Six Bible Passages About Sex and Sexual Love

Genesis 1:28 God blessed them and God said to them: Be fruitful and multiply

I’ll let philosopher and theologian Peter Kreft take this one. 

“The first two things we learn about sex from God, right from the beginning, are that God designed it, not man or society, and that it is very good. The first command was, ‘Be fruitful and multiply.’ I do not think God had in mind growing oranges and memorizing times tables.”

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

This passage from Corinthians is used so often at weddings that it has almost become a cliché. We see in 1 John 4:8 that God is Love. And in his first letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul personifies love to help explain that love is not a feeling, but a supernatural gift of God, who is Love itself. This love that St. Paul describes isn’t subject to other influences and therefore is unchanging. It’s the persistent love of God and love of neighbor Spend a few minutes with this verse. Just like people today, the people of Corinth were struggling with vices such as jealousy, arrogance, and boastfulness. Where in your life are you impatient? Where do you hold grudges? Where do you experience jealousy, envy, pride, or selfishness? None of us love perfectly, except God who is perfect Love.

Song of Songs 7:7-10

How beautiful you are, how fair, my love, daughter of delights! Your very form resembles a date-palm, and your breasts, clusters. I thought, “Let me climb the date-palm! Let me take hold of its branches! Let your breasts be like clusters of the vine and the fragrance of your breath like apples, And your mouth like the best wine—that flows down smoothly for my lover, gliding over my lips and teeth.

To put it simply, this book of the Bible may be the greatest love letter in human history. Many scholars and commentators throughout history have read it as a story about the divine marriage between God and his people. In addition, it can be understood as talking about human, sacramental marriage. Human marriage is a reflection of the divine marriage of Christ and Holy Mother Church. If we want more intimate human relationships, it helps for us to understand the nature of that human relationship and the divine relationship that it reflects.

The first command was ‘Be fruitful and multiply’. I do not think God had in mind growing oranges and memorizing times tables.

Peter kreeft

John 2:5 

His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you”.

These words were spoken by Mary to the servants during the wedding at Cana. But she wasn’t just speaking to them. This is Mary’s instruction to all of us. We are called to submit our will to to the will of God.

True love is obedient. We don’t like to think about that too often because the word obedient feels so oppressive. But there is nothing oppressive about being obedient because obedience is not enslavement. Obedience is a complete and full GIFT of self to the needs and will of another. I mean, no woman has ever said, “Oh boy! My husband is being selfish. I can’t wait to marry him!” But I know many woman who are strongly drawn to a man because of his obedience to God.

Tobit 8:4-9

When Sarah’s parents left the bedroom and closed the door behind them, Tobiah rose from bed and said to his wife, “My sister, come, let us pray and beg our Lord to grant us mercy and protection.” She got up, and they started to pray and beg that they might be protected. He began with these words: “Blessed are you, O God of our ancestors; blessed be your name forever and ever! Let the heavens and all your creation bless you forever. You made Adam, and you made his wife Eve to be his helper and support; and from these two the human race has come. You said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; let us make him a helper like himself.’ Now, not with lust, but with fidelity I take this kinswoman as my wife. Send down your mercy on me and on her, and grant that we may grow old together. Bless us with children.” They said together, “Amen, amen!” Then they went to bed for the night.  

Sarah and Tobiah had a good reason to implore God’s protection. She had married seven times before and each time her husband took her in lust. As a punishment God struck each man dead. Some people feel pressure on their wedding night, but rarely pressure like this. But Tobiah and Sarah were pure in their passionate desires for one another.

This is a beautiful example of a husband and wife knowing God’s role in their marriage. This is their wedding night! How many people stop to pray on their wedding night?!?! This newly married couple desire each other, not out of lust, but out of love! Their love is pure and intense and passionate. And it’s made even deeper by the presence of God. So they invited God into their sexual union.

Ephesians 5:25-30 

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the Church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present himself to the Church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 

Most men love the idea of a woman. We don’t think about sex, but rather we fantasize about it. Instead of desiring a woman, we lust after her. A real man understands that love is, as St. Thomas Aquinas put it, “to will the good of the other, for the sake of other”. This means giving of ourselves every day in both the big and small ways. To better understand this, kneel before a crucifix. See the suffering that Christ chose to accept. And then say out loud, “He did that because of me and for me.” Then we kneel and repeat. We are called to give of ourselves every day in the little things and the big. Marital love is not intended to be mechanical. Sex is not simply about achieving orgasm, it’s about offering the gift of self fully and completely, just like Christ’s full offering of self on the cross.  

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