The Puritans on Sex

In doing some research for an upcoming talk I’m giving on sex, dating, and marriage, I came across some great stuff by the Puritans. One of the guys on my team, Seth Osborne, is preparing to do PhD work on the puritans and pretty much already serves as a puritan expert. He gave me some great sources that I just had to share with you. These came from Leyland Ryken’s Worldly Saints, a great resource I am soon to be the proud new owner of. Bottom line, the puritans had a really high view of sex! Though we think of them as stodgy rigid pilgrims, these people knew a little something about “wedded leisures.”

  • when two are made one by marriage they may joyfully give due benevolence to one another; as two musical instruments rightly fitted do make a most pleasant and sweet harmony in a well tuned consort- anonymous
  • “Wisest Solomon among his gravest proverbs countenances a kind of ravishment…in the entertainment of wedded leisures; and in the Song of Songs…sings of a thousand raptures between those two lovely ones far on the hither side of carnal enjoyment. By these instances, and more which might be brought, we may imagine how indulgently God provided against man’s lonliness.”
  • from a Puritan local church record book – When a new England wife complained, first to her pastor and then to the whole congregation, that her husband was neglecting their sex life, the church proceeded to excommunicate the man.

Bottom line, these people thought sex was awesome & were largely responsible for the recovery of a positive view of sex in marriage by the modern church. Thank you Puritans!

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spenceshelton@churchleaders.com'
Spence is the Small Groups Pastor at the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, NC. Wonder what that involves? Too much to put here, but he loves it! You can read more from Spence on his blog.