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What Is Her.meneutics?

The Christianity Today women’s blog provides news and analysis from the perspective of evangelical women. We cover news stories and books related to international justice and evangelism, pregnancy and sexual ethics, marriage, parenting, and celibacy, pop culture, health and body image, raising girls, and women in the church and parachurch.

Her.meneutics was co-founded by Katelyn Beaty and Sarah Pulliam Bailey.

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All posts from “sexuality”

Debunking the 'Homewrecker' Myth after Kristen Stewart's Affair

August 15, 2012 8:20 AM

Among classic literature’s great seductresses—Becky Sharp, Lady Chatterley, Anna Karenina, and Madame Bovary—the most irresistible of them all just might be Katie Scarlett O’Hara, the vivacious and impetuous protagonist in Margaret Mitchell’s American classic, Gone With the Wind. Scarlett’s...

Sex and the Single Olympian: Lolo Jones Talks about Her Virginity

August 6, 2012 9:10 AM

Lori “Lolo” Jones is a world-class athlete. She won three NCAA titles and garnered 11 All-American honors while running track and field at Louisiana State University. In the 2008 Olympics, she finished first in the preliminary rounds for the...

Sex! Outrage! The Internet! Doug Wilson, Rachel Held Evans, and The Gospel Coalition

July 20, 2012 9:33 AM

Perhaps I’m just getting old. I did turn 40 last week. But I must admit, my first read of Jared Wilson’s now infamous post, “The Polluted Waters of 50 Shades of Grey, Etc.,” didn’t outrage me. It didn’t even...

Is There Anything Redeeming in the '50 Shades' Trilogy?

June 6, 2012 8:24 AM

We go about our business and find ourselves distracted by sex. I'm shopping for sunscreen and an attractive guy walks and stands too close to me. Now I'm not thinking about sunscreen. It's not just men who wrestle with lust....

When Our Sexual Stories Go Off the Christian Map

May 17, 2012 8:38 AM

“American Christianity promises a life lived happily ever after to anyone who waits for sex until marriage, marries a religious person, and raises children in the church. . . that this scenario describes fewer and fewer of us with each...

Q+A: Jefferson Bethke on the Spiritual Realities of Sex

April 18, 2012 2:58 PM

Spoken-word poet and YouTube sensation Jefferson Bethke’s newest video, “Behind the Pen,” hasn’t quite gained the momentum of January’s breakout “Why I Hate Religion But Love Jesus,” but at over 50,000 views in two weeks, it’s definitely not slacking. From...

Confessions of a Lustful Christian Woman

March 21, 2012 8:40 AM

I watched Butterfield 8 with my husband last weekend. Elizabeth Taylor won an Oscar for her role as the sexually abused and sexually addicted call girl that falls in love. Her story is precisely what I've heard on the road...

Why 'Slut' Cuts to the Core--of All of Us

March 8, 2012 10:04 AM

Are you a slut? Have you ever been one? Have you ever been made to feel like one? Have you ever made someone else feel like one? Have you ever called someone a slut, even if only in your mind?...

On Valentine’s Day, Praying for Men Who Buy Sex

February 14, 2012 8:30 AM

Her.meneutics isn’t in the habit of encouraging thought experiments, but try this one for a moment. If you kept a log of all your thoughts and remarks about men in a given day, what types of statements would be listed?...

Real Women Don't Text Back: How Women Fuel the Man-Boy Problem

January 25, 2012 11:24 AM

“Wanna grab a burrito 2nite?” The melody of the Atlanta symphony’s instruments flowed through the auditorium. I didn’t have high expectations for dating at 23, but a text containing the word burrito wasn’t exactly what I had in mind (and...

Getting to the Root of Female Masturbation

January 5, 2012 9:32 AM

Angela* sits down in my office. After a long conversation about love and God and concerns over family and employment after graduation, she falls silent. I sense she is weighing whether or not to continue the conversation. Then, in a...

How 'Modest Is Hottest' Is Hurting Christian Women

December 15, 2011 9:47 AM

I remember the first time I heard the words chirped by an eager female college student as we discussed the topic of modesty. Her enthusiasm was mixed with perk and reprimand, producing a tone that landed somewhere between Emily Post...

The God of Awkward Virgins

December 7, 2011 10:41 AM

Watching clips from the new TLC series The Virgin Diaries, which debuted Sunday, is a bit like seeing Borat, The Yes Men, or another feature-length “you’ve been had” films. The show profiles virgins in their late 20s and 30s, most...

