Does the Bible talk about romantic love in marriage?

FlowersSex1

I wanted to introduce you all to a new site that I think readers of my blog would like – this post came from this new site at: http://restoringchristiansexuality.com/does-the-bible-talk-about-romantic-love-in-marriage/

Just a WARNING though to my readers – this site features full nudity both in its discussion of sexual issues as well as galleries.  If you don’t want to see nudity – don’t go to this site.  But it links to a lot of great sites, including this blog.

Check it out!

 

The false teachings of Every Man’s Battle

Every Mans Battle1

Every Man’s Battle, while preaching freedom from “the slavery of sexual sin” actually enslaves men to traditions and teachings of men. It treats “maleness” as the enemy and tries to make a false contrast between “maleness” and “true manhood”. The authors of this of this book, rather than calling men to war against their sin nature, calls them to war against the male nature that God designed them with.

Every Man’ Battle was originally published in 2000 but has since spawned more books and workbooks and has been taught in churches across the country and around the world. Its authors Steven Arterburn and Fred Stoeker first convey their struggles with lust in great detail.

In fact most negative reviews of the this book come from Christians who scorn them for going into so much detail as they may be causing people to have “impure thoughts” by just describing their experiences.

A little about me

I am a born again Christian, I have been saved for over 30 years and have studied the Bible for over 20 years as an adult. I have taught Sunday school classes and filled pulpits for friends of mine (in Baptist Churches). I say all this to let you know a little of my background. I am not a preacher, but I have taught in churches and filled pulpits for Pastors.

I don’t teach in churches anymore and I don’t preach anymore because over the years I have come to have many differences with church traditions and church teachings that I have found have no scriptural support whatsoever. I won’t hijack a Pastor’s pulpit or teach his Sunday school having the differences I have (and they are more than on the topic of sex).

But there are times and places to take a stand against false teaching, even by good Christian men who have nothing but good intentions in their hearts, which I am sure Mr. Arterburn and Mr. Stoeker have. If the Apostle Paul withstood the Apostle Peter to his face over his wrong behavior, I think it is ok if I take these author’s to task in the main ideas of their book.

Church traditions and teachings are not always right, the Protestant reformation showed us that. But even the leaders of the reformation did not tear down all the false traditions, they left some intact. Even the radical reformers who were the forerunners of modern Baptists still left some false church traditions intact.

My purpose has always been to try and remove all the ruble and tradition and our cultural biases, and get down to the pure Word of God, to truly follow the noble idea of the reformers of “Sola Scriptora”, or Scripture alone.

So with that said as a backdrop on the Christian Brother who is correcting his brothers in Christ, let’s begin.

From this point forward I will refer to Every Man’s Battle by the acronym EMB.

Lust and Impure thoughts

I and other Christians who are challenging EMB’s approach to sexual temptation agree that the Bible talks a lot about Christians avoiding lust. We just don’t agree with how they have expanded the meaning of words like “lust” and “impure thoughts”. Let’s take a look now at some Biblical passages on purity and lust.

Here are some passages on Biblical purity:

“Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.”

Titus 1:15(KJV)

Here are some passages on Biblical lust:

24 To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman.

25 Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids.

26 For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adultress will hunt for the precious life.

Proverbs 6:24-26(KJV)

But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

Matthew 5:28(KJV)

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

Romans 6:12(KJV)

But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

Romans 13:14(KJV)

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

Galatians 5:16(KJV)

Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.

1 Corinthians 10:6(KJV)

Any surface reading of these passages would tell us as believers that God wants us to have pure thoughts and fight against the lusts of the flesh. But what does it mean to lust? What does it mean to have a pure thoughts, and a pure heart?

Biblically speaking, keeping your heart and mind pure means thinking on things that God considers to be good, honest, just and lovely. It means not thinking on things that God considers to be evil.

EMB, and many Christians from the early church on have loaded purity and lust with expanded definitions that the Bible never does. They say lust means not only thinking about luring a woman who is not married to you into having sex with you, but even the mere arousal at the sight of her form, or sexual thoughts about her(like imagining what she looks like naked) is also lust.

EMB says “impure thoughts” are any thoughts about the sexually pleasing form of a woman who is not your wife. EMB says lust is not only thinking about how you can lure a woman who is not your wife in having sex with you(whether she is married or single), but it is also thinking and deriving pleasure from the form of any woman who is not your wife.

But what does the Bible say about purity and lust?

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Philippians 4:8(KJV)

Philippians 4:8 is one of the greatest passages in all the Bible dealing with the thought life of a Christian. God wants our thoughts to pure, he wants us to think on things which he considers to be good. But often times we read things into a Scripture passage that is not there.

Some have taken from Philippians 4 that Christians are always supposed to be thinking of rainbows, flowers and waterfalls (all beautiful things). But what about the commander in the battle field who is thinking of how to defeat his enemy and save his men? Is this also a pure thought? I would submit to you that the answer is yes. It is a virtuous thought, one of honor. Saving his men and defeating his nation’s enemy is a good thing

What if a man is a hunter, and he is thinking of the best way to catch a deer. Is this an impure thought? Of course not.

Let’s now bring this into the sexual arena. If a man is thinking of how beautiful some woman was that he saw on TV, or in the mall, or at work is this an impure thought? The answer is no. It is completely natural for a man to scan women’s forms and derive pleasure from them. EMB based on their expanded definition of lust says this is also wrong.

But does the Bible say what lust is?

Actually it does.

What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.

Romans 7:7(KJV)

Lust is covetousness. It is a common misconception in modern times that lust only applies to sexuality. Lust (which is covetousness as the Apostle Paul states) applies to desiring to possess or do anything that would be sinful to do.

If you derive pleasure from the form of a woman’s body, or even have a sexual fantasy of what it would be like to be with her, you have not lusted after her. If however, after having the fantasy about her you begin to fantasize about how you can actually take her, how you can lure her into having sex with you outside of marriage, then you have lusted after her. It really is that simple.

So in this context, an “impure thought” would be thinking about how you can get a woman into bed with you without first being married to her (that covers single women, prostitutes, and women married to other men).

The Bible’s definition of sexual immorality

The authors of this book use the term “sexual immorality” or various forms of the phrase multiple times on almost every page of the book. The definition of sexual immorality is the entire foundation of the doctrines they espouse in this book so I think we need to deal with that now. We will first compare how the Bible defines sexual immorality and then we will compare it to EMB’s definition to contrast and show the differences.

In the King James Version the word now translated as “sexual immorality” was “fornication”. This was an old English word that meant sex outside of marriage, whether that was incest, adultery, use of harlots or prostitutes and premarital sex. Some people get confused when we talk about adultery and fornication. Adultery is always fornication (it is one type of fornication), but fornication is not always adultery. Biblically speaking, Adultery only occurs when a married or single man sleeps with a married woman – that is the most literal definition of the term.

In the original Hebrew the most common word that is translated as fornication was “zanah”, or literally harlotry. In the New Testament the Greek term for sexual sin was “pornia” or a form of that word, and yes this is where we get our modern word “porn” from. Pornia was much the same as the Hebrew word in that it referred to harlotry and incest.

