Sex and the Church

Watch Sex and the Church

  • TV-14
  • 2015
  • 1 Season
  • 7.8  (54)

Sex and The Church is a thought-provoking, historical documentary series from 2015 available on BritBox. Directed by Carsten Oblaender, the series hosts Prof. Diarmaid MacCulloch, a renowned historian from the University of Oxford, who for many years has been delving into the potent mix of sexuality, religion, and how the Christian church has shaped our attitudes to sex.

This three-part series glides through an impressive collection of stunning historical sites, including Rome, Jerusalem, and Istanbul, to name a few. As MacCulloch takes the viewers around the world, uncovering artifacts, scriptures, and presenting interviews and testimonies gathered across historical epochs and religious beliefs, he's also narrating the facts of Christianity’s complex relationship with sexuality.

"Sex and The Church" kicks off with the first episode entitled “From Pleasure To Sin.” This episode traces the origins of sex in Christianity, from its seemingly relaxed beginnings. MacCulloch starts his journey in the ancient world of the Roman Empire, where Christianity began and then reached the major capitals worldwide. This episode examines the surprising turn from a heyday where sex was seen as completely natural, even to the earliest Christians, to a view of sex as a dire threat to mankind's spiritual purity.

Moving on to the second episode, “The Triumph Of Virginity," we see how the Church took a drastically different stance on sexuality. Here, viewers will delve into the church's sudden shift of views, placing a heavy emphasis on celibacy and the sacredness of virginity. This period marks the transformation of the Church's attitude towards sex from a necessary act for procreation to one that was seen as sinful and hedonistic outside the context of marriage. This episode examines the evolution of monasticism and the cult of virginity in the church, which posed serious societal challenges and led to long-lasting effects.

Finally, in “Sex In The West,” the third and final episode, viewers will witness the societal and psychological consequences of the Church's censorship of sexuality. MacCulloch discusses the paradox of how the Western church, despite its effort to desexualize the Christian faith, ended up becoming obsessed with the sexual act. The careful exploration of how sexual suppression led to various psychological issues is eye-opening. This finale encourages viewers to reflect on how a seemingly ancient and far removed perspective on sexuality still shapes the modern world's attitudes and policies towards gender, sex, and sexuality itself.

Prof. Diarmaid MacCulloch, the show's charismatic presenter, engages the audience through his meticulous research, vibrant storytelling, and nuanced discourse. His academic background in history and theology, coupled with his personal life as an openly gay man and a practicing Christian, enriches the series' scope and depth. He threads the early Christian landscapes and the Byzantine and Medieval Christian attitudes towards sex, gradually revealing its transformation from a source of positivity to a moral challenge to be curbed.

"Sex and The Church" features well-explained historical facts and careful examination of sexuality and religion combined with thought-provoking questions about morality, freedom, and personal choice. It's pertinent for those with an interest in history, religion, and cultural studies. Its sharp analysis on the history of Christianity's evolving views towards sexuality will leave viewers pondering the effect of religious doctrine on our society.

Although critical in its analysis, the show maintains respect for Christianity as a faith and religion. MacCulloch's intention isn't to discredit the church but to unfold the complexities of its past and enlighten how those decisions have shaped societies and our human understanding of sex and spiritual purity.

This thought-evoking series is meant to present a view, provoke thought, challenge norms, and question rationalities without intending to disrespect any religious beliefs. It elaborates on church's attempts to regulate sex, suggesting how this historical phenomenon continues to impact the contemporary world. Yet, in wise words and reasoned arguments, it also highlights the importance of a more open, healthy conversation on sexuality in the 21st century.

In summary, Sex and The Church, on BritBox, is an intriguing historical narrative that explores the ever-complex relationship between the Christian church and sexuality. Its historical sweep across ancient empires and its introspective examination of the church's approach towards sex make it a must-watch for anyone keen to understand an indispensable part of our societal fabric.

Sex and the Church is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (3 episodes). The series first aired on April 10, 2015.

Sex and the Church
Filter by Source

Christianity v The West
3. Christianity v The West
April 24, 2015
Diarmaid MacCulloch explores how the offical Christian Church and Western society have moved apart on issues of sex and gender over the last 300 years.
Sexual Revolution
2. Sexual Revolution
April 17, 2015
Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch explains how the church took control of marriage in the 11th century and how the Protestant Reformation launched a sexual revolution.
From Pleasure to Sin
1. From Pleasure to Sin
April 10, 2015
Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch explores how Christianity has shaped western attitudes to sex, gender and sexuality throughout history.
Where to Watch Sex and the Church
Sex and the Church is available for streaming on the BritBox website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch Sex and the Church on demand at Apple TV Channels.
  • Premiere Date
    April 10, 2015
  • IMDB Rating
    7.8  (54)