Special Groups

We have sections you must join to use. You can see the full list here. Most you can join with a click. The medical and pastoral groups require approval.
Note, some groups were not accepting new members properly. That is fixed.

Married Sexual pleasure and the Bible

How does God fit into our sex lives?
Forum rules
Post in this section can be seen by guests and search engines.
Happyhubby13
Single
Single
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2021 9:57 am

Married Sexual pleasure and the Bible

Post by Happyhubby13 »

Hello all!

Coming to this board had started to cause me to look at the Bible and it’s teachings about sex. Perhaps I should have done so sooner, but here I am now. One of my presuppositions has been that married couples should enjoy sexual pleasure with one another. This morning, I dug through the Bible trying to find every reference I could to a married couple experience sexual pleasure together. Honestly, I was surprised at how few references there were! I found three potential passages... please let me know your thoughts and if I am missing some important passages!

1. Proverbs 5:15-19. This is the clearest passage in all of the Bible for encouraging sexual pleasure between a man and his wife. “Take pleasure in the wife of your youth... let her breasts always satisfy you; be lost in her love forever.” It is interesting that delighting in your wife in Proverbs 5 appears to be the means to avoid the temptation of the forbidden woman (Prov 5:1-14, 20).

2. 1 Corinthians 7:2-5. Like Proverbs 5:15-19, this passage presents pleasure in the marriage relationship as a means to avoid sexual immorality. The focus here is not depriving one another sexually. It is not clear here that sexual pleasure is intended in the marriage relationship but the context and reasoning seem to imply so.

3. The Song of Songs. Of course, the Song of Songs has long been debated. Is it to be interpreted literally? Figuratively? Is it a man and his wife? Israel and Yahweh? Christ and the church? Even if it is figurative, the picture of marital pleasure is used positively in this text. I lean towards a literal interpretation, which would mean that God included a whole book in Scripture to show the importance of desire and pleasure within the marriage relationship. Because of the difficulties in interpreting this text, I have placed it third.

4. Proverbs 30:19 describes the ways of a man with a young woman as wonderous. This implies sexual pleasure but is not highly clear.

5. A fifth potential Scripture is Ecclesiastes 9:9, “Enjoy life with the wife you love all the days of your fleeting life.” Here, sexual pleasure might be implied but it is not clear.

As i studied, it was surprising to me that I could not find a clear text in the NT mandating a husband and wife to enjoy sex together (besides maybe 1 Cor 7:2-5). The clearest teachings on marital pleasure instead all come from the OT Wisdom literature. Thoughts?
TinyTim
Queen bed
Queen bed
Posts: 141
Joined: Sat Jan 09, 2021 9:00 am

Re: Married Sexual pleasure and the Bible

Post by TinyTim »

I will start backwards with your thoughts. You comment about the NT not having much on sexuality compared to the OT. I find that is true about a lot of things in living life. This is somewhat deliberate. First the early church like us, had access to the OT and to many people who understood it and could share it's teachings. Second the NT is a collection of letters to the early church helping get the early church off the ground. Each time I go through the NT each year I get a tension between the group teaching and the individual teaching on how to grow the church. The more I read and reread the NT I learn more about growing and unifying the church. Every action I / we do is to make disciples. And for life rules am drawn back to the OT on how go about my day to day personal relationships with my wife, kids, neighbors, etc. Yes we get the whole love others as I loved you from Christ, but He was building on the command in the OT and explaining what God wanted from those of us who are true believers.
As for sex, God's first book, creation, gives us much to study. The bible points us to that first book and gives us a few guidelines. You pointed out Proverbs 5:15-19 as an example. The book of nature shows us that sex is great and pleasurable for us humans. But God is giving us guidance that this pleasure is to be tempered and focused with one person, the wife of our youth. Likewise we are also told throughout both testaments that sex is to be only between a husband and his wife only, and that no one else (other than God) is to be in that marriage bed. Nature is to be enjoyed not locked up.
This is where some teaching goes wrong. In trying to please God we become too pious and try to push too much of our humanity out of us. This is all done in the guide of removing the carnal nature out of us. Sex is the easiest to point to and pervert in the church. But yet in life the urge for sex and for intimacy with one person is a strong urge dare I say as strong of urge as eating and drinking. None of this is wrong. It is wrong the doing them in excess, making them your chief goal in life, and not doing them for God's glory. But as we see, in man's nature we will go to the extremes and make sex and the enjoyment of sex either a big sin or it becomes our ever growing obsession taking us away from our chief goals. Of worshipping God and growing God's kingdom here on earth.
I read Song of Songs and Ecclesiastes and see that these points us to the natural feelings we have towards the opposite sex and how beautiful God made us. We need to be reminded of God's limits on this but do we really need God telling us how to enjoy what he built in us? We do need Godly men and women come along aside us as we are reminded in Titus, to help us temper the natural urges and where to focus our natural attentions. Much of this is us sharing our testamonys one generation to the next.
User avatar
WirelessRouter
Queen bed
Queen bed
Posts: 125
Joined: Sat Jan 09, 2021 9:00 am
Location: Near the 45th parallel

