What is Not Okay in Bed?

healing marriage


  • What is Not Okay in Bed?
  • If both partners agree, is anything taboo? 

If both partners agree, is anything taboo? What about the use of vibrators?  Is oral sex okay?  These are just a few questions that Christian women asked about the sexual relationship in marriage from a survey that the authors conducted.  But at the heart of each of these questions were two concerns: What does God prohibit in the sexual relationship between a husband and wife, and what does God permit? We read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation and compiled a list of every scriptural reference to sex. As we reviewed our list it became apparent that God gives tremendous sexual freedom within the marriage relationship. But God also sets forth some prohibitions that we must honor.

These are the ten things God forbids:

  1. Fornication: Fornication is immoral sex. It comes from the Greek word porneia which means “unclean.” This broad term includes sexual intercourse outside of marriage (1 Corinthians 7:2, 1 Thessalonians 4:3), sleeping with your stepmother (1 Corinthians 5:1), sex with a prostitute (1 Corinthians 6:13, 15-16), and adultery (Matthew 5:32).
  2. Adultery: Adultery, or sex with someone who is not your spouse, is a sin and was punishable in the Old Testament by death (Leviticus 21:10). In the New Testament, Jesus expanded adultery to mean not just physical acts, but emotional acts in the mind and heart (Matthew 5:28).
  3. Homosexuality: The Bible is very clear that for a man to have sex with a man or woman to have sex with a woman is detestable to God (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Romans 1:27; 1 Corinthians 6:9).
  4. Impurity: These are several Greek words which are translated as “impurity.” To become “impure” (in Greek, molvno) can mean to lose one’s virginity (Revelation 14:4), or to become defiled, due to living out a secular and essentially pagan lifestyle (1 Corinthians 6:9, 2 Corinthians 7:1). The Greek word rupos often refers to moral uncleanness in general (Revelation 22:11).
  5. Orgies: For a married couple to become involved in sex orgies with different couples is an obvious violation of (1), (2), and (4) and needs no discussion.
  6. Prostitution: Prostitution, which is paying for sex, is morally wrong and condemned throughout Scripture (Leviticus 19:29, Deuteronomy 23:17, Proverbs 7:4-27).
  7. Lustful passions: First, let us tell you what this does not mean. Lustful passion does not refer to the powerful, God-given sexual desire a husband and wife have for one another. Instead, it refers to an unrestrained, indiscriminate sexual desire for men or women other than the person’s marriage partner (Mark 7:21-22, Ephesians 4:19).
  8. Sodomy: In the Old Testament, sodomy refers to men lying with men. The English word means “Unnatural sexual intercourse, especially of one man with another or of a human being with an animal.” Unfortunately, some Christian teachers have erroneously equated sodomy with oral sex. In the Bible, sodomites refer to male homosexuals or temple prostitutes (both male and female). In contemporary usage, the term sodomy is sometimes used to describe anal intercourse between a man and woman. This is not the meaning of the biblical word.
  9. Obscenity and coarse jokes: In Ephesians 4:29, Paul says, “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth.” The Greek word for unwholesome is very descriptive and literally mans “rotten” or “decaying.” In Ephesians 5:4, the Bible warns us to avoid “silly talk” or, as it is called in some versions, “coarse jesting.” We have all been around people who can see a sexual connotation in some innocent phrase and then begin to snicker or laugh. This is wrong. However, this does not rule out appropriate sexual humor in the privacy of marriage, but rather inappropriate sexual comments in a public setting.
  10. Incest: Incest, or sex with family members or relatives, is specifically forbidden in Scripture (Leviticus 18:7-18; 20:11-21).

God leaves much in our sexual relationship with our husbands up to our discretion.  In all likelihood, the questions tugging at the back of your mind were not even touched upon. When she read this list, Shelby commented: “It’s helpful to know what God says is wrong, but I still sometimes wonder if what my husband and I are doing is right. We have a great time together in bed, but every now and then, this nagging doubt comes — does God approve?”

To help you and all the Shelby’s, we will get more specific and address the questions we are constantly asked.

Is Oral Sex Permissible?

Oral sex is or oral stimulation of your partner’s genitals with your mouth, lips, and tongue. The man may stimulate the woman’s clitoris and the opening of the vagina with his tongue or the woman many pleasure the man’s penis with her mouth. This sexual stimulation may or may not lead to orgasm for the husband and wife.

