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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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History and Theology (1985)

(p.146) Conclusion
Innocent Ecstasy, Updated Edition

Peter Gardella

Oxford University Press

By the 1970s, many Christians in America identified sex with the power of grace or salvation. Prescriptions for pleasure dominated Marabel Morgan’s best-selling evangelical book on marriage, The Total Woman (1975), and evangelical sex manuals. A Roman Catholic study from 1977, Human Sexuality, agreed. Probably, American Christians found more pleasure in sex. The 1970s completed a revolution in sexual behavior that began in the 1920s, as documented by Kinsey. Where Kinsey found, in surveys from the 1940s and 1950s, that religious belief made orgasm less likely, surveys from the 1970s showed religious people claiming more orgasms and more satisfaction than the nonreligious. But some feminists complained that lovemaking had become a male skill that women judged. Pressure to perform increased for both sexes. This conclusion recommends recovering a sense of sin, not identifying orgasm with religious ecstasy, and not seeking to sanctify bodies but using them to express love.

Keywords:   Christians, grace, salvation, sex, Marabel Morgan, Kinsey, orgasms, feminists, ecstasy, sin

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