Question: "What does the Bible say about anal sex? What is sodomy according to the Bible?"


The Bible does not overtly mention anal sex. The account of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19 is often used as the basis for declaring anal sex a sin. In that account, a group of men sought to gang rape two angels who had taken the form of men. The reasonable presumption is that the men of Sodom wanted to have forcible anal sex with the angels. The men’s homosexual lust is obvious, but anal sex is not explicitly mentioned in the passage. The words sodomy and sodomize come from this biblical account. Sodomy is, literally, “the sin of Sodom.” The strict understanding of sodomy, based solely on the events of Genesis 19, would have to be “forcible anal sex, with one male homosexually raping another male anally.”

In modern language, the term sodomy has acquired a broader definition than what is biblically warranted. Today, “sodomy” is often used to refer to any non-penile/vaginal sexual act, including anal and oral sex. If the biblical text is used as the basis for the definition, though, “sodomy” cannot include oral sex or, technically, even consensual anal sex.

The Bible clearly and explicitly condemns homosexuality as an immoral and unnatural sin (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Romans 1:26–27; 1 Corinthians 6:9). The Bible strongly condemns rape, as well (Deuteronomy 22:25–27). The question is, does the Bible condemn all anal sex, even if it does not involve homosexuality or coercion? Outside of marriage, all forms of sex, including anal sex, are sinful and immoral.

Is anal sex acceptable between a husband and his wife? The Bible nowhere gives a specific list of what is allowed or disallowed sexually between a husband and wife. In determining whether something is sexually permissible between a husband and wife, we can ask ourselves the following:

1. Is it God-honoring? Our bodies are meant to glorify the Lord, not to be controlled by our passions and not to be used for sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:12–13). “Therefore honor God with your bodies” (1 Corinthians 6:20).

2. Is it exclusively between the husband and wife? Sex is to be between a husband and wife only (1 Corinthians 7:2).

3. Is it loving and other-oriented? First Corinthians 7:3–4 instructs, “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife.” Each spouse lovingly yields his or her body to the other.

4. Is sex happening regularly? “Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control” (1 Corinthians 7:5).

5. Is it unifying the husband and wife? Sexual intimacy unites a husband and wife (1 Corinthians 7:5) and solidifies the “one flesh” aspect of marriage, not just physically but emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, and in every other way.

6. Do both the husband and wife agree? Whatever is done sexually should be fully agreed on between the husband and his wife (1 Corinthians 7:5). Neither husband nor wife should be coerced into doing something he or she is not absolutely comfortable with.

With those principles in mind, figuring out the boundaries of what is acceptable within marriage gives a husband and wife a great opportunity to seek the Lord’s wisdom. Together they can learn how to love each other more deeply and meaningfully. Sex is a lot more than just sharing your body—it is a journey of intimacy.

The Bible does not explicitly speak for or against anal sex within marriage. The medical community, however, warns of the significantly increased risk of tissue damage and bacterial infection that accompanies anal sex. By following biblical principles and factoring in the medical risks, a couple can come to a God-honoring decision together.