God and Sex

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God and Sex: What the Bible Really Says
God and Sex What the Bible Really Says.jpg
AuthorMichael Coogan
PublisherHachette Book Group
Published in English

God and Sex: What the Bible Really Says is a book by Michael Coogan, published in 2010.[1][2][3]


Coogan asserts[clarify] that in the Hebrew Bible, there is no prohibition of premarital or extramarital sex for men, except for adultery, i.e. sleeping with the wife of another man.[4]

Coogan affirms that premarital sex for women was "discouraged",[4] but the Bible has a word for the sons of unmarried women,[4] i.e. they were allowed to give birth to such sons, although their sons were relegated to an inferior social status.[4] He also claims that Paul the Apostle condemned extramarital sex out of apocalyptic fears (he thought that the world was going to end soon)[4] and that Jesus does not say anything about this,[4] except regulating divorce between a man and one of his wives. Coogan does use therein the singular ("wife"), but does not say that a man could have only one wife, since Jesus was therein discussing the Law of Moses, which allowed for polygamy.

Interviewed by Time magazine about this book, he also says that words often translated in the Bible as "sodomy" have often nothing to do with anal intercourse between men,[5] and that according to sola scriptura, the Mormons were right about polygamy.[5]


The book was well received by Jessica Warner, from the University of Toronto,[1] but was criticized by Prof. Phyllis Trible, from Wake Forest University School of Divinity in North Carolina. Trible asserts that patriarchy was not decreed by God but only described by him, it being specific for humans after the fall, and claims that Saint Paul made the same mistake as Coogan in this respect.[2] The Catholic apologist Robert Sungenis strongly denounced both the book and the author on numerous other grounds.[6]

The book was reviewed by ABC Radio National[7] which claimed that "Michael Coogan is one of the leading Biblical scholars in the US, and in his book God and Sex: What the Bible Really Says, he reveals all, including whether David loved Jonathan in that way."[7]

CNN gave Coogan the chance to present his book on its website.[8] Newsweek also had an article about this book.[9] The Young Turks presented an interview with Coogan upon this book.[10]


Coogan, Michael (October 2010). God and Sex: What the Bible Really Says (1st ed.). New York, Boston: Twelve. Hachette Book Group. ISBN 978-0-446-54525-9. OCLC 505927356. Retrieved May 5, 2011.


  1. ^ a b Jessica Warner "Sex and the biblical scholar", The Globe and Mail, 14 December 2010.
  2. ^ a b Phyllis Trible, "God and Sex: What the Bible Really Says" Archived 2012-08-06 at the Wayback Machine, Biblical Archaeology Review, 20 January 2012.
  3. ^ "New Book by Professor Michael Coogan Examines Sex in the Bible", Stonehill College, 29 September 2010, new URL: archive dot today/BOYC Archived 28 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ a b c d e f 5 Questions with Professor Michael D. Coogan The Summit, 19 October 19 2010. New URL: http://admin2.collegepublisher.com/se/the-summit/opinion/5-questions-with-professor-michael-d-coogan-1.1716380 Archived 19 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Quote: "In ancient Israel, premarital sex by a woman was discouraged because in the patriarchal society of that time, a daughter was her father's property. If she was not a virgin her value--the bride price her father would get from a prospective husband--was diminished. Also, any child born to an unmarried woman would be fatherless--the Biblical term is "orphan"-- and so without either a male protector or any possibility of an inheritance, which was passed from father to son. There is no explicit prohibition in the Old Testament of premarital or extramarital sex by men except for adultery, which meant having sex with another man's wife."
  5. ^ a b Alexandra Silver What the Bible Has to Say About Sex Time.com, 31 October 2010
  6. ^ Robert Sungenis, Sr., PhD Book Review of: God and Sex: What the Bible Really Says[dead link], Culture Wars, January 2013.
  7. ^ a b Rachael Kohn The World's Sexiest Book. The Spirit of Things. ABC Radio National, 15 January 2012.
  8. ^ Michael Coogan Bible has some shocking 'family values' CNN.com, 26 October 2010.
  9. ^ Lisa Miller, What the Bible Really Says About Sex, Newsweek, 6 February 2011
  10. ^ The Young Turks 21 December 2010.