Should Christian Couples Have Sex Only in Missionary Position?

Lots of emails have rolled into my inbox concerning this topic. Many people want to know the truth about what is actually right for practice and what shouldn’t be done on the Christian marriage bed. Sex is holy, therefore, unholy practices should not be practiced in a holy matrimony. In this world where many people learn the act of sex from immoral sources like pornography, premarital sexual relationships, sexual orgies, etc., it is very important to state clearly what is morally right and what is immoral. Hebrews 13:4 says “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”

Missionary Sex Position:  This is face-to-face sex position with the man on top. It is called “missionary position” because missionaries of old taught their converts that missionary sex position is the only morally accepted position Christians should have sex.

Although it is not written in the Bible, in the wisdom of the missionaries of old the teaching of having sex only in missionary position was adopted. This, in a way, was to set a standard and landmark for marital sex for their converts, many of whom, were into different types of sexual practices. These new converts were from different religious and cultural backgrounds with different immoral sexual practices. There was the need to set a “standard” for the new converts and make them get rid of immoral and animalistic practices.

My View on Sex Position: Before I air my opinion I have to state very clearly that some of the early missionaries were wrongly influenced by the Roman Catholic Church false view of abstinence, purity, marriage and sex. The Roman Catholic Church is a mixture of pagan practices and modified practices of the Holy Bible. For instance, many of the teachings of St Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, are not correct. He taught that sex in marriage should be had only for the purpose of procreation,[1] encouraged married couples to refrain from sexual intercourse as a way of exercising spiritual discipline[2] and as a way to hasten Christ’s return[3], he connected the original sin to sexual intercourse[4] [5], etc. Early fathers like Tatian the Syrian (ca. 120-180)[6], Clement of Alexandria (ca. 150-215)[7] and Irenaeus of Lyons (ca. 140-202)[8] all held some wrong views of the original sin by connecting it to sexual intercourse. These are unbiblical and heretic.

Many early and a few modern teachings present marital sex as “necessary evil” that must be had for the sole purpose of procreation. The unfair repression of the gift of sex to humankind has led to confusion and “rebellion” among Christians who later find out that some of these teachings are manmade. The bad side of it is that, since many Christians feel that the Church is shying away from the truth they turned to different sources of information, of which many contain unbiblical practices that are even against nature.

Sex is holy and it should be had in a holy manner, and not to fulfill the lust or cravings of the flesh but for marital fulfillment and natural purposes. The Bible says: “Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Co 14:40 KJV). We as God’s children should know that “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God” (1 Thess. 4:3-5 NIV).

It is very true that some modern Christians no longer attach any sense of morality to the types of activities they carry out on their matrimonial bed. This is wrong! This is partly because some of them learn the act of sex from sexual immoral acts like pornography, Karma Sutra and the like. Quickly, I need to also add that it is not right for a Christian to read or practice Karma Sutra because it is a religious sex book that contains a lot of immoral practices that are against our Christian faith.

Generally speaking, sex position is determined by various factors ranging moral sense of judgment, personal health to what couples deem suitable and enjoyable. Sex is a gift from God enjoyed in marriage only. Personally I don’t see anything wrong with couples having sex in different positions other than missionary. However, I must not fail to stress that sex is holy and it should therefore be treated as such. Hebrews 13:4 “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” Sex should be had respectfully and not in a way that should humiliates a partner or in an animalistic manner. Positions that are animalistic, injurious and abusive should not be taken to the bed of a holy marriage. It is sinful to lose the sense of morality in course of pursuing pleasure. Also, sex positions that are practiced to release spiritual energy and are ritualistic (as taught and practiced by some religions) should be avoided.

Sex is not a dirty act that we should regard as “necessary evil” but a gift from God created not just for procreation but also for the enjoyment of humankind in a holy matrimony. Limiting sex positions to only missionary could lead to several complications. For instance, missionary sex position could be impracticable for a man with deformity, couples with ill health, fat couples with their stomach getting in the way, etc. Unfair repression of morally right sexual pleasures in marriage leads to adultery, sexual repression, guilt, quarrels in marriage, lack of intimacy, divorce, loss of faith in Christianity, search for knowledge from unchristian sources, etc.

Featured image credit: onhealth.com

[1] St. Augustine, “The Good of Marriage,” in Theology and Sexuality: Classic and Contemporary Readings, ed. Eugene F. Rogers Jr. (Malden: Blackwell, 2002), 71.

[2] St. Augustine, “The Good of Marriage,”73.

[3] St. Augustine, “The Good of Marriage,” 79.

[4] Pagels, Adam, Even and the Serpent, 80.

[5] Pagels, Adam, Even and the Serpent, 109.

[6] Pagels, Adam, Even and the Serpent, 27.

[7] Pagels, Adam, Even and the Serpent, 32.

[8] Pagels, Adam, Even and the Serpent, 32

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