Fair warning: Today’s post is going to venture more into the ranting side of life. Inspired mostly by a blog post entitled: Do Christian Wives Have to Submit to Bondage and Sadomasochism Requests From Their Husbands?
Let’s just start by stating a few personal bias points which I will acknowledge come into play. First, I am single and have never been married. Second, I am a Christian who has some interesting in BDSM/kink. Third, I have a master’s in Ministry and am just about to finish a second master’s in Scripture. Fourth, one of my biggest pet peeves is when Scripture is taken out of context as it is primarily taken out of context by those who are abusive of the power they have been given but not earned.
So, shall we start the ranting?
First, let’s start with the ignorance the title of the post and the first few paragraphs reveal. All of the author’s information is from wikipedia. Zero effort has been made to understand that there is a very wide spectrum of activities covered by the four little letters of BDSM. If you are going to write about anything and expect me to believe you to be any sort of authority, wikipedia will be the absolutely last source you quote to me. You’ll use that only as a starting point, looking instead for at articles they have pulled their information from. You will have talked with someone who has a lived experience and views it as positive as well as someone who views a lived experience negatively. Also, it should be noted in the title as well as the introductory comments that the author interesting left out the Dominance/submission aspects of BDSM. Interesting given those aspects actually, in many ways, line up with a lot of what is out there to help Christian women understand how to be a good submissive wife to their husband.
Second, given her lack of understanding of the wide range found within BDSM, there is no attempt to help the wife who has written in to request help to know what to do when her husband requests these activities. I mean, let’s be honest for a moment and admit there is a lot of extreme stuff shown online under the title of BDSM. But the reality of practising it for the large majority of it is much more mellow, tame, and realistic. I’ll look at the images of a woman being whipped, or tightly bound, or subjected to a fucking machine and think to myself that those would be interesting activities to try but in the way most wonder what it would be like to skydive, or go bungee jumping off of a bridge, or visit Antarctica, or have high tea with the Queen of England. The reality is that, if you do actually happen to experience one of these things, it is going to be a once in a lifetime experience. I’m trying to give the benefit of the doubt and assume that more communication around this subject has happened with this particular lady but I’m doubting it.
Third – Her initial response is to list a bunch of scripture as to why activities which involve pain and bruising aren’t godly. Well then, I’m afraid there are a lot more activities which need to come off the list of acceptable, godly activities. I mean think about anything and everything which causes you to feel pain or causes you to bruise. As much as Scripture talks about heaven being a place of no more pain (side bar – does that mean I won’t stub my toe ever again once I’m in heaven?!), it also talks about there being a purpose to pain. It teaches us. It strengthens us. And doing a little research into the reality of BDSM, the author would have learned that very little of the time in healthy, non-abusive BDSM relationships is pain inflicted just for the purpose of causing pain. Instead a lot of it is about exploring that line between arousial and pain. Or exploring the extremes between pain and pure bliss.
Fourth – Her advice focuses on confrontation, not communication. And the last time I checked, it was communication which was a vital part of any healthy, loving relationship between two people, not confrontation. And why are there twice as many steps to confront a wife who is not providing the sex you want versus 4 steps for confronting a husband who is not providing the sex you want. I get that men and women are wired differently but seriously, that much so? Where are the steps to help with effective communication? Where is the guidance on fighting fair with your partner? Where are the guidelines that will help him explain to her why he is interested in BDSM and her explain to him why a particular aspect doesn’t work for her?
Fifth – Sex, ultimately, is something wives should consent to doing for their husbands regardless of the enjoyment they may or may not find in it. And people wonder why I’m not married. I have enough on my to-do list, so sex which doesn’t offer an emotional connection, an increase in intimacy, which is simply an obligation I must fulfil as part of my wifely duties? Thanks but no. I can get that kind of sex by picking up a guy at a bar. In marriage sex is supposed to be more than what you can get from a stranger. Not to mention, this totally ignores the entire context of Ephesians 5. While yes, vs. 22-24 talk about how wives are to submit to their husbands, vs. 25-33 focus on how the husband is to treat his wife. He is to love her as Christ loved the Church – i.e. sacrificially, giving up his very life so that she may experience an abundance and fullness in her life. He is treat her body as if it where his own – i.e. he shouldn’t be demanding that he be able to whip, spank, or bind her if he isn’t willing to let her do the same in return PLUS he should be seeking to be sure she experiences just as much physical pleasure as he does.
Sixth – Essentially, it all boils down the responsibility of the woman to make the sex life, if not great, then at least acceptable. There is no call to men to educate themselves as to how to make sure their wife is experiencing pleasure when they have sex. Wives are specifically encouraged to give “a great deal of respect and reference for your husband” but the reverse is omitted.
Last but not Least – Being that this article is posted by an exclusively Christian blogger, no where does the author address the issue of where the husband got his BDSM inspiration to start with. I mean, after all, anything related to the BDSM world is considered porn by the conservative Christian community and yet no where are the men called to task on their obvious viewing of such sites.
It’s honestly crap like this that makes me want to scream and shake some common sense into my fellow Christians. I do hope the couple the author is attempting help finds their way into counselling which, first and foremost, teaches them to talk to each other from a place of equal footing, love, and respect because clearly such help will not be offered by the blog’s author.