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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. Evan

    I know a Jehovah's Witnesses couple who believe sex has the specific objective of procreation; lights off, "missionary" style, with romance and fun considered a nice aside but never an end in itself. The primary procreative act is pleasurable for a specific reason they believe and not believers in birth control they must plan their intimate momenhts accordingly. I tried encouraging them to just loosen up and enjoy life together. Look, eating is for bodily health but that doesn't mean you take nutrients in toothpaste tubes like astronauts. There's nothing wrong with dining in candle light with a view to the sunet. Why must romance for Christians be so clinical and perfunctory? I get the feeling his wife is really being influenced by the elders in their congregation because she refuses to let him even use a condom, that's just not kosher. As an outsider I don't even know what to tell him. I will say my Catholic ex-wife was similarly uptight about sensuality and birth control was a major to do.

    September 6, 2010 at 9:55 pm |
  2. William Bergmann

    Sex should be enjoyed by everyone as often as possible, it's simply a human response to available stimuli. Get over the learned guilt and get naked with someone, or even not.

    September 6, 2010 at 1:53 pm |
  3. Dave Harris

    The idea that Jesus doesn't want Christians to have sex is not just a modern day aberration. It goes back to the early days of the faith, with figures like St. Paul, who clearly had some major issues in this area. Married couples would actually claim publically to be celibate, in order to enhance their standing in society. When babies showed up, they were "adopted from relatives". What's modern is the notion that Christians are allowed to have a normal sex life (still disputed by some). Of course, Jesus never said anything about this, at least in what's been recorded.

    September 6, 2010 at 12:54 pm |
  4. Tony

    Good forum by the way everybody. Sex is a gift from God. He knew what he was doing when he created us with each and every body part to please the other. It is supposed to be passionate, hot, amazing, etc. But with our spouse, not the world. Sex has been turned into a billion dollar industry. From porn to KY jelly. Seek God concerning birth control. To me its no different than abortion. Both stops the birth of a child. It's just one is done in the comfort of your home. And yes, I have 4 kids.

    September 6, 2010 at 11:10 am |
  5. dad

    While Catholics may believe in abstinence before marriage, they encourage sexual intimacy for the strengthening of the marriage, the bible actually teaches of the beauty of the body, and how sexual intimacy , with commitment , leads to a more fulfilling sexual enjoyment,
    Catholics have come a long way from their days of guilt and sin, why doesn't someone who does not understand or has questions @ this get some education on the subject. The Alpha Course and A book called Searching Issues explains a lot of why Christians believe in what they do ( Alpha is a course started by the Anglican church in England to explain @ Jesus)
    But please do not post comments unless you are completely sure of your statement!!

    September 6, 2010 at 10:58 am |
  6. Kate (not of 8)

    Actually Enoch, Christ is not dead. They killed Him, no doubt, but I'm pretty sure that tomb was empty when they checked it after a few days. And I'm pretty sure about 500 people saw Him and talked to Him after they killed Him. And I'm pretty sure those same people saw Him ascend into Heaven. And before you say that we don't know if that is true or not, some of the people who wrote the New Testament had real, personal encounters with Christ after he rose from the dead. They saw Him be killed and they saw Him alive after he was buried, then they wrote about it. Paul himself, the writer of the majority of the New Testament, was converted AFTER Jesus rose. Now why would you not believe before he was dead, and then all of a sudden believe wholeheartedly everything Jesus said and preached, up to the point of being put in prison and killed for that faith, if you hadn't seen and experienced something miraculous?

    September 6, 2010 at 10:29 am |
  7. Kenny

    I absolutely agree with this article, and so does the bible!!

    Song of Solomon 7:8 (New International Version)

    I said, "I will climb the palm tree;
    I will take hold of its fruit."
    May your breasts be like the clusters of the vine,
    the fragrance of your breath like apples,

    Some churches/religions are just confused

    September 6, 2010 at 10:07 am |
  8. kanth

    What a Crummy post. If you read the BLOG he argues EXACTLY the opposite.

    That we have been TOLD that christianity and sex don't go together by the media, by Katy Perry, etc people who uphold the common rule of thumb. And that it's not true but these are the things that get in our way.

    I don't buy that Christians have boring sex lives. Absolutely untrue in my case at the least and I would strongly suspect that their lives are no different than any others. People who believe different are believing idiocy.

    Sex in christianity (in a marriage) is your FREE OUTLET! You think it's not gonna be "dirty" for some reason? After we have told our people that, "hey doing this outside of marriage is bad, but in marriage... THUMBS UP!"

    Like that makes sense? These same people who preach this also believe Catholic's think they have an out of jail free card when it comes to reconciliation though! So which is it? 😛

    September 6, 2010 at 9:27 am |
  9. peace2all

    @Kate

    (You're) too funny... I am still

    Just laughin'

    Peace....

    September 6, 2010 at 2:41 am |
  10. Kristin

    Sex, I think, should always be between two people who love each other and there is nothing wrong with it being hot sex. Doesn't making it hot sex something that puts passion into it?? Why shouldn't sex be something that is to be discussed? No matter what, it is something that is that is part of being human.

