Fundy Sex Week Day 2: Being On Top

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As any politician who has been caught in flagrante delecto can tell you, sex is often primarily about power. In fact, it’s not any secret that (especially for men) sex is often more about power and ego as opposed to the healthier motivations of love, procreation, and mutual enjoyment. In fundyland, the exercise of sex-as-power gets even more complicated than the simple a urge to dominate, since even having sexual desires is seen as an inherent moral flaw.

A fundy man having taken unto himself a helpmeet is faced with a dilemma. On the one hand he is told that he is to be the absolute and final authority in his home and rule it with an iron hand. On the other, his wife can rob him of that power simply by refusing his amorous advances. The situation is even worse for an unmarried fundy man who is at the same time tremendously tempted by vague notion of sexual satisfaction while at the same time being repulsed by the idea of women in general as being the deep ditches and narrow pits that will lead him to his destruction.

In the end, it’s fundamentalist women who suffer most from this paradox. They are told both that they are vile temptresses whose bodies only exist to tempt men and that they are also responsible to perform their marital duties (note: if it’s a ‘duty’ you’re doing it wrong) as the only way to keep their man on the straight and narrow. In short the message is to be eternally afraid of her own sexuality but always ready at the drop of a hat to actually have sex.

Some men in fundyland, however, fare only marginally better. The most alpha males may simply take what they want without regard for anyone’s enjoyment but their own. But the more thoughtful and kindhearted fundy man (yes, they do exist) who has been taught a lifetime of fear of the eternal temptress that is womankind simply has no idea how to deal with his own conflicted feelings of guilt and desire — much less the confusion of his partner over the mixed messages he’s sending out. It’s the perfect recipe for a whole lot of loneliness.

Happy are the people who put the power plays of fundyland behind them and understand that love has no shame — and that it’s all a lot more fun when everyone gets a chance to be on top.
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129 thoughts on “Fundy Sex Week Day 2: Being On Top”

  1. Let’s not forget the politics of sex from the “weaker” sex who uses it as a carrot and stick. So long as she is getting the things she wants (house, security, children…)she is at least a general participant. On the other hand once she has all she wants she just turns it off and hangs an “out-of-order” sign at the entrance. Game over. And she knows she has him because he has made a vow and will die before he breaks it. She can do without it and now he has to as well.

    Ask some of the older guys. Many will be all macho about it and claim what they do get is not out of sympathy so much as guilt on her part. But you just “don’t need it” as much after 30-40 years of marriage.
    I know that the majority of the time it is the male making the power play regarding sex but the above description is played out as well in many relationships. It may be more rare but the strain on the relationship is just as real.

      1. So, women don’t have sex drives or needs? If it looks like a woman is using a man for resources and not “reciprocating” with sex (OK, that’s just disgusting–it’s so far from what real relationships look like), I’d recommend that couples take a step back and get themselves to a counselor stat. There are clearly some deep relationship problems, likely starting with a major lack of open honest communication. Heck, maybe there are even medical problems. Encourage your friends to go to a professional counselor; there are likely issues there beyond what you are able to give advice on.

    1. Don, what you describe is a sinful thing for a wife to do. If someone is guilty she can repent, be forgiven and ask God to sort out her heart issues. Because it’s really trying to rule as opposed to serve your husband. I was emotionally abused in the earlier part of my marriage and truthfully my heart shut down. This lasted for nearly 2 years. I wasn’t trying to deprive him to have power but to be protected emotionally. Very difficult to have intimacy when there is none outside the bedroom. We went through a lot and the LORD restored our marriage but I had heaps of guilt for “not performing my duty” at the time. All those I Corinthians passages that tell a Christian man how to treat his wife should be heeded to make a woman feel safe in his arms but also women need to understand that men actually find sex to a necessary part of communicating the strength of their marriage bond. No man is perfect and to with hold sex is tantamount to mocking him publicly. The fruits of the Spirit truly sweeten a marriage. What you described is enough to hurt the strongest man and is opposed God’s view on marriage. In my opinion the best lesson to young couples is to remember to love your spouse as yourself because you’ve been set free! (please refrain, I’m being serious!) πŸ˜‰

