I read an article not too long ago about the sex lives of those in egalitarian marriages versus those in traditional marriages. It stated that those in more traditional marriages had better sex lives because the wife normally did not work a full-time job so she was less tired and stressed. I thought, “Oh great, another study that traditionalists will use to argue their case.” But then I got thinking…
What if it is more than this? What if there is something about patriarchy that turns a woman on in the bedroom? Think about the massive sales of the book, “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Women flocked to this book, which was all about a woman submitting to a man who wanted to dominate her sexually all the time. At one point I heard that they were going to start putting this book in hotel rooms beside the Bible. I am not even joking; someone told me that!
I also remember watching “The Talk” one day and hearing one of the hosts say, “I don’t care if a woman is a CEO and bosses men around all day; every woman wants to be taken in the bedroom.” I don’t think I could argue with that!
Then I had to wonder; what does the Bible say about this? Women do want to be taken and they don’t want to always be in charge (especially in the bedroom). While it is certainly fine for the husband to be in control in the bedroom, is there something deeper going on?
I started at Genesis (where I always start because Genesis is the beginning of God’s story). This verse stuck out to me like a sore thumb:
To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” -Genesis 3:16 [This was woman’s “curse” due to the fall).
I am not sure how the Church has allowed this verse to escape it. In many Christian circles, patriarchy is still highly praised and considered God’s way. These churches are living under the curse of the fall and they are teaching married couples to live under this curse as well. The Bible teaches that because of Jesus Christ we are no longer obligated to live under the curse of patriarchy. Galatians 3:13 clearly states, Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” But, here is the thing about that stupid curse: it still lurks within us and around us and we give into its influence daily.
I wonder how this curse has affected our sex lives. I am certain “the fall of man” has led us to all sorts of sexually depraved actions, but I have to wonder if this very curse has made its way into the bedroom of those who are doing things God’s way. Certainly a wife’s desire for her husband leads to him ruling over her in many aspects of life. Perhaps patriarchy is quite sexy in the bedroom, but maybe God has a better way.
I don’t believe in limiting a married man and woman in their sex lives whatsoever and we should certainly seek to please one another, but when we are in healthy marriages (egalitarian or traditional) it is easy to forget the extremes that go along with patriarchal views in the bedroom.
“Women aged fifteen through forty-five are more likely to be maimed or die from male violence than from cancer, malaria, traffic accidents, and war combined. One-third of women face abuse at home. Another major study found that in most countries, between 30 and 60 percent of women had experienced physical or sexual violence by a husband or a boyfriend. Up to 70 percent of female murder victims are killed by their male partners. Over 135 million girls and women have undergone genital mutilation, and 2 million more girls are at risk each year (Jesus Feminist, Sarah Bessey).”
While patriarchy may be shamefully sexy in some bedrooms, it leads to despair and even death in other bedrooms. When a woman is expected to be the “submissive” inside and outside of the bedroom she slowly loses her rights, her voice, and even her dignity. Perhaps there is something within our sinful natures that is turned on by patriarchy, but this view ultimately leads to destruction.
Full equality in both value and authority is God’s way and it leads to life. God’s ways may not seem the sexiest at first, but they lead to true fulfillment. Husbands and wives are called to submit to one another in the bedroom, in the home, and in the church. This leads to equal accountability for both men and women – it is a system of “checks and balances” so to speak.
Let’s take a look at how God instructs married people on sex:
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 Corinthians 7:4).
Oh, you thought I was going to get all feminist on you and say, “The wife’s body is her own so back off.” Nope, I am a Bible believing feminist! When we get married, our bodies are no longer our own. We give ourselves to our partner fully. This breeds a lot of fear in women for two reason:
1. Historically (even in Christian circles), women have been told that their husband has authority over her body but she has little to no authority over his body.
2. Men are physically stronger than women and are capable of taking her body without permission.
This is why “mutual authority” in marriage is so crucial. A husband should love and respect his wife’s body, heart, mind, and voice so much that he would not dream of pressuring her or forcing himself on her. Likewise, a wife should love and respect her husband so much that she would not dream of withholding sex from him every time he pursues her.
To be fair, there are many circumstances in which the female has become too dominant in the bedroom. While this normally does not lead to abuse, it can easily lead to a not-so-fun sex life for both parties. The goal is to restore equality and balance once again, which sometimes means letting go of control.
God’s way is always mutual love and mutual submission. Hierarchy in the bedroom may be fun for a while, but it is not God’s best and often leads to unfulfillment and even devastation in extreme cases. Just like in life, sometimes the husband is in charge and sometimes the wife is in charge. When things get out of balance (as they often do), remember this:
Equality in marriage allows for deeper trust and deeper trust allows for deeper intimacy and deeper intimacy allows for better sex!
To follow my blog for more relevant encouragement (which means that you will receive an email every time I write something new), please go to my home page and enter your email at the bottom of the page. WordPress will then send you an email to confirm. That simple!