*This article was discussed recently in Episode 12 of the author’s podcast, All Truth is God’s Truth. You can find the episode here (iTunes, Google Play, or Stitcher). Subscribe for more interaction with culture from a consistent Christian worldview.
This article assumes that the Bible teaches that sex in marriage is a voluntary choice made by each person in the marriage. This article also assumes that most Christians are not having too much sex in their marriages. I doubt that’s a huge problem with many Christian marriages. The most important thing about sex in marriage is that you have sex with your spouse in your marriage. See 1 Corinthians 7:2-5,
2 But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. 3 The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 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. 5 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 (ESV).
In order to encourage sex within marriage, here are 10 worldly myths about sex in marriage that need to be rejected:
Myth 1. Being “in the mood” is a prerequisite for sex. The only prerequisite for sex in the Bible is marriage. The apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 7:2-5 refers to sex within marriage as a “duty” (opheilēn in Greek) that husbands and wives should provide for their spouses. The ESV translates opheilēn as “conjugal rights.” The concept of “being in the mood” is foreign to Scripture. Do your duty husbands and wives and have sex with your spouses when you are in the mood and when you aren’t.
Myth 2. The person with the lowest sexual appetite should control sexual frequency in marriage. No single spouse should “control” sexual frequency in marriage. Sexual frequency in marriage should be determined by both spouses. There needs to be “mutual agreement” according to Scripture concerning frequency of sex within marriage (1 Cor. 7:2-5).
Myth 3. Husbands should not seek to control or limit their sexual appetites. In most cases, husbands will desire sex more than their wives. Husbands should seek to control or limit their sexual appetites for the sake of their wives, remember Paul’s emphasis on “mutual agreement” (1 Cor. 7:2-5). Furthermore, Husbands should seek to exercise self-control due to this being a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). Plus, there will be times in marriage of sexual infrequency due to health issues, work, spiritual reasons, etc. For example, the apostle Paul encourages Christians in Corinth to practice abstinence for a brief period of time based on mutual agreement for the sake of prayer (1 Cor. 7:2-5).
Myth 4. Wives should not seek to cultivate or increase their sexual appetites. In most cases, wives will desire sex less than their husbands. Wives should seek to cultivate their sexual appetites for the sake of their husbands; again, there should be “mutual agreement” concerning sexual frequency (1 Cor. 7:5). Sexual frequency in marriage is more important than our sexual appetite.
Myth 5. Sexual attraction is a prerequisite for sex in marriage. There may be times when you or your spouse are less or more attractive. This reality should be irrelevant concerning sex in marriage. The only prerequisite for sex in the Bible is marriage.
Myth 6. Praise, appreciation, compliments, awe, etc. are prerequisites for sex in marriage. The only prerequisite for sex in the Bible is marriage. Granted, a nagging, unappreciative, complaining wife does not encourage a husband to give her conjugal rights, but nevertheless, you give your wife conjugal rights because she is your wife, not because she is the “wife of your dreams.” A sinful wife is still your wife. Do your duty; have sex with your wife.
Myth 7. Dating, listening, intimate talks, appreciation, etc. are prerequisites for sex in marriage. The only prerequisite for sex in the Bible is marriage. Granted, a couch that burps, who doesn’t compliment, who doesn’t appreciate you does not encourage a wife to give him conjugal rights, but nevertheless, you give your husband conjugal rights because he is your husband, not because he is the “husband of your dreams.” A sinful husband is still your husband. Do your duty; have sex with your husband.
*For anyone at this point who says, “What if your husband is abusing you?” If your husband is abusive, I believe you’re biblically free to divorce him. He has already abandoned the marriage covenant as your husband, since he is treating you worse than his enemy (1 Cor. 7:14-16; also see this helpful article from the PCA about the Westminster Divines’ views on the subject).
Myth 8. Feeling secure about your body, not feeling guilty, etc. are prerequisites for sex in marriage. The only prerequisite for sex in the Bible is marriage. Body image issues and guilt should not keep husbands and wives from being obedient to the Lord in their marriages. Do your duty; have sex with your spouse, even when you feel insecure.
Myth 9. Passion for one another is a prerequisite for sex. The only prerequisite for sex in the Bible is marriage. It’s more important that you have sex with one another than that you have passionate sex with one another. And if you’re not “passionate” about your spouse, you need to cultivate your passion instead of “waiting for passion” to happen to you. Take responsibility for your lack of passion for your spouse.
Myth 10. Sex must be spontaneous, wild, not planned. The only prerequisite for sex in the Bible is marriage. The most important thing is that you have sex with your spouse, not that sex with your spouse is spontaneous or wild.
There you have it friends! Now go do your duty; serve and enjoy the spouse the Lord has given you!