Married, Consenting Adults: Whose Okay Really Matters?

Have you noticed that in our current culture a number of historically problematic sexual activities have become No Big Deal or even encouraged? Most often, the reason I hear is that it’s between “consenting adults.”

We also hear this about marriage. After all, whose business is it if a married couple mutually agrees to engage in whatever sexual act they choose? They’re adults, they consented. Surely, then, everything’s okay.

Couple Lying On Bed Holding Question Marks & blog post title

I am disturbed by this trend in the larger culture, but among Christians, it’s particularly distressing. Even if husband and wife consent, there’s yet another vote that matters! Do you have the consent of your Lord and Father, the One who created sex?

So, what if you decide in your marriage that you want your husband to get his sexual needs met elsewhere? Or you’re both willing to couple swap, or “swing”? Our Lord says:

“You must not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14, Deuteronomy 5:18).

“You must not covet your neighbor’s wife” (Exodus 20:17).

“But the man who commits adultery is an utter fool, for he destroys himself” (Proverbs 6:32, NLT).

“Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral” (Hebrews 13:4).

How about watching porn, reading erotica, going to strip joints together? After all, you’re consenting to do it together. And what if it’s “just want to spice up [your] marriage”?

“I made a covenant with my eyes
not to look lustfully at a young woman.
For what is our lot from God above,
our heritage from the Almighty on high?
Is it not ruin for the wicked,
disaster for those who do wrong?
Does he not see my ways
and count my every step?” (Job 31:1-4).

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

“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry” (Colossians 3:5, emphasis added).

And maybe you get aroused by striking your mate in the bedroom, by introducing intense S&M practices, by pushing your pain-pleasure limits? Isn’t it okay if you’re both consenting?

“The Lord examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion” (Psalm 11:5).

“From the fruit of their lips people enjoy good things, but the unfaithful have an appetite for violence” (Proverbs 13:2).

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12).

“For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love” (Galatians 5:13).

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” (Galatians 5:22-23, NLT, emphasis added).

Today, I am simply letting the Bible speak for itself. Soak in God’s Word and reflect on it.

When you consider what sexual intimacy in your marriage should look like, think not only about the husband’s consent and the wife’s consent, but the consent of the third partner in your marriage — God Himself. Indeed, I would argue God’s consent matters the most.

20 thoughts on “Married, Consenting Adults: Whose Okay Really Matters?

  1. Bob L

    Well said! After all who first thought of marriage and sex – in that order – between 1 man and 1 woman?
    GOD!

  2. S

    Great post, J! Thank you for basing so many posts I have read on the Word of God! I so, so appreciate your blog!

  3. kim

    Another wonderful post! I regularly read your blog and I am never disappointed! I could comment on every.single.one with a resounding “amen!” I love your heart for your husband, your children, and mostly, your desire to honor the Lord on this specific topic! Please keep ’em coming! God is surely using you!

  4. Lindsay Harold

    We live in a society that thinks anything is okay as long as people consent to it. The one “moral” our culture still adheres to is consent. Even some Christians have fallen into that kind of thinking. But we need to remember that there is more to morality than making sure everyone is consenting. Plenty of evil has been done with everyone agreeing to it. The standard isn’t about getting permission or consent from the people involved. The standard is set by God. Great reminder.

  5. S

    YES, yes and yes. Amen. Thank you for saying this. This may be my favorite post of any you’ve written. Because YES- God is THE AUTHORITY and His Word and opinion trumps ours every.single.time.
    Love this.
    ~S

  6. Thankful

    Thanks for this reminder.
    I can feel myself surrounded by the lies of this world and it’s really good to bring our decisions back to God.
    Honestly, I’ve read posts by Christians okay-ing some of the things you mentioned and it actually started causing me to doubt. Thanks for bringing me back to the truth. Our lives are about glorifying God, not living for whatever the next twisted pleasure is.

    1. J Post author

      I’ve also seen professed Christians okay-ing some things that don’t seem to comport with Scripture. I’m not saying I necessarily get everything right — because I’m not God. Rather, we all must return to the Word, pray for wisdom, and keep our conscience before the Lord. With that approach, however, things definitively do become clearer.

      Blessings!

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