Prurient Morality and Misplaced Propriety

I’m making yet another attempt at authenticity, so bear with me. I’m passionate about many subjects. When people use the word “opinionated” to describe me, they aren’t being complimentary. So these opinions combined with passion should make for great blog posts, right? The truth–after I’ve spent my day cooking and running errands and coping with brown codes (if you don’t know what those are, don’t ask), my passion is spent. I have nothing further to say.

However, I’ll admit to a vestige of irritation leftover in my soul today, tired as I am. I’m frankly sick of the flip-flopped, down-the-rabbit-hole kind of morality that exists in this country. The topic of morality came up, not surprisingly, on Mike Duran’s blog, where all the instigating topics surface. One might even say that the blog author is an instigator. But, whatever one says, this particular topic sprang from a debut Christian historical romance, in which the fictional married couple has–wait, you’re not going to believe this–SEX (the book is Spring for Susannah by Catherine Richmond, just in case you want to know. And, no, I haven’t read it so don’t ask me for sordid details.)

Now, I know what you’re going to say. Christian couples don’t have sex. Oh, wait, many of them have children, and I don’t think their offspring are immaculately conceived. Maybe Christian couples do have sex, and it’s just that we’re not allowed to talk about it–because we’ve collectively decided that sex is dirty. It’s a dirty little secret like defecation or urination.

This is beginning to sound familiar. It wasn’t that long ago that I heard the terms defecation and urination used for another blessed bodily function. Oh, yeah, I remember: nursing my babies. I’ve had four children. I’ve nursed every one of them, and throughout those years I spent nourishing these infants, women were regularly kicked out of restaurants and museums and pools and parks for feeding their infants. I remember the debates, when amoral or otherwise strange, puritanical people would claim that breastfeeding in public was on the same level as public urination. Some degraded it to the level of squatting and defecating in the middle of a restaurant.

And, yes, I recall a year ago when Kim Kardashian–empress of bikinis and Playboy covers–tweeted her disgust that a woman was breastfeeding without a cover-up in a restaurant where she was lunching. I understand the problem–I get it. The woman breastfeeding was using her mammary glands for their intending purpose, which meant they weren’t airbrushed to perfection. And I guess the lack of airbrushing grossed out Miss Kardashian, who was apparently eating a much more wholesome lunch.

If Playboy models were the only ones dissing public breastfeeding, I would roll my eyes. But here’s where American Christian ladies can now join hands with their bikini-wearing sisters, because I was compelled by well-meaning, Christian friends to hide under a blanket, a towel, in a hot car, or in public restroom while feeding my babies, simply for the sake of their misplaced propriety. Someone, somewhere along the way forgot that breasts and the milk that springs from them are a gift from God.

And for unknown reasons, some Christians have also decided that sex is unwholesome, rather than a beautiful gift from God.** Out of curiosity, I read a few reviews of Spring for Susannah. I about choked when I read this excuse for a low rating: “I found [the marital sex scenes] to be inappropriate for The Christian fiction market.I choose to read Christian fiction because I want to read a satisfying love story with wholesome values.”

Since when is marital sex unwholesome? Since when did sex lose its value in our society? Since when did this beautiful, enjoyable part of life become as dirty as an act of defecation?

**Okay, I think I better clarify something. I realize that sex is private, and I don’t encourage couples to publicly engage in this activity. Eating, however, isn’t private, so the comparison to breastfeeding ends at this point. You might claim this is a good reason to leave sex out of fiction, but let’s be honest. Writing a tasteful scene that upholds marital sex as a pure and enjoyable model is not the same thing as watching an actual couple get it on in the middle of the public square.

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5 comments

  1. Sex is only dirty if you do it right.
    (I stole that from Woody Allen.)
    Once, I was in a restaurant eating breakfast, minding my own business, drinking a carton of milk. About that time I noticed a lady breastfeeding her baby, she gave me a dirty look.
    I was like, what? Then I realized, she must have thought I was the biggest perv in the world, watching her breastfeed and drinking milk.
    That's why I am against public breastfeeding.
    No, I'm not really. Well, only in places that serve milk.

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