Marriage Missions International

What Is Not Okay In Bed?

Image credit: growthtrac.com

Image credit: growthtrac.com

“If both partners agree, is anything taboo?” “What about the use of vibrators?” “Is oral sex okay?” [These are just a few questions that Christian women asked about the sexual relationship in marriage from a survey that the authors conducted.] But at the heart of each of these questions were two concerns: What does God prohibit in the sexual relationship between a husband and wife, and what does God permit?

We read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation and compiled a list of every scriptural reference to sex. As we reviewed our list it became apparent that God gives tremendous sexual freedom within the marriage relationship. But God also sets forth some prohibitions that we must honor.

These are the ten things God forbids:

1. Fornication: Fornication is immoral sex. It comes from the Greek word porneia which means “unclean.” This broad term includes sexual intercourse outside of marriage (1 Corinthians 7:2; 1 Thessalonians 4:3), sleeping with your stepmother (1 Corinthians 5:1), sex with a prostitute (1 Corinthians 6:13; 1 Corinthians 6:15-16), and adultery (Matthew 5:32).

2. Adultery: Adultery, or sex with someone who is not your spouse, is a sin and was punishable in the Old Testament by death (Leviticus 21:10). In the New Testament, Jesus expanded adultery to mean not just physical acts, but emotional acts in the mind and heart (Matthew 5:28).

3. Homosexuality: The Bible is very clear that for a man to have sex with a man or woman to have sex with a woman is detestable to God (Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13; Romans 1:27; 1 Corinthians 6:9).

4. Impurity: These are several Greek words which are translated as “impurity.” To become “impure” (in Greek, molvno) can mean to lose one’s virginity (Revelation 14:4), or to become defiled, due to living out a secular and essentially pagan lifestyle 1 Corinthians 6:9; 2 Corinthians 7:1). The Greek word rupos often refers to moral uncleanness in general (Revelation 22:11).

5. Orgies: For a married couple to become involved in sex orgies with different couples is an obvious violation of (1), (2), and (4) and needs no discussion.

6. Prostitution: Prostitution, which is paying for sex, is morally wrong and condemned throughout Scripture (Leviticus 19:29, Deuteronomy 23:17; Proverbs 7:4-27).

7. Lustful passions: First, let us tell you what this does not mean. Lustful passion does not refer to the powerful, God-given sexual desire a husband and wife have for one another. Instead, it refers to an unrestrained, indiscriminate sexual desire for men or women other than the person’s marriage partner (Mark 7:21-22; Ephesians 4:19).

8. Sodomy: In the Old Testament, sodomy refers to men lying with men. The English word means “Unnatural sexual intercourse, especially of one man with another or of a human being with an animal.” Unfortunately, some Christian teachers have erroneously equated sodomy with oral sex. In the Bible, sodomites refer to male homosexuals or temple prostitutes (both male and female). In contemporary usage, the term sodomy is sometimes used to describe anal intercourse between a man and woman. This is not the meaning of the biblical word.

9. Obscenity and coarse jokes: In Ephesians 4:29, Paul says, “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth.” The Greek word for unwholesome is very descriptive and literally mans “rotten” or “decaying.” In Ephesians 5:4, the Bible warns us to avoid “silly talk” or, as it is called in some versions, “coarse jesting.” We have all been around people who can see a sexual connotation in some innocent phrase and then begin to snicker or laugh. This is wrong. However, this does not rule out appropriate sexual humor in the privacy of marriage, but rather inappropriate sexual comments in a public setting.

10. Incest: Incest, or sex with family members or relatives, is specifically forbidden in Scripture (Leviticus 18:7-18; Leviticus 20:11-21).

God leaves much in our sexual relationship with our husbands up to our discretion. In all likelihood, the questions tugging at the back of your mind were not even touched upon. When she read this list, Shelby commented: “It’s helpful to know what God says is wrong, but I still sometimes wonder if what my husband and I are doing is right. We have a great time together in bed, but every now and then, this nagging doubt comes—does God approve?”

To help you and all the Shelby’s, we will get more specific and address the questions we are constantly asked.

IS ORAL SEX PERMISSIBLE? Clifford and Joyce Penner, in their excellent book The Gift of Sex, give this definition of oral sex: “Oral sex or oral stimulation is the stimulation of your partner’s genitals with your mouth, lips, and tongue. The man may stimulate the woman’s clitoris and the opening of the vagina with his tongue or the woman many pleasure the man’s penis with her mouth.” This sexual stimulation may or may not lead to orgasm for the husband and wife.

What does Scripture say about this sexual activity? Most theologians say the Scriptures are silent about oral-genital sex. Some believe two verses in the Song of Solomon may contain veiled references to oral sex. The first is Song of Solomon 2:3:

Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest,
so is my beloved among the young men.
In his shade I took great delight and sat down,
and his fruit was sweet to my taste.

