Some of the most common questions we get are variations of, “how do I talk with my spouse about sex?” So here are a collection of tips, both positive and negative. I won’t elaborate much on each one, but I’m happy to answer questions in the comments.

  1. Pray first. Either together or separately, pray that God will bless your marriage and your sex life. Ask for humility and gentleness towards your spouse. Pray that God will help you to understand and love each other the way He intends.
  2. Be honest and gentle. Remember that your goal isn’t to manipulate your spouse into a certain behavior, it’s to grow in intimacy together. Be brave enough to be honest, and be humble enough to receive honesty from your spouse. Agree together that it’s safe to be honest with each other, and then discipline your own emotions before you react to honesty from your spouse.
  3. Pick the right time. When you and your spouse are in a good mood, when you’re feeling connected, when you have time for an intimate conversation. Talking about sex after you have a great sexual encounter can be wonderful, but avoid it after a disappointing encounter. Even if the conversation is urgent to you, respect your spouse enough to be patient. If you think your spouse will be resistant to even talking about sex, you might want to give him or her a heads-up that you’d like to have a conversation sometime in the near future.
  4. Set a purpose and expectations. Clearly explain your purpose for the conversation at the beginning. Talk about the most important thing first, and try to focus on one topic at a time. It’s easy to get distracted by side issues, especially if communication has been poor for a while and there are a lot of pent-up frustrations. Recognize that you may need to give your spouse some space to vent, but try to keep your contributions to the conversation as focused as possible.
  5. Stay positive. Express your love, admiration, and gratitude for your spouse. Don’t complain, but instead talk about how passionate you are for a great sex life. You don’t need to be pointlessly cheery, but using positive language helps avoid hostility and defensiveness. Consider the difference between “we hardly ever have sex” and “I’d love for us to have an exciting sex life together”.
  6. Ask questions to understand. Make sure your questions are sincere and loving. It’s very tempting to use questions to disguise accusations and frustrations, but your spouse isn’t a fool and will quickly grow to resent these passive-aggressive attacks. Focus on “what” and “how” questions instead of “why” questions — “what would you like from our sex life?”, “how do you feel about oral sex?” “Why” questions often make people defensive at having to justify or explain themselves. You want to understand what and how your spouse feels, but you don’t need to dig into why.
  7. Be specific and explicit. Your spouse can’t read your mind. Your spouse can’t read your mind. Get it? Your spouse can’t read your mind! If you want something specific, you have to use actual words to say so. I know it’s more “romantic” if your spouse just knows what you want and does it without you asking, but that’s not how real humans work. If you don’t know exactly what you want then it’s fine to express a general desire, but then be prepared to discuss it and nail down some specifics.
  8. Reach a conclusion. Before you’re both exhausted, revisit your purpose for the conversation. Have you accomplished your purpose? If so, declare victory and conclude the discussion. Great job: you successfully talked about sex! On the other hand, if your conversation has meandered endlessly make an effort to refocus yourselves and reach a conclusion.
  9. Actionable agreement. At the end of your discussion make sure that you each know what actions you’ve agreed to take. Don’t settle for a vague understanding that something will be different from now on — make your agreement specific and explicit. “Yes, I will try XYZ”“Yes, I will plan at least one date night each month”.
  10. Follow through. Now that you’ve made a specific and explicit agreement, you actually have to do it. If you find that your spouse isn’t living up to what he or she agreed to, you’ll need to have another conversation.“It really meant a lot to me when you agreed to plan a date night for us each month. I can’t wait to spend that time with you. Will we be able to do it soon? I’ll make it worth your while….”

I’m sure there’s a lot more that can be said… hundreds of books worth… but these are the main points I find myself writing to people over and over. What do you think? Share your ideas or questions in the comments!

We get hundreds of emails asking for marriage and sex help, and in almost every case the second step of our advice is to talk with your spouse. (The first step is to talk with God through prayer.) Most emails include a disclaimer like:

I’ve already tried to talk to my wife about this, but she just won’t listen.

So… you want advice that doesn’t include talking to your spouse? Well, you can’t just skip past that.

There are a gazillion books you can read about how to have productive conversations, but today I want to share one of the most important tips I’ve learned: stop asking “why?” so much. If you have kids, you know how annoying it can be to constantly hear “why? why? why?”. This question seems to crop up around age three, and never stops. Hopefully as adults we don’t smother our spouses with “why” so often, but the question can often do more harm than good.

