Sunday, October 26, 2008

My entry for next year's Diagram Prize

Extraordinary title. Extraordinary book too if this website is anything to go by. I thought it was a spoof at first. But, no, it's apparently real. So now I can't make up my mind whether Robert Irwin is serious or not. Is he suggesting that Christian men need more sexual tuition than other men? Hmm ... I've yet to come across a sexual techniques manual specifically for the godless.*

Oh, by the way, this is not Irwin's first foray into the realms of Christian nookie. He also wrote the brilliantly titled She loves God, me ... and sex!

Maybe I'll submit that to next year's Diagram Prize too.

*Presumably we atheists don't need such a thing as we don't have to square our sexual behaviour against scripture. Of course, it doesn't necessarily follow that we're all amoral or deviants as the result. Well, most of us.

18 comments:

punk in writing said...

Maybe he's just making up for all the interesting details he missed when they skipped sex education?

Or has Robert Irwin found a way to get in on the ol' sex sell-bandwagon without getting frowned upon by his fellow conservative christians?

Persephone said...

Is Robert Irwin a conservative Christian? A quick google doesn't really tell me much, except that he's definitely a salesman.
Do we know he skipped sex education in school? (Frankly, I don't remember getting any practical tips in sex education; do you?) I figure if this book is angled at a group which may not be comfortable with your run-of-the-mill sexual how-to books, and may be more likely to read something they can pick up in the local Christian bookstore, more power to this fella.
If the book were entitled "Sexual Techniques for the Jewish Husband", or "the Muslim Husband", would we find it quite as funny?
I'm speaking as a non-Christian theist who has been married to a liberal Christian for many years. They're not all bible-thumpers, and stereotypes of Christians, IMHO, are just as harmful as stereotypes of other belief systems, even atheists.

Mary Paddock said...

Not a spoof at all I'm afraid. I know too many Christian couples (not us!) who struggle with this issue because of hang ups on one or both sides, created by very much alive Victorian attitudes masquerading as Christian values. The sad thing is that the men who need it the most won't read it.

Stevyn Colgan said...

Punky, Persephone, Mary - Thanks for your intelligent comments. It would be all too easy to become puerile over what is a serious subject. What struck me initially about the book was the oddness of the title. It was only when I'd read a little of Mr and Mrs Irwin's website that I began to realise that there may be an actual problem here. As Mary says, could this be for people who have hang-ups that they can't square with their faith? If so, is this book meeting that need or, as Punky wonders, possibly profiting from it? Deep underneath it all is a very serious question of religion and sexuality and how the two work together. How does a person cope when their desires fly in the face of their belief system? It's interesting that in the past few weeks there have been quite overt (and frankly silly) attacks on Obama's campaign by so-called Christian groups predicting all sorts of mad future scenarios involving predatory homosexual men and women. If you were a gay person growing up in an area where a local church or chapel supports such views how do you cope?

Extremism is never a good thing no matter what the belief or religion. But all of this is a far too weighty subject for a fairly light-weight and generally silly blog like this. A fascinating area of discussion nonetheless.

Persephone said...

Oops! Sorry for getting weighty! It's just that I'm a Unitarian, so my husband has had to sit through more than one sermon of Christian-bashing, poor fella!
On a lighter note, I never expected to read about oral sex and the G-spot on a Christian web site. Your blog is truly opening up some interesting avenues. (Oh dear, should I rephrase that?)

Me said...

I am a christian and an adult. I guess it does not help that in the UK all sex outside of marriage is classed as unlawful....though thankfully not prosecuted. I think many people have sexual hang ups - I am just not wholly sure that they are absolutely linked to religion - perhaps parenting had an influence - I am sure there are many people in many faiths or beliefs who have hang ups. Not sure on this one - but Steve - it HAS made me think - which is the great thing about your blog
x

Stevyn Colgan said...

Persephone - I'm certainly not scared of discussing weighty issues. Better that we all discuss matters as rational adults than hide simmering resentment behind locked doors. That's never healthy. However, I wouldn't want my views to make any of my welcome visitors feel uncomfortable. For example, I've been agonising over a post for a couple of weeks on the subject of atheism. I want the wording to be exactly right before I post it because, on the one hand, I'm keen to explore a couple of issues and put across my personal philosophy. On the other hand, I am aware that a number of my readers are people of faith and I don't want the post to be seen as an attack on their beliefs. It isn't and won't be. So, watch this space!

Stevyn Colgan said...

p.s. Great use of double entendres there. I'm now wondering whether I should have started the title with the words 'my entry ...'

Stevyn Colgan said...

Me - Thinking is always good. Yes, it's good to provoke healthy debate as it destroys taboos and increases understanding of each other. Ooh I'm getting all Zen ...

Debby said...

I was an atheist. Now I'm not. No difference at all between atheist and deist sex. Just saying. And actually, there are no taboos between a married couple, not as I read it.

A discussion of someone's beliefs would never offend me unless it was presented as an attack on my own. People see things differently. It's the way of the world. Await your post w/ interest!

