See how empty it would be, making love if love’s not really there…


close your eyes, and pretend that you are me
see how empty is would be, making love is love’s not really there
Larry Norman – Pardon me

Kevin Max (of DC Talk fame) has posted a song a few days ago that I can’t stop listening to: a cover of ‘pardon me’ by Larry Norman, the ‘father of christian rock’, from his classic 1971 album ‘only visiting this planet’, but . It’s also a song with a rather uncommon theme for Christian rock. The ‘linear notes’ of the original album (his spelling) describe the song with the following words:

Larry takes what is traditionally a woman’s complaint (being pressured for sex by the male) and examines it from his own perspective.

Strangely enough this sad description of loveless sex  reminds me not just about about abuse in loose relationships or one-night-stands -which certainly is what Larry intended- but also about a certain kind of ‘marriage teaching’ that is assumed to be ‘Christian’ according to certain American ‘evangelicals’. (Which still shocks me to be honest) And yes, I certainly use the quote-marks here with a reason, that reason being that i find the idea completely unchristian and completely beyond the pale of what is acceptable in general terms too.

Also because it is a form of sick internalised misandry that makes men into silly animals, an example also of what the feminists rightly call rape culture. And also the very opposite of intimacy.

Let’s give an example: from a to love, honor and vacuum post, on ‘sexual favors’ when a man is having ‘a hard time’ because his wife doesn’t want sex during her period (paraphrased from the sources Sheila Gregoire is criticizing):

“Most of the books taught a 72-hour rule, where men needed to be given sexual release every 72 hours or they would lust and be tempted to watch porn or have an affair.”

I am not known for using f-words lightly in the English language, but a WTF is way too light a reaction if you ask me. And yes, the ‘books’ in question are American Christian marriage books and the 72 hour rule being that the wife must give the husband sex (or ‘sexual favors’) at least every 72 hour.

Because otherwise what?

Eh, what on Earth?

I really don’t know how anyone could ever start from an actual Christian worldview based on the teachings of Christ (or even from a common sense humanist worldview) and ever come up with such ideas. It’s completely opposed to even the bits of ‘purity culture’ that I’ve been exposed to in my life. Self-control was a normal virtue for both men and women, and ‘not having sex’ (while being a bit of an unhealthy obsession sometimes) was certainly not seen as an impossibility but as a requirement. Maybe one that was seen as simpler than it actually was for a lot of people, but at least it was a very possible thing.

This whole mentality is not just the opposite of what was healthy in any Christian teaching on sex I’ve encountered, it’s also a very low view of men. I’ve called it internalised misandry before, and I stand by that. Men are not fragile little animals without self control that will do God-knows-what when they don’t have sex-as-a-physical-release every 72 hours. How far can people go in defending their lazy selfish depravity that they insult their own sex like that?

(Yes, I know it isn’t unique to American evangelicals, Incels and the like are even worse, but that’s not for now)

close your eyes, and pretend that you are me
see how empty is would be, making love is love’s not really there

The definition of ‘sex’ as what is required in the sexual relationship/marriage here already is nonsensical, devoid of love, completely unchristian, and more like something one would expect from evolutionary psychology of the silliest kind. Just getting biological relief is not enough to have a healthy sex life and does not mean there is intimacy either (I refer again to Sheile Gregoire here, who says we need a new definition of sex) Sure, sex is a part of a healthy marriage relationship, but loveless sex will not make it better for anyone, and can only make it worse. Without sex being loving it will destroy intimacy and make the relationship worse, not better, instead of bringing the partners closer to each other in love…

The whole idea of ‘obligated sex’ is actually very creepy on several levels: how can anyone at all who loves their partner enjoy sex with the awareness that their partner doesn’t enjoy it. If that isn’t a turn-off then you’re not a lover at all but a selfish creep who is using their supposed lover as a means of masturbation.

‘Making love if love is not really there’ is not just empty as Larry Norman calls it. It is an impossibility and an euphemism for things that are fucked-up. And when it happens in a marriage in the form of an obligation that is not enjoyed at all by on of the partners we enter marital rape territory.

How can anyone consider themself a man, or even a human being if you believe you need sex every 72 hour but don’t even care about what your lover feels? You’re a mere animal then, controlled by impulses, stuck in sin, and far away from love. If it wasn’t much worse for your partner to be in such a situation I’d say you’re in one the most pitiable possible states…

If anyone is even the least bit of a lover, and loves their sexual partner even a tiny bit, they will care about how their lover enjoys it during sex. Actually, I can’t even imagining having sex without the giving part being one of the main focuses.

How can you make love otherwise? Why would you even want sex otherwise? It’s just selfish and empty and dirty, and not better than the stuff porn is made of.

(Which might exactly be the problem here. I’ve noted before that this American pseudochristian marriage culture and porn culture have very similar attitudes to sex, and very toxic ones at that.)

What do you think?

Peace

Bram

See also:
US-style ‘Dating’, or the Opposite of what Relationships are supposed to be…Sexual entitlement, Involuntary celibacy, porn and losing your humanity
Women need respect, men need love (3) Men need love, and not just sex…
I don’t understand ‘complementarianism’
Some thoughts on the myth that ‘men are visual’

One response to “See how empty it would be, making love if love’s not really there…

  1. Yep. Yep to all of it. In my experience, marriage sacralized rape culture. And polluted… What should have been protected and holy. It feels good to be validated in that experience. I’ve needed that, to feel like my narrative isn’t simply “rebellious.”. Thank your.

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