Marriage bed undefiled; but is it sexually gratifying?
DR. AARON JAMAL WRITES…
For those who have attempted to model their marriage relationships in harmony with biblical precepts, Paul offers some guidance for couples: …, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband.3 Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. [1Cor. 7:2-3] NKJV
Paul is making it very clear the need to avoid sexual temptation and sexual immorality by submitting to regular sexual relationships for the gratification of your spouse. Since procreation would inherently produce terms of abstinence due to the pregnant status of the wife, sex is not an exclusive practice for procreation. His target is clearly to avoid sexual immorality.
However, if there is no gratification with regard to the intimacy should either spouse be allowed to venture outside of the marriage for gratification? The Bible calls sex outside of marriage to be adulterous and immoral, strictly forbidding both. On the other hand, the church has remained almost silent with regard to the issue of sexual gratification.
According to the Bible, neither the wife or husband has the right to deprive the other of sexual relations: “ 5 Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, … so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” NKJV [1 Cor. 7:4-5] It is clear that this strategy is to avoid the pitfalls of sexual immorality.
Neither of these references provides the standards for what is “regular” or suggests gratification as mandatory. However, Paul describes love as patient and kind. Additionally, he tells us that it is not rude or self-seeking, and declares that love always protects and always perseveres.
For those that are wondering why did I go to the subject of love while framing sexual relationships, I remember when it was common to refer to these relationships as “making love.” The fact that the Holy Bible gives permission for liberty in this relationship; “4 Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled;” NKJV [Hebrews 13:4] this liberty does not frame the methods or guidelines for gratification.
In this world where sexual appetites have been framed through hyper exposure to pornographic images and videos as well as R-rated TV, it is difficult to enter into a discussion about gratification and keep the discussion lined up with God. However, the fundamental need within a marriage is intimacy and it should be the highlight of what happens behind closed bedroom doors.
Talk to me…
Since what happens in the “marriage bed” is undefiled therefore unregulated I am
avoiding any attempt to regulate behavior patterns or using a broad stroke to explain sexual tendencies. On the other hand, I think that most couples that are experiencing gratification with regularity have developed a pattern of empathic communication. Historically, men have been extremely erotically responsive to verbal stimulation. That insight confounds me as to why some wives think they should not be required to tell their husbands how to please them.
Pillows don’t talk, but people should…
The idea that a man is to somehow know and understand the things you would prefer at a given time is probably as bad as expecting a restaurant to serve you a delicious meal with no guidance about what you like. They may be a great chef or cook, but without guidance for your preferences, you will almost certainly settle for something less than what you really want.
Likewise, your spouse may be an excellent, attentive and sensitive partner. However, without verbal guidance or affirmation, intimacy becomes a guessing game that is following unreliable visual indicators. This can often leave the spouse settling for something other than what they really want.
I have heard of men talking of episodes with prostitutes stating that what they appreciate most is the verbal flirtation and affirmation that they receive from them. It is not sinful for a wife to affirm or guide her husband towards her own gratification. It is, however, sound advice to communicate with positive affirmation rather than negative criticism.
With the marketing campaigns of Viagra, lubricants and other male enhancement drugs on the market there is an exceptional emphasis on performance in intimate settings. However, if that performance mimics actors and actresses playing roles in a sexually oriented movie, there is a probability that expectations will be unrealistic and intimacy will be superficial at best.
Teach me tonight…
Using a broad stroke in this one instance, I believe a deeper gratification comes from a far more pure and sensitive cuddling type of selfless expression of intimacy. The Bible clearly states “It is better to give than receive” and I am convinced that this is the route toward a higher grade of gratification. Coupled with the proper balance of communication, liberty and atmosphere, I believe that any married couple can explore new heights of gratification that are reserved for those that are committed to pleasing their spouse.
- IN CONCLUSION
If you are looking to stir up the flames of passion in your marriage you might start by talking openly and frankly about the things that you know will work best. Additionally, it may be helpful to discuss the things you’ve considered but never wanted to actually try. Many of those topics will perk things up just talking about them. They may still never be actually acted upon but the openness of your communication will be headed in the right direction. Gratification will follow open and honest communication. Affirming guidance during intimacy will insure more consistent and targeted outcomes toward satisfaction. “And that’s all I have to say bout that.”
DR. MARGARET JAMAL WRITES…
Although Paul states that it is better to marry than to burn [1 Cor 7:8], it appears that there is too much burning going on even within the marriage. I am talking about burning with the desire for sexual gratification. With this in mind, I believe that it is appropriate to consider that the gratification should go for both the man and the woman.
Fake It Until You Make – Why Some Men Visit Prostitutes
It has been acceptable for the wife to fake it as long as the husband can make it. Well, I for one believe that the lack of mutual gratification may be one of the greatest contributors to the high divorce rate.
Even when there is unrest and financial stress, taking time out for some serious intimacy can help clear the mind long enough to realize that there are still options.
At least you may realize that you still have something to provoke a good “Praise the Lord!” But if you deny each other of sexual gratification because you feel too much stress or are too tired from work, etc. it stands to reason one of you will begin to resent the source that is depriving you. What is even worse is when your spouse concludes that you are simply not interested in making love anymore.
My husband and I discussed a program where women were sharing about faking gratification for various reasons. Almost immediately, I began sounding my disapproval of such practices. However my husband shared that one “expert” explained how their research uncovered that men favored prostitutes because they were willing and eager to do that very thing. They affirmed and faked gratification because they realize how much it pleased their clients. While I still do not advocate pretending sexual gratification that does not exist, I strongly encourage both parties to seek and even pray for ways to provide the type of intimacy that is truly mutually gratifying.
It has been helpful for me and my husband to take time to discuss what we would like from each other. This is a time when we both discuss what we prefer in our intimacy. It is also a time when we invite each other to share what we would like to adjust in order to make our relationship even more gratifying.
- IN CONCLUSION
I have a few suggestions if you try making a date to discuss your intimacy preferences. 1) Decide not to suggest adding another person to the equation. Despite how the media glamorizes this, it is hardly a factor that will build a healthy marriage. 2) Avoid making response like, “yuck”, “are you kidding me?”, “that’s too weird” or “the devil is a lie”. I strongly doubt that these types of statements will encourage more of intimacy discussions. However seeking to uncover and address any genuine sexual frustration with empathy and compassion may do a great deal to increase the quality of any relationship. I strongly believe that keeping the marriage bed undefiled, and mutually sexually gratifying will go a long way in sustaining a good marriage.