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Enjoy life with the wife whom you love,
all the days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun,
because that is your portion in life and
in your toil at which you toil under the sun. Ecc 9:9
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I get intrigued when Christian leaders/organizations think they know best about the inter-workings of relationships, and in this case, marriage. I was taken aback at the title of the following article:
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The screenshot above was taken from an article at the Focus on the Family website. I was surprised that the article began by giving a warning “sexual anorexia” first. Addictions to porn could lead to sexual anorexia. Sexual anorexia was described as “a way of manipulating her and exercising control over the marriage.”
It’s true that God has made man “male and female” (Genesis 1:27) and that the sexes are distinct from one another in some profoundly important ways. Among other things, men and women approach physical intimacy differently. It’s also true that the Lord has appointed the husband to serve as leader and initiator in every aspect of marriage. This includes the sexual arena. Even from a biological standpoint, the female is designed to function primarily as the receptor in the sexual act. But none of this implies that women can’t express themselves sexually in a free and spontaneous manner. That would be a serious misinterpretation of the biblical standard. Stereotypes of this kind can do a disservice to both husbands and wives. They rob couples of a vital source of joy and satisfaction and place on them heavy burdens of unnecessary guilt.
Reading the bolded part, I got flashbacks of Doug Wilson when he set off a huge firestorm in the blogosphere because of a blog article written by Jared Wilson (which has since been removed).
Here is an excerpt from the book by Doug Wilson from which Jared Wilson referenced (* * * SEX ABUSE TRIGGER WARNING* * * *):
Because we have forgotten the biblical concepts of true authority and submission, or more accurately, have rebelled against them, we have created a climate in which caricatures of authority and submission intrude upon our lives with violence.
When we quarrel with the way the world is, we find that the world has ways of getting back at us. In other words, however we try, the sexual act cannot be made into an egalitarian pleasuring party. A man penetrates, conquers, colonizes, plants. A woman receives, surrenders, accepts. This is of course offensive to all egalitarians, and so our culture has rebelled against the concept of authority and submission in marriage. This means that we have sought to suppress the concepts of authority and submission as they relate to the marriage bed.
But we cannot make gravity disappear just because we dislike it, and in the same way we find that our banished authority and submission comes back to us in pathological forms. This is what lies behind sexual “bondage and submission games,” along with very common rape fantasies. Men dream of being rapists, and women find themselves wistfully reading novels in which someone ravishes the “soon to be made willing” heroine. Those who deny they have any need for water at all will soon find themselves lusting after polluted water, but water nonetheless.
True authority and true submission are therefore an erotic necessity. When authority is honored according to the word of God it serves and protects — and gives enormous pleasure. When it is denied, the result is not “no authority,” but an authority which devours. (Douglas Wilson’s book, Fidelity: What it Means to be a One-Woman Man (Moscow, Idaho: Canon Press, 1999), 86-87)
For a couple of weeks or so, this was the hot subject in the blogosphere with some big names involved in the discussion, including this article by Rachel Held Evans. Interestingly, after that firestorm and an apology by Jared Wilson to Rachel Held Evans, Doug Wilson posted this quote sent to him by a friend. He couldn’t let it go. It seems to line up with his way of thinking:
* * SEX ABUSE TRIGGER WARNING * *
“Sex, as commonly conceived, is something a couple do together. But the sexual act itself is not quite like that. It is, and remains, something a man does to a woman. They are not both working at the same thing. He is giving, she is receiving. He is the lover, she the beloved. Now, if they both set out to “have some Sex,” the whole delicate balance is wrecked, and neither can find his own role. What is happening is that the difference we all love so dearly is taking a bad beating. The wife is being backed into a decreasingly feminine role, even in overtly sexual matters, and the husband is finding that he has less and less of an object to be masculine toward. He is getting what he wants, but not what he needs. He asks frequently enough, but he has lost sight of what to ask for; and that is deadly” (Robert Farrar Capon,Bed and Board, p. 51)
At the end of the Focus on the Family article we read much more balance:
Biblically speaking, then, it’s good, healthy, right, proper, and appropriate for both marriage partners to take an active role in initiating sexual relations. This will vary according to circumstances and each spouse’s mood, feelings, and desires. Here, if anywhere, a couple’s relationship should be characterized by the give-and-take of a dance. The important thing is to maintain the kind of mutual affection and respect that enables you to be open and honest with one another.
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Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth
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Such sexual confusion in Christiandom, I tell you.
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