What does Scripture say about this sexual activity? Most theologians say the Scriptures are silent about oral-genital sex. Some believe two verses in the Song of Solomon may contain veiled references to oral sex. The first is Song of Solomon 2:3:

Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest, so is my beloved among the young men. In his shade I took great delight and sat down, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.

Throughout the Song of Solomon, the word fruit refers to the male genitals. In extra biblical literature, fruit is sometimes equated with the male genitals or with semen, so it is possible that here we have a faint and delicate reference to an oral genital caress. The second possible veiled reference is found in 4:16 (KJV):

Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.

These erotic words spoken by Solomon’s bride are at the culmination of a very sensuous love scene. Shulamith asks her husband to blow on her garden (a poetic reference used throughout the Song for the vagina) and cause its spices to flow out. Of course one cannot be certain, but it is possible Shulamith is inviting her husband to excite her by caressing her with his mouth. She then invites him to enter her and feast on the pleasures waiting in her “garden.”

Dr. Douglas Rosenau believes Scripture is silent on the topic of oral sex. “This does not make it right or wrong,” he says. A key emphasis in the New Testament is Christian liberty. Nothing is unclean in itself, says Paul (Romans 14:14), and this presumably includes sexual variety. Lewis Smedes, professor of theology at Fuller Seminary, amplifies Paul’s statement abut nothing being unclean.

Christian liberty sets us free from culturally invented “moral” taboos; and since there is no rule from heaven, it is likely that the only restraint is the feeling of the other person. For example, if one partner has guilt feelings about oral sex play, the Christian response of the other will be to honor the partner until they adjust their feelings. On the other hand, if the partner has only aesthetic reservations, and if these are rooted in some fixed idea that sex is little more than a necessary evil anyway, they have an obligation to be taught, tenderly and lovingly, of the joys of sex in the freedom of Christ.

In Intended for Pleasure, Dr. and Mrs. Ed Wheat says that oral sex is a matter that concerns only the husband and wife involved. If both find it enjoyable and pleasant, then it may properly fit into the couple’s lovemaking practices. One goal of lovemaking is to fill a treasure trove of memories with delightful love experiences that will quicken your responses during your future times together.

One woman might feel horrified by the above playful interchange between a husband and wife. To her, oral sex is repulsive. Another may think the minister and his wife have a gloriously free, creative, and fun sexual relationship. She sees that oral sex adds a beautiful dimension to this couple’s lovemaking.

Before we go any further, let us clarify our intent. Are we suggesting you incorporate oral sex into your love play? No. We are not making recommendations. Instead, our purpose is to set out for you what Scripture prohibits and to encourage you to seek God’s wisdom concerning His personal recommendations for your marriage.

Each couple is different. Each husband and wife is unique. Because Scripture is either silent — or veiled — concerning this practice, the only way to discover what God allows for you is for you to ask Him. If you’ve never talked to God about your sexual relationship, now is a good time to start. You will not shock God. Remember, sex was His idea. God is a God of wisdom (Daniel 2:20). He promises that when we lack wisdom, if we ask Him, He will give it to us (James 1:5)

Get more — Free! e-book — Les & Leslie Parrott's, The Good Fight

As you seek God’s wisdom, you might find it helpful to ask these three questions about any sexual practice you and your husband are considering:

  • Is it prohibited in Scripture? If not, we may assume it is permitted. “Everything is permissible for me,” (1 Corinthians 6:12, NIV).
  • Is it beneficial? Does the practice in any way harm the husband or wife or hinder the sexual relationship? If so, it should be rejected. “Everything is permissible for me — but not everything is beneficial.” (1 Corinthians 6:12, NIV).
  • Does it involve anyone else? Sexual activity is sanctioned by God for husband and wife only. If a sexual practice involves someone else or becomes public, it is wrong based on Hebrews 13:4, which warns us to keep the marriage bed undefiled. Let’s see how these questions can help when it comes to making decisions about certain sexual practices that are not specifically spelled out in Scripture.

Are Vibrators Permissible?

Some couples enjoy incorporating the use of sexual aids such as vibrators into their lovemaking. To find out if the use of vibrator is right or wrong, let’s apply the three questions. Is the use of a vibrator prohibited by Scripture? Is a vibrator beneficial in lovemaking? Does the use of a vibrator involve anyone else?

