From time to time, I open up a post from a Christian blogger about sexual intimacy in marriage and find myself wondering what Bible they’re reading.
While the overall message about sex from the Church has improved a lot in my lifetime, misconceptions and false teaching still circulate. I worry about spouses looking for answers who land on such pages. Will they recognize the errors or be misled?
In an effort to correct the record, let me set forth seven principles every Christian marriage blogger should affirm about sex. Today I’ll cover four of them and next week I’ll wrap up with the other three principles.
1. Sex is for both of you.
Through the years, too many Christian-based resources have acted like God created romance for women and sex for men. Excuse me, but there is zero evidence of this perspective in God’s Word. God created sex to benefit and delight both husband and wife. And romance is for both of them too!
Just look at these verses:
- “‘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” (Mark 10:7-8).
- “I belong to my beloved, and his desire is for me” (Song of Songs 7:10).
- “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.” (1 Corinthians 7:3).
- “Eat, friends, drink, and be drunk with love!” (Song of Songs 5:1).
God intends for two people to be willingly involved in sexual intimacy. Sex is not just for men. It’s for women too.
If we don’t understand that important truth, we may:
- Overlook her unique sexual response, making male sexuality the standard
- Define a man’s sex drive as “too much”
- Fail to recognize intimacy obstacles as solvable
- Ignore the reality of marriages with a higher desire wife
- Excuse pressuring and demands from a higher drive husband
- Deny both spouses the delight of mutual physical intimacy
Let’s get this one right: God created them male and female, and He wants both to be sexually satisfied in marriage.
2. God created sex for more than reproduction.
Too many Christians historically believed that sex was just for the sake of having babies.
But if sex’s sole purpose is reproduction, does it matter whether you enjoy it? In fact, isn’t it better to do other things with your time when no baby is possible? Could sex simply be a necessary evil for the sake of breeding and/or a temporary surrender to the flesh?
While all this was happening, I imagine God up in Heaven like this:
Today, Christian theologians and leaders rarely argue that sex is only for having children. But many husbands and wives report that their spouse checked out after the children arrived or reached adulthood. And I’ve seen tacit support for this idea on a few Christian blogs.
While it’s incredible that connecting our body parts has the potential to create life, the Bible teaches that sex in marriage goes beyond reproduction. God designed it to bring pleasure and intimacy as well. Consider Proverbs 5:19: “A loving doe, a graceful deer—may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love.” Ever sounds to me like past those childbearing years. And the entire book of Song of Songs celebrates marital intimacy without once mentioning children.
God’s design of our biology also displays His intention—with the health benefits of regular sexual intimacy, the presence of a woman’s clitoris (serving no reproductive purpose but providing ample pleasure), and the release of Oxytocin, a “bonding chemical,” during lovemaking. Research also shows that couples who engage in ongoing sexual intimacy are closer and happier.
3. Sex is not just a transaction.
It may seem obvious that God did not intend sex to be merely transactional, but plenty of statements suggest the opposite. Well-meaning Christian bloggers (and authors and speakers) may identify sex as something one spouse wants while the other spouse wants a different thing and then propose negotiating a trade.
Thus, sex becomes—dare I say it these days?—a quid pro quo. (Whatever your politics, I hope you laughed at that joke and don’t write me hate mail.) In case you still don’t know what quid pro quo means, it’s a Latin phrase meaning “this for that.” It’s like the saying, “You scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours.”
There’s subtlety here. Because we might negotiate frequency, suggest taking turns with sexual pleasures or climax, or tend to our spouse’s emotional needs knowing all along that makes them more likely to attend to ours. But those aren’t in the same vein as “You do X, and I do Y, and we’re done.”
Sex should not be something a spouse does only to get some unrelated goodie from it. God designed sex to have goodies for both husband and wife!
Do things for each other because that’s what Christ-like love looks like! But don’t look at sex—or other good things in marriage like affection and communication—as trading chips in the game of marriage. You both deserve better.
4. Force and pressure have no place in the marriage bed.
For the love of all that is holy, if I read one more Christian blogger suggesting you have every right to demand, pressure, or even force your wife to have sex with you…
No, I did not say “force your husband,” because oddly, I’ve never read that. (I’m sure it’s out there, but I haven’t read it.) I have, however, read several articles written by both men and women with notions like “there’s no such thing as marital rape.” Oh hogwash!
But, you say, doesn’t my spouse owe me sex? Hey, I’ll be first in line to say that marriage should, if at all possible, include sexual intimacy! That’s how God intended marriage to roll.
But hopefully, you’ve read the rest of the Bible in which God makes it eminently clear that His people should not demand their rights or ignore the feelings and value of another person. Hopefully, you’ve read about Christ’s sacrifice and humility, providing us the example we should follow. And maybe we should all camp out on this passage for a while: “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:7-8).
