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Keywords: Christian Sexuality Jesus Christ Christian Bible sexuality sex sexual morality sexual behavior marriage divorce incest masturbation love pleasure purity Matching Based on Christian Principles

A Study Of Christian Sexuality

By Rev. Bill McGinnis, Pastor
Teaching The Doctrine Of Radical Christian Love

Public Domain

This paper will search the Bible and attempt to present Scriptural answers to the major questions of sexuality for Christians.

First, it will identify God's three purposes for sex. Then it will present a picture of perfect Christian sex. Next it will deal with questions of sex for those who are not married. Finally, it will ask the Lord for help in dealing with our imperfect sex lives.

Throughout this paper, the Bible is used as the only authority. As Christians, we believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God and that it contains all the information we need to answer our most important questions of life. As the Bible says,

       "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and
        is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for
        correction, for instruction in righteousness:
        That the man of God may be perfect (complete),
        throughly furnished (equipped) unto all good
        works." (2 Timothy 3:16-17 KJV)

For another perspective on Christian sexuality, see


There are three intended purposes of sex mentioned in the Bible: pleasure, reproduction, and bonding together of man and woman.

Here are the Scriptural references . . .


Scripture contains this ringing endorsement of sexual pleasure in marriage. The loving God who created you has given you many wonderful gifts, including the gift of sexual pleasure. Are you surprised?
        "Let thy fountain (penis) be blessed: and rejoice with
         the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind
         (female deer) and pleasant roe (female wild goat);
         let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be
         thou ravished always with her love." 
         (Proverbs 5:18-19 KJV)
Also, when the Lord was telling Sarah and Abraham that they would have a child, even though they both were old, Sarah made a clear reference to sexual pleasure, doubting that she would experience it since Abraham was also old.
            "Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am
             waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?"
             (Genesis 18:12 KJV)


We have largely accomplished God's instruction to multiply and replenish the earth. And we have taken dominion over the earth in ways undreamed of in the past. But in order to maintain population, we still need to reproduce, as instructed.
      "And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be
       fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth,
       and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of 
       the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over
       every living thing that moveth upon the earth."
       (Genesis 1:28 KJV)

Bonding Together Of Man And Woman

God intends that a man should have a wife, and that they become "one flesh," bonded to each other exclusively.
       "Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, 
        and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be
        one flesh." (Genesis 2:24 KJV)
Jesus confirms this purpose of bonding, as shown below . . .
       Matthew 19:4-6 (KJV)
               And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that
               he which made them at the beginning made them male and
               And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and
               mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall
               be one flesh?
               Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What
               therefore God hath joined together, let not man put

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God wants us to seek perfection in all that we do, including our sexual life. As Scripture says . . .
        "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father
         which is in heaven is perfect." (Matthew 5:48 KJV)

Here, then, is a description of perfect Christian sex, as set forth in the Bible, God's instruction manual for our lives.
      NOTE: The Scriptural positions presented here are the strictest, 
      most demanding ways of understanding and applying each passage. 
      Nobody I know has ever met all of these requirements perfectly.
      Also, I seriously doubt that God insists on all of these rules
      today, particularly the insistence on no divorce. Nevertheless,
      I am presenting them here so you can see them and learn what
      the Bible really says on these subjects.

First, Your Sex Life Should Be Compatible With God's Three Purposes For Sex, As Shown Above: Pleasure, Reproduction, And Bonding Of Man And Woman.

It should be filled with sexual pleasure, open to conception and birth, and focused on bonding the two people together.

Your Sexual Relationship Has One Man, One Woman: Married

As Scripture says, quoting Genesis 2:24 again . . .
       "Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, 
        and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be
        one flesh." (Genesis 2:24 KJV)

Also . . .
             "Nevertheless, to avoid fornication (sexual
              impurity), let every man have his own wife 
              and let every woman have her own husband."
              (1 Corinthians 7:2 KJV)

Your Spouse Is Not A Close Relative

(See Leviticus 18 for a list of forbidden relatives.)

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You And Your Spouse Are Both Christians

As Scripture says . . .
        "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers:
         for what fellowship hath righteousness with
         unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with
         darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14 KJV)

Neither Of You Has Ever Been Divorced

Scripture tells us that God hates divorce . . .
         "For the Lord, the God of Israel, saith that
          he hateth putting away (divorce):"
          (Malachi 1:16a KJV)

There Is No Abortion

God hates abortion. It is a total abomination to Him. It is the "shedding of innocent blood", which is prohibited throughout the Bible. (Search on "innocent blood" and see what you find.)
       Jeremiah 22:3 (RSV)
               Thus says the LORD: Do justice and righteousness, and
               deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been
               robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the alien, the
               fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this

You Have No Sexual Activity Outside Your Married Relationship

In particular, you have no adultery, which is sex with penile penetration, in which either one of the partners is married to someone else. This offense is specifically prohibited in the Ten Commandments, and was punishable by death in the Old Testament.

As Scripture says, as one of the Ten Commandments . . .

