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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. Erky

    "sex before marriage is bad, sex when you’re married is awesome.”
    What bull. Married sex is going to get boring, and especially so if the couple are a bunch of bible thumpers.
    You can't beat strange poontang every now and again for awesomeness.

    September 3, 2010 at 3:11 pm |
  2. Mike Buck

    Oh my God! Oh my God! OH OH OH MY GOD!

    September 3, 2010 at 3:11 pm |
  3. Pedro

    I am doom the, I love men. Boo.

    September 3, 2010 at 3:10 pm |
    • LuLu

      Pedro, you are an illiterate idiot.

      September 3, 2010 at 3:22 pm |
  4. JB

    I went to a college with Southern Baptist ties and we had mandatory chapel services. The first week I was there, the speaker said even if a husband and wife have s-x for any reason other than procreation, it was a sin and an abomination against God. That's when I knew I was in for a long four years. Never went to another chapel without headphones. Still live in the heart of the Bible Belt and trust me, a certain type of Christian ruins everything for everybody. My rule is if you'll stay out of my bedroom, I'll stay out of your church.

    September 3, 2010 at 3:09 pm |
  5. Tiffany

    What amazes me is his blanket stereotyping that he has just done. Do they pay him to spout this b.s.? Dear Lord, help us all. Trust me sir, my s...ex life is quite amazing and I'm a Christian. Please go talk about something you have knowledge on. It's sad that you would take myths and stereotype falsehoods and write about it.

    September 3, 2010 at 3:09 pm |
    • Jesus

      Blanket stereotyping? Talk to the Hindus on my street and tell them being calling terrorists isn't blanket stereotyping

      September 3, 2010 at 5:59 pm |
    • Hank

      Tiffany, have you been to this man's website? He is very much a Christian. Quit being so defensive.

      September 3, 2010 at 7:36 pm |
    • Greg

      Blanket labeling of Christians? As I recall Christians make constant blanket statements about anyone who are not of the same faith or belief structure. I am an agnostic atheist who had tons of pre-marital sex before I got married to my wife and even I am not going to hell or anything like that. Don't believe the hype!

      September 3, 2010 at 10:41 pm |
  6. CosmicC

    Not all christians fall into this mold. The United Church of Christ joined with the Unitarian Universalists to create a religious ed curriculum called Our Whole Lives (not all UU's are christian, but UCC is definitely a christian denomination). Owl is about human s-xuality from a spiritual perspective. To quote my daughter, "we learned about s-x in god's basement" (the classroom was downstairs). It's a frank, open presentation of the topic. There's good research that shows this sort of education is far more effective in delaying first encounters than abstinence only indoctrination.

    September 3, 2010 at 3:09 pm |
  7. PastorJ

    Don't know what you've been told, but maybe you need to read the Bible, specifically Song of Solomon. Now that's hot, that's pure, that's Biblical love between a man and his wife.

    September 3, 2010 at 3:09 pm |
    • Flora

      That's not his wife. In "Song of Solomon", no one really knows who the king is hopping in bed with, but it's widely believed to be the Queen of Sheba (she mentions that she's black, which none of his wives were). A believe both were unmarried at the time, and they certainly never married each other.

      September 3, 2010 at 5:12 pm |
    • Hank

      Which wife, Pastor J? He had many.

      September 3, 2010 at 7:35 pm |
    • Yikes

      The Song of Solomon is not a Christian work. It is Jewish. Judaism has far fewer interpreted taboos about marital s3x. Jewish scholars and Christian scholars will often look at the same text and have different interpretations. The Christian interpretation will have been colored by the teachings of Paul and the Catholic church, and an American Christian interpretation will have been further colored by the puritan influence. There is a reason a porn star can get elected in Italy but not Iowa.

      September 4, 2010 at 12:06 am |
  8. Steve

    Christopher West does a great job talking about it also... http://www.christopherwest.com

    September 3, 2010 at 3:08 pm |
  9. Bambi

    Well, I'm a Christian and I don't believe that sex is bad when you get married. Matter fact God made sex so how can it be bad. Now it's bad when you do it before marriage, but God forgives you for the sins you committ. So when you get married why not have all the sex you want! It's good for connecting with your partner. Have a happy marriage people not a bad one!

    September 3, 2010 at 3:08 pm |
  10. June

    The author here is clearly misinformed. I am in a Reformed Christian church and premarital counselling covers how great S can be and that married couples are free to enjoy eachother. This article is garbage and an attempt to paint Christians as uptight prudes. That just is not the case.

