Last updated on August 20, 2020
Is it OK when sex feels naughty? I mean even if you are married, is it OK to fantasize with your wife and have strong desires for each other? I am not married yet, but I would like to be someday, so I was wondering if this is another form of lust? I am a young teen and I am constantly thinking of stuff. Is it a sin to have dirty thoughts? Here is another question out of curiosity: Is anal sex a sin even if you are married, or is it some sort of pornographic fantasy? Also, does this apply to sodomy? Or is it just about rape and homosexual acts? Some people may agree that it is, but if you look closely in the Scriptures it never says between man and woman. The guys were only interested in raping Lot. Plus the Bible condemns Sodom and Gomorrah for gang rape and bad hospitality because they only took advantage of the poor and needy who went to those towns.
You cover a large number of topics, so I hope can address them all in a reasonable length response.
Feelings are not an accurate guide for determining right and wrong. Feelings can be manipulated. A tear-jerker movie should prove that to anyone. Feelings can change from moment to moment. Jacob saw blood on his son’s coat and he concluded, “It is my son’s tunic. A wild beast has devoured him. Without doubt Joseph is torn to pieces” (Genesis 37:33). He was wrong. His son was sold into slavery by his own brothers and they covered up their crime by making it look as if their brother was killed.
Right and wrong are determined by comparing a choice against a standard — the Bible being God’s standard for truth. “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17). This standard doesn’t vary.
This doesn’t mean feelings should be completely ignored. Our feelings can serve as an advance warning device that something might be wrong. We call it our conscience. “Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin” (Romans 12:22-23).
Sex outside of marriage ought to feel naughty because it is. It violates God’s law. “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Matthew 13:4). But sex between a married couple is not wrong and should not feel naughty. It is approved by God.
One of the problems you are running into is that we have a tendency as humans to over generalize concepts. We learn in our teenage years that sex is wrong because we are not married, and the next thing you know teens are running around thinking that all sex is wrong.
Is it proper to lust for your wife?
Lust is defined to be a very strong desire. We generally reserve the word for a strong desire for something that is sinful, but it can be used in a positive way. A husband ought to have a strong desire for his wife. In part, it is what keeps him faithful. “Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice with the wife of your youth. As a loving deer and a graceful doe, let her breasts satisfy you at all times; and always be enraptured with her love. For why should you, my son, be enraptured by an immoral woman, and be embraced in the arms of a seductress?” (Proverbs 5:18-20). By the way, “your fountain” is a poetic way of referring to your penis.
Similarly, a wife has strong desires for her husband. Consider the Shulamith’s description of her marriage, “Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is as strong as death, jealousy as cruel as the grave; its flames are flames of fire, a most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, nor can the floods drown it. If a man would give for love all the wealth of his house, it would be utterly despised” (Song of Solomon 8:6-7). How strong is death? Once death embraces a person, it does not give him up, does it? So how strong is the Shulamith declaring her love to be? I think you would agree that she has a strong desire for her husband.
Strongly desiring to be married and dreaming of what marriage would be like again is not against God’s law. It is proper for you to get married. “But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am; but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion” (I Corinthians 7:8-9). Paul is recommending remaining single in this passage because he knows Christians are about to face severe persecution (I Corinthians 7:26). But he is stating that if the desire for sex is strong in you, then even if you are going to face extra burdens because of the persecutions, you are better off getting married.
Is it a sin to have dirty thoughts?
The problem with thoughts is that they precede action. “And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man”” (Mark 7:20-23). So if you are thinking about having sex with someone to whom you are not married, that is thinking about committing fornication, then yes that is a sin. “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). The reason is simple. If you are thinking about sinning, then when Satan tempts you with the opportunity you will more likely give in and sin than if you have been resisting the lustful thoughts.
I should mention the concern many young men have over their dreams. You don’t have direct control over your dreams. Dreams reflect your brain’s reorganizing ideas so you can retrieve them easily at a later point. The problem is that our brains often make odd connections, especially with new experiences because it doesn’t know what situations are needed to retrieve the ideas. Since sex is both new and a powerful response, the brain connects it to many things. You “watch” the connections in your sleep. That is why dreams are sometimes such a jumbled mish-mash of events. Young Christians often panic because sexual situations keep popping up in their dreams. So long as you know that these situations are wrong when you are awake, don’t worry about your dreams.
Is anal sex a sin?
This is one I’ve answered in the past, so I’m going to direct you to read “Is anal or oral sex between a married couple a sin?“
Was Sodom and Gomorrah condemned for gang rape, inhospitality, and taking advantage of the poor?
