Love & Sex

Even the Christian Right Is Selling Itself with Better Sex

Pin it

When the promise of eternal salvation doesn't work, tempt them with sex.

The Family Research Council is a "think tank" that props up the Christian right’s catalog of batshit ideas (abortion causes mental disorders, gay people molest kids, the HPV vaccine is nothing but sluttiness in a syringe, etc.) by getting someone with a PhD to sign off on them. This week, one of its "senior fellows" was giving a lecture about the supposed Gomorrah-izing of college campuses (entitled "Porn in the Dorm") when something actually surprising happened. 

At the Center for the Advancement of Catholic Higher Education, FRC flack Patrick Fagan was flipping through a slideshow, showcasing such "facts" as 72 percent of college-age men have accessed internet porn and such porn is correlated to divorce, abortion, "deviant behavior" and "politically liberal people." He added that pornography leads its viewers into "the pursuit of distorted fantasies involving children, the invalid and even vampires," according to a TIME reporter who had to endure the whole thing. 

Then he announced, from beneath his bristly white mustache, that, "Those who worship God weekly have the best sex. I want to see this on the cover of Playboy sometime." Specifically, Catholics shag better than any other group, said Fagan, a Catholic himself. The crowd was apparently perplexed and someone pressed Fagan about the "danger" of selling Christianity on such tawdry terms. But he insisted Christians "have to claim a place that's very different in sexuality – and that by the way is very superior, even in matters sexual."

As arousing as their school uniforms can be in the hands of an Areosmith video director, I doubt Catholics are actually God’s most sensual people, and not just because such a thing was purported by a quack who works for a Southern Poverty Law Center-certified anti-gay hate group.

This set of conclusions, which Fagan explained and footnoted on the FRC website, are drawn from a University of Chicago study that is 21 years old and describes sexual satisfaction using qualities that the devout value above all else. For example, it concluded weekly churchgoers are ten percent more likely than non-attendees to report feeling "loved during intercourse." The study also found that pew-warmers are three percent less likely than the secular to feel "scared" during sex. Of course, if you are fucking a lay minister who is unfamiliar with anything kinkier than reverse cowgirl, safety probably isn't a concern.

And I am dubious of any study that relies on the self reporting of sexual prowess or satisfaction. One person's idea of satisfying is another's idea of sorely disappointing. My stoner brother is pretty satisfied with a Circle K chili dog and bag of Funyuns, judging by how often he eats that particular meal, but I wouldn't say he has the "best" dinners of anyone I know. I'd say he doesn't care all much about food. (His taste in weed, however, is impeccable.) 

No, the surprising thing that happened is not that a FRC "researcher" said something that turns out to be bullshit; it’s that he is trying to sell the organization's repressive, quasi-fascist lifestyle on the grounds that it will make you come harder. 

The idea of sex for pleasure is now so unquestioned and irreversibly mainstream that even a stodgy old man rambling about porn-induced vampire fantasies has to sell his ideology on the promise of hotter sex. For centuries, society's puritans have argued that, even within marriage, sex is only for procreation. (That's still the official policy of the Vatican, so maybe Fagan would like to explain his theory to his Pope.) Fornication was once considered by many to be a social plague, right alongside homosexuality, abortion, pornography and all the other personal matters the Family Research Council considers its "issues." You have to wonder when those too will move past the point where even red-faced, elderly reactionaries make any stink about them.