Christians and Sex: We Owe Folks an Apology

Posted | 5 comments

embarrassment 1.
We’re Sorry!

Through the centuries, we Christian folk have gotten pretty twisted up about sex. Most don’t know how it happened, which makes it really hard to get untwisted when we try. But we’re trying.

You’ve probably never heard of Clement of Alexandria. He died way back in the second century, but he really messed us up. He’s still messing with our heads (and our beds).

Have a listen.




  1. When I was in Catholic school we took a test. There were 4 possible answers to the question “when is it ok to have sex?” The correct answer was C for procreation. A- pleasure was not the right answer. I can tell you when I was single there is a lot of slut shaming. You are either a tease or a slut and not much in between. It is very difficult to conform to those expectations. I am reminded of Christian articles talking about how Tim Tebow was dumped by his Miss USA girlfriend for not having sex and what a good Christian Tim Tebow is for waiting until marriage. But in order to elevate him for his virginal status they had to simultaneously shame the girlfriend. All those self righteous Christians reading those articles saying what a good role model he is and what a shameful slut she is. Once again I love the historical context St Augestine indeed. Reminds me too how athletes aren’t supposed to have sex before a game because it will decrease their strength and vitality. Those dirty women again. Looking forward to the book.

  2. I’m only about 5 minutes in but this is so painful to listen to… knowing how much we’ve been shamed, for as long as we have, and why. It’s painful.

    • clare:
      1) thanks for the comment. 2) i knew about the pain you acknowledge, but it makes me even sadder to hear you acknowledge the shaming damage our church has done to folks. i really am sorry.

  3. Doug –

    A story of how “dirty sex” is still prevalent (although veiled) in our society: When my wife (and I’ve heard this from numerous other women, too) was pregnant, she couldn’t wear her wedding ring (which is very common). At different times, she told me that people looked upon her in disapproval since she was pregnant and had no ring on. Not knowing any backstory whatsoever (and hers was probably the most common), she was still looked upon with disapproval because of the “dirty sex” people assumed she had.

    Augustine’s view of sex sounds very Gnostic.


    -Wasn’t Clement eventually declared a heretic?
    -Did people like Augustine think about keeping the population going (since he was against sex, how did he reconcile not having sex and humanity surviving)? Was it a “this world is going to end soon” type of thing?

    • Augustine thought sex only ok for keeping the population going. To enjoy doing it — that was the problem.