Throughout the Song of Solomon, the word fruit refers to the male genitals. In extra biblical literature, fruit is sometimes equated with the male genitals or with semen, so it is possible that here we have a faint and delicate reference to an oral genital caress.

The second possible veiled reference is found in Song of Solomon 4:16 (KJV):

Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south;
blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out.
Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.

These erotic words spoken by Solomon’s bride are at the culmination of a very sensuous love scene. Shulamith asks her husband to blow on her garden (a poetic reference used throughout the Song for the vagina) and cause its spices to flow out. Of course one cannot be certain, but it is possible Shulamith is inviting her husband to excite her by caressing her with his mouth. She then invites him to enter her and feast on the pleasures waiting in her “garden.”

Dr. Douglas Rosenau believes Scripture is silent on the topic of oral sex. “This does not make it right or wrong,” he says. A key emphasis in the New Testament is Christian liberty. Nothing is unclean in itself, says Paul (Romans 14:14), and this presumably includes sexual variety. Lewis Smedes, professor of theology at Fuller Seminary, amplifies Paul’s statement abut nothing being unclean.

Christian liberty sets us free from culturally invented “moral” taboos; and since there is no rule from heaven, it is likely that the only restraint is the feeling of the other person. For example, if one partner has guilt feelings about oral sex play, the Christian response of the other will be to honor the partner until they adjust their feelings. On the other hand, if the partner has only aesthetic reservations, and if these are rooted in some fixed idea that sex is little more than a necessary evil anyway, they have an obligation to be taught, tenderly and lovingly, of the joys of sex in the freedom of Christ.

In Intended for Pleasure, Dr. and Mrs. Ed Wheat says that oral sex is a matter that concerns only the husband and wife involved. If both find it enjoyable and pleasant, then it may properly fit into the couple’s lovemaking practices. One goal of lovemaking is to fill a treasure trove of memories with delightful love experiences that will quicken your responses during your future times together.

One minister’s wife blushes happily as she recalls a memo her husband sent requesting her presence for an urgent “appointment.”

RUN DON’T WALK! YOU WON’T WANT TO MISS THIS EXCITING, DYNAMIC, RIPPING, SLEEP-DEFYING MEETING. Details follow: Would you like to have a meeting in the bathtub? (Loving massage and oral sex included.)

I love you,
Your husband

One woman might feel horrified by the above playful interchange between a husband and wife. To her, oral sex is repulsive. Another may think the minister and his wife have a gloriously free, creative, and fun sexual relationship. She sees that oral sex adds a beautiful dimension to this couple’s lovemaking.

Before we go any further, let us clarify our intent in this chapter. Are we suggesting you incorporate oral sex into your love play? No. We are not making recommendations. Instead, our purpose is to set out for you what Scripture prohibits and to encourage you to seek God’s wisdom concerning His personal recommendations for your marriage.

Each couple is different. Each husband and wife is unique. Because Scripture is either silent —or veiled —concerning this practice, the only way to discover what God allows for you is for you to ask Him. If you’ve never talked to God about your sexual relationship, now is a good time to start. You will not shock God. Remember, sex was His idea. God is a God of wisdom (Daniel 2:20). He promises that when we lack wisdom, if we ask Him, He will give it to us (James 1:5).

As you seek God’s wisdom, you might find it helpful to ask these three questions about any sexual practice you and your husband are considering:

Is it prohibited in Scripture? If not, we may assume it is permitted. “Everything is permissible for me,” (1 Corinthians 6:12).

Is it beneficial? Does the practice in any way harm the husband or wife or hinder the sexual relationship? If so, it should be rejected. “Everything is permissible for me—but not everything is beneficial.” (1 Corinthians 6:12).

Does it involve anyone else? Sexual activity is sanctioned by God for husband and wife only. If a sexual practice involves someone else or becomes public, it is wrong based on Hebrews 13:4, which warns us to keep the marriage bed undefiled.

Let’s see how these questions can help when it comes to making decisions about certain sexual practices that are not specifically spelled out in Scripture.

ARE VIBRATORS PERMISSIBLE? Some couples enjoy incorporating the use of sexual aids such as vibrators into their lovemaking. To find out if the use of vibrator is right or wrong, let’s apply the three questions. Is the use of a vibrator prohibited by Scripture? Is a vibrator beneficial in lovemaking? Does the use of a vibrator involve anyone else?

As we look at the list of ten prohibitions, we see that there is no scriptural reference that would prohibit the use of a vibrator. So if a vibrator enhances a couple’s lovemaking and is used exclusively for the couple’s private enjoyment, then it is permitted. Does this mean we are suggesting you run out and buy a vibrator? No. Again, we are not recommending any sexual practice. We are only trying to help you discern what is best in your marriage as you seek the wisdom of God.

