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. Ribbit

    Christians – Free your mind and the rest will follow.

    September 3, 2010 at 2:56 pm |
    • Jon

      The irony of your statement is laughable. Idiot.

      September 3, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
  2. Burbank

    LOL! *l* too!

    September 3, 2010 at 2:55 pm |
  3. KB

    Wow...I am amazed at this article! As a Christian, educating our kids about "love" is very important in our lives. My kids are 6 and 3 and if there is one thing my kids know about my wife and I is that we love each other and show it. My kids see us tell each other we love them, kiss and hug and show affection. S-ex with someone you are MARRIED to can be the most important thing to a Christian marriage just below your Faith. I think it's important to note though there is a difference between S-ex and "making love" to your spouse. That alone is what makes this article laughable!

    September 3, 2010 at 2:55 pm |
    • Razor

      You missed the point of the article KB.

      September 3, 2010 at 3:01 pm |
  4. Happily Married

    My husband and I are Baptist Christians and we have an awesome S life. True, pregnancy as we are getting older is not what we are hoping for, but hey there are many ways to enjoy each other without the chance of pregnancy. Our children are grown now and health issues would make pregancy scary. This is something we hope our children have learned by watching our simple affection, rather than having the s-stuff crammed down their throats on tv and movies.

    September 3, 2010 at 2:55 pm |
    • doubled

      are you saying that you let your kids watch????Sick puppys

      September 3, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
    • doubled

      What is the matter with y'all spellinng the word out...It's SEX not s-ex etc. SEX sEX SEX we all know what it is and MOST of us ENJOY SEX. God is a figment of your immagination. Worship a rock for the rest of your life. Same difference

      September 3, 2010 at 5:37 pm |
    • doubled

      Health Issues. yEA proof that some people shouldn't breed

      September 3, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
    • Happily Married

      The sick puppy would be the one suggesting such a thing. Affection is not s.x.

      September 3, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
    • aerie

      So why do you worry about pregnancy? Use birth control.

      S x is "something you *hope* your kids learned" by seeing your affection? Your level of ignorance & irresponsibility are staggering.

      I made d**n sure that my daughters absolutely *know* the deal starting when they learned to recognize their own body parts. This is an open topic in my home, I never approached it w/ the "white gloves of religion". Being human is messy business sometimes, reality is required . They would say 'jeez mom' & I knew when they'd heard enough for that moment.
      I never left it to 'hope'. I never let get duped into believing that sex outside of marriage is a 'sin'. Utter foolishness. Responsible, safe sexual activity btw consenting informed aduts is not 'sin'. Abstaining in hopes of a 'blessing of the marriage bed' is the same as Disney's "happily ever after" nonsense.

      I have an unwritten 'rule' that living w/ the one they love for at least 1yr is required prior to marriage. I can't really enforce it of course, it's their choice. But they know that NOT being sexually active prior to this serious commitment is personally irresponsible to themselves & their partner. It's lack of critical thought & poor decison-making.

      Ugh, "sin" is a ridiculous notion. Created by corrupt men w/ sinister intentions & selfish desires for gain at any cost. And people bought it for fear an eternal torture & b/c they were brainwashed to believe they were unworthy, filthy sinners in need of saving. It gave them warm fuzzies too I guess.

      September 3, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
    • Anthony

      The simple fact that you can not even type the word sex (instead typing "s") is proof of the puritan additude christian's have about sex. Americans ( i am one living in SE Asia) have no issue with violence on tv but god forbid we see a breast. Yet the porn in US is a multi billion dollar industry. Go figure....

      September 4, 2010 at 12:24 am |
    • FatSean

      You can't even type the word "sex". Oh man, when you die and Thor destroys your soul for worshipping the wrong god aren't you going to feel silly!

      September 4, 2010 at 11:01 am |
  5. peace2all

    I was under the impression from a lot of christians that s*e*x was not fun, but only for pro-creation.

    You mean you christians actually enjoy..... You guys make a pretty big deal about making it sound like an awful thing especially to other cultures, and to anyone under the age of 30... and who is not married.


