Category Archives: The Bible and Sex

The Beatitudes in the Bedroom: The Meek

Lately, I’ve been taking on the Beatitudes and how they relate to our marriages, specifically our marriage beds. You see, I believe that whatever the Bible says about how we should be outside the bedroom applies to how we should be inside the bedroom.

Let’s review the full passage of the Beatitudes found at the beginning of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:3-10

I’ve covered Poor in Spirit and Those Who Mourn. This week, let’s talk about the Meek.

The Beatitudes in the Bedroom: The MeekI think the word meek is a bit like the word submit in the Bible — hard to define and often misunderstood. Merriam Webster says it means, “having or showing a quiet and gentle nature : not wanting to fight or argue with other people,” and Oxford Dictionaries defines it as, “quiet, gentle, and easily imposed on; submissive.” Well, that sounds awful — “easily imposed on.”

But the original Greek word, praus, doesn’t mean being a weakling, a pushover, a doormat. Some have explained it as gentleness or strength under control. But apparently, the word was used secularly to refer to a wild horse that eventually gives in to the bridle. That is, tamed and controlled.

Unbridled sexuality isn’t really the point of God’s design for sexual intimacy. Rather, He wants us to exert some control over our passions. And by “exert some control,” I mean “surrender to His bridle.”

Wild animals can resist bridling by rambunctiously trying to go off in their direction or they stay put like a mule that refuses to budge. I’ve definitely seen both of these scenarios in marriages struggling with sexual intimacy.

Some spouses want to pursue their own pleasures without regard to their mate, or pursue activities that God frowns upon. Others are sexual refusers or gatekeepers, trying to keep control by being the one in charge of the marriage bed.

And both attitudes are not meekness.

Rather, the meek give in to God’s will for their marriage, to His superior plan for intimacy with our spouse, to His gift of sexual delight in the marital bedroom. Maybe they are indeed quiet, gentle, submissive, and easily imposed on — but only by opening themselves up fully to God’s taming. Letting the Creator of sex show us the way.

Meekness is what Christ Himself possessed, as spoken in Matthew 21:5 about Him riding into Jerusalem on a donkey: ” ‘Say to Daughter Zion, “See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” ‘ ” Jesus was definitely within the will of God, surrendering Himself to His Heavenly Father.

I also find it fascinating that Matthew 5:5 mirrors a scripture from the Old Testament: Psalm 37:11 says, “But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity.” And this is the very chapter in which the psalmist David tells us to “Take delight in the Lordand he will give you the desires of your heart” (verse 4). We begin with taking delight in the Lord and His vision for our marital intimacy, and once we understand how good He is, it’s far easier to become meek in the marital bedroom. To let God guide our decisions and our attitude toward our husband, or wife.

Have I mastered this? Let’s just confess that no one fully has. We are constantly fighting our own selfishness. Which is why we need to think intentionally about the quality of meekness.

Begin by aligning your desires with His, throwing off anything that is clearly against God’s plan, and letting Him guide you to something better. The Bible says the meek will “inherit the earth.” I won’t try to break down exactly what that means, but the attitude of meekness in the marriage bed can also help to bring an inheritance of healthy sexuality and intimacy.

What other applications for the marriage bed do you see from this verse?

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The Beatitudes in the Bedroom: Those Who Mourn

Last week, I explained that I’d recently gone to church camp where we studied the Beatitudes. Since I believe that whatever the Bible says about how we should be outside the bedroom applies to how we should be inside the bedroom, I wondered if these principles had any application to the marriage bed. I then covered my take on “poor in spirit.”

Here’s the passage of the Beatitudes found at the beginning of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:3-10

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Remembering that the Greek word for blessed, makarios, carries the connotation of being happy, fortunate, or favored, it seems odd that the second Beatitude talks about mourning. Isn’t that the opposite of being happy?

Perhaps in this case, blessed or fortunate really is a better perspective. Because mourning is bad enough, but doing so without comfort?