   "Thou shalt not commit adultery." (Exodus 20:14 KJV)
              (And this was ratified word-for-word by Jesus in
              Matthew 19:18.)

More generally, you have no sexual contact whatsoever outside your marriage. You and your spouse are "one flesh," not to be shared with others.
       "Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, 
        and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be
        one flesh." (Genesis 2:24 KJV)

Your Sex Life Is Not Against Nature In Any Way

As Scripture says, speaking in favor of "the natural use," . . .
         "For this cause God gave them up unto vile
          affections: for even their women did change
          the natural use into that which is against

         "And likewise also the men, leaving the natural
          use of the woman, burned in their lust one
          toward another; men with men working that which
          is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that
          recompense of their error which was meet (due).
          (Romans 1:26-27 KJV)
(This means that anal sex is out of the question, in case you were wondering. It also prohibits homosexuality in general.)

There Is No Filthiness In Your Sex Life

As Scripture says . . .

       "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved,
        let us cleans ourselves from all filthiness of the
        flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear
        of God." (2 Corinthians 7:1 KJV)

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You Recognize That Your Body Is The Temple of The Holy Spirit

Therefore you should not damage it or degrade it in any way. As Scripture says . . .
        "What? know ye not that your body is the temple
         of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye
         have of God, and ye are not your own?"
         (1 Corinthians 6:19 KJV)

You Understand That Marriage Is A Good Thing, Highly To Be Desired

     "Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled:"
      (Hebrews 13:4a KJV)

You Recognize That Each Marital Partner Has Some Legitimate Authority Over the Other Partner's Body

As Scripture says . . .
           "The wife hath not power (authority) of her own
            body, but the husband: and likewise also the
            husband hath not power (authority) of his own
            body, but the wife." (1 Corinthians 7:4 KJV)

She Is Not On Her Period When You Make Love

As Scripture says . . .
       "Also thou shalt not approach unto a woman to
        uncover her nakedness, as long as she is put
        apart for her uncleanness (menstrual period)."
        (Leviticus 18:19 KJV)

                  *            *           *

There Is No PORNEIA In Your Life

PORNEIA is the Greek catch-all word for impure sex. Unfortunately, the King James Version and some others translate PORNEIA as "fornication," which is no longer the correct translation of the word. "Fornication" is now defined as "human sexual intercourse other than between a man and his wife," according to Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary and others.

PORNEIA, however, is not the same thing as "fornication." Some fornication is PORNEIA and some is not, and some PORNEIA is fornication and some is not, depending on the acts performed and the relationship between the two partners.

To Paul and the other Apostles, PORNEIA certainly included all adultery (Exodus 20:14), incest (Leviticus 18:6-18), bestiality (Leviticus 18:23), male homosexuality, with penetration (Leviticus 18:22), male and female homosexuality in general (Romans 1:26-27), harlotry, including paid prostitution (Ezekiel 16:41), plus perhaps other offenses unspecified.

Jesus probably had the same broad definition in mind when He cited PORNEIA as the only legitimate grounds for a man to divorce his wife (Matthew 5:32, 19:9).

PORNEIA was the only sexual offense that the church in Jerusalem required new Christians to avoid. This is clear proof of its inclusive nature (see Acts 15:20,29). They certainly would not have condoned adultery, bestality, incest, or male homosexuality, all specifically prohibited in Leviticus 18.

One of the clearest Scriptural prohibitions against PORNEIA is shown here . . .

    "For this is the will of God, even your sanctification,
     that ye should abstain from fornication (Greek PORNEIA):"
     (1 Thessalalonians 4:3 KJV)

Actually, there is no Scriptural command that all sexual intercourse be only between married partners. You can search the entire Bible, and you cannot find one instance where marriage is required for us as a condition of sexual intercourse. The Bible clearly prohibits PORNEIA, which is "sexual impurity," as we have already shown. But nowhere do we find that it prohibits all sex outside of marriage for those who are not married.



Many people cannot be married for some reason. Perhaps they are sexually mature but too young to be married. Or perhaps they were previously married but are now widowed or divorced. Or perhaps they were never married because they could never find a suitable mate who was willing to marry them. Does God abandon them sexually? No. God provides for all our needs, including our sexual needs. However, Scripture is basically silent on the subject of sex for the unmarried. And "where Scripture is silent, opinion abounds."

So the following are my opinions, based on what I have learned so far in the Lord.

Total Celibacy, Without Orgasm Is An Option

Some people are able to do completely without sex in any form. Some people prefer to live without sex in any form. May God bless them!

Solo Masturbation Is An Option

God in His wisdom, placed our sexual organs in a location where we can reach them easily. And if we rub them for a while, we can usually get some kind of sexual release, sometimes a very satisfactory release.

Is this a sin? I find no Scriptural evidence whatsoever against solo masturbation, and I have looked hard for it. The Old Testament story about Onan is sometimes cited as Scriptural evidence against masturbation. But God's displeasure with Onan in Genesis 38 seems to be based on Onan's subverting of his duty to father a child rather than merely spilling the seed. So I do not see Genesis 38:10 as a general prohibition on masturbation. Beyond that, there is nothing that I can find in scripture which would prohibit masturbating oneself, alone.