Some to my left have wrongly tried to argue that none of the Bible’s terms for sexual immorality forbid premarital sex. They error though in the fact that the Bible always present the only kind of sex between a man and woman that God honors is within the bounds of marriage. In fact in the Old Testament if you had premarital sex with a virgin who was not pledged to be married – you were forced to marry her and pay her father the bride price. God never looked positively on premarital sex.

I agree with the authors of EMB based upon Ezekiel 23 that God does condemn sexual foreplay between non-married persons. Some have tried to argue that God only condemns intercourse, but he does truly condemn any blatantly sexual touching of the erogenous zones by non-married people.

This is how the Bible defines fornication (or as it is now translated “sexual immorality”):

  1. Unlawful physical sexual contact – Any physical sexual contact between a non-married man and woman is forbidden in the Scriptures. This would obviously include fondling of breasts or genitals, oral sex and intercourse. Any other physical contact that is not sexual foreplay would not be forbidden.
  2. Lustful (covetous) thoughts – Any thought about getting a person you are not married to, to have sex with you outside of marriage is sin. Just the thought, just the fantasy of trying to lure them into having sex with you outside of marriage is a sin, even if you never act on it.

Now in contrast to how the Bible defines sexual immorality, let’s see how EMB broadens and expands God’s definition.

EMB’s expanded definition of sexual immorality

EMBs authors, much like the Jewish religious teachers who came before Christ, have sought to broaden God’s definition of sexual immorality.

They would add a third type of sexual immorality to the two items I shown above.

EMB says that if you become sexually aroused simply by the visual sight of any woman you are not married to then you have sinned. They would also say any sexual fantasizing about any woman other than your wife is also sin. EMB also condemns masturbation.

Now I will give a few quotes to illustrate their broadening of God’s definition of sexual immorality:

For males, impurity of the eyes is sexual foreplay

EMB – pg.66

Masturbation while fantasizing about another woman besides your wife or “fantasy intercourse” while dreaming is the same doing it. Remember the standard Jesus set? “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit ‘adultery’. But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.(Matthew 5:27-28)…

Impurity of the eyes provides definite sexual gratification. Isn’t that foreplay? When you see a hot movie scene, is there a twitch below your belt…No doubt about it, Visual sexual gratification is a form of sex for men. As males we draw sexual gratification and chemical highs through our eyes.

EMB – pg. 68

So as you can see, the authors here have expanded God’s definition of sexual immorality from the two points I gave above. Specifically they have expanded the definition of Biblical lust. I will say in their defense that they are following church tradition. The early church father’s fell into the error of teaching that sex was a necessary evil only for reproductive purposes.

Our author’s probably feel enlightened compared to them by telling people that sexual desire is not bad within the confines of marriage.

I will stand firm in telling you, challenging you, to find any Scripture passage that says sexual arousal, desire or fantasy in and of themselves are wrong. Sexual covetousness is wrong, but arousal and fantasy in and of themselves are not wrong.

A word on what is, and what is not Sexual foreplay

EMB expands sexual foreplay to having any pleasurable thoughts or sexual fantasies about a woman who is not your wife. As I said earlier I agree that foreplay is forbidden, but having thoughts about someone’s form or what it would be like to have sex with them is NOT foreplay.

Sexual Foreplay requires the interaction of two people, either through visual flirtation, physical flirtation, or audio flirtation sexually trying to arouse one another. It is a two person activity.  So yes this would by definition, make phone sex, or web cam sex with anyone other than your spouse, sinful sexual foreplay even though you are not actually touching them.

It is impossible to have sexual foreplay with inanimate objects(like pictures and movies), or even with an actual person without their express interaction with you.

But someone might say “Ah wait, a man can make unwanted sexual advances toward a woman can’t he?” Yes he can, he might grab a woman inappropriately or brush against her giving himself sexual pleasure by doing so.  He may say sexual things to her, or comment on her body.  But if she is not positively receiving these actions, but either ignores them or acts negatively towards them, this is not by definition sexual foreplay – it is actually sexual harassment – which is completely different(and is also sinful).

It is absolutely ridiculous to assert that a man is having sexual foreplay when he is aroused by(or even fantasizes about) a picture of a woman, a movie of with a woman, or the sight of an actual woman who is not actually engaging with him.

What about Matthew 5 and Job 31?

The authors of EMB address these two famous passages in the Bible about a man lusting after a woman, in an attempt to broaden God’s definition of sexual immorality. There is a great article on these two passages that you should look into:

What does the Bible say about Lust?

I will summarize it by saying this. When Jesus talked about lusting after a woman, the word lust is talking about a sinful covetousness. The sinful desire was him fantasying about getting a married woman to sleep with him – that is what sexual lust is in the Bible.

Job 31 deals with lust as it relates to single people. Job was saying he made a covenant with his eyes not to “think” on maid. In other words, he would not look at a young single woman and fantasize about how he could have sex with her outside of marriage, this would include looking at prostitutes and thinking about he might hire them. So yes I agree with the authors of EMB that both Matthew 5 and Job 31 both talk about sexual sin in the mind. But the sexual sin is that of sexual covetousness, or of desiring to get someone to have sexual contact with you outside of marriage. Just the thought of that, even if it is never acted on, is sin.

Being aroused by the sight of a woman who is not your wife is stealing?

This is not new to EMB. I heard this all growing up in church during youth group.

Though saved and free to walk purely, I had still chosen to look at women in dishonor.

Oh don’t be so hard yourself, one might say. It’s natural for a male to look. That’s part of or nature. It’s natural for a male to look. But what you’re doing is stealing. The impure thought life is the life of a thief. You’re stealing images that aren’t yours. When you had premarital sex, you touched someone who didn’t belong to you. When you looked down the blouse of a woman who isn’t you wife, you were stealing something that isn’t yours to take. It’s just like walking down Main Street behind someone who drops a one-hundred-dollar bill out of his pocket, and you pick it up….

Similarly, if a woman’s blouse falls open, you can’t say “Hey, that’s in my sight line, I get to have that” No, you have look away. Otherwise you’re a thief. You need to leave that valuable creation in the hands of God and her husband or her future husband.

EMB – pg.72

Are they kidding? Let me be clear on something – looking at a woman, whether fully clothed, partially clothed or nude is NOT stealing anything! If I go into a restaurant and I enjoy the smell and look of the food on various people’s plates as I walk to my booth is that the same as if I picked up their plate off the table and started eating their food? The answer is no.

The beauty of women belongs to world, in the same way that the beauty of a tree belongs to all of us.

Group of Women

If I drive down the street and see a beautiful apple tree in my neighbor’s yard am I stealing from him if I look at the beauty of his tree, or even if it makes me hungry for an apple? The answer is no. If I go and grab an apple off his tree, then I have stolen.

Now when I say a woman’s beauty belongs to the world that does not mean I think women should be walking around nude all the time (although I do think there is a place for nudity in art and photography). See my article on Christians and nudity for more on that.

