Is Oral Sex a Sin?

Question
Is oral sex a sin?
Answer
Actually, the Bible doesn't specifically address the issue of oral sex. It does differentiate between marriage, heterosexuality, male and female homosexuality, bestiality, and incest, but it really doesn't get into the specific acts that take place within those relationships.

The Bible literally speaks in terms of "knowing," "uncovering nakedness," "lying with," "adultery," and "immorality" when it refers to sexual relations. It does not describe what particular acts fall into these categories, though it is clear from some of the cases in which these concepts are used that they cannot be limited to vaginal intercourse (e.g. Gen. 19:5; Judg. 19:22; Rom. 1:26-27). Sexual relations are acceptable within the context of marriage, and unacceptable outside that context.

The Bible seems to assume that people know what it means when it prohibits these types of activities in relationships other than marriage, much like the American public assumed that President Clinton should have known when testifying under oath that "sexual relations" included oral sex (in the fairly recent Monica Lewinski matter). The language in the Bible is flexible, and is intended to cover all types of sexual conduct, not just vaginal intercourse.

One way to determine what is and what is not appropriate behavior is by looking at the people who are forbidden to engage in acts of "knowing," "uncovering nakedness," "lying with," "adultery," and "immorality." If these terms are limited to vaginal intercourse (and by necessity to sodomy) but allow oral sex, then the Bible does not prohibit oral sex with anyone under any circumstance. If these terms do not cover oral sex, then the Bible does not forbid a father and daughter to engage in oral sex together. If these terms to not cover oral sex, then the Bible does not forbid a son and mother to engage in oral sex together. If these terms do not cover oral sex, then the Bible does not forbid a man to perform oral sex on another man, or a woman to perform oral sex on another woman.

I would suggest that a rather objective way to tell if something counts as "sexual relations" is to determine whether or not it tends to stimulate the sexual response of orgasm. This is not to say that sexual activity does not take place unless someone has an orgasm. Rather, it is simply to assert that if the activity (such as oral sex) is the sort that tends to bring people to sexual climax, then that activity is clearly sexual in nature. Therefore, the activity falls into the category of sexual relations and is forbidden outside marriage.


Answer by Ra McLaughlin

Ra McLaughlin is Vice President of Creative Delivery Systems at Third Millennium Ministries.