Sex outside of marriage can be holy, says Christian minister.


What you thought was naughty may actually be holy. That’s the message of Good Christian Sex: Why Chastity Isn’t the Only Option–And Other Things the Bible Says about Sexa new book by Bromleigh McCleneghan, an associate pastor at Union Church outside of Chicago. The book is McCleneghan’s attempt to free Christians from shame about having premarital or extramarital sex.

At a time when many conservative Christians are already frustrated by shifting social mores when it comes to sex, McCleneghan’s book may feel antagonistic. Her way of interpreting the Bible is not systematic, for example, and she tends to feel her way through the text. And she also admits in this interview that her sexual ethics might not rule out polyamory. It’s not the kind of content that will draw traditionalists en masse.

Yet I suspect that McCleneghan’s book will be persuasive to many believers who feel some cognitive dissonance when it comes to sex. (While Christians are likely to say that avoiding sex outside of marriage is a good thing, most engage in it anyway.) For this reason, I decided to chat with her about her views on sex and why she believes the church needs to change its thinking.