Married Sex: What Is Okay with God?
By Pam and Bill Farrel, Crosswalk.com
In this over-sexed and under-loved world, people are looking for the real deal, the secret to lasting love with a vibrant sex life. Because of this pursuit for a purer passion, the most asked question we get when it comes to Red Hot Monogamy is, “What is okay with God?”
First and foremost, sex is for marriage. Ephesians 5:31-32 (quoting Genesis) "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 reinforces this with the reminder, “It is God’s will that you keep away from sexual sin as a mark of your devotion to him” (1 Thessalonians 4:3, GW).
So the place to begin if you are single is to value your future sexual love by protecting your present integrity. Bill and I said “Yes!” to obeying God’s guidelines before marriage by wholesome dating with lots of safety, being together—in public: walks on the beach, picnics in a park, lunch at sidewalk café, candlelit dinner by the fire in a nice restaurant—public places before marriage will protect private moments after marriage.
For married couples, God gives only a few clear commands on what is and isn’t permissible with the gift of sex he created. Instead of a list of “no-no’s” let’s look at his guidelines in the affirmative:
What you can say "YES" to:
Yield to one another. Everything done is agreed upon. The goal in intimacy is unity. In Red Hot Monogamy, we look at the eight areas of intimacy and give tools to build intimacy in each area. Colossians 3:14 encourages: “And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” If you love, you will want to talk through and agree on expressions in sexuality.
Extend it in love. No one should ever feel forced or coerced in sex. The sex acts should reflect love, not demean or inflict pain. Sex is a relationship to be protected not a person to exploit. Hebrews 13:4 reminds: “Marriage must be respected by all, and the marriage bed kept undefiled.”
Secure it with privacy. Sex should only be you two alone. Your marriage bed is yours and yours alone (no other partners, no pornography, no mommy porn, no fake imitations of body parts). Why settle for anything fake when you can create the real thing live and in person?
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Shades of grey...
When it comes to grey areas, things not specifically forbidden, applying 1 Corinthians 6:12 is a smart choice:
“Everything is permissible (allowable and lawful) for me; but not all things are helpful (good for me to do, expedient and profitable when considered with other things). Everything is lawful for me, but I will not become the slave of anything or be brought under its power.”
When making decisions for the bedroom, God gives you elbow room to make choices based on personal preferences, but never risk your life, your health, or your reputation for a few moments of ecstasy.
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Myths about sex:
There is a lot of talk about sex, but some of the conjectures are just plain wrong. Here are a few lies that couples believe about sex. When you stop believing these lies, your sex life will become more mutually satisfying and sizzling.
1. Sex is a hot date activity.
Sex is more than erotic gymnastics. Sex is not some performance standard to live up to. Sex is a RELATIONSHIP! Sex is a GIFT! Sex is a HOLY COVENANT. In our book, Red Hot Monogamy, we take a look at 5 reasons why God gave sex:
“Be fruitful and increase in number.” (Genesis 1:22)
“And it came to pass, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out at a window, and saw, and, behold, Isaac was sporting with Rebekah his wife.” (Genesis 26:8 KJV)
“Do not deprive each other except 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 7:5)
“Strengthen me with raisins, refresh me with apples, for I am faint with love.” (Song of Solomon 2:5)
“He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church—for we are members of his body. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.” (Ephesians 5:28–32)
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2. Sex is not vital.
To dismiss having sex with excuses like, “we are too busy,” “we’re too tired,” or “we’re too wrapped up in the kids’ activities,” is a decision to rob strength from your marriage. In addition to the previous reasons, sex has two very vital bonuses:
Sex is like the superglue that can hold a couple together through very rocky times. When a couple has sex it releases oxytocin, a bonding chemical, so the more sex with your mate, the stronger the bond. Additionally, when you have “red hot monogamy” not only are you bonded, but happy endorphins release so the outside problems you two might be having seem just a little less daunting.
Sex is better than x-ray vision. The popular Old Testament term used to refer to sex is “to know.” It is the ability to allow yourself to be so enraptured with your spouse that he or she feels completely safe and able to let his or her guard down. This is truly what makes sex so powerful and meaningful.
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3. Sex is steamier if you use porn.
Bringing in pornography, while it might seem sexy it is actually the WORST choice a couple can make because there is an addictive element to these false images.
Furthermore, pornography weakens the ability for a man’s sexual organs to respond.
The sexual images need to become more and more graphic to get any response in the body’s sexual system so the use of porn can actually STOP a couple’s ability to be intimate.
And some couples (or one of you) may become so addicted on these counterfeits of sexuality that you can be lured down into the swirling vortex of dangerous choices, further eroding trust, and resulting in diseases, or even lead to death.
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4. Sex is impossible without a babysitter.
Come on! Be creative! Sure planning a romantic night might be easier when you can get away or hire a sitter to put the kids to bed before you get home, but it can also be expensive. Much of the fun in marriage is in creating the spark and sizzle for pennies and some imagination.
In our book Red Hot Monogamy, we give 200 red hot ideas and many cost little or nothing. For example, dinner in front of the fireplace after the kids are down, or tossing up mosquito netting and twinkling lights over your bed to set a new mood, or turning your bedroom into a serene spa with candlelight, essential oils, a warm bubble bath, and some delectable foods typically seen as aphrodisiacs.
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5. Sex has to be spontaneous to be sizzling.
Conversely, if a couple schedules sex, not only can they enjoy spontaneous moments of love, but they can regularly look forward to intimacy in the middle of a very busy life. Scheduled sex has several payoffs:
It gives you both something positive to look forward to each week, like light at the end of the responsibility tunnel. It eliminates the “ask”—no one has to plead, or give puppy-dog eyes of hope because you have both agreed on one night that is a sure thing. Scheduling allows for prime-time planning so you can both come in rested, showered, and in a mindset for love. And scheduled sex builds trust.
When you both keep your word to each other week after week, this builds a track record of trust; then this trust extends outside the bedroom. And much to the shock of Hollywood , it is trust, not extravagance (or deviance) that is the most vital element that keeps a marriage sizzling for a lifetime.
Pam and Bill Farrel are international speakers, and authors of 44 books including Red Hot Monogamy, Red Hot Tips for Women, The First Five Years, and Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti. They are co-directors of Love-Wise.com and have kept the spark in their love for more than 36 years.
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This article is adapted from Pam Farrel's Married Sex: What's Okay with God? and Pam and Bill Farrel's 5 Things Couples Get Wrong about Sex.