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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. lexgreen

    Johnathan Acuff should get a life and quit telling people how to live theirs. Why should Acuff be worried about Christian's attitudes toward sex, except, perhaps, for the one hes married to?

    September 4, 2010 at 1:19 pm |
  2. brucealmighty

    To me, Christianity and sexuality are mutually exclusive. Christians are repeatedly and un-mistakenly instructed to subordinate or eliminate sexual thoughts when they occur. Therefore, the sexuality required to produce a 'hot sex' environment in the framework of a Christian marriage is almost assuredly trained out of 'good' Christian individuals and their marriages. There is no way that a human mind can continue to debunk every errant sexual thought it processes and then be expected to perform adequately in a sexual context.

    September 4, 2010 at 1:19 pm |
  3. dave

    funny that other polls say christians enjoy sex more then others, plus the more conservative – the more sex. dont believe every blog you read

    September 4, 2010 at 1:19 pm |
  4. Ozzy

    This is an interesting topic. I am a Christian and am happy with my sex life. I am not swinging from the chandelier. Sex is spoken about in the Bible for procreation, and as appropriate in a married setting. When the Bible speaks against sex is, outside of the marriage bed. God instituted marriage and the marriage bed. Sex was intended to also provide intimacy between a husband and wife. The Bible says," and they be came one flesh," this intonates the close bond created between both people.
    In the end we make of sex what we want when we are married. The books that are written on lust are about giving into sex before marriage. I know that sex within marriage iw what we make it.

    September 4, 2010 at 1:17 pm |
  5. KittyChat

    If any of you knew anything about the Bible, sex is not taboo - only if you do it with someone outside your marriage. But obviously none of you would know anything about that!

    September 4, 2010 at 1:14 pm |
  6. Scott

    Not only is it disappointing to see, but it also damaging to Christianity in that Acuff furthers and perpetuates the stereotype of Christianity as unwelcoming, restricting, and judgmental. Church is not an unwelcoming, judgmental place yet I know many people who are turned off by the church because they _THINK_ of church in those ways. And now, when you have Christians like Acuff so publicly sounding the trumpet and holding up the banner of church as, in fact, a judgmental place, unwelcoming of the most joyful of life's experiences – that only reinforces the opinion of non-Christians and helps ensure they will never give church a chance.

    Why does Acuff feel he can speak for all of Christianity? He can not. Maybe the churches and denominations he has been part of have caused people to limit their enjoyment of sex. But count me as one Christian with a great sex life who doesn't share his view that Christianity spoils sex.

    While it's a great way to sell books, I'm disappointed that Acuff presents such a false premise in order to profit from being the leader of a "movement" to solve the false issue. Sad.

    September 4, 2010 at 1:13 pm |
  7. Avis Ward

    I teach Relationship Education (Abstinence) classes to middle-high school age students. The message is abstinence but not only to sex but drugs, alcohol and tobacco. We teach our bodies is not our own and we were bought with a price and to treat our bodies as the temple it is. We do NOT teach sex is bad. On the contrary, we teach how wonderfully blissful and enjoyable it is in a marital relationship. Students are taught to respect each other's bodies and to place value on each other by remaining abstinent until marriage. To tell kids sex is bad, awful and not enjoyable is being dishonest with them. How can we get them to trust us if we lie about something as basic and important in our lives? They enjoy the honest interaction. There is humor, reality and biblical truths taught to these kids. Since our parents were our "sex ed" teachers, the topic hasn't been shunned or an embarrassing one for my siblings and me. Because of this, I am able to reach the kids with a message of Truth and they can accept and/or reject it based on facts not lies. They're taught the safest place for sex to be healthy and most enjoyable with few risks is in a monogamous relationship with their spouse. Statistics prove this as true. If they do not wish to be married, that's their decision which does not change that fact.

    September 4, 2010 at 1:10 pm |
  8. Bob Bales

    Harry: I looked at that site. It's interesting that the author(s) spend so much effort and so many words trying to discedit something they say is nonsense. As Shakespeare would say, "The [author] doth protest too much, methinks." To borrow the terminology, there seems to be some cognitive dissonance between the idea of God and the desire to live life without God. The site says that people believe because "evolution did this" and "evolution did that." Where is the evidence that these ideas are true? It doesn't exist, but if the idea that God exists can be portrayed as irrational, then it can be dismissed without considering whether or not it is true.

    September 4, 2010 at 1:09 pm |
  9. CJ

    Maybeyourbibleisdifferent. You do not know your history or your bible very well. The bible clearly states in Leviticus that 'lying with a man as one layeth with a woman' is an abomination and is an act punishable by death. That sounds pretty hateful to me. And there is nothing in the new testament that countermands that. And christians have killed people for a long time – salme witch trials, crusades – all with the new testament in hand. And your story from John about the woman taken in adultery? It is a forged addition. It is not present in the oldest, best preserved gospel texts. That is something you can learn in any seminary or textual criticism class.

    And the reason christians are uncomfortable with sex is that christianity did not begin as a religion of 'family values' and building communities. Jesus, St.Paul, John the Baptist were apocalyptic Jews who thought the world was going to end. St.Paul encouraged his congregation to not have children even if married. Why? Because the age was about to pass away and so there was no point in having children. God's Kingdom was going to come to earth and establish a new order. Now, this never happened and so the church had to rephrase its message, but that is how it began. Sex is about this world and it is a world that christianity, and islam, teach you to revile as base and inconsequential. Life here is nothing. It is the next life you should worry about. Now the church had to rephrase its message about sex because if members did not reproduce and bring in new members they would die off. But that is all the sex they care about, enough to reproduce to bring in new members to the flock. Now that's Hot.