    September 3, 2010 at 2:55 pm |
    • David

      Who are you talking to. that is nowhere near the truth. Christians are encouraged to have "fun" with their spouses often, and enjoy it. It forges a bond between people

      September 3, 2010 at 5:48 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      You got the not married part right anyway.....

      September 3, 2010 at 5:49 pm |
  6. jerry

    you just cant stop bashing christians cant you.there is a reason why christians dont have sex before marriage.wow are we in the end times or what

    September 3, 2010 at 2:55 pm |
  7. Julie

    I don't understand or agree with this writer's perspective. He speaks as if he understands the mindset of all Christians, and he is clearly misinformed. I don't like it when uninformed people write inaccurate articles about Christians and post them smack in the middle of CNN.com. I'm sorry that he has been told that God and Christian sex-life are two different things. However, when I first got married I was given several books on "intimacy" in marriage and the importance of having a thriving sexual relationship in marriage. I've never once believed or been told that Christian sex should be anything less than great. Gimme a break...he doesn't even cite sources or quote any Christians, and this is supposedly "news."

    September 3, 2010 at 2:54 pm |
  8. Randy

    As a Christian, I do know that God created sex and it should be taught and not hidden from our young kids. If we, as Christians put our head in the sand, our kids will learn it, the old fashion way... from their friends and others that may not have the same values as you do. It's something not to be nervous about but something that should be taught with excitement and patience. So, lets not spoil it!

    September 3, 2010 at 2:54 pm |
  9. Burbank

    Actually there is no live moderator at all, it's a computer that's programmed to grab postings with certain forbidden words, that's why tons of innocent statements are grabbed seemingly for no reason. I suggest using s-x when discussing this, the computer won't recognize it as something to grab.

    September 3, 2010 at 2:54 pm |
    • MrsFizzy

      Yep, silly isn't it??! When you can't even mention the subject of an article when you comment!

      September 4, 2010 at 4:38 pm |
  10. Trish

    Am I the only one who finds it hysterical that there seems to be this ban on using the word "sex" in comments about an article that's about sex? I wonder if this comment will get through...

    September 3, 2010 at 2:53 pm |
  11. Name

    Sounds like Christianophopia to me.

    September 3, 2010 at 2:53 pm |
  12. Butterfly

    HIGHLY HIGHLY Recommend that people read "Intended for Pleasure" by Ed Wheat. Awesome book!

    September 3, 2010 at 2:53 pm |
  13. Jake

    Can you please do a follow up article on how Muslims not only ruin sex but pretty much everything else with their strict social guidelines? Thanks CNN

    September 3, 2010 at 2:51 pm |
  14. Patrick

    I would have read the article, but the firewall I'm behind redacted it. Apparently the Jesus freak in the NOC thought it was porn.

    September 3, 2010 at 2:50 pm |
  15. tweedles

    When your ideal of your religion is those who abstain (monks and nuns) it's pretty easy to see how the above attitudes came to be.

    September 3, 2010 at 2:50 pm |
  16. talk to all Christians

    You've been talking to some judgemental Christians...which, they (Christians) tend to get stereotyped. Read Psalms and other books, in the Bible, and you will read what God says...not what humans say.

    September 3, 2010 at 2:50 pm |
    • Hoeech

      No, you'll hear the words of MEN who wrote a book for the sole purpose of controlling the pre-literate masses. If these were truly the "words of God", how then did there come to be over a dozen different versions of the Bible? Don't you think that editing the "words of God" would be a wee bit presumptious and a whole heap arrogant?

      September 3, 2010 at 2:59 pm |
    • Religion is a poor excuse for foolishness

      Your book is not written by a human being? Hmm. Gotta see some more evidence on that one.

      Hey I've got a book written by God that says you owe me a million dollars. Pay up!

      September 3, 2010 at 3:03 pm |
    • CosmicC

      I don't want to get into the whole word-of-god thing, so I won't go into the larger bible. Psalms are not the word of god. They are words in praise of god.

      September 3, 2010 at 3:03 pm |
  17. Jim

    What a moronic article. I have never heard that relations within marriage are wrong.

