I have had a then-new visitor read my If Duty Sex Isn’t Her Duty, What Is? Part 2 post and leave this comment—
I am not a misogynist; I am very far from it. I adore and respect women. I wouldn’t want to live without at least one other woman in my life that wasn’t my mother. I like women being women. That’s not as sexist as it may sound. What I’m really saying is I like the ways in which women are not like men. I like how they are different in ways beyond just the obvious physical ones. I appreciate how they can be a moderating force in life in general and a nurturing influence. We task-oriented men don’t always exercise those qualities effectively in our work and particularly in our home-lives as husbands and parents. I am thankful women are there to stand in the gap to intervene and promote domestic tranquility while providing valued counsel from their own unique perspective. As they might with any man, women and their ways are able to frustrate and exasperate me; however, I’m sure they feel the same about me and the rest of us men at times. The rose garden we both wish our relationship was is somewhere back in Eden.
Proverbs 31:10 New Living Translation
Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies.
Proverbs 3:15 New Living Translation
Wisdom (she) is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. [authors underline]
I don’t see it as coincidental that a good wife and wisdom are both as valued as rubies, diamonds or jewels and that wisdom is identified as “her” and “she” in so many translations of the Bible throughout the wisdom books. The name Sophia is derived from sophia which is Greek for wisdom.
A Good Wife—Proverbs 31:10
Her worth is “far above rubies.”
“…far more precious than jewels; far above jewels; far exceeds the finest jewels; worth far more than jewels.”
“…far above precious stones.”
“She is more precious than rubies…”
“She is more precious than jewels…”
As you have noticed by now, much of what I say in this post will be drawn from a biblical perspective. I am not doing this to proselytize though. The reason I have chosen to ground my response in the Bible is because I feel the church is responsible for so much of the negativity concerning sexuality in general and specifically that of women. This negativity and resulting confusion is a product of crimes of omission as much as commission. I do not use that word “crime” casually. I feel that the lack of Bible-based church leadership regarding the sexual conduct of our marriages is helping to grow and perpetuate the divorce rate in our churches that some report now equals that of the secular world. Be advised though that Harvard-trained researcher and Christian writer Shaunti Feldhahn disputes that claim in this article. Whatever the church-going divorce rate, we believers can do a better job of creating and sustaining marriages in which the relationship within them is more fulfilling and satisfying. Church leadership should be in the forefront of that effort. It’s time for the church to stand and deliver in the fight for successful and fulfilled marriages. They need to put some “money” where their mouth is.
In all fairness, I will admit that training for the clergy may involve way less about psychology and sexuality than is necessary to achieve this educational end and that many in the clergy may not be comfortable discussing or teaching about sexuality and intimacy with their congregants. Let’s face it, they’re people too just like us and may also have been raised in similar church environments that were repressive toward sexuality or at the least did not openly discuss it. It can be difficult for them too to turn on the proverbial dime and begin teaching something entirely different than their past and current life experience. If married clergy, their wives may be “old school” too so they are living the problems of old teachings, or the lack of any teachings, in their marriages as well.
However, this lack of past education and repressive teachings does not excuse them from learning more current information and helping their congregants have more vital and sustainable marriages. Marriages which are necessary to building stronger families. It is my position that these necessary core teachings and available counseling could help damaged marriages recover and further enhance viable well-functioning ones. They could also get soon-t0-be marrieds off on the right foot. I would agree that good marriages aren’t built only on sex, but a marriage without good sexual intimacy, however that couple agrees to define that intimacy, is not a house well-built on a rock. Sex is often described as the glue that holds marriages together. I would add that good sex can provide a strong foundation to help weather the inevitable storms because good sex means there can be good communication happening within the marriage elsewhere. And a really good part about good sex…? It can always become GREAT SEX as the marriage relationship matures.
So, what does the Bible have to say about sexuality and sex within marriage? Let’s begin with something very simple:
It is widely reported and pretty much accepted that we men are visually oriented in our nature. We find extreme pleasure in looking at our wives nude bodies. Naked was God’s intent when he originally dressed us. It’s not that we don’t appreciate when they are nicely clothed too, but we are particularly fond of seeing their bare flesh. I say flesh because I mean to include parts or their bodies that are not typically looked upon as sexually titillating or erogenous—their stomachs, their backs, their shoulders, their hands, their arms, their cheeks and chin and so much more. And yes, we love the mind and heart we see behind all that flesh, but it is the flesh our eyes crave. We want to delight in the pleasure of seeing you naked…all of you and often. That would appear simple enough to achieve, but appearances can be deceiving.
It is also widely reported and pretty much accepted that women have body image issues and don’t like to, or are hesitant to, display their bodies for their husbands’ pleasure. Wives, if not ashamed of their bodies as a whole, are well-practiced in finding specific features with which to be unhappy if not down right disgusted and ashamed. Even if a husband’s primary interests are focused on areas she is happy with, their proximity to an area she is not pleased with will keep her from enthusiastically showing off what she feels are her more perfect parts.
What they don’t realize is we men have and use an automatic ability to laser-focus on what areas interest us most in the moment and our husband goggles fog out the rest. This is why we can have sex in what for you would be disruptive circumstances that would either not permit your arousal or bring it to a aggravatingly frustrating halt in midstream. Like the soup Nazi—
Frankly Speaking, as an example, if your nipples fascinate us as an area of laser-like focus, whether your breasts are bodacious or otherwise, perky or otherwise, symmetrical or otherwise, tanned or otherwise, firm or otherwise, is all otherwise to us. Likewise, if the whole of your breasts fascinate us, whether your nipples are rosey or otherwise, inverted or otherwise, puffy or otherwise, oval or otherwise, quarter-sized or otherwise will again be all otherwise to us. Our focus can be that specific and that focus can “blind” us men to what you women feel are obvious faults, flaws or limitations.
