I sometimes joke that God wants married couples to have sex on the days that start with the letter T. Tuesday, Thursday, Today, Tomorrow, Tadurday, and Tunday!”
Now that is funny! Yet, why would I say such a thing? Here’s why…
God designed sex: “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it’” (Genesis 1:27–28).
Who is the main character in this story? The protagonist? The one initiating toward the others? God. It was God who created Adam and Eve, put them in the garden, blessed them, and told them to be fruitful and multiply. At that point, sex became a very real— and godly—part of the creation story. God himself created sex, even commanding the first husband and wife to enjoy it.
When we were back in seminary, we asked the question, “From God’s perspective, what is the primary purpose of sex?” And often we concluded that there was one purpose, that is, procreation. This was the church’s messaging for decades—you should never have sex except for the purpose of reproduction. But this is not scriptural. Procreation is one of the purposes, but it isn’t the only one.
The Purpose of Sex
Besides procreation, the other two purposes for sex are oneness (or intimacy) and pleasure.
Let’s first address the purpose of oneness. When a person has sex, whether in marriage or even in a one-night stand, a soul connection occurs. Even when emotional intimacy seems to be distant from the experience, the fact remains that God designed sex to be the most intimate, beautiful act in which human beings could ever engage. There is such a depth of intimacy that it is beyond physical.
Sex is soul intimacy.
And yet today, if you talk to people from high school ages to adulthood, there is a generally flippant attitude about sexuality. It really doesn’t matter if “I love him” or in some cases even if “I like her”; it’s just a physical act done for pleasure. That was our attitude growing up.
But God made it to be so much more! This flippancy is why we are so scarred. We are so wounded because sex is not just a physical act, but rather something that affects our very souls, which is why it can also be extremely hurtful.
God created our psyches to bond with the psyches of those with whom we are intimate. In sex, chemicals are released that foster intimacy and oneness, something that is designed for and is crucial to the covenant of marriage. That is why engaging in sex with someone outside of the marriage context can be so destructive. It bonds our soul to someone that we are not committed to for life and that leaves a deep scar.
The Science of Sex
As anyone who has ever had sex knows, sexual pleasure is virtually unmatched by any other experience. God designed the human body in such an incredible way that when a man or woman reaches sexual excitement, nerve endings release a chemical into the brain that is much like a drug high (not that I know anything about a drug high!). This “high” can be addictive, just like a drug. Obviously, that can lead to many negative choices when it comes to sex, but it also can result in a unique bonding between a husband and wife. This pleasure makes us want to come back for more, and that “coming together” actually bonds us in a deep and beautiful way as husband and wife. This means that a married couple is literally bonded together as one both physically and chemically by God as they have sex. Wow!
The Power of Sex
It’s almost as if every time we make love with our spouse, we are renewing our marital vows of bonding together, until death do us part. That’s the beauty of God- ordained sexual pleasure mixed with the covenant of marriage. Only a good good Father could come up with that.
Sex is not only for bonding, but for pleasure too. I don’t know if you’ve noticed this yet, but sex done right actually feels good—really good. And that is a gift from our Creator. He designed us to experience great pleasure when having sex. Think of it in the way someone once said it to us: “Only God could create an act so pleasurable that when you do it, you sometimes yell his name out loud.” I hope you are laughing right now because we are!
The Fun of Sex
Such talk of the godly pleasure that can be found in sex seems to make the Pharisee inside each of us squirm just a bit. Perhaps it is because we are so distracted by the counterfeit viewpoints of sex with which we’ve been inundated by this world or even by the church. It is time that we accept the fact that God is not blushing when sex is either being discussed or being performed according to his perfect design. Actually, we believe that God smiles—and maybe even applauds—when a married couple makes love. Now that’s a God who is worth getting to know!
The Bible is full of God’s thoughts on the matter of sex. Take this passage, for example: “May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.
A loving doe, a graceful deer—may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love” (Proverbs 5:18–19).
In the church, when we say breasts, people gasp. Her breasts should satisfy her husband? Yes! This is in the Bible. In fact, if you haven’t spent much time reading God’s Word, you may want to read it more after discovering passages such as these. Song of Songs is an R-rated read. It speaks of striptease, oral sex, going out into the garden to fool around, and more—all within a marriage relationship.
The Heart of Sex
If we understood the heart of God, then we would know that when a married man and woman make love, God isn’t turning away and saying to himself, Oh man, there they go again. No, he applauds. If you can’t see a God who would do this, then let us boldly assert that perhaps you don’t fully know God in the way he wants you to. Why else would God tell us to be fruitful and increase in number and then give us sex as the vehicle to accomplish these goals? He could have created any other method he so desired to make this happen, from cross-pollination to impregnation by sneezing—the facial tissue industry would explode, by the way.
Instead, he chose this beautiful gift of sexual intimacy, oneness, and pleasure. It is a command from God, not just for the purpose of reproducing people, but also for reproducing a legacy. It is a command because it draws us closer and brings us together. It bonds us in the way God intended. This is why before you’re married, the enemy will do everything in his power to get you to have sex, but after you’re married, he will do everything in his power to keep you from having sex.
If there is ever an area of marriage in which we need to invite the vertical perspective, it is into our sex lives. Otherwise, sex becomes all about us. And then something God uniquely designed to help, heal, and bond us together becomes instead something that damages, wounds, and drives us apart.
The above is an excerpt from Dave and Ann Wilson’s 2019 release, Vertical Marriage: The One Secret that Will Change Your Marriage. [Symbol] Copyright 2018 by Dave and Ann Wilson. Requests for information should be addressed to: Zondervan, 3900 Sparks Drive SE, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49546