Category Archives: The Bible and Sex

How Sex Can Help Us Cope

My background is only relevant inasmuch as it has a bearing on my mission and ability to fulfill it. Which is why I’m totally transparent about my past sexual baggage and how God redeemed my marriage.

I’m also authentic about struggles I’ve had and the minor frustrations of life. Because I want people to recognize that a happy marriage doesn’t mean a perfect marriage. After all, we’re all sinners (Romans 3:23, 1 John 1:8), and that includes both husband and wife. We will let each other down, but we can continue to strive for the best and show agape love that covers over our sins when we fail (1 Peter 4:8).

But I’ve wrangled with whether to say anything about what I’ve been going through lately, because it doesn’t directly impact this ministry. Except I concluded there’s something worth learning from it.

A Foundation Shaken

Long story short: I recently learned that my mother perpetuated a 16-year deception on an issue of significance. Whatever trust we’d built before shattered, and the fallout has been difficult for my family of origin.

As a consequence, I’ve been distracted and distraught. Like someone grieving, I have good days and bad days. On good days, I cross off the to-dos on my list and interact with others with a genuine smile. On bad days, I end up on an hour-long phone call with a sibling, escape into writing fiction where the real world doesn’t exist, or simply cry a lot.

A Strange Way to Cope

Oddly enough, I’ve been having more sex in my marriage. Or perhaps it’s not odd at all, because that is also a way of providing balm to a weary soul. Those moments of connection with my husband and intense pleasure for myself have taken me away from the heaviness of my heart and allowed me to reset my mind and heart, even if for a short while.

There is a beautiful verse in the last chapter of Song of Songs, almost a summary of the marital love portrayed in the book: “Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away.”

When other parts of our life seem to have been swept away by a raging river, the covenant love between husband and wife—expressed in the sanctity of the marriage bed—can make us feel grounded, safe, solid.

When other parts of our life seem to have been swept away by a raging river, the covenant love between husband and wife—expressed in the sanctity of the #marriage bed—can make us feel grounded, safe, solid. @hotholyhumorous Click To Tweet

Sex That Soothes

Not all sexual encounters necessarily have this effect. Rather, you may need to cultivate the atmosphere or specifics that result in sex that soothes. And your emotional needs are specific to you.

Let’s look at what I mean with some examples:

  • Spouse A may desire slow, deliberate caresses that calm their nerves and comfort their soul.
  • Spouse B may want sex that’s hot, heavy, and even fast, thus taking their mind from what’s happening and engaging it in solely in passion.
  • Spouse C may want to focus on giving their mate sexual pleasure, as that provides them some sense of control when the rest of life feels out of control.
  • Spouse D may want to try something new, giving them the reminder that they can choose a new direction and find positivity from it.

Sex is not just sex, but often reflects where we are in life and/or reminds us what we can do and be in life. Many spouses, especially husbands, say that a satisfying sex life makes them feel like they can take on the world. When that world has been particularly shaken, sexual intimacy with your beloved can soothe your tender places and infuse you with courage to take on the struggles you’re facing.

When your world has been shaken, sexual intimacy with your beloved can soothe your tender places and infuse you with courage to take on the struggles you're facing. #marriage @hotholyhumorous Click To Tweet

Getting What You Need

I do not have the magic formula to get you the sex you need/want for your whole life or marriage. That’s a process which my ministry certainly helps with, but it isn’t a quick fix. Moreover, this section presumes two good-willed spouses—imperfect, sure, but good-willed.

But let’s say you’re in the midst of a foundation-shaking life event, and you desire sex that could soothe your soul, how do you go about getting the specific kind of sex that would accomplish that goal? How can you communicate to your spouse what you desire in a way most likely to result in you getting just that?

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Well, you have a few choices, and you can pick which one you think will work.

  • Talk about it outside the bedroom. Tell him/her how you’re feeling, what sexual experience you believe would help, and then invite them to have that kind of intimacy with you.
  • As you’re starting a lovemaking session, be specific about your desires. Explain that you’d like to try X, Y, or Z because you long for the comfort that provides you in the midst of your current challenge.
  • Give ongoing feedback to guide your spouse. Using verbal encouragement or moving either your or their hands, mouth, body, etc. to where/how you want it, and then give positive reinforcement when it’s going the way you need/want.
  • Take charge and make it happen. Go directly for what you want, inviting him/her with your actions to go along with the lovemaking you desire.

