Far too many men today find themselves in sexless marriages. But the Bible has answers to this problem.
The sad reality is that many Christian churches have adopted the worldly approach to sex. They take the approach that a man must earn each and every sexual encounter with his wife. That he is required to make sure she is “enthusiastically in the mood” each and every time they have sex or else he is “raping” his wife. And he must find new and creative ways of constantly making her in the mood and finding ways to make her want sex with him. Because after all, sex is all about a man pleasing a woman.
The idea of a man simply coming home after a hard day’s work and sweeping his wife off her feet and taking her to the back bedroom to have sex is considered a “misogynistic relic of the past”. No sir. If a man wants sex – his day is just getting started when he gets home from work. He needs to do things around the house and find ways to put his wife in the mood. In fact, he needs to do things around the house and not expect sex at all. He needs to “prove” to her that he is doing all these things just because he loves her and make her feel “safe” that he does not just want her for sex.
And a lot of young men today have been convinced by our culture that what I just said above is right. They have been conditioned to believe that they are wrong if they ever pressure their wife to have sex when she is not in the mood – that it is their duty to make her “enthusiastically in the mood” and if she simply does not want it then they should not want it either.
But here is the truth. Because men have 10 times more testosterone flowing through their bodies than their wives do, they will typically want sex far more often than their wife does. So when the man wants sex and his wife is not in the mood one of them has to fake it. One of them has to pretend.
Either the woman has to pretend that she is ok with having sex when she is not in the mood or the man has to pretend he is ok with with not being able to have sex when he is in the mood. There is no escaping this dilemma without someone pretending.
So who does the Bible say should do the pretending in this situation where one spouse wants sex and the other does not? The answer is found in 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 (KJV):
“3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. 4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. 5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.”
Does the Bible teach sexual consent? You bet it does. But not the kind of sexual consent our modern society believes in. The Bible teaches that a husband and wife must consent to STOP having sex for short time of prayer and fasting. There is absolutely no consent required for a husband or wife to initiate sex with their spouse in marriage. A man or woman are free at anytime to initiate sex with their spouse. That is the clear teaching of God’s Word.
The whole “Its my body, my choice” has no place in Biblical Christianity.
1 Corinthians 7:3 uses two key words which are “render” and “due“. The Christian view of sex is that it is a duty in marriage that is owed or rendered. In other words, sex is both a right and a responsibility in marriage according to the Bible.
The Bible goes further with the woman’s obligation to not only give her body to her husband, but states that the husband is be “ravished” by his wife in Proverbs 5:18-19 (KJV):
“18 Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. 19 Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.”
To be ravished is to be sexually intoxicated. The woman is to sexually intoxicate her husband with her body and her sexual enthusiasm for him.
A lot of churches teach a false and woman pleasing version of Proverbs 5:18-19. They teach that it is saying a man should be content with whatever his wife gives him sexually. But that is not what it is saying at all.
The Hebrew word translated as “satisfy” is ravah which literally means “to drink one’s fill”. It does not meant to be content, it means to take your fill of someone or something. In this case, it commands men to sexually take their fill of their wives. And the Hebrew word translated as “ravished” is shagah which means “to be intoxicated” and in this context it means to be sexually intoxicated with and by one’s wife.
The Bible does not just tell men to have sex with their wives or for wives to just make themselves sexually available. It says men are to use their wives bodies to satisfy all their sexual desires and that wives are to act in ways toward their husbands that they know will be sexually pleasing to them.
Some may oppose the idea of a man “using” his wife sexually claiming that this is men treating their wives as “sex objects”. Well I hate to burst your bubble, but the Bible does teach that women are sex objects. In Romans 1:27 the Bible calls sex “the natural use of the woman”.
The world and most churches today present a false dichotomy to men that they can either see women as people or as sex objects. The Bible teaches men that they can, do and should see women as BOTH people and sex objects. An object is something that has mass and can be seen and touched. Therefore both men and women are objects. And women are objects that men can have sex with. Therefore women are indeed sex objects.
A man seeing a woman as both a person and a sex object means he recognizes that she is human being like him, a person who has feelings and desires like him. The problem is that the modern world and the modern church teach that a woman’s feelings determine whether sex is moral or not. If the woman desires sex, than the sex is moral. If she does not desire sex, and the man makes her have sex when she is not the mood – then it is immoral.
This is why the world thinks it is perfectly fine for a couple to have sex before marriage. Because a woman’s feelings and desire for sex is all that is required to make it moral. So the church today takes a hybrid version of this worldly approach to sex and says a woman must be in the mood and married for the sex to be moral.
But the Bible teaches this principle – it is not a woman’s consent that matters, it is God’s.
The Bible says the following in Hebrews 13:5 (KJV):
“Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”
God does not consent to sex before marriage and God does consent to sex within marriage.
When you as a husband fully grasp all the Biblical concepts I have just given it will free you to understand the following concept.
A weak husband whines for it. A godly husband takes what is his.
I can hear the screams now “You can’t say that! This is the modern world! We don’t believe in such archaic concepts! That’s marital rape!” No friends. That’s the Bible.
When you as a man come to the realization that God does not require you to earn each sexual encounter with your wife, that she is yours to take whenever you so desire her – it will change how you approach marriage. Knowing you don’t have to beg for or earn sex with your wife frees you to do kind things for her, not to get sex, but just because you want demonstrate your love for her.
So, if you occasionally step in to help with the dishes or with dinner or do that project around the house she has been asking for – it’s not to earn sex with her. It’s just an act of kindness and love to her with no strings attached. And when you cuddle up with her on the couch and watch a movie she likes or take her to her favorite restaurant for dinner, it’s not to earn sex. Because you know you can take her anytime you want her.
Some men might reply – “But what if my wife thinks I do have to earn sex with her and I can’t just take her anytime I want to?” The answer is that you must rebuke her and discipline her as Christ does his church.
In Ephesians 5:25-26 the Bible says “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it …” and in Revelation 3:19 Christ says to his churches “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten…”
Christ did not give himself for his church so that she could do whatever she wanted. He gave himself for his church to cleanse her and make her into the glorious wife he wanted her to be. He uses rebuke and discipline to make his wife obedient and pleasing to himself.
If your wife thinks you have to earn sex with her that is a spiritual spot, a defect in her thinking. The first thing you must do is rebuke and wash her wrong thinking with the Word of God as Christ does his church in Ephesians 5:26-27.
What if rebuke does not work with her? Then chasten her by temporarily removing your time and affection from her just as God did in Isaiah 59:2 when he hid his face and would near his wife Israel because of her rebellion against him.
For a more detailed guide to dealing with a wife who consistently engages in sexual denial for long lengths of time see this article I wrote several years ago “8 steps to confront your wife’s sexual refusal”.
To find out more about the Biblical view of forced sex in marriage and why the concept of “marital rape” does not fit with a Biblical world view see my article “Why the Bible Allows Forced Sex in Marriage“.
Also see my companion podcast where a reader attempted to take me to task on the subject of forced sex in marriage and I answer their objections from the Bible.