What is the Biblical View of Nudity?

What it does mean is that I have no problem with my wife or my daughter wearing attractive clothing. I just don’t want them dressing like prostitutes or whores. But unlike many Muslim men, and also some Christian men, I don’t expect every inch of wife and daughter’s skin to be covered.

The Bible says to everything there is a time and a season. So in the summer time, I don’t have a problem with my daughter wearing shorts. When my daughter goes in swimming pools when we go to hotels I don’t have a problem with her wearing bathing suits, even two piece bathing suits. I believe everything father has to decide where the line is and my daughter understands my line.

But to force a woman to completely cover her body from head to toe at all times is like having a beautiful rose garden and then building a 20 foot wall all around it so no one else can enjoy its beauty besides you.

A woman’s body belongs to her husband or future husband alone, but her beauty belongs to the world.

Is Masturbation a sin?

The authors of EMB make several broad attacks on masturbation to include it in their broadened definition of sexual immorality. It is kind of funny that the authors acknowledge the Scriptures are silent on masturbation, but then they turn around say for us to be holy we need to stop masturbating.

“Scripture is silent on the topic of masturbation. Some might even make a case that isolated instances of masturbation to relieve sexual tension are okay, if you’re focusing on your wife, not some supermodel, during periods of separation and illness. Wanton masturbation, tied to pornography or whatever gets your motor running, is always sin, putting distance between you and God. If you desire holiness, you must stop masturbating.”

EMB – pg.105

So let’s get this straight, the Scriptures are silent on masturbation, but if we want to be holy we have to stop masturbating? Sounds like the authors are preaching the commands of men as the commands of God.

But in all fairness to the authors of EMB, as well as a host of Christian teachers who teach against masturbation – here is the real issue. Because of how they define Biblical “lust”, masturbation must be wrong. I agree with them that most masturbation would involve some sexual fantasy with someone of the opposite sex.

Masturbation while trying to clear all sexual imagery from one’s mind may be possible, but it is grueling. It is like trying to eat food without tasting it or enjoying it, just quickly swallowing it before it can touch your taste buds.

I honestly think that many of these anti-masturbation advocates sit up at night wondering why God did not just give them a law against masturbation so we could get rid of this pesky issue once and for all. What they don’t realize is, the silence of the Scriptures on masturbation actually speaks against their expanded definition of Biblical lust.

If it were truly sin to be aroused by, or derive sexual pleasure from just seeing a woman’s form (whether fully clothed, partially clothed or fully nude) and this gratification naturally leads to a desire to masturbate, why would God have not addressed such an important sin of masturbation? The silence on the subject speaks volumes.

I wrote a lengthy article subject of Christians and masturbation here:

Is masturbation wrong for a Christian?

To summarize what I wrote, masturbation in and of itself is not wrong for a Christian. The authors of EMB are correct that the scriptures are silent on this issue. I wrote that masturbation can become wrong when it becomes obsessive to the point that it interferes in our work, church, marriage or other interpersonal relationships.

The ultimate purpose of our sex drive and sexual natures is to help provide oneness in our marriage and for procreation. However while these are the ultimate purposes for our sex drives, it is not the only reason. Orgasms provide mental relief from various stresses. It also provides an invaluable way to release sexual tension, especially for single people so they will not fall into actual sexual sin.

This brings me to the next subject of singles and sex.

Single men

EMB and Sexuality for Single people

“..the question for singles remains: What are you going to do with the sexual pressure you sometimes feel? First of all, you have to take by faith that once you get your eyes and mind under control, the sexual pressure will drop off dramatically. You bring most of the pressure onto yourself through visual sensual stimulation and mental fantasy.

Even so, there remains the male seventy-two-hour cycle of sperm production. Without the impurity of the eyes, the pressure generated by lust is gone, but there’s still a natural physical pressure for release, though much weaker. “What am I going to do about that?” you might ask. “How will I get release?”

God has supplied the way of release, something with which you’re familiar. Clinically it’s called “nocturnal emissions”.

EMB – Pg.109-110

There is very little research on nocturnal emissions. What we do know is that it is caused by having an orgasm or ejaculation during sleep from what many would call a “wet dream”. EMB actually tries to say your dreams will be “purer” by their definition of purity during these times.

Let me just be as straight as I can on this. This is one of the biggest bunches of bologna in EMB. Nocturnal emissions are not going to solve your need for sexual release (orgasm). Your body has to have sexual releases, whether from conscious stimuli (both mental and physical) while you are awake, or from unconscious stimuli while you sleep – that’s it plain and simple.

EMB talks about people who claimed to have not masturbated for years whether with their techniques or others. Of course they claim this is not just a matter of will power, but also the power of God. They say that as you starve your mind of all sexual imagery and learn to bounce your eyes, the pressure just gradually goes away. All of this is utterly and completely unprovable! Do they have people following these people around everywhere, 24 hours a day to make sure they never masturbate? Do they have people reading their minds to make sure they are not having erotic thoughts?

Maleness vs Manhood

Maleness vs Manhood is a major theme in this book. But what the author’s do is to ask men to go to war with their male tendencies as if they are part of the sinful nature.

The author’s after attacking the natural male ability to receive pleasure from visually stimulating women or images of women, then try and reign in their comments with these words:

“If we get into sexual sin naturally-just by being male-then how do we get out? We can’t eliminate our maleness, and we’re sure we don’t want to.

For instance, we want to look at our wives and desire them. They’re beautiful to us, and we’re sexually gratified when we gaze at them, often daydreaming about the night ahead and what bedtime will bring. In its proper place, maleness is wonderful.

We must choose to be more than male. We must choose manhood.”

EMB – Pg.71

Sin is not caused by our “maleness”, it is caused by our sin nature. Our sin nature tempts us to go beyond God’s limits, just as Adam and Eve went beyond the limits God set for them in the Garden of Eden.

For instance, men have a tendency to more aggressive than women. It is what makes men better in sports, business and combat than woman. God built this natural aggressiveness into man to make him a good hunter and provider. But a man’s God given, naturally aggressive nature can lead him into trouble when he uses his aggression in a negative way that goes outside the boundaries God has established.

For instance when my son played basketball his coach got on him for not being more aggressive. He needed to dig into his natural male aggression to fight to get that ball. However other team mates of his were too aggressive and breaking the rules of the game and getting foul calls all the time, and the coach had to have them pull back on their over-aggressiveness.

In the same way our male sexuality is not a sinful thing. Our appreciation of the female form and the chemical pleasure fireworks that go off in our head form seeing the female form are not sinful.

We get into sinful behavior when we begin to lust after(covet) a woman in the sense that we begin to think about how we can get a single woman to have sex outside of marriage with us, or how we can get a married woman to cheat on her husband and have sex with us. Simply being aroused by and enjoying a woman’s female form is not sin.

The author’s here try to put a much smaller boundary around our male sexuality than God does. The authors of EMB falsely tell us that the only woman we can receive sexual pleasure from seeing is our wife. That is a box that God NEVER put around male sexuality.