I’ve often thought what a struggle it must be for atheists to lose a loved one, believing that’s the last time they’ll ever see that person. But I have the comfort of believing that this isn’t the end — so despite my sadness, I’m blessed to have this confidence in God.

I’m not sure how mourning could apply to our marital intimacy, but I’ll take a stab about some options in which divine comfort could play a role.

For those who mourn that sex in marriage has not produced the children they desired. One of the reasons for sexual intimacy in marriage is procreation, and those who’ve had the challenge of infertility know how that pain affects their marriage bed. What was once viewed as an act of intimacy can begin to feel like a chore and the bedroom a reminder of unfulfilled dreams.

I truly believe that God is there with you in those times, and that husband and wife can do so much to comfort one another. Including through sexual intimacy, just for the sake of that connection and closeness. I haven’t been through this, so I’m not going to pretend to know what it feels like. But it’s important to find comfort, in God and in your spouse. Continue to remember that sexual intimacy blesses you in other ways.

And I sincerely pray that the child you long for becomes part of your family someday. As Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”

For those who mourn that sex isn’t all they expected it to be. It’s okay to grieve that things didn’t go the way you anticipated. Perhaps you have pain during intercourse or your husband turned out to be the lower-drive spouse or simply finding time to engage is a challenge. Let’s get past the anger and frustration that we sometimes show outwardly and realize that we’re actually mourning the loss of the smooth sex life we desired and expected.

But there is comfort. Many of us authors and speakers do what we do in hopes of giving you answers and practical advice on how to proceed. Christian support organizations and counselors can help you work through issues. Mentors and friends can provide a private ear, a warm hug, and a heartfelt prayer for you as you struggle forward.

There’s also comfort in knowing that God wants so much more for you. He is in your corner and longs for you to take hold of His blessings in the marriage bed. Let His tenderness and hope infuse you with the comfort you need.

For those who mourn their sexual sin. If you’ve committed sexual sin in the past, or you’re engaging currently in practices you know are against God’s will, you need to fess up and admit your wrongdoing. When you really feel the depth of your sin, there is mourning.

Just read Psalm 51, written by David after his sexual sin with Bathsheba. Here are the first four verses:

Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
    and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
    and justified when you judge.

That’s a guy mourning about what he did, feeling true remorse.

But indeed, there is comfort. When David and Bathsheba’s son died, 2 Samuel 12:24 says, “Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and he went to her and made love to her.” And the rest of the verse says, “She gave birth to a son, and they named him Solomon. The LORD loved him.” God did not hold that sin against David forever. By no means! Mourn the past, repent in the present, and let God give you comfort.

 “Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.”

What other applications for the marriage bed do you see from this verse?

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The Beatitudes in the Bedroom: Poor in Spirit

In the course of my life and as I’ve grown this ministry, I’ve become convinced of this truth: Whatever the Bible says about how we should be outside the bedroom applies to how we should be inside the bedroom as well.

Not only are there specific verses about marriage and sexuality in the Bible, but many principles can be applied to how we should treat our spouse when it comes to sexual intimacy in marriage.

Last week while I was at church camp (with 350 kids in the Texas Hill Country near San Antonio), we studied the Beatitudes all week. These statements of blessing are at the beginning of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and are found in Matthew 5:3-10:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

The word translated blessed is “makarios.” This Greek word has also been translated as “happy” but carries the meaning of “fortunate” or “favored.” It’s perhaps the equivalent of someone who wins the lotto or marries a terrific woman, and others say, “What a lucky guy!”

Although, of course, blessedness isn’t pure luck, but rather the gift of our Heavenly Father. With the Beatitudes, I believe He’s stating both a truth and a promise: You will be happier if you live according to My principles, and I will bless you with My favor.

Being me, I got to thinking about how the Beatitudes apply to our marriage beds. What does being poor in spirit or meek or merciful have to do with how we approach sexual intimacy? Do any of these principles apply to our sex lives? Or are the Beatitudes solely about spirituality?

