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Read Letter

Sex and A Young Christian Wife, Mary*

My dear Mary, you’ll break your marriage eventually if you keep pursuing the current sexual policy in your marriage. Of course that’s not what you want but if your marriage breaks, your intention is a moot issue. A lack of intendment is irrelevant if we start playing with fire and end up arsonous. 
I think you’re binding yourself with religious fetters of iron. You have an ideological misconception of sex in marriage. And your husband is under intense sexual pressure as a result of this misconception. Sex is a big issue for men in marriage, and will be for a young man your husband’s age. There are things men can’t tell women because some of these things are difficult to express. Also because it’s freaky talking about those things as a third person. Your husband can’t speak to you as I’m writing to you. It will sound weird. So I’m going to tell you what’s going on. (Your husband wrote me last week in acute frustration).

He’s under so much pressure, so much so he has resorted to masturbating because you deny him sex. Your belief that sex is only for procreating is frustrating the young man. If you take time to think about it you’ll realise that that stand can only lead to absurdity. If the totality of children you want is, say two, does it mean that by age 32 your husband is done with sex for life? If he lives to be 70, and we pray God gives him long life, he has 38 years of mental agony ahead of him. He might as well become celibate – become a Reverend Father or something.

The Bible didn’t say sex is a sin. What the Bible is particular about is the context in which sex takes place. Your approach to the Bible is probably fueling your position, as well as your conception of Christianity. A “Thou Shalt Not” approach transports us back to Mount Sinai – to the mountain of statutory and regulatory terror. The spirit of the New Testament is faith, not fear, love not dread, grace not ordinance. We’re encouraged to have personal RELATIONSHIP with God, to go boldly to his throne room. That’s not saying we shouldn’t fear God; but the fear in the New Testament is reverential awe, not fright.

The dynamics of relationship between God and man in the Old and New Testaments are different. The Jews of old related to God as a remote deity, but in the New Testament God is familial. He’s a father. I’m just saying you can’t approach marital sex with the dimension of “Thou Shalt Not.” That’s not New Testament spirit. And you can’t limit your understanding of sex to the conceptual purport of Genesis. There’s more knowledge in the Bible. Yes, God told Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply, but that is not the sole purpose of sex, even in Genesis. Remember that part of the challenge Adam faced was loneliness from a lack of intimacy. Eve was introduced to solve that challenge; and the most expressive form of intimacy is sex. So there’s a soulish dimension to sex. The scope is not limited to procreative utilitarian value.

In marriage, sex is an expression of intimacy. And it’s interesting the Bible describes sex in knowledge terms – Adam knew Eve his wife, the Bible says. That means sex is a knowledge programme. Intimacy requires knowledge. And so we see that Genesis treats sex from a conceptual, soulish and utilitarian perspective. But Genesis is not the full coverage of sex in the Bible. The letters of Paul provide additional light. In fact, it is Paul who lets us into where your husband is coming from, why he’s in so much agony. Listen to what Paul wrote (I’ll use a modern English translation of the Bible, not 17th century English King James): “There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact.” (1 Corinthians 6:16 MSG). So there’s the spiritual dimension of sex – the sacredness and the principle of oneness.

But there is also the physical dimension – the “skin on skin.” There’s a physicality to sex. You’re ignoring that. “Skin on skin” is the stimulatory dimension of sex. It’s how you get to orgasm – that intense pleasurable release. There is thus the sheer thrill of physical copulation that’s non-utilitarian procreation-wise. It’s what Paul was writing about in this quote: “The marriage bed must be a place of mutuality – the husband seeking to satisfy his wife, the wife seeking to satisfy her husband.” (1 Corinthians 7:3). The New Living Translation is very instructive: “The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s sexual needs.” (1 Corinthians 7:3). That’s a loaded statement. Means there are peculiarities of sexual needs during coitus. Paul says each party should satisfy the other on his or her peculiar sexual needs. The Bible thus supports recreational sex in marriage. It’s not just for procreation.

But I want you to see something else Paul wrote; it will give you insight into your husband’s torture: “Sexual drives are strong, but marriage is strong enough to contain them…” (1 Corinthians 7:2-6 MSG). Marriage is thus a containment implement against the enterprising force of sexual virility. It means sleeping recreationally with your husband will help him manage his sex drive to prevent adultery. If you deny your husband sex you expose him to massive doses of temptation. The Bible is realistic about this. That was what Paul was writing about when he said fasting should have a terminal date, and it should be agreed upon. That implies cessation of sexual activity during a period of fasting. But a couple must IMMEDIATELY resume coitus after the fast, lest Satan tempt either of them, Paul wrote.

I know you want to please God and all that. And that’s all well and good. But if you want to please God in this matter, satisfy your husband. He owes you satisfaction too.

Your mentor, LA

*Mary is Jil’s sister. Rather religious.

© Leke Alder |


Tags : Marriage, Sex, Religion

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