What the Herman Cain Case Reveals about Harassment

November 9, 2011 10:09 AM

When sexual harassment allegations against Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain began to leak out, my reaction was skeptical. I’ve been observing the political process long enough to know that many people consider sexual accusations—real or imaginary—a fantastic way to bring...

The Thin Line between Trafficking and Pornography

November 2, 2011 10:42 AM

When a pimp approached 16-year-old Jessica Richardson at the Portland diner where she was working in 1995, Jessica was primed to accept his offer. She had been sexually abused at age 5, and then her dad was murdered when she...

We're Just Friends. No, Really

October 24, 2011 11:19 AM

I was sitting at my friend Andrew’s dining table in the mid afternoon. I had stopped by to pick up a book I needed for a writing project and decided to stay and work with him a while. It was...

A Christian Response to Gay Bullying

October 12, 2011 9:47 AM

A few weeks ago, Jamey Rodemeyer was found dead by his parents in their Buffalo, New York, home. But Rodemeyer’s death was different. The 14-year-old was one of many young people who have committed suicide over bullying and taunting over...

Chaz Bono Brings Transgender Issues to TV

September 19, 2011 5:53 PM

After ABC announced the newest lineup for Dancing with the Stars(DWTS), many were taken aback by the backlash of comments about contestant Chaz Bono. Formerly Chastity Bono, Chaz is the first transgender competitor on the show, which is also what...

MIA: Men Who Don't Use Pornography

September 8, 2011 10:55 AM

I don’t remember much about sex education in 10th grade, other than anxiety about what topics I might have to discuss with peers. But I do remember a woman who came to our private, secular school to talk about “chastity.”...

Sugar Daddies and Abba Father

August 15, 2011 9:47 AM

It’s no secret that more and more college students are graduating with crushing student loan debt. And with a job market that is less than favorable to the 20-something job seeker, some college students and graduates are looking for innovative...

Modesty: Still Missing from the Church

August 4, 2011 10:20 AM

“Why does she have on those hooker shoes?” That’s how one of my godmothers began our phone conversation Monday morning. She was disheartened by a woman’s church attire, and that was just one of her examples. I shared my observations...

My Father Was a Porn Addict

July 25, 2011 9:03 AM

My father taught me how to ride a bike, the value of a great punchline, and what a woman was supposed to look and act like. My dad was a great guy with a bad habit. When we consider relationships...

When Sex Becomes an Idol

July 18, 2011 11:45 AM

In the past few months, I couldn’t help noticing the flurry of articles about the PCUSA’s decision to ordain people in same-sex relationships, the repeal of the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, the passage of same-sex marriage laws...

Why We Don't Use Natural Family Planning

July 14, 2011 10:30 AM

Because I write often about reproductive ethics, I knew Bethany Patchin’s story long before Mark Oppenheimer wrote about it in last weekend’s New York Times. Bethany and Sam Torode divorced in 2009 after nine years of marriage, during which...

Reading Scripture with Sex Abuse Survivors

June 30, 2011 10:09 AM

Laura survived a rigid and abusive fundamentalist upbringing, then married a Baptist minister who sexually abused her. Now she’s an atheist. Vyckie was a wife and mom in the Quiverfull movement who now also leans toward atheism, believing that...

The Cult of the Orgasm

June 16, 2011 8:47 AM

Baptist theologian Russell Moore recently warned, “On the nightstand of a woman in your church, there’s a Christian romance novel and a Bible.” Yet if The New York Times is to be believed, he should have been more concerned with...

Anthony Weiner, Gnostic

June 9, 2011 11:40 AM

The technology is new, but the sin is so, so old. The latest “victim” betrayed by the very technology he thought to have harnessed for his own nefarious ends — in case you’ve been fast asleep under a rock somewhere...

Why Romance Novels Aren't Emotional Porn

June 7, 2011 10:25 AM

I slink into bed, click on my light, and grab the book. Guilt shakes me a bit. After all I’ve read about these sorts of stories, I figure by the end I’ll hate my husband or hunger for more of...

Sex and Salvation according to Picasso

May 26, 2011 11:39 AM

Amid the press of daily demands, most of us think we don’t have time for enjoying the fine arts. A recent visit to a Picasso exhibit reminded me why Christians especially should make time for it. If Horace’s adage is...