    September 3, 2010 at 2:49 pm |
    • sjbvt

      Jim, that's not the point. It's the constant pressure on kids and teens that they should feel guilty about their thoughts about 'relations' that by the time they are in a marriage they can't get over that feeling of wrongdoing. The article is just saying that instead of approaching it from a 'don't do it, God frowns upon it until your married' standpoint, we should have a 'if you abstain from this experience until your married it can be amazing and mind-blowing' position.

      September 3, 2010 at 3:00 pm |
    • Adam

      You've never been to Utah then.

      September 3, 2010 at 3:02 pm |
    • ELB

      What are you talking about Adam? How do you think Mormons have 9 kids?? One religion proffesor I knew at BYU said he was once asked if Mormons practice birth control, and his responce was " Yes, and we hold practice sesions regularly".

      September 3, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
    • Lindsey

      Jim, If you read his article about sex in its entirety he says that we teach our chiildren that sex is wrong before marriage so many times, and neglect to teach them how awesome sex is within marriage (where there isn't fear of: rejection, STD's, abandonment if there is a pregnancy, sharing of intimate details with friends, etc-I added this stuff), and that it is meant to be really really fun and exciting. He just says that we teach this "say no to sex" message so often that when we do get married and there is all the freedom in the world to explore every avenue of sex with our spouse, iit iis difficult to turn off the guilt that is often accompanied with sex outside of marriage.
      That's all. Not trying to come down or you or start a debate. I just wanted to explain a portion of his essay that wasn't included on cnn.

      September 3, 2010 at 5:15 pm |
  18. Adam

    I am not sure what christianity this article is speaking of and if i wasnt a christian i would probably be offended lol. But people who are christians and actually love God so much to where they actually obey him and do the things he delites and does not participate in the things he hates, knows the heart behind sex. they dont need the so called church or common "christianity" telling them, its in the bible try the book of the bible Song of Solomon.

    September 3, 2010 at 2:49 pm |
  19. Eleni

    Hebrews 13:4 (New King James Version)
    4 Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.
    I take that to mean the S-word is a gift to be enjoyed with your husband.

    September 3, 2010 at 2:48 pm |
    • Hoeech

      What if he's terrible in bed? What if he's a premature ejaculator? What if he rolls over and goes to sleep after 45 seconds? If you waited until marriage to find this out, you'll be in for one seriously repressed and unfulfilled s-x life...or have an affair after a year or two.

      September 3, 2010 at 2:55 pm |
    • Drew

      Or, you just realize that there's more to a marriage relationship than luvin'.

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

      Hoeech, if you're not willing to practice with someone who's "terrible" or have patience with someone, then maybe you shouldn't be having 5ex with anyone. But from reading your comments on this article, I don't know if you have the kind of love that would actually allow you to have patience with anyone other than yourself.

      September 3, 2010 at 3:11 pm |
    • George

      Hoeech, It sounds like great lovers, in your opinion are "born" and not "taught"... wrong!!!!!

      September 3, 2010 at 3:12 pm |
    • Connecticutian

      Hoeech, that comment indicates a seriously low view of "love" and "fidelity", and a seriously high view of "lust". S_x is about more than getting off, and marriage is about more than s_x. As an aside, that's one of the cool things about Christianity: it challenges the world's assumptions about what's important and what's not. Die to yourself, follow me, forgive your enemies, bless those who curse you, etc.

      September 3, 2010 at 3:12 pm |
    • david

      As a Christian, married man, I usually don't tend to share personal issues, but under this circumstance I'll share. Sex is AWESOME! Me and my wife never had a previous partner so we get to enjoy sex on a more intimate level that most people will never enjoy. There's no guilt between us. No "wondering if there's something better out there". My wife is everything i've ever, and, will forever want. There's nothing more special I can give to my wife than to say, "You are the ONE I've been waiting for my entire life and you were worth the wait." And I say this to her everyday. Marriage isn't about what you can take from a relationship, but your freedom to give. It's quite beautiful and nothing compares (according to observation) I have no desire to lessen others' experiences or opinions, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

      September 3, 2010 at 3:24 pm |
    • kayray

      Sorry, Eleni, I will continue fornicating. I'm 46, divorced and have no desire to marry again but I love great sex and I'm not giving it up. Of course I'm not burdened by religion or books written by men to control the population so I say YES TO FORNICATION AND SINFUL RELATIONS.

