What does it mean to
defile the marriage bed?
Submit YOUR questions, through our easy to use form,
to our team of mature Christians known as the Email Evangelists!
Question: What does it mean to defile the marriage bed? Is there anything sexually that should or should not be done?
Answer: Another way of phrasing your question about the marriage bed is what, if any, sexual practices God's word says would pollute a marriage. The Hebrew word for defile is tâmê', Strong's Concordance #H2930. It means to foul (especially in a moral sense), to pollute, to make unclean, etc. Several verses use it that mention things that certainly would make the marriage bed unclean:
"'Moreover you shall not lie carnally with your neighbor’s wife, to DEFILE yourself with her.
"'Nor shall you mate with any animal, to DEFILE yourself with it. Nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it. It is perversion. Do not DEFILE yourselves with any of these things; for by all these the nations are defiled, which I am casting out before you.
"'Therefore you shall keep My ordinance, so that you do not commit any of these abominable customs which were committed before you, and that you do not DEFILE yourselves by them: I am the Lord your God.'" (Leviticus 18:20, 23, 30, NKJV throughout)
The New Testament gives us information on how a good marriage (and a bed that is not defiled) should function sexually:
"Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband.
"Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 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, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. " (1Corinthians 7:1-5)
Each person should regard their bodies as belonging, not solely to themselves to do whatever they wish, but to their mate (verse 4). Couples should refrain from sex with each other only by mutual agreement, such as when fasting or when the woman has her period. Aside from the above, the Bible does not put any further restrictions on how a couple performs sexually or further defines what it means to defile the marriage bed.