Is Not Having Sex A Sin?

Kate says…

We want to share an important question we received from an OFM reader recently because we are sure there are many of you have might be asking the same question.

“My wife and I were talking and we were pondering this question. We seem to get the sense that having sex is something that we should be doing but for whatever reason we tend to…not. Does that mean that we are somehow sinning?”

No Sex Sin-001Sex, whether it is lack of sex with your spouse or misusing sex, is not a salvation issue, something that would inhibit you from being saved. That being said God does give some pretty straight forward thoughts on sex within marriage in 1 Corinthians 7:1-5

“Now regarding the questions you asked in your letter. Yes, it is good to abstain from sexual relations. But because there is so much sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband.

The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs. The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife.

Do not deprive each other of sexual relations, unless you both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you can give yourselves more completely to prayer. Afterward, you should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” (NLT)

In this scripture Paul is talking about the importance of sex within marriage. God designed it to be a special connection that you can share with your spouse and no one else. He also makes it clear that you should not deprive each other of sex, but for a short while, with mutual agreement.

What Is Mutual Agreement?

Mutual agreement is often the hang up here. This isn’t when one person doesn’t feel like having sex; it is specifically when both people agree for one reason or another. The reason Paul lists is for prayer, but there are other times when not having sex is mutually agreed upon and it is ok.

Overall, the Bible is clear that to live a married life and not have sex on a regular basis does not go along with what God had planned for in marriage.

When Does “Not Tonight” Turn Into Sin?

Choosing to not have sex with your spouse one night, or for a short period of time is a normal part of marriage. Choosing not to have sex with your spouse for an extended period of time without a good reason is a sin.

We have many couples contact us where one spouse is not interested in sex at all or totally withholding sex. We can go round and round about when does it become a sin, but the reality is that is a sin and something to work out with God. So to answer your question, yes, a marriage without sex is outside of what God is asking and is sin.

Why Is the Thermometer Broken?

Honestly the more important question to ask is “why is sex not happening in our marriage?” Sex is often a thermometer of the marriage relationship, if it is “cool” then more often than not there is coolness in other areas too.

God desires for us to by physically attracted to each other, to enjoy time between just the two of us, to be able to share a special physical/emotional/spiritual bond that we cannot with anyone else.

If you are both uninterested in sex together, then it’s time to ask why. If there is only one of you this is uninterested in sex then it is time to look at why they have a decreased sexual desire. There could be so many reasons, but diving into them is essential.
(A good post for men dealing with decreased sexual desire is, “He’s Lost That Loving Feeling“)
(A good post for women dealing with decreased sexual desire is, “Defeating Delayed Desire“)

What If It Doesn’t Change?

You also might wonder what could happen if you can just keep living marriage this way? Especially if the lack of sex doesn’t seem to be causing a rift at this point. God designed sex for marriage. Not only has he asked us to keep it a priority and have sex regularly, he also desires for us to enjoy each other in that time.

It is an important part of the bonding and uniting that goes on in marriage. It is possible (in cases of extended illness or injury for example) to continue to have a marriage without sex, but it will be a challenge to have it be a marriage to the fullest.

Without sexual intimacy in marriage you will miss experiencing all that God has for your marriage. Don’t get me wrong, sex is NOT everything in marriage, but it is important and God felt strong enough about it to address it is His Word. He designed sex special for marriage; this alone shows me how important God views it. It is an essential ingredient to marriage and to a marriage that fulfills God’s purpose.

Do you have a marriage questions you would like us to tackle? Leave a comment or send us an Email!

What would you say to answer this question? Is this an issue you have wrestled with in your marriage? Let us know in the comments!

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6 Responses to Is Not Having Sex A Sin?

  1. It is important to remember that if you want love you must be able to give it. Love is a verb. The loving actions you take translate into a feeling.

  2. Thank you for a balanced take on this subject. I feel like so many Christian women marriage bloggers take this topic and pound women over the head with it. You take a very encouraging approach, while still underlining God’s truth about the importance of sex in marriage.

  3. how is as a man I can survive with not having sex for months? I am trying to serve my wife as a Queen and I feel I am getting nowhere.

  4. Interesting article. Unfortunately, I fear this is too much of a one-size-fits-all approach. My wife and I will have been married 20 years this year. Our sex life was great for the first year or 2, but then the frequency began to steadily decrease from 2 or 3 times per week to 1 or 2 times per month, to once or twice per year. The pressure was put on me to save it, but nothing I did worked. It’s been 2 or 3 years since we were last intimate. I don’t ven skeep in the bedroom anymore. Now due to her suffering from anxiety, diabetes, and chronic back pain it’s obvious that our sex life is dead and buried with no hope of resurrection.

  5. I appreciate the Biblical references, but the article is short-sighted and narrow in scope. I feel for those couples with problems because my wife and I are in that number. The author’s comments are woefully inadequate to minister to every couple who longed for intimacy but has never been able to enjoy conjugal freedom in marriage. I doubt that the apostle Paul had all couples in mind when he wrote what he did and he surely assumed that sex would be a given for any couple that married. My wife and I have been married for 28 and a half years. In all of this time we have not been able to consummate our marriage due to physical issues involving pain. It is true for both of us. Neither of us has ever sought for a substitute outside of our marriage. We were both virgins when we married and assumed that “it” would happen, but the weeks grew into months and the months grew into years. Now we are nearing retirement with the reality that there will never be grandchildren to enjoy because we never learned to enjoy one another. Of course we are both disappointed, but the reality is that we have both accepted that we are physically unable to tie the knot, or to ratify the covenant. It happens that due to pain and discomfort and the huge challenge of being intimate, sexual union never occurs. Due to the difficulty, any sense of pleasure is lost. Counseling was helpful in understanding the problem, but not in charting a solution. One counselor even put the option of abandonment on the table as a viable Christian response. The solution for the two of us has been to foster a very close walk with Christ.

  6. Paul, actually this article does discuss the contingent of illness or injury, which would include your situation, in my opinion.
    “It is an important part of the bonding and uniting that goes on in marriage. It is possible (in cases of extended illness or injury for example) to continue to have a marriage without sex, but it will be a challenge to have it be a marriage to the fullest.”

    My wife, for whatever reason, uses sex as a tool. It’s even gotten to the point that she’ll promise sex if I do whatever, then refuses to follow through. I cannot get past that. I have truly given thought to just quitting and filing divorce and moving on. I am at the point that I could walk away without looking back. It would hurt because I love her, but she seems to not reciprocate that feeling.