7/18/2010

My Rant: Why Christians CAN be Kinky




Why do people think Christians can't be kinky?

I mean, cognitively, I understand it. I understand that people think most devout Christians are Bible-thumping, conservative, blue-state, pulpit-preaching jerks. There are many Christian leaders, politicians, and groups out there that have earned the rest of us that nasty reputation (thanks for that, by the way, guys. ::rolls eyes::).

But that isn't ALL of us.

When people say "Christians can't be kinky," I tend to reply, "You're confusing what a Christian is." A Christian isn't someone who goes to church or votes for George W. Bush (::eye rolls again::). A Christian is someone with a relationship with Christ. We are followers of Christ. We're not perfect, we make mistakes, and sometimes we make asses out of ourselves as a group. I'm not even going to list all the embarrassing things Christians have done in history, but as a group we've done some pretty terrible stuff. But as a group we've also done some really great stuff. And I just tell myself that's because people who follow Christ may be human and imperfect, we are all sinners, but you should not confuse Christians with Christ. If I had to look to some of the small-minded Christians I know for my faith, I'd be turned off, too. Luckily, I don't. I can ignore them--they have their own path of faith to follow--and concentrate solely on Jesus. And seriously, He was one cool guy. Strong, fearless, leader, servant, obedient, divine but still flesh. You never saw Jesus claiming to do one thing and then doing another. Jesus was never a hypocrite. Jesus was never malicious or judgmental or unforgiving. We, his followers? Yeah, we're all those awful things and more, because we're human. But you can't confuse one Man with all us sinful beings following Him.

It just makes me so mad when I see these groups on Fetlife and around the internet asking "How can Christians be kinky?" Some of the more inflammatory get away with saying we all follow "the undead zombie from the sky," like we're some kind of idiots who believe fictional myths without any proof. It just angers me to no end. I'm an intelligent, educated woman who chose to be Christian after much research and study. My husband and I both have a Masters and he has a university degree in Religious Studies (it was my minor). I'm not an idiot and I resent people who assume I am because I'm a Christian. People think BDSM must be against the Bible (it's not). They think BDSM must incorporate sin (it can, but it doesn't have to). They think you can't be Christian and kinky.

Well, I'm Christian and kinky.

I'm also things that many stereotypical "Christians" are not. I vote Democratic, all the time. I've visited mosques and synagogues and would go again. I'd vote for gay civil unions if it ever came up. Yeah, I'm saved. I'm devout, conservative even in my religious beliefs (I'm pretty much pro-life, anti-premarital sex, and I do believe Jesus is the only way to heaven. I read my Bible, go to church most every Sunday, and have a crucifix in my house). But I also have friends who are not Christians, people I love very much and that I respect. I think they ask good questions that challenge my faith. My faith is not threatened by a friend who is pro-choice or Republican or Muslim or atheistic. And my faith is not threatened by BDSM.

One man on FetLife was just such a guy who doesn't see how people can be both Christian and kinky. He started a discussion called M/s, BDSM, and Christianity, which if you have a FetLife account you can read even if you're not part of the Masters and Slaves group, but unfortunately I'm not part of that group so I couldn't respond. So I'm venting on my blog. I'm going to outline the original poster's questions, both in the first discussion and in his follow-up post, and I hope that for once people can stop assuming all Christians are Bible-thumping, gay-hating, anti-sex, ethnocentric idiots. Some of us are, and they annoy me just as much as they annoy you. But just like all Americans don't think the same way, all Christians aren't represented by the small, bigotted, yet strangely vocal minority.

So if you are one of those who identify as Christian, how do you resolve the cognitive dissonance between the M/s you engage in (the BDSM, the polygamy, the sex for recreation instead of procreation and so on and so forth) and the Christian doctrine? Any kind of fun, kinky sex within a Christian marriage is okay, so there is no cognitive dissonance between M/s and BDSM. As for polygamy, the Bible is unclear whether God is for or against it, and theologians differ. If a man is married to all his wives, he is technically not sinning by being polygamous. It is only a person who is not married to all his partners who is fornicating. As for the "sex for recreation instead of procreation," only a minority of Christian groups believe this is wrong, mainly Catholics and Mormons. Most Protestant sects have no problem with sex for recreation and bonding without the possibility of procreation.

