This page has been written for people who love God and desire to live within his guidelines for life.
I encourage you to take a moment to ask God to reveal the truth about oral sex as it applies to your life.
God created sex as a beautiful, pleasurable expression of love to be enjoyed within the bond of marriage between a man and a woman (Hebrews 13:4). The potential pleasure of sex (as God designed it) is evidence of his amazing love for humanity. Satan has done his best to exploit sex and pervert it into something God never intended. For many, sex has become an addictive compulsion that has been fueled by lust-based entertainment such as pornography.
Oral sex is often promoted in pornography. This doesn’t make oral sex wrong, but it does give us cause for caution because it can be used to feed lust. The challenge for us is to determine if oral sex is something that is compatible with godly living and if it is something that will be beneficial to our marriages.
Within the context of heterosexual marriage, the scripture may not seem to confirm whether oral sex is acceptable behavior for God’s followers. There are, however, basic principles in scripture that will help us answer the question.
Is it sex? Oral sex has been portrayed in the American culture as “safe sex”, and some people have considered it as a way to retain their virginity before marriage. I believe that oral sex is sex for a number of reasons, which include:
- Oral sex fits one of the definitions for sexual intercourse: “intercourse involving genital contact between individuals other than penetration of the vagina by the penis” (Webster’s Dictionary)
- Oral sex creates physical, emotional and spiritual bonds just as traditional intercourse does
- Oral sex involves exposing one’s “nakedness” to another, which is how the Old Testament sometimes describe sexual relations (ex. Leviticus 18:6,7,10)
Under the assumption that oral sex is sex, we can apply the Bible’s sexual guidelines to it. This basically means that it should only be practiced within a heterosexual marriage. For the cases outside of marriage (i.e. fornication or adultery), the Bible clearly identifies sexual activity (and therefore oral sex) as sin:
- Fornication: Genesis 34:1-7; Deuteronomy 22:13-28; 2 Samuel 13:2-22; 1 Corinthians 6:9, Galatians 5:19; Colossians 3:5; 1 Corinthians 7:8-9
- Adultery: Galatians 5:19; Hebrews 13:4; Genesis 39:6-12
- Gay sex: 1 Corinthians 6:9; Leviticus 20:13, Leviticus 18:22, Romans 1:26-32
Love and Sex
Determining if love is the real motive behind our sexual actions or desires can be tricky. Why is this so? First of all, the difference between lust-based and love-based sexual desire can often be very challenging to ascertain. This is something that we may need God’s help in discerning. People who have fed lust through a sexual addiction may be equating sexual lust with love, having lost sensitivity to what true love is. If that is the case, they will need God’s healing of that sensitivity. Secondly, our hearts can be deceptive, especially when we’re considering something that potentially could bring us much pleasure.
To assist us in evaluating the intents of our hearts regarding oral sex, here are some questions we can ask ourselves:
1. Is it mutually enjoyable for both partners?
2. Is it voluntary (as opposed to coerced)?
3. Has it become the focus of the sexual experience and/or is it required for the sexual experience to be fulfilling?
4. Is it being inspired by something viewed in porn or idolized in a previous relationship?
5. Do you or your spouse feel that it is wrong?
6. Have you prayed with your spouse about whether this should be part of your relationship?
As you consider the answers to those questions for your relationship, here are some potential warning signs that may suggest oral sex should not be practiced:
- When there is sexual imbalance: When oral sex is desired or required to be part of every sexual interaction this may point to lust or sexual idolatry as the underlying motive. If this is the case, continuing to practice it could erode the love in the relationship.
- When at least one of the partners feels that oral sex is wrong: The scripture gives us clear guidance that we are not to violate others’ consciences (1 Corinthians 8). Our conscience works in cooperation with the Holy Spirit, who convicts us of sin and righteousness (John 16:7-9). When we heed the convictions of the Spirit, we have peace; when we disregard them, we lose our peace (Colossians 3:15). Unfortunately, manipulation by guilt or pity is often used to weaken an objecting spouse’s concerns about oral sex. This is both unloving and abusive. Granted, married persons have the obligation to lovingly share their bodies with their spouse, but that should be in harmony with their conscience.
- When the act causes a spouse to feel degraded: As a loving experience, sex should edify both spouses. Wives have often written to us mentioning that their husbands wanted them to perform sex acts such as oral sex that they were uncomfortable with. Some who acquiesced said they felt degraded and cheap, like prostitutes. Practicing oral sex under such circumstances would contribute to the erosion of love and mutual sexual desire from the relationship.
Some other things to consider….
- Oral sex has been linked to throat cancer in recent medical studies
- Oral sex may detract from a couple’s ability to achieve simultaneous orgasm, as one person could climax prematurely due to over stimulation.
