Church of England publishes sex and marriage guide

LONDON Mon Mar 10, 2008 1:34pm GMT

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams delivers a sermon in Armagh, Northern Ireland, February 22, 2005. REUTERS/Darryl Mooney/Pool

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams delivers a sermon in Armagh, Northern Ireland, February 22, 2005.

Credit: Reuters/Darryl Mooney/Pool

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LONDON (Reuters) - Faced with rising divorce rates and poor communication between couples, the Church of England says it is time to talk about sex.

The Anglican Church is publishing a course and a guide to marriage called "Growing Together" that encourages married couples to be open and frank with each other.

"Sex, far from being naughty, is something thoroughly wonderful and something to be celebrated," the guide says. "Like any other skill, it has to be learned ... be each other's teacher."

The guide's author is Andrew Body, a southern England vicar and professional counsellor who has been married for 39 years.

"I don't want people to get the impression that this is the church peering into people's bedrooms," he told Reuters by telephone.

"It's not like that at all -- it's all about getting people to discuss things with each other. It's not the Church of England publishing its own guide to sexual technique."

The guide also includes advice on a range of other topics from housework to finances, funerals and childcare.

Some couples clearly need the information. The book includes one case study of a couple who were distressed at the woman's failure to become pregnant. The guide explains why.

"It turned out they had never had full intercourse," it says.

(Reporting by Peter Apps)

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