Saturday, October 31, 2009

Myth #3: Sex for Pleasure Only is Wrong

Continuing in my series of busting myths about human sexuality, I would now like to deal with whether sex can be engaged in just for pleasure, without procreation.  Many people seem to be of the belief that sex is only for reproduction, and that it is a sin to engage in sex for pleasure only.  First, I would like to ask them where they found such a doctrine in the Bible, because it is not there!  On the contrary, the Bible does endorse sex for pleasure and has dedicated a whole book to that, called Songs of Solomon.

Seeing that marriage is a reflection of our heavenly marriage to Christ, then sex must also have a spiritual counterpart in our spiritual relation with Christ.  Going back to Matthew 19 (oh how I love this chapter!),  Jesus gave a resounding affirmation of the sex act when He said:

"And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder" (Matthew 19:4-6).

The sex act is described as the physical union between a man and woman, where two bodies join together and become "one flesh."  No one should go and try to destroy this unity which God has ordained.   Sex is a sacred, God-ordained act,  "what therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder" (vs. 6).

So how is it that we now have people trying to tell us when a husband and wife should and should not have sex? Where did they get their doctrine that sex is only for procreation?  Absolutely nothing in scripture speaks of this.  As a matter of fact, the Bible encourages us to have sex as often as we want, and to take pleasure in it.  The only restriction is when a woman is having her period, because of sanitary hazards, and also some time after childbirth so her body can recover (Leviticus 15:19; Leviticus 12:2-6).  The following are scriptures that endorse sex for pleasure.  Emphasis is supplied where appropriate.

"Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. 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" (Proverbs 5:18-19).

"How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse! how much better is thy love than wine! and the smell of thine ointments than all spices!" (Song of Solomon 4:10).

His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem" (Song of Solomon 5:16).



"I am my beloved's, and his desire is toward me. Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field; let us lodge in the villages. Let us get up early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine flourish, whether the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates bud forth: there will I give thee my loves" (Song of Solomon 7:10-12).

"The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs. The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife. Do not deprive each other of sexual relations, unless you both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you can give yourselves more completely to prayer. Afterward, you should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control" ( 1 Corinthians 7:3-5, NLT).

The scriptures speak for themselves.  I have yet to find a scripture that tells me that sex purely for pleasure is wrong.







24 comments:

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Is not the purpose of sex to foster a physical and spiritual union between husband and wife? Is it not a physical expression of God's love to us?

Elena said...

Many people seem to be of the belief that sex is only for reproduction, and that it is a sin to engage in sex for pleasure only.

Are there some branches of Protestantism that believe that? I did correspond on line with a modern-day Druid who was part of a coven I think somewhere in Washington State that absolutely believed that it was good and proper to mate purely for reproduction. Those ladies apparently didn't seem to have much use for men other than that. I never did ask her how they felt about having baby boys.

and in case you're wondering sex only for reproduction isn't a Catholic teaching so I don't have a bone to pick with you on this myth.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Ah ha! So you believe in sex for pleasure and procreation combined! Not one without the other! Very interesting. Unitive with the procreative doctrine. I wonder where can I find this in the Bible?

Elena said...

So you believe in sex for pleasure and procreation combined!

Never said I didn't. That is what the Catholic Church teaches as well.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Good for you, and the Bible teaches that sex without procreation is also good. It all good!

Elena said...

Bible teaches that sex without procreation is also good.

What the Bible does NOT teach however is that sex that is deliberately contraceptive, is good. In fact, it teaches that is gravely displeasing to God.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Says who?

Daughter of Wisdom said...

BTW, "deliberately contraceptive?" Is there accidental contraceptive? Do you mean if I do not practice deliberate contraception but practice it accidently that it is okay? Is it oops I did not mean to make you pregnant? Or oops I did not mean not to impregnate you?

Are we to go around like mindless beings not having a sexual consciousness? Is it not our sexual consciousness that differentiates human sexuality from animal sexuality?

The rhythmn method that is promoted in your church can be used as a form of contraception. You guys are deliberately avoiding sex during the fertile days of the month so as to not conceive, or waiting until the woman is fertile in order to have sex to conceive. This is definitely a deliberate and purposed act.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Oh don't tell me. It is all unplanned. If it happens, it happens. Then why bother with observing the monthly cycle?

