Porn Shocked Wives! Do they have PTSD

 

Wives shocked by their husband's porn use

She is Shocked! Shocked! to discover that her husband likes sexAccording to this article in an evangelical magazine, women who discover that their husband watches porn meet criteria for PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).

No, they don’t.  But they do meet criteria for Delusional Disorder if they ever believed that their husband wasn’t going to look at porn.  They still meet it if they believe that their husband is going to be “cured” of his “porn addiction.”

The very first criteria of PTSD is that the person must have experienced a life-threatening event.  Finding out that your husband saw a nekkid woman does not qualify as “life-threatening” in the mind of any reasonable person.  If someone does believe that this is that traumatic then they are delusional and the wife is the one who needs psychiatric treatment – not the husband.

What really upsets me most is the results of a google search of wives discovering husband’s porn use is filled with articles talking about wives divorcing their husbands for this “sin.”   What is amazing is not one of these supposedly Christian articles tell the wife that divorce for this cause is absolutely, completely, and totally wrong and ungodly.

If the Christian church stands for anything in this culture, it should be for the preservation of the family.  Yet these women (it is invariably a female writer of the article) are willing to break up homes over an activity that they know is universal.  Every Christian husband has looked at porn.  So, according to these “Christian” writers, NO MARRIAGE SHOULD LAST.

This is evil.  When given a choice between destroying every family in the country and re-considering their anti-erotica position, they would rather be destroyers than admit that they are wrong.

This is the natural result of allowing the church to be taken over by the feminizers.  Not only are men to be driven out of the church, they are also to be driven from the home for their “toxic masculinity.”

If your wife falls under the influence of these destroyers, be a man.  Tell her that you will not bow to the doctrines of devils that have taken over the church.  You will not be forbidden to eat meat or to marry.  You will be a man.  You will continue to like sex and you will continue to have sex with her and her alone, but you will not cut off your balls to obey a teaching hatched in hell.

Best of Christian Erotica 12/8/17

For Christian men who want to see high quality erotica that includes only loving couples making love – here are my favorite posts of the week.

I hope you brought you wife some flowers home today!   Here are some links to get you up and randy for a night of sex with the woman God gave you.

Organ Grinder music video Contains only couples making sweet wonderful love

Bring roses for your wife wearing tight jeans

She turns herself on with masturbation before sex with  her husband

His wife is really, really good at fellatio (Background music included)

Jesse Jane, a tropical beach and beautiful music.  What else is there to say?

Enjoy.  And remember to make love to your wife (Not just have sex) daily!  If you don’t have one – seek a good one and obtain favor from the Lord.

Porn, Masturbation, Sex, and Intimacy

Intimacy is necessary in life

I have received several feedback questions and comments about masturbation and loneliness.  None of these were from the puritanical crowd.  So I want to address an issue that some readers may find useful.

I believe that masturbation erotic videos/stories/pictures should be a part of a persons sexual life.  In fact, I go further and say that it ALREADY is a part of almost every man’s sexual experience and most women’s.  A problem occurs when there part of the universal sexual experience is considered shameful.

According to the psychologist Erickson, there are several stages of life that are not only universal, but necessary for psychological health.  A baby learns  “Trust vs Mistrust.”   A toddler learns “Autonomy versus Shame.”  A pre-school child learns “Initiative vs Guilt.”  An elementary child learns “Industry versus  Inferiority” and a teen learns “Identity versus Role Confusion”

It is in this “Identity” phase of growth that healthy, mature, and normal masturbation begins and, usually, erotic art is encountered.   When the teen boy encounters erotic material he discovers that he has a certain feeling about girls.  Thoughts of girls make him hard.  Girls in bikinis give him wood.  Girls in tight jeans make his jeans tight.  Thoughts about sex with girls make him cream  his underwear when he is asleep.   Eventually, he discovers that by touching himself he does not have to wait for an erotic dream.  He seeks out erotic material for masturbatory help.

This is normal and healthy.  But, and this is important, this is not the end of his sexual development.  In order to grow into a healthy adult, he must step into Erickson’s next stage “Intimacy versus Isolation”.  He must learn to share this sexual life with another person.  This proceeds in steps.  He first learns how to kiss girls, date girls, treat girls with respect.  He begins to learn that it is not enough to kiss a bunch of girls, but that this experience is best if it is shared with a single, special girl.    The search for a single, special girl with whom he wishes to be completely open with, to hide nothing, to bare his soul as well as his entire body.  To be truly naked, body and soul.  Is frightening and dangerous.  Many mistakes are made.     This search can consume only a few months of high school, or it may consume the next decade of his life.  This is the way it worked for me.  I spotted my soul mate at age 24 and married her 11 weeks later.  We are still together 3 decades later and will be separated only by death.