And that One True Way, Christianity or following God’s words, seems to be very opposed to most of what is considered the norm for M/s and BDSM. This is true. For Christian kinksters, some things are just flat-out forbidden by the Bible. No sex before marriage, no swinging, no threesomes, no porn, no orgies, no bestiality, no sex with close relatives, no adultery. Even if both partners agree, those kinky activities are out for Christians, because their marriage is a three-way relationship between the spouses and God, and all three of them must agree. However, this still leaves tons of kinky activities open for Christian kinksters, including Master/slave, puppy play, rape play, roleplaying, pain, spanking, bondage, punishment, dirty talk, etc, etc, etc. I personally feel like most of the activities associated with BDSM can easily be kept within a monogamous marriage.

So without resorting to Ephesians 5:22-24 (way too easy), which is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of how much this religion is phenomenally misogynistic, just how do you resolve the cognitive dissonance between being either Master or slave and being Christian? Part one. I do not think Christianity is misogynistic. I think the Bible was written by misogynistic men living in a misogynistic culture, but honestly, most cultures back then were. The only time women are supposed to submit is 1. during church services (1 Timothy 2:12) or 2. to her husband (1 Peter 3:1). That leaves 99.9% of situations and men that she is completely an equal to. Most Christians do not follow the 1 Timothy 2 verse about women not speaking in church; that was seen as a cultural command and not a moral one. For every verse about a woman submitting to her husband, there is one about men and women are equal in Christ and equal spiritually.

Part two. I don't think there is a cognitive dissonance between being a Christian and a kinkster. The Bible makes it clear that we are all called to different positions in life. Some of us are slaves, some are teachers, some mothers and fathers, some leaders, some warriors. If a Christian woman wants to be a slave to her husband, that isn't required by the Bible, but it isn't forbidden, either. She is free to give us much submission to him as she wants, even up to 100%.

So for those who say they are M/s Christian and not in monogamous relationships, there has to be some cognitive dissonance. Or have I got it wrong and do you just simply willingly commit sin? For those Christians who are not in monogamous relationships or at least striving toward that (we all sin!), they either usually believe that the Bible shouldn't be taken literally (in which case why are they Christians?) or they justify it using some vague verse in Matthew about how we are not under the law and only need to love God to be a good Christian. I don't agree with this interpretation at all.

In Ephesians it becomes clear that the wife should not disobey the law of God under the guise of submission. This is where the cognitive dissonance question I asked in the OP comes into play. At what point does the Christian/slave/wife deny her Christian/Master/husband’s command? If such a command is something defined as being ‘sin’ in the Bible, does the Christian slave then defy God or the Master? This is a great question and one that is addressed in virtually every book written about Christian submission within marriage. Even non-kinky Christians need to know "Where does submission stop?" The answer is: a Christian woman should submit to her husband in everything that is not specifically defined as a sin in the Bible. She submits to her husband as he submits to God, so ideally her husband would never lead her astray. God is leading both of them to truth through the authority of the husband. But, husbands are human and they sin, too! In that case, a woman should submit to God first. If her husband commands her to do something against her faith or the Bible, she has a right to refuse.
So that is it. You don't have to be Christian to get something out of my blog. You don't have to be Christian to be friends with me or have an important place in my life. I totally understand and respect the right of each person to chose for himself. But I am so tired of people who assume Christians can't be into BDSM or they are doing something "wrong"!

Is Christianity perfect? No. It's made up of a group of sinful humans who are striving to be better and trusting they are saved through grace. Is it possible to be a Christian and kinky? I hope so. Here I am... doing both... being both.

14 comments:

MrJ said...

Just a brief thank you and support note for a wonder-, insight- use-ful blog. Somehow, the issue is being raised, I notice, see e.g. a recent blog by SecretSlave, from Australia.

I guess the underlying issue goes deep. It is not merely tied to the moral majority in the US; living in a liberal European country, I am seeing similar tendencies.

