There were the references to the naked Eve being introduced to Adam (which prompted him to exclaim, “Wo-man! And Paul’s admonition to secure marriage as a sexual outlet rather than “burn” with lust.
Sometimes there were even candid references to Song of Solomon just to prove Christians weren’t the prudes they were made out to be. He “created sex.” Trust me, (male) purity gurus preached, it was so good it was “worth waiting for.” As Ted Haggard exclaimed to a reporter, Evangelicals had the “best sex lives” of anyone.
(And we know how that turned out.) All of this has left evangelicals debating just how good their sex lives are supposed to be.
Evangelicals who came of age later in the 1990s will remember the talismans of the abstinence movement of that era: purity rings, bracelets, and other paraphernalia.
The conversation has been led largely by women who are reflecting on the gendered messages to girls within the purity movement. Writing as a devout Christian, she describes her struggles with her own “curvy” teenage self and the way women’s bodies were viewed as a threat to male piety.
Through their modesty and self-control, women were responsible for keeping the sexual urges of men in check throughout adolescence and dating.As his story goes, Mc Dowell had set out to prove Christianity false and in the process found it so convincing he became a Christian.He went on to sell thousands of copies of popular 1970s “apologetics” books such as , which were not all that original or intellectually sophisticated.Her experiences were shared among those she interviewed.A number also found it difficult to disentangle the shame attached to sexual pleasure after they were married.But they were just the ticket for busy youth pastors who could hand them to intellectually anxious kids (like myself) to brush aside their doubts..A video series on VHS quickly followed, which youth pastors could show to their youth groups.All the trials of celibate singleness would evaporate into blissful marriage.Wives were receptors for male gratification, after all, and if young men would only wait until marriage, sex would be mind-blowing – what authors Claire and Eli have called “reward sex.” Now, it was never communicated in those terms, but it was implied by youth pastors and speakers in a myriad of ways.In marriage, the female body would no longer be a threat to piety, but rather a playground without boundaries.In a complementarian world where youth pastors and retreat speakers (and most rock bands) were men, it begs the question of gender messaging.