This new “Intimacy” stage is a universal NEED.  If a man misses out on it, he cannot be whole, he cannot be truly healthy.

Ok, that is not entirely true.  According to Jesus (who never married) it is possible to be a “Eunuch”

Matt 19:12 For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.

These men are called specially by God for some reason that only they know.  However, this I know.  Such a man is a EUNUCH.  That is, he does not desire or want sex at all.  He will not be drawn to porn.   This is fairly rare and if someone is like this and wishes to talk about it with me, then he can hit the “Reply ” or “Contact Us” button.

Now, for the rest of us.   It is a mistake for a young man to get caught in the “Identity” phase of life, when he is just discovering his sexual self, and never step on to the “Intimacy” side of life.

Porn allows a man to delay his development into an intimate person.  This is fine.  In our society a man becomes sexual at least a decade or more before he is ready to be a husband and father.  But it is a mistake for any man to think that he can not ever step into the intimacy of an adult.

Porn has a place in an adult, intimate, man’s life.  It allows him to maintain his sexual desire for his one woman by maintaining a health fantasy life.   But it becomes a problem when it becomes a substitute for intimacy.  The man will end up feeling lonely, isolated, and cut off from humanity.  The result of this are depression and despair.

Why don’t we tell sex addicts to quit sex

Porn is not an addiction
Is the real purpose of the anti-porn crusaders anti-sex?

Sex and porn are not addictions because the treatment for “Sex Addiction” is not to quit sex.

There are two main reasons for people to call people’s sexual behavior an “addiction”.  The first one is to excuse their own behavior.  An example of this is this week’s Harvey Weinstein scandal.  A man caught in predatory behavior declares that he is now seeking treatment for “sex addiction.”

But it is not just the predators of the world who are pushing this agenda.  Most of it is by confused Christian leaders.  I think that the reason they are pushing it is because they feel guilty about their erotic desire and are trying to subsume their desire in fighting against other people having sex.   As I remember someone saying years ago (I don’t remember who) “Democrats view porn after they go to the store and buy it.  Republican view it together in anti-porn group meetings.”

There are addictions in the world.  Alcoholism, opoids, etc.  I am a doctor and I drink alcohol.  I have no problem with occasional moderate use.  But when I have a patient who is an alcoholic I tell them that they have to quit drinking.  I have occasionally, in order to get free parking downtown, gambled enough to get a card at the casino’s.  But I tell gambling addicts that they must not go near the place on any condition.

But there are several behaviors that are often over indulged in that are not addictions.  Overeating is not an addiction. Sleep is not an addiction.  Running is not an addiction.  Work is not an addiction.  Vacation is not an addiction.  The cure is not to stop eating, stop sleeping, stop exercising, stop working or never go on vacation.

But the hidden agenda of the anti-porn people is, let’s face it, to stop having sex.   Do an image search on Google for “quit sex” and this is what you get.

 

Image result for "quit sex"

And dozen’s more like it.

Oh yes, they tell you that sex is supposed to be holy in marriage, but if you read deeper, almost all of these people start making even more rules.  You will find that they often end up in marriages with no sex at all.  You will find that they are usually divorced.

Give up your own ways and start doing things God’s way.  Rejoice in your sexuality.  Watch some beautiful girls screw around, jack off with joy and let your spiritual energies be used in helping others.

The only way to quit watching porn

operant conditioning and pornography
If you must quit porn, use this method

There is a way to help men stop viewing porn – at least as much or as often.  If a man must, by his convinced religious beliefs, forbid himself this behavior, then he ought to be helped to do so in the most healthy way possible.

As you know if you read this site,  I don’t believe that Christians should be forced to quit viewing porn.  I believe that the healthy male life includes erotica.   However, there is a set of Christians who will never be able to believe this.  These men will continue to suffer the guilt and self-destruction from indulging in this natural behavior.   These men have been led astray into unhealthy ways of trying to quit.  Firstly, the “Cognitive Behavior Therapy” method doesn’t work.  That is like treating a stomach ulcer with NSAIDS for a headache.  It just makes the situation worse.

So, for these men, I say this.  Stop trying to treat a sex “addiction.”  You are not addicted.  There are many sinful or undesirable behaviors that are not addictions.  These are behaviors that are normal, correct, and desirable but are often performed in ways or at times that are sinful or unhealthy.

