What Kind of Sex is Allowed In Marriage?

Do you struggle with trying to be sexually satisfied?   Today we’re going to talk about the types of sex that are allowed in marriage. Let me preface this discussion by saying that most of what we know we have not learned from scripture, we have actually learned from culture.  Unfortunately, culture is very toxic.  It’s either repressive or a false form of freedom which leads to more bondage. So the question that I have for you today is, Do you know what the bible actually says about the types of sex that are allowed in marriage? This is going to be a very sensitive subject matter and so I would encourage you to use discretion while reading.   

What Does the Bible Say About Sex in Marriage?  

Proverbs 5:18-19
Let your fountain be blessed,
   and rejoice in the wife of your youth,
   a lovely deer, a graceful doe.
Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight;
    be intoxicated always in her love.

This passage encourages people to physically appreciate their marriage partner.  What this basically says is that you should physically and sexually enjoy the wife of your youth.  Even though this might be awkward to talk about,and you may not hear it preached on Sunday mornings in the pulpit, this passage is giving us an idea that sex is not just for procreation, but it’s for pleasure.  I think this is important to emphasize because far too often, sex has only been communicated as for procreation by those in religious circles.  The book of Genesis says, “Be fruitful and multiply,” but Proversb 5:18-19 also says to enjoy and be filled with delight and intoxicated by your wife’s love.  

Song of Songs 7:7-10
Your stature is like a palm tree,
    and your breasts are like its clusters.
I say I will climb the palm tree
    and lay hold of its fruit.
Oh may your breasts be like clusters of the vine,
    and the scent of your breath like apples,
and your mouth like the best wine

Here we see more of this language in the Bible, so it’s not just isolated to Proverbs.  

Pornography in Marriage

Hebrews 13:4
Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.

When you are in the loving covenant of marriage, the Bible says that the marriage bed should be undefiled, which means sex between a husband and a wife is never a cause for shame.  It should be honored, cherished, and enjoyed as the gift that it is from God.  However, wherever there is God’s designed pleasure, there is a carnal or demonic perversion of that pleasure. 

So let’s talk about pornography within marriage.  Under no circumstance can you ever bring pornography into your marriage, let alone your entire life.  There is never an appropriate context or place for pornography. Why? Because pornography is the digital version of the physical act. Pornography is digital fornication if you’re single, and it’s digital adultery if you’re married.   Why?  Because by Jesus’ standard, he said if you’ve even thought it and conceived it in your heart, it’s the same as doing it.  People will say watching pornography is healthy and normal , that everybody does it.  They will even go to the extent of saying that pornography helps with your libido. But I will tell you that it destroys your ability for intimacy.  Sex is more than the mechanics, it’s more than the motion. The greatest sex organ that you have is not between your legs, it’s between your ears – it’s your brain! Once your brain is affected and infected by pornography, you will experience sexual problems.  

Colossians 3:5
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

Pornography is lust, it is definitely not love and it is definitely not covenantal marriage.  Marriage cannot and will not ever satisfy lust because lust cannot be satisfied.  Now hear this – sexual desire is not always lust. As a matter of fact, you were designed to partly be a sexual creation.  God gave you the gift of your sexuality.  So having sexual desires in and of themselves is not wrong. As a matter of fact, those desires point to your design. God designed you to have both pleasure and procreation within marriage, but when you take those desires and you begin to fulfill them through lust, lust will never be fulfilled. You cannot satisfy lust with marriage, pornography, or masturbation.  Lust cannot be satisfied, it only increases.  

I’ve heard many many stories of marriages being decimated by the introduction of pornography.  Often times one of the spouses says, “Let’s spice things up, let’s take things to another level,” and introduce pornography into the marriage. I have done hundreds and hundreds of counseling sessions where couples have sat across from me in the privacy of my office and said pornography has decimated and absolutely destroyed their marriage.

Forced Sex In Marriage 

1 Corinthians 7:3-4
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.

This passage was revolutionary when the apostle penned it. In a patriarchal society, it was believed that women had no right over their own bodies.  So to say a wife actually has rights over the husband’s body and the husband has rights over the wife’s body was unheard of.  At the time this was written, over 2000 years ago, it was believed that the husband had rights over the woman’s body, but the woman did not have rights over the husband’s body.  So there was a context 2000 years ago for forced sex, which is rape.  I say that because again my wife and I have counseled many couples over the years that believe that just because they’re married forcing sex is ok and justifiable.  But the truth of the matter is this is not the case. 

1 Corinthians 7:5
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.

So there’s this instruction that it’s okay to not mutually come together for sex for a time perhaps to devote yourselves to prayer, but then you better come together again so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.  So what is the lack of self-control? It just simply means that we are sexual beings, given those desires by God both for pleasure and procreation.  But if we do not righteously fulfill those desires within marriage, then we are going to be led into temptation. 