      1. I’ve watched it happen over the years and he rally does love her… and he says he’ll stay with her til he dies. But I believe a part of him is dead already. And it seem this is not an isolated thing.
        I’ve watched that particular relationship and I doubt that she even realizes how she has done him. I can’t say anything and have been sworn to secrecy on the particulars. All I can do is sit up with the dead.
        Oy, talk a bout a Debbie Downer…. now back to our regularly scheduled program. Meanwhile back at the ranch…

        1. I’ve known them for years. When he opened up to me last year and told me all of this it rang true with what I have observed in their relationship. I told him that counselling should be looked into and the horror on his face told of how well that conversation had already gone in the past and he just mumbled something about he’d never bring that subject up ever again.
          Obviously I’ve not been invited to participate or observe their sex life but I beleve he’s told me the facts and the truth as he sees it anyway.
          One of the older guys in the shop overheard some of our conversation one day and interjected, “Yep, ya don’t give up sex cold turkey, you get married and taper off… that’s why I got divorced years ago.” Stuff like that don’t help him either.
          It’s painful to watch sometimes. and yes they were raised old path fundies in the Rural IFB culture found in NC. That might not be the problem, but I know that the IFB is not where they will find help.

        2. Hey, encourage him to get counseling on his own! To some limited extent, he can take control of the situation by coming to terms with his options, and maybe even changing some of his own behavior (after figuring out exactly what’s going on and how he can influence it).

      2. k, Excellent post. Thanks for sharing.
        In the waneing years of my 25 year marriage, before my then wife divorced me, we had grown so far apart that we could not communicate. I loved her still so continued to display physical affection in an effort to signal to her how much I wanted to make things work. She took my affection as “just wanting sex” And the rejection left me thaqt much more uncommunicative. Various counselors were of no avail because she could accept no responsibility or accountability and by the time she even came close I was totally shut down. It takes two to make a marriage, thankfully you had two, it only takes one to make a divorce. Thankfully God has placed a loving and devoted wife in my life to whom I am lovingly devoted.

    2. I’m not sure what you mean by “most of the time it is the male making the power play.” I think most of the time the male is just horny. I don’t think “power play” is a helpful way of putting it.

      A lot of stereotypes about the sexes float out there. One is that men are turned on by sight but women by touch. Another is that sex for men is physical but for women it is emotional. I think these stereotypes are mostly false.

      While men in many cases get more out of sex in physical terms, the emotional aspect is still huge (especially inside a marriage). For a man to be turned down for sex repeatedly is on par with a woman never telling his wife that he loves her or that she’s attractive. Feeling loved is a basic human need.

    3. Don,
      I hear the hurt and anger and frustration in your post. I am so sorry.
      I am typing this reply while shaking, crying and after vomiting…the triggers that bad.
      Darrell showed a lot of truth in portraying the pain of both sides of the fence.
      I am here to say that there are many good, gentle, kind men who endure the “dangling carrot stick control game” by their wives and it is a shame. BUT There are also some men who translate fundy teaching into a license to violate, abuse and use violence and force to get what they want and these acts are backed up by the “man of God”. Many have NO idea what abuse is happening in a fundy home and you will NEVER hear about it because the husband has controlled by striking incredible fear in a woman if she steps out of line.
      I have never since reading SFL have had to deal with such a violent trigger reaction. There are a lot of people here who have really huge hurts and wounds…I obviously still need a lot of healing in this area- the wound is deep.

      1. @IamHisBeloved. I’m so sorry you got that upset! What you said is completely true. If a man is a despot who wants to rule and marries a woman taught that docility is the only “emotional” trait she’s suposed to show her husband it’s a recipe for abuse. Likewise, when a woman is told that if she questions how her husband treats her that it’s a sin, it’s like putting her in a cage. Throw some graceless, bad theology in with it and she’s going to think she’s just called to endure or it’s her fault that she’s not obedient enough for God to rescue her. I think the Pearl’s “Created to be his Helpmeet” is a prime example. There must be countless women in similar circumstances and it is heartbreaking. Going to start a thread on this later because it hits so close to home. I’m just thankful to finally understand God’s grace.