If you’re both going through the same earth-shattering event, you may be on the same page with what you want, or you may need to take turns getting what you each need. Be willing to minister—yes, minister—to one another through sexual intimacy.

You’re Not Alone

One of the most beautiful aspects of sex in the midst of emotional pain is the sense that you are not alone. God created human sex such that it involves the penetration of one’s body part into the other’s body part—a physical connection that meets the “one flesh” description in the Bible. In that moment of intercourse, husband and wife are not separate, but joined…literally and relationally.

When life is not just giving you lemons but lobbing them at you like a game of fruit dodgeball, you can feel very alone. Sexual intimacy can remind us that we’re not alone. Not only is God in our corner, always beside us, but He has provided a partner in life who will be there too.

It’s true: sex can help you cope.

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When Doing the Right Thing Is Hard

I have about 20 draft posts right now, some with a bunch of words, some only a few, but none ready to publish. You might think I should go work on one of those and post about that. But something else has been weighing heavily on me this week. Integrity.

When I looked up the meaning of integrity, I most liked what Etymology Online says about the word’s origin:

“innocence, blamelessness; chastity, purity,” from Old French integrité or directly from Latin integritatem (nominative integritas) “soundness, wholeness, completeness,” figuratively “purity, correctness, blamelessness,” from integer “whole.”

https://www.etymonline.com/word/integrity

Integrity is about consistency and completeness of character. It’s a core principle I tried to teach my sons, explaining it to them as “doing the right thing even when no one is watching.”

Integrity Takes a Hit

The first half of 2019 was quite lovely and culminated with the marriage of my impressive son to a beautiful daughter-in-law, an event that was nearly perfect in every way. But then, as life does, there were quite a few disappointments in the second half of 2019 — instances in which people acted in ways that I didn’t expect.

From public politics to personal connections, I’ve witnessed rifts that make my chest ache. The details don’t matter, but suffice it to say that I could list a number of times when I’ve wondered about people’s integrity.

Why were people turning their back on principles they’d previously espoused as important? Did they ever believe what they’d proclaimed? Had they changed their minds? Lost their way?

Had I failed too? Did I need to guard better against losing my integrity?

Integrity in Marriage

How are we doing with integrity in our marriage? Are we consistent in doing what is right? What is loving? What we say we believe is important?

When no one is looking — or when at least your spouse isn’t looking — how do you treat your marriage and your sexuality?

Consider whether you could say any of the following:

  • “I know porn is wrong, but I still watch it in secret.”
  • “My spouse doesn’t know how much I masturbate on my own.”
  • “I believe that sex is important, but I haven’t made time for it.”
  • “I said I would initiate sex more, but I haven’t.”
  • “Given how I treat him/her, my spouse might not even say I’m much of a Christian.”
  • “I complain and/or blame my spouse on blogs and social media, knowing s/he won’t see it.”
  • “I had an affair, and my spouse doesn’t know.”
  • “I believe I should meet my spouse’s emotional needs, but I haven’t tried much.”
  • “I’ve been faking my orgasm.”
  • “I’ve lied to my spouse about ____________.”
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A long time ago, Spock and I had a bad marriage. During that time, I believed myself to be a good person, committed to fixing my marriage. But the way I behaved around him and out in the world were two different things.

On one hand, I touted my Christian faithfulness while treating my husband quite poorly at times. On the other hand, I spoke ill of my husband to others while not sharing my own contributions to our problems.

Once I got real and decided to put into practice what I claimed to believe, that’s when my marriage began to improve.

Once I got real and decided to put into practice what I claimed to believe, that's when my #marriage began to improve. @hotholyhumorous Click To Tweet

Doing the Right Thing Is Hard

It wasn’t easy changing my habits. It’s still not easy when I decide to ditch a bad habit and pick up a new one. Like right at this moment, I’m hungry because I had a salad for lunch instead of my usual sandwich, chips, and salsa — though my last cholesterol test tells me a salad is the right thing to do.

