The Bible isn’t explicitly clear on anal sex, though it’s clear the Bible celebrates sex within marriage. The question of anal sex is up for interpretation, but we can rely on biblical principles to answer the question.
That said, we do believe the Bible clearly prohibits sodomy.
Within the confines of marriage, sex is a good thing. The Bible is clear on this, and we’ve talked about this extensively in other posts.
The Bible is also clear that any kind of sex, including oral sex, outside the context of marriage, is sin. We won’t delve into that here.
So if we’re talking about anal sex within marriage, there are two categories we should suggest. The first is a marriage between a man and a woman, and the second is a same-sex marriage. Sex within the latter might be defined as sodomy.
The Beauty of Sex in the Bible
Before we talk specifically about anal sex and sodomy, we should be clear that sex is a good thing. Sex was given to us by God as a gift. In sex, we find ourselves as physically intimate as we possible. It’s the ultimate show and celebration of intimacy between a bride and a groom, from kissing to intercourse.
“From the beginning of creation, God ‘made them male and female’” (Genesis 1:27, Mark 10:6-8 ESV)
“‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’” (Mark 10:6-8, Genesis 2:24)
And though it’s not super clear that Song of Songs (or Song of Solomon) is primarily about love and sex, this is in the Bible:
How beautiful and pleasant you are, O loved one, with all your delights! Your stature is like a palm tree, and your breasts are like its clusters. I say I will climb the palm tree and lay hold of its fruit. Oh may your breasts be like clusters of the vine, and the scent of your breath like apples, and your mouth like the best wine. It goes down smoothly for my beloved, gliding over lips and teeth. I am my beloved’s, and his desire is for me. (Song of Solomon 7:6-13)
But when sin entered the world, man’s desire was to abuse the gift of sex by enjoying it outside the confines God intended it.
Mentions of Anal Sex and Sodomy in the Bible
Anal sex is not mentioned explicitly in the Bible. Some will point to the events that take place in Genesis 19 where a large group of men sought to have sex with two male angels.
It goes without saying God condemned this act along with the acts of the entire city a few days later when he destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.
Other than that mention of sodomy, there aren’t many other explicit mentions of anal sex in the scriptures.
What the Bible Says About Sodomy
The Bible doesn’t mention the word “sodomy” anywhere, but it certainly condemns the acts of Genesis 19.
Peter says later, “So also Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighboring towns, since they indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire in a way similar to these angels, are now displayed as an example by suffering the punishment of eternal fire.” (Jude 1:7)
Throughout the thread of the scriptures – from creation through Revelation – marriage and sex between a man and a woman is instructed and celebrated. From the start to the finish of the scriptures, homosexuality is listed among sins and categorized as unnatural.
We won’t go into great detail about homosexuality here, but here are a few scriptures involved in the discussion:
- Genesis 19, which we’ve already mentioned
- “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable” (Leviticus 18:22)
- “If a man lies with a man as one lies with woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads” (Leviticus 20:13).
- “Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
- “The law is for people who are sexually immoral, or who practice homosexuality, or are slave traders, liars, promise breakers, or who do anything else that contradicts the wholesome teaching.” (1 Timothy 1:10)
At the end of the day, our take is that if God’s design for marriage and romance is between a man and a woman, then we’d say the Bible is clear that sodomy is sinful, in the same way that adultery or prostitution is sinful.
What the Bible Says About Anal Sex within Marriage
Okay, now let’s dive into something (in our opinion) is a little less clear: anal sex within a marriage between a man and a woman.
Our guy John Piper recommends 4 helpful questions when asking a question like this:
1. Is the Bible explicitly against anal sex?
Anal sex is not explicitly forbidden in any Biblical command. Though the acts of Genesis 19 are condemned, we don’t believe this is a direct condemnation of anal sex specifically.
It would be based on principle and not an explicit command that the Bible would prohibit anal sex.
2. Is anal sex unnatural?
Is it unnatural? This is somewhat tricky.
It’s clear God created man and woman, and it’s clear He designed them uniquely for sex. Though anal sex is perfectly possible, it’s not the primary way He designed mankind for sex.
I think there’s something to be said there. So we’ll say that’s it’s slightly unnatural. But we need to consider the motivation as well. Wet dreams are natural, and okay to have, but why are we having them?
3. Is anal sex harmful or unhealthy?
Is it harmful or unhealthy? There’s much to be said about the health risks of anal sex.
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, the risk of anal cancer increases 4000 percent among those who engage in anal intercourse. Anal sex increases the risk of a long list of health problems, including “rectal prolapse, perforation that can go septic, chlamydia, cyrptosporidosis, giardiasis, genital herpes, genital warts, isosporiasis, microsporidiosis, gonorrhea, viral hepatitis B and C, and syphilis” (quoted in Reilly, 55).
So yes, anal sex is unhealthy. At least much more unhealthy than traditional sex.
4. Is anal sex unkind or hateful?
This one touches the most raw nerves and has the greatest impact. If your spouse finds anal sex unpleasant, will you pressure them to have it? If you do, it’s unkind and a sin. Ephesians 4:12 states, “Be kind to each other.” The key word is pressure.
So with this in mind, anal sex isn’t by nature unkind. But when performed against a spouse’s wishes, it certainly can be.
What the Bible Says About Anal Sex
We believe it would be a stretch to say the Bible prohibits anal sex, but it certainly doesn’t celebrate or promote it in any way, based on the principles laid out through the scriptures.
Taking all four questions together, it would seem to us that anal sex is probably unwise. Not prohibited, but also not a very wise choice.