As we look at the list of ten prohibitions, we see that there is no scriptural reference that would prohibit the use of a vibrator. So if a vibrator enhances a couple’s lovemaking and is used exclusively for the couple’s private enjoyment, then it is permitted. Does this mean we are suggesting you run out and buy a vibrator? No. Again, we are not recommending any sexual practice. We are only trying to help you discern what is best in your marriage as you seek the wisdom of God.

What about X-Rated Videos?

Obviously videos did not exist during biblical times, so we will not find “Thou shalt not watch X-rated videos” in Scriptures. (The same is true for vibrators.) But as we read through the list of the ten prohibitions, a red flag is raised. In number two on the list, adultery is defined as “looking on a woman to lust” whether the woman (or man) is on a video, in a picture, or in the living flesh. Secondly, number four on the list describes impurity as “moral uncleanness.” X-rated would qualify as “morally unclean,” thereby making them something God would disdain.

Now let’s apply the questions:

  • Are X-rated videos prohibited by Scripture? Yes, based on (2) and (4).
  • Are X-rated vides beneficial? Anything that promotes “moral uncleanness” is not beneficial.
  • Do X-rated videos involve someone else? Yes. You bring the man or woman on the video into your lovemaking.

Based on these answers, we could conclude that God wants us to stay away from X-rated videos.

We have considered three “gray areas,” oral sex, vibrators, and X-rated videos. There are many others. We encourage you and your husband to prayerfully seek God’s wisdom, study the list of ten prohibitions, and use the three questions to help you discern what to do in your specific situation.

As Christians we are simultaneously free and responsible. We are responsible to seek the best of the one we love, to think more highly of him and his desires than our own (Philippians 2:3-4). But we are also free to explore new territories of sexual delight.

According to Dr. Lewis Smedes, “The Christian word on trying out a sexual practice that is not prohibited in Scripture is ‘Try it. If you like it, it is morally good for you. And it may well be that in providing new delight to each other; you will be adventuring into deeper experiences of love.'”

God has given you great freedom in your sexual relationship with your husband. Remember His words to Solomon and Shulamith: “Eat, friends; drink and imbibe deeply, O lovers” (Song of Solomon 5:1).

Adapted from the book, Intimate Issues by Linda Dillow & Lorraine Pintus, published by Waterbrook Press. To read more, go to intimateissues.com.

Copyright © by Linda Dillow & Lorraine Pintus, Used with permission.

Get the Book!

Intimate Issues
▸  Also see Sexual Boundaries | Creative Lovemaking | Healthy Sex

Give to help build better marriages
About Linda Dillow

bio-linda-dillowLinda Dillow is the author of numerous books, including the best selling Creative Counterpart and Intimate Issues (with Lorraine Pintus), with sales totaling over 1.5 million copies. A popular speaker at women’s conferences around the world, Linda lives in Monument, Colorado with her husband, Jody.

See Linda Dillow’s Books

  • Charlie

    Good explaination Sharon, you made it clearer.

    • Fuck you

      Your an idiot

  • The Dude

    There is no overt mention of anal sex in the Bible. In the account of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19, a large group of men sought to gang rape two angels who had taken the form of men. The reasonable presumption is that the men of Sodom wanted to have forcible anal sex with the angels. The men’s homosexual lust is obvious, but again, anal sex is not mentioned in the passage. The words sodomy and sodomize come from this biblical account. Sodomy is, literally, “the sin of Sodom.”

    In modern language, the term sodomy has acquired a broader definition than what is biblically warranted. The strict understanding of sodomy, based solely on the events of Genesis 19, would have to be “forcible anal sex, with one male homosexually raping another male anally.”

    The Bible clearly and explicitly condemns homosexuality as an immoral and unnatural sin (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9). And the Bible strongly condemns rape, as well (Deuteronomy 22:25-27). So, clearly, the Bible condemns sodomy in the sense of male homosexual rape. The more difficult question is whether the Bible condemns all anal sex.

  • bryan

    If oral sex isn’t sodomy two lesbians csn never be guilty of committing sodomy

  • Wowzer

    “Christian liberty sets us free from culturally invented “moral” taboos; and since there is no rule from heaven, it is likely that the only restraint is the feeling of the other person. For example, if one partner has guilt feelings about oral sex play, the Christian response of the other will be to honor the partner until they adjust their feelings. On the other hand, if the partner has only aesthetic reservations, and if these are rooted in some fixed idea that sex is little more than a necessary evil anyway, they have an obligation to be taught, tenderly and lovingly, of the joys of sex in the freedom of Christ.”

