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Innocent Ecstasy, Updated Edition – How Christianity Gave America an Ethic of Sexual Pleasure - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Innocent Ecstasy, Updated Edition: How Christianity Gave America an Ethic of Sexual Pleasure

Peter Gardella


Americans today—whether Catholic or agnostic, evangelical or liberal, gay or straight or transsexual—agree that sexual experience should be free from guilt and ecstatically pleasurable. For most of Western history, people have not had such expectations. It was often assumed that sex involved some guilt or shame, and many people, particularly women, had little prospect of pleasure. Teachers of spiritual ecstasy wrote about prayer and contemplation, not sex. Innocent Ecstasy tells the story of how the modern quest for transcendence through sex grew out of a Christian struggle to overcome origina ... More

Keywords: American, sexual, ecstasy, original sin, Christian, rock, rap, Oprah, Madonna, gay

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2016 Print ISBN-13: 9780190609405
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2016 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190609405.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Peter Gardella, author
Professor of World Religions, Manhattanville College