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September 3rd, 2010
02:18 PM ET

How Christians spoil sex

Christian marriage.

Hot sex.

Let’s try that again:

Christian marriage; hot sex.

It doesn’t quite go together does it?

Passionate, toe-curling sex isn’t normally associated with Christianity or even spirituality in general.

At least that’s what Jonathan Acuff, a Belief Blog contributor and author of "Stuff Christians Like," argues in a recent blog. He says Christians need to do a better job of connecting God with a vibrant sex life.

That’s what we’ve been told. That God and sex don’t go together. And if you say something enough times, people start to believe it’s true…. You can’t have both in the same bottle. They’re oil and water. Cats and dogs. Spencer and Heidi. They just don’t go together.

Acuff, who is married, says Christians shouldn’t just teach abstinence. They should also teach that while sex before marriage is bad, “sex when you’re married is awesome.”

He says Christians damage sex in four ways:

They teach guilt, not abstinence.

They have very few ways to discuss it.

They write 10 books about lust for every one book about the gift of sex.

They've "made the crayon box pretty small" (they're afraid of being creative during sex).

Acuff says it's time Christian couples realize passionate sex is God's idea.

We’ve bought the lie that the world gets to have wild, crazy sex and Christians, holy folks like us, have to have black-and-white, two-dimensional sex. But what if that’s wrong? What if the God who overflows us with love and hope and mercy wants that part of our lives to be as big and as colorful as two married people could possibly imagine?

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Christianity • Culture & Science • United States

soundoff (2,079 Responses)
  1. Peter

    God iz in ur closet, watching you have stale secks.

    September 4, 2010 at 3:24 am |
  2. michelle

    I'm no Christian but God and Sex are immutably tied together. It IS heaven on earth, and our little gift from the big 'G' man. Hallelujah!!!

    September 4, 2010 at 3:22 am |
  3. Ashley

    I do understand why people would think Christians think sex is a dirty thing especially before marriage. I am a christian and I have learned through my parents & church leaders that sex should be saved for marriage because IT IS beautiful, fun and sacred. And the books that I have read say the same thing. Authors like Rebecca St. James, Eric & Leslie Ludy are the best examples. My youth pastor even said the sex is great: for marriage. So I guess it depends on where you hear it and how you hear it. I wonder if this Jonathan Acuff survey all Christians or a certain group of Christians because I think sex is beautiful when you have saved it for marriage and it wasn't abused.

    September 4, 2010 at 3:21 am |
  4. rufus

    Stay classy, CNN.

    September 4, 2010 at 3:20 am |
  5. ahoov123

    I can't believe how stupid the posts are on both sides of the "argument".

    September 4, 2010 at 3:09 am |
  6. TruthofGod

    This is a totally ridiculous article. Taking an indirect perversed shot at Christianity. That is why sexual pervasion is prevalent in the US more than in any other section of the world. Do your research first before pointing a beam at another. Sex is a gift from God and ought to be regarded as such with gratitude. It is a beautiful way that a "man" and "woman" explore each other physically under the "MARRIAGE COVENANT". Read the freely offered Word, Hebrews Chapter 13 verse 4 states "Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge". Sex is a blessing and its awesome once done under the "MARRIAGE COVENANT". If treated as it ought to be treated, a man specifically through sex explores the sensuality and beauty of his wife as a WOMAN (Unique) while the wife in contrast explores the sensuality and manliness of her husband as a MAN (Unique). Its wonderful and should be treated as sacred, that is one of the reasons it is a covenant: the union of two to become ONE.

    September 4, 2010 at 3:01 am |
  7. SassyGray

    Well sex is sex and exchanging it with faith.... i would rather have it.

    September 4, 2010 at 2:42 am |
  8. CJ

    I have not read all of the near 800 comments,and so someone may have mentioned this already. There are a couple of reasons why sex is difficult for christians. One, especially for women, is the deification of the virgin. That to be holy and the mother of god one must abstain from sex. Another awful fable that makes women abhor their sexuality is the story of the Fall, where it is Eve who started the whole mess to begin with. And most importantly, Christianity did not have its foundation in enjoying sex and building lasting communities with children and families. Christianity was built on the works of Paul of Tarsus and the other apocalyptic jews of the day. Paul tells women that they do not have to be concubines of their husbands and encourages them not to have sex. Because for Paul and the other early Christians, the world was going to come to an end within moments. There was no point in bringing children into the world that was about to pass away. This strong tradition of detestation of this world in preference for the imaginary 'next' inherently makes sex difficult. For sex is very much a part of this world, about us a mammalian species. Sex connects us to this world and all that is in it. Christianity is not comfortable in this world. They may talk of 'family values' but that is not the talk Jesus ever said. Jesus, Paul, John the Baptist and all the other figures at the start of the church would not have believed the world would be here 2000 yrs later.