    Until they adjust their feelings.???????? Seriously. And what, pray tell, makes their feelings wrong? NOTHING. If a person ‘feels’ NOT okay with something, then that something is NOT okay,. period. There should never be any pressure put on someone to ‘adjust’ their feelings. We are told NOT to do something that is against our conciense feelings.

    Read more at Growthtrac What is Not Okay in Bed? | Christian Marriage Articles | Growthtrac http://www.growthtrac.com/marriage-bed/#ixzz38DlXvgzQ

  • Fuck you

    Fuck god and your chirstian beliefs yes there is some stuff that just should not be done but you lot take your fairy tale book seriously I thought people were smarter than that or are you just not people?

  • Fuck you

    Your an idiot

  • Fuck you

    Then why do you do it?

  • al

    NEVER USE AN ENGLISH DICTIONARY TO DEFINE BIBLICAL WORDS. The bible was written in Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew. Look it up that way. You also have to understand HOW the word was used when it was written. Not what it means today!

  • Anon

    On the subject of X-rated videos… what if you and your spouse decide to make one, and watch it together? What is your educated opinion on that?

    • SAM

      Scripture gives married couples great liberty in what they explore in their sex life as long as there is no shaming involved in getting a spouse to participate. Song of Songs is a pretty steaming book if you study all the symbolism in it. But, I have to ask the question… How would you know what to put in an X-rated video if you’ve never seen one? And if you’ve seen an X-rated movie in the past, there is the potential to damage and defile the marriage bed with previous lustful thoughts. Would you really want those images to possibly resurface during the experience with your spouse?

      If you have not seen the news lately… hackers have infiltrated numerous clouds and found nude pictures of celebrities, which they thought were “safe” and very private. If this film you make with your spouse ever has the chance of being discovered by someone through your phone, tablet, or other means, then I would say, “no”.

      • chuckdaly

        “And if you’ve seen an X-rated movie in the past, there is the potential to damage and defile the marriage bed with previous lustful thoughts.”

        Then all future marriages are doomed. If you’ve spend any considerable amount of time on the internet, you’d know, you don’t have to seek out porn, it will seek you out.

        If you are married, and want to make a tape, as long as your both husband and wife agree to the protection of the end product, all is well.

  • chuckdaly

    Nothing in the Bible implies that consuming semen is an “Unclean Practice” You just made that up. Admit it!!!! While I don’t condone the consumption of semen, drinking soda is far less healthy, yet pork and shellfish are both deemed unclean in the Bible.

    • james bridgford

      Thank you. Legallism will kill these folks. They are so wrapped up in what everyone else shouldnt do they forget God gave husbands and wives to enjoy each other

    • Jamel Williams

      Idk about that… I heard a man preaching on the train (in NYC) who spoke on this, and referenced this scripture:
      Leviticus 15:16
      “And if any man’s seed of copulation go out from him, then he shall wash all his flesh in water, and be unclean until the even(ing).”
      In Deuteronomy 23:10 God also says semen from a man’s own nocturnal emission makes him unclean, and that’s not even a deliberate act (like a wet dream could be).

      So If a man’s own semen, can cause him to be unclean, how much more another person taking it down their throat?

      I’m not speaking as a judge, just giving scriptural facts. I know many will say “Well we’re not under the law anymore, but under grace”, but I urge them reconsider, if we’re using our liberty through grace as an excuse to do what we want to do. God doesn’t have to give us every possible scenario of sin in human existence for us to understand how he feels about something.

      Again, I’m not speaking as a judge, just what bible says. I learned more as I grew in the faith, and the holy spirit gives understanding as we grow.

  • MDSF

    Genital HPV cannot be spread if two people remain virgins until marriage. HPV can be spread by mouth the same way it can be spread through vaginal sex, so to say that it is unclean because it can spread diseases is incorrect. Seminal fluid is sterile, meaning it does not contain bacteria (unless an STD is present), just like other bodily fluids are sterile. Therefore the argument that it is inclean is also false.

  • glebealyth

    Actually, fornication comes from Latin.

    Its root is fornix, meaning “arch”.

    There are two schools of thought as to how and why fornicate and fornication came to be used to describe a sexual act:

    1. During intercourse, one or both parties will “arch” their backs, also known as “lordosis”, a word also used to describe a medical condition which result in a severely curved lumbar region. The word fornicate was originally an adjective, meaning arched.

    2. The word fornix came to be used as the name for a brothel, because gernerally a brothel was entered through an arch.

    PLEASE, do basic research before posting.