The only possible references to masturbation in the Bible would be Leviticus 15:16-18, 32-33; 22:4 and Deuteronomy 23:10-11, regarding "emissions of semen." But such emissions are considered less serious than a woman's menstruation: hardly a sin.

Evil thoughts? Filthiness? Lust? No more so than many people experience during sex with their married spouse. So where, then, is the prohibition? "I find no fault . . . ," as Pilate said of Jesus.

Many people ask the question, "Is masturbation a sin?" The answer is NO. Even within a marriage, solo masturbation has a place, for some people.

What About Pornography?

Many people, particularly men, have a strong, in-born desire to look at something sexual during sex. If you are alone, your choice is either to look at yourself or look at sexual pictures of some sort. Ask Holy Spirit what he wants you to do. In any event, porno images can be quite dangerous to some people, drawing them into areas of thought that they should never enter. Satan is very close to porno. The safest thing is to avoid it altogether, or else confine yourself to "soft-core" pictures of individuals of the opposite sex, cheerfully modeling alone for you. Avoid depictions of sin. Also, avoid wishing you were having real sex with the person in the picture. Be content with what you have: yourself and a picture.

Better yet: get married.

Dating With Petting To Climax May Be An Option

When I was a teenager, we called it a "dry run." Both parties had a climax; nobody lost their virginity; nobody got pregnant; nobody caught any bad diseases. No harm done. A sin? I don't think so. (Don't do it with anybody's spouse!) Oral sex is similar, but more dangerous than petting to climax, because bodily fluids are exchanged.

Dating With Real Sexual Intercourse

Be very careful here. You and your partner can both get hurt badly. Many people can be sexually satisfied very well without actual intercourse. Roman Catholic tradition holds that PORNEIA includes all sexual intercourse outside of marriage. Such a strong tradition, held so long by so many Christians, should not be lightly disregarded, even if you can find no scriptural basis for it. If you are close enough to somebody to be having intercourse with them, maybe you should go ahead and get married.

Married In The Eyes Of God

Some people consider themselves married in the eyes of God, if not in the eyes of the law or according to some established ceremony. If this is a one-flesh relationship, by mutual agreement, sexual intercourse is permitted and even required. (This was my own situation for more than ten years.)


Is your sex life perfectly aligned with the will of God, as described previously? Probably not. Mine isn't, either. But this is not surprising, since, as Scripture says . . .
           "For all have sinned, and come short of the
            glory of God;" (Romans 3:23 KJV)
So what should we do to make our sex life more perfect?

First, we should throw ourselves on the mercy of God, as the despised publican did in this verse from Scripture . . .

        "And the publican, standing afar off, would not
         lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote
         his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner."
         (Luke 18:13 KJV)
Then, we should ask God to give us what we need, according to His will for us. As Scripture says . . .
         "Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in every
          thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving
          let your requests be made known unto God." 
          (Philippians 4:6 KJV)

Here is a suggested prayer we can use . . .
     O Lord, Creator of the Universe,
     I thank you for the many blessings You have given me,
     Including the wonderful blessing of sex.
     But I have fallen short in my use of sex,
     And I have misused this gift from You.
     I acknowledge my sexual faults, and am sorry for them.
     Please be merciful to me, a sinner.
     Lord, according to Your will, please change my heart
       So that I will desire only those things that are
       Pleasing to You.
     And give to me everything I truly need 
       To live my life as You would have me live it.
     In Jesus' holy Name I pray, Amen.
May the Lord bless you as you move closer and closer to Him.

120x240 Direction 3

And now a final thought:


In the previous paragraphs, we have examined the Word of God to seek his will regarding Christian sexuality.

This is as He wants us to do, and this is why He gave the Bible to us.

       But he answered, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread
       alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'"
       (Matthew 4:4 RSV)
Nevertheless, we need to recognize that as Christians, we are bound by no law but The Law Of Love, as expressed in Galatians 5:14. We have a huge amount of liberty in Jesus Christ, our Lord.
       For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, "You shall love your
       neighbor as yourself." (Galatians 5:14 RSV)
And we should also recognize that if we sin against God, even repeatedly, He will forgive our offenses against Him to the same extent that we forgive others of their offenses against us.
              "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly
               Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men
               their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your
               trespasses." (Matthew 6:14-15 RSV)

So go now, in the confidence that the Lord loves you and wants you to have everything you need in your life. May His blessings flow abundantly to you.

Blessings to you in Jesus Christ our Lord,

Rev. Bill McGinnis <><

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May the Lord bless this presentation of His holy Word.

     Rev. Bill McGinnis  <><

See more pages like this, at our Index of Pearls Of Faith, a treasury of Biblical truths.

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Blessings to you. May God help us all.

       Rev. Bill McGinnis, Director -

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