    September 4, 2010 at 2:35 am |
  9. Hale

    Life partners' intimate sharing is normal, logical, wonderful, celebrated in God's sight. And its far different than what you never mention–postpubescents experimenting in a back-alley parked car, single mom's hoping for a lucky strike week after week putting out to local bad company, hormonally greedy youth who knowing take advantage of innocent or naive. You darken wisdom with words without wise counsel. Sounds like you had quite a different objective in tossing out this drivel article. In the 1800s you'd havebeen run out of town as a "Crank". For being purposefully narrow, ignorant, unstudied, and rude. Your numbers and stats don't jive with facts. Your opinions and what you claim 'we' learned ... lies all. But hey, you need to be a victim. Perhaps your next article is to promote anti-conservative dem-lib voting, and you needed to just whet your appetite, flex the fangs. We're immune. Don't be flattered by the blogging...it's instruction and correction, not ego-rub.

    September 4, 2010 at 2:31 am |
  10. Betsy

    This article was way too short; what is up with articles that bring up interesting topics but don't flesh them out?

    I agree it generalized way too much but the author does have a good point. There ARE Christian groups who are so obsessed with keeping their young people away from s_x that they put so much guilt and fear into them that they make it virtually impossible to enjoy s_x even after marriage. I have seen this so much in my lifetime that I can't see it as personal anecdotes anymore – I consider it data. There are some people who escape these feelings and I attribute that to their parents somehow breaking away from the general church attitudes and teachings.

    I grew up in a fundamentalist sect and my husband was a fundamentalist Baptist. One sister's husband had to pray for two months before he could perform the act; her marriage isn't technically legal in her state b/c technically it has to be consummated within 24 hours. Another sister's husband literally had to watch pornography to know what to do. Another sister can't talk to her husband about it to the point that she has no idea if he has had any other partners besides herself which I think we'd all agree is an important thing to know. I escaped because I was a bit rebellious, as was my husband. My sister-in-law wasn't so lucky. Her mother especially is extremely anti-s_x and used it as a weapon against her father, my FIL. My SIL was taught that it was dirty, nasty, etc... and was even given the impression that kissing was bad as well. She has now been married for 4 years and has a hard time even kissing her own husband. No amount of her own mother telling her that now that she's married God is okay with it helps.
    Stories like this abound in my old church and my SIL's old church as well. It may not be the norm in "mainstream" or what we might call "evangelical" churches, and there are certainly people, like my husband and me, whose biological urges got the better of them as teens and allowed the mind to resist the overt as well as subliminal messages implanted by the church. But there is certainly a large amount of damage that HAS been done and it needs to be addressed.

    Marriage certainly isn't all about s_x. However, my mother, who enjoyed a quiet but satisfactory s_x life with my father, her one and only partner of 42 years now, once told me that "Sometimes s_x is all that holds a marriage together." I remember everything she ever told me about s_x because she only told me 2 things. The other thing was, "When you have s_x, make sure it's with someone you could love." Not someone I was married to, not someone I DID love, someone I COULD love.

    Anyway, I didn't know what she meant about s_x holding a marriage together then, but after 12 years of marriage, I think I do. Sometimes we get so busy and stressed the last thing we want to do is be together, either talking, cuddling and especially having s_x, whether it's slow and sensual or a hard fast quickie. But when life is fast and stressful or you're mad at each other – that is when you need that connection the most. S_x is the fastest way – science can show this – to re-establish a bond with one another because it creates all sorts of hormones in the brain that causes bonding and happiness between a couple.

    So yes, s_x IS very important in marriage – and if you make a teenager or a young person think it's bad, dirty or undesirable, make them hate it and want to shove it away and not think about it before they get married – you are crippling their marriage before it ever gets started.

    September 4, 2010 at 2:21 am |
  11. Kingofthenet

    If you sodomize your Wife, there is no danger of unwanted Pregnancy. I do it to my Wife often sometimes willing, sometimes as a 'surprise'.

