I recently posted a tweet on Christian married couples having a biblical sexual ethic that prioritizes being selfless in God’s design of sexually pleasing your spouse instead of prioritizing the godless sexual standard of consent. The comment section under my post was very disheartening, to say the least. So, I decided to respond based on four things I observed from the comments.
The husband's body is designed for the pleasure of his wife. The wife's body is designed for the pleasure of her husband.— John Mason (@LivingGodsTruth) June 22, 2023
God's design for sex is self giving, not self seeking.
Christians prioritize consent over God's design because they're listening to the culture and not God.
Before I get into the four things I observed, I’d like to say that my goal in responding is to point Christians to the glory of Christ that should be the foundation of every heart and mind that is in the married covenant. These responses are based on a biblical worldview that is void of anything normalized in today’s culture. My prayer is that all of us would abandon broken and empty presuppositions and ideologies that God never intended for us to hold in order to worship Him with our lives in spirit and in truth.
No one knows the biblical design for sex or doesn't care.
This is basic biology. God created man with a penis. Then He created woman from the man for the man to have the perfect complement to his design for the purpose of him not being alone, in both companionship and obviously procreation (Genesis 2:18-22). Therefore, the woman was created with a vagina. The penis is designed to provide sexual pleasure to the vagina. The vagina is designed to provide sexual pleasure to the penis. This is not an accident. Sexual intercourse is about giving and receiving pleasure by God's design that eventually leads to conception of human life. If you think that's "rapey" between a husband and wife, it's because your mind has been warped by sin, sexual abuse or maybe even a past trauma that I pray God heals you from. Our broken experiences in this fallen world do not change God’s purpose and design for sexual intimacy in the context of marriage.
God provides multiple Scriptures in Proverbs 5 and the Song of Solomon about the pleasure received and given from a husband and wife from each other’s bodies. If you don’t like the fact that God built providing pleasure to your husband or wife into sexual intercourse, it may be because you care more about receiving pleasure than giving it. You’ve been trained to believe that if I don’t get something out of this for me first, this isn’t “good sex”. That is selfish thinking and doesn’t reflect the nature of Christ. Good sex is making sure your husband or wife gets pleased first, and in doing so, it creates a sex life that is not only good by God standards, but self-giving and life-giving.
The original statement of my tweet saying, “The husband's body is designed for the pleasure of his wife. The wife's body is designed for the pleasure of her husband.” was made in the context of sexual intimacy inside marriage. I didn’t say this is sole purpose God created a man and a woman for. For some reason, people love jumping to extremes out of context in the comment sections of Twitter.
Consent is god, not God.
I communicated prioritizing being selfless, as does Scripture in every area of life, especially in marriage (Ephesians 5:22-33; 1 Corinthians 10:24; Philippians 2:3-4). Because our culture is saturated in self worship and self-centeredness concerning sex, that got translated into being forced to have sex if you don't ask your husband or wife first. I never said that. Consent is a terrible standard to base sex off of because a man and woman that are married in Christ are by default looking out for the interest of their spouse before their own. If both spouses are continually doing that, where is consent needed? We've elevated consent to a level it was never designed to be because we've saturated our culture in a sexual standard that is built on sinful, self-seeking sexual pleasure that doesn't involve godly love at all. Therefore, the thought of rape, sexual, mental, and emotional abuse takes priority, even in the covenant of marriage over being selfless and considering what your spouse desires first.
My tweet is addressing Christians. Therefore, yes, there may be a time when you don’t feel like having sex, but you put yourself to the side and give yourself to your spouse. That does not mean abuse is normal, or this should always be the case. It’s simply desiring to please your husband or wife over yourself in that moment. Will a loving husband or wife see that his or spouse doesn’t desire to have sex when he or she does and then decide to wait for another time, of course. Will a loving husband or wife hear his or spouse say, “Right now is not a good time” and say, “I understand sweetheart” and wait, absolutely. This should be viewed as a normal part of marriage, not prioritizing an answer for consent to have sex. The fact that Christians think that a “Yes” or “No” is needed to move forward just shows the indoctrination the culture has done on us with a sexual standard that is absent God, His Spirit, or His Word.
The culture has warped everyone's mind about sex because of porn and godless sexual standards that lead to abuse.
