Friday, November 30, 2007

Oral Sex and Backrubs



Its Friday, so time for something different. I've been debating Driscoll's preach on the Songs of Songs in this post over at Dave Warnock's blog. Apparently a preacher talking about oral sex is still controversial these days. What does the bible say about all this, you ask?



  • each man should have [sexual] relations with his own wife and each woman with her own husband.
  • A husband should give to his wife her sexual rights, and likewise a wife to her husband.
  • It is not the wife who has the rights to her own body, but the husband. In the same way, it is not the husband who has the rights to his own body, but the wife.

-- 1 Corinthians 7:2-4 NET


Read this slowly, and then read it again. This is mind-blowing. Apparently a wife has a sexual right to be pleasured by her husband. Guys, if you are married and your wife is not sexually satisfied, you may be in sin! Likewise, girls, if you are married and not sexually satisfying your hubbies, you too may well be in sin. And finally, if you are not married and are sexually satisfying your partner, you are definitely in sin! Can't win, eh?

Paul and Lori describe this principle as sexual stewardship:


It's interesting that there's a symmetry here; she owes him the same thing he owes her. This symmetry isn't found in other areas of the marriage, so God obviously felt it important to tell men they owed their wives sex. This is where we see the idea of stewardship. A steward is put in charge of something which does not belong to him. The steward is given both authority and responsibility for the thing (or person) he's made a steward of, and he's accountable to the one who made him steward. In the case of sex, God has given the husband stewardship of the wife's sexuality, and the wife stewardship of the husband's sexuality. A steward never puts his own desires above the care of what has been entrusted to him, and we must do the same with sex, putting the good of our spouse above our own sexual desires.
-- From The Marriage Bed: Sexual Stewardship.


Now the actual point of debate is whether Driscoll encouraged oral sex as a holy activity within marriage, or whether (in general or in one particular instance) he commanded it. Dave Warnock feels that he had commanded it (based on Song of Songs affirming it), and therefore that command itself would be wrong. I would agree in principle, if Driscoll indeed commanded said activity. But I never got that impression. Scripture does say something like "whatever does not proceed from faith is sin", so I think we can all agree that even if the bible affirms something, if our conscience troubles us, we are to abstain until we can resolve the issue.

Those of you who are single may be wondering why I am telling you all this. I wonder myself...but at the end of the day, biblical sexuality is the same as everything else for us Christians: our life is one of service, of sacrifice, and of great joy. Too often our sex lives are ignored by churches and pulpits. I thank God for those who are willing to speak out on this issue.

19 comments:

Adam A said...

As a single person - a wholehearted "Aaaa-men bruthah" to everything you've said here! I hardly think it was Satan who invented backrubs and oral sex :o)

Peter Kirk said...

This symmetry isn't found in other areas of the marriage

Yes it is. 1 Corinthians 7:1-16 is entirely and deliberately symmetrical between husbands and wives. See my study of this passage.

Alastair said...

Peter, that looks interesting, and unlike some bloggers I am open to being challenged on my viewpoints and being "sharpened" by others...do you have a PDF or single file that I could print, in order to read your entire essay at my leisure?

Alastair said...

Peter, the point Paul and Lori are making is that 1 Cor 7:1-16 is symmetrical between spouses, unlike other verses (i.e. presumably ones on headship etc). Since your essay appears only to discuss 1 Cor 7:1-16 (I just had a brief look), it can't really substantiate your claim that all aspects of the marital relationship are symmetrically reciprocal (if that makes any sense). Are you indeed claiming this? If so, do you have a good link to argue this? Or am I misunderstanding your logic?

Sorry about all the questions! :-)

Peter Kirk said...

Alastair, I never intended to claim that the symmetry goes beyond 7:1-16. But this goes well beyond sex or the principle "she owes him the same thing he owes her" mentioned in the extract you took from Paul and Lori. And I don't think I ought to read more of a site explicitly for married people. There is a kind of symmetry also in 11:2-16. But I accept that 11:3 is not entirely symmetrical, although I don't know what this asymmetry means.

I don't have a PDF of the series I'm afraid. The best I could offer is an RTF file produced by my scanner software, from the original scanned version. (I had lost the original computer files.) But this needed so much tidying up to produce the blog version that I cannot really recommend it. If you want to read it offline, I can only suggest that you print each of the six blog posts. Or you could copy and paste just the main text of each post into a document file, to avoid getting all the sidebars etc.

