A woman preacher's frank message about sex and self-respect is beingdelivered to millions of secular magazine readers. Juanita Bynum discussesher hard-hitting "No More Sheets" challenge in the latest issue of"Essence," the best-selling monthly for African American women.
In "The Passion Issue," which features articles on "laundry-room love" and"fanning the flame" of relationships, Bynum says that too many women runfrom one man to the next when they should take time to heal from the hurtsof the past.
"Sisters are seeking ecstasy through sex, which is why they have so manypartners," she says. "They want an out-of-this-world experience. But they'regetting nothing but a fleshly experience...Sex with a lot of men is just abad idea. You're taking your emotions through unnecessary swings."
"Essence" says that Bynum's "forthright [and] fiery" "No More Sheets"sermon has "shown millions of single sisters a spiritual path towardpersonal integrity, self-respect and living in fulfillment and peace withour God-given sexuality."
Recorded at a T.D. Jakes conference in 1998, Bynum's message has sincesold more than a million copies on video and "is now widely known amongblack women as, simply, the video." It has "spawned a revolution of sortsamong black women," including home video parties.
The magazine comments that "there's something undeniably real aboutProphetess Bynum's words, especially when she's talking about sex." Thearticle records Bynum's own failed marriage, her series of unsatisfactoryrelationships with men and her nervous breakdown. "I believe that the painin each of our pasts gives us an opportunity to help others," she says,explaining her candid manner. "If I honestly tell somebody what has happenedto me, then maybe that person will be transformed."
Bynum says that many women get into relationships either to have theirmaterial needs met or to prove to themselves that past failures were nottheir fault. "What I finally realized was that an aura surrounds every womanwho has been damaged," she says. "As much as my heart wanted Mr.Got-It-Together, my spirit could only attract somebody who was where I was.
"Now I don't get play from hoodlums. And I no longer need a man who willbuy me a dress or furniture. I've got lamps. I've got a couch. I got astove. I don't have to subject my self to a man's disrespect simply becausehe bought me a living-room set."
Women need to get over past hurts before seeking a new relationship, shetells "Essence." "My friends treated my divorce like it was a caraccident...You have to get in the car and drive so you won't fear driving.But that doesn't work in relationships. It only camouflages the pain."