Poll: How Should Christians Talk About Sex?

Over the past year, I've written a lot about sex.

And I've gotten a lot of comments, both publicly, and via e-mail, about the topics I've written about. Most of the feedback has, overwhelmingly, been positive. But I've definitely gotten negative comments as well.

So I thought I'd ask you: how should Christians talk about sex?

Click your answer(s) in the poll
at the top right of the sidebar (you CAN choose multiple answers)... and then leave a comment about what you chose (if you want to). I included answers to represent most of the various comments I've gotten, but if you have something else to say beyond what options I wrote out, click "other" and leave a comment about what you mean. For this post, because it's a sensitive topic, I WILL allow anonymous comments to be published.

Of course, you can share anything you like about this issue... the parameters of discussion that are acceptable to you... what DOES make you feel uncomfortable... what topics you personally would like to see addressed... what topics you think need to be addressed (even if it doesn't apply to you), etc. Anything you want to share on this issue of "how Christians should talk about sex" is welcome.


Katy-Anne said...

I believe in this sex-crazed world that it needs to be spoken of, even if I am uncomfortable doing so. My husband and I had several people telling us that it was wrong for us to discuss things about sex before we were married (we never intended to have sex before marriage, we wanted to know what each other thought about certain things). I think before marriage that some of that stuff needs to be talked about between a couple, so that they have an idea of what is going to make their spouse comfortable or uncomfortable.

Sweetpeas said...

I think it's important to talk about God's plan for marital sex. Obviously talk that's intended to "excite" shouldn't be had except with your spouse, but informational type discussion, I think is beneficial.

Lori - The Simple Life at Home said...

I chose the top three answers.

I think that Christians should be able to frankly talk about sex, but I think it's inappropriate to do it in "mixed company" as Jess called it. I've been in situations where men have been openly discussing sexual sin they've fallen into or problems in their marriage in this area. It's been very uncomfortable for me, I'm sure it's been uncomfortable for their wives. I think it's much more appropriate for men to counsel men and women to counsel women on this subject.

But even there, unfortunately more often among men I would suspect, there can be conversation that goes past the point of being helpful and ventures into sin.

All this is not to say that we should stick our heads in the sand and pretend none of us even know what sex is. It is a gift from God, after all. But I just think that there needs to be discretion, prayer and a committment to godliness first and foremost when it comes up.

Personally, I think you've done a wonderful job handling it, Jess!!

Carole said...

I marked your first box (Christians should be able to talk openly...) as well as the 'other' box. We should be able to talk about sex - always in a respectful and God-glorifying manner. I agree 98% with your first statement. "Openly and frankly" might be interpreted differently from person to person. "Openly and with sensitivity while bringing glory to God" is what I might insert there instead. :)

In any case, I've just discovered your site in the past month and really appreciate your willingness to address marital issues. As Christians we should reject the world's sex saturated upside down view on life. But we shouldn't completely ignore the topic either! In the right context it should be addressed Biblically.

Here's one example: Last year I was privileged to be a part of a small group study on marital intimacy. There were 7 of us women. We laid ground rules on day 1: nothing that is said in this room leaves this room - not even to share with our husbands (of course, we could share what we learned personally, but not someone else's stories). It was amazingly powerful. Sex is a vital aspect of the marriage relationship and yet all 7 of us had never been so open, had never been in a support network in which we could pray for each other and encourage each other on this topic! Needless to say, the husbands were very supportive of us getting together to meet. :)

Though I am a huge proponent of openness between women, I do get easily embarrassed if there are men present - and I think in those cases that the nature of the discussion needs to become much more sensitive to all present.

Steph VG said...

Recent polls have been producing statistics that say the church is just exactly like the world (shame on us!), and sexual sin runs rampant. Through both individual and joint counseling, my husband and I have dealt with at least 15 issues of immorality - both in and outside of "Christian" marriages - just in the last year, and we've known of countless other situations that haven't made it to our counseling offices.

Our sin-soaked society thinks it has the corner on the market where sex is concerned. They think they like sex more than God does. Sex is His idea, and the world acts like they snuck behind His back and "discovered" it.

