Why did God create sex? Was it only for procreation or did God have other purposes for sex? Does God speak of his specific purposes for sex in the Bible?
There is no single passage of Scripture where God says “I created sex for these purposes…”. God created man in his image to show his attributes and display his glory. God created woman as a helper for man (Genesis 2 & I Corinthians 11). God tells us why he created marriage in Ephesians 5, as a symbol of the relationship between Christ and the Church.
So yes we know why God created us, and why God created marriage. But why did God create sex?
One of God’s purposes for sex was for reproduction
There is no doubt that one of the reasons for God creating sex was as a method for procreation.
In fact it is one of the first commands God gave to the first man and woman in the Garden of Eden:
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it:”
When God created Adam and Eve the first command he gave them was to have sex! Go make babies!
God commands that sexual relations between a man and woman are to be only within the institution of marriage
“Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”
How God could have handled reproduction in human beings
Up to this point, we have seen that one of the purposes for which God created sex was procreation. We then see that God wanted sex only to occur within marriage. When you put together what we have so far, you can see that God only wants children being produced between and a man and a woman within the confines of marriage.
But God could have created marriage without sex. He could have made man and woman having the same relationship as the Bible defines, with man leading, protecting and providing for his wife as Christ does the Church, without giving him the capability of having sex. He could have still created woman as the helper to man, with her symbolizing the role of the Church in submitting to her husband, as the Church submits to Christ, without designing her to have sex with a man.
All of this could have been done without needing any sexual contact between a man and a woman.
In fact God could have made humans like fish, where the female lays eggs and the male comes by and fertilizes the eggs, and they do this with no physical contact.
Even if God wanted us to have sex just for reproduction, he could have made us like many animals that just go into heat once or twice a year for a short period. During this limited period they have sex for reproductive purposes only and then they are done.
How God made our sexuality tells us a lot about his purposes for sex
In Paul’s letter to the Romans we are told that God reveals his design and purposes for many things by looking at how he created things:
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse”
The context of this passage from Romans chapter 1 is talking about sexual depravity.
“For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another”
But even though Romans 1 is talking about sexual depravity, it also reveals some other truths. We can see the phrase “the natural use”, referring to human sexuality. The truth we can see about Romans 1 is, God has revealed his purposes for sex by looking at human sexuality from a biological perspective.
So what does our biology tell us about our sexuality?
Let me be clear that as with any other area of Bible study, God’s explicit commands regarding sexuality must be our starting point. But God’s Word does not give us express commands about every area of our sexuality, he has left some things for us to discover by us looking at our own biology.
The first thing that is abundantly clear from the human body, is that one the purposes of certain human body parts is for sexual pleasure. For instance, God could have gave us the same feeling in our erogenous zones(genitals) as we have in our fingers. Instead, he gave us thousands more nerve endings in these special areas that are especially sensitive to touch and can generate great pleasure. Biologically speaking, if our genitals were created only for relieving ourselves and procreation there would be no need for these extra nerve endings. If God only intended sex for procreation, there would be no need for the human orgasm. Yet he built the human body with all these wonderful characteristics.
Next we will explore the distinctive differences in sexuality that God designed in man and woman.
God created men and women with very different sexual natures
Man’s Sexual Nature
A man is created with a polygynous capacity for fathering multiple children with multiple women at the same time. Men are capable of fathering children until the day they die, there is no expiration period on their reproductive capability. So every time a man has sex (baring physical abnormalities or surgeries), he has the capacity for reproduction.
Not only is a man’s body capable of impregnating multiple women at the same time, but his mind is also polygynous in nature, where his brain draws him to a variety of women. After the Roman empire eliminated polygamy in most of the western world, men had to adjust to monogamous marriage, even though they still retained a polygynous nature and polygynous biological capacity. Some men chose not to adjust and kept mistresses besides their wife(as some men still do today).
I realize many women reading this may be shocked at this because of the modern monogamous marriage culture we have been brought up in. I have written many posts on this blog dealing with the subject of polygamy and man’s sexual nature and I encourage you to step outside your cultural conditioning and read them. My most recent post dealing with this subject is “How a Christian woman should handle her man looking at other women”.
The male sexual nature is primarily visually and physically based on his need to release his semen, and it is only secondarily based in his emotions. The typical male is biologically driven to release his semen at least every 72 hours, for some men it might be less. A man’s sexual chemistry is driven by his testosterone, and the typical male has 10 times more testosterone flowing through his body than the typical woman.
