Is Joking about Sex Okay?

My site is called Hot, Holy & Humorous — because those are three aspects of sex in marriage. And if you’ve read or followed me much, you know that I love humor. Indeed, I believe a sense of humor is what makes life more bearable in bad times and more enjoyable in good times.

I’ve been known to crack a few sex jokes and chuckle at innuendos. One of my favorites is when someone asks me about masturbation, and I answer, “Well, now that’s a touchy topic.” And you’ll periodically hear one-liners and laughter in our Sex Chat for Christian Wives podcast.

But is there such a thing as too much sexual humor? Or a type of sexual humor that should be avoided?

Is there such a thing as too much sexual humor? Or a type of sexual humor that should be avoided? Click To Tweet

Is there such a thing as too much sexual humor? Or a type of sexual humor that should be avoided?

Ephesians 5:3-5 says:

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

Hmmm. Should we reconsider how we treat the subject of sex in conversation? Don’t panic yet. Let me outline a few thoughts here.

1. Context matters.

This passage is talking about sexual immorality and impurity, and conversation in that context. A sexual innuendo about one’s body part is one thing when spoken to your spouse and a whole other thing when spoken to someone else. The first is in the context of a covenant relationship blessed by God with intimacy as the goal of that humor. While the second clearly meets the “out of place” definition in the scripture and could lead to the immorality and impurity warned about.

Now this isn’t license to say anything whatsoever within marriage, because our words should always meet the goal of building one another up (Ephesians 4:29). But speaking innuendos to your beloved mate isn’t an immoral or impure act. Indeed, look at how the lovers spoke to one another in Song of Songs — their playful use of metaphors and euphemisms. That’s a good example of how we can use sexual sense of humor in positive ways.

That said, we need to be careful how we speak in mixed company, to ensure that we are not nudging someone toward impurity. Sexual innuendos broadly (like my “touchy” joke above) don’t meet that definition to me — it’s just us laughing at the shared experience of life — but specifics could be problematic.

2. Content matters.

In the commentaries I read on this passage, the most common takeaway was that sin isn’t funny. Coarse joking about things like sexual trafficking, pornography addiction, adultery, etc. are not a Christ-like approach to sin. We can all nod our heads on this one, but let’s be honest: This can be difficult to follow all the time, because we tend to diffuse stressful situations with humor. It’s a go-to coping mechanism for some.

But real brokenness is heart-rending. It pricks God’s heart and should prick ours too. For instance, there were many jokes about Hugh Hefner through the years, but I never thought he was funny; rather, he was sad, pathetic, and damaging. Likewise, nothing about the #MeToo movement is funny for those who have been sexually harassed and/or assaulted.

Living in Texas, I remember vividly when front-runner candidate Clayton Williams lost the governor’s race by making an offhand comment comparing bad weather to rape. It wasn’t simply in poor taste; it was thoughtless and heartless to everyone (women and men) who had been raped. That is sexual humor gone much too far.

3. Consequence matters.

What’s the result of your sexual humor? Is it lightening you and others up about the awkwardness and foibles of the sexual act? Is it convincing us that sex is universally funny in some ways? Is it having a shared moment of humor with a close friend? Is it inducing greater intimacy between you and your spouse?

Or is it causing your spouse or friends discomfort? Is it encouraging your mind to dwell on sexual improprieties? Is it arousing your lust as much as it tickles your funny bone?

The goal is for God’s people to maintain sexual purity and morality, and if your humor doesn’t do that, then you need to take a step back and ask what, if anything, you need to change.

Now, admittedly, I sometimes have a commenter slam me for my sexual sense of humor here on the blog in a way that makes it clear the person is way too uptight. If someone thinks that Christianity means No Joking Allowed, then the problem isn’t really the joke but the audience. Tough crowd. Is this mic on? Of course if you’re married to that “tough crowd,” you need to tread carefully. Encourage them toward lightning up a little, but don’t dismiss their discomfort.

Is it okay to joke about sex? A playful attitude toward sex can help us see this act in a proper light, pursue greater intimacy with our spouse, and bring laughter to our daily lives. None of those things dishonors God’s design for sex.

But if and when our sexual humor is in the wrong context, includes immoral content, or has a damaging consequence, we need to rethink the purpose and power of our words.

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18 thoughts on “Is Joking about Sex Okay?

  1. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Love the thoughtful way in which you approached this, J. I joke about cancer and death all the time (‘Could be worse, I could be slow, soft and ugly.”), so sex would be fair game for me if circumstances warranted.

    This is about the only joke I know, and it’s kind of bilingual: it’s also Catholic, but since I’m a Papist I figure it’s OK.

    Q – How do German nuns count?

    A – Eins, zwei, drei, vier, funf, PHOOEY!, sieben…

    (In German, ‘six’ is sechs, pronounced…as you’ve guessed…’sex’, and sex is the same in German and English.)

    Yeah, and don’t roll your eyes like that. They’ll lock.

