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What does the Bible say about oral sex?

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Oral sex, also known as “cunnilingus” when performed on females and “fellatio” when performed on males, is not mentioned in the Bible. There are two primary questions asked in regard to oral sex: (1) “is oral sex a sin if done before marriage?” and (2) “is oral sex a sin if done within a marriage?” While the Bible does not specifically address either question, there are definitely biblical principles that apply.

Is oral sex a sin if done before or outside of marriage?
This question is becoming increasingly common as young people are told that “oral sex is not really sex,” and as oral sex is promoted as a safer alternative to sexual intercourse (no risk of pregnancy, less risk of sexually transmitted diseases*). What does the Bible say? Ephesians 5:3 declares, “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity . . . because these are improper for God’s holy people.” The biblical definition of immorality is “any form of sexual contact outside of marriage” (1 Corinthians 7:2). According to the Bible, sex is to be reserved for marriage (Hebrews 13:4). Period. So, yes, oral sex is always a sin if done before or outside of marriage.

Is oral sex a sin if done within a marriage?
Many Christian married couples have had this question. The Bible nowhere says what specifically is allowed or disallowed sexually between a husband and wife. Of course, any sexual activity involving another person (swapping, threesomes, etc.) or lust for someone else (pornography) is sinful. Apart from those two restrictions, how can we know if something is sexually permissible between a husband and wife?

1. Sex is to be God-honoring — Our bodies are meant to glorify the Lord, not to be controlled by our passions and not to be used for sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:12–13). “Therefore honor God with your bodies” (1 Corinthians 6:20).

2. Sex is to be exclusive — Sex is between a husband and wife only (1 Corinthians 7:2).

3. Sex is to be loving and other-oriented — 1 Corinthians 7:3–4 instructs, “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife.” Each spouse lovingly yields his or her body to the other.

4. Marital sex happens regularly — “Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control” (1 Corinthians 7:5).

5. Marital sex unifies — Sexual intimacy unites a husband and wife (1 Corinthians 7:5) and solidifies the “one flesh” aspect of marriage, not just physically but emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, and in every other way.

Oral sex before marriage is absolutely a sin. It is immoral. It is not a biblically acceptable alternative to sexual intercourse for unmarried couples. Within the confines of marriage, oral sex is free from sin if it is God-honoring, exclusive, loving, other-oriented, unifying, and mutually agreed upon.

*While oral sex is safer than sexual intercourse in regard to sexually transmitted diseases, it is definitely not safe. Chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, HIV/AIDS, and other STDs can be transmitted through oral sex.

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This page last updated: April 3, 2023