Breaking the Silence on Sexuality within the Orthodox Church

Maria McDowell

Sexual Ethics

Human beings are sexual; human bodies are places where love, affection and respect are often accompanied by physical desire; places, therefore, of both great joy and struggle. Orthodoxy recognizes the tension which often exists between love, desire and respect. Questions of sexual ethics are dependent on an understanding of the human person as participating in an ongoing transformation into the likeness of God, one that includes joy and blessing as well as sin and repentance (see: deification). As unique, irreducible and dynamic, personhood and relationship cannot be reduced to ‘natural’ or civil law. The pertinent questions for ethical decision-making are, who am I (or we) becoming, and how does a particular relationship, sexual behavior or action enable me (or us) to be more like God, that is, to better love God and my neighbor?

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