Think back on your years of listening to sermons whether they be during regular worship, or a lectureship, or even on one of the many great radio stations such as KnowTheTruthRadio.org or TheGospelRadioNetwork.org. How many sermons have you heard on love? How about the life of Christ? Or what about running the Christian race? I have heard countless sermons on such topics. But there is one topic that I have not heard much on. In fact I can think of only one lectureship that spoke on this topic and that was a couple of years ago in the San Antonio Shenendoah church of Christ lectureships. I am talking about that unspoken, perhaps even “taboo” subject of sex.
Growing up in the church I’ll admit I very rarely, if ever, heard a sermon about God’s view on sexuality. Of course we hear over and over, at least in the girls classes or in the cabins at church camps, about “staying pure until marriage.” This is all good and great, but with so much emphasis on staying pure and not giving your virginity away before marriage, it can gave the impression that sex, or the desire for sex, is a bad thing.
I’m going to chase a rabbit real quick and say that I personally think the phrase “giving away your virginity” to be far more accurate than “losing” it. After all, in most cases you don’t lose it like you lose your keys or your car in the Walmart parking lot – you don’t forget where you put it. It is something that is, oftentimes, voluntarily given to another person, something we are conscious of doing and can stop if we wish to.
I remember talking to an old friend from college about a year ago. She married her husband a year or so after I married my husband and we were talking about how marriage has changed us, for good or bad. This talk eventually came around to the subject of sexuality within, and without, the marriage. She told me, and I agreed, that the church never really prepared her for her relationship with her husband because it was never preached on and never taught on in bible classes. I agreed and shared similar experiences. The lack of teaching gave her and I the impression that sex was something that was dirty, or shameful, even within marriage or just to produce children – not for pleasure. I told her, after a few shared giggles, “The bible is full of sex! The good and the bad - right and wrong.”
Preachers and Bible class teachers emphasize, when the subject arises, about staying pure and holding on to your virginity before marriage but they never really teach on sex within the marriage. In our congregation’s Sunday morning bible class a while back we came across Hebrews 13:4 “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” Our teacher didn’t spend much time on this verse, and my husband and I shared a look after reading this verse. During the break between Bible class and worship, my husband turns to me and says, “In verse 4, that’s talking about sex, right?” We then have a quick discussion about how this verse indicates that within the marriage, sex is a good thing and is in fact honorable and encouraged!
We read in Proverbs 5:18-19:
“Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.”
We see here that God deems sex a good thing between the husband and wife, and something that is strongly encouraged! We oftentimes forget, I think, that God created sex and He created the desire for a sexual relationship with our spouse and said it was good (Genesis 1:28, 31; Genesis 4:1).
As for our sexual relationship with our husband, we don’t have to have a college degree to realize the connection and bond it creates. Purely from a medical and scientific standpoint, the hormone oxytocin is released in the husband and the wife during sex. This is called the bonding hormone – the feeling of closeness and intimacy. Who would argue that we should feel close, or bonded, with our spouse? What better way to get that intimate bond than through the blessing of sex that God give a married couple?
The King Solomon knew this well when he wrote the Song of Solomon. Throughout this book we see the romantic relationship between a woman and a man starting out as what we would call dating, and by the fourth chapter we see it is a husband and wife (Song of Sol. 4:12). We oftentimes draw a parallel of this book between Christ and the church, but we can also see it as a teaching of God about the romantic relationship between a husband and wife. The book is filled with poetic, romantic language that paints a picture of a husband and wife taking pleasure in one another as God designed.
Paul writes in his letter to the church at Corinth about the sexual relationship between spouses in 1 Corinthians 7:3-5:
“Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.”
We see here that Paul is encouraging couples to be intimate, to have sex, and to not deny the spouse this need (yes I said need) for a long period of time. As I mentioned before, sex creates a sense of closeness, of intimacy, of bonding. We need to feel close to someone and when we are married the one we should feel closest to is our spouse. If this need is denied for a time, as Paul states, then we are setting them (and even ourselves) up for being tempted to seek that fulfillment elsewhere. One of the leading causes for affairs is an unsatisfied, or unfulfilled, sex life with their spouse (www.psychologytoday.com). I am not saying all men fall to that temptation, but we should be careful not to place that temptation in their path, to create that void that they need filled (Matt. 18:6).
But you may say, “But it’s boring! There’s no ‘spark’ anymore.” Well, get creative! Talk to you husband about it and explore together. The possibilities are endless as long as they coincide with God’s word (Heb. 13:4). And remember to flirt! Remember, this is the man who gave you butterflies when you were dating and who was, and should still be, your knight in shining armor. Tell you husband he’s handsome (Song of Sol. 5:10-16), and don’t be afraid to show him affection – even in front of the kids! (Song of Sol. 1:2)
As we read God’s word, we see that God mentions the sexual relationship between you and your husband quite often. But do we have the same views on sexuality as God does? Perhaps it is time to sit down with your husband and have a little “pillow talk” and study together God’s design and teachings on His gift to married couples.