    And as for contraception, I thought the belief was God will never give you what you cannot handle. And, seriously, people, birth control is an illusion...there is no such thing. If it meant for two people to conceive a baby, guess what??? IT IS GOING TO HAPPEN NO MATTER WHAT. Control doesn't exist at all, especially birth control.

    September 6, 2010 at 2:22 am |
  11. John

    You know this post sounds like it was written by a fluzzy catholic posing as a Christian. If it was written by a Christian it would've been titled "How Sex spoils Christians."

    September 6, 2010 at 12:28 am |
  12. Gnosis Voyager

    Sir, your statements and overall assessment about Christian sex life is completely in Era. First of all just as we should not encompass all of Islam into the terrorist faction you cannot place all of Christendom into the pews of the very strict practices of some of the Charismatic denominations. Just as a for instance the Episcopal church which is a huge faction of the Christian world not only excepts gay members into their pews but also ordains gay ministers and Bishops into their Diocese. Also The Christian bible itself does not discourage different sexual practices. The “Missionary position only rule” is exclusive to Catholicism, not the Bible. If you were more informed with Christian doctrine you would know of the chapters of the Song of Solomon which contains sexually explicit writings and poems that deal with many different aspects of sexual pleasures including oral sex. Yes Christianity does prohibit incest and discourages premarital sex, but think of the pain and despair that casual sex has brought upon mankind with terrible STD’s broken marriages and unwanted pregnancies.

    September 5, 2010 at 11:45 pm |
  13. Kate (not of 8)

    Interesting article, although not true for all Christians. There are some churches and people out there that, in their zeal to shield their children from the sin, pain, and consequences of premarital $ex, have gone to the other, comparatively wrong extreme, and made $ex as a whole disgusting and taboo. It all starts with proper education. We know that $ex is a wonderful, fun, intimate gift from God within the confines of marriage, so we should start there. I know as a teenager that anything that I was "forbidden" to do, I wanted to do all that much more. Children have to be informed and educated about their bodies and $ex, and know that being curious is natural. At the same time, it is imperative that they fight their flesh and stay pure until marriage.

    The idea that you have to have $ex before you get married to SAVE your marriage is preposterous. Sexual chemistry is important, no doubt, but if neither partner has ever been with anyone else, who knows if the other is bad in bed or not? Practice, practice, practice! Noone is born an amazing lover, you have to practice with a parter and learn what the other likes and learn their cues. You also cut out all the problems of unplanned and teenage pregnancies, STDs and AIDS, emotional turmoil and more.

    No one's saying that it's easy to wait; I'm not ignorant or naive. God did give us the desire to have $ex, and that is one of the reasons he gave us marriage, so we would have a partner to fulfill our sexual desires. I also think that God did not intend for many people to remain celibate or give them that gift, which is why so many Catholic priests, who are supposed to remain abstinent, have so many problems and controversies with young men, because they have sexual tension and need a release. If they had a wife to be intimate with, this sin could be largely avoided.

    I think the point is that Christians realize that pop culture and the media have taken over $ex and construed it as something that God has not intended. They see this problem and instead of confronting it and explaining to their children what $ex really is all about, they bury the problem under guilt and shame and hope the desire just goes away.

    It's also generational. I enjoy $ex, as a married woman, more than my 50-something year old mother does, and my 70-something grandmother cannot enjoy $ex or have fun with it at all, because the girls that did that in her day were whores and loose and not respectable. So again, it all starts with proper education and a correct view of $ex as God has intended it, to be enjoyed and passionate and FUN within the confines of a committed, lifelong MARRIAGE relationship.

    September 5, 2010 at 11:43 pm |
  14. ddalinDallas

    In case none of you ever checked,and it looks as though many have not. Sex was made by God for the enjoyment of a Married couple The devil tries to pervert it. My wife are i are strong Christians and enjoy incredible sex. When you have the confidence of Love making with someone in an exclusive relationship it makes it that much better. You should try it "Exclusivity" what a concept.

    September 5, 2010 at 7:20 pm |
  15. Mark

    Can you prove that married Christians have a diminished sex life? Do you have evidence or a study? Do non Christians make better sexual partners, or did you imply this on accident? To me this is the author giving himself a pep talk for not being like "those people over there". I think it's funny too that your thesis is based on Christian literature, as if sappy secular sex-novels are the litmus test of atheistic sexual culture.

    September 5, 2010 at 6:51 pm |
  16. Enoch

    Just another on the long list of reasons why religion needs to be done away with. The weak-minded shouldn't procreate anyway.

    September 5, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  17. jn555

    The bible was written by men, who at that time, didn't want their wives committing adultry. They didn't have paternity tests back then, and they needed to know their offspring was actually theirs. This is why we have these "laws" or "sins" about sex. The oldest book ever written has a female prostitute as a character. Men have been threatened by women and their sexuality since the beginning of time. The bible is an important piece of our history, but it needs to be understood from the context in which it was written.

