A woman preacher's frank message about sex and self-respect is being delivered to millions of secular magazine readers. Juanita Bynum discusses her 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 run from one man to the next when they should take time to heal from the hurts of the past.
"Sisters are seeking ecstasy through sex, which is why they have so many partners," she says. "They want an out-of-this-world experience. But they're getting nothing but a fleshly experience...Sex with a lot of men is just a bad 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 toward personal integrity, self-respect and living in fulfillment and peace with our God-given sexuality."
Recorded at a T.D. Jakes conference in 1998, Bynum's message has since sold more than a million copies on video and "is now widely known among black women as, simply, the video." It has "spawned a revolution of sorts among black women," including home video parties.
The magazine comments that "there's something undeniably real about Prophetess Bynum's words, especially when she's talking about sex." The article records Bynum's own failed marriage, her series of unsatisfactory relationships with men and her nervous breakdown. "I believe that the pain in each of our pasts gives us an opportunity to help others," she says, explaining her candid manner. "If I honestly tell somebody what has happened to me, then maybe that person will be transformed."
Bynum says that many women get into relationships either to have their material needs met or to prove to themselves that past failures were not their fault. "What I finally realized was that an aura surrounds every woman who 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 will buy me a dress or furniture. I've got lamps. I've got a couch. I got a stove. I don't have to subject my self to a man's disrespect simply because he bought me a living-room set."
Women need to get over past hurts before seeking a new relationship, she tells "Essence." "My friends treated my divorce like it was a car accident...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."