Schwarzenegger, Strauss-Kahn, and Power

May 23, 2011 9:45 AM

American news outlets have been aflutter with conversations and questions about the messy relationship between power and sex, catalyzed by the coinciding revelations about Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s and former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s sexual indiscretions. Although the two cases are...

Beyond SlutWalk: A New Conversation about Sexual Assault

May 11, 2011 11:09 AM

Last month thousands of women took to the Toronto streets dressed in lingerie and miniskirts. Calling their movement SlutWalk, they were protesting a police officer’s statement to college students, after a wave of sexual assaults at York University, that “women...

Sex Sells - So Does Virginity

April 27, 2011 8:56 AM

In February I reviewed Peggy Orenstein's new book, Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture. The book takes a hard look at the culture that imposes itself on our nation’s daughters, and challenges...

Why I Let My Son Wear Pink

April 18, 2011 11:23 AM

In case you missed the news story that Jon Stewart has named "Toemageddon," here are the facts: Retailer J. Crew sent out an online ad last week in which creative director Jenna Lyons appears in a photo with her 5-year-old...

The State of Sex

February 11, 2011 9:00 AM

When it comes to attitudes about sex in America, I often find myself somewhere between cynical and hopeless. I read statistics about 95 percent of adults losing their virginity before marriage. I look at the magazine rack in the grocery...

'Skins' Prompts Call for Child Porn Investigation

January 21, 2011 5:25 PM

Do you know what your teenagers are watching? If it’s 10 on a Monday night, you might want to check that it’s not what the Parents Television Council (PTC) has called “the most dangerous program that has ever been foisted...

Miss America and the Bikini Question

January 20, 2011 10:30 AM

To one-piece or two-piece? That was the question for many Miss America hopefuls in 1997, when, for the first time in 50 years, the pageant allowed two-piece swimsuits. Pageant organizers say the swimsuit part of the competition, dubbed the...

The Virgins-Only Dating Website

January 12, 2011 10:00 AM

Fewer and fewer Americans are getting married. Those who do are, on average, waiting longer to wed than have previous generations. But according to Time's "Who Needs Marriage? A Changing Institution," women and men still want to meet and build...

Wired Magazine's Women Problem

November 30, 2010 11:06 AM

Perhaps you’ve seen some of the controversy around the December cover of Wired magazine. The cover is a close-up image of a pair of Caucasian breasts, referencing the cover story about a new bio-technology that allows women to grow more...

Why Sex Ruins TV Romances

October 26, 2010 10:40 AM

If you’re a fan of USA’s Psych, as I am, chances are you went berserk when Shawn and Juliet finally kissed in the summer finale. Fans shrieked and squealed; message boards were overrun with ecstatic crowds; my best friend sent...

The Unfunny Side of Modern Feminism

October 1, 2010 9:34 AM

Is feminism funny or humorless? That was the question asked and evaluated at a Slate event I attended in New York City two weeks ago called Double X Presents: The Smoking Bra: Women and Comedy. I thought the question was...

A New Message at the Strip Club-Church Showdown

September 13, 2010 9:07 AM

“I can’t make out what you’re saying to me. Please have someone call me so I’ll know what you’re saying.” Sitting in her car, Anny Donewald prayed these instructions to God last month. Founder of Eve’s Angels, Donewald ministers to...

Burqa Watching in Great America

September 1, 2010 11:14 AM

During this summer’s visit to Six Flags Great America, I was prepared for the bikini-clad girls with short-shorts pulled down low, the shirtless boys with white tanks tossed across their shoulders, not to mention the matching families in khaki shorts...

Stalked by a Priest

July 7, 2010 10:31 AM

This Gorgeous Game (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux), Donna Freitas’s new work of young adult fiction, is a first-person narrative of being stalked. Most stories that have emerged from the Catholic Church’s abuse scandal detail the horrors of pedophilia and assault....

Q+A: Selling Girls on Craigslist

June 22, 2010 9:39 AM

On Saturday night I attended a dinner party in Laguna. A guest seated next to me pulled out a snazzy looking camera, and raved about how he got it for a steal on Craigslist. In the car, I asked my...

Sexy Evangelism

June 15, 2010 10:32 AM

My husband runs a dormitory of 30 high-school boys. Recently two of them lounged on our living room floor, asking questions about our faith. It started with theodicy (If God is good, why do bad things happen?). We covered confession...

