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Religions 2016, 7(8), 102; doi:10.3390/rel7080102

The Dilemmas of Monogamy: Pleasure, Discipline and the Pentecostal Moral Self in the Republic of Benin

Department of Theology and Religion, Durham University, Abbey House, Palace Green, Durham DH1 3RS, UK
Academic Editors: Douglas James Davies and Michael J. Thate
Received: 4 May 2016 / Revised: 28 July 2016 / Accepted: 2 August 2016 / Published: 8 August 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and the Individual: Belief, Practice, and Identity)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [220 KB, uploaded 8 August 2016]

Abstract

Based on ethnographic research in the Republic of Benin, this article explores how Pentecostal teachings on marriage and the management of sexual pleasure contribute to shaping converts’ moral selves. For Pentecostals, fidelity towards God, when single and fidelity between partners, once married, is presented as the ideal model of partnership to which every “Born-Again” should aspire. In the context where polygamous unions are socially accepted, Pentecostal pastors teach that a satisfactory sexual life restricted to marriage is the means of building successful monogamous unions. However, sexual satisfaction might not always guarantee marital success, especially when people face problems of infertility. The author suggests that the disciplinary regimes that these teachings promote contribute to shaping new modes of intimacy, which are compatible with societal changes but often contradict the extant social norms and ideals of reproduction. Moral dilemmas arising from this tension are the key to understanding how Pentecostal Christianity shapes the moral self. The article addresses how Pentecostals in Benin navigate and negotiate cultural continuities and discontinuities in relation to church authority and family life. View Full-Text
Keywords: Pentecostalism; morality; sexuality; marriage; monogamy; reproduction; infertility Pentecostalism; morality; sexuality; marriage; monogamy; reproduction; infertility
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Quiroz, S. The Dilemmas of Monogamy: Pleasure, Discipline and the Pentecostal Moral Self in the Republic of Benin. Religions 2016, 7, 102.

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