Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines sexology as “the study of sex or of the interaction of the sexes especially among human beings”. Richard Freiherr von Krafft-Ebing is credited with establishing sexology as a scientific discipline with his work “Psychopathia Sexualis” which he published in 1886.
Havelock Ellis, an English physician, published another pioneering work in the field of sexology entitled “Sexual Inversion” in 1897. Ellis took on the taboo subjects of masturbation, homosexuality and transgenderism. Not only did he study male homosexuals, but he also studied man-boy homosexual relationships. He did seven case studies of older men having relationships with young boys. Sigmund Freud would later build on and Ellis’s research and studies of human sexual behavior.
But it was Alfred Charles Kinsey, an American biologist and sexologist, who made the science of sexology have the greatest impact on Western civilization. In 1947, Kinsey founded the Institute for Sex Research at Indiana University. His most famous works were “Sexual Behavior in the Human Male” published in 1948 and “Sexual Behavior in the Human Female” published in 1953.
Kinsey’s works influenced the American Law Institute in the 1950’s to recommend based on his “scientific research” that fornication, cohabitation, sodomy and adultery be decriminalized in the United States. Kinsey helped paved the way for the 1960’s sexual revolution.
In 1962 the Supreme Court ruled that prayer could no longer be conducted by teachers in public schools and at the same time public school teachers were forbidden from teaching anymore that fornication, adultery or cohabitation were immoral acts or that sex was reserved for marriage.
So to say that sexology has had many negative impacts on American culture from a Biblicist Christian perspective would be a massive under statement.
Positive Impacts of Sexology
Often God will use what Satan means for evil to accomplish his good. And Sexology while promoting much evil in regard to sex, did do some good in challenging unbiblical ideas about sex that been added to Christian teachings since the early church.
About 50 years after the last Apostle(John) died, a man who would later be regarded as an early father of the Church known as Clement of Alexandria stated this about sex:
“Our general argument concerning marriage, food, and other matters, may proceed to show that we should do nothing ‘- from desire. Our will is to be directed only towards that which is necessary. For we are children not of desire but of will. A man who marries for the sake of begetting children must practice continence so that it is not desire he feels for his wife, whom he ought to love, and that he may beget children with a chaste and controlled will. For we have learnt not to “have thought for the flesh to fulfil its desires.” We are to “walk honourably as in the way”, that is in Christ and in the enlightened conduct of the Lord’s way, “not in revelling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and lasciviousness, not in strife and envy.”
So Clement was saying when a married couple come together as an act of the will for the sake of having a child and not because of their sexual desire for one another there is no sin. But sex, even in marriage, simply for the sake of pleasure was a fleshly indulgence in Clement’s view.
Justin Martyr writing around 150 AD stated the same belief as Clement:
“But whether we marry, it is only that we may bring up children”
Augustine of Hippo wrote this in his treatise “On the Good of Marriage” around 400 AD:
“Further, in the very case of the more immoderate requirement of the due of the flesh, which the Apostle enjoins not on them by way of command, but allows to them by way of leave, that they have intercourse also beside the cause of begetting children; although evil habits impel them to such intercourse, yet marriage guards them from adultery or fornication. For neither is that committed because of marriage, but is pardoned because of marriage…
For intercourse of marriage for the sake of begetting has not fault; but for the satisfying of lust, but yet with husband or wife, by reason of the faith of the bed, it has venial fault: but adultery or fornication has deadly fault, and, through this, continence from all intercourse is indeed better even than the intercourse of marriage itself, which takes place for the sake of begetting.”
Augustine saw the desire for sex outside of “begetting children” as a venial sin that was better than the mortal sins of adultery and fornication. In his other writings he acknowledged that God made them “male and female” and intended on sexual reproduction but like Clement of Alexandria he believed it would have been an act of the will and not an act of passion or pleasure in God’s original design.
So the teaching we still hear preached today in many churches, both Catholic and non-Catholic alike, that God made sex for having children came from these men. It did not come from the Prophets of the Old Testament, Jesus Christ or his Apostles after him. It is an unbiblical teaching.