Oftentimes a husband (especially) will want to hammer away at “the problem” and “fix it”, so he asks “why?” over and over, hoping to discover the knob he can twist just the right way to make his wife do/feel what she “should”.

Sound familiar? Wives do it, too. It’s no surprise that conversations like this aren’t effective for building intimacy. “Why?” can be a powerful tool for gaining understanding, but it isn’t the right tool for every job! Here are a few ways it can backfire.

  • Passive aggressive. You know this one. Even if you aren’t trying to be passive aggressive, these kinds of questions can be received that way. But be honest: oftentimes, you’re being passive aggressive.
    • “Why didn’t you take the trash out?”
    • “Why are you late?”
    • “Why don’t you want to have sex?”
  • Interrogation. Trying to nail down your spouse with words. You make it appear that you’re just trying to understand the truth of the situation, but what you’re actually doing is forcing your spouse into the corner until he admits some mistake or failure. These are often “why… but…?” accusations.
    • “Why did you say you were getting Christmas cards for my family, but then not mail them in time?”
    • “Why did you say you want more intimacy, but then every time I want to have sex you’re too tired?”
    • “Why do you not feel the way we both agreed you should feel?”
  • Digging. Sometimes your spouse doesn’t know the answer, or there isn’t an answer, but you keep asking “why?” anyway. You rephrase the same question over and over, sure that if you keep digging you’ll eventually find gold.
    • “Why don’t we have more sex? Why don’t you want to have sex? Why has our sex life stalled?”
    • “Why do you feel that way? Why don’t you feel this way?”
  • Rephrasing. “Why?” is often a fine question to ask once, but using different words doesn’t make the question more helpful.
    • “What makes you feel that way?”
    • “How did this come to pass?”

When you’re starting a difficult conversation, stay away from “why” and instead focus on “what” and “how”.

  • “How do you feel about our sex life?”
  • “How do you want our sex life to make you feel?”
  • “What is your favorite thing that we do together?”
  • “What do you think is missing?”

Accept the answers without comment or judgement. Asking “why?” will make your spouse defensive, literally — you’re asking her to defend her answers with a reason that’s good enough for you to accept. It can be difficult to hold back your opinion, but usually that’s your pride prompting you. Your pride says things like:

  • “She shouldn’t feel that way.”
  • “I deserve a husband who does XYZ.”
  • “I can convince her…”
  • “That’s not fair.”
  • “His answer shows that he doesn’t love/respect/understand me!”
  • “How can she possibly think that?”

These comments are unlikely to be helpful, but your pride insists that you say them anyway. Your pride tells you that your feelings are right, justified, and logical, and his feelings are wrong, mistaken, or cruel. It’s so obvious, right? He’s sure to realize the error of his ways if you just ask the right “why” question.

Don’t feel bad; we all fall into the pride trap.

So, before you ask “why?”, consider: will my question enhance intimacy, or irritation? If you mostly care about being right, then by all means, hammer away with “why?” until you smash everything in sight. On the other hand, if you mostly care about intimacy with your spouse, use “why?” very judiciously and give her the space and respect to think and feel without having to justify herself to you. Your spouse will feel secure and respected, which are key building blocks of intimacy.

We already know that it’s common for a husband to underestimate his wife’s sex drive — women tend to be a lot more subtle than men, to such an extent that your wife herself might not even know when she’s aroused!

Men’s subjective ratings of arousal were in agreement with their body’s level of sexual arousal about 66 percent of the time, while women’s were in line only about 26 percent of the time.

“The general pattern that I have seen in my laboratory is that women experience a genital response but do not report feeling sexually aroused,” Chivers told LiveScience.

So how can a husband know when his wife is interested? Being direct and verbal can be effective, but can also risk “ruining the mood”. Women like to be romanced and wooed — even after years of marriage! — and “Hey, wanna go upstairs and *blank*?” may not make her tingle.

Every husband should be a student of his own wife: learn everything about her, especially her sexuality. Every person is different, but here are a few behavioral signs a husband can watch for that may indicate his wife is more interested in sex than is immediately obvious.

