Christian Views on Sex
Christian views on sex are varied and extreme! What we must be careful to discern, is the difference between what the Bible actually says about sex and sexuality, and what our particular background and upbringing may teach us.
How Do We Know What's Okay?!
“Wouldn't it be nice to have a list of sexual practices categorized by "sinful" or "okay"? Is there such a list? Would everyone agree with the list? Is there a solution to this dilemma?
We think the answers to those questions are: yes, no, no, and probably not—in that order.”
--Melissa and Louis McBurney, M.D
Believe me when I say there are many different Christian views on sex and sexual practices, and on what is biblically acceptable! As stated in the above quote, we are not going to find any complete list! What we will find, however, are:
- commands from God’s Word—let’s call them the Thou Shalt Nots; and,
- principles that are universally true in their application, and can be used by individual couples to help them decide their Christian views on sex for themselves.
- Thou Shalt Nots: Commands!
Christian views on sex must be formed by what the Bible says. The Bible is very straightforward regarding certain prohibitions that, if obeyed, place a clear fence of protection around the marriage union and the sanctity of God’s design for sexuality between a husband and wife. Let’s look at them:
God plainly forbids adultery (having sex with someone other than your spouse) and calls it sin. In addition, the Bible forbids fornication (sexual promiscuity or having sex outside of marriage) as sinful as well. God’s prohibitions to us are not intended as limitations to our freedom; they are protections to our well being. Slapping the hand of an infant reaching toward a hydro receptacle would not be called limiting the child’s fun and curiosity: it would represent a responsible parent protecting her young child from certain injury! So it is with God’s "Thou Shalt Nots". They protect us from certain moral, physical, and emotional danger.
In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5,6,7), Jesus taught us that outward actions (like adultery and fornication) stem from an inner motivation of our heart. Jesus than showed us that lustful thoughts about a woman who is not your wife, constituted adultery from God’s perspective!! Christian views on sex are not based on public opinion, but on God's Word.
Other sexual sins that are specifically listed in Scripture include homosexuality, bestiality, and incest (Leviticus 18, Romans 1:21-32, 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8, and a Corinthians 6:12-20).
- The One and Only Principle refers to the sacred covenant between husband and wife that constitutes the bedrock of their relationship. Saying to your spouse, “You are my one and only love in this life!” develops trust and commitment. Since intimacy is the element that guarantees sexual satisfaction, it will not be developed unless a high degree of commitment is invested in the marriage. Unfaithfulness of any kind erodes this key element. Basically, the Christian views on sex are summed up with: one man and one woman, for life!
- The Back to Basics Principle also reminds us of God’s design in terms of the physiology of sex. God made husbands and wives to enjoy each other sexually! Check the plumbing, and you will discover that intercourse between the man’s penis and the woman’s vagina is the foundation of sex!
Whatever sexual practices couples may enjoy, the Back to Basics Principle reminds couples that genital union should be a regular part of lovemaking.
- The Hooked On You Principle will force out of your life any form of sexuality or sensuality that is not directly targeted toward your spouse. Sex is a pleasure-bond that keeps a husband and wife close to each other. Anything they do, or anything they see that draws them away from each other, or makes them dependent on anything except their spouse, must be eliminated from their marriage! Pornography, sexual behaviors, internet chat rooms, fetishes, fantasies, or imaginations that become habit forming, draw couples away from each other.
- The Good For Both Principle reminds us that every practice in a sexual relationship must be “good for both” spouses. Hey, sex was meant to be fun and feel good for both husband and wife! If, for example, the husband wants to try something different during their lovemaking (let’s say “oral sex”), but that isn’t pleasurable for his wife, he needs to chill, practice restraint, and drop the request!
For this principle, conscience is a keyword. We should never expect our partner to violate their conscience.
- The Give and Take Principle addresses the huge differences between the basic “sexual wiring” of men and woman. Some wives may be totally satisfied by hugging, snuggling, and enjoying pure romance with their husbands, and could even do without sex all together! For the basic needs of some women, sex may rank somewhere near #26, just after gardening! Men, well…they’re different.
Men’s basic needs usually consist of air, food, and sex (No, I’m just kidding—they can often do without food!) Given the differing sexual desires and appetites between men and women, it follows that sex is often the cause of much friction in a marriage.
The solution to the differences is two fold:
- focus on pleasing your spouse (the Good for Both Principle), and
- also practice compromising or “giving in” whenever you can to the desires of your spouse (the Give and Take Principle).
For example, let's say a wife’s conscience is bothered by her husband’s request for oral sex. The couple needs to determine if this is a matter of conscience because of her upbringing, or because of a biblical example or principle. It may be the couple discovers that trying oral sex is not a moral or biblical issue—but a hesitation because of her background. If the couple together agree to try a compromise position, then, some hesitation toward oral sex might be alleviated for the wife if her husband wore a condom.
Christian views on sex must be shaped by adherence to the clear biblical commmands, as well as attention to the general principles present in the Bible. For every couple’s unique situations, the principles of Give and Take must be balanced with Good for Both.
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