Christian views on the meaning and purpose of sexual relationships

Human sexuality and relationships

Many religious traditions celebrate sexuality as a gift from God. The starting point for a Christian understanding of human sexuality is the belief that all humans are made in the image of God.

What it means to be human

Religious ideas about humanity usually include the belief that God created all human beings. Many religious people see a human being as a combination of a body and a soul. All religions value human life and believe that it always deserves respect.

Human beings are a combination of different characteristics. These include:

  • the physical, or bodily
  • the spiritual, or what goes beyond the body to give a deeper sense of existence
  • the emotional, which guides the way a person responds to situations - eg anger, hatred
  • the mental, which is how a person's mind works and responds
  • the sexual, which deals with sexual instincts, physical attraction and sexual interactions with others
These are the different characteristics that make up humans.Some of the different characteristics that make up a human being

All of these aspects are fundamental to someone's personality. Each person has a different type of combination, but everyone has some element of each aspect.

Sexuality is as important to the individual as any other of these features and it never leaves the individual.

Heterosexuality

'Hetero-' is a Greek prefix meaning 'different'.

Heterosexual is the word to describe people who are sexually attracted to people of the opposite gender.

Homosexuality

'Homo-' is a Greek prefix meaning 'same'.

Homosexual is the word used to refer to people who are sexually attracted to people of the same gender.

Men who are attracted to each other are often referred to as gay men, females who are attracted to each other are often referred to as lesbians.