These Christians taught themselves about sex in the worst possible way
This is a truly disturbing consequence of Purity Culture
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One of the many many problems with Purity Culture in evangelical Christian circles is that it teaches young women that sex—and every single step on the road to penetration—is to be avoided at all costs before marriage. But then, the thinking goes, as soon as you say “I do,” sex will be magical and wonderful and perfect and there’s no chance you and your husband are sexually incompatible because why would God do that to you?
Dr. Glenn Hill and his wife Phyllis Hill have a whole ministry where they counsel other couples on how to connect with each other, and they were recently interviewed by the pro-abstinence “Girl Defined” co-host Bethany Beal.
Most of the interview is exactly what you’d expect. The Hills say they didn’t have sex until their wedding night. The “11 seconds,” he jokes, wasn’t great. It took them a long time to get better at it and start enjoying it. Now they’re hoping to help other Christian couples from having the same experience.
Here’s where things took a strange turn.
Phyllis talked about how sex was painful and unsatisfying for years (!) and that didn’t change until they discussed the topic with another couple they knew. Phyllis said she felt “broken.” When the female half of the other couple asked for specifics, Phyllis said, “Well, I don’t have a clitoris.”
I would love to show you that discussion in context, but the video was set to “private” yesterday, more than two weeks after it first went up. (Did I save a full copy of it? Hell yes. I know how these people work.)
In the meantime, here’s the relevant portion of the interview:
PHYLLIS: … Glenn had read enough to know that a clitoris was involved and… didn't know where it was, but knew that that mattered, and that had to do with an orgasm. And it's, like, yeah, I've never orgasmed, and there's no pleasure. I don't enjoy it. Matter of fact, I hate it. I just endure it. We just get through it as fast as possible.
The female friend, however, was in the medical field and knew something was wrong with that story. Of course Phyllis had a clitoris. She even offered to take Phyllis to the bathroom to show her… but modesty prevented them from doing that.
At some point after that discussion—Months? Years? Who knows—Phyllis was with her newborn baby in the company of that same friend and made this startling admission:
GLENN: Phyllis was changing our daughter’s diaper, and our friend showed her on our little girl, you know, where the clitoris is located. Which is huge information for Phyllis!… And, again, it's stunning to me… That's pretty darn basic. And we're smart people, and we were clueless.
The problem wasn’t that they were clueless. It’s that they were conservative Christians with a sex-negative mentality that they still hold to this day.
Oh. And they used their infant daughter as a sex diagram to show the baby’s grown-ass mother where her clitoris is.
Assuming the internet wasn’t readily available at the time, they could have checked out an anatomy book. They could have handed a pencil and paper to someone knowledgeable and asked that person to draw a stick figure. They could have gone to a doctor or marriage counselor. They could have rented some adult movies. They could have figured this out prior to marriage. They could have solved this in the beginning of their marriage had they realized sex can have a purpose beyond procreation.
Instead, Phyllis went through several years of painful and unenjoyable sex because no one in their abstinence-obsessed circles ever thought to educate them about what makes sex more pleasurable (for her) until they were lucky (?) enough to have a baby girl to use as an educational tool.
I know conservative Christians don’t give a damn about bodily autonomy, but Jesus…
Nothing about this is admirable. This is not a relationship anyone should strive to imitate. This isn’t a feel-good story about a couple that worked hard to make their relationship last; it’s a story about two people who clearly weren’t mature enough for marriage jumping into it before they were old enough to understand how their own bodies worked.
Glenn Hill, by the way, is a “Clinical Sexologist” with a Ph.D.
Online biographies don’t mention where he went to school and I have no clue if he earned that title before or after this “revelation,” but this whole story raises a lot of questions.
Phyllis said later in the interview that her problem was a “lack of knowledge.” Which is fair! Just about everyone is ignorant about sex when they first have it. But at no point in this conversation did anyone suggest the couple would have been better off exploring each other’s bodies before marriage, or admit that Purity Culture itself is broken, or that it’s beyond messed up to sexualize a child because of the ignorance of her parents.
More importantly, they offered no practical solutions for young Christians to avoid the very problems they created for themselves.
On TikTok, @deconstruct_with_paige rightly summarized their conversation by saying “evangelical Christians would literally rather sexually exploit their children than give up a shred of Purity Culture.”
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The irony of the interview is that Beal herself is no expert on the subject matter either, yet her whole schtick is coaching other young Christian women on topics like sex and marriage. It’s an entire ministry of the ignorant leading the ignorant at a time when what they all need is actual expertise. Personal anecdotes are not an acceptable substitute. Yet even when the consequences of their “lack of knowledge” become crystal clear, it’s treated like a perfectly normal thing.
I suppose we should be grateful a gay couple or drag queen didn’t share a similar story or they’d be screaming bloody murder.
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