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Married Couple

Answering Common Questions about Sex & Intimacy

- by Joyce Meyer

So many problems in our world today center around sexual immorality and confusion over what is right and wrong. People are looking for answers, and I believe it is part of the Church’s responsibility to teach what God says about this topic in His Word.

It’s impossible to discuss everything in one article, but I want to address just a few of the most common questions people ask about sex.

Is it okay to have sex before marriage?

I recently read a statistic that says about 90 percent of people have had pre-marital sex.1 In today’s culture, having sex outside of marriage is no longer seen as a negative thing. In fact, it’s become very common for couples to live together before marriage. However, statistics also show that the divorce rate is higher for couples who choose to do so.2

The Bible repeatedly tells us that sexual immorality—any type of sexual relationship outside of marriage—is a sin (see 1 Corinthians 6:9-10,18; 7:2,9; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; Galatians 5:19; Matthew 5:28). Sex was created to be enjoyed between a husband and wife within the confines of their marriage relationship.

I know this directly opposes what many people in the world believe. But you can be certain that when you choose to do what God’s Word says—whether it’s about sex, marriage, or any other area—your life will be blessed. Everything the Lord instructs us to do is ultimately for our own good. If you do things God’s way, your journey through life will be far more enjoyable than if you do things the world’s way!

Now, what I am sharing isn’t meant to make anyone feel guilty or condemned. Reading this, you may think that it’s too late or you’ve already made too many mistakes in this area. I want you to know that God loves you, and you can go to Him for forgiveness in this area just like any other situation.

I love 1 John 1:9 which says, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (NIV). God is a God of new beginnings, and He is always faithful to give us a fresh start if we come to Him with a sincere heart.

When it comes to sex, are certain things “off limits”?

We often receive questions about what is permissible inside of marriage. The Bible doesn’t address every one of our questions, but I believe a good guideline is to never force your marriage partner to do something they are uncomfortable doing.

I believe it comes down to loving your spouse. The Bible tells us that love …does not insist on its own way (1 Corinthians 13:5 ESV). When you are acting out of love, your focus will be on pleasing your spouse and making sure they are comfortable with the situation.

Every couple is different, and that’s why I encourage you to communicate as much as possible. Talk to each other about your expectations—what you like and dislike. Pray about this area of your life and ask God to help you say unified and enjoy your time together.

Now, there are some things that are simply wrong to include in your marriage. Pornography is one of those things—it is evil, and it has the ability to poison every area of your life.

I believe some people may think it’s okay to watch pornography with their spouse because they are married. However, when you introduce this into your relationship, you are opening the door for the enemy to sabotage your marriage.

Among other things, pornography takes things to the extreme and presents an unrealistic view of sex. It can cause someone to develop wrong expectations from their partner or desire to do things that aren’t even healthy for their marriage.

As you may know, I feel very strongly about putting a stop to human trafficking. Pornography is also strongly connected to sex trafficking, where people are forced into truly horrible situations. So, when we make a choice to keep our lives free from pornography, we are not only making a wise decision to protect ourselves, but we are also standing up for what’s right and protecting the lives of others around the world.

Hebrews 13:4 (ESV) says, Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. So, it’s clear that God desires for us to behave in a godly way and avoid immorality, even in the confines of our marriage.

What is my spousal duty?

In 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 (ESV), the apostle Paul shares a lot of great instruction. He says:

The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.

Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

This is so practical. Paul is saying that it’s unwise for a man or a woman to deny their spouse too often because that will invite other problems. Sure, there will be times when one person is sick, too tired, or not in the mood, and that is to be expected. But if it’s always the case, then there may some other issues that need to be addressed.

The truth is, you and your spouse each have needs. There will be times when you may not particularly feel like being intimate, but you will do it anyway because you love your partner and want help satisfy their needs. And this works both ways.

Now this doesn’t mean that your spouse has complete authority over your body and can just do whatever they want, any time they please. But Paul is making a point that we should be willing to be there for our marriage partner, even sometimes when we don’t necessarily feel like it.

You Can Talk to God About Everything

There are many people who have never thought to pray and talk to God about this area of their marriage. But God is interested in helping you with every single area of your life—including sex and intimacy. He wants to help you with every question, issue or difficulty you may have.

If your marriage is not as healthy as it could be in this area, I encourage you to open the lines of communication with your spouse and with God. Turn your situation over to the Lord and ask Him to lead and guide you. There may be issues that you have ignored for years, but don’t let that stop you! God can heal and strengthen any area of our lives if we will seek His help.

As the years go by in a marriage, I know this can be an area that gets put to the side. But I encourage you to take purposeful steps to increase intimacy with your spouse. Choose to view sex and intimacy as a gift from God to add more joy and fun into your marriage. As you do, it will strengthen your relationship, and you will enjoy a closer bond than ever before.

You may also enjoy The Role of Intimacy and Sex in Your Marriage.

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