Sex and Religion: Is it a Sin to Go Down on My Husband?

"I have been married for 13 years and have never given my husband oral sex. He does it for me all the time, and I love it, but I feel too grossed out and intimidated by his large size to reciprocate. I know that he wants it, but my Christian background says that I shouldn't. What do you think?" --iVillager lovinhost

Question:

Dear lovinhost:

While I'm a sexologist and not a theologian, I do have a few opinions on the subject of sex, guilt and religion. Let me begin by emphasizing that I mean no insult to any religion or anyone's beliefs and values. This is my opinion: Religious doctrines have blurred the line between procreative and other natural sexual behaviors by favoring only those leading to pregnancy. Specifically, many religions have banned as a sin all non-procreative sexual acts, including oral and anal sex. When any outside force -- be it society, religion, or even government -- controls the sexuality of the individual, those forces, in effect, control that individual. So as a sexologist, I encourage all individuals to periodically reexamine beliefs and values regarding individual sexuality and its present expression.

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Regarding your present situation, you can decide if you wish to redefine "sinful" behavior, and in doing so reclaim natural yet non-procreative sexual activities that you and your husband may enjoy together. My sense is that your internalized guilt over oral sex and possibly other forms of sexual expression was most likely instilled early on during your religious upbringing. My suggestion to you now is to carefully revisit these longstanding beliefs again today. In the process, I also encourage you to talk about this with a friend or a priest, minister or rabbi.

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Just remember that when it comes to our sexuality, what matters most is what we say to ourselves. As with anything else, our beliefs and values about a subject determine our perception and experience of it. You needn't denounce everything you've been taught, but instead selectively modify and expand upon your value base working towards greater sexual inner peace, self-acceptance, and religious and spiritual congruence as a vibrantly living human being. Regardless of your personal creed, for learning more about integrating sex and religion I recommend reading Kosher Sex, a great book by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach on religion, sexuality and intimacy (or check out his new book The Kosher Sutra that spouts wisdom on the importance of intimacy with your spouse). Also, be sure to practice increasing your pleasure tolerance to ever greater and greater levels by making time for leisurely lovemaking, and remember that regular and full sexual expression is not only physically, emotionally and spiritually healthy and beneficial for each of us, it's also one of the most intimacy enhancing and life-affirming actions we can take. And in my book, those are very good things indeed!

Pleasurably yours,
Dr. Michael

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