Little Girls and Single Ladies

June 3, 2010 9:19 AM

It’s been a few weeks since the viral video debut of a dance routine featuring girls as young as 8 gyrating to Beyonce’s “Single Ladies.” The furor has mostly died down, but I find myself still thinking about it —...

Modesty: A Female-Only Virtue?

May 18, 2010 9:13 AM

About this time four years ago, Calvin College students, ready to enjoy the long-absent Michigan sun, spent hours each day on the campus lawn, “studying” for finals and playing Ultimate Frisbee until dusk. Calvin, affiliated with the Christian Reformed Church...

Female Sex Addict: Not an Oxymoron

April 26, 2010 11:10 AM

Biblical scholars have yet to determine if the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1–11) was a sex addict. But Nashville-based clinical therapist Marnie Ferree says the woman’s shame and social status make her an apt archetype for women struggling...

Lady Gaga: Champion of Abstinence?

April 19, 2010 9:23 AM

Lady Gaga can make anything cool: Muppets as clothing. Bows made out of human hair. Pantslessness. Abstinence. Wait . . . what? “I can’t believe I’m saying this — don’t have sex,” said the 24-year-old pop star in an interview...

Minnesota Man Arrested for Prostituting Wife

March 29, 2010 12:02 PM

A Rockford, Minnesota, man was arrested in Chicago two weeks ago for prostituting his wife using Craigslist, transporting her in a van to hotels in eight states and threatening to take away their 3-year-old daughter should she not comply. Clinton...

Mixed-Gender Housing, and Mixed-Gender Friendship

March 25, 2010 11:06 AM

Should men and women room together at college? Last week the Los Angeles Times reported that close to 50 campuses across the U.S. permit those of the opposite sex to room together in what's being called "gender-neutral housing." According to...

Hookup Culture: Mostly a Myth

February 16, 2010 9:21 AM

When I picked up the Style section of The New York Times last Sunday, I was excited to see the front-page feature, “The New Math on Campus,” a look at how the gender imbalance on college campuses (60 percent...

Female Olympians, Missing in Action

February 12, 2010 1:53 PM

The dreams, the sacrifices, the glory, the pageantry, Bob Costas — I don’t care if the Winter Olympics are the “less fun cousin” of the Summer Games, for the next two weeks I intend to plant myself in front of...

Iris Robinson, Jesus Loves You More Than You Will Know

January 22, 2010 10:18 AM

Sex. Money. Power. Words that call to mind the recent debacles of Tiger Woods and David Letterman and a host of other celebrities before them. And now Iris Robinson — a self-described evangelical Christian and the wife of Northern Ireland’s...

Facebook and the Amazing Technicolor Bra Update

January 12, 2010 1:33 PM

If you logged on to Facebook last weekend, you might have noticed a barrage of updates naming colors: Blue. Black. Leopard print. None. (Cue sound effects: “Eww, gross!”) The barrage of colors was part of an effort to “spread the...

N.C. Court Upholds Sex Offenders' Right to Worship

January 6, 2010 12:04 PM

For evangelicals who uphold both the boundlessness of redemption and the care and protection of “little ones” (Matt. 19:14), having sex offenders in church makes it hard to apply both beliefs at the same time. In mid-December a Superior Court...

Consider the Vampire

December 23, 2009 11:05 AM

Last week I found myself trying to explain the Twilight phenomenon — the books, the movies, Stephenie Meyer, and Robert Pattinson — to coworkers over lunch. It seems the whole thing can be summed up in one word: obsession. Bella...

A Quest to Question Mainstream Media

November 6, 2009 2:47 PM

Many people who know me as an author and women's ministry speaker are often curious about why I started a film company. They seem to assume there is a split focus there. Perhaps there is, but because I see media...

Redeeming Roman Polanski

October 2, 2009 8:46 AM

Film director Roman Polanski was recently arrested on a 32-year-old charge of statutory rape, which he pled guilty to in 1977 before fleeing the country. Now, while Polanski fights extradition, Hollywood rallies for his freedom, and news sources turn it...

Does Religiosity Encourage Teen Pregnancy?

September 28, 2009 8:49 AM

Some social liberals used a recently published study in Reproductive Health that found a strong link between high religiosity and teen pregnancy rates to further their case for why abstinence-only sex education doesn't work. Double XX, Mother Jones, Bonnie Erbe...

