Does the Bible mention anal sex? Some Christians would say “Yes it does! It mentions and condemns sodomy and anal sex is a form of sodomy”.
However, the fact is the word “sodomy” never occurs in the Bible. That is a word made up in the English language. Most people today when they hear the word sodomy think of one of two things – homosexual acts especially between two or more men or anal sex. But the definition of sodomy in English is broader than this and includes oral sex or anal sex even between a man and woman.
This is the definition of “sodomy”:
“anal or oral copulation with a member of the same or opposite sex;”
In this article we will be speaking exclusively about anal sex. For my discussion on oral sex see my article “Why Christians SHOULD Engage in Oral Sex”.
The Roots of “Sodomy”
While “Sodomy” is never used in the Bible the roots for this English word can be seen in the story of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis chapter 19. Previously Abraham’s nephew Lot had moved with his family to the city of Sodom and Abraham had received angels from God that told him God would destroy Sodom for its wickedness. Abraham asked for God to spare Lot and his family so the angels went there to get them.
The men of Sodom surrounded Lot’s house and demanded that he would send out the two angels so they could have sex with them.
So Biblically speaking what would “Sodomy” be? If we look at Genesis 19 it is when one man forcibly has anal sex with another man.
What about the word “sodomite”?
The word “sodomite” is used in these passages of the King James translation of the Bible:
“There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.”
“And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the Lord cast out before the children of Israel.”
1 Kings 14:24 (KJV)
“And he took away the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made.”
1 Kings 15:12 (KJV)
“And the remnant of the sodomites, which remained in the days of his father Asa, he took out of the land.”
1 Kings 22:46 (KJV)
“And he brake down the houses of the sodomites, that were by the house of the Lord, where the women wove hangings for the grove.”
2 Kings 23:7 (KJV)
I love the KJV and I quote from it the majority of the time as it is often has the most literal English renderings of phrases from the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures. However from time to time even the KJV translators would take liberties with certain phrases and this unfortunately is one of those cases. The word that they are translating as “sodomite” is a translation of the Hebrew word “Qadesh” which literally means “male temple prostitute” and it has absolutely no connection to the Hebrew word for Sodom which is “Sedom”. The original meaning of “Sedom” is unknown but eventually it came to mean “burning” in reference to God’s fiery judgment on the city of Sodom.
A “Qadesh” was man who sold himself for sex and the money used to pay him would go to the pagan temple with which he was associated. Often these were not just prostitutes but they were in fact male sex slaves. Would it be true that often times these men did engage in homosexual sex acts with other men? Absolutely. But they could also engage in sex acts with wealthy women as well so in the truest sense their activities were bisexual in nature.
The point about the word “Qadesh” (which was wrongly translated as “sodomite” in the KJV) is that it does not refer specifically to anal sex, but instead it refers to male temple prostitutes.
Now the argument I have just made is one that many advocates of homosexuality make to discount Biblical prohibitions against homosexuality. But just because the Hebrew words behind Sodom and Sodomite do not specifically refer to homosexual acts this does not mean the Bible does not clearly condemn homosexual acts. Make no mistake that it does.
God condemns homosexual acts between men in the book of Leviticus:
“Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.”
Leviticus 18:22 (KJV)
God condemns homosexual acts between men and women in Paul’s letter to the Romans:
“26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.”
Romans 1:26-27 (KJV)
But here is my point about the words Sodomy, Sodom and Sodomite.
Sodomy is never found in the Bible and even if the roots of this English word refers to the wickedness of Sodom it does not refer simply to anal sex. Instead it would refer to men forcibly having anal sex with other men – in other words one man raping another man. In a broader sense Sodomy might refer to all types of wickedness that were practice in Sodom including homosexuality, whoremongering, prostitution and rape.
The word Sodom refers to the name of a Biblical city and has nothing specifically to do with sexual sins.
The word Sodomite is a mistranslation of the Hebrew word for male temple prostitute and while these prostitutes may have engaged in anal sex they also engaged in many other sex acts including normal sexual intercourse.
So if someone wants to say anal sex is condemned because the Bible condemns sodomites they would be incorrect in that connection. The Bible in these cases is condemning the rape of men and men being prostitutes.
So is Anal Sex Ok for Christian Married Couples to Engage in?
Up to this point you might think I am arguing that anal sex is ok because I have just shown that the Bible’s condemnation of sodomites is not a specific prohibition against anal sex but rather a prohibition against raping men and men being prostitutes.
