Purity was the second absolute of the Oxford Group and in their view it clearly referred to one’s thoughts, feelings, and actions in sexual matters. Since Lust is classified as a deadly sin, the Oxford folks unequivocally denounced it and made no provision for occasional “recreational” sex. Frank Buckman, according to a major biographer, believed that sexual indiscretions were major problems with people he counseled. In fact, he was apparently barred from the Princeton University campus for discussing sex too openly with students—something college authorities frowned on in the 1920s. But since Buckman never married, some critics have believed he was really a suppressed homosexual who may have had a prurient interest in the sex lives of young men, though there is no proof to support this accusation. The Oxford Group also considered Masturbation and homosexuality sinful.
Whatever the Oxford Group’s views may have been, AA managed to take a more conciliatory approach to sex matters. On page 81 on the very first edition of Alcoholics Anonymous, it’s conceded that many of us “needed an overhauling” in the area of sex. But it calls for us to be sensible about the question. We are urged to shape a sane and sound ideal for our future sex life. “We subjected each relation to this test—was it selfish or not? We asked God to mold our ideals and help us live up to them…. God alone can judge our sex situation. Counsel with persons is often desirable, but we let God be the final judge. We realize that some people are as fanatical about sex as others are loose. We avoid hysterical thinking or advice.”