Innocent Ecstasy: How Christianity Gave America an Ethic of Sexual Pleasure
Though they disagree on virtually everything else, evangelicals and gays, Catholics and agnostics all agree that sex should be innocent and ecstatic. For most of Western history people have not had such expectations. Innocent Ecstasy shows how Christianity led Americans to hope for so much from sex. It is the first book to explain how the sexual revolution could have occurred in a nation so deeply imbued with Christian ethical values. Tracing our strange journey from the hands of Jonathan Edward's angry Puritan God to the loving embrace of Marabel Morgan's Total Woman, Gardella draws his surprising evidence from widely disparate sources, ranging from Catholic confessionals to methodist revival meetings, from evangelical romances to The Song of Bernadette. He reveals the sexual messages of mainstream Protestant theology and the religious aspirations of medical texts found at the Kinsey Institute for Sex Research. He sheds new light on such well-known figures as Henry Adams, Margaret Sanger, Aimee Semple McPherson, and Harriet Beecher Stowe, and introduces us to such fascinating, lesser-known characters as Dr. John Harvey Kellogg and Sylvester Graham, inventors of corn flakes and Graham crackers, who devised their products as anti-aphrodisiacs. While detailing the development of moral obligations to pursue sexual pleasure and to follow certain patterns of sexual practice, Gardella incidentally provides one of the few books to bring together the liberal Protestant, Roman Catholic, and evangelical perspectives on any aspect of American culture. Gardella attributes the American ethic of sexual pleasure to the eagerness of Americans to overcome original sin. This led to a quest for perfection, or complete freedom from guilt, combined with a quest for ecstatic experience. The result, he maintains, is an attitude that looks to sex for what was once expected from religion.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Other editions - View all
accepted Adams Agnes Aimée Semple McPherson Alphonsus American culture beauty became began Bernadette birth control body Boston Brownson Catholicism Charles Christ Christian perfection church Claverack concupiscence contraception corruption depravity desire doctors ecstatic emotions evangelical Father fear of passion feelings female Finney Freud girl Graham Harriet Beecher Stowe Hawthorne heart Hecker Henry Hilda Holiness Horace Bushnell human Human Sexuality husband Ibid ideal Immaculate Conception Ingersoll Ingersoll's innocent ecstasy intercourse Jesus John Kenrick Liguori Margaret Sanger marital sex marriage married Mary Mary Baker Eddy Mary's masturbation Methodist moral theology moralists mother natural law nineteenth century Orestes Brownson orgasm original original sin Philadelphia Phoebe Palmer physical prayer preached Press priest Protestant redemption religion of health religious repression Romantic sensual sexual ethics sexual pleasure sinful Song of Bernadette soul spirit taught teaching Theologiae Moralis theologians Victorian Virgin vision Wesley wife wives woman women wrote York young
Page 5 - Original Sin standeth not in the following of Adam, (as the Pelagians do vainly talk;) but it is the fault and corruption of the Nature of every man, that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam; whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusteth always contrary to the spirit; and therefore in every person born into this world, it deserveth God's wrath and damnation.
Page 5 - ... yea, in them that are regenerated ; whereby the lust of the flesh, called in Greek phronema sarkos, which some do expound the wisdom, some sensuality, some the affection, some the desire of the flesh, is not subject to the Law of God. And although there is no condemnation for them that believe and are baptized, yet the Apostle doth confess that concupiscence and lust hath of itself the nature of sin.
Bad Habits: Drinking, Smoking, Taking Drugs, Gambling, Sexual Misbehavior ...
John C. Burnham
No preview available - 1993
All Book Search results »
True Sexual Morality: Recovering Biblical Standards for a Culture in Crisis
Daniel R. Heimbach
No preview available - 2004