A great example is food.  if we desire food we are not necessarily a glutton.  Yet we have all seen people whose eating is harmful to themselves and others.  Eating, working, exercising, giving, praying/meditating, rejoicing, relaxing, and playing are all behaviors that are desirable and needful in moderation.  If we find any person who doesn’t perform these behaviors at all, they are unhealthy.  But a workaholic, anorexic, sloth, or excessive jokester also have a pathology in need of treatment.
Similarly, sex is not an addiction, but rather a desirable behavior that must be performed in moderation.  An ascetic man who defrauds his wife is no more holy than a man who defrauds her by giving himself to porn rather than her.
Addiction is treated by cognitive behavior therapy and by 12 step programs – by sponsors and “accountability partners” – by helping the person to be mindful of their desires and redirecting himself to other desires – by getting them to avoid their triggers.  But this doesn’t work in any normal behavior.    We do not help dieters by cognitive behavior therapy or 12 step programs.    We teach them to use behavioral conditioning.
Conditioning is illustrated by the famous “Pavlov’s dog” example.  Pavlov rang a bell and fed his dogs, eventually the dogs slobbered whenever they heard a bell.  This is called classical conditioning.  We later came up with the concept of “operant conditioning” in which a stimulus is associated with a behavior and a reward or punishment    For example, to get people to put on a seat belt we supply a noxious stimulus – a beep – that will not stop until the behavior (seat belt clicked) is performed.  This is “negative reinforcement” = the removal of a noxious stimulus.
The removal of the association of a stimulus with a behavior is called extinction.  This is what some pastors want to accomplish in their porn-viewing men.  The association of the normal stimulus (erotic desire) with the undesireable behavior (porn viewing) is extinguished.
There are many interesting methods to do this – google “operant conditioning” and “extinguish” and you will find many useful ideas.  But one rule I want to specifically mention.
—— Associations are weakened when the stimulus occurs in the absence of the behavior —-
In other words, the more often a man has an orgasm in the absence of porn use the weaker his impulse to view porn will be.    Similarly, the more often he wakes up in the morning with a nocturnal erection (morning wood) and does not have sex with his wife, the less often he will desire to have sex with his wife.
This fits with how Paul said to “avoid fornication”  in I Corinthian’s 7.  “every man have his own wife”, “better to marry than burn” and “defraud ye not one another.”
So, if a man is having a problem with porn, the answer is NOT accountability partners, but rather more sex.  Instead of using porn till he doesn’t want his wife.   His wife should rather keep his balls so drained that he doesn’t have anything left for porn.

Sex, Porn and the “Desensitization” argument

Sex gets better, not boring as the years go by
The brain becoming sensitized – not desensitized – to sex

According to “Dr.” James Dobson (he is not a physician or a psychiatrist folks!) he found out from the psychopath Ted Bundy that porn use accelerates.  You start with Playboy and end up having to have cannibalistic sex.

But those of us who have been married for any number of years know that sex doesn’t work this way.

Ok, Adults, admit it.  Your first experience at sex was pretty disappointing.  You thought, “This is it?   This is all?  This is what everyone is talking about?”

It takes a while to really enjoy it.  To get over the self-consciousness to give yourself to the moment.  And frankly, to really give in to the pure fun of it.

That’s because the brain has not yet “potentiated” the pleasure.  The paths are tentative and not well formed.  The electrical signals are spread out all over the striatum and not concentrated in the dopamine/pleasure circuits in the nucleus accumbens.

Those of us who have been married for many years know that sex gets better and “sweeter as the years go by…..”.    After many years one doesn’t “need” sex as often or as much, but when you do get a “round tuit” well, I’ll stop describing now.

This is exactly the opposite way that an addiction works.   CS Lewis’s devil in the Screwtape Letters described the perfect Satanic addiction.

Never forget that when we are dealing with any pleasure in its healthy and normal and satisfying form, we are, in a sense, on the Enemy’s ground. I know we have won many a soul through pleasure. All the same, it is His invention, not ours. He made the pleasures: all our research so far has not enabled us to produce one. All we can do is to encourage the humans to take the pleasures which our Enemy has produced, at at times, or in ways, or in degrees, which He has forbidden. . . . An ever increasing craving for an ever diminishing pleasure is the formula. . . . To get a man’s soul and give him nothing in return–that’s what really gladdens Our Father’s heart.

And porn works the same way.  The first time a boy finds a dirty magazine in a shed or under his daddy’s mattress he is fascinated and yet confused.  It is only after seeing it many times that he can really get a good jerkoff session going.

In fact, sexual dysfunction is marked not by to MUCH sex, but by to LITTLE.  We treat sexual dysfuction by desensitizing the patient not to sex, but to the ANXIETY of sex.

For example, read this 1969 article arguing that the treatment for homosexuality (yes, they used to do that) was to DESENSITIZE the patient to heterosexual sex.