It sounds to me that you have been listening to too many homosexuals who have been trying to justify their sins by explaining away the passages which condemn it in the Bible. Again, this is something I answered a while back, so please read the response to “The sins of Sodom were not homosexual.“ The mistake you are making is saying it was only one sin. There were several sins of which homosexuality was a major one.
Thank you so much for your response. I never thought you would write back so quickly! I understood all of the topics, but I still have have some more questions, if you do not mind answering back.
About anal sex, I did not understand your conclusion as to whether it is definitely a sin or if it’s based on a personal belief of whether someone thinks it’s appropriate or not? I read your point of view of this sexual activity. It is true that it has a lot of bacteria, and if it is not done properly, it can cause harm. But there are methods in which it can be done without harming anybody. Like if the two married people consent and if it is done slowly and carefully with the use of a lot of lubrication, it can be safe for both. As for cleanness, you can wash these areas so it will be cleaner. Plus, we are a creation of God and no part of our body is imperfect or unclean. Did you know that the anus is not the only body part that eliminates waste? Our skin eliminates waste to like thousands of dead skin cells and they can be washed away in a shower. Plus the mouth has a lot of bacteria too, and people still kiss each other. As for certain body parts that are not designed or made for other things, but they can still be used not just for a bad thing. Like the mouth is made for eating and talking. In school we were playing a game with our mouths that we were suppose to pick up the most objects with our mouths and we could not use our hands. Our mouths are not meant for playing games, but we were not using them for a bad thing. Do you understand what I am trying to say?
As for oral sex, is this a sin? I remember reading in the Song of Solomon a phrase that said, “His fruit Was sweet to my taste.” Is this referring to oral sex?
You were saying that semen is another form of uncleanness. Were you referring to the sin of Onan?
I was also read that some things can be a sin just by wanting it, and that the action is just a confirmation of what the heart wants. Why is this? For example, a man could be really sexually attracted to a woman. Let’s say that this woman caught him by surprise and asked him to have sex with her. Let’s say that she is naked or dressed very sensually. He likes what he sees, and he may want to have sex with her, but since he knows it is a sin to have unmarried sex, he doesn’t do it and runs away. It is true he wanted to be with her, but he did not commit the sin.
Sorry if my questions are too long, but I would like to know the answer. By the way, you must get a lot of e-mails, and I saw that you replied quickly. So how do you have time to answer all of these questions?
Generally I receive about 10 to 20 questions a week. I have set aside two days a week to focus on answering questions and if I get a chance, I’ll sneak answers to few questions on other days as well. If I get a lot of questions, I sort them into various priorities. Those which appear to be just pulling my chain go on the bottom of the list. Those which come from young people generally go to the top of the list because I realize that most young people aren’t able to wait a long time for responses. Questions which don’t take a lot of research are answered before those I know how to answer well.
Several of your arguments are not well thought out. You make an assumption that if something can be done with one part of the body, then it can be done with all. It should be clear that this is not true, and I suspect you know it. I can use a spoon to put food in my mouth and it will cause no harm, but just because the nose is opened to the digestive tract, it doesn’t follow that I can spoon food into my nose without harm.
“If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now indeed there are many members, yet one body” (I Corinthians 12:17-20).
Paul’s point is that God designed different parts of the body to fulfill different purposes. Just because it is present in the body, it does not follow it can be used for the same purpose. Just because a person has an anus, it does not follow that it was meant to be used for sex. Each part of the body has a purpose. The fact that the various parts have different purposes is a benefit.
Yes, there are bacteria on the skin, but they are not the same ones present in the rectum. Nor are these bacteria present in the same quantities. The bacteria in our rectums do not cause us harm because the intestines are designed to shield our bodies from harm. The skin of your penis is not designed for the same purpose. That is why some diseases are transmitted more readily via sex than by any other contact. Medically, anal sex is a harmful practice. For example, Dr. John Dean and Dr. David Delvin recently wrote, “There is evidence that anal intercourse carries a higher transmission risk than almost any other sexual activity.” These two doctors are not against anal sex, but they wrote a long list of things that must be done to keep diseases from spreading. I look at it and wonder why bother when a married couple can enjoy intercourse without the risk of disease or injury. The things I listed in the article all came from medical sites. The risks are very real. And washing the outer surface does nothing for the interior of the rectum.
Besides the medical safety issues, Paul points out, “So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church” (Ephesians 5:28-29). A husband who truly loves his wife will not desire to cause his wife harm, let alone causing harm for his own sexual gratification.
I conclude that anal sex is sinful because it is harmful to the body and a Christian is not to abuse his body. “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (I Corinthians 6:19-20).
You referred to Song of Solomon 2:3, “Like an apple tree among the trees of the woods, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down in his shade with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.” No, it isn’t referring to oral sex any more than her beloved was literally an apple tree. It is easy to start assigning literal meaning to words even though the context is clearly figurative. What she is talking about is that his love and care for her was comforting, delightful, and enjoyable.
