Christians Promote Holy, Hot Sex in Marriage

More evangelical couples -- once embarrassed and prudish about sex -- are now leaving their Christian inhibitions at the bedroom door.

For this growing group of younger, more progressive Christians, guilt is out and pleasure is in.

"We discovered that God's word is holy and hot … filled with invaluable wisdom for our sexual relationship," says intimateissues.com, one of the most popular Christian Web sites. It is based on a 1999 book by the same name.

The Christian wife has come a long way, baby, as a variety of sex advice books with titles like "Intimacy Ignited," "Gift-Wrapped by God" and "Satisfy My Thirsty Soul" are emphasizing the earthly as well as the heavenly side of love.

Pastors are sermonizing and sexologists are offering conferences to help couples overcome their guilt about a once-touchy subject. And, they offer new translations of scripture to give biblical clout to their message.

"People carry a lot of guilt from parents who said sex is bad," said the Rev. Kerry Shook of the Woodlands Church outside Houston. "We help them to have a healthy sex life. One of the things we cover in scripture is how to meet each other's needs in bed."

'Make Your Marriage Sizzle'

As pastor of the 15,600-member, nondenominational church -- one of the largest in the nation -- he recently delivered a popular sermon titled "How to Make Your Marriage Sizzle."

Shook and his wife paired culinary tips with a sex talk "just to grab their attention," he told ABCNEWS.com. "We were cooking beef burgundy with a reduction sauce with cameras from the top of the church. We had a real talk about intimacy and marriage and the problems that come between couples."

Tracy and Pat Flaherty, who have been married for 30 years, say that some Christians have warped views about sex.

"People think sex is just the missionary position thing, that you have to do it every Wednesday night at 8, like good Christians, that's what it says here," Pat Flaherty told ABC News' Sharyn Alfonsi. "That's not it at all. God created sex between a husband and a wife to be cherished and to be exciting and that's what it's all about."

The Flahertys say that the Bible and Shook's Sunday sermons have guided them to a better marriage and a healthier sex life, but that their three teenage children have a slightly different view.

"They are freaking out," said Pat. "The word was, 'Please don't embarrass us,'" added Tracy.

Home pastors Paul and Lori Byerly of Salem, Ore., dispense more sex advice than Playboy magazine on their Web site, TheMarriageBed.com.

Created in 1997, the site covers topics like anal, oral and phone sex; masturbation and role-playing; fetishes; bonding; and spanking.

"We had a great marriage, but a terrible sex life," Paul Byerly told ABCNEWS.com. The couple talks openly about their inability to enjoy sex because of Lori's history of sex abuse and his involvement in pornography.

The couple, now happily married for 23 years, advises their readers to embrace anything that is consensual to achieve "intense physical pleasure … deep emotional interaction and connection … and a spiritual union."

Sex has come slowly out of the Christian closet. One of the first books to address the issue was Marabel Morgan's "The Total Woman," which sold more than 10 million copies to women of all religious persuasions, making it the best-selling nonfiction book of 1974.

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