Pastors against porn should not use the “Addiction” argument

Why treat porn addiction won't work.
Wrong Diagnosis – Wrong Treatment

So I was talking to a pastor recently who was looking for ways to help men overcome their porn habit.  Since I am a psychiatrist, he was asking me about the parts of the brain that were involved in reward.

I know why he was asking.  He had been exposed to Gary Wilson’s “Your Brain on Porn” and wanted to preach a sermon to men about how viewing porn was just like using crack cocaine.

It isn’t.  Here is what I explained to the pastor.  If you approach porn as an addiction then you will try to “cure” it using the anti-addiction methodology that we use for cocaine, meth, gambling, and heroin addicts.  But this is like treating gall stones with lung cancer medicine.  It won’t accomplish your goal and it will just make things worse.

For example.  One of the first anti-addiction drugs of choice that we use is Wellbutrin.  Wellbutrin reduces addiction cravings.  I have given it to alcoholics, smokers, and today I thought about prescribing it to a crack cocaine addict.

But Wellbutrin does not lower sexual desire at all.  In fact, when we have a patient whose use of Paxil/Lexapro/Celexa/Zoloft is reducing libido, we switch them to Wellbutrin.   If porn/sex was really an addiction, the Wellbutrin would reduce desire, not increase it.

So, if a Christian pastor wants to help their disciples to stop viewing porn, they should approach it from a different standpoint than addiction.  They should treat it as an sinful – but natural- behavior like fornication or adultery.

Evangelicals need to “Take the Red Pill” about erotic desire

Take the red pill
Admit Reality – Holy Men Like Sex

Fox news has noted a phenomenon of liberals who have “Taken the Red Pill” and given up on the fantasy world of liberalism.

I propose that there is another group of people living in the Matrix. Evangelicals who pretend that the normal erotic desire than men have had since Adam first spotted Even without her fig leaf.   By pretending that there is such a thing as a Christian man who does not “lust” they live in a world in which the Bible has no relevance to the lives of the saints.

This is why the church men’s groups are all about “overcoming porn addictions” and “controlling sexual desires.”  They are living in a fantasy world where a normal red-blooded man can have the brain of a woman.  By demanding this, they are creating a church of firstly, few men, and secondly, hypocritical men.  Men who are pretending that they aren’t “addicted” to sex.

Every time I see a youtube video of some preacher proclaiming how wrong it is to look at naked women, I reply “You are lying, you know and I know and every man knows that you watched porn THIS WEEK. Stop trying to lie to youself, us, and God.  None of us are fooled.”

If we would admit this simple fact to ourselves, then we could read the Bible for what it actually says instead of what our Mama’s interpreted it to mean.  Men are supposed to be sexual creatures.   Like David we are supposed to enjoy the sight Bathsheba’s bathing beauty.  But we are supposed to be men enough to direct that desire into Godly channels.

If we would fight the battle at the fortress of God’s commands, instead of man’s traditions, we might find that we would

Take the red pill.

Guest Article: Unmarried Christians Can Have Sex

Below is a guest article by a contributor who contacted me about this website.  He and his wife are pastors of an evangelical church.   In his opinion (which I don’t necessarily share) premarital sex is not a sin and we have forced a lot of Christian young people out of the church by demanding that they keep a command which is not in the Bible.

For my response to this, see the following post  Christian Young People and Sexual Desire

—————

“Show it to me in the Word!”

That’s what my pastor said that Christians should say whenever someone told them that they must or must not do something.  I was a young Christian, a teenager who had just given his life to the Lord a few short days before, attending church for the first time and hungry for the things of God.  As Christians, he said, we were given great liberty in what we could do, but there were many misguided or ignorant people who would want to infringe on our liberty by telling us that something was a sin.  That’s when we should say, “Show it to me in the Word!” because if the Scriptures were silent on something, then we as Christians were free to do as we pleased.

As it happened, at almost the same exact time that I became a Christian, I got my first real girlfriend.  Susie didn’t understand my new faith, but it was a wonderful feeling to have someone to kiss and cuddle and simply to understand my life as a teenager.

Susie wanted to have sex, and so did I:  there was nothing wrong with my hormones.  Physically I was ready and in fact, I had been waiting a couple of years for a girl to come along who was available and cooperative.  Now I had one, and I would have happily have given her my virginity if it wasn’t for what I kept hearing at church:  premarital sex was wrong.  It was a sin, sex was only for married people.

So I went right to my pastor.  “Show it to me in the Word!”