Re: Married Sexual pleasure and the Bible

Post by WirelessRouter »

Much of the reasoning for the belief that spouses should enjoy sex together comes not directly from the Bible, but from learning biology and applying logic inside a Biblical worldview. Example: God created us and while doing so intentionally made sex pleasurable. He then ordered humankind to do this pleasurable thing. Therefore married couples are supposed to enjoy sex.


Also, please read Tremper Longman's commentary on Song of Songs. You can go to pdfdrive.com and read it for free. In it he does a great job explaining how allegorical interpretations of SoS have no basis in anything but egotism blind assumption and are all rendered nonsensical when put under scrutiny. I want to note interpreting it literally also leads to a mostly non-sexual meaning. What people ought to be doing is interpreting it contextually - according to the historical and literary context it was written in - because then there is much more of an objective basis to determine whether each passage is literal, allegorical, metaphorical, and etc.

Final note: If you do this kind of analysis on many common doctrines you will find similar results. Very few things in the Bible are stated directly multiple times. Even the concept of one God existing in three persons is never stated plainly; it is only found through inference.
Irnmyk
King bed
King bed
Posts: 282
Joined: Sat Jan 09, 2021 9:00 am

Re: Married Sexual pleasure and the Bible

Post by Irnmyk »

To put your question in context, if you had joined a "Christian based Board" about cooking/eating, could you go to the scriptures to justify cooking and eating?

Probably not. Most of the NT and OT references to that subject deal with the "what not to do's" than how to prepare and serve and consume wonderful meals. Dietary rules in the case of the OT, given to God's Chosen people to enhance their lives and in the NT, warnings about gluttony and eating meat sacrificed to Idols, to mention a few that come to mind.

In other words, the Bible isn't a guide for sex any more than it is a guide for food preparation/consumption.

It's a book about how to live right (in relationship with God and man) assuming that the two topics above are natural parts of a righteous life.
User avatar
PaulB
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 734
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2020 4:53 pm
Location: Eastern Washington
Contact:

Re: Married Sexual pleasure and the Bible

Post by PaulB »

Part of the difficulty is that the Bible has been "clean up" so as not to offend us - or give children ideas!

Bible:
Proverbs 5:15-19
English Standard Version
15 Drink water from your own cistern,
flowing water from your own well.
16 Should your springs be scattered abroad,
streams of water in the streets?
17 Let them be for yourself alone,
and not for strangers with you.
18 Let your fountain be blessed,
and rejoice in the wife of your youth,
19 a lovely deer, a graceful doe.
Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight;
be intoxicated always in her love.
In verse 15, her genitals are being discussed. In 18 his genitals. The original audience would have gotten these euphemisms, and when they read "fountain" they would have heard "penis". The SofS is full of these. A few versions do a better job with them, but I don't know of any that really does the original justice.

Then there is the word intoxicated in vs 19 - and it's a much more accurate translation. This word also shows up in SS 5:1b, which is God speaking "Eat, friends, drink, and be drunk with love!" [ESV] The word very much means intoxicated or drunk. God encourages us to get so carried away in married sex that we seem intoxicated. No restraint, no self-control, it's supposed to be wild abandon. Oh, and "drink" is better translated as "imbibe" - meaning alcohol.

Other passages in SofS talk about oral sex, both her on him and him on her. Again this is hidden behind euphemisms we don't get and translator's "protecting" us from what the Bible actually says.

