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Ask Dr. Ron — What About the Frequency of Sexual Intimacy in Marriage?

FullSizeRenderIMG_7570_1024I read recently that one of the top 10 issues in marital relationships is the frequency of sexual intimacy. As a marriage counselor for over 30 years I would have to agree.

Married couples periodically stop having sex for all kinds of reasons: resentment, exhaustion, stress, power & control, physical challenges, boredom, you name it.

Since God created marriage in the first place, and created men and women as sexual creatures, let’s see what He has to say about sexual intimacy.

First, Hebrews 13:4 says, “Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” NASU

God makes it clear in this passage that sexual intimacy is to be reserved for the “marriage bed,” or between a man and woman who are legally married to each other. I know this rubs against what the practice of our society is today. The typical concept is “no one in their right mind would marry someone without seeing if they are good in bed.” This approach is kind of like buying a car. I’ve heard people say, “Who would buy a car without driving it first?” All I can say about that analogy is that it is very disappointing that the sacredness of the marriage union is compared to the purchasing of a vehicle.

God uses different metaphors for marriage . . . Prov 5:15-20

15 Drink water from your own cistern, And fresh water from your own well. 16 Should your springs be dispersed abroad, Streams of water in the streets? 17 Let them be yours alone, And not for strangers with you. 18 Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice in the wife of your youth. 19 As a loving hind and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; Be exhilarated always with her love. 20 For why should you, my son, be exhilarated with an adulteress, And embrace the bosom of a foreigner? NASU

Wow! “Cistern,” “Well,” “Loving hind,” “Graceful doe,” now that’s some graphic word pictures for you! You see, God is all about sex under the umbrella of the marriage covenant.

As far as frequency goes the writer says, “at all times,” so, whenever you do have sex. He doesn’t really address how often does he?

Paul writes the following verses that can apply to frequency of sexual intimacy.

1 Corinthians 7:4-5 – “The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” NASU

In the marriage union neither the wife nor the husband is an “island to themselves.” They are “one flesh” as Genesis 2:24 reminds us. Therefore, to use sexual intimacy as a “weapon” or punishment by withholding it is never honoring to God. On the other hand, to demand sex every day is not a realistic expectation as well. There needs to be both balance and agreement between the husband and the wife concerning this sensitive issue.

Finally, considering sexual intimacy from a physical and emotional standpoint, the ironic thing is that having sex is a great way to relieve all the stress that is preventing you from having sex. If a lack of sex becomes an additional source of stress, it actually compounds the problem. To break a sex slump, try eliminating all the sources of stress in your partner’s life. Do the dishes, clean the bathroom and send the kids to Grandma’s. You may be surprised by the effect a clean and quiet house has on your partner.

Try it . . . what do you have to lose?