"For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light..."

Sex in Marriage

The LDS belief about sex within marriage can be summed up in the following statement by Spencer W. Kimball (former President of the Church): "Sex is for procreation and expression of love". Both purposes are important within a marriage. The following statements provide additional information from church leaders about sex in marriage.

In a letter addressed to local Church leaders, the First Presidency stated:

"Married persons should understand that if in their marital relations they are guilty of unnatural, impure, or unholy practices, they should not enter the temple unless and until they repent and discontinue any such practices.  Husbands and wives who are aware of these requirements can determine by themselves their standing before the Lord.  All of this should be conveyed without having priesthood leaders focus upon intimate matters which are a part of husband and wife relationships. Skillful interviewing and counseling can occur without discussion of clinical details by placing firm responsibility on individual members of the Church to put their lives in order before exercising the privilege of entering a house of the Lord... If a person is engaged in a practice which troubles him enough to ask about it, he should discontinue it." (Copy located in BYU Library Special Collections)

President Spencer W. Kimball taught:

"Sex is for procreation and expression of love.   It is the destiny of men and women to join together to make eternal family units. In the context of lawful marriage, the intimacy of sexual relations is right and divinely approved. There is nothing unholy or degrading about sexuality in itself, for by that means men and women join in a process of creation and in an expression of love."

The union of the sexes, husband and wife (and only husband and wife), was for the principal purpose of bringing children into the world. Sex experiences were never intended by the Lord to be a mere plaything or merely to satisfy passions and lusts. We know of no directive from the Lord that proper sex experience between husbands and wives need be limited totally to the procreation effort, but we find much evidence from Adam until now that no provision was ever made by the Lord for indiscriminate sex.

Sexual relations in marriage are not unrestrained. Even though sex can be an important and satisfactory part of married life, we must remember that life is not designed just for sex. Even marriage does not make proper certain extremes in sexual indulgence. To the Ephesian saints Paul begged for propriety in marriage: "So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself." (Ephesians 5:28.) And perhaps the Lord's condemnation included secret sexual sins in marriage, when he said: "And those who are not pure, and have said they were pure, shall be destroyed, saith the Lord God." (D&C 132:52.)

If it is unnatural, you just don't do it. That is all, and all the family life should be kept clean and worthy and on a very high plane. There are some people who have said that behind the bedroom doors anything goes. That is not true and the Lord would not condone it." (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.311-12, emphasis original)

President J. Reuben Clark taught:

"There is some belief, too much I fear, that sex desire is planted in us solely for the pleasures of full gratification; that the begetting of children is only an unfortunate incident. The direct opposite is the fact. Sex desire was planted in us in order to be sure that bodies would be begotten to house the spirits; the pleasures of gratification of the desire is an incident, not the primary purpose of the desire. . . . As to sex in marriage, the necessary treatise on that for Latter-day Saints can be written in two sentences: Remember the prime purpose of sex desire is to beget children. Sex gratification must be had at that hazard. You husbands: be kind and considerate of your wives. They are not your property; they are not mere conveniences; they are your partners for time and eternity." (CR 1949, Oct:194-95)

(See Mature Intimacy and Teachings About Sexuality home page)



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