Let's Talk About (Kosher) Sex
As Salt-n-Pepa said, let's talk about sex.
Sex is the only universal human experience that people generally don't discuss. Sure, we read about it. We get talked to about it. People joke about it. Some people even watch it. But very few people actually discuss it with it any specificity — even with their spouses.
Because we're too ashamed to discuss sex, there's a lot of misinformation about it. Obviously, the world has many misunderstandings about sex. People don't understand their own bodily functions. Many don't understand the risks or the rewards. In some tribal cultures, they actually believe that sex is essential to ward off AIDS. And almost no one is discussing the generational, societal consequences of the lack of accurate sex education and information.
And the Church is even worse. In addition to all of the usual social hangups that inhibit our ability to talk about sex, we also add a layer of spiritual shame to the mix. We inherited a dogma that viewed sex as a necessary evil — something truly pure people wouldn't willfully do, especially not for recreational purposes.
In Christianity, there are many traditions and taboos related to sexual activity. We have been taught that certain acts are inherently sinful. We've been taught that "Christian marriages" don't involve certain sexual expressions. "Good" men and women just don't do "that."
Nevertheless, as believers, we have an obligation to base our beliefs solely on the Word of God. We should live according to the prescription of the Bible. As such, we should seek to understand what the Bible teaches about sex. We should base our limits and freedoms on the commandments of God.
All agreed? Cool. Now... Let's talk about sex and the sex acts the Bible forbids.
A Comprehensive List of the Sex Acts God Forbids:
That's it. And, no, that's not a typo or a technical glitch. The fact is that the Bible doesn't forbid a single sex act. What the Bible does forbid are certain sexual partners. The Bible — in both the Old and New Testaments — lists many partners that we should not have sex with (e.g. people who are not our spouses, temple prostitutes, members of the same sex, animals, family members, etc.), but there isn't a single verse that prohibits any particular sexual act when performed consensually within the context of a marriage.
Some historically ignorant people attempt to defend their man-made dogmas by arguing that kinkier sex is merely the result of the Sexual Revolution and, thus, wasn't on the radar of the authors of the Bible. But that's ridiculous. The Israelites lived in Egypt for 400 years, and the Egyptians literally worshipped sex. (Ever wondered why an obelisk looks remarkably phallic?). The Greeks engaged in institutionalized pederasty. The Romans had national orgies (merry Saturnalia). The Kama Sutra was written during Bible times. Pornography and "fertility art" existed in all the civilizations of the Ancient Near East. And so on...
The reason the Bible doesn't forbid any particular sexual acts is simply because the acts themselves are not inherently sinful. Moreover, what husbands and wives choose to do in the privacy of their own bedrooms, cars, hotel rooms, rooftops, hot tubs, and/or mountain streams is entirely up to them, their interests, and their comfort levels. Marital sexuality is the very part of creation that God Himself described as "very good." And, per the norm of our fallen world, what God has called "very good," Satan will try to convince us is somehow bad, dirty, or shameful.
But we should reject ungodly shame. Instead, we should celebrate our sexuality with our spouses. The novelty of sex is good. It should be fun, intimate, and exciting, because that's how God created it. This is exemplified by the fact that the Bible includes an entire book of erotic poetry that features graphic descriptions of "recreational" sex, including physical objectification, oral sex, sexual obsession, and lust — and all of this is relayed without any mention of procreation (don't tell the Pope).
So talk about sex with your spouse. Begin the discussion. Understand that all consensual sex acts within your marriage are kosher and good. Neither of you should feel any shame regarding the sex you share within your marriage. As the saying goes, "If you never say what you want, you'll never get what you need." This is true of all aspects of marriage, but especially true with regard to sex.
If you have difficulty starting the conversation, there are some easy ways to get the balls rolling (yes, that's a pun):
- If any sort of sexual discussion makes you feel dirty, start by reading the Song of Solomon and discussing what's happening in the story, scene by scene.
- Use technically specific terms to describe sexual acts and anatomy — familiarity will increase comfort levels.
- Use an online questionnaire like www.MojoUpgrade.com to discover one another's sexual interests. (Granted, that site is secular, so it includes a handful of non-kosher options, but we're all adults here, so whatever...)
- Instead of waiting for your spouse to open up, simply ask them plainly about specific acts. And do not criticize or mock their answers. Your ability to safeguard their intimate desires will create trust and open the door to future revelations.
- Reciprocate. If your spouse does something to you, it's likely because they think it would feel good if done to them. Return the sexual favors.
Sexuality is a gift from God and nothing to be ashamed of. Enjoy it. All of it.