Baptist theologian Russell Moore recently warned, "On the nightstand of a woman in your church, there's a Christian romance novel and a Bible." Yet if The New York Times is to be believed, he should have been more concerned with a vibrator on the nightstand.

Cultural mores are changing, The Times reports; once available mainly in dimly-lit sex shops, vibrators for women are now being sold in national chain drugstores, a supposed sign of women's empowerment: comfort with discussing and pursuing not just sex but that sometimes-elusive hallmark of "success," an orgasm. The Times credits this shift to many factors, but inevitably certain TV shows are said have played a role in the vibrator boom.

With the ranks of single Christian women unlikely to shrink anytime soon, it's doubtful we have entirely opted out of buying into this trend, since we navigate the same cultural milieu as women outside the church. Aren't we, too, struggling with some measure of sexual disappointment and frustration? Though many of us are likely too shy or conscience-stricken to purchase a vibrator, masturbation has been a topic of debate among evangelicals, with some concluding that it's an acceptable way to wait until marriage for sex (assuming sex requires a partner). How should Christian women respond to the vibrator trend and its broader message of sexual empowerment?

First, a few observations. A vibrator is a replacement—a simulator, if you will. It's not a man, but it's meant to resemble one. It's straightforward, makes no demands, produces fairly consistent results. And it doesn't smell, make rude noises, or wince when you cry. But neither can it hold you, stroke your hair, or make you coffee.

Given the choice between a "perfect" lover and a ...

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