Sex is a topic that causes anxiety in most congregations. While sexuality is a natural part of being human, the simple truth is it’s an uncomfortable subject to discuss. While this may be true, we still need to address the subject because we see physical attraction and sexuality mentioned in the Bible.
Song of Solomon 7:1-9 says, “How beautiful your sandaled feet,
O prince’s daughter!
Your graceful legs are like jewels,
the work of a craftsman’s hands.
2 Your navel is a rounded goblet
that never lacks blended wine.
Your waist is a mound of wheat
encircled by lilies.
3 Your breasts are like two fawns,
twins of a gazelle.
4 Your neck is like an ivory tower.
Your eyes are the pools of Heshbon
by the gate of Bath Rabbim.
Your nose is like the tower of Lebanon
looking toward Damascus.
5 Your head crowns you like Mount Carmel.
Your hair is like royal tapestry;
the king is held captive by its tresses.
6 How beautiful you are and how pleasing,
O love, with your delights!
7 Your stature is like that of the palm,
and your breasts like clusters of fruit.
8 I said, “I will climb the palm tree;
I will take hold of its fruit.”
May your breasts be like the clusters of the vine,
the fragrance of your breath like apples,
9 and your mouth like the best wine.”
How many of you ladies reading this would find it romantic if your husband wrote you a poem like this? While imagery like this doesn’t mean much to us today, we need to realize it was written at a much different time in history. During the era it was written, the imagery used was very meaningful.
Today we look at the Song of Solomon as being an erotic love story. The Christian church has only held this view for a little over 200 years. Prior to this, the church viewed Song of Solomon as an allegory between God and his love for the church. It isn’t wrong to interpret the book this way as a way to teach about how much God loves us. However, a careful reading seems to indicate it really deals with the attraction between a man and a woman and contains a sexual element.
Let’s look and see what else the Bible says about sex. Genesis 1 tells us that God created sex (Gen. 1:27) and said it is “very good” (Gen. 1:31). In the first verses of Genesis 1, we read that created the earth and filled it with plants and animals. Verse 27 tells us about God’s greatest creation. It says, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
Both men and women are created in his image. This includes our sex organs and our sexual desires. God gave them to us. We can tell from the way God made us that men and women complete each other. Just look how our sexual organs go together. Nonetheless we are more than just physical vessels that need a physical release every once in a while. God created us to be much more.
We read in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 – “23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” In addition to physical bodies, God also gave us a spirit and a soul. When we marry, the husband and wife are to become one flesh (Gen. 2:24) not only in the physical sense but also in spirit and soul. Problems can arise with this because men typically concentrate too much on the body. They say things like, “We don’t need to talk, let’s just have sex.” Women, on the other hand, tend to concentrate too much on the spiritual aspects of relationships. They respond by saying, “We don’t need to have sex, we need to talk, pray and communicate with each other.” These differences can lead to problems in marriages if they aren’t handled properly. However, when the body, spirit and soul of the husband is in unity with the body, spirit and soul of his wife, marriage is more fulfilling.
This unity needs to happen on a deep level if we want to have a great sex life. According to Sex in America: A Definitive Survey, the most sexually satisfied couples are married and Christian. It isn’t those who are single and sleeping with multiple partners, swingers or even people living together. Rather it is those who are developing their spirit and soul with God and each other. Working on these other areas enhances their physical relationship.
While men are generally more interested in sex than women are, it isn’t something the wife has to “just lay there and take to fulfill her duty.” God intends for it to be pleasurable for women also. Husbands are as responsible to fulfill their wives needs as wives are to fulfill their husband’s needs. Research shows that in about 1/3 of marriages, the wife is actually more sexual than the husband.
Even though God intended husbands and wives to complement each other, we need to recognize the differences. When it comes to sex – Men are like microwaves – Women are like crock pots. This is why after an argument, a husband can look at his wife and say, “You wanna?” and she replies, “Are you kidding me?”
Because of this, there is something wives do that drives husbands crazy. There are times wives treat husbands like puppies they’re trying to housebreak. When you’re happy with your husband, your attitude is like, “Good boy. Yes, you are. You’re a good boy. Come here and get your treat.” But if you’re not happy with your husband, it’s “Bad boy. You’ve been a bad boy. No treat for you until you learn to do what you’re supposed to do.” Wives who do this really need to stop. There are times when your husband’s had a rough day and he just needs some affection from you. Wives remember this when it comes to sex – You don’t always have to desire it to do it. Sometimes it’s appropriate to just be there for your husband sexually even if you’re not in the mood.
