Sexless marriages and intimate relationships in which sex has declined in frequency and quality are big business these days. A discouraged couple has an unlimited choice of seminars, pills, books, retreats, addictionologists, Bible study, chiropractic, yoga, and therapy. As a bonus, every week or two there’s advice from Oprah. She gags on the word vagina, but she’s still the country’s most powerful sex educator.
The latest non-expert to give sex advice is Reverend Ed Young of the evangelical Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas. He recently called for a week of “congregational copulation” among married couples—sex with one’s spouse seven days in a row.
Excuse me, but didn’t even God rest after six days?
“Today we’re beginning this sexperiment, seven days of sex,” he announced to his enormous flock, “How to move from whining about the economy to whoopee!”
When the person giving you advice refers to sex as “whoopee,” neither science nor good sense are likely to follow. The Rev is no exception.
Young emphasizes that it’s time to put God back in the bedroom. Apparently he hasn’t heard that millions of men and women are already enslaved by their belief that God is in bed with them, judging, disapproving, hating.
“For some reason the church has not talked about it, but we need to,” he said. “There is no shame in marital sex. God thought it up.” If Young includes spanking, anal sex, vibrators, porn, oral sex, and some playful exhibitionism in God’s sexual catalog, I might be willing to listen another minute or two. But Young thinks God’s a prude. For most people, then, forget about relaxed, self-affirming “whoopee.”
Sex for seven consecutive days may be a college sophomore’s dream, but it’s hardly a reality for grownups—Christian or not, healthy or not, happy or not. In fact, the idea that sex when you’re 40 should be or can be like it was when we were 20 is a big part of most couples’ sexual problems. Lubricants? Who needs ‘em? Back pain? Deal with it! Preferring the closeness of talking or hiking to the alienation of mechanical sex? That’s pervert talk!
Sex every day for a week? What about fatigue, not being in the mood, not being quite finished feeling hurt about a hostile exchange that very morning? “If you’ve said, ‘I do,’ do it,” says the sensitive, empathic pastor. His wife is a tiny bit more realistic but no less rigid: For parishioners grappling with infidelities and other wounds, sex seven days in a row can create “some pain.”
Young fails to appreciate that for many married couples, sex, although blessed by the church, is NOT Godly. Physical pain, psychological pressure, emotional distance, contraceptive risk-taking, and a lack of communication prevent sex from being the blessing that Young’s God supposedly intends. The answer isn’t more God, it’s more education, communication, contraception, and tolerance of human sexual diversity.
And pastor, what about the tens of millions of UNMARRIED adults who want to enjoy God’s erotic bounty? What about the blessings of sex for the several thousand single people in your own congregation?
“I don’t know,” says Reverend Young, “try eating chocolate cake.”