10 Worldly Myths About Sex in Marriage

*This article was discussed recently in Episode 12 of the author’s podcast, All Truth is God’s Truth. You can find the episode here (iTunesGoogle Play, or Stitcher). Subscribe for more interaction with culture from a consistent Christian worldview.

This article assumes that the Bible teaches that sex in marriage is a voluntary choice made by each person in the marriage. This article also assumes that most Christians are not having too much sex in their marriages. I doubt that’s a huge problem with many Christian marriages. The most important thing about sex in marriage is that you have sex with your spouse in your marriage. See 1 Corinthians 7:2-5,

But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control (ESV).

In order to encourage sex within marriage, here are 10 worldly myths about sex in marriage that need to be rejected:

Myth 1. Being “in the mood” is a prerequisite for sex. The only prerequisite for sex in the Bible is marriage. The apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 7:2-5 refers to sex within marriage as a “duty” (opheil?n in Greek) that husbands and wives should provide for their spouses. The ESV translates opheil?n as “conjugal rights.” The concept of “being in the mood” is foreign to Scripture. Do your duty husbands and wives and have sex with your spouses when you are in the mood and when you aren’t.

Myth 2. The person with the lowest sexual appetite should control sexual frequency in marriage. No single spouse should “control” sexual frequency in marriage. Sexual frequency in marriage should be determined by both spouses. There needs to be “mutual agreement” according to Scripture concerning frequency of sex within marriage (1 Cor. 7:2-5).

Myth 3. Husbands should not seek to control or limit their sexual appetites. In most cases, husbands will desire sex more than their wives. Husbands should seek to control or limit their sexual appetites for the sake of their wives, remember Paul’s emphasis on “mutual agreement” (1 Cor. 7:2-5). Furthermore, Husbands should seek to exercise self-control due to this being a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). Plus, there will be times in marriage of sexual infrequency due to health issues, work, spiritual reasons, etc. For example, the apostle Paul encourages Christians in Corinth to practice abstinence for a brief period of time based on mutual agreement for the sake of prayer (1 Cor. 7:2-5).

Myth 4. Wives should not seek to cultivate or increase their sexual appetites. In most cases, wives will desire sex less than their husbands. Wives should seek to cultivate their sexual appetites for the sake of their husbands; again, there should be “mutual agreement” concerning sexual frequency (1 Cor. 7:5). Sexual frequency in marriage is more important than our sexual appetite.

Myth 5. Sexual attraction is a prerequisite for sex in marriage. There may be times when you or your spouse are less or more attractive. This reality should be irrelevant concerning sex in marriage. The only prerequisite for sex in the Bible is marriage.

Myth 6. Praise, appreciation, compliments, awe, etc. are prerequisites for sex in marriage. The only prerequisite for sex in the Bible is marriage. Granted, a nagging, unappreciative, complaining wife does not encourage a husband to give her conjugal rights, but nevertheless, you give your wife conjugal rights because she is your wife, not because she is the “wife of your dreams.” A sinful wife is still your wife. Do your duty; have sex with your wife.

Myth 7. Dating, listening, intimate talks, appreciation, etc. are prerequisites for sex in marriage. The only prerequisite for sex in the Bible is marriage. Granted, a couch that burps, who doesn’t compliment, who doesn’t appreciate you does not encourage a wife to give him conjugal rights, but nevertheless, you give your husband conjugal rights because he is your husband, not because he is the “husband of your dreams.” A sinful husband is still your husband. Do your duty; have sex with your husband.

*For anyone at this point who says, “What if your husband is abusing you?” If your husband is abusive, I believe you’re biblically free to divorce him. He has already abandoned the marriage covenant as your husband, since he is treating you worse than his enemy (1 Cor. 7:14-16; also see this helpful article from the PCA about the Westminster Divines’ views on the subject).

Myth 8. Feeling secure about your body, not feeling guilty, etc. are prerequisites for sex in marriage. The only prerequisite for sex in the Bible is marriage. Body image issues and guilt should not keep husbands and wives from being obedient to the Lord in their marriages. Do your duty; have sex with your spouse, even when you feel insecure.

Myth 9. Passion for one another is a prerequisite for sex. The only prerequisite for sex in the Bible is marriage. It’s more important that you have sex with one another than that you have passionate sex with one another. And if you’re not “passionate” about your spouse, you need to cultivate your passion instead of “waiting for passion” to happen to you. Take responsibility for your lack of passion for your spouse.

Myth 10. Sex must be spontaneous, wild, not planned. The only prerequisite for sex in the Bible is marriage. The most important thing is that you have sex with your spouse, not that sex with your spouse is spontaneous or wild.

There you have it friends! Now go do your duty; serve and enjoy the spouse the Lord has given you!

My site. I’m married with four children, an SBC pastor, a TA for Dr. Kyle Claunch & a PhD candidate at SBTS. I’ve authored two books. You can connect with me on TwitterFacebook, and Udemy. I host 2 podcasts: All Truth is God’s Truth (iTunesGoogle Play Music, and Stitcher) & Pop Culture Coram Deo (iTunesStitcheracastPlayer.FM).

Gay marriage may not be all bad news

In light of the Supreme Court’s ruling establishing gay marriage as a Constitutional right, many of us evangelicals are experiencing a wash of emotions. My initial response was one of fear. Fear that this will someday result in me being fired from my secular job like that fire chief in Atlanta. By my calculations I still have nearly 40 years to go before I can retire, and the possibility that someday it will be determined that people who think like me shouldn’t work with the public is scary. This fear, warranted or not, is sinful and betrays a lack of confidence in God and in the people of God. I have since repented of it, and I remain committed to serving God publicly, come what may.

