The Christian sexual tradition uses scripture and theological tradition as supports for a code of behavior which developed out of mistaken, pre-scientific understandings of human anatomy, physiology, and reproduction, as well as out of now abandoned and discredited models of the human person and human relationships. The churches are still today teaching theological conclusions originally based in ignorance of women’s genetic contribution to offspring, ignorance of the processes of gender identity and of sexual orientation, and of the difference between them – ignorance which has allowed and supported patriarchy, misogyny, and heterosexism, the assumption that heterosexuality is normative. We are still teaching a sexual code based in fear of the body and of sexuality, in understandings of sexual virtue as the repression of bodily desires by the force of the rational will, on physicality, especially sexuality, as an obstacle to spirituality, and on women as lacking reason and only possessing the image of God through connection to men. The churches have disowned the Mosaic law’s assumption of male ownership of women and children, Luther’s understanding that women are like nails in a wall, prohibited by their nature from moving outside their domestic situation, and Aquinas’ teaching that females are misbegotten males, produced from male embryos by physical or mental debility in the father, or by moist winds off the Mediterranean. But we continue to teach most of the sexual moral code which was founded upon such thinking.
- Christine E. Gudorf, Body, Sex, and Pleasure: Reconstructing Christian Sexual Ethics