50 Shades of The Bible
That was the year that our cultural sexual mores started to crystallize.
1611 was the year that the King James Bible was printed and became the standard Bible that people knew and quoted from.
Sure, people knew about and believed the Bible before then for more than a millennium. But literacy was never really wide spread so the Bible and its teachings were much more fluid. In the Middle Ages Christianity was virtually a feminine cult to the Virgin Mary and Jesus was virtually an afterthought. Stories were made and remade and emphasis on parts of religious thought rose and fell.
The most virulent, violent, and oppressive acts that came out of Western Christendom always came from the most literate segments of its culture – the priests, the scholars, the universities. That is where witch burnings,Crusades, and dogma sprung from.
When that group of Elizabethan poets got together to render a new standard Bible, on the order of King James, at just the point that literacy was really taking off everywhere in England, the violence really had a chance to spread.
Wait – aren’t we at Victoria Blisse’s blog? Where am I? Where is the smut?
By my count, that is the number of sexual activities in the book of Genesis that are implied or suggested.
Upon the thigh.
Surprisingly even when you read about “taking to his feet” or “heel” in the Bible it very often, but not always, refers to male genitals.
471 sexual acts and not one of them is initiated by a female character.
And yet Genesis, absolutely laden with sexual situations and innuendo that has told us – you are born of sin and intensely sexual AND YET every patriarch and matriarch of the Judeo-Christian is involved in complicated and often passionate relationships that involve sex.
Jacob adores Rachel and hates Leah, who are sisters. But Leah is the only one getting pregnant. Again and again and again.
Abraham on more than one occasion tells strangers that his wife is actually his sister and then watches her “know” these people.
When Cain kills Abel – the first death in the bible – it says in Genesis that Adam and Eve grieved. And then the next sentence? And Eve bare a child and named him Seth. That is grief sex. That still happens.
Even if you are not a believer or don’t know the stories, Genesis has distorted all of our relationships to our bodies and to sex because it is part of the cultural air we breathe.
Stories are told and retold and in so doing become new and gain new meaning.
So I decided to retell the story of Genesis in my new novel “Genesis Deflowered“.
I tried to channel the authors and translators and ask:
What would they have written about all the sex in the Bible if they were a little less scared?
What would they have named women if they weren’t so terrified of them?
How did the women claim their access to sex and meaning?… As they would have.
I added text to the King James Bible’s version of Genesis to fill in the erotic life of all the characters in the first book of the Bible. But I didn’t write “Adam bent Eve over a table and grabbed her tits” I wrote in the poetic, restrained, and chaste Elizabethan style to capture the “Biblicalness” of the text. But even more to start to meet the text on its own terms and bring erotic energy where it had been forcibly restrained.
When you tell a new story new possibilities open up.
Imagine how religions might be different if they weren’t hostile to sex and pleasure?
Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Sarai spake unto Hagar, and said, Ye shall cleve unto Abram, and taste of him; but you may not eat from every tree of the garden of Abram. But the oil of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it by thy hand, lest ye forget my wroth.
And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife. And Sarai sent Hagar to Abram with gladness, and spied upon their tent as Abram knew Hagar.
And Abram went in unto Hagar, and ate of her fruit. Abram rejoiced with glad tidings in the breasts of Hagar; for he had longed for her newness. And Hagar in her newness hungered for Abram like a calf for milk. The secret ways of the Egyptians were known by Hagar; and her thighs did tell of those secrets. And as she spied upon the secrets that Hagar knew in the dark tent, the waters of Sarai gently ran; and her breast was of fire. But the secrets vexed her; and she craved to know, and to see them clearly. And Abram anointed his pillar, so that it might support the temple of Hagar. And his pillar did bow at the jewel at the temple gate; and his oil did spill. And Hagar tasted of his oil, but kept the sacrifice for her self; and Hagar was full of hope. And, lo, she conceived. And when Hagar saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes; for Hagar wanted Abram for herself alone. And Sarai knew this, and said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the LORD judge between me and thee; for I only desire to be treasured by thee, and the LORD alone. But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And Sarai said to Abram that Hagar the Egyptian had sworn an oath to her, and had forgotten it for she hadst seen Hagar taste what was not to be tasted.
Where many see the Bible as the pathway to Heaven, others say it should be covered in a brown paper bag because it is so, so filthy.
There are hundreds of sex acts implied in the first book of the bible (and sadly none initiated by a woman). How has nobody ever described how each of them would have played out in biblical language?
If the writers and translators of the Bible had been a little less prudish we might have an entirely different relationship between sex and religion than we have now. In Genesis there is sex before marriage, threesomes, incest, group sex, kinky fetish cuckolding, gay sex and more.
Isn’t it time that you read the Bible for the dirty parts?
Using the seminal King James Bible in its Elizabethan English as spring board,”Genesis Deflowered” makes the beginning of the Bible come out as a sexy, readable and fun erotic novel.
“Genesis Deflowered “: equal parts holy scripture and blaspheming scandal
Matthew Stillman is a born and bred New Yorker. With the exception of college he has always lived in Manhattan. After scoring a BA in Comparative Literature from SUNY Geneseo, he got into programming at Food Network and developed shows like Iron Chef, Good Eats and many, many others. He also started improvising with the Upright Citizens Brigade shortly after they first arrived in New York, and he still does. “The End of Poverty?” was his first film. He conceived of it, wrote the first treatment, co-produced it and spoke at the UN four times about it after it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and went to 40 festivals around the world. After a lifetime of a making out with literature, inner spiritual work from different traditions, creativity and play. He has written “Genesis Deflowered”. It is his first full length book. And, of course, he started with a genre that he may well have just made up – Biblical Erotica written in Elizabethan English. He is married to an exceptional woman from Sheffield in the North of England. He blogs at stillmansays.com where he writes about his ongoing creativity experiment in Union Square. And you can find him on twitter at @stillmansays
Free ebook (mobi or epub) to the first person in the comments who can name the the three characters involved in the first threesome in The Bible. Winner will be drawn on Mon 9th September.
I read from the New International Version of the bible more often than not so at first I struggled a little to get into the flow of Genesis deflowered because the language rocks and rolls in that same motion that the King James bible does. However, once I got used to the flow, I found the story intriguing. As an erotica writer I often find myself reading between the lines in the bible, looking deep into the heart of the sex that is mentioned time and time again. Matt has done a beautiful job of expanding on the sexual scenes in Genesis and I recommend this to anyone with a curiosity about the relationship of sex and spirituality. If you’ve got an open mind, then fill it with a bit of this!