Journey Through Passion Pursuit

Sexual Shades of Grey

Discerning what's right for you and your husband

We seem to have a love-hate relationship with rules. On the one hand, we resent being told we can’t do something or have something we want. But on the other hand, rules make us feel safe—there is security in knowing the boundaries. For example, children who are anxious and chaotic in a permissive home often turn into model students in a school setting in which the expectations are clear.

God designed the marriage bed to be a place of great freedom between a husband and wife. Once you know where the boundaries are, you are free to explore and have fun.

I’ve found the same applies to women within the arena of sexuality. While we hate to be told “you shouldn’t do that,” we also crave guidelines. There is insecurity and shame when everything is presented in nebulous shades of grey. That’s why women have so many questions about right and wrong related to sexuality. Single women want to know what God says (if anything) about fantasy, masturbation, and how far is too far. Married women have their own questions. Is oral or anal sex acceptable in marriage? What about role playing or sex toys?

When we don’t have a clear understanding of biblical, sexual morality, one of two things can happen. Ironically, women either feel no guilt when they violate God’s standards, or they feel tremendous guilt when they have done nothing wrong.

Without a clear understanding of Scripture, some women will wander into dangerous sexual territory. The most recent example of this is the Fifty Shades of Grey series. I’ve spoken with many Christian women who can’t discern why reading erotica is harmful or immoral. Christian couples live together before marriage, fantasize about men other than their husband while having sex, and excuse porn in marriage. These are each things to which God says, “Don’t go there”—not because he is a kill-joy but ultimately to keep us from harm.

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Juli Slattery

Juli Slattery is a TCW regular contributor and blogger. A widely known clinical psychologist, author, speaker, and broadcast media professional, she co-founded Authentic Intimacy and is the co-author of Passion Pursuit: What Kind of Love Are You Making?

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May 25

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