Investigating what occurs when a woman’s identities as a Christian and an embodied sexual individual collide, this study draws from conversations with more than 30 Protestant women, exploring how both religious values and communities—as well as social class and race—shape women’s sexual experiences. In their stories, these women reflect on how they handle conflicts between their religious views and sexual desires, revealing how they satisfy those natural urges while simultaneously negotiating a conservative Christian message along with more liberal, secular morals. Although the concept of the “good girl” is a common thread throughout these narratives, many of the subjects surprisingly challenge the notion of “no sex before marriage,” perceiving their sexuality and insights into their church community as a means to oppose systems of patriarchy that persist in these spaces.
About the Author
Sonya Sharma is a postdoctoral research associate in the department of theology and religion at Durham University. She is the coeditor of Women and Religion in the West: Challenging Secularization.