The Bible is not chocked full of these things, but there are more than enough to let us know what God wanted.
Happily married for 36 years and living the good life near two of our grandsons!

Marriage and Sex Educator & Blogger
The Generous HusbandThe XY Code
User avatar
Hiswifeagain
Queen bed
Queen bed
Posts: 239
Joined: Sat Jan 09, 2021 9:00 am
Location: The Land of 10,000 Lakes

Re: Married Sexual pleasure and the Bible

Post by Hiswifeagain »

Happyhubby13 wrote: As i studied, it was surprising to me that I could not find a clear text in the NT mandating a husband and wife to enjoy sex together (besides maybe 1 Cor 7:2-5). The clearest teachings on marital pleasure instead all come from the OT Wisdom literature. Thoughts?
I think it’s sort of like mandating we must breathe. We breathe because that’s how God made us. (Okay there is some chemistry behind why we breathe, but I think you get where I’m going). ;)

God made sex pleasurable and He told us it’s not good for man to be alone and that we should share it only with our spouse. I think that’s enough evidence to suggest His plan. Image

I do think it would be nice to have that as an actual verse though. Back when I was a refuser/gatekeeper that would have removed one justification. :oops:




Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15
Happyhubby13
Single
Single
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2021 9:57 am

Re: Married Sexual pleasure and the Bible

Post by Happyhubby13 »

Hiswifeagain wrote: Wed Feb 10, 2021 7:08 pm
I do think it would be nice to have that as an actual verse though. Back when I was a refuser/gatekeeper that would have removed one justification. :oops:

I think that we CAN and should look to Proverbs 5:15-19 as a very, very clear text from Scripture mandating marital pleasure between husband and wife. So, there is your proof text!

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
Last edited by Link+Zelda on Wed Feb 10, 2021 10:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Fixed quote.
User avatar
Hiswifeagain
Queen bed
Queen bed
Posts: 239
Joined: Sat Jan 09, 2021 9:00 am
Location: The Land of 10,000 Lakes

Re: Married Sexual pleasure and the Bible

Post by Hiswifeagain »

Happyhubby13 wrote: I think that we CAN and should look to Proverbs 5:15-19 as a very, very clear text from Scripture mandating marital pleasure between husband and wife. So, there is your proof text!
Agreed, but I meant NT verses. Image
Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro




Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
Last edited by PaulB on Wed Feb 10, 2021 8:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: Fixed formatting
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15
Happyhubby13
Single
Single
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2021 9:57 am

Re: Married Sexual pleasure and the Bible

Post by Happyhubby13 »

PaulB wrote: Wed Feb 10, 2021 12:54 pm
Part of the difficulty is that the Bible has been "clean up" so as not to offend us - or give children ideas!

Bible:
Proverbs 5:15-19
English Standard Version
15 Drink water from your own cistern,
flowing water from your own well.
16 Should your springs be scattered abroad,
streams of water in the streets?
17 Let them be for yourself alone,
and not for strangers with you.
18 Let your fountain be blessed,
and rejoice in the wife of your youth,
19 a lovely deer, a graceful doe.
Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight;
be intoxicated always in her love.
In verse 15, her genitals are being discussed. In 18 his genitals. The original audience would have gotten these euphemisms, and when they read "fountain" they would have heard "penis". The SofS is full of these. A few versions do a better job with them, but I don't know of any that really does the original justice.

Then there is the word intoxicated in vs 19 - and it's a much more accurate translation. This word also shows up in SS 5:1b, which is God speaking "Eat, friends, drink, and be drunk with love!" [ESV] The word very much means intoxicated or drunk. God encourages us to get so carried away in married sex that we seem intoxicated. No restraint, no self-control, it's supposed to be wild abandon. Oh, and "drink" is better translated as "imbibe" - meaning alcohol.

Other passages in SofS talk about oral sex, both her on him and him on her. Again this is hidden behind euphemisms we don't get and translator's "protecting" us from what the Bible actually says.

The Bible is not chocked full of these things, but there are more than enough to let us know what God wanted.
Paul B, thanks for your thoughts! First, I should say that I am 100% for marital intimacy and mutual pleasure between husband and wife in marriage. I am simply looking at biblical foundations. Proverbs 5:15-19 is 100% clear that marital pleasure is good.

