Michael Hamar is reading The Origins and Role of Same-Sex Relations in Human Societies, and it’s looking like something I might want to add to my own library. He quotes these two especially-striking passages:
“. . . .the reformers as a group considered sex and other pleasurable experiences tainted by evil and a potent source of sin. They were not merely suspicious of sex, but hostile to any sexual activity at all save for marital relations undertaken expressly and consciously to conceive a child. . . . . were determined to limit marital sex to the absolute minimum, and on penalizing extra-marital sex as harshly as possible.”
” . . . married couples were allowed sexual intercourse under only three conditions: 1) for the explicit purpose of conceiving a child; 2) to prevent the temptation of marital infidelity; and 3) to yield to the unrelenting demands – most likely sinful – of their partner. Even then the sexual intercourse could not be performed in the daytime, had to be in the “missionary position’, could not be performed on Sundays, Wednesdays or Fridays – removing the equivalent of five months of the year – and was not to be performed during Lent or other forbidden times. . . All other sexual activity was categorically condemned.”
Christian hostility to sex has its origin in the (bogus) story of Adam and Eve’s Fall, and holds that sexual desire entered the world as a consequence of the Fall; sexual desire, therefore, is a symptom and expression of man’s innate evil and unfitness to exist.
Or that’s the schtick, anyway.
John Calvin took that hostility very seriously, and the Catholic Bishops do today. From Institutes of the Christian Religion:
Wherefore, let spouses consider that all things are not lawful for them. Let there be sobriety in the behavior of the husband toward the wife, and of the wife in her turn toward the husband; each so acting as not to do anything unbecoming the dignity and temperance of married life. Marriage contracted in the Lord ought to exhibit measure and modesty — not run to the extreme of wantonness. This excess Ambrose censured gravely, but not undeservedly, when he described the man who shows no modesty or comeliness in conjugal intercourse, as committing adultery with his wife.
Read that last passage carefully, and think about it: Enjoying that fooling-around stuff too much, even with your spouse, is adultery.
Because, you know, your Invisible Friend comes first, must be the exclusive focus of your entire existence — and you’re probably not thinking about Jesus and your own unfitness to live if you’re getting hot and bothered all the time.
What is there to say? It’s crazy, it’s a rejection of life itself — but the strongly Calvinist Southern Baptists take this lunacy seriously. I am not kidding you when I say they believe only in procreation, and condemn the mutual-loyalties and -ambitions that make a relationship a marriage. Southern Baptist 101: Marriage is cosmic permission to make babies — period.