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. Mastik8

    You mean you're allowed to have sex even if you don't want to reproduce? All the years I've wasted.

    September 3, 2010 at 5:47 pm |
  2. Mike

    What a stupid article! And why Christians? What about Islam? They just rape their woman. That's really great sex isn't it? But to the PC crowd(LIBERALS) we don't talk about that now do we.

    September 3, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
  3. Aaron

    I find sechs to be a very spiritual, connected experience. I do strongly disagree with the organized rules religion has supressed it with. I believe sechs is a connection between any beings of any form expressing an act much bigger than themselves. However, in an ill-educated society, I do realize younger people need to be informed on the responsibilities of adult actions. I am cautious on the strong holds religion has on some people.
    Any person should be able to freely express themselves sexually or non-sexually however they see fit, and not let religious rhetoric dictate, something purely natural, it's not big enough to comprehend.

    September 3, 2010 at 5:40 pm |
  4. Will

    I grew up in an atheist, possibly agnostic home. I had to sneak out to go to church sometimes. I am a Christian. I was a member of a Southern Baptist Youth Group from fifth grade until 11th grade. Although our congregation, both Youth Group and their parents preached abstinence before marriage. Very rarely did I ever encounter a member of our church who said that the act of intimacy between a husband and his wife was wrong, dirty, or only for the purpose of procreation.

    My Youth Pastor and every pastor after him taught that it was WONDERFUL and a married couple SHOULD be experienced as often as possible.

    I joined the Army and was a member of several Independent Baptists Churches. I married a so-called Christian woman who was raised in what I've been taught to call "Charismatic" churches; those who believe that "Speaking in Tongues" is the first "evidence" of Salvation. She (my ex-wife) was Baptized in the Baptist Church and accepted our doctrine.

    In my 20 years of reading my Bible, Praying, attending and being a member of 5 Baptist churches, I never once got the impression that this topic of discussion was forbidden, was dirty, or that the act itself was in any way wrong, when enjoyed by a man and wife.

    However, there is the matter of the act of sodomy. Sodomy, taught as the epitome of what took place in that sinful city of Sodom, as such a heinous act that God Himself destroyed it. Lot's wife merely LOOKED back at it, longing for the 'fun' she knew there, and was herself turned to salt. Their children did what to their father in the cave?

    My ex-wife viewed any flavor of that intimacy other than that vanilla stuff named for missionaries as sodomy. My 11 year marriage was terrible for that and many other reasons. Its of little surprise, however, that I found videos of her and another man, leading to our divorce.

    I'm now remarried and our life together is GREAT, for more reasons that this one, but I tell this story to illustrate that those who do outwardly take such a hard line view on this subject are, at times, the very perpetrators themselves. Its not that the creative activities that take place between a husband and wife are sin. Its the adultery committed, often because these 'other' acts are so enticing but that a husband and wife are afraid to talk to each other about their desires and experiment, because they don't want to lose their spouse. Divorce and remarriage, after all, IS still adultery in my Bible, unless the divorce is caused by adultery.

    And for what its worth, Christianity is not a religion; its a faith. The term is (mis)used to encompass several religions in which the major tenet of faith is that Jesus is the Christ, he is the one and only Son of God, born of a union between the virgin Mary and the Holy Spirit which IS God and Jesus lived a sinless life as a man, judged to be guilty of all sin, died on the cross at Calvary, and rose again the third day. We call it "The Gospel" and that believing this is what makes a person a "Christian" though there are SO many variances in the practice of religions that this article and the MANY posters don't discuss.

    The use of prophylactics is one such variance, as is conducting this 'business' solely for the purpose of procreation. (MY church leaders over the years have also taught that the two major 'religions' that view things this way are not really part of Christianity, if not for those two reasons alone.) I suppose I should write an article now, claiming that if you teach hard lined views, your congregation will certainly stray, but then I'd be just as incorrect and you all just as uninformed.

    September 3, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
    • In with Flynn

      Some serious rambling going on here......

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

      Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz !

      September 3, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
    • LVV

      interesting, so what is your take on christians having oral sex?

      September 3, 2010 at 6:42 pm |
    • Dovie

      I am a Christian and I learned that sex is a gift from God to be indulged in during marriage. We were not told not to do it nor were we told not to enjoy it. It is a gift given to us not just to have children, but to become one with each other. The problem is that sex outside of marriage that is not committed sex still sets up a spiritual bond between the people. If you have been to bed with 200 people over time, you have created spiritual bonds with 200 people. If then you marry, those bonds are still in play. Makes it hard to become one with your husband or wife.

