The Sex Manual for Puritans
The Sex Manual for Puritans
by Vernard Eller
This publication was originally published by Abingdon Press (Nashville: 1971). Some material has been added by the author.
This work may be freely reproduced and distributed provided that no changes are made, no revenues are collected beyond the nominal cost of media, and credit is given to the author and House Church Central. Any other use requires the written permission of the author. Citing this material on other Internet sites is encouraged, but is to be done only by providing a hypertext reference to this file on this server.
Dr. Vernard Eller is no sex maniac. He is not even very sexy, although this is something you can never be sure about. He is probably just about normal, whatever that is. From the books you read about sex, being normal isn't normal these days. And being abnormal isn't as abnormal as it once was.
Being normal may, in fact, be the most unusual thing about Dr. Eller. He isn't a square, and he isn't a round--or a rounder. Perhaps you could say he is a square with rounded corners. In addition to the five physical senses, he has two senses that are rare in a writer about sex: common sense and a sense of humor.
These take him a long way and in an unusual direction. They keep Him from getting too far out--or too far in. They keep him from writing about sex in a slimy, prurient way. Instead of being sensual, he is sensible. If he isn't sexy, he is sensy.
Dr. Eller is also helped by being happily married and by being a popular teacher. Happy married life is usually indicative, among other things, of a happy sex life--at home. Being a popular teacher, especially with today's college students, usually indicates knowledge of one's field and, above all, the ability to communicate this knowledge to others, even when they don't want it.
Because he is an unusual person, Dr. Eller has written an unusual book about sex. It is a book that keeps within the bounds of good taste, though being frank and forthright. It is practical, positive and decent. One thing it is not is dull.
In these pages Dr. Eller proves that sex is both fun and funny. Or perhaps that people are funny about sex. Since people are funny about everything, this isn't too hard to prove.
It may be a mad thought but it needed to be thunk. When those who can think won't, some of the rest of us must stand ready to take over.
If everyone else has sex books these days, why shouldn’t puritans have the right to own and read them too?
There is in our fair country (some would call it "great," but in light of the situation here to be expose it must be rated only "fair") a suppressed, enslaved, and dehumanized minority from which we have not heard.
You may find that hard to believe, because the general impression is that the pie has been so divided that anybody could identify with one downtrodden minority or another. But here is a group that has been so completely suppressed that it hasn't even been granted the right to consider itself a suppressed minority. And that just isn't fair. I mean, if some people get the fame and attention of being a suppressed minority, it isn't fair to deny the privilege to others simply because they aren't smart enough to realize how suppressed they really are. So I hereby am volunteering to step into the breach and assume the humanitarian obligation of helping these poor people achieve their rightful dignity and status as social outcasts.
We live in a day in which presumably every person can own and enjoy sex literature. The newsstands abound with it. The bestseller lists aren't long enough to credit the worthy entrants. All respectable homes (and many unrespectable ones) have the material gracing coffee table and nightstand, readily accessible for the edification of the entire family. Because of the modern miracle of this literary campaign, no child need grow up in the dark about sex (very little of it any longer taking place in the dark). He may not learn what the game is all about, but he certainly will be familiar with the layout of the playing field.
It must be said, too, that by far the greater part of this literature is very well done indeed. It goes into the subject thoroughly, not neglecting any detail that might improve or titillate the reader. And the usefulness of much of the material is enhanced by the fact that it is laviciously illustrated with authentic pornographs of prominent modules in appalling poses, risqué in detail and with every nuance exquisitely limned. Viewing these beauties is an education in itself; here, perhaps for the first time, a young person can see people as they really are--women who are really (and obviously) women and men who appreciate the fact.
And yet, although it is difficult to believe that this could happen in a society that calls itself civilized, there is in our midst a sizable number of those who are deprived of this literature solely on the basis of a religious-philosophical prejudice, namely that they wouldn't be caught dead with it. These are the Puritans--good, upright (don't you dare change that "r" to a "t"!) citizens in their own way--and yet discriminated against for no reason other than the color of their blue noses.
