3 More Great Bible Stories about Sex

In my last post, I talked about 4 great Bible stories involving sex. Specifically, I discussed Adam and Eve, Joseph and Potiphar’s wife, Hannah and Elkanah, and David and Bathsheba (not the adulterous part, the better part).

There are many Bible stories about sexual sin, some of them quite awful indeed. However, the above four and the following three are my favorite ones that teach us something important about God’s gift of sexuality to marriage.

Bible with light glowing from it

1. The Lover and the Beloved. You had to know this one would make the list! But what’s the story exactly? Beyond all those flowery passages, like how her “navel is a rounded goblet” (Song of Songs 7:2) and his “arms are rods of gold” (5:14)?

Well, there’s an interesting story in Chapter 5, in which the husband comes home late and wants some nookie. (Okay, it’s worded more sophisticated than that, but you get the gist.) And what does the wife do? Yeah, she does what a lot of us wives have done at least one time or another: “I have taken off my robe—must I put it on again? I have washed my feet—
must I soil them again?” In other words, “You want me disrupt my sleep and make some big effort for sex? Come on! Not tonight!”

But what’s inspiring about the rest of the story is this wise wife realizes pretty quickly she’s missed a golden opportunity. She gets up and searches for her husband, desiring him to return to bed with her.

Why? Because they love each other, and sexual intimacy is worth some effort. Once you make the decision to engage, you may find yourself saying, as the Beloved wife says, “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine; he browses among the lilies” (6:3). Translation? We’re in love and gettin’ it on. (More or less.)

2. Hosea and Gomer. So Gomer’s not really my favorite person, what with all the running away and adultery. But God commands Hosea to marry her, to pursue her, to make love to her, and to bring her back when she wanders.

I don’t believe this story suggests a spouse should put up with a callous pattern of adultery, because God had His own purposes and points to make with this story. However, it’s enlightening how far God is willing to have a husband pursue a wayward wife.

If your marriage has been struck by pornography or adultery or emotional unfaithfulness, you need to do all you can reasonably do to heal the relationship and create a safe space for holy intimacy in your marriage. Yes, you can leave, biblically, and some situations indeed call for that step. But our culture now leans the other way — walking out as soon as infidelity has occurred. Maybe we could use a little more Hosea in our hearts.

3. Joseph and Mary. So Joseph was betrothed to Mary and found out she was pregnant. Yikes! Thankfully, an angel appeared to him and explained: “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. . . . When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus” (Matthew 1:20-21, 24-25).

When I was halfway through one of my pregnancies, I was diagnosed with a condition that required my husband and I to abstain from sex for four months. I think those four months are like dog years to a husband, because it felt like a reeeally loooong time before he could be intimate with his wife.

While I’m all over the have-sex-often plan, sometimes you can’t. Military couples separated by tours of duty, spouses going through health issues, long-term work separations, etc. can cause an absence in sexual intimacy. And yeah, it’s tough. But you know what, Joseph did it. He waited until Mary had delivered God’s son, Jesus, and then made love to his wife.

Do I think they avoided affection or even arousal? I don’t know. I suspect not. He’d waited for a long time for Mary, loved her, and wanted her as his wife. Yet he was patient when he needed to be, sexually intimate when he could be.

So there are three more stories in the Bible that involve sexuality in some way. Maybe I shed a different perspective on one of them. Maybe I didn’t draw the same conclusions you did. Maybe we can gather in Heaven someday and hear these stories straight from the people who experienced them.

In the meantime, what are some of your favorite Bible stories? What have you learned about marriage or sexuality from them? What is your take on any of the stories I’ve shared?

4 Great Bible Stories about Sex

Usually when someone shares their favorite Bible stories, they don’t involve sex, right? It’s stuff like David and Goliath, Daniel in the Lion’s Den, the Prodigal Son, or Jesus’ resurrection. And I definitely have that kind. But I considered my favorite stories from the Bible that actually involve sex in some way and came up with seven I particularly appreciate. Here are the first four.

