived some abuse in their past. Why don’t we hear about it... Read more

Positive Promiscuity and Self-Image

By Alessio Fiore Readers of this blog have likely noticed one of the most popular refrains of the abstinence-only movement.  Whether it is manifested with hokey images of chewed gum, beat up gym shoes, or gunky scotch tape, the message is clear:  “You are who you sleep with.” (Doubly important for those whose genitals happen to be an innie.) For some reason, conservative forms of Christianity are exceptionally preoccupied with how many people a person sleeps with. They cling to... Read more
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