But a touch of a hunger is nothing compared to other personal pain we could invite by following through with integrity. We might encounter:

  • Relational conflict
  • Guilt or shame
  • Loss of respect from someone we care about
  • Criticism
  • Financial expense
  • Emotional discomfort
  • Reduced sexual intimacy

Some of those sacrifices may be temporary, and some may be long-term. We cannot always anticipate how our changes will impact others’ choices. And others have their own choices to make about integrity.

But we can control our own pursuit of integrity. Is it worth it?

God Calls Us to Integrity

  • “The Lord judges the peoples; judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness and according to the integrity that is in me” (Psalm 7:8).
  • “But you have upheld me because of my integrity, and set me in your presence forever” (Psalm 41:12).
  • “Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out” (Proverbs 10:9).
  • “The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity” (Proverbs 11:3).
  • “Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us” (Titus 2:7-8).

Those are just a few of the verses that have the word integrity in them. There are more, and other scriptures highlight the principle of walking in integrity.

What does that look like? Well, what do you say you believe about marriage? About how one should treat others? Are you living up to that?

None of us will get this perfect. If we could, we wouldn’t need a savior! But we do need a savior, and we have one in Jesus Christ. What God calls us to is the ongoing pursuit of integrity — the commitment to do the right thing, even when no one’s looking, or when everyone’s looking and wanting something different, and when it’s just plain hard.

Where do you need to have greater integrity for your life, your marriage, and your sexual intimacy? Pursue that.

Resolution Week: Would Your Spouse Say You're a Christian?

While my marriage was struggling—okay, okay, when it was bad—I was really religious. I studied my Bible, listened to Christian music, visited Lifeway stores and picked up bestsellers, prayed often, and talked about how much God meant to me.

Anyone looking in from the outside would say I was a devoted Christian wife in every way.

My husband probably wouldn’t have agreed. Even if/when I was correct in sharing my feelings, diagnosing problems, and suggesting solutions, I messed up royally in how I treated him. I’d grown frustrated, resentful, even angry, and it showed. In my efforts to meet my calling as a wife, I failed to meet my calling in Christ.

I might have been right, but I wasn’t righteous.

Finding Our Way Back

When asked what made the difference between then and now, my short answer is God. He took our mess, cleaned it and us up, and replaced our contentiousness with ever-increasing intimacy. Of course, that didn’t happen overnight, but without Him on our journey, we wouldn’t have reached the place where we are.

The longer answer is that I finally realized how I was sabotaging my own goals for my marriage through un-Christlike behavior and needed to actually live out what I said I believed. It wasn’t enough to talk about love or read about love or even pray for more love; I had to actually love. In practice. Day in and day out.

I finally read 1 Corinthians 13 and realized that, no matter what issues my husband needed to address, I had a long way to go to become a truly loving wife.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

So Right, Yet So Wrong

In 1 Corinthians 13, the Apostle Paul points out that it doesn’t matter how right you are if you’re rude about it.

Let’s take this epiphany into the bedroom with a few examples. Because frankly, some of y’all are doing what I did and sadly sabotaging the very intimacy you long to have; I’m begging you to start the New Year resolved to something different and better.

“You owe me sex.”

Yep, you’re right. When we get married, we assume an obligation, duty, debt—call it what you will—to have sex with our spouse. That principle’s all over the Bible, not just in 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 (a passage many sexually frustrated spouses like to quote).

But as I recently pointed out in a post on our newly launched KHS Ministry site for husbands, you don’t get to use the Bible as a cudgel to pressure or demand anything, including sex, from your spouse. Jesus didn’t come so you could get your own way.

Jesus didn't come so you could get your own way. @hotholyhumorous #Christiansex #marriage Click To Tweet

“I need sex.”

Again, might be true. Sex can be labeled an emotional or relational need in marriage. Yet, talking up a storm about your needs, while ignoring your spouse’s reasons for not cooperating, can become a pursuit of your own selfish ends.

In the name of something good, you end up treating your spouse like your own sexual drive-thru: Take my order, fulfill my need, and leave me satisfied. I don’t see that approach in 1 Corinthians 13 love either—do you?

“You don’t expect me to do it when I’m not in the mood, do you?”

Well, of course you shouldn’t be forced into your own marriage bed against your will. Nor should you be expected to offer up your body any time your spouse feels a quiver in their nether regions!

But as right as that is, too many spouses end up blocking reasonable attempts to address sexual problems or prioritize intimacy with the effectiveness of an NFL tackle. They cite their low libido as their right to not even try.