  • Physical touch. Casual touching is always an indicator of affection and openness. If your wife initiates touching then she’s definitely happy with your relationship and receptive to your overtures. Physical touch doesn’t mean that she definitely wants sex — she may just want to cuddle for comfort after a hard day at work. Touches from hands, fingers, and lips — as well as “accidentally” brushing against you — are likely to be greater indicators of sexual interest than are hugs and cuddles.
  • Eye contact is always a sign of intimacy, and longer is better. You should hold eye contact until she breaks away — it will signal your confidence and dominance. If she breaks eye contact with a submissive downward gaze and a smile, she’s practically naked.
  • Posture and attention. Body language says a lot. Look for open postures: face and shoulders straight at you, rather than with a shoulder towards you; arms and legs uncrossed; leaning towards you; shoulders back, breasts pushed forward; close proximity, inside personal space. Also watch for mirroring, which is generally a sign of rapport and intimacy.
  • Self-touching and grooming. Touching her hair, adjusting her clothes, playing with her jewelry, and other kinds of self-touching — especially around the mouth, face, and neck. Licking or biting her lip, or sucking on a straw or toothpick, is a strong sign.
  • Vulnerability shows a desire for intimacy. Signs include: revealing more skin; exposing her underarms, wrists, or neck; submissive positioning or postures.
  • Verbal cues. In addition to non-verbal indicators, your wife’s language can also indicate sexual interest: giggling; using your nickname; playful teasing; mismatched words and body language (e.g., laughing while disagreeing); complimenting you; soliciting compliments or approval; re-starting the conversation when you stop talking.

Husbands, when you learn to read your wife’s indicators of interest she’ll feel like you really understand her, like you’re reading her mind, like you’re in sync. She’ll feel good about your relationship, your intimacy will increase, and you’ll have more sex.

Wives, what do you think? It’s probably pretty easy to know when your husband is interested in sex… or is it? Husbands, do you have any tips to share? Leave a comment!

On this blog we tend to spend the most words on the physical and mental dimensions of sex with your spouse: topics like games, positions, role-playing, toys, and having more sex. We also talk a lot about the spiritual dimension of sex, about how God wants sex in your marriage to be awesome and fulfilling. Today I want to talk about the fourth dimension: emotion. As your marriage matures and grows, the emotional intensity of sex with your spouse can wane over time. Sex can be fun and frequent, but the emotions may fade to the background as you grow comfortable with your spouse.

It may not be realistic to expect to recapture all the joy and wonder of your honeymoon and maintain it for decades, but here are a few ideas for increasing the level of intimacy in your sex life.

  • Eye contact. Instead of closing your eyes and focusing inward, keep your eyes open and on your spouse. Look each other in the eyes while you touch each other and when you climax. Eye contact is one of the most primal, direct forms of intimacy in any social situation. It shows that your attention is completely focused on one thing only: the person you’re looking at. You can’t make eye contact with two things at once! Eye contact during sex may feel awkward, embarrassing, or vulnerable at first, but with a little practice (and humor) it can add a lot of intimacy to your sex life.
  • Kiss more. Remember how much you made out when you were dating? Sexy Corte and I would make out for hours while “watching a movie”, and not even remember what we supposedly watched. Instead of jumping straight for the genitals, make kissing a significant part of foreplay and sex.
  • Responsiveness. Moan, scream, talk explicitly about what feels good and where. As I wrote in the linked post: “What’s more intimate than crying out your spouse’s name when you climax? When you’re sexually responsive to your spouse you’re sharing the most personal, internal details about yourself, private knowledge about your secret inner workings that no one else gets to experience. If you’re shy about being overtly responsive then work intentionally to overcome that barrier and share yourself more fully with your spouse.”
  • Enthusiasm. As the song says, “I want you to want me / I need you to need me”. Enthusiasm and eagerness for sex increase intimacy — no one needs to feel pressure ask for sex in the “right” way, to perform, or to look a certain way. Enthusiasm builds your spouse’s confidence and breaks down the walls of insecurity that hinder intimacy.
  • Hold hands. Even if you’re in a position that limits eye contact, it’s often possible to hold hands during sex. Holding hands is an innocent intimacy, and a special sign of love and friendship.
  • Orgasm together. This can be difficult unless you’re really in tune with each other. I always try to make sure that I don’t climax before Sexy Corte — because that’s just disappointing — and it’s tricky to hit my peak just when she hits hers. If you want to try this, have the wife do her best to give her husband a few seconds warning before she actually reaches orgasm, and then let him follow as best as he can.
  • Vulnerability. Intimacy is increased when one person trusts another enough to show vulnerability, and that trust is rewarded and respected. Vulnerability can be mental, emotional, or physical. It can be embarrassing to tell your spouse, hey, I’d really like to play Sexy Jenga, or, I’d really like you to swallow — there’s a risk of judgement or rejection. Similarly, there’s physical vulnerability involved with bondage or spanking, and emotional vulnerability to wearing lingerie or asking for more sex. But each time one of you offers vulnerability and the other rewards and respects it, the door is opened for greater vulnerability, trust, and intimacy. The surest way to shut down intimacy is to punish vulnerability from your spouse.
  • Speak your spouse’s love language. Your spouse will receive your love best when you speak his love language. Our inclination is to show love in our own love language, because it’s the most natural for us, but that’s not the best way to touch your spouse’s heart. Learn his or her love language and use it during foreplay and sex.
  • Stay positive. Not every sexual encounter will go perfectly. Not every game, toy, or position you try will work. Not every date will be magical. Not every disagreement will go your way. Despite all these realities, fight hard inside yourself to stay positive about your sex life. Be willing to say yes again and again. Work to improve yourself. Communicate with your spouse, especially when it’s embarrassing or awkward. Laugh together, forgive quickly, and go have great sex with a smile on your face.

