Oral Sex As Appropriate Sexual Expression in Marriage

As you probably know, the Bible is silent with respect to this specific issue. In the face of this silence, we are left to draw our conclusions from other passages and principles of Scripture, always staying sensitive to the spirit of the Word. We can begin by pointing out that the biblical writers have three important things to say about the meaning and purpose of marital sex. First, it is central to the process by which a husband and wife become one flesh (Genesis 2:24). Second, it is the means whereby they participate in the ongoing work of God's creation through the pleasure and delight of procreation (Genesis 1:28). Third, it is intended to serve as a picture or symbol of the union between Christ and His Church (Ephesians 5:31, 32). Sex, then, isn't supposed to be "all about me." Rather, it is designed to function as part of the give-and-take of an interpersonal relationship. It is a holy mystery, a powerful bonding agent that shapes and affects the relationship between a man and a woman as nothing else can.

These are the theological perspectives and biblical principles that should inform and shape any couple's expression of physical intimacy in marriage. From the Christian standpoint, marriage is a relationship of love in which a man and a woman model for each other the self-sacrificial nature of Christ's love for His church. Where there is love, there is liberty, since God has entrusted solely to a husband and wife the prerogative of defining the particulars of their sexual relationship. No one else has the right or authority to tell them how to behave in the bedroom provided it does not violate Scripture. But love also implies that each spouse is obligated to treat the needs, feelings, desires, and preferences of his or her mate as matters of the highest priority.

To put it another way, mutual consent is basic to all healthy sexual expression in marriage. Consent implies that both parties know what's proposed and expected; that they fully understand the ramifications, physically and emotionally, of the suggested activity; that there is room for discussion; and that both partners are always free to say no. Under no circumstances should either spouse be pressured or coerced into engaging in any form of sexual activity with which he or she is uncomfortable. Respect, humility, and forbearance, which are essential to all human relationships, are of the greatest importance here.

In light of this, it's our opinion that couples must be allowed to make up their own minds about oral sex – assuming, of course, that the decision will be made "democratically," on the basis of equal input from both spouses. We realize that some Christians have strong reservations about this practice, and we respect their point of view. In cases of this nature, it is inevitable that differences of opinion will arise. This is one of several reasons we are not comfortable adopting a dogmatic position on either side of the issue.

For further information about sexual intimacy in marriage, we suggest that you contact Dr. Clifford and Mrs. Joyce Penner. Dr. Penner is a psychologist and his wife is a nurse; they work as a team specializing in various sexual issues couples may face. Given their expertise, they may be able to provide you with a more comprehensive look at the topics you've brought up. You may write to the Penners at 200 East Del Mar Boulevard, Suite 126, Pasadena, CA 91105. The telephone number is (626) 449-2525, and the email address is penners@passionatecommitment.com. If you wish to access the website, the URL is passionatecommitment.com.

If you have additional questions or would like to discuss your concerns at greater length with a member of our staff, we'd like to invite you to call Focus on the Family's Counseling department.

 

Resources
The Way to Love Your Wife: Creating Greater Love and Passion in the Bedroom

No More Headaches: Enjoying Sex and Intimacy in Marriage

The 5 Sex Needs of Men & Women: Discover the Secrets of Great Sex in a Godly Marriage

Red-Hot Monogamy: Making Your Marriage Sizzle

Referrals
Marriage Alive

Love and Respect

Passionate Commitment

Articles
Sex and Intimacy

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