    Reply
      1. J Post author

        (Oh, and my family and I were cracking jokes at my dad’s funeral. So we obviously think little is off-limits. BUT we were telling jokes that we knew my humor-loving father would have appreciated and laughed at too.)

        Reply
  2. John

    I think sex is a great arena to joke around in as long as it stays between you and your spouse .It releases a lot of seriousness that clouds it’s source of Joy
    No one has perfect sex every time but a sense of humor can make it into a lot of precious unforgettable moments

    Reply
  3. David

    There was an occasion after taking a cold shower and drying off in front of my wife when I joked and commented, “look at me, there is some serious shrinkage going on down there, “he” looks like a frightened turtle.”

    She laughed and blushed, somewhat surprised that I would tease like that.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      I just had this conversation with some male members of my family, about men and shrinkage when swimming. Lol.

      Reply
      1. David

        Cold water causes shrinkage, happens all the time,,, haha

        The male members in your family must’ve seen an old Seinfeld episode about shrinkage. Interestingly, My wife and I never watched Seinfeld until 2008, after our kids moved on. I actually like watching my wife call all the characters as being “idiots”. haha

        Not an appropriate show for kids, which is why we never watched it when our kids growing up.

        Reply
  4. Nick Peters

    We should joke around because sex is funny.

    Some people fall for the problem Chesterton talked about when he said they think serious and funny are opposites. They are not. The opposite of funny is not funny and the opposite of serious is not serious. I have often had people tell me I am not serious. I tell them I am serious in all that I do. When I do apologetics and defend the faith or do some encouragement to righteousness, I am serious. When I play a game, I am serious and try to win. When I make a joke, I am serious and being seriously funny.

    Sex is God’s idea and none of us would have ever thought of it. None of us would have ever decided to make a man and a woman with A and B and have them interact that way. It should be seen as tremendously funny. It is true humility to laugh at ourselves.

    Reply
  5. Ann

    A minister doing a marriage conference for couples in our church cautioned us to keep the door locked during intimate times by telling about friends (who were not small people) that did not lock their bedroom door and when attempting a new position they broke the bedframe and ended up in the floor! Might have just been a good laugh for them but for the teenagers who heard the crash and burst in to see it they were ok!!

    Reply
  6. Wayne

    For me it all comes back to a basic guideline that anything goes – as long as both spouses enjoy it, and in this case, if both of you find it funny, and a genuine outlet for the stresses of life. Certainly the rule about caution in mixed company applies, the further out the circle of family and intimate friends, the more so.

    Another guideline I remind myself of now and then is to take what I’m doing seriously (my calling, job, relationships….) but not take myself so seriously. I am married to a minister who takes her calling very seriously, and is sometimes too hard on herself (she admits this). So there are such moments. I’d say whatever humor works for you, and not just for sex. Our little, running in-joke goes something like this: she claims I’m not funny, and it’s true I don’t want to quit my day job and try to make it as a comedian. But then she starts laughing.
    “You’re not funny!”
    “Then why are you laughing?”
    “Because – you’re not funny!”
    “That doesn’t make sense.”
    “Yes it does.”
    Then I’ll go on about I think I’m funny, as a man thinks in his heart, so he is – Therefore:
    I-am-funny
    A sarcastic “uh hah” usually follows.

    Seriously though…as for sex, I appreciate the humor here. It helps, and your handling of that “touchy” subject is not the first time I’ve noticed. Sometimes we just need a break from taking it all so seriously, and whether we’re being holy enough or getting enough of it. I know I do.
    Thanks for the reminder. And the humor.

    Reply
  7. Esther

    One of the great things in marriage is being able to laugh together over really silly and daft things. No-one outside of the two of you would understand what you are finding so funny because it’s part of your unique experience as a couple.

    Sex is funny as Nick P said and also profound. When I first learnt what it was as a child I couldn’t understand why God had invented such a strange way to make babies.

    Reply
  8. Anonymous

    If I talked to my former pastor about masturbation being a “touchy subject” he would have killed me. He would say that you re joking about sin and making light of it. What say you?

    Reply
      1. David

        After reading your note, I told my wife that we shouldn’t talk about masturbation.

        She became a little puzzled that I would even make a statement like that, but she went along and asked “why” when I proclaimed, “because it is a very touchy subject”

        She goes “please” then laughed.

        Reply
  9. Wayne

    Esther, I think you’ll appreciate this one: in the countless pages of documents I leaf through on my job, one day I came across a response to a “daft” proposal, obviously a mis-spelling of “draft”. I laughed so hard I had to stop what I was doing, hopeful that the receiving party wasn’t Scottish. (Lawsuit city! I demand an apology!! I’m not Scottish either, but I do have the ancestry, and know what “daft” means.)

    You’re right, often only the two spouses would get the humor they share. And sex can be a funny thing. A little laughter in the bedroom never hurt anyone, right? In the right context, of course.

    Reply
  10. Lynn

    I get the e-mail notifications of your posts, and this is one I forwarded to my husband. I have a silly sense of humor that he enjoys, AND I have been a very prudish person all my life, so we are both surprised and tickled at the in-jokes and humor we share – privately!

    Reply

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