The pastor didn’t even pause.  He smiled and opened up his Bible.  He told me I had the right attitude about checking everything out by the Word, and then showed me a few Scriptures:  “Flee fornication!” (1st Co. 6:18) was the first of many, including “abstain from fornication” (1st Th. 4:3), “The body is not for fornication” (1st Co. 6:13) and many others.  Fornication, he explained unnecessarily, was sex between two unmarried people, which is exactly what I was contemplating with Susie.  The clincher was the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15, where the apostles and early leaders of the church got together to determine the rules that were binding on the new church.  They gave Christians great liberty, laying down only three or four (depending on how they were counted):  to abstain from idol worship, and from blood and the meat of animals that had been strangled, and from fornication.  (Acts 15:20, 29)  The pastor advised me to give up my non-Christian girlfriend and above all, to flee fornication.

This wasn’t the answer I wanted, but that is what the Word said and I accepted it.  Not long afterwards, Susie and I broke up.  I also bewildered the cashier at McDonalds when I asked if the cows they used had been strangled;  she looked at me as if I had just arrived from another planet, which was approximately the way Susie had looked at me when I said we couldn’t have sex.

Pastor John had given me a list of scriptures to look up for myself, and I found that the King James word “fornication” was translated as “unchastity” or “immorality” in other translations.  That gave some Christians I knew enough grounds to condemn almost anything else, from Playboy magazine to oral sex, as forbidden, but in my mind the Scriptures thundered in Pastor John’s preaching voice:  “Flee fornication!”

I dated several Christian girls over the next couple of years, and I was still a virgin when I entered my sophomore year of college and met the girl who would become my wife.  Our physical relationship developed rapidly, so rapidly, in fact, that as we started to see no way of avoiding sex, that is, fleeing fornication, without breaking up or getting married.  We couldn’t bring ourselves to break up and as for getting married, there were issues.  We came from very different Christian traditions (my church routinely called hers a cult) and besides, we were too young, still teenagers in fact.  We loved God, prayed and read scripture together, went to each others’ churches, argued about religion and sex, made out passionately, and one night, after months of delaying the inevitable, we joyously gave each other our virginities with my shiny new engagement ring on her finger.

It was a wonderful, transcendent experience.  The only thing I had to compare with it was the day I prayed to accept Jesus and He met me with a demonstration of his presence that left me overwhelmed, barely able to stand.  I had just given my virginity to the girl I loved, and it was amazing.  The feeling of the presence of God was again overpowering.  Colors seemed brighter, all I could do was to praise God for the joy and wonder of this amazing thing he had created and this amazing girl I had just shared the experience with.  I never felt closer to God.

The problem was, we had just committed sin!  That’s what it said in the Bible,  and that’s what both of our churches taught.  So now we were in the position of having to repent of the most marvelous experience of our young lives.

We couldn’t do it.  We tried;  we both tried very hard, but it when I prayed, it was as if God suddenly left the room.  What was wrong?  Was God so angry with me that he wouldn’t even hear my prayer of repentance?  Or was he trying to tell me that he wouldn’t hear my prayer because I had no reason to repent?

For Connie the answer was clearer.  I called her the morning after, to find out that she like me had spent the night in prayer and repentance.  But God had spoken to her.  “He said that sex is a blessing, not a sin, and you don’t repent of a blessing!”

After that night, Connie and I continued to have sex whenever we could, and never felt a bit guilty about it.  God had spoken, and that was enough.

Or was it?  After all, the assertion that God had spoken to us was subjective and seemed to contradict the clear direction of his Word.  If we went to our pastor, we knew what he would say:  we were deluded, we were only trying to justify sin, the Word of God takes priority over any feelings or so-called “words from God” that we might have.  So we didn’t tell the pastor or anyone else;  we just continued doing what we were doing and were blissfully happy about it.

Intellectually, though, I was bothered.  Why did the Bible say one thing, and our experience and prayer and the inner witness of the Holy Spirit all say another?  It was a contradiction I couldn’t reconcile.  For the first time I understood why so many Christian kids leave the church when they run into something in life they can’t reconcile with the Word.  For whatever reason, it never occurred to us to stop going to church.  We loved God, we loved his Word, we loved the church, and there was no contradiction for us to hold hands in the third row back, listening to a sermon on purity, knowing full well that we had shagged each other silly the previous night and fully intended to do it again as soon as we got home.  I still wanted to be a preacher or missionary some day, and Connie still wanted to be married according to the ritual of her faith.

Then one day I found a book in the university library.  It was a bound volume of Baptist theological journals from the 1950s, just the thing that a nerdy, intellectual Christian kid with a call on his life might pick up.  In fact, I can’t imagine anyone else ever leafing through such a volume for fun, but that was the way I was back in those days – or else, as you might believe, God was leading me to a certain article.