As with everything, we ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20) have a responsibility to redeem this area with our practice and conversation. It can be possible for the conversation to turn sinful if we aren't careful; we are, after all, a work in progress, and partly a product of our culture. So we need to exercise care. But if we don't throw our hats into the ring, the only voice anyone - especially our kids - will hear is a corrupt one. That cannot be pleasing to God.

Mist said...

That is a great question!
I think for one we need to be careful in this area as many are struggling with serious issues... i.e. past abuse, pornography, ect. there are definitely times when it is good to go and talk to an elder or older mature woman.
At the same time I think we must hold to keeping the marriage bed honorable. There is a big difference in saying "God created sex and it can be such a wonderful thing, so enjoy it in your marriage," than giving details that should be discussed between husband and wife.
When I was first married eleven years ago I would talk to my sister about what happened in my bedroom with my husband. This should have been kept between me and my hubby and I think ruined some of our intimacy. Same is true when we dwell on "techniques" given by "experts". What a great thing it is to learn together and enjoy this sweetness alone... without comparing or thinking we are missing something.
Just my thoughts.

Anna S said...

Jess, I chose the "we need to be extremely careful" option. I believe talking about sex in a open, but careful and chaste way, is important; sex is a big part of our lives, or will be once we are married - and thus it cannot be brushed away. Ignoring difficult issues/problems can only lead to dissatisfaction and conflicts. We don't want that in our marriages do we?

Tim & Richelle said...

One of my responses included an "other" because while I do feel there appropriate times, there also inappropriate situations for such discussions. Women or men can share too frankly about private matters between them and their spouse (and I believe it often happens without mal-intent). We need to consider our reasoning behind why we would be discussing the subject - is it useless debate, is it sensationalistic and worldliness creeping in, are the discussions we have God-honoring and do they serve a purpose for which the Lord would approve. It is an extremely sensitive and private issue - I've heard it likened to God's wedding gift to each married couple - so it a topic to be handled with care, sensitively, and if there is any doubt, probably we are better off to remain silent.

That said, Christian parents do have the responsiblity to teach their children a healthy view of their own sexuality and the beautiful but carefully guarded treasure that it is as well as the untruths and problems of a worldly view of sex.

:..Rebekah..: said...

I have been in two different situations where sex was discussed among believers. Both situations were in mixed company, and I was very uncomfortable. In one situation it was in a bible study, and the leader was encouraging dialogue. He asked a question that seemed a little too personal about my husband and myself. He knew us both because we went to church together, and it just seemed very inappropriate. I think because everyone was trying to encourage openess the line of what was appropriate was blurred. Another time I was at a church, and the evening service was especially given to a group of believers who were going to a special recovery program in the church. They were able to share there testimonies and tell how God was delivering them or helping them recover from drugs, alcohol, etc. Things were awesome until one of the men confessed his addiction to masturbating. Of course, you immediately start quickly shaking your head and closing your eyes in an effort to keep that picture from crossing your mind!! The problem I had with it was that it was shared in mixed company, and there were also young teenagers girls in the service too. That is just too much info for me (and the young girls), and I think it is wise to keep certain conversations and confessions within same-sex groups. I think wisdom and discretion should be used.
In our times we are desiring openess and honesty within the body of Christ, which is wonderful, but I just think wisdom should be our guide.
Sorry for the long comment. :>
God bless, Rebekah

scarp said...

I think too often Christians miss the boat on this topic. I chose the first option, because we need to figure out good ways to have this conversation. More often than not we just give a lot of don't s. I liken it to putting a wonderful dessert in front of a hungry child, and then telling him/her not to eat it yet. What we should be doing instead is feeding our kids healthy meals (and by that I mean teaching them about intimacy with God and about appropriate ways to give and receive affection), and letting them know there is a great dessert waiting to be given at the right time. And then, when the time is right (i.e. just before and after getting married), teaching and encouraging each other in this area - without sharing the intimate things that aren't meant to be shared.

Dave Carrol said...

without a doubt... 1...

it's spoken of everywhere... most of the time in every setting aside from the church... where it's best.

Kara said...

