Religious Studies

Christianity: beliefs about love and sex

Love is often used to describe a close attachment to another person. Sex means sexual intercourse between two people. Most religions have views on love and sex. The Christian Church emphasises non-sexual love.

Christian views

The Christian Church often has very strict views on love and sex. These are based on passages from the Bible. Christians are often encouraged to love one another in a non-sexual way. This type of love, sometimes called ‘agape’ is the love that Jesus showed to other people when he gave his life for them:

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No-one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

1 John 4:7-12

Christian teaching is generally that sexual intercourse is wrong unless it happens within a marriage. God intended men and women to live together as married couples but not to live together outside marriage.

Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?

1 Corinthians 6:18-19

In the Church of England the marriage service says that marriage is a remedy against sin, and to avoid fornication outside marriage.

Paul says that Christians should:

Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?

1 Corinthians 6:18-19

He also says that for some people it is better to be celibate than to marry:

Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

1 Corinthians 7:9

Homosexuality

A gay male couple

A gay couple

As well as saying that sexual relationships should only take place within marriage, Christian teaching is traditionally opposed to homosexuality:

Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

Romans 1:27

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10

Despite this teaching, a growing number of Christians today accept that for some people homosexual relationships are not going against God’s wishes.

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