Sin of the Mouth – Is Oral Sex Sinful?

close up of lips

Sodomy.

Not good, right? I mean, look how it turned out for Sodom. Their sin was “grievous” according to the outcry reported by the Lord, and He destroyed the great city for their sin. Gomorrah, too, but that city lives on only in reputation, whereas Sodom itself was immortalized in the English language in the thirteenth century. Any good Christian knows of sodomy, and any good Christian knows God hates it, right? Like I said, look how it turned out for Sodom.

Well, what exactly is sodomy? Merriam-Webster’s offers two definitions: 1) copulation with a member of the same sex or with an animal, and 2) noncoital and especially anal or oral copulation with a member of the opposite sex. So, we all know that homosexually and bestiality are expressly forbidden by the Bible (Leviticus 18:22 and 23 respectively), but does the Bible prohibit oral sex as well?

Sodom’s Biblical Reputation

First, let’s look at Sodom’s sin according to the Bible itself, since that’s our record of God’s displeasure. We see part of their sin clearly demonstrated when the locals tried to force themselves into Lot’s house to have their way with two men (angels in disguise — a bad surprise waiting for these aggressors had they succeeded) who were visiting Lot.

They called Lot judgmental when he offered his virgin daughters to the would-be homosexual rapists. Their refusal shed further light on their proclivities; these men of Sodom were more interested in raping strong male specimens than young virgin females (any form of rape is horrible, of course, but the apparent preference is telling). “Now the men of Sodom were wicked and were sinning against the Lord” (Genesis 13:13).

Clearly, the activities were indicative of the root of Sodom’s problem, but the Bible offers other insights, as well. Isaiah recalls how public and flagrant Sodom’s sins were (Isaiah 3:9), revealed when a mob can approach any home and demand access to would-be rape victims. Jeremiah reflected how the culture and rulers of Sodom reinforced the city’s sin (Jeremiah 23:14), likely by establishing policies that permitted or encouraged this kind of brutality.

Ezekiel brings the female half of the city into consideration, noting how “Sodom and her daughters” (using the typical female reference to a city but expanding it to include its female denizens) were “arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things” before God.

Jude states Sodom polluted their own bodies with fornication and perversion (Jude 7), giving us the first clear indication Sodom’s sin extended beyond rape, homosexuality, and the sundry of Ezekiel’s reference to her daughters. Clearly, sexual immorality was rampant.

A Missing Link

The oral sex aspect of the definition of sodomy appears to have originated from tradition rather than from Scripture.

Despite the definition of sodomy and all we see among Sodom’s sins, one thing is conspicuously absent. Men parading their homosexuality and rape refers not a bit to oral sex. The brother of James mentions perversion, but that’s clearly a reference to the homosexuality, since this was Sodom’s famous sin and is typically listed as distinct from fornication by New Testament authors.

Unless one were to suggest a sexual metaphor in Ezekiel’s statement that the daughters of Sodom were “overfed”— an almost comically weak claim — I can’t see anything scripturally tying Sodom to oral sex whatsoever. The oral sex aspect of the definition of sodomy appears to have originated from tradition rather than from Scripture.

The Traditional View

The church has long held that oral sex is sinful despite this apparent lack of scriptural backing. The Catechism of the Catholic Church mandates that “each and every marriage act” be focused on procreation, making oral sex sin per their doctrine. Yet this teaching is based on human reasoning — in my admittedly Protestant opinion — not on the Bible.

Silence…?

Indeed, the Bible, so far as I’ve seen, is silent on the topic of oral sex. Enjoyed within the undefiled marriage bed (in other words, the bed free of adultery and fornication, per Hebrews 13:4), it should be quite permissible.

In fact, one could potentially argue the Song of Solomon may just be hinting at such acts within the undefiled marriage bed in chapter 4. The chapter begins with the new husband commenting on his wife’s body parts in a clearly downward direction — eyes, hair, teeth, lips, temples, neck, breasts. This descending analysis culminates with “I will go to the mountain of myrrh and to the hill of incense.” It’s only several verses later, after a change of topics, when he starts in on perfumes and other sources of smells. This mountain/hill is clearly a body part, and I have a hard time seeing the direction and description point to anything but her mons.

5f497a;”>”Let my lover come into his garden and taste its choice fruits.”

And lest anyone think this only referred to his desire for traditional intercourse by way of the mons itself, look at her first words of response after his praise of her body: “Blow on my garden, that its fragrance may spread abroad. Let my lover come into his garden and taste its choice fruits.”

Admittedly, this tasting of fruits is symbolic language, but in this context, particularly considering the recovering wife’s references to a “lock” he had thrust his hand into that now seemed to flowing with myrrh — to me, reinforcing the mons interpretation — it seems a logical step to read more than standard intercourse into the language.

Overall, the Word clearly doesn’t forbid oral sex — though parts of the church does — and it could even be interpreted as endorsing it, strictly within the confines of marriage.

Certainly, calling oral sex sinful is a stretch, whether Merriam-Webster’s calls it sodomy or not.

Photo credit: herae30 / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA
About Phil (251 Articles)
Philip Osgood is a Christian husband, father, and writer who considers himself a passable video game player, fiction reader, camping and hiking enthusiast, welder, computer guy, and fitness aficionado, though real experts in each field might just die of laughter to hear him claim it. He has been called snarky, cynical, intelligent, eccentric, creative, logical, and Steve for some reason. Phil and his beautiful wife Clara live in Texas with their children in a house with a dog but no white picket fence. He does own a titanium spork from ThinkGeek, though, so he must be alright.