Do Not Withhold Intimacy
We’re surrounded by a very confused culture—a culture of disorder. It seems as if everything is out of whack. Sexual promiscuity is now the norm rather than the exception. Magazine headlines shout in bold letters the amazement that this season’s “The Bachelor” is a virgin. Wow! What an utterly victorian concept—in the world’s eyes.
While singles are living it up sexually, another amazing thing is happening within marriages. It’s a phenomenon that has become a common joke—married couples abstaining from sexual intimacy.
I recall in a counseling session when it was revealed to me that a married couple had only had two nights of sexual intimacy in their nine years of marriage. I wish I had a picture of my face when they told me that — I could not withhold a stunned look. I blurted out, “Are you kidding me? What? You mean this week. Right?”
Recently I read several comments on the ManUp app when a husband revealed that he and his wife had withheld sexual intimacy for months. Other men revealed that they were in the same circumstance.
Men, this is not healthy, nor is it scriptural. Sexual intimacy is a requirement in a healthy marriage. The Apostle Paul even warned that we should not be deprived by that lack of coming together.
Do not deprive on another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. -1 Corinthians 7:5
The word used for deprive is pretty strong. In fact, it can mean to be defrauded. It is used to describe a person who is not present at the right time, someone who is withdrawing, to cause to fail, or to take away from. If a husband or wife deprives their spouse of sexual relations, it is a serious breach of marriage and could have devastating results.
Paul warns that our nemesis, Satan, looks for this as an opportunity to gain advantage over us. Satan looks for gaps in our relationships and abstaining from sexual intimacy gives him room to take advantage of the marriage.
Marriage is the unity of two people becoming one. It is a decision to serve and care for the other as yourself, whether in bed or not. What is actually done in the bed is not for public discussion—that should remain holy and intimate. But, the fact that couples are withholding from one another is not only strongly warned against, it is simply not healthy in marriage.
The only exception for a withdrawing of intimacy is for a short season that is devoted to prayer and fasting. Yet, Paul warns us to not make this a prolonged season. Do not fall prey to the fads and whims of this world.