The Backlash Against Shame-based Christianity
I was sent a post earlier today entitled “The Backlash of Fornication” posted on the Urban Cusp website. I trust that you all have the basic search skills to find it; I am choosing not to link to it.
People send me purity culture relate posts regularly, and nothing really stood out about this one in particular (except the fact that “fornication was mentioned 12 times). It was your standard, run in the mill sex shaming post.
However…today, I’m just tired. I’m tired of shaming, judgmental, narrow-minded teachings like this; not just regarding sex, but from the church in general. (When I say sex in this post, I’m referring to any sexual act between two CONSENTING people that is outside a heterosexual marriage.)
So I sat down with a pad and paper and wrote a response in about 15 minutes. I got up, heated up some leftovers, took some time, then came back and decided to post it (Some editing happened cause the typos? GOOD LORD). I will address the most problematic ideas I found.
"The immediate gratification of sex seems to silence the conscience, temporarily shoo the Word of God, and safeguard our emotional inferiority."
instant gratification: This implies that people who have sex only as child-like, impatient, and greedy individuals that run around wanting to have sex NOW RIGHT NOW instead of simply engaging in a consensual act.
emotional inferiority: Inferior to whom? People who abstain? It’s not possible for an emotionally healthy person to have sex?
"…there is so much damage done spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically…"
When people are consistently told they are sinful, selfish, dirty, and greedy for having sex, guess what?
It becomes a SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECY.
Resulting in spiritual, emotional, and/or psychological damage.
"If we are actively fornicating, can we seriously expect God to bless us with our exclusive choice in a mate? Highly unlikely."
If you’re having sex, don’t expect God to give you a spouse? This mentality portrays God as a vengeful, spiteful authoritarian who doles out punishment at any minor “infraction”. And certainly not a God I want ANYTHING to do with.
"Tragically, so many singles give themselves away intimately with no reserve…"
I really want to take this ‘chaste vs ORGIES ALL DAY EVERY DAY’ dichotomy and throw it in a cage with rabid hyenas, then set it on fire*, then take the ashes and throw them into a ravine, then descend INTO the ravine and set it on fire again.
The post claims that “fornication” leads to problems like:
-adultery[sex may be included, but i’m pretty sure adulterers lead to adultery]
-children born out of wedlock[YAWN]
-family curses [YAW—-
Anyway…the point is, purity culture is rooted in the concept of marriage, and not erases anyone who exists outside cisheteronormativity, but ignores two basic facts:
-Marriage is not the goal for everyone.
-Marriage is not legal for everyone.
When you tell people that sex will:
-only lead to heartache
-make you unclean
-result in not being marriage worthy
Where is there room for a healthy sexual ethic?
Why is it that we talk about the importance of setting healthy, attainable boundaries in other aspects of life, but not with sex?
And more important, how in the WORLD are people supposed to learn how to have healthy romantic relationships?
The emotional toll of this kind of thinking; i.e the internalization that you are worthless because of your sexuality has long term consequences for so many people. I am one of those people.
Sex is an act between two consenting people.
You are not obligated to abstain because other people’s narrow interpretation of the bible.
You are not obligated to have sex if it is something you don’t want to do.
Your body is your own, and YOU choose whom to share or not share it with.
One last thing; this response isn’t about the author of that post, he is simply one of thousands who insist on spreading this rhetoric. This is about the ongoing damage that shame-based Christianity causes.
SHAME-BASED SEXUAL TEACHINGS ARE HARMING PEOPLE
SHAME-BASED CHRISTIANITY IS HARMING PEOPLE.