DaveW said...

Alastair,

You know that you are misrepresenting my views here.

I have clearly and consistently said I am fine with Mark Driscoll helping people understanding that oral sex and even backrubs are fine (did he actually mention backrubs, maybe we had better check with him as our fully qualified sex therapist).

What Mark Driscoll did that is wrong is leave women with the clear instruction that whatever their circumstances and preferences they are to offer their husbands oral sex and that not to do so is sinful.

That takes mutual love and respect out of marriage and inserts the pastors grubby fingers where they have no right to be.

Alastair said...

Dave, I do not intend to misrepresent your views, but your rather to post a general intro to a subject, and also link to a related debate about something specific. Nevertheless I can see how my post might be misunderstood, so I will correct it. Thanks for letting me know.

Paul said...

Sex is a way of practicing the same principles through out a committed relationship, that love is about giving not gettting - which is different to i give/i get or i just want to get. In other words we are learning to give to each other and to give up our own rights, so maybe i'm desperate for oral sex but my partner is desperate not to - i learn to give up that right. What i don't do is withold oral sex from her if she loves it and i have no particular hang ups with it.

Alastair said...

I agree Paul.

"What i don't do is withold oral sex from her if she loves it and i have no particular hang ups with it."

Which was the exact situation I thought that Driscoll was talking about, the only difference being the genders reversed.

BrunetteKoala said...

I was only without internet for a few days, and the edinburgh christian blogging world is getting steamy!

"What i don't do is withold oral sex from her if she loves it and i have no particular hang ups with it."

I'd say the same thing (but replace the her and she with him and he!)...but do think that there are now some sexual practices which are becoming more commonplace in the world, which ring alarm bells in my discerning head when it comes to sex - even within marriage...?

I think it's really important that couples communicate with what they are and are not comfortable with - before they get into the 'throws' so to speak, as I know many women who have felt pressure into doing things in the heat of the moment for fear that by not doing so, they would not be showing love to their partner...

However, sex is a gift from God...! To be enjoyed muchly :D (but not abused)

As my sister and I remember I think Cameron Stout put it like this "I don't believe in sex before marriage...can't wait to get married!!" ;)

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Alastair said...

CresceNet, if you are going to exercise the gift of tongues in posting to my English-speaking blog, please also exercise the gift of interpretation and let us know what in Heaven you are talking about.

Anonymous said...

eugene cho said...

http://eugenecho.wordpress.com/2007/11/29/drama-at-mars-hill/

Peter Kirk said...

Eugene, just in case you wondered, I am not one of those "people [including Christians] [who] are hoping for [Driscoll's] downfall". And I hope this is not true of any of us who have criticised him in this matter. I hope that he and his church go from strength to strength. But I also hope that as he does so he comes to realise the errors of some of what he teaches, especially in the area of gender, sex and singleness.

Alastair said...

I wonder if that was Eugene himself, leading pastor of Quest church, Seattle (which I have briefly visted), or whether a random blogger wanting to link to a Mars Hill post.

The link talks about those who wish Mars Hill will fail, because they see sin and arrogance and false teaching in the leadership team, or perhaps just with Mark.

I must admit that in my heart I find it hard to bless churches that I feel are doing it all wrong, or coming up with nonsense. But Eugene is right: we must bless all churches, asking God to correct their errors, and not to be proud and believe our own church or team has all the right answers.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Alastair said...

Anonymous from Melbourne, Australia:

Welcome to this blog and I am glad you took the time to drop in. I took a look at your supplied links, but I'm afraid I can't keep your post on my blog, because the notion that ADI DA SAMRAJ is in any way, shape or form the Messiah or God-man must be rejected by those that follow Jesus of Nazareth. Those of us that are true Christians believe the historical record shows us that Jesus was and is the Messiah of God, the one and only God-man, and it is in and through him we live and move and have our being. Therefore I have deleted your post because it may confuse my readers. I hope you are not offended, but I am accountable to God to what is posted here.

Sensuous Wife said...

This is one of those moments where the parallel of sex and worship can add some significant practical clarity. When I worship God, I offer all that I am in joyful adoration. When I make love to my husband, I offer all that I am in joyful adoration. And for me, that sense of generous adoration does include loving him with my mouth.

Alastair said...

Amen!