Blowhard, Esq. writes:
After dinner I shall perhaps feel worn out, so I shall just lie on your bosom and say nothing but feel a great deal, and you will be very loving and call me your poor child. And then you will perhaps show me your Life of St. Elizabeth, your wedding gift. And then after tea we will go up to rest! We will undress and bathe and then you will come to my room, and we will kiss and love very much, and read the psalms together, and then we will kneel down and pray in our night dresses. Oh! what solemn bliss! How hallowing! And then you will take me up in your arms, will you not? And lay me down in bed. And then you will extinguish our light and come to me! How I will open my arms to you and then sink into yours. And you will kiss me and clasp me and we will praise God alone in the dark night with His eyes shining down upon us and His love enclosing us. After a time we shall sleep!
And yet I fear you will yearn so for fuller communion that you will not be so happy as me. And I too perhaps shall yearn, frightened as I am! But every yearning will remind me of our self-denial, your sorrow for sin, your strength of repentance. And I shall glory in my yearning, please God!
— Frances Grenfell in a letter to her soon-to-be-husband Charles Kingsley about how she envisions their wedding night, 1844. Their marriage wasn’t consummated until five weeks after their wedding day.
That’s a doozy of a quote.
It’s an interesting combo of sweetness, piety, eroticism, and frustration, isn’t it?
This is the paradox of Christianity which the church struggled with (and still does) for centuries. Augustine never resolved it. I once saw a magazine in Italy with a picture of a beautiful girl in a thoughtful pose and a thought balloon with the following: “How can I be a spiritual being AND have a hot pussy?”
Question Du Jour
In fact, you could say that one of the great philosophical problems the early church struggled with was to steer a middle course between the licentiousness of paganism and the extreme asceticism of some early Christian sects, (especially those in the east). The problem was never resolved, but at least we did not end up like misogynistic Islam.
Sex has not been a problem for married Christians. After all, Puritan women were allowed to divorce husbands who withheld sex.
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