WHAT ABOUT X-RATED VIDEOS? Obviously videos did not exist during biblical times, so we will not find “Thou shalt not watch X-rated videos” in Scriptures. (The same is true for vibrators.) But as we read through the list of the ten prohibitions, a red flag is raised. In number two on the list, adultery is defined as “looking on a woman to lust” whether the woman (or man) is on a video, in a picture, or in the living flesh. Secondly, number four on the list describes impurity as “moral uncleanness.” X-rated would qualify as “morally unclean,” thereby making them something God would disdain.

Now let’s apply the questions:

• Are X-rated videos prohibited by Scripture? Yes, based on (2) and (4).

• Are X-rated videos beneficial? Anything that promotes “moral uncleanness” is not beneficial.

• Do X-rated videos involve someone else? Yes. You bring the man or woman on the video into your lovemaking.

Based on these answers, we could conclude that God wants us to stay away from X-rated videos. [PLEASE NOTE: Look for a link to another article to read on this subject at the end of this one.]

We have considered three “gray areas,” oral sex, vibrators, and X-rated videos. There are many others. We encourage you and your husband to prayerfully seek God’s wisdom, study the list of ten prohibitions, and use the three questions to help you discern what to do in your specific situation.

As Christians we are simultaneously free and responsible. We are responsible to seek the best of the one we love, to think more highly of him and his desires than our own (Philippians 2:3-4). But we are also free to explore new territories of sexual delight.

According to Dr. Lewis Smedes, “The Christian word on trying out a sexual practice that is not prohibited in Scripture is ‘Try it. If you like it, it is morally good for you. And it may well be that in providing new delight to each other; you will be adventuring into deeper experiences of love.’”

God has given you great freedom in your sexual relationship with your husband. Remember His words to Solomon and Shulamith: “Eat, friends; drink and imbibe deeply, O lovers” (Song of Solomon 5:1).

The above article comes from the book, Intimate Issues: Twenty-One Questions Christian Women Ask About Sex, written by Linda Dillow and Lorraine Pintus, published by WaterBrook Press. This is powerful —one of the best “no-holds-barred books on intimate issues that’s available for Christian women (if not THE best)! It addresses 21 questions that Christian women ask about sex and contains so much practicality, healing sensitivity and spiritual wisdom on each subject. The authors present the union of two people so attractively, excitedly, and sacredly that it may be one of the most important books out on the market for Christian women to read because it honestly addresses the real sexual concerns of women. We can’t recommend this book highly enough!

— ALSO —

On this same issue, the following article, written by Paul and Lori Byerly, posted on The Marriage Bed web site, can be helpful, as well:

WHAT’S OKAY? WHAT’S NOT?

— AND — 

Please click onto the MarriageHelper.com web site link provided below to read how Joe Beam answers the following question:

SHOULD MARRIED COUPLES USE PORN TO ENHANCE THEIR SEX LIFE?

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Comments

76 Responses to “What Is Not Okay In Bed?”
  1. Jeremy says:

    (UNITED STATES) My wife and I have been enjoying each other for the past 18 yrs we’ve been married. Like everything else in life, oral/anal/vaginal sex is something that both of you need to discuss with each other.

    For example, 6 years ago we tried anal sex. It was something that I wanted us to try and at first she wasn’t that keen on the idea, but we had an open and honest talk about why I wanted to try it with her and she decided that she was willing to try it for my sake to see if maybe she would enjoy it (it was something that she’d simply never really thought about). I did everything I could to make it comfortable for her but in the end it just wasn’t something she enjoyed so we decided that it wasn’t for us. Even though it didn’t work out for us like I might have hoped, she was glad that we tried it because it was her way of showing me that she was willing to try something new to make me happy.

    She surprised me 2 years ago when she decided to try oral sex, something I’d thought about, but had never asked her for because I always thought that she’d be too grossed out by the idea of it since it wasn’t something her parents ever talked to her about in “the talk”. (I asked her for one, but not the other because I thought she’d be more grossed out by oral sex than anal sex, never said I was the brightest bulb…) It was a wonderful surprise for me and although she doesn’t want to be on the receiving end of oral sex, she’s more than willing to give it to me if I ask her (and sometimes I don’t even have to ask) and as a result we’ve enjoyed it on and off as part of our sex life since.

    In the end because we were willing to talk about what we both wanted in our sex life and we both could find a middle ground that we both could enjoy, now our sex life is better than it ever was.