Since I believe our spirituality seeps out into our physical lives, I think there is an application. God wants us to love and honor him with our whole selves (see Luke 10:27), which includes our physical bodies on earth.

Let’s take the first Beatitude: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.

What does it mean to be “poor in spirit”? This is most often explained as the trait of humility; that is, understanding our spiritual poverty and need for God. The opposite, therefore, would be selfishness and arrogance.

How could “poor in spirit” apply to the marriage bed?

Someone who is selfish and arrogant might feel entitled to sexual pleasure, seek their own satisfaction, and/or blindly assert that they are great lovers, regardless of whether their mate is enjoying the experience. They justify their porn habit or sexual refusal or a myriad of other sins. Or perhaps they’re simply unwilling to discuss the problems that exist in the marriage, even blaming the other for miscommunication and dissatisfaction.

However, someone who is poor in spirit understands that he or she isn’t the be-all-end-all of the sexual experience. They recognize their flaws and need for improvement. They turn to God for help when things are tough, and accept help from their spouse when needed. They seek the best for their mate, not merely themselves. They pursue the spiritual health — and thus physical and emotional well-being — of their beloved.

Humility is among the toughest virtues to consistently pursue. Because we’re always looking at the world through own needs, desires, and perspective. We’re naturally selfish. And, as I’ve said more than once, if I didn’t believe my opinion to be 100% right, I wouldn’t have that opinion.

Humility requires a willingness to listen to your beloved and let go of your knee-jerk reaction to take care of your own needs. It doesn’t mean getting run over by your spouse (by no means!), but rather recognizing your own imperfections and submitting yourself to God.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.

What a great promise. And a worthy goal for us to pursue in our marriage and marriage beds, starting right now.

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Is Refusing Sex in Marriage a Sin?

No entry sign VectorSexual refusal is definitely a hot topic. I hear from varied voices on this sensitive subject. Some defend sexual refusal, stating that it’s horrible to suggest someone engage in sex just to please their partner. On other end are those who believe that not getting frequent sex is grounds for divorce.

What’s the truth?  Especially for those living in sexless marriages, defined as married couples who make love fewer than 10 times per year?

Cutting off sexual intimacy in marriage is sin. I don’t think there’s any two ways about that. Now, stick with me for a bit if your hackles just rose and blood rushed into your head. This is not the only point I’m going to make.

But yes, when you get married, one of the promises you’re making is to enter a “one flesh” relationship with your spouse. God designed marriage to include sexual intimacy, and you have an obligation — and the privilege — of having sex regularly with your spouse.

Look at these scriptures to see what I mean:

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.  So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate” (Matthew 19:4-6, quoting Genesis 2:24)

The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control (1 Corinthians 7:3-5).

The patriarch Jacob certainly understood sex to be an important part of his marriage:

Jacob was in love with Rachel and said, “I’ll work for you seven years in return for your younger daughter Rachel.” Laban said, “It’s better that I give her to you than to some other man. Stay here with me.” So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her. Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife. My time is completed, and I want to make love to her (Genesis 29:18-20).

You should be having sex in marriage. But does that mean you’re supposed to flop down on your bed and just let your spouse have his or her way with you? Noooo!

Sexual mistreatment is sin too. Did you read that verse up there about yielding to your spouse? Nothing in the Bible says it’s okay to force or demand your way in the marriage bed. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: You are not your spouse’s sex toy.

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One spouse shouldn’t be used by the other to satisfy a sexual need or desire. Our obligation to have sex in marriage doesn’t supersede our obligations to be loving and respectful. Read Ephesians 5:21-33, a passage bookended by these verses: “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” and “Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” And 1 Corinthians 13:4-6 describes love as patient, kind, and honoring others. There’s nothing kind about dismissing your spouse as a person and expecting him or her to simply perform sexually for your benefit.

