The Death of Sex

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Let your fountain be blessed,

    and rejoice in the wife of your youth,

    a lovely deer, a graceful doe.

Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight;

    be intoxicated always in her love. (Proverbs 5:15-19 ESV)

Cyber World

U.S. Marriage Rate Hits New Low and May Continue to Decline

The U.S. Fertility Rate Just Hit a Historic Low. Why Some Demographers are Freaking Out

Americans are Having Sex Less Often, New Study Shows

There’s a connection between fewer marriages, fewer babies, and less sex. We’re not sociologists but you don’t have to be one to see sex is heading in the wrong direction. The good news is we’re still having sex, the bad news is the future of sex, as we know it, does not look bright.

In Japan, the most digitally immersed society on the planet, there is phenomenon called The Celibacy Syndrome where young people are opting out of sex altogether and one of the reasons is the easy access to porn. The limited data is inconclusive but the decline in marriages, births, and sex are not. The government admits this could be catastrophic as the population continues to dwindle.

What’s going on? We don’t pretend to know fully but we suspect the further we get from the physical world the less physical we will get with each other.

Physical World

The verse above, “Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight” is hyperbole for the purpose of making a point. The biblical author understood the physical nature of marriage. He wanted to tell his son the only way to avoid sexual temptation – get physical with your wife. As we saw in a previous post this is for husbands and wives alike.

The original audience, both husbands and wives, got the point because they lived in a physical world devoid of digital technology, social media, sedentary jobs, and the stress of modern life.

Their lives consisted of physical activities: animal husbandry, gardening, craftsmanship, hunting and gathering for their daily sustenance. They housed their goats and sheep during the cold months in stables adjacent to their living spaces.

They witnessed the animals mating, defecating, and dying. Their loved ones died in their homes and not in a sanitized hospital. In other words, they lived in the real world, a physical world, a messy world – imperfect but gloriously physical.

They understood the physical nature of life and marriage. Life was physical, marriage was physical. They didn’t Google how to have a great sex life. They just did it.

The further we get from the real, physical world, the less physical sex becomes. Our screens become the substitute reality. Our relationships become “online” while we still live “offline”.

Bible Thought: The further we get from the physical world, the less physical we will get with each other.

Prayer: Father, help me make our marriage more physical more often, reflecting our spiritual oneness in Christ more fully. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Just do it,

Rene & Gloria

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The Royal Wedding

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The Royal Wedding

And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”  (Revelation 19:9 ESV)

The world was captivated by the Royal wedding this past weekend. It was a dazzling event filled with fanfare and celebrities. We all love weddings, admit it. Weddings fill us with hope and joy.

God loves weddings too! How do we know?

God starts the Bible with a wedding. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24)

Jesus’ first miracle was at a wedding. “Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples.” (John 2:2) He attended and saved the day by turning water into wine.

God ends the Bible with a wedding, “The Marriage Supper of the Lamb” where the Bride, the church, will be united to Christ forever in Heaven. “These are the true words of God.” By the way, it’s nice to be invited to a Royal wedding but much better to be invited to this wedding!

What is a wedding? It is the public declaration of love and the beginning of a marriage. And what makes a marriage? As we learned in a previous post, it is the consummation.

A wedding is a vow before the world to love another “in good times and in bad”. The consummation after the wedding vows is the private declaration of love and loyalty. And sex each subsequent time in a marriage renews the wedding vows, the vows of love and loyalty.

Love is a verb. Love by definition requires action. We can say “I love you” but it means nothing until we put our words into action. Sex is the act of love in a marriage.

Taking out the garbage, mowing the lawn, taking the kids to soccer practice, doing the laundry, and going on a date are all acts of love however, nothing says, “I love you” louder than sex.

Sex in marriage proves you mean it when you say “I love you”. Love is not cheap. There is always a cost for love. The cost of love in marriage is setting priorities and sticking to them. Sex is the number one priority in marriage by God’s very definition of marriage, “one flesh”.

The public declaration of love in a wedding is made once. The private declaration of love is putting our initial vow of love into action – frequently. Sex is declaring our love over and over and over again.

God loves weddings, the ones on earth between a man and a woman, and the one in the future between Christ and his church. Everyone is invited to the one in Heaven. Have you accepted the invitation?

Bible Thought: A wedding is a public vow of love. Sex is the action behind the vow.

