Sex positionality : a history of the role of gender and race in mid-to-late-twentieth-century evangelical sex literature.


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This thesis examines evangelical sex manuals, marriage guides, and purity literature from 1967 to 2016 and argues that evangelical authors created different rhetorics, ideals, and sexual ethics based on their gendered and racial positions in evangelicalism. I first look to gender and argue that in the 1970s, female authors more readily connected sex to the salvation of the individual, family, and nation. Amid more rigid restrictions on women’s ministry in the late 1980s, women firmly claimed sex as ministry in the 1990s and 2000s, along with a heavier emphasis on purity and men’s sexual aggression. Finally, I assess the role of race and argue that white evangelicals constructed their ethic against constructions of non-white sexuality and that Black evangelicals crafted ethics which subverted stereotypes of Black hypersexuality. Conservative evangelical sexual ethics were not monolithic—they shifted over time and based upon the author’s position in and navigation of conservative evangelicalism.