Oral "Sex"

     Here at Righteous Warriors, we receive dozens of e-mails from fellow Believers on a variety of subjects, some of which have been posted in our Comments/Questions section from time to time. However, one particular topic that keeps being asked about is one which we had avoided discussing publically up until now, primarily for two reasons. First, it didn't seem to be a particularly important subject matter to discuss, and second, we honestly have very little Scriptural evidence to go on.

     However, in the past month, two separate discussions I have been involved in have shown me that this is still a very confusing subject for many earnest Believers and that we need to step up and address this issue from a Scriptural perspective. The subject is regarding oral sex, both from a same-sex and opposite-sex perspective.

     Now, I'm not going to get into a debate between values and morals here. Scripture does not limit sex to merely a procreative function, but a celebration of joy, union and relationship. Nevertheless, if someone believes that all non-procreative sexual activity is sinful, then they should not act against their conscience. This article is addressed to fellow believers who actually want to know what, if anything, Scripture actually says regarding these sexual activities.

One Flesh

     In previous articles, we have shown how Elohim created men and women equally, but for different roles. Men are to be masculine and women are to be feminine, so any behavior that causes a man to act feminine or a woman to act masculine goes against Elohim’s clear design for men and women. Aside from this truth, very little is said in Scripture regarding sexual actions or experiences that do not involve actual coital penetration, one way or the other. So let me start by stating what we do know.
     For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24, The Scriptures)
     The Hebrew phrase "echad basar" means "one flesh" or "one body" and literally describes the physical act of the penis penetrating into the body of another person. More specifically, it refers to a man and a woman joining their bodies together in penile-vaginal sexual intercourse. For example, a husband and wife join together at night and become "one flesh" or "one body". They become "one flesh" during the act of sexual intercourse. What is important to understand is that being "one flesh" with someone is not a state of existence; it is a state of action.

     Most Believers already understand that a man and a woman become "one flesh" through sexual intercourse. What many do not understand is that a man and a man may technically become "one flesh" as well, although this is an abomination and is forbidden throughout Scripture. However, a woman and a woman CANNOT become "one flesh", simply because they lack the physical equipment necessary for that possibility. They might be sexually intimate, but they can never become “one flesh” as defined in Scripture. In order for this “echad basar” act to occur, a penetrating male must be present, which is why it is not possible for women to ever be one flesh with each other. Sexual penetration is the act of joining together as one flesh.


     Now regarding the Hebrew term "zanah" (whoring), it refers specifically to unlawful "one flesh" relations, which would seem to preclude any form of sexual touch that doesn’t involve actual penetration. Such contact may be sexually intimate, but it could not accurately be referred to as “zanah” unless the penis enters another’s body. Therefore, non-penetrating genital stimulation, whether by hands or mouth (which is really what “oral sex” means - masturbation by mouth), does not constitute “zanah” according to Scripture, at least not in the strictest sense of the word. However, “zanah” is by no means the only forbidden sexual relations mentioned in Scripture.
     When a man takes a wife and shall marry her, then it shall be, if she finds no favour in his eyes because he has found a matter of uncoveredness in her, and he shall write her a certificate of divorce, and put it in her hand, and send her out of his house (Deuteronomy 24:1, The Scriptures)
     The word translated here as "uncoveredness" is "'ervah" (Strong's #6172) and refers specifically to genital nudity. It is the exact same Hebrew word used throughout Leviticus 18, where it is commonly translated as "nakedness". Leviticus 18 contains a number of verses that forbid a man from uncovering the nakedness of certain women (primarily specific family members), which would prevent even visual contact, let alone actual physical contact, with their genitals in any form. The point here is that "uncoveredness" or "uncovering the nakedness" of specific female family members is forbidden even though it is not actually "zanah". This most certainly encompasses all imaginable forms of sexual contact, at least regarding the male towards the female.

     But then in verse 20, we have a quite different prohibition:
     And do not have intercourse with the wife of your neighbour, to defile yourself with her. (Leviticus 18:20, The Scriptures)
     Now here is where we start running into problems. The phrase translated as "have intercourse" here is "shekobeth zera'" (Strong's #7903 and #2233) and speaks specifically of laying down and planting seed; clearly a direct reference to penile-vaginal intercourse. We know from numerous other passages that this would be an act of adultery, because this is sowing into another man's wife, which has the potential of introducing a spurious offspring into the family. Adultery (na'aph) occurs only when a man has sexual intercourse with a woman who is either married or betrothed to another man.