There are both sides to this — you should be having sex, but with mutual respect and pleasure. That’s the relationship you should be working toward.

But what do you do with a sexless spouse? This post will not answer that question fully, because the right answer would be specific to your scenario. But ask yourself a few things:

Do I have problems I need to own? If you’ve been demanding, dismissive, or dogged in your approach, you need to stop your own sinfulness, ask for forgiveness from God and from your spouse, and pursue a more loving path.

What’s the underlying reason for his or her refusal? Whether you understand or not, there’s a reason why your spouse is refusing. It’s often that way with sin: We’re doing the wrong thing for reasons that make sense to us. Sometimes it’s because a spouse doesn’t understand what they’re doing; they truly don’t realize how important sexual intimacy is, the benefits to your marriage, or how their refusal is breaking your heart. Even if you’ve said it a million times, some spouses don’t get it. They don’t feel that way, so it’s hard to comprehend.

Or there could be solid reasons why your spouse says no — like physical pain, sexual abuse in their past, relational conflict, depression, etc.

Your spouse doesn’t need you to beat them over the head; they need your support to work their issues out. Those obstacles are not only keeping you from getting sex, but keeping your spouse from enjoying the blessings God has for them.

What baby steps could we take? If possible, I’d get everyone in problem situations to take a giant Mother-May-I step toward healthy sexual intimacy. But most of us don’t get the blinding-light-on-the-road-to-Damascus experience that changes our lives on the spot. We’re less like Paul and more like Peter — whittling away at our bad stuff and replacing it with God’s truth. So take steps in the right direction, even if they are smaller than you’d want.

Those beautiful cathedrals around the world were built stone by stone, and beautiful sexual intimacy can be built step by step. Patience and perseverance are tough callings, but these traits will serve you well in this journey. Weeks, months, years down the road, you may be amazed at how far you’ve come. I’ve heard many redemption stories from couples who are glad they didn’t quit.

What does your spouse need? It’s easy to get caught up in your emotional pain and sexual frustration, to focus on what you‘re not getting. But what about your spouse? What does he/she need to feel safe and cherished? Brainstorm a hundred ideas if need be — things you could do that would show your beloved that you truly care about their comfort and pleasure. Stash deposit after deposit into your spouse’s “love bank,” filling him or her up with assurance after assurance that you love and desire this person you’ve chosen. This is not a tit-for-tat trick, but rather a calling to invest in the woman or man you love. From that place, some wonderful things might happen — to your spouse and to you.

Do you have the right to leave? I’d be remiss if I didn’t deal with this question that arises from time to time. If your spouse stubbornly refuses to have sex, talk about sex, give any indication that anything will change regarding sex, do you have a right to leave the marriage? After all, if this is downright sin, don’t you have an out?

Yet I can’t find biblical justification, through commands or example, for exiting the marriage. While I ache terribly for those individuals in this situation, lack of sex alone doesn’t seem to warrant divorce.  Believe me, it was hard to even type those last words, knowing the hopelessness and despair some of you have felt. All I can say is God is with you in your darkest times. You cannot control all of your circumstances, but you can make choices on how to respond and who to turn to — your Heavenly Father who knows your pain. “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).

Finally, why don’t we talk more about the sin of refusal? This charge is laid against churches generally — that we preach against the sexual sins of commission like adultery and pornography but ignore the sin of omission when one spouse stops sexual activity in a marriage. Let me assure you that I’m among those who believe we should talk about it. The Bible is clear about the responsibilities — better yet, blessings — of physical intimacy in marriage.

One preacher summarized the singles and marrieds situation in his church this way: “The people who aren’t supposed to be having sex are, and the people who are supposed to be having sex aren’t.” We need to attend to both sides of this equation!

When I was growing up, about the only time I heard the word “sex” in church, it was followed by “-ual immorality.” It gave the mistaken impression that God was solely concerned with His people avoiding extramarital sexual activity. When God is equally concerned with us diving into intramarital sexual activity!