Me pointing out this problem doesn’t resolve barriers—I have a whole blog and several books that address them—but I’m only trying to show that you can have a great point, be right about something, and yet act in a way that doesn’t comport with “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking.”

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Practice Makes Permanent

Although we often hear “practice makes perfect,” the truth is that practicing something doesn’t make your action perfect—it just forms a habit. What you practice becomes permanent. (Kudos to my former pastor, Danny Mercer, for teaching me this one.)

Too often, we’ve built up a practice of treating our spouse in a way inconsistent with how husbands and wives are commanded to treat one another. Until we not only pray for something new but pursue it diligently with a new practice, we’ll hang on to methods that don’t work and make our spouse feel unloved.

That’s where some of your marriages are right now, today. You’re in what seems like a permanent rut, having adopted practices that undermine love and intimacy in your marriage.

But what now? What do you need to resolve to practice instead?

Jesus replied, “But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice.”

Luke 11:28

Resolve to Be More Like Christ

Christian simply means follower of Christ. If you follow someone, they take the lead and you go where they go.

Even now, I want to shake my head at that wife I was who thought she could cite Christian principles when it suited her desires for marriage but ignore all the rest. As if I could follow behind Christ for a while, leave the path when I saw a better way to go, and catch up to Him later. Jesus was probably shaking his head back then too and even mumbling, “Oh my daughter, follow me the whole way.”

Of course not all sex issues in your marriage can be resolved by saying, “Take two More-Like-Christ pills in the morning, and call me in the morning to say how great it was!” There are legitimate challenges that require more understanding and effort.

But many of us could vastly improve our marriage and sexual intimacy if we treated our beloved with genuine, Christlike love. If we at least began to practice His commands, embrace His prescription for love, and leave space for Him to fulfill His promises. If our spouse really knew, with no wavering whatsoever, that we’re a Christian. Not just to the world out there, but especially to the one we vowed to love.

For me, the practice I adopted was referring back to 1 Corinthians 13 love in my head, often. I’d feel tempted to complain to my husband about our relationships, bite my tongue, and recite, “Love is patient, love is kind…” etc. To be honest, at first it was spoken through clenched teeth, with an unspoken dang it at the beginning of the recitation.

But after a while, practice was becoming permanent. Christlike love was easier. Not perfect, but easier. And that, my dear friends, is how my marriage began to make its way back.

Have you struggled with displaying Christlike love to your spouse? What scripture(s) could you recite to focus on becoming more like Christ?

3 More Principles Christian Bloggers Should Affirm About Sex

Last week, I began covering misconceptions and false teaching about sex that still show up periodically on Christian blogs and in other resources. While we can have honest and reasonable disagreements about particulars, some principles should be affirmed by all Christian bloggers.

The first four principles from last week’s post are:

  1. Sex is for both of you.
  2. God created sex for more than reproduction.
  3. Sex is not just a transaction.
  4. Force and pressure have no place in the marriage bed.

Let’s address the remaining three.

5. Even within marriage, there are some limits.

“Anything Goes” is a song written by Cole Porter, not a verse written by the Holy Spirit. And yet, that is the attitude of a few Christian bloggers—that once married, you can do anything and everything. As if the words “I do” mean “I do any kinky, crazy thing I want.”

One specific blogger used Hebrews 13:4 as his proof text that all activities were equally fine once married. In the New King James Version, it reads, “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” Thus, the blogger interpreted that the marriage bed is undefiled no matter what happens.

But that’s not what the verse is saying! A better translation would be any of the following:

  • Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. (NIV)
  • Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. (ESV)
  • Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery. (NLT)
  • Let marriage be honorable in all, and the marriage bed undefiled; for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterers. (BLB)

Hebrews 13:4 isn’t about green-lighting every kinky idea you’ve ever had, but rather keeping the marriage bed pure by avoiding adultery and sexual immorality. Plus, we have to consider how the rest of the Bible commands us to treat one another in marriage—and that doesn’t involve using our spouse as our personal sex toy.

Which brings me to another fallacy: that if God didn’t specifically ban an act, it’s automatically honky-dory.

Certainly the Church has at times banned or belittled a sexual practice that is perfectly fine. And we should not place undue burdens on believers, as the Pharisees did. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).