I agree with EMB authors about sexual addiction

While there may a few disagreements over how we define sexual addition, I agree with the authors that sexual addiction can be a problem for some people. Just like there are food addicts, there are sex addicts. It is when we take a good thing that God created for our benefit, and we over use it and become obsessed with it to the neglect of other areas of our life.

As I have pointed out here and many other places on my blog, I do not see any problem from a Biblical standpoint with being visually sexually aroused and masturbating. But where it can become wrong is if you start to look at women as only sexual objects. If it interferes with your intimacy with your wife then you need to get your masturbation back under control. If it interferes with your job where you looking at nude images where you work then it is a problem.

If you are food addict, you don’t stop eating, you start controlling how much you eat. If you are sex addict, you don’t stop having sex, or even masturbating, you simply control how often you do those things. If you are beginning to see women as nothing more than sex objects, then you need to get some counseling to help you with that.

Women are objects of sexual desire for men, to say otherwise would be a lie. In the same way that women are objects of sexual desire for men, men are objects of physical and financial security for many women. But for men to see women as ONLY objects of sexual desire, and not also as people with their own feelings, wants and desires is wrong. We cannot separate a woman’s sexual appeal from her humanity.

The teachings of EMB as well as majority of Christian churches causes people to fall into sexual sin

Because of their adding extra rules to God’s boundaries around sex, EMB and other likeminded Christian teachers have actually caused many Christian men and women to fall into sin. The reason is that they are not allowing people to have any normal sexual release outside of sex within marriage, when God does allow it.

When people are completely denied any sexual release, sometimes it leads to very perverted behavior. The Catholic Priest sex scandals are a perfect example of this. I truly believe that if these priests were allowed to be married and have normal outlets for sexual release many of these things would not have occurred.

I have pointed out in my article on masturbation, and in my article on Christians and nudity that it is not wrong for a man (or a woman) to look at a nude image. It is wrong for someone to look at pornography because those are photos or movies of actual people committing actual fornication.

What happens with many Christians is because they have been taught all nudity and all sexual fantasy is wrong, they go right to the hard stuff, right to the pornography. The reason is they figure, if all of it is sin, then you might as well go big. I used to be in that camp when I struggled with my highly sexual nature.

I have stated this many times on this blog. My wife has many health problems and there been many periods of time where we could not have sex. This used to be a horrible struggle for me as I thought every time I masturbated or fantasized sexually I was sinning. I lived under a cloud of guilt constantly asking God to forgive me.

As I was studying biology (specifically brain structure and chemistry differences between men and women) for a different subject (gender roles) I came to the realization – we are built as sexual beings. Sexuality is even bigger in most men than most women. Our visual drive, and need for variety is hardwired into the male brain. We can no more stop appreciating the beauty of a woman, than appreciating that sugar is sweet.

So you have a choice. You can follow EMBs teachings that add to the Bible. You can try to “bounce your eyes” and “starve” yourself of any visual sexual pleasure, other than your wife if you are married. You can walk around with your head staring at the ground everywhere you go, you can get rid of your TV so you will never see another sexy woman on a commercial or TV program. If you believe EMB’s expanded definition of Biblical lust than this is what you must do.

You must declare war on your maleness, until you have squeezed into the tight little box they would have you put it in, only then will you be in their eyes, a true man.

Or you can try a different path, one where you can have sexual release without sinning, and without guilt.

So if EMB is wrong, how should men handle the battle against sexual temptation?

At end of this review, I now want to offer a positive plan for Christians who want to keep from having premarital sex and also stay away from pornography.

You must first overcome your guilt about masturbation

One of the major themes in EMB is the guilt that is associated with masturbation. They say this is one of the indicators that tells us masturbation is wrong. I would submit to you that the only reason many men feel guilt when they masturbate is because they have been told it was wrong either by their parents or by their church.

When men and women realize that masturbation is not much different than having a bowl movement or urinating the guilt goes away. Masturbation releases pressure in the mind and body. But just like bowel movements and urinating, we don’t need to go around talking about it. I don’t tell people how many bowel movements I had last week, any more than I tell people how many times I masturbated last week. But we all know we need to have bowel movements, and we all know we need to have orgasms, whether through sex with our spouse when we are married, or by ourselves in the act of masturbation.

As a Christian you need to have faith that masturbation is a natural tool for sexual release that God has given you to keep you pure for marriage. It is also a tool that he has given married people to equalize out the differences in sex drives as well as help during times when one spouse cannot have sex.

Sexy brunette in black lingerie

You need to overcome issues with nudity

Another thing that many Christians, and even non-Christians have been taught is that viewing nude images of women, or sexually fantasizing about women is wrong. Christians like the authors of EMB teach that this a violation of the Bible’s command for people not lust. Non-Christians(mostly feminists) say if you are receiving sexual gratification from looking at someone you are “objectifying them”.

Regarding looking at other women EMB states:

“You don’t even know this woman; who are you to be attracted to her?”

EMB – pg. 151

This reminds me of a woman I was talking to in a Christian forum a while back. She said a man has no right to be attracted to a woman he does not know anything about. She said the shallowest thing a man can do is walk up to a woman at party or gathering and ask for her phone number, real attraction must be more than that. She said that is an example of “objectifying women”. While I agree you would not want to marry someone on looks alone, the act of simply being drawn to someone and asking them out because they are attractive is not shallow, it is how men are designed by God.

As a man, you must realize that you can look at women as both people with thoughts, feelings and desires and as objects of sexual pleasure. Many feminists and Christians will try to tell you must choose between seeing women as people or objects of sexual pleasure, but that is a false dichotomy, because they are both. Sexual deviants, molesters and rapists come to see women as ONLY objects of sexual pleasure and that is why they do the horribly wicked things they do.

But for the health of your mind, you have to see them as both people and objects of sexual pleasure. If you try to deny either, you will have problems. If you deny a woman’s personhood, you will become a sexual deviant. If you deny that women are also objects of sexual pleasure, you will cause your body and mind to become overwhelmed because you convince yourself you cannot look at women and derive pleasure from them. You will become like someone who is constipated walking around but never able to get any relief.

It is no more a sin for you to see a Victoria Secret commercial and feel horny than it is for you to see a pizza commercial and feel hungry. The issue comes in what you do when you are hungry or horny.

If I see a commercial for pizza, get hungry, order a pizza and then when the delivery guy comes I knock him out and steal the pizza I have sinned. If however I pay for the pizza after being made hungry by the commercial no sin has occurred.

If I am married and see a Victoria Secret commercial, get horny and then go have sex with my wife no sin has occurred. If I am single or married, see a Victoria Secret commercial, get horny, and then go masturbate to those images in my mind, I have not sinned.

The difference in marriage is, you need to be careful that your masturbation does interfere with your ability to have regular relations with your wife. It should be used as a supplement to sexual intercourse with your wife, but it should never replace it or interfere with it.

If as a single or married person, I get horny from a Victoria Secret commercial, and then go and look up pornography, and masturbate to it – I have sinned. Why? Because I am receiving pleasure from watching other people fornicate.

