Sex and Christianity: What Happened?

Start a discussion about sex with most people and you'll immediately see them begin to squirm in their seat. Most people today are uncomfortable discussing sexual issues. But why? I've mentioned this before and I will mention it again. WE (yes, Christians included) have perverted sex. Where sex was once discussed openly and abundantly in churches and social groups, it is now avoided like the plague. Consider:

Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 1 Corinthians 7:5

To put this into perspective, let me put this in more “modern” language. Imagine you are sitting in church listening to a sermon. Your pastor is talking about sexual immorality (for the 10th time). You start to zone out because you’ve heard it a thousand times and you’re not an adulterer or homosexual or a prostitute so you’re good in this area.

Just as you’re trying to fight your eyes open again as the pastor reminds you to “honor God with your body” he suddenly transitions to “In addition, if you’re married, you should not refuse sex to your spouse.” Wait. What? Not so sleepy anymore? Now you’re listening. He continues “If you are refusing sex to your spouse, you may cause them to be tempted into having an affair with someone else. Stop treating your body as if your husband or wife has no control over it. You need to be having regular sex unless you’ve both agreed to give it up for a short period of time to focus on your relationship with God.”

I don’t know about you, but this scenario has never happened to me, and I don’t think it ever will. But this is exactly what Paul was saying in his letter to the Corinthians. Somehow, in the today’s Church, verses 1-9 get virtually ignored. If the sermon moved on to talk about how you shouldn’t get divorced (see verse 10), you’d probably shift back into an area you feel comfortable with. You see, the Church has become more comfortable talking about what is sexually immoral than about what is sexually moral. Is sexual morality a thing? Do we have obligations when it comes to how we should use our bodies sexually? I think that Paul makes it clear that the answer is yes. But if Paul was so comfortable speaking on this topic during Biblical times, why does the thought of it make us squirm in our proverbial pews?

The perversion of sex began in post-apostolic times, when writers began to express restrictive ideas about sex. There were many sexual problems in that time (much like in our time) and there were various groups of Christians with various ideas ranging from the belief that Christians should do whatever they wanted to sexually to sex being banned altogether. Even after reading the Biblical teachings regarding sex and its important in human life, there was still a great deal of confusion regarding sex, and disagreement among new believers.

The next wave of sexual revelation in the church came with the ascetic monks of the fourth century, who believed only in celibacy and believed that there would be no sex in Heaven. At least that serves as evidence that they were not actually having sex, because if they were, it would be obvious that sex is about as close to Heaven as one can come on earth (no pun intended). In any case, the idea of sexless-ness being next to Godliness certainly had a hand in the Christian rejection of sexuality.

Saint Augustine has been credited with delivering the fatal blow to sex in the Church. He became involved with the Manichaean sect, who believed that sex was a mechanical act, a necessary evil that was not to be enjoyed. They also believed that Adam and Eve were the offspring of Satan’s children and therefore, sex is and evil tool of the Enemy. After this, sex became downright evil throughout the Church, being called obscene, vile and defiling. Women became regarded as evil as well, because of their ability to cause men to think about sex (terribly chauvinistic if you ask me, but that was the way of the times). I hope that the blasphemy of treating God’s creation in such a way is not lost on you, my reader.

The role of sex went downhill fast after this. If you were having sex (like you should) you were committing heresy unless you hated every minute of it. Many groups began to censor the Bible, because, as we know, the Bible is not shy about celebrating sex. There were rules upon rules regarding sexual behavior and the Church moved from a loving stance of sharing the Good News to a condemning, angry place that basically made it feel that reaching Heaven was nearly impossible. Most of us know that even today, many Churches still take that stance. If you don’t, just ask someone who has left the Church.

But before I become all Debbie-Downer, I must mention that there have been waves of revolution that have made an attempt to change the view of sex in the Christian Church. Martin Luther was a leader in this area, being a monk that disowned his celibacy, married a nun and subsequently had several children. Martin Luther understood:

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost. Titus 3:5

Being celibate does not bring one into Heaven. We go to Heaven because we have a graceful and merciful God.

The Current Sexual Revolution

We all know about the "Sexual Revolution" of the 60's, where free love and no rules reigned. Unfortunately this did more damage than good when it came to sex and Christianity. Where the Church has failed to discuss sex, the World has been all to willing to fill in the gaps.  The media, educators and political leaders have been informing people of what sex "really" is about, and by refusing to talk about it, the Church has allowed the perversion of God's beautiful wedding gift.  The Church has been defensive, rather than offensive, and now they sit scratching their heads wondering why the world is going to "Hell in a hand-basket".  We've allowed the World to turn sex into something dirty.

Luckily, the Christian Church is finally beginning to understand that people want to talk about sex. They want to learn more. They want to have healthy marriages with healthy and hot sex. There is a "new" sexual revolution among Christians. David Berg is but one author willing to breach the subject:

Sex was not the Devil's idea!-It was God's. And the Devil is its arch-enemy because it encourages the growth of the Kingdom of God! The Devil tries to take the credit for it, and then turns around and condemns you for enjoying it. God created sex, not Satan! God is the One Who made those sexual organs and every single nerve that feels so good! He's the One Who dreamed up sexual pleasures and bodily contact and God Himself created that marvelous final explosion called the orgasm!

 

There have been a number of Christian authors in recent times that have written blogs (like mine!) and books to guide couples on the purpose of sex and how to make it better and more fulfilling. In addition, there are now Christian sex toy shops (like mine!), something that would have been completely unheard of in the past. It is apparent that there is a growing number of Christians brave enough to breach this topic and wise enough to understand that sex is a good, healthy, marriage building experience that can be fun and exciting and HOT! I sincerely hope that more people start reading, commenting and following the advice given on these types of blogs. Let's drop the inhibitions in the marital bedroom and make sex the awesome thing God intended it to be!

  Bonnie is a wife and mother of two young children. She maintains a blog about Christians and sex (www.lovemarriagesex.com) and a porn-free, sin-free Christian adult toy store (www.sexualmorality.lovemarriagesex.com). Bonnie believes that sexual issues are among one of the leading cause of divorce, and she is committed to opening the conversation about sex among married Christians to remove the taboo of sex from the Church and help people enrich their marriages.