    September 3, 2010 at 3:07 pm |
    • Sybaris

      Go live in a country that is not predominately christian and you will note a healthier and less ignorant approach to the role of sex in relationships.

      September 3, 2010 at 3:13 pm |
    • Emilee

      You referred to it as S...seriously?

      September 3, 2010 at 9:27 pm |
  11. Steve

    Theology of the Body... check it out... We do know how great it is...

    September 3, 2010 at 3:07 pm |
    • Connecticutian

      Yes! There's a youth-oriented "version" of this treatise, and our Christian family (Protestant, BTW) discussed it over dinner with the kids. Take THAT, Acuff. 🙂

      September 3, 2010 at 3:27 pm |
    • Hank

      Good Lord Connecticutwhateverian, are we in a contest?

      September 3, 2010 at 7:34 pm |
  12. nadaroom

    do you think this article would fly if it was titled "How muslims spoil sex"?

    September 3, 2010 at 3:07 pm |
  13. Robert

    What if God wants us to fool around before marriage? Is doggy style too dirty for christians? What about oral? Was Mary a virgin only because she claimed to be one because she didn't want to get in trouble for her promiscuity?

    Just some random thoughts from a guy who loves the kinky stuff.

    September 3, 2010 at 3:06 pm |
  14. Pastor Michael Verhey

    This writer is so far from the truth!!! God said from the begining, be fruitful and multiply.The fruit of marriage is, of course writer if you would know the difference between sex and love. The fruit is,making wild compassionate love!!! To make love to the maximum amount of pleasure!!! But only with your spouse, and to keep yourself for the one you love!!! NOT LUST, use and abuse..hope one day this writer falls in Love to find out what the total pleasure of love making is!! No sex before marriage= lifetime of love!!

    September 3, 2010 at 3:06 pm |
  15. Paul Van Bellinghen

    I can't speak for Christian Denominations, but the Catholic Church, or more specifically, the Popes of the late 20th century, have been extremely positive on their treatment of the nature of sex. They have been writing things like – the fullness of the mutual self-giving which sex expresses and brings about can only be fully realized within the commitment of marriage along with the openness to new life by both partners.

    September 3, 2010 at 3:05 pm |
  16. Christian Female (age 40)

    WHOA Boys! I am and have been Christian for near 20 years. I want toe curling amazing intmacy twice or thrice a day. It is finding a man who is willing, able and giving enough. I;m sorry, but the reality of how women are hardwired, is we need 2 or 3 orgasms before you guys get going. My 9now ex) husband was a selfish minuit man. I went YEARS without pleasure. Work was more important. No, I am not fat dumb or ugly. I use to model and I am a runner. Perhaps try a different church, I'm Catholic, yes, I can say that. The Father at our church will talk about sex and intimacy in appropriate crowds of adults. He will also talk about best practices if you will for safety, disease control and preventing pregnancie – first abscence then protection. All things intimate are amazing when a man and woman can really connect. Men, it must be more than wham bam. It needs to be good morning lovely, warm smiles, holding hands, fore play before breakfast that lasts all day. Your woman will beg you to take her bed and curl her toes, several times. I'm just sayin....

    September 3, 2010 at 3:05 pm |
  17. Dr. JS

    I'm a family practice psychiatrist. The couples who belong in Christian relationships, especially the ones who are outwardly judgmental and critical of other people's relationships, usually lack the ability to express themselves intimately. They have a sense of superiority in their morality but often face severe disappointment with their partner when satisfying their daily natural cravings. The experimentation and flirtation is lacking. The ability to discuss their private lives is lacking. They have to feel permitted by the other partner do what is pleasurable, yet they are grappling with their massive guilt.

    September 3, 2010 at 3:05 pm |
    • peace2all

      @Dr. JS

      Well said my good Dr. I think we should stop the postings now. Especially the part about the "superiority in (their) morality"..

      Enough said...

      Peace...

      September 3, 2010 at 3:08 pm |
    • Mayberry

      Dr. JS,
      Can I send my wife to you?

      September 3, 2010 at 3:26 pm |
    • peace2all

      @Mayberry

      LOL..!!!!! 🙂

      Peace....

      September 3, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
    • ur Iame

      @Dr. JS

      Ha, what a load of crap! I'll bet you drank your way through your degree, unless you're lying about that as well.
      How about "Dr. BS"?
      It sure fits better....

      September 3, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
    • peace2all

      @ur lame

      And you are basing your kind and insightful (assumptions) from the Dr's comments off of.....?

      Peace....

