Let’s talk about sex

My friend, Rachel, emails me: “P.S. Did you hear about the Christian sex toys thing on NPR?” No link, no other info. Well, goodness, who could resist googling that?

Here‘s the story, and here‘s the NPR blog post with the comments ranging from medieval “Christians” who think sex is a necessary evil to secularists who think sex is the Ultimate Good. Eventually, it just became the latest web-based pressure-release valve for anti-Christian vitriol.

Reading through, I’ve noticed that many people on both extremes have swallowed a few fallacies about good, Christian living.

Myth #1: It is immoral for Christians to make money. Folks, there is no manna falling from heaven. God expects us to provide for ourselves and our misfortunate neighbors, too. Unless you own a farm, the best way to do that is with cold hard cash. It is immoral to hoard your money, it is immoral to steal someone else’s money, it is immoral to practice unfair lending. But it is not immoral to make money.

Some commenters criticized the company for selling the exact same products as any other sex toy supply store. A dildo is a dildo is a dildo. Making one with a “Christian” theme would be blasphemous (think: The Exorcist), don’t you think? One person complained that the company used the same immoral suppliers as all the other stores and suggested that these people should be manufacturing their own supplies. Gee, I guess they just didn’t have a few spare million dollars to get that idea off the ground.

Then there were the people who thought it was all a gimmick. If by that they mean that these people have come up with a marketing tool to distinguish themselves from all the other sex toy suppliers, then they are right. But that’s not immoral. It’s all part of doing business. If by gimmick they mean “false advertising,” then we’d need some evidence that these people aren’t Christian. Like maybe membership cards for the local Satan worshipper’s church.

Myth #2 Sex is immoral. No, lust is immoral. But if you’ve never experienced sex within the context of a loving, selfless marriage, then I can’t blame you for being confused.

I guess this is why so many commenters had problems with the idea of praying regarding your sex life (kind of like praying that your planned bank heist went smoothly). One person actually mused that Jesus had bigger concerns to deal with and others felt (snarkily) that Christians should spend their time praying for world peace instead of satisfaction. It’s no wonder that they don’t believe in God. That God they describe is so small, so limited. The Christian God is capable of caring about all things from world hunger to that annoying hangnail on your little toe.

Myth #3 Sex is only about making babies. Being “open to life” is not the same thing as restricting sex for fertile times only. Christopher West writes:

This is how husbands and wives build an authentic spirituality: by loving one another according to the Holy Spirit in and through their bodies. Marital love is shown in numerous ways, but spouses who are filled with the Spirit realize “among the possible manifestations of affection, the singular, or rather, exceptional significance of [the conjugal] act” (Nov 21, 1984). They come to understand that their sexual union “bears in itself the sign of the great mystery of creation and redemption” (Nov 14, 1984). In a word, they come to understand that their union is “Eucharistic.”

Sex is primarily about union. Children are the fruit of that union.

Myth #4 Sex toys are immoral. It’s all how you use them. Onanism is immoral. Lust is immoral. Orgasms are most definitely not immoral. Within the context of foreplay, if a couple requires a little assistance, it is not immoral to get some.

Of course, finding assistance is difficult. As the NPR article wrote, the couple who started the business wanted to buy massage oil without viewing pornographic images. Hence, their store.

I wish them good luck.

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