Crucified Flesh

“Those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” - Galatians 5:24–25


What are orgasms like in heaven? What is the best lube for the altitude past the pearly gates? What did Jesus’s penis look like? Who is the Patron Saint of Fingering? These questions are ridiculous at best and obscenely blasphemous at worst. But why would discussing any of these topics guarantee ruining Easter brunch with your family? Why is suggesting sexuality exists in heaven or contemplating the physical anatomy of Christ not aligned with Christian sexual values?


It's because having the soul, or spirit, at the center of Christianity will invariably lead to demonizing the physical body. From the Christian worldview, God is the ruler of the spiritual world; a world the faithful are striving to reach by overcoming the temptations of the physical world. Whereas our world, our flesh, our sexuality, and our material realities are merely obstacles to this spiritual world and are entry points for temptation that may lead us astray. There’s a reason Satan is considered the ruler of the physical world; our material beings, and by extension our sexuality, are inherently dripping in sin.


Whether or not we grew up with pastors or priests directly telling us we’ll burn in hell for watching The L Word or listening to Lil’ Kim, sex negativity is communicated indirectly through Christianity’s value of the spirit. For example, those perceived to be closest to god in Catholicism, the robed clergy, are celibate. This reinforces the notion that in order to walk hand-in-hand with Jesus, you cannot walk hand-in-hand with your genitals.


For the religiously spiritual, heaven exists on an asexual astral plane, void of attraction, lust, desire, and sexual pleasure. Whereas hell, paradoxically in this same universe and worldview, is a very physical place. Hell is a smoldering pit of fire that presumably smells like a restroom at a state fair. For the countless sexual beings that inhabit this fiery destination, their souls are somehow physically tortured by troves of sadistic demons who, for some theological reason, are very upset about you sucking a dick in 1996.


And much like Christianity in general, religious spirituality didn’t have to be this way. There are plenty of avenues to integrate sexuality into spirituality, even biblically. The bible can be whatever you want it to be. For every “crucify the flesh” passage, there’s a contradictory “his fruit is sweet to my taste” passage.


Nevertheless, this is our sex-negative culture. A religiously-justified culture that treats sexuality, and anything physical, as a curse. It’s something that is a burden that needs to be controlled, reined-in, and overcome if we really want to make it to heaven. Our physical selves are temporary vessels, a fleshy temple, that must not be touched or we risk soiling our souls for eternity. Sex is treated as if it’s a virus – avoid it because it’s dirty and will ruin your life. But be sure to save it for your spouse.


But god's not real; orgasms are. Embrace your physical selves, both figuratively and literally. Whether you're "saving yourself" for marriage or just waiting for the next person who walks into Burger King, your sexuality is yours to make it whatever you want it to be. Being free from the threat of hellfire, your sexuality should also be free from guilt, shame, and embarrassment. There's nothing guilt-inducing about feeling pleasure. There's nothing shameful about your nude body. There's nothing embarrassing about the sounds, smells, and faces you make during climax.


So instead of crucifying your flesh, appreciate your flesh. Enjoy your flesh. Indulge in your flesh. Become your own Patron Saint of Pleasure.



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© 2016-2020. All articles posted in Uncrucifying Sex and Scarlet Letters are the property of Eric Sprankle, PsyD, and may only be republished with written permission from the author.