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The Christmas I was engaged, I thought a lot about Mary and Joseph's sex life--the fact that Mary would have a vagina stretched from birth before Joseph got to enjoy her, wondering how long they waited after Jesus' birth before they indulged (I was always assuming they were as eager to enjoy the honeymoon as DH and I were!) Jesus had a bunch of brothers (and presumably sisters) so clearly they had sex a fair few times after.
Not just them, though: Jacob and his 4 sex partners and dozen (plus) children--did the women compare notes on his technique? (The servants anyway; I doubt the sisters ever felt comfortable with each other again.)
I just wonder how much sex, the urge for sex, and the feelings created by and surrounding sex affected Bible (and post-Bible!) history? What are your thoughts???
Think of the emotional anguish of Jacobs wives because of his choices. Leah was absolutely desperate for love and affection. She even explicitly talked about it in Genesis 29! (Exerpt below) She just longed to be affirmed and adored by her husband. He used that longing and conflict to get more sex. How awful!
I think about the sexual choices of Solomon. I imagine he was really "enlightened" and enjoyed all sorts of pleasures. He says such good things in Song of Solomon and Proverbs. But his knowledge eventually led him to worship sex as his God. (And I wonder if he will be in heaven because scripture doesn't record him returning to the Lord.)
In all things, I think these are a clear reminder to us to make sure our hearts are pursuing and delighting in the giver first and the gift second.
As for them enjoying it the way God meant them to, I think there is nothing new under the sun. I think some understand and delighted in sexual pleasure how God intended. And some were legalistic and and closed and some were liberal and too open. I think every generation has those who choose the high road.
Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben,[b] for she said, “It is because the Lord has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now.”
33 She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “Because the Lord heard that I am not loved, he gave me this one too.” So she named him Simeon.[c]
34 Again she conceived, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “Now at last my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” So he was named Levi.[d]
35 She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” So she named him Judah.[e] Then she stopped having children.
So then I try to think what could Jacob have done? Having been tricked into taking Leah as his wife when he didn't love her in the first place, how could he have behaved in a way that truly cared for her and met her needs while respecting the love he had promised Rachel? (This is a great object lesson for why God only permitted polygamy in that time and culture, but designed us for monogamy!!) Because God always leaves us a choice not to sin in any given choice, there has to have been a way that Jacob could have navigated that situation righteously--and still beget 12 sons to father the 12 tribes of Israel. What would it have been? Because I guarantee that they had tried everything (including every prayer, repentance, confession, and lesson learned they could think of) to get Rachel to conceive.
(I am not being argumentative; I am interested in genuine discussion and using what a former pastor called "sanctified imagination".)
I have also wondered if in the early days, people had a better understanding of sex or not. And if they did, how was it lost in the Victorian era?
Sex and the emotions that go with it are everywhere in the Bible. David and Bathsheba merit their own thread, for starters. I get sick just thinking about how embarrassed Dinah must have been in the aftermath of her rape. Plus imagine how Sarah must have felt as she lay in bed alone that first night Abraham spent with poor Hagar. All three of them must have had so many conflicting emotions.
I think that as humans are sexual beings, so much of the Bible's history is strongly influenced by sex. And we have to largely make inferences about how the women especially felt.
One of my favorite parts of the Christmas narrative is when the angel visits Joseph to tell him not to be alarmed. I have so much respect for Joseph. First, for wanting to divorce Mary quietly rather than create a scene. Second, for agreeing to raise the Messiah. I mean, who does that? Huge leap of faith right there. Even with an angel present. Joseph was, after all, just a regular guy. And yes, I respect him for being the man to shepherd Mary into motherhood and postpartum, and her first sexual experience afterwards. It's beautiful, really. The tenderness he would have had to have shown to this woman who had been prophesied in Genesis, but who was also really the girl next door. There's a reason. why the whole family is considered holy.
It's a lesson to the rest of us, I guess. God uses us for His glory. And sex is a part of that.
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