Let’s Talk About Sex

Excerpt from Chapter 9 of Beyond Shallow Faith, copyright 2018, 2019

God is Okay With Sex—Yes, Really! Christians have a reputation—not altogether undeserved, I must admit—for being uptight about sex. So let’s get one thing straight: God is very much in favor of sex. After all, it was his idea:

God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.”

—Genesis 1:27-28

A whole book of the Bible—Song of Solomon—is devoted to the subject of the physical attraction between man and woman.[i] Nor does the Bible support the idea that God intended sex only for procreation. Even that old prude Paul warned married couples not to abstain from sexual relations, except occasionally and for short periods of time, because the sexual attraction is too strong:

The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

—1 Corinthians 7:3-5[ii]

Paul was unmarried, and he considered that state preferable to marriage, since he had no wife to distract him from devotion to God.[iii] Yet Paul recognized the reality of sexual desires, and he endorsed marriage as the way to give expression to those desires.[iv] The idea that God frowns on sex, or that he approves of it only for making babies, finds no support in the Bible. . . .

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[i]. For example, in Song of Solomon 7:1-4, the groom admires his bride’s many attractive physical features. See also Song of Solomon 1:2, 2:2, 2:14, 4:1-5, 4:7, 4:9-16, 5:1, 5:4, 5:8, 5:10-16, 6:3-7, 7:5-12, and 8:6-7.

[ii]. Note that Paul calls marital sexual relations a duty.

[iii]. See 1 Corinthians 7:1, 7:7-8, 7:32-40.

[iv]. See 1 Corinthians 7:2, 7:9; 1 Timothy 5:11-12, 5:14.