The rise of sexology forced the churches to at least modify their position a bit on sex. So now instead of saying sex was only made for having children, they modified their teachings to say it was “primarily” created for having children. Churches began teaching that sex for unity and emotional bonding, and not just procreation, was also acceptable before God. But still today in many churches sex for the sake of pleasure and pleasure alone as opposed to sex for unity and emotional bonding is still seen as sinful.
And this is where Biblical Sexology comes in.
What is Biblical Sexology?
To understand what Biblical Sexology is we must first address four groups of people.
Naturalists are atheists who believe that the world has evolved a certain way and mankind has no business trying to artificially change human behavior.
Secular Humanists are atheists as well. Humanists agree with their fellow atheists who are naturalists that the world came about by completely natural means. However they disagree with naturalist atheists that we should accept human behavior as it has evolved. They believe modern western societies should attempt to reprogram human behavior to conform to humanist moral standards.
Christian humanists reject the atheism of secular humanists while adopting most or all of the secular humanist moral standards. There are a wide range of Christian humanists. Christian humanists on the far left embrace all secular humanist moral standards and reject the inerrancy of the Bible and any teachings of the Bible which conflict with secular humanist morals. Christian humanists on the far right still may claim to believe in Biblical inerrancy and often they do not even identify as humanists. Instead of flatly rejecting any Biblical teaching, they will reinterpret Biblical teachings to accommodate many modern humanist standards of morality.
Biblicists are Christians who still hold to the historic Christian view of Biblical inerrancy and they refuse to reinterpret or soften any Biblical teachings simply because they conflict with modern humanist standards of morality.
Now we will discuss how these four groups above approach the topic of human sexuality.
Naturalists try to make no moral judgements about human sexual behavior. They believe sexual behavior has evolved as it is and society should just stand back and get out of the way. But I have yet to meet a pure naturalist when it comes to sex. The naturalist materials I have read and the naturalists I have spoken with do make some moral judgements about human sexual behavior.
Humanists, both secular and Christian, make all kinds of moral judgements about sex especially and primarily when it comes to male heterosexual sexual behavior. Humanist sexologists will acknowledge the same biological and psychological findings that naturalist sexologists do. But they insist that modern society can and must reprogram certain aspects of human sexuality, especially male heterosexual human sexuality, to conform to humanist moral standards.
Biblicists would actually stand in between the naturalists and humanists. Biblicists would agree with naturalists that certain heterosexual male behaviors should not be reprogrammed. In fact, the Biblicist would argue that certain heterosexual male behaviors that are so denigrated by secular and Christian humanists alike should be celebrated. But the Biblicists would agree though with the humanists that certain human sexual behaviors do need to be reprogrammed. They just disagree on what sexual behaviors need to be reprogrammed and what are moral standards of sexuality.
And with all that said as a backdrop, we can now define what Biblical Sexology is.
Biblical sexology is the study of human sexual behavior from a Biblical perspective. The goal of Biblical sexology is to determine which natural human sexual behaviors are by the design of God and which natural human sexual behaviors are a corruption of God’s original programming due to the introduction of sin into the human nature.
The methodology of Biblical sexology is to take a given sexual behavior, taking into account the age, genders and marital status of the person or persons doing this behavior, and then compare this to Biblical commands about sex, statements about sex, and the sexual behaviors of Biblical characters.
The words “descriptive” and “prescriptive” are very important in Biblical Sexology. Sometimes the Bible will describe certain sexual behaviors and within the same passage condemn those behaviors as immoral. Other times the Bible will describe and at the same time commend certain sexual behaviors. But in certain instances the Bible will simply describe sexual behaviors in a given passage without commending or condemning such behavior. In these instances we must look to clearer Biblical passages to determine whether these behaviors are prescriptive or descriptive to ascertain the morality of such behaviors.
Sometimes a larger Biblical principle or design of God not specifically speaking about sex may also be applied to a sexual behavior to determine the morality of such sexual behavior.