Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I've read plenty of essays, sermons and books that have implied or outright stated that "Christian feminist" is an oxymoron. Yet this is a label I still proudly wear. In fact I'm certain that if Jesus still walked the earth in human form he'd even call himself a feminist (but I'll save that for a later post.)

When it comes to discussions about sex and sexuality, however, things get a little complicated for a Christian feminist like me.

As a Christian I respect and admire young women, and men, who decide to wait until marriage to have sex out of reverence for and obedience to their God. And, frankly I think feminists should do a better job of supporting them in this decision.

As a feminist, however, I find it hard to stomach the rhetoric and institutions that seek to make young women and girls (and let's be honest, they always go after the women) who do engage in premarital sex feel dirty and unloved by God, ignoring the Christian teachings of grace and agape love.

Nonetheless, my Christian beliefs and feminist politics both inform my thoughts on sex and sexuality and I have never had trouble letting my sexuality, my spirituality and my feminism coexist.

I was fortunate enough to be raised by a mother who talked very openly and candidly with me about sex and sexuality and somehow my mama managed to bring God into our discussions without bringing in guilt.

I was taught that sex and sexual desires were natural, not dirty, and that they were gifts from God. I didn’t grow up thinking my worth was determined by the wholeness of my hymen, but I was also taught that my body was a sacred creation of God and should be treated as such.

As a teen this belief helped me shut down boys who tried to pressure me into sex. In college it kept me from trying to use sex to make men fall in love with me and today it reminds me that I have a divine right to enjoy a happy and healthy sexual life.

It’s tempting for feminists to want to completely take God out of discussions about sex and sexuality, but if you're a Christian feminist, you simply can't do that. And honestly, I don't want to. For women of faith, I think our beliefs can actually help us love our bodies more and have the good sex we deserve.

6 comments:

  1. I agree that feminists don't seem to support those of us who choose not to have sex. Sexual freedom to me covers not only being in touch with your sexuality but also the right to choose whether or not you are sexually active.

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  2. Jai, I believe you stated this very well. I do believe that we as women should learn to appreciate and love our bodies more, which will in turn allow us to feel better about ourselves, be happier in general and have better sex lives (if you're having sex). I think that everyone is entitled to their opinion but I don't think that it's really anyone's business but your own if you choose to have sex or not. That is a very personal decision and I think that if more people discussed sexuality and the responsibility of it and what it really entails instead of trying to make it dirty, it might be more appreciated and supported by everyone because there would be a collective understanding.

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  3. One more comment...I think that it should be realized that the decision to have or not to have sex is a very personal one and the support should be there either way. I think that a lack of support and education is a growing problem in why we have so many young women falling prey to the notion that sex is what makes you or breaks you.

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  4. "As a teen this belief helped me shut down boys who tried to pressure me into sex. In college it kept me from trying to use sex to make men fall in love with me and today it reminds me that I have a divine right to enjoy a happy and healthy sexual life."

    I LOVED this!

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  5. It's amazing that you learned this growing up in the Bible Belt. How did your mom get such a well-rounded perspective?

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