Song of Solomon 4:7 — All beautiful you are, my darling, there is no flaw in you.
Wondering why I would choose nipples for this example and not some other body parts like the breasts themselves? It seemed a logical lead-in for the next paragraph. Our culture has made women very aware of their breasts: their shape and placement on their chest, but their size in particular. Still, even if women get naturally or surgically comfortable with their breasts’ size on the whole, they will then begin to be concerned about their nipples as if there were a perfect one out there that they do not possess: one that has no Montgomery glands or that lone errant hair protruding from the areola surrounding the nipple. In that way, they are like men and their penis size which leads us in to that next paragraph.
Women can also find pleasure in viewing their husbands’ bodies, albeit in a different way for the most part. Their areas of focus may be arousing to them, but they tend not to focus so much on the primary erogenous zones as we men may. If they are not already aroused, our smile, eyes, hands, firm butts, biceps and chests mean more to them visually than our penis, erect or other wise, lengthy or otherwise, girthy or otherwise. Until they are sufficiently aroused, all of that will be otherwise. Even once aroused, not many women are hoping to be presented with an overly expansive male member. But, like us they do look and, like us, there is much they overlook.
But, isn’t looking upon your mate’s body, and perhaps having thoughts of sexual desire, lusting and not biblical? Should we be running around naked in front of others, even if married to them? Shouldn’t couples be more modest and discrete with their bodies? I mean, after all, how did the Bible feel about a couple, man and woman, being naked in the presence of one another and modesty between them? Let’s check out the source and see what it says.
God clothed neither Adam nor his wife but created them and presented them to each other totally nude. God had no shame in their nakedness. He created them in a way that was divinely designed, acceptable, and approved of Him. God’s original plan was for them to enjoy the visual pleasure of gazing upon each others bodies and not hiding them from one another.
Only after the fall did God fashion clothing for them and subsequently banish them from the garden, and that clothing had nothing to do with modesty. To provide the skins to make the clothes, an animal life had to be sacrificed and death to cover sin entered the world. Blood was shed. This act of a blood sacrifice to cover their sin of disobeying God was a precursor to Christ’s work on the cross: His future blood sacrifice to cover the sins of all mankind that would repent and accept him as Lord. That God-made clothing was not about modesty or in a direct response to their being naked. It was about their sin of disobedience. That clothing was a symbolic harbinger of Christ’s blood covering our sins, not skins covering our nakedness.
Genesis 2:25 (NIV)— 25 Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
Naked and felt no shame? How could they not feel shame?
“Well they were alone with each other so that’s why. And for all practical purposes they were husband and wife by God’s intent.“
Really? Those were the only reasons they should not have felt shame being naked in the presence of one another? Consider this:
Genesis 3:8-11 (NIV)— 8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” (My emphasis.)
God was walking in the Garden and noticed the absence of Adam and Eve and desiring their fellowship called out to Adam. The nakedness of them was to be so natural and normal that when they hid God instinctively knew something was amiss. He knew they should feel no fear of Him or shame in their nakedness. Shame felt over our nude bodies was never His intent or part of His plan for us. We should exercise modesty when and where appropriate but not because of a feeling of shame. Wives should not deny their husbands by proclaiming modesty when shame is what is keeping them from flaunting their bodies before their appreciative husbands. Yes wives, you are allowed to flanunt: to display yourselves to your husbands in a way that is sexually provocative. If you have doubts, look here.
Body shame has no place between a husband and wife. As to shame in general, I would direct you to—
Romans 8:1-2 (NIV)— Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you[a] free from the law of sin and death.
We should not be condemning our bodies for what we perceive as their lack of perfection anymore than we should be condemning ourselves for not being perfect Christians. The naked body is something over which we should not feel shame or that nudity in and of itself is sinful.
God created Adam and Eve and they were both naked and felt no shame. Think about that for a moment: created by God and naked without shame. If nakedness in and of itself was sinful, God would not have so created Adam and Eve. God may define and condemn sin and even allow it to exist as part of His plan to establish His glory, but He does not create it. Being naked before your spouse is not sinful. The problem is we associate sinful things that we think about when we see someone nude or of sinful things we may do when nude with the state of being naked. It is not our bodies that are sinful by their nakedness, but our minds. It’s as if we somehow feel if we hide our bodies from view, we are preventing sins of the body.
His plan for us as a man and woman sharing ourselves in marriage is very different from how many of us have been taught and subsequently choose to live. We limit our pleasure, our joy and our bliss by not choosing to allow ourselves to commonly share in sensuous experiences with our spouse. Somehow, we have adopted the attitude that sensuousness is not approved of God and having a sensual or sexual experience is a thing to be ashamed of and not to be desired and sought after though both are promoted in the Bible in the Song of Songs or the Song of Solomon as it is also known.
Keep in mind, sensuousness is not only defined as exclusive to sex. Sensuous also means marked by the appetites and passions of the body which can involve non-sexual sensations. Eating, listening to music and smelling flowers can be a sensuous experience. There is no scriptural reason I can see that precludes a wife from expressing her sensuous nature in a sexual way with her spouse within marriage though.
In Part 2 of this series, we’ll be talking about the very special way in which God created women different from men and how that affects their desire and their sexuality. If any of my women readers wish to inform me of something germane to that but not as a comment, feel free to email me from the About page. All emails are confidential and your address is not published.