Egalitarian Sex. Biblically, is there any other kind? After all, the sole New Testament mention of authority within marriage occurs in 1 Corinthians 7:4
The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. 1 Cor 7:4
As you can see, this “authority” does not go one way but is completely mutual and vice versa. The structure and symmetry in 1 Corinthians 7 is enlightening and beautiful. See “Beautiful Symmetry in 1 Corinthians 7” by Don Johnson.
I can’t speak for other egalitarians but when I confess that “I am egalitarian”, I mean men and women are equal and should have equal authority, honor, and voice within marriage and within the church. But men and women are not the same. While there are likely to be exceptions to generalizations about male or female, I propose that recognizing common differences and how to navigate them can help our marriages to be more satisfying- sexuality included.
My marriage of 30 years suffered under enormous baggage and destruction from porn exposure and childhood sexual abuse and I am deeply disturbed by the popular teachings and trends toward The Church of Sex (David Kupelian weighs in with his great insights!). Marriage does not automatically stamp any and all sex as “pure and undefiled” Heb 13:4. Sex within marriage can be exploitative. And it can move back and forth between holy and exploitative (which is confusing).
As usual, I can’t speak for all egalitarians nor for all women but I can speak from my own experience. I was naive. It took a male christian marriage counselor professionally trained in psychology to set me straight that the demand for certain sex acts is symptomatic of porn usage and while sex is a biblical entitlement of marriage, I need not ever violate my own conscience! I wish Christian men heard less teaching which guilt trips and condemns wives into playing harlot, and more teaching along the lines of what David Kupelian and Janet Mefford say here-(start at minute 26:00) or Rabbi Lamm’s “The Jewish Way of Love and Marriage”.
- Sex As A Married Wife’s Right and A Husband’s Duty (“The Jewish Way”)
- Sensitive Appreciation of the Sexual Union (“The Jewish Way”)
- Consequences of a Husband Compelling His Wife Into Intimacy Against Her Desire (“The Jewish Way”)
This is from the first link:
The onah experience may not be mere mechanical fulfillment, for as such it does not conform to the biblical requirement to rejoice one’s wife. Rejoicing means satisfying needs, and it signifies a sensitive and caring involvement of the whole person and a genuine sense of intimacy, (kiruv). Therefore, Mainonides teaches that one may not have intercourse without being mindful, sensitive, and alert. “One may not have intercourse while either intoxicated or sluggish or in mourning; nor when [one’s wife] is asleep, nor by overpowering her; but only with her consent and if both are in a happy mood.” The act must be capable of expressing devotion. Thus one may not have intercourse if husband and wife are not committed to one another are thinking of divorce, nor if they quarreled during the daytime and have not resolved it by nightfall. Raavad refers to this as exploitation, using one’s partner as a harlot. One should not perform the conjugal act while imagining some other partner. The physical onah must be expressive of love; otherwise, it is simply animalistic…
In addressing this area which can be so very tender and vulnerable, my last word for you is HOPE. God is in the business of healing and victory and he is on the side of your marriage no matter what the baggage and issues which need to be overcome. As a wife, I had to learn to exercise my God-given equal authority and fight spiritual warfare on behalf of my husband and our marriage. We have matured, reclaimed ground the enemy had taken, and our sexual intimacy has never been better. There is HOPE!