The (Biblical) Sex Talk: What the Church Should Be Doing

on June 1, 2015

If young adults do not hear about sex and sexuality in the church, they will hear about it somewhere. The worst thing that the church can do is to ignore the topic.

As an undergraduate at a men’s college, I am constantly bombarded with the culture’s view on sex. Guys see how many times a week they can “score” as though sex were a sport and women the ball being tossed around. Once, a drunken classmate of mine, walking toward his room with a girl he had just met at a party, told me, “Don’t worry, bud. You’ll get there one day.” The implication, of course, was that I would one day have the exciting opportunity to “hook up” with a stranger.

Sadly, in spite of my Christian upbringing, no one ever told me what was wrong with the hook up culture. In fact, sex before marriage was encouraged by much of my Christian family and by the unanimous agreement of my Christian friends, who both mentioned preventing unwanted pregnancies, but never voiced the option of abstinence. What is worse, I never heard about the topic of sex in church. It was not until my involvement with a Christian campus ministry that I heard someone speak against premarital sex using biblical teaching.

This being my experience, I urge the Church, particularly parents raising children in the Church, to speak out on this issue and embrace the God’s intention for sex. Parents, do not make your child wait until he is a legal adult to hear about it from someone else. Talking about it may be awkward, but it could save your child from making a huge mistake and dealing with a lifetime of baggage for it.

The reasons that I have found for church leaders and families avoiding “the (biblical) sex talk” are two: (1) condemnation for preaching something different from what they practiced, and (2) awkwardness and uncertainty of where to begin.

The first of the two reasons is remedied by the knowledge that “there is…no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). Preacher Damon Thompson joyously recounts, as a wonderful example of Christ’s restoration in man, how a former alcoholic friend of his now lives “to help a drunk.” It’s for freedom that Christ set you free, so do not put yourself on probation. Your experience could be the perspective someone else needs to hear.

The second reason for avoiding the topic is remedied by looking at what scripture has to say about sex. It is most clear that sexual relations are relegated to the covenant of marriage in Genesis 2:24: “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh” (NIV, emphasis added). Another passage notes “since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband” (1 Corinthians 7:2 NIV, emphasis added). Because people are so apt to have sexual relations, even in the improper context, Paul encourages us to have them instead in the proper context—marriage. (See other verses on this topic: 1 Cor 6:18, 1 Thes 4:3–7, Matt 5:27–28, Eph 5:5, Hebrew 13:4, et. al.)

The Church is often branded as legalistic and puritanical with regards to this topic. I have heard it joked about, in sermons that do discuss the biblical context of sex, that the old church motto on the topic went as follows: “Sex is filthy. Save it for your husband.” It is this misrepresentation that leads newlyweds acclimated to church culture to feel guilt for having sex in marriage—yes, in marriage—and leads others to spurn marriage as an institution for the morally lax.

Instead of letting the confusion and misrepresentations continue, the Church needs to stand up and embrace godly sexual relations in their appropriate context, teaching its youth that God designed sex for the covenant of marriage. It needs to educate on the harmful psychological effects of passion without commitment and on the correlation of cohabitation before marriage and increased divorce rate. It needs to prevent another generation of young adults from having their moral questions answered on an online forum.

Church, Parents, stand with me. Let us no longer shy away from the (biblical) sex talk.

  1. Comment by Benjamin Wortham on June 1, 2015 at 8:28 pm

    Who wears a yellow bow tie? If that’s always been your style then you probably didn’t have much trouble resisting the college hook up culture. Unless you went into a gay bar.

  2. Comment by Mark Bell on June 1, 2015 at 8:57 pm

    Thanks for adding such a mature post to the discussion. Commenting on the author’s taste in clothing shows you have nothing of value to say. If your god approves of your snarky contempt for evangelicals, you must worship a vile god. No wonder left-wing churches are emptying out, no one wants to fellowship with a bunch of snarky cynics. Other than contempt for Christians, the religious left has nothing.

  3. Comment by Benjamin Wortham on June 1, 2015 at 9:13 pm

    Ha! That didn’t take long. News flash, this is a media driven world. Nobody will take you serious if you look like Howdy Doody, especially when it comes to a conversation about sex. Contempt is the wrong word, I find you dry and humorless. In a word, clueless. As for my God, I know he has a sense of humor. After all, he created evangelicals. I do have snark, but I’m no cynic. Cynics don’t laugh. You however sound like the dour Christian puritan who lives on a steady diet of strained prunes, grimacing and purging himself of everything evil.

  4. Comment by Mark Bell on June 1, 2015 at 9:31 pm


  5. Comment by Benjamin Wortham on June 1, 2015 at 9:37 pm

    That’s it! Spoken like a true anonymous hateful Christian. Priceless! Set a good example for the love of Christ!

  6. Comment by Mark Bell on June 1, 2015 at 9:38 pm

    HIV btch

  7. Comment by Benjamin Wortham on June 1, 2015 at 9:41 pm

    No. Sorry hetero and married for twenty years, had premarital sex. We seriously enjoyed it!

  8. Comment by David Goudie on June 2, 2015 at 9:32 pm

    While I would not agree with those comments you quoted , if he did say that. Still I would make mention respectively that your comment did sound like ‘high school guys locker room jockeying’ .. And seems rather immature for a person who has been married 20 years …so logically I would guess is over 38 years old?

  9. Comment by Benjamin Wortham on June 3, 2015 at 10:48 am

    You just confirmed my fifty years of experience. Conservatives have no sense of humor.

  10. Comment by Jonathan Kuperberg on August 1, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    Why is marriage like a ruler? They were designed to be STRAIGHT every time.

    I told that joke to an anti-conservative (radical feminist) who had no sense of humor. She called me a ‘fucking HOMOPHOBIC prick’ and threatened to punch me in the face.