Thankfully, I see this message changing among Christians — more people willing to address head-on the challenges of sexual intimacy in marriage and to encourage not just sex acts but physical intimacy between husband and wife. And it goes both ways. It’s not just about getting the sex you want; it’s about experiencing the intimacy you both want. Let’s proclaim that message. Over and over, until Christian marriages thrive in this area.

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What Are the Real Purposes of Sex?

What’s the point of sex anyway?

Historically in the Church and in our society currently, we often misunderstand the real purpose of sex. There are three basic reasons for God’s gift of sex in marriage.

What Are the Real Purposes of Sex?

Reproduction. Genesis 1:27-28 says: “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number.'” At that moment, He had created vegetation, animals, and humans — all with their own ways of reproducing. His design for us was a sexual relationship between husband and wife that had the potential to create new life.

When you really think about this process, it’s pretty incredible. Male and female come together, join their complementary bodies, and an egg the size of a grain of sand and a sperm 1/30th that size merge. From there, cells differentiate, a baby grows in the womb, and a full human being emerges months later. Let me tell you, when you look (up) at your man-sized teenage son, it’s particularly astonishing that this whole process started with a fertilized egg the size of the period at the end of this sentence. And all that . . . began with the sexual act.

The first direct mention we have of sex in the Bible shows this purpose of reproduction. And Eve understood how incredible this was: “Adam made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, “With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man” (Genesis 3:1). I can imagine her tone as she said, “I have brought forth a man,” like Holy canoli, how did that happen?!

And over and over, we see similar phrases:

  • “Cain made love to his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch” (Genesis 4:17).
  • “Adam made love to his wife again, and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth” (Genesis 4:25).
  • “There Judah met the daughter of a Canaanite man named Shua. He married her and made love to her; she became pregnant and gave birth to a son, who was named Er” (Genesis 38:2-3).
  • “So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When he made love to her, the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son” (Ruth 4:13).
  • “Elkanah made love to his wife Hannah, and the Lord remembered her. So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son” (1 Samuel 1:19-20).
  • “Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and he went to her and made love to her. She gave birth to a son, and they named him Solomon” (2 Samuel 12:24).

Throughout history, the Church has had this reason down pat. Just like we understand that we need to eat to keep our bodies going, we understand we need to conceive children to keep our families and our communities going. This was the official teaching of the Church for many years — that sex was for procreation.

“The early Church Fathers of the Patristic Age did indeed teach that the marital act was solely for procreation and that spouses should intend children when they engaged in intercourse” (Catholic Online, Sex: Only for Procreation?). St. Augustine famously believed sexual passions to be a consequence of The Fall and thought that, if sin had been avoided, humans would reproduce “by a calm act of the will” (Christianity Today, What Would Augustine Say – On Sex: God’s Blessing or Humanity’s Curse?).

Procreation has been an easy reason for Christians to embrace throughout the centuries. The Bible’s message is that children are a blessing (see Psalm 127:3-5; Proverbs 17:6; Mark 10:13-16). Given the first commands to man to “be fruitful” and the many times God blessed His people with children, it’s not surprising that reproduction has been championed for centuries as a main purpose of sex.

Pleasure. I started to write, “this reason is more recent.” But I don’t think that’s true. It’s both ancient and recent. That is, in Bible times sexual pleasure in marriage appears to have God’s high blessing (see Song of Songs 5:1). In Jewish tradition, pleasure was seen as a woman’s right in the marriage bed. She was not to be deprived of it by her husband (see Exodus 21:10; Deuteronomy 24:5).