    September 4, 2010 at 1:09 pm |
  10. Eniola

    Why is it important? Who do you answer to?

    September 4, 2010 at 1:08 pm |
  11. Nanda Kumar

    The reason religion isn't pro-sex is because it's impossible to think about serving God when the person is thinking about satisfying their selfish lusty desires. Spiritualist's said, "Worship they Lord with all thy heart and all thy soul." You can't do both. It's too bad it makes people feel guilty for ignoring God. If a person wants to grossly satisfy their senses, O.K., but please don't dilute religious belief because it makes you feel bad for ignoring God'. Sex is for procreation. To do it otherwise is simply animal life. Be an animal if you like, but please leave religion out of it.

    September 4, 2010 at 1:05 pm |
  12. achristian

    this is the most distorted and disturbing view I have ever read about christians, I guess the crusade against christians marches on, how ever "God will build his church and the gates of hell shall not prevail gains it".

    September 4, 2010 at 1:01 pm |
  13. Daisy

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

    Ever heard of Tantra?

    September 4, 2010 at 1:00 pm |
  14. european

    Christians do not have something against sex or normal life style.

    American Christians do.

    That is a small but important difference to consider.

    I am more then sure that for example we do NOT have that teen pregnancy issue
    as well as other sexual education and moral conflicts the parents of the free world do have.

    LOL what a joke

    September 4, 2010 at 12:58 pm |
  15. ktrig

    I just want to say that I've read Christian sex manuals and they are pretty bad. They all believe in the missionary position mentality. They want the man to be on top, the woman to take all the responsibility for birth control, they don't respect the clitoris as an equal part of intercourse, they think that women are sexually inferior, they have problems with mothers being primary providers . . . Christian sex manuals take the sexiness out of sex.

    September 4, 2010 at 12:57 pm |
  16. Daniel

    I cant help but find so much wrong with this article, I dont know where the writer is getting his "facts" but they couldnt be further from the truth for most Christians. I AM a Christian since childhood and my children are Christians. Ive attended a number of churches accross the country and none of them tried to instill the belief that if you have premarital sex that you should feel guilt or shame or that youll go to Hell, on the contrary they teach that God created sex to be completely awesome and to be as creative as possible in respect of their lover. Ive attended thousands of Christian Retreats covering all different temptations and subjects and as far as teachings and Christian literature goes, theres the same amount of books and information on abstinence and lust and that lust is viewed as a normal human emotion. So to wrap it up, God created sex to be wonderful and to be enjoyed in every possible way your mind can come up with, sex IS a regularly discussed topic in the Christian Church, and even if you do have lots of premarital sex with multiple partners like I had do not feel guilt or shame for God will still love you just the same. I apologize to all the atheists that will read this, I completely respect your opinions but however Christianity is one of the least "uptight" religions out there in all aspects including sex, we enjoy it just as much and are just as creative with our "activities."

    September 4, 2010 at 12:52 pm |
  17. folru

    Sex is great and like anything else that is good, it should be enjoyed and celebrated. But, for the progress of the soul, the indulgence should be in control. It is indeed a silly idea that God would be concerned about a trivial function such as sex and dictate how people should behave about it. What is more important is self-control, non-addiction to anything food, wine, sex or entertainment. I also wish people would stop focusing so many articles on this topic of sex making it extra important. Everyone thinks saying the wildest things about sex is a great thing. Our very existense in this wonderful world is a gift and the world around us is so beautiful. Why are we always focused on only one aspect of it-sex. I especially hate the tv shows that really make the cheapest and lowly jokes just to reach to people's basic instincts.

    September 4, 2010 at 12:50 pm |
  18. Emily

    The media seems to have a war on Christians going on. Where's the article on how loose corrupt values are spoiling marriages??? Loving your spouse the way God wants us to respect the sanctity of marriage, the deep love felt for one another, not just a peice of meat to use and get self satisfation, lust and no meaning of what real love FEELS like. When you deeply please the one you love-it is the best love making you will ever have in your life! Sex is not suppose to be dirty..it's suppose to be something to share between two people that LOVE and want to show LOVE to each other. Not something to just give away..WOW..Just can't believe that CNN has an article on how Christians spoil sex!! UNREAL!!!!!!! Stop attacking traditional happy marriages/families. I hope nobody listens to this garbage..You all deserve to find someone to cherish and love!

    September 4, 2010 at 12:49 pm |
  19. ktrig

    Interesting response. I can't associate Christianity with hot sex because Christianity is such a patriarchal religion. If Christians want to have hot sex, they need to encourage the woman to be on top and the man on bottom, they need to honor the clitoris as much as the vagina and penis, they need to honor outercourse as much as intercourse, they need to stop using sexist language, they need to insist that the man take all the responsibility for birth control, and they need to insist that the man do 50% of the housework and childcare.

    Hmmmmmmmmmmmm . . . the secular world also needs to do these things, too. BTW, the picture in the article was so hackneyed. They should have had the woman act like a sexual leader.

    September 4, 2010 at 12:44 pm |
  20. Johnmosesbrowning

    Saying being Christian equates to a terrible sex life is an overt generalization akin to saying that being black means you're excellent at basketball, or headed for prison. It's offensive. I'm Christian and very satisfied with my hot married monogamous sex life. Use birth control, and were ok with creativity and passion.

    September 4, 2010 at 12:41 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.