- Oral sex could increase one’s risk of exposure to infectious disease or bacterium. (good hygiene would minimize this risk)
On my page addressing anal sex, I made some points that can be also be argued against the practice of oral sex:
1. Oral sex uses body parts in way contrary to their designed purposes (i.e. perversion): On a basic needs level, the mouth and throat were made for receiving food, breathing and speaking. It doesn’t seem that the mouth was intended for sexual activity. To put it graphically, a penis in the throat can cause a person to choke and semen and vaginal secretions are not food. There is additional reason for concern as ejaculate has immuno-suppressant qualities that may increase a person’s risk of contracting throat cancer. One additional thought – if God intended for people to practice oral sex, wouldn’t he have made the fluids involved delicious to the taste?
Even with those good reasons against oral sex, it can be argued that people use the mouth to express affection, which is a typical part of sexuality and that kissing/mouthing the sexual organs is a natural expression of affection. I suggest that such acts can be done in moderation without “going all the way” into intercourse.
I would point out here that the vagina contains tissue that is designed for both penetration (during sex) and expulsion (birth or menstrual cycle). The nerve endings in the clitoris, vagina and surrounding tissue provide a perfect match for the male sexual design. When the “conventional” sex position (face to face) is used, the man and woman are positioned for the ideal amount of stimulation for both partners to experience orgasms simultaneously. Alternate sexual positions, such as for oral sex, may provide more enhanced stimulation for one partner or the other, but may lessen the potential for both people having simultaneous orgasms.
2. Oral sex can give lust a foothold: The sex industry goes to great lengths to promote oral sex is a natural and exciting way to express sexual passion. Perhaps this is because oral sex shots have sensational appeal and generate a great deal of click-thru’s for porn sales? For many people, oral sex is based on lust, not love. This is especially true when a person has feasted his or her mind on pornography featuring oral sex. Tolerating lust in our lives will slow down our transformation into the “new man,” and give the devil potential footholds for other forms of evil in us.
Lust works contrary to love in every way (see lust vs. love) – it is selfish and only cares about gratifying its desires. When we follow lust’s impulses (ex. by having oral sex), we open the door to other forms of evil which can corrupt our minds and lead us further away from God. It can even lead into other perversions, such as gay sex. An example of what can happen when people follow lust is found in Romans 1:21-31 NIV:
“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator–who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.”
As the people in this example pursued lust, they ultimately were “filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity” (29). In the same way, if we give lust a home in our life, we’re basically opening up the door to other kinds of evil to fill our lives.
3. Oral sex may be “out of character” for a Christian marriage: The Bible instructs husbands to love and nurture their wives. Paul wrote, “Even so husbands should love their wives as [being in a sense] their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself. For no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and carefully protects and cherishes it, as Christ does the church” (Ephesians 5:28-29 NIV). Paul characterized the husband’s love for his wife as Christ’s love for the church. Such love is to be pure, without any hint of lust.
An appropriate application of this love is to the sexual relationship. Unfortunately, pornography has helped inspire many people to crave sex acts that they might not normally desire. Under the guise of keeping the marriage sex life exciting, many couples succumb to “lust-based” sex (instead of “love-based” sex) by experimenting with perversions like oral sex. For example, a husband who pursues oral sex against his wife’s wishes is being motivated by lust, not love. His wife may agree to participate, but most likely only to appease her husband. When this happens, sex becomes more of a spectacle for the husband’s gratification than a mutually-enjoyable, loving experience. As love is removed from the relationship, sex will likely require greater levels of the bizarre to produce gratification.
4. Oral sex increases the participants’ chances of contracting a sexually transmitted disease (STD), infection or AIDS. (see health risks PDF document)
I am hesitant to label oral sex as sin in every case, as I believe there is room for oral expression of sexual affection. As to how far that goes before it becomes sin, that is something each person must determine for themselves.
Some people may not agree with this conclusion, and may hold that marriage gives a husband and wife permission to do whatever they want with each other’s bodies. If that’s your rationale, I then urge you to consider Paul’s “beneficial test” found in 1 Corinthians 6:12-13 NIV:
“Everything is permissible for me”–but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me”–but I will not be mastered by anything. “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food”–but God will destroy them both. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.
We can ask ourselves, “Is oral sex going to benefit me, my spouse and our relationship with God, or will it harm or hinder us?” If it is going to harm or hinder in any way, then we would be wise not to practice it. Additionally, I would encourage you to pray and ask God to give you clear discernment concerning this issue, as the one of the Holy Spirit’s functions is to convict people of sin. If you are still unclear on it, seek counsel from your pastor or a trusted friend who is walking with Christ.
As followers of God, everything we do should glorify God. This most definitely is reflected in how we treat our spouse sexually. I pray that each of you will be sensitive to God and follow his leading on the topic of oral sex.
Additional resource: Dr. Clifford & Joyce Penner’s page on oral sex