The article in question was a detailed word study of “porneia,” which is the Greek word often translated as “fornication.”  That got my attention, and I read the article carefully, minutely, and repeatedly.  The first big point was this, and I’m going to give it its own paragraph and bold letters to make sure that no one misses the point:

Porneia – the word translated as “fornication” or “unchastity” or “immorality” — does NOT, repeat, NOT mean “premarital sex!”

I’ll repeat that.  Porneia does not mean “premarital sex.”

Instead, porneia has a specific meaning.  It means “prostitution.”

The translators of the King James Bible knew this.  When it translated the related words “pornos” and “porne,” which mean, respectively, a man or a woman who commit porneia, “porne” was never translated “fornicator:” it was always “harlot” or “whore.”  And “pornos” was translated as “fornicator” only half the time:  the rest of the time the word was translated as “whoremonger!”

Furthermore, there was an even more specific meaning of the word.  In the twentieth century, I had come to think of prostitutes as the sad women who shivered in revealing clothing on the sidewalks near the hotels downtown, trying to make a few dollars to feed a family or buy a fix.  But prostitution in that meaning of the word was unknown to the early Christian world.  Instead, the kind of prostitution that Paul and the Jerusalem Council both condemned so forcefully, was of a different character entirely.  In the eastern Mediterranean of the first century, prostitution was a religious obligation!

Pagan temples of the ancient world had deities that promoted fertility, the fertility of the fields that all depended on.  Keeping the fertility deities happy was serious business;  if the crops failed, people starved.  These deities were worshiped by having sex:  many cultures have festivals where worshipers have sex in the fields in an effort to encourage the gods to give abundant crops.  Priestesses in temples allowed men to perform such an act of worship in exchange for an offering to the temple, although it may be sheer cynicism to suggest that many men may not have been thinking primarily about crop yields and appeasing the gods when they visited temple prostitutes.

That was the kind of prostitution that Paul was familiar with, that flourished throughout the Eastern Mediterranean world and especially in Corinth where Paul admonished the early Christians to flee fornication.

Sex is indeed a holy act, an act of worship – my experiences with Connie had proven that much to me.  To take a holy act such as sex and bend it toward worshiping idols – that was the sin that so bothered the writers of the Bible.

So since the word translated “fornication” doesn’t mean simple premarital sex, what does it say in the Bible?  Show it to me in the Word!

There were actually other stories in the Bible that seemed to say that God approved of sex, even premarital sex.  We had put those stories aside because the clear message of scripture had seemed to be “flee fornication!” but now we took a closer look at some of the other stories.

There is the story of Ruth.  Ruth is a young widow at a time when a woman without a father or husband to provide for her could be in dire circumstances.  A wealthy landowner named Boaz, who was a relative of Ruth’s late husband, seems to be the answer to the problem, if only he would take more than a passing look at Ruth.  How would Ruth get the attention of Boaz, to make him take an interest in her?

Here is what Ruth’s widowed mother-in-law, Naomi, suggested:  “Wash therefore, and anoint yourself, and put on your best clothes and go down to the threshing floor;  but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking.  But when he lies down, observe the place where he lies;  then, go and uncover his feet and lie down; and he will tell you what to do.”  (Ruth 2:3-4, RSV)

So that is what Ruth did;  and it is recorded that when Boaz awakened in the night to find Ruth, he spread his cloak over her, thanked her for her kindness in coming to the bed of an older man such as himself (as someone who is now a little on the older side himself, I could appreciate such kindness also!) and observed that Ruth was a “woman of noble character.” (3:11, NIV)

Does the Bible really say that a woman of noble character would sneak into the bedroom of a man she barely knew?  Not only is that exactly what it says, but Ruth is extolled as one of the great women of Bible history, the grandmother of King David and one of the  women listed in the lineage of Jesus!

But it could be said that Boaz and Ruth could have slept together that night without sex.  That is true, the Bible doesn’t specifically say what went on under that cloak, even though the very idea of an unmarried couple sharing a bed is enough to make most modern preachers think twice about letting the couple teach Sunday school.  God’s ideas are very different from man’s.

Then there is the Song of Solomon, an erotic love poem that is so potent in its imagery that generations of theologians interpreted it as an allegory when they couldn’t ignore it altogether.  On a non-allegorical level, and read literally, it is too explicit for most Christians to be comfortable.