A Good Man Is Hard to Find

September 23, 2009 9:05 AM

If you thought navigating the 20-something dating and marriage scene wasn’t complicated enough, former President Bush speechwriter and Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson just put his oar in. In an argument similar to Mark Regnerus’s cover story in the August...

U.K. Christian Says Yes to Abstinence, No to Gardasil

September 18, 2009 9:12 AM

Simone Davis, a 17-year-old British immigrant and devout Christian, will be denied U.S. citizenship unless she agrees to a new immigration requirement that she be vaccinated with Gardasil, a compound that targets human papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause cervical cancer...

In the Loop: Pre-Sex Prayer, More Women Pastors, and Father-Daughter Baseball Bonding

September 17, 2009 11:31 AM

‘Strong Link’ Between Religious Beliefs and Teen Birth Rates A new study published in Reproductive Health demonstrates that states with “increased religiosity” tend to have the highest teen birth rates. In order to determine religiosity, researchers averaged the percentage of...

The Case for Male Circumcision

September 10, 2009 10:04 AM

What mother hasn’t, in the halcyon days after the birth of a son, felt her ferocious she-wolf instincts kick in when it comes time for her boy to be circumcised? Having perhaps suffered violence to her genitals during the birth,...

The Charismatic Alberto Cutie

August 4, 2009 9:44 AM

It's been about three months now since we heard of Alberto Cutie, the former Roman Catholic priest who was caught kissing his girlfriend on a Miami beach. No sooner was he removed from his post than he left the Catholic...

2D Love and Lars and the Real Girl

July 30, 2009 9:53 AM

Falling in love with caricatures of girls and women, such as blow-up dolls or pillows imprinted with female characters, is still on the margins of Western culture, but it's getting noted enough to merit a recent New York Times Magazine...

Journalists Link Rising Teen Pregnancy Rates to Bush Administration

July 23, 2009 10:02 AM

The rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases in the U.S. rose steadily during the Bush administration, U.K. newspaper The Guardian reported earlier this week. The Centers for Disease Control press release mentions three statistics as "signs that progress...

Cohabiting Couples on the Rise

July 16, 2009 8:49 AM

A new national study suggests that the trend toward cohabiting continues its forward march for young adults, many of whom still expect to marry someday. More than three-quarters of 20- to 24-year-olds in the U.S. said they believe that "love,...

Harry Potter and the Vampire Battle

July 15, 2009 11:27 AM

No, I'm not talking about Severus Snape and his vampiric qualities. Last night's midnight opening of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the latest installment in the blockbuster book-movie franchise, brought with it comparisons to another teen fantasy phenomenon, Stephenie...

The Downside of Hooking Up

June 16, 2009 9:20 AM

In 1980, Roger Ebert reviewed a coming-of-age movie called Little Darlings. The movie starred Tatum O'Neil and Kristy McNichol as summer campers who embark on a bet to see who can lose their virginity first. Kristy was taught by her...

Kris Allen Triumphs on American Idol -- in More Ways Than One

May 22, 2009 10:19 AM

If you are one of the 28.8 million people who watched American Idol's season finale Wednesday night, you already know that Kris Allen, the 23-year old worship leader from Conway, Arkansas, beat out Hollywood rocker and musical theater vet...

Q+A: Kaffie McCullough on Craigslist

May 14, 2009 9:33 AM

The same feature that has made Craigslist so popular - namely, unlimited free advertising - has brought the decade-old website under heavy criticism for providing unmonitored forums for prostitution in its 570 city hubs. After several state representatives met with...

Never Been Kissed

May 11, 2009 9:23 AM

It turns out that Susan Boyle has been kissed. But her earlier claim that she hadn't was met with disbelief. So, too, are pre-20th century European mores, when premarital kissing was forbidden. Can you think of a recent historical movie...

Your Responses: AIDS in Uganda

April 6, 2009 11:06 AM

Thanks to Kamilla for writing, "I'm curious as to why the success of Uganda in battling HIV/AIDS isn't even mentioned?" in response to my post "Meanwhile, What about the Women and Children?" An important question. The Ugandan situation is...

Meanwhile, What about the Women and Children?

April 3, 2009 8:32 AM

On March 18, my friend Tim Morgan posted an article on Christianity Today's Liveblog called "Why the Pope Is Right about Condoms and HIV in Africa." "You can't resolve [the AIDS crisis] with the distribution of condoms," the pope...

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