  11. Comment by Benjamin Wortham on June 1, 2015 at 9:51 pm

    Oh, you retracted your comments? Who’s the cynic.

  12. Comment by Benjamin Wortham on June 1, 2015 at 9:56 pm

    I’ll replace them for you. Mark Bell: “Dumb old troll fggot. Go die of AIDS, you creepy loser.”, “HIV btch”. Lovely prose by the way.

  13. Comment by mitchw7959 on June 2, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    Benjamin, nice job not letting Mark Bell get away with his obscene comment and putting typical Christian fundamentalist animus against LGBT people on display for everyone to see. This site, like their fellow travelers at Family Research Council and Focus on the Family, is a huge sponsor for anti-gay laws in countries such as Uganda, Russia, and Belize, and seeks to impose unconstitutional Christianist supremacy doctrine on American citizens here at home. They must be fought against by any means necessary.

  14. Comment by yolo on June 3, 2015 at 9:18 pm

    So you support trashing religious liberty here. Interesting. What will happen to other BILL OF RIGHTS freedoms in this free country when the mob assembles to attack those? Lest you forget liberal protestant sponsorship of Marxism during the Cold War throughout Africa.

  15. Comment by Jonathan Kuperberg on August 1, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    My “animus” against sodomy is Godly, and I believe in putting Christ above Caesar. The Constitution is an imperfect, though generally wise, man-made document; it could be improved with a Christian Nation Amendment.

    Sodomite deviants, abortionists and their Hellbound fellow travelers are free to claim that a Christian Nation would be like Iran or ISIS, the problem with that though is both Islam and modern humanism are evil lies from the pit of Hell while Christianity is the word of Almighty God.

  16. Comment by Jonathan Kuperberg on August 1, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    While I don’t condone the sort of bigoted name-calling Mark used, you are just engaging in a more refined form of unfair prejudice against the evangelical community. The ‘love of Christ’ is too often used as a blank check for sin.

    As for being a ‘dour puritan’, better than being a flamboyant sensual voluptuary,

  17. Comment by Benjamin Wortham on June 1, 2015 at 10:04 pm

    Edited that one too eh? Mark Bell: “Thanks for adding such a mature post to the discussion. Commenting on the author’s taste in clothing shows you have nothing of value to say.
    If your god approves of your snarky contempt for evangelicals, you must worship a vile god. No wonder left-wing churches are emptying out, no
    one wants to fellowship with a bunch of snarky cynics. Other than contempt for Christians, the religious left has nothing.”

  18. Comment by Ray Bannister on June 1, 2015 at 8:50 pm

    Ashby, don’t ever let the nay-sayers get you down. You build muscle by swimming upstream.

  19. Comment by Carlos on June 2, 2015 at 6:59 am

    The sexual activists, who have zero knowledge of history, make it sound as if Christians are the only people who ever condemned homosexuality – not even remotely true. In his Letter to the Romans, Paul was writing to Christians who were converts from paganism. In condemning homosexuality, at no point did he quote from Leviticus, rather he set the issue in the context of universal revelation. All people, not just the Jews, had some knowledge of God and of moral law, so even though the fullest revelation had been to the Jews, the pagans were without excuse when it came to knowingly disobeying the moral law. The Romans and Greeks tolerated homosexuality – within certain limits. They did not celebrate it, nor did they ask the state to recognize the “marriage” of homosexuals. P The references to homosexuality in the writings of philosophers and poets show that, like Paul, they regarded homosexuality as abnormal, something para phusin – “against nature.” So, while Christians tend to fall back on “the Bible says so,” the biggest witness to the perversity of homosexuality is that, since the beginning of time, it has not been embraced, but more often condemned, mocked, and (barely) tolerated.

  20. Comment by JVanderSpek on June 2, 2015 at 8:51 am

    The “sex talk” is not effective unless it is based on the teachings of Jesus. When will the church begin explaining and addressing the underlying sin of lust?

  21. Comment by Marshae on June 3, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    Amen. Amen. Amen. So many of our brothers and sisters are afraid to just say what they know Jesus is saying regarding of sex. I told someone the other day, just as you all can preach sexual perversion down our throats, we will and can preach the truth regarding sex down your throats. I do think we need to know how but once and doing it from a place of love. But as long as we are following the way Jesus has layed it out, should be no problem. Thanks for sharing!

  22. Comment by yolo on June 4, 2015 at 4:48 am

    Christian sexual ethic is sane. This is lunacy: It is the logical result of rejecting the Christian sexual ethic.

  23. Comment by Byrom on June 13, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    Amen, Ashby. Stand firm. I am an “old” guy (72) from an age when we knew that premarital sex was going on, but it was not really acceptable nor desirable. It was usually a one-sided thing, with the guy pressuring the girl, given that the young male hormones were more raging than those of the young female. I and most of my peers were taught at church, if not at home, that the Biblical standard is for sexual intercourse only in marriage. When I became engaged at age 21 to my now late-wife, who was 20, we got pretty hot and heavy on her parents’ front room sofa. Both of us were virgins because of our upbringing. But, in a different setting, we could have not resisted the temptation to “go all the way.” But God was looking out for us when we were not looking out for ourselves. As a result, our wedding night was a new and exciting experience and the beginning of learning our own unique ways of physical love-making – not cheapened by sexual experiences with other people. Today’s hook-up culture impresses me as one where women are desperate for authentic love, but do not understand that it is not found through promiscuous sex. What I heard a long time ago still stands true: why buy the cow, when you can get the milk for free?

  24. Comment by Gene Mims on June 13, 2015 at 5:49 pm

    Thank you. I too am a 72 year old and find myself wondering what in the world has happened. It seems to me many young people have lost their way and don’t know who or where to turn for direction.

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