Recently the Christian Blogosphere has been in an uproar over a post on the Christian Gospel Coalition blog concerning sex in which Doug Wilson was quoted from his book, “Fidelity”. The offending post has since been removed and so I must rely on my memory of it and yours. The author of that post, Jared Wilson, has posted an apology and, I believe, it is one with reading.
Doug Wilson, the one quoted, has also posted some thoughts on the matter. It is his response that has finally caused me to respond. I suppose I would rather throw in my lot with the “bedwetters” and at least say something.
Regarding the original aritcle, it seems that most of the offense centered around the following points:
- The idea that a man should be dominant in the act of sex
- The terms Doug Wilson used in the quoted material to describe the act as they generally elicit conceptions of force and aggression in a negative sense.
- The idea that rape and/or rape fantasies are the result of an egalitarian approach to sex. (Really!?)
So, since we’re all discussing it anyway, what should sex look like between a married Christian couple? To answer that question, I think one must look at the overall relationship. As much as this kicks against the goads of popular culture, I do not read an endorsement of egalitarian marriage in the Bible. (Sorry, Rachel Held Evans fans!) Instead I see both that the husband is to be head of the relationship AND that he is to be a servent leader, putting the needs of his beloved above his own. He isn’t to disregard her needs or treat her as his slave–far from it. The wife, in turn, is to submit to and help this man who is called even to die for her good. She contributes not by silence and slavery but by the full use of the gifts, talents and intellect the Lord has given her.
In the context of a marriage where both strive for these ideals, how can they be cast aside at the foot of the bed? I am firmly convinced that a couple’s sex life will reflect the general operating mode of the relationship to the extent that human anatomy allows. How can it not? Basically then, since we know what the Bible says about marriage, we can apply the same principles to all its outward manifestations. That’s just common sense. Sex practiced within the context of a Biblical marriage*, therefore, naturally incorporates the meaningful contribution of both parties.
As far as the rest of the offending post is concerned:
The wording was tacky and offensive. I don’t want to be conquered like some weak nation overrun by an evil tyrant. Need I expound? No, many others have. Here’s a well-written, informative post on the original terminology used.
Concerning the cause of rape:
It’s been going on a lot longer than egalitarian relationships and an undiluted patriarchal society wouldn’t fix that. Let’s remember to keep the blame where it belongs–on the perpetrators.
Concerning the cause of some women having rape fantasies:
Even as a woman I am mystified and yet do not appreciate Doug Wilson’s speculations. (Is it really wise for a man to publicly speculate on this matter?) I do wonder, however, if this phenomenon is related to our general human appetite for vicarious immorality. Consider our timeless interest in senseless violence. Do we just like watching living images of God being desecrated and destroyed?
As I understand it, Rome had no trouble filling the coliseums with spectators and today our most popular movies are saturated with murder, blasphemy and fornication. Sadly, we like immorality and we want to see, taste and feel as much as possible without getting our own hands dirty. I don’t know why some women want to role play any part of such a heinous act as rape but I do suspect there is a correlation. Bottom line: we’re a fallen, sinful people with sinful inclinations. I am not convinced that an in-depth exploration of that particularly dark side of our nature will yield better results than those experienced by Dorian Gray. Let us instead recognize sin as sin and flee from it.
I welcome your thoughts and feedback. Please be kind or, at least, don’t take your cue from Doug Wilson!
* I do understand that many Christians who hold a high regard for scripture view Biblical marriage in different terms. I mean no disrespect.