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“Safer Sex?”

Image from the Reading Eagle by Ben Hasty

Why Christians don’t buy it

The language of ‘safer sex’ is now stylishly used to describe the use of a prophylactic that prevents the spread of a sexually transmitted infection. But the assumptions underlying this language are;

  • sex is dangerous
  • protected sex cannot reduce the danger significantly enough to be considered ‘safe;’ and, the underlying conclusion
  • To be sexually ‘safe’ is to have no sex at all: (This implies one is sexually safe if one has solo sex, a real truism.  However, it is telling that those who oppose premarital sex rarely promote masturbation as an alternative.)

Christianity is an incarnational religion that audaciously claims God became flesh and blood, that humanity was created as earth creatures and the Creator proclaimed it “good.” The first earth creatures lived in a sensual garden paradise of earthly delights (that is the meaning of Eden) and tended this paradise naked and unashamed. Contrary to much of the later erotophobic church teachings derived from misogynistic, homophobic church fathers and shaped by the Greco-Roman worldview of a mind/body (or carnal versus spiritual) split, incarnation tells us our sexual bodies are to be enjoyed, pleasure is good, and sexual expression is for more than procreation. Therefore, unless celibacy is offered as a spiritual gift (and few of us are so called), Christians have no business labeling sex as dangerous or to be avoided. According to Jesus we are called by God to treat one another as we wish to be treated. So, responsible, respectful sexual behavior is always expected, not because this makes it ‘safer,’ but because that is the compassionate thing to do.