Can we? Can we not?

Posted in Marriage Monday, Sex talk with 11 comments

The other day I found myself home alone working on a craft project and decided to find something to watch online. Unfortunately, Summer has few good shows for me to catch up on, so I settled with 20/20 (a favorite for my inner psychology nerd). I find the show fascinating when they explore human trends and when I saw one on sex, I knew I had to check it out. What I saw was most definitely fascinating, but more so saddening. They interviewed E.L. James, the author of the 50 Shades of Grey book series, looked into sex shops offering bondage classes, talked to couples who accept an “open-marriage” agreement, followed a woman who pays to have a boyfriend, and then ended with celebrities and their favorite sex positions. Hm. Quality television right there, let me tell you. But in a way, it was an answer to prayer. I had asked for God to show me what to write about for this Sex Talk Marriage Monday and He was definitely faithful to show me as He asked me throughout the program “What do you think about this? Is it ok?”

Thanks, God. I was definitely ready to tackle this one (NOT!). Luckily I had His Word along with the writings of fellow bloggers I trust on the subject, The Marriage Bed, Hot, Holy and Humorous, and Intimacy in Marriage to help (click their links to see what they have to say on the issue). It’s funny, I thought I knew the answer to “What is NOT ok in marital sex?” but as I started researching and praying through the topic, I found it’s not as clear as I would hope.

First, let me just remind you that I am talking about sex within a marriage, here. This is not about pre-marital sex or even adultery. Though I believe those are both wrong, I want to specifically look at the things not as clearly defined for us in the Christian faith. We are married. We can have sex. All is fair game right? Well… maybe.

It’s funny, as humans we love to draw lines (and generally cross them) for what we can and can’t do. Especially as Christians, it can be a tendency of ours to draw firm lines that often get into the territory of legalism if we are not careful. If these are drawn by God they are always for our good, but when drawn by man… well, they can get silly. Here’s some examples of these lines when it comes to sex (all taken from lectlaw.com):

  • “In Romboch, Virginia, it is illegal to engage in sexual activity with the lights on.”
  • “In Merryville, Missouri, women are prohibited from wearing corsets because ‘the privilege of admiring the curvaceous, unencumbered body of a young woman should not be denied to the normal, red-blooded American male.'”
  • “No man is allowed to make love to his wife with the smell of garlic, onions, or sardines on his breath in Alexandria, Minnesota. If his wife so requests, law mandates that he must brush his teeth.”
  • “No woman may have sex with a man while riding in an ambulance within the boundaries of Tremonton, Utah. If caught, the woman can be charged with a sexual misdemeanor and her name is to be published in the local newspaper.” The man isn’t charged nor is his name revealed.”
  • “It is illegal for any member of the Nevada Legislature to conduct official business wearing a penis costume while the legislature is in session.”

Bahaha…. ok, so that 2nd and last one weren’t necessarily regarding sex in marriage, but I did want you to be careful if you were storing that penis costume for something important. I mean, really? Where did these laws come from? I have to think there were situations that brought on each one, but it shows that it is human nature to control things and to be given clear lines that we shouldn’t cross. People will always be trying to set laws and guidelines for things including sex, but what are GOD’s guidelines for our intimacy?

Just you and me.

1 Corinthians 6:15-20 says this: Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, “THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.” But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

It is not ok to bring any more than TWO into the equation. Open marriage, threesomes, pornography, you name it. Anything involving other people in your sex lives is wrong. This is a hot topic right now and the media wants you to think “My marriage could only get better and our sex lives more interesting by bringing another into our love making” but this is a lie. Bringing someone(s) into the marriage bed will only hurt in the end. While it may look harmonious in TV specials like 20/20, I promise it will only complicate matters and leave someone in pain. Complications of jealousy, comparisons, STDs, hurt and ultimately divorce, which sounds a lot worse to me than a boring sex life. There are ways to spice up your intimacy with your spouse. Don’t rely on someone else to make that happen.

More verses on exclusivity of husband and wife: Exodus 20:14, Matthew 5:27-30

No pain, more gain.

