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Biblical Teaching of Sexual Relations

The following table lists the specific sexual relationships that God, in His Holy Scriptures - the Bible - has either forbidden or allowed. In reading the table one needs to be aware that Jesus Christ ensured that all understood that intent was equal to actual participation in the relationship, hence lusting after a woman by a man constitutes adultery: “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” Matthew 5:28.

 

Person* Sex partner Law Reference
Man Daughter of a woman with whom sexual relationships has occurred (e.g. wife) Forbidden – depravity/
wickedness
Leviticus 18:17
Man Man – homosexuality (applies to the woman as well) Forbidden: abomination Leviticus 18:22 Leviticus 20:13 Romans 1:26-28 1 Corinthians 6:9 1 Timothy 1:10
Man Mother-in-law Forbidden - cursed Deuteronomy 27:23
Man Prostitute Forbidden Exodus 20:14 Deuteronomy 5:18 Proverbs 5
Man Marriage to a prostitute Forbidden Leviticus 21:7 (note the exception God made for Hosea)
Man Rape of a woman Forbidden  - man to be punished Deuteronomy 22:25
Man Wife of another Does not require actual sex – lusting after another’s wife is adultery Forbidden – adultery Destroys the soul   Exodus 20:14 Leviticus 18:20 Leviticus 20:10 Proverbs 6:32 Matthew 5:28 Matthew 5:32
Man Woman Only in marriage: marriage is allowed and encouraged with children being a blessing. Genesis 2:24 Psalm 127:3,5 Mark 10:6-9 1 Corinthians 7:1-40 Hebrews 13:4
Man Woman and her daughter, or descendants of the woman whom the man has had sex (child's children) Forbidden – depravity Leviticus 18:17 Leviticus 20:14
Man Woman during menstruation Forbidden –
unclean
Leviticus 15:24 Leviticus 18:19 Leviticus 20:18
Man Woman who is married Forbidden – adultery Leviticus 20:10
Person Animal Forbidden – perversion
cursed
Exodus 22:19 Leviticus 18:23 Leviticus 20:15, 16 Deuteronomy 27:21
Person Any other person other than spouse Forbidden –
Adultery
Exodus 20:14 Deuteronomy 5:18 Also new testament
Person Aunt or uncle (father’s or mother’s brother or sister or their spouse’s) Forbidden, being a near relative Leviticus 18:12, 13, 14 Leviticus 20:19,20
Person Close relative (up to 2nd cousin) Forbidden Leviticus 18:6
Person Daughter-in-law Forbidden – perversion Leviticus 18:15 Leviticus 20:12
Woman Father Forbidden Leviticus 18:7 (if a man: ordinance concerning homosexuality applies Leviticus 18:22)
Man Father’s wife, whether she is his mother or not Forbidden –
cursed
Leviticus 18:8 (if a woman:  ordinance concerning homosexuality) Leviticus 20:11 Deuteronomy 22:30 Deuteronomy 27:20 Deuteronomy 27:27 1 Corinthians 5:1
Person Grand-daughter or son Son’s  or daughter’s children of parent whom sexual relationship has occurred Forbidden – depravity/
wickedness
Leviticus 18:10 Leviticus 18:17  
Person Grandson or daughter Forbidden Leviticus 18:10
Man Mother Forbidden Leviticus 18:7
Person Near relative   Leviticus 18:6
Person Sexual immorality: adultery, fornication, homosexuality, sexual relation with close relatives, lewdness etc. Disobedience to God.   Acts 15:20 Acts 15:29 Acts 21:25 Romans 1:26,27,29 1 Corinthians 5:1 1 Corinthians 6:9,18 2 Corinthians 12:21 Ephesians 5:5 Colossians 3:5 1 Timothy 1:10 1 Thessalonians 4:3 Hebrews 12:16 Hebrews 13:4
Man Sister of wife/woman you have had sexual relationship  while partner is alive Forbidden during wife’s/woman’s lifetime Leviticus 18:18 – this is not preventing polygamy per se, but a man cannot have two sisters as wives.
Man Sister or step sister (whether blood sister or not, and whether brought up in your home or nor i.e. adopted or fostered)
Applies to woman and step brothers (2 Sam 13).
Forbidden – wickedness
cursed
Leviticus 18:9 Leviticus 18:11 which captures non-blood sisters brought up in the same home – ie composite families brought about by marriage between couples with children Leviticus 20:17 Deuteronomy 27:22
Man Sister-in-law Forbidden Leviticus 18:16 Leviticus 20:21
Prostitution   Forbidden Leviticus 19:29 Deuteronomy 23:17 Proverbs 23:27
Woman Husband of another Forbidden – adultery Exodus 20:14 Leviticus 18:20 Leviticus 20:10 Numbers 5:13 Matthew 5:32
Woman Husband of neighbour Forbidden – adultery Exodus 20:14
Woman Man Only in marriage: marriage is allowed and encouraged with the children being a blessing. Genesis 2:24 Psalm 127:3-5 Mark 10:6-9 1 Corinthians 7:1-40 Hebrews 13:4
Woman Man other than her husband, whether on own volition or not Forbidden Numbers 5:13-31
Woman Woman Forbidden Romans 1:26-28 1 Corinthians 6:9 1 Timothy 1:10

