Tag Archives: sex positive

Joe Beam: Conservative Christian and Sex Positive

Marlene says:

I just learned about Minister Joe Beam, a conservative Christian preacher who teaches his followers that they should be having good sex!

I can’t help but feel good about this guy. He limits his positive attitudes about sex to married heterosexual couples, which isn’t really a surprise. I suppose that’s a good start. I like to think that people who are comfortable with themselves and their partners might be a little less uptight about the sex lives of others. Who hasn’t wondered if Anita Bryant might be a little more chill if she was getting done properly on a regular basis? As long as it happens within a heterosexual marriage and “does no harm to the body” Beam is OK with it.

Ol’ Joe is against anal sex. He would be OK with it if it were done without harming the body, but he doesn’t think that’s possible. Apparently, he believes this because of “medical evidence.” As near as I can tell, his understanding is that slight tissue irritation and minuscule tears resulting from anal penetration constitute “damage”. He isn’t applying the same standard to vaginal penetration as far as I can tell. I’m conflicted about this. I think his “no damage” standard sounds like a reasonable one, but if “damage” is interpreted on a nearly microscopic level for rectums it should be interpreted similarly for vaginas. I hope this isn’t representative of the quality of his advice. I can personally testify to the great miracle of LUBE for all types of penetration, but especially anal.

He gives advice on changing a man’s diet to improve the taste of his semen. He regularly quotes the Song of Solomon, which he and I interpret similarly: the most erotic piece of scripture, without a doubt. He even acknowledges that Christians are taught that sex is bad when they are young and that shifting from a sex-negative attitude to a sex-positive attitude at the moment of marriage is not likely to happen without conscious effort.

Joe Beam is still a conservative Christian. I’m sure he still thinks that me and mine will be cast into the lake of fire. I’m sure he thinks I’m a living abomination. I know he is sexist to the bone.

I do not expect the world to ever be free of assholes who believe that their way is the only way and who will try to limit the freedoms of others because of this belief. They’re not going away. People have always been that mean and ignorant and stupid and probably always will be. On the other hand, there’s always hope that it can get better. The fact that Joe Beam is out there doing his work makes me feel a little better, and that counts. I really do believe that people who are happier themselves spend less time trying to stop other people from being happy.

Positively Sexy?

Laurie and Debbie say:

We are both glad to see these two posts from Ginmar and Ren at Renegade Evolution, in which two women who have been polarized against each other for a long time pay a lot of attention to each other’s thinking, and bury the hatchet.

Ren says, in part:

There are people out there that I come to see as adversaries, without, admittedly, always seeing them or knowing them as people. Often times, it is a matter of our views are just too different. Or we’ve come at each other so hard it’s like a car crash where everyone gets carted away to the ER. Where shit is said that is infuriating, painful, and sticks in the spine like an arrow. Shit that hurts, maybe more than you expected it to, and you reach a point that no matter what, that person is the enemy, and the only fighting you’re going to see together is against each other.

And I am actually, believe it or not, willing to say that you know what, there is someone out there in blogland that I have had this sort of reversal of feelings with. And I will also say I don’t give a fuck what anyone else has to say about it. I have my reasons. I can walk away from a bad past with this person, because I don’t think this person is bad. Nah, we’re never going to see everything eye to eye, but there are things we can and do at least see close enough on…

Ginmar says, in part:

In story after story, I noticed that prostitutes were referred to as prostitutes, by the number of times they’d been arrested. I wanted to know where they grew up, what books they liked, what they wanted to be in high school, who they were. The answer the newspapers and judges and others gave was this: she was a prostitute, so it didn’t matter. Some of them were desperate women. Some chose the life. Some were trafficked into it. There were so many problems that they had to be distilled to orders of importance, and at the top of the heap was the important one: what is best for women? What do they want? Not deciding for them, but asking them.

There’s no perfection in people, and thank God, because nobody I know would meet the standard. We’d all be without friends and have nothing but enemies and judges. But I now have fewer enemies and it feels good. I feel my energy refocused on what’s important, what bedevils us all, and clarity feels so good. …

The phrase sex pox or poz is excised from my vocabulary. Strangely enough, the clumsiness of the phrase sex positive is also something Ren and I agree upon.

Everyone will have their opinions on the issues that polarized Ren and Ginmar, and we recommend the comment threads to both posts. But what it got us to thinking about was the phrase “sex positive,” which neither of us has ever liked.

So we were thinking out loud about that phrase and what’s wrong with it, and here’s what we came up with. For one thing, the minute we describe ourselves as positive about anything, we are automatically defining other people as negative about that thing. (Yes, it would be nice if it didn’t work that way. But humans are bicameral: we have two sides to our brain, two hands, two legs, two eyes, etc., and we are quite literally formed to see things as binary.)

Way to make enemies out of potential allies.

Going deeper, sex can be thought about, very broadly, on two different lines.

On the first continuum, child abuse and rape are at one end, moving through trafficking in sex workers to commoditized sex to sell automobiles or beach vacations. The other half of this continuum can’t be prioritized, because it depends so much on individual values, but things it might have on it include sex work done voluntarily, erotic art, sex with serious intimacy, and good sex with mutual respect.

But it’s not enough, because there’s another continuum that runs from the kinkiest and most socially disapproved things that consenting adults can do with each other for pleasure at one end through generally socially acceptable sex all the way to the 1950s movie kiss on the back porch at the other end.

The first line is about who does to whom, coercion (or the lack of it), power imbalance, and the presence or lack of personal choice and respect. The second is about preference.

When you think about it in this way, hardly anyone has a negative reaction to everything on both lines. And if anyone has a positive reaction to everything on the first line, they are a social danger.

In order to have reasonable conversations about what is and what is not acceptable, to whom, under what circumstances, and why, we have to eliminate the super-simplified terms. It’s no surprise that Ginmar and Ren agree about not liking “sex positive.”

Thanks to Badgerbag for the pointer to Ginmar and Ren’s conversation.