Tell me, for menopausal women. Do they now have to stop having sex because they can no longer bear children?

Elena said...

The difference between Natural Family Planning (which is not rhythm) is that it works with God's design for the body. It is God who designed the periods of fertility and infertility. If a couple, for a serious and grave reason determines that they should avoid or postpone pregnancy, they work with the design God gave them and deny themselves also accordingly. This is a much more scriptural way of living than artificial contraception.


Oh don't tell me. It is all unplanned. If it happens, it happens. Then why bother with observing the monthly cycle?

NFP is not supposed to be the norm for Catholic Couples, but the exception and only for serious reasons. I quit charting cycles in 1990 and was blessed with six pregnancies after that including my youngest daughter who was born three days after my 46th birthday.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Elena wrote:

"NFP is not supposed to be the norm for Catholic Couples, but the exception and only for serious reasons. I quit charting cycles in 1990 and was blessed with six pregnancies after that including my youngest daughter who was born three days after my 46th birthday."
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Well, congratulations on approaching pregnancy God's way! For couples planning to have children, there is no need for charting cycles. Just relax and enjoy, and have faith. Enjoy the pleasure and reap the rewards.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Elena wrote:

"NFP is not supposed to be the norm for Catholic Couples, but the exception and only for serious reasons."
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And that is your church rule. Not binding on non Catholics.

It is interesting how you are making all this about Catholics. My posts were intended to dispel myths that people believe, whether Catholic, Prostestant, or not. It's funny how you have taken everything and applied it personally to Catholics. There are a lot of Prostestants out there who have hangs ups and misgivings about sex. Selfish, self-centered, non spiritual attitudes prevail all around. That's why the family unit is so broken. My message is simple:

1. Sexual desires are God's way of telling you to find a mate.
2. If you have no sexual desires, then you are a eunuch and will not desire marriage.
3.Learn how to control those desires when you are dating and allow love to grow instead of lusting.
4. Enjoy your spouse sexually in marriage, and use sex to foster a closer spiritual and physical bond.
5. Our earthly marriages should be a reflection our heavenly marriage to Christ.
6. Practice responsible reproduction.

just evelyn said...

DoW, the Catholic teaching is that if one is contracepting during the act of intercourse, then one is holding back from fully loving the spouse. Natural Family Planning is okay, because it is not violating a sexual act. It is recognizing that if we aren't ready to possibly conceive, then we need to not be having sex. Menopausal women can go ahead and have sex, because they are still open to life, like old Sarah was.
If married couples are allowed to contracept, it is not difficult to fall into using the partner for lust, to relieve sexual desire, instead of loving the whole person. I lived this personally, and so I really get it, and I will never, ever use contraception again. One More Soul (omsoul.com) will tell you more than you ever wanted or needed to know about the Catholic position :)

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Just evelyn wrote:

"Menopausal women can go ahead and have sex, because they are still open to life, like old Sarah was."
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Thank you for your input evelyn, and answering my question. I must say however that it is impossible for a menopausal woman to get pregnant. Sarah got pregnant through miraculous means and because of a promise God had made that through her (and Abraham) all nations of the earth would be blessed. It was impossible for her to get pregnant through nature alone (Hebrews 11:11). So using Sarah as a reason why it is okay for menopausal women to have sex is disingenious.


It is okay for menopausal women to have sex, because it is the holy and right thing to do in the sight of God, with your mate. Period.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Just evelyn wrote:

"If married couples are allowed to contracept, it is not difficult to fall into using the partner for lust, to relieve sexual desire, instead of loving the whole person. I lived this personally, and so I really get it, and I will never, ever use contraception again."
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Desiring your spouse sexually is not lust. "I am my beloved and his desire is towards me" (Song of Solomon 7:10). Lust is an evil desire, or desiring something which you should not have. Sex with your spouse is neither an evil desire or a desire you should not have. The only time sex in marriage is lust is when sex is used to gratify self without caring about the other person. Sacred sexuality is about pleasing the other person. Doing what is pleasing and pleasurable for your spouse. It is not about pleasing self. When you approach sex from the aspect of pleasing your spouse, and you get good responses, then you too will feel good as well, and your spouse should return the favor as well, if they really love you and care about pleasing you.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Just evelyn wrote:

"DoW, the Catholic teaching is that if one is contracepting during the act of intercourse, then one is holding back from fully loving the spouse."
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That is true if one wants children and the other does not.

