Passionate & Pious

Religious Media and Black Women’s Sexuality

Passionate & Pious

Pages: 200
Illustrations: 7 illustrations
Published: December 2017

Author: Monique Moultrie
Subjects: Gender and Sexuality > Sex and Sexuality, Religious Studies, African American Studies and Black Diaspora

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In Passionate and Pious Monique Moultrie explores the impact of faith-based sexual ministries on black women’s sexual agency to trace how these women navigate sexuality, religious authority, and their spiritual walk with God. Providing churchwomen a space to candidly discuss these issues, these popular ministries exist largely beyond the traditional church, with dialogues about sex taking place in chat rooms and through text messages, social media, email, and other media. Moultrie foregrounds televangelist Juanita Bynum’s construction of the black Christian sexual identity these ministries promote while emphasizing how churchwomen reconcile these prescriptive identities with their individual experiences. What does it mean for senior women to exercise sexual agency when their church standing could be questioned? What does celibacy mean for women who experience same-sex desire while believing that such desire goes against God’s will? Advancing a womanist sexual ethics, Moultrie reframes biblical interpretations and conceptions of what constitutes a healthy relationship to provide a basis for sexual decision making that does not privilege monogamy or deny female pleasure, thereby calling on black churchwomen to experience responsible and life-enhancing sex.


“A stunning and dynamic sociological read on womanist sexual ethics.” — Sandra Collins, Library Journal

“This book deserves a wide readership for its methodological sophistication, crystal clarity, and explicit commitment to women’s well being rooted in black women’s choices.” — WATER

“This engaging multidisciplinary thought-provoking text will be of interest to academics, educators and researchers. . . . It brings new critical insights/analyses to a topic often considered taboo in these fields.” — Uvanney Maylor, Ethnic and Racial Studies

“[Moultrie’s] approach is bold, delving into the experiences of real women in an attempt to bring sexuality out of the shadows of church teachings, yet indicating that the parachurch ministries themselves have not gone far enough.” — Tola Olu Pearce, Journal of African American History

“Moultrie’s Passionate and Pious … goes beyond filling a gap in the literature as her work provides an intimate portrayal of the messages transmitted in black Christian media and the way these messages are received.” — Apryl Williams, Journal of Religion, Media and Digital Culture

“Moultrie artistically formulates the book as a conversation, reminiscent of the call-and-response dialogue in black churches, between deep analysis of the messaging and implications of faith-based sexual ministries, and her own womanist contribution that offers a more inclusive alternative.” — Ashely Starr-Morris, Women’s Studies

“Moultrie’s book offers a supplemental resource to assist Black churchwomen in navigating the restrictive cultural and religious sexual dictates of their churches and their larger communities. In dismantling traditional views that reify patriarchal partnering, theologies of sexual shame, and heteronormative relationship models across varied backgrounds, Moultrie establishes an inclusive theo-ethics that embraces marital, nonmarital, and same-sex sexual companionship in which sexual pleasure, mutual well-being, and fulfillment are framed as a justice-oriented societal and interpersonal good.” — Darrius D. Hills, Reading Religion

“Reaching beyond typical questions, like the morality of homosexuality, Passionate and Pious is a more robust exploration of Christian sexual ethics.… An excellent resource for theological graduate students looking for more insight into the sexual ethics of the Black church and Black women. It is also an excellent read for Black women and those of other backgrounds who grapple with the high price of purity culture and pleasing God through their sexual choices.” — Courtney Bryant, Journal of Religion

“Charts new ground…. Passionate and Pious is an important text for helping religious leaders, laypersons, and activists do the work of constructing viable alternatives. It is a valuable text to guide scholars, teachers, and students in examining the complex tensions between Black women’s sexuality, moral codes, and religious beliefs and practices.” — Elise M. Edwards, International Journal of Africana Studies

“Monique Moultrie’s bold book is a must-read for those who refuse to allow black churches to remain irrelevant and irreverent in their failure to develop positive images for black bodies and sexuality. By focusing on the often-horrific messages that churches give black women, Moultrie provides a guide for black women to examine their sexual values and truths and offers a rich ethic to live our lives sexually and morally free.” — Emilie M. Townes, author of Womanist Ethics and the Cultural Production of Evil

“By examining black church women’s increased adherence to faith-based sexuality ministries womanist ethicist Monique Moultrie, provides us with a robust and important starting point for meaningful twenty-first-century dialogue on Christian sexuality. This is a valuable read for scholars, church leaders, and laypersons.” — Marla F. Frederick, author of Colored Television: American Religion Gone Global

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