Prayer: Father, help me to remember my public declaration of love with a continual private declaration of love with my spouse. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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7 Lessons from Numbers 25

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7 Lessons from Numbers 25

While Israel lived in Shittim, the people began to whore with the daughters of Moab. These invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So Israel yoked himself to Baal of Peor. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel. (Numbers 25:1-3 ESV)

We’re reading through the Bible in a year, something we recommend for everyone. Our first passage today was Numbers 25. It paints a horrific scene where Israel commits sexual immorality with Moabite women who then lead Israel to run after the Moabite god, Baal of Peor. God in his jealousy kills 24,000 Hebrews with a plague and the execution of the guilty leaders. The plague ends when Phinehas, Aaron’s grandson, drives a spear through a Hebrew man and a Midianite woman while engaged in the sex act.

Paul tells us this event is an example for us in 1 Corinthians 10 and Jesus chastises the church at Pergamum for succumbing to the same temptation as the Hebrews at Shittim in Revelation 2. Both suggest that sexual temptation is a primary strategy of the enemy and a doorway to idolatry.

What was the attraction of the Moabite women? What was wrong with the Hebrew women? The Israelite men apparently were mesmerized by the exotic cult sex of Baal of Peor. These foreign women seemed more exciting and enthusiastic than the familiar Hebrew women. The Moabite women promised exotic sexual practices the Hebrew men could not resist.

The modern application is too obvious even to mention. There is nothing new under the sun. Sexual temptation is everywhere and ready to seduce the strongest of us.

What can we learn from this event?

  1. Sexual temptation is more powerful than we are.
  2. Sexual temptation is one of Satan’s main strategies.
  3. The threat of God’s punishment is not enough to keep us from sexual sin.
  4. Exotic, strange sexual partners promise one thing but deliver something else.
  5. Sexual sin often leads to idolatry.
  6. It’s probably good to run from sexual temptation.
  7. Stay at home and rejoice in the wife of your youth.

Paul eases our anxiety by telling us that God has provided a way of escape from every temptation and he will not tempt us beyond our ability to resist. Whew! (See 1 Corinthians 10:13)

God has provided a way of escape from every temptation including sexual temptation.

God’s Word tells us clearly that the only escape from sexual temptation is married sex in 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 and then not occasional sex but frequent and reciprocal sex.

Bible Thought: Lots of married sex is God’s way of escape from sexual temptation.

Prayer: Father, help me to overcome sexual temptation by delighting in the the spouse of my youth. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Intoxication

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Let your fountain be blessed,
and rejoice in the wife of your youth,

    a lovely deer, a graceful doe.
Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight;
be intoxicated always in her love.
(Proverbs 5:18,19 ESV Emphasis added)

There’s is nothing more intoxicating in this life than the anticipation of sex with the one you love. The only thing better is the actual sex. Before you object, think about it. This is just like the God we love and serve. He gave us one another to enjoy and “delight” in. He established marriage to fulfill our longing for excitement, adventure, and intoxication.

Yes, God built into us a need to be “intoxicated”, to get out of the mundane and into a special place, away from it all. His idea was that this place of intoxication would be married sex, a reprieve from the numbing ordinariness of life.

We, of course, like every other gift of God, twist it, turn it, and make it into something else. We fill the need for intoxication with drink, diamonds, pizza, video games, and so much more. God says sex is the best intoxicating experience of your life.

If you look up “intoxicated” or “drunk” in the Bible, the only good references are to sex. Those drunk with anything else, like wine, do not fare well.

You might look at our passage and say that it’s only for the husband. What about the wife? The wife is to get intoxicated also, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is better than wine;” (Song of Solomon 1:2 ESV) or “Eat, friends, drink, and be drunk with love!” (5:1b)

God wants your spouse to be the most exciting person in the world to you. We understand that “familiarity breeds contempt” and the spouse of your youth may have faded over the years. But God tells us that this does not need to be the case. The Bible tells us to be intoxicated with the wife or husband of our youth. Our intoxicating love does not need to fade. It’s our choice.

Bible Thought: Married sex with the spouse of your youth should continue to be intoxicating as the years go by.