With that said, Understanding idiomatic language in ancient poetry is difficult. In Hebrew, in particular, there is very little extra Biblical Hebrew literature that can be used to understand idiomatic ways that poetic language is used. Therefore, there is a lot of guess work in determining idioms in the Hebrew Old Testament. While Proverbs 5:15 might be a reference to a wife’s vagina and this a reference to oral sex, it could simply mean a husband and wife physically enjoying one another. Likewise, I think that the evidence would be scant to prove that the fountain of Proverbs 5:18 is a man’s penis. It could more simply be a man’s sexual desire or urges.

While I would not completely discount your interpretation of those terms... I think we should be careful about having too high a level of certainty of poetic meanings in Hebrew poetry! The reason I urge caution is because of how many very strange interpretations have occurred because of those kinds of strange interpretations in the past. Many people interpret poetry through the lens of what they want to mean rather than through by the intent of the original author. In this case, I think it is difficult to know Solomon’s original intent with the terms cistern and fountain.
User avatar
newwifenewlife
Under the stars
Under the stars
Posts: 2310
Joined: Sat Jan 09, 2021 9:00 am
Location: Place colder than I want to be

Re: Married Sexual pleasure and the Bible

Post by newwifenewlife »

Happyhubby13 wrote: Tue Feb 09, 2021 11:55 pm Coming to this board had started to cause me to look at the Bible and it’s teachings about sex. Perhaps I should have done so sooner, but here I am now. One of my presuppositions has been that married couples should enjoy sexual pleasure with one another. This morning, I dug through the Bible trying to find every reference I could to a married couple experience sexual pleasure together. Honestly, I was surprised at how few references there were! I found three potential passages... please let me know your thoughts and if I am missing some important passages!

1. Proverbs 5:15-19. This is the clearest passage in all of the Bible for encouraging sexual pleasure between a man and his wife. “Take pleasure in the wife of your youth... let her breasts always satisfy you; be lost in her love forever.” It is interesting that delighting in your wife in Proverbs 5 appears to be the means to avoid the temptation of the forbidden woman (Prov 5:1-14, 20).

2. 1 Corinthians 7:2-5. Like Proverbs 5:15-19, this passage presents pleasure in the marriage relationship as a means to avoid sexual immorality. The focus here is not depriving one another sexually. It is not clear here that sexual pleasure is intended in the marriage relationship but the context and reasoning seem to imply so.

3. The Song of Songs. Of course, the Song of Songs has long been debated. Is it to be interpreted literally? Figuratively? Is it a man and his wife? Israel and Yahweh? Christ and the church? Even if it is figurative, the picture of marital pleasure is used positively in this text. I lean towards a literal interpretation, which would mean that God included a whole book in Scripture to show the importance of desire and pleasure within the marriage relationship. Because of the difficulties in interpreting this text, I have placed it third.

4. Proverbs 30:19 describes the ways of a man with a young woman as wonderous. This implies sexual pleasure but is not highly clear.

5. A fifth potential Scripture is Ecclesiastes 9:9, “Enjoy life with the wife you love all the days of your fleeting life.” Here, sexual pleasure might be implied but it is not clear.

As i studied, it was surprising to me that I could not find a clear text in the NT mandating a husband and wife to enjoy sex together (besides maybe 1 Cor 7:2-5). The clearest teachings on marital pleasure instead all come from the OT Wisdom literature. Thoughts?
I'm not sure where you can say some of those things with certainty about the OT literature. From my studies of the Song of Songs through a few books, studies and speakers, who went deep into the Hebrew and talked about certain things (as Paul B mentioned) that have been lost in translation but would not have been to the Jewish reader in the day and location in Israel and therefore, they've come up with the opposite conclusion. So yes, I think you've missed the boat on your OT conclusions. I think it could just as easily be argued that it is a stretch to make the SoS to be representative of Christ and the Church or Israel and Yahweh with such passionate language and body descriptions. This is a poetic book in the Bible and it's a passionate love story is a great read. It also clear than we are intricately and spectacularly designed by God for pleasurable lovemaking (which is reasonable conclusion by THE Designer's creative design in our bodies and emotional make up). Why not give us one book to see how a man and woman, relate, court, marry, adore each other and physically relate to each other?
Post Reply

Return to “The Theology of Sex”