Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov

There Is No Sex in the Church!: On the Problematics of Sexuality and Gender In Orthodoxy



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A book by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov

There Is No Sex in the Church!:

On the Problematics of Sexuality and Gender In Orthodoxy


This work is a collection of essays written over the years on topics related to human sexuality and gender issues within Russian Orthodox Christianity: marital sex, homosexuality, ritual impurity, and others. In an introduction to one of the sections, the author writes:

“…Having written a couple of opinion papers touching on the difficulties of discussing matters of human sexuality in the context of the Russian Orthodox Church, and having pointed out the existence of a wide spectrum of opinions on what Christians should do in bed—ranging from the strictest and almost total prohibition of any form of sexual behavior with possible exceptions for the most penitentiary of position and then only a few times in a lifetime specifically for the purpose of procreation, to an attitude of total permissiveness brushing off any questions with assertions that the marriage bed is undefiled and whatever married people do in their bedroom is all blessed—I have, quite naturally, been asked to clarify my own position on what should and should not be allowed… I should like to discuss three topics: 1) the idea that a husband and wife should attempt to live “like brother and sister,” that is to say, abstaining from sex altogether or limiting it only to specific times and forms necessary for procreation; 2) the idea that a husband and wife can do whatever they want as much as they want in the privacy of their bedroom and none of it is the Church’s business; and 3) a possible middle ground which does not reject the joy of the married state moderated by a certain measure of ascetic discipline of the body and the soul…”


This book deals with adult subject matter and is intended for adult readers. If you are offended by the discussion of human sexuality, this book is not for you. Some sections of this book contain very graphic language and reader discretion is strongly advised.


Readers’ Comments:

Outstanding book for those who wish to better understand the roles of the sexes in the Orthodox Church and in marriage, especially for people in Britain, America, Canada, and Australia.

Father Sergei does a good job at pointing out why sexuality is not discussed much within the Church and why advice from spiritual fathers can be inconsistent and even confusing. Highly recommended!

–This book is a catalyst for a much-needed conversation in the Orthodox Church. I find it very insightful and fascinating.

–Father Sergei Sveshnikov does not offer definitive answers in this book –rather, he offer subjects for exploration. These are talks from the heart –scholarly, humorous, and with the distinct savor of Holy Orthodoxy. A good companion to the recent books by Father Lawrence Farley (“Feminism and Tradition” and “One Flesh”).

–Fr. Sergei takes a very fair approach in his analysis of sexuality within the Orthodox Church- a subject that is rarely discussed directly. As an Orthodox Christian with a Master’s in Religious Studies, I highly recommend his work.

Follow this link to see other books and articles by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov:


There Is No Sex in the Church

  • O tempora, o mores!
  • Sex by the Bible
  • Why does God care?

The Problematics of Orthodox Sexuality

  • “They lived as brother and sister…”
  • “Eat, drink and be merry…”
  • “All things are lawful,” but not all things are beneficial.  “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.
  • A way forward

Thinking Out Loud About Gay Marriage

  • Why gay marriage now?
  • Does the Bible condemn homosexuality?
  • The Church’s history with gay marriage
  • Does gay marriage redefine marriage?
  • Does God believe in love?
  • On times and morals
  • So, what is marriage?
  • There is no sex in the Church!

Wise Virgins Don’t Let Their Oil Lamps Go Out!

  • On ‘Ritual Impurity’
  • History
  • Ritual impurity
  • Theological dimension
  • More to the point: should nuns light their icon lamps?
  • Popular piety
  • Christians and the law
  • Women in holy places
  • Canonical evidence
  • Canons of the church
  • The fabric of piety
  • A way forward

Reflections on Female Spirituality

  • Adam’s rib on the grill of creation
  • Should nuns light their icon lamps?
  • Holy elders and their women
  • Power of handkerchiefs

On the Role of Women in Church

  • A few notes on society and the Church
  • Women in the Church
  • Women in the family



Please follow the link to read it on Kindle:


Follow this link to see all books and articles by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov:


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