Interesting reading the comments. Reading through them I can't help but see how culture affects our view of this...what is appropriate and what isn't. Culture is not bad but I think we have to be careful to not label something as wrong or sin b/c in our culture it makes us uncomfortable. In most American Christian cultures this is a topic that makes a lot of people uncomfortable so I think being sensitive to that is important...but it HAS to be figured out (how to talk about it)!! As some other people mentioned there is so much "stuff" going on in this arena in our Christian circles, it must be addressed. And yes, it may make some people uncomfortable. I have just known too many precious people broken and in pieces b/c of issues in this area....we need to be more open and accountable about this area in our lives! It is a huge part of our lives and Satan is happy to use that against us...

Anonymous said...

Wow-- interesting comments. I checked the first box-- but I had educating ourselves and our children in mind. I don't think it's appropriate to share sexual things about your marriage with outsiders. I do think it's important to talk about good touch/ bad touch with children and what to expect from their bodies with puberty. My mom told me that sex is a gift from God best enjoyed in marriage. She also answered all my questions and talked to me about what my classmates were doing. That's why I think we, as Christians, should be frank and open and honest.

Great post, Jess!

LisaM said...

I chose being open but careful. There are so many good comments above that I agree with, I just wanted to add one thought: "visualization". I think this might affect our Brothers more than our Sisters, but it affects us too. Talking about intimacy and sharing details are two different topics I think. The details are best left to discerning minds in a private council, the two that are married (and really carefully between the two that are about to be married), specific questions brought up from a child answered by a parent, and maybe other similar private conversations. I don't think that talking about the details are necessarily "naughty" (as one Ontario "adult clothing" chain would have it mockingly called) - but due to the easy ability to picture things in our minds, which God gave us to do, I think one needs to be careful in every situation. Especially since you do not know your Brother's or Sister's mind.

FreeIndeed said...

I chose #1 and #3 (talking openly, but at the same time being careful). Sex, in its proper context (i.e. marriage), is natural, beautiful and nothing to be ashamed of. We just need to be sure to keep it in its proper context and be respectful of ourselves and others when discussing it.


Amy Jane (Untangling Tales) said...

I voted for "Yes, but not in mixed company" and after voting wished I'd included the next one too-- about being careful conversations don't become ungodly.

I once wrote a blog post of advice to a virgin bride with everything I could think of. Yes, I think any communicating couple can do fine without advice, but I also know clarifying expectations is the best way to avoid disappointment.

But I have been very *un*happy at bridal showers where the point of the wedding night is belittled and crowed over.

To me it is so sacred and special (*especially* for virgins) that to have lists like "things you'll say on your wedding night" cheapen it (nearly) unforgivably.

Jess said...

Wanted to follow up with the results, in order of popularity.

How should Christians talk about sex?

236 Making Home readers voted in this poll. (multiple answers were allowed)

(1) Christians should be able to talk openly and frankly about sex. God made it, after all! 128 votes, 54%

(2) We need to be extremely careful about this topic, as it can easily become inappropriate. 99 votes, 41%

(3) We can talk about it fairly openly, just not in mixed company. 64 votes, 27%

(4) I personally get uncomfortable when sex is discussed, but I believe it is worth talking about. 33 votes, 13%

(5) It's wrong to talk openly about sex; it's too private and personal. 11 votes, 4%

(6) It's worldly to talk openly about sex. 9 votes, 3%

(7) I get tired of hearing Christians talk about sex. Can we talk about something else, please? 7 votes, 2%

(8) It's difficult to talk openly about sex without getting inappropriate. Therefore, we should probably avoid discussing it. 4 votes, 1%

(9) Other (please leave a comment)
3 votes, 1%

(10) I get uncomfortable when sex is talked about by Christians. 2 votes, 0%

(11) Sex isn't worth talking about. 0 votes, 0%

Fun poll, fun discussion. I definitely will have more polls in the future! :) What fun to be able to hear from 236 people, even if only 15 or so of you actually commented!

I enjoyed hearing from you guys... many of your comments (Katy-Anne, Lori, Carole, and Steph in particular) resonated with the way I feel about this issue.

SO much is being said about sex and sexuality from the world's perspective that I try to talk about things in a tasteful and meaningful way, without getting into personal details or too many specifics about techniques or personal preferences. I hope this can continue to be a fruitful topic for discussion here at Making Home.

I really enjoyed hearing from the readers on this!