      2. Love ya sis.

        It’s a shame that a cult that claims to know the source of infinite Love can be the source of such deep, deep pain and sorrow. In the name of Christ they practice emotional warfare.
        I have said it many, many time, but when one claims the god-proxy the coruption that ensues is universal and nearly limitless. It touches every facet ,of every life that is under the influrnce and control of that system. Every action, every outward appearance, every decision and every emotion is put under the microscope to see it conforms to the “standard.” In the end, relationships are where the most damage is done. Sometimes it is friendships that are torn apart. Sometimes it is family relations but the most damning is when it scars the marriage relationship.
        Granted that it is not solely the fault of the cult but the cult plays on and exacerbates any character flaws the individual may already have. (hows that for armchair pop psychology?) But we know its true.

        Sorry, this has was a fundie trigger for you IAHB. ((hugs)) from me as well.

      3. Thanks for the hugs and kind words dear friends. There is so much of my story that is not proper to say here and nor wise to say here…Jesus redeems and is healing up wounds but I want to encourage those women who have deep hurts in this area that there is hope and you are not alone.

    4. Don, sorry man. I’ve seen this play out one additional way. The fundy guy who is frustrated in this manner by his wife is getting preached at every week that he is not good enough to measure up to God’s standard and that he is a sinner dog. His mind becomes consumed with the concept of the perfection he is “supposed” to be meanwhile seeing his own failings so this guy decides that since he is already a failure, why keep trying. He gives in and cheats.

      Not justifying sin, but there is a clearly identified though process based on failed fundy premises that leads directly to all of this. It doesn’t end any prettier.

      1. Or the guy (or woman, in some cases) who feels he/ she is a failure, and rather than just give up and cheat, he gives up and ends his/her life. How sad that the fundy perspective on things can literally drive some people to end it all.

    5. One of the most perverse things about fundamentalism is that it rewards the abusive and punishes the kind and compassionate.

      The scenario you’ve described is fairly common in Fundyland, but the “nice guys” don’t make a scene about it; in the fundy world of facades and masks, who could they confide in? Instead, they just slowly die, emotionally and physically. That’s all they *can* do, when they’ve been programmed their whole lives that divorce is worse than death. I’ve seen it.

  2. Much of the problem arrises from the fact that sex is an entirely different thing for men and women. The biological leftovers from females are expelled in an entirely non-sexuall way. Females, for the most part can happily live thier lives in the entire absence of orgasm with or without sex. Males, on the other hand can only expell the billions of sperm they produce daily through orgasm. If this occurs no other way nocturnal emissions are inevetable which are essentially spontaneous orgasms. That is why they are dealt with in the book of Leviticus. This fact gives men a biological imperitive that women do not have. That is not to say that men are not responsible to control how they respond to that imperitive but it does take consious action to do so. The various cohabitations mentioned in the thread on day one sound perfectly reasonable to females but I’ll guarentee that the guys involved are not without some tension.

    1. “Females, for the most part can happily live thier lives in the entire absence of orgasm with or without sex.”

      As a healthy, red-blooded woman with a normal sex drive, let me assure you: you got this one totally wrong.

      1. AS a woman, I can tell you that while I may be able to live in the total absence of an orgasm, those around me find it difficult. I become, ummm, how shall I put it tactfully….a tad less cranky than a grizzly sporting a hangover discovering the abduction of her cubs.

    2. so you are justifying your sex drive based on the fact that you have to get rid of “biological leftovers”? wow

      how about chalking sex drive up to something that God gave everyone in differing degrees? it’s normal, and natural, and like other gifts that God gave us is to be used in a way that shows we are good stewards….

    3. Good Lord man, you obviously don’t have my wife. Especially when pregnant, I had to sneak around the house so she wouldn’t jump me every day. She took matters into her own hands though…literally, if she needed to…she told me so.

      To be perfectly honest, it wasn’t so much her wanting sex every day, it was the baby chillin’ in there that weirded me out. πŸ˜‰

    4. Wow. That may be the single most ignorant, misogynist comment I will read today. Thanks for assuming that all women are alike and don’t have sex drives. πŸ‘Ώ

      1. one CAN live without sex (says the 30 year old single woman who can prove it).