Do you have any tips to share to increase intimacy during sex? Leave a comment!

If you were intrigued by our bondage for beginners post then you’re in for a treat! Shibari is an artistic, beautiful, and intimate style of rope bondage that spouses can enjoy when they have a significant amount of time available to invest in a sexual encounter. A quick warning, which may be obvious: if you Google many of the terms in this post you’re likely to see images with nudity. However, it is possible to learn about shibari without seeing all that, and I’m going to link to a few resources that I found to be safe.

(Sexy Corte and I debated over whether or not showing nude mannequins and drawings is acceptable, and we decided yes. Educational resources frequently use drawings or icons to convey sexual information while avoiding naked human flesh, and we think it’s approriate. Shibari is a very visual art, and it would be impossible to describe without any images. If the images bother you, we apologize.)

First of all, I should point out that I’m not an expert on shibari. I’m going to attempt to use the correct terminology and give some tips for how Sexy Corte and I got started, but this is all pretty new to us. Second, make sure you read about basic bondage safety — I can’t cover all that here.

So, why would you want to try Japanese rope bondage?

  • Beautiful body art. Creating a work of art on you or your spouse’s body is great fun and very empowering. Your bodies are “fearfully and wonderfully made” by God, and shibari gives you a new way to enjoy their beauty and sexuality.
  • Intimate. Performing the ties takes time, close attention to detail, cooperation, communication, and lots of touching. The spouse being tied doesn’t just stand immobile — the whole process requires (naked!) collaboration. A shibari session can hit every love language: plenty of physical touch, an investment of quality time, service through tying and being tied, words affirming beauty and skill, and even giving of gifts in the form of materials. You and your spouse can emphasize whatever aspects best fit your languages.
  • Simple. Ok, some of the art pieces you may see online are not simple, but the basic techniques are easy to learn and build from. The materials you need to get started (see below) are inexpensive and easily available.
  • Power dynamic. As with most bondage, the dynamic of domination and submission can be as big or small an element as you desire, both during the tying and after. The basic shibari ties (see below) don’t necessarily restrain the movement of the spouse being tied, but they can form the foundation for restraining ties if desired.
  • Creative. The image at the top of the post comes from 18Seiben’s Deviant Art gallery, and he has tons of other safe images to inspire you. There’s really no limit to the designs and patterns you can create, even with very simple techniques. Once you grasp the basics, it isn’t hard to look at a single image and consider how you might create something similar.

shibari gallery

The materials required to get started are minimal. First, of course, is rope.

  • “Shibari rope”. You can find “shibari rope” online that’s extremely expensive and unnecessary; don’t buy it. You can get great rope at your local home improvement store for only a few dollars. Shibari purists seem to prefer natural hemp rope, but we’ve gotten along fine with nylon and MFP (cheaper and less scratchy).
  • Default length and thickness. To get started, buy a few pieces of rope that are 1/4-inch thick and 25 feet long. Length and thickness will eventually depend on the ties you plan to do.
  • Longer. We also have a 50-foot rope — longer ropes can be useful for some designs, but are harder to work with because you have to pull all that length through, over and over.
  • Shorter. Shorter ropes can be useful for more advanced techniques like single- or double-column ties.
  • Thicker. Some 3/8-inch thick rope can also be useful for ties that actually bear weight (greater width means the rope doesn’t bite into skin as much), but it’s harder to knot.