Sigh, this is one that has me pretty stumped. The topic of BDSM (Bondage, Dominance, Sadomasochism, and Masochism) is ever popular these days with books like 50 Shades of Grey, and honestly, I just don’t get it. I enjoy sex for the pleasure it brings my spouse and I, and the idea of him hurting me or vice versa both frightens and saddens me. We work so hard for good, compassionate, and honoring marriages, it is difficult to see the appeal of anything opposite. But, it’s out there and people want it. They are intrigued by it. So I had to figure it out.

The most difficult part about this is that there is no verse (that I can find, please enlighten me if you know of one) that says “Thou shalt not tie your husband/wife to a bed while whipping them as part of a sexual act.” Hm. Nope, not in there. And I seriously have to ask… is it so wrong? While I do not see the appeal, if a husband and wife are both ok with it, why not? And while I am not God and cannot give an absolute yes or no, I do believe there are some reasons as to why you should avoid any type of pain/torture/abuse in sexual activity. For one, each time you risk something involving pain, you are toeing the line of seriously hurting your spouse as well as yourself.  Secondly, trust can easily be broken if one goes farther than the other wanted. And third, dominance and power is often an idol we can create in any aspect of our lives, sex included. The feeling of that dominance and power over someone may become your entire reason for sexual activity, instead of your husband or wife.

While the Bible does not directly say no to this behavior, I do believe it does give some evidence to why we should avoid it. On our bodies being a temple and using it as an idol: 2 Corinthians 6:16 and 1 Corinthians 3:16-17. On not being harsh to your wife: Colossians 3:19, 1 Timothy 3:1-6, and 1 Peter 3:7. A warning of traits to be careful of and to not become (including abusive): 2 Timothy 3:1-8. What love IS (nothing dealing with BDSM included): 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Our bodies are for worship, to be presented as holy: Romans 12:1-2. So is it wrong? My opinion is yes, but it is something you should really go to the Lord about. He will give you the answers.

She/he ain’t for it? Don’t do it.

Overall, I believe that sex should be a mutually blessing and beautiful act. This means that what is uncomfortable or wrong for one should not be acted out by the other. That doesn’t mean you can’t talk about it and share thoughts and opinions, but do not force the other to do something that he or she doesn’t like. Now wives (husbands too, but generally wives…) don’t use this as an excuse to NOT have sex. I’m not saying you shouldn’t do something you don’t feel like doing, I’m talking about an act that might not resonate with you; that you might not think is right. Talk about it, seek counsel, and go to God to see whether or not it is right. Pressure is not the answer, patience and love is. Why? Because ultimately it all comes down to this: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these (Mark 12:30-31).

 

Phew, this post took some work and inner soul searching. Please hear me, this is not a post meant to be judgmental or finger pointing. No, it is one with warnings to keep your sex lives pure and happy. Like Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden, God gives us MANY, MANY variations and wonderful forms of sex for ourselves and our spouses. There are only a few things we should stay clear of (like the forbidden tree in the garden) that will only hurt us in the end. If we follow His lead and keep His commands we will only be blessed in the end!

On a side note, have you entered the Mystery32 GIVEAWAY? It ends this Saturday, don’t miss your chance!! Click HERE to find out more!


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11 Comments

  1. Jaimie

    This. Is. Awesome. I’ve read a lot of good posts on this topic lately, what with the 50 Shades of Gray craze, but this is probably the gentlest, most honest, and most scripture-packed of all the ones I’ve read. Well done, and thank you! I’ll be recommending this! I definitely don’t have the guts–or know-how–to write a post like this, but I’ll definitely be sharing it. :)

    Reply
    • erinmbaxter

      Thank you for the kind words, Jaimie! I appreciate you sharing as well. And the secret to writing a post like this: Not doing it on your own. Without prayer there’s no way! I’m thankful that the Lord has always been so faithful to write through me! He gets all the credit! :)

      Reply
  2. Nick

    I would just like to add a thought on BDSM. I think there is a difference when tying up your spouse for the soul purpose of pleasure without pain, you know teasing them etc. Also, my wife and I were talking about this the other day. I think a lot of it comes from the need of having an order to things deep down in us that is really calling us to Christ and a Christ modeled marriage but with all the “freedom” the media blasts us with to do what “feels good” and saying there is no one true God people try to fill that void of control and order with something beyond what we are meant to look for if that makes sense. Basically they have a calling to submit to God but don’t and fill that void with as much possible in the extreme of having another human assume complete control over you. Hope that makes sense :)

