FlammenherzTime and again I am asked questions about what is permissible or allowed in the marital bed. I generally assume that people are asking the question because one spouse thinks that a certain activity is great and really wants to engage in the particular thing, while the other one is reticent, uncomfortable or flat out doesn’t want to. Often what most people want to know is what the bible says about oral sex. So for all of those who wonder if it’s okay, I will offer my opinion. Remember, this is what I think and you, your spouse, your grandma, Dr. Phil, or other marriage speakers & books—both Christian & secular—probably have a variety of answers to the question.

Let me start off by saying that the very important underlying premise of any discussion on sex is that husbands and wives are to be lovers to each other. That means you are to love the other person, consider him or her in your actions and do what you can to make your sexual relationship safe, secure and pleasurable. If both people are comfortable with and mutually desire something, then it’s on the table. If one doesn’t, it’s off. I’m not sure what part of forcing, coercing and pressuring your mate to do something they don’t like fits into being a lover.

Now, as for oral sex, there are people who claim that certain scriptures from the book of Song of Solomon speak about it. I am not certain whether they do or don’t, much of that book is written in very analogous, flowery and poetic language. What I can say with certainty is that I’m sure God wasn’t surprised by it. I can’t imagine that it never occurred to him when he created the first man and woman, gave them the garden to live in and the freedom to have a sexual relationship. Surely He didn’t look at them and think, “Oh, My Self! I didn’t think they’d do that!”

That being said, and also qualifying that this must be a mutually agreed upon activity, I want to put down some parameters. First, I don’t think oral sex should be in place of regular, normal, vaginal sex. If you want to engage in it as foreplay, knock yourselves out. Scientific studies have shown the greatest orgasms—those that have the most potent release of hormones and endorphins and the most powerful and lasting physical effects—are not from oral sex, anal sex, or masturbating, but from regular vaginal sex. If you are fully capable of regular sexual intercourse, but consistently use other things to replace it, you are missing out on the best of part of sex.

What I have trouble with is people who think that oral sex (or anal sex, masturbation, fantasy and all sorts of other things) is the best sex. A word of chastisement here, especially for guys—it’s not just about what someone is doing to you that matters. Unfortunately, many men don’t get this because they have had their minds polluted through pornography that is all about what the woman does to the man and how she services him. Often men want their wives to perform oral sex because it’s what they see in porn images in magazines, movies and on the internet and think that it’s really great sex. It may be for him if he’s getting what he think he wants, but not too fabulous for his wife. So how is that making love to her, being a lover to the woman, and mutually satisfying?

Another reason that so many men prefer oral sex over the actual act of vaginal sex with their wives is due to the imprinting they received during their first sexual experiences. I’ve written previously about the power of imprinting and how men learn to key off their initial encounters. So if a young man’s first experience is lust-filled oral sex with a woman, he incorrectly learns that’s what sex is. He will imprint on that particular type of sexual experience and it will be what he desires and thinks he needs for sex to be exciting. A man will continually want to relive that which he was so aroused by at the beginning.

Many couples make the mistake before they are married of doing “everything but intercourse”. What they fail to understand is that they are sexually imprinting on this kind of activity. Then once they are married when they can and should be having intercourse, frequently the guy is still drawn to those initial experiences and would rather have his wife perform oral sex because that is what he is keying off. And , Lord have mercy, in this day and age in our culture where oral sex is the equivalent of a hand shake and teens and young adults don’t really qualify it as “real sex”, it is bound to have a huge impact on the future sex lives of these people.

Let me address those of you who need to supplement and do other things like oral or manual stimulation to reach orgasm. Some people just can’t get there through vaginal intercourse and I get that. Often the problem is that people have trained their bodies through masturbation so they won’t respond to anything else. I challenge you to work at this and give it your best effort to retrain your body to sexual intercourse.

Guys, stop the yanking on yourself and asking for oral sex. (It gives more pressure so guys frequently want that since it’s closer to the sensation created by masturbating.) Give your body a chance to learn to respond to the softness, touch and pressure of your wife’s vagina. It can be a bit difficult and frustrating at first, but also a lot of fun to relearn sex with your mate! Wives who masturbate, you need to knock it off too and allow your body to become responsive to your husband. Even if you were in to self-gratification in the past but have stopped for a while, it can take some time and effort for your body to adapt to other kinds of stimulation.

Another very important thing to consider is that men truly need to resurrect the art of being a lover to women. Learn how to touch your wife, what pace and pressure she needs. With a little effort, patience, and guidance from the lady, most guys can figure out how to arouse her. But, at the end of the day, there will be people that oral sex is the only option to get to “the promised land”; or maybe for medical or physical reasons they just can’t perform the act of intercourse, and that’s fine to supplement when necessary. You can still have a great time and enjoy a fulfilling sexual relationship with your spouse and you shouldn’t feel badly for going to an alternate method.

So as a fun, playful, part of sex, and under mutual agreement—not to be the standard staple of your sexual diet unless it is necessary—oral sex can have its place. Unfortunately for many people, and for all the wrong reasons, it has become the centerpiece of their sexual repertoire, replacing regular intercourse, and often only satisfying to one partner. In my opinion, that’s a far cry from what the sexual relationship should be in a marriage.

This article is written by Mark Gungor, who is one of the most sought-after speakers on marriage and family in the country. Each year thousands of couples attend his Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage® seminars. Mark is pastor of Celebration Church in Green Bay, WI. He speaks for churches, and various events, and is a speaker for the US Army. Mark has been featured on national broadcasts such as Focus on the Family and ABC News. His daily Better Marriage Minute program is heard on over 250 radio stations nationwide, and The Mark Gungor Show is heard daily from 10-11am CST and via podcast on iTunes. You can sign up for Mark’s weekly email newsletter to enjoy marriage tips, and special offers by going to his web site at markgungor.com.