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What Does the Bible Say about Oral Sex?


I've noticed quite a few Protestant pastors claiming that the Bible is silent on the issue of oral sex in marriage. I disagree. There are many different passages that can be applied to evaluate the morality of this act.

First, the Bible has teachings on morality that apply generally. One of these principles is that certain acts are wrong by the moral type of the act, such as murder, adultery, theft, idolatry, coveting your neighbor's wife, etc. Notice that some of these acts, which are always wrong because they are a bad kind of behavior, are sexual acts. So if a husband or wife commits adultery, by having sex with someone outside the marriage, that act would be always wrong, no matter what the intention or circumstances may be.

Are there any sexual sins for married couples, other than adultery? Yes. Consider what Jesus says about divorce.

[Matthew]
{5:32} But I say to you, that anyone who will have dismissed his wife, except in the case of fornication, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever will have married her who has been dismissed commits adultery.

Jesus prohibits divorce, even though Moses had allowed it. Our Lord tells us that, for Christian spouses, divorcing your spouse is a grave sin, "except in the case of fornication". But since He is talking about two married persons, the narrow definition of fornication (two unmarried persons having sex) does not apply. He is using the broad definition of fornication, which includes a range of grave sexual sins.

Therefore, some sexual acts are gravely immoral within marriage. The idea that "anything goes" between the husband and wife, as long as they both consent, is not compatible with what Jesus taught. If the only grave sexual sin in marriage were rape (sex without consent), He would not have used the broad term "fornication". The fact that the husband and wife both agree, does not necessarily mean that the sexual act is moral.

Which sexual acts are gravely immoral in marriage? Certainly, both the use of pornography and any kind of masturbation are gravely immoral. Neither spouse can perform masturbation on himself or herself. And the act is morally no different if it is performed by one spouse on the other. It remains an act that is wrong by the type of the act.

[Matthew]
{5:27} You have heard that it was said to the ancients: ‘You shall not commit adultery.’
{5:28} But I say to you, that anyone who will have looked at a woman, so as to lust after her, has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
{5:29} And if your right eye causes you to sin, root it out and cast it away from you. For it is better for you that one of your members perish, than that your whole body be cast into Hell.
{5:30} And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it away from you. For it is better for you that one of your members perish, than that your whole body go into Hell.

Jesus speaks about adultery, and lust. The next two verses then refer to a type of sin committed with the eyes, and a sin committed with the hand. These are sexual sins, given the context of the interior sin of lust and the exterior sin of adultery. The sexual sin of the eye is the use of pornography. The sexual sin of the hand is masturbation.

Do these acts become moral in marriage? No, they do not. Jesus makes no such distinction. He groups these four sins together: adultery, lust, pornography, masturbation. It is still a sin of a husband treats his wife with lust, treating her as a sex object, treating her as if she were a prostitute or an adulteress. Pornography does not become moral in marriage; neither does masturbation. These are all sins that remain gravely immoral even in marriage. This point is clear because Jesus says that it would be better, figuratively speaking, to cut off your hand or root out your eye, than to commit these sins, as they deserve the punishment of Hell. The language clearly indicates that there are no exceptions, not even for married persons. These sexual acts are always wrong.

Therefore, a husband may not use masturbation on his wife, not even if the act of masturbation occurs before, during, or after the natural marital act. It is a type of act that is always wrong. And it makes no difference if the act is committed with his hand, or her hand, or with some type of sexual device. The act is still of the same moral type condemned by Jesus.

Do you think that adultery becomes "not adultery", if the man and woman do not have natural intercourse, but use their hands, or mouths, or some type of device? Would Jesus say that such acts are still adultery? Of course, He would. It is obvious to reason alone that any type of sexual act at all, by a married person with someone other than his or her spouse is adultery.

But the same thinking applies to sexual acts within marriage. So any type of masturbation in marriage is gravely immoral, no matter the method used.

Is sodomy between a husband and wife included in that set of sexual acts condemned by Jesus even within marriage, under the broad term "fornication"? What does Scripture say?

You know the story of Lot and the people of Sodom. The entire city was destroyed by God because the men of that town were wicked. They committed the sin of a certain type of unnatural sex called sodomy or anal sex.

[Genesis]
{13:13} But the men of Sodom were very wicked, and they were sinners before the Lord beyond measure.
...
{19:4} But before they went to bed, the men of the city surrounded the house, from boys to old men, all the people together.
{19:5} And they called out to Lot, and they said to him: “Where are the men who entered to you in the night? Bring them out here, so that we may know them.”
...
{19:24} Therefore, the Lord rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah sulphur and fire, from the Lord, out of heaven.

This type of sexual sin deserves punishment in Hell. It is a type of act that is always wrong, regardless of intention or circumstances. Since God destroyed the entire city of Sodom for this particular type of sexual sin, we can easily understand that the act does not become moral when done by a husband to his wife, just as pornography and masturbation do not become moral in marriage. When an act is so thoroughly sinful that Jesus says that you would be better off with one hand or one eye, so sinful that God included in Sacred Scripture the destruction of an entire city as a warning to the world against this sin, it doesn't become holy and pleasing to God when done in marriage (nor when done without the husband's climax).

And now we must consider the title question of the article, is oral sex permissible in marriage?

The first consideration is that the sins of homosexual men, such as those in Sodom, are known to include not only anal sex, but manual and oral sex also. So do you think that God destroyed the city of Sodom only because of the one sexual sin, and not the other types of sexual sins committed by those men?

The second consideration is what the New Testament says, in the Letter to the Romans.

{1:26} Because of this, God handed them over to shameful passions. For example, their females have exchanged the natural use of the body for a use which is against nature.
{1:27} And similarly, the males also, abandoning the natural use of females, have burned in their desires for one another: males doing with males what is disgraceful, and receiving within themselves the recompense that necessarily results from their error.
{1:28} And since they did not prove to have God by knowledge, God handed them over to a morally depraved way of thinking, so that they might do those things which are not fitting:

God condemns as gravely immoral the unnatural sexual acts of males, as well as of females. So again, God does not condemn only a subset of these kinds of sexual acts. Included in the condemnation are oral, anal, and manual sex, pornography, and the use of devices. All these sexual acts are unnatural and shameful, whether it is males with males, or females with females. And this includes oral sex as well as the other unnatural types.

Now you might object, saying that oral sex in marriage is not two males, or two females, but a male and female who are married to each other. But my reply is simple and clear: these sexual acts are essentially no different. They are not the type of sexual act that fulfills the commandment to be fruitful and multiply. They are not the type of sexual act by which two persons are made "one flesh". For if unnatural sexual acts could make a couple "one flesh", then they would have a basis for claiming that same-sex marriage is a genuine type of marriage before God. But since these unnatural sexual acts are so thoroughly condemned by God, they do not become acceptable to Him when done in marriage.

Therefore, Christian spouses may not use any type of unnatural sexual acts in their marriage, neither oral sex, nor anal sex, nor manual sex, nor the use of sexual devices ("sex toys"). All these things are unnatural, and contrary to the will of God expressed in Sacred Scripture, properly understood. And though oral sex is not specifically mentioned, it is a type of act used in homosexual sex, and homosexual sex is condemned in both Testaments. When some preachers take the position that sodomy is prohibited, but not oral sex, they contradict themselves. Both are the type of unnatural sexual act condemned by the Letter to the Roman as contrary to nature. It would be absurd to say that, in that passage, the Bible is condemning only one type of act used by homosexual couples, and not other types used by them.

by
Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.


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