        The problem in fundy-land, and fundy-adjacent, and generally the entire bible belt, is that we don’t encourage self control – rather we just convince everyone to marry off young so that they can have sex…

        that said, i still don’t like the above claims that men need it more… still offensive…

  3. I’m kind of embarrassed to say this. 😳 for years I’ve tried to go by the way fundamentalists taught about dating. I was taught that a wife was something I was entitled to by God. I have been on very few dates and have only had one girlfriend. I’ve never even kissed a girl. πŸ™ Now, I must admit that my own insecurities and immaturity played a BIG part in my failure to find a woman to love me. But when I would go to fundy leaders for advice they would just say “Give it to God” (Whatever that means) or “God will drop the right person in your lap.” When I would try to get help with my emotional issues the advice I would get was esentially “Read this verse and pray really hard” or the aforementioned “Give it to God” or they would say “Just get over it” but no one could tell me how. In the meantime girls would reject me left and right. Now here I am later in life, unmarried with no prospects. I don’t feel holy or spiritual. I feel like I’ve missed something. 😐

    1. Jason, The Bible also says, “He that findeth a wife findeth a good thing.” Go FIND one. Think about what qualities you want in a spouse and go start looking!

        1. I used eharmony for a short time but was thinking about going back to it. Do you know of any good Christian site to go to?

    2. Head over to boundless.org. It’s the Focus on the Famiily website/blog forum for single Christians. It is GOOD STUFF. I echo what others are saying here–don’t wait for God to drop her in your lap! Pray for His leading and go out there and find her.

      There is hope my friend. I just got married at age 33. Don’t give up. And go to Boundless, seriously. It’s that good. πŸ™‚

        1. boundless used to have some good stuff, but they’ve swung way more conservative than they used to. I quit reading after the article they had suggesting that women should live at home until they get married, or next best case scenario, should live with a family from church, but should NEVER EVER buy a house by themselves.

          Ok, so I’m just supposed to ignore the signs of God’s will for my life? I did the double whammy – out of a feeling of God’s calling, I moved to another state, so I couldn’t live with my parents, where I knew no one (so I couldn’t just beg people to let me live with them) and where there was not many rentals to be had (and by the time the difference in utilities was figured out, my house payment was cheaper than renting would have been)

          Thank you for telling me that everything I did to follow God’s will actually means I’m not following God’s will.

          Ugh!

          and Focus on the Family is promoting marrying early now too (Boundless is part of Focus) which just drives me up the wall because 1) they ignore those of us who have not CHOSEN not to marry, and who have not turned down possibilites – it’s not us being immature and choosy, though I’m sure there are some of those out there but also 2) I have seen way too many 18 year olds getting married after knowing each other a month – you can’t tell me they won’t have a higher divorce rate (or almost worse, just be miserable the rest of their lives). A little knowing of ones self, and a little patience is a good thing.

        2. B-

          I wouldn’t call myself normal, but in terms of dating I would say I’m far more normal than stereotypical fundies. Somehow I went through life not really knowing these kind of dating advice books and websites existed.

          Then I went to a Southern Baptist seminary and eventually tried to date there. It took me very little time to encounter so much crazy that I began to question myself. In trying to piece my mind back together, I discovered all this pure, delicious crazy out there.

          I’m sure there’s much on that site that can be useful to someone who grew up very hardcore IFB. But I wouldn’t call them normal, only a different flavor of crazy sold in nicer packaging.

      1. Good article Halcyon. I wish I heard more of that from the fundy preachers I listened to. It’s amazing how they would say “Just wait for God to provide a wife” but when it came to service they would say “Pray like it all depends on God but work like it all depends on you.”

    3. Thanks for the advice everyone. I can use all the help I can get. If any of you think of anything else you can send me a private message on the fourms. And Darrell, thanks for correcting my BIG spelling error πŸ™‚

  4. @Jason – The “Give it to God” line is intellectually lazy, and a total cop out. If you’re hungry, are you supposed to “Give it to God”? No. God gave us the ability to go to the store, and pick out some food. I’m not comparing a woman to groceries. I’m saying that it’s a very fundy thing to expect God to do something he gave us the ability to do. If you want a wife, you gotta do your part. Go to where the girls are. Figure out a way to regularly interact with a lot of different single women. It’s a contact sport. The more contact you make, the better your chances. We don’t sit around hungry and thirsty waiting for God to materialize a meal and some tea in front of us. Don’t expect God to do that with a wife. You gotta go get her.