Woman’s Sexual Nature
A woman can only be impregnated by one man at a time and she can only carry one man’s child at a time. Unlike a man, a woman’s ability to bare children comes with an expiration date as she ages and reaches menopause. God did miraculously allow exceptions to his design with Sarah and some other women in the Bible, but this is not the norm of his design.
Just as a woman’s sexual reproductive system is built for monogamy (for her to have only one husband), so too her sexual nature and desire is designed to match her body being monogamous in nature. A woman’s sexual drive is primarily driven by her emotions, and only secondarily by her physical need for release.
How God designed our our minds and bodies tells us his intentions for our sexuality
“ For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made…” – Romans 1:20a
When we do what God tell us to do in Romans chapter 1 and look at how God has designed men and women’s minds and bodies differently we can then see other purposes for which God designed sex.
The fact that most men and even some women are aroused and receive pleasure in their brain from seeing the form of the opposite sex tells us that God gave us sex not only for reproduction, but also for visual pleasure.
“7 “How beautiful are your feet in sandals,
O prince’s daughter!
The curves of your hips are like jewels,
The work of the hands of an artist.” – Song Of Solomon 7:1 (NASB)
In the Song of Solomon we see how man sees a woman’s body as a work of art.
In Psalm 45 – a prophetic song about Jesus Christ we see how he desires the beauty of his Church:
“So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him.” – Psalm 45:11 (KJV)
Our God truly is a marvelous God. There is so much symbolism in the way he has designed us. The fact that men receive pleasure from and desire to see the beauty of women is no accident. It is by the design of God and is a symbol of God’s desire for the beauty of his church.
The fact that men and women both have certain zones of their body that give them great pleasure from touch tells us that God gave us sex not only for reproduction, but also for physical pleasure.
“6 How fair and how pleasant art thou, O love, for delights!
7 This thy stature is like to a palm tree, and thy breasts to clusters of grapes.
8 I said, I will go up to the palm tree, I will take hold of the boughs thereof: now also thy breasts shall be as clusters of the vine, and the smell of thy nose like apples;” – Song of Solomon 7:6-8 (KJV)
The human ability to have an orgasm(present in both men and women) tells us that God gave us sex not only for reproduction, but also as a mental and physical release from the stresses of daily life, and to comfort one another.
“And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.” – Genesis 24:67 (KJV)
A woman’s emotionally connected sexual nature tells us that God gave us sex not only for reproduction, but also to emotionally draw a couple closer together.
A man’s sexual nature tells us that God intended sex to occur in marriage with or without emotional connection, as men are fully capable and drawn to sex without the need to first emotionally connect. Many men do not connect emotionally with their wives, until AFTER they have had sex with them.
This last point is one that many in our modern age would contend with. But the fact is, aside from newlywed couples, if normal married couples only had sex when they were feeling emotionally connected, sex would occur far less often. Just like the foundation of marital love is Agape love (love from duty and commitment, not from emotion), so too God wanted sex to come first from duty and commitment, and only secondarily from emotion.
This is not to say that men should not try and connect with their wives on an emotional level, because they certainly ought to. I Peter 3:7 tells men to “dwell with them according to knowledge”. The Greek Word that we translate in English as “dwell” has the idea of a man living with and having sex with a woman (it was used interchangeably with a man living with his wife or his mistress in Biblical times). But when you put it together with the phrase “according to knowledge” it has the idea of getting to know your wife. If you get to know your wife then you would at some points emotionally connect with her.
In fact in the Old Testament often times a word that was used as a euphemism for sex was literally the word “knew”. Like in Genesis 4:1 when God says “And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived”. But other times the Bible describes sex as simply “laying” with one’s wife.
The difference between “Making Love” and “having sex”
The Bible never uses the term “making love”, it is a modern term. But I think you could describe this as the times when a man and a woman are more emotionally connected, and then they are physically connected in the act of sex. There is no doubt that if we take I Peter 3 where God tells men they need to know their wives, that God does want us to make love (to be emotionally and physically connected) as a husband and wife.
However, from the rest of Scripture we can also see that God does not want the only time we have sex to be when we are emotionally connected. Sometimes we have to physically connect first, so that we can emotionally connect at a later point.
God does not place an “emotional connectedness” prerequisite on sex in marriage.
