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ask an eastern orthodox Christian

Ask An Eastern Orthodox Christian: Sex Only For Procreation?

Ask An Eastern Orthodox Christian: Sex Only For Procreation?

By Nicholas Damascus

What would you like to know about the Eastern Orthodox Christian faith? Submit your question.

Why aren’t Orthodox Christians allowed to have marital sexual relations for pleasure? Why can it only be when having a child?

There is nowhere in Scripture where it states a man and a woman in the sacramental life of marriage can not participate in the expression of love with one another as in conjugal relations. Scripture does not just imply that marital relations are solely for the procreation of children. 

In the Eastern Orthodox Church, sexual union in marriage is sanctified, sacred, and holy. Scripture tells us in Hebrews 13:4, “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled,” and in 1 Corinthians 7:3, “Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband.”

The essence of Christian marriage is not sex; it is a spiritual union of two souls by the joining of two physical bodies (sex) in marital love.

St. John Chrysostom (On Marriage and Family Life) also says, “He created one from one, and again these two he makes one, and thus He makes one; so that even now man is born from one. For a woman and a man are not two but one man.”

Marriage was instituted in the Church with two purposes. 

The first and main purpose, which takes precedence, was for chastity (no extramarital sexual relations). The second was in hopes that it would lead to procreation, as is stated in the words of our Lord ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth’ (Genesis 1:28).

Preoccupation with sex in the moral disintegration of this fallen world most often leads to lust, conquest, and the control of others for one’s self-satisfaction. In a Christian marital union, sexual relations must be consensual, and manipulation in sexual matters is always inappropriate.

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