Elena said...

So using Sarah as a reason why it is okay for menopausal women to have sex is disingenious.

Of course if Sarah and Abraham had felt that way the whole covenantal thing would be quite a bit different. For someone who depends so much on scripture for your dos and dont's it fascinates when you reject things that are plainly in there and make up stuff that isn't.

I also disagree with your "responsible reproduction" requirement. A baby conceived is always part of God's plan whether it was wanted by the parents or not. But I get that for whatever reason you are really invested in the contraceptive mentality and culture.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Elena wrote:
"I also disagree with your "responsible reproduction" requirement. A baby conceived is always part of God's plan whether it was wanted by the parents or not."
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So why then are you opposed to children born out of wedlock?

Responsible reproduction means taking responsiblity for your sexual actions. Sex is not something we should enter into carelessly and lightly. It is a sacred gift from God, over which God has given us certain controls and responsibilities. Sex involves cooperation between God and man. It should be noted that all the women who got babies miraculously in the Bible all wanted babies, and that God did not give babies to any who did not want a child. God's will working with the human will.

The Bible places no restrictions on childbearing, and in sacred sexuality, it is done through the cooperation of God with man.

The reason why abortion rates are so high is that people have not submitted their sex lives to God. They are doing with their bodies whatever, thinking that it is their bodies and they can do with it whatever they want. In sacred sexuality, the individual respects their body and the fruits of their body as a blessing from God.

Elena said...

So why then are you opposed to children born out of wedlock?

Because God's design for the family is a mother and a father who both give their gifts and talents to provide for and educate the offspring. That design is distorted when children are born outside of marriage.

That does not mean that the children conceived from those unions aren't still beloved children of God, only that their parents messed up.

And of course this entire rabbit trail is a strawman because we were discussion sexuality in terms of the marriage bond. Or at least I was. You aren't suggesting that sex outside of marriage for pure pleasure is moral are you?

Elena said...

It is a sacred gift from God, over which God has given us certain controls and responsibilities. Sex involves cooperation between God and man. It should be noted that all the women who got babies miraculously in the Bible all wanted babies, and that God did not give babies to any who did not want a child. God's will working with the human will.

That certain control is what NFP is all about and it works with the God-given design of the body.

Incidentally I don't think David and Bathsheba were exactly looking for a pregnancy. Neither was Judah.

Elena said...

The reason why abortion rates are so high is that people have not submitted their sex lives to God. They are doing with their bodies whatever, thinking that it is their bodies and they can do with it whatever they want. In sacred sexuality, the individual respects their body and the fruits of their body as a blessing from God.

Agreed. This is why abortion rates follow contraceptive rates. Contrary to what people once thought contraception doesn't decrease abortion rates.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Elena wrote:

"Incidentally I don't think David and Bathsheba were exactly looking for a pregnancy. Neither was Judah."
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You're right. They all conceived naturally. These were not miraculous conceptions orchestrated by God in conjunction with man. David and Bathsheba were not planning on having a baby, but that baby also died after birth. They then had another baby -Solomon, who became the wisest man Israel. God's will working with the human will. Judah wanted a baby through his sons but they were all killed by God. His daughter-in-law took matters in her own hands and conceived by him, in order to carry on the family line. God's will working with the human will.

just evelyn said...

Eeek, so many bits to respond to and keep straight.

You've mentioned couples wanting children or one spouse not. Realize that in a Catholic wedding, both parties must vow to be open to children, so not wanting kids is not a possibility. We can't be sacramentally married without being open to children.

It's not impossible for a woman we think is post-menopausal to get pregnant. We do not know absolutely when a woman truly ceases to ovulate. Sure, it spaces waaaaaay out, but big surprises can happen if the timing is right. Sarah was really old, but given what the Bible says about the ages of people back then, we may not be able to extrapolate. In any case, God can do a miracle any time He wants to.

Desiring a spouse sexually can certainly be lust. Some of this may be a difference in semantics. Surely you would agree that sometimes a husband wants to have sex with his wife because he wants sex, not so much because he wants *her* A godly man will straighten this out, but an ungodly one may go ahead and use his wife.

I don't know if I would frame Judah's son as a cooperation between God and people. It was God making something good come out of the evil of their sin.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Next post Sacred reproduction.