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.