If as a single or married person, I look up pictures of nude women (not images of pornography) and I masturbate to those images, no sin has occurred.

Freedom

Conclusion

I have presented two choices to you. The first choice is to believe that EMB’s and many other Christians expanded definition is what lust actually is. You will be at war with your natural male urges to receive pleasure from looking at beautiful women, and you will spend most of your life looking at the ground.

Your other choice is to embrace the freedom that God has given you, and the natural tools he has given you for sexual release. As a man, realize that the most natural thing in the world is for you to derive pleasure from viewing a woman’s form, it is no different than deriving pleasure from a beautiful field of flowers.   Your need to for sexual release, for orgasms, is no different than your need to have bowel movements or to urinate.

Something I did not address in this is post is, as a man you also have a need for variety. Men are naturally polygynous. Just because we are living in a modern Western culture that treats polygamy as perverted does not make it so. Study the Old Testament and you will find many of the Old Testament patriarchs were polygamists. The Bible NEVER condemns this and the Mosaic Law actually regulates how polygamy is to occur.

Just recognize that while God has given you a natural mechanism for sexual release, and the gift of sexual arousal, he has also placed boundaries on how far you may go. You cannot get involved in sexual foreplay, oral sex or intercourse until you are married. You cannot look at pornography because that is deriving pleasure from real people committing fornication.

But you can feel free to walk through a mall or store, or any other gathering of people and see a beautiful woman and derive pleasure from her form. One of the purest things in the world is a man admiring the form of a beautiful woman. When you are feeling the need for sexual release, imagine a gorgeous woman and give your mind and body the release it needs through masturbation.

If you are single person and dating, masturbation can be your best friend. Masturbating before you go on dates can keep you from getting into sexual foreplay and premarital sex. Just honor God’s boundaries, and accept the freedom he has given you.

Yes every man does face a battle.  But it is not a battle against his God given “maleness”, but against the sin of covetousness. His battle is against thinking about trying to lure women he is not married to into bed, whether they are single or married to other women. He battle is against engaging in premarital sexual foreplay, oral sex or intercourse.  His battle is not against his God given design, or the natural mechanisms by which God has given him the ability to receive pleasure and have sexual release before and even during marriage.

 

 

Is masturbation wrong for a Christian?

Midsection Of Shirtless Man Holding Laptop In Bed

Masturbation is not wrong for a Christian, in fact it is right and healthy for a Christian (as well as non-Christians). Masturbation can be abused, or used in conjunction with sinful activity, but masturbation in and of itself is not a sin.

Let’s address the Onan in the room

In the Bible there is a character named Onan. He was one of the sons of Judah (a father of one of the twelve tribes of Israel. Onan broke God’s law and God struck him dead for it.

The law that Onan broke was the law of Leveratite marriage. Hundreds of years before God had Moses write the first written law of God, God’s law was known only through oral transmission, but his law was known.

The law of Leveratite marriage said that if a man married a woman, and then died before they had any son’s to bear his name and take over his property then one of his brothers would be required to marry her and give her a son. Her first born son would legally not be the son of the brother who married her, but he would be the heir of his sister-in-law’s dead husband. Any children they had together after that could be consider their children together.

Just as a side note, there is no exemption in the Law of Moses for if the brother already had a wife. The Old Testament did not forbid polygamy, it allowed it, and in the case of Levirate marriage it commanded it in the case of a brother already having a wife.

So with all that as backdrop here was the sin that Onan committed:

6 And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, whose name was Tamar.

7 And Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord slew him.

8 And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother’s wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother.

9 And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother’s wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother.

10 And the thing which he did displeased the Lord: wherefore he slew him also.

Genesis 38:6-10(KJV)

Judah’s first son was wicked (we are not told how) and God struck him dead. Then Judah commanded his second son Onan to go in to his sister-in-law, Tamar, and “raise up seed to thy brother”, a direct reference to Leveratite marriage. But he knew the child would not be his, and he did not want to give his brother an heir.

The next part is critical – the Bible says he “went in unto his brother’s wife” – this is a direct reference to sexual intercourse. The Bible typically uses two phrases to denote sexual intercourse – phrases like “he knew his wife” or “he went in unto his wife”. What Onan did here when he “spilled it on the ground”, was literally to pull out before ejaculating. This was not masturbation, it was pulling out.

Even if someone could try to show that he did masturbate (which the context clearly shows he did not), that was not the sin God struck him dead for. He was struck dead for violating the Law of Leveratite marriage and also for his attempted deception. He was willing to enjoy the pleasure of his brother’s wife, but he was not willing to fulfill his duty to give her a son.

There is no other passage in all the Bible that talks about a man spilling his seed. But that does not mean that many Christians throughout the centuries have not tried other routes to try and make masturbation a sin.

Aren’t we supposed to deny ourselves?

Some would make the argument that the very definition of masturbation is “self-gratification”, therefore it must still be sin. The Bible talks often about self-denial a lot. Here are few passages:

24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.

Matthew 16:24(NASB)

For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

Romans 8:13(KJV)

Let’s just take these two Bible passages as they are great examples to begin this discussion. In Matthew 16 Jesus is talking about the cost of following him while he was on earth. The disciples gave up their homes and everything they had to follow him. Is there some spiritual application as well?

Yes – God does call us to deny ourselves in his service, but what we are denying is our sinful nature. We are not called to deprive our body of food and water (except if we willingly decide we want to fast for a short time).

Not all the desires of the body are sinful, we hunger, we thirst, we desire sex, we desire to have children, we desire to work and have purpose in our lives. Any normal desire can become sinful, when we become unbalanced. We can become gluttons if we eat too much. We become whores when we sleep around and have sex outside of marriage. We become greedy when we work too much and neglect our families.

But what is “living after the flesh”?

In the Bible sometimes the flesh just means, the human body. The Bible says Christ came in the flesh, that he became flesh and dwelt among us. So there are many times when flesh does not have a negative connotation. But other times, “flesh” can be a euphemism for the sinful nature. Those things which we are tempted to do, which would violate God’s law. The Bible lists many of the sins of the flesh in this passage:

19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Galatians 5:19-21(KJV)

I don’t see masturbation in that list – do you?

Augustine

It is one thing to lie together with the sole will of generating: this has no fault. It is another to seek the pleasure of flesh in lying, although within the limits of marriage, this has venial fault.

– St. Augustine, one of the most famous Ascetics in history

Asceticism

Asceticism occurred in Christianity as well as other cultures and religions around the world. Just think of monks, whether Christian or Hindu, other similar groups. Asceticism is the idea that by denying one’s self of all or most worldly pleasures, that one can attain a greater spiritual level. Christian monks believed it would bring them closer to God.

So they ate very simple foods, abstained from marriage and many other worldly pleasures. They even taught people who were not monks and who were married, that they should have sex only for procreation and then take vows of celibacy within marriage(yes that is totally crazy, but married couples did take vows of celibacy).

