What Is Not Okay In Bed?

Not Okay in Bed - AdobeStock_145226415“If both marriage partners agree, is anything taboo?” “What about the use of vibrators?” “Is oral sex okay?” [These are 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 concerning the marital bed, what does God permit? In other words, what is not okay in bed?

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.

Concerning What’s NOT Okay in Bed

These are the ten things God forbids in and out of bed:

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. (See: 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. (See: 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). It can also mean 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. (See: 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. (See: 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 biblical literature, fruit is sometimes equated with the male genitals or with semen; so it is possible that 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 about nothing being unclean.

He writes:

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.

YOUR MARITAL BED: For the Husband and Wife Only

In Intended for Pleasure, Dr. and Mrs. Ed Wheat writes that oral sex is a matter for 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 are included.) I love you, Your husband

Women Respond Differently in Bed Sexually

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. 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.

Three Questions Concerning What is Allowed in the Marital Bed:

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 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.

As far as what’s NOT okay in bed, 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: The following are a few linked articles that explain more about watching X-rated videos:

READER QUESTION: Is Watching Porn Together Okay if We Both Agree?

SHOULD MARRIED COUPLES USE PORN TO ENHANCE THEIR SEX LIFE?

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.

Seek the Best

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 be drunk with love!” (Song of Solomon 5:1)

This 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.

— ALSO, As far as What’s Okay in Bed —

Below you will find several linked articles we encourage you to read. In reading them we believe you will know better what God does and doesn’t allow us to do sexually in bed and out of the bedroom:

WHAT’S OKAY IN THE BEDROOM

WHAT’S OKAY? AND WHAT’S NOT?

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Filed under: Sexual Issues

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Comments

208 responses to “What Is Not Okay In Bed?

    1. So your saying it’s ok for a Christian to go to a sex store full of porn and immoral things and buy a vibrator? Vibrators are made from sexually immoral businesses but it’s ok for Christian to indulge? God says to be fruitful and multiply. Which is why let’s say two homosexuals is an abomination. How do you be fruitful and multiply? Sex, sperm and egg meet. Point I’m bringing up is why I’m definitely on the fence with oral sex. Oral sex is same sexual behavior as homosexuals. You can’t be fruitful and multiply that way.

      1. There are a few “Christian” web sites where you can obtain vibrators and such to encourage playfulness in marriage. They don’t have porn and such contained on this online store. We link to at least one of them in the “Sexual Issues” Recommended Resources Index. You can find it at: https://marriagemissions.com/about-us-2/sexual-issues-links-and-resource-descriptions/.

        This is what they say about the things they sell: “We know that sex toys, marital aids, vibrators, or whatever you call them can’t in themselves be Christian or not Christian! So what makes us different? Everything we sell has been extensively researched and scrutinized to ensure it is in classy nudity free packaging and designed to be used together by husbands and wives. We also only order from companies with no ties to pornography. The links on our site, the advice, articles, games and more are all offered to draw you closer in your relationship with your spouse and encourage you to be the husband or wife God intended you to be! Have fun!”

      2. God created sex, plain and simple. Sexual immorality is everything outside of the marriage. God DID NOT put any restrictions on the marital bed. I guess you do not kiss your wife. Does it really make a difference WHERE you kiss her? You sound like those people that say the body is a temple and IT IS but when you start to reference it to one sin or another as many do they fail to remember that Yes the body is a temple but we all sin and we live in that body. We live in a sinful body. We need to come out of sin.

        When God is silent about anything why do we want to try to change the Bible? If oral sex was a sin God would have said so. I guess you never sucked your thumb as a kid. Don’t try to justify it one way or the other. You don’t own your body. Your wife doesn’t own her body. God created lust and it does need to be controlled. That is why we marry. But to put restriction on the marital bed and what a man and woman does in the marital bed is not your concern. God allows oral sex otherwise he would have said it was wrong.

        We, including MEEE need to keep in mind that EVERYTHING is vanity. As I ask my wife quite often… what makes one word good and another word bad? Who defined filthy words? I don’t read a list of dirty words in the Bible. I need to stop looking at what other people do and say and just serve God. It doesn’t matter what anyone else does because God is judging me and how I react.