There was an earlier question about oral sex between married couples that I answered. See “Is oral sex between a married couple a sin?” For details about why oral sex before marriage is sinful, see “Is oral sex before marriage ok?“
Is Semen Unclean?
No, I wasn’t referring to Onan’s sin. The Old Testament law, a law we are no longer under, listed a number of things as being unclean, including semen. Unclean things were not sinful in and of themselves. But God used the laws of uncleanness to teach the Israelites about the nature of sin. Please read the article “Uncleanness” to understand this better.
What is the difference between being aroused, tempted, and lust?
Arousal is the natural reaction of your body to sexual stimulation, whether physical or mental. It is a little different than your mouth watering when you smell your favorite dish being cooked. For more discussion on this, see “Why do men become aroused?“
Temptation is Satan trying to persuade you to sin. One method he uses is your natural physical reactions to lure you into a situation where it appears that to satisfy your desire you must break a law of God. The fact that you are tempted is not a sin. Jesus was tempted by Satan three times in the wilderness, once with a physical desire — food — yet, he did not sin. “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).
Lust literally means a very strong desire, but we usually limited its usage to strong desires to do something sinful. Lust is the next step beyond temptation. It is when you seriously give consideration to do what is sinful. It is when you play out in your mind doing what is sinful, thinking of ways you might seemingly get away with it, but where you haven’t yet taken action because of fear of getting caught or a lack of opportunity. In other words, lust is when you stop thinking of something as wrong and start thinking of it as a possibility. “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). It is wrong because you have broken a barrier in your mind that would prevent you from committing the sin. “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man” (Mark 7:20-23). See the chapter “What is Lust?” for more details.
Thanks a lot. I was really confused with some things, but now I understand.
Look, about the anal sex thing: I was just wondering, that’s all, because I heard some people talk about it and I saw some sex educational program on TV and it mentioned it. It’s not that I was planning on doing it, but I wanted to know. So if it wasn’t harmful would it still have been a sin? In that same program that I saw they said that it won’t be harmful if it is taken with care and patience, and with the use of a lot of lubrication. I also did some research. Well, this does not really matter to me because I don’t plan on doing it anyway.
I read your article to about sins. So my question is: If you accidentally kill someone in a car accident, are you condemned by God?
Also (I don’t mean to be nasty or inappropriate, but I hear these conversations in school) I heard someone say about a man that ejaculated in a girl’s mouth, and she swallowed it. Yuck! Is this a sin and another form of sexual immorality?
I’m glad to know you aren’t considering anal sex. But you did raise the topic and gave arguments in its favor, so I had to address the issue as presented. You will find that people will justify just about anything they want to do. Whether it is truly reasonable or safe isn’t a priority. It’s happened before. In Greek society, sexual sins were on the rampage when the New Testament was written.
“Therefore God also gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to uncleanness, that their bodies should be dishonored among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason, God gave them up to vile passions. For their women changed the natural function into that which is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural function of the woman, burned in their lust toward one another, men doing what is inappropriate with men, and receiving in themselves the due penalty of their error. Even as they refused to have God in their knowledge, God gave them up to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not fitting” (Romans 1:24-28).
Society tends to move from promiscuous sex to homosexual sex to degrading sex as a whole when people abandon a belief in God. That is because they have abandon any restraint on their actions. What America is currently involved in doing has happened in the past.
The reason God gave mankind laws is that those laws protect us from harm. Moses told Israel, “And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today for your good?” (Deuteronomy 10:12-13). What I often try to do is get people to see the reasonableness of God’s laws. They are not arbitrary or given to make life miserable. God created us and knows what is best for us in the long run.
Anal sex is wrong because it carries a very high risk of harm. “Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:10). A person who is willing to engage in actions that cause harm to a fellow human being demonstrates that they don’t care about the other person.
God has always made a distinction between accidental death and deliberate murder. A person who accidentally kills another was still held responsible for his actions. For instance, if a man was clearing stones out of his field and one accidentally struck and killed someone walking by, the person had to turn himself in and he restricted from traveling until the current high priest died. We call it manslaughter today. If it was determined that the death was no accident, then the murder was put to death. Numbers 35:13-34 has the details of this law. See “How can God command us not to murder when God murdered people in the Old Testament?” for more discussion.
What you overheard was someone talking about oral sex. The fact that your initial reaction is “Yuck!” should tell you one reason God put semen in the category of unclean for the Israelites. Since it is likely that the two engaged in this behavior were not married, yes, it is a sin. It is still sex and sex outside of marriage, whatever its form, is a sin (Hebrews 13:4).