As she concludes her research and argument in Love Between Women: Early Christian Responses to Female Homoeroticism, Bernadette J. Brooten writes:
Augustine brings us to a new stage in early Christian thinking about the erotic. Paul and Tertullian and Clement condemned same-sex love as unnatural, exhorting their followers to live according to an order of creation in which man is head of woman. These three thinkers, even though they differed in their evaluation of marriage, nevertheless all assumed the sanctity of marriages characterized by sexual intercourse between veiled, subordinate wives and husbands who instruct them. Augustine introduces a note of profound sadness into the discussion by claiming that original sin is passed on to a child at the moment of conception. Even a "natural," procreative sexual act between a subordinate wife and a husband who rules over her is deeply disturbed and characterized by sin, since humans cannot totally submit their sexual urges to their will. By asserting that sin imbues even a "natural" sexual act within the legal confines of marriage, Augustine subtly banishes "unnatural" sexual acts even further outside the realm of holiness.
Part of Brooten's argument, and that of many others, is that ancient arguments against same-sex relationships were based upon ancient conceptions of gender. An argument like hers stands as a rebuke to contemporary moderates who have already dismissed ancient conceptions of gender as not being normative for today (in issues related to gender equality in the church), yet remain vague on their positions of same-sex relationships.