Sex Toys In Marriage

Oftentimes people are asking me, “Pastor Mike, what does the Bible say about sex toys.”  Truthfully, the scripture was written 2,000 or more years ago.  There was no modern electricity the way we have it.  So the Bible is not going to say anything about them per se, but it will give us some insight into what is acceptable. 

I’ve studied a lot of the biology of sex, and there are some pitfalls and some traps. As I mentioned earlier, the greatest sex organ that you have is not between your legs, it’s between your ears, which is your brain.  If  you’re bringing sex toys into your marriage bed and there becomes more of a reliance on the sex toy than there is on your partner, then you have to ask yourself a question:  “Are we growing in intimacy together or are we bringing a dependency?” 

There are some people that cannot be sexually satisfied by their partner because they have spent years and years and years being sexually satisfied by a machine or through a screen. They have wired their brain and have practiced and rehearsed sexual satisfaction with something else other than their spouse, so when it comes time to have intimacy with their spouse, they cannot find sexual satisfaction with their mate.  

You really have to ask yourself: Have you grown in intimacy with your spouse?  Or are you bringing a level of independence into your marriage and as the result of that, missing out on the fullness that you could be experiencing.  

Oral Sex In Marriage 

I believe as you grow in your intimacy and love and communication with your partner there are times where that open communication will give you access to the next level. My wife and I have taken many couples through pre-marital counseling.  One of the portions is a sexual inventory. We have a list of many different sexual positions and many different sex acts, and we ask each person in the couple (separately) to go through them and identify which ones that you would like to do within marriage.  Then, we bring both of them together for the session and have them compare their notes.  Oftentimes these couples have never openly communicated about some of those most personal and intimate physical acts that you can do together. 

You would be surprised how many couples, even after years of marriage, have never communicated openly about what they want how they want it.  Communication is a form of intimacy, and sex is not just the physical mechanics, but it is the mental, emotional, and spiritual intimacy converging. One time in particular, somebody had expressed that they were forced to do one particular sex act in a previous relationship and I hated doing it. Therefore now it’s not about that particular act, it’s actually about the rejection, pain, and emotional trauma that i encountered while being forced to do that act.  Had we not opened up the communication, that husband could have gone years and years either wondering why she didn’t want to do it and didn’t enjoy it, not knowing there’s trauma and abuse connected to it.  As that woman begin to weep bitterly in that meeting, I turned to the husband and said, “You see, it’s not really about the act, it’s really not about the mechanics, it’s about trauma.”   

Many people have been molested, raped, or traumatized and as a result of that, there needs to be healing.  If you’re a husband, understand that your role as a husband is to produce safety.  That’s why when people come to me and ask what the Bible says about oral sex or sex toys or different positions, I take a step back. As a husband, your obligation is to produce safety. Safety produces true intimacy.  Communication produces explosive sexual experiences.   

Sexual Positions In Marriage – Anal Sex

In Genesis 19, we read the account of how a large group of men sought to gang rape two angels who had taken on the form of men.  The term “sodomy” actually comes from the root word sodom which is the location where these men tried to gang rape angels who were in the form of men. We can only assume that sodomy includes anal sex because that’s the only penetration that would have been possible for these men trying to actually sleep with angels in the form of men. 

You’re not going to find any scriptures that strictly prohibit anal sex within marriage. But I do want to give you five reasons why I think it’s probably not a good idea.  I believe that God’s design points to God’s purpose.  Male and female anatomy is incredibly and intricately made to co-exist.  With anal sex, there is no self-lubrication, there is no conception that births life, and there is nothing about the design that points to compatibility.  Here are five reasons anal sex is not a good idea:

  1. For many people, it can create tearing
  2. Anal sex carries the highest risk of sexually transmitted infections 
  3. Anal sex is linked to a higher risk of anal cancer
  4. Infections generally are more prevalent with anal sex
  5. In a 2016 study, The Journal of Gastroenterology found that anall sex may lead to fecal incontinence

I believe that wherever there’s design, there’s destiny, purpose and godly pleasure.

I don’t have scriptures that specifically speak to oral sex, sex toys, or anal sex.  However, I do believe that godly wisdom can direct us.   

I believe in the Genesis account of creation, that in the beginning God created a man.  Then when that man communicated loneliness, God’s response to man’s loneliness was not, “Well let’s hang out more!” No, out of his rib he made a wife and gave him the gift of woman.  That is God’s original design. 

Ecclesiastes 4:12
And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

What does that mean? It simply means that with you, your spouse, and God together, there can be sexual freedom, satisfaction, and explosive intimacy. 

When I was in college, I went to the Kinsey Institute, which is the largest sex research institute in the United States. In one of their biggest longitudinal studies across decades, they concluded that the most sexually satisfied people on the planet were married couples. Science continues to prove it over and over and over again – God’s design of monogamous married couples, male and female, works. God has designed your sexuality and has a plan and a path for you to righteously fulfill it. 

My Breakthrough Community is full of people just like you who are hungry for more of God. If you are interested in learning more, consider joining the Breakthrough Community!

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