        If you think oral sex is wrong, then don’t do it. But we can’t judge other people because WE are not God. When they violate what IS written in the Bible as SIN then we can judge. Did I create sex… No. Is sex enjoyable… Yes. As I see it there is the marital bed and sexual immorality and you can draw a line between them and label them as good and bad but keep in mind what sexual immorality is… everything sexual outside of the marriage!!!

        God wants the husband and wife to have sex and to do it frequently so Satan can’t draw you into sexual immorality. It’s just like gossip. What is it… any words that we speak that are not uplifting and edifying in the body, the church. Talking about the weather is wrong but we still do it. I’m going to let God judge if oral sex is wrong. Think about this… does God have a problem with nudity? Adam and Eve were nude in the garden and God didn’t have a problem with it but because Adam and Eve did, he clothe them. We need to serve God, plain and simple and YOU ARE and I feel so am I. Praise God to be a Christian!!!!

  1. I just have one question… Why aren’t vibrators mentioned in the Bible? Hmmm…This could be the correct answer… THEY WEREN’T INVENTED YET! Sexual intercourse was created for a husband and wife to produce children and give each other pleasure. “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” Genesis 2:24. A vibrator is not made of flesh. Does God approve of there usage? Now, if you understand the above; you have the answer.

    1. Michelle, You won’t find EVERYTHING mentioned in the Bible. So you pray about it. I don’t know that there is one, specific answer for this issue. I know of a married couple that actually use a vibrator in their love making because he has some problems where he can’t bring his wife to climax. They use this as part of their intimate experience when they are together. This helps them. This is used in their marital bed. They aren’t inviting anyone else into it–physically, visibly, or through wrongful imaginations. So, I sure can’t see anything wrong here. … But I can tell you that I don’t “have the answer.” There are no “thou shalt nots” given in the Bible directed at vibrators being used in a marital bed. So again, this is a matter of prayer, asking for wisdom.

    2. Hate to answer an older question, but, “approve their usage? not made of flesh, not in the Bible. .. This opens a big can of worms all the way from driving a car to using a cell phone. They are not in the Bible, but we use them. Wine is mentioned throughout the Bible but we are condemned for even cooking with it. I am not 100% sure of your response.

  2. I commented recently on something else that goes together with the first comment. I find myself sometimes starting to use the items by myself even though I finalize together with him and sometimes I would make him orgasm with my hand with him not being erected. I hope I’m not being to blunt about my situation. Please help us. He’s not serving the Lord yet but I believe and trust God he will.

  3. This article is really quite terrible. The author is basically assuming everything is acceptable in the marriage bed. They won’t even say that anal sex is sinful, which it obviously is; it wasn’t meant for sexual use. It spreads disease. They won’t even rule out vibrators. Are you out of your mind? Where is your discernment? Repent of this terrible article, remove it, or rewrite it.

    1. Boy; what a ray of sunshine YOU must be to be around. Do you insist on turning the lights off when you do it too?

    2. Because their consciences are seared with a hot iron. They’re wolves in sheep’s clothing.

  4. My question is, as a wife of a minister, could one give oral sex to him and receive it back from him? I do not believe it is a sin that I am putting on the table.

    1. It doesn’t make any difference if you are a minister’s wife or a minister or any other married person making love to his or her own spouse. If you both are in agreement about it, and you are not involving any other person or image of a person in any way, then that would not “defile” the marriage bed in any way. You are free to enjoy each other’s bodies fully as a wife and husband.

    2. It’s a sin; even your conscience says so. It’s obviously not hygienic and as a result you catch STD’s from it (yes, even from doing it with one person).

      1. That’s not true about the STD. There has to be an infected person involved to catch an STD. I understand that to you, this is a sin. But there is nothing in the Bible that says, “Thou shalt not.” And what about the whole act of intercourse is hygienic? You are swapping fluids. If oral sex repulses you, then don’t do this with your spouse. But I encourage you to refrain from telling other spouses that they cannot do this in their marriage bed if both of them consent. It’s their marriage bed, not yours.