      September 3, 2010 at 6:52 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      even Baptists believed [at one time] that contraception was against God's Laws but the social winds of the times blew strongly and in 1930, Christians [of some variety] were blown away with wrong thinking. What was Truth pre-1930 is still Truth today....Truth cannot change with the wind.

      September 4, 2010 at 1:00 pm |
  5. dajackg

    Actually, studies have shown that there is very little difference in how people of different faiths (or no faith) behave s-xually before marriage. Look up the work of Cindy Meston.

    September 3, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
  6. Tim

    I understand where he is coming from. I think that he right. The Christians (of which I am one) especially spend a lot of time saying 'no' to sx or other things, but need to spend more time saying 'yes' to the great life God has planned, including really great hot steamy wild stuff between the sheets, on the sheets or just leave the sheets behind as long as it is private.

    September 3, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
  7. In with Flynn


    September 3, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
  8. dajackg

    Actually, studies have shown that there is very little difference in how people of different faiths (or no faith) behave sexually before marriage. Look up the work of Cindy Meston.

    September 3, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
  9. Marantha

    I think CNN is on a mission to promote Islam and demote Christianity. If you go back and look at the series CNN is running, its all PRO islam and anti Christian. CNN what is your agenda? Is it politcial correctness.???

    September 3, 2010 at 5:37 pm |
    • In with Flynn

      CNN bites anyway.

      September 3, 2010 at 5:40 pm |
    • Lucifer

      No...its to demote christianity...you exposed CNN...how clever of you !!!

      September 3, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
    • Kate

      I think you imagine much more than is really there.

      September 3, 2010 at 9:06 pm |
    • Dana

      Yes. I want a special section on the home page for Christians, just like the Muslims have. There are a lot more of us, so it'd be good marketing for CNN. And make them look a little less biased than they are. But the problem with CNN is that they're not so much into reporting what people think as they are influencing what people think. And they don't think much of Christians- I'm sure they LOVED running the headline for this story.

      September 4, 2010 at 12:02 am |
  10. TammyB

    This article just goes to prove that if you put s * x in the title/headline of any story, there will be three times the readers/responders to that story! S * x sells! Whoo hoo!

    September 3, 2010 at 5:37 pm |
  11. Sternberg

    Christianity really does not put any limits on sex. Except for adultery which cheapens marriage, there are almost no negative mention of sex in the Bible.

    September 3, 2010 at 5:35 pm |
  12. God is Dead

    The headline should read, " How Christians spoil everything"

    September 3, 2010 at 5:35 pm |
    • Marantha

      God is alive and well.

      September 3, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
    • Lynn

      That's a very interesting and prejudice statement lol. Why do they spoil everything?

      September 4, 2010 at 12:00 am |
    • Niwotmom

      Coming from someone who is obviously not a Christian, that makes all Christians horrible people. I don't think so. God is very much alive!!!!

      September 4, 2010 at 11:51 am |
  13. NotReligiousJustaGoodPerson

    I believe that "thereisnogod" makes strong points about the ways in which religions have done horrible things to further their religion and retain power within society. In fact, there is much evidence to back up the idea that it has caused far more problems then offered solutions over history. Feel free to practice religion freely but listen to the founders of our country and realize that your fairy tale book should have nothing, and I mean NOTHING to do with politics and Law. (example: prop 8 in california passed after 22 million in fuding from the morman church). Also why must the bible be read so litteraly when you only follow it so litteraly when the purpose is discrimatory or self serving ( homosexuality, womens rights, abortion) but you dont take it litterally in saying that wearing blended fabrics or trimming your beard is an abomination. If "God" is as great as you all say he is, then I think he would believe that most religious poeople are missing the whole point of what he is saying. He just wants you to be a good, honest, loving, compassionate person not discriminate against other people because of a technicallity in a literal translation. I can respect religious friends who allow their faith to motivate and inspire them to be a good person everyday, but unfortunately that is often not the case. I would consider following religion more closely If I could see more positive effects than just a strong community and support for your family and church-going friends. At this point it is just seems to me to be an excuse to be closeminded, prejudiced, violent, and Hateful. lol by the way did you hear the stephen Hawking disproved neccesity of god/creator since the forces of gravity in and of itself has the ability to spontaneously create!?!

    September 3, 2010 at 5:32 pm |
  14. M

    For those of you believing this man is bashing Christians – if you did the *slightest* bit of research, you would know he IS one.

    September 3, 2010 at 5:32 pm |
  15. Ben

    Christians are not exactly level headed intelligent people. The Roman Catholics are among the worst. Did you know it is a SIN for a man and wife to use birth control (even condoms) ? The Catholic religion is still living in the dark ages ...... this is the only place that they can maintain any control.