Bible with lit light bulb on top

1. Adam and Eve. One of my favorite Bible-themed cartoons is this one:

Adam and Eve cartoon from ReverendFun.com

Although I’d like to think that Eve was also excited. Can you imagine how cool it must have been to have God pick your spouse for you? He’s got good taste, and He knows what you like.

Adam and Eve were set apart for one another and discovered sexuality together, with no interference from prior sexual history or erroneous messages or third parties (what third parties?!) trying to butt into their relationship. Ideally, we enter marriage with the same clean slate. And if we didn’t, I believe God can wipe it clean (Psalm 103:12; 1 John 1:9).

Perhaps more of us should treat our marriage bedroom like the Garden of Eden — keeping it a safe, private, flourishing place — where we are set apart for one another and blessed by God.

2. Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife. Young Joseph is sold into slavery, taken to Egypt, and purchased to be a slave in Potiphar’s house. Over time, he gains his owner’s trust and thus authority over the household. Then Potiphar’s wife notices that Joseph is a hunka-hunka man (“well-built and handsome,” Genesis 39:6), so she slaps on her bedroom face, curls her fingers around in a come-here-baby gesture, and asks him to sleep with her. What does Joseph do? He says no. Repeatedly. And then runs.

One reason I love this story is I grew up in a Christian community that pretty much taught us teens “don’t” when it came to sex. That was about it, except that there was an underlying message that it was really more up to us gals to keep the barriers up because teenage boys were hopelessly lusting all the time and they couldn’t really be blamed for all that testosterone and whatcha-gonna-do? and all that. But here’s a young man who understood the importance of not engaging in adultery, of saving sex for marriage.

When he finally married Asenath, I like to think she was both surprised and pleased he’d saved himself for his wife. So when single people ask those two important questions: Can one really wait for marriage? Is it worth it? The answer’s yes, and here’s Joseph to prove it.

3. Hannah and Elkanah. Hannah is one of the two wives of Elkanah. (It’s a little hard for me to imagine being in her place, since sharing a husband sounds like a horrible idea. But we should remember the culture they lived in.) Her husband clearly loves her: “But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the Lord had closed her womb” (1 Samuel 1:5). He tries to console her in her infertility, reminding her of their love (v.8).

When they go to the temple and the priest Eli observes Hannah praying fervently for a child, He gives her a blessing that God will grant her desire. And this part is not lost on me at all: “Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the Lord and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah made love to his wife Hannah, and the Lord remembered her” (v. 19). How many married couples think worshiping God would be logically followed by going home and making love? Well, it should!

We needn’t feel any disconnect between worshiping God and expressing intimate love with our spouse. God designed both and desires both. Hannah and Elkanah worshiped, went home, made love, and — with God’s hand — finally conceived a son.

4. David and Bathsheba (not that first story!). Bathsheba’s first child, born of an adulterous relationship, died. That’s a nightmare for parents. I cannot fathom the heartbreak involved in losing a child.

However, David comforts his wife Bathsheba in an unusual way. Following their son’s death, the Bible says, “Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and he went to her and made love to her” (2 Samuel 12:24a). She conceived a second son, Solomon. But it seems that David’s comfort of his wife also involved that sexual intimacy together.

I’ve written before about the healing power of one-fleshness in a marriage. There is closeness and connection and comfort in physical intimacy between spouses. I love how this couple’s story of a second chance and heart healing involves the marriage bed as well — a bed now blessed by God Himself.

So that’s four stories that have some takeaways regarding God’s plan for sexual intimacy. Be sure to check back on Thursday, when I’ll have three more great Bible stories (that actually involve sex).

Do you have a favorite Bible story? Does it include any lessons for you regarding marriage or sexuality?

Sharing My Own Story

I’ve told bits and pieces of my own story regarding sexual intimacy here and there throughout this blog, and more of it is entailed in the My Story page.

But today I’m focusing a bit more on what I went through and how it affected my initial years of my marriage. Here’s my story: Inside My Head.

