Do Christians Have Better Sex?

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July 19 2013 1:23 PM

Do Christians Have Better Sex?

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Cross, or just the "x" in s-e-x?

Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Do Christians do it better? The Washington Post’s Lydia DePillis made her way to the Family Research Council this week to witness a sexy talk by Marriage and Religion Research Institute director Pat Fagan on why conservative Christian intercourse is superior to the porn-addled, abortion-having, out-of-wedlock dalliances of nonbelievers. “We’ve got it more orgasmic, more enjoyable, more frequent!” Fagan said. He advised his audience to spread the word: “We know how to have sex much better than you guys.”

Watching pornography, Fagan told the crowd, escalates into addiction, desensitization to sex, and the gradual descent into pansexuality. The more sex partners a person has, the more likely he or she is to seek an abortion or contract an sexually transmitted infection. To Fagan, the pervasiveness of sexual material and rampant availability of sex partners has thrust young people into an unnatural sexual environment: “Our teenagers today cannot know what is natural, sexually,” Fagan said. “That’s what we’ve done.” It’s worth paging through Fagan’s full slide presentation, which includes a childishly scrawled map illustrating the ills of divorce and a photograph of sexy vampires juxtaposed with a portrait of Freud. QED.

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But Fagan does trot out some actual numbers to support his illustrations. According to the 1992 "National Health and Social Life Survey," 88 percent of always-married people enjoy having intercourse with their current sex partner extremely or very much. Compare that to 72 percent of divorced or separated people and 66 percent of single people. People who go to church regularly also enjoy their sex partner more; 84 percent of people who attend religious services weekly gave their partner high marks, compared to 79 percent of people who never attend services. (And people who attend church infrequently—less than once a month—rated their sex lives the worst.)

So why does Fagan reason that married, highly religious people enjoy sex more than atheist singletons? Refreshingly, he doesn't say it's because they’re sharing in a purer sexual experience made more erotic by God’s stamp of approval. Instead, it's because people who adhere to the true-love-waits principle have no choice but to be satisfied with whatever once-in-a-lifetime partner they settle on. Or as Fagan put it: “Those who are monogamous have the best sex they’ll ever know, because they don’t know anything else."

Of course, those couples are also having the worst sex of their lives. Just because people are satisfied with their sex lives doesn’t mean that the sex itself is actually superior. Religious, monogamous couples don’t know how to “have sex much better,” but they may know how to take what they can get (maybe because they’re blissfully ignorant of what moves thy neighbors are trying out down the block). Fagan thinks that teens today “cannot know what is natural,” but his model is socially engineered, too—if humans were naturally inclined to have sex with just one other person in a lifetime, they wouldn’t need institutions like the Family Research Council to tell them what the holiest (and apparently, sexiest) version of human interaction is.

Amanda Hess is a Slate staff writer. 

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