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Innocent Ecstasy, Updated EditionHow Christianity Gave America an Ethic of Sexual Pleasure$
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Peter Gardella

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190609405

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190609405.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Innocent Ecstasy, Updated Edition

Peter Gardella

Oxford University Press

The 1985 edition of Innocent Ecstasy begins by observing that Americans approach sex with an attitude of obligation to experience and to provide maximal pleasure without guilt. This obligation was being taught with particular vigor by evangelical Christians in the 1970s. Josh McDowell, an evangelist for the Campus Crusade for Christ, and Marabel Morgan, author of The Total Woman (1975), provide examples of this ethic of sexual pleasure. Later chapters will show how the ethic emerged among Roman Catholic moral theologians, Victorian medical writers, evangelical mystics in the holiness and Pentecostal movements, Catholic devotees of the Virgin Mary, and advocates of birth control and psychoanalysis. Although innocent ecstasy has probably increased sexual pleasure, at least by increasing numbers of orgasms, it has also increased performance anxiety. Although some Christians have rejected innocent ecstasy, this obligation to ecstasy without guilt has roots in the Christian hope to overcome original sin.

Keywords:   sex, pleasure, evangelical, Christian, innocent, ecstasy, orgasm

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