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RE:QUEST

A space for resources to help RE teachers and their students explore the Christian faith

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Relationships: Sex

What do Christians think about sex?

 

Every form of life must reproduce in order to survive. Humans, like animals, reproduce sexually. In every non-human species that reproduces sexually, sexual activity appears to be purely concerned with reproduction. In humans, however, sexual activity is a pleasurable activity in its own right. Humans are made with a sex drive - it's part of what makes us human. Some people see our sex drive as just a physical need, like hunger, which needs satisfying. Others think our sex drive is something you can control.

Christians and Sex

Christians believe sex is to be celebrated. The Bible says that sex is a gift from God. The very first thing God says to the first humans in the book of Genesis in the Old Testament isn't 'Hello there' but 'Be fruitful and increase in number' (Genesis 1: 28): in other words, go and have sex. Christians believe that God designed men and women like two pieces of a jigsaw, designed to fit together. He made human reproduction fun. The Book of Genesis says that when God had finished creating the world, he thought that his creation - and that included sex - was 'Good' (Genesis 1: 31). Christians believe that God gave sex to humans as a gift. There is a whole book of poetry in the Bible, 'The Song of Songs' which celebrates love and sex with vivid imagery:

‘Awake, north wind, and come, south wind! Blow on my garden, that its fragrance may spread abroad. Let my beloved come into my garden and taste its choice fruits.’ (Song of Songs 4:16)

But sex is something that should not be treated lightly. Jesus said that the act of sex makes two people 'one flesh' (Matthew 19: 5-6): it joins the couple together. This doesn't mean that the couple is physically joined together, but that sex changes the relationship.

Genesis 2: 24 states 'For this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and be united to his wife and the two will become one flesh.'

It is the sexual act that unites the couple. It is because Christians believe that sexual intercourse is more than just a physical act that they believe that sex needs to be controlled. If God designed sex to join two people, then separating from a sexual partner is going to hurt more.

Christians believe God’s guidance on sex is designed to protect people from this pain. So sex for most Christians is the expression of a deep and loving, lifelong union between two people and its only correct expression is within marriage. While it is true that some Christians, however, believe it is permissible for two committed people who are not married to have sexual intercourse, all the major Churches teach that sex is only for within marriage.

Reflect
‘Sex for most Christians is the expression of a deep and loving, lifelong union between two people and its only correct expression is within marriage.’
Do you agree with this perspective? Why/why not? How might the beliefs expressed within this resource affect a Christian's actions and choices?