But this is not the case. I believe there is a Biblical case to be made against Christian husbands engaging in anal intercourse with their wives. But we cannot build that case on the Bible’s condemnation of the acts of Sodom or the use of the word “sodomites” in the KJV.
With that being said as an introduction to the topic of anal sex, I will now present what I believe to be the case against husbands engaging in anal sex with their wives.
Is Anal Sex a Natural Use of the Anus?
“26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.”
Romans 1:26-27 (KJV)
God is very much concerned that we use our bodies in the way he designed them to be used. He did not design the male body for sex with another male body and he did not design the female body for sex with another female body. When men have sex with men they are going against the natural design of their bodies and when women have sex with women they are going against the natural design of their bodies. But when a man has sex with a woman – he and this woman are now using their bodies in ways that God designed them to be used.
So the question is, is a woman’s anus designed for sexual intercourse with a man or in other words is sexual intercourse a natural use of the anus by a woman’s husband?
The director of the Center for Sexual Medicine and Menopause at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, Lauren F. Streicher, MD, made the following statements about anal intercourse in an article for Health.com:
““Let’s face it, the anus was not made for intercourse. It’s supposed to be a one-way passage,” Dr. Streicher points out. The vagina, on the other hand, “has a thick, elastic, accordion-like lining designed to stretch to accommodate a penis, or a baby.”
Rectal tissue is thinner and doesn’t share the same elasticity, so there’s a greater chance it can tear, says Dr. Streicher…”
An article from WebMD.com on Anal Sex goes further into health risks and problems anal sex can lead to:
“The anus lacks the natural lubrication the vagina has. Penetration can tear the tissue inside the anus, allowing bacteria and viruses to enter the bloodstream. This can result in the spread of sexually transmitted infections including HIV. Studies have suggested that anal exposure to HIV poses 30 times more risk for the receptive partner than vaginal exposure. Exposure to the human papillomavirus (HPV) may also lead to the development of anal warts and anal cancer. Using lubricants can help some, but doesn’t completely prevent tearing.
The tissue inside the anus is not as well protected as the skin outside the anus. Our external tissue has layers of dead cells that serve as a protective barrier against infection. The tissue inside the anus does not have this natural protection, which leaves it vulnerable to tearing and the spread of infection.
The anus was designed to hold in feces. The anus is surrounded with a ring-like muscle, called the anal sphincter, which tightens after we defecate. When the muscle is tight, anal penetration can be painful and difficult. Repetitive anal sex may lead to weakening of the anal sphincter, making it difficult to hold in feces until you can get to the toilet. However, Kegel exercises to strengthen the sphincter may help prevent this problem or correct it.
The anus is full of bacteria. Even if both partners do not have a sexually-transmitted infection or disease, bacteria normally in the anus can potentially infect the giving partner. Practicing vaginal sex after anal sex can also lead to vaginal and urinary tract infections.”
So medical professionals tell us that they can clearly see that a woman’s anus was not designed for penetration, i.e. penile intercourse. Unlike the much tougher linings of her mouth and her vagina, a woman’s anus has a very thin lining that is easily torn and can bleed and become infected. Over long lengths of time regular anal sex can stretch a woman’s anal sphincter and lead to an inability to hold one’s feces.
Everything about the anus shows us that it is designed as an “exit only” orifice of the body. So is anal sex a natural use of a woman’s body by man? The answer from a biological perspective is no.
The Warning Pains of Anal Sex
Anal sex is naturally painful – even with lubrication because the anus was NOT meant for penetration. However, just because something is painful does not mean it is necessarily a bad thing to do that thing.
When a person lifts weights or does any type of strenuous exercise (or hard labor) often their muscles ache because the muscles are torn and stretched by that exercise. When the muscles heal from this tearing they become stronger.
When a mother gives birth it is certainly painful.
“Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.”
Genesis 3:16 (KJV)
Notice the key word in Genesis 3:16 which is “multiply”. Even before sin God did not design child birth to a painless process any more than he designed people exercising (and thus tearing and stretching their muscles) to be a painless exercise.
No one would argue that the pain from exercise, hard labor or child birth means these activities are wrong to do.
But then there is another type of pain. This type of pain is a pain that acts as warning to us.
Many of us when we were children experienced one type of this “warning pain” when our parents spanked us:
“Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”
Hebrews 12:11 (KJV)
The pain of our parents spanking us warned us that what we were doing was wrong and that we needed to not do that thing we were doing anymore.
