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 FEATURE January 2008 

A Really Hard... Question.

Damn, this was a hot couple. We were newbies, with only a few experiences at clubs. We'd met them at a club and really clicked. Things heated up on the dance floor and we eventually ended up in a hotel room.

We agreed to meet again for dinner. Conversation flowed easily. They were funny, professional, and sexy. She wore a form fitting cocktail dress that complimented a body I already knew was flawless. He was dressed to the nines and had a smooth confidence and witty ease that was pushing all my wife's buttons. As we talked, flirted, and surreptitiously groped under the table, my mind would wander excitedly to where the evening might lead.

art and religion

Then, in response to an innocuous comment from my wife, came the question from him. "You guys aren't Christians, are you?"

I froze. The answer to the question was, and is, "yes." But I feared that saying that would come at a cost. This was a sexy, smart, fun couple. We had great chemistry with them. And we were new enough to think that such couples were hard to find in the lifestyle.

They knew we were swingers. Now they wanted to know if we were Christians, too. Can you even be both? I had always heard that anything other than missionary sex with your wife was sinful. And if you're a Christian you should try your best not to sin. So when we started to look at swinging, I examined the Bible to see what it really said about sex.

“Simply put, according to the Bible, no consensual sexual practices among adults are sinful.”

I was shocked by what I found, because it was in conflict of so much of what I had always heard about Christian theology. Simply put, according to the Bible no consensual sexual practices among adults are sinful.

First, the bible has nothing to say on the subjects of masturbation or oral sex. The only sexual practice that is clearly condemned is rape.

And there are lots of passages about how great sex is. Lots and lots. The Old Testament is packed with passages espousing the wonder and thrill of sex, and repeatedly emphasizes the importance of a healthy sex life to happiness. You'll find (often with great detail) descriptions of same-gender sex, group sex, premarital sex, extramarital sex, polyamory, and a host of other swinging-related practices. We didn't invent this stuff.

Origins, original artwork by GamerGirl

"Origins", original artwork by GamerGirl

I knew my wife wanted to explore her bisexuality. And guess what – that's ok, too. There are only four verses in the entire old testament that explicitly address the issue of same-gender sex, which suggests that the subject was relatively unimportant at the time. I found out that the well-known passage in Leviticus appearing to condemn homosexual sex is the result of an early mistranslation. Properly translated, it actually appears to acknowledge that such sex was common in their culture (more common than in ours). It is at best inaccurate to use scripture to condemn consensual same-gender sex.

In contrast to its position on same gender sex, the Bible clearly condemns adultery, but only as a violation of property rights. In Biblical times, adultery was defined as having sex with another man's wife or concubine without his permission, not as having sex outside of marriage. Indeed, there are several instances in the Old Testament where extra-marital sex is presented as a laudable practice, or is even required by ritual law, so long as it is done with permission. Having permission is the most fundamental tenet of the lifestyle, so swinging cannot be adultery as defined in the Bible.

Moving on to the New Testament: Jesus Christ had nothing to say about sex. That bears repeating: Jesus Christ had nothing to say about sex. So if we want to follow him, we don't have specific instructions on what we can and cannot do in the bedroom; rather, we should conform our sexual practices to his message of faith, hope, and love. We can certainly be part of the Lifestyle and still strive to align our actions to those three things.

Certain of Paul's writings have been used to justify theological sexual oppression. But two things should be kept in mind when reading his letters. First, Paul was a theologian, like Saint Augustine, or C.S. Lewis, or the minister who lives on your street. His writings are often treated as Gospel but they are not. Moreover, we only have some of his letters, and it is impossible to understand what he was trying to say without being aware of the context. Many of his most oft-quoted sexual condemnations are taken completely out of context.

“In Biblical times, adultery was defined as having sex with another man's wife or concubine without his permission, not as having sex outside of marriage.”

Unfortunately, prevailing Christian theology was incompatible with healthy sexuality for so long that many swingers recoil at the thought of interacting with Christians. So as the question, "you guys aren't Christians, are you?" hung over the dinner table, a fierce debate raged in my head. This couple had great value to us. We didn't want to lose them. I looked at him. I glanced over at his wife. My eyes wandered briefly to her magnificent, tanned breasts, framed perfectly by her plunging neckline. She answered with a dazzling smile. Did I mention that we didn't want to lose them?

But in the end, I had no choice. Many of Jesus' teachings are ambiguous or difficult to interpret. But many are not, and one of them is that we must never deny it when asked if we follow him. If we have chosen to have a relationship with our creator through Jesus, that choice must be public and unwavering.

I said, "yes," my heart pounding. And nothing happened. The conversation went on. We finished dinner. We went dancing. We went to a hotel. And we... well, you know. We're still friends to this day.

I learned an important lesson that evening. I learned that I can express my religious beliefs to my community and still be accepted.

This is a very important subject, because as Christians we are commanded to spread the good news of God's love and forgiveness, and many people feel they cannot be Christians and still have happy sex lives. I found out that you can. Just like in the Lifestyle, in Christianity there is room for everyone. If you don't believe me, take a look for yourself. You'll see.

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About the writer...
David Alexander became a Christian ten years ago. He became a swinger six years ago. He hopes to spend he rest of his years getting better at both.
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