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Spiritual life: Sex is not only for married couples

PUBLISHED: 08:00 29 October 2017

Archant

When Christopher and I got engaged, I showed round a nice photograph of the two of us together but one lady said “Ooh, I wouldn’t like to marry one of those! You’d go to cuddle him and he’d say ‘Now now, none of that’!”

In our picture, Christopher was wearing his clerical collar and cassock and it was clear that the lady’s comment was formed by years of believing that the church has only one attitude to sex - and that’s DON’T DO IT!

It’s true, of course, that sex is a very powerful instinct and there is no doubt that such strong feelings need to be used appropriately but I reckon that God gave us the feelings and wants them to be enjoyed.

In the Church of England’s modern wedding service from Common Worship which was published in 2000, I am pleased that the preface – the passage we read which explains what we are going to do and why – is explicit about the place of sex in marriage. No dire warnings about sin and fornication, like the traditional Prayer Book, but instead it says ‘The gift of marriage brings husband and wife together in the delight and tenderness of sexual union’.

Unlike some of my Christian friends, I do not believe that sex is only for those who are married but I am absolutely adamant that it should always and only be what both people want; the recent stories of film magnates (men) exerting their desires over less powerful (female) employees is simply not acceptable. Just to reassure you, Christopher has never said ‘Now, now, none of that’!

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