Friday, September 15, 2006

Should Christian couples embrace kinky sex?

My question is primarily lighthearted, but was prompted by this recent article:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13834042/.

Apparently this does address a set of sincere concerns:

http://www.fellowshipchat.com/cgi-local/bbs/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=3;t=002470;p=.

And then there's these folks:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/wales/south_east/4906170.stm.

I must need a little relief from war and politics! Or maybe I just need a little, um, "relief" (sorry, couldn't resist...!)

13 comments:

Kevin said...

Stevie,

Thanks, your post did give me a chuckle. :) Being unmarried and perhaps the least qualified, I feel obliged to share my opinion on appropriate kinkage.

I think it depends upon what you mean by "kinky". A variety of sub-topics might fall into this category, as relayed by the pages you linked.

In my opinion, it is good to view marital sex as a gift from God to be enjoyed, as opposed to something that is dirty or wrong. So, I tend to agree with the articles you linked. Of course, Beam's statement that "sex is the most wonderful gift God ever gave Christians" seems overboard. I can only imagine that his context excluded Christ, holy spirit, forgiveness, resurrection, etc. or else was indirectly referring to the gift of life itself.

Inasmuch as Christian culture diminishes sex, secular culture often seems to raise it to too high a status. Both cases seem derived from recognition of the continuum between thought and action, and the ease with which sex can evoke desire. And I think it is due to the moral struggle within this continuum that Christians can stumble in their emotional transition from extra-marital to marital sex, and have difficulty openly discussing an act that is agreed should be private.

I think the major issues segmenting Christian thought are the degree to which sex should be restricted to procreation, and, more generally, the degree to which certain acts harm the couple or their relationship. Personally, I do not think that the intent to procreate is a moral prerequisite to sex. In other words, marital sex for pleasure is good. Some parts of the general issue of what is harmful may be objective, but I think there is also a subjective aspect dependent upon the individual couple.

Kevin

Mark Congdon said...

Stevie,

I don't think I'd answer the question in your title in the affirmative, because of what I understand of the word "kinky". But, I would wholeheartedly agree with the sentiments in the articles to which you linked.

In my experience, there are three basic categories of Christian views about sex.

(1) Sex must be both procreative and unitive; anything that bypasses or short-circuits either of those purposes is sinful. This is the official Catholic position, though rather widely ignored in the American Catholic church I think.

(2) Sex is a "gateway drug". Experimenting a bit might not be necessarily sinful, but it's opening a box that you can't close, and it might lead you to sinful activities. Sexual desire is best kept under strict control and regulation. This is the same attitude that outlawed the use of playing cards in many Christian schools and homes (including my own growing up) because they might lead to gambling. This mental attitude has gone away in most areas of Christian thought, but still remains significantly with regard to sex, I believe.

(3) Sex is a wonderful expression of marital love, and any sexual activity that is within the marriage and expresses love (consideration of the other person, mutual enjoyment, etc.) is not just acceptable, but beautiful.

Those are, of course, broad categories. There are many gradients in the in-betweens. Also, it's hard to know how prevalent these various views are, because people in general don't talk honestly about their views of sexuality in casual conversation. But, for what it's worth, that's how things appear to me.

I fall into category (3), but I can also respect those who firmly follow their convictions in category (1). Those in category (2) I think are the most damaging (and/or damaged). To the extent that the Christian groups and teachers you referenced are working to break those fearful ways of thinking, they are an excellent thing.

Mark

steviepinhead said...

Two thoughtful comments to my somewhat less-than-serious post.

Thanks, guys. I'll give your thoughts some thought and see if I have anything serious to say...!

purple_kangaroo said...

I think one concern most Christians have is that a third party is not brought into the sexual relationship. That's an important point that I don't think has been mentioned yet.

To me, it seems that there is quite a bit of freedom within some defined limits that the Bible makes pretty clear, such as that sex should include only the married man and woman. Within that marital relationship, "the marriage bed is pure."

Michael said...

