Rotten Fruit: How our sexual ethic devalues women and leaves them open to abuse.

Thursday 22nd December 2019

I am not a piece of used sellotape that’s lost it’s stickiness (1)
I am not a dirty piece of chocolate that’s been passed from hand to hand, that nobody wants to eat. (2)
I am not an old, worn out toothbrush.(3)
I am not a lump of chewed gum (3)
I am not a cup of spit (4)
I am not a bicycle (5)
And I most certainly am not a cow (6)

I am a human being, a beloved creation, a daughter of the King of Kings, and I am those things no matter how many people I have had sex with. The way Christian sexual ethics often talk about women, and their value, in regards to sex is degradng, objectifying and downright heretical. Our worth, as humans is not defined by what we do, or don’t do sexually, and as Christians we are supposed to believe that our worth is defined by Jesus, that we are made pure and holy through Jesus, not through our hymen.
The pages of Cosmopolitan magazine tell girls how to make themselves attractive to men, how to make sure they get a man, how to please a man sexually. Mainstream media uses women as sex objects to sell everything from toiletries to cars. We’re simultaneously told not to be “frigid” but not to be “a slut.” The message is clear- as women our value lies in our sexuality.
Isn’t the message of Jesus different from that?
Aren’t Christians supposed to be different?

My abusive husband regularly professed his love for me, and I am sure that he did believe he loved me. He also professed his love for his car, which he would regularly be outside tinkering with, or cruising around showing off to his friends. His car which he loved to ride in and wouldn’t ever let anyone drive, and ultimately which he traded in for a new one when he was bored of it.
This is how a lot of abusive men see their wives and girlfriends, as a possession, an object, something they own. It’s no wonder when both popular culture and Christian culture is full of metaphor and imagery which positions women as objects, valuable based on what they can do for men, and ready to be discarded once they’re “chewed up” or have “lost their stickiness”
This sexual ethic not only dehumanises women, it disempowers them. We know that 1 in 4 women have been raped or sexually assaulted as adults, and 1 in 6 children are sexually abused. We don’t know how many women are coerced into sex but don’t consider it rape; estimates suggest it’s at least 1 in 3. How do you think women who are raped or coerced are likely to feel about themselves if they’ve bought into the belief that women who have lost their virginity are like a piece of used chewing gum (If you can’t imagine, a survivor explains below-3 ) and how are women who have been coerced into sex with their abusive boyfriend likely to respond if they feel they have sinned? Let God down? Made themselves worthless? I’ll tell you: we respond by marrying him to try to make it right!

Our sexual ethics may work for some women, but they objectify all women, and we all deserve a healthier view of sex.

  1. “Having multiple sex partners is almost like tape that loses it’s stickiness after being applied and removed multiple times. So the more you have the harder it is to bond to the next” (From Science and Facts- by EpicYouth, part of CityLife Megachurch)
  2. “Unwrap a piece of chocolate, pass it round the class and observe how dirty is becomes” (Mississippi school sex ed cirriculum)
  3. “People want to marry a virgin just like they want a virgin toothbrush or stick of gum” (Texas schools sex ed guide) “I remember in school one time, I had a teacher who was talking about abstinence. And she said ‘imagine you’re a stick of gum. When you engage in sex, that’s like getting chewed. And if you do that lots of times, you’re going to become an old piece of gum, and who is going to want you after that?’…I thought ‘I’m that chewed up piece of gum. You throw it away. And that’s how easy it is to feel you no longer have worth. Your life no longer has value.” (Elizabeth Smart, Kidnapping Survivor)
  4. After passing a cup round and asking the boys to take a sip, swill it round their mouth and spit it back into the cup “the instructor then pulls a new unsullied glass of water out from behind her desk and holds it up next to the spit cup. “Which one of these girls would you want?’ she asks. ‘The pure one or the one who has had multiple partners before marriage?’”
  5. “She’s the town bike, everyone has had a ride in her.
  6. “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free”