Prayer: Father, help me to overcome my familiarity with my spouse and once again become intoxicated with their love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Casual Sex

BlueFCasual Sex

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. (1 Corinthians 7:5 ESV emphasis added)

Everything seems to come before sex even Netflix or should we say especially Netflix. Today’s headline is “Netflix is Killing Couple’s Sex Lives: Study”. It goes on to describe the disturbing trend that couples are turning off the TV and going to bed with their iPads. Apparently, a decline in sex is corresponding with increased Netflix viewing in bed according to a university study.

Sex has become casual for married couples. We take it as something we’ll get around to eventually unless there’s something more pressing like a good movie. The Bible takes a less casual view of married sex.

We understand there are hindrances to frequent sex such as aging, illness, and travel as well as many other circumstances. But the Bible gives only one reason not to have frequent sex and then only for a short time – prayer.

A special time of prayer is the only reason for a break in frequent sex, and then only if both the husband and wife agree to abstain from sex, “except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer”.

We are way too casual about sex; we can take it or leave it. If something comes up then we say that sex can wait. Life is always crowding out sex.

God’s Word makes sex a marital priority in 1 Corinthians 7:1-5. If you struggle with sexual immorality then get married, once married you must give your spouse conjugal rights and, oh by the way, you don’t have authority over your body, your spouse does. Paul goes on to warn spouses not to “deprive” one another because he knows we tend to deprive one another of sex.

Paul is telling us that sex is not to be taken lightly; in other words, stop being so casual about sex. It is a big deal. If you are casual about sex in your marriage the devil notices and will “tempt you because of your lack of self-control”.

In addition, Paul explains to us that any interruption of frequent sex needs to be mutually agreed upon; that is, both spouses must sign off on the abstinence from sex and then only “for a limited time”.

The next time anything could possibly interfere with frequent sex then there needs to be a conversation between you and your spouse. It could be the next annual retreat or church conference. Paul says to talk to your spouse and come to a mutual agreement about abstaining from sex.

Bible Thought: A married couple should make sex a priority and talk about any potential interference in their sexual frequency.

Prayer: Father, help me understand that any break in frequent sex must be mutually agreed upon. Renew my mind according to your Word. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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An Inconvenient Truth

BlFeatherAn Inconvenient Truth

The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. 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. (1 Corinthians 7:3,4 ESV)

A refugee coming to America after escaping a war torn country observed that Americans’ greatest fear is being inconvenienced. God’s Word is more often than not going to be inconvenient. “Go and make disciples of all nations.” Inconvenient, Lord!

Paul tells married people in these verses to prepare to be inconvenienced. He leaves no wiggle room to get out of sex. Your spouse has the right to sex whenever they want it and, oh, by the way you don’t have authority over your body, your spouse does. Later in the passage he tells us the only time not to have sex is for a special time of prayer. Paul triple downs on frequent sex in marriage. He boxes us in with no way out. How inconvenient, Paul.

We love sex on cruises, in hotel rooms while on vacation, and sex when we want it. But sex whenever my spouse wants it, in everyday life, well, it’s inconvenient and unreasonable.

What about negotiations? What if I’m not in the mood? Or exhausted? Or had a bad day? Paul says too bad so sad. Sex is sometimes going to be inconvenient.

Wait a minute! Hold on! This sounds like sex on-demand.

“Sex on-demand” is like the sound of finger nails dragging across a chalk board to our postmodern ears. We are free, autonomous people after all. God says you were free and autonomous; that is, before you got married.

Paul’s not talking about bullying, coercion, or abuse. It’s estimated that 25% of married Christians are in abusive situations. If this is you then get help. Be safe. We’re talking to the other 75% of Christian marriages who want their marriages to reflect God’s will.

Biblical married sex is not natural, it is supernatural. We need God’s help to do married sex his way. God wants to bring us out of our self-focused world of sin and into an other-focused world of love. Marriage apparently is one of the best way to learn how to really love. Applying the truth of married sex will be inconvenient but full of blessings.

Bible Thought: Our spouse’s conjugal right is God’s way of turning us from ourselves to another, our spouse, in married love.

Prayer: Father, help me to respect and love my spouse in Christ. I acknowledge I need your help in this. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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“I Do” Means “I Will”

26470436 - peerless decorative feather  vector“I Do!” Means “I Will!”

The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. 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. (1 Corinthians 7:3,4 ESV)

Remember saying, “I do”?

Did any of us understand the sexual implications of that promise on our wedding day? Certainly not many, and not fully, we suspect. We didn’t.

