Is it okay for a Christian wife to enjoy sex?

Sexual intimacy is about so much more than just the physical pleasure—but sometimes we diminish the value of this pleasure just because it is physical.

God designed us to experience sexual enjoyment. With over 8,000 nerve endings, the clitoris exists only for sexual pleasure.

Despite God’s clear intention for us to experience sexual pleasure, many women struggle to fully enjoy the physical pleasure that comes with sex. (I am not talking here about struggling to experience an orgasm, which I’ve written about here.)

This struggle doesn’t look the same for all women who experience it. Some women feel embarrassment or even shame about experiencing sexual stimulation or orgasm. Some believe that once they married and began having sex, they lost their sexual purity. Or they view sex as something they do only for their husbands as a duty. Maybe they enjoy sex a lot but feel like they shouldn’t, like it is ungodly to do so.

Here’s the sad truth:

Many women are uncomfortable with their sexuality.

I’ve seen two major reasons for this discomfort:

  1. They think that enjoying the physical aspect of sex is wrong or less important than the emotional aspect of sexual connection.
  2. They don’t understand themselves sexually.

In this post, I’d like to encourage you to accept physical pleasure as a valuable part of sexual intimacy in marriage. In a later post, I will suggest some steps you can take to better understand yourself sexually.

Is it okay to enjoy the physical aspect of sex?

I know quite a few women who consider the physical aspect of sex as somehow lesser than the emotional or spiritual aspects.

In fact, thinking of the physical enjoyment of sex diminishes the whole experience for some women. They love how close they feel to their husbands—but they’re just uncomfortable with the physical stuff.

For some of us, there is even a sense of shame for enjoying the physical pleasures of sex. It’s like we think it isn’t okay to do.

The bible cautions us about the desires of the flesh, and we apply that to sex with our husband:

For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:17, 19-21

For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 1 John 2:16

The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. Romans 8:8

None of these verses tells us that sexual desire or enjoyment within marriage is sinful. These verses speak to practices and habits that are contrary to the rest of God’s Word.

Sexual intimacy within marriage is part of God’s intention for us. When the bible says that a husband and wife are one flesh, it isn’t just a figure of speech.

Consider other physical experiences, such as eating and staying warm. We don’t tell ourselves that it is wrong to enjoy eating or to use blankets to keep us warm. So why do tell ourselves it is wrong to enjoy the physical aspect of sex?

Yes, sexual connection is physical. But the bible doesn’t tell us we should not enjoy the physical pleasures of life. In fact, we are told to enjoy the pleasures of life:

So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun. Ecclesiastes 8:15

May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer—-may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love. Proverbs 5:18-19

Sex is physical—but it isn’t only physical.

It is true that sex is physical—but it is not only physical. Even when a particular sexual encounter is mostly about physical pleasure, the accumulation of sexual encounters over the lifetime of a marriage helps build all aspects of marital intimacy.

The hormones released during sexual contact are part of the biological mechanism that helps us feel bonded with each other. (See Bonny’s OysterBed7 for a great explanation of this.) In other words, the physical intimacy helps build the emotional intimacy.

The experience that we share with each other involves vulnerability, a focus on each other, and the exclusion of others. These things contribute to the whole experience of intimacy as well.


Sex does so much to strengthen our marriages and to help us experience connection and oneness with our husbands.

It is good to enjoy all that God has given us—and that includes the physical pleasures of sexual intimacy.

Image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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5 Thoughts on “Your Sexual Pleasure: Is It Okay for a Christian Wife to Enjoy Sex?

  1. Great article Chris. I think that if one were to make an idol out of the physical pleasure that would be wrong. Otherwise, wives and husbands ought to enjoy both the physical and the emotional aspects of their lovemaking.

  2. All during our growing-up years, we’re taught that sex is bad. We’re told not to touch our own genitalia; that doing so will lead to blindness. (But, it feels so good to do so.)

    We’re told that even looking at someone you’re not married to, in a “sexual way,” is a sin before God, and you should pluck your own eyes out if they cause you to sin.

    We’re taught to keep our clothes on as it’s wrong to show off our bodies. But, weren’t our bodies designed by God, Himself, in His own image; and we’re not allowed to look at them for fear it’ll incite us to do something sexual. And, all along, I thought our bodies were designed to be sexually attractive to the opposite gender (unless one is gay or lesbian). This is to help the perpetuation of the species.

    Then, once you say, “I do,” everything changes. It’s okay to lust after one’s spouse; that it’s okay to do alll of the sexual things you were afraid to even think about when younger is now encouraged.

    No wonder we have so many screwed-up marriages. After 20+ years of being told to wait until youre married, once youre married, none of that applies anymore. Many find it very hard to flip the “sex is bad” switch off and instantly enjoy the phisicality of marriage.

  3. My desire to pursue pleasure happened when I was able to give myself permission to be a sexual creature. That was a result of coming to the understanding that God gives a great big nod to married sexual intimacy. However, if anyone had remotely suggested my new found interest in sex was an idol it would have been like a cold bucket of water over my head. That is not a word that women struggling with sexual intimacy should be exposed to. However, I do believe some can have an unhealthy preoccupation with sex, it’s just usually not women struggling in the marriage bed.

  4. Bonny – I very appreciate your comment.

    Presently I am the other side of this equation. I desire sex 3 to 4 times a week whereas my husband desires sex once to twice a week. We have been working to try and resolve this discrepancy but it has been challenging. All the while I frequently wonder if I am some kind of freak or if I am abnormal. Maybe I have made physical pleasure an idol?

    I’d say that perhaps women that struggle with porn, masturbation, infidelity or similar might be making physical pleasure an idol; however, even in those instances there is likely some soul wounds or a need for inner healing.

    The bottom line is the vast majority of women have not made physical pleasure an idol

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