Questions on the Amish, sexuality and reproduction

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  1. Do Amish use birth control?
  2. Do Amish accept homosexuality?
  3. Is sex education taught in Amish schools?
  4. Does premarital sex occur among Amish?
  5. Does inbreeding happen in Amish communities?

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Can Amish use birth control? Amish officially oppose artificial methods of birth control, basing their beliefs on Biblical principles and the injunction to “be fruitful and multiply” found in Genesis 9:7, among other places.

However, this does not mean that all Amish abstain from using birth control, including natural methods of family planning as well as barrier methods. More on the Amish & birth control.

Do Amish condone homosexual behavior? No. Amish feel strongly that homosexual relations are sinful. Homosexual individuals within the community may seek counseling or otherwise keep their preferences secret. Open homosexuality is not condoned or seen among the Amish. Read more on the Amish and homosexuality.

Is sex education taught in Amish schools? No, Amish schools do not provide formal sex education. In Amish Society, John A. Hostetler writes that “adults purposely ignore any mention of the subject, especially in the presence of children. Very little sex instruction is given to the ordinary Amish child.”

Amish children and youth learn about the birds and the bees informally. Hostetler adds that “the child acquires gradually, piece by piece, an elementary knowledge of the process of biological reproduction. The Amish child most certainly does ask questions about the sexual behaviors of animals on the farm. To satisfy his curiosity, the child more often than not talks such matters over with associates his age” (see Amish Society, p. 160).

Does premarital sex occur among the Amish? Yes. As in any community, premarital sexual relations may occur in Amish relationships, sometimes resulting in pregnancy and accelerated or out-of-season weddings. If sexual relations occur out of wedlock, Amish couples may be obliged to make a confession before being baptized or taking marital vows.

Does inbreeding happen in Amish communities? Since the Amish population pool is limited, and few outsiders join the community, it’s not surprising that married couples might be distantly or even more closely related (second cousins, for instance), in some cases.

Amish are aware of the potential hazards of endogamy. In some smaller settlements finding marriage partners for youth can be an issue. With this in mind, Amish youth of courting age may be encouraged to visit other communities. Read more.

More questions on the Amish? Get answers to 300+ questions in 41 categories at the FAQ main page.

References:

  • Hurst, Charles E, and David L. McConnell. An Amish Paradox: Diversity & Change in the World’s Largest Amish Community. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010.
  • Hostetler, John A. Amish Society. 4th ed. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993.
  • Stevick, Richard A. Growing Up Amish: The Rumspringa Years. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014.

To Cite this Page: Wesner, Erik J. “Sex.” Amish America. Erik Wesner, 9 Apr. 2015. Web. [Date Accessed]. <http://amishamerica.com/sex/>.

Image credits: bird and bee- ritavida/flickr