The moment you said “I do” you gave up a lot of your rights and took on a lot of responsibilities by your own free will. Your conjugal rights became your spouse’s responsibility and your spouse’s conjugal rights became your responsibility.

When you get married, in effect, you lay aside many of your rights and take up many responsibilities for your spouse. Primarily, you became responsible for your spouse’s sex life when you said “I do”. Whoa, I didn’t plan on that!

For example, the moment you are brought into the Kingdom by God, you are no longer your own but bought with a price by the shed blood of Jesus. (See 1 Corinthians 6:19,20 ESV) In a similar way, the moment you said “I do”, you are no longer your own.

“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.” You are now part of a unique union called “one flesh” by God.

At the moment of your vow, and subsequent consummation, your body was united to our spouse’s body in “one flesh”. This is your new status.

Your status was “single” but now your status is “one flesh” from God’s perspective.

Each spouse is now responsible, not only for their own body, but for their lover’s body as well. On the other side, each spouse now freely surrenders their body to their spouse in fulfillment of their wedding vow, “I do!”.

The responsibility now is to nourish and encourage each other, never to put down or abuse.

Giving control of your body to someone else is not natural, it is supernatural! We can’t do this on our own. We need Jesus and his gospel. Be patient, pray and trust God.

Bible Thought: The moment you said, “I do”, you gave up many rights and took on many responsibilities.

Prayer: Father, help me to fulfill my responsibilities toward my spouse with kindness and love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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The Sex Bus

36661549 - bus rides on the roadThe Sex Bus

This is Part 5 of a five part series based on the “5 False Assumptions about Married Sex”.

False Assumption #5: We say we overcome sexual temptation through spiritual warfare: prayer, fasting, self control, anti-porn software, accountability partners, expensive DVD’s, and will power. God says the best way to overcome sexual temptation is frequent and reciprocal married sex.

The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. 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. 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. (1 Corinthians 7:3-5 ESV)

The Sex Bus

Who gets to drive the sex bus?

We are encouraged to negotiate the frequency of sex by both Christian and secular marriage counselors. This is a self evident truth. What could be more obvious than a compromise on the frequency of sex in a loving marriage. Each marriage has it’s own rhythm after all, and we all know that negotiation and compromise are at the heart of a healthy marriage. This sounds reasonable, of course, until you realize intense sexual desire is neither reasonable nor negotiable.

What ends up happening, more often than not, is the one with the lower sex drive gets to set the frequency of sex in a marriage. God says clearly in today’s passage that, in a biblical marriage, the one with the higher sex drive gets to drive the sex bus.

Husbands usually have the higher sex drive, but not always, and it varies in different seasons of marriage and from day to day especially as you get older. This is why Paul speaks to both husbands and wives, “Do not deprive one another.”

So what happens is that the other spouse, the one with the higher sex drive, tries to mitigate temptation with all kinds of spiritual self-help techniques. Entire ministries are built around the “other spouse” and their plight. Prayer, Bible study, anti-porn software, accountability partners, expensive DVD series are set in place to overcome sexual temptation for the spouse with the higher sex drive but relegated to the passenger seat.

We are all for prayer, Bible study, and accountability but not for overcoming sexual temptation in marriage.

Do these spiritual self-help methods work? They could be of some benefit in the short term, or if you’re single, but God has a better way of overcoming sexual temptation for those of us who are married – frequent and reciprocal sex in a loving covenant relationship.

Pauls says, “Do not deprive one another.”

Why does he say this?

Because he knows we tend to deprive one another.

Bible Thought: The spouse with the higher sex drive gets to drive the sex bus in a biblical marriage.

Prayer: Father, help me fight sexual temptation your way. Help me to help my spouse in their battle with sexual sin. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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An Ice Cream Sundae Marriage

14417183 - art tree beautiful for your designAn Ice Cream Sundae Marriage

This is Part 4 of a five part series based on the “5 False Assumptions about Married Sex”.

False Assumption #4: We say sex is one of many elements that make up a happy marriage. God says sex is the first priority of a happy marriage.

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24 ESV)

It’s easy to get the impression from the culture and the church that marriage is like an ice cream sundae made up of lots of good things like friendship, shared interests, careers, and kids with sex as the cherry on top.

God says sex is not the cherry on top, it’s the dish that holds the ice cream sundae.