    1. After Glow, not only do I need to do my part but I also should not be afraid of rejection. I once heard dating descrbed as a series of failures followed by one big success.

  5. Females, for the most part can happily live thier lives in the entire absence of orgasm with or without sex.

    Yes, that’s why the sex toy industry doesn’t make any money at all. πŸ™„

  6. And let’s not forget the theory that if a man strays from his marriage vows, it must be because his wife didn’t “take care of him” at home. Yup, that’s what women need. More guilt.

  7. I married the first time with all of the wonderful fundie baggage. We were at Hyles when the women of Hyles were going through the “Total Woman” phase complete with the nightly preperation for sex that was a woman’s obligation – remember, the whole costume thing. There was no thought about her pleasure, just her pleasure at making every night magically sexy for her husband. Have I mentioned my first marriage was a disaster?

        1. …can I get a show of hands? I see that hand, any more? and that one. Anymore?

          *You’re too old Grand Ma, put your hand down before I come over there and slap you.*

          Any others, maybe in the teen section? Hmmmmm??

  8. Even though I am married, I recognize that sex can give a woman more authority and power than God wants her to have. That’s why women should be used only for procreation, and marital sex should just be between men. That way all the power stays with the right gender, as God intended.

      1. This is actually pretty close to what Plato said about love and sex in one of his Dialogues. It’s been a long time since I read it, but it followed the premise that love between two men is superior to love between a man and a woman, for several reasons too tedious to detail here.

    1. God never intended women to have bodily autonomy, youguyz. Also, gay marriage? πŸ˜‰ I’m going with joke, although very close to the line of acceptability, given the crap about women above on the thread.

      1. Yes, supposedly there is a folk song from that region that goes something like,

        There’s a boy across the river
        With a bottom like a peach,
        But alas, I cannot swim.

      1. Well, there is Poe’s Law that makes it difficult to be sure who is and isn’t kidding. I’ve seen too many instances where someone says something that just HAS to be satirical or sarcastic, but in fact, the sentiment was entirely sincere. In fact, I just finished reading a few hundred comments on an article that confirmed this idea. πŸ˜•

    1. I normally would have taken it as a satire (as intended), but my husband’s father taught him that sex was only for procreation (thank God he never believed it!), and apparently hubby sat under an evangelist who preached from the pulpit to a group of teens, “God made women beautiful and gave them the curves that they have so that men will f*** them.” Yes, he used the f-word from the pulpit – husband thinks for shock value and to “drive the point home.” The man was talked to afterwards, however, and the audio from that message was never released.

      So…I totally get that you’re joking, but given the little bit I’ve heard about IFB sex teachings…I really wasn’t sure πŸ˜› I didn’t grow up IFB, so my only exposure to them was my 5-month stint at BJU.

  9. I’m not married, and not a lot of my fundy friends are married yet, so it’s difficult for me to observe how marriage plays out with fundies. So some of this post is difficult for me to believe. But the more I think about it, the more I realize how much of what I’m taught now about dating, relationships, and sex sets up fundies for exactly what this post talks about.

    I’m reminded of a recent dating sermon series that my group went through. In the same series, one speaker said that it was okay for guys and girls to talk and get to know each other and that just because people talk doesn’t mean that there’s interest or even marriage down the road. He encouraged guys to act – if there’s a girl you’re interested in, go talk to her, don’t just sit around and hope something happens, because it’s the male prerogative to find a wife.

    The next speaker (a couple of weeks later) said almost the opposite. He warned us about the temptations of opposite sex friendships. He said he refuses to hug girls, even his own cousins, because he doesn’t want any appearance of evil or any chance for evil to occur between him and a female. (I will mention that this speaker was a WCBC grad, so maybe that has something to do with it.)

