’ve often heard husbands using bible verses to guilt their wives into sex, saying that their wife isn’t following what the bible says if they don’t submit to them sexually. I’ve also heard of wives using sex (or the lack of) to punish or reward their husbands for being their definition of a good husband. When sex becomes selfish or manipulative, the results are disastrous, turning sex into something trivial and meaningless. But this isn’t God’s design. Sex is incredibly intimate and beautifully designed by God to connect spouses at the most intimate level.
But how do we keep sex sacred and handle it with the care and intentionality that God intended?
- Anything in the bedroom needs to be between ONLY a husband and wife
- Pornography is never okay
- Safety is key
- Emotional connection matters
- We’re called to fulfill our spouses sexually
- If sex is difficult…
- Sex should never be a punishment or a reward
“Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well. Should your springs overflow in the streets, your streams of water in the public squares? Let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers. May your fountain be blessed, and 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.” – Proverbs 5:15-19
This means that it’s just a husband and his wife. No other people. No matter what. No exceptions. This isn’t meant to hinder you or stop you from having fun in the bedroom. If anything, it’s quite the opposite. God wants to protect the emotional health of your marriage and the covenant promise. He cares about us so much that He sets boundaries to protect the oneness of our marriages. With these boundaries in place, there is freedom to explore, have fun, and grow in intimacy with your spouse, with emotional and physical safety.
“But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” – Matthew 5:28
Using pornography is looking lustfully at someone other than your wife. It’s adultery. Jesus makes this clear. It’s irrelevant whether or not one or both spouses are okay with it. The Bible is not okay with it, and that’s all that matters. This is another boundary that God puts on sex because He wants us to fully enjoy it with oneness, not be held back or hindered by the wreckage that can come from pornography.
Both spouses should feel completely safe in the bedroom. They shouldn’t ever feel pressured for sex or pressured to do anything they’re not comfortable with. Keep an open line of communication about your likes, your dislikes, things you’d like to try, and things you’re not okay with. Respect each other’s preferences no matter what. If one of you wants to try something new, ask. But if your spouse isn’t comfortable with it, that needs to be okay. Spouses, don’t be afraid to push yourselves a bit, but recognize your limits and never give up your voice or push yourself further than you’re comfortable going.
Great sex comes from a husband and wife who are completely and beautifully intertwined on an emotional level. It’s only when a wife feels a secure emotional connection with her husband that she can fully give herself to him sexually. If sex is difficult (for reasons other than medical issues), this may be a sign of lacking emotional connection.
“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
We have a duty to fulfill each other sexually and we are to please one another selflessly.
While sex is not what makes a marriage great, it does act as an indicator of the health of a marriage (barring sexual difficulties due to medical issues). If emotional safety is lacking in your marriage, your sex life will indicate that. There may be reasons for trouble in this area and it may stem from childhood trauma, past wounds, or tension between a husband and wife. If you find yourself in this spot, we highly encourage you to see a biblically-based Christian counselor. Again, sex doesn’t make a marriage great, but if issues around sex aren’t given attention, then wedges will seep into other areas of your marriage, resulting in bitterness and division.
*An important note: Depending on your situation, there may be a time where abstinence is necessary for healing. That’s completely okay. We would suggest though that you walk through that path with a biblically-based counselor to ensure healing rather than resentment.
Sex is a gift from God to solidify the union of your marriage and bring joy and pleasure. It should never be used as a bribe, and the lack of it should never be used as a threat. Using sex as either can severely compromise the sexual and emotional intimacy in your marriage. If there are strings attached to sex, your hearts are not in the right place. Using sex as a bribe cheapens intimacy, making it a form of payment instead of a beautiful way of connecting.
What it all comes down to is a heart issue. Our hearts need to be selfless, truly seeking to care for our spouse, to please them, and to love them above ourselves. As a couple, we need to keep sex sacred and honor one another with our sexual intimacy (see Proverbs 5:15-19). It’s a gift and a great freedom that comes with great responsibility. Selfless lovers bring security and trust into a relationship.
For more bible verses on sex, intimacy, and the beauty of it all, read Song of Solomon.
If something in this article stirred you to want more information on improving your marriage’s emotional connection, communication, or time in the bedroom, check out our 12-month course, (coming soon!) for ways to get started.
Did any areas stand out to you? Was anything surprising or new? Share with us in the comments below–we’d love to hear from you!