What is Permissible in the Marriage Bed?


In the Christian faith, marriage is a divine institution, designed by God to reflect His love and commitment towards His people. It is a lifelong covenant between a man and a woman, and it provides the foundation for building a family and raising children. As we explore the topic of intimacy within the context of a Christian marriage, it is important to ground our understanding in the teachings of the Bible. The New King James Version (NKJV) offers valuable guidance on this subject, shedding light on what is permissible in the marriage bed and how couples can honor God in their physical relationship.

The Bible teaches that sex within the confines of marriage is a beautiful and sacred act. In fact, Scripture is filled with examples of God’s approval and blessings for married couples who engage in a loving, intimate relationship. God created sex not only for procreation but also for the enjoyment and bonding of husband and wife. As we delve deeper into this topic, let us keep our hearts and minds open to the teachings of the Bible, seeking to honor God in all aspects of our marriages.

This blog post will begin by examining the purpose of sex within marriage, as described in the Bible. We will then explore the concept of mutual consent and its importance in maintaining a healthy and loving sexual relationship. Finally, we will address some common questions and concerns regarding specific practices within the marriage bed, always returning to the guiding principles of Scripture. By the end, it is our hope that you will have gained a deeper understanding of what is permissible in the marriage bed and how to cultivate an intimate relationship that glorifies God.

marriage in the Bible

The Purpose of Sex in Marriage

According to the Bible, one of the main purposes of sex within marriage is procreation. In Genesis 1:28, God commanded Adam and Eve to “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.” This divine mandate to procreate is still relevant to married couples today, as they partake in the creation of new life.

Another purpose of sex in marriage is to foster unity and intimacy between husband and wife. In Genesis 2:24, the Bible states, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” This verse highlights the importance of the physical union between spouses, as they become one in body and spirit. The Song of Solomon, a book celebrating marital love, further emphasizes the joy and beauty of sexual intimacy within the context of marriage.

Lastly, sex within marriage serves as a safeguard against sexual immorality. In 1 Corinthians 7:2, Paul writes, “Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband.” By providing an appropriate outlet for sexual desire, marriage helps couples resist the temptation of engaging in sinful sexual behaviors outside the bond of matrimony.

Mutual Consent in the Marriage Bed

One of the foundational principles of sexual intimacy in marriage is mutual consent. Both spouses should feel comfortable and willing to engage in any sexual activity. 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 highlights the importance of mutual consent, stating:

“Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”

These verses emphasize the equal responsibility of both husband and wife in meeting each other’s sexual needs. Withholding sexual intimacy should only occur with the agreement of both partners, and for a specific purpose, such as fasting and prayer. It is crucial that couples communicate openly and honestly about their desires and boundaries, always seeking to prioritize the needs and feelings of their spouse.

Navigating Specific Practices in the Marriage Bed

As we consider specific practices within the marriage bed, it is essential to remember the guiding principles of Scripture. While the Bible does not provide an exhaustive list of permissible or prohibited sexual acts, it does offer wisdom and guidance for maintaining a godly and satisfying intimate relationship. When in doubt, couples should ask themselves whether a particular practice aligns with the biblical purposes of sex, honors their spouse, and fosters a spirit of love, unity, and mutual consent.

Oral and Manual Stimulation

Many couples wonder if oral and manual stimulation are permissible within the context of a Christian marriage. While the Bible does not explicitly address these practices, it does celebrate the beauty and pleasure of marital love in the Song of Solomon. Several verses within this poetic book may suggest that oral and manual stimulation are acceptable ways for spouses to express their love and affection for one another, as long as both partners consent and feel comfortable with these acts.

Anal Sex

The Bible does not directly mention anal sex within the context of marriage, and opinions among Christians vary on its permissibility. Some argue that the primary purposes of sex—procreation and unity—cannot be fulfilled through anal intercourse. Others contend that as long as both partners agree and the act is carried out with love, care, and respect, it may be permissible. Couples should prayerfully consider their own convictions and the guiding principles of Scripture when determining whether this practice is appropriate for their marriage.


The use of contraception within marriage is another topic that generates diverse opinions among Christians. While the Bible does not specifically mention contraception, it does emphasize the importance of procreation as one purpose of sex. However, there is no explicit commandment stating that every sexual act within marriage must result in procreation. Couples should weigh the various factors, including their health, finances, and ability to care for children, when deciding whether or not to use contraception. Ultimately, this decision should be made prayerfully and in consultation with one another and God.


In conclusion, the Bible teaches that sex within marriage is a beautiful and sacred gift from God, intended for procreation, unity, and the enjoyment of husband and wife. As we seek to understand what is permissible in the marriage bed, it is crucial to remember the guiding principles of Scripture, always prioritizing love, mutual consent, and the honor of our spouse.

As Christians, we are called to seek God’s wisdom in all areas of our lives, including our intimate relationships. By engaging in open and honest communication with our spouse and seeking the counsel of the Bible, we can cultivate a fulfilling and godly sexual relationship that glorifies God.

May the Lord bless and guide you and your spouse as you navigate the joys and challenges of intimacy within your marriage, always remembering that “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Hebrews 13:4 NKJV). Let us strive to honor God and our spouse in all aspects of our marriages, including the marriage bed.

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