Christian dildos?

christian dildos? attractive copule
If the title wasn't enough to tip you off, this post is rated PG-13

This post by a writer and thinker I respect really got me thinking today.

This is one of those cases that shows the absurdity that lies at the heart of too much of evangelical culture.

Somewhere along the line we, as evangelicals, got the idea that we needed “Christian” versions of everything in the world.

Christian radio.

Christian books.

A Christian publishing industry and music industry.

Christian bookstores.

Christian television.

Christian euchre (called “Rook”).

Christian athletic teams at churches.

Christian amusement parks.

And now, apparently, Christian sex shops?

The idea is, if a song is made by a Christian, it must be a Christian song, or ought to be, in some blatant, particular way, such as the number of times Jesus is mentioned in the song, or the extent to which it overtly preaches Christ in the lyric.

Therefore, if a dildo is made, or sold, by a Christian, then it must be a Christian dildo? Does that follow? Is it supposed to?

And of course the raison d’etre behind it all: Christian songs are “safer” and therefore “better” than non-Christian songs. Christian dildos are “safer” and therefore “better” than non-Christian dildos.

But there’s no such thing as a “Christian” dildo, in exactly the same way there is no such thing as a Christian song. There are just songs, and sex toys, that people either do or do not enjoy. That’s it.

You might say, “But the words in Christian songs lift my thoughts toward God.” Good for you. That’s a reason you prefer certain songs, but it doesn’t make them “Christian.” Songs are songs.

Dildos, no matter what you think about them, are dildos. Nothing more, nothing less. What you’re going to do with them is neither sacralized nor hedonized simply because of where you bought them.

Furthermore, there doesn’t need to be, even shouldn’t be an explicitly consecrated purpose for everything.The idea that there must is perhaps where the deepest division lies right now in the church. Between people who see all of creation as holy, or at least potentially holy, and people who see the entire creation as depraved and fallen. If this view is true, then the world is dangerous and dirty, and thus there is a need for sterilized, “Christian” versions of everything the world offers.

This is where evangelicalism shows how completely broken is our sexual vision. We claim, over and over again, that God created sex and that therefore sex is good and healthy, and that whatever husband and wife choose to do in the privacy of their bedroom is good.

But I’ll bet many suspect that if they’re going to be sexual in certain ways (such as using sex toys), they’d better do it on the sly and seek that all-important Christian/corporate blessing over their activities.

[“But,” you object, “this way I can go into a sex shop with my spouse and not be bombarded by pornographic images.” To which I reply, “The same argument could be used for constructing “Christian” streets, since it’s not that unusual, in some of our big cities, to see homeless adults masturbating beneath cardboard or newspapers. We could disallow all homeless people on those streets, which surely would, from a Christian perspective, be a cruel irony, but that way we wouldn’t have to be exposed to masturbation.]

This is a shame, and reveals how unclear the church’s teaching has been on sex. And I don’t mean the teaching we actually teach, I mean all that ends up being taught by omission, by fear of saying certain things and going into certain difficult areas.

It seems that somehow it isn’t enough that sex was created by God. I think there are many who really can’t be okay with creative expressions of their sexuality until they are able to buy sex toys at Family Christian Stores.

Somehow those corporate structures, dubbed “Christian” this or that speak very powerfully to many Christians about what is and is not Christian. This is certainly unfortunate for me since I teach a vision of Christianity that has nothing to do with 90% of what is sold in most “Christian” bookstores.

Do you think the Christian world needs Christian sex shops? Maybe what the world really needs is for Christians to engage the world — its music, its entertainment opportunities, its books, its news, its ideas about sexuality — in a thoughtful and deliberate way, instead of building an alternative culture for ourselves.

Otherwise we might end up with…exactly the current state of things. Where we build church and “Christian” versions of every conceivable thing, and then offer evangelism classes where the first thing we say is, “Get out there in the world and build integrity friendships with people who see the world differently than you.”

The very people who, of course, we spend our lives seeking to avoid in our Christian ghetto.



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14 thoughts on “Christian dildos?

  1. although all of these are framed with the word “christian” it should be framed with the word “money-maker”

  2. Christ, according to tradition and the canonical Gospels, was not married. Ergo, there can be no Christian sex. If so, then only religious such as monastics or the now nearly extinct Shakers, etc. can be truly Christian. Yes? NO! Of course not! How ridiculous!

    Aside from the fact that we can surmise that Jesus was a 1st century Palestinian Jew, there is very little that we can say about the particulars outside of the Gospel accounts. In fact, virtually nothing. That is, everything else is speculation. But it is the consensus of most decent NT scholars that the Gospels are not history and not biography. They’re faith statements, that is faith propaganda, written by Christians for other Christians, and not even by those who personally knew Jesus, whoever he was.