The Apostle Paul was fighting against asceticism rising up in the churches when he wrote these words:

8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ…

20 Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

Colossians 2:8 & 20-23(NIV)

Although the primary reason for the next passage from Paul was about his rights as an apostle, it also talks about the basic rights any man has:

4 Don’t we have the right to food and drink? 5 Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas?

I Corinthians 9:4(NIV)

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 3 They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. 4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.

I Timothy 4:1-5(NIV)

It is unfortunate that right after the Apostles died the war against asceticism in the church was lost and many of the early church father’s came to embrace asceticism. This asceticism reigned supreme throughout the Catholic Church, and even when the Protestants came to question many Catholic teachings, they left much of the church’s asceticism intact.

When Paul talks about “in later times”, he was referring to his own time. Paul truly believed he was living in the last days before Christ’s return. He is talking about the asceticism that had already come into the church. He holds no punches and calls this out as evil and wicked.

I think a key phrase here can be found in I Timothy 4:4, when Paul says “For everything God created is good”. When God created man and woman in the Garden of Eden, as fully sexual beings, he called his creation “good”. Christian asceticism teaches men to treat their bodies “harshly”, it tells them to “touch not, handle not, taste” not. The problem is these are based on human tradition and not God’s Word. God has given us food, drink, sex and children, and the satisfaction of a hard day’s work for our own pleasure. These are not things to run from, they are things to embrace.

Now are some people, a few specially chosen people, called by God to live celibate lives as both Christ and Paul told us? Yes. But they are the exception, and not the norm. No person should embark on the celibate life without a lot of prayer and consideration to make sure they truly have the gift of celibacy.

The rest of us, the majority of us, do not have the gift of celibacy, but instead we have the gift of sex.

But isn’t sex reserved for marriage?

Yes and No. Yes – Sexual intercourse, oral sex or any other sex between a man and woman are reserved for marriage. Homosexuality and sex with animals is completely forbidden. But nowhere is the act of giving one’s self an orgasm forbidden anywhere in the Bible. This act used to be called masturbation and in recent times is called solo-sex.

As I said earlier, the false teachings of Christian Asceticism taught that God only created sex as a necessary evil for procreation. They taught that God only made sex for having babies and that was it.

But the truth is that God created our sex drive, and our subsequent ability to have an orgasm for these three reasons:

  1. Pleasure, and relaxation. Viewing the opposite sex, especially for men, can be very pleasurable. Having an orgasm can relieve stress and relax a person.
  2. In the context of marriage, sex goes even further than pleasure and relaxation, and draws a couple closer together. It helps them to express their love, it takes on a spiritual meaning in representing the oneness of Christ with his church.
  3. Also in the context of marriage, sex is meant for procreation. God never intended for couples to get married and purposefully never have children. While having children is certainly not the only reason for which God designed sex, it definitely is one of the primary purposes he had in mind.

Sex and Communion have something have in common?

Yep I said it and now I will back it up. The desire to have sex, and the desire to eat are either called “base” or “primal” urges. They actually originate in the same part of the brain. The same area of the brain that makes a man hungry when he sees an image of food he likes or smells food he likes is the same area that gives him pleasure when he sees a beautiful woman, or smells her perfume, or even natural scent.

Normally when we eat, it is to sustain us, but often times it is purely for pleasure (i.e. junk food). We try to choose foods we like, or we see or smell some food we would like to try and we eat it.

But when we take communion, it takes on a spiritual meaning. Yes we are still eating, but in communion this eating takes on a completely spiritual meaning. Here is a “base” operation of our body, being used to represent a beautiful spiritual symbol. It represents the unity of the church, as well as the remembrance of Christ’s broken body and shed blood for us.

In a similar way, sex in the context of marriage takes on a dual meaning. Communion only has one purpose, and that is to symbolize Christ’s sacrifice for us and the unity of his church. But sex (another “base” desire) has dual purposes and meanings. In one sense it is meant for physical pleasure and relaxation and also to draw us closer to our spouse. But it also has a second meaning, a spiritual meaning. In marriage it represents the unity of Christ and his church.

So how does this relate to masturbation?

The point is that masturbation is purely a physical expression of our sexuality, and it does not take on the dual meaning of sex within marriage. Basically masturbation is not much different than having a bowel movement.

The only difference between a bowel movement and masturbation is that masturbation not only relieves physical stress, but also helps to clear the mind as well.

Can masturbation be unhealthy or wrong?

Masturbation can be unhealthy or wrong under these circumstances:

  1. You are compulsively masturbating to the point that it interferes with your job or other interpersonal relationships.
  2. If it stops you from seeking out relationships and ultimately marriage to the opposite sex.
  3. If it interferes with intimacy in your marriage, or makes you somehow unable to perform sexually with your spouse.
  4. You are watching people looking at bad porn(group sex, homosexual sex, rape sex, violent sex, as opposed to normal heterosexual sex as God designed it).

What are healthy ways a Christian can masturbate?

The first thing to realize is that it is very difficult for many people, especially men, to masturbate without some sort of visual stimulation (either in print, or using some images in our mind). In fact it can be a down right grueling experience without these things.

Certain types of porn – those of just naked women or couples engaging in normal heterosexual sex as God designed it are an option. I realize what I just said probably made you fall out of your chair. Let me refer you to the topic Christian porn(porn that falls within Biblical boundaries) as discussed on a great Christian Porn site(one the only ones I know of):

The Difference between Good Porn and Bad Porn

Why Porn is not bad for Christians or anybody else

The Bible does talk about us not “uncovering the nakedness” of our close relatives. But this was a euphemism for incest. The Bible was forbidding sex between close relatives. There is also a famous story about Ham seeing his father Noah naked, but this was not a command about nakedness. The issue was that he was mocking his father’s nakedness after he got drunk, that was his sin.

But isn’t looking at nude pictures lust?

Biblically speaking lusting is thinking about possessing someone or something that does not belong to us. For instance if you look at a young woman and are sexually aroused by her, or imagine how she looks naked, there is no sin. Actually having sex with that young woman, is reserved for marriage. You cannot possess her sexually without first marrying her. To think thoughts of how to entice a young woman to have sex with you outside of marriage is a form of covetousness.

Even when viewing someone married to someone else, the sin is not in the arousal or the imagination of that person, it is in the coveting. If you begin to have covetous thoughts about how you may lure them to have sex with your or leave their husband you have sinned.

So yes it is healthy for you to masturbate using nude pictures, paintings or drawings, or even porn(that stays within the heterosexual bounds(one man, one woman), not group sex or homosexual sex).

I have pretty much have covered the issues surrounding how to masturbate in a healthy way. Now I want to cover healthy reasons why we should masturbate.

What are healthy reasons why we should masturbate?

  1. To relieve the various stresses of life, work and other issues (as long as it does make us remove ourselves from interpersonal relationships.)
  2. To make up for differences in sexual drive between a husband and wife. Even in a healthy marriage, there times when our sex drives just don’t measure up, but we don’t want to bother the other spouse. In these times it is ok to masturbate to balance out the differences in drive.
  3. When married couples are separated by long distances – a good example would be when men are in the military.
  4. For married men to fulfill their need for sexual variety. It is not wrong for a married man to view nude images (not fornicating images) of various women and masturbate.
  5. For single Christian men and women to avoid fornication. This is one of the biggest reasons young teens and adults should not be shamed for masturbating, but should in fact be encouraged to masturbate. Many a teen or young adult would not have had pre-marital sex if they felt masturbation was an acceptable alternative.

