When Christians Have Sex

Pastor Ed Young was in the News again recently because of his 7 day sex challenge.  It’s not the fist time that he’s preached about sex with a King-size bed as a prop, so it’s neither here nor there for me.  Some people love the idea, like this mom.  Some think it’s a denial of the power of the Word of God and question the use of a prop, like this married man.  And still some think it’s a return to the 7o’s free love, like another married man here.  Personally, I was more intrigued by the 30 day sex challenge issued by the Relevant Church as reported here.  You can also purchase the book at the Relevant blog I linked earlier.

I can imagine that a lot of men dream about 30 days of sex, and a lot of women dream about 30 days of intimacy.  Here’s the the question many have asked privately, but you know me.  I think all things can be discussed intelligently.  What types of sex are we talking about?  Another way to ask the question is, are there restrictions on the types of sex that married christian couples can participate in?

How far is too far?  Are we all called to be missionaries?  Or is there liberty in the non-essentials?


17 thoughts on “When Christians Have Sex

  1. Hey CT,

    Thought provoking – as always. I’ll let others answer your direct questions, but I wanted to shed a little light on my take on this Ed Young stunt (and I use that word intentionally). I don’t know him or his church, a dn I don’t condemn him generally, this just smells like the usual marketing draw for church. I have a Marketing degree and an MBA, so I understand the desire to want to “draw coustomers”. I just think that too many people are forsaking reverence for relevance, and I wonder where will it stop.

    Interestingly, one of Ed’s congregants chimed in on her experience at this sermon – and she has an insider’s perspective that (to me) confirms that while some were happy to hear the sermon, others were scratching their heads.

    All in all, I believe that the Gospel must be preached to the nations, but I wonder if it has to be packaged in a slick box to appeal to the masses – or can we present the Word of God in a simple way that compels the heart to surrender as He wills.

  2. ST!

    I have visited Fellowship downtown and was aware of the series. Marketing or hype is a huge part of the churches dna without a doubt. Ed gets a lot of media hype – people are certainly aware of the church and lots of people choose to attend. I’m not sure the unchurched or unsaved hear this stuff and go. ” I’ve got to get to that church to learn about sex!” either. If you are a church seeker on the other hand they’ll get at least a visit out of it, I think.

    As with most things, I believe balance is needed and as with most things we tend to go overboard in the church, we can be such extremist cant we? All or nothing, we have a hard time finding the middle, no pun intended. The Church must be both reverent and relevant. Sometimes what the church thinks is relevant is totally off base. That is a clear reflection of our lack of relationship with the world around us. I think many people in the church live in a bubble. All they really know about is the church-world.

    There is however a discussion to be had among the married couples but the foundation of true dialog would again be relationship. Is it important to keep your spouse sexually fulfilled? Sure. If you are not sexually fulfilled in your marriage that needs to be worked out and as Valerie points out this should be an expression of love not obligation. Let’s face it, obligatory sex isn’t that much fun, right?

    Consider this on the other side of the argument ST. Mark Batterson says irrelevance is irreverent and I agree, what do you think?

  3. …irrelevance is irreverent…

    I can agree with that to an extent. You’re right, we can’t just roll up into a ball like some “holy rolly polly” (say that fast 3 times 🙂 ) and spout scripture as we await the return of the Lord. I just can’t swallow some of the stuff I see – particularly after I’ve seen what I’ve seen while in the pimps brothel.

    I am trying to be more (gasp) even-handed when dealing with stuff like this and not painting everything with a broad brush, but I’ve seen enough crap up close to lower my tolerance level to almost nothing. I still believe that the Gospel message is important enough to share with the world, and we should ust keep trying to do so while honoring it and those who are (literally) dying to hear it…

  4. At the end of the day, it’s the gospel that builds the Kingdom of God.

    I agree with you, in that it should all be about the kingdom, of God that is. If we are doing these things to the end of ego-building, personality-building, building-building, membership-building and we neglect Kingdom building then you are absolutely correct. We would have, and at time we already do, missed the point!

    It’s all about relationship!

  5. I heard Ed Young’s interview on the Michael Irvin (Former Dallas Cowboy great) show. What was so funny is that the secular people who called in or text in about the interview really kinda mocked him. They basically inplied that Christians are LATE, i.e. one guy & his wife said they have days where they have sex 4, 5 and 6 times just in one day & they don’t need to be a member of anybody’s church to know the sex is good. lol

    Another unchurched lady called in & said – this is just a man using a simple solution to solve a more complex problem in marriages.

    So there u are – a little practical perspective on all this.

  6. a little practical perspective on all this

    Yes, that’s what I mean when I say we (church folk) can live in a bubble.

    But NCJ you are the second to avoid my question. Should there be any restrictions on the types of sex that Married Christians have? Or is the question irrelevant?

  7. OK CT

    I don’t want to be accused of “avoiding the question” :-), so I’ll give it a try:

    – Sex is supposed to be pleasurable in marriage 1 Corinthians 7:3-5)

    – According to my non-seminarian interpretation, the only “restrictions” are three-ways, adultry, homosexuality (Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:3) – and since porno memories can ignite the lust of the flesh outside of the marital bedroom, that might be dicey as well (1 John 2:16). The bible doesn’t explicity what is not permissible (oral, multiple positions, etc.)

    Sorry to be coarse…am I off base here?

  8. ST,

    Thanks for your answer. You are not of base. I think it’s the discussion about sex we need to be having more in the church. We’ve made sex and sexuality so taboo that we think 7 whole days, GASP is revelatory.

