Male_and_female_2We are currently doing a series of messages at CityLife Church on Sacred Sex.

No, 'sacred sex' is not an oxymoron. The word 'sacred' means holy, special, set apart unto God. We must avoid a dualistic philosophy that separates life into two spheres: the sacred and the secular, the holy and unholy, the pure and the profane. ALL of life is meant to be sacred, including our sexuality. 

Sexuality is such an important part of our personal lives and because we now live in such a highly sexualised culture it is vital that we catch God's perspective on it. I am glad that we serve such a wise and loving God. As we follow his ways, we will experience his goodness in every area of our lives, including our sexuality.

While a lot of people in our culture have made a god out of sex, we need to realise that God intended sex to be holy – to be sacred. After all, sex is God's creation. It is not bad, evil or dirty. It is designed to be something good and beautiful. He sees it as something 'very good', like all of his creation (Gen.1:26-31). Sex is holy because God created it. It needs to be treated with honour and respect. It has been set apart for a special purpose by God himself.

Why did God create sex? What were his intentions?

There are three basic reasons that God created sex:

1. For the creation of children and the formation of a family (see Gen.1:28-31).

2. For enjoyment and pleasure between a husband and wife as they express their love for each other (e.g. The Song of Songs).

3. As an expression of and means of achieving oneness within the marriage relationship. Sex is more than just a physical encounter. Something happens. It's a sharing and an overflow of emotions, hearts and lives. It creates an emotional bonding. It's about oneness (Gen.2:18-25. Eph.5:31-32. 1 Cor.6:15-20).

Sex really is sacred – holy. Degradation or misuse of sex doesn't nullify its inherent sacredness.

Biblical teaching, such as that recorded in Proverbs 5:15-20 and 1 Corinthians 7:1-7, gives some helpful instruction for married couples. Sexual enjoyment in marriage is expected and seen as normal. A husband or wife need to give their spouse unconditional acceptance and choose to make their spouse the exclusive source of their sexual fulfilment. Sexual abstinence is, for the most part, inappropriate for married couples. Barriers to sexual fulfilment within a marriage may include: negative thinking about sex, previous negative sexual experiences (including sexual abuse), physical fatigue, differing or fluctuating sex drives, and a poor relationship. The better the marriage relationship, the more likely sexual fulfilment will take place. Both genuine love (agape) and romantic sexuality (eros) are necessary for a great marriage.

Married couples who are encountering challenges in the area of sexuality should not ignore the problem. Start talking openly and honestly about it. Listen and learn. Share your feelings, along with your likes and dislikes, with your spouse. Break down the barriers and create an environment of mutual love and respect. Make every effort to make your marriage the best it can be.

For those who would like to do some reading and study on the area of sexuality, here are a few resources that might be helpful to you. You won't agree with everything they say (I don't), but as you read you'll become aware of various perspectives on a variety of important issues relating to this subject.

  • Sacred Sex by Tim Alan Gardner. This is an excellent book for married couples. It provided a lot of ideas and thoughts for my current messages on this topic.
  • The Sexual Man by Dr. Archibald D. Hart. This is one of the few comprehensive books, written by a Christian psychologist, on the area of men's sexuality.
  • Secrets of Eve by Dr. Archibald D. Hart, Catherine Hart Webber and Debra L. Taylor. This is one of the few comprehensive books, written by Christian psychologists, on the area of female sexuality.
  • Every Man's Battle by Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker. This is a very honest and open book written specifically for men to help them in the area of sexual temptation. There are also a series of books along the same theme for women, young people, and singles.
  • Intended for Pleasure by Dr. Edward Wheat. This book, of which there have been a few editions since its original release back in the 1970s, was written specifically to help married couples in the area of sexual fulfilment.
  • A Celebration of Sex by Dr. Douglas E. Rosenau. This is a comprehensive and more contemporary book written to help married couples enjoy the gift of sexual intimacy. I just purchased this book and have only glanced through it.
  • The Marriage Book by Nicky and Sila Lee. This is a very good book for married couples and is the basis for The Marriage Course (produced by ALPHA ministries). It has a section on 'good sex'.
  • Fit to Be Tied by Bill and Lynne Hybels. This is a very good practical book for married couples.
  • The Valiant Man Course by Allan Meyer from Careforce Church. Allan has done extensive reasearch in the area of male sexuality and this course is the result. Check out this web site for more information about this excellent resource – Careforce Lifekeys.
  • XXXCHURCH.COM is a web site with a wide range of information and resources dedicated to helping people in the area of pornography.

Most of these books can be purchased through your local Christian bookstore or online through web sites such as

11 thoughts on “Sacred Sex

  1. Hi Mark
    Excellent message with regards to this topic. Speaking as a gynaecologist , I think you have demystified and de-tabooed the topic.
    Having said that , I think sex is less of an issue from the pulpit- what people are not getting enough of I feel is the dire consequence of our sin. I think there’s too much emphasis on feel good theology now
    Just some thougts

  2. Hi Mark,
    A book I recommend for those who are single or who have been unchaste (not the same) is Real Sex: the naked truth about chastity by Lauren Winner.
    Let me know if you get a chance to read it.
    David Morgan

  3. Hi Mark,
    I heard you speak last weekend and I just wanted to say, well done. I understand that sexuality is a very difficult topic to give a sermon on and you did an excellent job of it.
    There’s preachers … and then there’s Mark Conner.

  4. Hey Mark,
    Great post! Great title.
    Sex is such a hot topic that can never be talked about enough in churches. Definately one of the big elephants in the room in terms of topics.
    Did you see what XXXchurch did with porn sunday? another in the face approach which would benefit many men in our culture.
    We are doing a similar topic regarding sex at our church…
    Would love to know your thoughts.

  5. Hi David. Yes I have heard of that book by and I read a summary of it. Looks like it has some helpful content. I’ll recommend it in my next post. Steven – yes, I have heard of Porn Sunday. Sounds like a good initiative. Suresh – I agree that we need to balance out God’s love and God’s truth. Disobedience does have consequences – things such as sexual sin are forgiveable but not always easily worked through.

  6. Dear Mark,
    I think you did an excellent talk on sacred sex and you have helped me and my husband in explaining this issue clearly to our sons, who were at the meetings for Pt.1 and Pt.2.You have made it easier for us to approach this subject as a family, when the need arises.
    Thank you,
    Deva Gordon

  7. Hi Mark, I relocated from overseas 3 months ago and surpringly found out here many Christian young people or even leaders actually live/sleep togehter with their partners before getting engaged. What kind of advices will you give to them? Encourage them to get engaged since they couldn’t control their lustful desire anyway? Love to know how you think about this. Thanks!

  8. Mark,
    Came across your blog on this sermon series. Just wanted to say, “Thanks” for reading and referencing my book, Sacred Sex. I am always honored and humbled when God uses the work in people’s lives.
    Have a Merry & Blessed Christmas.
    Keep loving people,
    Tim Gardner

  9. Hey how about talking about some other hot topics like:
    Dealing with the stress of blended families
    What to do when a child or partner takes drugs and wont change their ways
    Mental illness- a christian perspective
    When is punishing a child, child abuse?

  10. Our church hosted a ‘Parenting Today’ course last year and we’re currently presenting it again. A whole night was spent on blended families and also a few of the other issues you raised. However, I’ll keep these in mind for future teaching too. Thanks Peter

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