Sexuality and Relationships Policy
Messiah University’s foundational documents articulate the institution’s mission and identity as a Christian university. Because of that mission, we hold to beliefs and practices that are rooted in our understanding of scriptural teaching and the historic teaching of the Christian church, both broadly and of our founding denomination (Brethren in Christ) specifically. Therefore, we affirm Christian marriage to be the union of one man and one woman and that human sexuality should be understood within this framework. Because of this affirmation, premarital and extra marital intercourse and forms of same-sex sexual expression fall outside of God’s design for sexual expression. As we embrace these theological truths that are foundational to our understanding of the gift of sexuality, we also recognize that applying these truths to a specific set of behavioral expectations for our community is challenging, but necessary.
Sexual Behavior Expectations
It is expected that married students will honor their marriage vows by remaining faithful to their spouse.
While it may be appropriate for committed male/female couples to hold hands and even kiss, care should be given to avoid more intimate behaviors such as heavy making out or oral sex. Any intimate sexual behavior that would put individuals on a path toward intercourse should be avoided, rather preserving that for marriage. In this vein, it is never appropriate to ‘hook up’ or practice promiscuous sex.
Students who experience same sex attraction or identify as gay or lesbian are expected to refrain from "same sex sexual expression" as it is embodied in culturally contextual practices (e.g., identifying as a couple or exhibiting expressions of physical intimacy).
Students are also expected to refrain from the using and/or distributing pornographic material. The University desires and is prepared to help students who are struggling with pornography. Students in need of help should contact the Engle Center for Counseling and Health or University Ministries for confidential assistance and support.
Students who are victims of sexual abuse are encouraged to seek help from a counselor or other appropriate person. If someone at the University has been the abuser, the University would like your assistance in dealing appropriately with that person (see Messiah University Title IX website at www.messiah.edu/TitleIX).
Students who are finding it difficult to uphold the sexual behavior expectations or who have follow up questions concerning the sexuality and relationships policy and sexual behavior expectations are encouraged to speak with the Vice Provost/Dean of Students, University Pastor, Director of Counseling, Associate Dean of Students, Director of Residence Life, Residence Director or other educators within the Student Affairs Division.