Now I’m not talking about communication, confrontation, or nudging, which are all reasonable at various times in marriage. I’m talking about abuse, force, or persistent pressure.
Even from a practical standpoint, those are terrible ideas. Think of times in adulthood you’ve been forced or pressured to do something. Did it make you more excited about the event or less likely to enjoy it? Of course others can pressure us to do things we’re later glad for, but most times we walk away with resentment and a desire not to repeat the experience. Do you really want your spouse to feel that way about sex with you?
Stay tuned next time for three more principles all Christian bloggers, and Christians generally, should affirm about sex.
Have you seen any of these false teachings about sex? How have they affected your marriage’s sexual intimacy?
Note: This isn’t about airing out particular websites or bashing individuals. Let’s remain Christian in how we treat others, including our enemies.
16 thoughts on “4 Principles Christian Bloggers Should Affirm About Sex”
Hard to write, harder to live.
I’d love to say that I’m on board
with sex and all that stuff,
but truth is, it’s got me bored
and I have had enough.
Cancer’s got my full attention,
and the fight’s not going well.
perhaps I should (or should not) mention
that life is now a living hell.
Time that’s spent between the sheets
becomes a drain upon my will,
for I must now daily meet
the foe that only wants to kill.
Love and sentiment hold no place
when you look into the devil’s face.
Well, Andrew, you’re definitely in that line I wrote saying “marriage should, if at all possible, include sexual intimacy!” It’s not possible now with your late-stage cancer, so love means something else. But I would think that love and sentiment (for the right things) hold a very high place in the face of hardship: “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:12-13).
Well-said, J; love under the circumstances is different, and sometimes austere, but it’s certainly there.
Great article from start to finish, J! Good reminders for me. I hope that I am able to communicate these truths as well. I especially liked point #1 and what can happen when we don’t understand that sex is for both husband and wife. If only more people could see how much sweeter it gets when both spouses put effort into the physical, and the emotional bond. In fact, the relationship and intimacy are intrinsically connected.
Thanks, Melanie! <3
Nice to learn..
I wonder if all these teachings should be in the youth ministry’s syllabus. So when they get married could start with a healthy, biblical attitude towards sexual intimacy as a God’s design. 20 years ago that had been very helpful to our marriage
Good point! We need to make sure our kids and teens learn the truth about God’s design for sex so they start out on the right foot.
My husband falls into the group that says sex is for making babies. He didn’t always feel this way, but as we progress through our 50’s and he’s dealing with issues he’s adopted this stance. Looking back, he never really pursued sex as much as I expected.
He has low T and tried replacement therapy but got really sick. He also deals with ED. Due to the reaction, our doctor refused to try other meds and sent us to a specialist. The 1st specialist was a woman about our age and after tests said his T levels are normal for a man his age, and actually said sex is for the young, and not meant to last forever. This is a normal transition he’s going through. This made me really upset and we got a second opinion. This 2nd specialist was a man and said he would try a few other types of replacement, but those also did not go well. He then told us that he does not think all men can or should do hormone replacements and this is normal, so he gave us Viagra and told my husband to “man up” and just do the deed to make me feel good. This was a disaster because the Viagra gave him such a headache that he said he’d never use it again. This 2nd specialist then said we can try some other things, like a penis pump along something called a P-Shot which has to be injected into his penis. With all the things that have happened in the past my husband has said no to anything else and said that if he has to do all this just for sex, then he’s not intended to have sex anymore and he’s done. He has also told me it’s terrible for anybody to try to force him into doing more things to his body and that he’s already gone above and beyond the call of duty on this.
I guess that means we are done with sex.
I’m soooo sad to hear this. Because in my line of work often say, “Go see your doctor!” where you should get good answers. And you didn’t. And it’s frustrating that the experts didn’t approach this issue with the serious it deserves — this isn’t a man in his 80s, but his 50s. FIFTIES! I’m in my 50s, and I guarantee it’s too soon to be done.
I am praying right now for answers to come your way and for your husband’s desire to rekindle desire.
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You left out the fact that if sex was just for reproduction then women would always be fertile just like men are.
Interesting. But some might argue that the other, non-fertile times of a women’s cycle actually support the whole reproductive system.
“No More Sex” and her husband should find a competent male urologist who is at least 50 years old, and listen to him. Viagra does sometimes give head aches, true. But the “p-shot” (penis shot) affects ONLY the penis. It will sometimes give a man’s penis an ache, but a 500mg acetaminophen usually takes care of that.
50 is too young to quit. Sounds like the problem may not be physical, though.
I write from experience. Again, follow the doc’s instructions.
Good suggestions, but it sadly sounds like the doctor didn’t fully listen to the patient’s concerns and that’s always an issue. Follow the doc’s instructions, sure, but also make sure you have a good doc. Thanks, EEW.
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