  5. I just wanted to say I absolutely adore this site. I’ve recently gotten married, and this is so much help.

    1. Thanks so much for the supportive words. May the Lord use the things you learn to help your marriage grow into a wonderful, supportive one! And: “May the Lord direct your heart into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.” (2 Thessalonians 3:5) And: “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!” (Romans 15:5-6)

  6. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and backing them with scripture. I’m a bit taken aback by the vitriol some are responding with here. It’s hard to address without coming across as mocking.

    I think there is logic to applying ‘If the Bible doesn’t address it, it is ok.’ I believe God created us to enjoy pleasure… in an amazing, ‘earth-shattering’ way – both sexes. I believe God gets exasperated with us sometimes – He has emotions as well – Anger, pleasure, satisfaction, irritation, etc. I think when he looks at a sanctimonious, self-righteous Christian (someone who has added to the restrictions God has already put into place) and what they say (e.g. on this site), He says, ‘Really?!’ and, ‘C’mon! THAT IS NOT what I said nor implied! Do I have to spell out EVERY THING?!’ He left some things up to us.

    So, again, thank you for being clear, honest, loving and courageous when you share your advice. I believe these people who limit sex to a very narrow window and refuse the pleasures God allows, they have the same attitude as Peter when God lowered the ‘sheet’ with the ‘unclean food’ and Peter rejected it… same mentality. Regards.

    1. Steven, Thank you for your words of encouragement. What you said, so succinctly, means a lot to Cindy and me; and we are glad that this article encouraged you. Blessings! Steve and Cindy Wright

  7. I am so pleased to announce that you are highly appreciated, honored and gifted to teach Christian about marriage and sex and romance. I encourage you to continue to teach us and send us all tips, facts or teaching so that we can help other Saints. Amen. I am a bishop of UPC. Shalom the bride.

  8. What help should I seek- articles, therapist etc? I’ve been married 24 yrs. in a rollercoaster marriage of showed with love to outbursts of anger- this affects my affection causing great intimacy problems. I carry shame as well- at 18 & a virgin, I was raped feeling “ruined goods” afterwards. I disassociate in my mind during sex imagining I’m someone else in hopes to find sexual freedom. I often imagine a perfect female body enjoying sex with a handsome husband. I feel off and guilty that I need a mental image of someone besides myself to feel sexual. I still cannot reach orgasms. What is the married Christian woman supposed to think/focus on to reach sexual pleasure/orgasm? Thank you

    1. DeVona, I’m so sad for you that you have come to this place. Yes, it does appear that you have been on a rollercoaster in many aspects of your life, including your marriage. My heart goes out to you.

      As to what you can do about this, it’s difficult to say. But first, please don’t feel like there’s no hope. There always is as we look to Jesus to help and guide us. But you will have to be patient for a while longer. You didn’t get to this place overnight so it may take longer than you had hoped it would. And you may have to go through several different doors in your journey to healing; it’s hard to say. Sometimes it happens that way. But there IS hope.

      You ask, “What help should I seek–articles, therapists, etc?” My answer is yes. I would seek every aspect of healing. I would also try to seek out a Christian counselor–one that is marriage friendly so he/she can eventually help to get your marriage on the track it should be on after he/she works with you first. But since this is so complicated I would be careful of the therapist you pick. If you don’t know of a good one, then you may want to reach out to the ministry of Focus on the Family. They have a great counselor referral service. Here’s a link to their page that talks about that: https://www.focusonthefamily.com/get-help/counseling-services-and-referrals/. You may need to talk to someone there so they can be more specific in referring you to the type of counselor you need — probably someone that also specializes in sex therapy. Not sure. But it’s worth a try.

      I pray the best for you, truly. I pray the Lord helps you, guides you, comforts you, speaks to you, and works in and through you in this situation. I also pray God infuses hope into your heart that you will eventually experience better days –ones that will bring a smile to your heart. “May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.” (Jude 1:2)