Thoroughly aroused over this shocking state of affairs, I determined that there should be at least one sex book that Puritans could be caught dead with, one lavishly illustrated and exquisitely limned book that they might find on their bookstores and have on their coffee tables.
AND THIS FAIR VOLUME (sorry, "great" volume) IS IT!
In preparing to commission the writing of the book, it soon became apparent that there is only one man who could do the job (better--only one man who even would consider doing the job). Eller; who else?
Vernard Eller is eminently qualified. In the first place, he is as puritanical as they come. I mean, anybody that would write a book taking the position that MAD magazine preaches the Ten Commandments must be a moral cultist of one sort or another. And as you may recall, his MAD Morality ($2.79 cheap) was nothing if not prim and prudish.
In the second place, he is a doctor; and any sex book worthy of the name must be written by a doctor. "But," it may be protested, "Eller is a doctor of theology. He's not an MD--much less a psychiatrist."
That quibble, I am sorry to say, displays nothing but anti-Puritan prejudice. It is so easy for non-Puritans, thoughtlessly and without considering other points of view, simply to assume that sex is nothing more or less than bodily function. However, the Puritans maintain that, if man is created in the image of God and destined for his kingdom, sexual questions (and answers) are at base as much theological as they are medical, physiological, or psychological. At least this is what Dr. Eller undertakes to prove. And it would seem to be only fair that a doctor of Eller's variety be given opportunity to challenge these M.D.'s at their own game and produce a theological sex manual.
"But what could a clod like Eller know about sex?" I hear the skeptics sneering.
Well, it is true that the good doctor must admit that the totality of his experience has been with one woman (who is now--and always has been--Mrs. Eller, he insists that we add).
But this fact indicates more than is immediately apparent. I suppose everyone has heard the story about the little moron who kept sawing back and forth on just one string of his violin, playing the same note over and over while the other children in music class were ranging all over the scale. "Why are you fiddling around that way?" the teacher asked. "Why not?" the little moron replied. "The rest of the kids are still looking for the right note, but I've found it."
Everyone knows that story, but what is not generally known is that the name of the little moron was Eller. But it makes sense. The guy who is out to take sex wherever he can get it is hardly the expert; he's fumbling and groping for what he is not expert enough to find. But the man who can hit it right the first time and so never feel the need to go elsewhere--that man is the authority on sex. And on that count Dr. Eller is an authority. Besides, he was locker-room attendant for the football team when he was in junior high school, and those fellows taught him all about sex. They even taught him some things that haven't been discovered yet. What Dr. Eller can't tell us about sex would better be left untold.
But what he has written must be read against the background of the intolerable sex setup into which a pig society has forced its Puritan minority. All in the world the Puritan asks is the right to live his own life in his own way. But what chance has he got when the whole deck is stacked against him, deliberately arranged to cream him off?
Go to the movies (or as many as they will let you into); what is there that an honest Puritan could relate to? Watch the teevies--including the commercials that are selling every product under the sun and yet all selling sex in the process. What place does a Puritan have in that mix? Flip through the magazines, scan the paperback titles, walk through a bookstore. Can you understand why a Puritan feels that there is nothing there that expresses his longing: and aspirations, that is food for his soul? Look at the record jackets; listen to the lyrics and the beat--the orgiastic frenzy of the beat. Ours is a world that affords no place for the Puritan, that is intent to make him an alien in his own homeland.
Blackculture has won a place in society. There are many black books on the market today--black history, black poetry, black drama, black art. There are black fashions, black music, black food, black politics, and black theology. But where can the despised Puritan find room for his life-style?
Clearly, his enemies are in the saddle and are intent to trample down every vestige of his once proud culture. Impious imperialistic Impuritanism controls the establishment and is practicing genocide--yes, planned and deliberate genocide against a defenseless and innocent people whose only crime is that they stand for purity, truth, and godliness.