But later in that chapter, Paul also points out: “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love” (5:13). We should follow God’s direct commands but also apply godly principles to determine what can be on our bedroom menu and what should be left off.

We should follow God's direct commands but also apply godly principles to determine what can be on our bedroom menu and what should be left off. @hotholyhumorous Click To Tweet

1 Corinthians 10:23-24 puts it this way: “‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say—but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.”

Faithful Christians can argue about where the boundaries are, but the idea that there are boundaries should be no-brainer.

6. Porn and erotica are bad.

Here’s another should-be-obvious point, but it’s apparently not. Because I’ve read plenty of excuses for engaging with porn or erotica—everything from “it doesn’t hurt anyone” to “we learn from it” to “it helps us get aroused for each other.” And then there’s the standby claims that porn is a reasonable substitute when a spouse won’t provide sex or that erotica is okay because no actual persons are involved.

If you want to know what I think about porn and erotica, you can head to any of these:

But the summary is that they’re bad for your soul and your marriage. They move focus away from your spouse and onto others; they prioritize the physicality of sex above any other aspect; and they normalize fringe activities and searching for that next high.

There’s the storytelling subgenre oddly titled “Christian erotica.” All that means is that it has the same purpose and effect as other erotica, but the characters are married. C’mon! Are we really that gullible? Is it somehow okay to involve others in your exclusive, one-flesh bedroom if they’re married too? Think through that logic, and you’ll find it’s not logical at all.

In addition, porn involves real people who get hurt. Do not cite their willingness, the pay they receive, or “amateur porn” unless and until you have fully researched porn’s high prevalence of abuse, sexually transmitted infections, and sex trafficking. And just because that girl looks twenty-one doesn’t mean she is.

Whether you want to call porn and erotica sin or not—and I believe it is—it’s definitely unwise. Just ask all the couples who had their marriages wrecked by it. Ask couples who had to walk the journey of rebuilding their intimacy. Even ask non-Christian experts who researched the subject thoroughly (An Open Letter on Porn, The Gottman Institute). And if you’re in a sexless marriage, engaging in porn or erotica will worsen an already difficult situation.

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7. The Bible is not your bludgeon.

Last, but not least, could we please stay away from sites that recommend using a Bible passage as your personal bludgeon against your spouse?

The Word of God definitely has something to say about what sex should look like, as well as what we owe each other within marriage. But the Bible is God’s love letter to you—not His edict against your spouse. The primary goal of reading Bible passages should be applying them to our own sin-filled lives.

What then does one hope to gain by pulling out scriptures and hurling them at our spouse? Is it our defense mechanism? Are we lashing out to make our spouse feel pain like we’ve felt? Or do we simply expect our spouse to hurt so much they’ll change to avoid more of it? Even if that were to happen, how would that improve your overall intimacy?

Let’s take the most common infraction in the area of sex: using 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 to demand your spouse give you sex. Wanna see how that makes this blogger feel?

I actually like that passage because it’s NOT about obligation but the priority and mutuality of sexual intimacy. But you have to understand its context.

At that time, some Christians in Corinth had proclaimed celibacy a holier state so spouses were trying to avoid sex to be more spiritual. Rather than agreeing, the apostle Paul reasserts that God wants married couples to make love regularly, that sex is a crucial part of marriage, that we should not deprive one another as if that is a higher form of obedience when God Himself created sex for marriage! Paul’s not offering spouses a bludgeon, but rather affirming God’s invitation for couples to enjoy sexual intimacy with gratitude not guilt.

In 1 Corinthians 7:3-5, Paul's not offering spouses a bludgeon, but rather affirming God's invitation for married couples to enjoy sexual intimacy with gratitude not guilt. @hotholyhumorous Click To Tweet

But let’s presume your spouse is completely wrong—on this or something else—and needs conviction by the Holy Spirit. You still don’t get to be the one to hammer down judgment. As Christ said, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7, ESV).

What you can do instead includes:

But please don’t use God’s words like Thor’s hammer on your spouse. No matter how right you may be in what is said, how you say it matters quite a lot to our Heavenly Father.

Have you seen problematic teaching on these points? What other principles are important for Christians to affirm?

4 Principles Christian Bloggers Should Affirm About Sex

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:

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.