    Reply
    • erinmbaxter

      I absolutely agree Nick! For one, I agree with the point that there is a difference between fuzzy handcuffs and feathers and leather straps and whips. Teasing is fine, pain is not. And with BDSM, it is about the pain, the bondage and the power. We just have to be careful that teasing doesn’t cross over that fine line!
      As for your conversation with you wife, I think I see where you are going. As humans, we definitely try and fill our lives with things other than God and when that happens we really our looking for power and control over our own situations. This never ends well and I think it’s the same concept with sex. When try and take control with “exciting” things like BDSM, it ends with frustration and pain.
      Thank you for your comment!

      Reply
  3. Alecia

    You took all my scriptures on why BDSM might not be a good idea. But I’ll offer up one more. 1 Cor. 10:23 says, “Everything is permissible” – but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible” – but not everything is constructive. I mentioned this verse in a recent post because it is often taken out of context. This verse isn’t telling us that everything is permissible. Paul was quoting the men of Corinth at that time who were using that as an excuse for their behavior. What he WAS telling them was that not everything they were doing was beneficial or constructive. Those are the more important questions.

    I also really appreciated what you said about idolatry. Often when we introduce anything other than ourselves into the sex equation it can create an atmosphere where we end up needing or craving that thing in order to have a pleasurable experience. Whatever it is, porn, a third person, BDSM, erotica…if we NEED those things to get aroused then that can be a problem. I realize we all have our own preferences for what we like and don’t like but its important to set boundaries and to have a healthy understanding of what a sexual relationship between two people is for.

    Reply
    • erinmbaxter

      Alecia, how did I miss your post?? I apologize for not answering you sooner with the other comments!
      I love the addition of 1 Cor 10:23. SO true for BDSM as well as many other areas of our lives.
      And I totally agree with your take on idolatry. It’s sometimes hard to remember that it an idol can look like many different things and may not be something tangible, but rather a desire or an action.
      Thank you so much for your comment! :)

      Reply
  4. Kay

    Excellent post: You give thoughtful, gentle, biblical, informative information and Scripture for people to make their own decisions. I appreciate the way you clearly laid it out without making a law.

    I’d like to add one more concept, particularly concerning BDSM, but I think it applies to the whole marriage concept. In 1 Peter 2:17, we’re told to honor all men/women. We are made in the image of God and are thus due honor and respect as those created by God in Him image. Likewise, we owe others the same respect. I think that in order to honor God and His creation, we need to demonstrate honor and respect to one another, particularly in a marriage relationship.

    Another question is where we look to find our model for acceptable behavior? For Christians, I would think it would be to Jesus. He is sovereign over all, and yet, He does not force Himself on us, but gives us freedom to respond to Him from our hearts. He desires deep, intimate, voluntary fellowship with us. In a truly intimate relationship, will we not desire the same from our spouse? Is it love freely given when it’s forced or demanded?

    Thank you for broaching a difficult topic. By the way, in the August Woman’s Day, they took a survey with the question, “What’s your go-to summer read?” With four choices, 33% of those who responded said, “A steamy romance like Fifty Shades of Grey.”

    Reply
    • erinmbaxter

      Thank you for the kind words, Kay. I so appreciate it! And thank you for your input. 1 Peter 2:17 is an excellent addition to the verses I have above! It gives a great perspective to the subject for sure. And I also like your suggestion of looking at Jesus for our ultimate example. As strange as it may feel to ask WWJD when it comes to BDSM, it’s something we should ask in all aspects of our lives! Not sure BDSM would be the way He would go (had he ever married).
      And that survey does not surprise me but does sadden me. There are so, SO many amazing book choices in the world! I hate that woman feel they must turn to the most popular book on the market, no matter how raunchy.
      Thanks again for commenting!

      Reply
  5. J (Hot, Holy & Humorous)

    What an excellent post! You did a wonderful job of seeking what God Himself has to say on these subjects through His Word. Your post should be a resource for many to do their own thinking about what’s positive and negative in marital intimacy.

    Reply
    • erinmbaxter

      Thank you so much, J! I’m always honored by your compliments. Thank you for writing some great material for me to read and think through this topic with!

      Reply