The Song of Solomon is a story of a young couple, a girl known as the Shulammite, a title that suggests that she was of the household of Solomon.  I think a reasonable guess is that she was Solomon’s daughter or granddaughter.  Solomon is not her lover;  a literal reading of the poem suggests that the object of her affection is a young shepherd boy.  How young?  Perhaps shockingly so; one scholar who studied Hebrew customs of the time suggested that the boy is about 15 and the girl “not a day over 13-1/2”[1]!  At face value, it is a love song of two unmarried teen lovers “persuading each other that they should sleep together.”[2]  The boy admires and praises his fiancee’s breasts and vulva[3] (Song of Solomon 7:1-3).  Oral sex is alluded to in 2:3 and 7:2, his fingers slip into her opening at 5:4, and at 7:8 she finally climbs his palm tree, to speak poetically.  And this, two scholars note with wonder, is done without guilt and with the apparent blessing of God![4]

But, of course, the Song of Solomon is only an allegory of Christ’s love for the Church, right?

So let’s look at another story, one that is familiar to every Christian, told at every Advent Season:  the story of Mary and Joseph: the story of a young, unmarried and very pregnant couple, traveling a long way from home and refused room at the inn.  I emphasize “unmarried” because the Bible does:  the word “espoused” in the King James Version at Luke 2:3 is better rendered in other versions as “engaged,” or “betrothed.”

Some commentators have tried to soften the fact that they were unmarried by emphasizing that they were betrothed, a word that meant something rather more than simply being engaged would today.  Yet, these same commentators insist, sex was still off-limits until the actual wedding day.  Just because the ring is on the finger doesn’t mean the panties can come off.

The problem with this theory of betrothal and chastity is that it is not well-supported in scholarship.  But rather than get into the game of dueling footnotes, I’d rather say this:  Show it to me in the Word!

The Word says:  “Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.  Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.”  (Matthew 1:18-19, NIV)

There is a lot to unpack her.  First, although the couple were engaged or betrothed, Joseph is called “her husband.”  That’s an interesting translation, although most versions will use it:  the Greek word literally means “her man.”

Second, Joseph didn’t want to expose Mary to public disgrace.  But consider this:  what is the public disgrace Joseph is shielding Mary from?  The fact that she is pregnant and therefore, presumably, had premarital sex?  This cannot be the case, because it is soon going to be obvious to everyone that Mary is pregnant and she would be subject to public disgrace anyway.  The real problem is that Mary is pregnant and Joseph is not the father – the scripture clearly says that this was “before they came together.”  Since the only people on earth who know that Joseph cannot be the father are Mary and Joseph themselves, the public disgrace would be if Joseph publicly accuses Mary of cheating on him.  But Joseph is a righteous man who won’t do that to Mary, and decides to put her away quietly.

In other words: the sin was not that Mary had (as would be presumed) had premarital sex;  the sin was that Mary had broken her covenant with Joseph and had sex with someone else.  The fact that Joseph would contemplate breaking the engagement with Mary without causing a scandal, indicates that for engaged couples to have premarital sex and fall pregnant as a result, was neither scandalous nor particularly unusual.

Although I wonder what would have happened if Mary and Joseph told their modern-day pastor that it was OK because they had been told in an angelic visitiation.  He would have said they were deluded, or merely trying to justify their sin, and that the Word of God takes priority over any so-called “words from God!”  But God’s ideas are very different from man’s.

For a betrothed woman to fall pregnant was not scandalous or unusual.  Premarital sex simply wasn’t considered a sin under such circumstances !

So in conclusion:  one cannot argue against premarital sex based on the scripture verses that warn Christians against fornication (or whatever word is used to translate “porneia”) because fornication does not mean premarital sex.  In fact, there are several biblical passages in which premarital sex is permitted, and in the case of the Song of Solomon, it is even presented in positive terms.

Martin Luther was one of the great Christian leaders to study the scriptures and come to this same conclusion himself.  Sex between two persons “in anticipation of betrothal” – that is, before they were even engaged!  “cannot be reckoned fornication,” he said.[5]

In short:  there is nothing in the Bible that forbids premarital sex.  If anyone disagrees, I’ll respond the way my first pastor taught me:  “Show it to me in the Word!”

[1]Lawrence J. Friesen, Sexuality:  A Biblical Model in Historical Perspective (D. Min thesis, Fuller Theological Seminary, 1989), 28.

[2]Helmut Gollwitzer, Song of Love:  A Biblical Understanding of Sex (Philadelphia:  Fortress, 1979), 18.

[3]According to G. Lloyd Carr, The Song of Solomon:  An Introduction and Commentary (Leicester, England & Downers Grove, Illinois:  Inter-Varsity Press, 1984), 157, the phrase translated in the NIV as “graceful legs” refers to the labia and the Hebrew “sarr” or “navel” (NIV) refers to the vulva.

[4]Friesen 173, Gollwitzer 29-30.

[5]In Mark Ellingsen, “Luther on Human Sexuality,” Dialog 32 (Winter 1992):69-75, 72.

