If you got here by Googling a question, you might like this follow-up post!
I've been mulling this post over for a while. Sometimes I feel like a broken record talking about how Christians need to stop treating sex as something evil, and then I come across something like this and it makes me want to tear my hair out. There's no way to know if this particular story is true, but it wouldn't be the first time that someone has implied, or even outright said, that "sex is evil."
Perhaps this person meant unmarried sex was evil. Or sex with condoms. That's possible. You can go back to this post if you want a reminder of just how many rules have been put on sexual activity in the name of Jesus, but the point is that this kind of thinking backs sex into a corner: It's only "holy" if you are a straight, married, fertile couple having intercourse without any barriers to pregnancy and you're not trying to pleasure each other in any way that isn't directly leading to the man ejaculating inside the woman.
Sounds like a ton of fun, huh?
And that's just the problem. Sex has turned into such a rule-laden activity that I think even people who are acting within the confines all of these various stipulations are made to be afraid of enjoying themselves too much.
What started me thinking about this was Emmy's post about an article (now unavailable) on changes to Francine Rivers' novel Redeeming Love, a romance based on the Biblical book of Hosea. Rivers had to make some changes from the original version, published by Bantam, before it could be published by Christian publisher Tyndale. You can go read the article for side-by-side comparisons of several changes, but what struck me most was that the references to sex, although between a married husband and wife, were... toned down. We get vague references instead of the burning sexual passion that is clearly evident in the original version.
And it got me thinking.
How often do you read about a Christian married couple having hot, passionate, explosive sex?
On the other hand, how often do you read about (or watch a TV show or movie about) a non-Christian couple having hot, passionate, explosive sex?
Here's another link for you, with this great quote from Jon Acuff:
I think to some degree we’ve bought the lie that the world gets to have wild, crazy sex and Christians, holy folks like us, get to have black and white, two dimension sex.Now you guys know I'm not big into judging people for having sex outside of marriage, so I don't agree with all his premises in this article. But I agree with this: for all those Christian folks who are trying to keep sex limited to married couples, they're not doing themselves any favors if they're, at the same time, trying to sanitize any and all descriptions of married sex to be vague and, well, boring.
I've mentioned the One Extraordinary Marriage podcast before, but what I haven't talked about is how incredibly rare this couple seems to be in the world of marriage podcasts. They're a Christian couple who talk as easily about oral sex and sex toys as they do about Jesus Christ and God. They talk about the importance of sexual intimacy to a healthy marriage and aren't afraid to mention when they've had really great sex that week. It's amazing, and amazingly rare.
I'm grateful I discovered their podcast because when I was originally looking for a podcast on marriage, I only found two kinds of podcasts talking about relationships: the "wholesome Christian family" type ones that talked about having a Biblical marriage and wouldn't be caught dead talking about sex (unless they were talking about the evils of gay and unmarried sex) and the "explicit" sex podcasts that were all sex, all the time, and probably wouldn't be caught dead talking about God.
The two different categories were so clear that it was almost like you had to pick a side when choosing a podcast: Do I care about having a Christian marriage... or do I care about having good sex?
So many taboos have been put onto how Christian couples are allowed to have sex that somehow it's become sinful to speak positively about sex, to be creative in the bedroom (or go outside the bedroom!), or even to enjoy oneself too much during sex.
Think I'm exaggerating? Imagine living next door to a Christian couple. You see them going to church every Sunday. They're always doing kind things for other people, visiting the sick, and offering to pray for people. They talk openly about God and how important He is in their marriage.
If one day you heard them having noisy, wild sex, would it surprise you? Would you smirk and think to yourself, "Hm, maybe they're not that holy after all?"
But why? Why should their passionate married sex make them somehow dirtier or guiltier than before?
Like Jon Acuff, I don't exactly have a solution to this, but I think it's something that warrants more discussion. And I think that the more that Christians concern themselves with the sexual mores of others, the more that feelings of guilt and sinfulness and dirt begin to coat all aspects of any sexual activity. If we spent more time celebrating what is good and beautiful about sex and less time pointing fingers at the "wrong" ways to have sex, I think we'd all find a lot more joy and pleasure in our own relationships.
That's what I think. What do you think?
If you liked this post, check out some other posts I've done on the topic of sex.