Marital Sex: Bliss or Legalized Lust?

Marital Sex: Bliss or Legalized Lust?

Love intensifies within a covenanted marriage as two people yield themselves to each other. This love is a gift that makes us fully human. Christian couples find security in marriage when sexual desire is transformed and made holy.

A younger generation, fearful of committed relationships, desperately needs to hear stories of deep joy, security, and confidence found in a marriage of submission to God and to each other. When we “forsake all others” in our thoughts, habits, and actions, we give our spouse (and ourselves) the gift of a strong physical and emotional bond that comes from a healthy, holistic, spirit-filled sexual relationship. Our sexual desires are continually purified, turned outward toward our spouse, and transformed so that they grow deeper, richer, and more intense as we live in union with each other.

The Church must be more intentional if our children and young adults are ever to experience the joy and purity of a one-flesh union with a Godly spouse. Wesleyan theology has a great deal to offer in this conversation. The practice and experience of holiness empowers marriage as passionate love that transcends the cheapened version of sexuality being portrayed by our culture.   We need to be exceptionally clear that the sexual desire that a husband and wife feel for each other is good, holy, and something to be nurtured.

The world longs for better portraits of Christian marriage. But too often we find the world’s pattern of lust practiced in marriage. Sadly, the same church that condemns pre-marital, extra-marital, and same-sex lusting, says little about selfish marital lust. Marriage does not legalize lust for Christians. We are called to love our spouse sexually in a way that causes them to feel treasured and dignified rather than used.

A woman will never be loved in the way her soul longs to be loved by following the path of lust. Sex should be fun, playful, responsive, aggressive, exciting—but most of all bonding. God intends that we celebrate the union of one life to another in an act of self-giving love. Marriage built on lust is fickle, selfish, immature, and egocentric.

The heart repaired by grace is shaped to love as God intended. Once again, marriage is marked by the erotic sanctity of the garden where we are naked without shame, where the look of desire causes one to feel cherished rather than consumed. Husband and wife give themselves freely to one another in an ecstasy that binds them together for life. The pleasure of intercourse is a gift in the flow of normal days of heaviness. The spirit of a playful child returns to a couple burdened by the weight of work. Nearness to the other is refreshing. Tenderness and passion assure us that we are cherished beings of value.

Because the dignity of a human is found in our sexuality, marriage can be heaven or hell. We can use, harm, and destroy one another in the non-sanctity of our own homes. Or we can cherish and treasure each other as gifts from God.

Today’s post is an excerpt from Human Sexuality: A Primer for Christians.


  1. Rick Moore says

    Excellent! Thank you for saying some things that really need to be said.


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