What Does the Bible Say About Sex?

Whether or not a man should have sex is a complex issue, but the bible is quite clear about God’s intentions.

What Does the Bible Say About Sex
What Does the Bible Say About Sex?

God intended for a man to become “one flesh,” so he should not share his strength and wealth, let alone his sexuality, with anyone other than his wife of youth. It also states that it is wrong to engage in same-sex relationships outside of marriage.

‘The two shall become one flesh’

In Ephesians 5:31-33, the Apostle Paul makes a comparison between the church and the marriage relationship, and quotes Genesis 2:24: “The two shall become one flesh.” Paul also paraphrases the Hebrew text, adding the words “the two shall be one” in verse 31. This passage refers to marriage, and is a beautiful and important message for those who are married. In marriage, the man and the woman are one flesh in a relationship of mutual honor and love.

‘Sex within marriage is a “marital duty”

It may be surprising to some Christians to read that sex within marriage is a “marital responsibility” – especially in light of the passages he wrote about the marriage and sex. Paul doesn’t make the case that a wife’s body is not her own, but rather that a husband should have sex with her. However, it’s important to recognize that the Scripture doesn’t give any timeframe or list of marital rights. Nevertheless, Paul does warn against blanket refusal. He calls for couples to treat each other with Christlike love and refrain from coercing each other to engage in sexual activity.

Prohibition of same-sex relationships outside of marriage

In most of the world, same-sex relationships are not considered acceptable outside of marriage. During the colonial period, this practice was prohibited. However, with the rise of gay rights movements, some countries are starting to recognize the right to have homosexual relationships outside of marriage. In India, for example, same-sex relationships are legal. Bhutan has moved to decriminalize homosexual acts, while Nepal has enacted laws protecting people from discrimination based on their sexual orientation. Bangladesh has allowed individuals to register themselves as third-gendered in official documents. In 2016, ILGA polling found that about 35 percent of Indians were in favor of same-sex marriage. In Kazakhstan, the percentage was only 12 percent.

‘Lustful intent leads to adultery’

Jesus made it clear that lustful intent leads to adultery. The seventh commandment forbids desiring what belongs to someone else. This prohibition was intended to prevent a person from engaging in extramarital affairs. The difference between lustful intent and adultery is the degree of sin involved. Lustful intent results in a more serious outcome, such as divorce or damage to one’s reputation. However, lustful intent and adultery share one fundamental characteristic: a person’s desires and his willingness to act upon them.

‘Lustful intent leads to rape’

‘Lustful intent leads to an act of rape’ is the famous phrase from James 1:12-15. According to this passage, lust is the first step towards sexual sin. Sexual sin falls under the seventh commandment. But what is the definition of sexual sin? And what is the difference between lustful intent and an extramarital affair? Both are lustful acts that begin with the lust for an object. However, extramarital affairs do not end with repentance.

‘Sex with an animal’

‘Sex with an animal’ is prohibited in the Bible, and the practice is highly controversial. The Bible makes mention of bestiality four times. In Exodus 22:19, bestiality is explicitly forbidden and is accompanied by a death penalty. In Leviticus 18:23, it is also condemned as a perversion, affecting both men and women. This passage has a strong anti-bestiality bias, but it does not necessarily mean that all animals are forbidden.

‘Sex with your father’s wife’

The biblical prohibition against having sex with your father’s wife is very specific. In Genesis 49:4 and Amos 2:7, sex with your father’s wife is specifically prohibited. This prohibition likely stems from a concern for family discord, which evolved over time. As such, it is unlikely that the Bible intended this prohibition to apply to everyday people. As such, it is difficult to determine how it came to be codified.