    September 3, 2010 at 5:32 pm |
    • paul d


      Catholic teaching on the marital embrace simply embrace Natural Law, the law of nature written into our bodies. Here's a quick primer on the teaching called "Theology of the Body" (which I recommend you read, it's INCREDIBLE!):

      Just as we communicate with our voices/mouths, we communicate with our bodies. We wave, kiss, etc.

      1) Some things we communicate with our bodies are created by us, and can mean different things in different cultures. Ex: Holding your thumb and pointer finger together, and the other 3 fingers out means "OK" in America. In Saudi countries, it means "an us" and is insanely offensive (as Pres. Bush found out a few years ago, hehe...).

      2) Other things we communicate with our bodies have INTRINSIC meaning. A kiss, for example, is a universal sign of affection or friendship. No one would ever kiss someone to show them that they hate their guts; that would be ridiculous. Also, it wouldn't make any sense, since kissing has a UNIVERSAL human meaning.

      The marital embrace is in the second category. The act is the two people's bodies saying to each other, "I give you all of myself. I give you my vulnerability, and, indeed, my fertility." (incidentally, this is one reason we are not wearing any clothing when we engage in the act, typically, anyway. We are being vulnerable, exposing our entire personhood to the other person.)

      Using birth control stops the fertility, and makes the act a lie. You are now saying, "I give you all of myself, but not this." "I give you all of myself (but not that)." This is analogous to kissing someone and then saying, "I hate your guts." This is why it was such a scandal when Judas betrayed Jesus with a Kiss!

      I'd love to try to answer any questions you may have about this! It's a very favorite topic of mine. Thanks! ~Paul

      September 3, 2010 at 6:55 pm |
    • Ironic

      paul d, you really believe that, don't you? Using birth control makes se-x a lie? It can be compared to saying "I hate your guts"? Wow. Just the simple fact that you interpret other peoples actions for them illustrates the bad reputation Christianity has about judging others. Listen, it means different things to different people. When I use birth control, I'm not saying that this act is a lie or that I hate my partner. I'm saying, "I'd like to share intimacy with you without adding another person to this over-populated world." And I have more respect for other people than to tell them that's what it means to them, too.

      September 3, 2010 at 8:53 pm |
    • Niwotmom

      As a Roman Catholic, I find this statement to be not only degrading, but insulting as well. Please don't bash us.

      September 4, 2010 at 11:56 am |
    • CatholicMom

      paul d,

      Keep posting about the Theology of the Body.....it makes great sense and people need to hear it.

      September 4, 2010 at 12:49 pm |
  16. chadwood

    Song of Solomon is pretty naughty people should read that!

    September 3, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
    • Sheri

      Absolutely! Sexiest book ever written.

      September 3, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  17. Christine

    Ah, CNN. Why do I bother coming to this website? This belongs on someone's stupid wordpress blog and no on the landing page for a major news network.

    September 3, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
    • Ben

      hmmmmm. interesting that you felt compelled to leave a reply here on CNN and not someone's wordpress blog. they know what they are doing.

      September 3, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  18. RobR

    I totally agree with this article. Especially the things that Christians teach their children. I know this from first hand experience. My wife was raised in a very strict religious family. And to this day she has been brainwashed with the exact things listed in this article. To her sex was bad. Her mother especially engrained it into her. She has heavy guilt about sex. She was not able to talk about it. It has taken me years to undo the damage that so-called christians did to her. For many, not all, but many christians put a negative stigma on sex.

    September 3, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
  19. Iowan

    This discussion struck a nerve. My ex-wife and my sx life was horrible and only got worse over time, and I largely attribute it to my conservative christian upbringing and teachings and resulting shame, guilt, lack of experience, lack of communication, and lack of knowing my own body and likes and dislikes. I am a firm believer in the concept of "sxual compatibility", and we did not have it it. Post-divorce, I've had some amazing experiences, all safe, guilt free, and I'm such a happier and better person for it, and my future relationships will be so much better. I now have experienced compatibility and incompatibility in the bedroom. There is such a thing, and some of it is anatomical and can't be predicted until trying it. I wish I wouldn't have had such christian-based hangups and repression growing up, and would have had more partners before marriage, and learned these lessons long ago.

    September 3, 2010 at 5:29 pm |
  20. zeugirdor nahtan

    most christian believers are under the illusion that if we have s-ex God will send us to hell. I think this guy is right on with the times. theres a difference between Lust and Love making. send me an email i feel in a debating mood 😀

    September 3, 2010 at 5:29 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.