I grew up hearing a lot about sex in the church.
Raised during the height of the purity movement, I had friends who "kissed dating goodbye" and others who plunged headfirst into the dating pool. We were instructed to wait until marriage for sex, but given little guidance about what to do with our sexual desires in the intervening years. We young women were reminded to dress modestly to avoid causing men to stumble, which made little sense to a flat-chested 15-year-old. Boys were instructed to guard their hearts and eyes as well, lest they fall prey to the wildfire lust lurking in their loins.
Though we heard plenty about our libidinous male counterparts, after college something strange happened. We heard nothing at all. Married women, it was assumed, had figured everything out. Single women were asexual beings, contentedly waiting for the right man to come along.
The messages we heard gave me the distinct impression that men were little more than walking lust machines, perpetually teetering on the brink of arousal. Just the slightest hint of cleavage or an overexposed leg could be enough to drive them over the edge. You can imagine my shock the first time my husband wasn't interested in sex. The idea that he might also be tired some nights, or turned off after an argument, or simply not in the mood, had never occurred to me.
From what I've heard from friends, my experience is not an exception. In Christian circles female sexuality is largely ignored. It's not hard to see why this might be. Most pastors are men, and are understandably reluctant to address sexual issues on the other side of the gender divide. Second, if they do venture beyond the usual "do's and don'ts," their teaching on the subject is bound to reflect a distinctly ...