I guess for quite some of those who utter these prejudices it is a strong belief in ratio, which is then seen as opposed to - well to what exactly... - indeed to a particular construction of what religion is supposed to mean to religious people. Religion then is about obeying either a Book of 25 centuries old; or an institution that got stuck sometime in de Middle Ages. It is related to the received, although historically flawed, view among intellectuals that Enlightenment i) was a way of resisting christianity and ii) paved the way to individual freedom.

Your response hits the core, I think, because you explain that being religious is not about externally defined beliefs or rules, but abut internalized experience - about living life in a spiritual manner.
Well, anyway, hope this support note is of some use

Chris said...

I agree that there is a perception that Christians or very pious people can't engage in certain activities. And that outlook is not always fair or accurate. There are many people who are either a) kinky b)kinky and don't know what it's called OR c)vanilla. Just because someone is religious or has a relationship with Jesus does not mean their sex lives have to be that way. And if turning on my wife involves spanking, slapping, or slight injuries (not harm), than I see the good outweighing the bad.

Great job! Keep up the good work!

Clarisse Thorn said...

Sorry, I think you might have answered this question on another thread, but I'm about to link to this post, so I wanted to throw it out there again. Given the Christian ideal of a submissive wife, do you think Christianity is compatible or incompatible with female-dominant, male-submissive couples?

Clarisse Thorn said...

Never mind my previous comment! I hadn't read your post closely enough and I see now that it addressed my concern.

Clarisse Thorn said...

Pingback:
http://lovebites.blogs.chicago.timeout.com/2010/07/19/can-christians-be-kinky/

Kelly said...

Wow, that is a hot post! But you may hear sexy things from the ladies from Athens escort directory

John said...

As for the "sex for recreation instead of procreation," only a minority of Christian groups believe this is wrong, mainly Catholics and Mormons.

Um - to be clear...Catholics are not against 'recreational sex' - just sex which precludes the possibility of life. So long as you are open to conception, all sex is fine - otherwise our dear elderly would be prohibited from sex! :)

Sexperts said...

John, thank you for saying that, you are absolutely correct. I needed to word that better. :)

Anonymous said...

Really enjoy the post and the thoughtful discussion.

Just to clear up one misconception, Mormons don't believe that "recreational sex" is sinful. As a lifelong (and married!) Mormon I have never heard my church teach that "non-procreational" sex is sinful.

I had always associated that doctrine with the Catholic church, but John in a previous comment pointed out that may not be the case with Catholics either. I guess all Christians are into recreational sex. Hooray!

WulfenCG said...

Let's face it, as Christians we believe that God created everything and that would include sex. We also refer to Him as Father (I even go so far as to call him "Dad", or even "Daddy" when I'm praying sometimes), which surely means that he wants us to be happy. If an active (and kinky) sexlife does that then I find it VERY difficult to believe that He would be against it.

Sexperts said...

@Wulfen,
I think it's a bit broad to assume all God wants is our "happiness." I think He wants our salvation and our joy, but not necessarily us to be "happy" by the world's definition. If doing something that's a sin makes me happy, it's still a sin, right?

Anonymous said...

Shame you had to condemn other Christians in your defense. I find it actually pathetic how that works. I love your blog. But, OMG RUN AWAY!!!!! I vote Republican, and I believe the Bible is crystal clear that homosexuality is a sin.

Oh well, I guess my kink isn't okay with you. But guess what.... wait, let me check...... nope, I couldn't possibly care less.

Sexperts said...

@Anon,

Sorry if you misunderstood me, or more likely, I didn't communicate clearly.

The Bible IS 100% crystal clear that homosexuality is a sin. I don't believe churches should endorse it but I do believe the government should give the same rights to gay couples as any other couples, since the government is not a religious institution.

And I know many Bible-believing Christians who vote Democrat AND Republican. (Actually, this year I voted for Republicans on a few key issues about abortion and birth control.)

Desmond Ravenstone said...

I actually wrote a post about this on my blog some time ago ... http://ravenstonesreflections.blogspot.com/2010/01/for-all-kinky-christians-out-there.html