Through a culmination of influences (Gnosticism, an attempt to avoid the sexual immorality prominent in secular cultures, the rise of monastic societies in the Church, etc.), the Christian Church came to view sexual pleasure as opposed to spiritual purity. Indeed, the Song of Songs became viewed strictly as an allegory of Christ and His Church, with this view perhaps best espoused by Origen in the 3rd century. He believed that Song of Songs was the “meat” of scripture and could only be fully understood and appreciated by the spiritually mature. He worried about those who, “not knowing how to hear love’s language in purity and with chaste ears, will twist the whole manner of his hearing of it away from the inner spiritual man and on to the outward and carnal; and he will be turned away from the spirit to flesh, and will foster carnal desires in himself, and it will seem to be the Divine Scriptures that are thus urging and egging him on to fleshly lust!” (Origen, The Song of Songs Commentary and Homilies).

But I wouldn’t put much stock in that, since Origen thought the body was so evil that he also slept on the floor, owned no shoes, and reportedly castrated himself based on his interpretation of one line in Matthew 19:12: “There be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake.” Not to be too graphic, but a guy who’d cut off his own nuts probably isn’t too bothered by not having sex for pleasure.

This perspective — but not self-mutilation — was the official stance of the Church for many years: that we Christians should be careful not to enjoy sex too much. Otherwise, it smacks of loving the flesh overly much and not being sufficiently spiritual. Of course, this view fascinates me given the physical acts that many such proponents took to display their spirituality. For instance, charity — a definite Christian virtue — involves the physical act of actually helping people with bodily needs, like food, water, clothing, shelter. Are we not to take pleasure in helping people around us? Must it merely be duty and nothing else?

Anyway, the Church has thankfully moved away from that in recent years, with an acknowledgment that we allowed outside philosophies to taint what the Bible really says. Just look at verses like these:

A loving doe, a graceful deer—  may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love” (Proverbs 5:19).

“I have come to my garden-my sister, my bride. I gather my myrrh with my spices. I eat my honeycomb with my honey. I drink my wine with my milk. Eat, friends! Drink, be intoxicated with love!” (Song of Songs 5:1).

“How beautiful you are and how pleasing, my love, with your delights! Your stature is like that of the palm, and your breasts like clusters of fruit. I said, ‘I will climb the palm tree; I will take hold of its fruit.’ May your breasts be like clusters of grapes on the vine, the fragrance of your breath like apples, and your mouth like the best wine” (Song of Songs 7:6-9).

If you need more convincing — note our biology, ladies. That handy-dandy clitoris has no role to play in reproduction, solely pleasure. God wanted us to enjoy the sexual act and the intimacy that we feel when we’re physically one-flesh with our beloved covenant mate.

Intimacy. Speaking of intimacy, I tend to think this is the crowning jewel. Because, to be honest, you could reproduce and feel pleasure during sex without marriage. We see it in society all the time. But there’s something special about sex that makes it an act God intended to gift husbands and wives. Yes, of course he wants daddies and mommies to raise kids, but not every sexual act creates a baby. What’s the purpose of those other times?

Ephesians 5:31-32 says: “‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.” Well, what’s that’s about? How is becoming united/one-flesh in marriage like our relationship with Christ? I think it’s about the deep, loving intimacy between lover and beloved.

This is not the only time marriage is compared to God’s relationship with His people. For instance:

“For your Maker is your husband– the LORD Almighty is his name — the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth” (Isaiah 54:5).

“I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion” (Hosea 2:19).

God prizes intimacy. Between us and Him. Among His people. And certainly between husband and wife. In fact, He infused the sexual act with ways to make it feel especially intimate, like the vulnerability of nakedness and body chemicals like Oxytocin and Dopamine to make us connected to our lover.

And these affects are not seen in short-term bursts of sexual activity. Rather, the intimate feelings come when we are linked to a partner again and again, in longer-term relationships. As in marriage.

Sex is something to be uniquely shared with your spouse, and thus it creates a deep intimacy when you partake together regularly and lovingly. God intended sex for reproduction and pleasure, but also to nurture intimacy between husband and wife.

Those are the three primary purposes for sex I see in the Bible. What benefits have you seen from having sex in your marriage?