Sex is What I do WITH my Wife, Not TO my Wife: A Response to the Wilsons at TGC

Sex is What I do WITH my Wife, Not TO my Wife: A Response to the Wilsons at TGC July 18, 2012

What is gaining notoriety around the blogosphere is a TGC post by Jared Wilson which gives an extensive quote from Doug Wilson about rape and sexual pathology. The huge grievance many folks have, and I’m one of them, is that the sexual act between men and women is described in terms of domination and power. Read this:

When we quarrel with the way the world is, we find that the world has ways of getting back at us. In other words, 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.

Okay, this is gonna be one of those posts.

Let’s remember what is being advocated here, neither of the Wilsons here supporting sexual violence against women, they are decrying it. There is no malicious intent towards wives or women here. The issue is more about patriarchy in sexuality than anything else. They do make a genuine effort to explain themselves here, esp. with their ethos that a husband should “serve and protect” his wife. Let’s recognize their explanations! However, the problem is that what is being advocated is still really, really, really bad: bad theology, bad marriage advice, and a bad view of marital sexuality. So let’s get to the criticism.

(1) What is being advocated is not remotely biblical! 1 Cor 7 talks very, very, very clearly about mutual submission in matters of sex in marriage, not male domination,  not male conquest, not female subjection, but submission to one another in matters of sex. And for the record, Song of Songs does look a wonderful egalitarian party in the bedroom with man and wife enjoying each other mutually. In addition, our Lord himself spoke about the two becoming one flesh, not one penetrating or colonizing another. We should use Jesus’ language for sexual intercourse, not patriarchal power language.

(2) The biggest problem I have is that some guys just do not understand the link between sex, language, and power. They do not comprehend that there is a cross-section between the way you use language about sex and the way you think about the opposite gender and the way that you treat your sexual partner. The language of penetrate, conquer, and colonize imply aggression, control, and disempowerment. What is more, the men who talk this way do not think about, consider, or perhaps even care about how this description of sex sounds to women.

(3) I thought the whole deal with complementarianism was that men and women were different but complementary. What is being advocated by the Wilsons is not complementarianism, but it is an extreme patriarchy that defines gender roles by power and subjection, not by their God-given distinctions. Could the real complementarians please have the testicular fortitude to stand up and rally against this perspective. Otherwise you chaps are gonna drift to the right and end up looking like a cross between Dr. Phil and the Taliban.

(4) Someone at TGC really needs to give an serious explanation as to why this post remains up, because this is harming the witness of the gospel, the offending language advocates grossly unbiblical views on sex, and it is demeaning towards the sexual relationship that men have with women. There is no shame in saying, we made a mistake.

(5) Sex is not what I do to my wife, it is something we do together.

See some more posts about this from Rachel Evans, Scot McKnight, and Daniel Kirk.

Nuff said, let the comments begin!



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