Additional supplies:

  • Safety scissors. Just in case you need to cut free immediately. Medical safety scissors have blunt tips that make it easy to cut rope without poking skin.
  • Relaxing music. Unlike most of your sex music, shibari really lends itself to a peaceful soundtrack. Think classical. Maybe Sexy Corte can offer some suggestions later.

Ok, so you’ve got your supplies and you’re ready to get started! Now what? The first tie we did is a simple breast harness called a shinju, which means “binding the pearls”. The term can refer to many different styles of breast bindings, which generally turn out something like this.

shinju manniquin

Here’s a three-minute video that will walk you through a simple shinju.

The shinju is a lot of fun and really highlights the wife’s breasts! Once you’ve completed the tie, we recommend progressing to a face-to-face sexual position with the wife upright so as to best enjoy her breasts, such as cowgirl or sex on a chair. The shinju can also serve as the foundation for a variety of arm restraints, like this.

arm-binding

After the shinju, you can move on to a full body harness called a karada, which means “binding the body”. As with the shinju, there are many ways to create a karada, and 18Seiben’s gallery will give you a taste. Here’s video that shows one simple karada.

And here’s an image of a karada that illustrates the process (click for full-size).

how to tie karada

These two ties are about as far as we’ve gotten ourselves, but we’ve got a million ideas we’d still like to try. For example, both the shinju and karada can be worn secretly under winter clothes! Once you know the basics it’s easy to visualize how to create more intricate ties, and working through the trial-and-error of achieving your vision is extremely intimate. Our next “advanced” project will be a rope corset.

shibari rope corset

Finally, some resources:

  • The Duchy has rope bondage guides that show no skin or sexual content
  • BDSMGeek’s YouTube playlist of safe shibari tutorials, also with no nudity

If you’ve ever done any rope bondage with your spouse, or are interested in trying, leave a comment!

Reader “MM” asks:

Intimacy after losing a loved one. This is something I’ve thought about in the past. I want to know your thoughts about this. Do you think it’s taboo to engage in sex soon after losing one’s mother, father, brother, ect., or would you say it’s all right? I would think the comfort from married intimacy in the wake of loss would work wonders, but then, I haven’t found myself in that situation. What do you think?

This is a hard question for me to answer: neither Sexy Corte nor I have been in this position yet. Everyone eventually faces grief in life, so your question is universal.

It would seem to me that the intimacy of sex with your spouse would be very comforting in a time of grief. Far from being taboo, sexual intimacy can be a powerful healing force when one spouse is hurting. However, everyone is different, so I’d follow the cues of the grieving spouse. If Sexy Corte were grieving, I would provide all the comfort I could, and be available for sexual intimacy if she desired it.

Sometimes it’s hard for a grieving person to accept comfort of any kind, and that’s normal. However, as the immediacy and intensity of the grief dulls, it becomes easier to both talk about the loss and to welcome another person into the intimacy of the experience. If your spouse is grieving, I recommend that you make yourself available for whatever kind of comfort she desires, whether that’s listening, conversation, distraction, or sexual intimacy.

If any readers would like to share their experiences with this situation, please do so in the comments.

Update: An anonymous commenter points to a verse I should have thought of: 2 Samuel 12:24. After the illness and eventual death of King David and Bathsheba’s first child, conceived in adultery and murder, the parents are grief-stricken. They find comfort in repentance (Psalm 51) and each other.

Then David comforted his wife, Bathsheba, and went in to her and lay with her, and she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon.

Please use the contact pages for Sexy Corte and El Fury to send us your questions. We will only share your question if you give us permission, and we’ll never reveal your name or any other identifying information. You can ask questions anonymously, or use a free anonymous email server like Mailinator.

One of the most gratifying aspects this blog is when we get feedback from a couple whose marriage has benefited from something we wrote. As follow-up to this post about swallowing, in the comments to this Q&A about swallowing and enjoying it, “K” writes:

K
So… I gave it a go and swallowed for the first time today. Thanks for the inspiration! :)

Sexy Corte
That’s great! Thanks for letting us know. Was your husband excited?

K
He was thrilled! :) It was an amazing way to bond- more than I could have imagined. You guys are awesome- don’t stop writing!!

It’s been a while since we had a link party, so let’s see what’s up around the marriage-sphere.

Q&A: Will Frequent Yeses Turn My Husband into a Sex Maniac? — No.

