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Christian Kink

Just because you're a fundamentalist Christian doesn't mean your sex life can't be kinky. Smack dab in the middle of the term BDSM (Bondage/Discipline, Dominance/submission, Sadism/Masochism) are the magic words that make it an important part of the traditional Christian household: Discipline, Dominance, and submission.

Now don't you misunderstand! This is not SM and it's not perverted. It is mandated by the Scriptures, so it's all perfectly holy, loving, and nurturing as mandated by God.

Christian discipline follows strictly the word of God, so of course the man is the dominant one. And the submissive is always a woman; that queer stuff is just unnatural. She is usually the man's wife but certainly his one and only. You've heard the relevant passages before but maybe you didn't really understand their meanings fully. Here they are again. Listen carefully!

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.” (Eph. 5:22-24)

God's word has several main tenets: The man is the Head of the Household (HoH); the husband must nurture and cherish his wife; the wife must obey and support her husband. They owe each other physical satisfaction, and the husband may demand that of his wife at any time. The HoH has to answer to God for those under his jurisdiction, which gives him the right—and responsibility—to teach and enforce God's commands.

Partners in a Traditional Christian Marriage (TCM) may or may not incorporate corporal punishment as part of their Christian Domestic Discipline (CDD), but if not, it's because the partners agreed that it would not be necessary. Sadly, sometimes the head of the household may later find that he must use some sort of physical discipline to enforce God's will upon those who are in his charge. He is responsible for the actions of his chattel, uh, wife and children.

Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account... (Heb. 13:17)

There is a thriving community, at least online, of fundamentalist Christians who have adopted some version of these practices. Their websites avoid (like the plague!) being associated with BDSM. They're not perverts, really they're not. “Corporal punishment” generally means spanking. Using floggers or cat-o'-nines puts the punishment into the domain of Satanists and perverts.

There are also those who practice a Taken in Hand (TiH) lifestyle which isn't necessarily for religious reasons, but just because it's right. Everything else about these different communities is similar. It doesn't take a book, even the Bible, to tell a person what is right. Right?

But there are just so many similarities between CDD and D/s it's hard not to compare notes. And when comparing notes there are some wonderful shareable things that both camps could benefit from. For instance, some of the how-tos on recognizing when a woman wants a CDD relationship are actually a fairly good guide for someone navigating the first steps in negotiating a 24/7 D/s lifestyle. And then there's the issue of nonconsensual consent (NCC). The scene, or relationship, has been pre-negotiated, and NCC keeps the sub, or wayward woman, from changing her mind when punishment time arrives.

Another common element is when the erotic component to spanking introduces fuzziness over whether it is truly punishment, discipline or something else. The religiously oriented are oft reported as having years-long happily “romantic” relationships because both parties know their own roles, live them, and are fulfilled by living that way. The discipline keeps the woman on her spiritual path because she has the strong hand of a man to guide her. The fact that their sex is often hotter just after this discipline has taken place is because they are both closer to God in that moment. (Praise the Lord!) A same-sex kinky couple I know claim that their many happy years together are attributable to daily spankings, too, but I've not heard them refer to them as punishment. Nor have I heard them thanking a deity for their hot post-play sex, now that I think of it.

The kinky community has long included folks who live consensual D/s lifestyles, some of whom see it as a spiritual path or calling. But they're not the only ones. They may just be the most honest. It's easy to find sadism and masochism deeply woven into most of the world's religions if you're looking with the eyes to see. Many religions have painful practices designed to keep one's mind and heart on the divine, purge one's sins, and to push one into ecstasy by use of extreme sensation. Jesus's scene with the crown of thorns and flogging has its own appeal to those of extreme tastes.

If you were along for the ride last time, you heard that scientists have found evidence that a person's chosen sexual reproductive strategy led to their choice of religion. That is, if they felt their reproductive chances were better if they practiced monogamy, then they chose a religion that claims monogamy is “the right” way. Extrapolating from such theories is unscientific at best, but in this case it just doesn't seem like a stretch. If folks choose their religion based on their sexual strategies then might they also choose specific “religious” practices based on their preferred sexual practices?

In any case, TCM and CDD sound like erotic practices that folks wanted to do and managed to rationalize with quotes from their Holy Scriptures. Heaven knows there are plenty of rationalizations extractable from any book that size and it's much likelier with the Bible since it has dozens of authors who lived in different countries and even different centuries. It's chock full of contradictions. Even among devout Christians there are an infinite number of interpretations. The website Sex in Christ is a masterpiece of Bible rationalizations for almost every sexual practice a Christian might want to try but didn't for fear of eternal damnation. It's complete with quotes from the Holy Scriptures that you can take to your pastor or wife if they doubt you. It's also outrageously entertaining.

So if you've been thinking of going back to church after all these years, but were afraid your kinky lifestyle would have to be jettisoned, fear not. The Bible is on your side. (Hallelujah!) And if you're a good Christian who has been wavering in your faith because you think your fantasies are evil, you're just reading the wrong part of the Good Book.

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Margaret Wade
July 7th, 2010
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Margaret L. Wade is an adult educator, writer, and certified sexological bodyworker. Margaret has taught, written, and presented papers in the fields of education, computer information systems,...