Sex is not defined by a dying and godless culture like America, and it never will be. Sex is defined by the God who created it. This will always be true. It was true before you and I got here and will be true long after America doesn’t exist.
Since this is unequivocally true, Christians need to completely remove all cultural standards for sex from their hearts and minds and allow the revealed Word of God to define what sex is, why God created it, it’s purpose in marriage and how it is good. Unfortunately, our society has been saturated in sexual filth, depravity, and sin–especially pornography–for generation after generation, which has led to millions of people being abused, raped, addicted to pornography, molested, and manipulated. The are spiritual ramifications for all this sexual abuse as well that allows for demonic influence and oppression to place millions of souls in bondage that can only be freed by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ.
This is a harsh reality that I am personally aware of, so when I see all the comments prioritizing consent, I understand and sympathize with the desire to always be thinking about how someone can protect themselves from being abused again, even in marriage, which is the context of my tweet.
I want to make clear that I am in no way condoning any type of abuse or sexual sin inside or outside of marriage. I am instead communicating God’s original standard for sex inside of marriage that has always been true, regardless of what we would consider the norm in today’s culture, which is the sexual immorality that many of us grew up committing and indulged in before we got married. So, what we did was take godless sexual ethics into a God ordained covenant without knowledge of the good, purposeful, and unchanging sexual ethic that comes from Creator of sex.
Some of you reading this may not be fully healed or delivered from past sexual abuse or trauma. Pornography addiction or sexual affairs. Our God provides healing, hope and forgiveness for past spiritual and physical wounds that’s found in Christ (Psalms 23:2; Psalms 34:18; Psalms 147:3). Our God also promised that if we confess our sins, He’s faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). When we prioritize God’s creative purpose for sex in marriage, we won’t need to look for ways to protect ourselves as a priority because we understand the true purpose of sex and desire to be selfless first because Christ is selfless and prioritized our needs above His own for His Bride.
Reflecting the nature and character of Christ through dying to self = Being raped by your spouse?
There are multiple comments under my tweet that connect being self-giving with being put in a position to be raped. I’m not sure if the people making this connection truly know Jesus Christ. Again, my tweet was directed at believers, though it’s obvious it will receive attention from unbelievers.
The foundation of the Christian faith is built on the character, nature, and words of Jesus Christ, who made it abundantly clear that dying to self to follow Him is required (Matthew 16:24). That means, placing the needs of others, especially brothers and sisters in Christ, above your own is a daily practice (Philippians 2:3-5). I understand that people who do not truly follow Christ will find this abhorrent as the quote tweets clearly show, but Christian married couples should see Christlike beauty in serving and meeting the needs of their spouse in every way.
Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her. Live with your wives in an understanding way. Love your wives as your own bodies. Wives be subject to your own husbands in everything as unto the Lord and respect them (Ephesians 5:25-33).
1 Corinthians 7:3-4
“The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.”
Regardless of your opinion, how you feel, what you and I have been through, or the American cultural norm, God makes clear that marital sexual relations is a duty that should be fulfilled to one another and done with a mutuality that is built in the marital relationship.
The Apostle Paul makes clear in 1 Corinthians 7 that the only consent concerning sex in a martial relationship that should happen is when the husband and wife both agree to abstain from sex for a set period of time for spiritual reasons, and when the time is over, continue to fulfill your marital duties of sexual relations. Not doing so allows Satan to tempt you into sexual sin and adultery. Again, if you have an issue with this, you have an issue with God and if you’re Christian, you should ask the Holy Spirit to help you submit to God’s Word in obedience to Him.
Read this quote from Dr. Jack Arnold on sexual responsibilities within marriage.
If we’re going to claim to be Christians than that means we have a Biblical Worldview on sex, especially in the context of marriage. It is clear from Scripture what that looks like, whether we want to live by it or agree with it. The reality is, every Christian should desire to obey God in the Spirit of Christ concerning their martial relationship. Prioritizing consent by the world’s standard cannot be a priority when we’ve renewed our minds by God’s Word on sex, been healed from past physical and emotional wounds and abuses, and desire to obey God to live out a Christ centered self-giving marriage. Having this attitude reflects and glorifies Christ which is all that should matter.