Stevyn Colgan said...

Debby - Trust me, it won't hurt. It's actually more about how difficult it can be to be an atheist in a world where everyone is treading on eggshells. x

Lump said...

hmmmm sex is healthy and GRAND. so I don't see any issue with this book. but where's the sex book for agnostics? ha

Stevyn Colgan said...

Katie - Absolutely right and hoorah! for that eh? I heard that agnostics were asked if they wanted a sex guide but no one could make up their minds whether they did or not. Harf. Ooh! Another new photo. Get you.

Lump said...

oooh good one. We sure can't make up our minds! ;)

and thanks for noticing the photo. You have such a great eye for detail. haha!

Robert Irwin said...

Wow!

I wanted to congratulate the posters in this thread for, quite possibly, being the most thoughtful and open-minded people to ever hit the "comment" button.

I found this thread through a trackback to my site and was surprised by the tone of the thread.

As you might imagine, as a Christian sex expert," I am quite used to bloggers linking to my sites with a nod and a wink.

I understand. Really...I do.

But, most sites/posters usually don't take the time or mental energy to get beyond the whole "Christian sex" thing...to consider the possibility that not all Christians are still living under Queen Victoria.

Or...that promoting positive sexuality within the confines of OUR accepted boundaries...is NOT an attack on those not ascribing to our beliefs.

Although most blog posters are too busy being cute to realize it...not everyone experiences sex within their marriages as an easy, intuitive thing.

There is a real need (for a certain group of Christians) to know what "our rulebook" (the Bible) ACTUALLY says about sexuality...and to overcome negative preconceptions that can seriously (and negatively) affect the enjoyment of their marriages and overall lives.

I spend most of my "email time" explaining to fellow Christians that our mission is NOT evangelical in the sense of converting non-Christians...it is in helping Christians to better integrate their faith and sexuality.

But, if a few of "the heathen" (you guys?) are less resistant to Christianity because they realize that being a good Christian doesn't mean NOT fully expressing their sexuality...I won't mind.

Either way...kudos on the intelligent discussion.

Robert Irwin
www.myintimatemarriage.com

Stevyn Colgan said...

Robert - Thanks for popping by. Yes, they are a smart bunch aren't they? All I have to do is kick them off the starting blocks and away they go! For me, as a 'heathen' (I love that term!), the book's title was the starting point for the post. It tickled my funny bone. And coming from a country where Christianity is not taken quite as seriously as it is elsewhere, I genuinely found it extraordinary that books like yours are needed. But I do now see that, for some people, there really is an issue of squaring their beliefs with their sexuality. And if your book helps them to deal with that, then kudos to you. Repression is never a good thing.

I still reckon you're in with a chance at the Diagram prize though!

Robert Irwin said...

Stevyn,

I did look up what the heck "The Diagram Prize" is...after finding your post.

And, based on former winners, I would have to respectfully request that you nominate "She Loves God, Me...And Sex!" I think it has the best shot at winning.

Although I do my best to provide as little hype as possible to my readers, we all have our struggles. Mine is reconciling my love of Jesus with my love for Ron Popeil.

As a "British wannabee," I am well familiar with the post Christian culture in which you reside. I am somewhat of a freak because of my particular mix of knowledge about British/European Christian culture. As a teenager, I was a huge Cliff Richards fan. And, I followed the yearly on goings of The Green Belt Festival as if it were the Super Bowl. Like I said..I'm kind of a freak that way.

Although, recently, that Cliff Richards thing hasn't panned out too well for Christians looking for a popular British spokesperson.

And, I can tell you that my second biggest market is actually the UK. Attempting to reconcile your sexuality with your faith is a fairly universal need.

I completely understand the interest in the strange and insular nature of most of American Christianity. I grew up in the most fundamental of environments (can you say snake handling?).

If you are ever interested in checking out sites run by Christians that have a similar obsession with the quirkiness of this uniquely American culture, you might enjoy these:

http://www.wittenburgdoor.com/

(As a Christian teenager, it was my "Mad Magazine")

http://jesusneedsnewpr.blogspot.com/

(A friend and fellow Christian author that is still dealing with his "fundamental" background)

One of the things that most impressed me about your commentators was that, not only were they open-minded...they were humbly honest about the fact that, for some, sex is NOT always a natural thing. It can be a horribly disappointing and frustrating part of many people's lives. This cuts across faith lines.

This honesty was such a breath of fresh air. In most of the hundreds of other links to my products/sites, you find nothing but snarky quips about how sex isn't rocket science. And, for most, this is true. But, for some, it can be an overwhelming and confusing aspect of their relationships. As Jesus said (can you quote that guy here?), I didn't come for the healthy...but for the sick. People that have never struggled with sex don't need such books.

When I finally make it to the UK, I hope we can have a pint together.

Stevyn Colgan said...

Robert - Well, someone said you were a salesman! You'll never catch me (ha ha!) but, as I said before, all respect to you if you're helping others.

The beer is a definite.

Snake handling? Eek.