 

* The scriptures are not always gender specific.
† The less specific passages are not always included – these tended to list illicit sexual relations in more general terms and are found in the New Testament unlike the Law found in Leviticus

 

Bible aspect of certain sexual activities including: nudity, oral sex, masturbation, pornography, anti-contraception, anal intercourse - see "Bible aspects of certain sexual activities".

Bible Passages

Exo 20:14  "You shall not commit adultery.

Deu 5:18  'You shall not commit adultery.

Lev 15:24  And if any man lies with her and her menstrual impurity comes upon him, he shall be unclean seven days, and every bed on which he lies shall be unclean.

Lev 18:6  'None of you shall approach anyone who is near of kin to him, to uncover his nakedness: I am the LORD.

Lev 18:7  The nakedness of your father or the nakedness of your mother you shall not uncover. She is your mother; you shall not uncover her nakedness.

Lev 18:8  The nakedness of your father's wife you shall not uncover; it is your father's nakedness.

Lev 18:9  The nakedness of your sister, the daughter of your father, or the daughter of your mother, whether born at home or elsewhere, their nakedness you shall not uncover.

Lev 18:10  The nakedness of your son's daughter or your daughter's daughter, their nakedness you shall not uncover; for theirs is your own nakedness.

Lev 18:11  The nakedness of your father's wife's daughter, begotten by your father--she is your sister--you shall not uncover her nakedness.

Lev 18:12  You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father's sister; she is near of kin to your father.

Lev 18:13  You shall not uncover the nakedness of your mother's sister, for she is near of kin to your mother.

Lev 18:14  You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father's brother. You shall not approach his wife; she is your aunt.

Lev 18:15  You shall not uncover the nakedness of your daughter-in-law--she is your son's wife--you shall not uncover her nakedness.

Lev 18:16  You shall not uncover the nakedness of your brother's wife; it is your brother's nakedness.

Lev 18:17  You shall not uncover the nakedness of a woman and her daughter, nor shall you take her son's daughter or her daughter's daughter, to uncover her nakedness. They are near of kin to her. It is wickedness.

Lev 18:18  Nor shall you take a woman as a rival to her sister, to uncover her nakedness while the other is alive.

Lev 18:19  'Also you shall not approach a woman to uncover her nakedness as long as she is in her customary impurity.

Lev 18:20  Moreover you shall not lie carnally with your neighbor's wife, to defile yourself with her.

Lev 18:21  And you shall not let any of your descendants pass through the fire to Molech, nor shall you profane the name of your God: I am the LORD.

