In our fortnightly column ‘Great Sexpectations’ the Woman Alive panel answer your questions on sex, faith and intimacy. Drop us a confidential email on firstname.lastname@example.org and ask us anything. Here, we tackle the taboo topic of sex toys.
Hi Woman Alive,
I wanted to know what is the Christian view of sex toys, for example vibrators? Sex toys are promoted as the norm by women’s secular magazines.
We really are tackling the saucy questions this morning aren’t we?! Gosh, let my pop down my cup of Tetley and think this one through.
Broadly, I think there are likely to be three different scenarios where you would use a sex toy and I’ll run through them one by one...
Firstly, for solo sex. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that pornography is damaging. It’s well documented that porn can affect your libido, the type of sex you crave and the way you treat your partner. But when it comes to masturbation, there is less of a consensus. The majority of Christians would speak against it. We’re warned of the evils of lust: "For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world." Some suggest that you can masturbate without lustful thoughts, but in reality that's probably a difficult task.
Some suggest that you can masturbate without lustful thoughts, but in reality that's probably a difficult task.
There are some Christian leaders who would say that there is something healthy about understanding your body, appreciating it's God given functions and knowing what brings you pleasure (read Rachel Gardner's The Sex Thing for her perspective). But they would advise you to be cautious about letting that exploration become a habit.
Next up, you may want to use sex toys in the context of sex with a partner who you are not married to. Biblically, I believe this one is a no. Sex, and that's all types of sex from manual stimulation to penetrative, is best saved for marriage. That's not because God is the fun police, but because he wants only the very best for us, and he knows the pain that can come from premature intimacy.
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Finally, you may be a married woman who wants to incorporate sex toys into your bedroom activities. This, like many other sexual inventions of the modern era, is not referenced in the Bible. So we have to look at God's intentions for sex in order to answer your question. Aside from when sex is being used for the purposes of procreation, it is a sacred act between a couple that brings them closer together. The Bible says: "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31.
If I was considering trying something new in the bedroom with my husband, I would ask myself the following questions:
- Why do I want to try this? Is it because I've been influenced by pornography or even secular women's magazines? Examining your motives will help you establish if this is a healthy desire.
- Do I really want to try this new thing, or am I feeling pressure from my partner? The baseline for any bedroom activity is enthusiastic consent. Don't let your partner nag you into doing something you're not comfortable with.
- Does this bring glory to God? Will this sexual activity bring you closer to your partner and closer to God? Is this something that feels true, noble, righteous, pure, lovable, admirable or praiseworthy? Philippians 4:8.
If you're happy you've thought it through and it passes the checks and balances above, I say go for it.
Our Great Sexpectations column is written by a number of different contributors who make up the Woman Alive panel. If you have a question for us, email:email@example.com,uk
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