Should a woman deny her husband sex?




Should a woman deny her husband sex?

"Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control." (1 Corinthians 7:1-5)

One of the purposes of marriage to give a proper outlet for sexual desire. "Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge" (Hebrews 13:4). "The bed" is a Greek idiom for sexual intercourse. Within marriage intercourse is pure, but outside of marriage it is sinful, whether before marriage (fornication) or during marriage but with someone who is not your spouse (adultery). Paul advocated marriage as a way to avoid sinful sex.

Because this is one motivator for marriage, it becomes ridiculous to enter into marriage and then deny your spouse the very thing that helped drive him or her to marriage. Using the imagery of thirst as a synomymn for sexual desire, the writer of Proverbs said, "Drink water from your own cistern, And running water from your own well. Should your fountains be dispersed abroad, Streams of water in the streets? Let them be only your own, And not for strangers with you. Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice with the wife of your youth. As a loving deer and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; And always be enraptured with her love" (Proverbs 5:15-19). Sex is to be exclusively available between a husband and wife to quench their desire for sex. But what sense is it to have a well and then refuse any to drink from it? Hence, Paul stated in I Corinthians 7 that neither the husband or wife have authority over their own bodies. When they married they gave themselves over to each other.

The only exception is when it is by mutual consent and for a limited time. A married person should not be living for themselves but always considering the needs and desires of their spouse. Husbands are told to honor their wives (I Peter 3:7) and wives are told to respect their husbands (Ephesians 5:33). What respect or honor is being shown when a basic human need is being withheld and used as a club to get personal wishes fulfilled? Who is being selfish? The withholder or the one supposedly in the wrong? Far too often couples use the denial of sex as a weapon to get their own way in other things. One does not solve a wrong by using another wrong. "If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. Therefore "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good" (Romans 12:18-21).

See also:

Can't a wife abstain from sex for a few days?
Is sex within marriage a privilege to be earned?

"An Overview of Marriage" from Preparation for a Lifetime

March 15, 2005