Oral Sex: Giving and Receiving the Gift — Intimacy, vulnerability, and submission.

29 Fun, Healthy and Sexy Things to Do with Your Spouse this Summer — Enjoy the warm weather!

Picture dares for couples — A fun print-and-play game, along with links to earlier installments.

3 Things Higher Sex Drive Spouses Wish their Spouse Knew — Don’t play games.

Honor bondage — Bondage without physical restraints.

Will there be sex in Heaven? We can only speculate — we don’t know anything about Heaven other than what the Bible reveals to us, but perhaps we can make some reasonable inferences.  Be sure to note that I’m extrapolating from the Bible in this post and not asserting that any of these ideas are guaranteed to be true. (In fact, I’m sure that plenty of wise people disagree with at least some of this.) There are a lot of excerpts from the Bible in this post, but don’t be intimidated! I believe you’ll find them interesting and enlightening.

As a first data point, consider Matthew 22:23-33. Some Jewish leaders who don’t believe in an afterlife (the Sadducees) attempt to trip Jesus up by asking him about a hypothetical woman who was married to seven men: whose wife would she be in Heaven? Jesus responds:

You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.

So there are no weddings in Heaven, and marriages made on earth do not persist. (“Till death do us part.”) So… case closed? No sex in Heaven?

Not so fast! What are the purposes of sex? Without going into depth here, from the Bible we know that sex is intended for pleasure, intimacy, and procreation. Do these purposes have meaning in Heaven?

Pleasure: Of course there will be pleasure in Heaven! Ephesians 2:4-7:

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

The endless ages of eternity will be filled to overflowing with God’s grace and kindness thanks to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Intimacy: The intimacy of our relationships in Heaven will far surpass anything we know on earth. 1 Corinthians 13 says a lot about love that must hold true in Heaven, and verse 12 speaks directly to intimacy.

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

The unveiled intimacy we experience in Heaven, with God and other believers, will make every relationship on earth seem like a dim reflection in a dark mirror.

Procreation: Did God stop creating after Genesis? Will God continue creating after the ages of this world have passed away? God’s creation reflects his glory, Psalms 19:1-6:

The heavens declare the glory of God,
    and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
    and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
    whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth,
    and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
    which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
    and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
    and its circuit to the end of them,
    and there is nothing hidden from its heat.

In Revelation 21:1-5 we see that God is planning a New Heaven and a New Earth.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”

Note it’s “making”, not “have made”. Creation and creativity are defining attributes of God, and I find it hard to believe that’s he’s going to stop. But even if he continues creating, will he keep making people? Well, why was procreation invented in the first place? Let’s go back to Genesis 1:26-28:

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

So God created man in his own image,
    in the image of God he created him;
    male and female he created them.

And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

The New Heaven and the New Earth (and the New Universe?) won’t need to be subdued, but they will need to be filled! God loves creating stuff, mankind is his ultimate creation, and there will be a new, perfect world to fill up — is it much of a stretch to imagine that God will continue making people forever?

Ok, so I think I’ve made a decent case for the three purposes of sex persisting in Heaven: pleasure, intimacy, and procreation. Let me make one more observation: the Bible is abundantly clear that in Heaven we will not be merely spirits, but that we’ll have new bodies. The bodily resurrection of Christ is an essential tenet of Christianity. 1 Corinthians 15 has a lot to say about this teaching, but verses 35-49 touch on this question most directly.

But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.

So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam [Jesus] became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.

So our heavenly bodies will be like Christ’s resurrected body. In Luke 24:36-43 we can see Jesus in action after his resurrection, and we immediately notice three relevant attributes of his body: it is recognizable to his followers (including his maleness), it can be touched, and it can partake in earthly bodily functions (eating). Jesus intentionally revealed these attributes to comfort his followers — they knew he was dead and thought they were seeing a ghost!

As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them.

So now I’ve made a case for the purposes of sex persisting in Heaven, and a case that our heavenly bodies will be physically capable of sex. Does this mean there will be sex in Heaven? No — the evidence is only circumstantial, but nothing in the Bible rules out sex in Heaven. That said, I’ll speculate a little bit more: there won’t be sex in Heaven, but whatever we do have will be even better!

Better how? Well, whatever we call IT, IT will more perfectly fulfill the purposes of sex:

Better pleasure. We’ll have awesome new heavenly bodies that never get sick, never get old, never feel pain, never feel sadness; instead of weakness, we will have power; instead of dishonor, we will be glorious! Our perfect minds and bodies will be capable of experiencing pleasure far beyond anything on this earth, and we’ll enjoy it in fellowship with God and other people.