    September 5, 2010 at 3:02 pm |
  18. faster

    I'm not replying to you specifically, Bob; I can't seem to find where I can post an original comment. What surprises me is that I can reply here at ALL. Something got into my system and blocks me from ALL Soundoff sections, for original posts or replies. The comment fields aren't fields at all; they're overlays. Someone (probably NOT CNN) is trying to gag me, and succeeding very well. I guess I can be allowed to post here, since this is a blog, not a regular CNN article. I wish I knew who was doing this to me.

    But here's my thinking on this subject. Of all Christian derivatives, the original one, the Catholic Church, is the most prominent in the inculcation of guilt – about other things, too, but surely about things sexual. The problem of sexual deflation by religions, however, is virtually universal to all faiths; it's just a matter of how they do it, and to what degree. And to WHOM. I don't know of one that doesn't make the female the "bad guy" most of the time. Most religions are highly male-oriented. Of them all, Islam is the worst in that regard; it's OF males, BY males and FOR males. It gives lavish sexual permissions to the male, and makes women virtually sex slaves to the men who own them. And ownership is precisely what it comes down to. The male-centered orientation is a way of putting the Divine "stamp of approval" on the superior worthiness of the human male, especially about sexual matters.

    One of the main purposes that religions came into being was to have social control over who can have what women, and when – in other words to reduce or eliminate competition, or the fear of rejection. Islam backed out altogether on the Old Testament's utter prohibition of sodomy, and made it into something not just proper, but laudable. One version of Quran says, "Your wives are as fields for you; enter your fields where you wish." I'm paraphrasing, but it means if he wants to flip her over and "do it" from behind, it's his right and she has nothing to say about it. Islam also gives the male full latitude to rut around and go whoring to his heart's content, and his wives have nothing to say about that, either. If it was merely a cultural norm, people would be more likely to step up and create a stink about it all; couched in words that are from the Creator of All, such stinks can't get started without implying a lack of piety.

    Islam is an extreme, but Christianity and other faiths DO stick their noses in peoples' bedrooms and tell them what is righteous in sex and what isn't. There is so much bleating about "improprieties" regarding sex – public scandals, kids getting pregnant or diseases the doctors can't cure – all those things add up, for believers of faiths, to an automatic conjoining of sexuality with dirtiness and unrighteousness, which then taints sexuality among married couples. When you hear a constant drone of "bad," "dirty," etc. about sex, it's kind of hard to put all that aside and enjoy sex that is proper, even by your own religion's lights.

    It is well known – by women, at least – that most males are lousy lovers. The climb-on, climb-off variety is the most common, in any culture. Few men truly want to learn how to pleasure the woman. It takes study and practice. All of that delays him in getting the release he wants. The average male, in bed, is mostly interested in getting his own climax, and as soon as possible. It is the rare male who makes it his business to please the woman, before he takes his own pleasure. They are rare, indeed, but the women know how to value such a man. While any man (regardless of how he is "endowed") can learn how to do this, most don't. So if you combine the religion-imposed guilt and attitudes about sex being dirty, together with the disinterest the average male has in giving pleasure and love to his partner, why should we be surprised that sex becomes perfunctory and blah? Women associate sex with love. Men only rarely do. That, too, is a major inhibiting factor.

    It's quite likely that, in the majority of successful marriages, they got that way because the man learned how to please her and wouldn't just take in bed, but would give and give, with love, tenderness and very powerful caring, giving her pleasure, then finishing by taking his own. It's almost unthinkable to leave such a man. You'd think that men would become eager to learn these things and apply them to the women they have sex with, but for some reason, most don't. It's a pity. But not all the blame falls on their religions. Much of it falls on the insecurities and selfishness of males, and the cultures add a whole lot to the insipidity so many people experience in their sex lives.

    It's not that this article isn't making some valid points; but it is also implying that there are no other things that suck the enjoyment and excitement out of sex. Religions' culpabilities here are only a part of a much larger whole.

    September 5, 2010 at 2:07 pm |
  19. krispy

    you are all silly (I say this after reading the evolution discussion above), people believe different things and sometimes there is nothing that can be said to change their minds. some christians are really timid in the sack. some aren't. some christians (the logical ones) believe in evolution. some choose to ignore modern science altogether. some christians are sooo judgmental that they make christianity look vastly unappealing and archaic.

    @NAK: Also, you want evidence of Allah's existence? open your mind and look around its every where. science is a good tool to figure it out. Read Quran it will be a revealing experience.
    YES, please. Science allows for the revealing of God–the two aren't in battle with one another. I agree with your statement.

    Christians: love everyone, consider science, and respect beliefs other than your own.

    September 5, 2010 at 1:08 pm |
  20. owlafaye

    Just when are we going to start legislating against this obvious scourge called Christianity? It is attempting to destroy America as we know it. Keep them in their churches. Tax everything but their church building sans any "coffee shops" etc or any other money generating businesses. Keep their prayers and preaching in the church BY LAW....carefully monitor their charitable exercises in the community.

    September 5, 2010 at 12:48 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.