      September 3, 2010 at 5:36 pm |
    • Lapsed

      @ UR Lame– You are immature. Calling names is no response, no intelligence, no courage. If you disagree, simply state the fact, do not accuse the other person of getting a shoddy degree. The person did not accuse you of being bible belt white trash, now did he?

      September 3, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
    • Sheila

      You obviously have not watched the Dugar family on t.v. "19 kids and counting".

      You are "generalizing".

      September 3, 2010 at 9:17 pm |
    • Sue

      @Dr.JS ...My husband and I went to counciling and felt an invasion of our privacy when it came to talking about our sex life. That doesn't mean that nothing is happening in the bedroom..It just means that you aren't allowed past that line! We are a christian couple, married 22 years. My husband is sitting next to me as I type this, and he wants to add that our love only grew over the years, we fell more and more in love! We try new things together and make our time that is private very fulfilling...But nobody has to ruin that by being filled in on what we do!!!!

      September 5, 2010 at 12:30 am |
    • Sandy

      @Dr.JS I'm sure I'd want to inform you of all our sexual contact in the bedroom, so you can write it down! I would never tell a shrink about ANYTHING! They write that stuff down and it can come back to haunt you. Example: If you need to get disability they need all your records, then your so called confidential records are not kept confidential! It's nobody's business on what we do in the bedroom, so why should you know? Asking certain questions without prying too far into something that personal should be okay. But if someone seems aprehensive of sharing that information with you, don't over examine the reason by labeling them.

      September 5, 2010 at 1:14 am |
    • DeJea

      Dr. JS,

      I can appreciate you reporting your research based on your private practice. Please tell us, who was your control group? Did you cross compare your results with non-Christian who are also "outwardly judgmental and critical of other people's relationships" to see if you have results that are similar or conflicting? What is your case load and what percentage of that is represented by Christian relationships? Of the Christian couples that come to you, what percentage are coming to you because they have s*x-u-al problems? Of those, wht is the number that "have a sense of superiority in their morality but often face severe disappointment with their partner when satisfying their daily natural cravings" as their root issue as opposed to some other underlying cause?

      Like I said earlier, I appreciate your research. I also know that, as a practioner of both schience and medicine, you understand for both qualitative and quantitative research in order to make accurate assesments, such as the one you made here.

      Have a great day!

      September 6, 2010 at 2:44 pm |
  18. Connecticutian

    "Christians"? That's an awfully broad brush! I'm one (a conservative, traditional, evangelical one at that), and I don't know who he's talking about. It's not "us" who say s_x and marriage don't go together, it's the mainstream media stereotype! I just read the actualblog, and this CNN abstract twists the focus. But for those who only read this, here's my rebuttal 🙂

    Taking the four alleged atrocities...
    (1) "They teach guilt, not abstinence." – No, we teach chastity, and guilt is a proper response if/when someone has sinned by being un-chaste.
    (2) "They have very few ways to discuss it." – Not even sure what this means. We discuss it in LOTS of ways.
    (3) "They write 10 books about lust for every one book about the gift of s_x." – Maybe because great s_x is part of our natural drive and doesn't come with huge social costs, but lust is ALSO part of our natural drive and comes with tremendous social costs. We don't write a lot about responsible drinking, or the best way to enjoy a fall foliage tour either.
    (4) "They've "made the crayon box pretty small" (they're afraid of being creative during s_x)." – What's the basis for this??? If # 2 were really true, he'd have no way of knowing. 😉

    We teach our children that s_x is the gift that God gave to a man and a woman in order to "be fruitful" and to enjoy the intimacy that comes with becoming "as one flesh". We also teach them that chastity is the moral and ethical position for Christians, meaning s_x is intended for its proper marriage context. We teach them that physical desires are God-given and yet they must have the discipline to exercise self-restraint just as they would with any other natural but potentially harmful drives.

    Acuff pretty much says as much, and mostly argues not that Christians have spoiled s_x, but that we haven't rebutted the cultural stereotypes strongly enough.

    September 3, 2010 at 3:04 pm |
  19. Wyatt McClure

    We christians dont ever say that you cannot have passionate and potentially amazing sex, we just stress that you wait until you are married, in the first book of our bible (Gennisis) God says to be fruitful, i think it is a horrible Steriotype to say that we ruin it

    September 3, 2010 at 3:04 pm |
  20. Roger

    No one is saying start a swingers group. We always here how if you wait till marriage sex is special and magical. Just say its frikin hot and steamy

    September 3, 2010 at 3:04 pm |
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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.