We all know that “sex is a need in marriage” for procreation, so I’m assuming the question is “Is sex FOR PLEASURE a need in marriage?” When I read this question my thoughts turned immediately to the Old Testament book “The Song of Solomon,” which deals with the subject of romance and sexual pleasure in marriage. Some of the language is actually quite detailed, so much so that it became customary in Jewish homes to prohibit boys from reading it until they turned 12 years old. There is no thought of PROCREATION in the book, so it is obvious that God not only allows “sex for pleasure,” but that He created men and women with this desire. We must emphasize that this God-given desire was only intended to be within the holy union of marriage. This is confirmed in Hebrews 13:4, “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (NKJV).

Now let’s read 1st Corinthians 7:2-5: “It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” Again, God created the desire for sex and thus IT IS A NEED IN MARRIAGE! These verses clearly teach that the husband and wife are to give to one another the affection (which includes sexual pleasure) that is due to them. In that sense neither the husband nor wife has “authority over their own body.” The apostle goes on to say we should not “deprive one another” unless there is an agreement to abstain from sex for the purpose of “fasting and prayer.” But he quickly adds that in time they are to “come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” This surely implies what we have said, that “sex is a need in marriage” and if we try to “control that need” by abstaining too long, Satan will surely introduce some kind of sexual temptation that could be harmful to the marriage. Of course, these instructions regarding sex in marriage refer to married couples that love and respect one another, and where there aren’t physical problems which would hinder one or both from enjoying sexual intimacy. (232.9) (DO)