Michael Hamar

How to Save Marriage: Religious Sex Toys

Filed By Michael Hamar | January 03, 2012 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: Elaine Donnelly, evangelical Christian, Maggie Gallagher, passionate sex, Roman Catholic Church, saving marriage, sex toys

What makes a vibrator holy? That's a question investigated by an article The Daily Beast which demonstrates not only that (A) someone there has a great sense of humor but (B) the Christianists are truly dysfunctional when it comes to normal sex of any orientation. In particular, the post looks at the growing market for sex toys via online "religious" sex-toy shops.

Having checked out some of the online shops, they are too funny - especially the way in which sex toys are renamed and/or given new descriptions. Sample sites are "Covenant Spice" which describes itself as "Christ honoring sex and romance site for couples," and "Intimacy of Eden" which promises to ignite passion and romance for a healthy, heavenly marriage."

Apparently, the theory behind the products is that good sex will strengthen the marriages of the self-congratulatory pious set. After all, these "godly Christians" have been raised to view all things sexual as nasty and dirty. Even as they lust for it probably all the more in a perverse sort of the forbidden fruit is always more alluring phenomenon.

As a former Catholic, however, I would note that you probably shouldn't hold their breath waiting for Catholic related online shops to spring up any time soon. Per the teachings of the bitter old men in dresses in Rome, sex is only for procreation (unless you're a priest raping an altar boy, of course) and if there's even a hint of pleasure and enjoyment involved, then an immediate trip to the confessional is clearly in order.

I'd would also speculate that perhaps if Maggie Gallagher, Elaine Donnelly, Tony Perkins and Linda Harvey checked out these online sites and tried some of their products, they could lose their over riding obsessions with gay sex and leave the LGBT community alone. Here are some highlights from the post:

Sex and religion have long been perceived to be at odds, with carnal pleasures representing sin more than saintliness. Yet in recent years, a handful of savvy Christian, Jewish and Muslim entrepreneurs have embraced the notion that the two can coexist in a way that jibes with doctrine - and even glorifies traditional values by strengthening marriages.

Enter the religious sex-toy industry, which carefully markets and sells a range of sexual-pleasure products to the faithful. With the voice and disposition of a summer-camp director, Joy Wilson founded Book 22 a decade ago, when she had trouble "getting her body to respond" to her husband after their second child, and her online search for remedies yielded scandalous imagery that offended more than it helped. The pioneering site, named after the Biblical book also known as the Song of Solomon, now faces growing competition from rival vendors including Hooking Up Holy, Intimacy of Eden, and Covenant Spice.
To be clear, the "religious people" targeted are married, heterosexual religious people; pious sex-toy vendors market their products exclusively to these couples. Unlucky in love and looking for some solitary fun after morning prayers? Look elsewhere.

The burgeoning niche, part of the roughly $15 billion sex-toy industry, reports that business has been steadily growing, with most sites shipping a few hundred orders per month. Clients usually find them through Google, say the owners, or a thoughtful religious leader or astute sex therapist.

To an outsider, visiting the religious sites feels a bit like listening to the bleeped-out version of an explicit hip-hop song: the substance is the same, it's just missing the X-rated details. None of the sites feature any nudity, instead relying on mannequins to display lingerie. Nor do they feature any sexy language. Kosher Sex Toys, for example, rewrites product descriptions that risk shocking its audience. (The "Butterfly Clitoris Stimulator" becomes, simply, the "Vibrating Stimulator.") And while they don't flaunt their holiness, they'll occasionally rely on religious messaging to sell themselves, or perhaps put potential customers at ease. Book 22, for example, promises to "enhance the intimate life of all God's children."

Despite consistencies across the religious sites, the vendors do vary based on doctrine, audience, and each owner's preferences. Wilson refuses to sell anal devices and condoms, not because she objects, but because her customers do. "The Catholics protested the condoms, and the evangelical Christian community is sensitive about anal sex and play," she said. "But I'll special order anything if people ask."
Meanwhile, Kosher Sex Toys' Gavriel won't stock male masturbatory aids because, he says, God frowns on wasted potential, according to the Torah. However, since Judaism doesn't prohibit female self-pleasure, he carries myriad trinkets that buzz. He also proudly sells whips and drip candles; performance-enhancing pills and sprays; clear-heeled shoes and thigh-high boots; and a variety of handcuffs, restraints, and tools for cutting them off.

I truly don't want to sound mean spirited, but some of the items for the "sexy husband" look amazingly like stuff one can buy at International Male, but at a lower price at International Male. On the other hand, if the fundies are spending their money on sex toys and hooker-like attire, it's less money that's available to fund the anti-gay hate groups.

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