The four reasons I give above are primary reasons why we should masturbate. There is one other that I wanted to treat separately because it is more complicated. More often than not this issue affects women more than men. Some women simply have a hard time having an orgasm through intercourse. It is just a medical fact. Even after exploring all the possible physiological and physical issues it just is difficult for some women.

These same women don’t feel like asking their husbands every time they have sex to manually stimulate them or perform oral sex (but husbands should be willing to do this if asked). So at some point these women may go off on their own and masturbate to give themselves some relief. Some women don’t need this, or rarely need it, others need it almost every time.

There is no sin in this behavior. Ladies, I would just give a word of caution that you make sure you have tried everything first with your husband to try and have orgasms with him. Many women find, (and their husbands do as well) that when they both take the pressure off her to have an orgasm during intercourse she actually has one!

Conclusion and Application

It is not a sin to masturbate. Masturbation can be abused like anything else (including eating). But when done in a healthy way, and for the right reasons, masturbation can be wonderful part of the gift of sexuality that God has given us.

I Corinthians 7 and Paul’s admonitions about sex in marriage

If you have read many articles on this blog, you will notice I allude to I Corinthians 7 a lot so I decided to dedicate a post just to looking at this very important passage of scripture verse by verse.

I Corinthians 7:1-7(KJV)

Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.

Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.

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.

But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.

For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.

I am not a KJV only person by any means and you will see me quote from many translations of the Scriptures.  But I chose the KJV as our starting point.  I will give what is my understanding of each verse (based on other translations and commentaries as well as my own opinion).

7:1

Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.

When Paul says “to touch a woman”, he is actually talking about marriage – a reading of this passage will confirm that to be the case.  He is not saying that man is forbidden from holding a woman’s hand or hugging her (as I have heard many times growing up in conservative churches). He is talking about it is good for a man not to get married.  But before we jump on the celibacy band wagon let’s see what he has to say in its entirety.

7:2

Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.

Fornication Biblically speaking refers to sex outside of marriage. So Paul is saying to avoid having sex outside of marriage, people should get married.  Now here we go from him saying in verse 1 it is good for man not to marry, and then he seems to be saying everybody should get married to avoid fornication, but again we need to let him finish to get the full understanding of the passage.

7:3

Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.

“benevolence” literally comes from the Greek meaning of “kindness” or “good will”.  So it’s literally saying the husband should render due “kindness” to his wife, and she should do the same for him.  At this point all the ladies are saying – yeah! I just need to be kind to my husband and all is well.  Sorry to disappoint, but “benevolence” in this context is a loaded term, just as “touch” was a loaded term in verse 1.  I believe though that “kindness” does reflect the attitude with which we should follow Paul’s commands in the coming verses, God’s Word given through his prophets and Apostles is never by accident, every word matters.

7:4

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.

Verse 4 really smacks modern feminism right in the face. The key word of “power” means just that, power or authority. The wife has authority over her husband’s body and the husband has authority over the wife’s body.  Paul acknowledges that men and women may have strong sex drives at any given point with his equal reference to husbands and wives authority over each other’s bodies.

The idea that “it’s my body and I can do what I want with it” has no place before marriage or within marriage for a Christian. Before marriage as Christians our bodies are the temple of God (I Corinthians 6:19), he owns them.  And Ladies yes this refers to all the parts of the your body, not just your southern region. I am not advocating that a man should ever use force when it comes to sex with his wife, but a wife should in love offer her husband her whole body, including her breasts and even her mouth(oral sex).

After marriage, while God still maintains primary ownership of our bodies, he sublets them to our Spouses to have their needs met.

Verse 4 is also the reason that husbands should listen to their wives in how they dress and how they keep their appearance.  For instance I keep my hair cut and my beard trimmed the way my wife likes it. If she wanted me to shave my goatee I would, but she likes it that way.  I wear the clothes my wife likes to see me in and I lovingly call her my fashion adviser.

This concept equally applies to wives. Ladies you should dress to please your husband, and apart from wearing something that you believe would be immoral, you should do as your husband asks.  Ladies that includes in the bedroom wearing lingerie your husband would like, and in the privacy of your own bedroom I can’t think of anything that would be immoral to wear.

7:5

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.

Now the rubber meets the road. Up to this point Paul has spoken of “due benevolence” and then about power over one another’s bodies in marriage.  Now he speaks in terms of fraud. To deny one another of the things he has previously stated (power over the body and sex) is to defraud your spouse.

Fraud is when a person goes into an agreement, says they will do a list of things and then does not do as they stated.  An example of fraud in the business world are these fly-by night construction companies that give people construction estimates, then take their money and run. Paul is saying that a spouse commits fraud when they deny the sexual rights of their spouse. While there are some men who deny their wives, the reality is more often than not it is the wife denying her husband.

Maybe as Christian wife you consider yourself to be pretty honest.  You would not steal from a store and you would never knowingly make a dishonest agreement with anyone.  But do you know ladies that as honest as you think you are, if you consistently deny your husband of his sexual rights to your body you are committing fraud? It is just as if you went to a gas station, pumped your gas, and then drove off without paying. In fact its even worse, if we make the analogy correct, imagine that someone you are supposed to love(a relative or friend) owned that gas station, and you just drove off without paying.   Paul is clear, when you get you married, you are giving your body to your spouse for the rest of your life.

Paul also answers the age old question – who determines how often a married couple should have sex?  “except it be with consent for a time”, so only with the consent of both parties can sex be denied. Many people (and by people I think mostly women) believe that sex should only happen by consent, when in reality denial of sex should only happen by consent.

Now should a man be considerate of his wife? Absolutely! There may be times for medical reasons or other reasons that a wife cannot perform her duty (and yes it’s her duty!). But sex should not be denied for things like “I am not in the mood”, “I just don’t need it now and you should only want to when we both want to”, “You have not earned it” or “You have not been romantic enough for it”.

The last part of verse 5 refers to the temptation of Satan. I believe every spouse needs to evaluate their performance with their spouse from time to time to see that they are not leaving their spouse open to temptation.  Obviously you cannot account for every way your spouse could be tempted, but you need to put in a good effort in this area.

For men – ask yourselves these kinds of questions in regards to temptations your wife might face:

  1. Do you compliment your wife on how beautiful she looks?  Or is the only time she hears that from a guy at the Super Market or at the place she works?
  2. Do you tell your wife that you love her on a regular basis?
  3. Do you talk with your wife, do you share an emotional connection with her?
  4. Do you try to make sure she is fulfilled in the bedroom, that she is sexually satisfied?
  5. Do you deny her sex when she initiates it?

