The world is comprised of millions and billions of people separated by oceans and borders. In addition to languages and religions, people are separated by their beliefs about sexuality. Churches have influenced how people view sexuality, preaching that sex is used for procreation. Women are not meant to enjoy sex but to enjoy the children produced from the act of procreation. The Jewish Families used procreation for a different reason, survival, where a man could have more than one wife if there were not enough men in the community. The earliest forms of communities were not made up of our traditional family makeup. Womans low status prevailed across different societies and religions. The lack of rights includes the right to divorce, own property, and sexual freedom. In the United States, a womans right to sexual freedom is to vote and own property. The increase in women attending Colleges and Universities in the 60s and 70s also led to the sexual revolution. However, as women expressed sexual freedom, a double standard emerged that persists to this day. That man who enjoys having multiple female sexual partners is acceptable in society; however, women with numerous male sexual partners are whores. A byproduct of the sexual revolution is the emergence of different sexual behaviors inconsistent with church teachings. Sexual behaviors are as diverse as those who practice them, such as BDSM, bondage, fetishes, and the swinger community. This paper focuses on the churchs teaching of sexual behavior, the double standard involved in sexual behaviors between men and women, and the emergence of the swinger community.
Keywords Church Belief- Double standard, Swingers Club
The Church v. Sexual Behavior
The church has been heavily involved in regulating sexual behavior in early American history. Holmes et al. (2009) stated that the church preached sex for procreation and not for the enjoyment of women (p. 60). Although, the churchs stance on womens rights did not change. The churchs beliefs clashed with the sexual revolution of the 60s & 70s. The shift from a conservative religious stance on sexuality was a byproduct of the womans rights movement and more women attending college. The dating scene has changed to one comprised of friends with benefits, hookup culture, and dating apps (Twenge J et al. (2015). In response, the church has blamed the prevailing non-martial sexualization in television and movies. The rise in unwed mothers, especially teenagers, had led the conservatives within churches to blame sex education for the increase in promiscuity and unwed mothers. Conservatives and the church preach purity and no sex before marriage (Twenge J et al. (2015). Participants in these groups pledge to God and are given promise rings (2274). The lack of knowledge on sexual education leads teenagers and young adults to gather information from peers, which can lead to misinformation. For example, misinformation on sexually transmitted diseases and the pull-out method. The lack of knowledge and teaching about womans sexuality has led women during the sexual revolution to experiment or seek risky behavior.
Sex and the double standard between men and women
The sexual revolution brought an age of increased premarital sex, an area more reserved for college-age men. Women before the sexual revolution were encouraged to save their virginity for marriage and their husbands. Although men and women today engage in premarital sex, American culture still has a double sexual standard view of womens premarital sexual activity (Lefkowitz et al., 2014). Holmes et al. (2009) write about history encouraging young men to sow wild oats before marriage, while women were not (p. 58). A man with many sexual partners is seen as a rake, lothario, or Casanova; however, none of these words have a negative connotation. Some still see the double standard of women with many male sexual partners as a whore, which has a negative sense even in todays cultural environment. Sprecher et al., 2013, found that men have a stronger view of promiscuity than women (p 1396).
Rape shield laws have been enacted to combat this double standard view that some have when viewing womans promiscuity. The law prevents defense attorneys from introducing a womans consensual sex past as a defense in a rape trial. The rape shield law can also be seen as the court system catching up with consensual premarital sex by young women irrelevant in court proceedings. However, for many early rape cases in many states, a womans sexual past was brought up in court during rape cases.
Sexual Behavior and the Swinger Community
The sexual norm is monogamy; this is what is taught in the church and society. A growing trend among some couples is swinging or couple swapping. Swinging involves in bring another person into a couples sexual relationship. In interviews with swinging couples, Kimberly et al. (2017) found that couples who engage in consensual extramarital sex believe they have a more satisfying relationship than couples who do not engage in the swinging lifestyle (789). However, Kimberly et al. (2017) found that the general population does not agree with the swinger lifestyle, and people see those who engage in the swinger lifestyle as sexual deviants (p. 790). The swinger lifestyle is not a new sexual behavior; instead, the Roman Family viewed sexuality as recreational (p. 59). In the Roman Family, men and women were treated as equals (p.59). Sexual freedom is embedded in the swinger lifestyle. The swinger lifestyle is consensual and an agreement between a couple.
However, the swinger lifestyle is not for every couple. When one member does not want to introduce a second person into the relationship, this can cause strife. An extramarital affair is when one member seeks sexual relations outside the monogamous relationship. Extramarital affairs are one consequence of a member wanting more than the standard sexual behavior norm (Kimberly et al., 2017). The betrayal can lead to anger, distrust, and one member withdrawing from the committed relationship. When one member wants to seek a sexual relationship outside of the marriage, the incompatibility of this decision can lead to divorce.
The United States is a melting pot of many different races. In addition, to race, people practice other religions. Religion can be a factor in how some view sexuality. The Christian Church has had a long restrictive stance on sexuality, including preaching against sex before marriage. The Christian Church is an example of an organization that preached a single standard of sexual behavior in which women should not enjoy sex. That sex is for procreation and not recreation. A double standard emerged over time: men should seek as many sexual relationships as possible before marriage. The sowing of wild oats belief became common for men but not women. Women were taught to save their virginity for their husbands. As women and couples have explored different types of sexual behavior, one community that has emerged is the swinger community. The swinger community is seen by society and the church as deviant and against church teaching. Sexuality is as different as the melting pot in America and other countries. Attempting to place sexuality into a single standard of sexual behavior can never work.
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