let the marriage bed be undefiled. heb. 13:4
(This is a post for grown folks.)
One of the things that my husband and I get asked pretty regularly in some form, “What can married people do… like in bed?” Can married people:
- Watch pornography together
- Read erotica
- Role play
- Talk dirty
- Use sex toys
- Have sex in public
- Participate in bondage
- Have oral sex
- Have anal sex
First off, I think it’s pretty important to establish the ground rules for sex. To do that we have to go back to the author of sex and figure out what he intended for human sexuality. Then we have to see if we are living up to the Creator’s expectation.
Naked was supposed to be good.
Adam was lost and lonely. God answered the need of his heart with a woman, a beautiful, crown of creation, naked woman. They basked in their nakedness in complete fellowship with God. Eden was perfect. Marriage was perfect. Sex was perfect.
Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame. Gen. 2:25
Sin perverted nakedness.
The pure nakedness and sexuality that God created was immediately warped by sin. We still live under the curse of perverted sexuality. We have to realize that we are up against centuries of consequences that resulted from that sin and curse. If we want to get back to the Creator’s design, we have to peel away a lot of perversion.
At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves. Gen. 3:7
Why did God make sex?
Obviously to populate the planet right? Why did he make marriage? To make dirty sex OK.
I don’t think so.
The purpose of sex is bigger than reproduction. It is bigger than a get-of-jail free card for doing naughty stuff.
In the original creation, God made male and female to be together. Because of this, a man leaves father and mother, and in marriage he becomes one flesh with a woman—no longer two individuals, but forming a new unity. Because God created this organic union of the two sexes, no one should desecrate his art by cutting them apart. (from Mark 10 MSG)
Sexual intimacy is the physical representation of two lives interlocking. It symbolizes our one flesh. It is God’s masterpiece.
Sin still perverts sex.
Paul dealt with sexual issues in his letter to the church in Corinth. No doubt these new Christians had seen and done a lot of perverted, warped sex.
Surely you know that people who do wrong will not get to enjoy God’s kingdom. Don’t be fooled. These are the people who will not get to enjoy his kingdom: those who sin sexually, those who worship idols, those who commit adultery, men who let other men use them for sex or who have sex with other men… In the past some of you were like that. But you were washed clean, you were made holy, and you were made right with God in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (from 1 Cor 6 ERV)
No matter how much perversion has happened, God can still clean up the mess. He can still make the dirtiest mess clean and holy. But even then, there are still problems that erode God-centered sex in marriage. The Corinthians were experiencing some of these problems. So Paul helped them navigate those issues.
Now, getting down to the questions you asked in your letter to me. First, Is it a good thing to have sexual relations?
Certainly—but only within a certain context. It’s good for a man to have a wife, and for a woman to have a husband. Sexual drives are strong, but marriage is strong enough to contain them and provide for a balanced and fulfilling sexual life in a world of sexual disorder. The marriage bed must be a place of mutuality—the husband seeking to satisfy his wife, the wife seeking to satisfy her husband. Marriage is not a place to “stand up for your rights.” Marriage is a decision to serve the other, whether in bed or out. Abstaining from sex is permissible for a period of time if you both agree to it, and if it’s for the purposes of prayer and fasting—but only for such times. Then come back together again. Satan has an ingenious way of tempting us when we least expect it. I’m not, understand, commanding these periods of abstinence—only providing my best counsel if you should choose them. (1 Cor 7 MSG)
Sexuality is about mutuality.
The marriage bed must be a place of mutuality—the husband seeking to satisfy his wife, the wife seeking to satisfy her husband. Marriage is not a place to “stand up for your rights.” Marriage is a decision to serve the other, whether in bed or out.
If we look at sex as a self-serving, self-pleasuring act we have missed the point. It is about serving and pleasing your husband or wife.
Give all you’ve got.
Every part of you is for your covenant lover.
My darling, you are beautiful all over. Every part of you is perfect. (Song of Sol. 4:7)
I am my lover’s.
I’m all he wants. I’m all the world to him!
Come, dear lover—
let’s tramp through the countryside.
Let’s sleep at some wayside inn,
then rise early and listen to bird-song…
And there I’ll give myself to you, my love to your love!
Love-apples drench us with fragrance, fertility surrounds, suffuses us,
Fruits fresh and preserved that I’ve kept and saved just for you, my love. (Song of Sol. 7 MSG)
Anything that weakens the one-flesh union is poison.
You know the next commandment pretty well, too: “Don’t go to bed with another’s spouse.” But don’t think you’ve preserved your virtue simply by staying out of bed. Your heart can be corrupted by lust even quicker than your body. Those leering looks you think nobody notices—they also corrupt. (Mt. 5 MSG)
There is a persuasive, wicked lie out there that has Christians believing that stuff outside your marriage can spark up your sex life. Whether that is on paper, a movie or on your computer, inviting another person in flesh or virtually is corruption. Jesus says so.
Now, take those questions up there or any other question you have about your sexuality and answer them through a true, biblical, Christ-focused lens, understanding that everything that we do in the marriage bed is to glorify God, honor marriage and serve your spouse. And remember…
May you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer. May her breasts satisfy you always. May you ever be intoxicated with her love. Prov. 5:18-19
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Col. 3:17