This type of sacrificial love isn’t only for women. Husbands also have a responsibility to meet their wives needs. A major need of women is affirmation. They need to know they’re being appreciated for all they do for their husbands and family outside of the bedroom. They also need to be told they’re beautiful inside of the bedroom. Husbands if you want a crockpot to have your treat ready for you, do you wait and turn it on when you get home? NO. You start warming it up hours before you want your treat. Just remember you aren’t supposed to warm it up just for your selfish benefit; you do this because it meets your wife’s needs.
In order for both wives and husbands do a better job in this area, we need to understand that men and women view romance differently. Simply put, a man’s idea of romance is doing anything naked. This is because men desire sexual touch and are visually stimulated. Ladies, do you want your husband to help you do housework? The solution is simple. Tell him you’ll do it naked if he helps you. However, let me give you a simple warning. Don’t do this if you’re in a hurry because you will probably have some interruptions.
Women view romance differently. They view romance as talking, holding each other, relating to one another and feeling valuable. This is because women desire non-sexual touch and are emotionally stimulated. Men, do you want your wife to be more sexual? Tell her you love her every day, hug her often, tell her how valuable she is to you and make her feel appreciated. If you haven’t told her these things since 2005, don’t be surprised if you’re married to an icicle in the bedroom.
Another biblical concept we need to understand is God intends sex to happen only within a covenantal relationship of marriage. Hebrews 13:4 says, “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” We know adultery happens when a married person has sex with someone other than his wife or her husband. We can’t ignore the fact that sexual immorality also includes pre-marital sex.
Marriage is a sacrificial covenant relationship which is consummated with sex. The only unique feature of marriage is sex. Everything else we do with our spouse we can do with other people. Sex is the only unique thing we have with our spouse. Having sex with others outside of marriage lessens the covenant bond that God reserved for husbands and wives.
Pre-marital sex also creates huge issues for couples when they do get married. Sex isn’t just physical. It also involves a great deal of emotions. One mistake couples make is they get involved in sex way too soon. When they do, all of the emotions associated with sex, which God intended to become part of the relationship after the “I Do’s,” are brought into their relationship. These emotions then become part of the foundation for building their relationship into the future.
Couple then gets married thinking their relationship will always be like this. After a short time, their sex life changes because of children, careers and everyday life. Then, all of a sudden, they realize they really don’t know each other. This is because what they thought was love for each other was mainly the emotions that resulted from having sex together. Once their sex life changes, they realize they don’t know each other as well as they thought they did.
If you aren’t married but are having sex, ask yourself these two questions:
1) Is the physical pleasure I’m getting right now worth the emotional damage I’m doing to my future relationship with this other person?
2) Is the physical pleasure I’m getting right now worth the damage I’m doing to my spiritual relationship with God? After all, sexual immorality is sin and there’s no way around this fact.
One more topic about sex we need to address is: When it comes to sex, what is appropriate? Historically the church has tried to deal with this question by telling couples what they could and couldn’t do. The truth is the Bible doesn’t explicitly endorse or prohibit any specific sex acts for married couples. It does, however, give us some very important principles. Philippians 2:1-4 – “If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” This passage leads us to one simple question about sexual practices between a husband and a wife. If I’m trying to coerce my spouse into doing something he or she doesn’t want to do, am I really considering him or her better than myself and am I putting his or her interests above my own? If the answer is “No” then couples shouldn’t be doing them.
While God created sex and said it is good, there are a lot of things that can affect a couple’s sex life. They include poor health, bad hygiene with one or both spouses, past abuses and being taught improper views about sex in the past. Any of these physical, spiritual or emotional problems can have adverse effects on sexual relationships. So how do we deal with the physical, spiritual and emotional problems we encounter in our marriages? While the following list isn’t exhaustive, it does provide a place to begin.
1) Talk to each other about them. Don’t assume your spouse can read your mind. Tell her or him what you need to be more fulfilled. If you’ve talked before and nothing changed, keep talking. Don’t give up.
2) Fulfill your responsibility. Don’t say, “I’ll do this as soon as you….” Fulfill your marital duty even if your spouse is struggling to do his or her part. Remember that we’re responsible to God, not each other.
3) Pray about them. Jesus was human. He understands what it’s like to deal with human emotions and needs. Take your sexual needs and feelings to him.
4) Work on improving your marriage. Participate in some marriage enrichment classes or retreats. Read some books and articles on marriage and sex. Watch sessions about these subjects on RightNow Media. If necessary, see a doctor or a counselor. Nothing says “I love you” to your spouse like taking care of things that harm your sex life.
As your pastor, I hope you have a great sex life. I hope it’s so good that you write about it in your diary. If you don’t have a diary, I hope your sex life is so good that you go out and buy a diary just so you can write about it. More importantly, God wants you to have a good sex life.
Men, God wants you to climb your wife’s tree and grab her fruit.
Ladies, God wants you to enjoy having your fruit picked by your husband.
However it must happen according to God’s rules.