    It was bizarre. I asked a few of my fundy friends what they thought about the messages, and they all thought they were really good. I mentioned that I thought the messages were conflicting and contradicting and didn’t tell me squat when taken together. They didn’t see it that way, just “different” sides of the picture. Which may very well be true, but I can see how these messages set husband and wives up to view and behave towards each other in very conflicting ways. And I can see how they would never be able to unpackage or pinpoint the source of their conflict, because it’s all tangled up in these contradicting messages about relationships and sexuality from so early on.

    1. I think the first speaker had it right (although the male perogative is off) and the 2nd speaker has self-control issues that he doesn’t want to address.

    2. I estimate about a 75% probability that the second speaker is a closeted gay man.

      “… it’s the male prerogative to find a wife”? What kind of nonsense is that? It’s every person’s prerogative and necessity to form the relationships that will make him or her most fulfilled as a person. For many people, but not everybody, that eventually leads to marriage. For other people, marriage actually prevents learning what will make them happy and fulfilled.

    3. “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing” Prov. 18:22. Note that it says who findeth a wife, not who findeth a husband. Therefore men look for wives – women don’t look for husbands. I’m not saying it’s right, but this is the underlying assumption.

      1. Curse those blasted fundy proof-texts. 😎

        I know that you know this already, Senda, but just so it is said (for the edification of the passerby):

        That verse is making a statement, not a command. I’ve always taken it to simply mean how super awesome a wife is, not that it’s all on me (as a man) to find her while she sits helpless in a coma waiting for me.

        1. When I finally got it through my head that the Proverbs are just that, and not promises, it removed a LOT of stress and contradiction.

          I have yet to understand the verse about the horseleech, though. πŸ˜•

    4. I am not fundy (attended an IFB church for a year and woke up!) and neither is my boyfriend. Yet neither of us believes it is appropriate to hug members of the opposite sex. Family members are obviously different. I personally don’t see the need to hug a male friend. And I wouldn’t want my bf hugging another woman. Some things should be only for couples. Why set yourself up? I know most people here will downplay, or make fun of, what I am saying, but I just don’t see why it’s appropriate.

  10. “and understand that love has no shame β€” and that it’s all a lot more fun when everyone gets a chance to be on top.”

    … and horizontal… and upside-down… and perpendicular…

  11. “deep ditches and narrow pits”…am I the first person to catch this one here???

    I remember being the only single person in my campus ministry–by ‘single’ I mean not either married, engaged, or actively dating. One prospective (female) member I called (for some mundane business; don’t remember exactly why) didn’t recognize me and immediately asked, “Whose boyfriend are you?” Her response when I told her I wasn’t dating: “Oh, *you’re* the one!”

    (#2 on the hit parade was asking a male participant–notice I did not say ‘male member’ πŸ˜‰ – for prayer on the matter, and maybe an introduction to someone. His response: “Just leave it in God’s hands. I need to get going now–I’ve got a date!”)

    Then there’s the constant bombardment singles get about how God has called some people to be single (because who else is going to do all the heavy lifting while the marrieds tend to their families?) People who get married drop their single friends like hot rocks. And yet, if being single is a blessing, how come single people are treated like crap in fundamentalist churches?

    I won’t even get into being dismissed from working with a youth group because parents were ‘uncomfortable’ with an older, unmarried man being around their kids (I was 23 at the time).

    I did finally get married, but only after making a clean break with fundamentalism (over an entirely different issue–politics, which seems to substitute for pornography in some fundamentalist circles). Been married seven and a half years now, but I’m still working out a lot of the hangups. The sad thing is, my parents weren’t like this…I chose this path willingly, back in the day, trading the true love of Christ for the painted idol of the fundies. 😑

  12. Re: Women as vile temptresses. I know a number of single fundy women who are in their 30’s. These women are smart, beautiful, kind, etc. and want to get married and raise children but just can’t seem to find husbands. I think this concept of women as vile temptresses is a big reason why. The average fundy bachelor will pursue a women for a little while, but once he starts to really like her and care for her, he thinks he is sinning or lusting or committing idolatry or some such nonsense because he enjoys a long phone conversation with his girlfriend more than he enjoys praying, so he breaks off the relationship. What a sad way to live ;-(

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