Besides our parents spanking us though – we have another natural type of “warning pain” that God gives us. As small children we may have touched something that was hot only to have it burn our fingers. This served to warn us that our skin is not made for touching things with high temperatures.
In same way people often experience internal pains which tells them something is wrong. Often times a person’s life can be saved when they are sensitive to pain and report it to a doctor so they can help them.
It is this warning type of pain that a person experiences when they allow their anus to be penetrated. The pain we experience as human beings when our anus is penetrated cannot be compared to the pain a person experiences when they exercise, do hard labor, when a woman loses her virginity or when a woman has a baby. These types of pains are not meant as warnings but they serve as part of God’s natural design.
But when we touch a hot stove with our hand or when a woman feels pain when her anus is penetrated these are warning pains that God gave us to tell us that our skin was not designed for extreme heat and that our anus was not designed for penetration.
The Argument For Anal Sex From Existence of Dual Purpose Body Parts
Now that we have addressed the issue of the design of the anus not be fitting for penetration for intercourse both from a functional perspective as well as from a pain perspective we will lastly address the argument that anal sex is ok because it may serve a dual purpose as other body parts do.
I have many good Christian friends who disagree with me on this topic of anal sex. One of them made the following statement to me regarding my opposition to anal sex on the principle that it violates God’s design and purpose for the anus:
“God has designed many parts of the body with a primary function and many secondary as well. For instance, the mouth is used for many functions such as eating speaking, breathing etc. If I said that the mouth was designed for eating so you should not kiss with it, you would probably disagree. It is fallacious to say the anus was designed to eliminate waste so it can serve no other function. The very same argument of teleology or design was used by fundamentalists against oral sex just a couple of decades ago. We are not free to add to the law or assume the exhaustive purposes of God when He has not revealed such.”
Yes some body parts have duel purposes – agreed. We can use our mouth to eat, to breathe, to kiss and to give sexual pleasure to our spouses. We can use our hands to hold things, to work, to paint, to play sports and to give our partners sexual pleasure.
A man’s penis is used both to urinate and to give himself and his wife sexual pleasure. A woman’s vagina is used both to give her husband and herself sexual pleasure as well as bear children.
I might agree with my Christian friend that the anus could have been designed by God with a dual purpose as a secondary way of giving a husband sexual pleasure IF these things were true of anal sex:
- The lining of the anus was as thick and tough as the skin in the mouth or the vagina.
- The anus had a natural expansion mechanism for things to enter it as the vagina and mouth do.
- The anus did not give off warning pains when it is penetrated each and every time.
- Switching between anal, oral and vaginal sex would not spread dangerous bacteria from the anus to the mouth and vagina.
- The practice of regular anal sex over many months or years did not have a strong possibility of causing issues with feces not be able to be held and other health injuries.
But the fact is none of the things I just mentioned are true of anal sex and therefore I do not believe we can conclude that the anus is a dual purpose body part on a woman that is meant for sexual pleasure in the same way her mouth and hands can be.
There are differences between these other types of sex and anal sex. A woman’s hand does not burn and hurt simply because she rubs her husband’s penis with it. A woman’s mouth does not hurt just from the fact that her husband places his penis in it. Now could a woman’s hand or mouth begin to get sore from prolonged sexual relations? Sure. But so could her vagina.
But my point is that the initial contact with these areas of the body and moderate use of them during sex does not normally or naturally cause pain in the way that anal sex will cause pain whether from prolonged use or moderate use.
There is no warning pain from any of these other types of sex besides anal sex. In fact we can find allusions to these other types of sexual activity in the Song of Solomon. So trying to compare anal sex to oral sex or other types of manual sex is a comparison of apples to oranges.
A woman may experience pain during vaginal sex for reasons other than prolonged sexual intercourse. But God did not design vaginal sex to be painful. If a woman were to go to the doctor and explain that she is having painful vaginal intercourse the doctor will tell her that is not normal and they need to look into reasons why that is happening. But if that same woman were to tell the doctor she has painful anal intercourse the doctor is going to say – “well that is because the anus is not designed for sex”. Now yes you can find ways to reduce that pain but the fact is it is completely normal for anal sex to be painful because it is warning from your body that you are not supposed to be doing that.
Can a Christian Wife Refuse Anal Intercourse To Her Husband?