Apart from my renewed trust in God, I’ve come to realize that this decision from the Supreme Court is not all bad news. Like Joseph being sold into slavery, this too may result in unimaginable blessings in the future. Here are some that I’ve thought of:

Reaching the unreachable
Do you know why Southern Baptists take advantage of the World Cup and the Olympics to share the gospel? One big reason is that it allows us to share the gospel with people who might otherwise be inaccessible to us either because of their home country’s laws or because of the lack of a gospel witness in their community. Just as Massachusetts became a hub for “gay marriage tourism” in the wake of their initial decision to allow it over ten years ago, so too the U.S. can expect an influx of homosexual immigrants coming to the States to be married and experience the freedom and protection that our laws provide them. Many of these people will come from places with little or no gospel witness. We must stand ready to share the gospel with the lost this ruling will surely end up bringing to our communities.

Refugees of the sexual revolution
Wherever there is marriage, divorce does not follow far behind. Proponents of gay marriage may have reveled in victory on Friday, but if they are anything like their straight neighbors, many will eventually experience the agony of defeat that comes from a broken marriage and divorce. Christians will soon see themselves in the position to offer life and salvation to those whom Russell Moore calls “refugees of the sexual revolution.”

The restoration of Christian marriage
The fight over gay marriage was lost long before Friday’s ruling. It was lost when marriage ceased to be honored by all, and churches stopped exercising discipline over unbiblical divorce. Although I hold that divorce is permissible in some circumstances, the vast majority of divorces in the U.S. do not occur under these circumstances. By failing to exercise church discipline in these instances, marriage was undermined. Marriage is no longer a question of gay vs. straight in the eyes of our country. It’s a question of religious vs. secular. No doubt there will be some Christians who buy into the culture’s view that marriage is nothing more than a matter of equal rights. But I anticipate churches will elevate marriage higher than that, showing that it is a living parable representing Christ and the church. I anticipate the return of church discipline over unbiblical divorce. This honoring of marriage will be confusing to the world, but they will know that gay marriage cannot replicate it. And that may open some to the truth of the gospel.

The culling of false churches
I expect that over the next year we will see more news stories about churches and parachurch organizations changing their view on marriage to accord with the Supreme Court’s ruling. The media wants to see this, so when it happens, they will report it. Whether those churches continue to exist or shrivel up and die (as I hope they will), we will have a better sense of who is with us and who is not. We will know who we can work with and worship with and who we must cut ties with. This will be painful, but the vine must be pruned of dead branches if fruit is to grow. And grow it will.

These are only a few of the positives that may come from this. Do you have any additional ones that you see?

How Your Marriage Can Teach People About Easter

You likely know the story: God caused a “deep sleep” to fall on Adam and then took one of his ribs and fashioned Eve out of it (Genesis 2:21-22). There is an incredible typology embedded into this event about the true message of Easter. 

The sleep in which Adam enters is well described as a metaphorical death. Adam didn’t physically die, but his “deep sleep” made it appear as if he did. It was symbolic of it. The idea, therefore, is that Eve was able, and only able, to live because Adam, in a sense, died.

His “deep sleep” foreshadows the sacrificial death of Jesus on our behalf.

Christ died on the cross and was pierced in his side for his bride (John 19:33-37); Adam “died” and was pierced in his side for his bride. Like Jesus, Adam gave of himself so that his bride could live. And similar to Jesus, Adam rose from his “death” to live again with his bride.

But the message doesn’t stop here. Immediately after this event Moses writes:

“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.”

The term “one flesh” has permanence. It suggests marriage is designed to last a lifetime, which is an incredibly important notion.

There is a theological concept called “the perseverance of the saints” that conveys this thought well. This doctrine teaches that “once saved, always saved.” This is to say that, once a person has been “married” to Jesus, that Jesus will never divorce him. This is because, once a person accepts Jesus, he and Jesus are like “one flesh.” And like literal flesh, it cannot be divided. In Ephesians 5:32 Paul says that this idea of “one flesh” is a “great mystery” and that he is speaking about “Christ and the church.”

This conveys how a marriage, when functioning properly, can serve as a testimony for the gospel.

So marriage represents more than a lifelong earthly relationship between a husband and a wife. It illustrates God’s everlasting relationship with the church, a relationship that nothing can divide.

Paul writes:

“Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35, 37-39).

Not long ago a woman in our church lost her wedding ring, which she had for more than 50 years, and was understandably devastated. She found it, but she could have easily gone down the street and purchased a new one. Losing the ring, for this woman, meant losing the testimony of her marriage. While losing it held no affect on the union of her marriage, it was important because it testified of her marriage in a way that no other ring could.

By itself, marriage is an amazing institution. But we cannot forget what it represents.

We should value the meaning of marriage as a testimony of God and his people. When a husband sacrificially loves his bride, that bride is empowered to live for her husband. And this love points upward to what Easter Sunday is all about—a sacrificial love brought about by a savior named Jesus Christ for his bride the church.

And this is a “ring” that can never be lost!

Clearly, this is why divorce so devastates. Divorce is more than a piece of paper allowing you to legally separate from your spouse. It completely destroys God’s witness. It communicates the exact opposite of God’s relationship with his church. It tells the world that there are things that can separate God’s love from his bride instead of the biblical truth that there aren’t.

God has had every reason to divorce mankind. He instead decides to unconditionally and sacrificially love us. This is well showcased after Adam and Eve’s disobedience in Eden, when he took an innocent animal, slayed it, and used its skin to cover their shame, which, like Adam’s proverbial death, points towards Jesus—the Resurrection and the Life.

Have a wonderful Easter.