Take the 2-minute tour ×
Christianity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

What is the position of the Church on asexuals?

An asexual is a person who does not experience sexual attraction towards any person, thus does not desire to have sex.

Asexuality is distinct from abstention from sexual activity and from celibacy, which are behavioral and generally motivated by factors such as an individual's personal or religious beliefs.

An answer from the Church tradition is welcome.

Does the bible mention anything about asexuality? The church? Jesus himself? Is asexuality a sin and is it considered the same as homosexuality?

share|improve this question
1  
I would love to know why the downvotes. Is the question abstract or hard to answer? –  Nickolas Nov 1 '13 at 22:24
    
There are three problems with this question. 1) It's asking two questions (a: What does the church say about asexuality, b: Is masturbation a sin?) 2) The first question (a) is too broad, as it doesn't specify which from which church tradition an answer is sought, and 3) The second question (b) is off-topic for this site, as it's a "Truth question" –  Flimzy Nov 2 '13 at 0:35
2  
I suggest removing the masturbation question, and focusing the other to a specific church tradition (for instance, Catholics, Baptists, etc) –  Flimzy Nov 2 '13 at 0:36
3  
This is a great question. However, only tagging eastern orthodoxy will not be enough for some community members. I suggest actually putting in the body of your question that you would like an eastern orthodoxy perspective. I have forwarded my reopen vote, assuming that you will make this edit. –  fredsbend Nov 2 '13 at 15:52
1  
Asking from any perspective makes the question too broad, as there would be countless correct answers. Focusing the question to Eastern Orthodoxy would cure that problem, making the question on-topic again. –  Flimzy Nov 3 '13 at 21:20
show 10 more comments

2 Answers

Plus one for a decent, albeit unusual, question.

After reading your question for the first time, I thought immediately of Jesus' words to his disciples in the context of His teaching on divorce:

"'For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother's womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it'" (Matthew 19:12 NASB, Updated Edition).

Compare Jesus' words with Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 7:1-9, where the apostle says, in effect, it is better to be single than to marry, but

"each man has his own gift from God, one in this manner, and another in that" (7:7b).

Combine these two teachings with other teachings throughout the Scripture, which for brevity's sake I'll not cite, and the message is clear:

  • Marriage is good and right and proper, and it is better to marry than to burn with lust and be tempted into sin by Satan because of a lack of self-control.
  • Singleness is good and right and proper, whether a person never marries or a person marries and is divorced, but then decides not to re-marry. Each person has his or her gift from God, so there is no hard and fast rule as to whether to marry or not to marry.
  • Neither marriage nor singleness is superior. As Constable has noted, ". . . neither Jesus nor the apostles viewed celibacy as an intrinsically holier state than marriage (1 Tim. 4:1-3; Heb. 13:4; cf. 1 Cor. 9:5). They viewed it as a special calling that God has given some of His servants so they can be more useful in His service."
  • A eunuch can be a eunuch in the flesh (i.e., he is castrated), but he can also be a eunuch in spirit, and for the sake of the kingdom decides to remain single. If he is so gifted, that is the sensible thing to do. Married life has many distractions and complications that the single life does not, whether you are a single man or or a single woman! A woman, too, needs to be guided by her "gift" in this regard, and there is nothing inherently bad about choosing to marry or inherently good about choosing not to marry.

The number of Christians who are truly asexual is probably very small indeed. The number of Christians who have a normal sex drive--neither weak nor strong-- but decide in effect to put their sexuality on hold for the sake of the kingdom is probably a little higher. This is not to say they will never be tempted. Moreover, in light of the Bible's silence on masturbation, I am of the opinion that occasional, private, individual masturbation is understandable for these gifted believers and does not mean they should necessarily reconsider their calling.

The number of Christians is likely very large, if it does not in fact constitute the vast majority of adult Christians worldwide, who have a normal sex drive (albeit of individually different strengths) and who neither desire nor have the gift to be single.

In conclusion, God has a wonderful plan for all His children's lives, whether that plan involves marriage, singleness, or even the pain associated with divorce, remarriage, or widowhood. The key is for us to function within the parameters of our giftedness, to do so in the strength and joy of the Lord, and to be content in all circumstances (Philippians 4:11-13), because as Paul said,

"I can do all things through Him who strengthens me" (v.13).

share|improve this answer
3  
Everybody that downvoted the question should look at how a vague question was answered in a sensible manner. After this answer there was no need to put it on hold. A difficult question well answered. Voting up! –  gideon marx Nov 2 '13 at 6:54
    
Please beware that this questions is now scoped to the eastern orthodox church and as such your answer should be reevaluated to ensure it represents their doctrines. Thanks. –  wax eagle Nov 5 '13 at 16:18
    
@waxeagle: What does "scoped" mean? I'm not familiar with the term. At any rate, I'm sorry, but I am not qualified to perform such a re-evaluation from the perspective of the eastern orthodox church. If my answer therefore needs to be removed or sanctioned in some other way, I'm fine with that. –  rhetorician Nov 5 '13 at 16:27
    
@rhetorician in this case the word scope is being used in the sense that it's the area of focus. The practical example would be a telescope, when you get a telescope properly focused it's "scope" is the area that is in focus. –  wax eagle Nov 5 '13 at 16:29
    
Re: whether or not this reflects EO teaching, I'm myself not qualified to judge, though I'd guess it's reliance on direct scripture references may damage it's credibility from that perspective (IIRC they're tradition driven), but again, I'm quite unqualified to judge, but I try to warn folks who have answered when a question changes dramatically. –  wax eagle Nov 5 '13 at 16:31
show 2 more comments

What is the position of the Orthodox Church on asexuality (sexual orientation)?

I have done some reading on this Greek Orthodox website, and even though it does not say anything about asexuality in particular, it can be inferred that the big things that the Church is against revolve around sexual acts outside of marriage, namely fornication, adultery, homosexuality, and abusive sexual behavior, because they

are considered immoral and inappropriate forms of behavior in and of themselves, and also because they attack the institution of marriage and the family

It is also against abortion; however, the Orthodox Church "will reluctantly acquiesce to abortion when the preponderance of medical opinion determines that unless the embryo or fetus is aborted, the mother will die."

Contraception is permitted in the Orthodox Church, but only within marriage.

In summary, the Orthodox Church is more concerned about the behavior rather than the innate sexual orientation of the individual, and therefore, as long as the person does not do the aforementioned activities, that person will probably be in good standing with that Church.

Does the Bible mention anything about asexuality?

It is rather difficult to determine whether the Bible talks about asexuality, because the Bible is a pre-modern work of literature. A similar but not the same topic would be sexlessness, but then asexuality as a sexual orientation is not really sexlessness. It's worth a try, though.

The church? Jesus himself? Is asexuality a sin and is it considered the same as homosexuality?

Same as above.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.