Some couples have difficulty in growth because they do not understand the purpose of sex as revealed in Scripture. The most obvious purpose, but certainly not the only purpose, is that of procreation. Having created man, male and female, “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth’” (Genesis 1:28). Sexual intercourse for the purpose of procreation is God’s way of letting us share in the thrill of creation. There are few human thrills to equal that of looking into the face of a baby, the offspring of your love for your mate.
Children are always viewed in Scripture as the gift of God. “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward” (Psalm 127:3 KJV). What, then, of contraception? Some would argue that the original command of God “to fill the earth” has now been accomplished—at least in poorer countries struggling with overpopulation. Therefore, we must stop “filling” the earth, lest we overflow the earth.
There is, however, a higher principle involved. We are created responsible creatures. Throughout Scripture, parents are viewed as responsible for caring for the needs for the children they “create.” As a responsible parent, I must use reason in deciding how many children I can care for realistically. As God has given us medical help through the effort of dedicated men and women, so He has given us means of limiting births. It is interesting that such knowledge has come in the generations of greatest need as far as overpopulation is concerned. As Christians, we are to use all God’s gifts in a responsible manner. Therefore, I believe that a couple should discuss and decide together when they will use birth control and what method of birth control they will use as responsible persons. This matter should be discussed with the doctor when the couple goes for premarital examinations.
The second purpose of sexual intercourse within marriage revealed in the Bible is to meet physical and emotional needs. Paul speaks to this point when he says:
“The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” (1 Corinthians 7:3-5)
Paul is dealing with the reality of the strong physical/emotional need that the husband and wife have for each other. We are sexual beings, and we do have this strong desire for each other sexually. Indeed, our greatest problem before marriage is controlling this strong desire. But within marriage, that desire is to find full satisfaction in sexual intercourse.
When we refuse each other this privilege, we frustrate the expressed pattern that God has revealed. If, indeed, the husbands and wives would take this responsibility seriously, the rate of extramarital affairs would be drastically lowered.
An honest wife will say, “But I don’t feel like having intercourse as often as my husband desires.” This is the point at which, as pastor and author Charlie Shedd said, a wife has a chance to be a “missionary” to her husband. Openly and honestly express your feelings to your mate, but also let him know that you love him and want to meet his needs. You need not go through all the foreplay and energy-consuming activity if you are fatigued. Simply let him know that you love him and want to meet his needs. This can normally be done very shortly and with a minimum of energy. The wife should not be forced to have an orgasm if she does not desire such. If needs are met, then one of the purposes of sex is accomplished.
A third purpose of sex revealed in Scripture is to provide pleasure. Those who feel that God wished to make life as miserable as possible for His subjects may have difficulty with his one. But Scripture makes clear that God’s plans for us are always good: “‘I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11). God did not have to make the sexual act pleasurable, but He did. It is one of those above-and-beyond acts for which God is noted.