Nowhere in the bible does it say that sex should only be for procreative reasons. Any reference to such a claim is purely based on doctrine. Just as the previous poster said, as long as the sex remains within the marriage union, and doesn't involve gross unclean acts (such as biastophilia or coprophilia), it should be enjoyed and explored freely. This helps keep the marriage stronger and actively prevents either partners attention straying outside the marriage bed.

steviepinhead said...

I would say that there is a difference between allowing a third person "inside" the sexual or marital relationship itself--in a physical sense--and sharing thoughts, feelings, concerns, techniques even, with an appropriately trained, trusted, and confidential counselor.

Don't couples who "follow" the teachings or guidance of a particular religious tradition or even of a pastor/preacher/other religious leader in some sense open their sexual relationship up to the kinds of suggestions (or proscriptions, in the negative sense) that are being mooted in the lead post?

I understand the concerns of several who have commented about privacy, but sometimes there is a kind of privacy that can be preserved in a crowd. If you attend a, ahem, consciousness-raising session such as the sex-sermonettes given by the pro-"kink" pastor I blogged about, maybe the wife and husband will gain information, topics for discussion within the marriage, etc., that they would not have been reluctant to raise, research, or access by other means--one on one discussions with friends, neighbors, relatives that might have been felt as embarassing breaches of privacy; reading or research performed by only one of the couple, without the involvement of the other, which--taken to an extreme, such as an inappropriately-aimed or extended discursion into internet porn--might well be perceived as a detraction from the strength and solidarity of the union.

Meetings like this, attended as a couple--in which you don't necessarily need to expose your private marital practices, constraints, and concerns--perhaps allow couples who are physically and spititually-devoted, but who are--perhaps as a result of background and "education"--shy, inhibited, and uncertain, to potentially broaden and deepen their marriage in "safe," supportive, and minimally-invasive surroundings.

Again, my initially-humorous offering was certainly not meant to suggest that everything is for everyone, or that people should be forced to exceed their personal or religious comfort zones.

But a little knowledge isn't always a dangerous thing, when presented accurately, sensitively, humorously, and in an context aligned with the moral compass of the audience.

purple_kangaroo said...

Stevie, I agree that counsel the couple receives together can certainly be appropriate.

By a third party, I mean things like pornography, fantasies about someone other than one's partner, or anything that's used as a replacement for the spouse. If a person is looking to anyone or anything other than their partner for arousal or fulfillment, that would to me be a third party also.

steviepinhead said...

pk, I appreciate your clarification of your earlier response.

I continue to be appreciative of the serious and semi-serious responses that this initially not-so-serious post is managing to attract.

It's not that the topic isn't serious--in fact, some of the comments on a couple of the threads to which I initially linked make it quite clear that nice folks genuinely wrestle with encouraging sexual responsiveness while dealing with issues of modesty, confined upbringings, etc.

The only problem with all this is that every new thoughtful comment only brings my overly serious title (with its perhaps unnecessary and misleading use of the word "kinky") bubbling back to the "top" of the Active Comments sidebar.

Which could give folks entirely the wrong impression about our modest and well-meaning blog!

Anyone know how to go about editing the title of the post?

Douglas_Coombs said...

Michael said, "Nowhere in the bible does it say that sex should only be for procreative reasons."

That is true, but that doesn't mean the Bible endorses contraception. The standard exposition of Genesis 38:7-9 for millenia by both Jews and Christians was that God killed Onan not for simply refusing to raise up children for his brother but especially for practicing the contraceptive act of withdrawal.

In addition, contraceptive sex and homosexual sex have both been considered tabboo for very similar reasons. The point of most who think contraception is a sin is not that they think every act of sexual intercourse must be soley for the purpose of procreation, but that they think sexual intercourse should be open to procreation.

Doug

steviepinhead said...

OK, folks!

If nobody else can come up with something controversial for us to cooly dissect, I may be forced to go hunt the Internet for more tidbits with which to extend this thread...!

You've been warned.

Mark Congdon said...

Yikes!

I'll get right on it. :)

Mark

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