      September 3, 2010 at 3:37 pm |
    • Wayne

      Very clever front here, but the last time I checked, there was just as much fornication, adultry, spouse swapping in the church as there is outside it. And, the number of second, third, and dare I even say fourth marriages are pretty high also. And it's so good that Connecticutian can't even type the entire word. If God meant for sex to be between loving, married couples, surely He's not going to get upset if you "say" the word.

      September 3, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
    • Leah (TXanimal)

      I have to agree with Hoeech on this one.

      Anyone who thinks that s-x is NOT important in a committed relationship is fooling themselves. I can't speak for men, but women get quite a lot more than just physical satisfaction out of the act...it's more about feeling connected emotionally AND physically to your partner. It's about respect, communication, and connection...NOT just "lust" (a term which the modern American English language assigns a completely different meaning to than the Christian Bible). Although really, it IS fun to have someone, when the mood strikes, you can just drag to the bedroom...or wherever...I digress. In any case, it's really arrogant to assume that because someone doesn't want to be surprised with a really terrible lover, they don't know what "real love" is. Get over yourselves!

      Not having that particular chemistry in the mix CAN damage the relationship...since it IS more than just a physical act (in the context of a committed relationship), it can lead to other emotional stresses and communication disasters. Especially if the other partner has a voracious appetite. Everyone has different physical and emotional needs in that department, just like any other relationship department. It may only be one part of the relationship, but it's PART of the relationship nonetheless. If it's something that can be addressed and worked through, great!

      September 3, 2010 at 3:57 pm |
    • Jita2060

      Exactly Eleni. If Christians who have taught others that marital relations shouldn't be enjoyable and fulfilling within the confines of marriage would go to the Bible as their instruction manual and read it slowly and carefully, there wouldn't be so much information that goes against what it clearly teaches. Sex outside of marriage IS bad but not because its not enjoyable. It's bad because of the consequences that comes from it. Even if you don't get an STD or have an unintended pregnancy, you're still sinning against your own body. From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible talks a lot about sex within the confines of marriage and how pleasurable that can be and it also talks a lot about sex outside the confines of marriage and the consequences that stem from it. Why Christians won't go to THE source to find out what the Lord has to say about these things is beyond me. After all He created marriage and sex.

      September 3, 2010 at 4:24 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Hoeech: You are absolutely correct. There are some things that can be "fixed" through counseling and honest discourse, but there some things that cannot. Sometimes people are just not compatible. And the arrogance of some christians to hold up the carrot of se-xual activity as one of the privileges of marriage and then after finding out sometimes it just doesn't work out, for them to say se-x isn't that important to marriage, is almost deceitful.

      September 3, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
    • Joey


      If your first and only partner is terrible in bed, you'll never know any different to compare him/her to, and thus the idea that "S" is bad will be reinforced. You can really only make the comparison to how good or bad your partner is once you've had enough partners to know who was better than the others.

      September 3, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
    • Julie

      What if he's terrible in bed?! Seriously?! The question should be, do you love him? What if he was paralyzed and couldn't have sex again? Would you leave him? Cheat? Or would you grow up and recognize that society is continuously force-fed the notion that sex is the be all end all in life, when in fact it is but a small part. I love sex with my husband but if he was not great/ a premature ejaculator/paralyzed in an accident, I would go without sex because I love him and he's so much more than that.

      September 3, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      My husband is the apple of my eye!

      I never needed to try all the different kinds of apples out there to know he was the one for me. My goodness, how many varieties are there anyway? By the time you would have tried them all, you probably could never find that best one again….and then there might be the problem of getting one half rotten after all.

      We’ve made the best apple pies, cakes, and cookies anyone could ever dream up; some in the kitchen, too.

      We will have been married 49 years on the 16th of this month and after three kids, 10 grandkids, and 2 great grandkids, he still makes me feel like he’s glad he picked me, too.