    Christianity is a religion about Christ and certainly not the religion of Jesus. Christians, however sincerely, have been “cherry-picking” scriptures and tradition for centuries making up their own versions of who Jesus “Christ” was (or is, if one wishes to get metaphysical and mystical about it, which is really beyond critique).

    In my opinion, the premise anyone today is truly “Christian” is completely faulty. At best, one can infer some broad universals from the Gospel accounts, i.e, inclusiveness, non-judgement, compassion, etc. If you want to overlay this with what are oftentimes silly concepts of “Christ” or “God” or whatever, go right ahead, but NONE of that has anything whatsoever to do with the reality of who Jesus of Nazareth (if he was even from there) was.

    There are no Christians, and actually never were, from this perspective. It’s a made up religion. Far better that all of us move on and look for common bases for life together, like tolerance, compassion, inclusiveness, the meaning of true happiness, etc.

  3. I am a Christian.

    I am sex-positive.

    I have shaken off the shame and guilt that were pounded layer over layer into my identity. Shame and guilt that sealed my mouth when it came to discussing what I want and do not want in my sex life.

    Thank you for tackling this controversial subject!

    I have some concerns on this-here we’ve stamped approval on healthy sex lives, but only to a point-whatever you do in your bedroom is ok, as long as it isn’t non-monogamy. Sex toys are cool, but porn is NOT. In fact, porn stars lack self-respect.

    What makes some of this cool and not the rest of it? Who are we to disapprove of activity between consenting adults that harms no one? And why?

    • That’s a valid question, Jill. I have posted elsewhere on the topic, and every time I do I get push back, which is fine.

      My opinion is that porn does more harm than good, although there is solid data that actually there are some benefits to using it. I’ll leave denial of this to those who, for religious reasons, cannot acknowledge certain truths because they don’t fit with their religion. I am not one of them.

      Having said this, I still do not recommend use of pornography. If you have read much of my other work, you probably know that I stand unequivocally for love and respect for all human beings, whether or not I understand them or agree with their actions or decisions. I do not compromise on this. But in general, I think most sex workers do not respect themselves because there is something in that line of work that inherently leaves people feeling inferior.

      I have seen some who seem to have liberated themselves from this, and I’m not one to argue with that.

      • “most sex workers do not respect themselves” is a huge assumption, even prefaced with “I think…”

        Is it possible that the something in that line of work that leaves people feeling inferior is directly related to unnecessary shame and disapproval we’ve attached to sex in general?

        Those thoughts on lack of self respect and inferiority describe my state of mind after becoming sexually active for the first time.

        Btw, after contemplating this piece, I’m afraid I responded to what I wanted it to be about, and not your meaning. I’m sorry if I missed the mark.

        • Sure it’s possible.

          The problem is a perennial one. If you’re going to have any value system at all, anything that suggests it really is better for a human being to be one way rather than another way, then you’re automatically opening a door for many people to cast dispersion on those who do not live according to their value system. It takes a great deal of spiritual training to outgrow this natural tendency.

          I am convinced, however, that this is what people SHOULD be doing, instead of lobbying to make everything okay. In fact, if there really are things it’s better for people to do and not do, lobbying to simply get rid of these differences is a cheap way out. Each of us working on ourselves to be less judgmental and more compassionate is the real way, and the best way, and yes, I am stating that as a value judgment!

          I am opposed to use of pornography as part of a healthy sex life. The only way we could ever know how much self-loathing in the porn industry comes from lack of social approval is for society to generally begin to approve of it. Oh, wait, that has already happened. Society in general is in fact QUITE porn-friendly right now.

          Sorry, I said porn workers lack self-respect as a response to your comment that they lack self-respect, but I now see you stated it as a social judgment or misconception, whereas I took it seriously and ran with it.

          I’m a therapist, Jill. You parade a thousand sex workers through my office and let me spend time with them, and the vast majority of them will have serious issues with self-respect. All of them? Surely not. My point is, lack of self-respect is not the result of being in porn most of the time, but one of the things that leads people into porn to begin with. Again, you’ll point out exceptions probably, and that’s fine. Exceptions just highlight the general truth of it.

          And yeah, you kind of made it into something I didn’t intend, but that’s okay. Fun discussion anyway.

          • Because it’s something I mull over a lot, trying to decide where my own head it’s on it, and where I want it to be.

            I want to know what other Christians are saying about this stuff.

            The best I’ve come up with, so far, is that I know what works forme. And that I’m no one to say what works best or should work best for others.

            If someone tells me “I’m a sex worker, and I both enjoy and feel empowered by it,”

            I don’t then get to say “well that’s because you’re damaged.”

            Is it possible? Certainly. Even that a majority of sex workers have issues with self respect.

            I’m nowhere near a subject matter expert on that. I just can’t work out in my own head what exactly it is we have a problem with. Sex is cool unless you’re getting paid for it and you’re not completely monogamous? We can talk about it openly as long as it isn’t too explicit?

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