Imagine, if you can, the inhuman situation that I have witnessed with my own eyes: a fine, once-respected Puritan mother and father standing by helplessly as they view their own children being slowly but inevitably sucked into the maelstrom of rampant Impuritanism, able to do nothing as they see them gradually degenerate to the point that some even subscribe to Playboy. It is not a pretty thing to watch, I can assure you; and yet this is happening thousands of times a day in the streets of our cities and even in our own homes. Each and every Puritan is fair game for the machinations of these foul hedonists; and unless they are stopped soon, the glories that once spelled Puritanism may be forever extinguished from the face of the earth.
As the Streete-Korner Report has made so very clear, the evil that underlies the entire situation is Impuritanism--nothing but Impuritanism. However, this is not to say that the mass of people by this token are consciously and deliberately Impuritanist; they don't have to be. Impuritanism is built into the very foundations of our society and infects every aspect of its procedures and structures. We don't have to be Impuritan; our social organization is such as to destroy the Puritans without our personally lifting so much as a finger against them.
Perhaps the most malicious aspect of the whole sordid affair has to do with the sexual myths that are perpetrated against these innocent people. These become the excuse for any crime against them and are read back into the very roots of the Puritan tradition; from that point they become accepted as self-evident and long-established truth.
For instance, most people believe that in their natural state Puritans display no sexual markings. This is a vicious slander. Just because the New England fathers (and mothers) chose not to heed the modern injunction to "Let it all hang out" does not mean that down underneath they were not differentiated into the same categories that are so readily apparent today. Now it may be true that clothes make the man, but it also is true that clothes do not prevent one from being a woman. Reputable scholars have established conclusively that Puritan babies were born in the same state of undress as other babies and that, analyzed under such conditions, the same distinctive configurations could be observed as in their modern counterparts. It is safe to assume, too, that these distinctions persisted into adulthood and probably even became intensified through the years.
Also, there is good evidence that the Puritans always have known how to put these distinctions to use. The very fact that Puritan babies were born--and born naked--surely is to he taken as an indication that they were conceived in the same way (i.e., conceived through the same sort of activity that is known to produce naked babies today).
And the fact that Puritan women tended to have many babies would suggest that, far from being sexless, they were most sucsexfull in promoting what in ecumenical circles is known as "organic union."
Further, the fact that their success was, in almost every case, monogamous, repeated, frequent, and of long duration may he taken as evidence that the Puritans had learned not only how to use sex but also how to enjoy it. Surely the transiency and profligacy of contemporary sex is a poor basis for the boast against Puritans that moderns are doing it more because they are enjoying it more. With sex as with smoking, the truth is probably quite the reverse.
This brings us to the finding that should put the Impuritans in their place and squelch their calumnious myth-making for all time. It is what has come to be known as the Probity Principle. We hinted at it a bit earlier:
In the symphony of sex, that moron is the maestro who begins on the right note and stays with it rather than fiddling around all over the place.
By this measure, the modern disciples of Impuritanism certainly are in no position to belittle the sex life of the despised blue-noses.
Indeed, we now have exposed the fallacy that underlies the entire Impuritan argument. The assumption is made that, because Puritans have chosen not to all the time be talking about sex and flaunting it in the faces of everyone around, this must be a sign that they are afraid of it, unhappy over it, uncomfortable with it. And on the contrary, the modern, easy familiarity with sex is taken as a sign that it has been tamed, that everything is under control, and that joy reigns supreme.
Pornographic postulations! The assumption is manifestly muddled and flagrantly false! I have one friend who, in all our long association, has never once brought up or shown any particular inclination to discuss the subject of TIGERS. But I have another friend who is always talking about tigers--what fine animals they are; how, next to dogs, they are man's best friend; what fun it would be to frolic with them; etc.; etc.
Now I happen to know that my first friend's silence is occasioned by the fact that his association with tigers is everything it should be; he is on good terms with every tiger he knows; he feels secure and content in all his tiger relationships. But my second friend's interminable tiger talk is what is known as "whistling in the dark." Actually, he is afraid that the tigers are about to get loose and come eat him up. His big talk is an effort to convince himself that he likes tigers and that they like him (in the non-gastronomical sense of the term), that there is no threat. In reality his obsession must be seen as a symptom of insecurity and fear that the situation might he more than he can handle.