    We constantly paint this picture that married sex is dull and monotonous. While I’m convinced the discussion should not be lead by “a porn writer” lol. While I sure that having 7 days of sex is a big deal. I am certain that we need to encourage married folks to be free to enjoy their spouse.

    You bring up an interesting question. I personally think porn is dangerous and off limits but I wonder how many Christians consider it permissible and why?

  9. I’m game for whatever my wife and I deem appropriate (nothing physically harmful), and no attempted entry into exit ports – don’t need the church’s encouragement or permission – and porn? Why do I need to see someone else?

    Vague but specific enough, I trust? 🙂

  10. Two of my fave bricks on the wall cerebrally discussing sex. Nice.

    Hey fellas:

    1. The marriage is undefiled, as long as it doesn’t defile the marriage. ST brings up three sage scenarios, all of which are correct to my seminarian-thinking. Again, as long as it honors God, he will bless it as a married couple gets their groove on.

    2. SEX IS GOOD! IT’S GREAT! Yeah, I said it. I’m married. I’m allowed to say it, and believe me, My Fair Lady doesn’t mind. That’s how it should be in a marriage, and in married small church groups as well. It’s OK to discuss, but because of all the old school prudes collecting dust on the pews, we are shunned from thinking otherwise.

    3. New Church – Something for you. I heard that same interview, and laughed the entire way through it. Yeah, sex will cure the ills of this country? Um, no, but it will freshen up a marriage… IF you can get the kids to bed at a decent hour or somehow get Chick-Fil-A in their face that entire week. Yeah, they mocked him, but let’s be honest… 4-6 times a day? Yeah, that dude is either not married or has a serious issue, which takes me back to my first point on this thing anyway.


  11. Okay, it’s time for a woman to weigh in. 🙂

    First of all, I have attended Ed Young’s church and find it to be pleasantly relevant in many ways. Why would he choose a 7-day challenge in regards to sex? In his defense, I imagine that he counsels a lot of people who are trapped in a sexless marriage. I did not attend during this series, but I doubt he thinks this is a worldwide revelation he’s making. I think sex in marriage is probably a big problem for a lot of those in the Christian bubble.

    Think about it. Many in the bubble abstain from sex, or at least purport to, for years. Eagerly, they scan the pews searching for a suitable partner. They latch on and marry quick, because let’s face it. Urges often outweigh common sense. They marry, glad to finally have connected with another Christian, one who will make their every dream come true. They finally consummate the marriage, but neither the sex, nor their fairy tale life, turns out as expected. Thus you have a lot of marriages with problems. I’m sure this is why Ed Young thought it was a big enough deal to bring to the pulpit.

    As for the use of the giant bed, I think illustrative preaching is a good thing. Painting a picture helps many, especially visual learners. If he were up there dressed like a Chippendale dancer, then I’d have an issue with it.

    Second, to address the question of what kinds of sex are acceptable in marriage, I think that God purposely didn’t paint a huge list of requirements around it, because he created it as a good thing to be enjoyed. He even went so far as to illustrate a sexual romance for us in Song of Solomon. I know that some believe this is an allegory to the love of Christ for his church, but I think that’s due to people’s aversion to talking candidly about sex. I think of it as it’s written — an account of a couple’s love, physical aspect included. I think God’s only explicit requirement is that sex is between one man and one woman united in marriage.

    Personally, I deduce that the rules of sex in marriage are: 1) it should not be abusive, 2) it should not include others outside the relationship, and 3) all acts should be with the agreement of both parties.

    SC, I find it interesting that you apologize for being coarse. I think that’s indicative of the problem. Too many of us consider the details of sex to be coarse, when God created it as a beautiful experience. Not picking on you, but I just think it’s past time for Christians to talk honestly about sexual issues. Which is why the world thinks we’re behind the times on this topic and so many others.

  12. Rick,

    Thanks for your comment, point made.


    Sex is great and it’s great in marriage! Yet I keep hearing pastors talk about Christians celebrating sex outside of marriage and acting as if it becomes a bother in marriage, what gives?

    Hey! What’s wrong with 4 times a day when the kids are gone for the weekend? Gotta get it while the getting’s good right?

    I mean can Christians say Kama Sutra? Just the Positions. Can they experiment with toys and body chocolate, honey dust ,um, and can they talk about these things without shame? Why are Christians so uncreative and boring?


    Trapped in a Sexless marriage! God help! Everything is a problem is the christian bubble!!!! What a shame, lets bust the bubble open. SEX SEX SEX SEX SEX! There, go to your churches and testify!

    I agree with your rules, thank God, since we are, um, married. LOL

  13. Hi all,

    I think it’s safe to say all those who’ve participated in commenting so far find sex to be God-given, pleasurable, and that simple rules – primum non nocere – will take us a good little way down the road. Frequency = Time + (Availability*willingness/health). We can say Kama Sutra – are most at our respective ages limber enough 🙂 ? Toys, syrups, beads, all the bells and whistles – we don’t talk about them in most group settings for fear of peer judgment, and we often aren’t able to get past the taboos most of us were raised with in order to talk with our spouse about it.

    Katrice – I get the visual learner bit, but I don’t know if I want a picture of my pastor popping up in my head when we’re playing find the slippery pickle 🙂

  14. Just an update – CNN has a video clip of the Youngs talking about the challenge, and copping to the fact that they got 6 out of 7. No perfect score there (nor pun intended), but they did talk about how the focus was supposed to be on intimacy, not just sex. I gather that intimacy was mentioned at some point while Ed was on the bed?

    Inquiring minds are just nosy as all get out 😀

  15. Pingback: A years worth of conversation « SCREAM

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