So God designs marital sexuality to be like a feast that delights the senses. It’s beyond any meal we could prepare for ourselves, with course after course of succulent samplings, mouth-watering meals, and delectable desserts.
Imagine your favorite food. Is it chateau briand? Chicken enchiladas? Seafood gumbo? You look down at your plate in anticipation, ready to bring each bite to your mouth and savor its taste. At which point, I dump a cockroach right in the middle.
Do you want to eat it now? Uh, no.
Some things should be off limits – for food and in the bedroom. Yes, I understand that some cultures eat roaches, but that’s disgusting. And some people also partake in bedroom activities that are as repulsive as eating a six-legged exoskeleton. It’s as if they’ve dumped a cockroach in the middle of an otherwise perfectly good supper. Here are some OFF LIMITS sexual activities, in my opinion:
1. Viewing Pornography. This is inviting a third party into your bedroom and supporting prostitution. Remember that porn models and actors are paid to titillate their viewers. It doesn’t matter whether they consented or whether your partner consents to using pornography. Some people attempt to justify the practice by claiming there is educational value in watching films or viewing photographs, that they get new ideas from these sources. May I point you to your nearest Christian bookstore where you can peruse the Marriage & Sexuality section for tasteful, godly ideas that do not involve third persons?
2. Reading Graphic Erotica. Men have greater desire to view pornography, but women are given to reading erotic romance novels that are tantamount to inviting a third person into the bedroom as well. Yes, the character that makes your eyelids sweat and that you imagine as your husband takes you in his arms is fictional, but he is taking focus away from the partner in your marital relationship. Moreover, erotica also places an unrealistic ideal into the minds of the participants. In a book, Mr. Rippling Muscles can spend three hours pleasuring his love interest until she explodes in a frenzied peak that makes her perfectly coifed hair frizz. By comparison, you might think, “Hey, where’s my earth-shattering climax?” Hello! Your guy is, um, real. You can get that climax, but it takes relationship, communication, true intimacy. Not fictional shortcuts.
3. Anal Sex. I will have some Christians who disagree with this one. After all, there is no specific command against it in the Bible. Listen, there are a lot of things with no specific commands against them that we shouldn’t do because they do not comport with God’s principles or could harm others. This isn’t about trying to figure out how close to the “no further” line we can get. It’s about honoring God and your partner. The rectum is not designed for penetration, and such entry can have negative health consequences. This is supported by medical evidence, and Joe Beam of Family Dynamics does a good job addressing the potential harm of this practice. (See his post on “Another Question about Sex.”) Moreover, any references to anal sex in the Bible are condemned (though some believe such condemnation is due to other issues God had with the relationship).
4. S&M. That stands for Sadism & Masochism – like bondage, spanking, and a plethora of more intense activities. The focus is on dominance and submission here. And not the kind of submission discussed in Ephesians 5! This is not God-honoring in any way, shape, or form. Domination, injury, and subjection play no part in godly sexuality. Physical intimacy is for mutual pleasure, not pain. Anyone who thinks that S&M is pleasurable needs to see a counselor immediately; your past may have imprinted negative thought patterns that will cause nothing but harm to your relationship.
5. Force. Neither partner should ever be forced to participate in a sexual activity that is distasteful or unwanted. That means that if your spouse does not like oral sex, don’t have it. If it’s been six months since you had sex together and you feel the need to take what’s rightfully yours, get thee to a pastor! It is never okay to demand by physical force anything in the sexual realm. Sex is supposed to be a relational bond, one that elevates your partner and reinforces closeness. Force will never achieve that. If you feel that your partner is withholding something from you, discuss that with them, your pastor, and/or a marriage counselor to resolve the issues. But force is completely opposed to 1 Corinthians 13 love.
Now and then, we need a good dose of Thou Shall Nots. The secular approach to sexuality wants to take this beautiful thing that God offers and pervert it.
But remember how much God does allow! He provides His children the very best sexual relationship when they follow His plan. Read the Song of Songs in its entirety, if you need a reminder. Or make a list of all the great things you get to do with each other now that you are married. Isn’t it nice? (My post-vow self is having a lot more bedroom fun than my pre-vow self ever did.)
In fact, the best is to be had when we pursue sexuality that honors Him and our partner in every way! Deuteronomy 10:13 says, “Keep the LORD's commands and statutes I am giving you today, for your own good.” That’s what all of God’s plan and commands are: for our own good.
What do you think? What’s okay? What’s not?