For women – ask yourselves these kind of questions in regards to temptations your husband might face:

  1. Does your husband only see you in sweat pants and tee shirts? Do you still put make up on and nice clothes? Or is the only women he sees with makeup and nice clothes the ladies he works with or the lady at the store?
  2. Do you put on sexy lingerie for your husband? Or is the only women he sees in lingerie the ladies in the Victoria Secret commercials?
  3. Do you let him see you naked? Or do you scold him like he some kind of pervert for wanting to watch you undress?
  4. Do you give him loving sex, do you give yourself completely to him when you have sex or are you just phoning it in?
  5. Are there things you refuse to do in bedroom? If so is it because you believe they are Biblically wrong or is just because you are uncomfortable with it? Realize that anything you refuse to do in the bedroom opens an automatic line of temptation with your husband.
  6. Do you flat out refuse your husband sex for reasons other than medical?
  7. Can you say that you put in a 100% effort to fulfill your husband’s sexual needs and fantasies (as long as they don’t violate Scripture)?

7:6

But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.

What Paul is giving permission to do is to marry.  He is not commanding to marry, only giving permission to marry. Thus qualifying what he said early about letting “every” man and woman have their own spouse.

7:7

For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.

In verse 7 we see Paul explain what meant in verse one when he said it is good for man not to touch a woman.  He rightly says though, it is a gift and certainly not a command from God not to marry.

Summary of I Corinthians 7:1-7:

The Apostle Paul is stating these truths and commands given to him directly by God:

  1. Guys and gals, it’s good to be celibate if and ONLY if you have the gift of celibacy from God.
  2. If you happen to find yourself desiring the opposite sex, then by all means get married or else you might end up having sex outside of marriage.
  3. If you do get married, realize that your body has now been given by God to your spouse – to meet their sexual needs.
  4. Also if you do get married – you are forbidden from denying your spouse their sexual rights to your body unless they give you consent.  Even when consent is given it must only be for a short time and you need to come together soon to avoid temptation.

Is it unreasonable for my husband to expect to see me naked?

After_the_Bath_Woman_with_a_Towel_by_Edgar_Degas

The following is taken from a discussion on Yahoo Answers (http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20121127011916AAx68W7

Is it unreasonable for my husband to expect to see me naked? Dani asked 11 months ago   I’m 27 and have been married for three years to a wonderful man whom I cherish and love more than life itself. he and I have a wonderful relationship and are best friends. he is the first man I have ever been with sexually. I dated a few other guys in the past but was not ‘active’.  We have a great sex life, but the only bone of contention he has is that I refuse to let him see me naked-at any time. When we have sex I always wear a long t-shirt and prefer the lights out if possible. I don’t change in front of him, nor do I let him see me naked in the shower, bathroom or under ANY circumstances.  He always thought it was a little strange, but it became a little joke between us because he says he always thought I’d eventually get over it. Recently though it has been really bothering him. He feels that if I’m his wife that I should want to be naked in front of him. I’ve noticed it starting to be more of an issue ever since we have talked about starting a family etc. His stance is that it’s a little intimate piece of me that he doesn’t have, however I’m sticking to my guns.  This isn’t born out of any religious beliefs -I’m not religious, nor does it have to do with any ‘bad experience’ etc., and it has nothing to do with poor body image. I’m a pilates and aerobics instructor and am impeccable shape and very happy with my body. Nor is it cultural, I’m half irish and half french and live in southern california. I simply just don’t think it’s appropriate for a woman to prance around naked in front of anyone at any time, even if it’s her husband. I just find it undignified and quite frankly a little bit slutty putting it all on display like that.  Is he being unreasonable by wanting me to do this? Should I cave on my convictions just to make him happy?

Additional Details

@Zombie: It is about something…my personal belief that it isn’t something that is okay to do.

11 months ago

@Rain: Yes, 2 do become 1, but that does not mean that I should have to do something that i believe to be wrong. I shouldn’t have to sacrifice my personal belief for him and then make myself feel unhappy or that i did something I simply don’t agree with.

11 months ago

@ Veronica: I don’t think you read the last half of what i wrote. I am very confident -that is NOT an issue. I love my body, I simply do NOT think it’s appropriate to bare it all to anotehr person -husband included!  And pole dancing and burlesque? I view both of those things as incredibly slutty…I’d never consider either one of those things. I don’t WANT to be ‘comfortable’ with my clothes off. Morally I don’t believe in it.

11 months ago

@ Everyone: So everyone thinks I should just throw my convictions and personal beliefs right out the window because it’s what my husband wants. What i feel or want doesn’t matter. Shame on all of you. THAT is what’s wrong with marriage….assuming the woman must do whatever her husband wants to please him even if it goes against her personal views. Nice.

I found this on Yahoo answers and I just could not pass up commenting on it.  What a selfish woman!!!

Unfortunately many women have this attitude with their husbands –  they may not be brave enough to post about it but they feel the same way.  Then these same women get mad when their husbands glance at another woman, or they discover their husbands have been looking at pornography. Please do not misunderstand me, I am not saying one wrong makes another wrong right.  But when a woman denies her husband those things which God has designed her to give to him(whether it be in sex or allowing him see her naked body) she is displaying utter contempt for God’s design and her selfishness toward her husband.

If she didn’t want to show her husband her naked body(and give him sex as well) she should never have gotten married.  She needed to go get therapy to understand her utter selfishness before she got married.   A woman who gets married and expects not to have to display her nakedness to her husband, along with giving him her body in sex, is like someone joining a football team expecting never to have to play football.

I realize the woman in this posting has not claimed to be Christian or even religious, but for those women reading this who are Christians let me remind you of these Biblical passages:

I Corinthians 11:9(KJV)

Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.

Proverbs 5:18-19(NASB)

Let your fountain be blessed,
And rejoice in the wife of your youth.
 As a loving hind and a graceful doe,
Let her breasts satisfy you at all times;
Be exhilarated always with her love.

I Corinthians 6:19-20(NASB)

 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.

I Corinthians 7:4-5(KJV)

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

So in a nutshell this is what the Bible teaches:

1. Woman was created for man

2. Men are to find comfort and satisfaction in their wives’ body

3. God owns all our bodies as believers.

4. In this world(as opposed to heaven), God has given Men authority over their wives’ body(and likewise the wife over her husbands).

So based upon these scriptures it is crystal clear that God wants husbands and wives to give each other their bodies(and not just for sex).  This is also why a woman should wear clothes that her husband approves of(as long as he not asking her to go half naked in public).  But behind closed doors in their room, if he asks her to wear lingerie she should do it.  If he asks her to wear nothing, then she should do it.

If a woman refuses to give authority over her body(seeing it naked, having sex, having say over what she should wear or how she keeps herself) she is not in rebellion against only her husband, she is also in direct rebellion against God.  She has committed fraud, she is defrauding her husband.   In God’s eyes whether she said the words or not, when she agreed to marry her husband she promised not only to never give herself to another man, she has also promised to give herself(including her body) completely to her husband.

I would not fault this guy if he divorced this woman.  She has defrauded him of his marital rights and entered into a marriage contract under false pretenses.