    September 4, 2010 at 2:20 am |
  12. Nate

    I am a youth pastor that is currently teaching my high school group a series called, "Sex in 6 Weeks." I totally agree with this idea and have taught it over the last several weeks. Sex is good because God created it. It is a gift from God and has good purposes WHEN USED IN THE WAY HE CREATED IT. The Church says don't do it. Schools tell you how to do it. Parents say do it as long as you're in love. And your friends say do it whenever you feel the urge.

    Scripture is all FOR sex. More Christians need to read their Bible and see that God wants us to enjoy it and enjoy often!

    September 4, 2010 at 2:20 am |
  13. Lawrence

    Just because Mormons have "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" does not make them Christians. A Christian believes that Jesus was born of the virgin Mary who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, was crucified dead and buried. Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. He died for our sins. Mormons believe that Jesus is like them who became a Mormon man-god on earth like they believe they will become. This is not what the bible say about Jesus. Only in the Mormon bible is Jesus different.

    September 4, 2010 at 2:17 am |
    • Celesta

      You obviously are not Mormon and do not know their doctrine. Also you do not understand what it means to be Christian. as per dictionary Christain means having or showing qualities associated with Christ, esp. those of decency, kindness, and fairness and or believing in Jesus Christ as a messiah. We believe in Jesus being born fro virgin Mary and that he was crucified and buried, but rose on the third day. I don't know where you're getting your facts, but it's best to actually read or get it straight from the source then spouting what you actually have no understanding about.

      September 4, 2010 at 9:38 am |
    • CatholicMom

      Celesta,
      Do Mormons believe in the Trinity as proclaimed by the Catholic Church and as all Christians believe?

      September 4, 2010 at 2:32 pm |
  14. Alex

    I grew up at a Christian home, been in church my whole life and have never struggled with this topic. I was just taught that sex outside of marriage is a sin and pretty much understood that sex in marriage can be as hot as the couple wants. I have actually been taught that God created sex and its for enjoyment. Sex is a very important part of a relationship. I believe the hotter the sex within marriage, the healthier the relationship is. Over 25 years of church have never taught me otherwise.

    September 4, 2010 at 2:16 am |
  15. GregM

    The cheap shots at Christianity continue from the liberal news outlets. If this were a story about Islam and good sex, would it have been published? Probably not, unless your writer was suicidal and wanted to be blown up. So what about Judaism? Afraid of the anti defamation league? You should be. So why do you dirt bags get a free shot at insulting the predominant religion in this country/world and you think you can get away with it? Guess what? You can't.

    September 4, 2010 at 2:13 am |
  16. John

    this really generalizes christians. My "non denominational" church teaches that sex is a beautiful thing– i will admit, it's a touchy subject that many traditional members prefer to demonize, but i've seen large amounts of churches push in the direction of it's beautiful, and/or we should wait for marriage.

    the overall question for the article:

    Other than keeping sex between one man and woman.... what does Christianity ruin about sex? Really...
    The only statement this article has is "I can't see Christians making hot steamy sex, making the bed rock, etc"... I ask... Why not...? Because you only think of that stuff as something you do with a prostitute? Oh, now we have more problems to talk about....

    September 4, 2010 at 2:12 am |
  17. sK

    This is where Islam and Christianity part majorly .... Islam effectively considers sex being married couples analogous to prayer ... while strictly forbidding pre-marital sex .... in many ways celebrating sex in marriage as being beautiful ... it is all about balance in life ... being spiritual yet interacting with the world .... not abstaining from it ...

    September 4, 2010 at 2:08 am |
  18. Aniqa

    I find it interesting that in the comments, while the general trend is "people need to be more comfortable and open," many of you censor your use of the word sex. Could someone please explain to me why the act in a marriage is not sinful or bad but spelling the word properly is?

    September 4, 2010 at 2:06 am |
  19. Tom Paine

    How ironic when stats show that married Christians have the best sex lives. Culture is just off of what reality really is.

    September 4, 2010 at 2:02 am |
  20. Lawrence

    I don't know where this person get the notion that Christian and hot sex don't go together. We would prefer it to be in the realm of marriage. As long as the couple is married they can have hot sex. Only the Catholics want couples to perform sex in order to reproduce children. Us protestants can have sex with our partners in marriage. I did not have sex before marriage because I wanted it in marriage and not because of guilt. As long as I ask for forgiveness for my sins if I slip up I would be forgiven (meaning premarital sex).

    September 4, 2010 at 2:00 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.