We talk about communication, selflessness, perseverance, spiritual maturity, and other lofty elements as the essentials of a biblical marriage. God defines marriage in terms of a physical union.

God’s definition of marriage is “one flesh”. He could have described marriage as “one soul” or “one mind” as in “they shall become one mind” but he didn’t. Some experts tell us the Hebrew word means more than a physical union.

However, Jesus says, “‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh.” (Matthew 19 5,6a ESV)

Jesus was having a discussion with the Pharisees about marriage and divorce. Jesus highlights the seriousness of divorce by revealing what God thinks about marriage. He seems to be saying, “How can you separate ‘one flesh’?”

He quotes Genesis 2:24 directly and then adds his own take, “So they are no longer two but one flesh” as if to remind the Pharisees of the essence of marriage. Whenever Jesus says the same thing twice in a row, he considers it important, very important. The Greek word “flesh” means “flesh, physical body, human nature”.

Is marriage more than a physical union? Of course, the mystery of “one flesh” extends beyond sexual union to leaving and cleaving and building a separate family. But “one flesh” is the picture of marriage God gives us and we ignore this divine emphasis to our own marital peril.

Bible Thought: Sex is the cup that holds the ice cream sundae. Drop the cup and you have a mess to clean up.

Prayer: Father, help me to make you my first priority with my spouse next. Help me to understand what makes up a biblical marriage for your glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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SOS & SEX

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SOS & SEX

This is Part 3 of a five part series based on the “5 False Assumptions about Married Sex”. Part 1, can be found here The Only Reason to Get Married. Part 2 is here Sex & Sanctification.

False Assumption #3: We say sex is primarily for men and secondarily for women. God says sex is for both husband and wife equally.

The Song of Songs, which is Solomon’s.

The Bride Confesses Her Love

She

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth!
For your love is better than wine;

    your anointing oils are fragrant;
your name is oil poured out;
therefore virgins love you. 

Draw me after you; let us run.
The king has brought me into his chambers.
(Song of Solomon 1:1-4 ESV)

S.O.S is an international signal of distress. S.O.S, or Song of Solomon, is God’s remedy for marital distress. This fascinating book of the Bible may not be easy to understand but it’s Principles of Sexual Love are loud and clear. Married sex is for both men and women – equally. However, this book also makes it clear that men and women view sex differently but that’s for another post.

The Word never even hints that sex is primarily for men and secondarily for women. Leah and Rachel fought over Jacob’s sexual attentions. Sarah laughed after being told she would have “pleasure” in her old age, “After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?” (Genesis 18:12 ESV) The woman in the Song of Solomon is “intoxicated” with sexual desire for her husband (v2).

Today many, both men and women, see sex as primarily for the husband and a duty for the wife.

So what happened?

Here are a few wrong ideas about married sex that have undermined God’s intended purpose.

  • The culture demonizes men’s natural sexual aggression and calls it “toxic”. (It is toxic if misused but joyful if used with love in marriage.)
  • The church agrees with the culture and promotes a “toxic” view of a strong sex drive often calling it “lust”. (A strong sex drive is a wonderful gift from God.)
  • The church promotes sexual restraint in marriage as a sign of greater holiness. (The opposite is true: sexual restraint in marriage promotes sexual sin, not holiness. See 1 Cor 7:1-5 ESV)
  • Christian wives are encouraged to “help” their husbands control their unwieldy sex drive by suppressing all sensuality. (Again, the opposite is true: Wives are to encourage their husband’s strong sex drive and fan it into flames to the delight of them both. See SOS 4:9-10 She “captivates” his heart with her sexual love.)
  • Men and women don’t see sex as a primary reason for marriage. (Sex is the only reason to get married in the first place according to the Bible.)

As we are influenced by these non-biblical ideas, we will correspondingly think sex is primarily for men. The closer we get to God’s model for sexual love in the Song of Solomon, we will see that sex is a fountain of joy for both men and women.

As we mentioned in the last post, a biblical view of married sex has to be learned, it is not naturally acquired as we may think. The first step in learning about married sex is to unlearn our false cultural and religious assumptions.

Bible Thought: God loves passion and encourages husbands and wives to fan it into flames.

Prayer: Father, help me to get closer to the sexual love model in the Song of Solomon. I turn to you, and your grace, to help me to understand you are for sex and not against sex in marriage. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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