Full disclosure. In years past I thought that wives had a Biblical right to refuse to allow their husband’s to engage in anal intercourse with them. But then I realized two things.
The first thing I realized is that when we as Christians come to believe a specific action is wrong based on a larger Biblical principle, rather than a specific Biblical command, we should be more gracious with fellow believers who may not see that as a valid application of that principle.
My point is that I have come to know many conservative and Bible believing Christian husbands over the years that engage in anal sex with their wives and they do not see it as violation of the natural use of the woman. And because the Bible does not directly condemn a husband engaging in anal sex with his wife, I am willing to kindly agree to disagree with them on this subject.
This then brings me to the second realization I came to on the subject of anal sex. A woman is to follow her husband’s interpretation and application of the Scriptures. The Bible says of wives in 1 Corinthians 14:35 “And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home…”.
This means that if you are Christian wife, if your husband sees no command of the Bible condemning anal sex and he does not believe it is a violation of the natural use of the woman then you are to submit to his teaching. And that means you are to submit to anal intercourse with your husband.
There is also one more principle which applies to wives. Even if you struggle with allowing your husband to have anal sex with you, believing that his having anal sex with you is a misuse of your body, we then have the Biblical call to suffering as seen below:
“Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.”
1 Peter 2:18-20 (KJV)
And for those who say “this principle only applies to slaves and their masters” I would kindly submit to you the next verses which come directly after what I just quoted:
“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously”
1 Peter 2:21-23 (KJV)
Was Christ a slave? The answer is no. He was a freeman. Yet he suffered at the hands of men who were not his slave masters, but rather the spiritual leaders of his society. Therefore we know this principle, this call to Christians to suffer mistreatment and abuse at the hands of others, is not restricted to just the master/slave relationship.
In addition to this, while the husband/wife relationship is not identical to the master/slave relationship, it does have many things in common and one of the biggest things it has in common is that wives are commanded to regard their husbands as their masters in 1 Peter 3:6. For a more in-depth Biblical examination of the similarities and differences between the master/slave relationship and the husband/wife relationship see my article on Biblicalgenderroles.com entitled “8 Biblical Differences Between Wives and Slaves“.
So should a wife endure some forms of mistreatment from her husband as her master? Biblically speaking the answer is yes. For more on the subject of how God wants us as Christians to react to abuse from others see my articles on Biblicalgenderroles.com entitled “Why God Wants You to STAY in an Abusive Relationship“, “Not All Abuse Must Be Taken” and “Does God allow divorce for abuse?“.
I have shown here that our modern use of the word “sodomize”, meaning someone having anal sex with another person, is not what the Bible is referring to when it condemns sodomites. “Sodomite” is an English translation of the Hebrew word “Qadesh” which literally means “male temple prostitute”, so when the Bible was condemning sodomites, it was specifically condemning male prostitution. But we also showed from Leviticus 18:22 that the Bible condemns men having sexual relations with other men under any circumstances, not just male prostitution.
God condemns all forms of sexual relations between men and that would include manual sex, oral sex and anal sex. But that condemnation of man on man sex does not automatically condemn these same actions by a husband toward his wife in marriage.
The Biblical case I have made against husbands engaging in anal sex with their wives is not that I believe husbands are “sodomizing” their wives when they have anal intercourse with them. When we understand what sodomy is Biblicaly speaking as it relates to male prostitution, then we understand that it is impossible for a husband to sodomize his wife.
The Biblical case I have made against anal sex is that anal sex goes against God’s designed use of a woman’s body. It is by definition an unnatural and unintended use of her anus. I have shown from medical experts that the anus is not designed for penile intercourse. Even in a monogamous marriage situation where there are no concerns over STDs, there are still concerns about bacterial infections, cross contamination between the mouth or vagina, tearing of the anus as well as other issues.
And it is for these reasons that I believe husbands should refrain from engaging in anal intercourse with their wives. God did not design the anus as a dual purpose body part for sexual pleasure. Instead this body part was designed for one purpose and one purpose alone – the release of gas from the body and the release of waste from the body. That is it.
However, if you are a Christian wife reading this, I am not your husband and therefore you must follow your husband’s interpretation and application of the Scriptures. Your husband might not see anal sex as a violation of the natural use of your body, and in the absense of a direct command prohibiting him from having anal intercourse with you he may require this of you. And you as his wife are to submit to his interpretation and application of the Scriptures. Therefore you are to submit to him having anal intercourse with you.