Christian young people and sexual desire

Premarital sex
Does the first time have to be on the honeymoon?

In the article on this website “Unmarried Christians Can Have Sex” my friend (I shall call him “Mark”) makes the argument that neither the Old new New Testament’s condemn premarital sex and that the Greek word “porneo” does not mean “fornication” but rather “prostitution.”

Here is my response.

The world has changed around us.  I don’t only mean that sexual mores have changed.  Of course they have – they always change.  The sexual mores of every culture are slightly different.  The reason that the mores are different is because the situations are different.  In Isaiah 4:1 the Bible says.

Isa 4:1 And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach

This is predicting a time when war has decimated the number of men so much that polygamy becomes necessary.   One of the wonderful things about the eternal Word of God is that it applies in any cultural circumstance, not just one.   So the appropriate interpretation of scripture will apply in the tribal polygamous interior parts of Africa, in Scotland of the 11th century where bride-stealing was normal, in the frontier of America and in the modern western world.

Our world has changed from our parents considerably. First of all, let’s admit I’m talking about WHITE young people here,  I don’t know very much about the minority communities of the time.  In 1950 (white) America a man got a factory job straight out of high school or a white collar job after 4 straight (uninterrupted) years of college.   Either of these jobs could support a wife and 2 to 5 kids.  So people got married at 17 to 24 and stayed married the rest of their lives.  It was fairly easy to preach to these young people that they should be virgins on the night of their marriage because abstaining from sex until that time in a crowd of young people who are raised the same is not that impossible.  A typical Christian and moral young man would kiss his first girl at age 16, start engaging in heavy petting throughout high school, start getting hand jobs from his steady girl friend/fiance in his twenty’s and then get to the mother-lode somewhere around his wedding night (probably a little before).

Of course, there were also a lot of “oop’s”  but these were either taken care of by shotgun weddings (if the boy did the “right thing”) or “homes for unwed mothers” with adoptions for the others.

But marrying at 24 is now a very bad thing according to our culture.  All of the studies show that “young” marriages don’t last.    So can we apply the standards of the 1950’s to today’s young people.

No – we should apply the standards of the Bible – because the Bible is the only word that matters – not the traditions of the current evangelical community – nor the current practice of the world around us.

As my friend states in the accompanying article, the early apostles faced exactly this situation in Acts when the early Christians began to preach to the Gentiles.  The traditions of the Jews were wildly different from the practice of the surrounding pagans, and the surrounding pagans lives were vastly different from God’s righteousness.  So they said this – We will not apply the traditions of our fathers to the Gentiles, but we will apply the traditions of righteouesness – The Gentiles must abstain from Idols – from things strangled – and from fornication.

My friend, Mark, says that this “fornication” here is simply re-stating the first 2 issues.  That fornication means prostitution and the apostles are simply saying that Christians should worship idols, eat idolatrous meat, or patronize whores (or be whores)

But I think that he is putting to narrow of a definition on the greek word “porneos”  – I think that  these non-religious experts explain how the word became to encompass more than pure commercial sex – it started generalizing into slave sex and then generally people who had a lot of sex.  Even in English people will use the word “whoring” to mean more than pure prostitution.  Have you ever heard someone say, “She’s a total whore” or “She’s whores around so much she probably has all the STD’s”.  When people say these things, they don’t mean that the woman is selling it – but rather that she has sex with a lot of different people.

So, I believe that the apostles were saying to the Gentiles.  We believe that it is necessary for you to adopt the sexual behavior taught by the Old Testament.

Now, the Old Testament is actually pretty liberal about sex in comparison to current evangelical sexual mores.  The rule, effectively, is that getting caught having sex before marriage means that the man will have to marry the girl and give her father 50 shekels of silver (a lot of money).

So, in other words, sex is for married people – or at least people soon to get married.

I had some young men in my church a few years ago who had the same current attitude toward sex as the world.  One of them managed to have sex with a dozen or more virgins before he finally got around to one that he liked.  Now, I don’t know about you, but I call that “whoring around.”

On the other hand, I don’t really expect a couple who are not yet in a financial shape to get married, but they are in a long-term dating relationship, to remain perfectly abstinent.  To do so would be to deny nature and expect something from them that nature (and nature’s God) simply doesn’t expect.

Maybe we ought to teach our young people that sex is something to be delayed and, if possible, to be enjoyed with only one person in your life.   At least it ought to be enjoyed only with long-term relationships, not something you jump into on the first or second date – like the current practice of the world is.

Meanwhile – the meaning of the word “ADULTERY” has not changed since God first wrote it with his finger on the stone at Mt. Sinai.

I don’t know – what do you think?