Pen writing "My Story" on paper

17 Years Old

I haven’t had sex. Totally haven’t had sex. Fine, call me a “technical virgin.” But that word virgin is still in there, right? (Right?)

I don’t mean to go over the line with guys. I just end up there somehow. I tell myself I’ll keep anything beyond kissing from happening, and then he’s there and I’m there and we’re kissing and it’s hot and heavy and things just, well, happen. And once they’re already happening, it’s too late. Might as well enjoy it.

Besides, who decides what’s too far anyway? Whenever we ask that question of an adult in church or some youth event, we get one of two answers — “Just don’t have sex” (which is what I’m doing) or “Don’t ever be alone with a boy.” Seriously? Who are these people? It’s like they’ve forgotten what it was to be a teenager.

And I don’t even think they like kissing and foreplay and sex. That one wife in our “becoming a woman” Bible class pinches up her face every time one of us girls mentions it. Do they know what it’s like to have your heart thumping and your head floating and your lips entangled with a guy you really, really want to be with? Do they know how hard it is to say no when all that’s going on inside you?

Still, I’ll keep from doing the big thing. I’ll be a virgin until I marry. I will. Promise.

22 Years Old

When it comes to counting my lovers, it’s not a big number, at least not in the secular world. But it’s a big deal to me. And as much as I’ve tried to rationalize my decisions, I suspect it’s a big deal to God.

I apologize and try to repent each time, but I simply keep failing. I completely understand Paul’s statement that “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” So very, very weak.

Although honestly, why did God make it feel so physically good? And why must I wait until I someday get married? I could have waited if I’d lived in biblical times, because they say Mary was probably a teenager, maybe even 15 or 16, when she got married. I was pure as new white porcelain when I was 16.

Now? Not so much.

Though here’s the real question: What wonderful Christian man wants this package of damaged goods?

Then again, what besides my sexuality do I have to offer? I’m not particularly beautiful or poised or rich or whatever. I’m smart, but how far does smart go? When it comes to who you want to kiss at night, are you thinking, Hey, this girl reads Tolstoy. I so want her!?

Still, there’s got to be a better way.

26 years old

“Sadie, Sadie, married lady, that’s me!” I can’t believe I’ve picked the guy, said the I Do‘s, and moved in with my lifetime love. Me? The girl whose monogamy track record is less than stellar. I had too much of a “love the one you’re with” approach.

But now I have this heart-sure feeling this is The One (cue serious music). I love him, more and deeper than any other. I can envision our lives together, lasting many years into the future. “Till Death Do Us Part.”

For the time being, however, it’s nice living in the present. The present that includes making love almost every day. Our sexual intimacy is amazing.

Although sometimes I’m nervous around him. Cautious about showing too much or seeming too experienced or eager. That uninhibited part of me comes from my days of premarital promiscuity, the days I’d now like to forever forget. (Why can’t I just forget?) After all, I’m Sadie, Sadie, married lady, so I really should be more feminine, more reserved, more coquettish. If I act like I did before, doesn’t that just make me a slut? All over again?

I have to keep that part of me inside. Bury it. Ignore it. Hope it goes away. I’m legit now. I’m not that same person I was before. Right?

God has forgiven me. Hasn’t He?

♦     ♦     ♦

So I just let you inside my head to hear what was going on regarding my sexual intimacy through the years. But the story doesn’t finish there. Not by a long shot! It took a while, but God righted my heart and my life regarding sexual intimacy.

I learned the difference between trying to do the right thing in my own might and surrendering to God. I learned God had indeed forgiven me and I needed to accept His grace, the grace He sacrificed His own son to give. I learned God was not punishing me for past sins when I experienced difficulties regarding sexual intimacy in marriage, that ongoing challenges were par for the course and opportunities to deepen my trust in His perfect plan.

