What Churches Get Wrong about Sex

God does not hate sex. Let me repeat that just so there isn’t any confusion. God does not hate sex. You may be wondering why I am opening with this line. Well, I’ll tell you why. Almost everything I learned from well-meaning Christian adults led me to believe that God hated sex. And not only that, but that He likely condemned all people who even thought about sex. Does that sound like an exaggeration? Allow me to clarify why I don’t believe it hyperbolic to say so. Here are some of the things I learned from my years of being a church-goer:

  • Christians should be ashamed of their nakedness.
  • Girls are responsible for boys’ lust.
  • Boys only want one thing from girls.
  • Boys won’t marry girls who aren’t virgins.
  • Girls who masturbate are no longer virgins.
  • Girls who use tampons are no longer virgins.
  • Boys cannot control their sexual impulses.
  • Sex is only enjoyable for men.
  • Sex is supposed to be painful for women.
  • Masturbation is a sin.
  • Good girls don’t have sexual thoughts.
  • Hand-holding and kissing always lead to the sin of lust.
  • Sex is shameful and shouldn’t be discussed.
  • Questioning your sexuality is a sin.
  • Sex equals venereal diseases and unwanted pregnancies.
  • Girls who show skin cause boys to sin.
  • Pleasurable sex is sinful, even in marriage.
  • Any sexual activity before marriage makes you a whore or a slut.
  • However, boys will be boys and they’re just falling into temptation.
  • Any sexual activity before marriage will ruin you for your future spouse.
  • Boys just pretend to love girls for sex.
  • Girls will give into sex just so they can be loved.
  • Husbands enjoy sex while wives only tolerate it.
  • No one needs to “learn” anything about sex.
  • Sex is bad, so save it for the one you marry.
  • If it feels good it’s probably a sin.

Do any of these inaccuracies resonate with you? If so, you’ve been done a harmful disservice. I’m here to offer you some radical news. None of the above statements are Biblical. And, if you disagree, I encourage you to dig into Scripture and send me the proof text. I’ll be happy to clarify.

enjoy sex

Not only did God author sex, he created our bodies to perfectly enjoy sex. Case in point, the entire Song of Solomon in the Bible. It’s one of the loveliest, most arousing, and most explicitly sexual books of Holy Writ. It is a perfect outline for desire between lovers. If you’ve never read it, I encourage you to do so.

Why are boys and girls (males and females) treated so differently by Christian thought when it comes to sex? I would argue that it has more to do with cultural conditions and decades-long religious repression than any true Biblical context.

Consider Genesis 5:1-2 “When God created mankind, he made them in the likeness of God. He created them male and female, and he blessed them and called them ‘humankind’.”

Consider Galatians 3:28. “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

If we are all created in the likeness of God and we are all one in Christ, why the double standard when it comes to men and women and the Church’s attitudes about sex? 

It isn’t only the Bible that tells us, but also science that has proven, men and women often experience sex in different ways. But neither science nor biblical interpretation should be placing the onus or pressure of and for sex on one person in a relationship. Neither excuse double standards. And neither promote that sex isn’t or shouldn’t be about pleasure and enjoyment.

Rather, God’s perfect will is that sex will unite the two as one flesh (in Genesis 2:24 and again in Matthew 19:5 and again in Mark 10:8, oh, and again in Ephesians 5:31). How many times does this fact need to be reiterated in Scripture to make the point? God wants us to become one flesh. You’ll notice it is not God’s design that the two become one mind or even one spirit. No, the two are to become one flesh — via sex.

Why? Because God’s desire is that the sexual union will bring a very deep knowledge between both partners, so much so that they become one. The Hebrew word used  for “know” in Genesis 5:2 [“And Adam knew Eve…”], is yada, which implies a very intimate and deeply personal relationship. This is the same Hebrew word used when God says about Abraham, “I know him,” and when David begs the Lord to “know me.”

So, I encourage you to peek at the list at the beginning of this post again and see if any of it promotes the promise of a mutually pleasing, deeply loving, and vulnerable relationship for Christian men and women who may one day join together in marriage.