Through his theological imagination, the Apostle Paul wrote letters to communities of faith meant to encourage and proclaim the good news. Similarly, this letter is my attempt to empower women to embrace their sexuality in ways that honor them and resist ways others use tradition to put their bodies under subjection for the exploitation of men. I understand that we have not always experienced religion positively when it comes to sex and sexuality. I attended churches that policed my body through the garments I wore under the guise of holiness. I was told that my curves were a distraction for the male preachers and that my only assurance to a happy marriage was predicated on my discipline to abstain from sex. All of this because of a religious culture which is obsessed with and hell bent on demeaning the female body. Are men having sex because they are seduced by immoral women? Should women be held responsible and accountable for the conduct of men? Absolutely not. I know firsthand how deeply this negativity is rooted within women.
Many women are attempting to live out the theology which was passed down from well intentioned loved ones as well as an oppressive system. It was in many ways a method of survival which kept our ancestors from ultimate physical death. Stereotypical images of black women have been pervasive throughout Western culture since the enslavement of African people. The image has rendered black women morally depraved and flawed. This has served to institute and justify white patriarchal attitudes towards women. The historical black church has picked up this mantel of patriarch and mimics white dominant hegemony to create its own sexual politics which is managed largely by men.
The goal is to have a healthy balance between a positive sexual ethic and faith. To be sexually free and at peace with God seems impossible. It feels like you can only be either saved or sexual. Repressed and holy or sexually whole. To enjoy the fullness of your sexuality and your spirituality, one must abandon the idea that they are separate. We must reconnect the sacred and the spiritual in our hearts and our minds. Sex is a sacred act of sharing space and community with a person you are intimate with. Sex is a spiritual experience that catapults your body and mind in a different and powerful way. It is a state of bliss, euphoria and ecstasy that we all deserve to enjoy. It was not meant to be separated from our worship with God at the altar or any other sacred space.
The good news, I believe, is that God desires women to embody liberation within the holy vessel God created. That we love our bodies, present them in ways that mirror our identity, whether it is through what we choose to wear, how we express ourselves in speech or how we show affection to others. Together we can uncover those things that have blocked us and find our way towards a new sexual freedom by releasing what no longer serves us and constructing new beliefs that help us be our best selves.