      September 3, 2010 at 10:50 pm |
    • FingKnowItAll

      Amen, Hoeech. What I was experiencing was not what I'd heard it should be like. Convinced I was doing something wrong, I bought some books and learned that the problem was not me. My partner had, um, structural issues which could not be fixed, combined with emotional hangups about the act being unChristian. No amount of improved technique on my part was going to change the problem. Finding this out before marriage would have been beneficial. The inability of my partner to do it in the conventional manner, and unwillingness to satisfy me with "disgusting" (partner's word) creative alternatives meant we never developed the emotional connection to have a strong marriage. The next time, I will insist on a test drive. I'm not afraid of going to hell - already lived through it in that disaster of a marriage.

      September 4, 2010 at 12:36 am |
    • Jeff S

      So, does that text refer to all animals or just man? Seems silly for God to create just one species of animal that has to abide by that rule when the others do not.

      Personally I think God created us the way he wanted, in his image, with the intelligence to figure life out. I don't believe he was a practical joker that would give us urges that would go counter to his plan only to then send someone to tell us if we follow through with the urges we are in trouble. He gave us free will. You cannot have free will when someone is holding a gun to your head telling you to live a certain way or you will be punished.

      People need to wake up. Religion is not God. Its man trying to control you in his name. God did not create you and give you free will so you could be a slave. God gave you intelligence. Use it. You don't need fallible men to tell you have to find God.

      September 4, 2010 at 1:17 am |
    • Bill

      God will Judge as His word lives, but most of these people who comment on this, the writer and the editor our so blind to their own sin. As far as Christians and sex goes the world will never know, Just because we don't make it dirty and defile it doesn't mean it isn't great and what do they know about it anyway? As far as CNN goes I can get my news from somewhere else. No problem their.

      September 4, 2010 at 2:26 am |
    • No name

      NONESENSE !!!

      September 4, 2010 at 6:25 am |
    • EvidenceBase

      S-word??!!?? Can't even say it? Wow, like what are you...5 years old?

      September 4, 2010 at 8:38 am |
    • Niwotmom

      @Hoeech-And, because of the way you define that scripture reading, and think about sex the way you do, is why it is being used and abused, and not the gift God intended it to be. What if the husband is horrible in bed, or a premature ejaculator, you need to find out ahead of time, and then decide, "well, hell I'm got marrying you". If you are truly in love with the person, that stuff can be dealt with. That's not a reason to jump in the sack before hand, and "test the waters", to make sure they work right.

      September 4, 2010 at 11:38 am |
    • John

      Jas 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
      This verse seems to indiacte that "Hot sex" within a Christian marriage is not a gift. Perhaps the reason it is "hot" is because it doesn't come down from above.

      One Greek word, "Charisma" which is used in the N.T. for the word gift refers to the natural gift of continence, which is the self restraint of sexual intercourse. Paul writes in 1 Cor. 7:7 "every man has his proper gift of God, one after this manner and another after that." If this verse refers to continence as a gift, then I could see how others interpret that to mean that incontinency is a gift also. Interpreting it this way however is a bit of a stretch. Which raises the question, why would you emphasize one gift over another gift?
      Some verses to think about,
      Prov 17:8, 17:23, 18:16, 21:14, 25:14

      September 4, 2010 at 2:47 pm |
    • PeteH

      Actually, none of us can say it; the comment will be dumped if you do.

      September 4, 2010 at 7:03 pm |
    • PHIL

      I had a Christion friend that after i told him for a very unfortunate reason my whife and i couldn't have intercourse that if that happened to him he would leave his . That was the most insenative , screwed up reason for leaving. I couldn't imagine life without her .

      September 4, 2010 at 8:03 pm |

      you are right, marriage between man and wife. God invented sex, my sex life is awesome and I am a believe in Jesus Christ. Most Christian marriages i know have great sex lives. the article is off

      September 7, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
  20. Bubba's Master

    More Christian propaganda. Christians are some of the worst perverts anywhere. They even have churches dedicated just to sex. They have churches based on sexual orientation and pastors who think of nothing but sex. One of them even came out with a book advising his followers to have sex everyday. The ad for the book was pure sleeze.

    When will CNN stop with the yellow journalism?

    September 3, 2010 at 2:48 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.