    I realise that you are relying upon Strong’s as your source. Sadly, on this matter. Strong is well off target.

    • Henry Kelly

      The “fornices” of the Roman cities were the arches of the viaducts and aqueducts. Common street prostitutes were known for plying their trade under the arches. It, like many sexual terms, is an euphemism.

  • Thankful

    Are all of you serious?? Trying to convey who is right and who is wrong??? First we should look at Adam and Eve!! They were to be free to love each other in all ways!! There was no good or bad when they were made!! It was not until they ate the forbidden fruit that they felt shame!!! So for those that they feel oral or anal is wrong, it is you that feel it is wrong. For those that feel it is good, it is you that makes yourself feel good. The truth is that we are gentiles!! We do not live by the old laws!! We live through the new law that Jesus Christ died for our sins!!!! So the real and correct answer to this is just love your spouse the way you want to be loved, be open and communicate. And Thank God that you have someone to love and they love you!!!

    • Phillip Dudd

      Gods Grace isnt freedom to sin, it gives us the power to not sin, and not want to sin or be unGodly.
      Jesus didnt come to condemn us, He came to save us and show us how to be saved, and if our indevidual desire is to be like Jesus we shouldnt condemn each other, but should spread the word of truth that does save, what people then do with thier liberty is between them and God, when it comes to certain behavour that can affect the body or church then it is clearly laid out how it should be dealt with, that said I cannot imagine the sort of things discussed here going on in the house of God, if they are going on in the lives of proffessing christians, then we must decern by knowing the fruits of righteousness, and only then can we approach an indevidual with conviction,
      And surely the context of this debate can only be for believers, because if weare aiming it at unbelievers, surely unbelief should be the first thing they need to understand and find conviction about.
      For believers we can know the truth by living the wisdom that God has made very vlear for us, empowered by our spiritualhelp and guide and strenth.
      His holy spirit who will work out Gods will in our lives by being willing and obedient deciples.

    • Tony Conrad

      Good point. My wife is uncomfortable with oral sex so it is right that I accept that.

      With regard to the OT although the spirit releases us from the law, the OT still informs our faith. Personally I think that sin puts us back under the law until we repent.

  • Phillip Dudd

    So great to see such an important subject being challenged, by you all, and there are many points and understandings here that could benifit many relationships for the better, however what ive not seen so far, (though rereading I may find) is that no works of the flesh are able to make us righteous, only Jesus is able to do that, and the relationship that these things will most affect in a negative way, is the relationship that is vital for both partners in any worldly relationship, namely our relationship to God our heavenly father, His son Jesus and the holy spirit of God.
    For without Him as the centre of all our relationships, how could we ever do what is good and pleasing to Him, to be an example to others and have access to the desires of a pure heart.

  • Phillip Dudd

    On most if not all matters I am reminded that “he who is without sin cast the first stone”
    was this not to the self righteous, who themselves commit sin, and in this instance that sin being judgemental or self righteous, amongst others, tho sin is sin because its wrong in Gods eyes.
    Yet we condemn what we say is wrong, yet that being sin means we are condemning others for sin by sinning ourselves.
    surely any athiests could have cast the stone, as without belieif or understanding of sin they were not condemned by law?
    Yet would a non believer kill another for actions they wouldnt deem as wrong.
    so who can judge the behavour of another, non of us, God only, will in His time.
    as for us that struggle with others sin and actions, how will we bring such people into our churches, and love them, if thier sin is above redemption, when Jesus has given redemption free to all who believe on Him.
    if we spent 10% of the time we spend viewing the actions and behavour of others, viewing our own actions and behavours (and viewing and condemning others being one major problem), then we could have a better understanding of our real role as a child of God and how to be that example of salt and light we should be spiritually maturing into,
    and let God deal with our spiritual siblings.

  • Eric

    So I am curious. Me and my wife do not watch X-rated videos, however, we do travel a lot for work/etc. Is it wrong to make an x-rated video specifically for our significant other (no one else) and watch it and/or take matters into our own hands during times of prolonged separation ?

    • Tony Conrad

      Can’t see a problem with that. It will certainly help you against any temptation the enemy may tempt you with whilst you are apart.

  • Paul

    That is so wrong way out of context,

  • Tony Conrad

    Oh that would be terrible Jean not.



7:37pm, CST

What do I do When I Don't Want to Do it?


7:37pm, CST

Fantasies on the Internet