Better intimacy. As we discussed above, the intimacy in Heaven will exceed anything on earth, and we’ll have eternity to build relationships. Your relationship with your earthly spouse will be deeper and grander than you ever experienced on earth, and there will be uncountable others in Heaven to meet and love as well.

Better procreation. If God continues to create people, why would he stop using people in the process? Imagine all the joys of parenthood and family with none of the worries, frustrations, and sacrifice!

This is all pretty speculative, but I think the speculation is well-founded. I can’t imagine exactly how IT will work, but I’m pretty confident that Heaven isn’t a bait-and-switch: all the delights God has created us to enjoy on earth won’t be taken away in Heaven, they’ll be perfected and glorified beyond our wildest dreams.

(For more thoughts: Jenny also ponders sex in Heaven.)

(Click here to read the whole Sex in Song of Solomon series.)

Song of Solomon, chapter 4. In chapter 3 we spied on the Beloved’s dream on the night before her wedding and we saw her reaction to her Lover’s approach on their wedding day. Chapter 4 opens with the Lover’s admiration of his Beloved’s beauty as he arrives at the wedding. He begins at the top of her body and works his way down…

 Behold, you are beautiful, my love,
    behold, you are beautiful!
Your eyes are doves
    behind your veil.
Your hair is like a flock of goats
    leaping down the slopes of Gilead.
Your teeth are like a flock of shorn ewes
    that have come up from the washing,
all of which bear twins,
    and not one among them has lost its young.
Your lips are like a scarlet thread,
    and your mouth is lovely.
Your cheeks are like halves of a pomegranate
    behind your veil.
Your neck is like the tower of David,
    built in rows of stone;
on it hang a thousand shields,
    all of them shields of warriors.
Your two breasts are like two fawns,
    twins of a gazelle,
    that graze among the lilies.
Until the day breathes
    and the shadows flee,
I will go away to the mountain of myrrh
    and the hill of frankincense.
You are altogether beautiful, my love;
    there is no flaw in you.

The Lover is completely entranced with the beauty of his Beloved! He compliments all the features we men notice in modern times, and he grows more intimate as he moves down her body. Eyes, hair, teeth, lips, neck, breasts… but what’s this about a mountain and a hill? Some commentaries suggest that the mountains in the metaphor refer to the Church, and that the myrrh and frankincense refer to the scented incense that was used in Jewish temple rituals. Maybe! Song of Solomon is a metaphor for Christ’s love for the church, just as the institution of marriage itself is.

But! It’s not that hard to follow the Lover’s progression down his Beloved: head, neck, breasts, and then a heavenly-scented mountain that is perhaps too intimate to name directly. “Until the day breathes and the shadows flee”, the Lover will be caught up in his Beloved’s girly bits. It’s a lovely picture, and in my mind’s eye I can see the Beloved blushing in coy arousal. The intimacy and love described here are beautiful — the Lover is utterly smitten.

You have captivated my heart, my sister, my bride;
    you have captivated my heart with one glance of your eyes,
    with one jewel of your necklace.
10 How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride!
    How much better is your love than wine,
    and the fragrance of your oils than any spice!
11 Your lips drip nectar, my bride;
    honey and milk are under your tongue;
    the fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon.

The Lover then describes his Beloved as garden of delight.

12 A garden locked is my sister, my bride,
    a spring locked, a fountain sealed.
13 Your shoots are an orchard of pomegranates
    with all choicest fruits,
    henna with nard,
14 nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon,
    with all trees of frankincense,
myrrh and aloes,
    with all choice spices—
15 a garden fountain, a well of living water,
    and flowing streams from Lebanon.

The garden is locked, the spring is locked, the fountain is sealed. The Beloved belongs to her Lover alone, and the intimacy of their relationship is tightly guarded from outsiders. This intimacy is sexual, but not only sexual. It is their whole relationship, uniquely protected for just the two of them. The Lover ends with an evocative exhortation that is not difficult to interpret:

16 Awake, O north wind,
    and come, O south wind!
Blow upon my garden,
    let its spices flow.

The Lover’s words drip with erotic intimacy, and upon hearing her Lover’s profession of desire the Beloved does what any sensible woman would do:

Let my beloved come to his garden,
    and eat its choicest fruits.

To paraphrase: Come get some.