Do Wives Always Have to Say Yes to Sex?

Why healthy interdependence in marriage is the key to mutual sexual satisfaction

There’s been some buzz about comments Michelle Duggar recently made when asked her advice to her newlywed daughter. Michelle essentially talked about the importance to make yourself available to meet the sexual needs of your husband and to do so joyfully. Michelle isn’t the first to give this advice. Some Christian teachers and leaders have told women never to say no to their husband’s sexual advances, no matter how tired you may be or how strained your relationship is.

I understand why women think this is biblical advice, but I also have some concerns about such broad sweeping recommendations. In order to unpack this issue, let’s take a look at verses people most often point to when teaching the “never say no” philosophy:

The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” (1 Corinthians 7:3–5)

This verse is essentially teaching two important concepts about sexuality in marriage: unselfishness in the bedroom and fighting temptation as a team.

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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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