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Christian Sex Therapist Reveals How The Church Should Talk About Sex

September 17, 2021

In a recent Q&A, Dr. Corey Allan, a sex therapist located in Dallas, TX, revealed what he believes the church needs to do to talk about sex in a more helpful way.

The church has long been criticized over how it handles the topic of sex, and most of that criticism tends to be aimed towards the popular “purity culture” trend of the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Many who grew up with this teaching find it damaging, and were taught the message that their worth was found in their sexuality, that “messing up” made them “damaged goods”.

During the Q&A, Dr. Corey Allan was asked: “The way the church teaches singles about sex – abstinence & “purity” culture – seems broken to me. From my observations it results in deep shame and self-worth issues, especially in women – issues that follow them into adulthood and marriage. I think you’re uniquely qualified to answer: how would you change how the church talks about sex?”

“This one is simple – it’s a lifelong process of celebrating how we are made and designed followed by the church as a whole equipping people to talk about this subject more openly and honestly. For the church, I want to see more conversations about the topic on real issues couples face – and sex is obviously one of them. But for teaching its members I would rather see the church be a resource to equip parents, and adults, better to approach and teach the subject at home.

This begins in childhood with the proper naming of body parts and a willingness to have multiple conversations along the way as we mature and develop. Parents could take advantage of teachable moments in movies or ads or billboards by simply starting a conversation about the message being portrayed and how that aligns with Holiness or Godliness (By the way, sex absolutely is holy and Godly! In case you weren’t sure where I stand).

Then I hope there would be more open conversations and resources offered to couples at all stages of relationship. Some round-table panels to answer peoples questions. More shows and resources helping couples and people with real situations and struggles.

But most importantly, I would love to see the church as a whole simply have a willingness to talk out loud about marriage and sex. To simply be willing to say the word sex from the stage, without it being a punchline.”

Dr. Corey Allan

When asked by a wife how she can overcome decades of shame that she feels from being raised in purity culture, he gave some practical advice for spouses who may be struggling in the bedroom:

Explore the source of the meaning or label you were taught or think you were taught.

Most often Christian circles have approached the subject of sex with silence or ignorance. Best step is to talk about the feelings or experiences and meanings with your spouse. Listen to each other’s perspective without judgment. Challenge the meanings you’ve attached to the acts of sex, and your sexuality.

If you experience these feelings during sex together with your spouse – look into each others eyes more, breathe together, and embrace the little bit of anxiety a couple of seconds or minutes. If it’s too anxiety provoking, relax and go back to a comfortable position – but don’t forget to congratulate yourselves on stretching the comfort zone a little in the experience.

If it’s before or after sex, same process applies. Challenge the meanings you’ve attached – this is actually the best way for us to solidify what I truly believe on all kinds of topics in our lives, especially sex.

The church is in a tricky position: how do they talk about sex-based topics publicly, without overstepping boundaries that parents have set with what is appropriate for their children?

The one thing I know is, if the topic continues to be ignored, the issues may continue to grow.

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