Sex seems purely physical to some, as if it couldn’t be associated with our soul. Frankly, the only time God is brought into many marital bedrooms is when someone yells “Oh my God!” in the heat of climax.
But while sex is physical, this act can also honor God and touch our spirit. Maybe you don’t always feel it, but do you believe it? When we make love according to God’s design, there’s spiritual depth to the experience.
Let’s look at why.
God the Creator designed sex and called it good.
Who thought up this crazy thing called sex? Well, that would be God. He could have made sex a fairly straightforward, reproduction-only event. But instead, He designed it for intimacy and pleasure as well.
Consider the pleasure centers of our bodies, the way humans often make love facing one another (not a feature of the animal world), and His words about husband and wife becoming “one flesh.” It was after God commanded humans to “be fruitful and multiply” (and we know how that’s done) that He labeled His creation “very good” (Genesis 1:28, 31, NASB).
God’s design for sexual intimacy in marriage was good from the beginning.
There’s a whole book in the Bible about sex.
God ensured an entire book celebrating marital intimacy—the Song of Songs—was included in His Word. This book is instructive to couples on what thriving intimacy looks like in marriage. It includes affection, affirmation, connection, and yes, sex.
Song of Songs even includes a passage in which the married couple engages in sexual intimacy, followed by the encouragement to “be intoxicated with love!” (5:1, HCSB). In other words, get the full amount of pleasure and excitement from this experience that a husband and wife can.
God is in favor of physically expressing love in marriage, and expressing it fully.
Sexual intimacy between a husband and wife is a metaphor for our relationship with God.
How can a physical experience between husband and wife relate to anything in the spiritual realm between God and His people?
Yet, that’s what God says. In the Book of Hosea, God promises to take His people as his wife, in that intimate relationship of marriage (see Hosea 2). And in Ephesians 5:31-32, the Apostle Paul expresses it in this way: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This mystery is profound, but I am talking about Christ and the church.”
God likens the one-flesh experience of husband and wife, that deep intimacy, to the relationship our Lord wants to have with His church. When fully making love with your spouse, you can’t get any closer physically. And this intimacy is a metaphor for how close God desires us to be with Him.
Sex is most intimate when we bring God’s commands and biblical principles into the marriage bed.
Sex by itself is a purely physical act, but we know that in relationship—in marriage specifically—it means far more. Sex becomes an expression of emotional closeness, of trusting another with your most private self, of covenant love.
As said before, it should be physically pleasurable. God created it to feel good. But if you want the very best in your marriage bed, you’ll approach it with God’s commands and biblical principles in mind. That is, with love, kindness, patience, honesty, goodness, and joy.
No, we’re not constantly picturing God while making love with our spouse. (That could be awkward.) But we shouldn’t leave behind the person God wants us to be when we enter the marital bedroom. Rather, we should honor Him there too, while having a fabulous time with your beloved.
God created our soul, and He created our body.
We can use both in tandem to follow His design. Indeed, as we learn how to approach our marriage bed with a more spiritual focus, sex can become even more physically exciting.
So yes, sex is physical. But God created it to go beyond the physical in your marriage. Even to embracing the spiritual in your life.
You likely won’t feel that sense of the spiritual every time, but it’s there—for all the reasons above and maybe a few more.
6 thoughts on “Is Sex a Spiritual Experience in Your Marriage?”
Thank you, Scott! Means a lot coming from you.
Hi J, I’m pretty sure this might be my first time commenting on your blog. I should do that more often.
I do see sex as deeply spiritual and the intimacy that is required for sex to be mutually enjoyable is very telling as to what God really intends for our marital relationships as well as our relationship with Him.
I have a question for you that is a run-off from your first point. I have often wondered about the animal kingdom’s sexual practices (if you will). Since God created animals and He designed sex for us to be mutually enjoyable why do you think He designed sex to be so reproductive only for animals? In particular I really get upset sometimes when I think of how certain male animals can force themselves on females. Why do you think this is? He easily could have done things differently. If this isn’t something you wish to explore, I understand. It’s just a question I’ve had a few times and decided to throw it out there.
I also think that the point that our sexual experience isn’t made to mirror animals is really important. I honestly think a lot of people see them as synonymous. We are humans. We are different. On purpose.
This is an excellent question. Sadly, I don’t know the answer.
That is, I have the same questions you do about certain members of the animal kingdom and their rough reproductive activities. My sister-in-law even explained to me how her rooster copulated with the hens, and his aggressiveness showed in bald areas on his favorite chickens where he’d clawed out their feathers. Female dragonflies have been known to fake death (crash-dropping to the ground) to avoid male suitors, because of their sexual aggression. Then there are female bugs who eat or sting their partners. And so on. My theory is this is a broken world. It doesn’t appear that animals ate one another at the beginning, but they did after sin entered the world. Likewise, reproduction in the animal kingdom at times represents life after Eden, in which sin colors our existence. But again, I don’t know. I would like to ask God about all that someday (assuming I can form words beyond “holy, holy, holy,” of course).
That said, there is also tenderness in the animal world. We have all seen it among pets and in the wild, so God’s goodness is there as well. Glimpses of His glory come through in nature, even if it’s tainted as well. But when God restores His creation fully, perhaps then it really will be as Isaiah 11:6-10 says:
“The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them.
The cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
The infant will play near the cobra’s den,
and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.
“In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious.”
Ultimately, however, humans are the ones made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27).
(Total aside, bonobos are the only other species known to regularly have sex face-to-face. Interestingly, females are dominant among bonobos, so maybe it’s the gals saying, “Hey, look me in the eye, buddy!” ~wink~)
S’s comments are really interesting. We have had a band of stray cats that live in our neighborhood. Let me tell you I became acquainted with their mating behaviors—whether I wanted to or not. The sounds of the a cat in heat at 3 in the morning are something else.
What strikes me though is that the cats, and I am presuming other mammals, have a period of “rest” during their reproductive cycles in a way that human women are not allowed to have—or at least not in our current culture. Some women may really need during their menstrual cycle, this given the amount of pain or bleeding they experience. It is sad that there is not more understanding about this, imo. I have had periods that I barely noticed at all–have also had periods with cramping at the pain level of labor.
Good point. And actually, the Israelites in the OT had a built-in rest for wives around that time. Chris Taylor and I recently discussed the need for more understanding on our podcast for husbands: Episode 25: What About Sex During Her Period? – Knowing Her Sexually (khsministry.com)