I learned my husband never saw me in terms of my wayward past, that I was his cherished wife and lover. I learned that trying some different things and letting go of inhibitions could positively affect our marriage bed. I learned to feel good about my body and the beauty I possess.

I learned my past hardship and heartache shouldn’t be ignored or buried or wished away, but could be part of my personal testimony — from which to help others who struggle with sexual intimacy.

I learned that even regarding sex, God knows what He’s talking about. His design is good.

The words “THE END” haven’t been written on my story. There’s more to come. Yet I have absolute faith my story will end with the phrase: “And, with God’s help, she lived happily ever after.”

Now what’s your story? What lessons have you learned along the way?

Have Stories Damaged Your View of Sex?

On Thursday, I addressed how I would write screen sex scenes differently from the way Hollywood does. But I ended the post by pointing out that “if Hollywood let me write the sex scenes, very little sex would occur on the screen. I’d opt for the approach of many classic movies in which lovemaking was implied but not shown. After all, sexual intimacy in marriage is the sort of thing that should happen behind closed doors.”

One commenter added: “Why and how did it become acceptable to have sex scenes in movies anyway? Why do people want to watch that? Focus, Hollywood. Less is more.”

jeune femme drôle cachée derrière livreI agree with those who say there is a danger in filling our minds with unrealistic stories about sexual activity — whether it comes from pornography, Hollywood, erotic books, or over-the-top romance novels. When we allow erroneous messages about sex into our eyes, our minds, and our hearts, we can cheapen the intimate act God gave married couples and adopt twisted expectations of the sexual intimacy in our marriage.

  • Why won’t my wife do what that woman on the screen will do? Why isn’t she as eager and wild?
  • Why doesn’t my husband sweep me on my feet like that and pleasure me for hours?
  • Why does our sex sometimes feel awkward, when it looks so beautiful in the movies?

Do you pay attention to where you’re getting your messages about sexuality? Who is telling you the stories about romance, love, passion, and sex? What are they telling you, and is it helpful for the sexual intimacy in your marriage?

From a practical perspective, I don’t think you can entirely avoid stories that don’t wholly support God’s view of sexual intimacy. At least not without locking yourself away somewhere. Turn on the TV or watch a movie or open a magazine, and there will be tales of couples engaged in premarital sex, comedies poking fun at sexless marriages, messages hinting that kinkier is better, etc. As Christians in the world, we need to sharpen our filters and be able to move past that, identifying untruths where they occur.

But honestly, I cannot remember the last time I saw an R-rated movie, because I grew so weary of being cussed at and shown naked people doing it. Sometimes we don’t need a filter so much as a fortress — just shoving out those stories of sexual intimacy that could do real damage to our minds, hearts, and marriages.

Consider these scriptures:

I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman.” Job 31:1

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23

“But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:28

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

“I will not look with approval on anything that is vile. I hate what faithless people do; I will have no part in it.” Psalm 101:3

Of course, the Bible itself includes stories of sexual sin — but they are provided as warnings, not entertainment. Like the fables or original fairy tales provided important warnings about not talking to strangers (Red Riding Hood) or the importance of working hard (Ant and Grasshopper). There’s a very different tone in stories like Tamar (this one or this one) or David and Bathsheba and the love between Elkanah and Hannah or between the Lover and Beloved. It’s clear what sexual stories would receive God’s approval and which would get His rebuke or condemnation.

Maybe it’s time to ask yourself some questions. What are you reading? What are you watching? What are you listening to? What stories about sexual intimacy are you soaking up and giving credence? Are they in line with God’s message? Do you need to make different choices?

If I Wrote the Sex Scenes

It’s too bad Hollywood won’t hire me to write a few sex scenes. I’d like to change a few misguided myths of the screen. Albeit, I don’t know if anyone would pay the ticket price to see the nitty-gritty of real sex in real marriages.

While sexual intimacy in marriage outranks mythical Hollywood sex by a long shot, it may not look so visually appealing from the sidelines. Indeed, I’ve never personally had a desire to videotape a sexual encounter with my husband to watch later — because I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t titillate me, but rather make me incredibly self-conscious about every body motion and facial expression I made from then on.

