I just watched a part of the program Say Yes To The Dress where brides pick their dresses and then their wedding ceremonies and receptions are judged. A Caribbean-themed reception featured scantily clad dancers as you would see at Carnival and guests dancing a la Africaine, what a critic called bumping and grinding and better known these days as twerking. She labeled these performances ‘raunchy’.
The critic’s comment was, “You need to be Christian out there (on the dance floor).” Later she made a similar more formal criticism based on what she expressed as Christian principles. What I saw was people celebrating the purpose of marriage, which is to bring two people together to reproduce and start a family. That involves sex.
One reason for such celebrations that I came up with on my own is that typically, over the last 40,000 years or so, people have been underfed and overworked. That produced a drag on their libido and reproduction was foremost in society’s needs, to bring new life to the community. Riling people up in order to get men to have erections and women to become receptive is an important part of these activities, as I see it.
What we collide with is a lot of religious teaching. I am not sure of my footing in this arena, but I see most religions as focusing on monks and wandering priests in the urge to celibacy so they will not have householder responsibilities and can devote themselves to the spiritual quest. Islam pretty much clamps down on sex, although it encourages sexual activity within marriage. Christianity has had a motley history, but mostly it has condemned sexual activity as sin and leading to perdition. To some extent, there is even condemnation of sex within marriage, allowing only sex for procreation and denuded of fun and excitement, sex as duty.
My own experience is that good solid church people in the Black community accept sexuality as normal and often give only lip service to avoidance of sex. This is opposed to a more tortured relationship to sex within the North Atlantic religious people, a more puritan approach. Even deeply Christian cultures in the south of Europe are more accepting of sexual expression.
Christianity offers several models for communities, some of which permit and encourage sexual expression.
March 1, 2018 Soon I’ll go to a talk on Sex and Christianity. I’ll get back to you on it.