Just so, any sexually secure Puritan knows that the show and tell of today's Impuritan obsession is motivated by a fear that sex is getting loose, that its significance and value are threatening to dissolve, that it bids fair to chew up the keepers who feed it.
It should be obvious, then, that the present sexual establishment is not only criminally repressive toward guileless Puritans but is itself inwardly corrupt, supported only by flimsily fabricated myth.
So where's the revolution that is truly revolting? Well, it certainly does not lie with Con III and the Greedy-Groined Grieving of America. (For those who are not yet in the know, Con I, II, and III are shorthand symbols. Concupiscence I designates geneal lust, the desire to build home and family and further the generation of the race; Concupiscence II designates genitive lust, the desire to acquire possession and savor wealth, status, and mastery; and Concupiscence III designates genital lust, the desire to attain high heat and enjoy a large charge.)
It is, then, this Con III establishment that must be brought down; it has no right to exist. We will be justified in using whatever means are necessary. If we must, we can rape, lewd, and burn (although it may he better to marry, as the Apostle Paul suggests); but Puritanism will come into its own.
So the word is:
Off the Impuritans! Make them grovel in their filthy orgies (which is what they are inclined to do anyhow)! Arise all ye Puritans of purely pure purity! Bring in the day of true brother-and-sisterhood, and end the night after night of wrong!
ALL POWER TO THE PEEPERS (i.e., to those who peep, not for their own enjoyment--heaven forbid--but only to keep track of the nasty naughties of the Impuritans!
The Revolution (the Puritan Revolution) is here! It's happening!
And every revolution worth its salt must have a manifesto and a manual. This here is the manifesto, and the pages that follow are the manual. So revolt away!
I have some difficulty digging Mather's blather; I can't figure out what he has in mind when he goes so completely ape over the Puritans. For one thing, the difficulty of such figuring is aggravated by the fact that the amount of mind involved is strictly minimal. Also, it might be noted that, for some people, "going ape" entails a much shorter trip than it does for others.
My guess is that he is playing up to the Puritans in hopes of selling books to them. But this strikes me as being a most futile strategy; there just aren't that many Puritans around any more. And even if there were, no one in his right mind would be fool enough to let himself be identified as such. In our day, to be called a Puritan is the ultimate put-down, seeing as how Puritanism is considered the ultimate hang-up. As everyone knows, all that prevents today's Con III folk from breaking free and bringing in the Golden Age are the repressions and timidities inherited from the Puritans.
Nonetheless, even if it means that we do not sell a single copy, I am willing to stand with Mather as the last of the Puritans and write his book for him--if I get to say what Puritanism means. His ravings on the subject could get the book censored and ourselves shot.
My interest is not in trying to rescue the reputation of the New England forefathers--although my suspicion is that they have been done a grave injustice. The facts, I believe, would not support the assertion that it is they who are preventing the birth of a new humanity. Even as regards sex, it cannot be demonstrated that they branded it as altogether sinful and shameful, as something to be as little enjoyed and as much suppressed as possible. It cannot even be sustained that their sexual conversation and deportment were as prissy and uptight as current caricature would have it.
But my purpose in this book is not to argue what those Puritans may or may not have been. The history likely does need straightening out, but I am not the man to do it.
Currently, however, it tends to be taken as axiomatic that to restrain sex in any way is to hamper its value and limit its enjoyment. "Puritanism," then, is used as the label for any thought or activity that advocates the discipline or control of sex as over against its completely free and untrammeled expression.
But if this is what is meant by Puritanism, then I am altogether ready and willing to be called a Puritan. My deep conviction and the thesis of this book is that, with the proper sort of controls properly applied, both the value and fun of sex are enhanced rather than curtailed.
You decide whether or not that puts me into a class with this Mather character and his kind. If so, then the whole point of our book can be stated even more simply:
Puritans have more sex fun than anybody!