The 7th Commandment
You shall not commit adultery.
- Exodus 20:14
The word "adultery" refers to sex outside of marriage. This command was needed because the human sex drive is an extremely powerful force. Some feel embarrassed or ashamed for merely having the need for and the power of this sex drive within them. There is no need for shame.
We need to understand how God wants us to direct this force within us so that we can use it in the way He has designed, not in the way it has been perverted by sinful men. There are, of course, 2 extremes to avoid:
- Extreme Puritanism where sex and everything connected with it is seen as dirty, base or unworthy somehow.
- Extreme worldliness where sex is everything; where the stimulation and gratification of our sexual appetite is the focus and primary goal.
The Bible teaches us the proper use and role of sex so that it can be enjoyed physically, emotionally and spiritually to its maximum. You see, it is possible to be fully satisfied sexually as women and men. Some might not believe this because it has never happened to them. They always want more or different or newer in their quest for sexual satisfaction.
To be "full" sexually, however, requires that we obey God's commands in the Bible concerning sex. No one ever became sexually satisfied or sexually at peace with themselves unless they obeyed God's will. For example, it has been said that Hugh Hefner (the publisher of Playboy) sleeps with three blonde 20-year-olds. He is in his seventies and he takes Viagra but his actions do not convince me he is satisfied, content or at peace sexually. On the contrary, his conduct points to a pathetic old man still searching for a sexual fix that 50 years of sexual immorality has failed to give him.
The Rules about Sex
There are three basic rules that form a triangle within which sex is blessed by God and becomes a blessing and not a curse for us.
1. Sex is for the enjoyment of a husband and wife within marriage only (Genesis).
Marriage is a legal covenant between a man and a woman to live as husband and wife for life. There is no other combination permissible.
- Without the legal component the relationship is not a marriage.
- If it is not a valid marriage in society's eyes, it is not a valid marriage in God's eyes.
- A legal covenant of marriage is accepted and blessed by God regardless of the culture or religion. Marriage is blessed by God, and so is the sexual activity within it.
God created sex to be the unique and exclusive right and pleasure of those who entered into a lifetime marriage agreement with one another.
2. Sex comes after marriage, not before.
It is not the sex that you share that makes you married, it is the covenant or contract that you enter into to live as husband and wife that makes you "married." You are married when you say "I do" and sign the papers, not before. The honeymoon is the privilege shared by married people, not the thing that makes them "married." Otherwise you would be married to everyone you ever had sex with.
Sex before marriage or sex with someone who is not your marriage partner is sin. The first is called fornication; the second is called adultery. Both are deadly in building a good "sex life" within marriage.
Studies confirm that people who live together or have sex together before they marry are twice as likely to encounter marital problems as those who do not. Remember, you cannot be completely fulfilled sexually if you disobey God's rules about sex.
3. God blesses sex within marriage.
Within marriage the couple is free to express themselves sexually without fear or shame. Some people have trouble accepting the sexual freedom God gives them within marriage. Human sexuality is complicated and mysterious. Even Solomon said that it was one of the few things he could not quite understand (Proverbs 30:19).
The exclusive and lifetime nature of marriage gives a man and woman the confidence and time to explore their own and their partner's sexual character. The only instructions about sex within marriage are that it should stay within marriage and that the partners should strive to satisfy each other (I Corinthians 7). The marriage partners have to work out what that means for themselves.
How Do We Keep This Commandment?
1. For everyone: Decide that you are going to keep it. So many times this is where Christians, or those who want to be, fall away. They cannot believe that God wants them to experience sex only within marriage and that once they marry they will have sex with only that woman/man for the rest of their lives. This is not an idea that is often reflected in our culture through movies and books and the general conduct of our society.
Remember, God wants you to be sexually fulfilled and knows how to do this better than you do. Decide you will do it God's way, not only because it is His will and it is right, but also because it will ultimately lead to your sexual peace and happiness. We are called out of the world as Christians and this includes what the world thinks about the issue of human sexuality.
2. If you are single: Realize that you are an easy target for Satan. When you are single you have a difficult sexual burden to carry in order to remain pure. The lack of intimacy, affection and encouragement from a marriage partner leads to loneliness, resentment, anger, even despair and depression. Many times these feelings will lead us to "act out" sexually as a way of filling this void.
- Casual sex (fornication / adultery).
- Pornography or homosexuality as well as other forms of sexual perversions can become great temptations.
Remember that no matter how great the "release" and pleasure, these activities destroy your ability to find sexual fulfillment, they do not improve them - that is why they are forbidden! God wants us to have the best, not the worst sexual experience. The void created by sexual hunger can only be filled by God through prayer, worship and service. We can be assured that He will lead us to that peace.
3. If you are married: Find the true road to sexual fulfillment. Most men, when asked, usually complain that they do not get enough sex. They do not do it the number of times that they would like to - whatever that is. There could be plenty of reasons for this: wife is less interested, babies, work, long hours, schedules, illness, etc. One of the main reasons that men want more sex is because they think that more is better, more often will be more satisfying somehow.
Women do not think this way because they know better. And so in the search for more, men use all kinds of tactics:
- The pay-off method. They trade for more by finishing the chores, clearing up the "honey-do's", buying flowers, saying something nice about her mother - whatever, so long as I get more.
- Intimidation method. If the romance and flowers pay off does not work, some men sulk. They get quiet, pouty, angry - anything to convey that I am not getting what I want; even threaten to quit.
If you are married, the surest way to "more" is to focus on the two things that your marriage is based on:
1. Exclusivity - The more you focus, work on and demonstrate the absolute exclusive nature of your relationship - the greater your desire for each other will grow. This means that your eyes, your mind and your heart are openly and obviously focused on only her in private and in public. You become more desirable to one another when the quality of your exclusiveness improves.
2. Longevity - In everything you say and do you need to demonstrate your lifetime commitment to your marriage. The commitment is the wall that you build around the two of you that permits honesty, openness and freedom, especially when it comes to sexual matters. When men work on building exclusiveness and longevity in their marriage relations, their sex lives naturally become better and more satisfying so that "more" is no longer an issue.
A mature sexual relationship is no longer based on frequency; it is based on depth and power of feeling and satisfaction. This is God's plan for human sexuality and His command is there to help us remember it.
You'll never be satisfied sexually if you break God's commands about sex.
- Is it possible to maintain the early sexual excitement in a marriage throughout a lifetime? How?
- What is the relationship between faith and sexual fulfillment?
- What is your typical reaction when you are denied sexual fulfillment (for whatever reason: single, wife is ill, separation, etc.)?
- Can a person be happy in a marriage without sexual intimacy?