     What is significant to note here is that a man is forbidden to uncover the nakedness of certain female family members (clearly preventing any kind of contact with their genitals), yet in the case of another man's wife, he is prohibited only from having sexual intercourse with her. Why the distinction? This probably seems backwards by our way of thinking, but for whatever reason, the only prohibition regarding another man's wife is against committing adultery with her, whereas for certain close relations, the bar is raised to even uncovering their nakedness. We'll come back to this in a moment.

As with a Woman
     And do not lie (H7901) with a male as with a woman, it is an abomination. (Leviticus 18:22, The Scriptures)

     And a man who lies (H7901) with a male as he lies with a woman: both of them have done an abomination, they shall certainly be put to death, their blood is upon them. (Leviticus 20:13, The Scriptures)
     The Hebrew word "shakab" (Strong's #7901) means, in this context, to lie with sexually. It is a variation on the similar term "shekobeth" (Strong's #7903) previously used in Leviticus 18:20. The context in both of these passages is of a man sexually lying with a man as a man would with a woman. Obviously, the Hebrew term "zera" (intercourse) was not used here, since there is no penile-vaginal penetration being discussed.

     Instead, the reference is of a "sexual lying down with" in the same manner as a man would with a woman. In other words, the way a man would sexually lie with a woman is not to occur with another man. We have some clear examples from the Song of Songs regarding sexual activities that can occur between a man and woman, so it shouldn't be difficult to understand what "as with a woman" entails.
     Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest, so is my beloved among the sons. I delighted in his shade and sat down, and his fruit was sweet to my taste. (Song of Songs 2:3, The Scriptures)

     Awake, O north wind, and come, O south! Blow upon my garden, let its spices flow out. Let my beloved come to his garden and eat its pleasant fruits. (Song of Songs 4:16, The Scriptures)
Whoring vs. Adultery

     Finally, there's one more passage we need to look at for additional clarification:
     And it has been said, 'Whoever puts away his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.' But I say to you that whoever puts away his wife, except for the matter of whoring, makes her commit adultery. And whoever marries a woman who has been put away commits adultery. (Matthew 5:32, The Scriptures)
     This is an important verse to consider, because it clearly demonstrates a distinction between whoring (porneia) and adultery (moichao). The woman in this passage was capable of having committed whoring without having committed adultery. How is this possible, since a married woman who commits whoring is, by definition, committing adultery? To properly understand what Yahushua was saying here, we must first determine what this "matter of whoring" was a reference to.
     When a man takes a wife and shall marry her, then it shall be, if she finds no favour in his eyes because he has found a matter of uncoveredness in her, and he shall write her a certificate of divorce, and put it in her hand, and send her out of his house (Deuteronomy 24:1, The Scriptures)
     We've already seen that the "uncoveredness" here is a reference to genital nudity, or an uncovering of said nakedness. But this verse is speaking of discovering or exposing sexual impurity that occurred PRIOR to the establishment of the marriage (which would be whoring), not DURING the marriage itself (which would be adultery). An important fact that many people miss here is that this verse specifically describes newlyweds. Look carefully at the sequence of events. The whole passage is predicated on the fact that he discovers this uncoveredness JUST AFTER he marries her. The man takes a wife, marries her, and THEN he finds a matter of uncoveredness in her. He has found evidence that she has been previously uncovered, and THIS is the reason she has suddenly lost favour in his eyes.

     The point here is that this "matter of uncoveredness" is something that had to have occurred prior to the marriage in order for the husband to discover it after marriage. This is speaking about "virginity fraud", where the husband was expecting a virgin and discovers she was not virgin after all. She has been with another man prior to their marriage and he has found out about it. The whoring she committed was not adultery because she was not yet married, but it was nevertheless whoring and grounds for putting her away. She had previously been penetrated, her husband has discovered this fact, and as a result, she now finds no favour in his eyes.

     We know that adultery is described as one form of whoring in Scripture. Adultery is a subset of whoring. Everyone who has committed adultery has necessarily committed whoring, but not everyone who has committed whoring has necessarily committed adultery. All adulterers are whoremongers, but not all whoremongers are adulterers. All adulteresses are whores, but not all whores are adulteresses. This is shown constantly in Scripture, as already demonstrated in our various articles.

