What does the Bible
say about SEX?

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QUESTION: What do the Scriptures say about sex? Should it only be performed with the hope that it will lead to children? Is it sinful for a married couple to enjoy it for its own sake?

ANSWER: Your question concerning sex between couples who are married is answered rather succinctly in the Bible. Paul's first letter to the Corinthian church states the following.

3 Let the husband render to his wife the affection (the KJV has 'due benevolence,' which is a euphemism for stating the husband owes his wife sex) due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband (provide this conjugal relationship to her husband). 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body . . . (1Corinthians 7:3 - 5, NKJV)

There is nowhere in the Bible a command or even a suggestion that a married couple should only have sex when they are trying to have children. There is also no indication that any copulation occurring with two people, within the bounds of marriage, is a sin of itself. In fact, Paul states in the book of Hebrews that marriage is an honorable practice and that the marriage bed is "undefiled," meaning that there are really almost no restrictions concerning how couples may perform in bed.

4. Let marriage be held honorable by all, and the marital union be undefiled; for God will judge fornicators and adulterers (Hebrews 13:4, HBFV)

Paul calls the physical relationship or intercourse between a married man and woman a "marital duty" and stresses that the husband and wife should not "deprive each other except by mutual consent."

In his letter to the church at Ephesus, Paul stresses the role each person in a marriage should play. He also discusses how they should treat each other. So long as these guidelines are followed, any relationship will flourish, even a childless one.

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22. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands, as to the Lord; 25. Husbands, love your own wives, in the same way that Christ also loved the church . . . 28. In the same way, husbands are duty-bound (they have an obligation before God) to love their wives . . . (Ephesians 5:22, 25, 28, HBFV)

As a warning King Solomon, who was given extraordinary wisdom by God, warns that lust and the illicit sex it can lead to can wreak havoc on a person's life. The Apostle Paul also warns to flee immorality both before and during marriage.

25. Do not lust after her beauty in your heart; nor let her seduce you with her eyelids 26. For by means of a harlot a man is vanquished to a piece of bread; and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life. 27. Can a man take fire to his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? 28. Can one walk upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned? (Proverbs 6:25 - 28, HBFV)

18. Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man may commit is outside the body, but the one who commits sexual immorality is sinning against his own body (1Corinthians 6:18, HBFV)

The ability to have sex is one of the gifts God built into humans upon their creation (Genesis 1:28). He gave it to use for our benefit and happiness. He encourages couples to enjoy this type of intimacy within marriage (Proverbs 5:18 - 19, Song of Solomon 1:12 - 13, 7:6 - 13, 8:1 - 3). What he does not approve of, however, is using this gift wrongly by performing it before marriage (fornication or lust) or with someone who is not one's marriage partner (adultery - see Leviticus 18:6 - 18, 20:10, Deuteronomy 22:20 - 22, etc.).

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What does the Bible say about SEX?