Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Giving good headship

Jeff Sharlet of The Revealer has way too much fun dissecting Christian men's self-help books. Some quotes:

Women can't get enough of good headship, but a man must be careful; a woman's hunger for his headship may lead him to abuse its potency through the sin of anger. . . .

I place "homosexuals" in quotes to suggest that the very term itself — so often referred to with code such as Lewis' — is itself a kind of code within the Christian men's movement. Lesbians, as one might imagine, are not popular among evangelicals; but then, they are not really imaginable. In the theology of "Jesus plus nothing," there is no room for anything that is not man-God (or God-man, if you're particular about such things), and that includes female sexuality. Many of the man-manuals advise loving attention to wives and speak of the joys of married, heterosexual sex as a bulwark against the culture (which is queer by definition, since it is not Christ-centered, a peculiar oxymoron at the heart of the faith), but they also teach a "sensitivity" that is called to stand in for the sins of their cavemen fathers. . . .

But with Christian womanhood restored and redeemed, a crucial character in the Christian conservative morality play has gone missing: the seductress. It is no longer acceptable to speak of loose women and harlots, since sexual promiscuity in a woman is the fault of the man who has failed to exercise his "headship" over her. It is his effeminacy, not hers, that is to blame. And who lures him into this spiritual castration? The gay man.

Sharlet thinks about how the Christian-versus-culture debate is framed in terms of homosexuality. Personally, I think the "harlot" image is still present, and had I nothing better to do, I would write at length about how so much of organized religion deals with controlling female sexuality.

Wicca, by contrast, exalted and attempted to ritualize sexuality, with mixed results. Both the polyamorous and the monogamous agree that sexuality has a sacred dimension, but just how that works in daily life continues to be debated, usually in venues closed to outsiders.


Blogger The Zero Boss said...

We're still a sexually repressed culture, unfortunately, and that hampers any discussions of sexuality, or discussions over anything with the veneer of sexuality. I've seen Wiccan and Pagan lists collapse over heated discussions of going skyclad, for goodness sakes. The debate over the use of actual sex in ritual often reaches nonsensical proportions.

Beyond the social issues, however, I don't believe we've even reached a consensus over the *style* of sacred sex. Is it loving, gentle transcendent? Or can it be crude, pornographic, almost animalistic? The "ideal" is obviously an integration of the two - but what does that integration look like?

10:52 AM  
Blogger Chas S. Clifton said...


Does sacred sex have to have a "style." Doesn't context matter more than content?

Rhiannon Asher wrote in Witchcraft Today 4: Living Between Two Worlds, in an essay entitled "When Sex is a Sacrament: Sexuality Between the Worlds,"

"As with all mysteries, sex is often experienced on many levels at once. It is sublime lovemaking, a way of worshiping one another and the Gods that moves us out of our separate selves into the ecstasy of oneness. In sex, we are truly one with our lovers, as close to another human being as we can ever be, outside of our mother’s womb. And sex is raw fucking, animalistic and powerful, flesh against flesh in the overwhelming heat of passion."


9:04 PM  
Blogger The Zero Boss said...


That quote was the point I was getting at. But I see your point: this state isn't an affected "style", it just is. It flows from the realization of the dual nature of sex, and of the power of sex to unite body and spirit. At least, I think that's your meaning.

9:09 PM  

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