Sex Is a Spiritual Need

By Juli Slattery
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email
Milenko Bokan/iStock/Thinkstock
If you're married, your husband depends on you to be his partner in his battle against sexual temptation.
Read what the apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian church:
It is good for a man not to marry. But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. … I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that. Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion. (1 Corinthians 7:1B–3, 7–9)
Paul commanded husbands and wives to be sexually available to each other to avoid temptation. He then encouraged Christians to remain unmarried, unless they have a strong sexual desire. According to Paul, battling sexual temptation is a significant reason for Christians to marry! So, what happens to the man who marries because he “burns” only to find that his wife doesn’t “burn”? Dr. Archibald Hart writes, “Most men face a lifelong struggle to control their sexuality. The struggle is between their hormones and their higher aspirations. It is a battle between their seemingly uncontrollable urges and the fear of succumbing to these urges. Ultimately, it is a struggle over integrity, right and wrong, uprightness and wholeness.”Hart, The Sexual Man, 70. Hart’s statement explains why sex is a spiritual need for a married man. He likely battles daily to stay pure. His walk with the Lord and his integrity are largely determined by how he handles sexual temptations and impulses. When he gives in to lust, pornography, or inappropriate sexual relationships, he carries a tremendous burden of guilt. He may doubt his salvation and feel disqualified from the body of Christ. Because he feels so ashamed about his struggle or failure, he may feel that he can’t share his burden with anyone else. Initially, Sheila and Mark really enjoyed their sexual relationship. The first couple of years of their marriage was the honeymoon stage that most couples hope for. As time wore on, though, their sexual desires changed. Sheila was busy and exhausted taking care of their young children, and she lost interest in sex. While Sheila seemed content to put their sexual relationship on hold for the time being, Mark responded by initiating more frequently. If he was a deer panting for water, she was a camel who seemed capable of walking through the desert for months at a time without a water break. When Mark got the message that his advances were likely to be thwarted, he stopped asking for intimacy. He had no idea how to express his frustration and despair to Sheila. Her loud sighs and condescending expression at the mention of sex communicated that she could never understand how critical their sexual relationship was to him. Over time, Mark began to direct his sexual needs through masturbation and light pornography. A few nights a week, he would stay up late, surfing channels, hoping to catch a glimpse of something sexual. The guilt and shame he felt only intensified the rift of intimacy in their marriage. Although he rationalized his actions, Mark knew that Sheila would be devastated to discover what he was doing. More than anything else, he longed to be pure, to share his sexuality only with Sheila. But life was too busy, his desire too strong, his will too weak, and the gulf between them too great. Like Mark, your husband depends on you to be his partner in his battle against sexual temptation. Although you aren’t responsible for his actions, you are a key component in his victory. You’re the only woman in the world whom your husband can look at sexually without compromising his integrity! Again, please understand: You aren’t responsible for your husband’s sexual behavior. Don’t be motivated out of fear that he will act out if you don’t meet his needs; rather be motivated out of love and a desire to share his spiritual journey with him.

From No More Headaches, published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. © 2009 Julianna Slattery. Used by permission.

Share:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

About the Author

Dr. Juli Slattery
Juli Slattery

Dr. Juli Slattery is a clinical psychologist, a public speaker, and the author of 10 books. She is also the president and co-founder of Authentic Intimacy, a ministry devoted to reclaiming God’s design for sexuality. Prior to starting Authentic Intimacy, Juli served at Focus on the Family from 2008-2012 as a writer, teacher and co-host of the Focus on the Family …

You May Also Like

Thank you [field id="first_name"] for signing up to get the free downloads of the Marrying Well Guides. 

Click the image below to access your guide and learn about the counter-cultural, biblical concepts of intentionality, purity, community and Christian compatibility.

(For best results use IE 8 or higher, Firefox, Chrome or Safari)

To stay up-to-date with the latest from Boundless, sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter.


If you have any comments or questions about the information included in the Guide, please send them to [email protected]

Click here to return to Boundless

Focus on the Family

Thank you for submitting this form. You will hear from us soon. 

The Daily Citizen

The Daily Citizen from Focus on the Family exists to be your most trustworthy news source. Our team of analysts is devoted to giving you timely and relevant analysis of current events and cultural trends – all from a biblical worldview – so that you can be inspired and assured that the information you share with others comes from a reliable source.

Alive to Thrive is a biblical guide to preventing teen suicide. Anyone who interacts with teens can learn how to help prevent suicidal thinking through sound practical and clinical advice, and more importantly, biblical principles that will provide a young person with hope in Christ.

Bring Your Bible to School Day Logo Lockup with the Words Beneath

Every year on Bring Your Bible to School Day, students across the nation celebrate religious freedom and share God’s love with their friends. This event is designed to empower students to express their belief in the truth of God’s Word–and to do so in a respectful way that demonstrates the love of Christ.

Focus on the Family’s® Foster Care and Adoption program focuses on two main areas:

  • Wait No More events, which educate and empower families to help waiting kids in foster care

  • Post-placement resources for foster and adoptive families

Christian Counselors Network

Find Christian Counselors, Marriage & Family Therapists, Psychologists, Social Workers and Psychiatrists near you! Search by location, name or specialty to find professionals in Focus on the Family’s Christian Counselors Network who are eager to assist you.

Boundless is a Focus on the Family community for Christian young adults who want to pursue faith, relationships and adulthood with confidence and joy.

Through reviews, articles and discussions, Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live.

Have you been looking for a way to build your child’s faith in a fun and exciting way?
Adventures in Odyssey® audio dramas will do just that. Through original audio stories brought to life by actors who make you feel like part of the experience; these fictional, character-building dramas use storytelling to teach lasting truths.

Focus on the Family’s Hope Restored all-inclusive intensives offer marriage counseling for couples who are facing an extreme crisis in their marriage, and who may even feel they are headed for divorce.