“Eat, friends, drink, and be drunk with love!” - Song of Solomon 5:1b
We have been looking at the biblical purposes for sex in this blog series. First, we discussed the need for a biblically informed view of sex in part 1. In the next installment, we talked about the various misconceptions about God and sex. In the third post, we talked about the context in which God desires the gift of sex to be enjoyed and expressed: marriage. This is the protection piece. As we enter into the covenant of marriage, we enter into a relationship that is built on trust and fidelity. This foundation enables us to “be naked and not be ashamed.”Our vulnerabilities are placated by the promise of our spouse to love and endure with us. Marriage serves as the umbrella of protection over the gift of sex. The first purpose for sex is procreation, i.e. to multiply the earth. This is the command given to Adam and Eve in the book of Genesis. But, this is not the only purpose for sex. We do not simply have sex only to have kids. Sex is to be enjoyed often as a means of pleasure.
God created the sexual drive and desire that brews in all of us. He is the one who created the anatomy and physiology behind sex. This is His design and His plan. Sex is pleasurable because God intended it to be so. Certainly there are misconceptions about God’s intentions for sex, but we have already discussed the reality that He is not a killjoy. The Song of Solomon poetically and unashamedly describes the pleasure and pursuit of sexual intimacy. 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 admonishes married couples to give themselves to their spouse for sexual enjoyment often. In fact, the apostle Paul says, “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” (1 Corinthians 7:5).
Certainly the expectation is the fulfillment of sexual drive and desire in the marriage, not procreation. The charge is for married couples to satisfy one another sexually. This is a good thing. This is a pleasurable thing. Proverbs 5:15-20 echoes the same theme of sexual fulfillment and satisfaction. The proverb says that a man should delight in his wife’s body and be intoxicated always in her love. All sexual satisfaction can be found by “drinking water from your own cistern, flowing water from your own well.” (Proverbs 5:15). The implication is clear; there is no need to explore for fulfillment or pleasure outside of your marriage because you can delight yourself fully in your spouse. God created sex. And, He intended it for pleasure.
Joy and pleasure in sex is illuminated and brought into its fullest expression when we understand sex to be another opportunity to serve our spouse. As we engage and enter into what is an intimate and vulnerable act, we enter in as servants to our spouse. I am to serve my spouse in the bedroom just as I am called to serve her any other place. This does not mean that anything is game; rather, it means that my primary focus is my wife and her needs first and foremost. It means that my hope and heart is the satisfaction of my wife. As we both mutually engage one another with a heart of service, sex is maximized and enjoyment is realized for both of us. This is yet again another implication of a gospel-centered life. The gospel of Jesus Christ means that I willingly lay my life down (my needs, wants, desires) and consider others more important than myself (Philippians 2:1-11; Romans 15:2).
Any passage that admonishes us to love and serve our neighbor certainly encompasses the way we should love and serve our spouse. Sex is not the exception to a gospel-centered life of service; rather, it just might be the most profound example.