    • JoeM from United States says:

      Sorry. But it’s one thing for a couple to talk about and do things in private. But it’s another to talk (boast) about it online (in public), which to me is wrong. We may not see you sex capades. But we’re invited into them (so to speak) when you give details or summaries. I think we need to learn to keep things scriptural instead of looking for excuses to do nasty things with one another. If a couple are both devoted to GOD and waiting patiently each and every day for the Spirit of Christ to purify their hearts, then they will be removed from Sin. Therefore, the love of lust will fade. And that alone should tell us how clean a marriage bed will be. If someone keeps looking for reasons to have anal sex, then that’s a sign that they aren’t receiving the faith of Christ.

  2. Bill says:

    (USA) How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? Jesus came to set us free from the thousands of Mosaic laws and scrupulous Christians try to recreate the same; forever about sex. Please. It’s not about sex, it’s about love.

  3. Rickiya from United States says:

    I too believe oral and anal sex are perverse. I refuse to allow my husband to perform oral on me and I will never perform on him. I work in the medical field and I know this is filthy. I felt convicted by the Holy Spirit that this was not right. People want to quote “let the marriage bed be honorable and be not defiled” but people fail to realize the marriage bed is defiled when we practice perverse sex that homosexual’s practice. Lets hear the testimony of those who practiced this in the bedroom and have paid a terrible price for this type of behavior. Don’t be surprised with the rise of anal and oral cancer in this generation. I work in the healthcare field and I’ve seen unbelievable things.

  4. Teresa from United States says:

    My husband of 18 years likes role plays, making videos on his phone, taking pictures, oral, and even used a bannana a few times, if I would let him anal. I hate it. I feel so disgusting. If I say anything to him he gets mad and tells me that I’m boring and he’s just trying to spice things up. To avoid a fight and criticism I just do it hating every minute of it.

    I believe this is more lust than love. He struggles with the spirit of lust he got when he was 12 when he saw his father’s porn. He has cheated on me twice while married and twice before we were married that I know of. I regret ever taking him back. He doesn’t think there is anything wrong with it since we are married. I can’t go to our pastor because he is my father. I’ve prayed about it asking the Holy Spirt to convict him. I think he does get convicted but denies it, because he will stop for a month or so but always goes back. I don’t even know if I love this man anymore. He has put me through so much emotionally and physically. He admits to having lust, has even read Every Man’s Battle. I’m really at a loss.

  5. John from United States says:

    The most important thing to God is the simple fact that a man and woman love each other and help each other through life together. Sex is a way to share each other in a way that you do not with the rest of the world. If your partner wants to explore parts of this world with you then you should enjoy it. That is why you are together. I do not believe it is acceptable to condemn and judge your partner for things (unless they really are horrible) and in that case you should leave. But wives and husbands whose spouses would like to explore oral or anal or anything else between two people is not only ok but who else to do things with? People who are too good or too judgmental often don’t realize not only parts of this world that God has given us but what better to share with your one partner more than one’s self?

  6. Jen from Canada says:

    Hi. This sexual question has become the separation of my marriage. My husband believes that anal sex is alright with God, and I was not sure. I think I may have been convicted from the Holy Spirit, but I am not totally sure. I was Christian before, but I wasn’t really living it or understanding it. I became convicted of not being married and having two children together etc… We were engaged and then we got married after my conviction. I then started questioning anal sex.

    This is very important to my husband. He feels like it is a part of sex and it is denying to him if I were to refuse it. Like a rejection of some sort. He is still figuring out what Christianity is all about. I spoke to different pastors and got all different opinions on this matter, that it was wrong, or that is was right, or that it was grey. It has now created such a division between us and a mistrust. As I said, it was ok for Christians to do so, and then I changed my mind.

    We are now separated and our two children will be in divided homes. I am very sad about this. I became a Christian and this sexual act that is not in the Bible has become what separated us. How do we know what is right or wrong? I just know that my family is broken and I do not know if I am right by refusing this sexual act and claiming it to be wrong with God.

    I never knew it was so unclear to be a Christian. So unclear to know what is pure. I know we are suppose to love and please the other, but of course we are to love God above all including our own families. If there are any suggestions or wise words, it would be appreciated.

    • Dios es Amor from United States says:

      Hi, I am sorry to hear about your separation. I noticed however that you mentioned anal sex not being in the Bible, but it is. It is referred to as sodomy, and it is a deadly sin. It does not give an exception to married couples either. Go to biblegateway.com and type sodomy into the search bar since I cannot remember the passage just now, and it will bring up the passage for you. You were not wrong, even if it was permissible. No husband should coerce his wife to do anything she felt strongly against. Also, this should not be the driving force for a marriage to become divided, so I am very sorry to hear that it was. I will pray that things turn around for you and your family. God bless you.

Marriage Missions International