Sunday, February 17, 2008

Being "Sexy" For Your Husband? (part one)

Q: Got this question from a reader (Annie):

Have you considered [writing about] "being sexy", or the idea that married, Christian women ought to make an effort to be attractive to their husbands, whose emotional well-being is so centered in visual gratification (of his wife) and physical intimacy?
A: Absolutely! This is a very important issue for all women, particularly in our generation (when men and women alike are being fed such WRONG images of beauty/sexiness), and particularly in our culture of Christianity (which has taken cues from Victorian-era ethics which greatly undermine the joy & satisfaction in the marriage relationship). So, let's just do a series about it, shall we? ;)

There are several aspects we should consider when looking at this question:
  1. Should a Christian wife be enticing or seductive towards her own husband?
  2. Where does the standard of "sexiness" come from?
  3. What is definitely off-limits for Christian marriages?
  4. Should there be a difference in our attitude, countenance, and the way we carry our body in public and in private?
  5. How important is this in a Christian marriage?
I will attempt to unpack these in future segments (and I'm open to any other suggestions or aspects you all may want to think through... e-mail me @ , or leave a comment here), but today, let's just look at aspect #1:

"Should a Christian wife be enticing or seductive towards her own husband?"

For this, there is one very obvious place to look, nearly smack-dab in the center of the Bible: the Song of Solomon. I'll highlight some verses from this book and take them, one at a time, and try to glean some things from them about marital intimacy and seduction. (For the purposes of our discussion, let me clarify that I am defining seducing as "seeking to be attractive to" one's spouse.)

First, let's look at some of what Solomon has to say to his bride:
  • "Your cheeks are lovely with ornaments, your neck with a string of jewels" (1:10) - She decorates her face and body to attract him.
  • "Behold, you are beautiful, my love" (1:15) - He finds her attractive. There is no shame or sin in this.
  • He notices (one by one) her eyes, hair, teeth, lips, mouth, cheeks, neck, and breasts and then says, "You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you." (4:1-7) - Two things to observe about this: (1) He notices her. He sees her face and body and takes pleasure in seeing it, and there is no shame or sin in that. (2) She lets him notice her. She's not hiding herself from him, and she's not ashamed of her body (though Chapter 1 tells us that she doesn't look like every other woman). I have heard so many women who are so embarrassed or self-conscious about their body that they never enjoy intimacy in daylight or any light at all... they have taken to heart the world's messages about what beauty looks like, and it is negatively affecting their marital intimacy. (As I've said before, we're the only godly outlet for our husband's sexual needs and desires!!! God MADE YOU to fulfill your husband's needs in this area!) It is perfectly OK and normal (and even "GOOD", as God declared of His creation in Genesis) for a husband to take visual pleasure in his wife!
  • "You have captivated my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace" (4:9) - She is captivating him, enticing him with her eyes... she's not begrudgingly agreeing to intimacy... she's captivating him!
  • "How much better is your love than wine" (4:10) - He finds her addictive and, one could say, "delicious"!
  • He notices (one by one) her feet, thighs, navel, belly, breasts, neck, eyes, nose, and head and then says, "How beautiful and pleasant you are, O loved one, with all your delights!" (7:1-6) - This time, he's noticing the rest of her body. He's taking delight in every part of her. And she's letting him. Once again, she's not hiding or holding back... she is open towards him in every way, and he takes great pleasure in this!
And let's look at what this bride has to say about her interactions with Solomon:
  • "While [he] was on his couch, my nard (a fragrant herb) gave forth its fragrance" (1:12) - She's prepared for intimacy with him... she has put effort into making a pleasant environment for their time together.
  • "On my bed by night I sought him who my soul loves." (3:1) - This is not just responding or reacting to a husband's desires for intimacy... it reveals a wife who seeks out her husband, who makes intimacy a priority, and who rightly sees intimacy as connected to her love for her husband.
  • "I held him, and would not let him go" (3:4) - This bride wants her husband's physical attentions.
  • "Let my beloved come to his garden, and eat its choicest fruits" (4:16) - However you read this (and there are a variety of interpretations), she offers all that she has and the best of what she has to her husband. She's not withholding anything good from him.
  • "My beloved put his hand to the latch, and my heart was thrilled within me." (5:4) - She eagerly awaits the time she'll spend with her beloved.
  • "He is altogether desirable" (5:16) - Not only does she allow him to take delight in her, but she delights herself in him.
  • "Choice fruits... I have laid up for you, O my beloved" (7:13) Again, she prepares the best for him. And she prepares for him.
I can't speak for you, but after reading just these select verses, it is abundantly clear to me that it is not only acceptable, but it is right and good for a wife to be enticing towards her husband.

Our society and Christian culture (which, as I mentioned, has derived a lot of its sexual "morality" from the rigidity and frigidity of Victorian-era morals) have combined forces to heap shame and guilt and self-consciousness on top of Christian women today, and we have not effectively responded to these assaults. Too often, we allow body image to keep us from opening ourselves up to our husband's visual delight. Too often, we allow the truly sinful aspects of our culture's overt seduction (on display 24/7 on TV, movies, and in malls) to lead us to believe that visual and physical seduction is, in itself, sinful.

We need to stand up and rightly stake claim on what can be ours: pure delight and freedom in intimacy within our marriages! On this first aspect, I must answer this: that, opposed to what our pious "Christian" culture might have instilled in us, it is GOOD for a Christian wife to strive to be enticing and seductive towards her husband.

What say you? How do you see this issue? Is it a struggle for you to see physical and visual pleasure in this way? (As always, since this is a sensitive and personal subject, I will publish anonymous comments so that we can speak more honestly.)

Graphic ("Spring", by Alphonse Mucha) from


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