Possible Interpretations

     I believe we now have enough Scriptural information to begin drawing some conclusions. What we need to do is determine whether sexual activities other than penile-vaginal intercourse should constitute whoring and/or adultery (depending on the marital state of the woman, of course). As I see it, we have only two possible views, from which we can draw different conclusions:

     View #1: Whoring and adultery refer exclusively to penile-vaginal intercourse as stated explicitly in Scripture. Non-penetrating masturbation, by means of another person, does not constitute whoring or adultery.

     View #2: Whoring and adultery refer both to penile-vaginal intercourse as well as all possible related sexual activities. Scripture simply chooses not to explicitly describe these intimate details of sexual matters (Song of Songs notwithstanding).

     The difference between these two views is a mere technicality and I could make a good argument for both possibilities. However, rather than debate semantics, I think we should look at the conclusions that each of these views would give us.

     Under the first view, a married woman could engage in shared masturbation and even limited oral sex with men other than her husband without committing either adultery or whoring, simply because no actual penetration is occurring. This view would consider such intimate behavior in the same way as making out or heavy kissing. A strong argument could be made against such intimate behavior based on numerous other passages regarding passion of lust, self-control, works of the flesh, etc, but it could not be whoring or adultery in the strictest sense.

     Under the second view, if a married woman so much as fondles a man other than her husband, or allows herself to be fondled by such a man, they are both guilty of committing adultery, even though no actual penetration has occurred. This view would consider such intimate behavior exactly the same as coital intercourse.

     Regardless whatever we think whoring and/or adultery encompass exactly, I believe the whole of Scripture teaches us where the boundaries of intimate sexual contact lie. I can sum up my own view in one verse:
     All is permitted me, but not all do profit. All is permitted me, but I shall not be under authority of any. (1 Corinthians 6:12, The Scriptures)

     I do not believe this issue of oral sexual masturbation is so complicated that we cannot understand its application. One of the simplest ways to determine the intended MEANING of these Scripture passages is to just look at the very next verse in Leviticus and see what it says regarding beastiality.
     And do not have intercourse (H7903) with any beast, to defile yourself with it. And a woman does not stand before a beast to mate (H7250) with it, it is a perversion. (Leviticus 18:23, The Scriptures)
     Both of these Hebrew terms again speak specifically of copulation. I believe a careful reading of this single verse can resolve the question of intent, once and for all. Neither a man nor a woman is to lie with a beast in sexual intercourse. Would we then say it is permissible to perform oral sex on a beast, since it's not technically intercourse? Seriously, is that what we come away with by studying these passages?


     Because I prefer to stick with what Scripture actually says, I cannot take a definitive stance based on what is not clearly spelled out. But even if masturbation or oral sex does not technically qualify as adultery or whoring, they most certainly qualify as inappropriate conduct outside the confines of marriage, based on numerous other passages. Here's a few that come to mind:
     And concerning the matters you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. But because of whoring, let each one have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. (1 Corinthians 7:1-2, The Scriptures)

     And I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am, but if they do not have self-control, let them marry, for it is better to marry than to burn. (1 Corinthians 7:8-9, The Scriptures)
     Paul is telling the church at Corinth that the alternative to inappropriately "touching a woman" is marriage. He doesn't say that if they lack self-control, they should engage in mutual masturbation. He says that if they don't have self-control, they should marry.

     One last verse and I'll close. Even though oral stimulation may not necessarily be "zanah" or "na'aph", Proverbs does mention an adulterous woman in some very interesting terms:
     This is the way of an adulterous woman: She shall eat and wipe her mouth, and say, “I have not done wickedness. (Proverbs 30:20, The Scriptures)
     I understand this is to be taken as a metaphor, but it certainly presents a vivid portrait of the prideful heart of adultery, regardless whether we should take terms like "eat" and "mouth" literally or figuratively. The meaning is the same.

     I realize this can be a sensitive and difficult subject to discuss, but I hope this has helped to provide some clarity for those Believers looking for Scriptural answers. One thing is certain -- Scripture never portrays permissible sexual relations outside of a marrage covenant relationship. If a husband would object to his wife engaging in such behavior with other men, then at the very least, he would see this type of intimate sexual behavior as being a FORM of sexual activity reserved for marriage.




"...In essentials we maintain unity, in opinions liberty, and in all things love..."

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