I’ll take blissful ignorance and unbridled passion instead.

Film clapboardSo what if I could write the sex scenes? How would I infuse a bit of truth onto the screen — while not repelling the audience?

1. No perfect-passion-night-becomes-long-lasting-romance. That happens all the time in movies: A couple barely knows each other, has a wild night of passionate lovemaking, and then realizes this is the person they want to live with, clean up after, and make little people with. In real life, that happens to maybe 0.0003% of the population. More often, a couple who has an amazing night of sex and decides to jump in with both feet find themselves months down the road screaming at each other and divvying up the furniture. Why? Because one night of hot sex does not a lifetime of happiness make.

Instead, my sex scene will occur at the end of the movie — as the culmination of a building of a relationship, learnings the ins and outs of this person, finding out if this is someone they want to be with for a lifetime, saying some much-needed I Do’s, and then tumbling into bed for a wild night of passionate lovemaking. Which now means so much more because the foundation is solid.

2. Her bra and underwear don’t always match. Am I the only one this annoys? So there will be some actress who had no idea she’d be making love that night, and she slips off her dress to reveal perfectly matched, gorgeous lingerie.

While I’m all in favor of wearing something nice to bed or under your clothes, there are puh-lenty of nights I wear something perfectly matched and sex doesn’t happen . . . and then I dig down to the bottom of the drawer for something to wear one day, and bam! hubby’s in the mood that night. And he doesn’t care if my bra is beige and my panties are green.

Instead, my sex scene would involve the wife pulling her last pair of underwear from the drawer, promising herself to do laundry, and then apologizing to her husband for the hole in her left cheek’s fabric. And hubby would say, “Don’t worry, sweetheart. You’d be sexy wearing a paper sack.” And then – be still, my heart — he’d offer to do the laundry.

3. They have to talk out the positioning. Somehow movie couples seem to move in tandem, in well-choreographed rhythm, like a Dancing with the Stars 10-out-of-10 performance. Whether they’ve made love once or a thousand times, the man and woman intuitively understand one another’s moves.

However, one recent moment of lovemaking in my house included this moment. “Hair! Hair! Hair!” I yelled. And my husband moved his arm and freed my hair from its painful entrapment. I don’t care how good a lover he is, yanking my hair follicles is not a turn-on.

Like it or not, quality sex can sometimes require communicating about how to move around and get everything lined up just so. It can also involve a few oopses from time to time, when unexpected entanglements happen. Or even falls. Like off the bed.

So maybe the married couple should stumble or fall now and then or say unsexy things like, “Can you move? You’re hurting my arm.” When you have that level of comfort in marriage that you can say such things, you’re likely to experience better intimate moments. That sex scene is well-coordinated, because it’s well-communicated.

4. Orgasms involve turn-taking as much as simultaneity. Movie couples tend to climax at the exact same moment, falling back onto the sheets in breathless fits of exhaustion and satisfaction. Every. Single. Time.

Sure, simultaneous orgasm is possible, even common in some marriages. But as a good friend of mine expressed so well, “This ain’t synchronized swimming.” Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t. Quite often in many marriages, one climaxes, then it takes a while to get the other there. Or maybe one climaxes this time, and the other doesn’t. It can vary. And not climaxing doesn’t make sex a failure. The closeness and intimacy still matter.

In my sex scenes, the couple would generously take time and help one another to figure out how to climax. If one achieved orgasm first, the other would receive additional attention until they reached the peak or decided to pass this time. Regardless, the deep physical connection and exciting sensations would be a satisfying part of the lovemaking.

Actually, if Hollywood let me write the sex scenes, very little sex would occur on the screen. I’d opt for the approach of many classic movies in which lovemaking was implied but not shown. After all, sexual intimacy in marriage is the sort of thing that should happen behind closed doors.

How would you rewrite the stereotypical sex scenes into something more like real married life?