This is something that a lot of Christian women struggle with, because of how they have been preconditioned by our culture, and many Christian marriage books falsely teach this notion of “emotional connectedness” as a prerequisite for on sex in marriage.
See Paul’s words about not sexually depriving one another here in I Corinthians:
“Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.
The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.
Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.”
I Corinthians 7:3-5(KJV)
Sex in marriage calls us out of our comfort zones and calls us to empathize with our spouse
God made men and women with different strengths and weakness, and this is no different when it comes to our sexuality. God does not scold a man for his sexual nature, but he also wants a man to see sex through his wife’s eyes. God does not scold a woman for her sexual nature, but he also wants a woman to see sex through her husband’s eyes.
What this looks like for a Christian husband is, he will not always try to “just have sex” with his wife, but will look for opportunities to emotionally connect with her first, so that they can truly “make love”.
What this looks like from a Christian wife’s perspective is, she will not demand that her husband emotionally connect with her every time before they have sex. She will gladly accept his nature that sometimes he just needs to have sex, and that God has uniquely equipped her to have sex whether she is emotionally connected, in the mood or not.
No Christian wife ought to have prerequisites her husband must do before he can have sex with her, her body belongs to him, just as his body belongs to her.
Please don’t misunderstand what I am saying. A man may not always be able to get his wife in the mood emotionally for sex, but he should always prepare his wife physically for sex through some type of foreplay, in the sense of making sure she is lubricated(either through natural means or artificial means) enough for intercourse, otherwise this could be a painful experience for her.
But just as a man is commanded to “dwell with his wife according to knowledge”, a woman is commanded to be “a lover of her husband” in Titus 2:
“That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children…”
The phrase translated in English as “to love their husbands” is an interesting one. It is the only time in the entire Bible that a woman is specifically commanded to love her husband. In most other cases women are commanded to submit to, or obey, or respect their husbands but this is the only instance of a command to wives to love their husbands.
The Greek phrase here is “philandros”, which literally means “a lover of her husband”. This has the idea of an affectionate, even sexual love of a wife toward her husband. What we also see from Titus 2:4 is a woman must be “taught” to be a lover of her husband, something that sadly many Christian’s mothers do not pass down to their daughters, as they ought to.
In the same way that a Christian wife wants her husband to attempt emotional connectedness in the sexual arena, so too a man wants his wife to attempt to understand the visual and physical side of his sexual nature.
See a post I wrote a while back called The 10 actions of the sexually intelligent wife, this goes into this area in a lot more detail.
The 7 Reasons God made Sex
Based on the Biblical and biological evidence I have shown I believe there are 7 reasons that God made sex.
- For Procreation
- For Unity (to bring a couple close together, but this unity may not always come before sex, but may come later as a result of sex).
- For visual pleasure
- For physical pleasure
- For relief of physical and emotional stress, to comfort one another
- Sacrifice & Submission – husbands are called to sacrifice themselves by giving their bodies to their wives when they need it, and wives are command to submit their bodies to their husbands as they need it.
- To bring us out of our comfort zone, to be able to love our spouse not as we would desire to be loved, but as they would desire to be loved(e.g. sexual preferences).
The difference between the relational aspect of sex and our individual sexuality
Many Christians believe that our human sexuality was meant only to be experienced within the relational context of marriage. These Christians believe that all forms of sexual pleasure that are enjoyed before marriage and not in direct reference to one’s spouse is sin.
They believe all non-marital based sexual pleasure we experience is a result of natures being corrupted by the fall.
In practical terms this means all these experiences regarding our human sexuality are sinful in their view:
- A young teenage boy gets an erection when he happens to catch a glance of a girl’s cleavage.
- A young boy has a sexual dream about a woman.
- A young boy has a fantasy while awake about a woman.
- A single person or married person masturbating by themselves.
The problem with this type of thinking is – there is NO scriptural support for it whatsoever. The Bible does not condemn sexual arousal and it never says that we cannot enjoy or experience any part of sexual natures that God has gifted us with apart from our spouse in the marriage bed.
The Bible ONLY restricts the relational aspect of our sexuality to the covenant of marriage.
It does NOT restrict the other aspects of sexuality such as receiving visual pleasure from viewing the opposite sex, the physical pleasure of masturbation or using masturbation as way to give one’s self relief.
See these other posts I wrote on the related subjects of lust, sexual arousal and sexual fantasy from a Biblical perspective.