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Finding God In A Vibrator

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I once spent a 4th of July weekend with about 15 hardcore evangelical Christians. (Ex-Mr. Jessica’s sister was a born-again.) Explaining to some of the women what kind of website I write for proved to be awkward. But when I told one woman that The Frisky was similar to Cosmopolitan magazine, she exclaimed, “Oh, I read that!”

“Really?” I asked. “Isn’t it a little … uh … raunchy?”

She laughed. “Oh, I just flip past all the shirtless guys and stuff about sex.”

Then what part of the magazine do you actually read? I thought to myself.

That conversation popped into my head again when I saw this article on The Daily Beast about religious websites selling sex toys and the horrifying — not being hyperbolic here — opening story about a Christian woman who was married for 25 years before she finally bought a vibrator and had her first orgasm. Praise be!

Us sexular secular folks have sex shops like Toys In Babeland and sex toy vendors like Jimmyjane and Booty Parlor to stock our goodie drawer. But religious sex toy websites for Christians, Jews and Muslims have filled a gap in the market for people who find such sites “offensive.” As writer Allison Yarrow notes, all the products stocked on religious sex toy websites like Book 22, Kosher Sex Toys, and El Asira are exactly the same. The only difference is that the packaging has been replaced and there are no saucy images or sexually explicit language on the websites. The sites also cater to different teachings about sex as they vary by religion, such as the sites for Christians not including any products for anal play. A Jewish web site called Kosher Sex Toys even has a rabbi in Israel on hand to answer questions like whether it’s moral to spank a partner. (If you’re curious, it’s a mitzvah!)

What I find striking about this article is not that some religious folks need their so-called “marital aids” whitewashed as religiously acceptable, but the constant use of the words “offensive” and “inoffensive” throughout the piece. Everything from images (women in lingerie) to specific sexual acts (like anal play) can be considered “offensive” to some. What these religious sex toy sites do is simply package secular sexiness in a way that says “it’s okay, God approves of this.” It’s that simple.

Despite being secular myself, I understand through friendships that I have with evangelical Christians and a (lapsed) Orthodox Jew that more religious marriages focus on the emotional, committed bond between husband and wife more so than their sexual chemistry. Physical attraction and sexual chemistry are not supposed to be #1 importance in a relationship. And I can respect that belief and couples who are committed in such a way.

But I can’t respect parsing into “offensiveness” and “inoffensiveness” as it pertains to pleasure, which, to me, is one of the best parts of being a vibrant human being. When couples are so badly equipped to enjoy sex that one woman in the piece was told if she didn’t enjoy sexual relations, she should take two Tylenol first, there’s a big problem. It pains me that the word “clitoris” was removed from the ad copy for a vibrator on one website — as in, it’s for “clitoral stimulation” — because that might “offend” someone.   There should be nothing “offensive” about enjoying sexual pleasure, including for women, and there should be nothing “offensive” about pleasing a committed partner whom you love. What I personally find “offensive” is whoever suggested this poor dear go take some Tylenol. Girlfriend needed some lubricant and a vibrator.

Perhaps thanks to religious sex toy websites, she’ll finally get one. 

[The Daily Beast]

 Contact the author of this post at Jessica@TheFrisky.com. Follow me on Twitter at @JessicaWakeman.

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