Lev 18:22  You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.

Lev 18:23  Nor shall you mate with any animal, to defile yourself with it. Nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it. It is perversion.

Lev 19:29  'Do not prostitute your daughter, to cause her to be a harlot, lest the land fall into harlotry, and the land become full of wickedness.

Lev 20:10  'The man who commits adultery with another man's wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbor's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death.

Lev 20:11  The man who lies with his father's wife has uncovered his father's nakedness; both of them shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.

Lev 20:12  If a man lies with his daughter-in-law, both of them shall surely be put to death. They have committed perversion. Their blood shall be upon them.

Lev 20:13  If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.

Lev 20:14  If a man marries a woman and her mother, it is wickedness. They shall be burned with fire, both he and they, that there may be no wickedness among you.

Lev 20:15  If a man mates with an animal, he shall surely be put to death, and you shall kill the animal.

Lev 20:16  If a woman approaches any animal and mates with it, you shall kill the woman and the animal. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood is upon them.

Lev 20:17  'If a man takes his sister, his father's daughter or his mother's daughter, and sees her nakedness and she sees his nakedness, it is a wicked thing. And they shall be cut off in the sight of their people. He has uncovered his sister's nakedness. He shall bear his guilt.

Lev 20:18  If a man lies with a woman during her sickness and uncovers her nakedness, he has exposed her flow, and she has uncovered the flow of her blood. Both of them shall be cut off from their people.

Lev 20:19  'You shall not uncover the nakedness of your mother's sister nor of your father's sister, for that would uncover his near of kin. They shall bear their guilt.

Lev 20:20  If a man lies with his uncle's wife, he has uncovered his uncle's nakedness. They shall bear their sin; they shall die childless.

Lev 20:21  If a man takes his brother's wife, it is an unclean thing. He has uncovered his brother's nakedness. They shall be childless."

Lev 21:7  They shall not take a wife who is a harlot or a defiled woman, nor shall they take a woman divorced from her husband; for the priest is holy to his God.

Num 5:13  and a man lies with her carnally, and it is hidden from the eyes of her husband, and it is concealed that she has defiled herself, and there was no witness against her, nor was she caught--

Deu 23:17  "There shall be no ritual harlot of the daughters of Israel, or a perverted one of the sons of Israel.

Deu 27:20  "'Cursed be anyone who lies with his father's wife, because he has uncovered his father's nakedness.' And all the people shall say, 'Amen.'

Deu 27:21  "'Cursed be anyone who lies with any kind of animal.' And all the people shall say, 'Amen.'

Deu 27:22  "'Cursed be anyone who lies with his sister, whether the daughter of his father or the daughter of his mother.' And all the people shall say, 'Amen.'

Deu 27:23  "'Cursed be anyone who lies with his mother-in-law.' And all the people shall say, 'Amen.'

Psalms 127:3-5 Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. 4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one's youth. 5 Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.

Pro 6:26  For by means of a harlot A man is reduced to a crust of bread; And an adulteress will prey upon his precious life.

Pro 6:32  Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; He who does so destroys his own soul.

Mat 5:28  But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Mat 5:32  But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.

Act 15:20  but that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood.

Act 15:29  that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.

Act 21:25  But concerning the Gentiles who believe, we have written and decided that they should observe no such thing, except that they should keep themselves from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality."

Rom 1:29  being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers,

Rom 1:27  and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

Rom 1:29  They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips,

1Co 5:1  It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles--that a man has his father's wife!

1Co 6:9  Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites,

1Co 6:18  Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.

2Co 12:21  lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and I shall mourn for many who have sinned before and have not repented of the uncleanness, fornication, and lewdness which they have practiced.

Eph 5:5  For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

Col 3:5  Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

1Ti 1:10  for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine,

1Th 4:3  For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality;

Heb 12:16  lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright.

Heb 13:4  Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.

 

David L Simon November 2014 (Edited 27 April 2020)
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