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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at GCU chapter.

The word sex makes a lot of people uncomfortable, especially those in the Christian church. Christians often handle the topic unwisely; primarily by not talking about it at all.

It took a long time for me to discover how to view sex from a Christian perspective. No one in my church felt it was necessary to discuss. I don’t completely blame them; the topic can be awkward to bring up, but it’s necessary. Let’s go over how the Christian faith should feel about sex, porn, and masturbation.

Sex is not a sin

Sex is great! It was created by God so that we can experience intimacy with someone we love and trust. He could have made sex a boring thing to check off the to-do list, but he made it for humans to enjoy. After all, he called us to “be fruitful and increase in number” in Genesis 1:28 (NIV). Translation: that means we’re called to get busy. God’s design for sex is between two married people. It was designed to help spouses show their undying love and devotion to each other by serving and meeting each other’s needs. God wants us to experience this because it’s beautiful.

Objectification is not love

Love is an action word, not just a feeling. I may feel like inappropriately fantasizing about a guy (who would probably never give me the time of day anyway), but then I remember that love is respectful and kind. Even if the guy never knows what I thought of him, God does. Christians are called to honor one another before themselves. This means respecting the dignity of each person and prioritizing their needs as an individual. Just as God loves and respects me, I want to do the same for others.

porn is a people problem

My biggest pet peeve is when people assume that porn is a “man’s problem” because they are “more visual.” Women watch porn too, they’re just less likely to talk about it. It’s created to be addictive. That’s why The Institute for Family Studies states that “Roughly 6 in 10 (58 percent) Americans report having watched pornography at some point in their lives.”

The porn industry is founded on unethical practices, as many performers are victims of sex trafficking or coercion. The business of porn physically endangers, devalues, and disrespects people, especially women and minors. Performers have a high risk of negative health effects and physical and mental trauma. The most common concepts found in porn are often degrading or abusive to women.

When we watch porn, our bodies react by releasing oxytocin. It’s a “love” hormone meant to facilitate childbirth and breastfeeding and is also released when we are excited by a sexual partner or fall in love. This hormone is relational; it bonds us to our child or partner. When it’s released as we watch porn, we emotionally bond with the content being watched. This can create a false sense of connection and fuel addiction further. The more hits of oxytocin we get, the more we want to keep watching.

Our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit

This is relevant when it comes to all areas of sex, but especially masturbation. If our hearts and minds are preoccupied with our own selfish desires, it may distract us from connecting with God. This grey area may look different for everyone, but it will lead us away from God’s good design for sex.

This is not to say that we should not desire sex and become nuns. Following God’s design for sex doesn’t mean repressing your desires; you can and should feel them to their full extent. Instead, it means that we should be conscious of our sexual choices outside of marriage. Our sexual choices are an expression of our spiritual and relational commitments.

For example, I may say I masturbate because it makes me feel good. That’s cool. It also makes me release oxytocin, which helps me de-stress. It feels nice, but it never brings me long-term peace. I’m left feeling empty because I’ve put a band-aid over the gaping wounds of stress, loneliness, and a need for deep and intimate connection.

Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV) says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest…. I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” When I look to Christ, I finally find true peace. It sounds cheesy, but it’s true. I still have a desire for sex (cause it sounds fun), but I found that God’s design is more emotionally fulfilling and joyful.

God provides healthy boundaries around sex for our benefit. These boundaries aren’t strict rules we have to follow, and we’re not always going to get it right. If you feel guilty about any of these topics, you are not dirty or unforgivable. We are all deserving of love, grace, and respect.

To explore more about God’s intentions behind sex, feel free to peruse this book.

Emily is a Professional Writing major at GCU. She is expected to graduate with her bachelor's degree in Spring 2024. She loves writing about the environment, history and self-care. Her interests include anything with glitter, playing video games, slamming out tunes on the piano and lying down on grass in the summer.